She's the main character of Vinnie and Ellie— one of my many non-fantasy WIPs (I really hate the title by the way. I just can't think of anything else to call it). It was the result of my first foray into the world of NaNoWriMo back in 2009. I set out wanting to write a chick lit novel, just to see if I could do it. And I guess since the story's still unfinished (you're shocked, I know), whether I can do it remains to be seen.
Anyway, Vinnie and Ellie is the story of Lavinia (who calls herself Nia but is called Vinnie by her friends) and the drop dead gorgeous Llewelyn (who calls himself Lew and is called Ellie by friends). They meet, they fall in love, complications arise but, at the end of the story, when it's all said and done, these two will have a happy ending. It's not quite written yet but I know that's where it'll end.
The scene I'm going to post below is their very first dialogue heavy meeting. (Or part of it anyway. As it often seems to be the case with me, the entire scene is much too long for this post.) They meet in a bar where Vinnie is celebrating her unexpected unemployed status with a fifth of whiskey. Enter Lew, a guy just looking for a beer and place to sit.
“This seat taken?” a man’s voice asks.
I don’t look up. “Does it look like it’s taken?”
“No, but I didn’t know if maybe you had a boyfriend—“
“Oh, how very progressive of you.”
“Maybe using the facilities or something,” the man finishes.
“No,” I say, looking up finally. “That seat’s not taken.”
The man to whom the voice belongs appears to be the textbook definition of ‘tall, dark and handsome.’ His eyes are blue and his dark hair is cropped close to his head. He has some stubble on his face but it only adds to his rugged good looks. He’s wearing a tee shirt and jeans, both of which do a lot to promote his athletic build. He smiles at me as he slides onto the stool, revealing his very white and very straight teeth.
“So you’re here on your own then?” he asks as he signals to Frank.
“Just me and my friend, Jack.”
Frank comes over and my newfound, yet entirely unwanted, companion asks for a beer. Whatever’s on tap. He’s not picky. Frank pours Sam Adams. When the new arrival receives his pint, he throws some money down on the bar and takes a swig of the beer. Frank looks at me as he gathers the money. It’s a look I’ve seen before. Is this man bothering you, Nia? I shake my head slightly. Nothing I can’t handle. Frank nods and turns to the register.
“Jack?” the tall dark stranger asks as he sets his beer down.
Not too bright, this one. Probably gets by on his looks. He probably makes women everywhere crazy with those well muscled arms of his. He then dazzles them with his baby blue eyes and easy grin and washboard abs so they don’t notice his total lack of wit. Too bad for him I’m immune to such manipulation.
Probably immune to such manipulation.
I indicate my glass. “Jack. As in ‘Daniels’?”
“You want another?” Frank asks me.
I nod and Frank pours me another whiskey. I do not throw any money on the bar and Frank walks away to tend to some other patrons.
“Come here often?” the man asks.
“Wanna know my sign next?” I ask. “Look, if you’re trying to pick me up, I’m not interested. Save us both some time and hassle, you know?”
“Who said I was trying to pick you up?”
“You certainly seem like you’re trying to pick me up.”
“Just making conversation.”
“I think I may have stumbled on to why you’re here alone,” he says.
“I’m sitting here at this bar alone,” I say. “But I am not alone in this building. I have a friend—“
“Who dances,” I say and point over my shoulder in the general direction of the dance floor. “She’s over there.”
He looks over his shoulder. “You don’t dance?”
“Haven’t had enough to drink yet to consider it.”
“So you’re one of those.”
“Whatever that means.”
“So touchy,” he says. “You always like this?”
“What do you care?”
“Are you new to the concept of conversation?”
“I didn’t ask you to sit here.”
“Nor did I ask you to converse with me,” I say. “In fact, I think I’ve done quite a lot to discourage conversation.”
“And yet,” I say.
He grins. “Here I am.”
“Yes, here you are. So, what are you? A glutton for punishment?”
“Lose a bet?”
“Not that I recall.”
“Someone put you up to this?” I ask, looking over my shoulder to see if Susannah is having a good laugh at my expense. She isn’t. She’s thrown herself into a very energetic, if slightly intoxicated, version of the Robot.
He laughs. “You know, I don’t know why but I kind of like you.”
“I don’t know why either.”
“Can I ask your name?”
“If you’re asking if you’re capable of forming the words which will form a sentence inquiring after my name, I think the answer is ‘yes.’ I don’t know you very well but I have faith you could handle it.”
“If I asked you your name,” he says then, “would you tell me?”
“Ah,” I say. “Now there’s a valid question.”
“And the answer?”
I look him over and have a sip of my drink. “Nia,” I say. “My name is Nia.”
“Nia,” he says. “That’s nice.”
“I’ve always thought so,” I say. “What’s your name?”
“Like short for Lewis?”
“Like that, yeah,” he says.
He looks over his shoulder again.
“Am I keeping you from something? Someone?” I ask. “Wife? Girlfriend? Boyfriend? Your mother?”
He shakes his head and looks back at me. “I’m flying solo tonight.”
“Left your entourage at home, did you?”
“I don’t really know how much of an entourage it is,” he says. “No wife, no girlfriend.”
“No boyfriend,” he says. “Although that’s very progressive of you.”
“I do try to keep an open mind.”
He snorts into his beer. “I do have a couple of friends but they’re spending the evening with their wives and girlfriends.”
“Wives and girlfriends?”
He shrugs. “They like to keep an open mind.”
“An example for us all,” I say. “So, what’s wrong with you?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re good looking, kind of nice, entirely single and apparently free of any emotional baggage and yet here you are, sitting alone talking to an overly hostile woman in some smoky dive on a Friday night. So what’s wrong with you?”
“Only kind of nice?” he asks.
“What’s wrong with you?” he asks.
“What makes you think something’s wrong with me?”
“You’re good looking, kind of nice—“
“Kind of nice?” I interrupt. “That’s one hell of a curve you’re grading on.”
“Entirely single but unfortunately broke from excess emotional baggage fees,” Lew finishes.
“And you still have to wonder what’s wrong,” I say.
“Maybe I’m just trying to be polite.”
“This is you trying to be polite?”
“Is this you trying to be polite?” he asks.
“Who says I’m trying to be polite?”
He smiles again and even laughs. “No one within earshot,” he says. “Another round?”