[Author's note: This opening has changed rather a bit. I decided that the opening I had originally written gave the wrong focus, the wrong impression. The first major re-write of the opening had lost all the charm of the first draft; I've been able to write a little of that back, but not to the full measure. I don't know that I'll post any more of the story unless requested, maybe a piece here or there, so enjoy. P.S. For those who've been reading these posts in order, Matt wanted to stay a Matt; Richard is gone -- for the most part.]
"Heads we get married, tails we break up." The goofy grin slid back on his face, and he raised his eyebrows.
"What?" said Annabelle.
"That's the opening."
"How do you figure?" Annabelle Smith finally managed to stuff her arms into the cream-colored pea coat. She grabbed the strap of her purse and stomped past Matt Jones, her friend and colleague of two years. He'd been the one to get her this job – this fabulous job – her dream job of writing for the show.
Well, he didn't get her the job. The Heads (as Matt and Annabelle called the producers) wouldn't have even considered her had she not some small ounce of talent or gumption; Matt simply brought their attention to her work via her blog. The situation was most anomalous. Annabelle, an American, often mused, Who knew that that one small (embarrassing) piece of fan fiction would land me here? But here she was writing for one of her favourite British television shows alongside Matt Jones.
And she would not allow him to keep her from her soft couch that resided in her cozy sitting room tonight. It's been a long day already; Matt's borage of questions, his pulling the best of her out of her head to go on the page had left her exhausted.
"You're just teasing me again, aren't you?" he said with his Northampton accent.
"Matt, when have I ever teased you about this before? Do you really think Vivianne and Richard would last as a married couple? It would be like people insisting we be a couple."
"Annie-bellie-wellie, I love it when you call us a 'couple.'" Matt threw his arm around her shoulder and squeezed Annabelle to his side.
"First, you goof, we are a writing pair, not a couple."
"Ah, but we are a pair, my Annie-bellie-wellie."
"A pair of cuckoo birds. Don't interrupt. Second, for the love of cheesecake, don't say my name like that."
"Like what? Oh. Would you rather me sing it? My dear Annie-bellie-wellie!" Matt warbled.
Annabelle punched him in the arm laughing. "Shut up."
Matt's own laughter died down. He clasped his hands behind his back as the writing pair walked down the corridor to Car Park A. Annabelle knew her friend was muddling over an idea because his eyebrows gathered together. However, she looked straight ahead and forced herself to charge forward. "Seriously though – Annabelle – something needs to happen to really shake things up for our Richard, and maybe the act of marrying this Vivianne – remind me again, why Vivianne instead of Lucy or Amy or something?"
"Because names are important, and this girl is meant to show Richard new life in some way; Vivianne means 'lively;' it fits. You can't just go throwing names around, you know. They're too sacred.
In many ways, Vivianne is the hero Richard doesn't even know he needs."
Annabelle knew she was probably being silly about the name thing, but it was an idea from which she could not shake herself free.
"So Vivianne is the adventure Richard needs?" He grinned the Matt Jones grin. "Just like you for me, my Annie-bellie, my call to adventure."
In spite of herself, Annabelle giggled. "You are a marvelous man, Matt Jones, but I'm afraid it just wouldn't work between us. I could never bring myself to worship cheesecake as you do."
"Ah, I do love cheesecake."
"You are what you eat."
"Easy, Smith," Matt said as he held open the door to the parking garage.
Annabelle stepped over the threshold and stopped. She vaguely heard the heavy door shut behind her.
"What is it?' Matt said. She then felt him pause beside her. "Ummm."
"This isn't the parking garage," said Annabelle
"A very astute observation. No it is not."
"Where are we?" Annabelle turned. The door they had come through was still there.
"Suppose we've somehow managed to find ourselves on the set of a new show?"
"Right. So, they've moved Car Park A and built a set here?"
"Precisely." Matt turned and yanked on the door while Annabelle threw her hand into her bag searching for her phone. "Okay. Don't panic. The door is stuck. And by stuck I mean disappearing before our eyes!" Annabelle looked up. The door literally was vanishing into thin air before the writers' eyes. "Um, Annabelle?"
He took her hand as she looked in astonishment at the space where the door to Car Park A once was. "I think we're in trouble."
"Don't take the name of cheesecake in vain."
"Sorry," she choked. Annabelle turned the other way to face what was supposed to be Car Park A but was now a forest of evergreens. "I can't find my cell. I must have left it on my desk again. Do you have yours?"
Matt patted the pockets of his pants and searched those of his corduroy jacket. He looked at Annabelle regretfully and shook his head. She sighed and looked back at the landscape before them. They appeared to be in a forest of dense evergreens and some scattered oaks. The trees hovered so closely little light filtered in. The skirts of the evergreens were high enough to allow a grown person to walk, but the trunks littered the forest floor. The limbs and roots of the scattered oaks were slung like ropes blocking entrance here and there. Needles and leaves on the forest floor were scarce so that the dark dirt and oak roots could be seen.
"So. Shall we carry on?" said Annabelle.
"What? You mean go through the forest of possible no return?" Annabelle nodded. Matt put on his too big smile – the one that meant, We're going to fail miserably, but at least we'll have fun doing it. "I think that's a brilliant plan. Let's do it." He offered Annabelle his arm, and together they crept forward.