Commentary: Come On Strong City

Redwoodian
Chapter: Define What You Mean By "Separate Businesses"

     People always knew where Prior Yates was, even people on the other side of the world from where he happened to be at any given moment. Television shows and tabloid covers assured that his whereabouts were always known. So the fact that he’d slipped from my mind while standing only three feet from me was completely cartwheels unicorns. It often seems like the rich hot movie star is that guy the main character wants and eventually gets. That's pretty fun, and the star inevitably turns out to be sweet. But I thought it would be a little different if Wilfair's resident movie star was the one guy people kept forgetting was even there. People *never* forget celebrities are present, but what if that kept happening to world-famous Prior Yates? Not to be mean -- the books are the opposite of mean, to me (and to you, too, I hope) -- but it seemed like a different route to get to know a famous person and explore his ego and fears.
     Swear. But good swear. "Cartwheels unicorns," by this point in the book, has to be defined as a good swear or bad swear. :)

     I glanced at the person who held my evening gloves for the third time today. “Gomery, I’ve got to whisper something in Prior’s ear. You won’t mind, will you?” When Gomery hold's Fair's empty gloves, he holds them near the wrists. Which means if he crosses his arms, which he often does, the gloves' "hands" drape on his forearm. Which, rumor has it, is rather notable. 
      Something waved over Montgomery Overbove #1’s face, like amusement or curiosity, but he gave a small shrug. Gomery definitely thinks a soft "what the hell?" here, but I hope he is more charmed by Fair being concerned about being rude, which she would have been if she had whispered in front of him without warning.
     I leaned close to Prior’s head, forgoing the former face-holding and side-touching, and dropped my voice to the lowest level. “Prior. Upstairs, before. My apology to you, in the hallway. You were the second person I had to apologize to up there, and I’m afraid you got the first person’s apology. And I’m sorry for the wrong sorry. So here’s yours: I apologize for raising my voice with you. You’re pretty wonderful.” A lot of people in this world give an apology to someone that the apology isn't really meant for, it seems like. Either the person they want to really say "sorry" to is out of their lives or it is too hard, so some other random friend serves as the unknowing proxy for some lesser offense. I'm not sure I'm done exploring this idea. 
     “You’re pretty wonderful,” said the star, accepting my revised apology. Like I have "bases" in the books -- those parts I feel totally solid about -- I also have iffies and hmms. An iffy is a sentence I like and I'm fine with but leaves me hanging whenever I read it, a little. I'm okay with Prior saying Fair is wonderful here, because he's pretty effervescent and open, and she said it to him first. But I also don't want a main character that everyone else in the books thinks is totally wonderful and without fault. Not everyone thinks that about Fair. Some people find her annoying and Monty has spoken to her "twee little thought loops." Prior talks a bit more about his complicated feelings for Fair in "Stay Awhile," which in part was me rectifying my own feelings about this moment.
    
  “I’ve got a question for you. You know love scenes, right?”
 

      “Played one or two, yes.” The actor puffed. Prior is an expert chest-puffer. Also, regarding his love scenes? Fair remembers every one, since she's seen all of his films multiple times.
      “I think something just happened here, but days from now, maybe even hours, the story will change in my head and become less than it was, because I do that. Great things that happen lessen, in my brain, and the bad things blossom, and this seemed like a really, really great thing. So I need to know: Was what happened there, before, like, only whispering, or was it some kind of hug situation? I feel like it might have been the second thing.” I stepped back. Oh goodness. What Fair said might delve a bit too deeply into my psyche here. But maybe all of our psyches? 
      The star stepped closer. We’re whispering now, yes? And yet we can whisper without driving straight into Bodies Touching Town and pulling over for the night.” 
      “True.” Prior and I had no contact, save for the head brushes that come standard with any whispered conversation. Head brushes from close whispering get the seal of approval! A side benefit of sharing secrets. 
      Prior beamed. I felt Gomery shift, and I knew he wondered what caused Prior to smile his magazine-cover smile. The magazine smiler leaned in one more time. “Fair. You’re refreshing is what. The people I keep company with are real Come On Strong City. Not only do you never come on strong, I suspect you’re hardly ever in the same room you’re actually in.” I was a bit proud of that sentence when I wrote it -- that Fair is hardly in the room she's in -- and I still rather like it. But she's changed to me, over the course of the books, of course. Larger and in charger. So it makes me nostalgic when I revisit Fair 1.0. 
      “Working on that,” I whispered. "Hard." 
      “You’ll probably rule the world one day, or at least half of California. But don’t lose whatever that is, though. A little of the charm, yes? Promise me.” "Half of California" will probably be the name of my album one day, if I ever form an indie folk band. 
      “Ruling the world but keeping the charm? Easy peasy.” I shrugged. Eternal, internal conflict: owning power while staying nice. 
      “Perfect Province. Now this would be the point in the love scene where I’d plant a giant kiss on you, what with us standing in the middle of Compliment Corners with all the lights off. And I’d like to kiss you, really I would, but the fact is I’m second in line, and I hate people who cut the queue.” Me too, Prior. Pet peeve. Also, you're right about being second in line, though let's be honest: It's a one-person line by this point and you aren't even on the same block. Also, when you suggest that Fair and Gomery go up to your suite in "Stay Awhile," because of what you're sensing between them, you will be wrong but simultaneously very right. Conflicting concepts occupying the same space. 
       Personal affirmation. Personal affirmation. Personal affirmation. 
       “I.” That was my entire sentence. I. "Personal affirmation" being Fair's personal affirmation and "I" being a total sentences are both Wilfair-flavored quirk, for sure. Acknowledged. 
      The star waited for me to finish my sentence, and when it didn’t arrive, he stepped back and turned to Gomery. “You know? I should head up. I forgot my favorite.” He didn’t say his favorite what, but with that, the man whose face was on the shirt my best friend currently slept in disappeared around the corner. The thought of Prior not even trying to finish that sentence always made me like him a little more, like he couldn't be bothered. He always has assistants to wrap up his personal appearances and take care of the unfinished sentences. He's assistant-less here and it is just odd and endearing to me that he'd simply stop talking before he should have stopped. 
      My robe went with him. The idea of Prior taking the elevator -- er, lift -- sorry, Prior -- back up to his suite while holding an empty hotel robe always makes me a tad sad. 
      I didn't miss it. It was really, really warm inside the lodge. Toasty, in fact. But I didn't sense the fires would die down soon. Oh Fair. You haven't even been inside the boiler yet. Twice.


© Vitalez1988 | Dreamstime.com

3 comments:

Caitlin #1 said...

In the review of "Redwoodian" on FYA, Erin quoted Prior's line about Compliment Corners and "I'm second in line, and I hate people who cut the queue." I already had pretty positive feelings based on the review, but I was so charmed by that line when I read it, that was the moment I decided I was definitely going to read these books.

bess said...

Caitlin #1 - Yes! That is still one of my favorite lines in the Wilfair-verse. It is so charming and perfect for the scene.

do dah said...

"i forgot my favorite." is one of my favorite sentences ever. and yes, it absolutely made me love him.

 
Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Tips