Teamwork

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Amateur

Chapter One

I watched as her slender fingers slowly slid down the page as she consumed the words of the book in front of her, page after page. I was fairly familiar with the romantic mystery she was reading and wondered if she was being transported into the wonders that the author had put before her. Could she feel the texture of the robe the man was wearing? Could she see the gossamer gown that the woman was letting slide from her shoulders? Could she taste the danger that was about to befall the woman with in the gown? Her eyes didn’t leave the book as her fingers took her through the adventure. She seemed wrapped in the world that lay before her .

That was the rough draft of what I was going to present to my instructor at the writer’s conference. I had met the requirements for admission to the seminar by paying my two thousand dollars and having at least one book published. It didn’t do all that well but I was published and I even made a few bucks with it. I was also scared to death about the conference. My mentor for this seminar was none other than Jodi Rollinger the noted mystery author. How I managed to get put into her group I didn’t know but to me there were none better than her, at least in the current crop of noted authors. It didn’t hurt that she was attractive and dedicated to the craft.

The assignment was to write a paragraph using nothing more than objects in the room in the writing. If I mentioned a certain book it had to be in the room. If I mentioned a person she had to be in the room. We were allowed certain liberties in how we perceived that person but not beyond recognition. There were six authors in our group plus Jodi. Of those six I was the only male and that fact bothered me. It shouldn’t have but it did. For whatever reason there seemed to be a big increase in female authors in categories from mystery to sex to children’s stories. We had thirty minutes to come up with a paragraph and then she was going to tear them apart. Of course she didn’t phrase it that way. Nothing insecure about me. Just the thought that my paragraph would be read and the six of them would be free to tear it apart while I sat there worried me to say the least.

I loved to write and I loved to read, but to keep my head clear I tried to get out and do something physical at least a couple times a week. That meant that I had to hold down a regular day job, spend time reading, spend time writing and spend time exercising, which at the moment meant riding my bike at least fifty miles a week. That didn’t leave me a lot of time for social events like dating. I couldn’t really afford them anyway.

Anna was the first to have her paragraph reviewed. Jodi read it and then read it aloud for the rest of us and then asked, “Comments?” Nobody wanted to pick on Anna and I even liked what she wrote. A different style than mine but I liked it. Lois was tentative but then offered her opinion that it could stand a little more detail. Then Paige and Tanya were reviewed, each in turn. It wasn’t as hostile or painful as I feared and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Then Jodi said, “Well I can see the points that each of you brought up but I’ll save my comment until we’ve heard from all of you.” So on it went until all of us had been critiqued by the others. Jodi just nodded and said, “All of you did very well actually. I have to agree with Lois about detail though. With one exception I’d say all of you would do well to flesh it out a little. You don’t want to belabor a point and put the reader asleep but you have to give them enough so they can get a strong sense of the picture you’re drawing. “Doug I really liked what you wrote over all. Not perfect but none of us is. Now I’ll tell you I wasn’t being very fair restricting you to one paragraph. Take any of my books and isolate one paragraph and I’d likely fall on my literary face. I wanted you to remember that there are times when one paragraph can be very powerful and take you a long way in your story. Let’s take a break and then we’ll do another exercise.”

The seven of us gathered around the small table that held the coffee pot and foam cups and some small rolls. Lois came up to me and congratulated me on what I wrote and I thanked her sincerely and then so did Paige. “Thank you. I really liked yours too.”

“I thought it was a little soppy but thanks. I really can write better than that.”

“It’s hard with a time limit.”

“I kept watching the time instead of thinking of my writing.”

“A little like taking a math class in high school.”

“Yes, exactly like that. You must have had a tough time with math too.”

“Did I ever.” Jodi joined us and she complimented me and then changed the subject. I had the feeling she wanted to take our minds off of writing for a few minutes.

The day went all too fast and I went back to my motel room. We had a total of three days of exercises and coaching for that two grand apiece and we had just finished day two and by day three the canlı bahis six of us were becoming good friends and having a good time with Jodi. Everybody had relaxed and we had some good laughs along the way. I felt a bit of a let down at the end of the third day as the six of us went out to eat and talk about writing in general. Things like the disappointment of rejection letters and the long hours of honest effort that went into each of our attempts at fame and fortune. I seemed to gravitate toward Paige and Anna for some reason. I liked their writing style and they were nice to be with. There were no pretenses just, here I am like me or not.

As we waited for the shuttle to the airport Anna, Paige and I vowed to get together soon. The two of them lived in Wytheville, Virginia and I lived in Charleston, West

Virginia so if we met halfway it would be less than a two hour drive to the halfway point. That was something we could all afford to do. Before the shuttle dropped us off at the airport Anna said, “I know let’s collaborate on a story. Not for publishing but just for the fun of it. I’ll do the first chapter and then email it to Doug. He’ll add a chapter and email it to Paige and so on. When about the tenth or twelfth chapter is finished we’ll meet somewhere about halfway between our place and yours Doug and talk about it.”

Paige was quick with, “Okay will this be a mystery?”

“I don’t know. Let’s just see where it takes us. It isn’t important if it’s a mystery or romance or whatever. We’ll just see what develops.” I was all for it.

“I like it. This will be great. Listen there’s a Hampton at exit…let me think…forty four. We could meet there.”

“We could make a weekend of it and work on it there too.”

“Okay but now you have us all stirred up so it’s up to you.”

“Okay.”

When I deplaned Annette was waiting for me and drove me home. “How was the seminar or conference or whatever?”

“Great. Jodi Rollinger was the instructor for my group and we had a great time.”

“But did you learn anything?”

“I think I did.”

“I take it you’d do it again then.”

“If I could afford it I would. Oh and I met several other authors and we exchanged email addresses. I’m teaming up with two of them and we’re going to try collaborating on a story.”

“A three way?”

“That’s an interesting way to phrase it but that’s the idea.”

“Why?”

“For the experience and just for the fun of it.”

“No money to be made?” “I seriously doubt it but I suppose it’s possible. One of them has had two books published and the other one has had one.”

“Well good luck.”

“I’ll need it. I think they’re pretty good writers.” You’ll notice I failed to mention to Annette that both writers were women.

It was a couple of weeks later when I got an email from Anna but she only said she was working on it and look for it in a week or two. I had started a novel and thrown it away at least twice so I was getting nowhere at all. If it was like that for me when she sent me the first chapter I was going to be beyond embarrassed. How could I let them down? I got an email from Paige just saying hi and how things were going for her and I sent one back telling her of my writer’s block or whatever it was I had going on.

I don’t know that it matters but Anna is fairly short, maybe five four at the most where Paige is closer to five seven. You wouldn’t think two or three inches would make much difference but it does. Anna’s hair is so blonde it shines like metal and I think it’s natural because her complexion is very fair. Paige’s hair is a very dark brown that in certain light looks black. Neither is fat at all but of the two, Paige was larger framed, solid and attractive. Anna makes me think of pixies but I’ll bet she’d hate it if I told her so. She’s probably heard her whole life.

Chapter Two

Fast forward now to two weeks later and I’ve just opened an email from Anna. I had the first chapter of our collaboration. I shut the rest of the world out and read it slowly. Not surprisingly it starts the introduction of the characters. They are all under thirty five and as young as twenty six. Three couples, each with widely varying backgrounds and yet close friends. The story takes place in Charleston, South Carolina, which is on the coast. The rest of the chapter goes on to describe their economic positions in the community and that their one common thread is they all went to Clemson University, some longer than others. Now it was up to me to decide what the next step would be. Maybe I could introduce a powerful and domineering parent or perhaps have them find the body of an acquaintance. I had to think about it for a while.

I started with giving each of them jobs and choosing one to be the only son of a wealthy and domineering businessman. Then I wrote about how the son could manipulate his father. After all he’d had twenty six years to practice. On I went describing some of the parties they bahis siteleri had and how they would spend weekends on the rich kid’s boat. Then I made one of the characters the poorest but the most handsome and charming. Then I sent everything on to Paige after having spent two weeks on my chapter. It would most likely be a month or more before I’d see the story again.

When I did finally get it I was in for a surprise. Paige, tapping into her experiences, had sent two of the characters to a writer’s conference. Of course in reality it bore little resemblance to our real experiences. But that said I could really relate to what she was saying. Paige continued and before the characters left the conference they had a short affair. On it went to Anna who described the affair in detail. Even pretty suggestive toward the end of the chapter. Now it was back to me. Damn were they making this a romance story? I’d never written anything like that. I did my best to steer it away from love and bonding and had them in the throes of conflict when they got home. Around it went again and then again but it got hung up with Anna that time. She must have seen it was time for something dramatic or maybe it was her turn to have writer’s block. I finally emailed Paige and learned that it had been almost two months since she’d sent the story on to Anna. The story would never get anywhere but it didn’t matter really. It was readable and even very good in spots, but the most important thing was it was fun. Plus none of the three of us took it too seriously and we were all experimenting with different styles of writing.

I finally got the most recent chapter from Anna. I was impressed with her writing but about the end of the second page the rich guy makes love to one of the women other than his girlfriend. Okay that could be fun but not all that original. But what stopped me was how graphic and sexy she wrote. I was blown away. My pixie, my petite silver blonde, mild mannered friend had a side to her that I would never have guessed. In fact the

chapter was so good I reread it. Now what the hell would I do? Should I continue the adult rated route or steer the story in another direction? I took a few days to think about this one. Was Anna just trying to rattle me and have fun with me? Did she want to see how I would handle it? If I continued the adult theme would it bother Paige? All I had was questions and no answers. This was my decision to make. Okay I’d continue what she started. At least nobody could say I was the one that steered the story in that direction. Then I remembered what Anna said when we talked about starting our collaboration. When Paige asked her if it would be a mystery she was quick to shrug it off and say we’ll just see where it takes us whether it’s a romance or whatever. Did she already have a plan when she suggested the collaboration? Damn, more dead end questions. I was staying with my decision and I knew how I would do it. The handsome, suave but poor guy was going to have a liaison with two of the women on the rich guys boat…or maybe on a deserted shoreline north of Charleston. No the boat. Maybe I can use a deserted beach later in the story. I did my best to keep the pace that Anna had set and made the handsome guy quite the lover and had fun writing my first graphic three way sex scene. Then I left it for a couple of days and then reread what I had written. I made a couple of minor changes and sent it on to Paige before I changed my mind. This was either going to get more interesting and even more fun or it was going to come to a screeching halt.

After two weeks I hadn’t heard from Paige so I was assuming that she wasn’t mad at me. After four weeks I hadn’t heard from either of them. Maybe both of them were cutting me out of the story. Maybe I went too far but I didn’t think what I wrote was much more graphic than Anna’s. Actually I liked what I wrote and thought of it as erotic more than graphic. Another two weeks passed before I finally got the next chapters from Anna. Damned if Paige hadn’t maintained the adult theme and introduced two more characters. Then I read Anna’s and was blown away by her chapter. She didn’t mince words this time. The rich guy’s annuity had kicked in and he now had even more money than before so they celebrated by having an eight way orgy on his boat. I couldn’t top that. I didn’t even have a clue where to go with the story this time. Having nonstop sex wasn’t going to work, not in the story and sure as hell not in real life. At the end of the last page she added that she thought it was time for the three of us to get together for the weekend as planned and talk about the story and maybe write a chapter or two together. I was all for that. Then I didn’t have to stew about what to write for my next chapter right away. I did some research and then emailed Paige and Anna. I proposed we meet at the Fairfield Inn in Beckley and I’d make the reservations if they wanted me to. All I needed was a date for the bahis şirketleri reservation. It was the next night when I got an email from Paige with the dates they could both get away for the weekend so I chose the first dates they listed and it was the next weekend. I called Fairfield Inn and reserved a suite so we could be comfortable. I’d never even been in a suite before but the pictures of it on line looked nearly perfect. Once that was done I emailed both of them with the details and said I would just hold the story until then. I had to get their phone numbers when I saw them. I worked up an outline for my chapter where they had another party and the guys were blindfolded and had to identify which woman was which just by standing behind them

and running their hands all over each woman. That meant that each woman would be touched and caressed eight times in a row. The guy with the most wrong guesses had to submit to having his pubic hair shaved off by the women. That’s as far as I had time to go.

When Annette was over I told her I was going to go and meet with the other authors. “How is the collaboration going?”

“It’s tough.”

“So what will you accomplish this weekend?”

“Hopefully I’ll get a better feel for where the story will go.” Annette and I went out for dinner at the local restaurant and then went back to my place to watch a movie and relax.

While I was mixing us a drink I heard, “Doug” and she came into the kitchen. “On the way to the bathroom I just happened to see a chapter from your story lying on your desk. It was from Anna. You know that caused me to pause and read a few random lines. You’re writing porn with another woman goddam it.”

“That just started. I was surprised as you.”

“I’m not an idiot. Once I saw that I looked some more. You wrote a pretty fair chapter yourself. I only read a few lines here and there but I don’t need to read the whole damn thing. I’ll bet the other author is a woman too because now that I think of it you never mentioned a name or said the guy or what ever. You were making sure I didn’t know they were women. You are such an ass.” Now I was getting mad.

“Number one, just because we’re dating doesn’t give you the right to go through my things. Number two I didn’t lie. The adult stuff didn’t start until chapter seven or eight. So what if I wrote something graphic. Big damn deal.”

“It is when you’re going to meet them and spend the weekend.”

“It isn’t like we’ll be in the same damn bedroom.”

“You still deceived me. I’ll tell you what. Call me in a few years and let me know how all of this turned out.” With that she turned around and left almost breaking my door when she slammed it. I drank both of the mixed drinks that I had prepared and watched the movie by myself or at least tried to before I fell asleep.

Chapter Three

Having Annette storm out on me didn’t do much for my mood. I left work early Friday afternoon and headed for Beckley in something less than a happy frame of mind. I hit the road early just to get out of town and figured I could find something to do there just as well as at home. It felt good to be on the road and the interstate south out of Charleston is a pretty ride. I took my time and didn’t care that a lot of the traffic was passing me. I’d still be there by five and Anna and Paige wouldn’t be there until sometime after six. When I got there I put the suite on my card and figured we could straighten out the finances later. I put my suitcase in one of the two bedrooms, got my laptop out and put my shave kit in my bathroom. We would be quite comfortable it seemed. We had a mini kitchen complete with a little table, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a sitting area with a TV. I could remember living in an apartment that was smaller than the suite was. On top of that we had double sliding doors to a tiny veranda overlooking a field behind the motel.

I logged into the hotel wireless internet and played around for a few minutes and then looked at our story until about quarter till six. Then I picked up my laptop and went down to the lobby, choosing a chair where I could be seen when they came in. I wasn’t getting much done with my laptop because every time the door opened I’d look up to see if it was them. About twenty after six I saw them as they came through the double doors. I closed my computer and stood up just in time to be hugged twice and kissed on both cheeks. I looked at them smiling and that helped me to erase the image of Annette as she stormed out of my life. “Ladies may I help with luggage?” Anna offered me hers and then Paige handed me one of her small ones. I led them to the elevator and we rode up to the third floor. I had said I’d make the reservations so they didn’t know it was going to be a suite. I opened the door and stepped back so they could enter ahead of me and heard oohs and ahhs as they stopped and looked around. I put the bags down and slipping my arms around their waists I turned them and said, “That’s my bedroom in there” and I turned then the other way and said, “That’s yours. We have a mini bar plus all the other kitchenette things including of course a coffee pot. A full size coffee pot no less.”

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