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Thingz to do in Vancouver part 5 Alchemy

Well this came along a little quicker than i thought it would.
I blame a lack of any new Callum stuff to watch!!

so for exbex who deserves a medal for sticking with me, here is the next part of the Vancouver thingz thingy

The disclaimer and a reminder of how this madness began, here is the first part of the story because I know it really has been a long time and Warnings:
link to Part 1

As Lew woke up the remnants of what he’d been dreaming slipped away. It was a familiar feeling, the certainty he had dreamed something important that he couldn’t recall in detail. Only the barest hint remained, of crisp cold whiteness surrounding him and the suggestion of a familiar voice.

He had told Dr Nancy, his therapist, about it once. She had been interested, but mostly in how he felt about the dream rather than what he was dreaming about or the probability he was dreaming the same dream over and over, or why he could never remember what the dream was about. Still all his hours of therapy were worth something he supposed. It meant he could acknowledge that the dream was comforting and that it left him feeling hopeful without having to pick the feeling apart. It meant he didn‘t spend the rest of the day pissed that he couldn’t remember what he’d dreamed or why it was so important.

Lew started the coffee machine and showered while he waited for it to finish. He packed haphazardly, a pair of black jeans and some t-shirts, between blissful mouthfuls of the first coffee of the day.

He was dressed and out the door with an overnight bag slung over his shoulder by 9.20, because he didn’t want to be late for his first day back at school. He smirked as he walked down the corridor towards the elevators, he was a pussy and he knew it. Fucking cookery school teacher’s pet and he hadn’t even started his first day.

He was in the back of the car and probably half way there, although he couldn’t tell because he still didn’t know Vancouver that well, when it dawned on him that he was hungry. It was an unusual thing of late, being hungry. Actually wanting something to eat rather than simply refuelling when he remembered. So he didn’t want to waste it.

He almost asked the driver to detour to a Drive-Thru until it occurred to him that A: He didn’t actually know if Vancouver even had any Drive-Thru McDonalds, and B: He was on his way to a cookery school and there was a strong possibility food would be there.

So Lew shut up and waited. They left the downtown city area behind and hit the suburbs, but it wasn’t like the LA suburbs with cookie cutter houses all crammed together. It was older, with mature trees shading Gothic revival looking houses on huge plots. They turned off the main road into a tree-lined avenue and pulled onto the first driveway on the right. The house was on a grand scale, stone and stucco, gabled roofs at different levels, fancy wood-trim painted a rich buttermilk cream. There were balconies and a veranda that wrapped around the front and side of the house.

They drove up to the main entrance under the high porch, harking back to a time when people came calling in carriages. As Lew got out of the car and grabbed his bag from the seat beside him he was greeted by a smartly dressed woman. She looked more like the PA to a business tycoon than the boss of a cookery school. “Hello, Mr Ashby, I’m Hillary, welcome to the course. If you follow me I’ll show you where we are. You’re just in time for coffee and some of our famous peach scones.”

And then, not waiting for a reply, she headed off, confusing him because she turned away from the house and further down the drive.

“Er…Thanks.” Lew had to lope after her to keep up because she moved surprisingly fast for a woman in high heels.

They were headed for a glass and stone building set at right angles to the main house. From the shape it had probably been some kind of stables or coach house originally, before it has been extended. The entrance lead straight into what looked like an art gallery. There were small sculptures and ceramics on plinths and shelves under brilliant spotlights. Paintings and photographs were grouped together on different walls.

Lew wanted to take a closer look because he had the impression that some of the paintings were familiar, but Hillary breezed through with a wave of her hand and said, “We’ll be holding a drinks party in the foyer before dinner if you’re interested in the art.”

He followed her through double doors into an office space and then through another set of doors and into what was clearly the cookery school.

It was flooded with light. There was a wall of glass along one side overlooking the gardens, and huge sky-lights along the half of the room that was open right up to the roof. Island units were spread through the room, each with sink, worktop prep area and hob, with a fridge, cupboards and drawers under. Along one wall were shelves holding numerous larger pieces of equipment and cookware, as well as a range of ovens. To the front of the room was a full galley kitchen with a large island facing out into the room. It would be ideal for cookery demonstrations, and currently he guessed it was the location of the coffee judging by the small group of people gathered there.

“You can leave your bag there for now.” Hillary pointed to a row of lockers along the back wall. “If the key’s in the lock it’s free. There are chef’s whites if you want to change.” She must have noticed the look of abject horror on Lew’s face because she quickly added, “Or you can just wear a butchers apron if you prefer.”

Lew dumped his bag in the first locker he came to and muttered, “Yeah, whatever.” Because, seriously, no one was going to make him wear some flowery granny apron. And anyway in all the time he spent in his own kitchen he never made the kind of mess that required more than an occasional change of t-shirt.

Once the bag was stowed he’d intended to get a cup of coffee and finally eat something. But as he headed towards the coffee he was overcome by such a strange feeling that he changed course half way there and ended up by the glass wall overlooking the garden instead. It was a weird, unfamiliar fluttering in his stomach, way different from the earlier feelings of hunger and it took him a moment to place it. Fear, dread, self-loathing. He stood, blindly staring out onto the garden but not actually seeing a thing.

It was such an alien feeling to him he was hard pressed to recall the last time he‘d felt that way. Self-doubt was never part of the Lew Ashby package, then again a lot of things had never really featured in his life, which probably explained what an asshole he’d been most of the time. But since he’d been in Vancouver, since he’d been seeing his therapist he’d learned the value of being honest. Talking about his life and where he’d ended up honestly for only the second time in his life. But more over thinking about how and why he’d ended up where he did, and for the first time ever wanting not to end up back there again, had given him pause. And he’d had to wonder why anyone would want to spend time in his company.

Sure the people at the hotel were friendly. And the people at his new charitable foundation were always glad to see him, especially when he turned up with a big cheque. The realtors showing him round the most expensive mansions on their books were happy to see him. Even his therapist was happy to see him. But he figured one way or another it was sort of their job, they had a role, he had a role, it really wasn‘t difficult. New people though, that was different.

Lew was beginning to think he never should have agreed to do this stupid course. Because he was getting a trapped kind of feeling, a palms sweating, stomach churning, maybe on the brink of turning around and walking out the door and never coming back, kind of feeling. He figured he should have talked it through with Dr Nancy before he decided whether he was ready to do something like this.

And even as that thought passed through his head he wanted to bitch-slap himself in the face about twenty times while he shouted grow a fucking pair you pathetic cocksucker Because since when had he turned into a guy who couldn’t even interact with some nice normal people without his therapist holding his hand.

He could almost hear Dr Nancy saying, just take a breath and think about where these feelings come from, think about the last time you felt this way. Like her voice had suddenly become his inner monologue, and wasn‘t that just disturbing on a whole new level? But what was even more disturbing was it actually worked.

Lew had led what to many people would seem a charmed life. He was rich, and phenomenally successful, everything he touched turned to gold. He could have anything he wanted, or more honestly, he could have anything he paid for and he could afford to pay for anything. Except that hadn’t really been true.

He had lived in a huge house and it was always filled with people, friends he could hang out with, and have fun, with booze, the finest he could ever drink, with drugs, more than he could ever shove up his nose or into his veins and with what-ever hot, tight body he wanted to fuck.

Except that hadn’t really been true either. His house had been filled with people that wanted something. Agents and accountants and record company stiffs looking to increase their profit-margins. Musicians and groupies and just about every desperate, attention-hungry fame-whore wannabe who figured breathing the same air as Mr Lew-Fucking-Midas-Touch-Ashby would turn all their shit to gold. Users who consumed every-fucking-thing they could lay their hands on, especially him.

Except that still wasn’t the whole truth. He hadn’t been some poor victim. A guy drowning in a sea of insincerity, having to drink it all down or shoot it all up just to keep his head above the surface. Oh no, he’d dived right in with his fake smile and maniacal laugh that sounded false even to his own ears. He’d been the biggest user of them all. He bought all the booze, he paid for all the drugs and the whores.

The last time he met someone who wasn’t there to take advantage of the Lew-Ashby Random- Fame-Generating-Machine he’d tried to turn him into a user anyway, asking him to write his biography. If Lew had been born with an innate ability to recognise his own motivations instead of his freaky music talent he would have recognised what he’d been doing.

That he had become his friend instead, inviting Lew into his life even into elements of his family life, said more about the kind of man Hank was than it did about any quality he might have seen in Lew. And remembering that time it was easy to recall when he’d last felt like the kind of loathsome outsider no one would want to get within ten feet of, never mind share a cup of coffee with.

Hank and Karen had been on one of their break-ups and Hank had been living in the mansion for a while. There had been some fuck-up over the day and Hank had ended up bringing Becca and Mia back there after school.

Normally Lew managed to keep the worst of the freaks and ghouls away on the days he knew Hank was going to bring Becca. As low as he’d ever sunk he had still recognised what a shinny jewel Hank’s little girl was. And he did whatever he could not to have any part in putting that dead, sad, understanding look in her eyes.

But he’d been higher than he’d normally be when Becca was around, and it made him even easier to distract. And he had been distracted, deeply distracted by the sick nasty vibe he’d been getting from Mia, and Karen had walked into the middle of it. She had called Becca away, and she‘d laid into Hank somewhat.

And then Karen had looked at him from across the room. She had looked right at him and he’d seen what he was, reflected back at him in her expression, He hadn’t been able to hold her eyes and had looked away. After Karen had taken Becca and left Lew had looked back around and there had been Mia, standing next to him. And Mia had looked at him with that sick knowing amusement. Then she’d glanced at Hank and Lew remembered that he had too, but Hank had been watching Karen and Becca leave so he hadn’t seen them.

When Mia had looked back at Lew again, her eyes had been full of a malicious glee, which he hadn’t understood at the time, at all. But it had allowed him to realise that she was just as ugly inside as he was. He recognised that she was a kindred, another user, just like him. It had made him think that whatever happened between them wouldn’t matter. Which was proof, as if he needed any more, that he had been a fucked-up junkie moron, with an arm full of junk instead of a brain and a cock instead of a heart.

It wasn’t the first time that Lew had been grateful that he’d OD’d and died. But maybe it was the first time he’d really understood that it wasn’t just his life that had been saved, his living, breathing and walking around in the sunshine life, but maybe something else was being saved as well.

And then he kind of looped back in on himself because this line of thinking begged the question why keep on with the good habits? Why preserve the living, breathing, walking around in the sunshine life if he was just gong to do the self-same shit with it as he’d done before.

If he was just going to surround himself with people who were paid to be there again. If his closest connection to anyone was a few minutes on the phone every couple of days with Hank, and occasionally with Becca. If that was the best he was capable of he might as well go out now, find the nearest supplier and clean him out of product, then find the seediest motel Vancouver had to offer and finish the job properly.

As revelations went Lew figured it wasn’t really up there with a road to anywhere, or truth about the Roswell Incident, or even the secret of loosing five pounds of fat from your belly without diet or exercise. But it was something of an eye-opener for him all the same. He fished his phone out of his pocket and hit the speed-dial.

“Why aren’t you elbow deep in some dough-wrestling, batter beating cooking shit, Ashby? I didn’t spend good money sending you to school so you could flunk out, you fucker!”

“Hey I’m here, I’m attending, sicko. No wonder they kicked you out of that job, Moody, if you speak to students that way.”

“They loved it. Made them wet just to hear me allude to the lewd.”

“In your fucking dreams, prick.”

“No in your fucking wet dreams, asshole.”

“Ha ha ha.”

“Just remember, you only make cup-cakes with sprinkles for your boyfriend.”

“I’ll make some for yours first.”

“Have a good day at school, son.”

“Yeah, okay dad.” Lew hesitated. He was smiling he didn’t want to end the call in some kind of after school special mush-fest. But it seemed like an important thing and he wanted to share it with someone. And Dr Nancy gave him serious shit if he called her during someone else’s session even when it was a life or death emergency.

“You really okay?” Hank was a pretty perceptive fucker.

“Just, thanks. And I get it. What I‘m here for.”

“Good. That’s good. I’m glad. But before we descend into the abyss of warm, tingly-feeling goodness there’s one other thing.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Now you’re all in touch with your emotions and shit, you probably believe in Kama and the way things can rebound or turn around and such. Remember how you got me my very own TV chef for a play-date? Well this is the same exact thing. Almost.”
Hank disconnected before Lew could answer.

He was shoving his phone back in his pocket when he heard the door behind him open and an amused and oddly familiar sounding voice said, “Welcome to The Alchemy of Baking.”



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 23rd, 2013 08:07 pm (UTC)
Even though Lew is kind of an over-the-top character, the way you write him discovering who he is, he becomes very easy to connect to.
Feb. 24th, 2013 01:54 am (UTC)
Yeah, I was watching the first half of the season again, and it really struck me again how utterly truely badly Lew Ashby behaved. Not just the selfish and self distructive, but that there was a real mean streak there that I'd forgotten, or more likely Callum was just so utterly gorgeous in this show, and there was so much of him to enjoy, that I overlooked all those bad qualities and just basked in the shinny.

But now getting to the point where I have to actually write it down, the part where Lew and Turnbull meet I was thinking, I'm not sure I can see how this guy is to be trusted with someone as sweet and innately good as Turnbull.

But then I was thinking that's the show's logic. Based on the book's logic, that Lew couldn't be redeemed, so he had to die. But that's not my logic. I don't beleive in the death penalty for flawed characters. So I have to make him redeemable to me which is what I was trying to do in this part. And to cut a long rambling reply short, thank you for what you said, because I'm guessing he's seeming kind of redeemable to you too :-)
Feb. 24th, 2013 02:07 am (UTC)
When I watched the show I was just basking in the charisma of Callum at first, then we get this glimpse of how damaged Lew is when he's talking about how it was all for Janie. Now at that point I still couldn't muster any real sympathy for the asshole. It's the moment when he's talking to Becca in the bathroom at the party that I feel like I got a real glimpse of something human there. And when I started writing Lew and Turnbull, I kind of thought of Turnbull as being similar to Becca. Becca has a tough outer shell, but she's vulnerable on the inside. Turnbull seems very breakable, but I think he has the potential to be stronger. Or maybe I was just trying to be shocking by writing a weird pairing. Regardless, I look forward to the next part, as usual :D
Feb. 24th, 2013 02:46 am (UTC)
Oh yes, that carisma (lovely icon by the way) I haven't got to the second part of the season yet, (and I'm such a pussy because I acutally won't watch the part where he dies) but yes I know what you mean, that scene in the bathroom with Becca was the moment for when he seemed to become a human being. So I guess they way I'm writing him and who he's trying to be, Becca is a big part of that. Because I think of him, seeing her as a sort of moral compass.

I haven't really decided yet how Turnbull is going to be in this story (yeah, I know, he's already stepped into the room and I still haven't got a clue!!) I'm just going to let it happen however it comes out of the end of my fingers and onto the keyboard. But strong is definitely part of the whole Turnbull character. Let's just hope he has a thing for bad bad men who are tyring to redeem themselves eh?
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )