beautiful people : hand-holding and secrets

happy valentines day, guys!

it seemed so fitting to save this couples edition of beautiful people for the holiday traditionally known for coupley things. however, because I am a rebel, my couple is not one of a romantic, shippy nature, but instead, I chose my extremely platonic soulmates, Cora and Neil.

*screams into the void about how much I love these two characters*

bear with me here, but I love them a lot and their relationship is one of my favourites out of ALL my writing. and that's saying a lot. (yes, they even beat out Riley and Matt, my long time OTP). so sit back, relax, and enjoy the adorableness that is about to head your way.

1. how and why did they meet? 

Neil and Cora met at Mercy Hospital on a cold November afternoon. that day, Neil was saddled with taking Foxglove's next door neighbour's kid (it's complicated) to see her cousin, who has leukemia. it was supposed to be perfectly simple--slip into the hospital, drop her off, disappear. however, because Neil happens to be a reaper, things didn't work out quite so easily. the moment people noticed a reaper in their midst (and in a hospital full of sick and dying people, none the less), they started to freak out. and so Cora enters the scene.

this is not a pleasant encounter. much glowering and sarcasm took place. you could almost assume that these two are going to be mortal enemies for the rest of their lives, and they kind of are, but future events change how they see each other forever and make them into something more.

2. what were their first impressions of each other?

A heavy silence passed, and then-- “What’s up?” A bright voice from behind me echoed loudly around the deserted lobby. I startled at the sudden sound, whirling around in alarm.
A young woman in purple scrubs stood just a few feet behind me, a hand on her rounded hip. Her massive curly hair was pulled into a bun that defied all logic of gravity, and much like the shining chrome of the hospital, her umber skin gleamed.
When our eyes met, everything went cold.
The golden stars bloomed behind her pupils too. Just like Wilson. Just like every other guardian I’d ever met.
Her lips tightened into a thin line after just one glance at me. She knew. They always did. “Do we have a problem, Lily?”

It wasn’t him. My tall, handsome stranger with the little girl dressed in pink, following him closely was nowhere to be found. In his place stood a bony man, barely even more than a boy, with longish stringy hair.

His hair was gray. ashen, like death itself.

He shifted uncomfortably as I stared at him, disappointment and disgust pooling together in my stomach. His dark clothes cut through the tranquility like a knife, and when his deep brown eyes grazed mine, a prickle of nervous energy struck my neck.

A reaper.

I never knew exactly how I knew what I was looking at--I just noticed it, just like I noticed his long gangly arms hanging loosely at his sides and the mole nestled above his lip, close to his sharp nose. Something changed in the air in that moment, and everything within me tensed, ready to strike.

*I wrote this scene from both perspectives because I really wanted to capture how they both saw each other
**Cora's perspective is very much influenced by the fact that Neil is NOT Foxglove. more on that later.
*** I apologize for the tinyness of the font...copying from Google Docs is not my friend. ugh.

3. how would they prove their love for each other?

Cora would die for him. Neil would do anything in his power to keep her alive. unfortunately, fate has other plans.

4. what would be an ideal date?

oh boy. let's put it this way--Neil gets dragged along on a Very Awkward Date with Foxglove and Cora to the Halloway Carnival. pretty much everything goes wrong about this date including: Foxglove disappears. Neil screams like a small child. a malevolent spirit shows up. my characters eat funnel cakes and I hate them for it. Neil passes out. a psychic reads Neil's future and it's not pretty. Foxglove and Cora are sickeningly cute together and it makes my poor little third wheel want to die. and finally, Neil is kidnapped.

thankfully, no clowns show up. that truly would be the world's worst date.

even though this may not seem like the greatest scenario, this is actually one of Cora and Neil's favourite memories of each other...they really bond through this experience. and it is the first time they hold hands. fight me, guys, but I am HERE for platonic hand holding.

5. is there something that they emphatically disagree on?

Cora HATES Neil's smoking habit. actually, she hates a lot of his habits. Neil couldn't care less.

6. list five food quirk they know about each other.

  • Neil knows Cora's subway order by heart
  • on nights after particularly hard reapings, Cora makes sure that Neil has his ultimate comfort food: Sprite and a really cheesy omelet
  • they both really, really love Thai food. particularly take out from that one place down the road from Neil's apartment
  • both of them aren't allowed to cook. (except for omelets. that's the one thing they both can make.) it just doesn't work out well. case in point: that one time Cora tried to make Foxglove a romantic dinner and they almost burnt down their apartment
  • when they get coffee, Neil always takes a sip of Cora's, even though he hates sweet drinks. he doesn't even know why he does it--it's almost unconscious. 

7. what's one thing they know about each other that no one else does?

Cora knows that Neil killed someone--not as a reaper, but as something else, something more than this physical world. Neil knows that Cora secretly dreams of being a normal person, of having a human life, instead of living as a guardian.

8. what's one thing that they keep a secret from each other?

Neil keeps what the Grim discovers about her a secret for a long time. Cora can't tell him that she doesn't entirely trust him, especially after she witnesses what he can do to people.

9. how would their lives be different without each other?

oh man...I don't like thinking about this. these two definitely made each other better. Cora would still be living under the shadow of her family, afraid to be someone who doesn't align with their wishes. Neil would be more lost than he ever was--Cora was the thing that pulled him back from the edge at the very last moment, even though he never thought in a million years that a guardian would be the one to save him.

10. where do they each see this relationship going?

they want to stay by each other's side forever. that's what soulmates do, right?

oh man... *stares wistfully at all the piles of homework I must do before I work on this book* I love these two. I love their stories. I love their hearts and how they change over the course of Tethered. the struggles of being a college student balancing school, blogging, work, AND writing. *sighs* I'm hoping to work on fixing my plot issues this week. we'll see though...this history midterm may get the best of me yet.

behold, an accurate representation of my impending doom...

also, this has been a PSA. tell your friends you love them with pride. they deserve it.

hope y'all have a spectacular Valentine's day!


  1. I love this and I love them. that is all.

  2. Knowing the subway order is paramount ;)
    Also I would totally send you a basket full of kittens and dark chocolate, but I don't have either atm. <--tragic

    I dunno how far you've come along with your baby novel, but are you planning on tackling Camp this year? If not you should consider it! So much fun, great motivation, and lots of energy for writing. :)


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the best way to make me smile is to comment. or to send me a basket full of kittens and dark chocolate. whatever works for you.

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