It'd been quite a while since my last entry and my last substantial bit of progress in this story.
But after having a couple of vivid dreams, I'd been inspired to continue.
Scarlet's love interest and future baby daddy
[Taylor Lautner- when I started writing his introductory scene, I kept stumbling across "Last December" lyrics, which Taylor Swift wrote about him]
[and with this latest season of figure skating in the books, I'd become so fond of Javier Fernandez that I was dying to use his name... but that's where the similarities end]
This idea originated from a dream. At first, I wrote a scene putting Talia in my shoes, as I was the one in the dream experiencing this. After putting it together, I realized that Talia had enough to deal with that I couldn't throw a pregnancy into it. Plus the maternal thing (aside from her relationship with Emilia, the need to protect her innocence) isn't really her style.
There was a split moment where I considered Emilia being Talia's daughter with her stepfather that she gave away for adoption... but have since thrown that idea away. It would just complicate things too much.
But for Scarlet, it fit better so I pursued it. Part of her backstory was that she got knocked up by her father during his last assault. Not soon after, her sister helped her escape. Within weeks of discovering this news, she miscarries. Despite how it was conceived, she still regrets the loss.
Unlike the other girls, Scarlet never found the strength to become part of the business. The part that involves sexual favors with the clients, closing deals for their employers. Ruby had been around it long enough (between dealing with their father and performing at his friend's strip club) that it doesn't bother her. She's willing to put herself in those situations to rake in the extra money to support them.
I'd been questioning a lot how much Scarlet will bring to the overall story. And I think I might have a few places where she can come in.
So I created another character for her to interact with. A love interest. I'm still working on the differentiation between him and Juan Paulo. But I see him being more tan, a year older than him, being slightly taller and with a little more muscle.
They first meet at karaoke night. After Talia performs and leaves, he catches up with her and asks when he can see her again. They exchange numbers and she gives him the address of their next gig. Not knowing that he and JP are friends. This interaction leads to JP appearing in the next musical number, which allows the plot to progress.
In turn, Scarlet starts to seeing Javier. The first serious relationship she'd had. [Now that I said that, I need to figure out the logistics of that... considering she'd been away from home for 10 years... is it because nobody's asked or because she hadn't been ready? Or had she been with a couple guys, but never to the point of intimacy? The latter sounds the most realistic and she can give a million excuses why she doesn't want sex... "I'm saving myself for marriage" could easily work a dozen times]
She talks to him about enjoying singing and sometimes liking it more than dancing. He encourages her to give it a shot because he was part of a band.
I hadn't thought much about their scenes together, so maybe I'll just mention them in conversation. Since this story focuses mostly on Talia and some on Amber.
But this does allow for a scene with her talking to Alejandro... which would be a perfect follow-up to the chapter where Vanessa learns about Amber is Carmen.
Around the time Talia breaks up with JP, Scarlet has sex with Javier. This is a big moment for her because her only sexual experiences were at the hands of her father.
And the experience is absolutely perfect for her. Javier has had plenty of experience and only recently decided to settle down and focus on finding a serious relationship that'd lead to marriage. The first moments, he makes sure she's comfortable and everything is okay because it sounds like she's crying in pain instead of joy.
The only thing that ruins the experience- when she falls asleep in her arms afterwards while she stays the night at his place- her nightmares come back. She explains to him as she's gathering her things about the full extent of her past, which he has no problem with, but she says that she needs a little time to think things over.
Amber, going through Emilia, recruits Scarlet to be part of her "House of Leather" theme night. I'd previously written that Scarlet gets the flu the night of the event and Ruby goes in her place. So I modified it a bit and gave her what she believes to be a stomach virus.
...yeah, it's cliché ... not to mention I've thought about how Javier wants to be more responsible, yet he doesn't think about protection.
I tried to write the scene a couple of times with her saying "It was spontaneous and romantic"... but no version of that ever made it into the scene.
Deep down, Scarlet's desire is to succeed in finding/maintaining a healthy relationship with the man she marries and having a family.
This new baby won't replace the one she lost, but it's an experience she's very grateful to have. And being a stand-up guy, Javier will be supportive.
The scene I wrote occurs after JP brings Emilia to Talia's. Scarlet calls on the doctor that helped her when she first arrived to help Emilia. She'd seen him regularly since then, both for medical reasons and also psychological. When she has concerns or deals with nightmares, he helps her.
She and Dr. Rodriguez have this intimate conversation, touching base on how things are going and he suggests seeing him if the stomach bug doesn't go away. I went further to have her talk to Alejandro as she's leaving to go to the drug store. He offers to come with her and she turns him down. Although I might change things up- not entirely sure if I want to play up how the two men are looking at her sympathetically... a way they hadn't looked at her since her arrival on the scene.
An unplanned pregnancy doesn't exactly make her a victim...
but it would make for a really good reconciliation scene between her and Carmen... she'll be the first person she tells the big news to.
[Juliet Simms' song of the same name could use a good visual...]
Another dream I had brought light to another part of Amber's past... the missing years between her leaving the club and her returning under another assumed name.
I had a dream about returning somewhere that I had spent a lot of time erasing from my memory... and despite the fact I'm not welcome back there in real life and I have negative feelings about it, I was allowed to return.
Carmen left the club for a number of reasons. But the biggest was Talia's transformation of it. The emphasis of the girls flaunting their sexuality in the dancing. It was a reminder of the world she was born into and she doesn't want to perpetuate the degree of sexuality. Her idea was just to entertain with Latin dancing and having fun putting on a show.
Ultimately, she felt there was nothing left for her to come back to, so she left. Scarlet had moved on from their friendship to new friends and she finally had her sister back. And Alejandro had eyes only for Talia, so she needed to get past that rejection as well.
I'm still figuring out Carmen's mindset when she returns there... I know I felt uneasy and under duress in my dream. Hopefully I'll be able to find a way to incorporate those feelings into the story because it is a tough decision for her to do.
Evangeline is a girl Carmen meets at her new waitressing gig- a bar with some pole dancing. She works there while Michel and Misha teach more dance classes and pursue the notion of buying a small venue to display their dancing. [It may very well become one in the same within the next 5-7 years]. She's got a lot of spunk and attitude, but can also be very sweet.
She's also among the hookers who operate in that part of town after hours. [The bar owner might also be their pimp, using the bar as a front for his business]. Many of them favor S&M and "50 Shades" types of deals. They sign contracts, never spend the night and leave their phone numbers for them the next morning.
Carmen is uneasy about this, opening up to Evangeline about all the things she went through growing up. She makes the world a little less intimidating for her, brings her along on a couple of her jobs, and starts to teach her some of the things she knows.
As far as her back story goes, her boyfriend [now the pimp/possible bar owner] won her trust with lavish gifts, convinced her to leave home with him and become part of his trade. So she doesn't necessarily feel threatened by it. Although he occasionally tells her to take the night off because he wants her all to himself.
In that particular case, he's the dominant and she's the submissive. But Carmen witnesses it a couple times [she moves in with her, given her meager share of the rent, she doesn't want to burden Michel & Misha] and remarks that it doesn't look consensual to her. Evangeline insists that he's done a lot for her and doesn't mind if he needs to blow off some steam during their "sessions."
This only lasts the first couple years Carmen is living there. [Somehow, she manages to keep Carmen's presence a secret from him because he insisted on her not having a roommate]. He starts sleeping around with other girls and leaves Evangeline to her regular duties. But as she starts to miss him, she finds another love interest and encounters some demons of her own. Namely, she discovers she has a greater attraction to women, which starts to take its toll on her. When she gets drunk, she crawls into bed with Carmen, kissing her and then crying in her arms.
The unfortunate conclusion is that Evangeline gets killed by her pimp boyfriend when he finds her in a bed with her girlfriend on a night when he had arranged several clients for her. Carmen returns from a late shift at work to find her dying in a pool of blood, and her dying words encourage her again to take her life back.
When she does make her way back to that side of town, she comes upon Talia running out on Alejandro. This gives her the extra boost that she needs, but remembering the way she left, she undergoes her drastic transformation.
Evangeline's biggest bit of advice while they were working was to never give their real name. [Her real name was Simone]. So she takes her "working" persona back with her. But instead of the wig, she gets highlights in her hair... that become permanent through a botched dying job.
This story arc of Carmen's takes place over the course of 5 years. She starts to build herself up again and starts to feel more in control of her life... but with everything that's happened, how much she opened up to Evangeline and lost her, she finds it even harder to be open with people. So she kinda adopts her attitude. Sarcastic with some cutthroat edge.
However, instead of being the dominant as she was with the johns she worked with in the line of duty, she becomes the submissive. Not just because she can't bring that part of herself to closed quarters anymore [mentally or sexually], but also to remind her of what she went through. What her mom went through. What Scarlet went through with her father. What Evangeline went through with her boyfriend. She needs that constant reminder that this life isn't okay, that it's hurt a lot of people she cares about.
I also have an idea that Amber has a pole dancing number that'll be inspired by Juliet Simms's "Evangeline," and she's someone she dedicates her dances to.
But on her first night with Ruby, she gets overshadowed by her pole dancing routine... unable to fully communicate to her why that upsets her.
Timeline-wise, I want Talia to be 29 when "Te Busque" begins... that's the factor that's affected some of my logistics. Particularly the length of time Carmen is away from the club. It also allows time for the girls to forget about her, so they're unable to recognize her.
I also figure that Amber needs to be a siren for four years before Emilia shows up... just for Talia to reach that age, and the two of them have a four year age difference.
The question is figuring when it was decided for Amber and Ruby to share a night, and how long they were doing so. Because Amber's attitude leaves her unwilling to work directly with Ruby and that can only go on for so long before it becomes a factor...
Talia appreciates Amber's artistry and attack, which allows her to forgive her attitude for some time. But there come a point where she starts to lose patience. Not sure why... maybe the fact Amber wants to work with Emilia, who she wants to protect her [and her innocence] from has her drawing that line. She respects her as a dancer [something she doesn't always admit], but loathes her attitude [which she is quick to call her on].
I also had an idea about Talia's back story, but that's another entry to itself. This one's running a little long as it is.