I first saw him in the Ferguson Center at the University of Alabama.
I was coming out of the food court with my tray of Chick-Fil-A deliciousness, stomach growling and mouth watering, both of which highlighted my insufferable humanity. I scanned the dining room for a small table in the corner, maybe behind a plant or something, where I could eat in silence and scowl at the floor for no reason at all.
But before I could make my way to the perfect corner-shadow table, I saw him.
I think it was his eyes that caught my attention; either he was wearing black contacts or his irises just randomly decided not to match his blond hair or fair skin tone at all. It didn’t really matter to me, though, because he was HOT.
In a moment of uncharacteristic bravery, I took a deep breath and approached him. “Can I sit here?”
He glared up at me and wrinkled his nose, which I took to be a sign that he found the scent of my blood irresistible. It could have been because I hadn’t showered in three days, but I thought the first option was more likely.
Instead of responding, he kicked the chair opposite him so that it fell on the floor in front of me. “Thanks!” I said brightly as I placed my tray on the table, picked up the chair, tripped over one of the legs, jumped up like nothing had happened, and dropped into the seat. “What’s your name?”
“Rob,” he growled, running his tongue over his very pronounced canines. “I don’t think you should sit here.”
“Why not?” I asked. This was when I noticed he wasn’t eating anything. He must be so strong and manly to resist the Siren song of Chick-Fil-A, I thought as I ran my hands through my greasy hair.
“Because I’m going to kill you, or at least run off and leave you. But either way, there will be some borderline emotional abuse going on.”
“Ooh, tell me more,” I murmured, swooning over my waffle fries.
* * *
Okay, stop right there. That’s definitely not how I met my husband. I think it was more like this: We had mutual friends, we hung out together in that group of mutual friends, we started hanging out on our own, and then one night we got Frosties at Wendy’s and that was that.
But what kind of YA book would that make?
Here’s the thing about writing YA: Real, stable relationships that actually have a chance of making it? Are BORING to teens. A man who’s responsible, supports his girlfriend/wife, and actually treats her with love and respect? Um, like, SO not cool.
But make your love interest a ridiculous paranormal creature with emotional baggage who skitters away at the slightest sign of trouble and mopes around all the time? OOH, YES PLEASE.
This is something I’m struggling with at the moment. The book I’m writing now, SYNTHESIS, has a love story. But it is developing super slowly because I keep trying to make it too realistic. I’m making the guy too thoughtful, too concerned with the MC’s well being, and as a result the storyline is dragging a bit.
I guess I’ve got to make everything happen a little more quickly and de-stabilize this relationship somewhat so that it will be interesting to teens.
Hmm. I’m not sure how I feel about that.
What do y’all think? Do you ever run into this kind of problem?