And it’s time for another Wordplay entry from 2009. And this one is…interesting, haha!
So the first incomplete draft of Fall Like Rain was written in November 2006, for NaNoWriMo. A lot has changed from that, of course, but in the first version, Camilla/Cams was Rain’s rival because she was the ex (and by then she still didn’t know that they already broke up), and Francis was still a genuinely nice guy. I can’t remember the prompt I used for this piece except I wanted to write from Camilla’s POV. Also, Rain is way friendlier in this version.
That said, we should stop pitting women against each other in books and media. I know it happens in real life, but maybe let’s elevate our stories a bit more and add dimension to our female “villains” instead of just making them bothersome to the main character. Yes to deeper character motivation and all that.
LOL, and look at how I switched POVs at the end of this piece haha woops.
Anyway, I’m glad that changed and Cams is now one of my favorite side characters.
Fun fact: DCT office is based on a real company where I went for an interview back in 2006, and the job they were screening me for was a role that was on call, and the HR person told me, “Even if it’s your birthday you might get called on the job.” I never went back for my second interview. *shrugs*
“I think she doesn’t like me.”
Leigh heard the soft declaration over the quiet clacking of keys inside the programmers’ area in the DCT office. She looked away from her computer screen at the statement. She leaned back her chair to look at the person sitting next to her. “What did you say?” she asked Camilla, who was peeking at the side of her cube, trying not to look like she was watching whoever was outside.
“Rain. I think she doesn’t like me.” Camilla motioned Rain and Marge, two of their project teammates from the most current Learning Management Systems project, standing over Red’s workstation, deep in discussion.
“Rain? Rain de Castro?” Leigh asked. She realized she may have spoken too loudly when Camilla’s eyes widened and she looked back at her computer, pretending that she wasn’t talking to Leigh. Leigh looked up again at the two women standing a few rows down. Rain didn’t seem to hear Leigh’s words, but she did look up then, caught her eye and gave her a big smile before returning to her conversation.
Leigh moved her chair to Camilla’s cube. “How could you think she doesn’t like you? Rain likes everyone. She’s like, everyone’s friend.” she whispered. Camilla was typing random codes on her screen, pretending to be working.
“I don’t know,” Camilla whispered back. “I just…feel like it.”
“Huh? Didn’t the two of you work on some project a couple of months back? You guys acted like you were best friends then, even going out to lunch together. How can you say she doesn’t like you?”
Camilla stopped typing, glancing furtively at the group before turning to Leigh. “I know. I know. I actually thought we’d be best friends too, and I know she’s really nice. It’s just that…she stopped talking to me all of a sudden, even before the project was done.”
“Maybe she’s just busy. Rain is involved in a lot of projects.”
“Yeah, I know that. But she just seemed…cold and distant all of a sudden.” Camilla looked really sad at that, and Leigh could not help but feel sorry for her friend and colleague.
“Maybe she had other things to deal with too. Like you, you know, taking care of your mom. I heard her brother got married recently and that’s got to be a big adjustment,” Leigh said, patting Camilla’s shoulder.
Camilla sighed and leaned back on her chair. “Maybe. I just feel weird. And wary. I mean, I don’t know what I did to her to make her dislike me. If I knew, then maybe I could do something about it.”
Leigh smiled at her. Camilla was always trying to be nice. She may not be as confident as Rain, but she really had a good heart. “Give her a chance. And besides, didn’t you and her go out just recently? With Mark?” She knew the mention of Camilla’s ex-boyfriend Mark, who also happens to be Rain’s best friend, might not be the best thing to say then, but Leigh also knew that even if Camilla and Mark had broken up, she still had a soft spot for him.
“Yeah, we did…and it was okay I guess…” Camila trailed off, staring into space as if deep in thought. Then she looked up at Leigh. “Maybe that’s why she hates me. Because Mark and I broke up!”
Leigh nodded slowly. “Maybe. But that’s kind of shallow, don’t you think?”
“I knew she and Mark go way back,” Camilla said. “But I didn’t break up with him. It was a mutual agreement. Doesn’t she know that?”
Leigh shrugged. “You know what? Better let Mark handle that. After all, they’re best friends, and you’re more of a colleague. And besides, maybe you’re just being paranoid.”
“Or not,” Camilla said in a seething tone, that Leigh was surprised. She looked at her friend and saw she was looking at the Rain and Marge, who were still standing at Red’s cube. However, instead of being focused in the conversation, Rain was staring at them, eyes slightly narrowed, as if she was staring the daggers at Camilla. Leigh breathed sharply, shocked.
Rain’s face suddenly softened and she looked at Leigh, giving her a smile and then turned back to Red. Leigh blinked, wondering if what she saw even happened. She turned to Camilla, whose face looked shocked and sad…but there was something else that Leigh thought looked foreign on her usually sweet and smiling face.
Camilla looked angry. And Camilla was never angry.
“Well if she doesn’t like me, fine. I don’t like her either,” Camilla said, turning from Leigh and focusing on her computer again.