Tag Archives: Marisa Bell

My Favourite Bits…The Godsend [2]

I’m a little late with this post, but finding ‘favourites’ to post has been a lot harder than expected. Not because I don’t like The Godsend. Far from it. In some ways it’s my favourite part of the story because there’s a lot of action in it, and horrible choices, and gaming. But…that’s actually the problem. Most of my favourite bits are either spoilers for the whole story, or lose their impact without the context of what comes before. And that would be another spoiler.

So apologies, but no action bits. Instead, I’ve chosen a chapter called The New Girl. It’s not as long as it sounds and introduces a new employee to Innerscape. Her name is Marisa Bell, and she’s been recommended by the Chairman of the Board, Andrew Walker. CEO, Peter McAlister isn’t happy about having to find a place for the Chairman’s protégé, but he has to suck it up and make the best of it:

The New Girl

The taxi dropped Marisa Bell off at exactly 3:50 pm the next day, and Peter McAlister watched her every move through closed circuit holo as she swung muscular, silk-clad legs out of the taxi and adjusted her short grey skirt. The skirt was part of a retro power-suit that highlighted curvaceous hips and a narrow waist. Her bust, however, was surprisingly small.

Zooming in on the woman’s face, Peter saw bright red hair, attractive features, and deep green eyes. She was attractive enough but nothing out of the ordinary, certainly not the femme fatale he had been expecting.

If anything, Marisa Bell looked more challenging than seductive, a far cry from Andrew Walker’s normal squeeze. The current Mrs Walker was a pneumatic blond with more ambition than brains, and the previous Mrs Walker had been same, both of them airheads, except when it came to money.

Had Andrew Walker finally changed his taste in women? Or was his story about a ‘friend’ actually true?

Shrugging slightly, Peter turned off the surveillance display and sat back in his deep, comfortable chair. True or not, Marisa Bell was now his problem. But at least she looked smart, which might help with Emily.

As the Nursing Liaison of Patient Care, Emily could not refuse a direct order, but she could make life very unpleasant for Marisa Bell, if she chose to do so.

If that happened, Peter would have to ‘rescue’ the Chairman’s protégée by placing her in another department somewhere, or taking her into his own office, heaven forbid-

The chiming of the comms unit broke into Peter’s thoughts, and he sat up straighter as his secretary, James, announced the arrival of Ms Bell.

“Any word from Emily Watson yet?” Peter asked.

“Not yet, sir,” James said. “Should I offer Ms Bell some refreshment while she waits?”

“Yes, good idea. Oh, and let me know as soon as Emily gets here.”

“Yes, sir.”

Rising from his chair, Peter walked to the huge plastiglas window that took up one entire wall of his office and stared out at the gardens. The rain had stopped, but the unseasonal weather continued. He hated waiting, for anything.

 

* * *

 

Emily had always meant to be a little late, just to keep Peter McAlister off balance, but just before she was due to leave, a genuine emergency had cropped up, making her well and truly late. And now she was busting to go to the bathroom.

Well, they’ll just have to wait a bit longer, she thought as she came out of the elevator and headed straight for the Ladies room.

Beautifully appointed, with flattering lighting and not a single full length mirror in sight, the executive bathroom was usually a treat Emily liked to savour slowly. Today, however, she was in a hurry and barely noticed that one of the stalls was already occupied.

When she came out a short time later, a woman in a well-cut grey suit with rich red hair done up in a chignon, was washing her hands at one of the white marble sinks.

Innerscape did not get too many casual visitors. Could this be her?

Acting on impulse, Emily smiled at the woman in the mirror as she washed her own hands.

“I always love using this bathroom,” she confided. “Makes me feel important.”

“Oh, but nurses are important!” the woman said with a quick smile of her own. “My mother was a nurse, and the stories she told us about doctors! Make your hair stand on end.”

“Are you a nurse, too?” Emily asked.

“Me? No, I was never smart enough. I just do filing and that sort of thing, although I’ve been told I’m a good listener. Sometimes patients need a friendly ear, you know?”

“Very true,” Emily said. “As nurses we try to provide emotional support as well as medical support, but the medical has to come first.”

“Oh, I’m sorry!” the woman said, her expression horrified. “I didn’t mean to imply that nurses didn’t listen. I just meant-”

“No, it’s fine. I’d be lying if I said we can be all things to all people. So what are you doing here today? Do you have a relative coming to Innerscape?”

“Oh, no. I…I’m here for a job interview.”

“A job interview? Oh, how silly of me!” Emily said. “You must be Marisa Bell!”

“I…yes?” the other woman replied, her expression uncertain.

“Not to worry,” Emily said. “You’ll be working in my department, so Peter McAlister asked me to sit in on the interview.”

“I hope I didn’t offend you-”

“Far from it. I like honesty. I think we’ll get along just fine.”

“Thank you, that means a lot to me.”

“Well, we’d better go, or Peter will fire us both!”

 

* * *

 

“So what do you think?” Peter McAlister asked after Marisa Bell had gone.

“She’s nothing like I thought she’d be,” Emily answered slowly.

You can say that again, Peter thought. He was still having trouble reconciling the competent woman he had seen getting out of the taxi with the sweet creature who had just left his office.

“But she does seem…very nice,” he said, wondering if Emily had picked up anything odd.

“Yes, she does,” Emily said with a frown. “I just hope she isn’t too kind hearted. Sometimes Patient Care can be rough.”

“She’s probably stronger than she looks,” Peter said carefully.

At one level he was glad Emily had taken to Marisa Bell, but on another he could not shake the feeling there was more to Marisa Bell than met the eye.

“I hope so,” Emily said as she rose to leave, “because I think she’ll actually make a great addition to our staff.”

“Well, that’s good news,” Peter said. “Keep me posted.”

“Of course,” Emily said with a laugh. “But I don’t think there’ll be much to report.”

I hope not, Peter thought as Emily bustled out. I really hope not because I’ve got enough on my plate already.

 

I hope you enjoyed meeting Marisa Bell. Apart from Miira herself, Marisa is my favourite female character. She’s ‘bad and mean’, to quote from the Louis the Fly commercial, and yet she’s not all bad. She likes cats, and dreams of owning her dream home one day. And she’s broken.

As a student of human nature, I’ve always been fascinated by why people turn out the way they do, what makes them tick. In my not so humble opinion, we are all the result of nurture on nature. In other words, our experiences act on our innate traits to mould us into the adults we eventually become. Nowhere is this process more stark than in the people [or characters] we call villains.

To an outsider looking in, all villains may appear the same. They do bad/cruel/vicious things so they are bad, cruel, and vicious. But very few people see themselves as evil. In fact, to quote Rebecca Solnit ‘We are all the heroes of our own stories…’ And that includes ‘villains’. They do not see themselves as bad. And unless they are born psychopaths who really don’t care, they find reasons to excuse their bad behaviour, or diminish its ‘badness’.

So, is Marisa Bell truly bad? Mwhahahaha! You’ll have to read the book to find out. 🙂

cheers
Meeks


My Favourite Bits…The Godsend

If the first book of Innerscape is all about Miira, the second is all about the two men in her life – Kenneth Wu and Jaimie Watson. Jaimie is the eighteen year old son of Charge Sister Emily Watson, and the accident that almost took his life is the reason she moved heaven and earth to have him inducted into Innerscape. Kenneth Wu is a brilliant doctor whose research changed Innerscape forever, but he has demons, and now the life he constructed for himself is unravelling. Read on:

Home is Where the Heart is

Despite it being the end of spring, the day was overcast and sullen when the taxi bearing Kenneth Wu drew up in front of his house.

“We have arrived,” the onboard AI said politely. But Kenneth refused to take the hint. Instead, he stared up at the immaculate little Victorian cottage as if he had never seen it before.

When he was a kid, the house had been a waypoint, a place to rest before going on to some place else, and little in his adult life had changed that sense of transience. Now though, he would have to go inside and stay there, licking his wounds until something happened to kick-start his life again.

But what if nothing ever happened? What if that house swallowed him whole and never let him go?

“Dear Passenger,” the taxi’s AI said apologetically. “I must ask that you vacate the taxi as another Passenger has requested transportation.”

“Of course,” Kenneth said, a bitter smile twisting the corner of his mouth. Apparently not even the taxi company wanted him around. At least the house would never throw him out.

“Here,” he said as he jabbed his thumb at the meter.

The biometric device hummed happily as it read his thumbprint and charged the fare against his account.

“Have a nice day, Sir!”

Yeah, Kenneth thought as he slid out of the taxi and began walking up the artfully designed crazy paving that led to the front door. A box trundled three steps behind him, its wheels going clickety clack on the uneven flagstones.

The box contained the sum total of the last five years of his life: a mug, a couple of first edition text books, some clothes, the folded frame of his exercise bicycle, and a few letters of appreciation from the families of his patients. Everything else, all the important stuff, was proprietary, born of his mind, but not his to take.

At least he would not bring shame to the family by going to jail. That was something.

Find something good in every day,” the therapist had advised his teenaged self, and Kenneth had tried to take her advice. But if not going to jail was the only good thing to emerge from this awful day, then what on earth was he supposed to find for the next day, and the day after that?

Placing his palm on the keypad, Kenneth let himself into the house and quickly reached for the control panel next to the doorframe, but he was not quite quick enough.

“Welcome ho-” The voice of the house AI began before it was cut-off mid greeting.

No, Kenneth thought as he listened to the echoes repeat down the long, empty hallway. This is not my home.

Home was his laboratory in Innerscape, but he would never be allowed to go there again.

Why this scene? Because this is the scene in which you start to get a hint of the seriousness of Kenneth’s childhood problems.

I know that therapy is common in some countries, but here in Australia it isn’t, especially for children, so knowing that Kenneth received therapy as a teen conjures up all sorts of negative possibilities. The fact that the mantra ‘Find something good in every day‘ continues to have relevance in his present hints at the depth of trauma he [may] have suffered.

I’m a pantster, so I knew Kenneth’s trauma would be bad, and I had a feeling it would involve his mother in some way, but I had no idea how or why until I wrote this scene. For me, this is the moment it hit me. This is the moment I knew. I also knew that I could not tell Kenneth’s story yet, and it almost killed me! But you see, Innerscape is Miira’s story so by necessity, Kenneth and Jaimie, and eventually Marisa Bell, had to be secondary characters. Their stories had to wait.

And before anyone says “But…”. Yes, I know they all became 99% major characters, but that 1% I managed to claw back had consequences. So for what it’s worth, I love this scene because I hinted at a heck of a lot but managed to restrain myself. 😀

There are also a couple of little things that most readers wouldn’t have noticed, and both involve the semi smart box that Kenneth brought home with him. Modern tech meant that he could command the box to follow him, but the ‘…clickety clack on the uneven flagstones’ comes straight from my childhood! lol

When I was about eight or nine, I had a little wagon which was just a box on wheels that I could pull behind me via a long handle. The reason I loved that little wagon was the noise it made. It was such a cheerful sound. In my mind, that contrasts so acutely with the sadness of Kenneth’s homecoming.

And last but not least, I love the paragraph about the contents of Kenneth’s box – ‘….Everything else, all the important stuff, was proprietary, born of his mind, but not his to take.’ Like Kenneth, my Dad was an innovator, but because he worked for one of the largest corporates of his day, when he left, he couldn’t take any of his inventions with him. They belonged to the company, paid for by a salary that was no bigger than that given to all the other engineers who only worked 9 to 5. Emlékszem Apu. I remember how much that hurt him.

So there you have my first favourite bit from The Godsend. The ebook will be free on Amazon for 5 days from February 2 to February 6, 2021. It goes without saying that I would love a review or two, but I’ll be happy if the story finds a few more readers. 🙂

cheers
Meeks

p.s. oh and I put a graphic of the schedule of promotions up on the sidebar. Clicking on it will take you to the post in which the graphic occurs.

p.p.s. Just had a very strange experience. When I went to publish this post, WP displayed an error message to the effect that I was not allowed to use ‘the provided terms’. After some experimentation, it appears that the tag ‘My Favourites’ is what caused the error. Some weird kind of copyright/trademark infringement? I thought you couldn’t trademark common words and phrases?


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