Special thanks to my primary beta reader, Joran, who spent far too many work hours arguing with me over the best way to present a person and a story in order to generate sympathy and intrigue, not to mention the intricacies of the lost art of American English grammar. Without her, this wouldn't be half the story it is. Thanks also to bags1881, whose opinions on the beta helped verify that what I intended was actually imparted to the reader who has no previous insight.
Adult Themes (LGBTAQQYG etc, etc): This one's important. This story contains representations of just about every sort of sexuality and self-identification I know of. The opinions of the characters towards these folks are theirs alone and don't necessarily represent the opinion of the author. There are depictions of loving relationships outside of the heterosexual standard. If it is illegal where you live for you to read such or if you are offended by such, please go elsewhere for your entertainment.
Nudity: Well, you know how it is. Sometimes you just gotta get naked. But, in this case the nudity warning is here as a second caveat beyond the ones in Adult Themes. In presenting certain variations in the bodies of people occupying the gender spectrum, it becomes necessary to be graphically explicit.
Violence: Yeah there's violence, but only when absolutely necessary. I mean, there's a mean person causing trouble and there are kids involved.
Language: Yep, I use a lot of that. Mostly English, but I have to caution you that it's American English, often bad English, and occasionally Pittsburgh English. I think you should be okay in figuring most of it out from context. Oh, yeah, there may be some swearing, too. I honestly don't know a single person who absolutely never swears, ever. I just don't. Therefore, I can't possibly portray a character that doesn't, either. But, I'll try to keep from going overboard – unless a particular character simply insists that I'm not properly representing them.
General: This is an original work of fiction. These characters are all mine and, while they may superficially resemble living persons, no attempt is made to directly represent them and no infringements are intended. All television and movie references in this story are made solely in the name of ambience and as a nod of appreciation to all who have contributed to the history of the moving picture. Again, no infringement is intended.
No writer can write in a vacuum. We beginners are especially in need of feedback, advice, encouragement, cookies, etc. I will do my best to respond to any messages sent to Dreams2Fly - even criticisms (though don't be surprised if it takes a while on those. I'd rather not respond when I'm upset.) This is my first attempt at a full length story and second posting overall, so bear with me. I believe I am far enough ahead that I should be able to post one part every week or so. I hope you enjoy it.
To my Sweet Boy,
who accepts all the various incongruous bits that are a part of me.
Lois Lane is out there, babe. You'll see.
A dusky rose-colored spearhead glowed into existence upon a dark knot of wood, its tip pointing towards the source of a soft scratching noise. Slowly, with patience and stealth, the triangle stretched, elongating into a pointed spear and glowing more intensely as it moved towards its target. Across the seams of boards, over a stack of books, up the dark wooden leg of a chair and its soft chamois-covered back, the spear traveled, its color slowly changing to a blazing white gold.
For an eternal second, the spear paused at the very edge of the chair back as if gathering itself for the attack. Then, in the instant between one scratch and the next, the spear leapt from the chair back and crossed the final distance, lancing its target with a blinding brilliance that finally silenced the scratching.
Lee blinked several times in surprise. He squinted slightly into the morning sunlight streaming under the blinds then sat back from his desk with a sigh. His eyes finally settled on the thick pile of paper stacked on the far side of the work surface. The top page, like those below it and the single sheet centered on the desk before him, was divided into four panels, each of which was filled with a small sketch and several lines of hand written text.
"You'd better not be sleeping on that couch," a voice called through the office door a moment before it opened.
Lee's cheek quirked, lifting the right side of his mouth into a half-grin. He cleared his throat and projected a rumbling response towards the door, "I'm awake."
As the door swung inward, Lee lifted the final sheet of paper from the desk and placed it on the stack with its mates, then looked up to watch the heavyset woman who had been his best friend for more years than he cared to count enter the office. As usual, the stout woman was wide awake and full of energy, seeming to fill the large office with her effervescence. Just seeing her brought a brighter smile to his face, pushing back the fatigue. She moved with a purpose towards the desk, a tall, commercial quality glass filled with a frothy brown drink in one hand.
Her eyes darted about the room, taking in everything in a glance. The untouched blanket still folded neatly over the back of the couch behind Lee, the stack of sketches on the corner of the desk, and the dark circles under his eyes all told the same story. The woman pursed her lips as she came to a halt before the desk. "You were up all night working on those," her eyes flicked to the stack of drawings then back to Lee, "weren't you?"
Lee's smile turned sheepish and, after a moment, he ducked his head in acknowledgement. "Can't put anything past you, can I?"
The woman sniffed. "After all these years, I think not!" She plunked the thick glass down before him then dropped a bundle of envelopes bound with a rubber band next to it. Lee's attention went to the stack of mail as he let out a tired sigh.
"C'mon, Cass. You know I've been worried about the preliminary storyboards being right and ready before the crew gets here."
"I know." Cass matched his sigh with one of her own before settling into one of the softly upholstered chairs facing the desk. The moment of melancholy was gone as fast as it came, though, replaced by her normal cheerfulness. "But," she grinned, her eyes twinkling, "If I don't look out for you, who will? You certainly won't."
Lee snorted. He didn't say anything, but he often wondered the same thing.
Cass nodded toward the glass. "C'mon, drink up. I know you haven't eaten since yesterday."
"Yes, mom," Lee laughed, reaching for the drink.
Cass watched Lee for a moment then glanced at the clock on the wall beside the door. "Your meeting is at 4, right? Why don't you go home and get some sleep and a shower." She paused to eye his attire. "And, maybe some fresh clothes. We can't have the 'New Mr. Rogers' looking like 'Old Mr. Sanford', now, can we?"
Lee grunted noncommittally as he took another long gulp of the frothy beverage. He set the still very full glass on his desk with a satisfied exhalation then wiped the remaining liquid from his mustache. "You know," he started, "I still feel pretty good. And, I've got a lot of paperwork to get done for next week's shoot."
"Oh, no," Cass countered immediately. "You are not getting out of taking me to see that new Renee Zellweger movie tonight just because you ran out of steam after being awake for 36 hours!"
Lee poked his lower lip out in a pout. "I could always take you tomorrow night," he offered. He loved spending time with Cass, he just didn't quite agree with her on this particular actress' charms.
"Don't even try it, mister." She made shooing motions towards him. "G'wan. Your paperwork will still be here when you get back." Cass slapped the stack of drawings then pushed out of the chair, snagging the pile and heading for the door.
Dark curls bounced around her face as she looked over her shoulder at Lee from the threshold. "I'll see you at 4 with a pile of copies and the originals posted on the conference room wall." As the door swung shut, she called out, "And, drink your milk!"
Lee lifted the glass to his lips, though they were still pulled up in a toothy grin.
~Continued in Part Two~