By Vristen Pierce, author of The Scheme of Things and Dropping the Ball
First dates—ack! They can be so awkward. So painfully, agonizingly awkward. There are just too many “what ifs” for comfort. What if your date’s a total dud? What if the two of you find you have nothing to say to each other? And so on and so forth. The keyword is uncertainty. Sure, that can be exciting, but it can also be anxiety inducing. A lot of people put their best foot forward, so to speak, when they venture out into the dating world. First impressions and all… All I can think, in that case, is, “Wow. That would get tiring really, really fast!”
Now, your friends—and in particular, your best friend—know your dirty, little secrets. The juicy stuff you either make them swear not to tell or just trust implicitly that they won’t. That’s the beauty of a best friend. This is a person who’s seen you at your absolute worst and still loves you anyway. Your quirks, your flaws…they just get you. So what about those lucky folks who have had a best friend become something much more? I think they have the best of both worlds!
My story, Dropping the Ball, is about two lifelong best friends who get the shock of their lives when they realize their feelings have shifted from platonic to romantic. They’re willing to go to great, albeit unorthodox, lengths to put themselves back on the right track. Of course, their little plan backfires. I mean, it had to, right? Bias aside, I think Dillon and Heather are great as friends. They have each other’s back. They love teasing one another, letting loose and being silly together. Nevertheless, they’re meant for each other in every way; there’s just no getting around that, even though they’d like to at first. Fortunately, the subconscious mind is a powerful thing and it wasn’t going to let them off the hook that easily. In a story where there is no shortage of well-meaning family and friends who are all too happy to offer advice on my lead characters’ predicament, I needed something Dillon and Heather couldn’t ignore.
I think that’s one of the coolest things about going on a romantic journey with your best friend—skipping the often traumatic “getting to know you” period. You already know this person better than you know yourself. There’s time to focus on getting to know them more, ahem, intimately, but I digress. This isn’t to say that people who find themselves falling for a friend get to bypass risk altogether. What a wonderful world that would be, huh? Nope, they still have to take a risk on their own special “what if”. What if this relationship doesn’t work out? It’s one thing to lose a significant other, but to lose one when it also means losing your best friend is a whole ‘nother type of tragedy. How can Dillon and Heather find the courage to risk it all? The keyword now is certainty—it can be a relief not to wonder, but it can also be anxiety inducing. “I’m sure, but why am I sure?!”
Dropping the Ball makes me certain of something in particular: Dreams are amazing things, but making them a reality is often the only thing that’s better.
Have you ever fallen in love with someone who was supposed to be “just a friend”? Share in the comments!