I see my stories as glimpses of a larger world. So I can relax a little into the joys of writing because I’m not writing my Great American Novel.
I’m writing a curtain fic.
I’m writing a prompt-fic.
I’m writing some superhero porn.
Whatever I’m writing at the moment, it’s not the be-all, end-all of me.
And sure, some things might be better than others,–
(Allies & Enemies is my current favorite original fic. But for other stuff, I’mma be a Xander-girl until I die. He and Spike are my go-to OTP.)
— but they each have their own kind of value Like “Shame” is far from my favorite, but I didn’t want to include it in “Fierce” so it became its own thing. Yet horrible as it was, the stalking and physical assault had to happen to explain later events. There was a reason why it’s mostly told from the POV of someone that’s not Simon Peters, while every other “Simon Peters” story is from his perspective.
It works into the whole idea that Simon has to deal with all these preconceived notions people have about him. Everyone knows his name. He is the biggest moviestar of his Earth.
And everyone knows what happened to him.
It takes him a couple of years to feel comfortable out in public, and even then he’s still wary of both strangers and his own security.
And in case you noticed, Byron Hughes is the bodyguard of both Simon Peters and William Neely. At the same time.
Well, Simon and William are alternate versions of each other. In one universe, William’s father stayed with his mother until after he was born. This meant that she received key nutrients during her pregnancy that Simon’s mother (her alternate) didn’t get. Those extra vitamins and better nutrition resulted in William being a genius.
Here’s what Chapter Ten of From Diamond to Coal looks like right now. It’s pretty much written, it just needs to be filled in.
Title: From Diamond to Coal: Arc 02
Series: The Billionaire Boy’s Club
Author: Harper Kingsley
Genre: mm, science fiction
It pissed him off when he realized just how affected he was by Alan’s absence. He was supposed to be strong and tough and independent, but once Alan was gone a week he started feeling off balance and as though something was missing in his world.
Kudos attempted to keep him company, but there was only so much a dog could do. Besides, just seeing Kudos reminded him of Alan, because the dog was basically Alan’s dog.
Alan liked to complain about the dog, but he was always brushing it and talking to it and they even had this whole jogging routine going. There were some times when William felt a bit as though he were intruding on their time together. So to see the dog and no Alan… It put William in a bad mood.
He took to moodily walking around on the roof, plotting out a rooftop garden just for something to do. Not some simple setup, but a full on techno-floral wonderland of trees, flowers, and even a patch for an herb garden.
“So, this is what you’ve been doing with your time, huh?”
William turned in surprise to see RJ standing in front of the rooftop door. “Weren’t you working on that clean water project?”
“I was, but then I realized that I hadn’t seen you in way too long and thought it was a good idea to find out where you were. And this is what I find.” RJ walked around the roof, his hands casually shoved into his jacket pockets. His red hair was ruffled by the breeze as he eyed the pieces of butcher paper William had taped to the ground to help with his planning.
“I get it, I’m completely pathetic.” William made to rake his hand through his hair, but wiped his hands clean on his jeans instead. “I just needed something to keep my brain busy, but I don’t feel like going anywhere. I always wanted a rooftop garden, so I thought now was the chance for me to put one together.”
“And you’re going to care for this garden yourself?” RJ asked.
William snorted. “I’m not quite that out of control. Once I get it up and running and beautiful enough that people will weep to see it, I’ll leave it to the staff to handle. I’m thinking about setting up a greenhouse over there and I’ve already started working on what I think will be a great fertilizer for the hydro setup I’m putting together.”
“Are you sure you want to mess around with that kind of stuff?” RJ asked. “We both know you’re not exactly the best at chemistry.”
William tried not to sound defensive, “I can wing it.”
“You’re going to blow yourself up. We both know it.” RJ sighed and rolled up his shirtsleeves. “I’ll help you. There’s no way I would let you mess around with anything that could make a fertilizer bomb without me there to keep you safe.”
“Thank you RJ,” William said gratefully.
RJ grinned. “We’re buddies. There’s no way I’d leave you to flounder alone.”
William rolled his eyes, but the corners of his mouth turned up.
An hour later, William slouched against the —-roof rail—- and swiped his sleeve across his forehead. “I think we’ve pretty much got it all figured out.”
“I’ll put in an order for some koi and some trout then?” RJ asked.
William nodded. “Yeah. I’ll get the two tanks set up for when the fish arrive and it should work.”
At RJ’s suggestion, he’d given up the idea of hydroponics as a less efficient method than aquaponics. They’d use fish to produce the nutrient-rich water for the plants, which meant not having to mess around with fertilizers or chemicals. The plants would be anchored in expanded clay media, so there’d be no soil to mess with and the maintenance would be easier than traditional gardening. And growing trout meant there’d be plenty of fish to eat year round.
“This is going to be awesome,” William said.
“You’ve said that at least a dozen times already. I can tell you’re excited,” RJ said. He sat cross-legged on the ground and slumped forward over his lap. “This should be a fun project.”
“Yeah.” William looked across the roof, nearly able to see the garden they were going to create. “Maybe we could requisition a handful of interns.”
RJ snorted. “That sounds a little bit wrong.”
RJ laughed. “What? Stop your nonsense. Are you going to feed me?”
“Pizza and beer?” William suggested. “Does that sound good to you?”
“You know I’d never say no to pizza.” RJ rubbed his palms down the sides of his pants and slanted him a glance. “You cool to accept delivered pizza?”
William sighed and shook his head. “Still no. But I feel secure enough sending Byron out for provisions. He knows to check our food for tampering.”
====== [This is the point at which I switched my writing-style from full scenes and dialogue, to just dialogue and vagueries. It’s because I write like this that it takes me so long to finish something. (I think to myself “That story’s done. I’m done with it” yet it’s just a bunch of dialogue and scene-cues. Which means I have all of these unreadable stories.)
I have so many dialogue dependent stories written.]
RJ “Well then, let’s get off this roof.” Stands up with a stretch and a groan. “You should think about putting some benches out here.”
WILLIAM “Good idea. The view is too good to waste.” Looks out across the city.
WILLIAM “Someday I’m going to build a massive skyscraper and be king of the world. Maybe a floating mobile palace from which I can rule my kingdom from on high.”
RJ “Come on, dreamer. I’m starving.”
They go inside and William sends Byron for pizza, beer, and an assortment of snacks. “If we’re going to have a best friends night-in, we require fuel. So bring on the salty, the sweet, and the crunchy.”
RJ “And ice cream! Rocky road for me and Americone Dream for my friend here.”
WILLIAM “And get whatever you want for you and James.” Byron has a company card, but he’s hesitant to use it without being told. It’s a bit frustrating for William, who is remarkably generous.
BYRON “I will be back shortly.” Leaves.
RJ “‘I’ll be back,'” intones like the Terminator. Normal voice, “Does he always sound like that much of a robot?”
WILLIAM “Only when talking to you.” Tosses RJ the TV remote. “Find something good to watch while I slice some cheese.”
RJ “Don’t you mean cut the cheese.” Snorts a laugh.
William goes into the kitchen, shaking his head. Sometimes RJ is surprisingly nerdy. Gets out a half block of cheddar cheese and a knife. For years people have pushed him to eat fancy cheese, but at home he enjoys the tastes of his childhood.
Cuts cubes of cheese he arranges on two plates with some crackers. It looks kind of sad so he peels and slices a large apple and two small oranges.
He carries the snack back into the living room, setting one plate on the coffee table near RJ before curling on an armchair with his own plate.
RJ “When did network television get so bad? I remember a time when there was actually something to watch.”
WILLIAM “There’s some DVR’d stuff or hit the digital buttons.”
RJ “I see. I’m just saying that it’s sad there’s nothing to watch on regular television. I don’t enjoy reality TV at all. Sub-reality more like.”
WILLIAM rolling his eyes good naturedly. “You’re a snob, I get it. Don’t watch terrible shows and eventually they’ll go away.”
RJ hits the Digital Menu and begins paging through choices. “It makes me wonder what kind of people the —-Nielsen—- families are.”
WILLIAM “I don’t know.”
RJ “I read a study that shows that watching reality TV actually lowers the IQ of those watching. I don’t know if the effects are permanent, but there’s a marked downshift in cognitive function.”
WILLIAM, joking, “Maybe it’s a plot to control the viewing public. Retard mental acuity in children and young adults to keep them from ever asking unwelcome questions or even from being able to put things together. Mind control through pawnshop shows and fashion stars.”
RJ “You may laugh, but it’s painfully true. Haven’t you ever noticed that whenever something big is happening in the government there’s suddenly some celebrity scandal or a fake wedding filling up all the news? It has to be a conspiracy.”
WILLIAM “Yes, yes, the events in Josie and the Pussycats are real. Orange is the new black. Can you start a movie already?”
RJ “How can I say No to that face? How about this one?”
WILLIAM “Good choice. I’ve never seen this one.” Crunches into an apple slice. “I hope it’s not terrible.”
RJ “That’s what I always think.”
William crunched snacks and gazed at the TV while his brain drifted to the roof garden they would build and eventually to Alan.
RJ “I can hear your brain working from clear over here. It’s making it hard for me to enjoy the movie.”
RJ “You don’t have to be sorry, you just have to cut it out. It’s not like Alan’s going to be gone forever.”
WILLIAM “I know. It’s just that we haven’t been apart for so long since we got together.”
RJ “What about when you were in that coma?”
WILLIAM “I was in a coma, Mr. Insensitive.”
RJ “At least you’re kind of smiling now.”
William rolled his eyes, but was amused. “That’s not a smile. It’s nerve damage from my horrible coma experience.”
RJ “Well, it makes you seem much more charming, like a cheerful porpoise. Other people have noted that you seem happier too.”
WILLIAM “That’s because I’m happily married.”
RJ “I was thinking it was a neurological issue, but I guess it’s something a wedding could make happen.”
William bounced a cube of cheese off RJ’s head. “Asshole.”
RJ made a kissy face at him. “I love you too.”
William shook his head and slouched further into the armchair. There were times when RJ’s sense of humor was hard to follow, mostly because he always thought that he was hilarious.
There was the click of the door opening, then the scent of pizza as Byron came in with two pizza boxes and a case of beer, a plastic shopping bag hanging from his wrist.
WILLIAM “Good timing. I needed someone to rescue me from this guy.” He hooked his thumb at RJ.
BYRON “It is my job to rescue you.”
He brought the pizza boxes and beer over to the coffee table and set them down before going to the kitchen. There was the sound of the freezer opening and closing, then the clink of dishes and the sound of rustling.
WILLIAM “Do you need any help in there?”
BYRON’S VOICE “I’m just getting some plates and napkins for you.”
WILLIAM “Grab a plate for yourself if you want.”
Byron came out carrying two plates. “I’d like to stay, but I have plans tonight. Sorry.”
WILLIAM “Ooh. Do you have a hot date?”
BYRON “With the most beautiful woman in my life.”
WILLIAM “How is your mother?”
BYRON “As active and energetic as ever. She invited me over for dinner tonight with the rest of the family. I heard rumors that there’s going to be a roast and her patented apple dutch baby for dessert.”
WILLIAM ” Sounds like you’re going to have a delicious and fun night.” Accepts the plate Byron holds out and opens the top pizza box. “Have fun for me.”
BYRON “Thanks. I’ll try.”
WILLIAM “You should grab a couple of bottles from the wine closet. Something red to go with the roast.”
WILLIAM “Sure. Help yourself.”
BYRON “Thank you.”
WILLIAM “Yeah, yeah.” He slides two slices of pepperoni and black olive pizza onto his plate. “Give your mother my regards.”
BYRON “I will.”
William nudged the pizza box toward RJ and took a beer out of the carton.
BYRON “Give me that.” He held out his hand for the beer bottle and twisted the cap off.
WILLIAM “Thank you.” He accepted the beer back and took a drink. “I really needed this.”
RJ “I hear you.” Reaches for his own beer.
WILLIAM to Byron “Now you get out of here and have a great time. I don’t want to see you slinking back early. Go enjoy yourself.”
BYRON “All right. Goodnight, sir. And goodnight Mr. —-RJ—-.”
William waited until Byron had left with a bottle of wine before turning on the TV. “He better not spend all night worrying. I’m a grown man. I’m not going to burn the place down just because Alan’s not home.”
RJ “Of course not. It’ll be because you forgot to turn off the stove or because you’ve come up with a faster way to do the laundry.”
William nudged RJ’s leg with his food. “You’re mean. Why are we friends again?”
RJ “Because you’re a genius and you recognize when you’ve found a good thing.”
WILLIAM “And you’re the good thing?”
RJ “Of course. Without me you’d be nothing. I’m the yin to your yang. The peanut butter to your jelly. I’m that something extra in Girl Scout Cookies that makes them taste so good.”
WILLIAM groaned. “Why’d you have to mention Girl Scout Cookies? Now I want some.”
RJ “Yeah, but you like Thin Mints, and believe me, they taste terrible with beer.”
WILLIAM “Blasphemy! They are delicious no matter what. I bet if I dunked them in my beer they’d be better than with milk.”
RJ, taking a big bite of his pizza. “You go ahead and try that. I’ll watch.”
William considered proving his point, then decided it was a losing argument. He leaned forward to take another slice of pizza out of the box. “We should go out dancing or something.”
RJ rolled his eyes. “You just let your bodyguard go off for the evening and you’re feeling lonely and pathetic. There’s no way I’m letting you leave this building. You can put on a movie or something.”
WILLIAM “But that’s boring,” William whined. “We should do something exciting and fun.”
RJ “Which involves hanging out with a bunch of strangers and drinking garishly colored cocktails while music goes msk–msk in the background.”
RJ “You do realize that I have gone out with you before, right? You have fun for like ten minutes, then it’s all complaining and getting into trouble. We’re too old and respectable to spend the night in jail.”
WILLIAM “You’re no fun.”
RJ “Fun was never in my job description. Melissa was the only one that truly enjoyed going clubbing.” Then he realized he’d mentioned her name. “Sorry.”
WILLIAM “Nah, don’t be. She was great. She shouldn’t be forgotten.”
RJ “She was pretty great. I kinda had a crush on her.”
WILLIAM “I know. To know Melissa was to love her. She was amazing. The only woman I’ve ever loved–you know, other than my mom.”
RJ “Your mom was a classy lady.”
WILLIAM “God, how did we fall down this conversational black hole? You know what, let’s watch a movie.”
William used his non-pizza holding hand to pick up the remote control. “There should be an easier way to do this. I should make some kind of TV-operating A.I. One that can find shit to watch on Netflix and make Amazon playlists that don’t involve me having to go to the site to edit anything.”
RJ “Everyone’s making assistant programs these days.”
WILLIAM “But no one’s working on true A.I.’s. They’re just making voice operated software. And none of it’s very good at this point.”
RJ grimaced. “Ugh, the A.I. in my car tried to kill me the other day. I had the boys in the lab take her offline. I don’t trust her not to drive me over a cliff instead of to Sonic.”
WILLIAM “Ugh, Sonic.” He grinned at RJ’s affronted expression and ducked away from RJ’s swat. “Sorry, sorry, I couldn’t help myself.”
RJ “I never make fun of your favorite junk food.”
WILLIAM “You just always eat it.” He took a big bite of his pizza and focused on finding something to watch on TV.
He’d been feeling alone and missing Alan, but once again RJ had helped to make things all right.
RJ had always been a good friend to him. The kind of friend he’d thought only existed in books and movies. It made him realize that even with all the grief and loss he’d faced he had been blessed.
Best friend, love of my life, successful company–what else do I need? he thought. My life has gone better than I ever thought it would.
He still missed Alan and wanted him home, but he could deal with it. Alan would be home soon, and until then he had RJ and all of the mad scientist hijinks they could get up to.
William used the remote to order a movie. “Do you want me to mix us a couple of drinks before this starts?” he asked.
RJ shrugged. “Why not. I saw you had some ruby red grapefruit juice in the fridge.”
“You want some agave in yours?” William stuck the last bite of pizza in his mouth. “I’m thinking of a mix of vodka and rum with the juice.”
“Sure,” RJ said. “I trust you.”
William smiled to himself as he bustled into the kitchen. “I trust you too,” he murmured, washing his hands at the sink.
A couple tumblers of alcohol, a terrible movie, and his best friend–life definitely could have been worse.
* * *
William is never going to let me out of his sight again, Alan thought.
His wrists ached where they were roughly bound behind his back with rope. His mouth was covered by duct tape and there was a blindfold across his eyes.
He could hear the sound of other hostages breathing in the close confines, but he didn’t know who they were. He’d been with a couple of senators for lunch, but from the faint scuffling sounds he heard, there had to be more than five people in the room with him.
Alan squeezed his legs together and huffed. He’d been ignoring his need to urinate for what felt like hours. It was getting to the point where he wasn’t going to be able to hold it anymore.
With dribbles of urine escaping and the oppressive heat of too many bodies crammed into a small space, Alan wished that he’d stayed home. Or at least that he’d turned down Senator Georgia Mayer’s lunch invitation and returned to the hotel instead.
Blind and voiceless, Alan prayed that he would see William again. He wanted to go home where he belonged.
Yeah, I totally had Alan kidnapped in Chapter Ten. I felt like William needed an impetus. If you remember the beginning of Arc 01, that future world had all kinds of marvels that William had a hand in creating.
With the kidnapping of Alan and the subsequent guilt feelings he experiences, William focuses some attention on his and Alan’s security. And some of the technology that he creates is used as the basis for further advancements. His world evolves different than Simon’s, focusing more on cold technology.
Meanwhile, while Simon himself never becomes a brilliant engineer, he is the muse of many brilliant scientists and artists. His world is one that has amazing technology hidden as everyday things. It’s a warmer technology of living dolls and organic machines.
Still, at a basic level, William and Simon are the same person. They fulfill the same role in their realities.
William becomes friends with Nicholas and Christian from “Across Two Divides”, and Daniel from “The Panic Pure.” They interact on several occasions before they decide to work together, but when they do make their agreements, they all have a pretty good idea of what each other is about. And, being the “hilarious” one, William proclaims them to be members of “The Billionaire Boy’s Club.” Their mission statement? “Make the world a better place.”
And in the Doll Universe, Simon Peters is the basis for an artist’s LMD statue. And the news coverage of her fabulous piece of art results in the creation of the first Living Doll.
The parts used in that Doll’s creation come from either Worth Industries or DeLongeria Enterprises. As a result, Simon is introduced to Christian DeLongeria and Daniel Worth, as well as their extended circle. As a result, he and Nicholas become quite friendly.
So when Simon needs help with his charity, he doesn’t hesitate to call on Nicholas for help. Which results in DeLongeria Enterprises focusing on world sustainability and micro-farming. And when requested, Daniel Worth tasks his R&D department with designing cost-effective portable farm containers.
As a result of both William and Simon being born, their two realities are reshaped to fit them. (They are Variants–the nickname for the collective Vereints in the multiverse. Some of the named Variants so-far: William, Simon, Charlemagne, and Faizel. PRO TIP: You can usually spot a Variant if there’s mention of a Melissa Kim/Song or a Damien Prince.) And though they get there through different means, they both end up in somewhat the same place in their world hierarchies.