I decided to try some realistic fiction today. It’s not something I feel comfortable writing, but practice makes…better, if not perfect. At least, that’s the hope. The problem with realistic fiction is it needs to be, well, realistic. That doesn’t just mean omitting dragons and things that go bump in the night; it means creating characters that feel authentic, a human connection that draws the reader in.
All of my characters are purely fictional and not based on any of my real life acquaintances… at least in this story.
She didn’t mind when he claimed she should pay for coffee because he had driven. She could have easily walked here and had offered to, but there was no point in arguing, not even when he snapped at the barista for making his order what he asked for and not what he actually wanted. A ten dollar bill was soon stuffed into the tip jar and an apologetic look flashed to the poor teen behind the counter.
She loved this cafe nestled on the corner, the table next to the window the perfect place to watch passers by. That’s why she had suggested it when he texted her asking her out. Well, it was less a question and more of an order now that she thought about it. She sipped her scalding latte making a mental note to watch for that next time. Confidence and arrogance were apparently easily confused. She was gazing out the window watching a woman walk her two dogs, not listening as he rattled on about…what was it? Oh right, his work out routine. She had tried to join the conversation but quickly grew tired of being talked over. He seemed to be enjoying himself just fine without her input.
They had met at a mutual friend’s party, and he had been the picture of charm. Maybe he had an evil twin, because the man at the party was nothing like this man scolding yet another employee who was wiping up a puddle of spilled coffee next to their table. Apparently it was disturbing their very one-sided conversation. It would have been a shame if he fell and cracked his head open, she mused.
When the mop had finally been returned to its proper place in the corner, he suggested she work out more. A couple of days a week, and she could be a real babe. She would prefer to stick to being a fake one, but he didn’t laugh, being too engrossed in planning their next gym session. It would have to wait until next week; he was busy with work and already had weekend plans. She quickly shoved her coffee aside and asked him to elaborate. Anything to get off this topic.
He graciously insisted she tell him about her weekend plans instead. She didn’t have many, maybe a glass of wine and a movie. Work had been stressful, and there was a new pizza place down the street she wanted to try. Pizza was a topic everyone could agree on, right? Wrong. This was why she needed to be more active, she was told. After a weekend like that, she’d need the gym. She could only stare when he jokingly asked what size she wore anyway followed by a laugh and the claim he’d find out later. Unlikely.
He proudly bragged for her how lucky she was go out with him. All the girls in his gym were dying to – she doubted that – and some of them were much more fit than she. She took a dainty sip of her coffee, testing its temperature. It had cooled to lukewarm while it sat through this barrage. Maybe it had lost its will to live too. She carefully popped the lid off the styrofoam cup and did something she’s always wanted to try. She threw her coffee in his face.
It’s tempting to write another version of this story from his perspective in which we learn that he isn’t actually a jerk, but alas, other projects await. What were your thoughts on the characters?