I wimped out on the dialogue in chapter 2, my expectation was that there would be a conversation between Frankie and Mac but I found the whole experience quite schizophrenic. I was almost wanting to change seats where I was writing to see what would be. Do I want Mac to be someone who can talk to anybody or is this conversation with a complete stranger and the request to spend the day together an easy thing for him or as difficult as it is for Frankie. I don't want her to be overwhelmed by his confidence, which I don't want him to have too much of, and yet I need them to strike up a conversation and find themselves caught up in it. All of which I have to write and indeed create. I have an understanding of my characters but will some of the traits I want them to have mean that they will have behaviours that I wasn't expecting. Can I create a Mac that is comfortably confident without coming across as arrogant? Or will he not be as confident as I think he should be! I love shoulds and oughts, hopefully I can understand them and deal with them in fiction. They occur far too frequently in my own life, setting expectations of myself that aren't always fair or appropriate. They've become a useful test point in my sobriety and ring warning bells when I find them proliferating my sentences. Of course, the objective at this point is just to write what I can and not to overthink it, easier said than done. Which should get me to starting chapter 3, although I don't know at this point if chapter 3 follows chapter 1 or 2 so will carry on the story-lines separately and decide when it's finished. I know the next stage in both stories but until I've written out both fully, I have no idea where they will intertwine. The story of the present is so dependent on how the past is told, much like in my own life, the present can take on different meaning as the truths in the past unfold. I haven't progressed much this week, I came down with a bad cold, must have been the shock of seeing so much sun, and found it quite hard to write after a difficult day at work. I have also found that my lack of being able to set clear boundaries applies to weeks and that I am constantly floating between the start and end of them. I will need to look at when my ten weeks began and define the end date appropriately.
I spent another couple of hours with the RAC yesterday, really beginning to wish that my choice of my car as a symbol of my recovery and its subsequent challenges could be accepted as pure coincidence. This time it was a fuel lock, different problem but leaving me wondering whether I can rely on it at all. All was well this morning though and it feels very happy in the sunshine.
I did manage to write some more from chapter 2 following this post, so rather than wait till next week, here it is.
Chapter 2 ctd:
"Two bottles of Pils, please", said Frankie, leaning over the bar to squeeze in-between the two guys either side of her. Collecting the bottles and the change, she squeezed back out and headed through the crowd to her friend Sean. He was standing with his back against the wall, his eyes scanning around the room, taking in the faces he didn't know as well as those he did. They were in a small underground club in Bristol renowned locally for its live music. With its low ceilings, roughly plastered walls, small dance floor as well as hidden nooks and crannies, it worked well for Frankie. Everyone came for the music and she could get lost in it without worrying about whether anyone was watching. Sean had come down for the weekend from London, her best friend and soulmate. He was now doing a second degree in Horticulture since getting a job working alongside a landscape gardener and had finally found an outlet for his creativity. He and Frankie had hit it off on their first day and had been a much needed rock for each other as they both struggled to settle into university life. Both shared the same sheltered upbringing, parents high in expectations who'd been unable to provide them with any understanding or knowledge about dealing with life. They'd both had their hearts broken by the perfect man, fortunately not the same one, and had supported each other with endless bottles of wine and boxes of tissues. Sean had promised Frankie that he would come back for their favourite band and she was thrilled to be out with him. They'd repeated their Friday night ritual of a Pizza Express takeaway with a bottle of red from Oddbins, catching up on each other's news and were well prepared to dance the night away before collapsing into bed. What Frankie was not expecting, was to find herself looking into the dark green eyes of the Scotsman she'd met a couple of months ago who now stood in her path. "Hey, its Frankie, isn't it? How are you?" said Mac.
"Er, yes, really well, thanks" she stuttered, "what are you doing here?" She kicked herself even before the words left her lips.
He laughed, "We've come to see the band, they seem to prefer it over here". Frankie looked around, expecting to find some gorgeous girl hanging off his arm. "Meet my friend Mark, Mark this is Frankie." Frankie tried not to smile too enthusiastically as she shook Mark's hand and was not surprised to find that Sean had moved swiftly to her side, Mark was definitely Sean's type. "Sean, this is Mac, who I met at Rosa's and his friend Mark." This time she could have kicked Sean as he replied, "Oh Mac, yes, I heard all about you." Mac smiled but said nothing, the glint in his eye giving Frankie the exact kind of paranoia she had dreaded. "Don't worry," said Mark, leaning in, "I heard all about you too."
"Here, have my beer," Sean said, passing his bottle to Mac, "and I'll get two more in."
"I'll come with you", added Mark, following Sean to the bar.
"Come here often?" said Mac and they both smiled. "I can't believe I got to say that again, it was ridiculous enough the first time."
"Yes it was", said Frankie, although this time she didn't feel embarrassed by it. She couldn't quite believe that he was here, was fate giving her a second chance.
"Cheers", he said, tapping the neck of his bottle against hers, "here's to a good night".
Frankie took a swig at the lager, feeling it run cold down her throat. She turned to the bar, it didn't look like Sean and Mark would be making their way back anytime soon.
"Did you get the job?" she asked, trying not to hope for a positive response.
"Yes, I did." She gulped. "I start next month, Mark and I are looking for a flat, he got a job too."
Frankie felt her skin bubble and the hairs on her arm stand on end. "That's great news, well done."
"Yeh, Mark's dad's a vet with a big practice up in the Dales but he wants to prove himself out of his shadow so he thought he'd see how we get on. Means we can try and keep the band going too. Mark's the drummer."
"Of course," said Frankie, "will we get to see you play?"
"I'm not sure," smiled Mac, "I think we've decided we're not going to make the big time and that, actually, we're not that bothered. It's good just being able to play with some mates and hang out together. It seems that Sean and Mark are getting on".
Frankie turned back to look for them. They were pushed together in a small corner of the bar, giggling like school boys and making no effort to find themselves more room. Frankie turned back with a frown on her face, "he better be nice to him", she said to Mac, "he's got a heart of gold."
"Don't worry, they're both big enough to look after themselves," said Mac. "He seems perfectly happy from here."
Frankie didn't get to reply as the crowd started to cheer. The door behind the stage had opened and the band were making their way out. "You don't think I'd miss this, do you" whispered Sean in her ear. "Besides, he's not going far", he said smiling across at Mark as they exchanged glances that Frankie wished she hadn't been party to.