Hi guys, we have R. Cooper popping in today with her upcoming release A Dandelion For Tulip, we have a brilliant guest post where R. chats stories, fairies, Tulip and David, and we have a great excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! <3 ~Pixie~
A Dandelion For Tulip
David is in love with Tulip, a kind and unusually quiet fairy in his social circle. But everyone knows Tulip doesn’t date humans. David tells himself he is happy to be Tulip’s friend, because he doesn’t believe a fairy could love him and Tulip has never tried to “keep him”—as fairies refer to relationships with humans.
Fairies are drawn to David, describing his great “shine,” but David knows only too well how quickly fairies can forget humans, and thinks he’s destined to be alone. He can’t see his own brilliance or understand how desperately Tulip wants him, even if Tulip believes David can do better.
But exhausted and more than a little tipsy at a Christmas party, David makes his feelings too obvious for Tulip to deny any longer. Because of a past heartbreak involving a human, Tulip is convinced someone as shiny as David could never want a “silly, stupid fairy” in his life. Now, if he wants to keep David, he’ll have to be as brave as his shiny, careful human.
Anyone who’s read anything else I’ve done knows that I never get tired of mutual pining, and David and Tulip’s story is no exception, although I prefer to think the tone of this book is more softly yearning. There is nothing dramatic about what David feels, mostly because he is so used to feeling it that he’s stopped expecting anything. David simply loves, from a distance, without a word, without hope, and the idea of that both haunted me and made me put off writing this for over a year.
What made me finally start it—aside from the increasingly pointed questions from all the readers I’d mentioned the story to—was Tulip himself. Tulip, maybe more than any of the other beings I’ve written about, deserves his happy ending.
In the beings universe, over a hundred years have passed since the First World War forced fairies back out into the human world. The rest of the magical creatures followed, stunning most of the humans around them. The resulting backlash sent the magical beings into hiding again, but this time in the enclaves alongside mistreated and misunderstood humans. Because they are beautiful, and usually naked, and love indiscriminately, fairies in particular became figures of both envy and ridicule. Humans want a fairy’s attention, but are often quick to scorn them in the morning.
In other books, the stereotypes about fairies are that they’re fickle, that they are the ones who flit from human to human, breaking hearts. And while isn’t entirely wrong, as is also shown with David’s story, it isn’t right either. Fairies are so fundamentally misunderstood, even by other beings, (*glares at Ray from Some Kind of Magic*) that they needed a book, or maybe two, of their own. And I’m so glad I get the chance to write those books, you have no idea.
David saw no sign of Flor in the living room, so he left his comfortable spot by the window and ventured back through the increasing crowds to find either Flor or Stephanie. The kitchen had temporarily cleared out—possibly because someone had moved most of the alcohol to the little hallway where the cookies were. He went to the sink to pour out his cup and get rid of the gingerbread man, then opened the small vent over the sink to let some air cool his face.
He was an ass for coming here when he obviously wasn’t in a party mood, and then more of an ass for ditching his friends for so long. And now he was committed to staying at least until he met Flor’s shiny girl.
David had reached self-pitying, lonely drunk, which was not a level he had wanted to reach tonight. He reminded himself that he had made his choice with Clem, and there was no use thinking about it now, even if certain people at this party knew everything about what David was like in bed, every stupid thing he said and did, everything he wanted.
He scrubbed at his mouth, remembering Clem’s kiss and the compliments Clem had given him, which Clem had undoubtedly meant—at the time. Clem wasn’t known for focus. Most fairies weren’t, but what had Flor said once? Fairies could stay in one place, if they truly wanted to, but usually they were older when they did. Old, he’d said, making a face, like Clem, or Tulip. Then he’d teased David for “shimmering” at the name, because everyone knew Tulip didn’t date humans.
If he ever did, David was likely not high on his list of potential dates. Especially not now that he was widely known as dull, or uptight, or boring, however Clematis had phrased it. David was briefly grateful that his undergrad human boyfriend had never felt the need to gossip. Cheat on David with his ethics professor of all people, yes, but not gossip.
David was officially getting maudlin, but knowing that didn’t stop him from wondering why he bothered trying to date anyone.
He was tired. That was it. Tired and drunker than he was used to being, and not looking forward to a long drive and his family’s questions about his schooling, and their careful silence about his love life. Whatever. Once he drove home, he could smile and be nice for a while before crashing in his old room for a solid twelve hours.
“Merry Christmas,” he sighed to himself and regretted pouring out his drink.
“Merry Christmas,” a soft voice offered from behind him.
David didn’t know what was in his expression when he turned around, but Tulip met his gaze and let out a small breath. Then he curved his mouth into a smile like sunshine. “David.”
David was a common, ordinary name, even with its biblical warrior origin, but Tulip pronounced it as if it were a flower.
“Tulip.” David always forgot about the intensity of Tulip’s eyes until he was close to him, and then it was difficult to think of anything else. They were shimmering, molten gold to match his wings. Like he’d been dipped in it, then the rest of him in stark, dramatic colors. The white berries of the mistletoe were suspended above the tips of his ears, but a stray piece of green ribbon had fallen down to tickle his earlobe. Tulip’s lips were parted, and he didn’t seem to blink as he stood there, waiting.
David realized he was staring and directed his gaze down to Tulip’s unique scarf and the reindeer pin. For his own sake, he tried not to study Tulip’s naked skin too obviously. He looked up again when it was safe. “Hey, Tulip.” He was thirteen again. His throat was so dry he couldn’t swallow.
Tulip wet his lips, then angled his head up as if looking for something. The wicked berries in his crown against the black of his hair were like an image from a story. Snow White, perhaps, except Tulip was pink and not blood red. He was deep pink and sparkling. “I’m wearing mistletoe, David,” he commented, voice sweet and hopeful.
David leaned down at the gently pointed hint, acutely aware of Tulip’s silence, the noise from the other side of the tiny room, and the rest of the party. Tulip closed his eyes, and David brushed his cheek with his mouth.
He didn’t linger, but for a moment, he felt Tulip’s hand on his chest, and his world tilted dangerously. Tulip trembled, and then he was a step away and smiling brightly. “Ah, David, I missed you,” he murmured in a voice as shaky as the movements of his wings.
R. Cooper currently lives among the redwoods, and spends way too much empathizing with nonhuman creatures. She is tragically in love with most of her characters, and thinks of the rest of them as her babies, her stupid, wonderful failboat babies who just really need to get their shit together. She’s also a giant nerd, but you might have guessed that already.