The root of the dynamic between Jason and Marc had its roots in two guitarists I happened to know. One of them is an extremely gifted player. The other is not so gifted, but extremely determined. I haven’t seen him for many years, but I’m sure of two things. One, he’s probably single and two, he’s still plugging away.
Player One* managed to screw up his life in the most shocking turn of events I’ve ever lived through (and if you watched my highlight reel, you’d be really horrified by that statement.) He was at the top of his (admittedly small) field. The best blues guitarist in our city. Taught <famous guitar player> of the <well-known, current group> to play guitar. Standing gigs that went for years. Many fans who were friends. Lots of guitar students. Married to a beautiful woman. Gorgeous house in the country, yet still close enough to everything, which he had bought from his parents for, most literally, a song. And then. You knew there was going to be an “and then,” didn’t you? And then he cheated on his wife. He didn’t want children and his wife had been willing to forego children for him. His mistress got pregnant. Divorce. He lost the house to his ex in the divorce mostly because his parents were pissed at him. Those friends who were fans and students? Well, when you do something so awful as to cheat on your wife, whom everyone loves, and have a child with your mistress, whom everyone recognized long ago as smarmy, you tend to lose those friends slash fans, who are the bulk of your audience. When you lose your audience, you lose your gigs. Poof.
Player Two was always a good guy. Reliable as the sun. I doubt Player One ever realized there was any rivalry between them, but Player Two did. He was acutely aware of every gig the other one got, every fan, every time someone stupidly opened their mouth in his presence to compare them and he came up short. (He had a little twitch at the corner of his mouth that gave him away.) He practiced constantly and researched. Last I heard, and I haven’t been around for a long time, he had a girlfriend, but it was a very low-key affair. Before that he had been in a serious, monogamous relationship with his craft. He was always good looking, in a tall, serious way. Not as flashy as Player One. No drama for him.
Personally, I can see the appeal of both sides. (Obviously, I wrote books using both character types.) Big drama, big loss. No drama, less risk. Of course, poor Marc ends up with big drama anyway, but that’s because he chooses a chick with baggage. In the end, that means he gets the big love after all. What would you choose?
*Names withheld to protect the innocent and not so innocent.
Waiting For a Girl Like You is available.