First encounters, first impressions… Once I finish a book, I often find myself thinking about how far the two main characters have gone, since their first meeting. It’s very interesting to see how their story developed, since the first moment they laid eyes on each other. As good ol’ Jane Austen teaches us, first impressions are often wrong…and indeed in some novels the two characters get on the wrong foot at the beginning. Some first encounters are awkward, one of the characters embarrasses himself/herself , sometimes they start off by completely despising one another. In other first encounters sparks fly from the very start, desire and passion immediately overtake the soon to be couple…Here are some first encounters I love, considering how the story between the characters developed throughout the novels and sequels…
Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard
Before she had time to think about it, her feet walked out the back door, and she found herself sitting some distance from him on a chaise lounge, her knees drawn up under her chin. She wrapped her arms around her legs and looked over at him.
He ignored her.
Julia traced his appearance with her eyes, hoping to burn the vision into her memory. He was far better-looking in person. She looked at his blue and bloodshot eyes, which were startling under his brown brows. She followed the angle of his high cheekbones, his straight, noble nose, and the squareness of his jaw, noting the two or three days’ growth of beard that shadowed his skin and the kiss of a dimple. Her eyes came to rest on his full lips, noticing the curve and fullness of the lower one before she was able to drag her gaze reluctanly to look at his bruises. (…)
“Allow me,” he said, seeing her now and smiling. He took the opener back, uncapping her beer with one swift movement and clanking their bottles together.
Julia sipped her drink politely, trying not to choke as the strange, yeasty flavor entered her mouth. She hummed unconscioulsy and waited.
“Ever had a beer before?” Gabriel grinned.
She shook her head.
“Then I’m glad I’m your first.” (chapter 7)
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
The feeling is so foreign; I’m not sure what it is. I can’t say what is so different about him that would prompt my first-ever normal biological response to another person. However, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone so incredibly like him before. He’s beautiful. Not beautiful in the pretty-boy sense. Or even in the tough-guy sense. Just a perfect mixture in between. Not too big, but not at all small. His hair doesn’t look like it’s even been brushed today and could probably use a good trim, just like mine. It’s just long enough in the front that he has to move it out of his eyes when he looks up and catches me full on staring.
I would normally pull my gaze away as soon as direct eye contact is made, but there’s something odd about the way he reacts when he looks at me that keeps my focus glued to his. His smile immediately fades and he cocks his head. An inquisitive look enters his eyes and he slowly shakes his head, either in disbelief or…disgust? I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s certainly not a pleasant reaction. I glance around, hoping I’m not the recipient of his displeasure. When I turn back to look at him, he’s still staring.
At me.” (chapter Monday, August 27th, 2012, 3:55 p.m.)
Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James
“Mr. Grey will see you now, Miss Steele. Do go through,” Blonde Number Two says. I stand rather shakily trying to suppress my nerves. Gathering up my satchel, I abandon my glass of water and make my way to the partially open door.
“You don’t need to knock — just go in.” She smiles kindly.
I push open the door and stumble through, tripping over my own feet, and falling head first into the office.
Double crap — me and my two left feet! I am on my hands and knees in the doorway to Mr. Grey’s office, and gentle hands are around me helping me to stand. I am so embarrassed, damn my clumsiness. I have to steel myself to glance up. Holy cow–he’s so young.
“Miss Kavanagh.” He extends a long-fingered hand to me once I’m upright. “I’m Christian Grey. Are you all right? Would you like to sit?”
So young–and attractive, very attractive. He’s tall, dressed in a fine grey suit, white shirt, and black tie with unruly dark-copper-colored hair and intense, bright gray eyes that regard me schrewdly. It takes a moment for me to find my voice.
“Um. Actually –” I mutter. If this guy is over thirty then I’m a monkey’s uncle. In a daze, I place my hand in his and we shake. As our fingers touch, I feel an odd exhilarating shiver run through me. I withdraw my hand hastily, my eyelids matching my heart rate.
“Miss Kavanagh is indisposed, so she sent me. I hope you don’t mind, Mr. Grey.”
“And you are?” His voice is warm, possibly amused, but it’s difficult to tell from his impassive expression. He looks mildly interested, but above all, polite.
“Anastasia Steele. (…) ” (chapter 1)
Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken
I turned around to send him one last seething glare and ran smack dab into a tree.
Or at least it felt like a tree.
But trees weren’t warm.
And they didn’t have one, two, three, four, six, Good Lord, eight? Eight packs? Furthermore had I actually been feeling said person’s eight pack? And, dear God, I was counting. I had touched each muscle. And great, my hand was still firmly placed against the guy’s stomach.
I jerked my hand back and closed my eyes.
“Were you just counting my abs?” His voice sounded amused (…)
I took my lower lip between my teeth and thought about what to say. Well, there really was no way out of it. I nodded. “Sorry, I just…” I shouldn’t have looked. If I could go back in time, I would have. I had no idea that one look would devastate me. Weeks from now I would regret that one look, for one reason and one reason only.
His eyes held my ruin.
“Weston.” He held out his hand. “And you are?”
Screwed. “Kiersten.” (chapter 2)
I’ll share more of these scenes soon…Is there a first encounter in novels that you’re particularly fond of or that has stricken you in some way?