N/A: If you've read the first chapter before 6/20/2010, please go read it again -some details have changed. Namely, the first person narrative to third person :) I know, I really should stop experimenting.


The Struggles Of A Writer

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Chapter 2: Ducks And Other Evil Things.

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Amethyst stumbled around her room, frustrated because she couldn't find those pajama pants she so wanted. Dang them. She knew she had put them on her bed before she left, neatly folded over some other junk.

She averted her eyes toward the three shirts; they were there, all right. Now, if she could only find her pants…

"Count!" She yelled, and her faithful dog came running to her instantly –that is to say, he took his sweet darn time to stroll peacefully into her room. Amethyst shot him a glare which he sort of shot back, if that was possible. "Have you seen my pajamas pants? You know, the ones with the little ducks and stuff?"

He tilted his golden head, confused. Right, he was a dog.

"Whatever," she sighed, defeated. "I'll just have to wear the shirt alone." She looked down at her long-sleeved, duck-covered shirt and then pointedly at Count, who was looking at her like she had just said food. He had eaten like three seconds ago, for God's sake. "You'd better not eaten my pants."

He barked.

That was what she got for talking to her dog.

Amethyst went for Chocolate, her laptop, and headed toward the living room, dimming the lights as she walked past the switch. Yes, she had named her laptop Chocolate. Actually, Count had kinda chosen it. Figures.

She plopped herself down on the couch, her muscles suddenly tired from running with Count an hour later. It was all part of her pre-writing routine, to clear her head and all that jazz. It had become a habit ever since college –run, stretch, get comfortable, write– and it only got more important when she graduated and started working for her sister as her personal slave –that is, her paid employee. Whatever.

But now she was ready to write. She opened her computer, put her dark hair up into a ponytail and–.

"What the heck? Thirty-seven messages? I just checked this thing an hour ago," She mustered, frowning.

They were mostly from Jess. They were all one-liners. Amethyst snorted.

Count came to sit next to her and lay his golden head next to her leg; she patted him absentmindedly. Maybe she'd call Jess later and find out what was so important she had to flood her inbox for it.

Right now, though, all her attention was for Jane and Alex.

*~*

Amethyst sighed once again. She was standing in her kitchen, still in her duck-covered shirt, staring down her coffee maker, which refused to make coffee.

Why must all things hate me? She thought in despair, her gray eyes shooting up to the heavens.

"–and I even have a dress for you!" A voice said next to her ear.

Oh, yeah. That was Jessica, her dearest friend who had interrupted her very important date with Jane and Alex less than ten minutes after it had begun. So, here she was: a frustrated writer running on no coffee. Yes, she pitied herself, too.

"Jess," Amee said sharply, cutting her friend's rambling short. "I don't want to go to this party and I'm seriously not getting why you want me to go so badly. You have already killed my inspiration for today. I'm tired. Count is hungry, again. Could you please just drop it?"

She didn't scream or anything of the sort –actually, she just sounded pathetically exhausted. Yet, she found her comment followed by a long, long pause. Seriously, Amethyst hoped Jess hadn't hang up on her again because–

"Fine," Jess finally said, resolute.

Amee raised an eyebrow, skeptical, even if she couldn't see her. "You'll drop this party thing then?"

Another, smaller, pause. "No. But I promise to not call you during your writing time for two weeks if you agree to come with me tonight."

Now it was her who didn't say anything. This was the golden opportunity of the golden eggs of golden Jack –if only it didn't involve going to that stupid party! She thought about it gravely: If she said No to this offer, Jess would keep nagging her until she 1) hung up rudely, 2) agreed to go; if Amethyst said Yes, she would end up going to the party BUT have some free writing time later on.

"A month," she said finally.

Amee could almost see her friend beaming. The UV rays were damaging her skin all the way through the phone.

"Yes!" Jess exclaimed. "I'll be at your place in thirty minutes. Be showered, I'll bring your dress."

And she hung up. That didn't surprise her anymore, really. Amee put the phone down, finally giving up on the coffee maker, before heading toward her room to take that shower. On the way, she glanced at Chocolate longingly –but then she shook her head. If she wrote now, she'll probably end up killing Alex, and that wouldn't be good, would it?

"This better be one heck of a party," she muttered grumpily.

So she showered, fed Count, organized some papers, and was in the middle of watching a really bad soap opera when she heard a knock on the door. IShe went to open it and 5'6" of blond excitement met her. She was so happy.

Jess barged in, rambling and throwing stuff around. "Oh, my gosh. I'm so sorry it took me so long. I got so distracted and Jake called me, like, a hundred times to ask about tomorrow's rehearsal. And I couldn't find my dress –I mean, I had yours in a box, but I couldn't find mine–, I couldn't go to the party naked! Putting make-up on took forever, you know. My car wouldn't start and I couldn't find the address to the party anywhere–"

"Jessica, breathe," Amethyst interrupted.

She smiled and took in a deep breath as she plopped herself down in her couch. Jess was such a spitball of fire.

"Oh, I love this soap opera. What just happened?"

Amee walked toward the white box the blond girl had placed in the living room table and poked it. Maybe it bit.

"Um, Tanned dude just found out that Redhead is his sister. She cried for days on end because they were about to marry. Ugly Hair girl just told Golden Millionaire that she is pregnant. And then she discovered that Golden Millionaire is having an affair with her cougar mom," she mumbled, prying the box open.

Jess gasped. "They are siblings?" She paused in bewildered astonishment. "Wait. How do you now all that? They're speaking in Spanish."

Amee sneaked a glance at her and then shrugged. "It's amazing the amount of things you understand when someone is shouting at some other person with overly dramatic facial expressions thrown in."

Jess rolled her eyes in amusement. "Loser," she mumbled load enough for Amethyst to hear. "C'mon, we need to get ready. I'll do your make-up."

Death sentence, anyone?

*~*

An hour of suffering later, they were ready. Really, why did beauty have to be so painful? In silence, they drove to the party in some far away place. Silence meant that Amethyst was quietly contemplating if her scalp was still attached after all the things Jess had done to it, and Jess was babbling about something or another to do with fashions and politics.

Jess pull up in her perfect parallel parking and got out to give her keys to the valet boy. Amethyst followed gracefully. The place was a tornado of color and champagne; it was like walking into the wedding reception of some CEO's daughter –except there were no newly weds, of course. They talked to people they knew, said Hi to strangers, and greeted the host in a conversation that lasted three minutes in which Frederick White managed to imply that Amethyst was a slut and she managed to imply that he was a pig-faced jerk. She still maintained her opinion.

"He's so annoying," she mumbled as they walked away from the charming exchange with Frederick.

Jessica giggled. "Don't you think you're being a little too childish?"

She scoffed, which hopefully conveyed her answer. They walked among people while Jess looked for something or someone (or both). Distractedly, Amethyst followed her tightly until she muttered something about being back soon and, suddenly, she was left alone.

Oh, crap.

She looked around. Where had Jess gone so fast? Determined not to stay standing in the same spot like an idiot, she strolled as normally as she could toward what she hoped was the bar. She sighed in relief when she was close enough to confirm that she was right. It didn't happen often. She took a seat nearby, careful not to wrinkle her pretty (borrowed) gray dress. And, then, she found herself with nothing to do. Amethyst observed the people chatting around: some were sitting at a table and talking, others were standing and talking, and a few were dancing and talking –they were most definitely all talking.

She felt somebody unexpectedly tap her on her shoulder. "Excuse me, ma'am."

Gasping startled, she turned to see the bartender smiling sheepishly at her.

"Yes?" She asked in what she hoped was a normal-sounding voice.

He pushed a drink with a little umbrella perched on the glass toward her –She wasn't quite sure of what the drink was, but that was one cute little umbrella– and gave her a folded white paper. She opened it, mildly curious.

Thought about my offer? ;)

Offer? Amethyst looked at the bartender, confused.

"The gentleman over there asked me to give you that," he said with a slight accent she couldn't quite recognize.

She directed her gaze to where he was pointing and almost had heart attack. This was just her luck. Gracefully, she took the drink with a swift 'Thanks' to the bartender and took a sip of it, all the while looking at the guy. He was smiling handsomely at her. She smiled back, turned, and decidedly ignored him.

"Was that a Yes? Because it looked like a Yes to me," A masculine voice said behind her a minute or two later.

"That was a thanks, but no thanks," she answered slowly, still not looking at him.

He chuckled. "Are you still mad about–"

"What do you want?" She asked, sharply interrupting him. "Why did you barge into my office and lie to me about being Mr. Hart?"

"You were the one who said I was Mr. Hart," he retorted, nothing short of amused.

"You confirmed it!" She exclaimed a little louder than she should have.

A couple of heads turned to look at them –Amethyst evaded their gazes, he smiled charmingly at them. She wondered if the bartender would give her some vodka…

"Look, it was just a joke. You assumed I was Mr. Hart and I just went with it," he said in the tone of someone trying to call down a baby.

He was not putting all the blame on her. She glared at him, perfectly dressed in a black suit and green shirt. Really, did he have to be so attractive?

He smirked. "Are you done giving me a once-over?"

Amethyst blushed, mainly because it was true. "There was nothing interesting to see," she answered nonchalantly.

To her utter embarrassment, his gaze travelled up and down her body as if trying to prove a point. She almost wished Jessica's pretty gray dress didn't have such a big hole exposing all her back.

"I agree," he said cheekily.

She breathed in sharply and calmed herself down before talking again. 1, 2, 3 –10. She had never been good at that anyway.

"Why didn't you say you were not Mr. Hart?"

She was taken aback by his reaction, something in between uncomfortable and sheepish. Who was this man?

"I knew you would throw me out."

Ok, now it was her time to look amused. Unless he was her sister or Frederick –which he obviously wasn't–, she would have no desire whatsoever to throw him out of anywhere. Amethyst couldn't think of any possible reasons to do that –except that he was daringly disconcerting, but she wouldn't throw him out for that. She was that mean.

"Aaron!" Shouted an extremely familiar high-pitched voice.

Amethyst watched as Aaron's –if that was his name– unsettling blue eyes scanned the place and finally fixed on something –someone, the person who had shouted. She blinked when she found Jess smiling brightly at both of them.

"Oh, there you are. And you've found Amee, too. Great," she said, and then she proceeded to wave at an older man who came walking slowly with a limb. He was finely dress, like he belonged there and nowhere else. "Mr. Lenard," she said to the old man. "This is the friend I talked to you about, Amethyst Lace."

She had talked about her to whom? Amethyst looked at the old man who was smiling under his mustache and couldn't help but feel like a monkey in exhibition. That was a flattering comparison.

Mr. Lenard offered his hand to shake and she did, uncertain. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Lace. I've heard a lot about you from dear Jessica and she's shown me some of your work."

He what? Amethyst really wished someone would tell her what was going on here.

"You did that, Jessica?" Aaron asked beside her. She had almost forgotten he was there. "Interesting game you've started," he said, a slow, lazy smile spreading across his face.

Amethyst had the sudden impulse to go write about that smile.

"Sorry, Aaron. But everyone needs some competition."

She gazed at Jessica's amiable face and then alternated between Mr. Lenard and Aaron No-last-name. There was a rivalry there she was barely aware of, but made her uncomfortable anyway. In fact, Mr. Lenard seemed ready to nicely and cleanly kill somebody –he just looked like one of those people: the really nice grandpa who slaughters the boyfriend in the backyard.

Wait, boyfriend? Forget that analogy.

"I'm sorry," Amethyst said, regaining some of her determination despite being slightly intimidated by the two men present. "Could anybody explain to me what is going on here?"

Mr. Lenard shocked gaze went to Jessica while Aaron's blue eyes settled on Amee. She wished it had been the other way around when a chill ran up and down her spine.

"This is why I went to your office. I wanted to talk to you about–" Aaron started to explain but was interrupted by Jessica's dramatic shriek.

"He went to your office and you didn't tell me?"

Aaron chuckled, Mr. Lenard frowned, and Amethyst almost wanted to scream. She fixed her eyes back on Aaron, silently urging him to continue, but Mr. Lenard was the one who talked.

"Jessica showed me some of your work and I was interested in meeting you," he said nicely. And then added with some disdain, "I believe she did the same with you Mr. McCoy."

Aaron nodded and smirked. There was definitely something going on between those two. Amethyst looked at Jessica, who was smiling guiltily. What were they–? Her heart beat slowly and painfully as her eyes searched her friend's face for an answer she could already guess.

"Jessica," she whispered, barely audible. "What did you show them?"

"Oh, it was this wonderful little novel about a girl with mental problems and…" I stopped hearing Mr. Lenard's answer right after that.

Her gaze zeroed on Jessica. That was one of her stories. Why did Mr. Lenard and, presumably, Aaron know about her story? What had Jessica done?

She took a small, almost unnoticeable step back. "Jess?"

Jess looked at the two men apologetically and then at her, flustered. "Look, Amee. I'm really sorry, but– No. Actually, I'm not sorry. You write so wonderfully and never get recognize for it. You weren't going to do anything; so, I did something for you."

In a clear state of conscience, what Jessica had just rambled would somehow make sense. Right now, however, it was all a big blur for Amethyst. How did Jessica even know about her stories? Had Count– No, of course not. She was going crazy.

"Why," she started, her voice involuntarily shaky. "Why did you show these men my story?"

Mr. Lenard opened his mouth to answer, a competitive look on his face; but it was Aaron whose voice was heard after a second. She wished he hadn't spoken.

"Because we are publishers. We're interested in publishing your work."

Amethyst looked up into his blue, blue eyes.

God, kill me.


N/A: Guess who's back? Yes, I know -how long have I been missing and leaving you (awesome) readers without an update? Too long. All I can say is: I'm truly, deeply sorry. I'm not exactly sure how it happened, time just flew by -college sucked me in. Plus, I couldn't bring myself to write for this story; I know, I'm awful, but it just wasn't there anymore. Not to worry, I've found the sneaky thing and I won't be away for so long again! (I hope)

So, what did you guys think? :) Comments, please? You know how much I love those :p

Cookies and Ice Cream,

SparklingA