Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Studio Time: Fifteen

Cooper wove his way through the chaos and moved toward Sydney, who appeared to be losing control of everything. It was an uncharacteristic sight. Her assistants were running around after people, giving orders to hotel employees, and throwing tentative looks at Syd as though she would snap their heads off if they didn’t keep things contained.

It was a blessing in disguise for Cooper. He hadn’t wanted to be here in the first place; Hugs got her ballerinas or something like ballerinas, he'd done that much for her. He wanted to get the hell out of here. Gracefully get the hell out of here. No power, that was a perfect reason to split. With Hugs trailing behind, Cooper walked over to Syd and stood between her and her way out, blocking her, if that was possible.

"Look, I apologize, but I think I'm going to have to bail out on you. My daughter is frightened, I want to get her out of here."

Sydney glanced down at Hugs and then fixed that typical patronizing smile on her face as she shifted her attention back to him. "Cooper, I'm moving the stage indoors, there will be a slight delay, but I'd prefer that you honor your commitment. I have some unexpected problems - "

Thunder rattled the roof: a long and very close strike, rain pounding down and he was long past giving her an excuse to leave. Hugs had climbed up on a chair and curled up there hanging onto her toy, startling with every blast of thunder. He cut her off. “That’s not going to work for me. I said I’m leaving. I'll write you a check."

"That isn't the...I won't be able to put together the same kind of audience again if you walk off. Can't she sit in the corner for half an hour? My assistant can entertain her."

Cooper bit back the words he wanted to throw at Syd, could she sit in a corner, no fucking way, tried not to lose his composure in front of Hugs. That would frighten her even more. His mouth stiff, he pointed out the obvious. “Your audience is already leaving, Sydney. I doubt they would care.”

The door crashed open, swung hard against the wall by the little boy who kicked it before running off into the dark, airless and crowded room. Right behind him, but making no attempt to capture him, was his mother. Camilla looked at Sydney and pushed into the middle and scanned them, a search and destroy move he knew usually preceded one of her incomprehensible linguistic attacks. You couldn’t escape. No one could escape. He couldn't breathe in this place, wanted out, wanted to call Beth and ask why she'd done what she'd done, wondered uneasily what Camilla was about to do, while the light flickered and the heat broke sweat under his arms.

He didn't have to wait long.

"Oh for heavens sake Sydney you know I could hear you all the way across the whole place let's just bid on him right now see here's a person and sweetie grab that other lady over there hi yes stand right here you like Cooper don't you? Coop, smile or something. Ok, we're bidding Heydon said I could spend up to $75 thousand if someone odd bid on Coop so that's my bid even though nobody odd actually bid on him. You girls are NOT bidding, do not do that. Nobody else bids. It's all done and we can go home because it is really hot and I'm not wearing waterproof mascara."

Hugs stared at her, peeping up over the bunny. Syd stared at her. The women she'd grabbed stared at her, until one of them started flirting with him. Cooper found his voice. "Uh, thanks, Cam."

"You're welcome." Camilla glanced down at Hugs and smiled. "You're getting so big and you are so cute. Fortunately you look like your father. Cooper you have to do something with her hair though and I am getting out of here thank you ladies and you, I like your dress it is an inspiring dress. Bye bye.”

“Jay!” Camilla surveyed the room, looking irritable and impatient. “I’m leaving and you will walk all the way back in the dark all by yourself and fall off that cliff if you don’t come here right this -- oh there you are and put that down that’s alcoholic."

Done with this, Cooper picked up Hugs and carried her through the courtyard, empty and rain driven and dark, his little girl clinging to his neck and the damned stuffed toy bumping his back. The car he'd ordered was late, the driver claiming the lights were out, traffic backed up, all the usual crap when one of these storms slammed through.

He moved up against the minimal shelter of the wall near the street and put her down. It was going to be a long drive back, and he was pierced through, long aching pain, wishing he could simply take her and go home. This was a piece of shit, all of it, sitting out here in the rain with nothing he wanted and his little girl was scared. "Don’t worry, baby girl. The car will be here any minute now."

Hugs looked up at him, solemn and quiet and intent. "Daddy, I didn't give Mommy the note."

He was trying to shield her against the rain, watching the street, not listening. "What note, sweetheart?"

The car pulled up to the curb throwing a spray of dirty water into the air, settling, idling, lights on. Relieved, Cooper looked back at her, his attention still elsewhere, should he try to go all the way back up into the front range, should he try to book a suite in a hotel, was the power down throughout the city. “We have to go, you can tell me later.”

"No, I have to tell you now.” She pulled back, pulling hard on his hand, face turned up in the dark and driving rain and the bunny dumped in a puddle behind her. The driver honked the horn. Someone came out of the main lobby and flashed a camera at them, he tried to move between the camera and his daughter while she still resisted and in the strongest voice he had ever heard her use, pleaded with him. “Daddy! It’s the one with the music on it. It got wet when Bunny fell in the fountain and it got all messy and it's under my bed. I’m sorry. Is that why you don't come home?"


  1. Looks like there's another interesting date on the horizon...

    Poor Hugs :( She's such a little sweetheart. It's so sad that kids always seem to blame themselves for their parents' problems.

    Camilla. I never know what to think about her but she certainly does stir the pot. Her son is quite the scamp, isn't he? I imagine he'll make for some interesting arcs when he's a little older.

    Great work, as always. I know you've been having game trouble lately, but you wouldn't know it from the shots. Absolutely stunning.

  2. Van, thank you. I got so frustrated with the game crashes, I had to force myself through this one. There are shots I wanted to take and couldn't, and some I wish I could retake, but it's just not worth the struggle.

    Children do blame themselves. It's confusing and frightening. Hugs is a gentle and empathetic child and she's pulling some of this incomprehensible mess down on her own head.

    Camilla is a drama queen. Sometimes that turns out for the best and other times it's an obnoxious disaster. I can't imagine how a date with Cooper would work. Her SO will probably come along (at Coop's insistence). She drives him crazy and he will not want to be forced to deal with her by himself.

    Thank you for all your support. Gayl and I appreciate it so much.

  3. Ok First:

    "It's all done and we can go home because it is really hot and I'm not wearing waterproof mascara."


    “I’m leaving and you will walk all the way back in the dark all by yourself and fall off that cliff if you don’t come here right this -- oh there you are and put that down that’s alcoholic."


    Camilla had me rolling! HAHAHAHAHA the lady is nuts and I love her!

    I was hoping Cooper would be able to get out of there without getting bid on but I'm glad that if anything it was a friend to do it!

    I am beyond THRILLED to see that ice lady burn! :) Syd needed to get a bite of reality and I just hope that pain keeps going! (I love her and all but...y'know?)

    I felt so horrible hearing poor Hugs explain that she didn't do what Daddy wanted :( she seems so sad and lost because of the fact that her parents are split! I knew eventually those happy smiles had to wear thin on her pretty little face. I just hope he and Beth can come to some amicable agreement for her sake!

    Great update! Aching for more

    P.S. Tell Duff I said hello :D (thought I wouldn't mention him? Pfft! What kind of lovesick psycho you take me for?)

  4. OMG What Dai said! I was hoping Cooper would get out without someone bidding on him too.

    Camilla! Where would we be without her comedy? I swear it took everything in me not to cry laughing especially when she was talking to Jay! Boy is he going to be trouble!

    Hugs us so cute! Of all his kids I see more of a connection between Hugs and Cooper and through everything I see her sticking by his side sort of like Rayne does at times.

    It's painful that she blames herself! Hopefully he and Beth will work things out and he can go home.

    God those shots were beautiful! Everything! The writing makes it all seem so real! Hearing thunder rumble and rattle the roof, hearing hard heavy drops of rain crash into everything! I could even hear alarms going off from the lights being down! Marvelous!! Absolutely Beautiful!

  5. Hey Daijahv!

    I adore Camilla. When I get really stuck, I can usually count on her to help me out, but she totally takes over LOL! It made sense that she would be there just in case Coop got in a bind.

    Hugs is struggling. She doesn't understand what's going on and the storm frightened her. The last thing she wants is to lose either of her parents, and she really needs her daddy.

    Yeah, Syd got steamrolled by Camilla. Nobody can really stand up to Cam: she just marches right on over them.

    THANK YOU!!!

    Oh...and Duff and Rayne are coming up next. That's one reason I've been spending so much time on Rayne's house...

  6. EEK!!! Can't wait!!!!!

    In English: HURRY UP!


  7. Qui!! Thank you!! You know the writing is always hard for me. Gayl wrote most of this so all I had to do was plug in a little description. That's a fabulous compliment for both of us!

    Cammie is a scream, and that boy is a terror. He's got a lot of Gabe in him. I'm interested to see how he gets along with Hugs when they're teenagers.

    Hugs is very attached to Cooper, and now that he's not living with her and her mother, she's clinging to him even more tightly.

    Thank you SO much on the shots! I didn't know what to do, how to take something that would work. I'm so glad you like them!

  8. LMAO Dai!! We've already got it written...I just need to do the sets and take the shots.

  9. I love it when it rains in South Beach; the most interesting and and strange things start to happen.

    Classic, CLASSIC Camilla. It's always all about her and I'm sure Jay will be no exception to that trait in some ways in the future. She's fabulous as ever and I love it.

    Poor little Hugs. I about cried when she told her father about the note. She's really internalized this mess her parents are in as her fault. And how interesting that Beth still didn't bid on Alex even though she never saw the note, but then I'm sure the fact that Gemma's baby wasn't Coop's had a lot to do with that turnabout.

    And Camilla bidding on Cooper....that will be one hell of a date if it happens. Like a car crash in slow motion; you just can't look away.

  10. Oh Hugs. That was so heartbreaking. What a sweet little girl. I know Cooper won't take out his anger on her or anything like that but I wonder what he will say or think when he's able to give her his full attention. This makes me wonder just what's going to happen when she gets older and has a relationship of her own. I wonder if she'll internalize the problems as her fault too.

    I wonder how this faux pas will be gossiped about now that Sydney's plans are all but washed out (no pun intended). It's nice to see her act like a human being who isn't in control of every tiny fragment. Things really do seem to be falling down around her - Rob, her husband's appearance, the charity bidding, the weather. She's always seemed so calculating.

    Camilla is quite the character. Maybe she should have been part of Sydney's staff for the bidding. She really took control there.

    Great job on everything!

  11. Muze, I can't even imagine what Coop would do with Camilla on a date! Hide in the men's room, probably. She's going to want to go, though.

    And yes, it was classic Camilla LOL! It is always ALWAYS about Camilla. And Jay is a lot like her: high energy and oblivious to any damage he leaves in his wake.

    Even if the baby had been his, I'm not sure Beth would have bid on Alex. She's still in love with Cooper, and seeing him was a difficult moment. She doesn't believe the marriage worked or will work but she stepped back from publicly slapping him.

    Hugs breaks my heart, too. Unlike Jay, she is very vulnerable.

    Thank you so much, and I hope you are doing well!

  12. Hi Choco!

    I wonder about Hugs, too. She's very sweet, very conscientious, a solemn little thing. No, Cooper won't take it out on her but he needs to sit down with her and try to make her realize that when she makes a mistake, she shouldn't hide it from him. Or, what's worse, carry any blame at all for adult problems. He's trying to focus on her but he's distracted so that may not happen.

    Syd's event was a catastrophe, but it was an interesting catastrophe. She may not like the kind of publicity she gets. LOL I cannot imagine Camilla working for her, that would last all of one minute before Cam broke something! Camilla always tries to take control when she has an interest in the outcome, and she wanted to leave so she simply ran over everybody.

    Thank you from both of us. We really appreciate the time you take to read and support us!

  13. LOL! I have an instant liking of Camilla! All these great characters make me want to say screw the overview and go back and read the whole thing. I'll get to it one day...maybe when my youngest starts college in 14 years ;)

    Well, I liked seeing Sydney all flustered. She got away easy on this one.
    Hugs was so brave telling her Daddy about the note. i wonder what's going to happen now.
    I know I saw this EVERY SINGLE TIME, but O M G your pictures are awesome. Sometimes I wish i had the patience to do all that. The most I spend on pictures is for my Creation to Future and that is no where near the caliber of these. Just AWESOME!

  14. Oh thanks Holley! It takes me a long LONG time to set up the lots and to plan and take the shots, and then to fiddle with them afterwards. I wish I knew how to really use Photoshop, or that I had some artistic talent. I kind of muddle along. I just can't thank you enough for mentioning it, it is enormously gratifying! And your shots for Creation to the Future are really well done!

    Camilla is one of my favorites. She's never been a major character but she definitely lights up the room. Kind of like a bomb going off, but still...

    Hugs was brave. From her little point of view, if what she'd done was a terrible thing and could somehow be fixed and make everything all better, if it meant her daddy would come home, it was worth getting into trouble.

    THANK YOU!!!

  15. Haha, I loved Camilla in this, not giving anyone a break to even breathe!

    Hugs was way too adorable here! My heart broke for her, seriously. And I loved that pic of Cooper carrying her, the posing looks so natural.

    It will be really interesting seeing Beth's side of this entire night.

    The pics here are amazing. What struck me most to be honest was all the colours, and textures. It's beautiful.

  16. Awww Hugs just...breaks my heart. She's so adorable. I think she's my favorite, really.

    You just keep getting better and better. These pictures were to die for.

  17. Hey anon Mela! I was hoping you'd give me your opinion on the shots. I got very frustrated with some of them. The interaction between Cooper and Hugs was the easiest, maybe because it came more naturally to me and I had some emotion to work with.

    I love working with color and louvers and stuff like that. It hides a lot of flaws...

    Camilla can always be counted on to do something interesting. She motors right on over everyone!

    Hugs wrenches my heart. She's so little and all the drama is swirling around her. It's hard to know what a small child makes of a mess like that.

    We'll do Beth's take on it; I'm not sure exactly what it's going to be. We've got the Duff and Rayne date piece written but it's going to take me a while to do the sets and shots.

    Thank you!!!

  18. Christi, she breaks my heart too. She's a sweet little doll of a child.

    Wow thank you on the shots! I'm trying a couple of different things, sometimes overdoing them. You know how time consuming it is.

    Thank you from both of us for taking the time and read and leave a comment!!

  19. awwwwww Hugs almost made me cry :( Literally! She misses her daddy! I wonder if that would play a role in Coop and Beth getting back together. I really do love their relationship :) It makes me happy.

  20. This was beautiful. I love the images in this, especially the rain.

    Aw Hugs, I can just give her a hug.

    Could this be the start of the new start for Beth and Coop? Here's to hoping!
    I'm so glad he got out of being bidded on, with all those vultures circling him, for a second there I was nervous for him.

    I can't wait to see more of Rayne and Duff.

    Wonderully told, as always!

  21. Oh, Hugs. Such an appropriate nickname, seeing that's just about all I want to do with that kid whenever she appears.

    What's going on between her parents is so much bigger than a soggy note. :\ It's so sad but very realistic that Hugs would put some blame on herself. :(

    Wonderful chapter!

  22. whaaaaaat???

    Hey, that's not fair!! Who put Cam in charge for Coop's bid. Why just those two? Aargh!!

    Ooh lala, Syd can you spell downfall...

    I love the whole Coop - Hugs duo. Whenever I see them together I get a smile on my face. She's the only real innocence in this story.
    Something Coop's everyday life is NOT!!

    Well, I'd say this auction is finished. Time to go on a few dates huh *wink-wink*

    I enjoyed this update( of it at least...)

  23. Bri, yes she does miss her daddy. Her parents haven't considered their other children in making decisions, and, although I'm not a personal advocate of 'staying together for the kids', they obviously still care deeply for each other. So, maybe this time Hugs could make a difference.

    Thank you so much from both of us for reading and commenting!

  24. Thank you, Val! I wish I knew how to blur backgrounds a little bit while keeping the foreground in focus. I think the rain is a little too sharp or something. But thank you so much! It took me a long time to get these shots.

    Maybe Hugs will bring those two together, although she certainly can't solve their problems. I love her to pieces, too!

    We're pulling Duff and Rayne together. I'm gathering CC...

    Both of us really appreciate your support!

  25. Carla, from both of us...thank you.

    The sweetest children seem to try to shoulder most of the blame when something like this happens. Hugs doesn't understand anything about it, of course, but she didn't carry through on a task she took very seriously, and she's definitely anxious and feeling guilty.

    I'm so glad you think it worked!

    And thank you for that tip about 'Restore Family'. I'm going to abuse the hell out of that!

  26. Hey Jean-Marie!

    LOL nobody needs to put Cam in charge. She was born in charge. And if those two go out together, he's going to want company. Camilla isn't interested in Cooper but she'll talk his ear off if she doesn't have a distraction.

    Hugs is the innocence. She certainly is. Nothing else in Cooper's life approaches that little girl.

    We're working on the dates, and I'm looking forward to them. I get tired of working on the same lot, particularly when I'm confined to a single space. It won't be too much longer.

    It's such a pleasure to read your comments! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave them for us!

  27. Camilla, lol! And her little son too. "Put that down that's alcoholic." LOL! Oh man, he is going to be so fun to read about when he's older.

    But poor Hugs. Her last line broke my heart a bit. Aw! It was very brave of her to fess up though.

    Plus, it's always nice to see Cooper with Hugs. Because she's so young and so innocent, he obviously tries to shield her.

  28. Lunar, that little boy is going to be a monster. I didn't start out thinking that way but I've changed my mind!

    Cooper and Hugs are sweet together but it's kind of painful to write and watch. He is trying to protect her. It's going to be hard to do.

    Gayl and I both appreciate the time you took to read these and leave comments. I know you are really busy!!

  29. Beautiful pictures and beautiful storytelling, another enjoyable reading. Coop is so hot, and the pictures and text capture so well the person he is, poor little girl blaming is not easy to be a child and try and make sense of adult world and adults problems.

  30. Speechless, thank you so much!

    Cooper is indeed hot, and he's trying to take the best care of his little girl that he possibly can. You're right, it is not easy at all to be a small child and struggle to understand adult problems. She doesn't know what's going on, and she is starting to take on the burden of guilt and blame.

    From both of us, thank you again for taking the time to read and especially for letting us know what you think!

  31. Hi S.B. Lovely Chapter, Im from RWN and just wanted you to know that I just started reading you story, so I have to back track and start from the beginning. Im following you know so I'll get update and be able to keep up.

  32. Nicky, thank you from both of us! We love doing this so it's just wonderful when we can entertain others as well. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and to let us know what you think.

  33. Just want to throw in my thanks to everyone who reads and comments. And my apologies for the abruptness of the update. It was difficult for both of us to manage this one and we really just wanted to move on.

  34. I do get all squishy inside when Cooper goes into daddy mode, great shots in the rain with Huggles.

    Camilla is a stitch, breezes in like an Atlantic hurricane stirring things up, sucking everything into her vortex. Well, the bid for a date thing blew apart, poor Sydney. The storm going on outside fit this storyline perfectly, well done ladies!

  35. That last part with hugs almost had me in tears, so heartbreaking!
    I love seeing the daddy side of Cooper. He got all protective papa bear, aww -- loved that.

    Again, really loving the whole play with the rain in this. Really ties up all the emotions. Messy, raw, raging.

    OMGosh Cam is quite the character! What a wild woman. I really hope we will be seeing more of her! If anything else, for the comedic relief alone! LOL

    Amazing as always ladies!

  36. Thank you, Drew. Camilla is kind of a storm all on her own LOL!

    It's not difficult to get good shots of Coop with Hugs. They interact beautifully: he's always checking on her and she keeps watching him.

    Thank you from both of us!

  37. Lucid, thank you! Cooper is very protective, and with this little girl he's sticking close.

    Camilla had a larger role when Gabe was around but not so much any more. She'll continue to blow in and out once in a while. And yeah, she's a wild woman all right!

    We really appreciate the time you take to read this and to leave comments. Thank you again!

  38. I just had to stop by and leave a comment. This was a beautiful chapter, a little sad but I really enjoyed it.

    The last few scenes of Cooper and his daughter are almost breathtaking. The rain, the thunder storm, the angles you've taken the shots on, just wonderful.
    And that last shot; the look on his face and then the car pulls up. Love it!

  39. Jennifer, thank you! It is a little sad. Coop is trying to take care of his little girl while struggling with his own disappointment, discouraged and tired but there's no way he can quit, not when there's a child involved. She depends on him utterly.

    I was so out of inspiration and ideas with this one until I had the chance to work with Coop and Hugs. They revive me.

    Thank you, from both of us. It's increasingly difficult but the support keeps us going!

  40. Awww. Hugs for Hugs. She is just a doll. I really love seeing Coop with her, it's just so sweet.

    Moving on, excited I'm catching up! I have really missed your characters and I still marvel that you both share the creation of this, it is incredible to me how you pull it off every time.

  41. Emily she is a doll. She adores her father and the feeling is mutual. He is adores her right back. I think she really brings out the best in him, especially that desire to be there for her, to be a good dad.

    It has been nearly 5 years and while it can be difficult and frustrating, it is still a collaboration. We love the characters, the story, the possibilities. Thank you Emily. You've been here nearly since the beginning and we appreciate your support and friendship.

  42. Gosh that last comment sounded bad...I should point out that it is a labor of love for both of us, that we are like-minded after all this time with the story and we bounce ideas back and forth to keep it fresh or to move past road blocks.

  43. LOL! It didn't sound bad, I totally understood. I'm having my own experience with this is why I said that, my husband informed me he wanted me to help him bring a story in his mind to life and we've sat down and talked characters, plot, etc. and it is so foreign to me to do that and of course we disagree on a lot! I have never ever done any writing other than what started in my head so the fact you guys do so well speaks volumes to me, I hope one day we can agree enough to make a great story! :D

  44. I'm slowly but surely starting to catch up on my blogs, so that's why you're getting this comment out of nowhere!

    I love Camilla so much. She is so bold and she doesn't give a damn what anyone thinks. Sydney is going to be in a bad mood for weeks over the fact that while the auction did bring in a lot of money, it didn't go the way she wanted.

    Poor Hugs! What a little sweetie--she's scared and definitely ready to go home, and she just tries to be as quiet and cooperative as possible until she decides to confess to something she thinks she did wrong.

  45. Rachel! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and with all you have on your plate right now! We both appreciate it.

    Camilla is such a unique character and will inject a spark whenever she shows up. Syd will definitely be regretting the events that occurred at the auction for sure.

    Hugs is special, adorable and daddy's little girl. She doesn't understand what is going on with her mommy and daddy but somehow she thinks she 'broke it' by not doing what she was supposed to with the note. But if you think about it, she may have done her father a favor since now he can deliver the message in person!

    Thanks again!