kay_brooke: Snowy landscape with a fence, an evergreen forest, and a pink sky (winter)
kay_brooke ([personal profile] kay_brooke) wrote in [community profile] rainbowfic2017-02-27 09:45 am

(no subject)

Name: [personal profile] kay_brooke
Story: Unusual Florida
Colors: Rain Cloud #21 (Writers' block), Valentine's Day Pink #6 (heart)
Styles/Supplies: Frame, Eraser
Word Count: 892
Rating/Warnings: PG-13; no standard warnings apply.
Summary: Marsha and James have a disagreement.
Note: Constructive criticism is welcome, either through comments or PM.

They were sitting in a coffee shop when Marsha first noticed it.

It surprised her that James was willing to go to a coffee shop. Normally he avoided anywhere there might be other people around. But he claimed he did a lot of "pre-writing" in that environment. And indeed, he had brought a battered notebook and a chewed up pen with him, but it wasn't until he had gone through his first cup of coffee--black and plain, no cream or sugar, something which no longer surprised her--and two raspberry muffins that he flipped it open. The small bit of conversation dropped away, and Marsha didn't push it, because she knew how precious writers were about their writing time.

Though she was a little bit miffed he had chosen to do this on what was at least nominally a date.

But it was James. He wasn't exactly a normal boyfriend. And Marsha was perfectly capable of entertaining herself, so she pulled up a book she'd been reading on her phone and tried to get back into it. It was some sort of horror novel, borrowed from the library of course, that had been a compromise after James had told her maybe she should at least give something genre-ish a try. She wasn't ready for that science fiction crap, but she'd liked a few horror movies in her day.

The jump scares just weren't as good in written form. But she was determined to get through at least one, just so she could tell James she had given it an honest try.

James's pen scratched; Marsha scrolled through pages. The din of the coffee shop was a pleasant hum, a droll symphony to their companionable silence.

Then it became too silent.

The pen had stopped. James was still holding it over his notebook as if he'd frozen halfway through bringing it back down to write another sentence. The notebook page, she saw, was about half full, but the script was large and sloppy and he couldn't have written more than a paragraph. Marsha frowned, then reminded herself it was no longer her job to worry about when and how much James was writing. Wondering if he was done with his "pre-writing" and wanted to talk again, she lifted her gaze to his face.

He wasn't looking at her. He wasn't looking at anything in particular, his eyes glazed over like he was lost in another world, his brow slightly furrowed as if he was as confused by what was going as she was.

But she was more than confused. She was scared. "James!" she cried, and when he didn't respond she said it again, louder. A few people in the coffee shop turned to look at them.

"James!" she said again, quieter, hissed between her teeth.

She was just wondering if she needed to shake him or call for help, and which she should do first, and realizing she could do both at the same time, when he blinked at her and said, "What?" Slightly irritated, like nothing had happened.

"What are you doing?" They were no longer the center of attention, now that it was clear there wasn't going to be some kind of fight or dramatic argument.

"I was taking notes," he said, tapping the point of his pen on the half-full notebook page.

"You weren't writing, you were just staring off into space..." Marsha's words trickled away as James's puzzled smirk dipped into a scowl. "Wait. Were you--?" He'd tried to tell her once, she remembered, back before she even half believed him. A teary confession in the middle of the night, pleas for her to tell him he was a real writer and not just a voyeur. She'd thought he was nuts, crazy from too much work and too little sleep. But had he been telling the truth?

In answer, he slammed his notebook closed, took one last long drink from his mug, and stood. "Time to go," he said.

She stayed seated. "No, but were you just...did you come here to get in people's heads? Deliberately?" He'd told her he avoided it as much as possible. He told her the only times he did it were when he couldn't help it. She wasn't sure what she thought about him mining writing prompts from other people's private thoughts.

"Fine," said James. "You can stay here. I'm leaving."

She didn't want to argue about this, not this. But her mouth opened all the same. "We came in my car."

"I'll take the bus back." He indicated the busy street outside the window with an outstretched arm. "Thing about cities, you don't need a car."

"Going to do more note taking, then?" she asked nastily.

He stared at her. He wanted to say something to her, something mean and cold. She could see it on the tip of his tongue as clearly as if she was the one who could read minds. And she would probably deserve it, because she had started it, but right now anger was the only emotion her poor, blindsided brain could come up with.

"Don't question my process," was all he said in the end, and then he really did leave, not looking back even once as he strode out the door, notebook under one arm and pen clenched between angry fingers.
clare_dragonfly: woman with green feathery wings, text: stories last longer: but only by becoming only stories (Default)

[personal profile] clare_dragonfly 2017-03-05 11:35 pm (UTC)(link)
Oof, yeah, that's definitely something to have a disagreement about. I'll be interested to see if or how they resolve this.
bookblather: A picture of Yomiko Readman looking at books with the text "bookgasm." (Default)

[personal profile] bookblather 2017-03-07 03:25 am (UTC)(link)
Uuuuuuh man, I dunno, I'm kind of with Marsha on this because that's creepy, but I'm also kind of with James, because how is it any different from eavesdropping...

IDK. Excellent moral dilemma you've brought up.