Writing exercise: Creating romantic tension in love stories

Last night, I wrote the following passage as an exercise in creating romantic tension in love stories.

Let’s just say that, in creating this dialogue, I felt inspired.

I stepped up to my husband’s desk, where he sat, in his home office. “We have to talk,” I said.

As he stared at the computer screen, the white glow from it lit his face.

The trance in his eyes was too much for him. It was also too much for me. “Hello?” I asked.

My voice shook him out of his trance. “Hmmm?” He looked up at me.

“Can we talk for, like, five minutes?”

He turned toward me and looked straight into my eyes. “Sure. What’s up?”

This was the moment. I had rehearsed this scene over in my head, like I was preparing a presentation for my business meeting with clients. But this wasn’t a job meeting. This was a conversation I was going to have with my husband.

“Night after night, you’ve been working on developing your app, and I see it’s important for you to get this up and running. And I see that after months of toiling on this, you’re finally seeing some results come in. You’re making money, and you’re reinvesting that into the business …”

What was I doing, tap dancing around this? Just come out and say it!

“What I want to say is,” I concluded, getting to my point, “the fact that you’re on this computer all the time, night after night, right after dinner, and even at dinner, you’re on your cell phone, working on your app, while I’m trying to ask how your day went.”

“I don’t see what the problem is. At least I come straight home, instead of going to happy hour, instead of going out and seeing other people, cheating on you. I’m here, in this chair, doing what I can to make money while you talk about how you want to buy some designer handbag with your girlfriends.”

“You think that’s’ all I do? Talk about fashion with my girlfriends?”

“It’s what you said as the reason you want to get rich – ‘so I can throw away what would have been rent money on a Chanel bag without a second thought.’ Your words.”

“I appreciate all you’re doing for me, but it’d also be nice if you could spent a little time with me – 15 minutes of conversation, over dinner or whenever. We may be married, but it’s like I’m by myself in this marriage.”

“For as long as we’ve known each other, you’ve always complained about how lonely you felt. You were an only child growing up, you had trouble making friends in school –”

“Those things are true about me, but that’s not my focus here, what I want to say now –”

“So if you’ve been lonely your entire life, that’s not my fault.”

Teresa Sargeant is an award-winning journalist and author. She released her first collection of short stories “Inner Demons” in October 2020. She is the author of the short story ebooks “Eve the First,”“For My Sister,” and “Sammy’s Butterflies” “A Symphony of Silence” is her second poetry collection. Her latest short story “Healing” is published on Short Fiction Break.