Story: Not That Kind of Girl
My Thoughts: Okay, yes, it's convenient that one of my only non-male characters falls for one of my only other non-male characters. But once you get over that, I hope you see the beauty in the two of them getting together. First there's Ace, who has issues. Then there's Julia, who has issues. Ace has a difficult time trusting anyone. Then there's Julia, who trusts everyone far too easily. Together, they form a solid and stable partnership... in theory!
This story shows how they meet each other. Given their mutual friends, it's surprising their paths hadn't crossed before. But I liked having their first meeting merely coincidental, because it meant the attraction was genuine, not a setup. And I personally love the idea of Julia being attracted to all the parts of Ace that might confuse others. Ace is such a wonderful, many-sided character and definitely deserves someone who appreciates it all. And Julia deserves someone who isn't going to take advantage of her, manipulate her, or abuse her.
Parts of this story were inspired by my own times behind the wheel. There is little I would rather do than drive for a living, but the opening scene with the windshield wipers was one I had been wanting to write for years, inspired by a time driving home from a Writers' Roundtable meeting. And the flooded road was one I had to face during a freak summer rainstorm one afternoon. Unlike Julia, I stupidly drove right through the high standing water (the car behind me made it almost impossible to do anything else). Luckily, I drive an SUV and was just fine (apart from my high-pitched scream as I drove through). A limo probably couldn't have made it, though.
Story: Late Call
My Thoughts: Don't Ask, Don't Tell wasn't just difficult for those serving, but also for those back home. In this story, I used a phone call from Trip to explore this. The housemates have to be careful what they say on their end, not wanting to give anything away. Trip chose this path in life and he trained for this; the housemates, on the other hand, find it harder to deal with. They're both proud of him and worried for him.
Sweetie, who is definitely an F for Feeling in Myers-Briggs, takes the lead and does the most talking. Olly, who is used to trying to keep people alive and healthy and who can do nothing as his friend heads to war, is mostly quiet. And Nik, like Toby, is just glad to hear from his friend.
The nature of Nik and Trip's relationship is something of a mystery to even me. They bond over the dog, but there's definitely more than that. Nik is the person Trip goes to when he has a bad dream or when his PTSD is too much for him to cope with on his own. Nik loves fiercely and protectively, and I'm guessing Trip is drawn to that. Which is not to say there isn't something more between the two of them, of course...
My favorite part of the story (apart from tough boy Trip talking baby talk to his puppy) is imagining what Auntie Al will think when he finds the remnants of the impromptu late night ice cream party on the kitchen table in the morning.
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