Beautiful People is a blog meme from Cait at Paper Fury and Sky at Further Up and Further In.

This month we’re looking at romance in writing which is a strange topic for me to dig in to since it’s such a backburner plot point to nearly everything I write. Yet at the same time, that probably means I could stand to flesh these kids out some more.

This won’t work especially well for the novel whose draft I have done, since the love story hasn’t actually really happened yet and I don’t want to spoil everything.

But! I do have a pair from a mostly-unwritten-outside-of-outlines work in progress, so I’ll answer based on those two, who also happen to be exceptionally miserable. That and they are paired together at the beginning, so on the chance I ever do finish (and publish) this mountain of words I won’t really be spoiling anything.

I present Devlin, Duke of Moore and his wife, the Empress Regent Rossetta Maralyn Linton, not-even-remotely lovebirds trapped in a political marriage. Valentine’s Day is really not my thing…

1. How did they first meet?

He was both a friend and coworker of her fathers, so she literally grew up with his constant presence.

2. What were their first impressions of each other?

He thought “someone shut that baby up.” She thought “why is this guy always bossing Dad around? And why is his beard like that?”

3. How long have they been a couple?

Both romantically linked and married for about 5 years. Ahh those whirlwind seductions of impressionable young noblewomen!

4. How committed/loyal are they to each other? Would they break up over a secret or a disagreement? Could stress drive them apart? Would they die for each other?

She’s loyal for the sake of her family. He’s loyal because a scandal would ruin his career and standing. They really don’t love each other, but that’s what you get with a teetering regency centered around a sham of a political marriage. Neither would die for the other, though both have entertained fleeting thoughts of murder.

5. List 5 “food quirks” they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they’re allergic to something, etc….and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)

Rossa sneaks mushrooms because she knows Devlin hates the smell of them on her breath. She enjoys fruits important from the Green Quarter and refuses alcohol because it makes her feel weak.

Devlin has a fondness for mead even though it is a cheap peasants drink, and he claims to eat only domestically born foods to put up a patriotic front, but his staff knows that he covertly imports Penrian Shellfish. Tastes like hypocrisy!

6. Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?

Publicly? The Duke of Pell tried to shut down their farce of a marriage from day one, and he’s been the rare outspoken opponent of the union and its political implications ever since.

Privately? Does WordPress have a character limit? If so, I’d hit it.

7. What would be an ideal date?

Being on opposite sides of the palace, if not on opposite sides of the country from one another. She would prefer horseback riding; he has an affinity for lawn darts.

8. What are their personality dynamics? Similar? Contrasting? Do they fight a lot or mesh perfectly?

They fight privately all of the time. He’s an older career politician who seduced a teenager to snag power and then promptly showed her how utterly indifferent he was to her as a person after it was too late. This is not a marriage of love, compassion, or communication. They are both smart and strong willed, but they are equally trapped within their mistake.

9. What have been their best and worst moments together as a couple?

Rossa loves their kids, and would consider the three girls to be the only good things to come of their union. Devlin likes his political clout, which would’ve been harder to garner without his calculated marriage. Beautifully romantic, right?

Worst moments? Just about everything else. Neither has moved on those murderous ideations yet, which is maybe a good thing?

10. Where do they see themselves and their relationship in the next few years?

Once Owen gets old enough and can legally take over the regency should end. Especially if he marries and gets heirs of his own. If such events ever happen then Rossa hopes her husband will just leave her since her position won’t be especially valuable any more. But he’s ambitious to a fault so she’s probably stuck forever. These guys are mega bummers.

Happy. Valentines. Day.