Autumn Internet Romance Novel
Oliver Kelly couldn't quite remember the exact moment he fell in love with Sara, but it was very soon after discovering her portfolio of writing on the internet.
It happened over the course of several autumn months while he was on location in California, during the filming of his third consecutive best selling novel, the legal thriller, Simon's Choice. Although he normally lived in Virginia, Hollywood was his home away from home, during filming.
With final approval of all script changes, he felt the need to be on the set to work effectively with the Director, David Aaronson, and all the other screenwriters.
"Ollie, would this happen?" and "Ollie what do you think of this script change?" were questions most frequently asked during his days on the set.
Director David relied heavily on Oliver's opinion and they shared a mutual respect as well as a good working relationship.
With Oliver's law school education and varied, although limited, experience as a litigator, he was an invaluable consultant when it came to the particulars of the law and everyday practice. He worked as a lawyer just over a year when he found his way to what he really excelled at - writing fiction.
While in Hollywood, most of his time was spent hanging around the set waiting to help David and the others. It was during such a stretch, the previous Spring, that Oliver initially joined Writing.Com - so he could spend the time constructively - writing for fun and encouraging other writers.
He wanted to stay as far away as possible from the "social life" offered by Hollywood - that was certain. He avoided it like the plague, preferring to spend quiet time in his trailer or hotel room on the internet.
"Let's go out for a drink, Ollie," David Aaronson suggested more than once.
"No, thanks. I have some reading to do," was Oliver's standard reply.
His response was virtually the same whenever David offered to fix Oliver up with an actress or one of his wife's many friends. Although, there was no shortage of available, attractive women in Los Angeles, Oliver wasn't interested in dating starlets or models, or David's wife's array of divorced and single friends. Realizing that the women he met were primarily interested in his money and fame, he did his best to avoid potential entanglements whenever possible.
After many such attempts, in a moment of loneliness and weakness, Oliver finally gave in. By his reckoning, the night was an unmitigated disaster, confirming all his worst fears and suspicions about the dating scene in Hollywood.
At the age of thirty-two, he still couldn't find the woman of his dreams, but it wasn't because he was unattractive.
Standing six foot three, Oliver was engagingly handsome, with curly brown hair and lively green eyes. After writing three bestsellers, he was also more recognizable than he cared to be, especially when he discarded his glasses, and wore his contact lenses.
So, on those rare times he did go out in the public view, he opted for his wire-rim glasses so as not to attract unwanted attention.
He was tall, and attractive in a shy sort of way - wealthy and smart - characteristics which did not go unnoticed by the women around him, especially in Hollywood.
But Oliver was searching for something more - someone he could connect with on a deeper level. At heart he was a pure romantic, longing for his soulmate - his one true love. He didn't find her in law school and he was all but certain that she wasn't to be found on any movie set in California.
Back east, Oliver lived his normal life in a university town, where no one but his best friend Ben, knew his real identity. Oliver wore the same glasses at home to correct his near sightedness and to avoid being recognized from the dust jackets of his novels. He dated a few local women casually, now and then, but nothing seriously romantic ever developed.
No one recognized the somewhat awkward, shy young man as the media portrayed him - as a dashing, world-renowned author - and he liked it that way. Using his mother's maiden name for his novels was, as far as he was concerned, a stroke of genius. Anything that helped him to remain below the radar and low-key was just fine with Oliver.
Oliver Lane was the famous one, not Oliver Kelly.
At home in Virginia, he could be just plain Ollie - the guy who purchased a Video Lovers franchise so he could spend time doing what he enjoyed almost as much as writing - watching movies and meeting people and not having to deal with all the trappings of fame that surrounded him in Hollywood.
To the people in Shannon, Virginia, he was the shy man with the self-deprecating sense of humor who ran the video store. When he was home, he and his friend, Ben, hung out together, playing on the pickup softball and basketball teams with the guys from the Fire Department.
He realized that most of the women he met were not interested in dating a manager at a video store - not with the University of Virginia a stone's throw away. There were plenty of aspiring professionals to compete with and Oliver knew it would take a special woman to pick him over the competition and that was the way he wanted it.
A woman would truly have to look past appearances and first impressions and find the real Ollie in order to fall in love with him.
To everyone other than Ben, he was a nice, quiet, easy-going guy, who worked hard and kept to himself. If anyone needed help, though, Ollie was the first one to lend a hand. They explained his absences by saying he periodically went to corporate headquarters for training and no one seemed to question that. The truth was no one was all that interested in the whereabouts of the video store owner, as long as the store was open and the videos were there for the renting.
Much to Ollie's amusement, Ben did his best to spread the rumor that his friend was not the brightest bulb in the pack, although everyone knew pretty quickly that Ollie was a big hearted guy, who would go out of his way to help anyone in need. When Oliver questioned him about it, Ben said he was merely trying to help conceal his friend's identity and that suited Oliver just fine. Besides helping the people of Shannon, Oliver always thoroughly enjoyed encouraging other writers when he was on the sets of his movies.
It was his drive to help writers that led him to the internet. One of the younger screenwriters mentioned the encouragement he received on Writing.Com. Interested, Oliver decided to check it out. What he found was a thriving young site with many new authors of all ages to encourage with helpful reviews. From the first, he was amazed and astounded at the vast array of talented authors he found posting their work on the web. No other writing site could compare to Writing.Com - he could see it right away.
So, Writing.Com offered Oliver the best of both worlds - writers to encourage and anonymity to protect his privacy.
He found a lot of excellent work, but no writing ever effected him the way Sara's did, that September evening when he first found it and her.....
That Friday proved to be a long tedious day on the set for Oliver. He was tired, but looking forward to a quiet evening in his hotel, reading new authors on Writing.Com. He was fed up with script revisions and editing his own writing for one day, so the fresh reading was a welcome respite.
The work he did in his own portfolio consisted primarily of romantic poetry and opinion pieces. Occasionally he tried short story ideas or outlines just to get them down on the screen and play with them.
There was nothing he enjoyed more than reading new authors - it was like opening presents - finding so many talented writers of all ages and skill levels online. Oliver loved encouraging them, but most of the time he did it anonymously so the writers wouldn't feel obligated to thank him or compelled to reciprocate.
That autumn night, Oliver navigated through the site as usual, reading a couple of his favorite authors' latest works. His own handle was "Ollie." As he perused the updated list of authors online, a new name caught his eye.
It was simply "Sara."
He always loved the name, Sara, so much so that he gave that name to his favorite female character in his very first novel, "Revelations."
Grinning to himself, he eagerly clicked on to Sara's portfolio and was pleasantly surprised. Although, she'd only been writing online for a few weeks, Sara already created a number of items in her portfolio, including a folder full of reviews - movie reviews. In addition, there were quite a few short stories and poems.
As he read further, he grew more and more intrigued. Sara's reviews were well thought-out, insightful and witty. He carefully read everything she wrote, sending an evaluation and detailed comment for each item.
Departing from his usual practice, he didn't review anonymously, not this time. And he couldn't quite bring himself to leave her portfolio. He devoured everything - her poetry, short stories and opinion pieces in addition to her movie reviews.
"This is amazing!" he exclaimed more than once.
Her writing spoke to him - awakening feelings long submerged, deep inside Oliver, propelling him to do something he never did before.
For the first time ever, he combed the list of people online carefully to see if by some chance Sara might be online too.
Normally he would just glance at the list now and then to see who might be adding to their work that day. But her name wasn't there, so he had to be content with sending her more than thirty excellent ratings and rave reviews, along with accompanying gift points. Gift points were tokens that could be purchased on the site to, in turn, pass on to others.
In fact, he gave Sara so many gift points, he needed to buy more.
Oliver wasn't exactly sure what he would do if she was online, since he never exchanged instant messages with anyone on the internet before. All he knew was he wanted to find Sara and reach out to her -the sooner the better. .......
"Sara's Port, Ch. 2"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 3"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 4"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 5"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 6"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 7"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 8"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 9"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 10"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 11"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 12"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 13"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 14"
"Sara's Port, Ch.15"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 16"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 17"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 18"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 19"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 20"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 21"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 22"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 23"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 24"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 25"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 26"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 27"
"Sara's Port, Ch. 28"
"Sara's Port, Ch.29: Tybee Island" (Conclusion)