We are a real life RPG based primarily in Albany and New York City; two of New York's most well known cities! While we are set four years in the future, we nevertheless operate in real time. The current date is July, 2016.
Summer is here, finally! There's still the odd shower but for the most part, the weather is extremely hot; you definitely don't need your coat anymore.
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That's right, it's our birthday! LLM is one this month, and to celebrate, the fair is in town.
All characters, character graphics, and writings are the property of their original creator. Site graphics were made by Beccasaur, and she also adapted the skin. Accordian menu topbar put together by Paperfailsnail of RC&R, thank you! Stealing is lame, so don't fucking do it.
Member No.: 72
Joined: 1-October 11
Big cities weren’t Riley’s thing at all, they made her feel boxed in and claustrophobic, which was ironic since she felt better in small spaces like her camper as opposed to the big spaces like the huge hotel suite she’d gotten for Christian and her for his birthday in New York. Of course she was doing what her parents were upset at her about in the first place, she was spending the money her grandfather had left her along with the money coming in from her shares the family company, but in her mind it wasn’t any of their business, it was her money. The fact was though that she also didn’t live a very extravagant lifestyle for what she was worth, had it been other people with her kind of money they would have bought a huge home in Albany for her and Chris to live in and hired a housekeeper and cook to take care of all their domestic needs, so in all she was actually being more responsible than her contemparies. Of course when the time came, if the time came, she’d happily put down roots with Chris and buy that house. Of course before that would have to come compromise, he liked cities, she liked wide open spaces, he liked staying at home and reading, she liked the excitement of the outdoors, she was totally country and he was completely city, so eventually they would need to sit down and have the hard talk about what compromise would need to be made, then again Riley told herself that if she went back to riding (a big if still) that it would only be fair that Chris get to choose where they would live. If she went back to the rodeo she’d be home maybe three times a year if she was lucky so it wouldn’t be fair to him to demand they live out in the country. Of course knowing her she’d simply adapt to what Chris wanted since he’d become the center of her world now that her parents had cut her out of their lives.
Along with big cities came big city traffic, something Riley hated driving in. She’d rented an SUV for them for the weekend, a nice Mercedes, so that Pully could stretch out in the backseat for the trip to New York while all their bags would fit comfortably in the trunk. She also didn’t want to ask Chris to have to maneuver her huge truck through the crazed New York traffic so the rental would be best since she would honestly rather face off against a pissed off bull than drive in the big city. Of course with Chris driving she would wince every time he yelled at the drivers that frustrated him, knowing that anger of his had a volatility that she didn’t want to be on the receiving end of. She trusted him to never raise his hand to her but that little voice in the back of her mind that warned her that one day it might happen would increase in volume when he got frustrated and yelled or broke another phone, it was then that Riley simply got quiet and waited out the storm to pass, for Chris to calm down, knowing that he would, and eventually with help those storms would simply be a distant memory.
Riley had left the plans of the weekend up to Chris, wanting him to show her the town he had once lived in, sure there had been walks in the park with Pully and romantic moments on top the Empire State Building, it was all and all a great weekend, but as much as Riley hated to admit it, it was the food she had enjoyed the most. She knew she had to go back to work, well the kind of physical work she was used to, soon because her intake of food versus her activity level was causing her to gain weight to the point she was soon going to have to get a new wardrobe.
This afternoon she wasn’t worrying about the new wardrobe, she’d seen this Italian hole in the wall place the other night when her and Chris were walking Pully thru the city and she’d been lured by the smell of the food along with one particular dessert in the window, something called a mocha cappuccino cheesecake that she had to try. So after dropping off Pully at the posh doggie daycare she gave Chris puppy dog eyes till he agreed to lunch there (which mind you wasn’t that hard) and soon they were sitting down and giving the waiter their drink orders. No, it didn’t make much sense for her to order a diet coke but she did and after she quickly asked Chris to get her the three cheese paste pene with the cheesecake for dessert she excused herself to ‘powder her nose’. On her way back to the table she felt her heart hit her stomach, looking over and seeing a familiar face sitting in a booth near the back of the restaurant. Of all the places in the big city this was the last person she’d expected to see here and she was sure now this would just ruin Chris’ birthday.
Eating on her own was quite possibly a little sad, but Abby had lived here long enough not to care anymore; there were days when she and Angelo couldn't quite manage to get their schedules in sync so that they didn't eat together, or even see each other except very early in the morning and then again in the evening, and today seemed to be one of those days, despite it being the weekend. She'd had an interview to do before the matinee performances started, and it had gone well. She'd been running behind which had made Abby feel as though she was rushed, but by the time she got to the arranged restaurant – on days when she was doing something like this close to a performance, it was too much of a loud, mad rush to go and interview someone at the theatre, and most performers appreciated a little time away before they had to go and prepare themselves – it was the actor who was running late, and so the time she'd set by to talk to him had been cut short a little, but she still felt as though she had more than enough material to be getting on with. They'd talked over coffee, and being a good Italian restaurant, the coffee was fantastic, coming with those little biscuits that Abby adored (and made a mental note to see if it was possible to buy them anywhere, because they would have been the perfect thing to nibble on while she was at her desk), and by the time that they had finished up, it had been so close to lunch that she'd just decided that there was no harm in staying exactly where she was. She could go through her notes while she was eating, and it would kill two birds with one stone, since she had to eat, and if Angel was out there was no way that she'd be able to make anything more than a salad or sandwich, since Abby's culinary skills really did leave a lot to be desired. It might have been the first time that she'd been here, but it was a given that the food here would be so much better than anything she got herself.
She'd been right on that front, of course; Abby had enjoyed a very nice cannelloni dish, and was now absently making her way through a bowl of gelato, well aware that this meant that she was probably unlikely to want anything to eat for a very long time, because she was already feeling full—but it was good, so it was absolutely worth it. She was holding her spoon in her left hand so that she could go through the notes that she'd made with the other, adding things in here and there, rewriting words so that she could actually read them later, because sometimes her handwriting really did have a tendency to become illegible when she was writing fast; she'd recorded the interview too, of course, but she couldn't play that back here, and sometimes her notes were as much about the interviewee's body language and expression, the impression that she got from them, as it was about what they were saying. They were all important things, since interviews had a tendency to be a little dry if they were just written in a straight question and answer fashion. Maybe she should have brought her laptop, so that she could already be writing it up, but there was time enough for that later, her deadline wasn't immediate, and a part of her still loved to do things the old fashioned way, and work by hand. It was so much quicker, and easier to edit, writing articles straight into a word document, but she still liked going through notes like this, too. It felt more productive, more tangible somehow, just as she still loved reading newspapers, rather than just getting her news from the internet. She really hoped that print media wouldn't just die out; she'd still have a job, because her articles went on the internet anyway, and if there was any breaking news she wrote something up straight away, and just did a round up for the next paper, but Abby liked knowing that she was in print.
Putting down her pen so that she could concentrate on her food for a moment, Abby looked up when someone said her name, and her heart sank. “Riley.” She had nothing against the woman personally, although it made her feel worthless, to know that she just ignored everything that had happened to Abby, claiming that Chris would never do that to her. Newsflash: Abby hadn't thought that Chris would to that to her, either, because he'd been the sweetest person she'd ever known, and then he'd ruined her life, and that wasn't something that could just be ignored because it was better to remain in ignorance. Christian was abusive, that was just a fact – and honestly, she was terrified for Riley's safety, she didn't understand how she could just ignore everything that he had done...but it wasn't Abby's place to try and question that. Especially not now, because if she was here...she let go of her spoon, the clattering into the bowl seeming louder than it probably was, because fear was beginning to make its way though her as she lifted herself up a little, looking around. “Is...Is he here?” If he was here, then she needed to leave. She couldn't be in the same place as him.
You're so cold, but you feel alive Show me how defenseless you really are
Member No.: 72
Joined: 1-October 11
Of all the restaurants in New York it was like fate had brought her to this one and now face to face with the giant reminder of Christian’s past. The truth was that she knew that part of Christian still was inside of him and part of her waited, tense, for that part of his personality to show itself. It did in small ways but never directed at her, of course it did make her flinch sometimes and she always became quiet when his temper rose, just rather not saying anything to set him off rather than risk being the next victim of that side of him. She also knew he was changing and trusted him enough to know that one day when their first big fight would happen, one she was sure was coming soon, that he wouldn’t raise a hand to her, but the pictures of Abigail from the courtroom haunted her, especially when Chris’ temper showed itself in those moments of his frustration.
What do you say to the woman your boyfriend brutalized? It wasn’t Riley’s fault what happened so sorry didn’t seem right. On the same token she did hire the lawyer to try to fight for Chris’ freedom so she did wrong Abby in that but at the same time she saw Jason as a bully who was taking a case to feed his ego and that irked her. She saw the way he treated Chris and spoke down to him, even still, and it pissed her off, Christian had done his time and he was now going above and beyond to try to make it right on his end, he couldn’t turn back time and change it all. She was even paying for his past, in a relationship with someone she couldn’t tell the world about, honestly the only person who ever spent time listening to her gush about Chris was ironically Abby’s brother Ben who almost insisted upon in, only Isabelle could stand to listen as well, the rest of the world wanted to ignore how happy she was and force her never to speak his name in public as if she was part in parcel to what he’d done wrong. There was times she wanted to turn to Chris and beg him to just pack up and move with her, run away and leave everything behind them, go somewhere that no one knew them and start over. Of course she’d never actually do it thought, that would be selfish of her and he was trying so hard, she could endure for the sake of him.
Riley’s mind started to work overtime at the question, of course Christian was with her, not too far away either, and by now he would have ordered for them. Well she reasoned she could just pay for the food and duck out quickly, dragging Christian with, because he wasn’t supposed to be within so many feet of Abigail and this surely violated that restraining order. It was her fault this all happened, Riley immediately blaming herself, she shouldn’t have brought Chris to New York, they should have gone to another big city somewhere else where this sort of thing might not happen. Honestly, Riley probably couldn’t eat right now if she wanted to anyway, a lump forming in her throat at the thought that even after all her careful planning, trying to make this weekend the best birthday ever for Christian, she’d gone and screwed it all up.
“He is, we can go, I’m so sorry…I didn’t think we’d run into you…I mean I know you live in the city but it’s a big city and….”
Stopping herself, her hands shaking at the thought of what Abigail could choose to do right now, she could dial the cops and have Christian arrested for breaking his restraining order, she could get mad at Riley, create a scene, she could do anything really and it was all Riley’s fault.
Abby wished that Christian was still in prison, she wished that he was there and could never come out, because honestly, there was always going to be a part of her that was afraid of him; for a long time, she'd still loved him, her feelings had been a sea of confusion and they hadn't just died overnight despite what he had done to her, and she was still in the process of working through what had happened and untangling her feeling and self-worth from him. For so long, he'd been the one who'd torn her down, sure, but he'd also been the one who'd built her back up and made her feel good about herself again, and Abby hadn't been able to leave him. She never would have thought that she'd become one of those women; she'd heard the stories in the news, and she'd never understood why they couldn't just leave. She'd been a relatively strong, confident person, after all – not that some people who knew her would have thought that was the case – and she'd been convinced that if the same thing ever happened to her, she'd slap him in the face and leave, never call him again. She wished that she'd done that, instead of being desperate to make things work...she'd become one of those people she'd thought had been ridiculous, when it came to domestic violence, because she hadn't left, and she'd always wondered why people didn't, when it was so easy to just walk away. But it wasn't. She'd left, she had a boyfriend now, and it still wasn't something that had left her entirely. Being forced into therapy had helped a lot, however much she had wanted to remain in denial – Abby had Jason to thank for that, just as she had him to thank for the fact that Christian had gone to jail at all, because the majority of abusers didn't get convicted, she knew the statistics. He hadn't had to take the case, after all, he wasn't a prosecutor, and he hadn't asked her for money, but simply done it because he was a much better, kinder person than he let on, and she was genuinely thankful to him for all that he'd done while she'd known him, while she'd been struggling with this – the number of times he'd sat through Singin' In The Rain alone proved that he was a good friend. He was a great friend; Abby was lucky to have him.
She wished that she wasn't alone, right now; so much for a good, quiet lunch where she got some work done. At least she'd eaten most of her food, because there was now a sick feeling coiling in her stomach, and Abby just wanted to get out of there, except...except that whenever Chris was near, or she thought he was, she ended up freezing, and it sounded so dumb, but she couldn't make herself move. It wasn't even something that she was really working on, because she hadn't expected to see him again, not for a long time. Now that he'd calmed down and had stopped trying to sabotage every little thing in her life, the restraining order seemed to be working—but that didn't account for chance. It stopped him intending to come close to her, to talk to her, but it wasn't like it banned him from the city completely, just the areas around where she lived and where the office was. These things happened, and she knew that this wasn't him intending to come and hurt her, it wasn't really a violation of the order because he hadn't known that she would be here, but God, she could barely breathe, and Abby didn't know what she was supposed to do. What did you say to the woman who was now dating your abusive ex-boyfriend, other than to beg her to leave before things got bad, because she ended up a broken shell of the person she'd used to be? But it wouldn't work, Abby knew that—people always thought that it would never happen to them, that if it did happen they'd be able to get out quickly. She knew that, because she'd used to be one of them.
He was here. She'd suspected that, but...he was here in this restaurant and Abby tried to slow her breathing, tried to be as calm as she possibly could about it, but it was hard, and the last thing she needed was a panic attack right now. She could freak out as much as she liked when she got home, she could curl into bed and cry and wait for Angel – because there was obviously no way that she was going to make it back to work today, it was definitely going to be a sick day – but right now, she had to be calm. But she was pale and her hands were shaking, and she looked something like a rabbit caught in the headlights as she glanced around, trying to figure out what the best way out of here without coming across him was. She couldn't see him, definitely couldn't talk to him. She couldn't breathe, and no, she needed to stay calm, she needed to—get the fuck out of here. “N-no. No. I'll go, I-I'm almost done...” Well, she was done now; she really couldn't stomach the rest of her gelato, the idea of sticking around for coffee while she finished up her work was ridiculous. “I'm sorry, I'll just—I just need to pay.” She didn't know why she was apologising, except that it was what she did, it was how she dealt. She was always being told that she was saying she was sorry when she shouldn't...but she couldn't help it now. Abby reached for her papers with shaky hands, gathering them together, trying to remember how to breathe (in and out, in and out, nice and slow), but her fingers were fumbling and she dropped them, sheets floating to the floor. “Shit. Sorry.”
You're so cold, but you feel alive Show me how defenseless you really are
Member No.: 72
Joined: 1-October 11
A million and one things complicated Riley’s life and yes sometimes it would be easier on her if she had stopped with Chris after that first date but she didn’t. The weekend they spent together there was connection she couldn’t deny and yes she had a feeling that there was something off about him since people were having an adverse reaction to him. Christian chose to come clean to her though, be honest with her even though by doing so incriminated him. She hadn’t asked for details or anything else, even stopping him from telling her more because at first she didn’t want to know more, she wanted to stay ignorant so she could continue on seen Christian in the same way she had seen him, that loving man who wrapped her up in his arms and made her feel like everything would be okay. The trial removed her nativity completely and made her see what the man she had by then grown to love had done, it made her silently question her sanity in staying with him and she found a way to compartmentalize what she was seeing at the trial and reconcile it with the man she had grown to love. People called her a fool, an idiot, naïve, but she really truly believed that deep down what Christian had done was finished and he’d begun a new chapter in his life. Of course she wasn’t foolish enough to believe that the urges wouldn’t be there, lurking under the surface like some hideous monster waiting to size up it’s next victim but Riley had already swore to herself that the moment things began down that road it would be the end. Yes she loved Christian but she also loved herself and the same willpower that would see her one day climb back up in the saddle after almost dying in it would make sure she didn’t fall prey to the Hyde living inside the man she loved.
Riley also had another price she’d paid for her decision to stay with Chris, she’d become alienated from people as well. Where most people could talk about their love lives, gush about how wonderful the man they were with was, she had to watch what she said openly about Christian. It seemed like so many people were quick to jump her for any perceived misstatement on her part. What hurt her the worst was that she couldn’t share how wonderful Chris was with her with everyone because it seemed like all they wanted to do was tell her how wrong she was and push Abby in her face. She had two friends she could openly speak to about Chris and one was still semi-judgmental, ironically the one who was most encouraging when it came to her opening up and sharing her life with was Abby’s brother Ben who honestly had reason to hate Christian more than most people in her life. Ben had been one of the reasons she’d been able to make it through some of the rough patches that had come up in her life recently, when Chris had gone off on Cam and Cam had told her to get the fuck out because of the whole incident it was Ben that Riley had turned to and he offered a sympathetic ear, letting her cry and talk without saying ‘I told you so’ or assuming that Christian was wholly to blame for it all. It was Ben who wanted to see her pictures of her and Christian on their trip to Aspen which really made her day since she was sure no one would want to see how happy they had been on vacation together. The other person who had recently become her rock was Isabelle who was odd seeing as that Izzy was dating Jay and Riley and Jay’s relationship was rocky at best.
Riley understood on a base level Abby’s reaction to the news that Chris was in the same restaurant as she was but there was a part of her that wanted to tell the woman it was okay, she didn’t need to panic like she was, that she was safe because Christian wouldn’t hurt her anymore, he wasn’t like that anymore. So much about the woman Riley didn’t understand and her reaction to the news that Christian was nearby was one of those things. If the shoe was on the other foot Riley was fairly certain she’d happily walk over to Chris and deck him for even thinking about being in the same city as she was, then again she never understood that amount of fear in a person. Yes she was afraid to get back into the saddle again right now but she’d do it one day and it wasn’t like she fell to pieces thinking about doing it, honestly she got angry at herself for not being able to do it easily. What Riley was sure Abby needed to do was just simply get mad, stand up and tell Christian that what he did to her was wrong and that he’d never come near her again, quit hiding behind other people and letting them fight her battles for her. Of course Riley also understood she was in no position to tell the woman this herself, she had no right to do it since the man in question was her boyfriend. Right now though she knew Chris would start to look for her soon, she’d taken longer than he would expect her to, and she didn’t want him coming over and making Abby panic any more than she already was.
“Let me, I’ll tell the waiter to add your bill to my tab, really it’s no problem.”
Moving down to help her pick up her papers, trying to make some sort of organization of the papers to try to help her, already hearing the panic in her voice, Riley tried to keep her tone soft and soothing, as if she was speaking to a spooked horse. She didn’t honestly know what to do, wanting to beg Abby to not call the cops and part of her wanting to run back to her table where Chris was and tell him to just go back to the hotel quickly, that she would meet him there and she’d explain then.
She had to remember how to breathe, and Abby wasn't quite sure that she did, right now. This was ridiculous; she'd moved on, she'd dealt, and yeah, she was probably going to be in therapy for the rest of her life, it was probably going to be a hell of a long time before she came off the tablets that helped her to function somewhat like a regular human being again, but she was doing okay. She'd been doing really well, actually, and she hadn't thought about Christian for a long time. She'd had other things to think about, she'd been focussed on her job, her relationship, and sometimes it was hard, she still felt like she was taking a lot more from Angelo than she was giving him, but that was the kind of thing that she had to hope he was okay with, at least until she found her stability and could start giving back. She wanted to do that, after all, she wanted this to be a relationship that was equal, and not one where she was so much more reliant on him than he was on her, but Abby didn't know if it would ever be that way. It had been born out of her needing him, after all. He'd moved to New York because she needed him, and she'd been so unable to function without him that it had just turned into more and more of a permanent thing. She'd been reluctant to date him for a long time, to let it be more than kissed that were stolen when they were drunk – they'd almost had sex, one of those times, before she'd had to stop him, because she couldn't do that to him. He deserved some girl who wasn't a broken mess, so different from the Abby that he'd become friends with...and yeah, she still felt that, but she knew that she was doing better, she knew that she was finding herself again...not that it really felt like it right now.
How could it be this way, that just knowing he was in the building sent her into such a panic? Abby wanted to curl up under the table and hide, or something equally as ridiculous, and she sure as hell didn't know what she was supposed to say to Riley, the woman who had ignored everything that Abby had gone through because she thought she liked somebody. Christian had been a perfect gentleman when Abby had first known him, too, she'd practically moved in with him before his temper had become more than them yelling at each other across the apartment. It had come out of nowhere, and she hadn't been able to get out for so long, and she was always going to feel like that was her fault, that she had been weak and stupid, but she hadn't been able to help it. He'd had too much control over her, she hadn't been able to imagine how she would even stand on her own two feet without him. She knew that people thought she was an idiot for not leaving, she knew that they thought she should have just stood up to him, but it was so easy for them to say when they hadn't been the ones going through it, when they hadn't been there in the private moments. She had done so well at managing to keep it hidden, so that she could just be Abigail Winters, New York Times, and not Abby the victim who was struggling just to make it through the day. She still struggled, most days, but it was getting easier, and it was getting easier for her to hide it, too. She still panicked over stupid things, but she could claim that she had anxiety and people tended to accept that – and she did have anxiety, after all. She was getting on with her life, she was finally getting somewhere, and now she'd been knocked back ten places, just from knowing that he was here.
She wanted to leave, that was all that Abby wanted; she didn't want to yell at him, or have him arrested, or anything of the sort, she just wanted to go and get to a place where she felt safe – and clearly she was never going to be able to return to this restaurant again, or at least not for a very long time. She just needed to get out of here before Christian came over, and she could be okay, but Abby didn't know how to breathe, let alone walk out of here with something resembling dignity, and why could he do this to her, why could he make her into nothing just by being in the same building as she was? It wasn't fair. She couldn't stop him coming to New York, it wasn't like he'd actively sought her out, but...this was always going to be a possibility, because she lived here, and she wasn't going to limit herself to the block where her apartment was just so that she could guarantee that he wouldn't be near. She had a life to live, and she'd been doing a damn good job at it. “No,” she replied, shaking her head. She didn't want to be indebted to Riley, she didn't want to owe her anything, and Abby was more than capable of paying for herself. She couldn't quite think clearly, she'd probably leave far too much money on the table, but she didn't want Riley to pay, not really. “No, thank you, I've got it.” Did she? Abby didn't know, but she just knew that if Riley paid, she'd be owing her something, and then Chris something by default, and Abby couldn't have that hanging over her head. She had to keep her life separate to theirs, and she was sure that Riley was just trying to be kind, in the face of her panic attack, but Abby couldn't. She had to pay and get out, that was all that mattered...remembering how to breathe again would have been pretty good too. Her hands were shaking so much that she could barely pick up the papers, she couldn't get them into a neat pile, and she wished she could tell Riley that she didn't need the help, that she was okay, but Abby wasn't okay, was she? She closed her eyes for a moment, run her hands through her hair, took a very shaky breath, and tried to pull herself together, to stave this off. She'd get a cab, and then she'd be home within ten minutes, traffic willing, and then she could cry or scream or curl up in a ball and shake and hyperventilate, but not here, not in public. She was better than this, now. “I'm sorry, I didn't mean to ruin your...” It wasn't her fault, she hadn't known that they'd come here, and she was probably not going to be okay for the next week, now, so they weren't the only ones who were going to struggle. Abby was struggling already. She swallowed, pushed the papers that she'd collected into her bag without caring how screwed up they might get – she could iron them if she needed to, it wasn't important, holding her hand out for the ones that Riley had picked up. “Thank you. I'm sorry, I'll just—I just need to pay and I'll go.”
You're so cold, but you feel alive Show me how defenseless you really are