I’ve always loved the old movie term for when two love interests see each other for the first time. The Meet Cute. Freddie & Taine technically have two of them in The Caretaker. The first before they know each other at a hospital, where one is volunteering and the other works as a nurse.
Their initially unofficial (Ooh, I rhymed) meet cute was tricky to get right. It’s a raw ‘judging a book by its cover’ kind of moment for Taine who sees Freddie in a vulnerable moment of self-doubt. It’s serious and profound, even though it’s mere seconds of time as far as the novel goes.
The second official meet cute is far less serious. It’s a bumbling series of amusing and snarky moments. It’s probably my favourite ‘romantic interests coming together’ scene that I’ve ever written, thus far in any case.
After a quick stop at BBs for a muffin and an iced coffee to soothe his temper from the early morning adventure, Freddie made his way towards the M4 to start his three-hour drive. Traffic was surprisingly light for a Saturday. He made the journey in record time, pulling up the drive to the inn only to find a massive silver Bentley SUV blocking his path.
Pretentious, rich arse.
He whacked his hand against the horn twice, chuckling at how the jaunty beep didn’t match his annoyance. He stuck his head out the window to hurry things along. “Oi! Could you move?”
A wave of a hand through the tinted glass followed the Bentley turning to the right into an actual parking spot and away from the single lane entrance. Freddie pulled up beside it and stepped out of his Mini Cooper. He walked around the vehicle only to find himself face to chest with a Samoan god.
A gravelly chuckle told him that he’d said it out loud.
His embarrassment faded when he spotted a furry creature on the man’s impressively broad shoulder. “Is that a hamster?”
“Speedy.” Mr God reached up to gently caress the tiny hamster’s head.
“His name.” He smiled, revealing perfect teeth in a crooked grin with his full lips only barely visible through his mostly grey beard. “Speedy the hamster.”
Freddie had to laugh at it. “My cat’s named Bitsy.”
“Is it small?”
“Not anymore.” He joined the handsome man in his burst of laughter, waiting until they settled down to offer his hand. “Freddie Whittle.”
Freddie mulled the name over in his mind while trying to remember where he’d heard it and seen the man. He looked so familiar. “So, actually Samoan?”
They’re sweet and funny, and earnest.
Humour, to me, is one of the most important aspects of any romance. If two lovers (or potential ones) can’t laugh together, you’ve already lost my interest. It’s probably the one theme that connects all of my novels more than anything else–a snarky and often absurd sense of amusement. Freddie & Taine’s first face to face introduction definitely held true to form in demonstrating it.
What about you?
Do you love reading (or writing) the first time romance interests meet in a novel?