I'm at about the mid-way point of my current work in progress, and it's time for some romance. This first book in the series only covers about two weeks, very busy ones, so the most I want to do is have the characters meet each other and begin to form an attachment.
There's just one problem — she's an older woman. As in, he's 33 and she's somewhere upward of 1500 or so. Now, the issue isn't her looks. She's a timeless fae and seems to be about his age. It's not that our hero isn't attracted to her.
The problem is that he's rather intimidated. To begin with, she's a serious artist, one who has had centuries to work on her craft. He understands her work well enough to admire it. But what can she see in him? He's a smart well-educated guy, but she's a serious intellectual. Wouldn't she look at him as a child? Wouldn't all those years of experience make him transparent to her, the way we can look right through a 5-year old?
And yet… He's brave, stubborn, and kind. And he wants her. These are all qualities she admires, and she lets him know. All he can do is stiffen his spine and assume a confidence and equality in the relationship that he doesn't yet fully feel, hoping not to become Nick Bottom to her Titania.
What helps is his realization that this must happen all the time with the fae. With such long lives, they must frequently intermix much older and much younger in couples, and it doesn't mean to them what it means to mortal men