My current WIP I am Juliette (draft four) is strong on the love story front. Which makes me laugh actually because I always told myself that any book I wrote would have only romantic side plots — and then I go and write a tragic re-telling of Beauty and the Beast.
I feel like there should be a moral to this.
That said, the couple in IAJ are near and dear to my heart. The Prisoner is trapped in a containment tube on a space-ship all by his lonesome until the ship’s quirky robotic owl Custodians decide to teleport someone to keep him company. Cue Juliette, all spunk and curiosity and sweetness wrapped up in a red dress.
And much feels and adorableness ensue.
// their interactions when they meet are my favorite ever.
“Did you just call me a nightmare?” I interrupted, lifting my eyebrows.
“Shut up, I’m thinking.” He frowned, his eyes still closed. “I’ve never asked a hallucination if it’s real or not before… so… maybe this is real.”
“You mean like how you’re supposed to pinch yourself to know if you’re dreaming or not and you never think to in dreams, but you do in actual, waking life?”
“Well, I can answer that.” I pinched my wrist. “See? Not dreaming. Which means we’re both real.”
There was a silence, in which I counted eight seconds, then the man’s eyes opened and he looked straight at me.
“Hello,” I said, offering him my friendliest smile and a half wave. He didn’t answer, just looked me up and down, his eyes wide. They were brown like mine, but much lighter—almost hazel.
“Now who’s staring?” I teased.
// the dynamics between them are so much fun to write.
I gave up trying to win our stare-down and rubbed my eyes.
“Well, it was still nice of him,” I said, my voice muffled. “And I’d still like to thank him and yes, I know I can thank him later.” I hated how petulant my words sounded. “And yes, I probably should thank you too.”
“You’re very odd,” said the Prisoner thoughtfully.
I huffed a laugh.
“You’re not exactly ordinary yourself.”
// the Prisoner’s matter-of-fact way of looking out for Juliette makes me squee.
“She appears whole to me,” the Owl chirped. My mouth twitched and I glanced over at the Prisoner who gave POND a look that should have melted him on the spot. The Owl merely shifted his grasp on my finger. His talons were cold and pointy and I felt his body vibrating from internal mechanisms — like the thrum of a living creature.
“Trust the human,” said the Prisoner. “Her hands are scratched. Make yourself useful and do something about it.”
// you fluffy, cute babies
“Red,” he finished.
“—scarlet,” I said simultaneously.
“Well, it’s not grey. And when you’ve been trapped in a place where everything is grey or black—”
“—or blue,” I interjected. “Ugh, sounds like a bruise.”
“No, not a bruise. Bruises are dark purple, and then they turn orange.”
I wrinkled my nose. “And now that we’ve established that.”
“You’re such a girl.”
// and did I mention the emotional pain? And just feels in general?
“You’re not real,” he whispered. “You can’t be real.”
I gulped back tears.
“I am real. I’m here with you.”
“No.” His frantic pulse echoed in my head. “You’re just another nightmare come to torment me.”
“I’m not. “My voice quivered. “I’m Juliette. Your friend.”
“I don’t have friends.”
Love is odd though.
It changes your perception of someone until you’re seeing, not just their face, but their personality. A sheet of paper with everything you love about them written all over it. And they are beautiful.
To me the Prisoner is like home and a wild storm and the sound of wind and the warmth of the sun all at once.
“I think… if I could trust anyone,” he opened his eyes and looked straight at me, “it would be you.”
Tears leaked from the corner of my eyes. The Prisoner watched me, the fingers of one hand tracing a pattern against the metal underneath it.
“Now, that we have that settled…” I swept strands of dark hair away from my face, adjusted my ring, and leaned my elbows on the tube’s edge.
“We’re supposed to be keeping you calm, and that—” I pointed back and forth between the two of us, “that wasn’t remotely the definition of calm.”
The Prisoner gave me a look.
“We’re human and we’re attracted to each other—not to mention, trapped together indefinitely. Calm is not our forte.”
I know what it is to live.
He only knows what it is to exist.
“I want him to be happy,” I whispered into the still air.
Then as his voice repeated those same words to me in my mind, I curled up on the cold glass and sobbed.
My broken, beautiful monster.
(now excuse me while I go and howl over my precious, battered babies. we writers are cruel. o.o)