Allen and Lenore’s Romance (American Typewriter)

Today the yearly Blogging from A to Z April Challenge kicks off! I’m doing a double theme this year, some of my favorite chapters I’ve written, in posts created with a font for each letter of the alphabet. Some of you (probably mostly PC-users) might not be able to see the fonts, since the HTML coding for a font only shows up if you’re got the font installed on your computer. I’ve deleted several fonts from my computer, like the repulsive Comic Sans, so I’m unable to see them even if a webpage uses them.

Font of the day: American Typewriter

Created: 1974

Personal experience: While I grew up using computers and can barely remember a time before them, I’m also old enough to have used a typewriter more than a few times. I haven’t used one in years, but I’d like to get my own someday.

Chapter: “Allen and Lenore’s Romance”

Book: Little Ragdoll

Written: 31 December 2010-3 January 2011

Computer created on: 2008 MacBook Pro, 15-inch

File format: Word 2004

This is the 29th chapter of Little Ragdoll, the story I carried around with me for 16.5 years after I’d last been able to work on it. The story just stayed with me all those years, until finally guilt drove me to begin again from scratch and memory. One of my favorite subplots was the love story between Allen and Lenore.

In the discontinued original first draft, I left off not too long after Lenore was introduced. The basic details about her remain the same—she meets Allen and his sisters in a bus stop on a rainy night, at age 15, having just run away from an abusive father, and moves in with Allen and his sisters. She and Allen are both quickly smitten, but don’t get together right away because of Lenore’s traumatic past.

When I was writing the story again, this time to the end, I changed up my plans a bit. My original plans hadn’t had any tension between them, and now they don’t get together or confess their feelings for three years. Allen didn’t want to tell her how he felt till she was 18, out of respect for being 3 years her senior and because of what she’s gone through. This decision almost had disastrous consequences.

Finally, on Lenore’s 18th birthday, 25 June 1965, Allen takes her out to eat and gradually, over the course of the evening, reveals just how much he cares about her. Thus begins their romance, which eventually crosses the point of no return and culminates in a marriage proposal. Even though it began as instalove of sorts, nothing was done about it for 3 years, and things proceeded at a normal pace, with realistic discussions of things like birth control, testing for VD, and how far to go and when.

Some highlights:

When they arrive at the restaurant, they’re given an outdoor table.  Allen pulls her chair out for her and seems to spend most of his time looking into her eyes.  Lenore tries her best to shrug it off as just a feeling of gratitude that she’s still alive after what happened to her, though she can’t help but feeling like she’s turning into a bowl of gelatin every time he looks at her.  She wonders what it would feel like to be touched by him in a non-platonic way, and shivers with excitement at the thought of it.

When they’re back in the apartment, Lenore sits down on the davenport while Allen goes into his room to fetch her birthday presents.  She still feels a tingling sensation in the hand he was holding.  After what her father did to her, she never imagined she’d someday be longing for any man to touch her.  Her whole body is aching to be touched by him again, even if it’s just hand-holding.

“I was…thinking, maybe…if it doesn’t bother you…maybe…I mean, would you mind…would you be okay…how would you like it…I’d like to…I really want to…I’ve never asked a girl for permission before…Can I kiss you?”

“That’s up to you,” he says nervously. “Damn, I never asked a girl if I could do that.  It was just assumed we both wanted to do that, so there was no need to go through the formality of asking her permission and negotiating what would actually happen.”

“I don’t want my girl getting in trouble, and I guess it is only fair to have myself cleared for venereal diseases.  You probably never can be too sure about that kinda thing, though I really hope I haven’t had syphilis or some other scary disease and not known it.”

He pauses and looks her in the eyes. “Are you sure about this?  You do realize we’d be crossing the point of no return.  You can’t go back to just holding hands or making out after you’ve gone all the way.”

“That sounds perfect to me.  Boy, I still can’t believe what a lucky guy I am to be marrying the most beautiful girl in the world.  I don’t take much stock in superstitious talk about predestination and fate, but something tells me we were meant to meet at that place and at that moment.  Emeline quoted a line a couple of times, from some book by Voltaire, something about everything being joined up for a reason.”