The Last Love Scene – an excerpt from Terminal Monday

There’s really no point in denying it: this is the most popular excerpt from the novel, and I can only think it’s because of the title of the excerpt. I should clarify that for newcomers. The novel has a lot of subheadings, and the one I chose for this section of the novel is indeed The Last Love Scene. That said, I didn’t write it to be the most sensual or the most impactful love scene, in either the novel or in all of erotic romance-dom (yes, I’m making up words here). See, the thing is, the last love scene in question is a scene in a spy movie script that Richard is doctoring for the producers while the original screenwriter/novelist is out on the picket line. This IS 2007, you see? The romance and the sex might seem a bit less than touching or dazzling, owing to the constant camera directions and frank script-style prose. Also, this section of the book was designed to do a number of things, so titillation wasn’t really the paramount concern.

Anyway, you’re here now, so you might as well come in and read it. But if you do, I’d appreciate it if you Liked or Commented to let me know what you thought of the excerpt, as most of you do not in fact click on the handy links to the novel proper. It’s hard to tell if you’re enjoying this piece or if you’re just clicking away as soon as you realize it’s neither the most romantic or the smuttiest love scene in literary or cinematic history.

HANDY DANDY LINK #1:
TERMINAL MONDAY

EXCERPT:
Richard decided that the camera angle would have to change when the lovers reached the bed, in order to use silhouette from the street lights outside the dingy bedroom window to obscure the graphic details. But first he has to finish the setup.

NINA’S WORKSTATION

Nina has an array of identical flat monitor screens stacked three high and four wide. She has a glass-and-metal workstation and an ergonomic keyboard and tracking mouse. Her office chair is modern and utilitarian but comfortable.

Nina takes a seat at her computer and waves Troy over.

NINA: Let me see your mobile. I have a few applications that may help you.

TROY: I thought you were going to give me information.

NINA: Information changes every minute. When your enemies figure out that you know who they are, they’ll start scrambling, changing their plans. I’m giving you some tools that will let you know what changes they’ve made as they make them.

TROY: So I’ll be able to see everything they see?

NINA: For a time. You’ll still have to be careful how you use the information. If they suspect you’re piggybacking their system, they’ll figure out how you’re getting in and neutralize you. One of these applications will reestablish contact, but they’ll know what to look for, so it will become far less reliable, particularly if they start feeding you false information.

Troy stands to one side of her chair as she hooks up his PDA to her computer and begins uploading protocols and data for him to use. A progress bar pops up that says it will take several minutes to complete. Nina pushes back from the desk and walks toward the bed in the back of the room.

NINA: Come here, little boy. I haven’t sung for you yet.

NINA’S APARTMENT – BED

Troy joins Nina beside the bed and leans in to kiss her briefly. She smiles and kisses him back more forcefully. Then she removes his jacket and shirt. He strokes her bosom and unbuttons her blouse. She kisses his bare chest and bites his nipple. He pushes her back and tugs her sport bra down to reveal her breasts. This is shot to crop the nipples at the bottom of the screen. She reaches behind and unclips her bra, and he grabs her and pulls her close before the bra falls away.

Next they fall onto the bed, Nina laughing as Troy buries his face between her breasts. They kiss passionately and intertwine their legs, grinding against one another. This is seen in silhouette or from behind/above Troy, to minimize the amount of breast exposure on screen.

Troy slides down Nina’s body to remove her work pants, followed by her boy-cut panties. When he starts to remove them, we cut back to her face as she looks down at him and smiles, playing with his hair. Then her head tilts back, her eyes close and her mouth opens to imply that he is performing oral sex on her. The camera pans up to the window and pauses.

Next the camera is behind Nina as she is sitting up, removing Troy’s jeans and appearing to kiss him abdomen. He is not wearing underpants. The camera switches to a side view from above the waist as her head slips below the frame.

The camera cuts away to across the room from the computer desk, the PDA in foreground, the out-of focus forms of Troy and Nina having sex in the background. The PDA is flashing a connection message. The camera rotates to face the screen as the progress bar reaches the finish.

Finally, the lovers are seen curled up together in bed, Nina mostly covered by the cotton bed sheet, Troy exposed to the waist. The camera tilts up and away from them, settling on a dark corner that transitions to daylight.

INT. NINA’S APARTMENT – DAY

Troy and Nina are both in frame, sunlight falling on the bed, and he is watching her sleep. She wakes and they smile at one another, and slowly disentangle. Troy rises first, the camera just catching his posterior as he slips naked from the bed. Nina sits up and pulls the sheet up with her to cover her bosom, smiling as she watches him.

The camera moves around to show her POV as she watches him pull his jeans on, his back turned to her, his bottom briefly in view. When he catches her watching, he turns to face her and smiles.

CLOSE UP on Troy’s face as he raises an eyebrow and nods for her to dress as well.

CLOSE UP on Nina’s face as she smiles and nods with an expression of knowing and patient indulgence.

Camera angle from back corner as Nina rises, her naked backside in view as she puts first her bra and then her panties on. Then she crosses the room and leans into him, kissing him affectionately.

NINA: Did you enjoy yourself?

TROY: You have a lovely singing voice.

NINA: Thank you. I thought we sounded good together.

Nina passes him to head for the bathroom, and he turns to watch her go. She disappears into the bathroom.

TROY: I’d like to do this again some time.

Nina pops back into view, seen from the shoulders up. She has removed the bra again, and drops it in front of the door for him to see.

NINA: Come scrub my back.

BATHROOM – SHOWER

Camera is inside shower in profile from waist up. The shower is running, steam rising. Troy and Nina are kissing under the shower as the water runs over them. They are holding one another and rocking in unison, his arms blocking the view of her breasts.

CLOSEUP Nina’s face as she wears an expression of happy ecstasy.

CLOSEUP Troy’s face as he wears a look of focused determination.

Camera pulls back We catch a brief glimpse of her wet bosom as the camera moves from over his shoulder down his back to reveal her legs wrapped around his waist, half covering his bottom.

The camera cuts to outside the shower, their naked forms obscured by a translucent shower curtain, but they are obviously having sex standing up. The camera rotates away to face the mirror, which is steaming over.

NINA’S WORKSTATION

On one of the screens, an application is monitoring Nina’s security, and reveals that something is breaching her security protocols. The application starts using countermeasures, but puts up a timer window that begins counting down how much longer her protocols can hold up. They have about 23 minutes and counting.

We see a half-soaked Nina wrapped in a towel shove the chair aside and start working the keys, a look of growing agitation on her face.

NINA (loudly): Troy, get that sexy ass dressed. We have to go. Now.

INT. NINA’S APARTMENT – HALLWAY – Day

Nina closes the door as Troy walks past her, carrying a couple of canvas bags. They start running down the stairs. The camera cuts in and out showing them turning down the staircase. The camera then catches them running out the door, shooting from worm’s eye view, until the door closes.

Richard decided that that would do until they reach the ship she makes her getaway on. Edwin’s script could take over from here on out.

He was finished. They would probably ask for more rewrites, but he was thinking there wasn’t really anything else he could add. He’d cemented their relationship while preserving the plot. He was a little worried about the technology, but he was just riffing off of Edwin’s ideas, so presumably it squared up.

A celebratory drink was in order. It occurred to him that he’d have to make another pass over it all and make sure it worked, but it would probably go a lot faster if he had a finger or two of scotch to mellow him. Or perhaps some of Andy’s wine… yeah, that sounded about right for this section. Scotch was for drinking alone and thinking heavy thoughts. Wine was for passion.

After he’d poured himself a glass, he sat back down and scrolled to the top of the scene. He knew the French he used in the restaurant was a bit ropey, but he was going to have to let them get someone else to patch that up. French was not a language he spoke with any fluency. He could order chicken or an omelet, and that was about it. Perhaps he could look into taking one of those courses where you learn with tapes and headphones. A correspondence course, perhaps.

He got back to the transition between them arriving at the apartment and the computer tech spiel, going over the lines to make sure it felt fluid.

TROY: And you wouldn’t have told me? About any of it?

NINA: Well, I’d have tried to help you see what you were missing, but not in any way they would have seen. Just a few simple games to make you think clearer.

Troy crosses the room to Nina, and they embrace, kissing passionately.

Richard spotted his first misstep, the kiss before the spiel. He decided to tack on a sentence and try it again.

Troy crosses the room to Nina, and they embrace, kissing passionately. Then she pushes him away and moves toward her WORKSTATION.

That seemed to do the trick for the transition. Richard thought that the dialogue was a little too heavy on the exposition, but he wanted to make sure the buildup to the love making was strong enough, so he reread the flirty bit again.

TROY: And then you would have just disappeared again, is that it?

NINA: Perhaps. Perhaps not. It depended on what the author wrote next.

TROY: What does he have to do with this?

NINA: Well, he needs to finish this scene and show us falling in love, and he’s only got ’til morning, so this is our big night.

TROY: And then what?

NINA: You’re asking me? Try asking him. I don’t think even he knows what comes next. Personally, I think he’s getting me confused with his ex-wife.

Troy crosses the room to Nina, and they turn to face the AUTHOR, sitting at his COMPUTER looking confused.

TROY: Well, how about it, Richard? Does any of this make sense to you. Because I think you’ve been pulling it out of your ass a bit, myself.

Richard shoved himself back in his chair. What the fuck was this?

NINA: Don’t keep us waiting all night. We still have to get to the sex scene.

TROY: Yeah, it’s not nice to keep a lady waiting.

Richard shook his head violently, but when he looked at the screen, the words were still there, staring back at him like two impatient lovers waiting for their next line. Frowning, he reached tentatively for the keyboard and began typing.

RICHARD: I don’t know what’s happening here.

NINA: See? It’s just like I told you.

TROY: Okay, you’re confused. We get that. But seriously, you’ve been reworking this script off and on for a month now, and you still haven’t gotten to the emotional core of it, have you?

RICHARD: Well, it’s not my story to get to the heart of. I’m just punching up action sequences and love scenes.

TROY: Right, and putting the opera scene back in wasn’t your little ‘screw you’ to the producers for trying to dumb down the script?

RICHARD: The script needed more suspense.

TROY: Hey, I’m not saying you were wrong. I like the scene, myself, and it makes the rest of this conversation make more sense. I don’t know how Edwin was going to fix that mess, but you turned it into a Hitchcock scene. Very nice work.

NINA: Right, so it’s obvious that you’re using your own judgment here, so why not resolve this ending better?

RICHARD: What do you mean?

NINA: Well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I die in about twenty minutes. Not for nothing, but I think it’s a bit premature, not to mention misogynistic to bump off the female just because she puts out before the end of the picture, don’t you?

RICHARD: But it’s not my story. And besides, if we don’t take you away from Troy after the big reveal that his girlfriend was a plant sent to spy on him, how are we supposed to establish his motivation for wanting to take on the villains? He needs to have a strong motivator, and McKay chose revenge. Who am I to say he’s wrong?

TROY: Hey, are you saying that Edwin McKay is that much better a writer than you? I mean, I know you’ve been out of the limelight for a long time, but when did you start second guessing yourself this bad? You know that killing Nina is predictable and formulaic. There are other ways to make me angry enough to keep fighting.

RICHARD: Like what?

TROY: Like bring back the double agents and have them try to lure me back in with some story about competing spy organizations mistaking him for a sleeper. Only then, have Sarah try to convince me that she really did love me, and only wants to get me to safety. Then when the others realize she’s double-crossed them, they kill her in cold blood and start after me.

RICHARD: And how is that better than killing Nina? In the end, a woman who loves you dies.

TROY: True, but I’m still thinking she betrayed me, and then her death could be a sacrifice to spare my life, thus redeeming herself for that betrayal. Plus, I think I’m falling for Nina, so shouldn’t that be the paramount relationship?

NINA: You love me?

TROY: Yeah, I think so. It’s just happening, so I’m still unsure of myself, but you’re the first person in this whole story who’s made me feel safe and secure, and just knowing how you’ve been helping me all this time… well, you’re starting to look really good to me, you know what I mean?

NINA: Oh, you’re so sweet. And here I was thinking I could never tell you how much I love you too.

RICHARD: Okay, you two, this is all well and good for you, but then I’d have to rewrite all sorts of stuff to keep Nina in the picture. No offense to either of you, because I’m really enjoying writing the dialogue for you two, but seriously, if I do that drastic a rewrite, not only will the producers not accept it, but Edwin will definitely sue me for my involvement in his production company’s breach of contract.

NINA: You know, you’re pretty gutless. If you really gave a shit, you’d rewrite the scene, figure out a way to write me back in at the end, and then go talk Edwin into accepting it for the sake of the movie-going audience.

RICHARD: And watch the fans of his book roast him for selling out? I’m sure he’ll jump at that opportunity. I know I would.

TROY: Edwin already sold out when he wrote that ridiculous ending where he forgives Sarah and they run off together. What a load of bullshit!

NINA: Yeah, Just because she’s the pretty blonde with the big rack being played by the A-List actress while I’m played by the edgy European actress with the small tits who commits the unpardonable sin of going to bed with him in the middle of the film. It’s not like we haven’t established strong feelings for one another. Just because we go to bed instead of pine for one another from afar doesn’t mean what we have isn’t real. It’s certainly more real than what he had with Sarah.

RICHARD: Oh, that’s rich. You’re the one who was stalking Troy with about six different internet personae, including the one that cybered with him in the Dashiell Hammett newsgroup. You didn’t come clean with him until two minutes ago. How is that any better than what Sarah did?

NINA: Okay, it’s true that I lied to him about who I was and how many identities I was associating with him as. I was protecting him, helping him to figure out he was in trouble. I’m the one who warned him to get out, wasn’t I? I’ve been looking after him for months. I think I have a lot more invested in Troy than some woman who only took him as an assignment because she was looking to move up the ladder and get a better paying job.

TROY: And besides, after all this hot sex you’ve been writing between Nina and I, who’s going to believe I still love Sarah, anyway? Even if Sarah really is in love with me, I’ll never be able to trust her again. How can I accept her love after having been with Nina?

RICHARD: You guys really don’t understand, do you?

TROY: No, I think it’s you who doesn’t understand. Just because your love life is a mess and you don’t know who you love and who you just feel obligated to love doesn’t mean that the rest of us are having trouble figuring out who our soul mate is.

NINA: Babe, we have to stop. He’s got company.

TROY: Alright, but we’ll talk about this more later.

RICHARD: I… what? How do you know…

There was a knock at Richard’s apartment door. He stood up with a jolt and shook his head. Turning his head to face the door, he waited for a moment, until another knock sounded.

“Coming!” he called out.

© 2011 Lee Edward McIlmoyle

HANDY DANDY LINK #2:
TERMINAL MONDAY

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