A Delicate Relationship with the Devil

“I can try to ignore the feeling, but it won’t let me. What is it? Lust? Desire? Love? It’s hard to say exactly what it is, but it’s so strong it takes over almost every waking moment. She’s on my mind, constantly. When I’m out for a drive, trying to relax and enjoy the countryside, my thoughts turn to her. I imagine stroking every inch of her body. ”

Gamber’s face flushed and he spoke faster as he revealed more about his obsession.

“When I’m in her presence, it takes every bit of my self-control to keep from taking her in my arms and kissing her. But I have this irrational feeling that maybe, just maybe, she harbors the same feelings for me that I have for her.  And that’s what makes it so hard for me to let it go. What if she is waiting for a signal from me and I’m waiting for a signal from her? That’s the stuff of tragedies, you know? Jesus, how can I deal with this?”

“Look, you need to slow down and think,” I said, gingerly, hoping I was not stepping into the middle of a pit of quicksand that would quickly consume me.

“I think you’re obsessed with her because she helped you get through Dianna’s illness.  She’s been there to support you since she died, so it’s natural that you have feelings for her, but what you’re telling me is, you know, over the top. I think it’s just an emotional reaction to dealing with a really bad time. She’s your sister-in-law, for God’s sake, and my best friend! ”

His brow furrowed as he looked away from me.  He closed his eyes for a moment, then said, “I know I’m putting you in a tough spot, Lisa, but you’re the only person I can talk to about this. This is not something I can discuss with my male friends. It’s just not.”

“I know, and I want you to know I’m here for you, too. And don’t worry about putting me in a tough spot, ” I said, wishing he’d never said a word to me. “Look, women tend to share things with their friends that men don’t. I think Susan would have told me if she had romantic feelings for you.  She hasn’t. Even if she had, I’d warn both of you from getting entangled. People’s reactions to you two getting together would be brutal.”

And so, I’ve started writing this story of an uncomfortable romantic entanglement from the perspective of the female narrator who doesn’t want to be in the position she’s in.  I’m trying to decide now which of the scenarios I’ve created will be best to move the story forward:

  1. 1) Gamber reveals his feelings to his sister-in-law, Susan, with potentially devastating consequences;
  2. A romantic relationship develops between the narrator and Gamber, putting both of them in a precarious position with regard to their relationship with Susan; or
  3. Gamber dies early in the story in a tragic accident, after which the narrator reveals to Susan what Gamber told her and then the story flashes back to Susan revealing her mental anguish to the narrator, before her sister’s death, in controlling her romantic feelings for Gamber.

If anyone reading this has an opinion (or a scathing criticism), I’d love to read it.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to A Delicate Relationship with the Devil

  1. You picked up on some significant sloppiness on my part! The scenarios should have referred to Susan, not Lisa. Fixed. And thank you very much.

  2. Holly Forrest says:

    I’m confused as hell. Your little excerpt has Gamber talking to the narrator, whom he calls Lisa, and they discuss his attraction for his sister in law Susan. Yet your three scenarios imply very different things about who’s on first. Is Lisa ALSO his sister in law? Is the narrator NOT Lisa? Can you see how what you’ve written is different than your questions about it? HELP!

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