AW Blog Chain May — Character Relationships

so playful

This month’s prompt: Relationships

Show a character’s approach to relationships in a short scene.  Use your characters’ interaction to show the dynamics of their relationship, show how they’re growing together or growing apart, or just have silly fun.

Character descriptions at the beginning are forbidden this time around–let them speak or act for themselves!

I was preceded in the chain by Yoghurtelf and will be followed by Aimeelaine.

While I can’t tell you about the characters, I’ll just say this is a scene I’ve whittled down from my / Iris’s in-process young adult novel, working title Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (and no, it’s not about gays in the military).


Ellen and Rex

By the time I climb to the top of the iron geodome, Gracie and Lizzy have locked onto each other while their mounts, Rex and Tyler, attempt to maneuver them into strategically advantageous positions.

“I think you can take ‘em both. ”  Mark throws down his cigarette butt and gives it a quick twist with the toe of his shoe.  He presents his back to me and says, “Get on.”

“Come on, Ellen!”  Lizzy yells.  She and Gracie have broken apart but their horses are snorting and pawing the ground, ready to charge again.

“Uh-oh, uh-oh, here come Ellen and Mark.  We can take ‘em can’t we, baby?”  If Gracie’s little girl voice cracks my reluctance, Rex’s theatrical snarl pulverizes it to smithereens.

I lower myself onto Mark’s offered back.  He’s large and strong and takes my weight as if I’m no heavier than a gym bag.

We hurtle toward our opponents.  I use my leg like a jousting pole to knock Gracie loose.  She struggles to stay on Rex’s back but manages.

Like the good mount he is, Mark spins and charges me in for another attack on Gracie.  Lizzy takes the other side, and between the two of us, we easily unseat her.  Rex laughs and extends a hand to help her up.

“I want a new partner!”  Gracie shoves Rex away and stomps toward Tyler and Lizzy.  “Switch!”

Mark taunts them.  “Doesn’t matter if you switch or not, we’ll beat all of you, no matter which way you pair off!”  He prances around in a tight circle and I can’t help but chortle.

I lightly pound a fist against Mark’s chest.  “We’ll kick your ass, no offense, Rex, and you too, Gracie.  My steed is fearless!”

With a grim look on his face, Rex marches over to Mark and I.  “It’s a three-way switch, so we’ll see about that.  Get off him, Ellen.”

Well, someone’s a bad loser, methinks.  “Fine,” I say, and squirm free from Mark’s grip.  I hope my glee over the switch up isn’t too obvious.

Rex plucks me away, and still holding my hand, spins his back toward me.  I hop on.  He’s warm and firm and sports a slightly damp spot on the back of his t-shirt.  I inhale where his shoulder meets his neck.  His scent is all boy—a little sweat, a little shampoo, and a hint of shaving cream.  Spicy. Earthy.  Rex.

“Hold on tight, Ellen, because we’re going to be an unholy blend of cunning strategy, power and beauty.”

“Yeah?  And what will your contribution be?”

I like teasing him.  His neck is next to my mouth.  If I were a vampire, I could bite him.  If I were a poet, I could whisper melodious adorations.  If I were his girlfriend, I could give his earlobe a gentle nip.

But I’m none of these.  I can only recant my taunt with, “…other than being the best mount in the stable, of course,” and wonder where in the world I’ve dredged up the chutzpah.

We attack.  Rex steers me first toward Gracie and I handily drop her to the ground.  Lizzy isn’t as easy because her mount is both strong and ferocious.  But if Mark is a grizzly bear, Rex is a badger.  He’s agile and relentless, and in no time, he’s maneuvered me into a position that allows me to pry Lizzy off.

“Victory lap!” Rex runs around the perimeter of the playground with me clinging tightly to his back.

I bounce with each downbeat, a vibrato in my tuneless hum.  I don’t want to let him go, don’t want this moment to end, but he isn’t mine no matter how much I might wish it. 

You had your chance.  Your chance you had.  Had you your chance.  Your chance had you.

The words collide and reassemble in my brain, their cadence in sync with Rex’s movements.  But their meaning never changes.

He slows to a walk and we rejoin the others where I imagine he holds me on his back a little longer than necessary.  Foolish girl.


The complete list of blog chain participants is:

orion_mk3 – (link to this month’s post)
Proach – (link to this month’s post)
Yoghurtelf – (link to this month’s post)
AuburnAssassin – YOU ARE HERE
aimeelaine – (link to this month’s post)
Della Odell – (link to this month’s post)
jkellerford – (link to this month’s post)
LadyMage – (link to this month’s post)
pezie – (link to this month’s post)
xcomplex – (link to this month’s post)
Inkstrokes – (link to this month’s post)
ElizaFaith13 – (link to this month’s post)
dolores haze – (link to this month’s post)
juniper – (link to this month’s post)
Steam&Ink – (link to this month’s post)

34 thoughts on “AW Blog Chain May — Character Relationships

  1. I like teasing him. His neck is next to my mouth. If I were a vampire, I could bite him. If I were a poet, I could whisper melodious adorations. If I were his girlfriend, I could give his earlobe a gentle nip.

    LOVE THAT. 🙂 And the fact she realizes she screwed up … again. 🙂 Beautimous!

    • My sister and I use that word “beautimous” all the time but don’t hear it too often otherwise. LOL

      Yes, Ellen definitely realizes she’s messed up, but she lives for those moments when she can pretend she didn’t.

      Thank you, Aimee!

  2. I also loved the part where she talks about the things she could do to his neck. I get the sense they either broke up or she blew him off in the past (did she maybe cheat on him?). Nicely done!

    • Thank you! Rex came on a little too strong when he and Ellen first met. She shoved him onto his ass so he moved on to Gracie. Poor Ellen’s been trying to catch up ever since, only she thinks he’s now firmly entrenched in the friend zone. 😦

  3. Damn! Aimee and Erin already used the example I wanted to use!
    I like the tighness of this group, the familiarity.
    Loose and easy, in a good way 😉

    • Thanks, Dale. 🙂 It’s interesting to read impressions of such a short scene as seen by someone with no context. It really gives a whole new perspective on the “show vs. tell” argument, requires a lot stronger “show”, that’s for sure.

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  5. I like how Ellen goes so easily from self-conscious overworrying to hasn’t-a-care-in-the-world – very real and very teenagery. Very nice! Looking forward to more!

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  7. I really, really liked this. Fun, light-hearted. And Ellen so screwed up and knows it! nice teen characterization without over or under doing.

    • Thanks, Jen! 🙂 Ellen’s biggest problem is she just can’t seem to express how she really feels or ask for what she wants because she’s too tightly clamped inside her own head. She, however, blames it all on the earlier “chance” she thinks she blew, not realizing her nearly impenetrable shell has done more harm than that one incident.

  8. He DID hold her on his back longer than necessary, didn’t he? C’mon, ‘fess up.

    Love the little details in this that make it come alive – well done!

    • Of course he did; he’s crazy about her. That’s Ellen’s problem though. She overlooks or dismisses the obvious, which is: he ran around the whole park with her on his back, which was a LOT longer than necessary. 😉 Thanks for the read and nice comment, m’dear!!

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  15. “He’s warm and firm and sports a slightly damp spot on the back of his t-shirt. I inhale where his shoulder meets his neck. His scent is all boy—a little sweat, a little shampoo, and a hint of shaving cream. Spicy. Earthy. Rex.”

    Ooooohhhhh … so sensual. I am feeling this all the way down to my toes.

    I really like this phrasing: “You had your chance. Your chance you had. Had you your chance. Your chance had you.

    The words collide and reassemble in my brain …”

    Nice bit of writing! I can see it all, feel it all, would like to be there.

    • Hmm, good question. Without context, other than the heroine’s mentioning that she had her chance and blew it, I can see that it would be difficult to tell from this scene how Rex would behave in a committed relationship. This ultimately ends up being a huge source of angst for the heroine–the wondering and assuming. Thanks for the read and comment.

  16. Nice excerpt! Especially the bit with her fantasizing about what she would do to his neck. ^.-

    I’ll admit, at first I was utterly confused. But after reading further I was able to organize everything in my mind. I’m a little sleepy. @_@

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