I think Al sounds like a jerk. He won't ever be interested in someone unless they play hard to get, and if they seem too interested, he'll dump them? Who would want to be in a relationship with someone like that? You would have to constantly playing games and being dishonest about how you feel. And he seems too emotionally and mentally messed up to actually be in a healthy relationship, with the way he obsessively pined after Alice for years. And he seems to have a habit of just using his girl friends to console himself (both Tatum and Emma) and not really being considerate of their feelings. And it was really obnoxious how he just assumed he had to step in to keep her from talking to a cute guy and I didn't find it very sweet but seemed more selfish, like he wants her attention all on him but wants to be free to date other people as well. I really like Tatum and am glad she and and Emma are getting along. And I personally think Tatum is too good to be sitting around playing silly games hoping Al will notice her, so I hope she finds someone else and really does move on. I'm interested to see how you can make Al someone who I would want her to end up with. But I realize it is realistic for people to have all these messed up emotions, I just hope that Tatum doesn't give up her own wans and needs to placate Al's messed up priorities and feelings. In spit of Al, I like your story and am interested to see how things progress.
Author's Response: Ok, you have to realize a few things. What Emma says about Al is not necessary true. It's just her take on him, because that's how THEIR relationship went. It doesn't mean Al is only interested in people if they play hard to get. It just means that's what Emma concluded based on her own experience.
As for being too messed up... I based his unrequited love for Alice on my own. It doesn't mean he's obsessed with Alice. It may come off like that. But he's just slightly in love with her whole the time, because he hasn't find the right person with whom he'd move on. I still have a crush on he same guy I had in high school, meaning I like him for eight years now. I don't pine after him all the time. It's just that, every time I try to move on, he's there. It's hard forgeting when you constantly meet and interact with someone. That's Al's problem. Alice was always there, she was the safest choice exactly because she was unavailable. He's just a bit scared to actually find someone who'll like him back as much as he likes them. Does that make Al and myself weird? Sure, it does a bit. But I don't consider myself too messed up. I just think the right person hasn't come along to make me forget the guy I always like a little bit. That's the thing. Al hasn't been madly in love with Alice whole this time. She's just always in the back of his mind. Until... well, you'll see about that if you read on. :)
As for using girl friends, I don't know why you think that. It wasn't my intention for him to come of as that.
Al doesn't want attention. On the contrary, he's a very private guy. He stepped in and kissed Tatum, because the guy was drunk/high and could've hurt her. Remember, I'm writing through Tatum's eyes. Sometimes she's biassed. So all she could note was how hot the guy was. Because of that she didn't sense the danger Al has. Ok, he could've used another techinque to get rid of the guy. But did he want to, really? ;)
Tatum is not much better than Al, really. You have to remember that she was obsessed with James, too. For many, many years. Up until she met Al. So you see, they have lots in common. Just as he is pining after Alice, she's doing it with James. Or was.
And, in spite fearing I'll spoil something, there is a reason Al is a little distant and afraid of relationships. He wants to do something not many girls agree to take part in. It's nothing bad, on the contrary. This is the reason his attmepts at moving on from Alice with other girls have all failed. So, don't hate on Al, until you know the whole story. Because, truly, he's one of the nicest guys I've written. If a little clumsy in love (Just like me, actually.). :)