Tag: romantic writing

Nanowrimo Day 21: A Love Story Within a Love Story

nanowrimo2013

So how are all my Nanowrimo peeps doing?  I’m basically finished my story and I’ve wanted to post a section but honestly I don’t feel like any of it is that strong so I was hesitant to do so.  I’ve posted a few of them but it was my first time writing fiction and controlling the voices once they had switched places was very difficult.

I’m still mulling over and will do for some time.  I plan on using it as a concept and then writing more based on the idea and characters I created.  I’ve certainly learned a lot from creating an entire story.

One interesting thing about writing is you can start writing a character that is an aside and the longer you get in the story the bigger the character gets (and smaller in some cases).  Has anyone else seen this in your writing?  Well, I did.  I could end up writing a whole new book about a side character that I ended up bonding with.

The two main characters of my story are 2 women, Marnie and Becca, one is married, Becca, and the other, Marnie, is single.  I wanted to create a love interest for Marnie and as any rom-com will show you nothing is cuter than a single widower.  I don’t know if that is true in real life but ever since Sleepless in Seattle it’s pretty much a mainstay.

Finally, I ended up with a man named Josh.  He’s a single Dad who comes to the rescue of Becca who has kids the same age as his son Ben.  Eventually he gets to know both Marnie and Becca and becomes a friend to both and Santa does a little matchmaking!  At the end of the book he finally tells both girls about his late wife Mary, and their story together.

It kind of ended up being a love story within a love story and I enjoyed writing it.  It’s a tragic love story you might say but I don’t know if any love story is truly tragic.  Love gives hope and a complete human experience or at least so I am told.  I have yet to experience it myself.

There is also something inherently corny about romance.  You listen to anyone’s love story and it seems pretty cheesy but it’s also endearing and joyful, and a Christmas story definitely needs lots of joy!

So, Josh’s love story came together and I’ve decided to share it with you.  As a nanowrimo story it is very, very rough so please be nice.  I’m not sharing it for critique but more to keep you aware of what I’ve been working on.

Here it is

Josh and Mary’s Romance

“If you don’t mind my asking what happened with your wife” said Becca

“Yes, what happened? Can you talk about it?” said Marnie.  She started to talk but Josh was looking at Marnie while listening to her.  She started to tear up and that made Becca cry and Josh as he began to tell the story.

“Well, we met at a coffee shop.  It was about 2 blocks away from both of our jobs. She worked as a secretary for a big wig CEO downtown and I was in the mailroom at an office building- the one with the triangle top and like 20 floors.

It was quite the job making sure everything got where they needed to go.  Sometimes the basement where we would sort the mail would be so hot I would step out to get coffee just to have a break and cool down.

I know sounds funny cooling off getting coffee but that’s what I did. On the other side, Mary was constantly given chores and errands by her boss.  She’d get the dry cleaning, pick up her kids from school, even work at the soup kitchen for her boss and sometimes she ended up as hot and bothered as me at work.

Fortunately her boss sent her to get coffee often at the same time I was taking my breaks and I started to notice her.  She was pretty with black hair and blue eyes that sparkled like sapphires (I know that is cheesy but it is true) and a great smile.

Sometimes she would wear bright red lipstick and it would make her whole face pop out and I found myself thinking of those red lips all day long.

At the time she seemed way out of my league, like someone from a fairytale or the pretty girl in high school who only dated the captain of the football team”

“So how’d you get the courage to ask her out?” Marnie asked..  Just then I came into the room and Josh smiled as he saw me.

“That’s the funny thing is I never could quite do it.  I always worried that she would think I was so forward to ask a girl on a date he had just seen at the coffee shop.  Plus, she always seemed very busy so it was hard for me to catch a moment to talk and smooth into it.

  However, sometimes I would catch her looking at me and she’d smile and nod.  Finally one day she came up to me and said ‘what kind of coffee did you get?’ ‘tall low fat cappuccino with nutmeg and cinnamon.  I actually hate nutmeg and cinnamon but my boss likes it so that’s what I have to get’.

I said ‘why don’t you just get something else for yourself and something for your boss?’

She sighed and said that her boss was a real tool and if she didn’t taste the coffee first and make sure it was up to par there would be hell to pay.

I told her that I had worked at a place like that and it was the worst.  Then we bonded over our bad work stories.  Before you knew it we had talked for 20 minutes and her phone rang.  It was her boss and I could tell she was getting chewed out for taking so long.  ‘I’m sorry.  I will be right there’ she said into the phone.

You could see the weight off a job she hated on her shoulders.  It was like a black cloud had settled over the coffee shop.  I wanted to make things better for her but before I could offer help she looked at me with a sigh and said “hey would you like to go to dinner sometime.  I have a good feeling about you and would like to chat more with you”

“Sure” I said.  “I’d love that.  Tonight?’  I didn’t want to miss a moment to get to know this person and I’d sat enough times in a coffee shop to know that it was a once in a million girl.  It was my chance to make my life happen.

I know I never thought I would feel that way again but lately I’ve been allowing myself to have new experiences and have a window in my heart open for love again.  It’s hard because I don’t want to replace her because nobody will but I know she wants me to love.  She wants me to be happy.  She always did.”

Both Marnie and Becca can’t help but blush at his speech.  After all , he was talking about both of them but he kept looking at Marnie so I felt confident that the idea of having both of them in the room for the date was a good idea.

“So we went on our first date and then dated for a 2 months but too be honest we didn’t even need to wait that long.  We knew it was right.  There was no doubt.

I told my Dad that I wanted to ask her to marry me and he thought I was crazy but he said ‘if you know you know and you have to go for it.  We will certainly be behind you.  At the time I was a poor guy in the mailroom so I couldn’t afford much of a ring.

I was watching the home shopping network and they had some cubic zarchonia rings and I thought they looked pretty nice and I could pay for one, so I bought it and took her to the coffee shop where we had met.  She had the red lips that I loved so much.  At first I got really nervous because I knew she could say no and I couldn’t bear it.

When I got nervous she thought that I was going to break up with her.  She started to tear up and I thought she was breaking up with me and she said “just spit it out.  Just say it!”

I looked at her with surprise and wondered what she was talking about.  Figuring I had nothing else to loose I pulled the ring box out of my pocket and showed it to her.  ‘Mary, this is the place we met and I remember looking at you and your red lips and thinking I could never get a girl like you.

And then one day you talked to me and we vented about our crazy bosses and it was like you weren’t just the pretty girl but your heart was big and you were funny, everything I could have hoped for.” I told her ‘I love you and I will love you forever.  Will you marry me?’  To my surprise she started to cry and took out the ring.

“It’s not a real diamond.  I couldn’t afford it.  I am sorry.  I hope you are not disappointed” I said with hope in my heart that maybe these were tears of joy not ‘I’m going to break up with you tears’ then she smiled, smiled with her red lips and said ‘I couldn’t love it more if it was real diamonds because I love you and yes, I will marry you’.”

I’ve always thought that life was made up of moments, like a collage that we piece together with hopefully enough happiness to make it all worth it.  You don’t know how many times in the last few years I’ve thought of those happy moments and they have made it worthwhile.  I certainly would never take it back, even knowing the pain that would come.  Never”

“So, then you had Ben? Were you nervous about having a baby? How long had you been married?”

“We had been married 2 years and had almost finished our degrees.  Mary had 1 quarter left and found out she was pregnant.  We were so excited but she was determined to finish school out, pregnant or not.

I’ll never forget her crossing that graduation podium pregnant and glowing, for reason than one.  2 months later she went into labor and we had our beautiful baby boy.

She was the one who thought of the name Ben because she had loved the old Benji movies from the 80s with the loyal, kind dog.  After seeing what she went through I told her she could pick any name she wanted as long as it wasn’t something weird like Nature or Canyon.  Thank goodness she had more sense than that.”

“When Ben was about 6 months she took Ben in for his check-up.  Things had been hard but we were managing to stay afloat.  She was doing some tutoring and bookkeeping on the side and I was a marketing clerk at a prestigious graphic design firm downtown.

I knew that Mary had been feeling tired and a little pale lately but I saw all my other friends with babies and they seemed to be going through something similar.  I thought in a few months the worst of it would be over and we would be ok.”

“Then Mary told the doctor what she had been feeling and said that there was a pain in her abdomen that wouldn’t go away.  She was a tough cookie and hadn’t wanted to make a big deal of it but now that it had lasted months she was worried and asked him what he thought it was.  He sent her to a specialist to get some tests and turns out it was uterine cancer, stage 4, untreatable.

We had 6 months to a year to live and so we all the sudden had mere months to enjoy our baby and pile in all the memories we could, at least while her health remained strong enough to do anything.  We went bungie jumping and traveled to New York and saw a fashion show.

It was her dream but when we got home from the trip she went downhill fast and in a matter of 2 weeks she was gone.  When she was in the hospital she had her red lipstick on and she kissed Ben and left an imprint with lipstick on his bald head.  I have the picture here. “

Josh pulled out a photo from his suitcoat and it was a beautiful woman with red lipstick in a hospital gown. She was glowing and holding up her baby with big red lips on the top of his head.  It was priceless.

Super Date- Nanowrimo

A super date from my novel
A super date from my novel

So I Nanowrimo is coming up and I thought it would be fun to post another section of my last book.  In the story the 2 characters have spent a lot of time together but have never actually been on a date, so the male character decides to set up what he calls the ‘superdate’.  This is an all day affair that tries to help the female character conquer her fears, make her feel bold and empowered.

Remember this is a romance and it is not supposed to be realistic. Dating can be anything but super but I thought it was fun and these stories require a little bit of fantasy so enjoy.

With lunch done there are a few more hours of work and then it is time for the big date.  Oliver comes up to me and is visibly excited and this makes me excited! 

“Let’s go!” I squeal with delight.

Oliver makes me close my eyes as we pull up to a big cement building. As he guides me inside like a blind person I feel anxious with anticipation. 

“Open your eyes!”  Oliver says.  I look and at first am disappointed when I see what looks like an old grimy gym.  “Where are we?”

“It’s called American Boxing.  You can do boxing, mixed martial arts, kickboxing, whatever” he says with enthusiasm.

I give him a skeptical look.  Sometimes I wondered if he saw me through some type of magic filter.  “I don’t know if I can punch and kick like that” I say pointing to the all of the boxers who seem to kick and punch so hard and high. 

“You don’t have to be like them but trust me you will love it.  I bet you’ll become addicted to it.  Give it a shot”.

“Ok.  Why not!”

The teacher is named Isabella and she is a stunning athlete with rich Latino features and a big smile.  I look at her and look at me in the mirror and then look at Oliver.  I don’t get it.  You could date her, I think, what are you doing with me? Anticipating my thoughts he gives my hand a little squeeze and a kiss on the cheek.  I melt a little bit. Whatever he wants me to do I will try!

“First you wrap your hands” he says handing me a long pink roll that looks like an ace bandage for an ankle or wrist.

This looks tricky but with his help I get them over my hands until I look like a pink mummy. Then the red boxing gloves come over the wrapped hands.  It feels heavy but not as awkward as I might have expected.

Isabella holds up 2 punching mitts and shows me how to do a basic jab, undercuts and round kicks.  At first I worry about punching Isabella in the face but she seems to catch everything I do.  After about 15 minutes of awkward kicks and punches I forget where I’m at and it all feels more natural.  Kick, jab, and kick, uppercut, jab, and kick.  Before I know it 30 minutes has come and gone and I’m gasping from the exertion.  I’ve even forgotten about Oliver for a second but I look over at him and his mouth is agape.  “Whoa!  You were awesome!  I think we have found your gift!”

“Really?  You really think so?”

“Yes, it was awesome!”  Isabella agrees.  “We will definitely have to get you in here again soon.  Let’s set it up!”  I can’t believe that anyone thinks I can be good at something like this and that maybe I am?  It’s just an activity I never even considered.  It is so exciting!

“All right.  Let’s set up another appointment.”  I grab my phone from my purse and schedule ‘Meet Isabel’ for later that week.

I’m so thrilled by my unexpected success that I give Oliver a big kiss in front of Isabella and everyone.  It feels exciting and passionate.  Perfect for a super date!

“Ready to move on to the next adventure?” Oliver asks me?

“What else could we be doing?  This was awesome!”

Back into the car we go and he makes me close my eyes again. 

“All right.  Phase 2 has begun.  Open your eyes”.  I look and it’s another cement building but after having so much fun the last time I decide to give Oliver the benefit of the doubt and head inside. 

‘We are going to learn how to shoot! This is something I’ve never done so I thought it would be fun for both of us” he says.

“I’ve always wanted to learn how to do that! This is awesome!” I say with delight.  I have always wanted to learn how to shoot.  Strange I know but true!

Our instructor Ray gives us the massive ear covers and teaches us how to aim, shoot and withstand the force of the shot.  Keeping the target relatively close I take aim and fire! The bullet goes in the posters shoulder. 

“That’s good for your first time” the Instructor says.  Oliver tries and has better luck closer to the heart.  Wet a couple rounds for each of us and honestly at the end my shoulder and arms are sore (especially after the boxing!). 

“That was awesome! I loved it!” Then I add “Thank you so much” I give Oliver another kiss. 

“You’re kind of cute with a gun.”  he says with a wink.

“Gosh I love you!” I say with a smile and give him another kiss. 

“I love you too!” he says and we head out of the building.  All it took was shooting and boxing but we had both said we loved each other.  The big L word!  This was definitely the best day of my life!  I can tell that he is thrilled with the moment also.  His smile says all the work on the super date was just made worthwhile!

“One more stop!” he says with excitement.

“What, no.  This is enough!” I protest.

“We’ve got to eat something! He says.

Again he gets me into the car and makes me close my eyes.  And again he tells me when to look. 

When I open my eyes I see another cement building.  At first I don’t get it and then I see it is Mel’s Wing House.  What on earth?

When we get seated Oliver will not let me order but places it at the front desk away from me.  The wings arrive and they look delicious but before I dive in Oliver gives me a warning.

“These are the fieriest wings they make.  You’ll love it!” 

With great trepidation I pick up a wing and take a bite.  “Oh my gosh!  That is so hot!”  I grab a drink of milk and Oliver laughs.  My eyes are watering and my mouth feels numb. 

“Try one more and here are some lighter ones as well but the spicy really does have a deeper flavor”

After about 3 of the spicy and a few of the mild I can start to appreciate the experience of eating the spicy wing.  It shocks you but that is part of the fun of it and eating above all things should be fun shouldn’t it?

“It’s delicious!  Thank you.  I’m so excited to know about this place.  It is totally the type of place that I would never have gone to on a date before but it’s delicious.”

“Why wouldn’t you have gone here on a date?” he asks

“Because it’s messy and unladylike.  I would have been afraid of spilling on my clothes.  I had about 3 items I could order on a date and most of them required a lot of cutting with a knife and fork.  No fingers.”

“I’m glad we met in the way we did.  You weren’t trying to impress anyone and neither was I.”

“Me too.  We could always be real with one another.  Once you are caught crying about your mother visiting it is hard to be not be real” I say with a smile. I had sauce all over my fingers and my lips felt fiery with all the heat.  When we kissed his lips felt spicy and it made my whole body tingle.  It was certainly clear to me why Oliver had picked this restaurant. 

As my body and mouth started to cool down I could feel the chili peppers in my stomach. I hope I didn’t get sick but luckily the wing place had frozen yogurt as well and that helped cool everything down.  It was all unforgettable!  The whole night was unforgettable.  It really was the super date.

“So you did it.  Best date in history! I only have one question for you…” I say with a flirty smile.

“What’s that?” he asks

“How are you going to top this?  Setting the bar pretty high for the first date don’t you think?”

“That’s how I intend to do things! Set the bar high and keep jumping over it”

“I have one more question for you” I say with a slight degree of awkwardness.  This is the big question.  “Why me?”  I couldn’t help for a second to think of Isabella at the gym.  “You could have anyone you want.  Why me?”

“I could ask the same thing of you.  Why would you a master’s graduate want to be with someone who is a college dropout?  Believe me I’m every bit as insecure about that as you are about your weight. “

“But that doesn’t matter to me at all” I say in amazement. 

“See, I feel the same way about you.  Will you finally believe me?” he says

I look into his eyes deep inside. I have to know for sure and I finally I know.  He is the real deal.  He really loves me as much as I love him.  Wow.  I still can’t believe it!  

“I meant what I said earlier.  I love you! I’ll never be perfectly secure but maybe if I am loved by someone as great as you it will get better. It’s been such a long year I don’t know what I think about myself.  On one hand I feel strong and the other it has been a very weak year. Panic attacks, anxiety and more”

Another kiss and I look down and ask one more question “What would you think if I still quit my job?”

He looked surprised but nodded “Even with all the changes Rich has installed you still want to change?”

“Yes, I just keep getting this feeling that God needs me somewhere else.  It won’t be right away but maybe at the end of the summer? Who knows why God wants us one place or another? I couldn’t tell you but I keep hearing the direction to ‘make a change’.  I’ve been hearing it for three years and I can only ignore it for so long.  Believe me I know what it feels like to push against what God wants you to do and it is not a pleasant experience.”

“If that is what God wants you to do than he will prepare a way for you to accomplish it? Go for it!” he said with more enthusiasm than I expected. 

“It seems crazy to quit a job with benefits and good pay in this economy but I’ll end up having another panic attack if I don’t follow what God has in line for me.”

“Who cares what other people think?  Your family and friends will support you and that’s what matters.” He says

“You are right.” I feel like this was the lesson I have to keep relearning again and again throughout my life.  “Don’t’ care so much about what other people think” my mother used to say.  Caring what others would think of me had caused my panic attack and yet I couldn’t quite get it out of my head.  Perhaps nobody can but I will try and do better at it.  I know my life would be a lot happier if I could figure out that one thing.

“I’m not sure when I will make the announcement but it will be such a crazy day.  I think I will talk it over with my Dad while he is here because the last thing I want to do is appear ungrateful”

“That’s that caring what other people think thing again…” he says.

“Oh yeah, darn it but it is good to be considerate of other people’s feelings” I say in response.

“True.  Just be cautious and don’t use other people’s opinions as validation for your own self-worth.  That is the most important thing.  God should tell you who you are and your value not any person, even me” he says.

“Do me one favor” he adds “give me a couple days heads notice when you are leaving.  That might be a good time for another super date!”

“Deal! If it’s anything like this night I am in for a treat.  It has honestly been the best night of my life!  Thank you so much!” I say with glee, giving him one longer, soft, still a little spicy kiss.

“By the way, I think it might be a good idea for us to implement a new rule, I will call it the 20 seconds in heaven rule.”

“What is that?” he asks with a questioning expression.

“It’s that we cannot kiss for more than 20 seconds especially when we are alone.”  I then explain that I made a promise to God years ago that I would remain morally pure until marriage and it’s just too darn fun and exciting to kiss him.  “I don’t want to risk breaking a promise to God.”

“That’s going to be hard but I agree. Most of the married couples I know who waited seem to have the best marriages.  I think if we work together on this we can do it.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever loved you more than at this moment.  Let’s do it!” and then we kiss maybe longer than 20 seconds.  It will take some getting used to!  At least we are heading in the right direction and on the same page.

“Life is certainly going to be interesting the next few months.  I’m curious to see how it all turns out” I say with a sigh.

“Me too.  Curious and excited!  Let’s go home.  I’m exhausted. “

So that was the end of the super date.  The great thing was each part of the date was repeating many times in the months to come.  I started going to the boxing gym at least twice a week and the wings joint became a regular favorite.  I would certainly never look at hot sauce the same way.  Probably the greatest blessing of the super date is I learned ways to release adrenalin, aggression and frustration in healthy productive ways.  It was so exciting and I was so grateful for Oliver to introducing me to every part.  My rapid heartbeat lessened with each balanced happy day and I became all the closer to being an anxious free, happy person.

Ah, the good a super date can be!