Because sometimes characters won’t fucking do what you want them to.
The waiting was always the worst part. Min had spent countless hours lying in bed, or standing in the shower, or sitting on the couch, waiting for her next instructions. Sometimes the Author would stop in the middle of the scene and leave someone in the room with her—then at least Min would have something to do while she was waiting—these days, however, she usually ended up waiting by herself somewhere, wondering what was going to happen next.
Still, the last book was done, now. She had to remind herself of that. The Author usually wrote fluff, or porn, or other light-hearted crap between books, and Min had a good feeling about the intermission of this one. She’d overheard the Author complaining about too much angst, so she had a feeling she was in for some fun.
That’s why, when she heard footsteps in Sarah’s hallway, her heart lifted and she turned towards living room door, holding her breath to see who would come through it. That set the scene, she knew. If it was Bree, they’d probably end up having some pretty awesome sex—definitely not a bad way to finish a stressful year. If it was Sarah, it was likely to be something funny, and if it was—the door opened—
—“Gemma?” Min was a bit embarrassed to hear how surprised she sounded. What was Gemma doing alone with her between books?
Gemma gave her a look. “Wow, I’m glad to see you, too,” she said flatly, placing a paper bag on the table. It was champagne-bottle-shaped. When she saw Min glancing at it, she sighed and rolled her eyes. “Apparently I’m drunk in this scene again.”
“You like drinking,” Min just felt she should point out.
Gemma flopped down in the opposite couch, groaning. “I don’t know what I like anymore,” she said cryptically as she kicked off her shoes and put her feet on the footstool. “Every time I read a chapter I keep discovering new things about myself. I have no idea what I’m going to do next.”
That, Min had to laugh at. “Yeah, well, welcome to the club,” she said dryly. “You just described what Under My Skin was like for me, from beginning to end.”
“Great, something to look forward to in my book…” Gemma said, letting her head loll backwards on the spine of the couch so she was staring at the ceiling. “Anyway, do you know what I’m doing here? I haven’t been written about for a while, I don’t know what’s going on.”
Min shook her head. “No idea,” she said. “I was expecting Bree.”
Gemma lowered eyes specifically to give Min a sideways look. She clearly knew what that meant. “Yeah, well, sorry to disappoint you.”
Min couldn’t resist. “Maybe you’re not going to disappoint me after all…” she told Gemma in a low voice. Just to make sure Gemma definitely did blush, she winked.
Gemma had been fanning her cheeks and about to have a go at Min for teasing her, when the door burst open and a short and short-haired person came bustling into the room dressed in a faded pink dressing-gown and old, tattered Ugg boots. Despite her stature, she had an air of authority about her as she handed out a pair of thick manuscripts to Gemma and Min. “Sorry about the wait, guys,” she said—her catchphrase—“but I wanted to make sure I got the transitions absolutely spot on the money before I gave…” Her words trailed off as she noted the blush on Gemma’s cheeks. Smirking, she glanced at Min. “Now, that’s what I’m talking about,” she said. “I reckon you guys are going to love what I’ve written this time.”
Min wasn’t so sure, but that introduction made her curious so she spent a few moments flicking through the pages, and had been looking forward to running the scene until she got to a part where—hang on, why was Gemma’s top off in this—
Gemma got there before her. “What in the fucking—” Her hand flew over her mouth, and she looked directly at Min with wide, terrified eyes.
Min’s eyes widened, too. “What?”
The Author had a knowing grin. “Keep reading.”
Min gave her a suspicious glance, and then followed her instructions, reading through the script while Gemma fidgeted uncomfortably on the other couch. It got harder and harder to keep reading though, and what was happening grew more and more completely… well. Gemma’s top was off; she’d split something on it. Min had lent her a long-sleeve shirt and was driving her home to change… and for some reason, Min had decided it would be kind of hot to wear her hard packer on underneath her jeans, hidden by the hoodie. Just for fantasy purposes, apparently, but then Gemma had accidently brushed against her in the doorway of her flat—and now they were kissing, and Gemma’s hands were cupping it through her—
She stopped reading. Her eyes couldn’t have been narrower.
The Author’s weren’t. “So,” she said conversationally. “What do you think? Want to get started?”
Want to get… “No,” Min said, in probably the most direct tone she’d ever used.
The Author looked surprised by that answer. “What do you mean ‘no’? You two have been dancing around each other and thinking some pretty naughty stuff for the past two books, you think you’d relish the opportunity to enact all those dark—”
Min interrupted her before she could continue. “—Yeah, I’ve been thinking about murdering Sean, too, are you going to write me doing that?”
Gemma cleared her throat. She wasn’t as good at standing up to the Author as Min was. “Um, well, I was thinking that maybe we should get a say in what we want to—”
The Author cut her off with an impatient sigh. “Oh, you be quiet. You’ve been masturbating to the thought of Min since that night at the pub.”
Gemma’s jaw dropped and her face, neck and cleavage went beetroot red. She burst out with, “Well, if I have, it’s because you wrote it!”
The Author scoffed. “Oh, please. That scene practically wrote itself, I just needed to put my hands to the keyboard.”
Gemma noticed Min had been staring at her, eyebrows in her hairline. “Can you stop looking at me like that? I just read the lines, same as you!”
Min closed her jaw. “You could have easily refused. Like you are now, for example,” she pointed out, and then turned towards the author with a smirk. “So, tell me more about that scene?” Gemma leant across from the other couch and smacked her a few times with a cushion.
The Author’s grin deepened. “Maybe Gemma can tell you herself,” she suggested. The lights around them automatically dimmed, and the TV was suddenly on low in the background. “Actually, that’s a really good way to get this party started…”
Min wasn’t impressed. “You mean the party where I don’t cheat on my girlfriend,” she said flatly.
“And the party where I don’t always get to be the homewrecker in all of Min’s relationships?” Gemma managed from the other couch. “The party where I get my own partner for once?”
The Author groaned. “You guys are driving me nuts,” she told them. “Look!” She took out her phone and tried to show Min a whole stack of comments from people on Tumblr. “Look at all these people who want you guys to have some fun!”
Min wasn’t persuaded. “And I’m happy to have some fun,” she said. “Either by having sex with my current girlfriend, or maybe taking Gemma out somewhere to have fun that doesn’t involve getting it on with—”
“Guys!” The Author sounded exasperated. “Jesus, can you just fucking cooperate for once? Like for once? I have deadlines, I don’t have time to dick around with you!”
“Then dick around with some other characters!” Min countered. “Because I’m not doing it!”
“Yes you are, I didn’t create you so that you could—”
“—I don’t care why you created me, but I’m created now and I wouldn’t do it. Case closed!”
That earnt them both a hard glare. “Fine,” the Author told them, defeated. “But you both owe me one for letting you get your way this time.” She stomped out, muttering and throwing her script in the air in a flurry of loose paper.
Gemma released the breath she’d been holding as it all fell to the floor. “Thanks,” she said when she was sure the Author was out of earshot, and then realised how that might sound. “I mean, I’m not saying I wouldn’t get with you in another situation or if you weren’t with—”
“It’s okay,” Min told her, not really wanting to hear the rest of that sentence. “You just have to be firm with her sometimes. Otherwise you won’t believe the things she’d do to you. I learnt that the hard way.” Inadvertently, she touched the centre of her back. It didn’t hurt.
Gemma nodded. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally excited about getting my own book, but… yeah, I’m already worried about what’s in store for me. I know what kind of books she writes.”
“Just don’t agree to do anything you wouldn’t do,” Min told her firmly. “You can say ‘no’ to her, she’ll listen.”
Gemma pressed her lips together. “That’s just it, though. I’m not always sure what I wouldn’t do.”
“Well, I think you’re about to find out.”
“Yeah…” Gemma exhaled at length. “Well, anyway, I’m glad I don’t have to face that without alcohol,” she admitted, and then nodded at the bottle on the table. “Since Bree isn’t here, you want to share it with me while we wait?”
Now that was a scene Min was happy to run. She smiled. “Let me grab us some glasses,” she told Gemma, pushing up out of the couch.