When I started high school, my career aspiration was to be a crazy cat lady.
Yes, one of those people—the nutty writer who lived in a cottage with bookshelves in every room and an overgrown flower garden that was never tended to because—I would be writing.
I was not a romantic.
And then it happened.
I joined the worship team.
As I began to spend more and more time playing my violin with this ragtag group of God-loving musicians, I started chatting more with the team’s leader, Brandon. I’d been on his team years ago when he did a special worship service for the Sunday school kids. Of course, that was back when he and I were both too shy to even imagine keeping a conversation going.
Now that we were older, though, we found out just how much we had in common. The more we talked, the more I liked him—the more I wanted to talk with him.
He was sweet, thoughtful, and he kept God first in his heart.
Oh…and his cowlick was kind of cute, too.
Cowlick aside, there was nothing wrong with us being friends, right?
That’s why, when he called and invited me to go with him and his friends to the movies, I did it. I said yes.
Somehow, a movie with friends turned into a concert with just the two of us. Then he took me to lunch before we worked to record a song together. And then—then he came to my house to practice music with me. And he stayed for dinner.
Our relationship continued to grow, but neither of us could manage to use terms besides “friends” and “hanging out.”
Then, one day, everything changed.
We’d spent the day playing worship music together and had gone to dinner to celebrate his birthday. (Because all friends go to four course dinners at fancy restaurants, right?) After our meal, we wandered around for a while before Brandon let it drop—he was interested. Interested in being more than just “friends.”
The next week, he came over to my house, sat my parents down (like they didn’t have any idea what was coming), and asked if he and I could start an official relationship. My parents happily agreed, giving Brandon and I permission to dive into a more serious version of friendship.
He started coming over more often—every Wednesday night for dinner and a Bible study—and he was a huge support for my family when my grandma died later that year. Even though I wasn’t quite willing to give up my crazy, writerly idiosyncrasies, he supported my quirkiness, my creativity, my dreams.
It wasn’t long before it happened—he started sneaking into my writing.
First came his cowlick, which was always popping up and distracting my main character. Then it was his kind spirit, his willingness to help others in need. And then—then he was taking my character on a date to “save her soul.”
Okay, so that part never happened to me.
But, aside from the slight difference in their names—Brander is my character, Brandon is the real-life inspiration—and a few other small details, these two guys are one and the same.
How has Brandon handled all of this? It’s not a conversation most couples have—“So, just wanted to let you know…I put you in a book. And it’s getting published.”—and he was a little shocked the first time I told him. But, good sport that he is, he quickly warmed to the idea of being “the love interest.”
It helped when I told him his character drove a Porsche.
So it is with great pleasure that, today, I introduce you to Brander Delacroix, the fictional worship leader based on my own real-life boyfriend of almost two years.
Brander is an amazing musician with a huge heart and an even bigger smile. He’s always happy to get behind the wheel of an extra-fast, sporty car and he has a love for God that results in a desire to help everyone he can.
Kind of like someone else I know.
Taylor Bennett is an assistant editor for Magnum Opus Magazine. She has published several pieces of fiction and nonfiction in Magnum Opus Magazine and her novel, Porch Swing Girl, was a semi-finalist in the Go Teen Writers “We Write Books” contest. Taylor is a member of ACFW and OCW and she is active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
The Porch Swing Girl will release early 2019 from Mountain Brook Ink.