kay_brooke: A field of sunflowers against a blue sky (summer)
kay_brooke ([personal profile] kay_brooke) wrote in [community profile] rainbowfic2017-07-03 08:07 pm

Argent #23, Heart Gold #29, Rain Cloud #1

Name: [personal profile] kay_brooke
Story: Unusual Florida
Colors: Argent #23 (accepting of faults), Heart Gold #29 (Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction. - Saint-Exupery), Rain Cloud #1 (bad news)
Styles/Supplies: Eraser, Frame
Word Count: 1,024
Rating/Warnings: PG-13; no standard warnings apply.
Summary: Marsha needs some time to process.
Note: Follow-up to this. Constructive criticism is welcome, either through comments or PM.


When she got home, James was sprawled in the armchair across from the front door, one leg hooked over the arm while the other stood flat and firm on the hardwood floor. He wasn't doing anything in particular, just tapping one hand against the side of the chair, and when she came in he rolled his head up to look languidly at her.

Marsha's brief surprise almost immediately melted into irritation. James had a key, and this was not the first time she had come home to him crashed out on a piece of her furniture, but she could hardly believe, after what had happened at the diner earlier, that he dared come back so soon. "What are you doing here?" she said.

"I live here."

"No, you don't." Marsha placed her purse in its usual spot on the table by the door. "You have your own place."

"Yours is nicer. Besides, I spend at least half my time here. So technically I live here."

"Then you can start paying half the mortgage," Marsha retorted. "Or evict yourself. I don't really care. I'm going to my office." It was a Sunday, and she tried really hard not to work on Sundays, but when one was a very successful literary agent for a very successful literary agency, sometimes that just wasn't an option. Or so she told herself. She'd cleaned out her inbox just yesterday, and she couldn't imagine it'd be so full again already, but she just really didn't want to deal with James right then.

"It's Sunday," he called to her retreating back.

"Don't I know it." Marsha stopped at the door to her office, teeth gritted. No, this wasn't going to work at all. She turned back around. "I don't want you in my house. Go home."

The look he gave just wasn't quite sad enough to be believable. "You're kicking me out? Why?"

"You know why."

"Because of that bullshit in the coffee shop?" He waved one hand like it was the most inconsequential thing in the world. "Forget about it. It's just something I do."

"Rifle through people's heads for your writing?" She hated talking about this, but she supposed they had to. That was the thing about having a significant other: you had to talk through shit if you wanted it to work out for any length of time. Marsha wasn't entirely sure, at this point, if she even wanted things to work out with James, but he was sitting in her chair like he owned it and their lives had been so entangled with each other for so long that she supposed they each owned a little bit of that, too.

He stared at her for a moment, fear, defiance, and exasperation warring behind his eyes. Then he said, "You don't get it."

"I think I do." She was stupid not to have realized it before. How did James Breaker, antisocial misfit who lived in a shack in the desert half the year just to avoid people, write things with such heartbreaking humanity? Once she had thought maybe there was more to him than met the eye. Maybe his loner nature hid some terrible trauma that made him too afraid to open up to people. But no. He was just stealing things right from people's thoughts, writing them down and putting his name on them, and he'd gotten famous by doing it.

And she had helped him, an unwilling dupe.

Maybe she didn't want to talk about this. Maybe she just wanted him out.

"No," he said, and he stood up. "You don't get it. You think I just transcribe people's thoughts and call it a day."

"Is that so?" she said. "Is that what I think, James?"

"It's not like that!" He took a frustrated step toward her. "None of this is...like that." He gestured vaguely around the room. "People don't think in neat, tidy conversations, Marsha. I don't even understand, like, ninety percent of the stuff I get. What I do get, it's just inspiration, same as anyone would get from watching a movie or people watching in the park or whatever." He jammed his thumb at his chest. "The rest of it is me."

Marsha shook her head. "That may be true, but it's not exactly innocent people watching, is it?"

"Isn't it?"

"No," said Marsha. "It's...you told me you tried not to do it on purpose." And that was really what was bothering her, wasn't it? That he had lied.

James looked at her helplessly. "I don't," he said. "Most of the time."

"If you fudged the truth with this, what else did you fudge?"

He narrowed his eyes at her.

"Stay out of my head."

"I'm not in it," he said. "I didn't lie to you. I don't like doing it. It feels wrong and doing it on purpose usually gives me a monster headache. Just sometimes." He shrugged. "Sometimes, yeah, I go to crowded places and sit and see what comes to me. Very rarely. How long have we known each other? Do I spend a lot of time sitting in coffee shops?"

He didn't. She'd thought it was strange he wanted to go today. She'd thought he was making an effort for her. She let out a shaky breath. "Fine. You should stop doing it at all. And I don't want you staying here tonight." She needed time to wrestle with his argument, and she couldn't do it with him there. She didn't mind him knowing what she was thinking, not really, but other people hadn't given him that permission. She wasn't sure how to reconcile what he was doing with her own sense of the right to privacy, and she didn't need him butting in with his defense while she thought about it.

James grabbed his jacket, which had been tossed carelessly over the back of the couch. "I'll go. I can't promise the other thing."

She shook her head.

He looked at her, despondent. "Please understand," he said.

"I have to think," she said.

He nodded and headed for the door.
clare_dragonfly: woman with green feathery wings, text: stories last longer: but only by becoming only stories (Default)

[personal profile] clare_dragonfly 2017-07-04 05:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Their arguments are so interesting and have so much depth. I really relate to Marsha's difficulty here.