Sunday, May 15, 2011

Studio Time: Thirteen

She arrived late, slipped in through the riverfront courtyard, and stood shadowed by a pot of flowers while waiting, Rob suspected, not for Alex but for Cooper. And, as if he knew exactly where she was and when she planned to be there, the man everyone was really there to see strode up from behind her and took her arm and steered her off into another side room. "I need a word with you in private."

Rob had no qualms about eavesdropping, a moral issue he considered particularly prissy. The window was open; whatever came out of it was his to use; and moving close enough to overhear without being seen or heard was no challenge at all, something he could do in his sleep. Stepping carefully into the flowers, sliding past the window frame, the sprinkler, one boot to the left of it, idly wondering what idiot put ground floor windows with no guards in an upscale hotel, and sort of making a note to himself about it, Rob slid right up in there. He couldn't see them clearly, but he heard Coop's rough voice through the window and useless curtains. "The baby's not mine."

What baby? There was another woman with a possible baby? Uneasy, a woman with or without baby complicated things, Rob risked taking a half step closer. "Hey man, have you seen Beth? She was supposed to be here half an hour ago."

Startled, he drew a quick breath, swore silently, and turned without losing his footing and looked at the agitated and restless frontman for the band he had tried so hard to hold together. Rob stepped into Alex’s space, forcing him back away from the window, blocking him. "I don't know, Alex. Maybe she's picking up her kid. She might consider her kids more important than you are. You do realize that, don’t you?"

Alex stared at him, opened his mouth to say something, undoubtedly something pretty raw judging from his expression, when Sydney swept up and put her hand on his shoulder and announced, "We must do something with that shirt, Alex. Did you spill a drink? I can't let you go out wearing that, come on, come over here with me."

He tried to shrug her off, failed, Syd slicing a hole in the air with her smile and digging into his shoulder with her nails. Relenting, Alex went along with her, shooting one angry look back as he walked away, leaving Rob to breathe again. For a moment, until the door opened on Cooper and his lovely and annoying wife.

Cooper looked drawn but relieved. The woman looked blank. She had less expression than any human being he'd ever seen, nothing but eyes and nose and mouth painted on a skin mask. Cooper spoke her name. Coming from him, he owned it.

She lifted her face, looking up at Cooper. Then, disconcertingly, he realized she was looking directly at him now. And the lights went on. She smiled. She smiled at him, and she looked at Stanfield and smiled at him and said something soft and then walked away from both of them down the length of the room and back out the door. If she was taking her child and going home, Rob was going to have trouble keeping Alex here. He'd hoped she would simply bid on her damned husband and end it. It did not look as though that was going to happen. He didn’t know what she’d done or what was going on or why she’d looked at him like that.

Cooper took two long strides toward him and stopped, remaining protected from view in the shadows. He stood there, weight on one leg, poised, watching him. Rob rocked back, off balance, and met the man's gaze. Help me out here...go get your something. Cooper held him there for a few long silent strange seconds, then nodded briefly, turned his back and left. Rob watched him disappear into the night, whether he was going after her or going back to the private bar, Rob had no clue.

Shaking it off Rob moved toward the stage. He needed to keep Alex in line, keep him focused on anything other than Beth Stanfield. There, directly in his line of sight was Charlie Pera, that smug grin on his face as he watched Rob. Pulling Sydney into his body he kissed her, whispered something in her ear and guided her back stage. She made an attempt to shake off his grip and then acquiesced, allowing him to control her.

Rob was torn between tearing after her, taking her out of here and not letting her go or walking away all together. One thing was certain,  this thing with Sydney - he was done with the cat and mouse game. He looked to where she had gone and, determined to get her to commit one way or another, Rob followed her in.

"He's changing."  Breathless, watching something off to the side, Sydney brushed at her dress and asked, "What's going on?"

Rob saw Charlie Pera, still hanging around, striding across the room like the thousand pound gorilla he was, tossing one last smile in his direction before he picked up a drink and left.  Alex was changing his shirt just like he changed women, dropping everyone else in the process.  Maybe somehow he could keep the band together.  Maybe he could keep something he cared about out of this whole damned mess, but he couldn’t claw at Syd and Alex and Shooter and Duff and keep all of it.  He’d never really had her.  Give it up, recognize when you’ve risked and lost.  He glared down at her.  "Do you think I care about Alex's shirt?  What the hell is your husband doing here?"

Someone had stacked up a pile of clothes and a rack and propped a mirror in the middle.  It wasn’t like Syd to be disorganized or to put up with it but she didn’t look at it.  She grabbed at the side of the mirror and glanced past him, a glance that hurt, she was checking, making sure Charlie didn’t see them.  "I didn't know he would be here.  He won't stay.  He never does."

Laughter and noise filtered in from the patio, lights turned down again.  In a few minutes he'd be up on that stage going through a charade that did not come anywhere close to the one he'd been struggling with for years.  Fun and games at first, before the whole Syd’s boy toy, Syd’s bedside drawer appliance, all of it, corroded and leaked and burned.  It wasn’t Sydney but she did nothing to put an end to it.  Not a word, not one word.  Rob watched her, moving in slowly, but this time was the last time.  "Syd, I can't do this anymore.  Whether he's here in the flesh or in China or wherever the hell he is, he's not the one who stays.  You are.”

Sydney did not move.  She wasn’t as blank as Beth Stanfield had been, but there wasn’t much in her face.  Rob tried to feel some sympathy for her because this was, after all, apparently what she wanted more than she wanted him, the spotlights and the assistants and all of it.  “Thanks,” he told her, and he meant it.  He did appreciate it.  “Thanks for what you did with Alex."

Rob waited for her to do something, anything, even if it was only to walk away. Did she still see the alley cat, the thief, not what he had become? If that was true his heart truly would shatter. And if went down like that, if it did,  like everything else, he would carefully control that catastrophic event, the same way he always fought to control every damned thing, all of it, keep it from spiraling into chaos, the people around him, everything. Except for her.

“Rob, please, I have to go. Can we talk about this later? Tonight?”

“Is there anything left to say?” Rob turned, took one painful step and then another and disappeared into the crowd. He drew a deep breath and focused his attention on Rayne who had just walked on stage because he had to focus it somewhere.

“Me, I’m gonna bid on you.”

"Toad don't, you can't afford - " Rob watched as Rayne hung back, stalling, one foot on the stage and the other behind the curtain while the boyfriend held on to his pretty delusions.

The boyfriend aimed a long rank smile at the assembled crowd, blinked, and hesitated, maybe realizing how far out of his element he really was and took a step back behind the curtain. Rob shared one uncomfortable glance with him before Jimmy hunched his shoulders and strode off out the door.

Sydney worked the crowd, starting the bidding at $1000 just like Wyatt. People were bidding, $2000, $3000 and it kept going. Jimmy, who had come around to the front of the stage, bid $12,000. No doubt his total take for the year from his contract, if it was a generous contract, a very generous contract.

“Can I get $13,000,” Sydney was saying. Rayne worked the lights, strode further down the stage, walking through hot lights, over them. Rob watched, watching to do something, watching because he had to do something, watching the girl as she stepped on the light, picked up her foot and put it right back down on the same light, a deliberate destructive step. She stepped on the footlight as if she wanted to put the heel of her boot right through the glass into the lamp. Crushing the lamp. Beheading the lamp. The wind picked up, blowing, whistling in the wind tunnel and lifting her hair off her neck. All around people laughed, a door closed, and glass clinked against another glass....

Beyond the reach of the light, in the dark, in the shadow, ignoring the paddle, one deep European voice: “Fifty thousand.”

Duff. The free radical he had not anticipated. Rob drew a long resigned breath....fuck....


  1. WHOA! Huge step for Rob and pretty steep situation! Here he is trying to keep things together and he has Alex and Beth to deal with and now Duff and Rayne.

    BY THE WAY...excited jaw drop! OMG Fifty Thousand?!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG I can't wait to see how that goes!!
    Even more I'm curious to see what went down between Beth and Cooper. Will she think about it and forgive? Does the fact that the baby isn't his even matter?

    LOVED this chapter! Beautiful everything! Holding my breath til the next!

  2. Qui, you know that it matters if the baby isn't his. That's a lifetime commitment, and Gemma would be there FOREVER. It is a huge deal. It does make a difference.

    Rob can't hold it all together but he's still trying. Duff doesn't dick around. He's got the bank, he uses it. Blow everyone else away, period.

    I was surprised and god thank you happy to get your comment. This piece kicked my butt hard. I couldn't get the shots I wanted and got frustrated and tired and finally gave up. Thank you. Thank you so much, from both of us.

  3. OMG, I knew it! And damn, fifty-thousand! :o

    Can she have a chaperone on that date, please? Okay, so I don't think he'll like, murder her or anything... I don't think. But eeek, he creeps me out.

    But wow, so much in this chapter! My heart is breaking for poor Rob! :( He's right though, he can't keep getting strung along, not with the way he's feeling about her. Poor guy!

    As always, I'm looking forward to see what Beth and Coop make of things as well.

    Eagerly (anxiously) awaiting the next piece! :D

  4. Laura, you are way too sweet, but thank you.

    Duff won't murder her. He wants her to enjoy the journey, all the way down. He wants a partner.

    Rob's about through with all of it. I wish he would take his dog and dump Alex and Syd and all of them and go off somewhere, but someone who has fought so hard and held on and believes he has what he wants, what he should want, what should happen, what everyone should do if they would only do what he wants them to do to make it all line up and rack up and be right...he's unlikely to find happiness in dumping it and going off to fish.

    I love your writing so much. It is just a huge thrill to get a comment from you. Thank you.

  5. I don't know the whole history, but I don't know if I feel sorry for Rob or not. I mean, he knew Sydney was married, and if she hadn't left her husband by now I doubt she ever will. There has to be something that she's getting from him that Rob can't provide. Of course I could TOTALLY be wrong about that.

    OMG @ Duff bidding on Rayne. And he made quite a statement with that $50,000. there was no doubt he didn't want anyone else to get her.
    I feel sorry for her boyfriend( whose name I can't remember right now). That was sweet that he bid all he had, but it was no match for a obsessed Duff.
    I doubt Rayne will get out of that date unfazed:(

  6. If only I was a fly on that wall when Coop and Beth were talking. I can't wait to see Beth's reaction to his announcement. I'm glad it's out in the open now and the ball is in her court. She certainly has a lot to think about now after this.

    And poor, poor Alex, I can hear the chimes of heartbreak in the distance.

    Rob is...I just can't find the right words to describe him. But he knew what he was getting himself into when he went after a married woman. What was he hoping for? She'd leave her husband for him? Did they ever discuss this with Sydney or did the expectations just grow from their ongoing affair? I'm curious as to why he'd start an affair, carry on with it for so long and then decide it's no longer enough for him?

    And whoa, duff is pretty determined to get Rayne, $50 000, hope the date with her is worth every penny.

    Wonder how Toad will feel about that, considering he couldn't afford to bid on her himself?

    Gorgeous shots as always.

    I'm really, really, eager to see Beth's mental state after Coop's announcement. What will she do, will she carry on with Alex and settle for second best, or will she go to Coop and start again? But how many times can they keep starting over before one of them messes up again?

    Don't know why I returned to Beth when I thought I was done with my comment. Guess she really has me intrigued.

    Beautiful piece!

  7. Sorry about the long comment. I didn't realize how long it was until it was posted.

  8. Val: Cooper and Beth aren't going to be our primary focus, but this has to be the last chance for that relationship. If they can't get past her infidelity, and his revenge sex, then it won't work. I doubt Alex will be heartbroken. He likes her, but he's not in love with her. Some of his previous relationships may be more important to him. Rob was having fun with Syd. He enjoys risk, so the fact that she was married wasn't a problem. He's moving past the fun part and wants her to make a choice. She's no longer in love with her husband but she definitely likes the lifestyle and does not want to give it up.

    Duff. Yes. He was making a statement. Jimmy knew he probably couldn't buy the date, and although it annoyed him, it's a PR stunt, not a real date, so he wasn't that concerned. Putting freaking Duff into the picture will make several people concerned, including Rayne's father.

    Thank you about the shots. I got very tired of dealing with them at the end. It was frustrating and difficult to come up with something different when people are just talking and it's all on the same set.

    Thank you so much from both of us.

  9. Holley: thank you. Rob didn't plan on the relationship with Sydney becoming as important to him as it eventually did. He isn't the only man she's been involved with outside her marriage. He should have known she wouldn't leave her husband, but people fall in love where they shouldn't.

    Rayne's a pretty strong and prickly character, plus she knows how to defend herself. Duff's not getting what he thinks he's getting. She could kick his butt if she felt like it. However, she's very young, and Duff is not like any man she's ever met before.

    Thank you from both of us. We really appreciate the time you took to read and to leave us a comment!

  10. I know Beth has responded to comments but I wanted to add a few as well.

    General comment about Duff: It isn't about the money. It's about the girl. I doubt he cares how much he spends or if he even has some expectation attached to it beyond getting her on a date. Not sure he even cares what Rayne's date package includes; he will most likely improvise. He wanted a guarantee that he got her and he just outbid the room. I'm sure he stunned the room into silence anyway.

    Beth and Cooper and the baby: It is a tremendous relief to Beth that Gemma's baby is not Coop's. It is a small but significant step in the right direction and opens the door a slight crack. They still have more to overcome but now at least, one hurdle has been jumped.

    Rob and Syd and Charlie: There is a story behind that triangle so I won't say much except that Rob has reached his limit with Charlie showing up and his "display of affection" toward his wife. Rob knows their history. He also knows he deserves more and can get it. The problem is that he loves who he loves.

    Thanking everyone for continuing to support our story.

  11. Can I just say how much I love the classy vibe your game and your screenshots exude? I love it! You really know how to portray the kind of circles they're in. I really love the shot where Cooper gives Rob that glare.

    Even if there was no love between them, Alex must have known Beth wasn't into him as much as he was into her. And Rob and Sydney, well... whatever his original intent was when he started seeing her, some things just happen out of anyone's control.

    And uh-oh, that might become a rather... awkward... date. Hope Rayne will be okay.

  12. Woohoo, I love my intuitions... Go Blade!!!
    Hmm, that's gonna be an interesting date by far...

    @#$#**! ---> Beth (and ps, You can't buy a date with him with his OWN money)
    Still love you Coop!

    Rayne's pictures turned out beautiful, Love the lighting.

    LOL Jimmy's reaction! Priceless!!

    I'm loving this more and more!

  13. Yuxi thank you so much from both of us for stopping by and leaving a comment! The classy vibe is all Beth. She makes the words come to life in her screen shots and decor doesn't she? Not to mention where some of that CC comes from (ahem) :D

    There are a lot of complicated relationships and ulterior motives here. And you are right about Rob and Syd...we love who we love. There is a long history with Rob and Syd. She knows him. There is love there. But Syd is spoiled by her lifestyle, a life that goes beyond money. There is status, social circles, and her ego of course.

    As for Rayne's date...yeah...awkward.

  14. Aw man, I made A boo-boo.

    Not Blade!! I meant Duff obviously!!

  15. Yuxi, I want to add my thanks. Your work is lovely, so the compliment is really appreciated. And thank you so much for making such beautiful CC - the outfit Rob is wearing suits him perfectly!

  16. LOL Jean-Marie! That would be kind of strange, if she were to buy a date with Coop with his money. He's uncomfortable with the idea of her bidding on him, and there's Alex expecting she's going to bid on him, so she's in kind of a bad place.

    Duff fully intended to get his time with Rayne. He wasn't interested in hanging around playing the bidding game, just knock the ball out of the park and be done with it. Yes it will be an interesting date.

    Thank you from both of us.

  17. Jean-Marie I confuse those boys myself! It will definitely be an interesting date...

    That is too funny about Cooper's money but I suspect he would gladly approve if she spent it on him. ;)

    Thanks so much from both of us.

  18. Oh geeeeez, Duff!! >_< I'm a little concerned for that date, but I'll see where you two take us. It'd be so hilarious if someone came in at $50 001. But I know Duff really wanted to secure his chance. Wow.

    Jimmy looks really good in that pic. I love the lighting and the expression. I don't know if he and Rayne will last, but I'm still a fan of him.

    All your pics are amazing though! I don't know what else to say... everytime I follow up on this story, I just get absorbed.

  19. oh god Mela, that would have been hysterical! I'll take your $50K and raise you a penny...

    Not likely. Duff set the bar too high for anyone except Rayne's own father.

    I really like Jimmy, too. They're both very young, so it might not last, but they're also pretty devoted to each other.

    Thanks so much on the pics! I had to redo some of them several times, and I should redo others. I built the set with as many interesting angles and elevations as I could so I could use them to help with the shots.

    Thanks from both of us!

  20. Wow, I'm with everyone else - $50,000!!! It looks like Duff definitely wanted to make a splash too, you know? He bid over $30,000 over the last bid, so he must have known that would make some heads turn.

    But Lord...yeah, I'm a bit nervous for Rayne. Duff is very unsettling. But I wonder if Cooper is unsettled by him himself and will outbid him? I can't wait to find out.

    I'm not sure what to think about Rob. Sydney's married and he obviously knew that going in but I can't help but feel for the guy anyway. :\

  21. Carla, he certainly silenced the room. Nobody but Cooper would be challenging that bid. Coop would be unsettled if he knew, but I doubt he'd be hanging around watching the action. Off in the private bar avoiding all them more likely. When he finds out about it, he will not be happy. Duff has an unappetizing reputation.

    Rob knew, you're right. They both got emotionally involved in something that wasn't supposed to be serious. He doesn't have any options at this point except to suffer being made to look like a fool or to walk. He walked.

    Thank you, from both of us. It means a lot to us that you keep reading this!

  22. Ooooh... Duff versus Rayne on a date. Now that is one match I can't wait to see.

    The thing with Rob and Sydney is SO fascinating. I love that we see more of him here too. That need to control, to keep things together that are somewhat out of his control, like Alex. It says a lot that he let that go to talk to Syd, even to tell her to shove it and walk away.

    Plus Sydney with Charlie. Interesting that she acquiesced to him when she doesn't seem to do that with anyone.

    Beautiful shots. Wonderful update. I can't wait for the next one.

  23. ~ Rob is trying so hard to hold everything & everyone together,when his personal life is crumbling down around him!
    ~ I think Duff,is making sure no-one else bids above him!
    ~ The scenery turned out well,& as always the writing is amazing, I can not wait to see who bids on Cooper!And why did Beth leave!?
    ~ Thank you both for sharing,I thoroughly enjoyed it!(",)

  24. Lunar, that date is going to be interesting. Duff is definitely a match for her, but Rayne doesn't have a submissive bone in her body so it will be fun to work with!

    Rob. I keep going back to his character mosaic. He is both controlled and controlling. Alex drives him crazy. He can understand Shooter; he can even understand and deal with Duff, but Alex's chaotic approach to life and his profession keeps him in a constant state of slow simmer. Getting involved with Syd eventually put him in a situation he could not control, not emotionally or physically. It was, in hindsight, a stupid thing for him to do.

    Syd is hanging onto what she wants most, and Charlie provides that.

    Thank you so much on the shots. Some of them are overprocessed. I was working in poor light and didn't see it until I was finished, and I didn't feel like working on them anymore LOL!

  25. Karima, it's so nice to hear from you again!

    Rob is trying. That's what he does, try to hold everything together. He underestimated his own attachment to Syd and what that would cost, so he's struggling.

    That is exactly what Duff is doing. Cutting through all the bidding BS and simply planting his flag.

    From Rob's perspective, Beth left. She may not have left. He's got too much going on at the same time to pay attention to exactly what she did or where she went.

    Thank you so much from both of us!

  26. OMG OMG OMG YES! SUPER SUPER AWESOMENESS! I was hoping he would come out and take her! Oh this is too great! I love that man but poor Jimmy. He is going to be heartbroken if Duff woos her like he’s wooed me lol and I’m wooed trust me on that one :D I would so give that man a fifty thousand dollar date and then some. (Yes that is what I meant)

    Poor Rob I really feel heartache for that man. So loving and compassionate, he really does no deserve what Syd is putting him through. The man has layers and I love that. He is not only concerned about her well-being but he really wants it to work out. Now I questioned before why she was married to Charlie because they both seem to have their own agendas, but the fact that she is obviously in lust(?) at least with Rob should be enough for her to realize what she is doing to that man. I really hope he can get out from under her and find a woman more deserving of his love and attention. He seems so wrapped up in everyone else’s lives because he has to be that his is just being turned to crap by a woman refusing to choose one way or the other. I’m just going to hold out hope that this last little talk was him coming to the decision for them once and for all, but I guess only time will tell that.

    Cooper, I’m happy he told his wife the results of the DNA test I just wish he’d done it under a little better circumstance. Being in public and at this auction may not have been the best choice to have that conversation, though I do suppose it is rare he sees her any place else since she’s being a major…sorry I’m agitated by her right now. I can only imagine how she took that news consider it was one of the reasons she was in Blade’s bed the previous night. I hope she feels guilty for her actions. This man is doing everything he can to get her back while she is trying to distance herself from the marriage without the actual word divorce.

    Blade is annoying me too. I wish he would just back off and stop trying to screw over Coop. I can’t even believe he wants Beth more than just to say “haha” in Coopers’ face. He doesn’t seem like the gentle and loving type that any man would want…except Danica. That seems to be the only person that was completely in love with him and still is. I feel really sorry for her because he is a seriously mental person always plotting and scheming for his next lay and I’d hate to see her heart break any more because of that piece of scum.
    I was kind of hoping there was maybe a small hint as to who fathered Gemma’s kid. But I guess you can’t give us everything in one shot. Duff was plenty to tide me over…no I will not stop mentioning him. I can hear his seductive European accent and that kink…yep I was done. What was I talking about…oh right Gemma; HA that’s what you get! You thought you had him right where you wanted! YOU WERE WRONG! And I just know she’s going to make waves. Women who scheme to become pregnant to better themselves NEVER just let it go! I can see Coop is in for a long road unfortunately even if it’s not his kid!

    I am absolutely 100% in love with this story. PLEASE don’t take down the others before I read them because I will hunt you down! I swear it! THIS IS NOT THE FACE OF SOMEONE THAT IS KIDDING! :( You two have weaved such a dynamic and wonderful story! I was sucked in immediately I just need to learn the histories (don’t you dare say it!) by reading :) I can’t wait to see where this story leads! Everyone’s life is so tangled and wow! I’m blown away MORE PLEASE!

    I cannot wait for the next update and more mmmDuffmmm!

  27. Daijahv, you are crazy LMAO!!! Good crazy though!

    Of course Duff stepped up and blew everybody away. He'd been planning on doing it. I think we can guarantee that Duff will pull out all the stops to get what he wants, and he's good. He's patient and he's charming, and he's obsessed. Jimmy will definitely be heartbroken. And worse.

    Rob is one of the most complex and hard to know characters we ever encountered (and I use that word deliberately). Building his mosaic was eye opening. He holds people at a distance,but he's also very caring and capable of monogamous love. I don't think Syd really did understand what was happening to him.

    You're right, Cooper took the opportunity to tell Beth about the baby because it was the only in-person opportunity he had so far, and it had to be done in person. It does make a difference. Does she feel guilty? No. Not about Alex. Should she? Well, she should probably have done something official, like file for divorce, before going to bed with the man, but that's typical Beth. Put it off until something happens that makes the choice unavoidable. She loves Cooper so she's dithering.

    Blade wants all of it, to annoy Cooper and to find whatever it is he's looking for. He married four women. He's searching for something more than a lay. He's not in love with Beth, but he likes her, and he likes her enough to quit the trysts with Dani. He's not a deep thinker (FOUR marriages...). In this case, if Beth had fallen in love with him, he would come off as a total asshole, but she hasn't. Dani truly did (and probably still does) love him.

    Gemma. If you haven't read that part and you intend to, I won't give it away, but let's just say that the fault is shared. She came onto Coop but pregnancy wasn't top on her list of consequences.

    We won't take down the old stuff. We're trying to sort of shove it under a rock, but it's still there LOL!

    I wish I could tell you how much your comments mean. This has been a difficult time for both Gayl and me, and it is absolutely wonderful to receive that kind of feedback!!! Thank you, from both of us.

  28. Squee** I can barely contain my excitement! Whoa, I really really enjoyed this!

    Looks like the ball in finally in Beth's court, what will her next move be? I wonder if she is willing to let bygones be bygones...

    Poor Rob, that last shot of him really says is all. My heart is breaking for him.

    Wow, again, the bidding, &50,000! Amazing, can't wait to see where this is going! Amazing & beautifully done, Loved it!

  29. Ohh, I agree with the commenter above, Daijahv. Please don't take down the older pieces yet, I'm slowly but surely catching up every chance I get as well. =) Thanks ladies!

  30. Lucid, thank you!

    Duff did what he wanted to do. Get the date with the girl. 50K seemed a large enough sum to prevent anybody else from getting in his way. He has the money, it wasn't a problem.

    Rob is really struggling. He didn't expect Duff to show up and add to his growing list of problems, and he's hurting.

    Beth is very unlikely to let bygones be bygones, not at this point. Her marriage had unraveled, disintegrated into a fight in a parking lot between her husband and Ryan, and she truly believes Cooper can't get past her infidelity and that getting back together would result in the same thing again. Mistrust and suspicion and unhappiness. Running off and doing Gemma and failing to mention it when the big breakup went down still stings, too.

    Thank you so much from both of us!!

    LOL and ok, we won't take them down. Kind of cringe when people read them, but they are still there.

  31. Oh wow! How did I miss this? I knew I was late to read the latest with Wyatt, but I didn't even know this one was out! What a pleasant surprise!

    I'm surprised that Rob gave Sydney an ultimatum--totally wasn't expecting that at all! Though I guess I should have, because for someone like him, it had to nag at him that he was utterly out of control of that situation.

    I wonder what Beth is up to? It was like she figured something out, all of a sudden.

    Oh, I was totally waiting for Duff to bid. He didn't even want to play, or try to get a bargain LOL. But Rob had to know that was coming (doesn't he know about his obsession? Maybe he doesn't and I just assumed he did). Poor Rob. No one is going to cooperate or behave, and he really needs them to do that right now.

    Wonderful, exciting chapter! And a complete treat for me since I didn't even know it was in existence yet!

  32. No worries Rachel! Glad it was a pleasant surprise though!

    Rob and Syd's relationship went somewhere that neither anticipated. He loves her and he does not want to share her anymore. He wants her to step up and make a choice. Sadly the choice isn't between Rob and Charlie, it is between Rob and a lifestyle.

    Cannot comment on Beth's aha moment but you will see it soon.

    It was very early on in this particular story arc that we stated that Duff had other plans the night of the auction. No one expected him there, least of all Rob, or he would have known what Duff was up to.

    So glad you enjoyed and thank you from both of us!

  33. Eeeek. 50K? And brrrr, was that a shiver that just went through me?

    Beautiful shots as well, you really caught the atmosphere, your lighting is exquisite.

  34. Rad, thank you. The man wants what the man wants.

    The lighting is so problematic for me with the lighting mod, not that I dislike it, far from it, but I'm in the low end of the learning curve. I am constantly tweaking lights and positions, so thank you!!

  35. OMG, I am so loving these POV's, Rob is great. 'lovely but annoying wife, nothing but eyes and nose and mouth painted on a skin mask.' Perfect.

    Lots of emotion, either simmering under the surface, or raw and exposed, great accompanying close ups to punch that point home.

    Duff, lord. This should be interesting, wonder if he will bring the school girl outfit for Rayne to wear?

    And anti climatic, the baby is not Cooper's. Good. Will it be enough to heal the rift, not sure.

    And I am caught up! Cheers to you both for another great update~

  36. Thank you, Karen.

    We deliberately put the Cooper baby news in there as a side issue since we're trying to focus on the other characters instead of him and his marriage. Rob is great fun to write, and so is Duff. LOL I think the schoolgirl outfit will stay in the closet for a while! He definitely has plans for her, though.

    Thanks so much!!

  37. First of all, I'm quite envious of Rayne's legs. They seem like they go on forever. Sadly, my legs are stubby dumplings that's not nearly that lengthy.

    I'm glad Rob stood up for himself though. It's hard to be so brave and wanting something better for yourself. It seems like he's a bit addicted to her but I guess it's even easier to be so when the sex seems to add to the addiction.

    50 thousand? Wowzers! Clearly someone is a baller and wants that fantasy to come true.

    Forgive me for not responding sooner. I've been terribly off track with everything, even things that are giving me pleasure like reading.

  38. Choco, thank you from both of us. We struggle to keep a lot of things going, too, so please don't apologize for being late. There's no such thing.

    Rayne definitely has some long legs LOL! Her father is tall; she's a little taller than average.

    Rob found what he thought he wanted and needed with Sydney. Unfortunately, she isn't willing to give up what she has to be with him exclusively. The sex was part of it, certainly, but only one part.

    Duff is pretty determined to get what he wants!

    Thank you from both of us for taking the time to read and the extra time to leave us feedback. We really appreciate it.

  39. I liked seeing these different sides of Rob, I totally cracked up at the eavesdropping and then to have him miss what was said, ha ha! And I can't wait to hear either, by the way!

    Poor Jimmy. That is all I can say, this was kind of a small wake up call for him. Needless to say Duff is going to stir up something major!

  40. We would love to explore the men of Flight a bit more when we can. There is so much more to them and Rob's past, the thief in him, is never far away. It was funny that he missed the conversation though! Ha!

    Jimmy does not belong in this world but he does love Rayne and is good for her. Duff...he will stir a great many things...

    Thanks so much Em!