Writer's Block


abbot_icon.gif savannah_icon.gif

Scene Title Writer's Block
Synopsis Savannah's got writer's block, so Abbot's there to save the day…
Date August 25, 2010

The Corinthian: Savannah's Room

Crown molding, white ceilings and striped wallpaper in shades of eggshell and pale gold all define this small but fashionably decorated hotel room at the Corinthian. Three hundred square feet, including the attached bathroom with claw-foot tub and shower, is not a lot of space in which to move around, but a pair of French doors painted white lead out onto a small balcony with a wrought-iron rail for guests who desire fresh air or the opportunity to enjoy a cigarette.

An armchair is situated in one corner and a small desk in another with a queen-sized bed and ornate headboard positioned against the wall between. Lighting is provided by two gold lamps build into the wall on either side of the bed as well as one that hangs from the ceiling and imitates the wan, comforting glow of candlelight.

She had gotten his answering machine.

The message ended up being almost cryptic. It was clearly Savannah, urging Cam to meet her at her room at The Corinthian. For most, that could have been a very, very different kind of call, but for Savannah Burton it meant only one thing:

Writer's Block.

Brow furrowed, Savannah's curled up in by the window in her hotel room, dressed in tan capris and a long thin-strapped tanktop of deep forest green. The window seat barely has enough room, what with a myriad of well-worn notebooks and papers and pens scattered across it. The room itself is a similar odd disarray. Half of the room is meticulously clean, while the other half is scattered papers and books piled high. Right now, her hotel room is the epitome of a writer's den.

House calls for ailing artists is by no means out of the realm of Kam's duties. Not every author gets the privilege - it's strictly off the record, unbilled time dedicated. But some writers need the extra time put in. And Savannah is easily worth the commitment.

Kam takes a taxi over, a costly expense, but time can be of the essence in cases like this. The more cryptic the message, he judges, the deeper the problem. It's as if the writing that can't find its way to the page articulates itself in other ways, inspiration getting choked up somewhere and oozing out somewhere else. Ew, wait, did he just think of inspiration as an ooze? Well, maybe this is why he is the agent, and she the writer.

He's at her door within the hour, a light denim jacket hanging over a button up shirt. He knocks with the back of his knuckles. "Don't as for whom the Kam knocks," he calls to her through the door, "he knocks for thee. Open up!"

The knock causes Savannah to look up. She gets to her feet quickly, the books and papers sent flying from the windowseat as she makes a mad scramble to the door—never leave a guest waiting in a hallway! It's rude. She hurries over, catching her toe on the leg of an armchair, and hops on one foot to the door, remarking 'ow' the entire way over. She flings the door open, peering at Kam almost breathlessly.

"I stubbed my toe." It's supposed to be an explanation, not a greeting. Supposed to be.

"Oh, God!" Kam says, looking aghast, "if only I had known! I'd have been here sooner! Please, oh please, tell me you'll be all right!" He falls to one knee and stoops over Savannah's foot. "Which is it? Not the great toe? If it's the great toe…" he falls into a dreadful silence, slowly, slooooowly looking up at her, brows arched in sorrow, "you may be finished."

"Well, I only stubbed it because I was running to see you!" Savannah exclaims. "So, if I'm finished, it's all your fault." She looks down at the stubbed toe. "It's the big one," she says, shamefully. "How on earth will I live?"

"The wonders of modern medical science and no good," Kam says, peering at her big toe again, "we'll need to rely on ancient herbal remedies. The healing power of the juniper bush." He gets to his feet, "Luckily," he reaches into his jacket and extracts a blue bottle, "I have an extract of just that mystical plant right here," he flips it around, revealing the profile of Queen Victoria. Bombay Sapphire. Top shelf. "Gin," he says, grinning for a moment, before his face goes deadly serious again, "but we must act quickly. It may already be too late."

"Why do our meetings always end up with us drinking?" Savannah questions, but she seems not-at-all opposed as she moves over to fetch the two small glasses supplied by the hotel. "I hope you can save me before it's too late, Kam, for I fear my manuscript is far too incomplete for you to publish posthumously. Pour me a glass, quick, or I shall faint."

"Because I know drunk's the only way you'll put up with my mother henning you," Kam says, stepping inside and closing the door behind him. He moves over to the desk, cracking open the bottle's cap and setting it down on the surface, pulling out his chair and motioning towards it. "Sit!" he exclaims, "don't you dare walk on that toe, do you want to make it worse? I'll handle the drinks. Here," he takes the glasses from her hands and sets them on the desk as well, reclaiming the bottle and starting to pour.

Savannah dramatically falls into the chair, trying hard not to laugh, attempting a straight face in the midst of all of their games. "You're too good to me, Kam. I'm lucky you're not married with kids, or I'd never be able to have you over whenever I get writer's block." She grins. "Now where's the gin before I die!?"

"Yes, well, while I'd remain perfectly professional in that case," Kamber says, rescrewing the bottle and bringing over the glasses, offering one up to Savannah, "I would understand my wife's suspicion," he lifts his glass, 'cheers', "and we definitely couldn't drink as much as we do."

"Then I drink to the fact that there is no jealousy from Mrs. Abbot." Savannah raises her glass, then sips it. "I hope you chalk that up as a business expense. Alcohol always is, you know." She shifts the chair, pushing it back enough so she rests her feet on the desk. "My thoughts are scattered," she finally admits. "I've got different thoughts about different things and they all just won't come together cohesively. I can't write plot if I don't have characters, I can't form characters without some idea of plot, and neither of those can come without… something. And… I want to make it more out there. My books are very mainstream, more so than I'd originally thought when I was writing them… I kind of want to pull them more into this other universe… tinker with it just enough so that it feels different. Maybe a major event, something stirring things, something chaotic… even more so than the deaths in Reaper. That was too small a scale. This has to be big…" She peers back over. "I'm rambling at you, Kam."

Kam sits perched on the desk's edge, an avian affectation that he tends towards, and that suit his long limbs. "Good," he says, his Welsh coming out a little, though too early for it to be the alcohol, "rambling's perfect. Rambling's you thinking, and you just need to keep thinking until something you love falls out. Some rough diamond."

Savannah squirms in her seat, seeming in thought. She opens her mouth, as if she's about to continue with the thoughts on this catastrophic event, and then she abruptly looks at Kam. "I really need to get you a present. No, I do. I feel like I take horrible advantage of your kindness."

Kam arches his brow over his glass as he takes a drink. "Savannah," he says, after gulping, "Dearest. I promise you, get me that manuscript, and you'll be able to buy me an extravagant gift." He swirls the ice in his glass, a little fidget of his, "Keep talking. I know you were thinking. Don't try and hide it from me. I know that look."

"Thinking doesn't mean it'll sink in or work, Kam…" Savannah frowns, eyes on the glass in her hand before she takes a nice long swallow. "I've heard a few people have talked about those blackout things people had, a while back… they were saying they were visions of the future or something like that. I'm wondering if I can find some people who had them… meet them and figure out what they saw… and use something like that. Maybe that'll inspire me, hmm?" She sucks an ice cube into her mouth, chewing on it promptly afterwards.

"See, it's already is working!" Kam exclaims, smiling wide, "that's a fine idea and I'd be happy to start doing some legwork for you. Draft some waivers, do all the paperwork stuff you'll be too busy being brilliant to do. Amazing, you know? Stories of people that the people haven't even lived through yet. Another big event I was out of town for," he closes his eyes, bumps his head with his glass, "that was in poor taste. Forgive me."

"Hey, I'm glad you were out of town for that, alright?" Savannah notes, taking another swallow of gin while making a face. Strong stuff! "See, don't you feel useful? You can help. You're always so good for my ego." She looks around at her mess. "You think I'm a mad genius, Kam?"

"Think? My dear, writers are only ever mad geniuses if they're geniuses at all. Or real bastards. Sometimes both. And you're not cut out to be a bastard, so," Kam shrugs, "you're stuck being mad. The price of genius. You're just lucky to have me be of use to you, and never you forget it!"

"I am lucky. I'd run around mad in the streets with no output for my creativity." Savannah points out, then she grins. "I got shot at the other day and then dragged off in the back of a van that a guy lived in. I also convinced a guy who doesn't really read to read my books without him realizing I wrote them and actually got him to read the first and now the second… oh, and I had a cup of coffee and a bagel for breakfast." She peers at him intently. "One of those stories is a lie. Figure that out and then you can tell me if I'm mad." She's grinning from ear to ear.

Abbot blinks. Once, twice. This… isn't quite funny to him. He tries smiling, but the cant of his brows betray his concern. This doesn't stop him from joking, though. If only to cope. "What… sort of bagel?"

"It was an English muffin. With orange juice." Savannah peers back at him. "New York is already exciting! Best decision ever, I think. Oh, don't worry, I'm in one piece! See? Clearly I'm alright."

Kam closes his eyes, lips moving in a silent prayer directed straight up at the Almighty over head, his chin tipped upwards. When he's done talking with the Big Man, he returns his gaze to Savannah. His expression is purely imploring. "Please, please, PLEASE… eat more bagels?"

Savannah's still grinning. "Kam, it's okay, I promise. I was just trying to get a burger and I ran into the guy that I'd talk to, you know, the one about the books… and he was trying to collect a debt from this guy at the fast food place… and the guy behind the counter got mad and pulled out a shotgun. So my friend, since I guess he and I are friends now, turns around and sees I'm there and grabs my wrist and we're out the door like mad. And then these two other people were stuck in the place too, and so we kinda jumped into my friend's van and drove away. Oh, and one of them was a fan of mine! He was this really sweet guy who had a first edition that I signed the other day and he had some great questions…" She trails off. "See, now I can write from experience."

"Well, that certainly is a story," Kam says, sounding not so much appeased as maybe resigned, "just remember what you said about your manuscript, all right? Imagine it being published posthumously, in its condition? And I will do it, just to get back at you, if you die on me before it's done."

"Kam, I promise I won't go getting myself killed. Not until I'm ready for the drama of the whole thing." Savannah smiles warmly at him. "Don't worry, you aren't losing your meal ticket, so you'll be able to feed the fictitious Mrs. Abbot and the kids." Savannah insists, finishing off her glass of gin.

Kam smiles wanly at her. "You're no kindness to my poor heart, you know that?" he says, "I bet I'll be grey in two years at this rate." Of course she finishes her drink first. Him and his irritating habit of slow drinking. He corrects the problem by going bottom's up, downing the rest of the drink in a single big gulp. He winces afterwards. …junipery.

"You'd look distinguished with a little grey. Just a touch here and there. You'll charm everyone." Savannah sets her cup down, shifting in her chair a little bit, adjusting the position of her feet on the desk. "I will try very much to keep your heart where it belongs, dear Kam."

"That would be right here," Kam taps the relevant spot on his chest, "If you find it anywhere else, please return it because I'll probably be needing it. What with all of the pumping of the blood and the operation of my anatomy and all those things that make life worth living. Or able to be lived at all, really."

"Well, I will try not to damage your heart and make it attack itself if I find another adventure in New York. It's very exciting here, after all." Savannah looks innocent. "And it's not like I went looking for it anyways, it just showed up right in front of me." She leans back in her chair a bit. "Besides, nothing bad ever really happens to me."

No sooner said, than the chair Savannah is leaning back in tilts back just a little too far and she falls backwards to the floor.

Kamber is at her side at once, the glass falling to the desk as he stoops next to her, a hand going out to her upper arm. "Savannah!" he says, his heart clearly having yet another averse reaction, "Are you all right?"

The blonde flushes red, scooting off of the fallen chair with as much of an 'I meant to do that' look as she can muster. "Yeah. I think karma decided I needed a bit of trouble." Savannah smiles sheepishly, flailing a bit as she tries to sit up.

She's fine. Thank God. And with that weight lifted… Kam lifts his hand to his mouth. To cover laughter. A laughter than builds and, despite his best efforts, rolls out of him in a full wave of jovial sound, causing him to rock onto his heels and then back again, shoulders shaking. The flail doesn't help him stop, either, though he does stand and offer Savannah a hand up.

"Hey! You're laughing at me!" Savannah protests, peering intently back at him as she accepts the hand back up and gets back up to her feet, albeit a little clumsily. The chair is dragged up with her free hand, and then she brushes herself off.

Kam touches Savannah's waist very lightly to help her steady herself, withdrawing the hand once she seems to be firmly on two feet. "Well," he says, "that medicinal solution seems to have done more than its job, hasn't it?" he says, his laughter only coming out in the occasional chuckle.

Savannah pouts. "You're a horrid, horrid person, Kam. Laughing at a beautiful girl's misfortune!" She peers innocently back at him. "So what fate am I saving you from tonight, alone in your apartment. Sudoku? Charles Dickens? Leftover chinese?"

"I'll have you know I had to cancel a date with a stunning young Moroccan heiress," Kam says, lifting his chin, "she's entirely in love with me and likely was going to whisk me away to her Mediterranean love nest, but…" he sets his hand on his heart, "I am nothing if not dutiful to my professional responsibilities."

"Ah, for shame. Does this heiress have any attractive brothers or cousins?" Savannah suggests, moving to the end of the bed to fall back onto it. "It's been a very long time since I've been pursued by any man for any purpose other than my written words…"

Kam rights the chair and takes a seat in in, only after turning it towards Savannah. "That's bollocks. Your head's just too far in the clouds to take notice of it when men do. Does it bother you, though, Savannah? Do you need a man in your life?" He arches a brow.

"What? If attractive men were hitting on me, I think I'd notice!" Savannah sighs, mock-sadly. "Well, I certainly don't need a boy in my life. Give me a man over a boy anyday." She states.

"Well," Kam says, briskly, "maybe you'll meet a dashing Evolved man with a sparkling smile and the ability to conjure first rate red wine out of thing air during your interviews. He'll woo you, and you'll play hard to get, but in the end you'll fall into his arms and he'll carry you off to some remote, beautiful part of the world where you'll write days and make love nights. Seems… probable, really."

Savannah laughs at the fantasy. "I don't know that I'd be able to go so far away. I'd miss you too much, Kam." She admits, turning over to face him a bit more from the foot of the bed. "Besides, I'm not about to have you start a dating pool from people I'm interviewing. I'm married to my job, I suppose."

"Well, honestly I think that's a good choice," Kam says, head tilting as he regards her at her incline, "your job isn't going to get up and leave you because it's found a younger author. And your job is unlikely to shout at you for a beer while sitting in front of a tele, a wreck of its former self."

"You make love sound so unappealing, Kam. Is that what I'm doomed for? A life alone or a husband who doesn't appreciate me?" Savannah shuts her eyes, turning to lean her head back over the edge of the bed… mostly so she can look at him upside-down.

"You want me to think better of love?" Kam says, "then write me a love story. Something real, not one of the easy ones, where circumstances demand the characters get together. Make it a matter of real personal pull, about two people who work to make their love real. Who find it not because they were always supposed to, but because they made it happen themselves."

There's a sigh. "Kam, I can't write you a love story." Savannah pulls herself back onto the bed fully. "People don't do that. I mean, work at love. They don't do that kind of thing any more. That's why people get divorced. I look at my parents, who have been married for thirty-five years and you know what I see? I see a couple who decided not to get divorced because it's too much trouble and an empty house would be lonely." She frowns. "I was hoping you'd believe in love more than I would so that I could actually have some hope in it. I don't think even I can write real love. You write what you know."

"I disagree," Kam says, folding his arms in a posture of mild contention, "and it's not that I don't believe in love, it's that I think it's tossed about so easily. Love is much better and much worse, I think, than the common conception would have it. No different now than back whenever. People want things easily. It's why the romance novel sells so damn well."

"Ah, so the request was from a publishing standpoint, then? Write the romance novel no one wants to read, where love is difficult." Savannah wrinkles her nose. "You're just gonna make me depressed, Kam. People want things, but people don't always get them. Some people deny themselves things like that for a myriad of reasons."

"Why should we ever deny ourselves what we want?" Kam poses, "Sade certainly didn't think we ought to. Then again, he was a sodding pervert if ever there was one…"

"Ah, but look at the ends his characters met! I certainly wouldn't want to lose my tongue." Savannah wrinkles her nose at that. "And sometimes we deny ourselves for security, for safety. Because we know the consequences."

"Sometimes we do it because we don't know the consequences. We're afraid of what they might be," Kam says, reaching back to reclaim his drink, "we keep what we have and don't ask for more because we don't want to risk ending up with less. Think you can ever find love that way? Being so stingy?"

Savannah draws her knees to her chest. "No, I can't, Kam." She swallows. "But maybe I am afraid. Because the worst of the potential consequences could be unbearable. Maybe I don't want to lose the hope of something that may not be there at all." She laughs, though it doesn't sound like an enjoyable one, getting caught in her throat in the process. "Guess I'm a coward, but I know how bad the darkness gets when I'm hurt. I'd rather not touch the pond to find out I'm just cutting myself on the glass it's really made out of."

Her throat is cleared, and she looks away. "I'm tired. I don't think I'll get any more writing done tonight. You should go." She reaches, tugging a throw blanket around her shoulders as she moves for the door, opening it for him as she stands there. "Goodnight, Kam." She says, abruptly.

Kam looks confused, momentarily stricken. He gets to his feet, but slowly, in a daze. He moves over to the doorway, gazing at Savannah with knit brows. There is a long pause.

"Write that down, the bit about the pond," he says, "that was good. Needs pruning, but it's good." He leans over and kisses her once on each cheek, Continental style, "you're my crown jewel," he says, firmly, "never forget that."

Her eyes don't meet his, giving a small nod in response to his commentary about her verbal prose. "Goodnight, Kam." She states again, and Savannah waits until he's out of the doorway before she lets the door shut. There's a soft thud against it as Savannah falls back against it, sinking down to the floor.

And through wood of the door, Kamber Abbot can hear the sound of Savannah Burton sobbing.

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