God, I really can't wait until we find out James' secret! Or secrets, plural; you never really know with him. Overall, I think you've done a good job with James. You said he's spiraling out of control every time you write him, but I think that's a good thing. James, in my mind at least, is sort of out of control in general, and a downward spiral fits his current situation nicely.
As for the other characters, I think you're not giving yourself enough credit. In this chapter, Victoire is used more of a lens into others' characters than anything else, but there's still enough to keep her from being flat. I'm curious to find out what her secret is! There's not a lot about Lily, but from both this chapter and the past ones, she strikes me as taking James' return the hardest. I wonder if James' disappearing act involved her at all. . . I'll have to wait and see, I suppose! Dom's character seems a bit arch at the moment, but like you said it wasn't a lot to go off of. I think for that particular scene it was fine.
The end part bugs me a bit. If he does it just because he's bored, then it would make more sense to me that he's had a one-night stand before, but the last sentence of the chapter leads me to believe he hasn't. Unless, of course, he just doesn't stay the morning after, which seems a bit more like James to me. I'd maybe clarify if that's the case. The whole situation's teetering on the verge of being cliche. I think that maybe if we knew a bit more about what was going on in James' head, things might make more sense. Is this a habit of his when he's bored? Does he like the control that he has of being able to pick up women everywhere? Does he figure he's got nothing to lose? Does he seek comfort? Someone who actually wants him, since his family doesn't? A little more background might ground the whole situation a bit more and make it more believable, in my opinion.
I really like the description at the beginning of the scene, of the businessmen. The line how they're shimmering and glowing in the sun is particularly powerful. Overall, I think you've done of good job of creating this darker James, who's yet to mature and seems incredibly self-absorbed. To tell you the truth, I don't really like him at the moment (I'm not sure if that's what you're going for or not) but at the same time, I'm utterly curious about what his secret is. You've got him acting like a complete jerk, but keep leaving us hints that there are reasons behind it. Hopefully they'll be some answers soon! Lovely chapter, and I can't wait until the next one. And a cookie for you if you actually read this whole thing! If you haven't noticed, I tend to talk a lot . . .
Author's Response: As I've just said in the last reply, look out for the next chapter. There will be some answers, and hopefully I'll address it in detail later as well as what he's been up to whilst he's been away. That spiral is about to go even deeper!
That flatness is exactly what I was worried about. Because I'm using so many different characters to show different little scenes both featuring James and those talking about him, I worry they're not coming off well in themselves. I'm so glad that Victoire hasn't suffered from that.
Lily definitely is and you'll see why shortly. I do feel for her a lot. Dominique will make her proper appearance in chapter 6, where she's a little calmer than in this one. A lot calmer, actually.
That's exactly it. The last sentence is referring to him not staying long enough to hold a conversation with the girl. I'll clear that up. It gave me such a problem that I just gave up in the end and left it was it was :P
Cliché? Eek. Again, it WILL get cleared up, I promise, but I can't do that until he's had his reality check. It's just this hedonistic lifestyle that he's slipped into. Like I said, sit tight and I'll give you a reason eventually.
That's exactly what I'm going for. I had a shock when people initially liked him - this has happened in another of my stories where I've only come across one person who hates the OC - it appears I'm not very good at making this type of character easy to dislike!
Thank you so much for the fantastic review. I've read it many times and really am so sorry that I've not replied sooner. I really appreciate your advice and help.
The next chapter is in the queue as I type (on August 12th) and it should be up soon!
Thank you again ^_^