Friday, April 8, 2011

Studio Time: Ten

South Beach: 109 Harbor Place - 10 AM

She slid out of bed, kicked a pile of pillows aside, walked across the room and paused in the doorway to the landing and looked back at him. "How do you take your coffee?" It was the first thing she'd said in hours.

Alex eased up on the bed, yawned, and looked at her for a few seconds before answering. Great sex, beautiful woman who didn't say much, what was not to like? Maybe he could have used a few words but hell, maybe she just didn't talk during sex. He ran his hands through his hair and said, "Black with six packets of sugar. Thanks babe. There might be some bagels that aren't too stale, if you want to bring them up, too."

"Some coffee with your sugar." She laughed, looking back at him through watery rainy light. For a woman who'd popped out four kids, she was in damned good shape, and he thought briefly about Dani, and then stopped it.

Lying back down into the blankets, Alex stretched, relaxed, listening to Beth Stanfield opening and closing cabinet doors and running water for the coffee. And singing. She couldn't sing. Damn, she shouldn't sing. Rain slid down the glass and he grinned and watched the rain and whispered out loud, with complete satisfaction, "Check mate, Cooper."

He heard her come back upstairs, the little clink of a pot, smelled the coffee and toasted bagels. His stomach rumbled. Lazy, Alex waited. Kept waiting. She didn't come back and she didn't say anything, and after another few minutes, maybe she thought he would come on out, he got up, pulled on a pair of sweats and strolled toward the door to the deck even though he had no idea why she would be out on the deck in the rain.

"No I didn't know she had the baby." She'd put on one of his shirts and she sat there framed in the chair, bare legs crossed, naked under that shirt, talking on her cell. Intense and fierce and agitated and kicking the table leg as she talked: kick, kick, kick, toes banging against the iron in a drummer's angry and perfect and unconscious rhythm. "Rayne, don't get in the middle of this I haven't heard from him. What did I just say?...I have to go to the auction, your father agreed to take Hugs, that's why...I'm not committing to anything will you please stop it my god you're relentless and this is none of your business...yes, I will...yes, buy the dress for Hugs...I'll be home in a few hours and that's none of your business either."

She tossed the cell down on the table, got up and walked to the far end of the deck and turned her face up to the rain. And stood there, in the rain, eyes closed, her mouth soft, vulnerable, as if offering herself to the rain and the wind like a woman in love. It was a face she had not given to him.

He took a step outside, stepping into a puddle, trying to work through what he'd heard and what he'd guessed and what people were saying. The pregnant woman they'd run into: Coop had himself another kid. There were probably more Beth didn't know about, but this time it was in her face. If he wanted to be fair about it, she'd thrown some serious provocation at Cooper with that bodyguard, a situation he wouldn't have handled the way Cooper had. He would have walked. It was an equation with only one result: those two should not have stayed together. Whatever she was hoping for, looking for, she hadn't gotten it from Cooper, and he hadn't been able to get her to say shit to him either. She wasn't talking to him. She was out here making love to the rain.

She didn't look at him until he'd crossed the distance between them, sloshing through water. It was a goddamned wonder the deck hadn't come down, the drainage was that bad, water wicking up the sweats halfway to his crotch in less than a minute. It was pouring. He wrapped his arms around her, feeling her shiver in the blow from the cold high northwest of the world. Maybe he'd spent too much time there himself. "Come on, come inside, come back to bed. You know, I make a mean Bloody Mary. Fuck the coffee. And this time, you're going to talk to me."

South Beach: 402 West Park Drive - 4 PM

Slim didn’t bother pulling his ‘Vette into the garage. He and Bonni had bought a place off the beach and the garage was still full of furniture and boxes, paint, outdoor furniture, and all of Will’s things. The decision to move inland had been Bonni’s after the most recent storm that had blown past. Garrett tended to wander off more often than not and she had been scared to death that he might get pulled into a riptide or undertow - he wasn’t as strong a swimmer as Will had been. So they had moved again.

It had been a long, stressful afternoon and Slim looked forward to a little downtime with B. There was still work waiting for him at the studio, work that he had set aside to accompany Cooper to the lab for the results. Everything had been laid out in black and white. There wasn’t much more to discuss. It was done. Slim would be the one to reveal the test results to Gemma but he would put that off for a few hours too. The rest of it was a crap shoot.

Slim rubbed his neck and hoped Bonni had the massage table set up. Or the bed. He was going to have a long night in front of him between the work he’d left this afternoon and the upcoming photo op charity bachelor auction. It was only a few days away and Slim still had logistics to nail down. Whatever Sydney had up her sleeve, whatever plans she had made, Slim fully intended to know every detail. The timing could not have been worse. Cooper hadn’t said much on the long drive back. Slim expected...something, some reaction. Anger, elation, rage...something, anything. Instead Cooper had been uncharacteristically quiet. Dead damn moody stare out the window silent.

Pushing open the door the smell of fresh paint assaulted him. Looking around he noticed Garrett playing video games while Bonni was apparently issuing orders to one of the contractors. She didn’t look happy. Damn.

As if she felt his eyes on her, Bonni turned, flashing that spectacular smile toward him and dismissed the worker with her hand. She’d changed her hair. Even after all these years Bonni could still manage to stir his passion for her with a look. He’d never strayed from her bed except that one time before she married him and technically that didn’t count in his book because he had been stinking drunk. Okay maybe that wasn’t an excuse...fact was that one time had been with Coop’s first wife Julia. Being around Gemma, the way she looked so much like Jules, life twisting and turning in on itself like a looping mobius strip...

Shaking off the direction his mind was going he walked toward B and brushed a kiss against her temple. “Trouble with the contractor?”

“They’re trying to get us to rip down some trees in order to dig the pool. It looks like we’ll lose the gazebo...hope you weren’t attached to it. And I’m still not sure I like the colors I chose.”

Slim walked toward the back of the house and looked out. He couldn’t care less about the gazebo but B liked the thing. “Whatever it takes baby, whatever you want.” Slim turned toward her and pulled her close moving his large hands down her back to her hips and drawing her tight against him. She could paint the place purple if she wanted. He moved his hips seductively against hers.

“Garrett, take your toys upstairs and clean your room please. Daddy and I need to talk.”

“Aw, Mom...I was getting to level 3.” Garrett moped as he slowly took the stairs.

Bonni massaged Slim’s shoulders. “You want to tell me how it went?” His jaw tightened along with the grip he had on her ass. Placing her hands on Slim’s chest, she firmly pressed him back against the wall. “Honey, you can’t fix this for Cooper. Whatever is going on with him and Beth, he has to find the answers. Maybe there aren’t any. But you need to let this part of it go.” Bonni rested her cheek against his chest and held on tight.

She was right. In all the years he has known Coop, been best friends with him, that was the one thing Slim did - fixed things. Not this time, this time he couldn’t fix it for Coop. He’d spin it with the press if he had to, he’d make sure the studio continued to thrive as usual but as for Coop’s family and marriage...Slim’s hands were tied in that arena.

Heading to the bar Slim poured them both a drink. He took a long pull from his glass and set it down. “The kid’s not Coop’s.”


  1. Yes!!! I knew it wasn't his baby. I just knew it. So now the big battle begins, and OMG is Coop in for a fight.

    Blade may be winning this round, but only by default, which I'm gathering he realizes given the fact that Beth is so silent. He's had her body but he is no where near close to having her heart. That seems to bother him more than he thought it would.

    And it was nice to see Bonnie and Slim together again. She's right, he can't do a thing to fix this mess that Cooper has made.

    As always I love the writing (which kept me in suspense until the very end) and the shots (for which there are no adequate words to describe) Both are flawless and beautiful.

  2. Muzegoddess, Blade is very open about what he feels, to the extent he understands what he feels. He engages with the women he's with. He wants to hear them. It does bother him that he's getting nothing back this time. She should talk to him, why wouldn't she talk to him. There's some ego here. But yeah, Coop is in for a fight.

    It's not Coop's baby. We gave a big clue about whose baby it is but I think I HOPE we can work that back in. Rainie and Randi are very close.

    I love Slim. He's the fixer. He can't fix this one though.

    Thank you forever!!

  3. He Ain't!!! I had a feeling... Coop may have had many misfortunes in the past, but something this big and then that cool unemotional response?
    If the baby was his, He would have definitely broken down or broken something...

    Great, now he can fight for his marriage with Beth or just marry me. Lol!

    Yeah, anyone who's been reading this from the beginning can work out that clue...

    I'm glad I didn't fall off the cliffhanger you guys so amusingly laid out for us...

    Maybe Coop will take this as a little lesson, not to jump to conclusions and do stupid things.

    Hmm, I wonder how he's doing? And how he'll react to the news of who the real father is?

  4. OH MY MOTHERFUCKING GOD YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry! I am overjoyed! I have been having the hardest afternoon and this update has made every better!!

    I hate that Alex was initially in this to stick it to Cooper but I do believe that in the mix, lines got crossed and now it's a little more than that. On his end anyway. Beth might be walking on clouds now or is it just the fact that she is distracted? Allow things to go further now and feels that she has taken that step away from Cooper? It feels good to see Beth smile. It seems to have been a while since we've seen it and seeing it today has added to the greatness of this already amazing update.
    Great use of the prompt word! It was also great to see that Beth and Rayne are communicating even if it was about someone Beth didn't want to talk about. I am still on the edge of my seat and my heart is pounding! Now I have to go back and search for this clue of who the father of the baby is!

    WONDERFUL update!

  5. Jean Marie, I hope we haven't disappointed you. Coop doesn't like giving up what he wants to keep but he's hot and he might just dump his wife and marry you!

    I can fault Cooper for jumping to conclusions. Beth and's hard to get past that.

    Gemma's been involved with a lot of men. Not all of them are related to Cooper.

    Thank you from both of us for continuing to read this!!!

  6. Qui!!!

    Alex still wants to stick it to Cooper. But he's an interesting man. He's brutally open and honest and he wants that honesty from the woman he's involved with. Beth is taking the big step away from Cooper and Alex has her hand, whether or not she is willing to grab it.

    That relationship with Rayne is always going to be uneasy, but they're talking. Maybe past each other, but they're talking.

    Coop dodged a huge bullet. And shugged off the problem onto Slim while he considers how he's going to deal with what comes next. I adore Cooper, warts and arrogance and all.

    Thank you!!!!!

  7. "And stood there, in the rain, eyes closed, her mouth soft, vulnerable, as if offering herself to the rain and the wind like a woman in love."

    Beth Cooper looks awesome in that shot. Sorry Blade, you aren't even one mile close to her heart. The shots are simply simply perfect.

    SB, her standing in the rain reminds me of the pad-lock in your mosaic.

  8. Yay! :D

    Wonder who is the father, though. My money's on either Wyatt or Ezra (although of the two of them, I'd breathe easier if it were Ezra's, for a couple of reasons).

    Slim and Bonnie are great together. They make a good beta couple--stable, non-dramatic, a good foil to the tempest that is Cooper and Beth.

    You two certainly have been productive lately. Great update, as always :)

  9. lepifera, we share the same name but she's not me. Step out on Cooper? Never! She's a different woman.

    Blade isn't close to knowing who she is but he's interested and he's trying. She's his trophy, and he will definitely throw it in Cooper's face, but he's a man who wants to know, really know, the women he ends up with.

    The padlock image. I'm stunned and surprised you put that together. I really don't write about myself but it's hard to avoid some crossover.

    Thank you...

  10. Van, the productive thing is not because I know what I'm doing. Gayl did the heavy lifting for this one. I wish I could get it together and do something on a regular schedule the way you do. Never going to happen.

    I love Slim and Bonni. They are the ground, the beta couple. Solid and in love and aware. If I could wish for one of characters to be like one yours, it would be Searle. Senior Searle.

    Wyatt or Ezra. The boy who is always in search of his mother. Or the 'dangerous' man Rayne's best friend really wants.

    Thank you...always and from both of us.

  11. SB,

    I was not saying that you and the character of Beth Cooper are the same person. The only thing I picked up was that Beth Cooper's heart was "closed" in her interaction with Blade, which reminded me of the locked gate in your mosaic. I and perhaps many other women all have experienced some forms of failed emotional connections with certain men from our past, and therefore could very much relate to Beth C. in this story. Other than that, I would never assume to know what the images in the mosaic mean to you personally.

  12. Wow, I'm so thrilled it's not Coops' baby. But could it Wyatt's? Ewwww. I can't imagine Beth being granny to Gemma's baby. Hopefully the baby's not related to Coop's family.

    Loved seeing Slim and Bonny again. They seem perfect for each other.

    Oh Blade, just when I was starting to find some love for him, he has to throw it back in my face.

  13. Val, yeah on the 'ewwww' factor. I think that's kind of unlikely. Wyatt and Gemma were flirting but we never showed, or really implied, that it had gone past that.

    Blade is not a perfect guy...wouldn't want anybody to forget that! I like him a lot but he can be kind of an ass.

    Thank you so much!

  14. Whew.

    Not his baby. But who is the father? If it isn't Wyatt, is it...ACK, is can't be Jimmy, right?! Is Cooper so angry simply because he threw the whole family into a tailspin over nothing (not that his infidelity was nothing, but you know what I mean)?

    Blade really is an ass sometimes LOL. I expected that. But I think it really bothers him that he didn't really have her--I think he can tell she wasn't really present. This set of lines: "And stood there, in the rain, eyes closed, her mouth soft, vulnerable, as if offering herself to the rain and the wind like a woman in love. It was a face she had not given to him." Perfection, plain and simple. Absolutely gorgeous. The pictures, as usual, are exquisite as well.

    LOVE this chapter. :)

  15. Rachel, thank you from both of us.

    Jimmy didn't sleep with Gemma (although that might have happened if he hadn't met Rayne).

    I'm not sure Cooper's reaction should be interpreted as anger. He's stressed out, tired, unhappy. Relieved that he dodged a bullet but he knows he's still nowhere near getting what he wants.

    I really like Blade even though he can act like a jerk. He's competitive and he's romantic, and it does bother him that the woman he's with seems distracted. She ought to be smitten with him! They like each other a lot but I don't believe either of them is in love with the other.

    Thank you so much for the compliment on the writing and the shots. We try very hard!

  16. Not Coop's baby huh? I had a feeling it wasn't(was actually HOPING it wasn't!). That would just be a big complication that he(and Gemma!) don't need right now! *wipe sweat off forehead*

    LOL @Blade realizing that Beth can't sing! I thought that little detail was so cute! Poor guy sticking it to the man by sticking it to his wife...and then realizing that he might want a little more than Beth is willing to give at this point.

    I could just hear Rayne asking her questions in rapid fire succession. I would do the same thing if my mom hadn't come home. Nice to see that their relationship is sorta kinda on track to being mother/daughter again.

    Loved your shots and the writing was brilliant!

    Oh! I almost forgot to mention Slim! I hope Coop realizes how much Slim does for him at the cost of his own piece of mind! *hugs Slim* :)

    You two never cease to amaze me! Always!

  17. Phoenix!!

    No, not Coop's baby. Not this time. He's already fathered plenty LOL!

    Like most men, Blade wants what he doesn't have. He's not a bad guy though: he genuinely likes Beth and doesn't quite understand what's going on.

    Could NOT resist the singing thing. The woman cannot sing. And knowing Rayne, she will get in the middle of it. She doesn't like Blade and she'd rather see her parents work it out.

    Slim and Coop go way back. I'm not sure Cooper does realize that Slim has some peace of mind problems. Slim fixes things and always has.

    Thank you so much from both of us. Your support over all this time means a great deal to us.

  18. OMG, This was just so beautiful! How ironic, it was raining exactly as described as i read this! The sound of the raindrops really took me there... (not that it was needed, the amazingly rich words and images are more than enough!)

    Absolutely LOVE the scene of Beth on the deck, the writing was flawless. "Offering herself to the rain and the wind like a woman in love." So very poignant!

    Blake must really like a challenge.. I wonder if he will make his way to Beth's heart..?

    I love how much insight and perspective is provided into what all the characters are feeling and thinking. It's done so flawlessly in this work, it is so easy to relate and connect.

    I'm interested to finding out what the ramifications will be of Gemma's child not being Cooper's.

    Excellent work! Really moving piece -- left me feeling wistful and eager for more! ~Jari / L.D.

  19. Oh Lucid, THANK YOU! Rain is so evocative. Puzzling through what these two are feeling was difficult until it began to rain both literally and during the photoshoot, and then things fell into place.

    I think Blade does have a chance. He's attractive, charming, intelligent, and usually very honest. He's over confident but arrogance sort of comes with the territory. If Cooper makes a serious move, though, he'll have a fight on his hands. I really like him.

    We're working through the next several pieces; once again, I have to build a pretty elaborate set so it will take some time.

    Thank you again, thank you so much!!

  20. Oh, it kills him that Beth won't open up to him, doesn't it? I'm looking forward to finding out if she ever will, but it'll be a hard win. And I'm disappointed to see it's still about one-upping Cooper. Maybe her instincts are warning her against that, to some degree? If he wants her to talk to him, he'll have to earn it.

    Oh, I love, love, LOVE that shot of her in the rain - and such beautiful, engaging writing in that scene. She can make love to the rain if she wants - she deserves every single drop, and more!

    And he's not the father! I have no idea what will come of this, but I can't wait to find out! :)

  21. Laura, yes it does fry him. He's not the center of her world and he doesn't like it. Beth has her own emotional issues, too, and she never has used very good judgment with the men in her life.

    Thank you so much for the compliment about the shot and the writing in that sequence! I could not work out how she was going to interact with Alex or how she was going to handle the phone call from her daughter until it rained.

    I hope we can work everything out. We've got several threads going at the same time and a couple of big events coming up. I've been struggling with a lot for over a week, trying to come up with a useful set.

    Thank you so much from both of us!

  22. I don't feel as if I can make an intelligent enough comment after the past few entries. I'm still reading along, and I've been blown away. (Especially the last Blade and Beth update, the very last screen shot with her sad and far away look was just amazing.)

    Alex is such an interesting character. It's like everything about him is right there on a platter. He does come across as open and honest, but there are parts to him that I think aren't hidden or unknown, just they're under the surface. Like this need to one up Cooper. It's there, but subtle. He doesn't seem to be sleeping with Beth just to get back at Cooper, but at the same time that's obviously a huge plus side.

    He's like a grown child, impulsive, open, and somewhat lacking in emotional filters. I can so see how it would kill him not to be the center of Beth's world. And I love that shot of him kissing her and holding her hand.

  23. Lunar, thank you so much from both of us. These pieces take us a long time and a lot of work for such short updates. It's wonderful beyond words to get a comment like that!

    Alex is like a grown child. I knew someone one like that, and although I don't think he played any part in developing Alex, as soon as you said that, I definitely saw it. Those guys are pure delight. For a while. There would be no way to sit down with Alex and earnestly explain something important and get a mature response although he's a good listener and wants to understand. It exasperates Rob and Shooter, too.

    Thank you again for all your support. Both of us really appreciate it.

  24. Oh, wow, how behind am I?! I saw this update a while ago and didn't get a chance to reply when I saw it. Then I forgot all about it for like two weeks! But hey, I'm here now. :)

    So it's not Coop's child! I have to say, I'm actually surprised. I really thought it would be and that that would then be the end of him and Beth for good. But now that it's not...I wonder that will mean for Beth, Coop and Blade. I can't wait to find out.

    These shots were all amazing, especially the ones in the first part with Beth and Blade but I was particularly taken with this one.

    That is just art, right there. Just beautiful.

  25. OMGeeeez! I hope it's not Wyatt's! Wasn't there a little creepyness there for a while between them or am I crazy? Maybe my brain is making that up in my sickness induced haze! :D

    I love the shot of Beth in the rain and the fact he mentions she hasn't given that face to him, it's really incredible to see the faces that not everyone gets, ones that are just meant for you. But in his case, I suppose it makes him a bit sad. :(

    Wonderful update again, bravo!

  26. Emily, there was a little creepiness going on there. Wyatt and his mother and Gemma his cousin or something who looks like his are not imagining it.

    People do give faces specifically to those they love or hate or something in between. Blade's not getting the 'in love' face. Is he sad? Probably not. He's not in love with her either although he likes her, and she likes him. Frustrated because he's used to getting that face and he's thrown some pretty powerful firepower into the relationship and hasn't seen it go the way he expected.

    Thank you!!! And get well!!

  27. Well, it's good to see the kid is not Cooper's. Of course, now that Emily put the idea of Wyatt in my head is making me scratch my chin. That's just too much to wrap my head around.

    Those shots with Beth and Blade were amazing. I hope to get that artsy-fartsy with my shots in the future. I love the one where she's looking up at the sky while it's raining. When Blade said to Beth, "And this time, you're gong to talk to me," made me think he loves a vocal woman. I could be wrong but it just certainly sounds like it.

    I really am happy to read that! I hope he can get things working again with Beth because damn if they don’t need each other! And don’t think having to wait until the end of that chapter wasn’t killing me! You girls are great with the suspense LOL! I love love LOVED it! The writing again was just so intense and descriptive and always draws me in. I had to copy it into a word doc though because well…the images were not work friendly :D

    Shame on me I know I shouldn’t read at work but I am determined to get these updates done so I can go back to the others…four years…for whole years…SMH – I will win!

    “Checkmate, Coop”??? Yeah castrate Blade already. I am completely enraged by this man every time I see him! I hate his attitude and his way of handling these women he keeps bedding. I really wish Beth had not fallen prey to this man because now she and Coop have that between her!

    Beth seems to care about Cooper but even knowing that I am disgusted beyond belief at her because she refuses to talk to him no matter how hard he is obviously trying and she is sleeping with someone she knows has contempt for her husband. I want to really slap this woman and let her know the games she is playing is not healthy for anyone!

    Sounds like Rayne is trying to fix things between Beth and Cooper too…interesting :) she’s getting it from every end! I hope she feels guilt and feels the torment even more because of what’s happening between them can be ended with a simple conversation! They both cheated, they are both hurt and they both need to own up to it!

    Bonni, love that woman, talk about voice of reason! I like how she focused Slim on his job and pretty much told him to handle what he can and forget the rest. Those are the best kinds of women and do make the best wives/mothers.

  29. LMAO! Don't read this at work, Daijahv!!

    Blade has been playing a game with Cooper. He definitely put points on the board for his side, for what it's worth, and in reality it's not worth much. I don't think Beth has fallen prey to him. She's using him as much as he's using her, probably more so since Blade has a certain childlike attitude toward life. He just runs through it and doesn't think about it too much. They do like each other though. That's real.

    In Beth's defense, she no longer believes it's possible for the marriage to work. When they finally split, it was Cooper who blew up and walked off and convinced her that he would never get over her affair with Ryan, that she could never make him happy or rebuild the trust. He says he's sorry and wants to come back, but she simply doesn't believe it would work. Sometimes it's impossible to get past infidelity; it keeps coming up. Could he talk her into getting back together? Probably. And that's why she doesn't want to talk to him. She's a difficult and frequently not very likable character, but in this case, she's not playing games. She thinks she's doing what's best for both of them. She's been wrong before and she may be wrong this time, too.

    Rayne and her mother do NOT get along. Rayne is trying to patch it up for her father's sake. She believes he's sincere.

    Bonni is pure wonderful. A great mother and a great and understanding wife.

    You are making my whole month! Thank you!!

  30. 'Out on the deck making love to the rain' Love that.

    How great to see Slim, I was wondering what he has been up to, He is such a good friend to Cooper but I am glad he realizes he can't fix everything or every mess Cooper gets into or continues to get into.

    Blade fascinates. Even though his 'checkmate Cooper' line made him a total asshat.
    Wonderful symmetry with the shots and writing.
    back to read more soon~

  31. ~Drew, Blade is like a big kid. I think that is apparent by his game of chess with Cooper and his 4 marriages. He is a good guy but he does not always have his head on right. Hence the asshat! LOL!

    Slim and Bonni are the solid happy couple in this story. He is a good friend to Coop but yes, he cannot fix everything. It is a wonder that he has stuck it out. He does not always like or agree with what Cooper does. And he is not without his faults...

    Thanks from both of us for reading!