Breaking through the writer's block: One

The little office was badly cluttered, with various piles of papers scattered around on the desk and on a long table sitting nearby. Several books were in haphazard piles all around the room, and there was a set of heavy blinds covering up the second floor window so that she wouldn't be too distracted by the view outside.

"All right," the tall young woman strode inside, rubbing her hands together with a determined expression, "I can do this." She reached down beside the big desk, grabbing at something, then with a grunt of effort she thumped it down on top of the desk.

The black typewriter was old, very old. There was no power cord attached, no automatic winding, just the big round keys, an ink filled ribbon, and keys that you had to hammer down on to mark the paper. For the past week she had been totally blocked, the shining new Macintosh sitting on the table nearby yielding nothing, so she hoped that bringing back an old friend might help. 'I've tried almost everything else,' she thought grimly.

It was an oddly satisfying sound, winding the sheet of white paper into the typewriter. She brushed her long black hair back from her face and away from the keys, then scrambled around for an elastic band. "Better safe than sorry," she muttered as she tied her hair back, her old-fashioned glasses sliding down on her nose.

She pushed her glasses back up again, her fingers flying with remembered ease as she wrote out, "Romance draft one" on one side, tapping on the space key until she reached the other end to type her name, "Rebecca Duthie."

"I can do this," Rebecca muttered to herself once again, and began to type.

She began with describing the scene, a lush garden that was secluded from the view of the traditional Victorian home nearby. Roses bloomed there, a scent that filled the garden as two figures met furtively among the flowers. The two lovers seemed to be opposites, one tall, dark haired and boyish, while the other was shorter, and almost daintily feminine.

The taller, boyish figure stepped forward, enfolding the shorter in her arms. "I love you," she crooned as her lover swooned....

Rebecca stopped her typing, almost feeling both figures turning to look at her expectantly. "It's too traditional," she sighed as she pulled the sheet of paper out of the typewriter, wadded it up into a little ball and then tossed it away. She put another piece of paper in, took a short breath, and went back to typing.

The halls were dark and claustrophobic as she inched along the metal lined floor, the heavy gun that she carried rock steady in her hands. Sweat stained the tight military uniform, blood marking the dark haired woman's face, but she didn't care. The alien had her lover, and she would set her free no matter what it took...

Rebecca paused, an odd look on her pretty face. "I really hate bugs," she sighed to herself and then pulled that sheet out too, tossing it out just like the other one. She smiled to herself wryly, "Well, at least I'm writing something again."

Fingers flying Rebecca sketched in the next scene. The ship's bridge gleamed, the brown haired captain gazing out the viewscreen intently at the planet that circled below them. The lift to the bride hissed open, and the figure slinked across the bridge to her side.

The officer's foil body-suit clung to her like a glove, her eyes heavy lidded as the blonde gazed up at the taller Captain. "The ship's crew has finished disembarking for shore leave, captain," her voice was oddly breathy, almost excited, "we're here all alone...

Rebecca stopped writing, then she snickered to herself softly. "A bit too Voyager," she pulled the sheet out, but instead of throwing it away she just put it aside. "Maybe I could use that later," she murmured thoughtfully.

The clank of keys was a pleasant rhythm to Rebecca, reminding her of much younger days. Long before she was published author, before she had even begun to put stories on-line, she had sat in front of this typewriter drumming out stories for her and her friends.

"And before I had to worry about deadlines," Rebecca muttered.

Rebecca had to have the story all ready to go into the mail for tomorrow morning, she had committed to do so for an old friend. If it wasn't out in the mail by then, it wouldn't be able to be published. But the days went on by, she worked away on the computer, but somehow the story still just refused to come together.

"And it doesn't help that I'm conflicted about my old friend," Rebecca sighed, leaning back in her chair and thinking about the slim redhead.

Jamie was the very first girl that she had fallen for, way back then. She had pined over her best friend silently, as Jamie went through a whirlwind of dating all the right boys, attending all of the right parties and making just the right business contacts. Raised in a traditional family she had rebelled in small ways, drinking occasionally and making a few outrageous friends.

"Like me," Rebecca smiled to herself. 'And now Jamie's in charge of her very own publishing empire,' she thought, 'and I'm the moderately well known if non-mainstream writer whom she wants to give some street credibility to her newest literature magazine.'

Rebecca thought of those days, of what happened back then, and how much she would have wished for things to have turned out differently. The two of them had drifted apart after college, she hadn't even heard from Jamie for years.

'Jamie took a lot of flack for knowing a lesbian like me back then,' Rebecca mused, 'I guess I do owe her something for that.' Her hands hovered over the keys, then she froze as an idea occurred to her. 'I couldn't,' she thought, but a slow smile spread over her features.

"I'll just change all of the names," Rebecca smiled to herself wickedly as she began to type away, not really caring if the story was what Jamie had wanted. Right then and there, it was the story that Rebecca needed to tell.

Rebecca sketched in the storyline quickly, describing two schoolgirl's meeting by chance, getting to know each other over the span of many months. One from a successful family, the other from the wrong side of the tracks. A silent love in one of them, growing stronger as they spent long evenings together talking.

A stormy night and a power outage. A hesitant knock on the dorm door, allowing the younger girl to stay with her through the blackout. Holding her closely in the bed together, the rapid beating of both their hearts. One gentle kiss, wide eyes, then another. Two young woman sliding together, curious touches leading to a long and sleepless night.

"It may not be what really happened," Rebecca muttered to herself as she typed away furiously, "but what the hell."

Not letting herself think too much about it too much Rebecca finished off the story, moving over to the computer to copy it out onto a word document. She spellchecked the file, then downloaded it onto a disk. The envelope was already addressed, the proper stamps placed, and she slipped the disk inside before sealing it up.

Looking up she noticed the time, realizing that it was nearly midnight. "I've gotta crash," Rebecca groaned, and stumbled off to bed.

The buzzer roused her from bed and she stumbled downstairs, searching for the coffee. The pot was still on from yesterday, the black fluid bitter but strong, and a few gulps roused her quite nicely. She looked at the kitchen clock and her eyes widened in alarm.

"The mail," Rebecca blurted and ran for her office. She snatched up the package and ran outside dressed in her pajamas, looking around wildly for the mail truck. It was thankfully just turning on the secluded country road and she dropped the package in the box with relief.

"Morning, Rebecca," Sam smiled, the young woman pulling the package out of the mail box and stowing it away. "Sending out another story?"

"Yes," Rebecca felt an odd relief, knowing the package was with the competent mail-woman. "Just barely on deadline, too."

"I can see you were in a hurry," Sam grinned, "nice pajamas."

Rebecca looked down at her clothes and blushed, "Gee, thanks." She gave her friend a wave, "Do me a favor, make sure that package gets in the mail today, all right?"

"Yeah, yeah," Sam laughed as the lanky blonde got into the truck and drove off.

'She really is cute,' Rebecca thought regretfully. 'Too bad she's not my type.' Rebecca walked back to the house with a smile thinking, 'Wonder how Jamie will react when she gets that story?"

SOME WEEKS LATER...

Rebecca uncomfortably adjusted her casual business suit, pausing in front of the glass tower. 'I guess this is the place,' she thought, opening the glass door and moving into the lobby where a pretty young woman stood waiting by the security desk.

The blonde in a very expensive dress practically beamed, "Ms. Rebecca Duthie?"

"Yes," Rebecca said cautiously, not recognizing the girl at all.

"I'm Cynthia deGraves, Jamie Winter's personal assistant," the blonde smiled. Cynthia waved her towards the elevators, "Ms. Winter's showed me your photo and instructed me that you should be personally escorted upstairs."

"I guess the other guests to the magazine debut party got their own escorts," Rebecca said as the elevator began to rise.

"Actually, Jamie only had me escort you up," Cynthia said simply. She smiled slightly as she moved closer to Rebecca, "I read your contribution to our first issue, 'School Girl Confessions,' and I was really impressed. So daring!"

Rebecca shifted away a bit as she softly said, "It wasn't too daring." Her thoughts were racing, 'Is this girl coming on to me?' The blonde was pretty, sure, but Cynthia really wasn't her type. Rebecca thought about making up some bull about having a 'life partner' but decided on a simpler approach. "I'm glad that I'm not dating anymore," she said to her as casually as possible, "it makes these sort of parties much easier to take."

Cynthia almost had a disappointed look on her face as she murmured, "I suppose so."