Excerpts From Unfinished Novels #3: Love Is A Strange And Tentacled Thing

Genre: supernatural romance

Warnings: none

Word Count: 1,069

Summary: Jake’s eager to explore their human side, especially the realm of dating and romance. However, their eldritch nature and…tentacles, might not be such a hit with potential partners.

 

Excerpt is from around a quarter of the way into the novel.

“Okay I’m done. What do you think?” Jake asked me with a grin as he leaned back from his laptop.

I placed a hand on his shoulder as I leaned down to read over what he’d written. I grimaced as my eyes scanned over the words. “Ummm….”

“What’s wrong?” Jake asked, the grin immediately falling from his face.

“Nothing,” I said quickly.

He stared at me flatly until I sighed and said, “It’s just a bit…much.”

“In what way?”

“Well you’re very…honest.”

“I thought it was good to be honest.”

“Not on your dating profile,” I said grimly. “I mean, it’s good to be honest to an extent but there are some things that are better left to when you get to know the person you’re dating better.”

“Oh.”

Jake stared forlornly at the laptop screen, his pitch-black eyes somehow managing to look emotionless and melancholic at the same time. “Maybe I should just forget about this whole thing,” he sighed. “It was a stupid idea in the first place, I mean, my father always said that when I meet the right person I should just drag them to the underworld and make them my undead spouse, but that just doesn’t feel right you know? I want to try dating and romance, and all the other human stuff…which is a completely ridiculous notion.”

“No it’s not,” I said firmly, squeezing his shoulder. “I think it’s great that you finally want to put yourself out there and date and try to find love in the…conventional way.” I looked back at the laptop and waved my hand at it while adding, “What you’ve got here is great, it just needs a little…editing, that’s all. Here, let me help you.”

Jake brightened up and shot me a grateful smile. I pulled up a chair beside him and turned the laptop towards me. I scrolled back up to the top of the profile and started reading aloud.

“Okay, so first of all you’ve said you’re bisexual and genderfluid. That’s definitely the sort of thing you want to be honest about, though you should be aware that it will make finding someone a bit more difficult – there’s still a lot of biphobia in the community and then gender identity is a whole other ballgame, but if you’re not honest about it from the get-go it’ll only lead to issues further down the line. Right, let’s see…okay here, this part needs to change – ‘I wake in the mornings with an urge to devour mortal souls.’”

“But I do. I mean, I never actually do it, but it is my first thought in the morning.”

“It’s just a little intense you know? Like, if I read that I would be afraid that you would end up trying to devour my soul if I ever slept over. Or I’d think you were some sort of crazy serial killer.”

“I see what you mean. So what should I say instead?”

“How about ‘I’m a bit of a grump in the morning.’ And then you could add a cheeky ‘but that could change depending on who I’m waking up next too 😉’”

Jake laughed and nodded. “That sounds good. Okay what next?”

“…Oh, right here, where it asks about your favourite food. You’ve said ‘I feast on the hearts of the mighty beasts I slay.’ First of all, again, very intense. Secondly, most of the time those ‘mighty beasts’ are mice and rats that we’ve caught in our traps, and thirdly you also eat other food.”

“But hearts are my favourite,” Jake protested.

“How about you just put down that you like rare steak.”

Jake sighed and nodded and I quickly made the changes.

We continued through the rest of his profile, editing the highly intense and revealing passages. These included his favourite childhood memory (being taken to witness and glorify ritual sacrifices with his father, an eldritch god), his hobbies (taking on an animal form in order to glory in the primal wildness of nature), his most embarrassing moment (accidentally causing a tsunami during puberty), and his favourite feature (his tentacles). I tried my best to steer him towards focusing on his more human qualities, like his love of scrapbooking, his volunteer work at the dog shelter, and how he was part of a local rugby team. Whenever we butted heads over an answer (he REALLY wanted to mention his tentacles), I would write something vague and semi-misleading as a compromise.

“Okay done,” I said proudly, turning the laptop back to Jake. “What do you think?”

Jake read over the changes that I’d made, and though he tried to keep his face impassive, I could tell that he wasn’t one hundred percent comfortable with them.

“What do you not like about them?” I asked as he continued to stare at the screen a frown firmly in place, his lips pursed.

“It’s not that I don’t like them…it’s just that they’re a little vague.”

“It’s mysterious,” I said in my most persuasive tone. “People like a bit of mystery, it gives them something to talk about, a reason for them to want to get to know you. You see, when you fill in a dating profile it’s about giving enough information to reel them in without giving too much away.”

“Why is this so difficult?” Jake whined slumping forward onto the desk. “I mastered ritualistic summoning spells and ancient blood curses by the time I was six, but human dating profile etiquette is beyond my capabilities.”

“That’s why I’m here,” I said soothingly, throwing an arm around his shoulder. “I’m your wing-buddy, your guide to human dating rituals. Whatever it is you need help with just let me know okay?”

“Okay,” Jake replied with a bright smile as he leaned against me. “Thanks Alex.”

“No problem. So, happy to leave the answers as they are?”

“Yeah.”

“Great. Just one more thing to do,” I said, pulling out my phone. “You need a profile picture. Up you get.”

Jake grinned and stood up, moving to stand in front of the wall I gestured at. I stood in front of him and held up my phone as he cocked his head to the side and sent me a roguish grin.

“Wait.” I moved forwards and gently rearranged his beard so that his tentacles were hidden from view. “Much better.”

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