I have two teenage boys. They are full of snark, dry humor and a whole load of gas (verbal and otherwise). Being around boys 24/7 doesn’t make me an expert on what a boy’s thought process is, how they deal with tricky situations or what the HECK got into their heads or WHY on earth they thought (whatever caused all that screaming) was a good idea. I am not a pro, but I am learning.
My boys are very good at cluing me in on a boy’s life. Just the other day, my youngest wanted to know what flirting was, how it is acted out and if it is, at all, necessary when communicating with girls (he finds flirting pointless and as he puts it, either he likes a girl or he doesn’t and that’s that). While my older son one-upped him by saying there is a girl chasing him at school already. She flirts and giggles and basically drapes herself all over him. His blunt reply TWO DAYS into the school year was “God has a path for all of us and your path is away from mine.” I have to admit, I had to stifle a snort with that one.
So, it should come as no surprise AT ALL that when I write a boy/girl situation it’s going to go something like this:
I caught sight of Corbin who had an eyebrow cocked expectantly. Yeah, yeah. He was after that date thing again. Well, now was as good time as any to make a complete fool out of myself.
“So, uh…Ari, now that things are ‘official,’ how about I take you out on a date?”
Ari jumped upright and slammed the back of her head into the underside of her locker shelf.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” She rubbed the forming goose egg. “A date? Like an actual ‘you come pick me up and we go somewhere’ date?”
“Something like that, yeah.” I should have offered to hang out and then eased into a date.
“Okay, sure. I suppose a date wouldn’t hurt.”
Um. What did she mean by that?
“Great,” I said a little less enthusiastic than I intended. “I guess I’ll pick you up at six then?”
“At my house? With my parents?” She began panic breathing in short gasps. Her eyes were wide and miniature bolts of lightning shot between her fingers. Any second and she was going to pass out.
“Breathe, Ari,” I coaxed, tapping her shoulder a few times to release the excess energy. “It’s not that big of a deal.”
“Right,” she panted. “Not a big deal at all.”
Farther down the hall, I could hear Corbin grumble in irritation. I looked up, found him through the sea of heads in the hall and shrugged. Heck, I didn’t know what her problem was. How was I supposed to know that the mention of a date would throw her into cardiac arrest?
I really don’t TRY to torture my characters on purpose. But when I have such shining examples of boy/girl interaction from my own sons, it’s kind of hard not to.
Consulting my sons before going forward with writing is fundamental as well. The more I observe their attitudes and their frank wistful desire that females were (heaven forbid) more direct, the more I put it down on the page. I think all women WISH that men would wipe away their tears and say incredibly thoughtful things. The agonizing truth is that they don’t. A good man speaks the truth and the truth (usually) from a man is pretty blunt. Which then had me writing this:
“For starters,” he said. “There is a lot of fighting involved. And it’s fairly physical… in exertion, not in… the other way.” Corbin’s neck turned a few shades of red.. “All you need to know, Princess, is that when Warriors meet, they fight, and that’s pretty much the end of it. Attraction has very little to do with the process. Bankhir women are built for battle; all a warrior male needs is a shove in the right direction. Usually in the form of the stinging flat end of a blade, maybe a right hook to the nose, or something along those lines. Female Warriors are very direct. Either they like you or you’re dead.”
Ari’s mouth hung open and she wasn’t blinking. “I think you’re right, ,” she squeaked. “That probably wouldn’t work in my case.”
Corbin shrugged. “It makes things a lot easier.”
Now I am not saying that all males are dense in the romance department. My own husband gets it right more often than not (NO, I STILL HAVEN’T FORGIVEN HIM FOR GIVING ME A BATHROOM SCALE FOR MY 30TH BIRTHDAY!!!!) That being said, when I wrote one fairly mushy scene, I had my youngest and more practical, girl-warry son read it for emotional correctness. He read it, thought about it and agreed; it was pretty close to dead on.
Right. I couldn’t think straight. My brain was going into radioactive meltdown mode seeing as Ari was right there. And I mean right there. Our noses were almost touching and she kept staring at me… expecting, waiting. I think it was a cue for me to kiss her. Then again, the last time I tried, she slapped me with a bazillion volts of charged magic.
Tonight, Ari didn’t seem to be in a slapping mood. Her chin tilted upward and her eyelids drooped closed. Yeah. Even an emotional idiot such as myself knew what that meant.
I got a millimeter shy of her lips when everything went nuclear. Ari’s body shuddered as she heaved involuntarily. Her hands turned to ice on my arms and went slippery with cold sweat. Pushing me away, she twisted sharply in time to hurl her stomach contents all over the desert floor.
That was unexpected.
“Well,” I kidded. “At least we’ve established how bad my kissing skills are.”
And for all those Ian/Ari shippers out there that are just dying to read something special, darling and mush-ridden between our two favorite royals, well… sorry. I write books for boys and it’ll have to be boy approved first!
Excerpts provided by Ian Quicksilver Book II