“Thanks again for letting me read the new chapter of your work in progress,” Holly said excitedly from her side of the path as she warmed her hands on her cup of coffee. “I was just excited to see you writing again after such a long break.”
Aaron nodded over on his side of the path. He didn’t believe in writer’s block, but was well aware that something had kept him from working on his novel for almost six months.
“How ironic that a guy who suffers from abandonment issues would abandon his characters like that, right?” he cracked as he took a long sip of his Snapple.
Holly knew that her best friend wasn’t one to admit failure, especially when it came to writing, which was his passion, so she quickly steered him off that dangerous path.
“I was just disappointed that there was no mention of the character based on me in the new pages,” she chuckled.
“Based on you?” he asked innocently. “Whatever do you mean?”
Holly shot him a look. Sure, they were separated by more than six feet due to Aaron’s extremely strict social distancing protocols, but she knew he could see her knowing glare without any problem.
“We both know that every protagonist in your writing, be it a screenplay, novel, short story, or blog post, is a thinly veiled version of you,” she confidently made her case. “Likewise, the best friend or sidekick character is always based on me.”
Aaron guffawed. It was obviously a fake guffaw, but still qualified as one nonetheless.
“I can neither confirm, nor deny this theory,” he told her. “You might be my best friend now, but that doesn’t mean you won’t sue me down the line if you don’t like the way you are depicted in one of my best selling works.”
Holly rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Based on her description, she looks like me. She talks likes me, has my mannerisms, and is also a serial dater. Of course, she’s a lesbian, but I have a theory about why you made that choice.”
Aaron took a long sip of his Snapple before even dignifying that with a response.
“The character is also a successful investment banker, star athlete, and owns a beautiful brownstone in New York City,” he countered. “How is that you?”
Holly waved off his argument like he was shouting nonsense at her from his bench.
“Do you mean why the character in my novel is gay?” he asked, in what some might call, a taunting manner.
Continuing to ignore him, she pressed on. “I think it’s because you’re tired of people always assuming we’re a couple, and then asking us to explain why we aren’t. You didn’t want your protagonist to have to deal with the same thing, but still wanted him to have the coolest best friend ever.”
She then raised her coffee cup in a toast, and rewarded her brilliance with a long sip.
“People don’t ask us why we’re not a couple often enough for that to register with me,” he broke the bad news gently. “Do you notice it? Does it bother you? Did you bring it up as some sort of desperate cry for help? If so, I’m here for you, Holly. We can talk about it.”
Aaron honestly didn’t notice people thinking they were a couple, because he had long since accepted that Holly was his best friend and he was glad she’d always be in his life. Girlfriends came and went, but best friends were forever. However, he did harbor a slight, secret resentment towards his best friend for putting him in the friend zone all those years ago when they did try to date.
So if there was ever an opportunity to poke the bear on that topic, he jumped at it.
For Holly, this topic had become something of a late night, insomnia inducing train of thought. One that she could never discuss with Aaron because she couldn’t risk losing him. She knew her rejection had stung back in the day, and he had a medical condition that led to his almost bleeding to death any time an old wound was reopened.
She mentally chuckled at her witty thought about Aaron’s old wounds, but understood that she couldn’t push this any further. At least not now. She had floated the idea out there, and his response had made it perfectly clear that no further discussion would be beneficial at this point.
“I’m looking forward to reading more pages,” she said instead. “And I hope that my character shows up again in the next chapter.”
“Anything for my best friend,” he answered with a wink as he took a long sip of Snapple.