Sunday, February 13, 2011

Before I say 'I love you'

Before a character can say 'I love you,' he or she has to have thought about being in love. Perhaps she's overcoming inner demons, or he's knocking down external obstacles. These scence are our build-up to our HEA's. Here are three excerpts from my WIP, a paranormal time travel.

The play rehearsal scene where teacher-director Jeremy uses Angel to demonstrate what he wants from his students.

Jeremy stepped close behind her and whispered her lines while running his hands slowly up and down the sides of her body.
She breathed in his words, certain, without knowing why, that she would remember them.
What she wanted to memorize was his touch. She’d never been caressed before. Father Dominic had feared even to pat her hand, thanks to Granny Roswyn’s threats. Roswyn’s touch was invariably rough—or worse.
Feeling Jeremy’s strength against her back, she let down her guard. Her skin quivered in response to the strokes of his palms. His fingertips pressed into her thighs.
She felt like a love potion had been put in her drink, for she wanted to claim Jeremy in front of Belina and all the pretty young girls who sighed at the thought of kissing him, of being kissed by him.
She wanted to shout that he had chosen her. He’d carried her upstairs last night. Only innocent inexperience had prevented her from knowing what to do.
“Are you ready?” he murmured.
“Yes,” she sighed.
“The night is changing me,” he said loudly.
“As nights will do,” she recited. “They say no night is ever repeated.”
“And yet I yearn to repeat every night with you.” He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her back against him. “Oh, Isolde,” he moaned. “What heavenly star has condemned me to burn for the bride of my king?”
“I am sure tis not the stars, nor the glow of the moon on the sea.”
“Nor the breeze, nor the hour. Drink, Isolde. Drain the flask and drown this ardor.”
“This king of yours, this Mark. What has he that you have not? Tristan, I feel a strange heat. Nay, I am on fire. Feel my heart.” She pressed Jeremy’s hand to her heaving bosom.
“Take me, Tristan, before this flame consumes me. I would know love before I die.”
“And if my love saves you?”
“Then this mad passion will rule the rest of my days.”
“I am yours, Isolde, and you are mine. The world can sort out the rest.” He lowered his lips to hers and froze in an actor’s kiss. “We will finish this tonight, ma douce,” he whispered.
Angel’s heart pounded. The words, ‘I would know love before I die,’ were not in the script. She knew he would add them.

Angel has been transported to the past. She is with Jeremy, who in the past is the Brehon Jermande, the Brehon, who knows her as Angelique. They’ve stolen away from the castle and are searching for a way to send her back to the present. He’s just performed a marriage for the daughter of a friendly innkeeper.

Jermande shook off his robe. He wasn’t practiced in the fancy Italian court dances, with their complicated glissades and hops, but he could do an old-fashioned jig.
When the number ended, Angelique was watching him.
He returned Matisse to Yann’s (the newlyweds) embrace and, with a bow, invited Angelique to honor him for the line tap. “A dance can reveal whether a lover is sound of limb,” he said as a gleeman tuned his fiddle to join the ensemble.
“And a kiss discloses one’s attention to dental hygiene.” She sank in the opening curtsey.
“Know you this fling?” He put his hands on his waist and executed the men’s set of toe-heel steps.
“After mass on Saturday nights, the old women would get drunk and dance. I learned.” Her feet answered with a flourish and, following the women’s line, she skipped to the next partner in line.
He pushed past her new partner and waited impatiently for her to stand across from him again. “Where?” he demanded. “When?”
“At Granny Roswyn’s. When I was a child.” She turned her back and danced in step with the other women.
With a start, he realized that he was standing still. It was impossible to concentrate when she was plaguing him.
He didn’t want to dance. He wanted to chase her into the bushes and kiss her until she moaned his name. He wanted to be a man, not a priest or a judge or a teacher, just a man with a wife who filled his days with tales of other worlds, and his nights with endless love.
“Try to keep up, Jermande,” she taunted.
He whirled about and stalked away, leaving her and her games. He flung his robe around his shoulders and stormed into the shadows. He heard her run after him calling his name. He stretched his stride and slipped into the forest. He needed a few moments of peace.
She’d been a nuisance since they left the castle. Since Denvel was murdered. Since he’d called her back from the dead.
He pushed faster through the woods, ever more certain of his purpose. He didn’t need her, or anyone. He was a Brehon, one of a handful left in this time. He had sacred vows to keep and essential duties to perform.
She was a silly, timid, spoiled little noble girl. She’d not venture far from the safety of the firelight.
She screamed.

This scene occurs after Jermande has stormed away from the wedding dance. The assassin sent to retrieve Angelique has nearly killed him. He is in a non-physical state created by his magic sword, the genelankou. Angel realizes now that her past and present loves are the same man, and she finally accepts that she does want love. His love. In either time.

Jermande’s sun-kissed locks and chiseled visage reappeared. Garbed in a flowing gold-trimmed, snow-white robe, he looked hale and whole—until another wave of dissolution rolled down from the genelankou.
She couldn’t let him leave her. Frantic, she grabbed his hand and pulled him to his feet. Blue-white light flowed up her arm and bathed her in its hypnotic warmth. Impossibly, Jeremy’s image coalesced out of the light.
She blinked.
He was still there, the man who claimed that she was destined to be his, standing next Jermande like a shadowy double. He reached out and took her other hand. She looked up into her lovers’ eyes. Who was the present? What was past or future?
Her arms began to shimmer. Overhead the genelankou spit out bursts of fractured light and whined at an ear-splitting pitch. A thunderous explosion knocked her back. Everything went black.
Her memories and feelings fused with Angelique’s. She was sixteen; she was thirty. She understood calculus and curtseying. She ran on whim and reason. Time was meaningless—what she wanted was love.


  1. Now I'm confused because I thought the topic was ways to say I love you.

  2. Since I go first, I felt it would be appropriate to post something about what a character has to feel before s/he can believably say, "I love you."

  3. Not sure what you mean by a character having to have thought about being in love?
    I tend to think that every person (and character) thinks about being in love - isn't it the main fantasy of teenage girls? If you mean about being in love with a specific character, then again surely everyone wonders (at least to start with) 'is this love?' or else fights against it, for whatever reason.

  4. Hi,

    Interesting excerpts, Ana.

    Angel/Angelique appears (if I'm reading this correct) to be Angel in one dimension and caught in the throes of young impressionable love's fancies. While as Angelique she's more experienced and desperate to fulfil something beyond base desires, yet feels uncertain as to which dimension she truly belongs and with which man her destiny lies. What a dilemma?


  5. Your just about spot on, Francine! Angelique was in love with being in love. Angel denies love. Her journey takes her back to the past so she can "catch up," fall in love and therefore believe in love.

    Paula, when we write a character as she awakens to a new love, don't you think we describe her feelings, her hopes, her doubts, her inner debate? That's what I meant here.

  6. I guess it all depends on what 'in love' actually means. Whcih reminds me of Prince Charles' now infamous quote when he got engaged to Diana. I wonder if anyone can truly describe it. Abd if course theres a world of dfference between being 'in love' and loving someone. But we're writing romance and the 'in love' (and all its connected feelings) has to predominate, I think.

  7. Ana,

    Great excerpts. I like your thinking in this post. A character can't just jump into the "I love you". He/she needs to first realize what it means to be in love with the heroine/hero, and what he/she has overcome to get to that point.

    Excellent way to start us off.

    Paula, I remember Prince Charles' comment well. And after looking back now, it's obvious he married Diana only to fulfill his duties and not for love. Very sad. I know I for one was completely caught up in the romance of their supposed fairytale relationship...which had a tragic instead of a happily ever after ending. Let's hope William and Kate do better!