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The Proposition

Cara Chea Raj Rangan tabby

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#1 Raj Rangan

Raj Rangan

Posted 18 April 2015 - 05:27 AM



Originally Raj had no intentions of finding roommates. Not that he minded living with other people, mind you-- in fact he quite enjoyed living at the Alpha house prior to this-- but he just hadn't been looking for a new living arrangement. It wasn't until the bed and breakfast was mentioned that the idea even popped in his head; then the pesky thought wouldn't get out of his brain. The possibilities swirled around, implanting themselves deep into the corners of his mind.


Because, truth was, Raj had a strange obsession with the Arcturus family. He'd met Avery first, then his siblings through him and eventually some of the other cousins, and slowly he began to see that they all fulfilled a certain role in their family dynamic. It was incredibly interesting to analyze, and he found it akin to watching a reality television show that was interactive and easy to participate in. So when Avery told him of the bed and breakfast being repaired-- and the eldest cousin looking for temporary tenants to help pay for said repairs-- Raj didn't even have to think about it. He immediately signed up.


Wes wasn't exactly his hugest fan, but they'd met plenty of times and had somewhat of an understanding. Nick was the other cousin who'd agreed to move there, and he and Raj had always gotten along fine. Things would go along swimmingly (in Raj's mind), and as Wes expanded his search for more tenants, Raj agreed to conduct the interviews. The two cousins had a bit too much anxiety in common to wind down for such a thing, so they gave him strict requirements: he had to pick the most normal candidates.


So naturally Raj had a list of detailed questions to ask any future tenants. Some of them were odd and unexpected, a bit out of place for a housing interview, but Raj added them to his list to make sure everything was a perfect setup. So far no one had signed onto the place. Perhaps it had something to do with his incredibly invasive questions. (Or maybe the worrisome state of the house, but hey-- cheap is cheap.)


Regardless, he had an appointment set up at precisely two that afternoon. He set up early at the abnormally large, but beaten down and rickety old dining table in the dining room, folder spread out in front of him officially like he was a lawyer or some shit. Upon hearing a knock at the door, he clamored out of his seat to answer it, curious eyes peeking out.


"Hello," he said plainly, unsmiling. "I'm assuming you're here about the room." 


#2 Cara Chea

Cara Chea

Posted 18 April 2015 - 05:44 AM

You don't find many places with better character than a bed and breakfast. Especially one as old, as interesting, as run down and rustic as this one. It was brimming with life, spilling with potential adventures, absolutely bustling with possibilities and she knew this, of course, without having even seen the house.


But it wasn't disappointing at first glance, either, that much she'd learned on her little trek over, every ounce of her lighting up with excitement as the run down building emerged from the hillside, every bit as beautiful as she'd pictured it, if not more so. There was something about the prospect of it all that set every ending of her curiosity on fire, a flame that no doubt burned to the very core of her, reflected infinitely in the hazel prism of her eyes.


Needless to say, at two o'clock, she was there. Early, of course, half due to an insane amount of ecstacism and half thanks to her ever pesky sense of punctuality. She didn't have a single ounce of subtelty, either, so any and all emotions (and there were a lot) were scripted sloppily into her every movement, all twitchy gestures and a too-big grin.


"I am!" Which is an announcement that comes out ten octaves too loud and for once she notices, dials it back just a touch. "Uh -- sorry, heh! I'm Cara, Cara Chea, said like Shay, not Chia. And I'm super interested! I saw a poster on one of the corkboards at school. I guess you're... Wait, lemme guess." There were three names on the poster each, but he could be any of them -- that was the thing about names, really. Couldn't judge a book by its cover, of course! "Wes..? Oh, or Avery! You look like an Avery!"


What an Avery looked like was anyone's guess.

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#3 Raj Rangan

Raj Rangan

Posted 18 April 2015 - 06:02 AM

She was excited. Raj wasn't the best at reading facial expressions, but this girl's mannerisms were more than obvious. He watched her like a birdwatcher might watch a flock in flight, eyes narrowing slightly as he studied her features and listened intently to her. He assessed every detail of her, from her outfit to her persona-- even down to the timbre of her voice-- before nodding slowly, as if taking in the whole picture. Oftentimes people cringed underneath his observant eye, but he meant no harm by it. He was simply the sort of person who needed to be aware of every detail of his surroundings, and she was no exception.


It made up for not understanding the unspoken and unobservable in situations. Had she been just the slightest bit worried underneath all of this cheeriness, he wouldn't have noticed all that easily. Everything was literal for Raj-- every situation was one that could be read like a book-- so he was quite meticulous in piecing together his images of people. Already he was assuming that she was a cheery type, a sort of personality they could really use in the household.


He opened the door, stepping back to allow her in. "Cara Chea," he echoed, trying it out on his lips. Avery, Cara, Raj, Wes. He placed the names in alphabetical order automatically in his head, a way of categorizing each of them and seeing how well they flowed together. He didn't have a bad reaction to it. "Raj Rangan," he answered her as he motioned for her to follow him into the dining room. His movements were stiff, quick, and to the point, but not necessarily unfriendly. He wasn't purposely being cold or standoffish, he just didn't quite understand how to be... welcoming.


"I've got some questions for you. We're looking for a very specific person to fill this role-- uh, room. To fill this room. So if you don't mind, we'll have an interview process and discuss rent from there," he told her, far too official as he sat down across from her at the table. But if she watched carefully, she could perhaps see the corner of his lips quirk up into a smile-- or what he hoped was a smile, anyway. He could never quite get that down unless it was organic. 


#4 Cara Chea

Cara Chea

Posted 18 April 2015 - 06:17 AM

She was excited, but she was trying to tone it down. Trying, key word. She could tell that he wasn't exactly the 'jump for joy' type, which was saying something given how absolutely terrible she could be at reading other people. Insensitivity was often her greatest flaw, after all. She did notice the extra care in observation, though, the lengthened stare, the way he seemed to pick apart every piece of her, but she really didn't mind. She'd never been opposed to attention, good or bad, after all, and thus far she hadn't really done anything worth of the latter. As far as she was concerned, she was smooth sailing. Sailing on a three deck, christmas light emblazoned cruise liner in the middle of an ocean swimming with glitter, but smoothly sailing nonetheless. 


"'Eyyyy, your name has two of the same letters too, like mine! CC and RR, right? It makes things really funky when you have to initial things though." The last bit was added as an afterthought, a little asterisk that was more internal dialogue turned external than anything else, but she offered a shrug and a grin regardless, shuffling behind entirely too effortlessly. She was already practically making herself at home, really, though that wasn't anything out of the ordinary; it wasn't like she met any person, place, or thing that wasn't instantly and forcefully sucked into her life at full blast. 'New' in any context of the word simply wasn't in her dictionary. 


She either didn't care or didn't notice his slightly less casual movements. She was generally oblivious to such things, though if she had noticed, she wouldn't have cared regardless. Instead she was too focused on taking in the scenery, inhaling the dust of the place and every memory that came with it. It was quaint, a little ruined, yes, but comforting regardless. It had the earthy feel of love and life. It had clearly been used, but it had been used carefully. Every spec of paint, every chair, every corner and window and creaking floorboard held a mountain of happiness precariously poured from generations of people.


That sort of thing was priceless, irreplaceable. It reminded her of home. Maybe not her home, persay, but a place that was home regardless. She could definitely get used to it.


"Ah? Oh! Right! Of course, of course, that's fine. Don't want any rando creeps to join you, I got ya, I got ya. I'm down for whatever! Ask away." Anything and everything about her was up for discussion, willingly served on a silver platter, at that. It wasn't like she was terribly prone to privacy.

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#5 Raj Rangan

Raj Rangan

Posted 18 April 2015 - 06:37 AM

Raj hadn't even noticed the correlation between their initials. Typically it was something he would've picked up on, but perhaps in this case he was thinking specifically of the four of them as a unit. It meant nothing in the range of things that they had alliteration in their names, but it was an asterisk made in his mind as well, and he nodded as if implanting it there. Perhaps they would get along. "I don't have a middle name," he answered her, aware that it was unnecessary information but feeling pressured to add it regardless. "Are you a CCC?"


He settled into his chair as if settling into the role of an employer. His demeanor didn't exactly shift entirely, but there was at least a professional air about him that he adopted suddenly as he sat forward, arms folded carefully on the table in front of him, hands held together. Unnecessarily he glanced at the list of questions in his notebook; he still remembered every single one of them, but it gave him a moment to think through how he wanted to ask.


"What's your profession? You look young-- student at CSU maybe?" It didn't make much of a difference in the long run, so long as Wes had some guarantee that she'd be good on her payments. But Raj wanted to know out of pure curiosity-- if only to make sure that she would fit the role he envisioned in his mind. They needed social rays of sunshine in their home. Between the three of them, things got drab and dull. Raj was the closest one to upbeat, as he didn't have huge anxiety issues like the other two, but even then he could come across as aloof and boring. He didn't smile much, despite how much he typically enjoyed his day-to-day interactions with his world.


He picked up his pen as if ready to make notes, though his memory would easily cement every detail she revealed. Still, it would be nice to give the page to Wes and Nick later so they could have an idea of who they were dealing with. A cheat sheet, so to speak. He wrote her name with a note clearly at the top of the page in neat handwriting-- Cara Chea, but said Shay not Chia-- before jotting down the field "job." His hand paused in the space next to it as he waited for her answer, though he looked directly at her rather than the paper.


#6 Cara Chea

Cara Chea

Posted 19 April 2015 - 02:20 AM

She'd almost brought up the subject of middle names, oddly enough, and the fact that he does makes her laugh a little. She almost doesn't want to admit that she hadn't been gifted a C name, but eventually she does regardless, shrugging a little as she shakes her head. "Nah, sadly my parents decided to break the pattern with an A. It's Angela, which doesn't really fit the whole name altogether, but it's okay! I'm a CAC, not a CCC. You don't have a middle name, though? That's cool! I had a friend in elementary school that had three middle names. I guess her parents couldn't pick just one, heh."


She knew he wasn't the only roommate by far, but she could already see her getting along well with him, at least. That wasn't saying much, though; she assumed, and often continued to assume well after the fact (even if it was proven wrong) that she could and would get along with anybody. Such was the nature of the world's greatest optimistic, a trait made almost dangerous when coupled with her equally as extreme extroversion. Sure, he wasn't terribly vibrant as far as smiles and laughs went, but he didn't seem too shy, either. She'd had no problems getting him to talk thus far, and really, that was ultimately all that mattered in her journey of making friends. Hell, half the time, even that didn't matter.


"I am! I'm a sophomore. I just transferred from out of state last week. It's kinda... jolting, but it's nice! I've been staying off campus in a relative's house, but I think they want their space back. They live in a pretty small house, and they've got a bunch of animals, too, so I'm just takin' up space that they kinda need. But it's no biggie! If this doesn't work out, I'll see if I can get a dorm or something."


Which is probably what she should have done when she arrived or even before she arrived, but the plans she had prior hadn't exactly worked out to her benefit. It was frustrating, to say the least, and she'd had several stress induced ulcers over it, but now that things were looking so positively interesting, she couldn't help but feel the anxiety melt away. 

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#7 Raj Rangan

Raj Rangan

Posted 19 April 2015 - 05:08 AM

"Cara Angela Chea," he rattled off, testing it. It was a good, fitting name. Lots of As more than Cs, he counted, but that was perhaps what he liked so much about the name to start with. Already he was nearly sold on her as a roommate, but he figured he'd go through the formality of the interview with her just to be sure. Instead of commenting on the name, however, he just gave a satisfied nod and continued all the same. "None of my family has a middle name." He almost added that middle names were a Western thing and his parents did his best to at least try to stick to their culture occasionally. It would've been odd to be named something like Raj James Rangan, after all. 


Raj jotted down notes as she spoke: new, sophomore, transfer, chill.. Already he'd decided on that last bit. He'd have to know a lot more about her to make any real snap decisions on her personality, but from her appearance she seemed quite nice and cool with anything. So he resumed his questioning, curious to know more. "How do you feel about pets? There are two dogs in the home-- both Australian Shepherds." Wes had a thing for herding dogs. Raj liked the dogs, too, even if he was typically more of a cat person by nature.


"They don't bark at night. They're mostly quiet. But it does get loud around here sometimes due to all the renovations." He pointed straight up without looking, indicating the obvious work being done on the ceiling alone. Things were being completely gutted and redone from the ground up, though certain things would be left-- like the fireplace or the nooks by the windows in the rooms upstairs-- but it was inevitably loud at times. Wes gave no fucks about who he woke up in the mornings with his drills and saws and such; the rent was cheap, after all. 


#8 Cara Chea

Cara Chea

Posted 20 April 2015 - 08:07 PM

"Oh!" Well, that explained that. She figured it was a familial thing, if not a culture thing altogether. None of her business was the conclusion she reached, surprisingly. She shrugged her shoulders, rolling them back as she settled further into the chair, another indication of just how much at home she felt (which is, again, not really saying much of anything given her nature and her lack of boundaries, but it was nice regardless.) It took a few more glances to notice more personal touches. Nails where pictures had been and the lighter shade of paint squared off, old age obvious in the differing colors. The lights above were old and trashed with spiderwebs, the windows rusted, the floor still creaking just from her presence alone. It looked like it had been abandoned for a while which made her wonder if maybe a loss had caused the distance between the family and the home itself.


"Eh -- ? Oh, right, animals! I actually really love animals! I'm probably a tiny bit more of a cat person than a dog person, but I still like dogs anyway! My family always had the smaller breeds. They were loud, really yappy things, especially chihuahuas. I think I just got used to ignoring it whenever something fussed them. Like, you know, a falling leaf, a bird, the sound of the wind blowing two states over. I'm a pretty heavy sleeper anyway!"


The hammering and sawing might prove that theory wrong, of course, but it still wouldn't bother her. Very rarely was there a morning that she didn't greet ridiculously cheerfully. It didn't matter what time she woke up nor how, she was always ridiculous excited to be up in the first place. Thank god for morning people, apparently. 

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#9 Raj Rangan

Raj Rangan

Posted 21 April 2015 - 11:48 PM

Every word that spilled from Cara's mouth just confirmed Raj's theory. She was just that cheerful by nature. Already he was sure that she was exactly the person they needed in their home. Perhaps not the person Wes or Nick were looking for, but Raj liked to think he knew better. They needed a bit of positivity and cheeriness around this run-down place. He nodded at her words, though as his hand continued to move across the paper, his written notes became doodles instead. Yet neither did he seem bored with her, so much as he'd already made his decision.


Of course he'd continue with the rest of it, if only as a formality. Wes and Nick would at least be appeased if these questions were answered, even if he skipped a few. "Alright, um-- guests. How often would you have guests over and how many at a time? We have a policy of no more than three people at a time, unless you plan it out and request specifically." Raj understood this policy. All three of them were sort of difficult in social settings, so none of them wanted to be bombarded with people without proper warning. Nor could the house handle too much crazy. 


He didn't wait too long before continuing forward with more questions, however. "Then there are the obvious ones: drinker? Smoker? Significant other we have to deal with?" He didn't find these questions too invasive. The questions noted down towards the bottom of the sheet, however, were arguably iffy ones. Hopefully she'd be just as chill about those as she'd been thus far.


#10 Cara Chea

Cara Chea

Posted 25 April 2015 - 06:36 PM

She'd been asked more personal questions on a date that didn't warrant them, so this was nothing. Hell, she'd met more invasive people on subways and trains, so really, nothing about this was anything less than usual for her. It really didn't matter either way, though. She was a people person by default, a natural social butterfly, though it was less about being good at conversation and more about being willing to talk to anyone and everyone about anything and everything. Having no social restrictions or standards went a long way in that case.


"Guests, hm. Well, I don't actually know anyone yet, really, so no worries there! I mean, I'm sure I'll make friends down the road, but that'll make it easier to keep your policy in mind, right? So no more than three people at a time is A-okay with me." She'd probably be just as content hanging out with the other roommates, really. Sure, she didn't know them yet, she had absolutely no idea what types of personalities they'd be, but it took a good deal of trying to actually be a person she didn't like, besides the obvious contenders, of course. 


"Nope, nope, aanndd nope! I've never smoked a day in my life, and drinking isn't really my thing. I also want to get my bearings straight and work my way into a routine with my classes before I even think of settling down, you know? But whatever happens, happens! But uh, I wouldn't like, bring them here without asking or anything."

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#11 Raj Rangan

Raj Rangan

Posted 26 April 2015 - 01:09 AM

Perfect. Absolutely perfect. She was already his favorite candidate thus far, even if she'd... really been the only one who hung out for an interview thus far, as well. Regardless, he could see her personality type fitting in with the four of them that were already living there, so he nodded in approval, jotting down a yes at the very bottom of the page for future reference. With that he took in a thoughtful breath, leaning forward into his chair. "Great. Alright. I just have a few more questions for you and we'll be done," he said with a smile, grateful to get to the important part of the interview.


He glanced down at his page again, though again, he didn't have to. He knew it quite well by now. "I'll just toss them out at you. What is your opinion on legos, exactly? And have you seen the Star Wars films? If not that doesn't have an impact on you staying here, it's just an initiation thing. Do blanket forts make you claustrophobic or cozy? And finally--"


He paused on the last one, aware that it could sound invasive. "How do you feel about cameras? Filming cameras. Not in your room or bathroom, privacy is respected." Raj looked nowhere near ashamed of his questions, though; it was clear that he'd asked everyone these questions thus far, likely explaining why these rooms hadn't already filled up a while ago. There were consequences to asking Raj to conduct these interviews, thank you very much. This was one of them.


Perhaps that was a good thing, though. Wes, Nick and Zak were odd in their own right. Probably best to get new people acquainted with the weirdest of all four before showing off just how odd they all were when put together in one place. They needed a bit of normal around here.


#12 Cara Chea

Cara Chea

Posted 28 April 2015 - 04:45 AM

This was effortless, almost entirely too easy. She didn't generally have problems with conversations, of course, that went without saying, but sometimes interviews were tricky business. This was natural, easy and natural and overall pretty chill. She took this as a sign, as fate telling her yes!, this place was real, but it wasn't really anything that cosmic. Her optimism dramatized the situation entirely and already she imagined the way things would go in the house, though she didn't really consider the possibility that the other roommates weren't as nice or as easy to get along with as Raj.


She almost never considered that possibility, honestly.


"Um, Legos? --" A pause. Odd question, but okay. "I used to have some as a kid, if that helps! I was really good at buildin' stuff with them. Think my mom may have sold them though, or given them away. And that's fine! I love movie nights! I'm not really particular about what we watch, either, so anything's fine. I love blanket forts and I'm not at all claustrophobic, and..."


He'd said cameras, right? Filming cameras? "Well, as long as it's not somewhere uber private... it's fine with me! I wanted to be an actress as a kid anyway." The question itself was a little strange, out of left field too, but it didn't really raise any red flags or anything. Maybe it was because she considered herself intuitive and keen to people's intentions (she wasn't), or maybe it was because she was extremely trusting and terribly naive, but she really couldn't see any harm in a reality tv show-like documentary, which is what she assumed he meant.


It wasn't unusual in college anyway, was it? With all the film majors?

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#13 Raj Rangan

Raj Rangan

Posted 28 April 2015 - 06:42 AM

Good, good, good, and good. Every answer she had for him was a good answer. He nodded, clearly satisfied with it all, and jotted down a quick check mark at the bottom of the page. She would definitely be one of the new roommates, so long as she accepted; he figured asking Nick and Wes about it was more of a formality than anything else. They'd basically given him free reign, after all, what with setting no proper limits on who he needed to recruit, the amount of people to recruit, and what to do after interviews. Literally it'd been, "Raj, can you meet the new people and help us get roommates," and when he'd asked for specifics, he'd been given a few grunts from Wes at best and a shrug from Nick.


So yeah, he assumed he was mostly in charge of the situation. In time, the other two would learn how specific they needed to be with him. But for now they were perfectly oblivious to the sheer amount of people he was bringing into the home, much less his Real World style casting. He was literally casting people for a roommate situation. If people were observant enough, they'd probably notice that, but he'd been fortunate in passing under the radar thus far.


"Perfect. We've got a room available that we'd be interested in renting to you. I can walk you around the house to get you familiar with everything, help your decision process. If you'd like." There was the kitchen, the living room-- both of which were in the middle of repairs, though the kitchen was at least functional in the process-- and then the room and bathroom she'd have to herself. Otherwise there wasn't a lot. It wasn't the beast's mansion or anything like that. 


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