Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sessions 21 - Your Arms Feel Like Home

I don't care if I lost everything that I have known
It don't matter where I lay my head tonight
Your arms feel like home, feel like home...

soundtrack: Your Arms Feel Like Home - 3 Doors Down




South Beach - Stanfield Residence


Cooper awakened with a start, disoriented, stiff and uncomfortable. Early morning light had begun to filter slowly through the heavy windows casting shadows against the stark white walls. It came hammering back on him as looked at the time and groaned. He had only sat down for a moment and closed his eyes to clear his head and think. That moment had been hours ago.





Cursing vehemently for losing precious hours Cooper stretched to ease his sore muscles, and headed across the silent living room toward the downstairs bathroom. He could use a shower. He could still feel the salt on his skin from the marina last night, on top of road dirt and sweat.


The 6 foot wide photo hung on the wall in front him: himself, playing a Gibson, a photo taken a long time ago. It might, he thought uneasily as he passed it, it might have been taken when he was living with Stevie. He hadn't thought about that photo in years, walking by it, never paying much attention to it. Beth liked it; he thought she did, no, he was sure she did. You're not sure of anything, he told himself wearily.


He splashed water on his face before angrily staring at his reflection. "Where the fuck did you go?" He combed through the house last night looking for something, anything that would lead to where Beth had gone. He came up empty; the house was clean. No clue as to their whereabouts, just an empty, dark house. Not even a note.


Nothing about this felt right. Uneasy, dark anger bubbling to the surface once more Cooper quickly went upstairs. The bed was made; he couldn't stand the thought of her not being in it.


Camilla's words came firing back at him, striking right between the eyes. He had effectively made himself unavailable, and if Beth had tried to reach him, had known where he was...damn he didn't want to think about what she would have felt at that point.


Cooper threw on a clean shirt and pushed through the doors and outside. Early, thin sunlight shone through the trees. Maybe he’d stayed here too long; maybe it was time to get out of this place with all its memories and take her somewhere else. He looked down the street to the west, toward Bay View, groggy, trying to ignore the ache in his neck and back. How long ago had things started to come apart? Heydon was on his case; Stevie, that was bad and he'd missed that completely; and now this. He could make it right, he'd always been able to make it right, but first he had to find her.


He’d make a call, try that first. If that didn’t work, taking a deep and troubled breath, he knew where he had to go.

South Beach and University


Cooper punched in the number on his cell as he started down the stairs. He knew Wyatt would be in class or heading to one but he was going to get what he could from him. "Wyatt, have you heard from Eric or Nate?"


Wyatt had barely answered the phone before Cooper went at him. Throwing his guitar over his shoulder he started toward the door. "Hello Dad, nice to hear from you too."


"All right cut the sarcasm. I can't get in touch with Beth or the boys. Wyatt, they're gone, when I got home last night the house was empty. Have you talked to either of them?"


Wyatt's confusion was evident in his voice. "Yeah I talked to Eric yesterday. Beth didn't leave a note? Call you? Nothing? Look Dad, Eric was asking me about you and Stevie, nothing specific but he did sound a little...freaked out about it like there was something serious going on." There was a brief hesitation before Wyatt continued. "Are you and Stevie..."


"No, damn it! There's nothing between me and Stevie, nothing! What did he say; did you ask him where he was?" Cooper's voice blasted through the phone causing one girl to look strangely at Wyatt as they passed each other between classes.

"I assumed he was home. Why would I think anything else?"


Cooper needed air; he stepped outside where he had left his bike and leaned against a tree, any glimmer of hope at a clue to their whereabouts dashed. He was worn out, his voice shaky as he spoke. "Did he at least sound safe or say anything about Beth?"


"I'm sorry Dad. He didn't tell me anything. Nate walked in, I heard his voice in the background saying something to him and he cut the call off. I wish I could help. Look Dad Beth loves you. Whatever is going on, she'll come home. Don't worry."


Cooper smiled weakly. "I hope you're right Wy. Look I gotta go. If you hear from Eric again, find out whatever you can and please, let him know..let him know I'm trying to find him, trying to find everyone."

South Beach - McDermott Residence


Ryan's place was quiet, no activity inside that Cooper could see. He walked around, glancing upstairs, down the road, and back at the house, uncertain. Ryan might not even live here now; he hadn't been seen around the place in weeks. If Beth had gone back to him, after kicking him to curb...if she had, it wouldn't be easy to get her out. Easy? It would be impossible. Neither of them could go back if she'd done that.


The loud rumble of a bike behind him drew Cooper's attention - and there was McDermott himself. Ryan threw a long leg over the bike, placed his hands on his hips as he stared back at Cooper and then slowly and deliberately walked toward him. Ryan didn't speak; he only glared at Cooper with contempt and anger. Cooper drew a deep breath. Damn he didn't want to come here like this, but he was here, nothing for it but go ahead and come right out with it. "Do you know where Beth is?"


Ryan looked like hell, the side of his face bruised, but he still managed to force a grin on his face even if it didn't reach his eyes. "Why, did you lose her...again? And you thought she came to me. That's priceless. If you're here looking for answers you made a serious mistake."


Grabbing at the back of Ryan's shoulder as he turned to walk up the stairs, infuriated, convinced the man was playing with him and enjoying it, Cooper shouted at him, "You son of a bitch, you know where she is, don't you!"


Ryan wheeled around to face Cooper once more, knocking aside his hand. "What if I do? What are you going to do with her? Nail her up on your wall? Hurt her again? You think there's any chance in the world I'm going to help you find her? I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll let you walk out of here alive. For her sake. Now get the fuck off my lawn."

South Beach and Chinatown


"Rayne! Hey can you hear me?" It had taken half the day before he’d gotten her to answer. The sky had begun to darken into twilight over the bay and the marina, and now Cooper's anger and frustration were reaching catastrophic proportions. His body shook with rage; he needed answers. Squeezing the cell tightly in his fist he blasted in the mouthpiece. "Rayne damn it! Answer me!"


He heard music, laughter coming through the receiver. Cooper paced down the street, shouting into the phone again until she finally answered, "Yeah hang on hang a sec got to get out of shit wait a minute ok what?"


She was drunk. He knew it before she’d said half a dozen words, and it stunned him. If she had a problem with alcohol, he had not known it. If he hadn’t known that, what did he know about her? Yanking back hard on the anger, he tried again. "Rayne, I want to know what’s going on with you, but I need to take care of this first. Where is your mother?"


Her voice, slurred, drunk, but intense, as if she was mouthing the cell, came right back. "Oh yeah! Damn I did pay for that, didn’t I pay for that? Put it on this card not the other one. Dad? They're by a bridge. There's a very big bridge. You go take care of all of that because you do not want it to be like Ryan. It can’t end up like Ryan! Ok? I have to go."


The phone went dead leaving him disturbed and deeply uneasy as he stared at the phone. Rayne’s incoherent response, meant to be helpful as far as he could tell, left him with no answers and even more questions.

Bay View - Taylor Residence


Cooper kicked aside the gate, the thing was hanging on one hinge as it was, and stood in the front garden looking up at the house. He'd been here before a few times but not like this. With any luck he'd find Gayl at home and Rafe out somewhere, anywhere, on the other side of the damned world.


He took a few seconds to think about how he wanted to deal with this if Rafe was here while walking through overgrown bushes toward the front door. Nothing.


Tired, close to exhausted, nothing came through. Fuck Rafe. If Rafe was here, he was here.


"Cooper?" Gayl opened the door and started to join him out on the front porch. "Beth's been -- "


"She hasn’t been here." Rafe loomed up behind him, coming out of nowhere, cutting her off. "We haven’t seen her, and yeah, I know she’s not where you’d like to have her."


Taken by surprise, he hadn't heard him coming, Cooper wheeled around hard. He drew a long angry and weary breath and shot back at him,”I'm tired of the damned games Rafe. Don't get in my way, not this time. Where is she?"




Rafe cast one glance at his wife, careful, an exchange that seemed to go both ways, then whipped long light eyes back at him. Wind from the beach tossed black hair over his shoulders, and Rafe rocked back, crossed his arms, and shook his head and aimed that feral smile at him. "I'm going to be in your way. I'm always going to be in your way. You don't go through my wife, and you sure as hell don't go through me to get to her. If she wants you, she'll let you know. Think about it – you know you can have what you want, but you can’t have everything you want. Good night, Cooper. And don’t trip over my Christmas tree on your way out.”


"Wait..." Cooper turned, trying not to clench his hands, and looked down at Gayl. She smiled, and said softly, "Rockwood. Merry Christmas, Cooper."

Rockwood - Near Bay Bridge






Rockwood - 14 Bridgewater Drive










It don't matter where I lay my head tonight
Your arms feel like home, they feel like home to me
Hold on, you're home to me, just hold on, you're home to me...





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NEXT CHAPTER: Passages 10

36 comments:

S.B. said...

Merry Christmas!

We could have drawn this out, but it's Christmas, so we didn't.

Phoenix said...

OMG!! This was prefect! Just perfect! The tension, the shots...just everything! I'm actually teary eyed darn it!!

Merry Christmas Beth and Gayl!! I sure am glad that I met you guys and started reading your story! Thanks for sharing it!:)

S.B. said...

Hey Phoenix! Merry Christmas to you too! It's been a total pleasure!

We liked this piece. Not much text, and it might come off as a bit disjointed, but it felt very right. Thank you!!

Gayl said...

Merry Christmas Phoenix! So glad this piece worked for you! It felt good to us too.

Thank you!

Mao said...

AWW! I love the inclusion of Christmas in this, how fantastic. I hope you guys have a wonderful holiday. :D

Anyway, back to the update. I loved seeing Cooper's journey to Beth, it was interesting watch him scramble together all the pieces. I also liked seeing the other side of the scene with Rayne.

Ryan saying get the fuck off my lawn? FANTASTIC. Love it. Had to read it a few times before I moved on. ;)

I love Rafe, as always. He's always so... well, he doesn't mess around with how he feels about Cooper. Ever. It's straight to the point, cut and dry, no bullshit. Of course, you know Gayl wouldn't just let it end like that. She's the softer side and I'm glad she told him. Hiding away Beth wasn't going to do anything good... hopefully the boys can come to realize that.

Excellent update you two! I think it really showcased the mutual effort you guys put into this project. :D

S.B. said...

Mao, thank you so much! I think we both wondered how this was going to come off.

Ryan...yeah. Talk about insane to go demand info from him.

Rafe doesn't like Cooper either, but of course the situation is very different. It was interesting to listen to the two characters, to work through how they would respond. Rafe wouldn't help him either, but he wouldn't threaten to take his head off.

I'm so glad it worked for you. It's sort of sentimental, but sometimes that's a good thing. And we had to include Christmas.

Wishing you the best of holidays too!

Dinuriel said...

Awwww, it all worked out! :D At least, for now. But yaaaay for the good times! :D

Seriously, what an awesome post for the holidays. Merry Christmas, Gayl and Beth! :D

S.B. said...

LOL Dinuriel, yeah it worked out for now is right! But for now is sometimes all you get, and Christmas is a good time to find love.

Thank you so much and Merry Christmas to you too!

Gayl said...

Thanks Mao, hope you have a wonderful holiday as well. It was an interesting journey, one that leads home. And thank you so much about the mutual effort; we try and if it comes through then we must be doing it right!

Dinuriel, Merry Christmas to you too! Definitely good times!

Muzegoddess said...

I absoultely love it! The shots are so beautiful and the writing captures so much emotion. Poor Cooper having to run around town looking for his wife. Having to go to Ryan of all people. But when you love someone and you want them back I guess none of that really matters.

I'm glad that he found her and while I know they have a lot to work out it's good to see them happy for a moment.

This was the perfect update right before the holidy. Merry Christmas to you both :)

S.B. said...

thank you so much Muzegoddess. It's not our usual update, but this one time, we wanted to do it this way. For a lot of reasons, but certainly Christmas was one of them.

And wishing you the very best holiday too!

Sinclair said...

I simply adore how Cooper was totally getting screwed by everyone. Love it. Karma's a bitch. And his name is Rafe... and sometimes Ryan lol. I do wish Gayl hadnt spilled the beans. Watching him squirm was o so fun. But at least now he can deal with Rayne and her many many problems. And then the twins. Lol he has alot of ass kissing to do to get back in his families good graces. If he can. But I'm selfishly hoping he cant.

Qui. said...

Its nice to see Rafe again! I adore him to pieces! There is something about Rafe's demeanor that is so magnetic! I had the same feeling with Gabe. Must be the skin tone matched with those eyes!

Anyway, great post! I am still a little hot with Cooper over the whole deal with Stevie in the first place but to see him go through all this kind of tugs at my heart! The ending was perfect!

The Lunar Fox said...

*sniff* awe... beautiful. I adore the pictures. The last ones were absolutely perfect. Especially that very last one. It's like your Christmas gift to us.

Didn't come off as disjointed to me. It felt perfectly right. He had to find her. Anything less, and I would have questioned his dedication to her.

Merry Christmas you two!

cheripye said...

Awww wonderful tension, Coops getting it from all sides but when push came to shove he shoved his way up. Unlike what everyone thinks he doesnt just want Beth he loves her and would do anything to find her no matter what those two hellions started, LOL! and what a wonderful Merry Christmas indeed, 80) yet another happy ending of sorts to all the explosions, although Rayne....

Merry Christmas wonderful update and beautiful screens as always ladies. 80)

cheripye said...

Forgot to say it was nice to see Gayl and Rafe again!

S.B. said...

Sinclair, I figured you'd enjoy the squirming LOL! We wanted to try to show the situation from a variety of viewpoints, from Ryan (like he was going to whip out a pen and write an address down....) to Rayne's incoherent attempt to actually give directions. Rafe is always going to be there, big Karma, the whisper in the background - 'remember you are a man'.

Cooper has some work to do. Ass kissing; 'splainin; filling in holes he didn't know existed. Stevie was the catalyst for the break this time, but there are still a lot of issues that family needs to deal with, including his desire to return to performing.

Thank you so much, and wishing you a great holiday!

S.B. said...

Hi Qui! Thanks so much for reading and leaving us a comment!

Rafe is definitely magnetic. It's partly the very light eyes and dark skin, but he's got attitude as well. He knows who he is, good points and bad, and he's very blunt when he wants to be. A very good man to have as a friend.

Cooper's not completely out of hot water yet. The display with Stevie was hurtful; it went too far. After this experience, I think he'll make some changes.

Again, thank you!

S.B. said...

Lunar Fox, that's what I was hoping to achieve with that last picture, the feeling of a Christmas gift from us to everyone. I'm so glad it worked!

We've done pieces before with mostly visuals and little text, but not as much as this, not for a long time. It felt right to us. We wanted to bring him home. Even though both of them have some work to do, they are truly committed to one another.

Merry Christmas to you as well!

S.B. said...

Hi Cherie!

Yes, you're right, Cooper is in love, but he has himself to blame for leading a lot of people to believe otherwise.

I adore the shots Gayl did! It's always so great to see the world coming together, from a rainy road by a stony embankment beside a bridge to deep woods to the tropical bloom outside Cooper's house. I love it when it works!

and although we didn't set out to walk through many of the major places in our long project, it did sort of turn out that way.

Merry Christmas to you - wishing you serenity and peace.

S.B. said...

Qui, I tried to leave a comment for you on your blog but it wouldn't let me. If you need advice or help or anything to get started, I'd be glad to help.

~Drew said...

I am caught up on this story at last, nice to see Wyatt again, and loved his tone with Cooper.
Oooo, Ryan. Love his whole 'tude. "Nail her up on the wall..." Ryan kind of summed things up nicely there.
An Rafe as well. Actually, Cooper has a lot of prickly relationships.
Sweet, tender Xmas reunion, great update ladies!

S.B. said...

Thank you Drew.

The exchange with Wyatt was really interesting to me. It was almost as if he were switching roles with his father. He showed a lot of maturity, and he definitely focused on Eric's concern about Stevie.

Ryan. Well Ryan is Ryan LOL. Cooper and his possessions and trophies.

And Rafe is Rafe. Unlike Ryan, he's not angry, just considers Cooper's behavior to be disrespectful.

We enjoyed working on this one! Thank you so much!

Gayl said...

I don't want to repeat the comments that Beth has made to all of you but I would like to echo her thanks and sentiments about this chapter. We definitely could have drawn out the drama but it felt right to write it this way.

Thank you all for your support and feedback (both good and bad cuz that's how we learn).

Happy holidays.

Emily said...

Okay, so after the second to last shot...I have tears in my eyes. And I'm gonna leave it at that because now they are coming...just a beautiful piece all the way around.

goodbye_sun said...

I think its quite telling to Cooper that during this journey of his, he has actually come to find out what people are really thinking about him and the way he has been behaving. With any luck, some of it will sink in, and there will be some major bridge building going on in his life shortly.

S.B. said...

awwww! thanks Emily! We enjoyed doing this one.!

S.B. said...

goodbye_sun, yes it should tell him something. Even Wyatt questioned what was going on. On top of that, his younger sons are upset; Cooper didn't know that. And his daughter is drinking herself stupid; he didn't know that either. Eye openers all round. I think it did have an impact on him.

thank you!!

Veron said...

I never like to feel sorry for Cooper, but eh, you guys made it really hard not to. The awesome pictures and the writing really really put an emotional tinge on this one. His family isn't in a good state, but he still has enough in him to go searching for his wife. I'm late per usual, but this is amazing, per usual.

S.B. said...

It's good to see you Veron; no worries about 'late' LOL!

I wouldn't feel too sorry for Cooper. He misjudged the situation, made assumptions, and did what he wanted to do. It won't hurt him to get pinched a bit.

Thanks again for reading!

Gayl said...

Emily: I got choked up myself. If I listen to the song along with it I really get emotional. Thanks!

goodbye_sun: I do think Cooper will be mending fences and building bridges again. For a man who places importance on family, he has lost sight of his own. Thank you!

Veron: Late doesn't count since we are not keeping track! I am going to make it my mission this year to get you to love Coop as much as we do! LOL! I'm glad the emotional state came through here. That is what we wanted. Thanks Veron!

Colliegirl said...

Awwww! That was such a sweet romantic reunion! The pictures you took were really spectacular! I think my favorite was the one with Coop looking toward the house with the night sky behind him. I liked the expression of sadness and longing on his face. It was perfect!

Hopefully now, after racing all over town and spending some time alone in that huge empty house, he will start to be more attentive to his family... like taking care of his drunken daughter and her problem for starters! And his miscreant twin boys next! Lol! And I believe he has some serious confessions to make to his wife, as well, to help clear the air between them.

I am wondering though why Beth went there, and why she didn't leave a note... is that the note the boys threw in the trash? That would explain it!

Beautifully written!

S.B. said...

LOL Colliegirl! She went there because she got pissed off and heard more than she probably wanted to hear and she'd dumped Ryan, and that was hard for her to do, and Coop was still flaunting it with Stevie.

Yeah she left a note. And the boys, who saw Stevie and their dad getting it on in the men's room, decided they weren't all that into what Coop was doing to their mother. Teenage boys cans be pretty damned protective of their mother.

Cooper's got a woman who loves him. She'll smack him hard. But she made a huge mistake with Ryan. Hard to throw stones...

Colliegirl said...

That's right. The pot can't very well call the kettle black! Lol! They were both caught in the wrong!

Well, I hope she smacks him a good one! : )

S@ndy said...

that last scene made it all for all the anxiety I felt thru this chapter!!!

A kiss says more than a million words, and like it or not... after all the bad moments, the cheating, the lies and everything else, Cooper and Beth are still pretty much in love and there is nothing we cant do about it!!

I'm happy for both...
hopefully the Twin's little trick will help Beth and Cooper to fix all their unspoken problems... they seriously need to talk about everything what had happened... Ryan, Steve, Cooper quitting touring and so on...

Wonderful chapter, Cooper's anxiety was so palpable it was suffocating!!! :P

Wonderful job!!!

S.B. said...

So maybe the terrible twins didn't do so bad after all...

Thanks so much, S@ndy! Yes, despite the mistakes both of them have made, they both do really know what they want and need. There's a lot of love there. Some time spent talking about where they want to go and what they need to do to stay together would be a very good thing.

thank you...we both always love hearing from you!