Saturday, January 22, 2011

Studio Time: Four

South Beach Metro East - Hitman Studio: 1 PM

It was a call she had been expecting, in a way, a dreary way. Syd dumped her purse on hood of the car, pulled out her iPhone, saw it was Charlie and decided there was no point in answering it. She was doing her thing and he was doing his thing; they were doing things that never intersected and never would. He probably didn't expect her to answer. He would be with May and wouldn't expect her to initiate a conversation or bother him with one. Charlie checking in.

A man and a woman were arguing on the other side of the parking lot. He was arguing. She was smoking. Syd slipped the cell back into her purse, watched them and wondered if it was technically possible to argue if only one party was interested in arguing. It wasn't an argument. It was a lecture. The woman should stop smoking. The woman shouldn't drop the butts on the ground and step on them. The woman should place the butts in the ashtray provided for that purpose. Rob never lectured. Rob had not called in three days.

Sydney grabbed the heavy purse, made yet another promise to herself that she would finally clean it out, toss most of what she had in there, and started down the sidewalk toward the front door. Parking was tight in this part of the city, all street parking taken and metered. If Cooper didn't have a parking lot, she would have hiked three or four long city blocks to get time with a man who made no secret about not wanting to meet with her. So here she was; maybe this time she would discover an angle she hadn't used before.

"I have a one o'clock with Cooper Stanfield." Sydney could see a recording session underway, a woman she didn't recognize gripping the mic with both hands as she sang. A young man lounging in a swivel chair pulled up to the mixing board cast a quick look in her direction before he leaned forward and stopped the session with an irritable gesture.

"Mrs. Pera?" The girl tabbed through a notebook and smiled at her. "He's expecting you. It's up the stairs and to your left; I'll let him know you're on your way up."

The staircase, squeezed into the back of the building, took a hard left twist before opening onto the second floor. She'd been in Cooper's studio a few times, but she'd never made the flight up to his private office. A little girl sat in the middle of an oriental rug surrounded by dolls and toys, looking up at her famous father who was telling her she hadn't eaten all her lunch and couldn't have a bag of cookies.

"Hi Syd." He stepped over the toys, smiling, briefly took her hand before gesturing toward the couch. "Have a seat; watch your step getting over there."

The child peeked up from under a fringe of light brown hair, big eyed, then quickly, shyly, returned her attention to the doll. Cooper smiled again. "Syd, this is my daughter Harmony. Hugs, say hello to Mrs. Pera."

Another little glance up as she obeyed and said in a soft voice, "Hello."

"Harmony, that's a pretty name." Syd hesitated, trying to remember something about children, about being a little girl. She had owned a doll, dressed it up and brushed its hair and named it something she could no longer remember. "What's your doll's name?"

This time the little girl returned the smile. "Autumn cuz that's my best friend's name and she has a doll too and it's got my name."

Sydney glanced at Cooper. His whole attention was focused on his daughter, and he seemed to tear it away with an effort. Easing down across from her, he crossed one booted foot over the other, relaxing, smiling at her. "What can I do for you, Syd?"

She sat down and crossed her legs and summoned the smile and the one new tool she had. "Rayne and Wyatt have agreed to participate in this year's charity auction. I thought you'd like to join them; it would make a huge impact, having the three of you there."

Cooper stared at her for a couple of seconds, then shook his head and laughed. "Sorry, no. We've been through this before; I'll be happy to contribute a donation but I don't sell my personal time, and definitely not for some fictional date."

Sydney expected the refusal; it had become an annual tradition: ask Cooper and gracefully accept his declination. This year though, this year the man was separated from his wife. This year he'd have to come up with a different excuse. She smiled and leaned toward him and pushed a little harder than she usually did. "Everyone realizes it isn't a real date, Cooper. I have commitments from almost everybody this year, and it would be such a draw if you'd reconsider and help us out."

His expression changed, hardened, and he shifted on the sofa and looked back down at his daughter before drawing a long breath. "I know who has agreed and who hasn't. I said I don't want to do it."

"Is it a party?"

Both of them stopped and looked at the child in the middle of the room. She had gotten to her feet, hands clasped behind her, watching them.

Cooper shot a cold glance at Sydney before he got up and gently touched his daughter's hair. "Sweetie, we can have a party for you and your friends another time; this is not the kind of party you'd like."

She looked disappointed. "Jay said the lady came to their house and told them they could come to the party. He said you wouldn't let me go."

Jay? Syd tried to recall 'Jay'...perhaps Heydon's son, the youngest, the child he had with that bitch Camilla. A little boy had been running around showing off when she'd stopped by to talk to Heydon. She hesitated, uncertain how to handle this, whether to push it in the face of Cooper's obvious displeasure or to back off and keep quiet. Putting on her best smile, she stepped right in. "We have a children's room this year, with appropriate entertainment: a magician and three of the ballerinas from the South Beach Ballet Company."

The little girl gasped. "There's ballerinas? Daddy, could I please go see the ballerinas? Please?"

Swallowing a laugh, freezing the polite smile, Sydney silently swore she would buy the girl the biggest doll she could find; she would take her to see Swan Lake; she would give her a truck full of cookies. Cooper was trapped, and he knew it, and the look he gave her, well it said it all.

Auburn - #9 Little Mountain Pass: 4 PM


Cooper worked through the chords again, stopping to make notes on the staff paper spread out on the coffee table, conferring with Heydon. Late afternoon sun sprawled across the floor through the open windows, and he could hear his daughter's voice outside those windows. If more than a couple of minutes passed without him hearing her voice, he set down the guitar and went out onto the deck to check on her.


The house sat back on a mountain ridge and straddled a fast running stream. Hugs was a strong swimmer, but she was still a small child and he didn't intend to take any chances, no chances of any kind, not with this little girl.


He turned his attention to Heydon who had watched him make that circuit over and over again; if he considered it excessive, he kept it to himself. Heydon's son was down there somewhere too, probably getting into something the kid would break. "It's getting late; I need to get Jay up here and take off. You want me to drop off Hugs on our way back? It's a two hour round trip for you and it's snowing."


It was a drive Cooper looked forward to making, including a stop in Bay View for Hugs' favorite strawberry milkshake and fries. "Thanks, but I don't get much time with her, I'd rather take her back myself. I took her to the studio today but I had to tweak that last mix and work on a few arrangements. And that damned woman Sydney Pera took about an hour of my time."


Heydon stood up, stretched, and grinned. "I still can't believe you let her talk you into her buy-a-date game. You're going to regret that."


"I already regret it, but she dangled ballerinas in front of Hugs and I couldn't say no." He glanced outside once more, than winked at Heydon. "What do you say, you want to make a deal? You bid on me and I forget all about that Kramer Jay demolished."


"I love you man but not that much." Laughing along with him, Heydon headed toward the back of the house. "I'm going to hit the head before we go."


After Heydon had collected Jay and left Cooper sat back in the fading light and listened to Hugs who was still outside playing and singing softly, her voice drifting in, carried by the hush of falling snow and rustling branches. He didn't recognize the song, but it sounded like something Beth would have taught her, simple and old and a little melancholy. Cooper's chest tightened, love and anguish simultaneously gripping him in a steel vice.

Silently, he cursed and stared down at the staff paper scattered across the table in front of him. His face set with a determined expression, he began to write, words flowed from his heart like poetry, lyrics to a love song that was not meant for anyone but his wife.

South Beach - #10 Coast Road: 6 PM


“You’re late.”

Cooper got out of the car as Hugs jumped over the curb, splashing in puddled rain, singing and swinging her bunny around in the front yard. Beth was waiting.  She wore a dress he hadn't seen before, her bare arms folded against the chill, her mouth tight, her face quiet and  closed and annoyed.  He'd spent most of the long drive planning how to deal with this, how to explain, how to fix this damned problem and come home where he wanted so desperately to be, but she seemed further away from him than ever.

“The roads were bad or we would have been here sooner. Look Beth I...”

She brushed him off, interrupting, “You could have called to let me know; I have plans and now I’m running late.” Glancing at her daughter she quickly added, “Hugs, move away from the fountain; stop running around, the grass is wet and slippery.”


“You have plans?"  He took a step closer, ignoring the distraction, trying to force her attention back, trying to control the surge of anger.  "With who, Alex again? I don’t like the idea of him being around the kids, around Hugs.”


“Don’t tell me who I can be friends with, Cooper.”  She sounded tired, the retort automatic and listless.  It was an oddly unenthusiastic defense, and she gazed up at him, a long, silent query.


“You know what kind of man he is --” It wasn't what she expected him to say. Cooper saw the surprise and the disappointment and the brief muzzle flash of anger, collected himself, uncertain where he'd gone wrong, regrouping to try something else when he heard the splash.



They both turned quickly to see Hugs lying in the fountain, waist deep in water, arms and legs askew and clutching her bunny to her chest. Brushing damp hair from her face she looked at them, mouth drawn in a pout as her lower lip quivered. ““Sorry...I had to rescue Bunny. He fell in too...”


Beth threw a look at Cooper as he pulled their child from the fountain. “Run upstairs, sugar, and get out of those wet clothes and into the bath. I’ll be up in a minute.”

She was going to walk away. He thought of the lyrics he'd entrusted to Hugs, a gift he never intended to stand on its own, he couldn't let this happen, let her go to fucking Alex and she had wanted something from him, she'd been waiting for it, he'd seen it, a word, a gesture, something. His throat tightening again, Cooper called out, “Baby...”

Beth turned away and sighed. “I'm sure you have someone waiting for you, Coop. Just go...please.”

9 PM


“...and Prince Bunny rescued Princess Harmony from the moat and killed the dragon and they lived happily ever after. The end.”


Hugs exhaled dreamily as she closed her storybook and set Bunny on the bed. “Bunny did I tell you I am going to wear a party dress just like a princess and see ballerinas? Don’t worry, you can come with me, Daddy said so.”


“Oh no! Daddy!” Gasping, she ran to the bathroom and stared at the wet pile of clothes still on the bathroom floor. Reaching down, Hugs rummaged through the pockets until she withdrew her hand and held a soggy, crumpled up note.


Padding back to her room and climbing back up onto the bed, Hugs carefully peeled open the soggy paper. Her heart sank at the sight, the ink was smeared and the only part she could make out was her father’s name. And 'love', it said 'love' right next to his name. She opened her hand and let the paper fall, falling down down onto the floor like a wet sock it fell that fast. She had forgotten; princesses don’t forget important things like promises. "Bunny, I forgot to give Mommy the note from Daddy. Daddy said give it to her tonight, promise to give it to her tonight."


Pulling Bunny tightly to her chest Hugs ran to the window and peered out into the night. The pinpoint of taillights moving away in the black was the only thing she could see, Mommy going somewhere and Daddy not coming back. She was cold. The fairy tales were stupid; they weren't real, she knew they weren't real. She had a real thing to do and she didn't do it. She whispered against Bunny's fur, "And now she's gone, and it's all wet, and I didn't keep my promise."



  1. Awwwwwwwwwwwwww.

    Hugs = <3 <3

    Fab chapter, I'm really looking forward to seeing the event as well.

    What can Coop have to say to Beth that won't make things worse? Maybe it's a good thing she didn't get the note.

  2. Poor little hugs. She's so sweet and cute and I have a feeling she's going to feel bad about that letter for a while. Hope not though.

    Feel equally bad for Cooper, he is so lost without his wife. I don't see what he could say to make this situation better. You can't erase a baby by another woman that looks like your ex. And Beth's attitude right now is more than an uphill battle for him.

    Excited for the charity event to take place. Can't wait to see who ends up with who.

    And is it just me or has Camilla rubbed evey woman in South Beach the wrong way. Syd is clearly no exception.

    Great Update!!

  3. It was interesting to see Cooper play the part of an attentive dad; his love for his kids, and his wife shone through in this chapter.

    I hope Beth spares him five minutes at least in her busy schedule, just so he can say what needs to be said. Hugs is such a cutie.

    Great chapter!

  4. ~ Oh,no! the song is gone!Coop's words of love for Beth!
    ~ Poor Hugs,she will take this to heart,she so desperatly wants her parents to be together!
    ~ I can not wait till the charity event of the year,it will be very interesting,to see who bids for whom!!!!
    ~ Cooper really needs his family,it is like air that he breaths,with out it he chokes & dies! it is sad to watch him go through this!
    ~ I loved this!Great Ch!(",)

  5. Muzegoddess, thank you so much. Hugs will feel bad about the letter. She's one of those children who feel things deeply and take responsibility for any failures.

    You're right. You can't erase a baby with another woman who looks like your ex. All the professions of love in the world don't make that any easier to bear.

    LOL Camilla! Yes she does rub women the wrong way and she doesn't care if she does.

    We're looking forward to the charity event, just got to get there.

    again, thank you for all your kindness and is really appreciated.

  6. Thank you Rad! We both adore Hugs!

    I don't think there is anything much he can say. Telling her that she's going out with a rotten guy wasn't the right move though.

  7. Valpre, she sort of gave him a chance to say something, but pointing out Blade's faults didn't exactly do the trick. Cooper shares most of those faults.

    Coop does love his children; he simply wants it all, and his older children never got much of his time or attention. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave us a comment!

  8. Aussie Karima, thank you for reading and leaving us a comment!

    Hugs will definitely take it to heart. She's a very sweet child, and she knows her parents are unhappy.

    Cooper is going through something difficult, and it isn't entirely his fault. Beth set the worst of it in motion a long time ago. He's made his own poor choices though. His love for his daughter and his determination to protect her is very powerful; any decision he makes now, he is trying to put her welfare first.

    Again, thank you!

  9. Hugs is such a little cutie :)

    Maybe both Beth and Cooper will be at this charity event? Because if Syd is involved, then chances are Rob and Flight are, and that includes Blade, so...

    Speaking of Flight, I'm very interested in Rob's relationship with Syd. I know they're friends with benefits, but there seems to be something more there, like each of them want to be more but won't say it because they think the other disagrees. Curious to see if things will ever progress on that front.

    Shame about that note :( I hope Hugs at least tells her mother about it when she gets back.

  10. Oh my goodness Hugs is a doll! Rayne was Cooper's baby girl but Hugs is his princess! She seems to be a true Daddy's girl which is why I can understand her disappointment.

    I hate this thing between Beth and Coop! I understand that he really messed up REALLY MESSED UP but I can't get my heart out of his hands!

    Glad to see this update! Thanks for making my day!

  11. Van, they will all be there...Cooper and Beth and Rob and Blade and Wyatt and Rayne and Rayne's Secret Admirer. And Syd. And probably her mysterious Husband (still working on that).

    I'm so glad you picked up on the dynamics between Syd and Rob. There is something more than the FWB relationship (which seems to be wearing thin for Rob). Syd is restless, but perhaps not enough to make that jump out of a comfortable if unfulfilling marriage.

    Hugs probably will tell. It would bother her to keep it a secret.

    Thank you so much!

  12. Qui, she really is a little princess LOL! In some ways, Hugs is more like Wyatt than she is her sister; she's very sensitive. She sure loves her Daddy, and she knows he's hurting.

    I love that phrase, can't get your heart out of his hands. Coop did really mess up and he's going to have to really pay for it. Spending time with Melinda's 'girls' might not be the best way to make penance...

    Thank you from both of us!

  13. Oh no! Poor Hugs...Cooper shouldn't have put it on her to give Beth the note--not because she isn't trustworthy, but because if it's that important and if he thought it would help that much, he should give it to her. Though...who knows if she'd read it.

    I wonder what she was waiting for him to say? The thought that there's any one thing he could say that would make her listen to him is interesting.

    That Syd is so sneaky! Poor Cooper...I wonder who is going to buy him! You two are really drumming up the excitement about this event!

    Loved this chapter--there was nothing wonky or out of place, the pictures were beautiful, the writing clear and in keeping with each character.

  14. Rachel, I was wondering if anyone would react like that. It is a lot to put on a little girl, even if Cooper thought that was the best way to ensure that Beth read it, if it came as a gift from Hugs. She didn't follow through (typical for a child), and she will suffer guilt as a result. It is extremely hard on children to be in the middle of something like that, particularly sensitive, compassionate children.

    He could have said a number of things. The worst thing he could have said was what he did say, throwing blame back on her for her choice of dates. There's not a lot of difference between Coop and Blade anyway.

    Syd is resourceful. She found his weakness and went right after it.

    We hope we can get to the main event pretty soon. It's taking us almost a month now to get out an update. Thank you so much from both of us for your support and your time: we really appreciate it!

  15. Syd sure lucked out with Hugs in the room, I doubt there was any other way to get Coop to agree than to use his own daughter as emotional blackmail.

    I'm guessing Charlie is her husband? Curious as to why he would call her and why she assumed he didn't expect her to answer. A game of cat and mouse? Proof of the other's infidelity even though they both seem more than aware of what the other is up to.

    Poor Hugs, she looks so sad. As much as Cooper and Beth are suffering, I wonder if they are able to see past their own discomfort to understand what their youngest is going through.

  16. Illandrya, Syd did luck out. She had nothing when she walked in the room. Cooper wouldn't have agreed for any other reason (well maybe one other reason). Coop is probably more aware of Hugs' distress than Beth is, but neither of them really see it. Hugs is beginning to take on the role of care giver, trying to help her parents more than drawing attention to her own unhappiness, and she's a naturally quiet and self sufficient child. After the troublemakers they've had, it's easy to overlook the child who doesn't seem to need much attention.

    Charlie is the husband. The mutual infidelity is no secret. It's a dead marriage still walking, but only barely and only due to some residual friendship and mutual concern. He will check in. He doesn't expect or want a conversation.

    Thank you from both of us!

  17. Cooper tends to communicate through his music so writing that love song was something he wanted to do for Beth. It belonged only to her, his way of handing her his heart and his love in the way he knows best.

    He is lost without her and does allow his arrogance to cloud his judgment the way it did here with his reaction to her date with Blade. (Hello Pot, meet Kettle). I'm sure he felt that his song would have at least opened doors for him and what better way than coming from their daughter.

    Again I don't want to repeat what Beth has already mentioned except to say thank you so much for continuing to read. We do appreciate everyone's time and thoughts; it does help us when we plan the next steps.

    Thank you all so much. In the last couple of weeks it has been a struggle to remain encouraged and engaged. Your support is much appreciated by both of us.

  18. Ha, nice work, Syd! How fortunate that Hugs happened to be in the room and that Syd was able to hit on one of Cooper's weaknesses. Who could say no to hugs? Not Cooper, obviously!

    I'm thinking Cooper must have had the best of intentions with the note/song but I really wonder what Beth would have thought anyway. Getting Hugs to give it to her could be viewed as emotionally manipulative. Looking forward to seeing where this goes anyway!

  19. Thank you Carla. We're taking our time, trying to look at different relationships and people instead of rushing through to get to the 'good stuff'. The downside is that it might be boring.

    Coop can't say no to Hugs. She doesn't ask for much, and she's such a sweet child. Syd got lucky with the ballerinas. If she had puppets to offer, she wouldn't have gotten the same reaction.

    The note/song would probably have been received well. Beth is looking for an excuse to relent; she's not any happier than Cooper is, and she understands why he would communicate with music, and maybe why he would have asked their daughter to relay the message.

    Thank you from both of us. As Gayl said, this has been a very difficult month for both of us. The support and encouragement we have received has made a big difference to us.

  20. I love Hugs more every time I see her. That last scene broke my heart though, as did the fighting in front of her. I think it's clear that she pays close attention to the adults around her. She is very quiet though, and, you're right, it is so easy to over look them.

    It just seems like this is all a turning point for her in her young life. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that these are the building blocks for her adulthood.

    It's sweet how much Cooper clearly loves her. But it's unfortunate that Syd used that against him.

  21. Lunar, I love her too. She is quiet, and she is attentive, and she is the kind of child who will assume responsibility where she bears none. They've fought openly in front of their older children, too. If it isn't a turning point, it will be a moment, and a failure, that she carries with her.

    Sydney saw no reason not to use Cooper's love for his daughter against him. As far as she's concerned, she wasn't asking anything difficult. Cooper's reluctance to get involved makes no sense to her, and she isn't interested in understanding why he's uncomfortable.

    Thank you for everything you have done for both of us.

  22. Oh wow this was so good!! I am drooling at the city shots (and the studio shots!! ^_^ ) and that picture with Hugs in the fountain was so cute!! And just like a little kid, "Mommy... Daddy... okay fine I'll get it!" haha. I love her, she's so cute. And aww poor little girl thinks she's disappointed Daddy. I'm such a daddy's girl myself... that part really tugged at me.

    Incredibly, irrevocably amazing. The writing as well as the shots... just wonderful. :)

  23. Christi, I am just thrilled that you liked it! Gayl and I both struggled pretty hard to make it happen.

    Hugs is a darling child, absolutely Daddy's girl. She does think she disappointed him, and it will worry her.

    Thanks so much for the compliments on the shots as well as the writing. I had to force myself to quit decorating (spent too much time looking at forums with tons of clutter...).

    It is so wonderful to get a comment from you. Both of us appreciate it so much.

  24. Oh Sydney. How lucky you are! Whether it was careful timing or true luck, at least Hugs helped you out with your situation.

    Oh Hugs! What a perfect name because she's so cute. The poor child. I can understand where she comes from because I was just like her as a child. In fact, I'm still like that as a not-quite-grown-up-child. It makes me wonder if Syd's manipulation of the situation will end up affecting Hugs later on, just because of how you've described her.

    I love when fathers and daughters have healthy relationships. It's precious.

  25. Oh my god, oh my god, ohmygod!! I ♥ Hugs! Seriously! She still has that innocent shine but I can tell that's not going to last long. She's already losing faith in fairy tales! :(

    Coop is wonderful with her. He's making up for being such a muck up with the other kids and it's a start. A start to what I don't know but I like it...

    I really, REALLY loved the writing in this piece. I don't like Syd doing what she did. NO ONE should use a child to get to an end. And interesting fact about her and her husband. Very interesting! And Rob not calling...

    Oh gosh! I'm rambling but I really loved this piece. It was perfect!

  26. Choco, I'm so glad Hugs' personality is coming through. She's one of those characters we recognized instantly. This is a big moment for her. Cooper has protected her, guarded her and shielded her. Attending an event like this with him is an enormous and exciting gift. There are a lot of adult relationships in play so it may not turn out well, and Hugs will definitely remember it.

    Cooper did not have, still does not have solid relationships with his other children, although Rayne is a fierce defender (but even that is partially due to her fractured relationship with her mother). He's making an all out effort with Hugs. The man is human though; he will make mistakes..

    Thank you from both of us. And an extra heartfelt thanks for the lovely note you left on VSS.

  27. Hey Phoenix!! OMG thank you! When we decided to slow down and spend more time with the characters instead of rushing through, we weren't at all sure it would work or if it would be boring. It is such a huge relief to know you liked it.

    Cooper really is wonderful with Hugs. She's so sweet, it's hard not to love her.

    Syd is not a very empathic person. She doesn't get why Coop would find it hard to 'perform' in that kind of social event; she doesn't understand why it was wrong to use his daughter to force his hand. She doesn't see why Rob is beginning to feel slighted and used. She's not a bad person, but she's emotionally tone deaf.

    Thank you THANK YOU from both of us! Your support has meant so much over the years, I cannot thank you enough.

  28. This was such a touching chapter - Hugs has completely stolen my heart. I've felt bad for Coop before, but this chapter really made me want to rush in there, grab Beth and say, "For God sake - listen to the man!" Lol!
    It's so sad to see them both in this sad state - unable to stop loving each other, but unable to continue to do so. I like the little fact that Coop isn't falling into a relationship like Beth did with Blade. The hooker thing - he's fulfilling his body's needs, but keeping his heart out of it. In his mind, I think it makes him feel like he's still being faithful to her.
    Little Hugs loves singing so much - I wonder if Daddy taught her the song on their drive?
    I'm sure I'm with everyone, hoping against hope that Beth will bid on Cooper at this auction!

    Syd...this thing with her and Rob will have to come to a head soon. He's no Charlie, and he's going to want more than he's getting from her. I hope she still remembers how to function on an emotional level and can give him that.
    Great update - well worth the wait!

  29. Hi Jillyson!

    Thank you so much. Gayl and I both love Hugs.

    Cooper really is lost. Men and women do tend to talk past each other. She's standing there with some idea of the perfect thing she wants him to say, and he's trying but he can't read her mind. In distress, Beth sought emotional support (a date, even a bad date, but a 'date' not a hookup) while Cooper avoids that and gets what he needs from women who won't make any emotional demands on him. In his mind it is a form of faithfulness, and I think she would understand that.

    Rob is going through his own process of self discovery. What was enough at one point in his life no longer satisfies, and he can definitely find someone else if Syd can't give it to him.

    Yeah will she or won't she bid on Cooper? What about Blade? And if she doesn't, who will? We're trying to work out the technical problems for that piece (how to format it), but it should be fun.

    Thank you again!!

  30. I am glad that you are both slowing this down a notch or two so we can get an in depth look into some emotional plots.

    Rob hasn't called in three days? Well, good for him, not really a Syd fan here, but I would like to know more about her first. Perhaps her seemingly cool exterior is hiding a lot of hurt.

    Cooper continues to suffer. He may have his faults, but he is a good dad, esp. with his daughters, that is heartwarming.
    Nice ending with the kid. LOL! She is a cutie, really.

    Kudos to you both for getting this out, great job~

  31. ~Drew that was one thing we really wanted to focus on with these pieces, character and plot development. It still won't be completely linear, we may jump to other things but those things will be relevant.

    There is a lot more to Syd than what you see on the exterior. Her marriage is definitely not a conventional one for starters. Whether or not those layers are peeled away, I am not sure.

    Cooper is trying very hard to be a good father to Harmony. He was so distant with his other kids and she is not like them, much more sensitive and emotional, he wants to be an important part of her life and childhood.

    Hugs is absolutely adorable. We both love her. And yes it was an achievement all things considered to get this out.

    Thank you always, from both of us.

  32. I just caught up with this last chapter today. Your writing, your worlds, your characters are just so wonderful, it really was easy to get lost in everything.

    I really, really adore Hugs. She's so sweet here especially, and I love how doting Cooper is with her. You convey all these emotions really well!

  33. THANK YOU Simtopi! It's absolutely thrilling to get a comment from you, thank you so much!

    Gayl and I both adore Hugs, too. She's such a little sweetheart. And finding Cooper's paternal side is wonderful.

    It's difficult to take shots of children. If Gayl hadn't modified the model box so we could get some facial overlays, I'm not sure this piece would have worked at all.

    Again, thank you from both of us. It's been a rough week so this was a huge boost!

  34. This was a great chapter! I loved seeing this side of Cooper :) he is such a loving and concerned father and it warmed my heart.

    Poor "Hugs". I feel really bad for her having to watch her parents go through this. It's sad and the fact that the note got wet only made it worse! I really hope these two can get their ish together for the sake of their child!

    Great Chapter :D

  35. Daijahy, thank you! Cooper wasn't around when his other children were growing up, and all of them have problems of one sort or another. He's really determined to do whatever he can for this little girl. Hugs is shyer and gentler than his other kids, too.

    Beth has never been particularly maternal. She definitely wouldn't win any mother of the year awards, and wouldn't even consider getting back with Cooper for Hugs' sake. She'd probably be right on that count.

    She is a precious little girl. Gayl and I both adore her.

    Thank you from both of us!!

  36. Hugs is adorable!!! What a cute little girl!

    :( she forgot about the note and it got ruined... well if the note was that important, Cooper should have given it to Beth in person instead of sending it with his daughter!! :D

    another awesome chapter!

  37. S@n, she is adorable, isn't she?

    Using his daughter as the messenger seemed a better way to get the lyrics to his wife. Cooper didn't think she would accept it if he tried to give it to her himself. He was probably right. She doesn't want to be seduced or romanced into going back with him.

    Thank you from both of us!

  38. Hugs is so cute! It's nice to see how much Cooper cares about her. I'm not sure if that note would have made much of a difference though, with Beth in her current state of mind.

  39. Charleston, thank you!

    Coop adores that little girl.

    The note might not have made much of a difference, but Beth is looking for a reason, any reason, to go back to Coop. She's never been very good at making a decision and sticking to it until she's hit in the face with reality. This decision, while she thinks she's right, that's it best for both of them, really stings.

  40. omg its been so long since I've been on here! Oh well, half the fun is in catching up! I finally did a little posting again myself although mine is not accompanied by amazing visuals and I'm also sure it needs a lot of fine tuning..however its there and posted and I'm determined to keep up with it better from here on out..hopefully.

    1. It's so good to hear from you again! So many people have moved on to other creative projects and I never know what happened to them, it's great to get a note from someone who enjoyed our stuff. Would you give me a link to your current posts? The only thing I found when I tried to follow up using your profile was a 2 year old blog, which I'm assuming is not the right one.

      Thank you!!

  41. I love that Harmony's nickname is hugs, that is just adorable :3 I feel Cooper's sadness and his love for his daughter and his wife. I'm sure I will see what caused the rift between them soon.

    1. The chapters that explain it are old and retired. The short version is that she had an affair with her bodyguard, and he had what was really a one night stand with Gemma Wilson. Gemma is his dead wife's cousin, his son's cousin, a lookalike for the dead wife Julia. It wasn't the sex, it was that woman. Cooper was very unhappy (understatement) about the bodyguard (there were photographs that were published) and never got over it. Trust broken. They couldn't get over things so they split. I am just overwhelmed that you are reading this!! Thank you!