Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sessions 30 - What Have We Become

Building up your wall from everything you wanted
Fit the pieces into holes we used to crawl away
Finding out the truth when nothing really matters
Chase the light that's blinding even as you crawl away

Giving in or leaving too slow
Now we have what we have become

What Have We Become ~ Daughtry

Millwood - North Lake Drive 7 am

Leaving Gemma's house without bothering to wake her, increasingly uneasy, anxious to get out of the place, Cooper paused beside his bike and took a deep breath of the cool air blowing off the lake. Now what?
He checked his cell while he tried to order his thoughts, decide what the hell he was going to do, and saw three calls from Beth. One of them included frantic voice mail. She was crying, telling him she could explain, that he'd gotten it wrong, was he all right, would he at least let her know he wasn't hurt. Staring at it, he fought a wave of pain so damned strong, pain raking through him, snapped the cell shut, shoved it into his pocket and got on the bike. Fuck her. He'd go anywhere but back there now.

East Metro Area - Chameleon
Dawn broke violet and deep blue as Melinda unlocked the door to her office. She set down her bag, glanced idly at the stack of mail from yesterday, and then sighing, leaned against it. She gripped the edge of the desk as she remembered yesterday's events. Ryan and Cooper Stanfield brawling in the alley, a very one-sided fight; Melinda shuddered and closed her eyes. She knew what Ryan was capable of, that he could have easily killed Cooper. If it hadn't been for Beth and that pipe, the horror on her face, Mel didn't think he would have stopped.

Ryan hadn't said a word the entire drive back. Although she tried to reason with him, all Mel got was a murderous glare and silence. There wasn't much she could do for him anyway. Knowing that Ryan would sink further into oblivion, she partly blamed herself for dragging him into her mess. Cooper and Beth, on the other hand, that was something she might be able to fix, she had to try.
A light tapping at the door just before it opened startled Mel. Tensing, she gasped and turned her head toward the sound. Lyra walked in something clearly bothering her as she chewed her lower lip. "You're here," Lyra's wispy voice vaguely annoyed Mel.

"So I am. What is it?" She hadn't meant to snap at her but Melinda was tired and still unnerved.
"There is something you need to know." The pretty blonde leaned in as if someone might overhear her and spoke quietly in Mel's ear. She rose slowly as the words sank in. Cooper was here leaving Melinda apprehensive over what had gone on. Her girls wouldn't approach him, they knew better, but Cooper had the power to change that at any time. It was always his call.

"Tell me where he is and who is with him."
Stepping off the elevator to the private bar, she saw Cooper sitting his longs legs stretched out and nursing a drink in his hand while two of her girls entertained him, one on either side. He looked terrible and Mel wondered if he had eaten or slept at all. Slowly she approached them while struggling with what she could say that might somehow make things right.

Looking up at her through hooded eyes Cooper rasped, "Come to join the party?"
The two girls waited expectantly until Melinda gave them a meaningful glance. They stood murmuring vague apologies and sauntered off while Cooper smiled irreverently. "You want me all to yourself then."

"What are you doing here Cooper?"

"This is still a whorehouse isn't it? What do you think I'm doing here?" Cooper stood and moved languidly toward her. "It's been a long, long time Melinda. I imagine you've just gotten better."
Cooper's words stung, probably more than they should have. "Let's go somewhere more private so we can talk." Melinda turned as she spoke, moving toward one of the adjacent rooms and gesturing for Cooper to follow.

"I know where you're taking me; which one of us has been naughty? I hope it was you." Cooper chuckled deeply as he caught Melinda by the waist drawing her toward him while his other hand skimmed along her thigh. Startled by the action Mel glared at him over her shoulder before pushing his hand away. Leading him into the room, she turned on her heel and let him have it.
"In case you forgot, I don't do that anymore. What's wrong with you?" Shoving him toward the bed, the only place where you could sit in this particular room, Melinda drew a breath and tried to gather her thoughts.

"Come on Mel, I've got more than enough to make it worth your while - money's no object either." Cooper grinned as he settled against the headboard and scanned the room noticing handcuffs, ticklers, crops, chains suspended from the ceiling and some kind of padded bench that he knew was for discipline before sliding his eyes back on Melinda.

"You arrogant jerk you should be at home with your wife. Ryan would have killed you right there in front of her Cooper! He...he's not the man you knew, not by a long shot. He wouldn't have thought twice about it and he wouldn't have lost a moment's sleep either. Beth bashed him with a pipe, for heaven's sake!"
Melinda began to tremble. She knew that gut wrenching agony of loving someone so desperately and seeing them walk away without a backwards glance. It was way too late for her, but she would not stand by and let Cooper's ego get in the way of the truth. "You were way off base Cooper. Ryan was with me yesterday, waiting for me, he works for me. It was an unfortunate coincidence that Beth was there but that was all it was. And you've got some nerve jumping to conclusions about what went on."

Cooper threw his long legs over the side of the bed and stood. He seemed weary and his expression, that smoldering fire in his eyes, made it clear that talking about Ryan and Beth or anything for that matter was the last thing he wanted. "Mel..."
"No, you don't get to talk, I'm talking and you're listening damn it! Beth loves you Cooper! She was devastated and scared and you walked away and left her in that alley! No one deserves that, especially not someone you love. You should be crawling back on your knees and begging her to forgive you!"

"She was clinging to him Melinda, I needed her but she held onto him instead! If she'd stood by me, come to me..."
"Stood by're insane! That is all she does Cooper, through all your shit, all your antics on the road. You think she doesn't know about that? You don't deserve her if that is what you think." Melinda's expression softened with emotion as she stared at him. "She saved your ass Cooper! Ryan would have ripped you apart! You made a tremendous mistake and jumped to the wrong conclusions. For your sake, go fix this, make it right, at least try." Placing her hand on his arm, she murmured, "A woman in love will forgive almost anything."
Cooper's legs would no longer support him as Beth's frantic voice mail came flooding back, her pleas to him in between uncontrollable sobs ripping a new hole in his heart. He sunk to the bed horrified. "What have I done..." He looked up at Melinda, his voice shaken, hoarse, "And coming here isn't the worst of it."


NEXT CHAPTER: Sessions Chapter 31


S.B. said...

This was hard, both in concept and execution. Gayl, it's perfect. Very very difficult to read and see posted. Poor Cooper.

Melinda should have smacked his face, but she did something that stung more. One very strong woman, and probably the only person who could have confronted him like that.

Gayl said...

It was harder than I thought. I think we managed to find the right words and emotion though. And thank you for tying it all together. I didn't see it the way you did.

I doubt Mel would have slapped him. She knows what she is even if she doesn't like to be reminded. No one could have spoken to him like that...except maybe Slim.

Qui. said...

Good thing for Melinda! What's done is done but she could have possibly pointed this ugly situation into the right direction.

He sure was dead set on that "Fuck her" part huh? I'm still shaking my head over his actions with Melinda!

thelook said...

Bless Melinda's heart! She pretty much single-handedly got Cooper to listen with his heart and not his ears. Even if he did protest and stupidly make a drunken move on her. Let's hope he's willing to work things out with Beth - everything right down to the minor details. Especially Gemma.

Valpre said...

I'm glad someone finally got through to Cooper. Go Melinda! Now it's up to him and Beth to work through this. I think the frequency of your pieces works beautifully in sustaining the action and movig the story forward. So yeah, keep them coming. I love those two opening shots. And Chameleon's got to be classiest whorehouse I've ever seen. (not that I've seen many)...LOL

Rad said...

Mel is a sharp one - and someone who commands respect - but I can't help thinking there's so much Beth and Coop need to sort out, a simple apology (is Cooper even capable of a simple apology?!) isn't going to be enough. I hope he's willing to change, but there is so much destructiveness within him I don't know if he can manage it.

Gayl said...

Qui: She felt every bit of pain from both Ryan and Beth. Melinda was most likely the only one who could have opened his eyes. The clues were there; he just needed them pointed out.

thelook: The only other person who may have gotten through to Coop was Slim except he has no idea what went on. As for Coop and Beth, they have a long way to go. We are working on those bits as we speak.

Valpre: I hope we can keep up the frequency. I go back to work on Tuesday so my free time will be sorely limited. You love the opening two shots? That's because Beth took those thank god! I could not get into that NB because I sort of blew it up. As for Chameleon it is based on a RL brothel that I've been to. I may do a history of it one day as well as how I interpreted it for Melinda.

Rad: Mel's personal clientele is extremely exclusive. She calls the shots and she earned that right. Coop overstepped with her although he can be rather persuasive. At this point I doubt he would be arrogant enough to believe a simple apology will cut it. He really screwed up.

Thanks guys for supporting us and keeping up with these updates. There is a lot more to come!

S@ndy said...

This is really perfect, everything, the writing, the shots...

Melinda is right, a woman in love would forgive almost everything.... but Cooper did messed it big time with Gemma, of course Beth doesn't need to find out about that right now... but if she does find out, later or now.. it will be hard to forgive... Gemma is (in Beth's eyes) as important to Cooper as Julia was... and having your husband running to bed the copy cat of his late wife, must be really hard to forgive...

This is a great, beautiful and devastating mess! (beautiful because I love all the drama LOL)

Melinda is one of my favorite characters, what a wonderful woman, god bless her!
I hope Cooper listens to her...

Awesome update ladies, and keep them coming, I'm sooo enjoying this updates!

S@ndy said...

I meant to say... (maybe Gemma is not that important for Beth... I was putting myself on Beth's place) LOL

again awesome chapter!

Muzegoddess said...

I knew that Melinda would set him straight, she's really the only one that could. Too bad Coop already followed through on his "fuck her" plans. Just broke my heart to see the realization hit him. I guess this is one of those times when you wish what you thought you knew was actually right. So sad and so beautifully done.

Dinuriel said...

Melinda makes an excellent voice of reason. Ryan may only be able to help himself at this point, but she managed to set Cooper straight--which, knowing Cooper, I imagine is a very difficult thing to do or even mentally prepare for.

But even if Beth does forgive him for making that snap judgment, there's no way his little tangle with Gemma is going to go over well. I sense repercussions on the horizon...

S.B. said...

Hi S@ndy!

I love Melinda too. (hoping she can give Ryan something he desperately needs)

Gemma would be like Ryan: very difficult to get past, even if the transgression is forgiven. Cooper 'forgave' Beth about Ryan but obviously did not get over it.

We'll keep trying to get updates out quickly although Gayl's vacation is over, so things will slow down a bit. So pleased you're enjoying it!!

S.B. said...

thank you from both of us, Muzegoddess. I was looking forward to this piece but found it hard to read once I finally saw everything together. It's just impossible not to feel sorry for Cooper.

S.B. said...

Hey Van!

It's going to take more than an apology. Those two have been circling and watching each other suspiciously for some time now. They cling to one another but the trust is broken.

Cooper can be very intimidating, and he doesn't tend to listen to reason. And Gemma? Yeah. That's a very very big deal.

Anonymous said...

I have FINALLY finally caught up in this story. It has just been one big roller coaster ride after I'm just waiting for the whole damn thing to just come tumbling down although I hope it doesn't, but it's soooo hard to tell right now. Cooper really does keep you guessing with his antics, whew ~.~

I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the next chapter...and while I'm waiting, I'll check out all your other fabulous works. I love the angles, the posing, all of it. Absolutely beautiful. I applaud you guys! You've done awesome! <33333333

S.B. said...

Jean, we are thrilled!! Thank you SO MUCH! We love what we create, and it always such an incredible joy when we hear from people who have read it and enjoyed it!

Passages in particular intersects with Sessions. The story arc moves through both of them, and it will become even more important very soon.

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to read, and for taking the time to let us know what you think. We appreciate it beyond words.

The Lunar Fox said...

okay, I seriously needed a day to process this.

I think I love Melinda even more. No, not many people would talk to Cooper like that, but he needed it and she was the perfect woman to deliver it.

But even with all his faults, or maybe because of his faults, I love cooper too, and this was very hard to read.

The pictures are perfect. They don't look wooden at all.

Emily said...

*fingers crossed that this comment actually goes through!*

I had commented on the last one but I think my internet screwed up just when I was clicking publish and I was too lazy to type it all over again! :D

This was a great update, a good middle ground for what's been going on...glad he found Melinda at the right time, she seems to be a person he would certainly listen to and respect their opinion. It would just be too horrible to see Beth & Coop end like this, self destructing because of a misunderstanding.

I agree that the pictures are a perfect match, that last one is just a heartbreaker. :(

I know I've been pretty mum lately but I am still keeping up, just a little behind as always! LOL!

S.B. said...

LunarFox, Coop wouldn't be Cooper without his faults. Thinking about the people in your world...

Melinda is a very special person. If she can corral both Ryan and Cooper, that's a woman with some magic.

Trust is the key.

S.B. said...

Emily, I expect to lose comments. I'm so paranoid about it that I copy every comment before I post it, just in case Blogger blows up! Gayl and I both know how much you have to deal with.

Cooper and Beth have more to struggle with than a misunderstanding. Melinda tried to fix it.

It is so great to hear from you again!

Ning said...

Oh man... I think I'd die of guilt if I were Cooper. 8( Especially when Beth was trying to reach him the whole time. How could he just snap his cell shut when he heard such a desperate voice mail for him to come back? ':(

And I feel so thankful that Mel is willing to try and fix Cooper's mess. And more importantly, that she is so no-nonsense and strong, not backing down to Coop's wilfulness. I almost clapped in joy when she shut him up. XD

I am so looking forward to seeing what happens next! 8D I hope Cooper realises that HE IS WRONG! (Gah, I hate it when men refuses to admit their mistakes!)

S.B. said...

ning, Mel certainly pushed it with Cooper.

He realizes he made a mistake. He's made them before! This is a huge one though.