Rhythm or the Blue Line?

Warning — if you haven’t read the latest chapter of Rhythm and the Blue Line, this will contain spoilers. You can click here to start at the beginning, or click here to read chapter 11.

The feedback on this one has surprised me a little in that there seems to be a bit of a divide as to who is right, Ryan or Brody. I’d say that they’re both right and wrong. I probably relate a little more to Ryan, being a woman myself, but I try to be fair here. I know that in a relationship, fault is not always even or clear. Sometimes you’re not sure what you’re upset about, or why, or how to express it. And here you have two people who want to be together, who did not expect to become so involved, who both have goals and expectations about their lives.

Ryan wants to be a successful musician, to make a living doing what she loves to do, and I don’t think anyone can fault her for that. She knows what she wants and is going after it. Brody is a successful hockey player, which he loves, and given the nature of sports as a business, I don’t think you can fault him for being careful — even resistant — to the idea of committing to a serious relationship. Players are traded with no advanced warning; expected contract offers may not happen. It’s a lot to ask of someone to stay with you through that, and yeah, they make a lot of money, but that doesn’t fix everything.

Final spoiler warning!!

So in Chapter 11, Ryan returns from Imaginary Grace’s tour, and a week or two later, is offered another one. The band will open for Stone Fortress, a group that’s “made it,” as well as headline their own shows at smaller venues. She is thrilled and at first Brody is as well, but then he realizes that this will screw up his summer plans — to stay in Virginia and be with Ryan. He’s stuck. He wants her to go for it, but the cost is time spent with her. Ryan is confused, too. She wants to be with him, but this is the opportunity of a lifetime, she tells him. She can’t pass this up, and let’s not forget she’s not the only in the band.

Brody wants her to go but also to stay. As Ryan says, this doesn’t leave her a lot of wiggle room. She can’t do both.

Response to this impasse in the feedback intrigued me. Mostly this feedback came from Literotica, but a little from other sites. One reader wrote the following:

“…it seems to me that it always about Ryan and Ryan doesn’t much care about anything else, so what if she isn’t good with relationships, is it any reason to keep treating Brody this way when he disagrees about something, she is incredibly selfish.”

Really? Ryan is selfish for wanting pursue her dream? When Brody has already achieved his? And the truth is in the argument that reader is referring to, I think Brody gets in the harsher line.

However, there was a rebuttal. 🙂

“while everyone seems to be on Brody’s side, here is Ryan’s side, she gets one of the biggest opportunities of her career to make big on her dream, he complains about leaving, if he truly does love her, he would [be] over the moon for her and not bitch about the time she won’t spend with him.”

To my mind — and the author has a view that of course is different from any reader — they both have valid points. That’s the way I usually write things. Nobody is all right and nobody is all wrong, which is so often the way it is in real life. I don’t, or I try not to, write my stories completely along conventional rules.  The basics are there, sure. Couple meets, couple gets along, couple falls in love, couple has issues, couple reunites. But I don’t always have a big blow up and fight, because that doesn’t always happen. What I have here are two people trying to reconcile what they want and not being sure how to do it; that doesn’t always entail storming off in a huff.

My opinion is that Ryan should get the edge here. As she told Brody earlier in the story, she is still trying to get to where he is — successful in doing what he loves. She doesn’t know how long that will take, or if she’ll even ever get there. I think now that the opportunity is there, Brody is entitled to be startled and even upset, but after he’s over that, he should want her to do it. There are even options to reduce the time apart, such as when Ryan suggests he visit her while the tour is going. I realize that professional sports is a year-round occupation these days, but it is the off season and Brody could most likely do that.

It’s all about making things work. And in chapter 12, you’ll find out if they do. 😉



4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Lady Falcon on July 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I didn’t like the way Ryan and Brody handled the conflict on either side. One comment-er at Lit mentioned something about how they never seem to really communicate. It’s like they are both holding their breath waiting for the relationship to end. I get that and in this case I think it’s true and that is one of the issues the two will have to work past…their own expectations…it’s why their feelings are surprising themselves. I could be wrong but I think that was one of your intentions and you did a fantastic job.

    I guess I just wish they would sit down and take a breath or two and listen to each other, but listening is a very hard to learn skill. I know that doesn’t always happen in real life but, I really want the two of them together if there is a way and they both are happy – neither giving up their dream. They may not end in marriage and honestly unless you do some serious time skipping they don’t have time in the next few chapters to get married. But, I would like to see this be a good relationship. One they could both look back on and have good memories. One that would leave them open for whoever “the one” ends up being.


    • I think it’s true that Ryan and Brody don’t have the best communication. They aren’t supposed to. 🙂 They’re both stepping into the unknown with this relationship; they both had reservations on relationships in general. Brody has decided that he doesn’t want anything “serious” until after his career because he’s seen the strain it puts on people, yet things with Ryan get serious anyway. Ryan is reluctant to date an athlete, but is also up front with Brody about her ambitions and how much time the band takes up for her. Still, she falls for him, by her own admission. It can be scary when things don’t go the way you expect. So I’d say they’re trying but they aren’t sure how to try. So yes, definitely, I was trying to have them surprised by their own feelings and reactions.


  2. Posted by jam on July 6, 2012 at 5:35 am

    as estragon said on lit – it’s a testament to how good you write that the reader gets so invested in the characters that they have a strong reaction to what’s happening…i’m with you that they both reacted badly to each other and the situation; however, i do feel that throughout brody has always been supportive and quite proud of her music career and understanding abt her relationship with her family…he has always been there for her…i dunno, she just came off as being a bit self-centered…she could’ve tried to see it from brody’s perspective…i just felt she could’ve been more understanding…saying she doesn’t have much wiggle room coz brody said he wants her and doesn’t want her to go…i mean, he’s just been blindsided by the fact their plans are gonna be scratched…they did talk abt spending time together during the summer…it’s a bummer when a set plan suddenly goes awry…they should’ve just had a time out not ryan going off and leaving like that. at least brody recognized, albeit subconsciously, that he reacted badly to the news by refusing to let her go and to try to figure things out together; ryan just wanted to go away.


    • LOL It may be that as a woman, I’m a little closer to Ryan, as I said. And as with almost any story, there’s a little of me in her. Brody has been there for her, this is true, and I think she’s grateful for that. Think about it from her POV, though — her ambitions have been belittled or ignored by her family for years in favor of sports, and now here is her athlete boyfriend voicing objections. Is it any wonder that she’d get defensive about that? And she does look for a compromise, suggesting that he meet her on tour if he can — and it’s Brody that gets hostile at that. Ryan didn’t just “run off,” either, although yes, she did leave. But in her mind, leaving and giving them each time to think was the better course of action. Maybe not the right one, but again, she’s trying. And while Brody was changing his usual plans, it’s not like he had non-refundable reservations at a resort or something; he was basically just opting to stay in his apartment for the summer instead of going to Michigan. I do understand why he’d be upset about Ryan’s plans, I do, but I have to give the edge to Ryan in this. But like I said, I guess I’m a little biased. 😉


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