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[personal profile] wonder_city
At Bloggerheads

Vita's opening gambit, after they had exchanged tense greetings, gotten their drinks, and settled into their seats in a private corner of one of the chain restaurants in downtown, was, "So, how do you like playing for the other team?"

This baffled Suzanne, because it wasn't anything like the opening she expected. "What, you mean blogging versus working for an editor?"

Vita waved that away. "No, I mean being a lesbian."

Suzanne felt her face flush, both with anger and with knowing that Vita had raised her voice purposely on the last word. "I wouldn't know," she said sharply, "since I'm not one."

Vita rolled her eyes. "Oh, yes, 'he' is more of a man than Josh ever was, I'm sure." She illustrated her sentence with careless airquotes.

"My sex life," Suzanne said between clenched teeth, "is not what we came here to discuss."

"Wasn't it?" Vita said, eyes wide and innocent. "Wasn't being in the middle of a big para fistfest the start of your ideas about coming back to the pros? Did you manage to interview Josh while he was holding off all the biggest guns in Wonder City? Did you pick 'Simon' on purpose to provoke Josh? Did you get 'Simon' onto that show so you could get your face on TV?"

Suzanne rolled her eyes, keeping a check on her temper only by reminding herself that a) this was Vita, b) this sort of petty savagery was Vita's stock in trade, c) this was Vita, d) Simon would probably laugh at the whole story when she told him, and e) this was Vita. She stared at Vita, noting the lines around her -- former? -- friend's eyes and mouth, the bad dye job on what Suzanne knew was plain brown hair that was probably graying, and the armor-like black suit Vita had worn for this dinner. "I forgot," she said after a second, "that your specialties have always been celebrity dish and athletes on steroids, rather than, say, domestic violence and homicide."

Vita laughed, a harsh braying sound, and tossed back half her chocolate martini. "Oh, very good."

"Thanks," Suzanne said, keeping her voice flat. "Did you ask me here for anything other than an opportunity to make cheap potshots at my sordid past?"

"I wanted to give you a little warning, sunshine," Vita said, finishing her martini and signaling the waiter for another.

"That I should miraculously read your mind and stop accidentally scooping you?" Suzanne said tiredly, drinking her seltzer.

"No," Vita said. "Like you said, that was obviously an accident. The warning is this: the old gang is pissed off at not getting a story out of Mrs. Feldstein. Only some remaining nice feelings kept your little assignation out of the papers, and kept some people from raking up old history."

"Some people like you, perhaps?" Suzanne said. "I doubt that many of the 'old gang' care that much, Vita. Except you, and maybe -- maybe -- Sid."

"Sid," Vita said in a confirmatory tone, waving the little red plastic sword from her drink in the air, "Monica. Chet. Barry. Harold. A few others. We're all over the map now, some in television, some in newspapers. You didn't give a single one of us an exclusive, and all our editors were expecting something from us."

"All this is because you wanted me to tell you my feelings about finding out that my husband was alive and kicking and a supervillain?" Suzanne said disbelievingly. "You're threatening me with Simon and Mitch so you can get the jump on everyone else?"

"You haven't been answering your phone, Suzie Q," Vita said, almost cheerfully.

"So you decided to yank the last chain of my journalistic soul to drag me out of hiding," Suzanne said. "How charming, V."

"No one has ever called me charming before," Vita said, drinking.

"That's because you aren't," Suzanne said, finishing her seltzer. "Look, Vita, I'm sure PARABI would be glad of you muckraking about Simon -- it would boost their show's ratings. Their pet tabloid would even buy your stories, too, I'm sure." She took a long breath, and decided to try it, for old time's sake. "I'm going to ask you not to."

"Whyever?" Vita said, her gaze sharp despite her tipsy gestures.

"I haven't talked to anyone, or written anything of my own, because there's a sweet old man who doesn't deserve to be dragged over the coals of the truth," Suzanne said in a low voice.

"How poetical," Vita said, though her voice was also low.

"If you try anything," Suzanne said, "anything at all that would hurt Ira, I swear that I will make sure that your only beat for the rest of time will be the Hollywood gossip scene."

"Your pet dyke has made you dark and vengeful, Suzie," Vita said. "I'm disappointed in you."

"Oh, there's a carrot, Vita," Suzanne said. "If you play nice, and make the others play nice, then when Ira dies, you and I will write that expose together. All right?"

"What about Andrea?" Vita said, returning to her normal volume.

"Andrea can take care of herself," Suzanne said.

"And Mister Metropolitan can't?" Vita said, drawn-on eyebrows rising.

"No," Suzanne said flatly. "He can't."

In the silence, Vita finished her second martini and pushed it aside. "You're barking up the wrong tree with the serial killer hints," she said.

Suzanne shrugged. "If you believe the mob angle, you can write the mob angle. You're the pro, after all."

"Oh, go back to your safe little office job," Vita said, crumpling her napkin and throwing it down on the table in disgust. She got to her feet. "You could never write worth shit. And your attempts to bribe me are more than pitiful. You've had your fifteen minutes of fame -- I'm not going to bother writing about you again." She turned away and said over her shoulder, "Unless you become news again. And then all bets are off, kid."

Vita wobbled a little unsteadily on her four inch heels toward the door. After a second, Suzanne signaled the waiter.

"Has your friend left, ma'am?" the fresh-faced young man said.

"Oh, she left a long time ago," Suzanne said. "Years ago, I think."


From the Author:
Poor Suzanne. It's always hard when one has a brutal epiphany about an old friend.

Wonder City Stories has been nominated for the Rose & Bay Award! Check out all the nominees in all the categories here. I'd love for you to vote for WCS. And please do consider voting for Dave or Lucid (I mean aerynvale or badfaun!) in the patron category.

I'm posting twice weekly during February. Thank you for all your comments! Please keep commenting while I come up with new ideas (or steal other people's ideas) for fan involvement. I love all your comments.

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Date: 2011-02-18 10:38 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
Suzanne's growing a lot. This pleases me.

Date: 2011-02-23 01:47 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
I'm glad growth is coming through and not sudden OOCness. :)

Date: 2012-01-28 05:34 am (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
Definitely growth. Really, really good growth.

And yeah, Vita's a douchebag. D:


Date: 2013-03-30 07:29 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I don't know, i didn't feel Vita was being such a douchebag as much as very very defensive when she perceives an attack. After all, Vita WAS the one trying to make Suzanne stop hiding herself for years, and was the only one who hadn't given up on her.

A decade of effort to help out a friend coming out of forced reclusion is worth much more than just a few angry words over perceived slights.


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