“Penelopy, what’s the matter?”
What do you mean, ‘What’s the matter?’ Do you seriously think that Daniel could just cheat on me and that I’d be okay with that?
“Well, sure. Why not? Everyone makes mistakes.” Carrie really didn’t see a problem. Not only that, she had been tooling right along! Without interruption no less! What on earth was an author to do?
Cheating isn’t just a mistake. I’m sorry, but for me it’s a deal-breaker.
Daniel kept his opinion to himself. He hadn’t been all that excited about the way that the story was going, but he was willing to accept it. He did have Brittany after all; what more could he ask for? It was worth the slant to him.
There’s got to be another way. I just can’t do it.
Can’t do what, Penelopy – forgive? Jessica couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a stab at this new and more assertive Penelopy.
This isn’t your concern. Penelopy shot a look at Jessica and continued. Anyway, Penelopy directed her conversation to Carrie. Forgiveness really isn’t the only issue; although that is a huge one. Why should I have to live with the hurt and the memories when it doesn’t have to be that way at all? I want to have a hope – a future. I don’t want to have to carry around all of that baggage. There’s got to be another way. Anyway, that whole story line is off. It’s terrible. I was trying to be patient but nothing about it is working at all.
The rest of the group got silent. What was she doing? Did she want the author to just give up and throw them all away, again? And if she did what was the likeliness of them ever coaxing their author into another resurrection? Slim to none, that’s what, and they all knew it. It was either do or die!
Suzie didn’t know any better and added her opinion to the plate. It couldn’t have happened that way, no way, anyway. ’Cause how was Penelopy going to be gone off to Oklahoma anyway. I love Uncle Ray and all; that part was real good, but she would never leave me. Then she pointed her concern to Penelopy, Would you?
Of course not, kitten. I would never leave you. See there. Things have to be different.
David didn’t want to, but he needed to throw his hat into the ring. How in the world was he supposed to be a family man when the author had him all busy in New York? He didn’t even like New York! And there was another issue that no one else had noticed. When the author had first started out the story it was in Kansas. He needed to know which was it, Kansas or Oklahoma?
“I don’t care if it’s Kansas or Oklahoma!” Carrie was openly annoyed. Didn’t they have anything else to do except for bother her and interrupt her chain of thought? She would have caught the mistake sometime, she was certain.
Oh, great. Now you hear us without even allowing us to relay the thoughts? David was beyond annoyed. His author had way too much power as far as he was concerned.
“Listen carefully, David. Without me, you’re non-existent. Get it? I don’t need you hanging out if all you are going to do is nit-pick every single thought or action!”
“Whoa, now!” Daniel spoke up, right out loud. He was done with all of the ‘mind’ games! He had surfaced for one reason; and one reason only! He wanted a voice. He wasn’t interested in joining in on this power struggle! He didn’t want power, he wanted purpose! “Can’t we all just get along? Don’t you see? We need each other.”
“You’ve got a good point, Daniel. There are some obvious issues that we need to address, but can we at least all try and be nice to one another?” Carrie waited patiently. She had to get used to the idea that without her characters being on the same page with her all of her efforts would be in vain.
“Okay, Penelopy. I’m open to suggestions.”
Penelopy felt that there was some kind of a barrier that had been lifted. Her thoughts were finally truly her own.
“Well, I loved the part where Suzie was wearing my dress. That definitely has to stay!”
“But seriously, do we have to go over it again? I mean, really!” Jessica was about done with the, ‘The petite little seven-year-old stood on a chair and the beautiful, yet oversized evening gown hung down to the floor. She fluffed up her hair with her hands and challenged the mirror, “Look at me! I’m beautiful!’ How many times did she have to hear that? She knew the words verbatim!
“We get it.” Carrie cautioned.
“You heard me?” Jessica was somewhat pleased. She liked how her thoughts had solidified. She started forming some story lines of her own…
“Okay, so we need a game plan here. I don’t want to have to be doing this here for the rest of my life!” Carrie meant it! She needed to get this done with; once and for all!
“Well, I think that the phone call is okay; you know; after the dress scene. But maybe something else needs to have happened before that scene; you know, so it’s not all back story.”
Daniel had a point, but Carrie was at a loss. She didn’t even know how to change things up as far as the relationships went; how was she supposed to sort out the order while she was at it?
“Come on,” Penelopy coaxed. “You can do this. Look how many times you’ve done it before.”
“Yeah, but that was different. I didn’t have my characters telling me what I could and could not write!”
“No, well, maybe you should have.” Jessica couldn’t help throwing that out there.
“Regardless,” Carrie was a bit annoyed with that one. Jessica didn’t know it, but she was treading on some dangerous ground. She only bothers you because she’s so much like you, you know.
“Yeah, you know.” Jessica mocked.
Carrie just sighed. Wasn’t anything sacred anymore? She didn’t like the idea of the fact that her thoughts were not her own… A community in her mind! Oh, joy!!! She resigned herself to the situation and decided to make the best of it.
“What do you think, Penelopy? How should I handle the Daniel situation? Or maybe you have some thoughts on it, Daniel?”
“I’d like to hear what Penelopy has to say. I’m just glad to have Brittany, and that’s the truth.” He cuddled his infant in his arms and rested back in his easy chair. He was interested in what Penelopy would have to say. He knew that whatever she came up with, it would place her in his rightful arms. She had his full attention.
“Well, we all know that Daniel’s dad has to have died.”
It was a sad, but true fact.
“I think that the way that it was written was clear and plausible. It’s a shame, but it just is what it is. It was a good way to have me go to the mid-west too. I guess first things first: Was it Kansas or was it Oklahoma?”
Daniel raised his hand to get the group’s attention. “I vote Oklahoma, myself. Sounds a bit less cliché to me.”
The nods all around settled the issue.
“Oklahoma, it is then. But how am I going to get there? And what about Suzie?” Penelopy opened the floor for discussion.
“Well, you could still come for the memorial.” Daniel offered in deep contemplation. “I’d really like for you to be there.” Penelopy blushed. It was so nice not to have all of that betrayal between them…
“And Suzie, you could come along too. I’ve got some horses. I could teach you to ride.”
“Horses! Wow, that would be fun! I’ve never ridden a horse before! That’d be great!” Then looking at Penelopy with wide-eyed wonder she asked, “Do you think that Uncle Ray would let me?”
“I don’t see why not, sweetie. You’d be with me. I’ll look after you. He knows that.”
“But doesn’t that kind of put us right back where we started?” Penelopy was concerned; after all, she knew that it hadn’t gone well.
“Well,” Daniel couldn’t help himself. He had the ideas just rolling right out of his mind. “We could meet, you know, like we had; except for maybe just no promises. Maybe we were too young. Maybe the timing was all wrong. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be – at least not yet.”
The room was in a quiet hush as they listened to Daniel’s version of how his and Mitzi’s relationship had come to be…
It was before I lost my dad. We went to school together. I sat behind her in math. She was always so smart, and quiet. I would try to get her attention, but she refused to be distracted. “Daniel, not now.” She would tell me.
“Then when?” I would ask.
“Just not now.” Was always her reply.
I finally got a chance to invite her to the local diner for a soda. I was so nervous. Here was this really cute girl and she wanted to spend time with me! I was in heaven.
“Hey,” Jessica interrupted. “Wasn’t Mitzi a manipulator?”
“Who’s telling this story? You or me?” Daniel was obviously annoyed. Jessica didn’t reply. He was right. She’d let him tell his story.
Anyway, after that day that I had finally asked her to have lunch with me the ice was broken; at least a little bit. But Mitzi wasn’t all that interested in me. I was interested in her though.
Daniel looked at Penelopy, to see how she was taking his open display of affection for someone else. Penelopy smiled. She knew that Mitzi was a part of Daniel’s past, no matter how it was written, and she was enjoying this version so much better than the one that had been penned before…
So anyway, after that all has been established who would argue if she and I decided to get married shortly after I lost my dad? Wasn’t I lonely? I know I was. Mom had gone on to be with the Lord years before, and so we only had each other. Once he was gone I really did need a distraction.
“Oh, that’s so nice.” Suzie exclaimed. “Did you have a nice wedding?”
“We did. In fact, wouldn’t that be a much better reason for you guys to come to Oklahoma? I’d much rather have friends join me for a wedding, you know, instead of a funeral.”
“Yeah, but I don’t want you to have to be alone, Daniel.” Jessica was the closest to her old self than she had been for quite a while.
“Oh, Jesse. You would come to the memorial, of course you would. I couldn’t have made it without you.”
Jessica smiled. She loved Daniel. He was her forever friend. She felt a little ashamed of herself for how she had been behaving.
“Anyway, I figure that there’s no shame in loving Mitzi; you know; and letting her have an unsoiled reputation.”
“That’s so sweet of you, Daniel” Carrie liked the new story line all ready. “Okay so, maybe when the phone rings it can be a different kind of a conversation?”
“Let’s play that by ear. But there’s still the David issue that has to be addressed.” Penelopy again took the floor. She had a great sense of anticipation for this new development, but tried not to let it show. Daniel smiled in admiration. It showed, all right.
“I know how we can fix that.” Jessica piped in; but this time she was chipper and upbeat. “We can give me a new agent/manager. Maybe we could call him Brad.”
“Brad! That’s it! That’s what your name used to be.” Carrie interrupted.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” David asserted. “Doesn’t sound familiar at all. I’m quite content as David, thank you.”
“Maybe you were never meant to be Brad, David. Maybe you just hadn’t entered the story yet when I discarded it. Maybe you had all of Brad’s emotions because I had never given you any of your own. That makes so much more sense to me! I just couldn’t understand how I had gotten a character so terribly wrong…” Carrie was trying to convince herself, but no one was all that on board. Hadn’t she also been the one that had written Mitzi as a manipulator? Yes, they knew that she had. The room waited for some kind of ownership on their author’s part.
Instead they were greeted by Brad.
“So, how’s it hanging?”
Jessica smiled. That was Brad all right. There was no doubt about it. She didn’t mind though. He was a lot of fun at all of the parties!
David scooted a little closer to Debbie, knowing how fortunate he was to be characterized at all; considering that he had surfaced in another man’s shoes…
“We’re good here.” David offered a fist bump; after all; he owed everything to this man.
Brad bumped back and smiled. “Where’s the grub?”
“Come on,” Jessica offered. “You guys can get by without us for a little while?”
There were no objections. They had a story to be told…