Gumbee Fantasy Writers ‘do’ Emotion: No 5, Sandra Giles

I’m not one for writing long passages about eyes meeting across a room and describing every surfacing feeling in nauseating detail. I much prefer toying with my characters’ emotions. So much so that I couldn’t resist making things hard for my most arrogant character.
Jared starts his journey as an egotistical jerk. He’s very hard to like, and equally hard to resist. What do I do with a guy who is accustomed to sleeping around on a regular basis? Easy, I make him fall in love at the most inconvenient of times. The following scene has been taken from my first novel. He has just landed in the middle of a ceremony where women are chosen to carry the offspring of various vampires, and Jared is playing along just to save an attractive lady from the grasp of some of the most vindictive vampires known to man. Or unknown to man, as is the case.

Love at first sight – Plead Insanity

“So…” I struggled for something to say. ‘Do you come here often?’ is a bad enough line in normal circumstances, never mind when the person you’re talking to is a prisoner and supposed to be your future rape-mate. I would’ve just said she had nothing to fear, but not only would she not believe me, I couldn’t risk the other vampires hearing. The best thing would be to move her to a safer location, but that would mean either using force or cunning. I wasn’t willing to harm her and doubted anything I could say would make her come with me.

“You could always sedate me again if you can’t think of any other way to get me out,” she said. Her voice wasn’t as harsh as before, and it sent a jolt through my heart.

“I suppose it would be too much to ask for you to just walk with me willingly?” She raised her eyebrows. “Thought so. I don’t want to hurt you.” I sighed. “What I’m going to do is carry you out of here. It may not be dignified but it’s better than sedating or beating you.” I approached her swiftly. My eyes darted down her body and I stopped.

“Getting a good enough look, are you?” she asked.

“No, I was just thinking you might get cold.” Which was perfectly true. Her skin seemed awfully exposed, especially for November. I unbuttoned my coat and silently handed it to her. She took it reluctantly after a few seconds of frowning, muttering something unintelligible as she pulled it around her.

“Thanks, but I’m still not fucking you. No amount of manners or charm will get me in your bed.” She paused. “Willingly.” Ouch. Shaking my head, I placed my hands on the cage and broke a few of the bars off. A gasp brought my attention to her face but she turned away, hiding behind a curtain of hair. The cage seemed a lot smaller once I was inside. I suppose it was only built for one prisoner. She swung around when I was beside her and leapt at my neck. Shocked and slightly amused, I sighed as she tore at my flesh with her teeth.

“What a good vampire you’d make,” I said as I swept her off her feet and carried her out of the cage. A frustrated scream issued from her throat and vibrated through my body from where her teeth were locked on my neck. I shivered unwillingly. It was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact this was enjoyable. Her terror, my power. In that moment I was the ultimate villain and predator rolled into one. The thought both scared and excited me. What was being done was a necessity. It was either this or harm her. So what if I enjoyed the rush? It’s not like I was going to take her back to my lair and commit rape. The idea sent another shudder through me. This time it wasn’t pleasure. The thought of denying a human the right to reject somebody was wrong. Even if circumstances changed and she was willing, I could never forget that we had met in such a horrible way. I chuckled at the thought of the woman trying to tear out my throat ever willingly being seduced by me.

Jared faces plenty of confusion from thereon out, and things move so slowly that I’m having to use excerpts from three different novels just to show how things progress. The next portion is from the second novel, when they’ve moved past their awkward first encounter and have progressed to a stage where they don’t rip out one another’s throat on a regular basis. The idea here was to make both characters revert back to their teenage years and make it all very awkward. The scene sees them in the dorm of a bloke Jared is feeding from (by that I mean blood, nothing else) and it’s all too easy for Emilia to make fun of him.

Awkward declaration of liking one another – Minority Rules “See, you must be gay. Why else would you keep choosing men?” Emilia asked.

I scowled but couldn’t give a better response as my mouth was somewhat occupied. It wasn’t until we were leaving the man’s room that I was able to say, “I don’t choose them. I’m just not fussy enough to scour the whole campus for the perfect meal.”

“I was just looking for the perfect starters,” she said. “This is our first date. I wanted to make it memorable.”

“I hardly call feeding on these helpless mortals a date,” I replied, trying to talk over the skipping of my heart that had embarrassingly started at the word ‘date’.

“It is. Your mum set it up. Seeing as you won’t ask me out, this is as good as it’s going to get,” she said conversationally. “Not that I mind. I like feeding. And running. I also like spending time with you. I just wish you were more open about your feelings.”

“What?” I practically shouted the word at her. Mr. Sophisticated, that’s me. She relaxed against the wall with her arms crossed. I couldn’t tell whether she was angry or just comfortable.

“Jared, you are such a guy sometimes!”

“And that’s a bad thing?”

“Yes! Most of the time you’re different from normal men. More emotional, kinder, thoughtful, compassionate.”

“Is that why you think I’m gay?” I asked, making a joke but curious all the same.

“You know I don’t think that.” She sighed. “Do you like me?”

“Of course I do.”

“I mean as more than a friend, Jared. The way I like you.” She blushed. It was the first time she’s shown such embarrassment.

“I…Yes,” I said, going equally red. She physically relaxed against the wall, practically sliding the length of it. I relaxed, too. I hadn’t realised how much of a strain not admitting my feelings had brought. With that simple word I was able to feel the tension leek out of my body.

“I feel about ten years younger,” Emilia said, standing up once more. “Who would’ve thought such a declaration would be so awkward?”

“Me, that’s why I never did it.”

“Coward,” she muttered. We laughed and walked back home. No, we didn’t hold hands or start making out partway through the journey. We just walked. I even forgot about finding someone else to feed on.

And later in the same novel they share their first kiss. Perhaps someone else would’ve been kinder by this point, and allowed them a romantic moment where they’re on a date and sharing in a rare moment together. But no, they’re in a field, Emilia thinks Jared is actually his father, and an audience is just feet away. It might be considered mean of me to keep things hard for them, but I feel that the fact they’re still able to progress in their relationship shows just how strong their love is. Most people wouldn’t make it through so many strange scenarios and still feel a pull towards one another.

First kiss – Minority Rules Emilia ground her knee into my groin as only a woman would. I gasped, but more in realisation than pain. The sound brought a smirk to her lips. I never want that look aimed at me again. I took advantage of her leg no longer pinning me and rolled us over, remembering a happier time that we had done this in. It seemed like forever ago. She looked surprised to find herself pinned. Her growl vibrated down me and my body reacted. She growled again, warning me off. I bent my face towards hers and cut her off with a kiss. It wasn’t as deep as I wanted it to be, partially because she was too surprised to react. Right on cue, the wind blew behind me, knocking my scent into her face as she pushed me away.

Realisation dawned on her features. “Jared?”

“Either that or an impostor,” I said. “If you can’t tell the difference between me and my father, there’s no hope.”

“I was…” She searched for a word. “It was so unexpected.”

“Even so, you’d think my eyes would’ve given it away,” I said, looking deep into hers to emphasise my point.

“I was seeing red,” she said.

“That’s never good,” I whispered. She shook her head and tilted her face up towards mine. We kissed again. It was gentle at first, but soon passion outweighed caution. I put everything that words couldn’t say into that kiss. That I cared deeply for her, and it was terrifying to be apart. That the idea of never seeing her again was unbearable. That no matter how repulsed at myself I might be, she would accept who I am with no questions asked, and that meant more to me than words could say. She had done so from the moment I said how I felt about being a vampire. Before she even understood what it felt like to be one, she accepted it. Our hands stayed entwined but motionless throughout the kiss. Every ounce of energy and emotion was said through our mouths locked with one another’s. In that moment nothing mattered but her, and nothing had ever mattered more.

Nauseating, I know. The kind thing to do by this point would be to leave them in the field to progress with their relationship, but instead they find themselves returning to their lives with Jared’s father in tow, and between his presence and other circumstances that arise in the next novel, Jared and Emilia are unable to take things further until book four. I’d like to take this opportunity to point out I’m not always this slow at building fictional relationships. In fact, one of the things I find amusing is that my handsome vampire is the slowest at hitting all the bases. My other main characters are able to progress faster. I like to think it gives the average among us hope, or perhaps a sense of smugness as this seemingly perfect man is incapable of having his desired relationship. But of course I couldn’t torture him forever, and so we move on to – you guessed it – sex. One of the things I dislike about the novels I’ve read in the past is a tendency to turn into soft erotica, so I’ve established my own method of showing this stage in my characters’ relationships. Generally I use one or two lines to hint at what’s happening. This passage is from book four.

Coitus (thanks to Sheldon for making that term so popular) – Proving Negatives

“We should really get you home and out of those wet clothes,” Emilia said, a suggestive note in her voice. “The ghost can wait.”

“What about Ezra?” I asked.

“What about him? You’ll only be changing clothes.” She smiled wickedly. “What did you think I meant?”

“Tease.” The word came out as a growl, and it made her shudder. It wasn’t from fear, either. That made me ridiculously happy, so much so that I gladly ran when Emilia suggested it. We were home in a matter of minutes. What was more, Ezra wasn’t.

“He must be at the house of a lady-friend,” Emilia said, grabbing my jacket and tearing it open. When I looked at her incredulously she shrugged and said, “What? We don’t know how long he’ll be. And I’ve always wanted to do that.”

“I liked that jacket.”

“I’ll make it up to you.” Her way of doing this was by removing the rest of my clothes. I hardly found that fair, and so gave her a moment to stare in the most flattering way before evening the playing field. I was slower about it than she had been, enjoying each new section of skin bared as well as sparing her outfit. I don’t think she cared by this point. When we were both stripped of clothes, wet and dry, we took it upon ourselves to enjoy every inch of flesh that had been hidden for so long before now. Despite what Emilia had said about being quick, we weren’t. Ezra didn’t return home and intrude, and so we had a long and uninterrupted time together. I was immensely grateful that vampires don’t require blood to perform.

Last but not least is the first declaration of love. Sometime after they’ve made love, Emilia actually mentions loving Jared, but it’s a passing comment that is overlooked due to a disagreement the two have. It isn’t until later in the novel that Jared startles even himself by saying those three words, and again I couldn’t have a traditional love scene. I’ve instead taken my two characters full-circle, only it’s Jared who is imprisoned this time. Hey, what did you expect? There are no happily-ever-afters here. This is as far as I can go in showing their relationship, as no wedding bells are ringing as of yet and that’s with seven novels under Jared’s belt. We’ll just have to wait and see if they make it that far.

First declaration of love – Proving Negatives

“I love you.” Where did that come from? Well, it was honest.

“Really?” she asked in obvious surprise.

“Of course. You’re amazing, and I’m sorry for how I was before. It was wrong of me to judge you, and I’ve effectively fallen off my high-horse at last.”

She smiled. “Good. Everything’s so much better when you slum it down here.”

“Then consider me a permanent resident.”



Filed under Gumbee Fantasy Writers' Guild

2 responses to “Gumbee Fantasy Writers ‘do’ Emotion: No 5, Sandra Giles

  1. marcuspailing

    Nice! I like your writing style, Sandra.

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