Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Studio Time: Nineteen

South Beach: Bridge Street Diner, 8 PM

The door was locked and  Linnet was pretty sure, not positively one hundred percent sure she'd turned off the OPEN sign, but it didn't matter much because no one was allowed in and the door was definitely locked. It was a private party. She remembered to turn off the TV and the juke box and locked the back door to the dumpster.  And there he was, sitting there, in a booth she probably hadn't really cleaned all that thoroughly. And her sister was annoyed.

"You've known him since he was ten, quit staring at him." Jean always did that, reminded her of everything she should know but didn't. This time she could keep saying it. That was Cooper sitting there.

"You've known him since he was ten. I wasn't born yet when he was ten, remember? He's really hot isn't he?"

Her sister smiled. "He's really not interested. Here, give him his burger. Try not to drool on it; he'll notice and I don't want to have to cook another one."

He was leaning back in the booth, his attention focused somewhere about a foot above the woman's head, dark circles under his eyes and fine tension lines around his mouth. You're not having a good time, Linnet thought sympathetically. Poor bored unhappy smoking hot rock star.

"Here's your food, Cooper. Can I get you anything else?"

 He swung his gaze up at her, held it, and unexpectedly smiled. It was so cute; it was sexy and cute and it came with a quick wink as he sat up straighter. "Thanks. I'm good."

The woman with him flipped her hair off one shoulder and tapped long nails on the table. She was like an Aztec woman with those black straight cut bangs across the forehead and that long nose; all she needed was the huge gold necklace and the knife. Linnet imagined her standing on top of a stone pyramid with a knife in her hand and -- "You will remember to put the dressing on the side and no onions not one single onion. Or croutons I don't want any croutons you're going to remember that aren't you?"

Linnet shook off the really weird image. Although they didn't get many salad eaters, it wasn't an unusual request and she wasn't sure why it freaked her out so much. "Not a single one. I'll be right back with it."

Jean handed her the tray with the bowl of salad and the little jar of ranch dressing, which the woman probably wouldn't like, and gave her a warning glance. "Don't mess with her," she whispered. "I mean it. Do not do that. I'll explain who she is later."

She didn't need to explain. "Oh I won't, not me, not one mess, not a single one."  Linnet hesitated, adding dryly, "She's not going to need a knife with that salad, is she?"


"This date is not how it was described in the catalog because I remember very clearly that it was an evening at the White Dolphin. Who changed it and look at me I'm wearing the wrong clothes."

Cooper had spent a good ten minutes standing in the parking lot aiming a frozen grin at the charity photographers while Camilla offered her profile and her rack and somehow managed to keep her mouth shut until they walked in and sat down. The place was empty. Jean Carpenter suggested shutting it down for this particular event. He dropped by frequently, and usually attracted no attention, but he didn't want to deal with both Cam and curious fans so he'd gratefully accepted. He'd hoped he could get Camilla to stay relatively quiet for an hour...yeah, right.  Never going to happen.

"I changed it. You've been there anyway."

Cam leaned forward across the table. "That's not the point because I said I am wearing the wrong clothes and I know you heard me.  There's something I want to talk to you about and not only am I going to look like an idiot dressed like this but there's no privacy because it is a diner, Cooper. A diner."

Jean scraped the grill while Linnet moved the bar stools around, trying to stay close, and Cooper suppressed a smile. Jean wasn't impressed, but her little sister was hanging all over him.  He dragged his attention back to Camilla, wondering again how in hell Heydon put up with her. "I know what it is. Your image isn't my problem, and look around, it's just you and me.  I don't want to hear anything from you that could be considered private anyway. Eat your lettuce."

She ignored him, casting a glance at the younger of the two sisters who was perched on a bar stool watching them, then forging right on ahead. "You're not even dating are you? You're doing nothing but moping one big mope mope mope because that woman you married went off with Blade and I told you something like that would happen but no, you wouldn't listen and now look at you. You're worse than Tony at least he went back to what's her name the redhead and are you listening to me?  I mean, no one ever listens to me except Gabe, and he's probably dead, and Rafe but only when he thinks he has to. But Coop what are you doing?"

If he could leap right over the table at Cammie and throttle her, if he could find a fork and stab her, if he could find a way back, if he knew where she was tonight, if he could find her and tell her everything he'd always wanted to say, if he had an engine big enough to move the world, if he could get that damned woman to shut up, could anyone do that?

He slammed the can of soda across the table, a long slide against mustard and ketchup bang up against all of them, getting in her face, watching her watching him. This one time she was going to back off.

"Shut. The. Fuck. Up."


South Beach: Clock Tower - 10 PM

They'd gotten through an almost silent meal neither of them enjoyed, refusing the dessert, although Beth Stanfield ordered three extra large margaritas and downed them with a kind of grim precision.  The charity photographer got the obligatory shots, they smiled, they stopped smiling, and now they stood on the sidewalk avoiding each other.

"Well that was pleasant," she said, not veiling the sarcasm. "I need to call a cab."

Rob knew he should offer to drive her home.  He had spent the last two days trying to talk to Alex, who was morose;  trying to talk to Duff, who was unexpectedly and ominously obsessed with this damn woman's daughter; and trying not to think about Syd.  He couldn't find a way to blame Cooper's wife for Syd, but the parallels were there and the ache went deep, the long raw path was there.  It hurt and he was tired of stepping around her.  Not that he thought she was capable of responding, but Rob put it out there.  "I'm assuming your decision to bid for me was a statement of some sort."

She looked surprised.  She stood in the light and put a hand on her hip and looked at him.  She'd done something with her hair, she'd put it up, and it was a tell.  Maybe she was too old, maybe she didn't know what she wanted.  She was pretty good though.  She let him stand there and he could clock 60 seconds before she said anything. "I didn't appreciate being put in the middle."

Somebody parked a car behind him, slammed a door, it was cold for this time of year and Cooper Stanfield's bitch wife was telling him she didn't like being in the middle.

"Yet that's what you did to me."

A couple leaving the restaurant paused by the fountain, laughing and flirting, glancing at them.  The woman seemed to recognize him and grabbed her companion's arm and pointed.  Beth noticed and stepped closer before she whipped a retort back at him.  "Excuse me?  I purchased a charity date, the same as anyone else who was bidding on it. How have I put you in the middle?"

Either she was oblivious or she was stupid or she was malevolent, and Rob didn't believe she was stupid.  It was a stretch to consider her oblivious.  He crossed his arms, shivering and trying not to show it since she sure as hell wasn't giving him anything to work with.  Bitch, no way she didn't know what she was doing and he was tired and worn down.  "Lady, if you're not serious about Alex, leave him the hell alone.  Go back to Stanfield, or go back to your bodyguard, you do remember him. Or go home."

Rob heard them before he saw them, and there was no way to fail to know who they were.  Camilla and Cooper.  Cooper wasn't saying a damn thing, striding down the sidewalk maybe a foot or two ahead of her while she talked, and talked, and talked some more.  Once, years ago, he'd had a close encounter with Camilla; she wasn't stupid.  She was terrifyingly present and she brought that long and dark family right along with her and used it.

"You could have gone anywhere but that place and even that place would have worked if you had called even an hour maybe not an hour but two hours ahead of time and let me know are you trying to run away from me?"

Beth Stanfield paused in her outrage, turning, stumbling a little on her high heel, maybe those three drinks or maybe she was simply surprised to see Cooper.  Camilla looked at her and looked at Cooper and looked at Rob, eyes narrowing as if she suspected somebody had set this up and there would be hell to pay when she figured out who it was.  Why?  Why ask why, she was another incomprehensible woman.

Cooper grinned and strode forward, long shadow following him, the woman he should have dumped years ago smiling and waiting and looking up at him..  Neither of them said anything, standing under the streetlight and looking at each other until she finally said,  "Hi."

He may as well have been invisible.  Cooper ignored him.  He'd been there once, the woman who was the only damn thing you wanted and needed in the whole wide world.   Uncomfortable,  Rob walked down the sidewalk, giving them a little space before he looked back at them.

"Hi yourself.  Having a good time?"

"Not particularly."

"Want to go somewhere else?"

"Is it far?"

"Not if you know the way."

Rob saw him lace his fingers through hers, saw her return the clasp, a small and intimate and telling gesture, and that exchange must be some kind of code since they both continued to smile at each other although she dropped it pretty damned quick.  Not going to get into it tonight, Coop; but he was getting close.  Is that all it took?  A bad date, a few strong drinks, a couple of insults, Stanfield riding up on his white horse?

Maybe so.  He was burned out, past giving a shit, let Alex blow up let it all fall apart.  Cooper finally acknowledged him with a nod and a strange long stare Rob didn't understand; he didn't like to admit that the man intimidated him.  "I'll see you around."

"Sure.  Yeah.  Great."  And there was the fucking woman from hell descending upon him, fire in her eyes, smoke coming out of her nose.  Rob felt uneasily for his car keys.  "What about her?"

Cooper leaned toward him, and in a low voice said, "Run."


  1. Oooooh this was wonderful!!

    Great job ladies!

    I loved the diner. Wow, the colors, the poses, the angles of the shots, and not just of the diner but of the clock tower dining area too.
    Do you edit your shots in PS or something before uploading them? Whatever you do they look great.

    The little chit-chat between Jean and Linnet was cute. And then poor Cooper sitting there looking all miserable. lol I think he was feeling sorry for himself.

    Great scene locations too. I have to admit I got all excited when Cooper walked up to Beth. lol The little telepathy thing they had going on was, awwww, so sweet and sexy!

    But I totally got goosebumps when Cooper told Rob to run. Yikes. He's obviously pissed, lol!

    Oh and I love Beth's do too! Looks lovely! :)

  2. Thank you, Jennifer.

    Coop was definitely feeling very sorry for himself. He can only deal with so much Camilla, and when she starts in on him about what he should do and what he shouldn't do, his temper wears thin pretty quick.

    We tried several different updo's before Gayl located this one. I wanted something a little elegant that would show off the bare back dress. And yes, those two are very sweet together (when they're not fighting LOL).

    Those diner shots were hard to get. I built the other set a long time ago. It's a lot easier to work with!

    I don't do much editing. I'm a clutz with Photoshop. I try to use light and shadow, lightening and darkening some small spaces, but I've moved away from too much processing. I tend to overdo it. If I use a lot of ingame lighting, different colors, the effect works pretty well. Thank you so much!

  3. Coooooop!
    Haha, what did Cam expect? Him to actually be as charming as possible because it's a date? Come on Cam, do you know him at all?

    He snapped! Loved Linnet's reaction. Priceless look on BOTH their faces! That picture says so much...

    The diner is gorgeous! Jean? Really? You had to go there? Why didn't you give it to the other one. We're both fawning over him LOL

    Hmm, a biting contest between Beth and Rob. Right to the point about Alex huh.
    Beautiful moment between Coop and Beth (though I'm not a fan of her... obviously)

    ROFL! "Run"
    Yup, Cam has that affect, even more when you tell her to shut the fuck up. I'm still laughing!

    Refreshing update girls!
    Me Likey!

  4. LOL Jean-Marie! I renamed those two several times and wondered if it was going to be a problem using that name. Jean Harlow was actually Jean Harlow Carpenter, and this woman is really pretty, so I went with it. The other girl is way too young for Coop anyway!

    Cammie pushed Coop too hard. He might have held back if the diner was full of customers, or maybe not. He doesn't do charming with her, that's for sure.

    Rob's had it with the other woman so he hit her hard. Like Camilla, though, Beth Stanfield isn't particularly thin skinned.

    I had to do that moment. We're leading up to some pretty big events and it had to happen.

    Thank you SO MUCH!!

  5. I agree...
    What better way to make a "tribute" (sort of) to a beautiful woman as Jean H. Carpenter, than making a gorgeous Sim and giving her the name.

    Forgot to mention:
    I kinda felt a sharp pang going through Beth when Rob hit her with his straight to the point comment 'bout Alex. Especially the part where he mentioned both Cooper and Ryan in the same sentence.
    I don't like Beth, but even I thought it a bit harsh!

  6. Jean-Marie, she deserved the hit about Ryan, and you're right, that blow landed. Coop may forgive her (he kind of has to since he's done the same thing), but nobody is going to forget about it.

    Rob is not in a good place, and he's not kind. He can be wicked cold.

  7. I love this, just every bit of it. That diner is fabulous, very modern retro cool. And the owners are very interesting as well. Would love to now more about them, who they are, what they've seen.

    I think dates from hell would be a gross understatement for Coop/Cam & Beth/Rob, even though Camilla will always make keep things interesting. I love it when she comes around, nothing but attitude 100%.

    Loved the downtown set too. Lots of color and energy, very inspiring. And I loved seeing Beth and Coop in the same space again. Happiness to see each other was outweighing all the mess between them in this encounter. A promising and very necessary sight (for me at least).

    And poor Rob he is always the guy left holding the bag. And yes, Cooper is right, he definitely should RUN from Camilla.

    Very beautiful, and very fun. Wonderful update.

  8. Muzegoddess, thank you from both of us! We had fun planning this out, working out how it should happen and where. We'll be using the diner owners again: I like them both a lot.

    That diner was so hard to work with. I was pulling chairs in and out, using all kinds of tricks and everything I could think of to get them where I wanted. The feedback I got when I was building it was really invaluable (thank you again Jean-Marie!). And I love that downtown set. It's very flexible with a lot of interesting elevations and corners.

    Yeah, definitely the dates from hell. Rob/Beth wouldn't normally have been so tense, but she's messing with his life in a way he really does not like. Cooper and Beth both light up when they see each other. It was a moment we had to include.

    From both of us, we really appreciate your constant support. Thank you...

  9. First:
    And there was the fucking woman from hell descending upon him, fire in her eyes, smoke coming out of her nose. Rob felt uneasily for his car keys. "What about her?"

    Cooper leaned toward him, and in a low voice said, "Run."

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA no shit! That's the best advice EVER! HAHAHAHA Poor Coop getting stuck on that date. I mean it was nice for her to purchase and save him but he was in NO way safe! But Camilla ALWAYS makes me laugh! The woman is a nut haha Surprised me how Coop snapped...no it didn't but I cheered because he said what I was thinking.

    Rob, sweet, loving, smexy -- I LOVE how he flat out told Beth to make her decision and stop riding the rails on these men! Someone needed to and he's right she HAS to know what she's doing! Now hopefully they can speak to one another and get things said and worked through (a little -- fingers crossed)

    Great update I LOVE the sets! Gorgeous!

  10. Dai: yes LOL! Run fast. Coop would have held it together if the place had been crowded. Maybe. He's lost his temper in public before so maybe not. Cam is a freight train with one speed and no brakes. All you can do is get out of her way.

    Rob was right to give it to her the way he did. She doesn't entirely understand everything that's going on, doesn't consider herself in love with Alex and doesn't believe he's in love with her, so that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to her, but from Rob's perspective she's misbehaving and he's suffering because of it. And like Muze said, Rob is always the one left holding the bag and trying to figure out how to hold things together. He's a little bit resentful.

    I'm so glad you liked the sets! I didn't have to do much with the downtown lot since I've used it before, but that diner was hard to do.

    From both of us, THANK YOU! It's always so great to read your comments!

  11. Oh, this was priceless :)

    It's good to see Cooper and Beth getting along again. Who knows where it'll lead this time, but I think the horrible dates put some things into perspective for both of them.

    Wonder how Alex is going to take it when Rob recounts the events... :S

    Awesome work, as always :D

  12. Van, I don't think Rob will waste any time telling Alex, and I don't think Alex is going to be happy about it. Alex has similar issues to resolve, but he's refusing to look at them. He's trying to replace Dani. Nobody is going to replace her.

    There really is nothing like a horrible date to put things in perspective. Both of them walked away thankful that they didn't have to go home with the 'dates' LOL!

    Thank you from both of us. Your support has meant so much to us.

  13. Run...

    That was good.

    Alex is going to be hurt when he finds out Beth went with Coop.

    Those had to be two of the worst dates ever!

    Love the update!

  14. jazen, they were pretty bad! Cooper expected it; Beth did not. Rob's anger took her by surprise. Alex won't suffer all that much (he's not in love with her), but it will bruise his ego quite a bit. And he's genuinely fond of her. However, he's spending the night with his ex so...yeah.

    Thank you from both of us!

  15. I laughed so hard at Cooper at the end of this! He and Rob always seem tense but civil around each other and that ending was too perfect!

    Cam has always been the "do as I say" type and even when it's annoying, it's completely her and she owns it well. She did tell Coop that Beth would eat his soul a while ago but why she expected him to listen is beyond funny.

    Rob and Beth, that was serious. Neither was happy to be there and neither was backing down.

    Rob is top shelf quality. I hope he finds the distraction he needs because Sdy is a no no to go back to!

    I hope this is the beginning of a new start for Beth and Cooper. I do really adore them together.

  16. Qui, I'm so glad you like it! I ran into such frustrating corners trying to take the shots, and I'm missing some I should have gone back and gotten or redone but finally just gave up on it. Thank you!

    Nobody listens to Camilla because she talks too much. She's frequently right, almost always right, which is annoying in itself. She expects people to listen because she knows she's right and she believes that eventually everyone will realize it. Coop didn't want to hear what she said, and he's trying his best to prove her wrong. He's not happy without Beth, and she's not happy without him. They need to work it out.

    Rob is absolutely top shelf quality. He won't go back to Syd. Among all his other good qualities, he is a realist. He wanted it to work. It didn't. He has the strength to walk away and he's doing it.

    Thank you so much for all your moral support and help and everything!

  17. I have been reading back to understand the characters better, and I still don't know what to make of Beth. She definitely needed someone to just plainly tell her to make up her mind.
    I'm curious to Alex's reaction, especially since he is doing... well, almost the exact same thing with Dani. Those two might be better off as friends.

    I wonder what Cam's deal with croutons is, haha!

  18. Yuxi, she's a difficult character to like, or to understand. She thinks she has made up her mind, but plainly she has not. She tends to deny how she feels but she acts on it anyway, and it has caused a lot of problems. Alex isn't a serious relationship to her, he's a distraction, a way to take her mind off Cooper, and she assumes Alex feels the same way, that it's a casual relationship. His motives are complicated since he's also attached to someone else, but he's married several women when he didn't love them. You're right, Beth and Alex would make better friends than lovers.

    Cam and croutons...they're fattening.

    From both of us, thank you!

  19. Yuxi, thinking about this a little more. In her defense (and, as a character, I have a hard time forgiving her for cheating on Cooper), this time she tried to face the problem Cooper was having getting past her infidelity instead of denying it and trying to live around it. She told him it wasn't working and separated. That was the right thing to do. He isn't happy with that decision. Even though he struggled hard with jealousy and mistrust when he was with her, he wants to go back. It's hard to know how to advise someone in that situation. It's never going to be the relationship they had before her affair, but they're not happy apart, either.

  20. Oh, I either forgot or didn't realise that Camilla had won the date with Cooper at the auction! How...fun for Cooper, lol. I don't blame him for finally just exploding at her! She's really something!

    "Yet that's what you did to me."

    Ooh. Well, Rob sure has a point there. You have to feel kind of bad for the guy, honestly. Even though when Beth bid on him, I think I was sort of cheering her on because I was feeling bad for her that she was in the middle.

    I loved that little exchange between Beth and Cooper at the end there. They're very sweet when they're getting along.

    And just as an aside, both of the sets you used here were amazing!

  21. Carla, Coop was expecting to have an unpleasant evening, and probably would have just put up with it until Camilla started ragging him about moping and would not stop. She did back it down a little bit, but by the time they left, she was at it again.

    Rob was put in the middle, although it wasn't a middle Beth saw or understood. These two don't really understand much about one another. Rob doesn't know why she split with Cooper, or how hard it was, or what he did. She has her faults but that decision was right. She doesn't understand his concern, how big a distraction she could be for Alex and how difficult it's been to hold the band together through his past distractions.

    Coop and Beth are very, very sweet together when they're not fighting. They're very unhappy apart.

    Thank you so much about the sets! I wanted to just download a diner and use it, but I couldn't find anything that worked for me so I ended up building it. It was really difficult to get shots since I kept it zoned as a community lot. The seating alone just about drove me insane. I don't know what the deal is with the booths, but it was really hard to get them to sit where I wanted. I love that other lot. I've just it before. It's so easy to dress up or down and has wonderful spaces inside and out, although the interior spaces are pretty small.

    From both of us, thank you!!

  22. This was great.
    This -> "She's not going to need a knife with that salad, is she?" ... I nearly spit out my coffee laughing!
    That hit a tickle spot. ^_^

    I got the feeling that while there was an undertone of sadness, regret, a little bewilderment and uncertainty, for some reason, even with those intense feelings, there was also a light, refreshing breeze in there, the one you want to turn your face to even if it only lasts a moment.

    So looking forward to more.

  23. Zhippidy, thank you! Camilla is always such fun to work with!

    There was a bright spot. Those two really hurt one another, but it's never been about choosing or preferring anyone else. It was always impulsive, done out of anger or lust, quickly done and deeply regretted. There really is no one else for either Coop or Beth: anyone else would always be second best. They've both had serious wake-up calls: for Beth, watching Coop fight Ryan in a parking lot, and for Coop, knowing he might have fathered a child in an act of anger and retribution. Things went too far. They needed to step back, temporarily or permanently.

    From both of us, thank you!

  24. Stunned at the shots, sets and lighting and feeling less than adequate, wonderful work. You can see the passion in the shots.

    Camilla is a stitch, I get a kick out of her. She shoots from the hip.
    Also enjoying Rob, he pretty much nailed Beth's motives and personality and I liked that. And he mentioned Ryan, nice sword thrust.

    There is no denying the heat between Beth and Cooper. I think it is just a matter of time.

    Great update all around!

  25. Karen, thank you, but I can't write, so I try to make up for it with the shots (feel inadequate ALL the time). And compared to the best in the community, they're not so good. I keep trying!

    Camilla is more right than she's wrong. The volume masks the content, but she does know what she's talking about.

    Rob wields a very sharp sword. He's intuitive and smart and less than forgiving. He got to her. The sword thrust went home.

    The heat between Coop and Beth is undeniable. It's not always enough, and they are proof of that. Love, like innocence, isn't enough.

    Thank you from both of us, for your constant support!

  26. The sets were beautiful and so were the pictures!

    My favorite scene was the one between Camilla and Coop. The one where they stared into each others eyes, smiling!

    You don't know me yet, but I'm a romantic. Although they both have made huge mistakes that have hurt each other and other people badly, I hope it works out for them!

    This is a great story!

  27. I love Camilla so much, even when she is being annoying. She's such a great character.

    Poor Rob! He's just trying to keep the peace and deal with the breakdown of his relationship, and he just cannot catch a break.

    Excellent chapter!

  28. 11daisies, hi and welcome and I love your user name!

    Cooper and his wife have a long and complicated history, but they still light up when they see one another. It is definitely romantic!

    Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave us a comment. We really enjoy creating the sets and the pictures and writing the story, but it's just fantastic when someone finds it and lets us know they like it. It's like opening a shiny present!

  29. Hi Rachel! I hope things are going well for you and you're getting some sleep (hahaha...).

    Camilla is a lot of fun to work with. She's so overwhelming that we have to keep her screen time limited though LOL!

    Rob hasn't caught a break so far. I hope that will eventually change. He deserves something wonderful.

    Thanks from both of us! It's great to hear from you again.

  30. First of all, Camilla's dress. What a dangerous little number but I guess it would be quite fitting for a woman with smoke coming out of her nose. I do feel bad for her, in the sense that I hate being overdressed when going somewhere too.

    Oh Beth. It doesn't have to be a mind-blowing and awesome-sauce date, but her contempt was so...irritating. I definitely can't blame Rob for his feelings. Beth needs to figure out what she wants, like yesterday.

  31. Hey Choco!

    Yeah, being overdressed is the worst. You feel like a total fool. Camilla isn't subtle about anything, including her clothing, so that over the top dress was definitely something she would wear, but not to a diner.

    LOL the contempt: I'm not so sure it was contempt, more a reaction to Rob who dislikes her and doesn't hide it. I think Beth clearly knows what she wants, she just doesn't see any way she can have it. She wants Cooper, but not an angry suspicious unhappy Cooper. Her infidelity strained the marriage, and Cooper ended it in that spectacular display in a parking lot and in Gemma's bed. She's not serious about Alex because she's not in love with him, but she's an adult and so is he, so she sees no reason why she should be serious about him. She doesn't understand Rob's concerns, and probably wouldn't care about them if she did. They have a real failure to communicate and zero motivation to try.

    From both of us, thank you! It's always great to hear from you!