Monday, May 2, 2011

When Can Fictional Characters Have Sex?

Grant scribbled some more notes, then his stomach growled and he realized he hadn’t eaten dinner, grabbed his stuff, drove home and fixed a chicken sandwich with a generous scoop of potato salad, ate it while flipping through a stack of mail.

He booted up his computer and logged onto his stock program, checked things out, nothing had happened, and noted Sean fixed the glitch. Guy was earning his twenty percent.

Went to his recliner, flipped on ESPN, was watching highlights from a women’s tennis tournament, and getting sleepy, when his cell rang: Amber.

“I’m all worked up now and can’t sleep,” she told him when he clicked on. “What’re you doing?”

“Watching women’s tennis. Send someone to shoot me.”

“You got any food at your place? I’m starving.”

“Yeah. You’re not all sweaty though, are you?”

“I am. You have a shower, don’t you?”

Shortly thereafter:

“It’s not locked,” Grant called, when Amber knocked on the door at a little past 10:00.

“This okay?” Amber said, closing the door behind her. “You weren’t about to go to bed were you?”

“If I’d watched any more women’s tennis I’d be fast asleep by now.” Grant got up and went to the kitchen, saying, “I just had a chicken sandwich and potato salad. I’ll make some up if you want.”

“Sounds great. Where’s your shower?”

“It’s out back, in the corner of the yard.”

“I never knew you were such a smartass.” Amber’s voice trailed down the hall.

A minute later, while fixing her sandwich, Grant heard the shower in his bedroom. A few things passed through his mind: why didn’t she use the guest shower? Did she lock the bathroom door? And, what might happen if he waited until the shower warmed up, then slipped in and joined her?

He considered things for a few moments, then was struck with the thought that gyms have showers. That was as good an invitation as he’d ever heard.

He put the food in the fridge, padded down the hall to his room and removed his clothes. When he pushed the bathroom door open, the hinge squeaked.

“ ’Bout time. Get your ass in here.”

Q:  When do characters in books have sex?

A:  At least as often as “real” people do, probably more. They never tire, don’t cramp up, and don’t get sore.

Grant and Amber have worked together for some time, at least a couple of years, but never dated until the day before these scenes took place. Yesterday, in the book, Amber asked Grant if he wanted to get a drink after work, so they spent a couple of hours getting to know each other. (The scene is too long for a post.)

They kissed after Grant walked Amber to her car. Yes, she drove home despite having two shots of tequila and a couple of beers. “I can handle four drinks in two hours,” she’d said. Cops.

Everyone in the department, the men at least, thought Amber should’ve been a model. Use your imagination to picture her any way you’d like. She was very stern at work, even austere. Grant guessed she was like that so the public would take her seriously.

Beauty stirs emotions: In the opposite sex: desire, lust, fantasy… In the same sex: jealousy, coveting, admiration… People like Amber are so good looking they have to play it down.

Then there’s Grant. He’s handsome and drives a Ferrari, and he’s single. Not a bad resume, although Amber does raise a good point: thirty-five and still-single can raise a red flag.

Prior to Amber asking Grant out, she had been zinging him, like this:
“You think of anything else?” Grant asked Amber. Their eyes met for a millisecond; a zing shot down Grant’s back.
Amber nodded, jotted a note, chewed on the end of her pencil. She looked up and made eye contact with Grant: zing.
And then they brushed up against each other in Grant’s truck. More zinging. I’m sure that’s happened to you once or twice. 

Back to my question. I didn’t want to depict Amber, them, as being… easy. I hope I didn’t.


  1. I was going to make a smart ass comment on how easy it is for a guy to get zinged, but I would NEVER do that!

    If they've worked together for years and they're both as hot as you make them sound, then they've been working around their sexual tension for a long time. I think the first time they allow themselves to really relax around each other that the tension is going to come to a head (like that? hee hee) So it is completely realistic that they'd be having sex quickly. :)

    Besides, he drives a Ferrari! He's asking for it...

  2. If she had any sexual tension toward Grant, she'd hid it well. Which is why he was shocked when she asked him out. I could have fleshed out their relationship better in the book. I have big plans for them in the next book; it will be a turning point for Grant.

  3. To answer the question, in fiction as in real life, whenever SHE wants

  4. Is this only from his pov? If she works with him the issue of how an off duty relationship should enter in here somewhere for at least one of them. Does their office have any kind of fraternizing policy? I think with so little personal stuff coming before she does come off as very fast (and I mean timewise) or just very confident that he is ready to make such a big jump in their relationship outside of work.

  5. Yes, just Grant's POV. Grant frets about dating a coworker because he's seen how they've been treated by other coworkers. He talks to Amber about how she feels, and she says "they can bite my shorts", so she's okay. Grant is lead detective on the case but isn't technically her supervisor. That would have broken some regs. No regs were broken this way. There is a little backstory regarding their past relationships with others, but nothing had happened between them. At all.

    Years ago, guys who quickly fell into bed were studs. Women were called whores. Things have changed, a little. Maybe not everywhere and in every social niche. Some of that lingers with me, so I feel a little badly that many will think poorly of Amber, but not Grant. They should think of them the same.

    It could have been better developed.

  6. Ryan: As a man who's been married twice, I can say that used to be true, but is no longer. Not braggin', just sayin'. It should always be mutual.

  7. I think we all expect characters in books & movies to jump in the sack sooner than real life counterparts. I know many movies during which the characters spouse just died and already their falling for someone new. We know in real life it would take much longer, but there's only so many minutes in a movie or pages in a book. I don't think Amber comes off as easy. Women are forgiving to book caharacters, now in real life, we might start name calling.

  8. "there's only so many minutes in a movie or pages in a book"
    Good point and true. Thanks for commenting.

  9. I think that this is the joy of Fiction. Whether it be watching a movie or reading a book I think that the questions "Is it too soon?" or "Should we be doing this?" can be put aside; because there is always (well, maybe not always) a wonderful story surrounding the questions.