Wow. This was a tough one.
So the last time I posted a chapter for ‘The Boxer & I’ was August 2018. That was over a year ago. The readers of the book deserve a reason for my absence, but unfortunately it’s as pathetic as: I needed a break.
I had no energy to write. Firstly, my university work was piling on top of me, and the last academic year was probably the hardest and most excruciating I’ve ever experienced. I thought I was going to fail. Luckily, I pulled through, and looking back, I’ve learned a lot about how to take care of myself mentally.
Anyway, over the last year, there have been times when I wanted to pick up the pen to write. Each time, I’d come up with a stupid plan and put it aside, thinking that I’d lost all inspiration and motivation for this story, which was once a story that I had so many ideas for. It was hard to take, so I did what I shouldn’t do, and I ignored it. Until last month that is.
I was reading through some of my emails, mainly fan mail where people were telling me how much they missed the book. It was then when I forced myself down on a chair with my laptop, and started to write. Difficult is an understatement when it comes to writing when you have no motivation, but slowly yet surely, I was putting words on the page. I found that the more words I would type out, the more that would come to me, and it was such an ecstatic feeling to FINALLY feel motivated to write again.
Now, I’m going to go into more detail regarding chapter fourteen, so if you don’t want any spoilers of what has happened in the book so far, please exit out of this blog post now! You’ve been warned!
Chapter thirteen ended with Flo leaving the gym after having a boxing/fitness session with Jake. She felt good, for once. Not only was it the endorphins from the workout session, but Jake was being nice to her, instead of showing her the distant Jake that she’d come to know over the past few weeks that she’d spent in Colston.
I initially started off chapter fourteen by jumping straight into another workout session, however I wanted to have a bit more fun and introduce you to a small, yet cute similarity between Jake and Flo: their love for animals, specifically cats.
You might think it’s weird to include, but I find that when I read about little details of a character, like what they like to eat/what their style is like/what their hobbies are, I find them more relatable. Hence, what better thing to introduce the readers to than their love for animals! Am I right?!
So that was fun. Then it got a little more serious.
After their workout session, Jake notices something in Flo. It’s her weight. When you read the chapter, you’ll see that Jake gives Flo a once over a couple of times. He’s not checking her out, rather he’s more worried about her weight. With everything that’s happened to Flo, it wouldn’t be daft to assume that she’s put her self-care on a back burner. In this case, she’s not eating well, and Jake can tell she’s lost weight, particularly with the added exercise that she’s doing with him. It concerns him. I really wanted to include this, because I’ve experienced it myself when I’m going through a rough time – I often forget to eat. I don’t and have never suffered from an eating disorder, but particularly when I’m feeling low, I lose my appetite. In fiction, topics like depression, eating disorders and the like aren’t widely discussed. Since this is a teen fiction novel, with mainly teens reading, I wanted to open the conversation.
Jake being the amazing person that he is (I’m his biggest fan by the way), he wants to help. So he offers to make her lunch. Of course, it’s arguable that offering someone food is not the best way to address an eating disorder (if she has one), however, keep in mind that Jake is a soon-to-be eighteen year old with little medical knowledge on how to deal with such illnesses. Hence, he finds that this is one way that he can help.
An important thing that I made sure to include was Jake’s consideration for her gluten-free diet. OMG THIS BOY IS SO CUTE.
After they both have their meal, I wanted to add in another flashback in the form of Flo’s dream. I love these flashbacks, because you get to see what their relationship was like before everything went down hill. And hopefully, you get to see them rebuild their bond back to how it was. I wanted to add in that specific flashback (of Jake buying Flo fried chicken), because it seemed fitting. Jake in the present wants to cook for her, and Jake in the past wanted to get her food all the time – it just shows that he has her at the back of his mind, and cares for her, then and now.
THEN. Then. We come to the confession & kiss. EEEEK.
I loved writing this. It gave me tingles. I don’t think you guys understand how much I LOVE this couple. J-Lo (see what I did there) are my OTP. So, for them (mainly Jake) to express their true feelings was loooong awaited on my part. Many people might think that Flo was being oblivious, but it was more about the fact that she couldn’t believe what he was saying, hence didn’t want to get her hopes up if what he was saying was not actually what she thought.
She wanted him to say that he liked her, and she had an inkling that he was going to say it, but she refused to believe it. This is actually quite sad too, because due to Flo’s experiences with ‘love’ (if you want to call it that), for example with her mother, with Jason etc, she’s just been hurt, badly. Therefore, in this chapter her inner voice wanted to make her believe that Jake liked her (because it was obvious) but she herself was too afraid to believe it because she felt it to be too good to be true.
A lot of what she’s known is hurt, so how can someone like Jake, someone she likes so much, like her back? That’s too good to be true – or at least she thought.
That’s what I was trying to get across, I hope you got that. Comment below if you did, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it!
Honestly this chapter was supposed to go a whole different way (unfortunately I can’t say how because that would be spoiling the rest of the plot), but ultimately I’m glad with how it’s turned out. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much I enjoyed writing it. I cannot wait to show you what else I have in store!