It seems we’re in the midst of an unofficial Love-at-First-Sight week here on the blog. After reading Jeanne and Jilly’s posts earlier today, I started thinking about the “first sight” (meet cute) the characters in my favorite books have of each other.
In the perennial favorite Lord of Scoundrels, Jessica and Dain meet in an antique shop. They both do their best to keep their cool despite clearly feeling lust-at-first-sight. Dain experiences such a massive shock to his system that it disorders his thinking so much that he never really recovers–a wonderful start that had me eager to find out what would happen next.
In Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation, Phin meets Sophie, a stranger in town, when he stops by the farmhouse to make sure she and her sister aren’t causing trouble or filming porn. Neither Phin nor Sophie want to have anything to do with each other, but reading their initial interaction is like watching two magnets trying to keep away from each other. You just know they’re going to fail at that and wind up together, and that it’s going to be fun to watch.
In a different type of story–Artists in Crime by Ngaio Marsh–our handsome dashing Scotland Yard inspector meets the love of his life onboard a ship as it is pulling out of the harbor at Suva. He sees her and instantly knows she’s the one, feeling as though he’s known her all his life. She, of course, does not have the same reaction that he does. She’s a painter who is a bit broody and distracted; trying to get her last view of the harbor at Suva onto the canvas before it fades. Our hero has unintentionally interrupted her at her work, so it is not surprising that she has a hard time recognizing him as her own true love–that takes another book or so. The interaction is brief–just a few paragraphs–but it’s wonderfully portrayed and completely believable. It also left me rooting for them to get together which, of course, they finally did.
I met a high-school boyfriend at a shoe store. I was working elsewhere in the mall and he worked in the store where I spent far too much of my paychecks on what could best be described as “slutty shoes”. It was certainly not anything-at-first-sight, but looking back now I can see it turning into a romance novel. In the story, our heroine who is looking for love makes frequent trips to the store, buying shoes for one bad date after another, never giving our poor clerk a second thought. She sighs wistfully over a beautiful pair of wedding pumps but fears she’ll never have a need for them. Maybe the two of them strike up a friendship as he commiserates with her over her string of unsuccessful dates until finally they see the light, fall in love, and run off into the sunset in matching athletic shoes.
Or something like that.
A perusal of other books on my shelf shows characters meeting on trains, at protests (on opposite sides, even), in shops, and at jobs. In some cases the meetings are very public, in others it is just the two of them. In a few stories, the characters are thrown together by fate or by sneaky friends, like the story I finished not long ago where the couple both wound up renting the same vacation house and fell in love while stuck together over the summer.
I’m hard-pressed to pick a single type of meeting that’s my favorite, though I will admit to a fondness for a hero or heroine who experiences that “I feel like I’ve known you all my life” feeling.
So, what’s your favorite meet-cute (real-life or fictional)?