As a novelist I enjoy writing about relationships. I’ve spent years observing people’s behaviour in all sorts of situations – within romantic relationships, family relationships, within groups both informal and structured, at dinner parties or self-help therapy groups or in other group situations such as writing workshops. In my mystery romance novel “Mystical Circles”, I create a hothouse atmosphere within a closed community, where relationships and liaisons flare and flourish or fizzle out quickly. Much depends on the undercurrents of motive behind the behaviour and interactions of the characters.
Here is an extract showing the interpersonal tensions that may be found in the hothouse atmosphere of “The Wheel of Love”.
“Life is but a dream,” Rory said.
“You really believe that?”
“Of course. Who’d have harsh reality when they can live here?” he replied.
Oleg moved within range. “Life’s no different from what it was outside. Still goes badly for me most of the time.”
She glanced at him, bemused. “I noticed you last night in the barn with Beth, Oleg. Didn’t you two sort things out at all?”
He glared at her. “What d’you mean by that? Sort things out? How? And why were you watching us?”
She took a deep breath. “I can’t help noticing how much you care for her.”
“She doesn’t care for me,” he snapped.
Silence fell. She sought words. “Perhaps you’ve misunderstood her true feelings, Oleg. Perhaps you think too little of yourself. Be encouraged by Craig. He says you’re in tune with your higher self.”
“That depends upon what he actually chose to tell Craig.” Rory spoke in a snide tone of voice.
“Rory’s jealous,” said Oleg.
Rory moved as if he was about to strike him.
Juliet, alarmed, quickly stepped between them. “What’s up between you two?” she asked.
Rory looked surprised. “Nothing,” he replied, and sauntered on.
Then she turned back to Oleg. “What have you done to upset Rory?”
“Other way round.” His voice filled with self-pity. “It’s him who upset me.”
“Oh?” She ducked under a low branch. “What did he do?”
He looked dejected. “He asked me if I could possibly love him.”
Juliet took the risk of flippancy. “Didn’t you say ‘yes, as a friend? But I love Beth more’? This is, after all, a wheel of love.”
“No, I’d never tell him that,” he retorted, in a fierce undertone. “It doesn’t work that way. Not with Rory. He gets violent.”
“Oh?” She started. Her heart missed a beat. “Violent? D’you mean he beats you up?”
But Oleg was clearly unwilling to say more.
Juliet now felt a frisson of fear when she looked at Rory. She knew she shouldn’t judge anyone here simply on the basis of what someone else said about them. Even so… She would treat Rory with just a little extra caution until she knew him better.
But what she really wanted to know right now was: how did Craig mean to deal with all these conflicting desires? Was he really equipped to handle them? Or was this, for him, a dream he never intended to wake up from?