Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sessions Chapter 46

South Beach - West Harbor Place

Blade was late. The date had been casually arranged, whenever he finished at the studio, but whenever had a limit and he'd passed it by half an hour. Elise wandered from store to store and restlessly picked up and discarded sweaters, dolls, cheese graters, an 'as seen on tv' thing that steamed the wrinkles out of your clothes, a purple bed-in-a-bag, finally stopping to examine a tray of silver rings. She had done her Christmas shopping. She shouldn't be looking at rings and thinking about how they'd look on Cooper.

She shouldn't be doing a lot of things. She shouldn't be hunkering down with her laptop at 2 a.m. googling Cooper to find out what he was doing and who he was seeing. She shouldn't be waiting for another man who was late.

Elise saw the woman only seconds before the woman saw her, too late to pretend she hadn't, too late to run. The woman, glancing around as if looking for another way out, hesitated. Was she considering simply walking away? Wishing she would, caught between a toothy green plant and a fountain, Elise waited. 

The woman did not walk away. She looked directly at her drawing a deep breath as if mustering the courage to step forward. She was, Elise saw, knowing what she would see but still reluctant to look, she was definitely pregnant. Thin and elegant and pregnant.

What do you do when you run into the woman carrying your husband's child? Speakers caroled 'Oh Holy Night' and other lovely hymns about babies and light and love and lions lying down with lambs. Forcing her mouth into a really big smile, Elise met the other woman's uneasy gaze. "Gemma Wilson? We haven't met but I know you're acquainted with my..my daughter. I'm Elise Stanfield."

The woman stroked back locks of her long black hair with a breakable hand. Her whole body looked breakable. "Hello, yes, it's a pleasure to finally meet you. Rayne has said so much about you."

Both of them knew that was a lie. Elise kept smiling. Gemma passed her shopping bag from one hand to another. She looked remarkably like Julia, based on Julia's photos since Elise had never actually met Julia. Cooper had always managed to keep them from running into one another, not that he had had to try very hard since Elise had not wanted to meet Julia, and she was pretty sure Julia had felt the same way. If she had lived, eventually they would have met.

Had he fantasized he was in bed with Julia when he was screwing Gemma? Had Gemma played at being Julia when she put her tongue in Cooper's mouth? She felt warm and faintly sick.

It would be polite to mention Gemma's 'condition'. She couldn't. She couldn't scream, couldn't slap the woman, couldn't make a scene. But she could deliberately refuse to mention the pregnancy, and she could deliberately refuse to return the pleasure. "Yes, well, I'm meeting someone."  And that was it, close the sentence, shut the paragraph, punctuate it and wait for her to walk away.

Mild relief washing over her face, Gemma escaped down the sidewalk toward the street, and from very close behind, right at her shoulder, Elise heard Blade approach. "I'm late, sorry, Duff wasn't happy with a track." 

His voice tapered off as he followed her gaze. She didn't move, still watching Gemma, wondering if that was baby clothes in the shopping bag, her stomach in a knot and her heart an empty dreary hole. She didn't give a flying fuck about Duff or a track.

"I didn't notice," she said.

"Uh," he said,  "Okay. Let's go over there." Blade slipped one arm around her waist and turned her firmly away from Gemma. "There's something I want to talk to you about."

Still disinterested in whatever Duff wanted or anything connected to tracks, Eliset leaned against the balustrade, took in a deep breath of cool salt air and swept her hair back from her face. "I didn't notice," she said again.

He kept her close, hip pressing against hers, arm around her waist, quiet, giving her time. It was late afternoon and the sailboats were returning to the windward side of the bay, a popular, pretty, peaceful and very expensive anchorage. Blade finally turned away from the view and put an end to the silence. "I take it you're acquainted with the mommy in waiting back there?"

"I know who she is." Glaring up at him, losing some of her control, Elise snapped, "Do not make assumptions. Don't ask 'who's the father'."

"Do you want to talk about it or do you want to drop it?"

A couple of girls strolled by and stared at them, wide eyed, obviously recognizing him. Blade had signed a woman's bare back three days ago and laughed as he scrawled his name across her shoulders. It didn't matter. She didn't care. She was dropping it.  Been there already and seen it already.

Blade flashed that charismatic grin at the girls. His charm was nowhere near the same as Cooper’s. "We're throwing a party tonight at Rob's place to celebrate the RMA nominations, nothing elaborate, the band and a few friends. It'll run late. You could...bring an overnight bag." He waggled his brows at her, playing, making it a kind of joke except it wasn't a joke.

"Blade, I'm not staying.  I've got things to do tomorrow even if I were inclined.  Rayne has some kind of thing."

"Speaking of Rayne," balancing on the balustrade, long legs stretched out, maybe showing off or maybe just sitting there, he said, "Duff bought that charity donation painting of her not knowing who she was and hung it up on his wall. He seems kind of embarrassed about it now that he knows who it is."

They looked down to watch a boy playing a guitar out on the beach, his body curved over the instrument, caressing it, passionate and oblivious. Long light brown hair fell over his face. Eliset  lingering, listening. "Rayne has her admirers," she said quietly.  "She is, after all, a lot like her father."


Valpre said...

Yay, I'm first!

That has to go down in history as the most 'uncomfortable few minutes ever', between Beth and Gemma. But I think Beth handled it very well.

Sad though that every where she turns she's reminded of Cooper, and she's making comparisons. I think no guy will ever come close to Cooper in her heart. Blade can certainly try, but he doesn't stand a chance.

Oooh, Duff has a crush on Rayne, looking forward to seeing that. Loved the artful way you've slipped in his introduction. I can't wait to see Flight in action :)

Loved the visuals, especially the closing one.

Kiri said...

Lovely, Lovely episode.

Definitely uncomfortable - but Beth is nothing if not a lady. She handled it beautifully.

Personally, I hope she doesn't end up with Blade - I think she needs someone who's actually all just hers, that she doesn't share with anyone.

I'm sad that she has the conflicted relationship with Rayne - but hope they can get over it.

Qui. said...

Beth...my heart truly goes out to her for having to live with these 9 months and then possibly a life time of knowing the man you loved was so careless that they created another life behind your back. Whatever the reason...it hurts! I could feel every emotion she had, every bit of the knots trying hard to untangle themselves as new ones form. I'll leave it there...

I don't know why but I'm liking this combo more and more. A huge part of me hopes that the "convenience" part falls off.

Hmmm. So Rayne is Duff's "Gabe". This image that he seen but feels connected to. I love that!

S.B. said...

Hey Val!

It is an awful situation, to have to talk to someone like that and maintain composure. No guy is going to come close to Cooper - Blade will have a very difficult time becoming anything but a distraction.

Duff has a crush on the idea of Rayne anyway LOL! He's never even met her!

and that last shot is a Gayl shot...I had a vision about it and she did it perfectly (of course). Thank you from both of us!

S.B. said...

thank you, Kiri. I was trying to watch my 'dialog tags' this time, maybe a little too closely. It's like the need for more clutter in the sets: once I'm aware of it, I tend to freeze. Fortunately Gayl and I push each other through when the freeze hits one of us!

Beth has shared Cooper and she is sharing Blade. She even competed with Rayne over Ryan (and that mother/daughter relationship will always be fractured as a result). At this point she is not in love with Blade, and, if it hasn't already hit, it probably won't. The physical attraction is there and they like each other, but it isn't at all the same emotion.

thank you so much from both of us!

S.B. said...

Qui...yes. That hurt is indescribable. And it does not get better with time. In this case, Gemma's responsibility is certainly mixed, but it doesn't make any difference since Gemma isn't the one who hurt her - the man she loved did that.

I'm not sure about Blade and Beth. The physical spark is there, but she is very much in love with someone else.

Duff and Rayne and Gabe: YES!! Exactly. Rayne met her ideal but she was so young and the difference was so extreme, he may as well have been a picture in a book. Duff is drawn to something he doesn't understand yet.

Thank you....again!

The Lunar Fox said...

I can't help thinking about Rayne here. I see where she gets it from, this stubborn strength. She won't ask about the baby or pretend to make pleasantries.

Still, I feel bad for Gemma. What a situation. She really didn't ask for Cooper to screw her, but she's getting blamed all the same. It's not outright said, but it does feel like Beth and Rayne both blame Gemma as if she had been the one to seduce him. And I guess they're not completely wrong, she did try, just not that night.

Blade can certainly be charming with little effort, can't he?

S.B. said...

Lunar, you're right. Gemma is getting a very raw deal. Rayne puts the entire blame on her; Beth knows better, but still doesn't know the whole story. She blames Coop and Gemma equally. Sort of wish Gemma would just say: hey, I didn't have any choice, go ask your husband what really happened. That's not likely to happen. Women who claim famous men raped them are usually ostracized.

Rayne does get a lot of her personality from her mother. She's rawer at this point; in the same situation, Rayne would have said something mean.

Blade is putting some effort into being charming, but he doesn't have to work at it very hard!

Thank you so much from both of us!

Van said...

I read this yesterday, but I forgot to comment. I've been doing that a lot lately :S

Kudos to Beth for keeping her head high here. Not many people would have been so outwardly gracious in that situation. But yeah, I do have to agree with Lunar--Gemma's got the short end of the stick here :S

Blade seems nice and like he'd be good for her in the short-term, but the fact that she keeps comparing him to Cooper is a little alarming. He's his own person, but he might be similar enough that he'll always sort of be a substitute-Cooper to her and I don't think he deserves to be thought of that way.

A little sad to see this blog end, but I can't wait to see the story continued in the new one :)

S.B. said...

Van, that's a problem with rebound relationships, particularly when the people are so similar. Blade is definitely not Cooper and he does deserve to be appreciated for himself. He's not in love fortunately - at this point it isn't serious for either of them and may never be.

Gemma made a dangerous mistake when she pissed Cooper off; doubt he would have hauled ass over there and attacked her if he wasn't angry with her (and the whole world). But she isn't being treated fairly.

Thank you, again, from both of us!

Carla said...

Oh goodness, that encounter between Beth and Gemma was wonderfully awkward, wasn't it? I loved the forced smile. I think she handled that in the best way possible.

I can't imagine being in her situation, having to watch this other woman carry around your husband's baby.

Blade is a charmer, isn't he? I'm undecided as to whether I think he's genuine or a bit of a snake. You have to watch out for those charming ones, sometimes! I'm hoping he's genuine, for Beth's sake.

I'm so sorry it was such a trial for you to get this update up though! Sounds like just about everything that could go wrong did; I hope that's the end of it now!

J A Murphy said...

Seems to me that this is a situation where both no one and everyone has to bear responsibility. Yes, Cooper did wrong by Gemma, but there's nothing to say that she wouldn't have willingly taken him if he had turned up at her doorstep a little less angry and she had time to think of a way to turn it to her advantage; and he wouldn't have gone there at all if he hadn't felt betrayed by Beth and the world.

Yes, Coop did wrong by Beth, but she's not exactly pristine and blameless in their marital difficulties. Looks here like absence may be making the heart grow fonder. Until she can look at everyday objects without thinking of Cooper (or stalking him on the net), I don't see her finding happiness within herself and certainly not with Blade. There is one more element of her life that has got to be a constant reminder of what has crumbled around her.

That the fates caused these two women to cross paths at this time is unfortunate and awkward and one of those things that was going to happen sooner or later - although I'm fairly certain they would both have preferred "later".

Just curious - has it been proven yet that it is indeed Cooper's child or is everyone just still assuming? Even Gemma herself admitted she didn't know and couldn't be sure.

"She has her admirers...she is, after all, a lot like her father."
It sounded to me like there was a lot of pain in that statement, a lot of regret, as if seeing Gemma has reminded Beth of how wrong her relationship is with her own firstborn from Cooper.

oops, sorry, I rambled a bit there. There was just so much in this wonderful update!

S.B. said...

Carla, it was an awkward situation, but it was a situation with such history behind it. Gemma may be standing there pregnant (and it may not even be Cooper's child), but it could have been Beth herself after her affair with Ryan. She owes Gemma some understanding or at least a forced smile.

Blade isn't a snake, but he is a man accustomed to getting what he wants. He likes this woman, enjoys her company. He's definitely charming. She wouldn't be there with him if he weren't. But something's got to give there pretty soon.

thank you so much from both of us!

S.B. said...

Illandrya...absolutely yes on all points. I started writing this after my cousin described meeting her ex boyfriend's girlfriend in a nail salon and the forced and awkward smiling conversation. Very different situation with completely different power dynamics, but I was convinced Beth and Gemma had to meet. It took me about a month to work out the details and a lot of editing by Gayl, and I had to wait until I saw a final image we could use to wrap it up. I'm delighted you think it works!

They all bear responsibility. Beth set this in motion a long time ago with her affair with Ryan (and Cooper didn't have to imagine the intimate details; he had them shoved in his face in full color photos). It poisoned the well. Coop would not have had angry sex with Gemma if that had never happened.

On the other hand, Gemma went to Cooper first and would have willingly taken him if he had wanted her. She encouraged it. But he's a grown man, accustomed to that kind of attention, so he should have used some self control. And you're right: the baby may not be his. Without amnio and a blood test, there's no way to know until after the baby is born.

Beth is not ready for another relationship. She is still in love with Cooper, and yes maybe absence is making the heart grow fonder, or comparison with what's out there. Either way, Blade does not have her full attention. The fact that he is another charming musician doesn't help the situation.

There was a great deal of pain in that final statement. It is moment when she is thinking about children. It is a moment when she is thinking about Cooper. The boy on the beach reminds her of both her husband and the broken relationship with her oldest child, and no amount of 'I'm sorry' from Rayne is ever going to fix that, just as no amount of 'I'm sorry' erased what Beth did with Ryan. The consequences are irrevocable.

Again, I am completely thrilled you saw what we attempted to get across, and that you took the time to tell us. Thank you!!!

~Drew said...

First, gorgeous song, fits the mood perfectly. Never heard that before, thanks, adding it to my music list at grooveshark. It is really like the two of you are singing this.

You both captured the tension filled moment of social awkwardness in both the writing and shots. That cumbersome task of pasting a smile on your face, when all you want to to...is die.

I usually don't feel sorry for Beth, there is enough blame here to be passed around on a silver platter, but, I felt for her here.

So she has been seeing Blade all this time? If she was going to fall for this charming rogue, I think she would have done it already. She obviously still has Cooper Fever.

Great last shot. Evokes so much.
Great update, ladies.

S.B. said...

Drew, the song was Gayl's inspired choice and it is truly beautiful.

One of the most difficult tasks is to maintain some grace in the face of emotional trauma. Beth has not always shown herself up to that task, but this time she managed it. Gemma isn't entirely to blame; even so far as Beth understands what happened, she still knows Cooper was at least an equal partner. And it would be grossly hypocritical to throw too many stones at Gemma considering what Beth did. One of her children could easily have been Ryan's.

All that said, it is a horrible thing to have to experience.

Yes she's been seeing Blade for a couple of months. Obviously there's mutual attraction there, but Coop Fever still prevails.

The last shot is Gayl's: perfect, perfect.

Thank you so much Drew, from both of us for your support and friendship!

Emily said...

Beautiful update again, despite all the trouble it gave you! I'm always amazed by how much you two persevere through, just talking about the game, never mind all the other stuff! You never give up and always crank out something gorgeous in the end.

What an uncomfortable meeting between Gemma and Beth, I probably would have puked right there on the sidewalk! LOL. That has to be the most squicky thing to imagine your husband fathering someone else's child.

Love the uncertainty around Blade, he makes a really good mysterious kind of character, I do like him have to admit even though I'm not sure he's got very pure intentions!

Awesome update as always!

S.B. said...

Hi Emily! I've been enjoying the work you've been putting out SO much!

Squicky yes. Really puke on the sidewalk ick to imagine it. I don't think I could look the other woman in the face; I'd run.

Blade is an interesting person. I'm not sure he has impure intentions: he married four women. He might have an overabundance of pure intentions LOL! We will be doing a little more with him soon.

Thank you so much from both of us and MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your family!

Rachel said...

For all the trouble you had with this chapter, the pictures are gorgeous, seriously!

Oh wow...I never thought of Beth running into Gemma! So very awkward. She handled it a lot better than I would have. Beth is still so torn between wanting Cooper and wanting to move on. She's playing at this thing with Blade halfheartedly, at best. She might be better off if she stops encouraging the attentions of rock stars, LOL. I'd hate the women pawing all over my man.

I love the backstory behind that painting in Duff's house! What is so interesting is that it's almost like Rayne is to him what Gabe was to her--a face that causes this strange, gripping fascination.

Wonderful update! I'm finding this new direction so interesting!

Muzegoddess said...

I feel so bad for Beth. Knowing about the situation is one thing. Running smack into it is another. It's all so sad because it seems like this baby is going to be the deal breaker between Beth and Coop if it turns out to be his. And if it's not there are a pile of other things waiting to cut the ties between them.

And Blade, standing there, reminding her of Cooper in certain ways, but not being Cooper. A shadow of life she loved and in some ways hated for the same reasons. Talk about being in limbo. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

And can I just say that the shots are wonderful. If you two had problems with the game I certainly can't tell.

S.B. said...

Rachel, I thought about that: why continue to date people from that same pool? I decided it's unrealistic to suddenly change social circles, even if it were possible and it probably would not be. She could meet a nice dentist accidentally, but it's a great deal more likely that she would continue to hang out with the same group of people she's known for years. The real question is why she didn't go back to Ryan, whom she did love and would have felt comfortable with...except that she would never have any chance whatsoever to get back with Cooper if she did.

Thanks about the painting and the backstory. We tried to work it in naturally. It is a sort of weird parallel to Rayne and Gabe: man sees portrait of beautiful girl and becomes fascinated with it/her.

thanks again from both of us!

S.B. said...

Muzegoddess, she is in a kind of limbo right now. Can't go back and doesn't want to move forward. Everything reminds her of Cooper. It's kind of obvious she regrets sending him away. Whether or not the baby is his, they still have a pile of sharp junk to get through.

Blade is the next best thing. Nobody wants the 'next best thing' though.

and thanks on the shots! Drove us both crazy getting them!

thank you...from both of us. Hope things are working out for you.

Laura said...

Oooh, that first paragraph is just loaded with perfect details! Awww, that her thoughts go to Cooper when she looks at the rings.

"Speakers caroled 'Oh Holy Night' and other lovely hymns about babies and light and love and lions lying down with lambs." <-- Oh, perfect! Beautiful!

I'm impressed, Beth really did handle herself well there! More graceful than I'd have been, lol!

You know, I kind of agree with Kiri, about not wanting her to end up with Blade. (Though I'm all for her having some fun with that fine ass for now! lol!) But yes, she needs a man who can focus on her for a change. (I also kind of wish Cooper would maybe retire, settle down, and be that man, but you know, that's his decision...)

And ah, yes, I'm glad you mentioned that about why she didn't go back to Ryan - I was wondering too, but it does make perfect sense, because that would negate any chance of reconciling with Cooper in the future. And that's clearly where her heart still is. (They're not legally divorced yet, are they? Just separated?)

I'm eager to see what the new band will bring to the table.

S.B. said...

thank you, Laura!

She's not having much fun with Blade so far, but it might be good for her if she did let go for a while. It's hard for me to see her end up with Blade. She's not going to end up with anybody if she keeps obsessing about Cooper though. Even considering a reconciliation (Coop and Beth are separated, not divorced), it's better to come to the table from a position of strength rather than a stressed out mess.

Ryan would be impossible. That's a very final decision, no turning back, no changing her mind. Ryan wouldn't go for it unless she was serious, and he would know she's not right now. She already told him as much.

We're looking forward to working with the new band too. And thank you so much for the compliments! From both of us!!

Phoenix said...

OMG! I can NOT imagine the feeling of coming across the woman who is probably carrying her husband's child. That's just...whoa!

At least Blade didn't push the issue. I like that about him. He seems so calming and just rolling with things...although that might be a bad thing in the future if those two decide to stay together.

Beth can't help thinking about Coop. She spent most of her life around him. It is what it is.

I loved this ending to Sessions! The next part has sooo much potential! You two are just genius!:D

And is Rayne going to meet someone other than Jimmy? Hmmm....

S.B. said...

Phoenix, Blade's laid back now and giving her some space, but it's not going to last. He'll run out of patience.

Yeah, running into Gemma was a huge ick moment. It was hard to write it.

Will Rayne meet someone else? We ended Passages too, I think just before this update. She seems pretty determined to stick with him, but she's young.

Thank you so much from both of us. You have been such a huge source of moral support, and we are so very grateful for the time you've taken.

Anonymous said...

The thing I liked the most about this story - besides the story itself - were all the amazing poses you guys did, and I found one place that had just about any and every pose imaginable. I'm still getting notes and everything together on how to do this right, but hopefully the next story I do will be as nicely done as yours.

Sorry you had trouble with your pics and stuff a bit; I've had a few LJ friends who were going through the same thing wit theirs.

I'll continue reading your other series as well. You ladies do such a beautiful job; keep it up

S.B. said...

Jean, thank you! We have a lot of room for improvement, but we do try to keep the visuals interesting, not to use the same stock poses over and over, and to make the scenes look as natural as possible. We're constantly learning.

I'd love to see what you come up with if you'll give us a link.

Thank you so much from both of us! It is a huge thrill to get a comment like this!!

S@n said...

Gemma and Beth face to face! what an awkward moment! I felt bad for both of them!

Seems like Beth and Blade are doing really good together, he is making her happy and that's always a good thing!

However she is still thinking and reminded of Cooper all the time... I wonder if she would ever stop loving him (as a man), or even if she wants to stop loving him?

Like I said before, I do like Blade, but Cooper and Beth are still my favorite couple, yes, they are crazy, they have hurt each other in unimaginable ways, but they truly love (loved) each other, that's the kind of love I want for her...
and besides she has too many children with him! lol

It will be sad to bring another man into her family as a step dad!

Great chapter and I'm ready to start with Studio Time! YAY I'm almost up to date!

S.B. said...

S@n, I can't believe you're ploughing through this so diligently. Thank you!!

Beth is obviously still in love with Cooper. She wants to stop because it didn't work; he couldn't get past her infidelity with Ryan; there was the Gemma 'incident' which he lied about (by omission). There's no off switch for love, though, and no way to force yourself to fall in love with someone else.

I think it's very unlikely she would marry Blade. He's been married too many times already. He's not going there at this point, anyway.

Thank you!!!

Charleston Sims said...

Wow, this update was so intense. The meeting with Gemma was so well done - you could almost feel the awkwardness and tension. I can't wait to see how the relationship between Beth and Blade pans out, I kind of get the feeling she should try staying away from musicians!

S.B. said...

Charleston, you are so kind, thank you! It was hard to work through and hard to write.

Beth was the one who pushed the marriage over the edge, although Cooper ignored what he should have seen because it was, from his point of view, inconceivable. She doesn't get a pass though.

Thank you!! It was such a thrill to see a comment from you!

Brandi said...

Finally caught up to Studio Time now, but can't get the chapter pages to work. Not sure if it's on my end or yours, but I've tried restarting and continue to get frozen screens when I enter the chapters. Any ideas?

S.B. said...

Brandi, I'm capable of messing up everything.

You're clicking on Studio Time and nothing comes up? The chapter pages in Studio Time don't work?

S.B. said...

I'm clicking on the Studio Time links and they seem good. Gayl could probably help you more than I can but I think she's offline right now.

This is the link for Studio Time.


thewynd said...

I'll take a look in a sec

Brandi said...

I can get to the main page, but when I click a chapter link on the side or click "read more" in a post, I get redirected to the page, but cannot click anything or scroll down. If I refresh the page, it comes up blank. I'm not especially technical, so I'm not sure what the problem is. Obviously I was able to view these chapters a few weeks ago when I first messaged you. I'm stumped.

thewynd said...

Brandi, when you go to Studio Time, what link are you clicking? The side link with the chapters? What browser are you using?

Brandi said...

The side links or the "read more" link for the individual post. I'm on IE.

thewynd said...

It's your browser. I can't load it in IE either.

Brandi said...

Shoot, guess I'll need another browser or something. Thanks for your help!

thewynd said...

Sometimes Blogger hiccups like that. It wouldn't load for me either. I will try and mess with IE settings and see if I can find a fix.

S.B. said...

Brandi, I think it's the new comment tracking feature that's causing the problem. I disabled it and now I can get into the blogs using IE.

Brandi said...

Thanks for your help ladies. I also downloaded IE9, so between that and whatever you did on your end, I am now able to view Studio Time. I'll be caught up in no time! Thanks again.

S.B. said...

Brandi, it's our pleasure. I'm glad you mentioned it and gave us the opportunity to fix it.