It’s that time of year again; that time of flowers and heart-shaped balloons and lovey-dovey-ness and–most importantly–chocolate that will be on SALE come February 15! (That’s the real holiday, folks)
Last year I decided to actually acknowledge the holiday with this post in which I listed 8 Bookish Romances I actually support. I thought about doing the same thing this year only to realize…I used up pretty much all of the great romances I could think of in said post.
But does that mean I have nothing to write of today? No indeed.
In discussing the subject with my dear sister, The Story Sponge, she had the excellent idea that we should both write posts dedicated to the romances that have cropped up in our own writing over the years.
Clearly, it will be very heartwarming.
You can read The Story Sponge’s post here–and you really should, posthaste. The description of King Edward ALONE is something that no one should be deprived of. Also, the Fiance is a DEAR.
And now, without further ado, here are 8 Bookish Romances I actually invented.
1. Randy and Linda from….Randy and Linda (age when I wrote it: 8? 9?)
This thrilling, gorgeously illustrated picture book begins with Randy (whom we know nothing about) thinking about how much he misses Linda (whom we also know nothing about). Unbeknownst to Randy, Linda is currently thinking the same of Randy! The two both decide to go for a walk and, as fate would have it, run into each other. Oh fortuitous meeting! They take advantage of the moment to boldly declare their love for each other. And give each other swirly lolly pops. Was truer love ever seen?
2. Netta and Wayne from Untitled and Unfinished Teenage Secret Agent Story (age 17)
You know how my writer-default-setting is sci-fi-war-angst? Well, it used to be secret agents.
In this story, 15-year-old Dominic was taken out of an orphanage and put on a team of secret agents essentially because he was a math genius (why did the secret agents need a math genius? who can say?), at which point all the adults on his team basically adopted him.
It was super fun until it took a turn for the ultra-angsty.
There’s no official romance here, but Dominic ships the two leaders of his team and…I don’t disagree?
“Do you think Netta and Wayne are in love?”
Sylvia looked up from the folder to give me an odd look. “What the heck, Dominic.”
“No, hear me out,” I said quickly. “We’ve never seen any sign of it, but think about it. They’re not allowed to be in love–not while they both still work here. Company policy and all that. Maybe they’re deeply in love, but they’re not allowed to say so–“
Sylvia shut the folder and stared at me, eyebrows raised.
“–and so neither knows how the other feels and they’re both living secret tortured lives of supposed unrequited love,” I finished.
Sylvia stared at me. I folded my hands on the tabletop. “So? What do you think?”
I never got this far, but I do think it would be great if, at the end of the story, one of them retires and Wayne is like, “Cool, so do you want to get married?”
3. Vern and Allegra from The Letter Game (age 11 to 19)
I can only take credit for half of this excellent duo. My Sponge sister along with a very dear friend and I played this letter game for YEARS. There were well over a thousand letters. It was intense.
Allegra is a princess. Except she actually isn’t, because it turns out she and Vern were switched at birth and Vern is actually the heir to the throne, but oh, well they’re in love now so she’ll get to be queen anyway.
Except that a neighboring country came in and burned down their kingdom, oops.
Allegra (my friend’s character) has been through a lot by the time she meets Vern (getting kidnapped by supervillains, a previous boyfriend getting brainwashed by cheese, the works). Vern (my character) is a chipper, gangly disaster. He’s not very good at “Kinging” (which causes some tension in their relationship), but he has a big heart and he will do ANYTHING to protect Allegra.
“Allegra!” I kicked my horse into a gallop. She raised her head. I saw her mouth my name in disbelief.
“Allegra!” I cried again.
My wet hair whipped about my face. The fence was just ahead. Normally I would have gone through the gate, but…
I kicked my horse again, urging it to jump. The horse’s hooves left the ground. Time seemed to slow down for a second. I could see Allegra watching me, her eyes shining. I smiled.
Then we landed. The horse stumbled and I was thrown off. I landed on my arm. The same arm I broke falling off the balcony.
“But how–Where are we? How did we get here?”
“Oh. That. Well…You were in the cave so I went to get you and, ummm….yeah. Then I started to take you back across the desert, but the horse died so I–uh–walked.”
“You carried me?”
“No, I dragged you. Kidding. Of course I carried you.”
“You carried me across the desert?”
“Yep. Pretty amazing, right? Of course it was no big deal what with my great strength and all.”
“It’s because I have to ask you something,” I said quickly. I sat down next to her. I got up and stood looking over the edge of the loft. “I was just wondering if you would mind if I–” I turned to face her. “If I…uhh…” I temporarily forgot how to speak.
Finally, I blurted out. “Can I propose to you?”
She stared at me.
“Not now. Well, propose now but actually get married later. Like in a year or two. I mean get engaged now. Because I am proposing. I mean, if that’s okay with you. Or if it’s okay with you if I propose but you don’t want to get engaged, that’s fine too.” I was talking so fast I could barely understand myself and I had forgotten how to breathe. Finally I remembered what I was really planning to say.
“Will you marry me?”
“DA-DEE!!” A voice behind me screamed suddenly. “There’s someone in the BA-ARN!”
I jumped, whirled around and…fell out of the loft.
4. Orpheus and Eurydice from Orpheus and Eurydice play (age 21)
I mentioned this one in this post. There’s not really a lot to say. I mean…they’re Orpheus and Eurydice.
They have some Issues in their relationship (I mean, aside from the fact that Eurydice is dead), but ultimately they’re both very sweet people and care about each other a lot.
Fun fact: this was the first time I tried to write about married people as main characters. It was wild.
Your mother thought we were crazy, didn’t she?
Not crazy. Just young.
She was always talking about how foolish it was, how—
—young we were.
It didn’t help that we sometimes ran around in the hay fields at dusk, laughing like crows. Or was that just one time? I can’t remember what made you so happy, but you tore out into the field like a rush of wind or fire, like you were going to catch the sky and scatter all the hay besides. I don’t know what made you happy, but I was just as happy as you were. Maybe because you were. Maybe we were both drunk on the wine red clouds at the edges of the sunset and the cool breeze finally waking up at the end of a long summer day.
Do you really not know what made me so happy?
That song…That song I wrote for you? It’s one of the best things I’ve ever written. I don’t know if it sounds good, but it’s…it’s the best thing in the world right now. Because it means something. It’s so, so important. You know, all my best music is music I’ve written since I met you. I wrote before, but it was all just that music that plays while you’re waiting for the real thing to start.
And of course Orpheus only knows how to express his love through music.
5. Jack and Golde from Santa Claus sequel (age 21)
Quite possibly the best couple on this list. Largely because it involves Jack who is one of the best characters I ever invented on the spot. (He didn’t exist until suddenly he did and the story got infinitely better.)
Jack is a banker (but for weather, because who would deal in something as common as money?). Golde does an occasional bit of breaking and entering (I bet you can guess how they meet).
They’re hesitant to trust each other, but after a bit of adventuring and danger Jack becomes very Gallant and Protective.
I thought I’d try my luck at getting in here.”
“Try your luck?” Jack repeated, indignantly. “You mean to tell me you managed to successfully break into my bank on a whim?”
“Oh, I’ve thought about it before,” she said quickly. “I’ve even thought about how I would do it. I’d just never tried before.”
“Good heavens, Nicholas! Do you hear what I’m saying? Me. In love.”
“Yes, I heard that—”
“And you fail to see anything upsetting in that?”
“Golde’s very nice,” I said uncertainly.
“Of course she is. But one meets nice people all the time. It’s no excuse to go falling in love with them,” Jack retorted.
6. “Prosthetics Salesman” and Zoey from Prosthetics Salesman short story (age 21)
Wow, this one is…not terribly romantic. Maybe it would be if the “Prosthetics Salesman” would stop selling “prosthetics”. (“Prosthetics” being black market code for actual human body parts. But hey, at least he’s only selling his own!)
The unnamed protagonist keeps selling off pieces of himself to get special miracle pills for his wife Zoey so she can live longer, and Zoey is Not Pleased.
“I don’t want to live forever!” she burst out. “Don’t you get it? I don’t want you to buy me a longer life. I want to live as long as I can—”
“—with you. I want to live the rest of my life—however short or crappy it is—with you. I don’t want you to give the rest of your life to me.”
7. Leland and June from The Education of Albert Lindner [in progress] (age 21 to ? At this rate, probably 73?)
(These characters are from the story I am definitely working on that I introduced in this post.) This one makes me mad because I actually kind of like it? But it’s all backstory, and then war and death happens and?? Suffice it to say, by the time the actual story begins, Leland is no longer present.
Every time I write about them I confuse myself because June is referred to as Rosser throughout the main story, but in the backstory she still has her maiden-name (Pearson), while ROSSER refers to LELAND and it’s SO CONFUSING. Someday my readers are going to hate me for it.
She broke off, catching sight of something. “Rosser, you’re bleeding.”
Rosser looked up, surprised. He followed her gaze, touching a hand to the back of his head. “Oh. So I am.”
Sit down,” Dorsin commanded. “I’ll get to you when I’ve finished with this one.”
Rosser obediently dropped onto a stool. Pearson came up behind him, pushing his hair out of the way to get a better look. “It looks like it just grazed you,” she said quietly. “You’re lucky.”
Rosser twisted his head around to look up at her and smiled. “Very.”
(I haven’t written it yet, but in my head there’s a scene later on in their relationship when he has another scrape with death and they echo this conversation. Except this time she says, “You’re lucky” and Leland responds with “The luckiest man alive,” and kisses her. The cheesy bravado is so Leland, and I can’t actually believe how much I support it.)
8. Anne and Rob from Kai story (age 22)
This one is from the most recent book I finished (Kai being the soldier-in-a-sci-fi-war-who-realizes-he’s-on-the-wrong-side). Anne is a nurse who is determined to help Kai, despite his best efforts. She has a terrifyingly effective Glare. Rob was a soldier until all his friends were brutally killed right in front of him. Now he plants green beans and flowers on the roof and doesn’t talk.
Their relationship is somewhat peripheral to the story, but it’s straight-up wholesome.
“No,” Anne said. “Absolutely not.”
“Oh, come on, Anne,” Celia said. “You know you want to.”
“I most certainly do not.”
Except she didn’t look quite so opposed to the idea when Rob offered his hand, grinning. She took his hand with a reluctance that was at least half fake, complaining loudly about the idiocy of the whole affair. And then they were dancing.
Her face was red. Celia said something to her as she passed, and Anne said “Oh, shut up.” But she didn’t look unhappy.
There you have it!
I must say, I didn’t realize I had written that many romantic relationships. The things we learn about ourselves when we are looking for blog post material.
Be sure to check out The Story Sponge’s post if you have not already! (Then come back and tell me if you agree with my assessment of King Edward’s robe.)
Have you written many romantic relationships? Do you balk at the idea of writing about married people (and then…proceed to do it anyway)? What are some of your favorite fictional couples? Who sounds like the most wholesome couple on this list? Do tell!