I sat down at my computer, somewhat bleary-eyed. An idea had come to me while I was half-asleep, and I knew that in order to keep it, I had to write it down as soon as I possibly could.
I was just starting to get the bare bones of the idea scribbled out into a Word document when I heard a silky voice behind me.
"Fancy seeing you again, Sophie."
Eric. I pursed my lips and refused to look at him. Last time he and I had tried to talk, things hadn't gone entirely well.
"What are you working on?" he asked, ignoring the fact that I was ignoring him. I could tell that he'd taken a step closer behind me.
With a grimace, I kept my hands on the keyboard, my face staring only at the screen. "Something new, Eric. I'm still trying to get the idea out. If you're not going to help me with this idea, you can fuck right the hell off."
When he next spoke, his voice was inches away from my ear. "Which Eric do you think you're talking to, Madame Author?"
I snickered, which I doubted was quite the reaction he was expecting. Maybe I should have been frightened of him, but sometimes I was a bit lacking in the self-preservation department. My mouth had a tendency to get away with me. Just before I'd gone to bed, I had been tweeting with some friends about my lack of social filters; while we'd been having fun and the conversation had gotten rather raunchy, the lack of care for what words spilled from my lips was just as likely to get me into trouble as it was to make others laugh.
"In some ways, you're all the same," I answered. I could see him out of the corner of my eye now. Since I'd been wearing glasses since I was in single digits, my peripheral vision was really quite bad; still, I could see a vaguely Eric-shaped blur to my left. I turned so that I could bring him into better visual focus. He was hunkered down at my side so that we were at eye-level; as expected, he was wearing his trademark smirk, and one eyebrow was slightly raised.
"Is that what you really think?" he asked.
I sighed again. "Yes and no. I've only written you as human twice, those two of you were radically different."
"Ah, yes," he interrupted. "The mad scientist and the geek. What about your contest entry for the..."
"ZZZT! Hushface, you," I said, interrupting him right back. "That one isn't done yet, and you know as well as I do that I can't give anything away. Back to what I was going to say... I find it much easier to write you as a vampire; you're more consistent that way. "
He gave me a stony look that said he liked being interrupted about as much as I did. Possibly less. "All right, then. So why don't you work on one of your vampire stories, since those are easier?"
"I didn't say the stories themselves were easier." I grumpily turned back to the computer screen and tried to start writing again. Of course, I could tell he wasn't going to drop the subject. Stubborn bastard.
He stood up from his hunkered-down position and placed a hand on the desk so he could lean over me. "Which of version of me do you prefer?" he asked in a husky tone.
"Whoa. Ease up there, cowboy. Don't you try to get frisky with me. And do you mind? I woke up with an idea for a story, and you're kind of impeding the process, here."
"I am no cowboy; that's more of an Alcide thing, not that you'd ever go there. And I don't plan on dropping this one: tell me which version of me you prefer. I know I like you; I want to know which me you like."
I tilted my head back and stared at the ceiling, finding myself oddly grateful that I could type without having to look at the keyboard. I closed my eyes and tried to get the idea written up before Eric could distract me any further.
"Sophie. You know it's a bad idea to ignore me. I can be very... persistent."
"Not gonna work, dude."
He growled. Apparently dude wasn't much better than buddy. Ask me if I cared. He was being all distracty-pants with my writing process. He was a fictional character: the worst he could do was not speak to me when I was trying to write him. Granted, that really sucked whenever it happened, but it certainly wasn't the end of the world. I lifted my head and checked over what I had written; after fixing a few typos, I moved on.
"I think you like me better as a vampire," he said. "You think I'm easy when I'm a vampire."
I scrunched my eyes shut at the way he was implying something other than what I'd said.
"Okay, Eric, here's the deal: I like all of the different variations I've written of you, and I like them for different reasons. I think awkward geeks are hot, and I think a bad-ass vampire Sheriff is hot. Happy?"
I looked up at him just enough to see that he was smirking.
"Enough with the smirking," I said abruptly. "There are tons of other facial expressions out there; I know I'm just as guilty of making you do it, but I'm trying to get better about it. So quit."
He leaned in even closer and rested his chin on top of my head. When he let out a slight hum, I knew he was up to something. Devious bastard. It was obvious he was reading the words on my screen, and I didn't even care that he'd just seen me bust out the name-calling. Damn it, I hadn't had a single drop of caffeine yet; I wasn't awake enough for his shit.
"Something I've been wondering, Sophie: why haven't you written any sex scenes lately? You know how much the readers love them."
I ducked my head out from under his chin and craned my neck so that I could glare at him. He looked down at me with an amused expression on his face.
"Because they're overdone, that's why. I barely read them anymore myself. They're almost always the same: you go down on Sookie and/or dip in a finger to 'test her readiness.' More often than not, she's wet enough to make a person worry about her future hydration levels. Once the sex starts, there's only a limited number of positions: mish, her on top, the two of you up against a wall or door. Showers are quite popular, can't imagine why. And don't even get me started on the during-sex dialog."
He frowned. "I fail to see the problem with anything you've mentioned. I rather enjoy..."
I cleared my throat. "Yes, I'm sure you do. It's all well and good that you're getting your rocks off. But one: I'm not; and two: I don't see the point of writing an original story and then basically copy-pasting a random sex scene. Hell, half the time, I can't even see where sex fits in with the stories I write. I want people to read my stuff for the plot and witty dialogue, not for the sex."
Eric laughed. "Surely you're aware of the concept that sex sells?"
"Hmph. Do you see anyone paying me?"
"You know they can't. Not when you're writing stories with someone else's characters."
"Look, if you're going to go being all logical, we might as well stop this conversation right now. None of this is logical. I'm just glad this isn't out loud; people already think I'm mad as pants."
Once again, he leaned in and hovered over me. "As I was saying before you went off on your little rant: I rather enjoy your sex scenes. Sometimes I wonder if you're imagining yourself in her place."
I stared at my fingers on the keyboard, determined to ignore him, to completely disregard the way his voice had slowly lowered in tone until it was... No. Not going there. That's where he wanted me to go, and damn it, I had a story idea I was trying to get down before it disappeared. And damn him, he was getting even closer. I leaned away from him as he leaned in, soon finding myself nearly horizontal from the waist up. Nice to know I was still fairly limber. Typing from that position was a bit of a bitch, though.
Eric chuckled and stood up straight, allowing me to return to an upright position. "You're so much fun to mess with."
"Glad to amuse," I muttered. "Now, can I please get this story idea fleshed out? Or are you going to keep pestering me?"
"Why are you starting something new? You already have what, four or five stories in progress?"
With a groan, I bent over and rested my forehead on my desk. "Shut up, Eric. Only three that are public yet, and they all require very different mindsets to work on them."
I sighed and sat up again. "Okay, you know how there are method actors? People who envision themselves as the character they're playing? I'm kind of a method writer. If I'm working on something like Destiny Calling, I have to be in a very lighthearted and witty mood to work on that. A Smarter Sookie requires this odd balance of smarts, innocence and snark; it's not a difficult mindset, but I have no bloody idea what to do with that story at the moment. It strayed from my original outline, and I'm just not sure where to take it from where I left it."
"Hmn. What about Waking up in NOLA?"
"Well, see, the sex interlude that happened was a bit of a distraction for me. I got all sorts of off-course because Sookie insisted on finally doing the deed with you. Blame her."
He huffed. "I will do no such thing. It was about damn time."
"Whatever. Anyway, that one has a lot of twisty plot-bits coming up that I need to map out – well, more than I already have. And given how tumultuous my own life has been lately, I just don't have the brainmeats to figure out that level of detail right now."
"Okay, fair enough. Besides, I like where you left that one: Sookie and I have been locked in my office for weeks." He grinned, and I rolled my eyes at him for it. "Well, what about that other one you started on the other day?"
I glared at him. "Hush. Your. Face. That one isn't going public until I've gotten a few more chapters written for it. You know how these things work. I only have the barest of outlines, and again: it requires its own mindset. It does have a happy ending, but it's going to take a long, dark road to get there."
"But you managed to get 2,500 words done on the first chapter. Not a bad start."
"Yeah, well, it was fairly simple, given that I was writing it from your point of view."
He frowned at me. "I don't like it when you infer that I'm 'simple'. Easy is closer to the truth, and on many levels. But now I'm curious: why do you find me easier to write?"
"Well, you're more defined as a character, even when you're in different roles. Sookie is the one who... well, she changes more, but also less."
"Would you like to try that again, but with more making of the sense?"
I squirmed uncomfortably in my chair. "Well, she's a woman..."
"As are you. Which should make her easier to write, yes?"
"Not entirely. Okay, here's the deal: being a method writer works both ways, in a manner of speaking. I put a lot of little bits of my own life into my stories. So when I write you, you're variations of an idealized man. Or an idealized vampire, if you're going to get all tetchy about it."
He grinned broadly. "I'm your ideal?"
Once again, I rolled my eyes. "Yes and no. You are such an idealized character that I don't think you'd want to have anything to do with me in real life."
"So you write Sookie as an idealized version of yourself."
"No," I said, rather grouchily.
He raised an eyebrow.
"Okay, sometimes. Look, it's not like I'm the only person who does this. And it's not that I'm writing her as some kind of Super!Sophie, more like I'm writing her as someone who I think would be an ideal match for you. It's not my fault if she just so happens to have some of my traits. You have some of my traits as well. Hell, when I write you into places in Atlanta, I use buildings I used to work in, or apartment buildings where my friends used to live. It's just easier to write if it's something I already know."
"Maybe that's why you're stuck," he said quietly.
"Maybe your comfort zone has become a rut. As painful as you and I both found it, Don't Find Me really was one of your best pieces."
I winced. "But you see, even that one pulled from my own personal experiences. Hello, she ran off to Atlanta. Where I live, remember? And I recently re-read that one. I don't think I could do it again."
"Maybe you're just too emotionally involved with your own stories. You've put too much yourself into them."
I snorted loud enough to wake one of the dogs who'd been asleep under my desk. He sat up and whined at me; I gave him a rub on the head to console him and he went back to sleep.
"What's so funny?" Eric asked.
"Oh, just the fact that you tell me I put too much of myself into my stories when I'm almost 2,400 words into a story that's solely about a conversation between you and me. It's like some twisted version of My Dinner with Andre."
He wrinkled his nose. "Why would you have dinner with that asshole?"
"Different Andre," I replied, waving my hand.
"But, back to the subject..."
"Ugh. What were we even talking about, again?" I pulled my hands away from the keyboard and took off my glasses so that I could rub my eyes. They still had a bit of sleep-sand in the corners. That's how not-awake I was.
Once I put my glasses back on, he grabbed me by the waist and
I lifted Sophie up and sat down in her chair, placing her on my lap. She twisted around to give me a peevish look, but I paid it no mind. After placing her hands back on the keyboard, I put my own hands over hers and began to type.
"Eric," she growled. "That's not how this works."
"It seems to be working just fine, my dear. Calm yourself."
It was a dark and stormy nigh
"Oh hell and no," Sophie said. "You know how I feel about clichés. Do we need to have the sex conversation again?"
I snickered and rested my chin on top her head. "Sex is sex, dearest. Does it really matter if it's always the same, so long as it comes to a happy ending?"
She scooted forward on my lap, grumbling. "See, that's the problem: I want to write something different. I don't want to just churn out the same story over and over. Yes, we all love a good happy ending – and I mean with the story, you perv – but..."
"But you have trouble... finishing?"
Sophie pulled her hands out from under mine and rubbed her face again. I wrapped an arm around her waist to pull her back, closer to me. She might have thought I was being a "perv," but all innuendos aside, I just thought she needed some comfort.
She sighed. "It's hard to say good-bye to characters that you've been writing. So I keep dragging the stories along because I don't want to end my relationship with it. Or with any of you."
"It's not really good-bye, though. You can always come back and re-read us."
"It's not the same thing."
"I know that, and you know that. I'm not trying to insult your intelligence, Sophie. Besides, you can always write more stories with me."
I somehow managed to contain my snicker. Whether she was in denial or telling the truth, I itched to tease her about our earlier conversation. But she was the author, and if she didn't write me, I didn't exist; well, I did, but not this particular me. Others would write me, but they'd be a different me. It was complicated.
Since she was in a bit of a mood, I decided to humor her. "Yes, and Sookie."
"Well, that's all well and good, but if I just keep writing you two over and over, how does that let me really write anything different?"
"Oh, please. Some of your favorite authors have written some pretty damn original stories with me and Sookie. They might even say the same of you."
She turned and gave me a raised eyebrow that was so like my own. "A bit full of ourselves, are we?"
I snorted. "This is me we're talking about. And you can't complain: you're the one who wrote me."
"Not entirely. Someone else created you, and I'm just writing variations of you."
"You know what I meant, Sophie."
To my relief, she giggled. "Yeah. I am writing you right now. Well, I'm writing you, writing me writing you."
"So. What story are we going to work on today?" As amusing as this was, I wanted to get down to business.
"I'm not sure yet. I am feeling in a writing mood, but I need to run to the store. I'd like to get that over with before the rain starts. And if I can sneak out, I won't even wake the dogs when I leave."
"Okay. But once you get back, we're going to at least try to work on something. Deal?"
She laughed. "Deal."
"Kiss on it?"
"Pff. In your dreams."
I grinned. I'd shut up, for now. But this conversation was far from over.
A/N: Wow, so have I lost my wee little mind, or what? Wasn't even sure if I should post this one; it hasn't been beta-read or pre-read in any fashion. Not sure if it's a one-shot or the start of something; if it's the latter, I have no earthly idea where it could wind up going. So I'm not listing it as complete, just because I'm all indecisive like that; I'm going to hold off on posting it to my WP blog until I figure that out. And I really do have to run to the store before the rain starts, so I'm gonna boogie.
Disclaimer: Eric and Sookie belong to Charlaine Harris. I just like to tie strings to their limbs and make them dance to my merry tunes.