Love Crimes

A Guest post by Diane J. Reed (Exclusively for Fragments of Life) What would YOU do in the name of love? Do you think you might be capable of committing a crime to help someone you hold dear—or perhaps even to rescue your family? This scenario is exactly what my character Robin faces in my new YA novel Robin in the Hood. Robin McArthur is 15 years old and a sophomore at a fancy boarding school when her wealthy father suffers a debilitating stroke. During her visit with him in the hospital, Robin learns the brutal truth—her family’s gone completely broke, and a caseworker wants to cart her off to a foster home! Weighing her options, the following scene shows Robin’s final decision: A prying case worker just slipped into my dad’s hospital room and lip-synched the word “foster home” to a nurse when she thought I wasn’t looking. Holy crap. Even I could do the math: Dad— Or foster home— Dad— Or foster home— Suddenly, a vision flashed into my mind of bunking down with a dozen skanky kids at night in a crackhouse while our socalled foster mom smokes a joint and performs phone sex in the next room. Like a bolt of lightning, the path to my future had become excruciatingly clear. Make a run for it. Now— With that, I seized the handles of my dad’s wheelchair and gave him a bold shove toward the door. “Excuse us for a second,” I said abruptly to the nurse, “we’re just going to mosey down the hall for a minute.” Immediately, I made a hard right and picked up speed down the hallway. “Hang on, Dad—we’re gonna play by my rules now!” And with that, Robin kidnaps her father and then steals a car to run from authorities, later hiding out in a backwoods trailer park where no one will find them. But hiding isn’t enough, because now Robin needs cash—and she knows she looks too young to be hired for a job, even with a slick alias. So what does she do?

 Robin decides to rob a bank 
Later in the chapter, she walks up to a savings & loan and bravely prepares to step inside and demand money from a teller, when suddenly she spies the boy of her dreams. Here’s what happens:

I squinted and inched to the left, peering into a particularly dark patch beside the wide tree trunk. And that’s when I saw him. Or I guess I should say, he chose to reveal himself. A tall guy, maybe a year or two older than me, in a black tshirt and torn, faded jeans. His tangled, sun-bleached hair looked like it had never seen scissors, yet it framed his tan skin and piercing blue eyes like a rugged surfer’s. To my surprise, he flashed a half-smile, making the jagged scar across his cheek press into a dark, thin line, like a dagger. For a second, I wondered if it was a warning— “You gotta be kidding me,” he shook his head, folding his tattooed arms. “You honestly think you can take on this bank?” He leaned his tall frame against the tree, appearing amused. Instantly, I could tell from his ripped clothes, sinewy body, and nearly feral gaze that he was pretty much everything Pinnacle had been paid so handsomely to keep out of my reach. Beautiful. Deadly. And well within kissing distance— Without warning, his intense eyes locked on mine as if we were the only two people who’d ever mattered on planet earth. And all at once, I felt a weight dislodge and explode into a gazillion pieces inside my chest. This is my heart— This is my heart on CRACK. I won’t spoil what happens afterwards! But suffice to say, Robin succeeds in getting her money, so now she’s a bonafide outlaw—and her life will never be the same again. But to Robin’s mind, she’s committing these crimes out of love for her dad and to keep her family together (instead of going to a foster home). What about YOU? Could you imagine committing a “Love Crime” if your back was against a wall—if your family desperately needed the money or someone was threatening a person you love? How far do you think you might go? Lying, grand theft auto & bank robbery, like Robin? Or even farther? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter! So please feel free to leave your comments on this blog. As John Lyly once said, “All is fair in love and war.” 

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