Monday, March 19, 2012

Chapter 4: Scratch the Surface

Eleanor has no illusions about her artistic talents; she's no artist and never really desired to be one. Her love of art is purely intellectual, and she's herself becoming a curator, critic or even a gallery after graduation. So she took on an internship at Mercedes Arthag's new gallery, eagerly anticipating valuable experience that would help her in her future career. Mercedes herself turns out to be an insufferably stuck up socialite with no interest in art beyond what it can do to make her look worldly and important to her equally stuck up Beverly Hills friends. 

The job at first promised to be no more than a receptionist gig, but Mercedes proved to be so utterly clueless about managing her new pet project of a gallery that much of the responsibility falls on Eleanor's shoulders, and she finds herself writing press releases and dealing directly with the artists. It's more work than an unpaid intern should have to deal with, but it's exactly the kind of experience Eleanor was hoping for.

After the long day's work, Eleanor thinks reluctantly about going home. She hasn't been at ease with being alone since her last online chat. And worse, even as much as he frightened her, she misses him, misses being able to share things with him she'd never dare admit to anyone face to face.

Before she leaves the gallery, she's rescued by a phone call from Stina, insisting she come her apartment to be dressed up so they can go to some club she just discovered together.

Gavin got a surprise phone call that afternoon as well. Tori Suzuki, a girl he'd met in Tokyo when he'd been visiting his mother's family there when he was still an undergrad. Her family has moved to L.A. now, and she's looking to pursue a career in modeling. And she wondered if her old friend could show her around this new city the way she once showed him around Tokyo.

So Gavin takes her to the Cobra Room for a few drinks and dancing.

"So, Gavin, are you seeing anyone?" Tori asks him as they move closer for a slow dance.

"I'm not," he answers with a smile. 

The club is called Underworld, and supposed to the hangout for the fetish subculture. For Stina it's like a costume party where she gets to flirt with danger. For Eleanor, uncomfortably dressed in her friend's clothes, it's a trip through the looking glass. She's never done more than fantasize about this kind of thing, she's not even sure she'd want to do some of the things she thought about, written about. 

Stina decides to try out the bubble bar while Eleanor goes downstairs for drinks.

Eleanor will never understand Stina's fascination with bubbles.

The decor is over the top, like the set of a cheesy horror movie. If this is representative of the fetish scene, maybe Eleanor doesn't fit in as well as she'd thought.

Not watching where she was going, Eleanor nearly stumbles into the dancer's stage.

Oh, Plumbob, it's Justin, she realized. Gavin once mentioned that he worked as a bouncer at some nightclub. But he's clearly not bouncing here, it's more of a...grinding, she thinks, watching him, hypnotized by the slow gyrations of his hips.

When he notices her, he smiles down at her. Suddenly overheated from the flame effects (What else could it be?) Eleanor rushes quickly to the bar for those drinks.

Whatever this it is, it is clearly not her scene, Eleanor thinks as she notices the other patrons of the club. are they for real, she wonders, or are they all like Stina, playing pretend, here for the thrill?

When Eleanor takes her drink to the couches around the dancer's stages, Justin is no longer there. As soon as she sits, he joins her.

"I never expected to see you here, princess. This place is for tourists and posers," he says as he sits beside her.

She starts to explain that it was Stina who dragged her here, but stops suddenly as she picks up on something he said. "Did you just call me 'princess'?" she asks, looking him hard in the eyes. Only one person ever called her that, the online partner she's been avoiding these past few days.

"Yes. And yes," he says, answering both the spoken and unspoken question.

"You!" she exclaims, angry "All this time, I've been chatting with you, and you never said a word. How could you?"

"I didn't know it was you, princess, not until a few days ago. I use the chat rooms to keep up with and find new clients," he tells her, "The first time I saw you, when you moved into the cottage, I had a feeling, from the way you moved, the way you spoke, you might kind, but obviously inexperienced. I never expected to run into you online. But the more we chatted, the more I heard your voice behind the words you typed. The way you write, it's exactly the way you speak. But I thought that was just wishful thinking on my part, you know? I was projecting my own desires, that I wanted it to be you so much that I was making it be you. But, I had to know, so I got Zach to show me how to trace your IP. And that's when I knew."

"Zach knows?" Eleanor gasps in horror.

"Oh, hell, no," Justin laughs roughly, "I didn't tell him who I wanted to trace or why, I just asked him how."

"But even after you knew, you didn't tell me," Eleanor says.

"I wanted to to. But you do a pretty good job of shutting me down whenever I try to talk to you in person," he says, "And when I tried to tell you in chat...well, I fucked that up. I scared you and you haven't come online since."

"'I know where you live' is pretty standard horror movie lingo for 'I'm coming to kill you', you know," Eleanor answers, "Of course I was frightened. I've been scared to be alone for days." As she speaks the words, all the worry and fear she'd been carrying around lifts away, leaving the blissful feeling of relief.

"I'm sorry for that. I've never seen a horror movie. Or any movie, really," Justin says, "And now you know me, princess. What do you want to do about it?"

"Know you?" she laughs, "I think I've barely scratched the surface." Never seen a movie? How does that even happen in this day and age?

She hasn't slapped him or stormed off, which means Justin has a chance. A chance he isn't going let escape. He moves closer to her, reaching an arm around her shoulder. She leans in to him rather than pulling away. "Everything you've talked about in chat, every fantasy you've every shared with me, I can make that real for you," he says, his voice low.

They move closer, lips almost meeting, but Eleanor stops the kiss before it happens.

"You've given me a lot to think about," she says, "I'm not sure what I want."

Justin lets her go, "I have to get back to work," he says, "You know where I live. Come to me whenever you're ready."

While Eleanor is busy downstairs, Stina is in the restroom, checking her voice mails to see if Gavin has called. But there's not a word from him since she broke up with him. 'Undying love' my ass, she thinks bitterly as she turns off her cell.

"Where the hell have you been?" Stina asks when she finally finds Eleanor

The music is so loud, Eleanor can barely hear anything Stina says. Which is probably just as well. Her friend is so involved in herself, she doesn't even recognize Justin dancing right in front of them.

"You know, this place isn't what I expected," Stina admits sadly, "Let's go home and leave these posers behind."


  1. xD Well I'm glad Eleanor's transition from online to real life seems to be going well. For many girls the transition can be really dangerous, specially with all the guys out there who want to take advantage of "new" girls.

    Justin's a little creepy considering the way he dresses vs the way he acts... but I guess you're limited by CC or something? I dunno.

    Get over yourself, Stina.

  2. CC for bondage wear is a bit limited. Justin is at work in this chapter, so he's wearing the uniform, so to speak. But the pants aren't really right, just LN jeans that I used black leather pattern on. I found a bunch of crappy harnesses I'm making do with, but the only pants I could find were these really hideous chaps.
    As for Justin's mannerisms, he's probably only to get creepier. Or at least, not in any way a normal kind of guy. But Elle isn't really normal herself.
    The character development in general is probably going to be kind of slow, since I have aging on epic and I'm not going at the usual legacy pace where you've got generations coming and going in quick succession.

  3. Well I'm glad Eleanor's online friend didn't turn out to be a crazy psycho killer. I thought maybe it was Justin, just because he was so in to her, guess I was right. I'm curious to see where their relationship goes. I'm also glad that Gavin seems to be hitting it off with his new girl too. Hopefully that ends on a good note. Lol at Stina. She seems to only want Gavin to pine over her.

    1. Thanks, Jess. LOL, you've pretty much got it down. I did drop a few hints about Justin being the online guy without (hopefully) making it too obvious. Like Stina seeing Justin on the computer right before she interrupted Eleanor's session online, and having Justin say he didn't mean to frighten Eleanor when he came to her door right after she got her big scare online.

      And Stina, yeah. The girl has issues.

  4. The bit where Stina saw Justin behind the computer made me think it was him! I actually like him, though it does sounds a bit creepy, but then again, like he said it was not like he knew it was her right away :p.

  5. Squeals! I knew it, I just knew whiplash had to be Justin. And OMG, how can Eleanor turn him down, did she not see the way he was moving on that stage, it should tell her something about his moves between the sheets! What is wrong with her! I loved this chapter so much!

    1. Thanks! I love when people figure out who Justin is like that.

  6. I'm so glad it was Justin, and not some major creep. I kind of love them together. :)

    1. Thanks, I love Justin and Eleanor together, too. =D

  7. YES! SO glad it really was him! I loved this line:

    "'I know where you live' is pretty standard horror movie lingo for 'I'm coming to kill you', you know."

    Because that's so damn true LOL! Maybe Eleanor will get the thrill she wants after all! One can only hope.

    As for Stina! I want to slap her the more I see her! She hurts this guy and then hates that he is over her like that??? Really? Girl get over yourself! Now when she sees him with Tori she's gonna wage war as only angry jealous exes can! Maybe this will show her what a great guy she lost! If Gavin does give her another chance I hope he makes her ass BEG for it!

    1. Thank you much for all your comments, you are making me smile today!
      Stina definitely has a bizarre way of handling relationships, and lives in her own little world where she's the center of everything.

  8. I had a feeling it was Justin with them both at the computer that night. How crazy that he works in a place like that. Now he wants to bring those fantasies to life. Awesome stuff.

    Stina, I'm not liking so much.

  9. I knew it was Justin! I just wasn't sure. It all makes sense, but it's kinda creepy at the same time. I hope he doesn't expect her to be the same person in the real world! "Whenever you're ready" That sounds like something a weirdo would say. Lol I hope he turns out better than he is portraying so far. I kinda like him.

    Stina on the other hand, needs to stop obsessing over Gavin. She broke up with him, and he is moving on. Sounds to me like she loved him more than she thought she did.

    Miss Tokoyo seems to have a thing for Gavin, I hope he doesn't give in so easily!

  10. I do love it when people figure out it was Justin. =D

  11. Maybe Justin can open some doors for Eleanor. ^_^ He is really cute, although a little (ok, a lot) odd. But who knows? Maybe he will be different once we get to know him.

    Stina - yuck, just stop.

    Gavin - yay! Someone who hopefully cares about you for you and not for herself.

  12. I absolutely love how you made Justin the stalker, I had a feeling but wasn't sure. I don't really like to judge, but that was awesome. Oh I hope they get it on. Eleanor is a little frigid.

    I also found it hilarious that Stina was calling that place for posers, when she herself is one. Awesome, just Awesome.

    LOVE IT!!!!

  13. LOL, I'm so glad you called Stina out on being such a poser herself.

    Eleanor is a little frigid and closed up on herself, at least at this point in the story.