A "what-if" moment turns into the ultimate meet-cute.
Illustration by Amanda Schutz
People love to hear “the story.” You know, the one about how a couple met or how they knew they’d found “the one.” So, as a writer of romantic fiction, creating an interesting way that two characters can meet and fall in love is what distinguishes a nice love story from an unforgettable one.
More often than not, my search for writing inspiration leads me to Whyte Avenue. What I never expected to find in Old Strathcona was a different kind of inspiration. It was mid-June and I’d settled onto the quaint little patio outside of Two Rooms Café to finish the first book in my small-town romance series. I’d tipped the waitress in advance, essentially securing my peace and quiet and the use of the corner table for the afternoon, with a request to keep the coffee coming.
It was one of those afternoons where the words were flowing and I’m not sure what made me glance up from my notebook. (Yes, I still write by hand. I’m convinced computers are just a fad.) And there he was — my future husband — walking down the street. When our gazes met, I felt this odd, yet warming sense of familiarity as if I already knew him. He smiled, I smiled, he kept walking. Then five minutes later he walked by again. But it was in that five minutes that things changed. Since he hadn’t stopped, it gave me time to wish he had. And he said later that he too had caught a glimpse of a “what if” moment; it was so strong that it compelled him to do another lap around the block.
When he approached this time, I asked him if he was doing laps and he asked me if I was smiling at every guy walking past. In 10 minutes, it became perfectly clear that we were as incompatible as two people could be. I had a son and he was terrified of children. He was 13 years my senior and a realist, while I lived in a idyllic fantasy world most of the time. But, having created messy situations for my characters to work their way out of, I thought maybe it was my turn to see if we could create our own fairy-tale ending. But, because I was on deadline, and he needed time to Google me, we didn’t have coffee that day, but we did two weeks later … and every day since.
That day on Whyte Avenue had started like any other — a quest for an unforgettable way to get from page one to happily ever after, never expecting it to be the perfect setting for my own love story. Last February, on Valentine’s Day, we got married in a last-minute ceremony, just us, at that exact spot. The Two Rooms Café was no longer there, but the patio was and my vows were simple. “Thank you for walking by twice.”
Jennifer Snow is an Edmonton-based writer of contemporary romance fiction, published through Harlequin Heartwarming, The Wild Rose Press and Secret Cravings Publishing. She is a member of the Writers Guild of Alberta, Romance Writers of America, Backspace.org, SheWrites.org and the Canadian Authors Association. She also is a guest author at the Harlequin Heartwarming Authors blogspot.