I am a firm believer that the characters in my books should treat each other with respect and kindness. It goes back to the fact that the hero of many romances can be a touch taciturn and a lot like an ass. Perhaps I am hoping to help humanity in this case. I am tired of seeing women day after day (Or men for that matter) with someone who treats them poorly. All because of the allure of the bad girl or bad boy. We cannot rescue people from themselves. I often state that in real life and in my novels.
That being said, I am putting forth the start to a novel I started the last week. Some of this has been shown in previous posts. But I will give you leave to like it or hate it.
“Can we talk?” Layah asked the stern looking man behind the desk as she peered around his open door. There was always something about him. Something colder and more stern than perhaps the most serious of businessmen. His ruddy auburn hair was neatly cut but the bangs were longer so they fell over his eyes often. He kept them there when he wished to be done with something. So of course with her they were always present. His eyes that he hid behind longer lashes were a strange mix of rust and gold. It was one of the strange colours of hazel in her opinion.
They fixed pointedly on anything that was taking his focus. And now, he was watching her and not necessarily welcoming her verbally into his office. But a curt nod just as the pause got uncomfortable was adequate enough for her.
“So about this tech-“ she tried again.
“No” Dr. Jones said evenly while staring her down.
“But-“ she tried again
“No.” He said again. “Now did you have anything new to say at all?” He challenged.
Layah let out a long but silent sigh, “No.” She said softly back.
Only an indication of his head toward the door dismissed her and she sent him a barely masked eye roll on her way out.
Just outside her friend Michael was waiting to see how it went. He was flamboyant and nosy, full of energy and yet serious and calm when in his thoughts. “Tell me you got five words this time.” he gasped.
Layah stopped and counted. “I got six.” She laughed happily. “Two less than last time.”
As they laughed she did note the boss there nearly behind them. He went around without notice of them as was also normal for them. Another girl passed him and he did glance her way before moving on. Tia, the tallest of the hired fake mermaids was heading their way.
Both of them braced for it as she approached with a smirk on her full lips and rubbing her hand over her perfect caramel skin. She was tall and divine with curves and yet a trim waist. Layah wished she could polish up so well. “My tank is nearly freezing.” She began without preamble. “Instead of trying to suck up to Dr. Jones try actually working.” She drawled.
“I’ll see what I can do.” Layah sighed out and pushing her copper blonde curls from her eyes she tightened her pink tool belt.
“Oh sweetie.” Tia went on. “You must let me help your style. You are a mess. It’s no wonder you can’t get anyone to listen to you or even date you.” It appeared that Tia was out to pick on her and Michael might escape her. “I’m surprised you even go into public wearing that. “ she carried on.
“Perhaps after your tank is warm?” She stalled.
“So like never right?” she drawled back with an eye roll. Layah wondered how her fake green contacts didn’t pop out with how much she rolled them every day, especially around her.
Wandering toward the colorful building just on the break wall of the great lake, the wind caught her up and she was distracted. The sky was a pale clear blue and the lake dark blue with waves capping even far into the distance. All of it spoke of a cold front just around the corner. Leaning over she watched the waves crash up the wall and she was wishing in that moment to be in the water instead of above it.
Contentment surrounded her as the sun warmed her more pale skin. “Focus.” She heard and there was Dr. Jones behind her again barely sparing her a glance. Why he followed her so closely at times confused her. She never broke anything, and was very talented if he ever gave her a chance. But that was the thing, she realised, as she looked him over from head to toe. He would never give her a chance.
With a last look over the water she turned and headed inside to a tank she highly disliked. It was more like a large pool that housed a mermaid exhibit. It held a large rock at the center and small cliffs along the sides. There were ports for air all along the exhibit where they had to pause their act to breathe. Layah wished Dr. Jones would just give her a chance to show him the tech she sported. It would make that tank so much better. So much more real.
Slowly she wandered along the damp and dark room under the tank that held the support system. She was determined to find the cause of the cold tank. There was nothing standing out and no hint of a power problem or leak. Layah felt a touch unsettled with lack of information and instead headed back above ground to look around the rest of the equipment.
She came around to the back room where the mermaids readied. Clothing strewn, towels thrown in a messy pile, and pallets of makeup created an almost chaotic space that spoke of excitement and selfishness. Layah didn’t envy the cleanup crew that had to look after them.
Layah left that behind for the tank and skipped up the ladder two at a time to check the system above in the catwalk. Again nothing stood out and being puzzled she sat there on that catwalk and considered all of the possible reasons for the cold tank. The water again danced in front of her as she looked down to the large center rock. Her mind longed for escape to something more than what she was doing, but again Dr. Jones would never give her a chance unless she could prove herself in some way.
“Sometimes you just have to turn the temperature back up.” She heard and there was Dr. Jones again. And his look was a touch more dangerous that time with annoyance and perhaps even disappointment.
So HOW does he win this girl over in the end if this is how he starts out? Perhaps that is the joy of the story. He is not as cruel as he appears at first and it becomes clear very quickly once we get inside his head. With external sources surrounding him, he is left with nothing but his knowledge base and instincts to draw from. Instead of seeing him as a terrible choice in protagonist, I see him maybe as terribly flawed and in need of understanding. I hope he shakes out. If not he will go the way of all the ass holes in my life. Deleted!