Thursday, September 06, 2018

I Have A Lot of Characters


That's an understatement. I have hundreds, probably thousands of characters. With 116 books finished, and 60 more pending.... many, many, many characters. In that morass of humanity, however, I have several (Okay, a lot – that being in excess of 100, and less than a 1,000) that are special to me. It's not always the protagonist, either. I have to say, I am very fond of my heroes, and heroines, but often it's a support character who really catches my fancy. Some of them, eventually, get their own books. Others keep popping up in others, and never get a book of their own. This isn't because I'm cruel, it's because they don't want them.
One such character is Cullen Fellowes, millionaire rock star. The fact he was a millionaire first, a rock star second, notwithstanding, he is both. Cullen is the younger brother to one of my heroes – Morgan, who stars in The Best Medicine (finished, unpublished). He makes his debut in that book, at the ripe old age of 24. He takes nothing seriously, not even his career. It's not like he needs the money.
He's a bit of a player, hits on anything with tits, is one way he's described, but you won't find a more genuine, kind, loving man (except for the heroes, of course). He's honest to a fault, fun loving, and and extremely talented vocalist. He is the front man for a band called Sardonic, who feature in many of my books. Because his sister, Molly, is so much older than he, (and had her children quite young) he has nephews in his band, who are several years older. Even so, he is the undisputed leader.
Below is a scene from Ring Up the Curtain (finished, unpublished) Shaine Gregory, and her fiance, Brent Heinz, are at Molly's Steakhouse (Owned by Cullen's sister and her husband, Kenny). Sardonic often performs there, even though they are now quite famous. Seeing them there, Cullen comes over to say hello.

Cullen, the front man, grew up with Shaine. She'd been friends with him for ages and they had dated on and off in high school. He made a point of coming to their table on a break.
Turning his chair around, he flopped on it, snagging a fry from Shaine's plate. "Hey, baby. What's up? Brent, good to see you, man. Damn, you look good today, Shay." He called her by her childhood nickname. "What's your secret?"
Shaine tilted her head, smiling wickedly, but said nothing.
"I've kept her in bed most of the day," Brent said with a sly grin.
"For real? Damn! I'm totally jealous. We never went that long, did we, sweetie?" Cullen was not shy about their former relationship, a fact that often embarrassed the hell out of Shaine. "I demand a rematch!"
"You don't have the stamina," Shaine remarked, fluttering her eyelashes. "Brent can go all day, and all night. Until you can match that, I'm not interested."
"You're killing me! You're one lucky bastard, Brent."
"I know that," he replied, kissing Shaine's fingers.
"I had her first, though." Cullen jumped up from the table, pointing a finger excitedly at Shaine. "Before you, or anybody else. Gotta go!" He dashed to the stage, jumping the last couple of feet. He slid to the microphone and started to sing right on cue.
"Excitable fellow, your pal Cullen."
"Yes. Would you believe he's calmed down since grade school? He used to be hyper."
Brent laughed, tossing his head back. It was the most happy, carefree sound she'd heard him make in months. His eyes had lost the slightly haunted quality she'd seen there the last few weeks. He kissed her hand again, rubbing her palm with his thumb.
"Was he really your first?" His eyes sparkled as he watched Cullen work the crowd.
"Yeah. I was his too. It was pretty awful. Neither of us had a clue what we were doing. Then his older brother caught us. Humiliating!"
"I guess so. Lectured you, did he?"
"Yes, but not like you'd think. There we were, naked, frustrated cause it was not going well. In walks Morgan, who is ten years older and was studying to be a doctor. He flops down on the chair in Cullen's room and proceeds to give us a how to lesson. It was so embarrassing. Enlightening, but God, I couldn't look him in the face for weeks afterwards."

Believe it or not, this isn't the most embarrassing thing Cullen has said. He's known for being very frank and upfront even when talking to an audience. No one can ever accuse Cullen for being shy. He is also one to push the limits, as he does in The Best Medicine, when meeting Tanya (his brother, Morgan's, new girlfriend) for the first time.

"Morph, who is this amazing woman and why is she with you and not me?"
"Because I saw her first, baby bro. Besides, you're too young for her."
"Speak for yourself, I like older women! They have more class and you can have an educated conversation with them. I always thought Vanessa was damn hot...."
A look from Morgan quelled him.
"Excuse me," Tanya said irritably. "I am here, you know, and semi-involved in this conversation. I think you need to know we just met, and I'm not dating your brother. It's a friendly dinner between colleagues. As to my age, you've no idea how old I am, so could we drop that part of the conversation?"
The men looked at one another sheepishly. Morgan frowned, tight lipped at his younger brother. He shook his head slightly and went back to his meal.
"Morgan is reminding me to use my manners," Cullen replied sullenly. "He's always telling me I'll be the only rock star who never gets laid, because I keep putting my foot in my mouth."
Morgan cleared his throat pointedly. Cullen looked at him again and dropped his eyes to the table, his ears and neck reddening.
"I'm sorry, I did it again. Perhaps I should just go back on stage. I don't make quite so big an ass of myself there." He rose to leave.
"It's okay," Tanya said. "I've been feeling rather like the whole family is traipsing around like the Lord of the Dance and I'm the one person in the audience who doesn't know Michael Flatley."

For better or worse, Cullen is who he is, no pretense or lies. For that breathtaking honesty, I will always love him.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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