Sunday, September 27, 2009

Exposure

Ep. 03_Sc. 01_01

Ep. 03_Sc. 01_02
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Ep. 03_Sc. 01_07
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Ep. 03_Sc. 01_09
Ep. 03_Sc. 01_10
Ep. 03_Sc. 01_11
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Isabella shot up out of her sleep with a panic. Mom…..

Ep. 03_Sc. 01_13
Ep. 03_Sc. 01_14



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Vista Hills Hotel & Spa

Ep. 03_Sc_02_01

“That was great,” Pierce sighed as he finished his long awaited sexual bout with Sloane.

Ep. 03_Sc_02_02

“Was it enough to get me what I want…what I need out of you?” Sloane had hopped out of bed as soon as Pierce had been sated and had already begun to put her clothes on. She would tend to the business of washing off her guilt and disgust for what she had done later.

Ep. 03_Sc_02_03

“More than enough. I’ll make sure the story goes out today.” “Good. She’ll go running for the hills when this gets out. The sooner that bitch is out of this town the better.”

Ep. 03_Sc_02_04

Sloane had wasted no time enacting her plan after reading the article about Isabella’s return. She had to get her to leave Las Vistas no matter what the cost. Using her body was a small sacrifice that had worked in the past. Too much was at stake and she didn’t know what would happen if she let her stay.

Ep. 03_Sc_02_05

“Tell me again why you hate a woman you barely even know?” Pierce said pulling on his jeans.

Ep. 03_Sc_02_06

“Get a clue. Of course I know her; she just can’t know that I am the one behind all of this…not ever. Just make sure that story runs or I won’t be responsible for what I tell you wife about our little encounter.

Ep. 03_Sc_02_07

Sloane paused an extra moment staring at him so that he understood the seriousness in her eyes. When he finally nodded affirmatively she headed out the door into the disappearing cloak of night eagerly anticipating the fall out that the day would bring.


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DeSantos Residence - Sagebrush, Las Vistas

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_01

Rook paused at the door to his brother’s weight room, watching him intently as he struggled to lift the overloaded barbell, trying to read the situation.

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_02

Stress was always a part of the equation, given the line of work they were in, but lately his brother had been downright distraught. As he watched him struggle through his last repetition, he knew his instincts about what was bothering him were right.

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_03

“You might want to take it easy,” Rook said, startling his brother. “Damn it Rook are you trying to kill me,” Nico growled, struggling to control the weight above his head before he finally mounted it back on the bench. “What the hell are you doing here anyway?”

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_04

“I’m here to get the money for the pick up tonight…like we talked about. I came by last night, but you weren’t here, again.” Rook studied his brother who was clearly not listening to him. “Nico, did you hear me?!!”

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_05

Nico looked up at Rook from the bench with an annoyed glare. “Of course I did. The money’s over there in that bag,” he said pointing across the room as he stood up from the bench. “Now get out of here!”

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_06

“What the hell is the matter with you or do I even have to ask? You saw her again didn’t you? I told you that chick is nothing but trouble. She’s going to bring you down.”

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_07

“When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you,” Nico replied, his eyes filled with anger. “You don’t know what you’re talking about anyway so back the hell off!” Whatever mask he thought he was hiding his feelings behind was completely transparent to Rook. His brother knew him better than anyone and Nico knew backing off was the last thing he would do.

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_08

“I’ll back off when you wise up. This chick has gotten under your skin again and I bet you haven’t even talked to her yet. Am I right?” Nico gave him a cold glare and then walked out the back door to the pool.

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_09

Following close behind Rook pressed him further. “She’s got you so distracted you probably don’t even know what day it is. You’ve got to snap out of this. People could get hurt if you lose your focus, especially with what we’ve got going on now.”

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_10

Focus had been the farthest thing from his grasp. Isabella was all he had thought about since he saw her the night she returned to Las Vistas. His emotions had been conflicted ever since. One part of him falling quickly into his past, reaching for the young man whose heart had been so wide open and full of love for her, while the other part was slapping him back to his senses and reminding him of the life he lived now; the impossibility of opening that door back up. He felt trapped and anxious, like a caged animal.

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_11

“I said back the hell off Rook,” he growled through gritted teeth. “I know exactly what’s at stake here. Rook shot him a disbelieving look and hammered his point in again. “Look, I know you loved her, but you were a kid then. You’ve got responsibilities now, a business, and a daughter. You….we can’t afford to get that attached to anyone ever again. Not living this life.”

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_12
Ep. 03_Sc. 03_13


The truth of Rook’s words dropped on him like a ton of bricks which made him even more anxious and annoyed. He opened his mouth to fire back, when he saw Rider appear from the front of the house and began to walk towards the two them. “I know what I’m doing. This conversation is over,” he whispered to Rook.

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_14

“Are we going or what? I’ve been in the car for 20 minutes.” Rider said, assessing the two men and picking up on the tension between them. He had heard them yelling from the driveway but decided to leave it alone. “Yeah, in a minute,” Rook replied.

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_15

“What’s going on? And why aren’t you in school?” Nico challenged Rider. “Teacher conferences. Rook’s taking me to the garage to show me the ropes. And then we’re going to do the exchange at the airport tonight,” he said with a smile which quickly fell when he saw Nico’s face.

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_16

“Like hell you are. Rook how many times do I have to tell you that Rider is not getting involved in our business? He’s got better options than that.”

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_17

“Look, the kid said he wanted to see what we do, so I told him he could tag along. He can go or not go—it doesn’t matter to me,” Rook shot Rider an angry glare for throwing him under the bus. “He can go to the garage, but not the exchange. That’s final. Now the two of you get out of here, it’s almost time to open. I’ll be there in a while.”

Ep. 03_Sc. 03_18

The disappointment on Rider’s face was apparent, but, deciding not to push his luck, he headed to the car. Rook began to follow, but turned back to Nico briefly. “Remember what I said. This whole thing is nothing but trouble.”

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Monacco Desert Cottage - Vista Hills

Ep. 03_Sc. 04_01

Hanging up from the third phone call in 5 minutes Lexie plopped down in front of her computer to investigate why three news stations had called asking for a comment from her boss.

Ep. 03_Sc. 04_02

She typed Isabella’s name into the search engine and waited with baited breath as the page began to fill with what she knew would be her worst nightmare. Hesitantly she clicked on a link and sat face to face with her own image. Pictures of her and Isabella in front of the house, in the car, coming from the airport; shots of Isabella with Eden and Reese from a vantage point that appeared quite close to Eden’s house stared back at her. Someone had been tailing them both from the moment they had arrived.

Ep. 03_Sc. 04_03

Lexie kept clicking through the links finding more and more pieces of tabloid fodder, the majority of which was either grossly exaggerated or downright fake. There was no time to waste. She quickly picked up the phone again and dialed.

Ep. 03_Sc. 04_04

“Blair, its Lexie. I think you need to get over here right now.”



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DeSantos Bros. Auto Body - Downtown Las Vistas

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_01

Memories and daydreams had kept her up for most of the night before. Remnants of her conversation with Eden and seeing Reese again had allowed thoughts of Nico to flood her consciousness almost to the point of unrest. The “what ifs” that played over and over again in her mind had brought her here and now she was hesitating.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_02

Isabella sat outside of the garage that Nico owned paralyzed with fear of what she would walk into if she left her car. The boy she had left so many years ago had become a man now. A man who she didn’t know—who she was afraid to seek out for fear of her worst “what if” coming true.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_03

As hard as she tried to cling to her doubts, start the car, and leave her curiosity was killing her. She got out of the car and started her walk into the unknown to satisfy it.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_04

As she approached she paused for a moment when she saw him standing in the lobby. She was taken aback by how much he had changed physically.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_05

He was taller, much bigger, muscular, and his faded beard framed the chiseled edges of his face. His eyes piercing and intense remained the same. She had found love and comfort in those eyes so many years ago. What would she find now?

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_06
Ep. 03_Sc. 05_07
Ep. 03_Sc. 05_08

Nico’s heart nearly hit the floor when he looked up and saw Isabella walking through the door. He had been watching her for days now from afar, always careful not to be seen, even though there was a part of him that had wanted her to look in his direction, notice him watching her. And though he had subconsciously willed her to come to him, he was shocked that she had actually showed up.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_09

He took a moment to collect his thoughts before he spoke. “Isabella….how are you?” he said casually as if they had only just seen each other a few days before.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_10

“I’m well, and you?” she replied. She was clearly prepared to put on the same front as he was—keeping it cool as if there had never been anything between them. But he sensed that there was something more beyond the surface.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_11

“Why don’t we go to my office, it’s a bit noisy and dirty out here. Wouldn’t want you to get grease on your dress” he said as he motioned for Rook to continue going over the spreadsheets with Rider. He stepped aside for her to proceed before him and by default, got a good look at her in that dress that he was concerned about keeping clean. Pausing for a moment to keep his physical reaction in check he followed her to his office and shut the door.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_12

The cold cement box that he worked in held little more than his desk and two chairs. He gestured for her to have a seat and she obliged while he began clearing the mess of papers strewn across the desktop; a futile effort to straighten up as well as a stalling tactic.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_13

Isabella couldn’t stop her mind from racing. So many emotions and memories of times past flooded her consciousness. Feelings that she had repressed for years began popping up as if they had been there all the time. She would have to keep her composure if she was going to get through this.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_14

As they made small talk Nico in fell into the rhythm of her voice; still the same, soft and sensual against his ears. He was torn between avoiding eye contact, yet not being able to take his eyes off of her when she looked away. If it was possible, she was even more beautiful now than when she was a teenager. She had the same smile, same sapphire eyes, same goddess like figure that now came with a sensual confidence that was hard to resist. He wondered how many other things about her were the same.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_15

Isabella could feel his eyes on her and sensed his hesitation when he spoke. She wondered if he was going through the same emotional turmoil as she was -- desperately wanting to say things that had been held back for years.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_16

Running out of meaningless banter to throw around, the heart of the matter crept closer into their consciousness yet they seemed to have made a mutual yet unspoken decision to dance around it. The tension between them was palpable and if one of them didn’t say something soon the moment would pass them by, possibly forever. She decided to give her mind a rest and speak from her heart.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_17

“I’m sorry I left the way I did, Nico” she began. I just didn’t have a choice. You know how my father was…is. The last thing I ever wanted to do was leave…you.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_18

He sat quietly for a moment, shocked that she had let her guard down. He wanted to open up to her too, letting loose all the feelings he had locked away. He wanted to tell her how crazed he had been when he found out that she had left and how, after months of not hearing from her, his heart had hardened when he realized that she wasn’t coming back. He wanted to tell her how much he had missed her, how much he still felt for her, even now after all this time.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_19

But this was an emotional ride he could not afford to go on, especially not at work. He needed to switch gears—and fast. Against his better judgment he let the monster inside him come out to play. “What’s to be sorry for?” He said nonchalantly. “Did you miss me or something? I don’t remember getting a letter or a postcard. Did I miss you on one of your visits?”

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_20

His childishness had always annoyed her then—it still did now. This was the reaction she had feared; defensive, stubborn and heartless. How dare he mock her when she was trying to explain herself. The walls that she had foolishly began to let down shot back up, cold and hard.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_21

“I guess I should have known better than to think you had grown up at all” she said rising to leave. “You’re still the same cocky asshole you’ve always been.”

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_22

“You didn’t grow up much either if you thought you were going to breeze in here with your sad eyes and everything would be forgiven. It just doesn’t work that way…. angel.”

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_23

He threw that word, once used as his term of endearment for her, like a dagger aimed at her heart. It had made sharp cutting contact. “Go to hell, Nico!” Isabella shouted as she stormed out of his office.

Ep. 03_Sc. 05_24

Too late I’m already there, he thought to himself as he watched her leave. Frustrated by his emotions and ashamed of his actions Nico spun his chair to face the cold wall of his office. Seeing her again had opened up a deep wound inside of him that he thought he had closed so many years ago. The undeniable truth stared him in the face; he was still vulnerable to her and there was nothing he could do about it.

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Ep. 03_Sc. 06_01

Wiping at the tears flowing from her eyes, Isabella tried to stop thinking about her encounter with Nico, but his words kept ringing in her head. The harsh tone of his voice and the ice cold glare in his eyes left little doubt of his hatred for her. She had been a fool to let her guard down; a fool to believe that some part of him still loved her.

Ep. 03_Sc. 06_02

She drove home on auto pilot; a right turn here, left turn there, stop, go, stop. Flashbacks of moments they had shared overtook her mind; memories played back like an old forgotten movie. He had told her he wanted to be with her forever, that he would never leave, never love anyone the way he loved her. She had his heart and he had hers, a feeling that gave her the most peaceful comfort she had ever felt. Could all of that truly be gone?

Ep. 03_Sc. 06_03

It was an idea that in theory she had rationalized a million different ways—time passing, maturity and growth taking over—but she was being crushed by the weight of the reality that the truest love she had ever known was dead and buried.

Ep. 03_Sc. 06_04

Blair’s car was in front of the house when she pulled up, an omen that didn’t sit well with her. She looked at her cell phone and saw six missed calls all from Blair. Whatever was going on it certainly wasn’t good. She wiped her face, touched up her makeup and made her way into the house.

Ep. 03_Sc. 06_05

She heard the blaring news report before she was halfway in the door; the reporter’s condescending voice spouting the same allegations from years ago. Was her mother’s mysterious “accidental” death really murder? Is she back to claim the love child she left behind? Has she been a part of an international prostitution ring headed by her father? Did Carlos Monacco squander the family fortune leaving her to beg for money from his old business associates? The hurtful rumors went on and on.

Ep. 03_Sc. 06_06

Isabella could feel the blood rushing from her head and she shifted her weight to keep her balance. Her heart was pounding in her chest and the muscles around it seemed to tighten with every breath she took. For the second time in an hour tears hot and painful began to blur her vision and stream down her face. “Turn it off!” she shouted to a stunned Lexie and Blair who hadn’t heard her come in. “Please just turn it off!”





9 comments:

  1. The way you pull me into this story is just incredible. I feel like I'm THERE. Astounding color and ambiance and detail in every single shot!

    Isabella and Nico are stomping on each other's toes, aren't they? And watching to see who cries first and hardest. It is so sad. They're both afraid. Love LOVE the scene in the garage and I was gasping at the way you set that up!

    Sloane and Pierce deserve each other. A plague on both of them!

    Rook is a strange mix. Protective of his brother but oblivious to the damage he's doing to Rider, who is obviously just excited about everything.

    You hit every note exactly right! And the length was good - not too long at all! Can't wait for the next update!

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  2. Wow S.B., that you so much. I really appreciate the compliments; you've truly made my (otherwise difficult) day. I think I am finally getting my feet under me with all of this. I really took my time and put more effort into my shots and photoediting and I'm glad to know it looks good.

    You hit it right on the money, Nico and Isabella are scared to death of what they are still feeling for one another. Young love, especially first love hits hard and lasts a long time. They are drowning in it; the more they struggle,the deeper they sink. I can't see how they can hold back much longer.

    For lack of a better word Sloane is a bitch, but the reasons for that run deep. She and Isabella share a history that is both good and bad, but she has chosen to hold onto the bad and use it as an excuse to be....well...a bitch.

    I just thought of the best word to describe Rook, and that is detached. He cares about his family (and he only includes Rider in that group as a formality)and protects them more out of loyalty than emotional attachment. He loves them but those are feelings that he disconnects from to protect himself from getting hurt.

    I'm glad it wasn't too long. I took great pains to cut a lot of unnecssary dialogue. If you can't tell from this book I've just written here I tend to prattle on a bit.

    Thank you again so much for the comments :)

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  3. i can't believe that Isabella got up the nerve to see Nico after all this time. i wasn't sure how that would go but you wrote it perfectly!

    Sloane is a real piece of work...interesting to learn what her deal is with Isabella.

    stunning shots...very well written. Bravo!

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  4. Thank you Gayl,I always appreciate your comments. I think that Isabella had to see Nico. Much like Nico, she has been consumed with these memories, and feelings and she had to confront it. She's more direct than he his.

    Sloane is a piece of something and work is a nice word for it. She's a wounded animal who's biting at everyone who comes in contact with her. Deep wounds from years ago.

    Thank you for the compliment on the shots, I am trying to improve each time. I'm proud of these.

    As always, thank you for you input. It really helps my writing.

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  5. Sorry it took me sooo long to get here...

    the first time I tried, the pics were not showing, so I decided to leave it for another time... then I came back and when I was half way done, something will come up and I will quit reading because I didn't want to miss any detail!

    I ADORE your pictures, the "dream" ones are gorgeous, the colors and the lighting are just perfect, and they do set the dreamy atmosphere.

    but then all the other pictures are just amazing, the details are outstanding... I loved the one of Isabella on her car, the one where you can see the city and the traffic behind her... that really captures the mood of the busy city...
    and then we have the bitchy Sloane putting on her bra!!! That pose was fantastic, and it really adds to the conversation he was having with Pierce..

    ok now back to the story....

    Sloane, what a bitch!!! She really is something..."a plague" that's how SB described her and her man... they do deserved each other..

    I feel so sorry for Isabella, I mean, she swallowed her pride and walked up to Nico and tried to explained, and she did the right thing, and what did she get?

    Nothing... Nico just stepped all over her and her good intentions!!!

    Damn Nico.. he should just have forgotten about everything and wrapped her in his arms and make up for all the years they lost... but if that happened, then there wouldn't be any more story to share with us...

    so I just love and hate what he did...after all those years, he is acting like a brat... but that shows he really cared, and he still cares... he is just afraid she might walk away again...

    poor Isabella she really had a bad day, didn't she? first Nico and now the damn news!!!
    All those rumors were plain evil... That Sloanne is worst that scum!!

    Awesome chapter and again, the story just keeps on getting better and better, the storyline is amazing, and the characters are so well written... it is hard not to get attached and not to get sucked into the story...

    You really are doing an amazing job!!

    Bravo!

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  6. I forgot to say I loved the new header and the new layout!!! it looks fantastic!!!

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  7. Thank you so much S@andy!! You have no idea how much your encouagement and complients mean to me. I am a self-doubter of the worst kind, so I really appreciate it.

    Bitch is the exact right word for Sloane. She loves no one but herself and she struggles with that much. I'm hoping to peel back her layers so that the full picuture of her character comes out.

    You are right, Nico is being a brat and he is very scared to tap into his feelings for Isabella, not just because he doesn't want to get hurt, but because his lifestyle makes caring about anyone a dangerous thing...for them. He's trying not to give into his feelings, but it is becoming so hard that he's lashing out at everyone.

    Issy is just in a bad situation that seems to be defeating her, but she is a strong woman so don't count her out yet.

    Thank you again for your support and compliments. It means the world to me :)

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  8. Muzegoddess, I am getting there, slowly. LOL!
    Your shots are wonderful, such emotion in them, Esp. the dream sequence, it packs a real wallop.
    You have delicious man-meat in your story, sorry, I notice these things.

    "Go to hell Nico,~too late, I'm already there" Wonderful.
    Great exchange between Isabella and Nico, the raw pain obvious.
    Great installment~

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  9. Hey Drew! I'm glad you liked this one, it is one of my favorites. The dream sequence was really important to me; wanted to make it look really hazy and dreamy.

    What can I say? I'm a sucker for muscles and facial hair so the man candy is a must.

    Thanks again for reading.

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