I’ve been diligently working on Scrambling, my NFL romance but I took a break late last night to sit in the living room with the old man where it was cooler. He was puttering around, the 40 Year Old Virgin was on some channel with too many commercials and I was reading a book on my phone. In the book, one of the heroes denies himself and the other hero of a happily ever after because he’s got some weird ideas about relationships and love. His pride is mostly what stands in the way of his happiness. And even though he knows he hurts his lover by leaving him all the time, he feels the other man could do better than him so he won’t stay. He’s ravaged his lover’s heart and he knows it, all because of his own stubborn pride.
In Scrambling, my two heroes don’t suffer from pride issues. What they suffer from is fear. Their fears are deeply embedded, something they’ve both lived with since their teens. And mostly, they are childish fears. After all, they first arose when the guys are in their middle teens. Kids that age have a ton of irrational fears. These guys carry the fears into adulthood which puts a whole new layer of fear onto the original fear.
See, in their teens, they are afraid to come out to each other for simple reasons. They don’t want to lose their friendship. Well, kids are weird and even though these guys have been friends since they were six, coming out can be a real unknown. Kids can be cruel. Someone you’ve known your whole life might not understand. So their initial fear at 15/16 is understandable.
However, when they go off to college for their freshman year they come out to each other. Unfortunately, that’s only half the confession. They’ve both been secretly crushing on each other for the last couple of years. Neither can say it though because of fear. One’s just been rejected by his parents for being gay. He doesn’t want to tell his best friend he loves him because he’s overly sensitive about being rejected. He’s afraid. The other one thinks his friend is involved with someone so he’s afraid his confession of love wouldn’t be welcome.
Over the years, these initial layers of fear have other fears dumped onto them so what happens is that they are almost thirty before the truth comes out. And what’s sad for them (but good for the book’s level of angst) is that they have plenty of opportunities to tell the truth. Sometimes other people advise them not to. Sometimes they just err in judgment. Other times, the fear just overwhelms them.
They even sleep together once and one of them says “I love you” but the other one misunderstands. In fact, the difference between “I love you” and “I’m in love with you” is one of the things that comes between them. They’ve spent years saying “I love you” to one another because they are best friends. When one of them says it (after the big sex scene) and means it on a whole other level, the other one doesn’t get it. It’s not until he’s the one blurting it out while under the influence of morphine in the hospital that everything becomes clear to them both.
“I love you,” Evan blurted out, the morphine and the pain making him feel like he was floating in a world where the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth should ever be spoken between him and Reed. He hurt like hell and half the pain was because he needed Reed and Reed wasn’t there. Except he was. On the phone. The lifeline of his voice in Evan’s ear making everything better.
“I know you do.”
Reed’s voice held warmth, caring and relief. Evan figured Reed had panicked when he’d seen the late hit and knew Evan had to have broken his leg. He would have been frantic to reach Evan by phone since he couldn’t just drive to the hospital from clear across the country. He also figured Reed didn’t know what he meant when he said he loved him.
Irritation washed over Evan. How many fucking years had he said the words without Reed knowing the truth? “No, you don’t know. I’m in love with you.”
Silence met Evan’s ears. And then he heard a muffled sound. A sound that could easily have been a sob.
“How long? How long have you been in love with me?” Reed’s voice was hoarse, tinged heavily with tears and emotion.
Evan couldn’t hold anything back now that the morphine, the broken leg and too many years away from Reed had made him confess the truth of his heart. “Forever. Since I knew what romantic love was.”
The sob came again, but this time it wasn’t muffled. And the voice that spoke the words Evan had longed to hear from the moment he’d left California had the distinctive tones of begging.
“Come home, Evan. Please come home.”
So you see, pride and fear are two of the most commonly used emotions when authors want to keep their characters apart. The reason they are used so much is because we humans cloak ourselves in these emotions to protect our hearts, even when our hearts don’t need protecting. And now you know how and why writers use emotion to fuel their manuscripts. 😉
How about a luscious Marcus to round out this Monday and make it feel just a bit less like a Monday always feels?
I wish he was on Twitter. I mean I follow Dave Navarro, Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, and Ian Somerhalder. I just need Marcus to round out the famous hotties I follow. Heh. Happy Monday ya all!