My writing partner just put up her chapter. Delia and her friend Joan saw Jake with his date. Joan loses it and accosts him.
This is an interesting strategy in writing romance novels, the tension between partners and the potential for triangles. I used a similar strategy in the current manuscript I’m working on, the sequel to Starting Over: Rick. Denise was present during a scene when Roger ran into one of his old friends with benefits. There was a similar dynamic here.
Jake was beyond taken aback at Joan’s performance. But suddenly he felt a surge of rage. There he was, minding his business, when this harridan came out of nowhere.
Staring into her eyes, he refused to back down. “You are too ignorant for words. You have no idea what you’re talking about. He looked her up and down. Noticing her wedding rings, he observed, “Your husband let you off your leash? You need to get out of my face, because you have nothing to say to me!”
He shook his head as he watched Delia drag Joan away. Carla glanced at him in confusion, and he could tell she was wondering what happened. He squeezed her hand. “Not now. During the reception? I’ll explain.”
Jake’s mood calmed down by the time the program ended. He and Carla listened to the questions during the session afterwards. Jake decided to buy a copy of the book, a history of the local region as a farming community dating back to the earliest settlers and as an artists’ colony in more recent times. In the current day, adherents of organic food enjoyed visiting the local farms. It brought a lot of tourism to the area. Jake didn’t know all the things the writer explained about the community, and he grew up in the area!
They walked to the reception area where a bartender had drinks available. He needed something after what he just went through. He was surprised that Carla merely asked for a glass of soda. At the same time, he didn’t know how to begin, but he decided to just start talking.
“You’re probably wondering what happened earlier.”
“Yes, she made you sound like the biggest jerk out there. It wasn’t a good look.”
“I know.” Jake put it all out there, how he knew Delia, his interest in her, the story about the ticket, her annoyance with him, his asking her out, but her perception that his timing was off.
Carla sought to understand. “So you apologized for the ticket thing, paid for it, and never actually dated her, even though you asked her out? She was never your girlfriend?”
“And the woman who accosted you is her friend?”
Carla was pensive. “You know, it sounds not only like she and her friend have a crazy misperception of you, but I think there is something else going on.”
Jake was floored at her explanation, because it is one he had never thought of. “It seems as though they think you should act like a guy who has no options.”
“How do you mean?”
“There are women who are really unreasonable, and who believe that if a guy is interested, he should pine for them and do whatever it takes, wait however long it takes, just to be with them, and put his life on hold, as though he has no choice. They might not mean it that way, but it always seemed based in arrogance and lack of respect for men.”
Jake nodded. He liked Carla’s insights. She seemed really level headed and grounded, a far cry from the drama queen that Tracey was. He walked her out to her car. She reached up to give him a kiss on the cheek. “I hope that didn’t ruin your day! I had fun, nonetheless!”
He smiled, “Nope, it was just a blip. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself.”
She squeezed his hand. “Good to hear. If you like, I wouldn’t mind going out again. Here, take my cell number and email address.”
Jake glanced at her with speculation. “I like that.”
Driving home, Jake thought about everything that happened and thought this was a good time to call Sue.
Getting inside, he glanced at the clock. She was likely to be home. Ben, Sue’s husband, answered. “Hey, guy, how is it going?”
“Doing fine, just calling Sue to say hi.”
Ben joked. “No problem, Baby Brother, I’ll put her on.”
“Hey, Jake, what’s up?”
“Let me see, women problems? What else is new?”
“You got me.” Jake explained what happened.
“Joan, I might know her.” She asked Jake to describe her.
“Oh my goodness, I know exactly who she is! She was a cheerleader back in high school. The biggest drama queen going. It seems that every week she was in the midst of some drama, starting a fight with someone, or encouraging someone else to get into some kind of confusion. She married Diego, that football player. You called her out, good for you!”
Jake explained Carla’s observations.
“Wow. How old is she?”
“About twenty five.”
“She sounds a lot older.”
“I know. When I met her last year, she seemed like a young matron, quiet, very serious minded.”
Sue laughed. “I take it she is appealing on some level.”
“Oh she is, she is.”
Sue had her own insights to share. “Perhaps they thought Carla was your girlfriend and that you were being a cad in asking Delia out.”
“How so? It wasn’t as though I had been seeing her on a regular basis and treated her as a side piece! I last saw her a few weeks ago.”
“Jake, don’t expect women to be logical. This is pure emotion. You were thinking, well, I asked her out, she thinks it would be too much now, time to move on. You didn’t do anything wrong, and you have nothing to apologize for.”
“That is good to hear.”
“The old Jake, put through the ringer by Tracey, would have apologized. It is good to see you are getting your self confidence back.”
“The funny thing is that I never even intended to ask Carla out. I contacted her regarding the softball game, and she was the one who expressed interest.”
“Yes, that is how women like that play to win, especially if she is as logical and level-headed as you describe. They don’t miss an opportunity when they know a guy is a good catch. Think of it. It wasn’t as though you were asking Delia to move in with you. You offered a mere date, a moment of fun diversion in what must have been a difficult time, or if you got to know each other better, extra support when she needed it. She could have been the one there with you at the event.”
“That was exactly what I was thinking, I was just interested in getting to know her better and helping where I could. But in any event, Carla gave me her cell number and her email.”
“Sounds good, I’m sure you will keep me posted.”
Once he got off the phone, he sent a note to Carla, inviting her to the softball game. He mentioned that there was an area reserved for families, friends, and dates, and that she was going to meet his sister, who was going to attend with her husband and young son.
Carla replied that she was looking forward to seeing him.
Copyright Barbara James. All rights reserved.