Portrait of a Character – Susan Cheshire
Susan Cheshire got a bigger role as I wrote more.
Susan is played by former Miss Ghana, Yvonne Nelson. Beautiful, intelligent and a little naughty, I feel Ms. Nelson evokes that wonderfully well. She is someone who a lot of guys would lament as being “the one that got away”.
A school teacher, Susan is playful and even rather sexually liberated, according to Jay in the E2 stories and Doug in Together. But all is not right, for in both universes she depends upon synthbeer to get through her days. She has blackouts and, before meeting Lili, it is Doug’s greatest fear and challenge to deal with that. He ends up walking away. Jay, too, cannot take her alcoholism. His departure causes guilt that eats at him at the start of the E2 stories.
With Doug, in the Mirror, Susan is a stabilizing influence, at least to start. They meet on Titania, and are together for a few months. But then she begins to experience blackouts. This causes Doug to panic, and he leaves.
But she remembers him, and refers to him as “Soldier Boy”, years later, during the first alternate timeline in Temper.
By the time of Fortune, Doug recognizes that she needed treatment and sympathy, and he feels badly for not doing that for her when he had the chance.
In our universe, a similar situation plays out with Jay. In the E2 stories, he reveals a sexually adventurous side of Susan that I never explore elsewhere.
But he, too, was blindsided by her alcoholism, and unable to cope. Just like Doug, he leaves abruptly. And just like Doug, he is consumed by guilt over that, but more so. Doug is able to get past it and be with Lili. But it takes a lot more for Jay to get past things and, in the prime time period (aligning with canon), he barely does so and, by then, it’s a bit too late.
In both universes, Susan eventually ends up with, and marries, Aidan. For Susan, in our universe, she gets acceptance from someone who can handle her episodes and, perhaps, help her to heal.
In the mirror, Aidan protects her, and they team up well, to parent his son with Empress Hoshi, Kira. With Aidan, her life improves dramatically in both universes. With Aidan, it feels like she just might make it.
Susan exists in both universes, and is mainly defined by her relationships. In Temper, she is past her prime and the effects of years of alcoholism have taken their toll. But in later stories, such as He Stays a Stranger, she is in better control.
“I’m going to assume you don’t want me dead.”
This character seems to have all sorts of strikes against her. But she’s a survivor. And there is a reason why she was important to both Jay and Doug and, eventually, to Aidan.