Let's meet the guys of Melissa Eskue Ousley's new novel Sign of the Throne!
Today we’re interviewing two characters from the book, Sign of the Throne: David Corbin and Jonathon Reyes.
Let’s start with David Corbin.
David, tell us about yourself.
I’ve just returned to Newcastle Beach after traveling in the South Pacific. A few months ago I graduated from college with a degree in business and will soon be joining the London branch of my father’s firm, Corbin Industries. Well, that’s the plan, but…I’m no longer sure I want to leave California. I’ve met a girl, and it’s made me rethink some things.
Do tell--who’s the girl? What’s she like?
Her name is Abby Brown. She works at the Newcastle Beach Inn and also babysits for Riordan and Cassandra Buchan, who are friends of my parents. When I first saw Abby working in the cabana by the pool at the inn, I had the strangest feeling we’d met before. It was like deja vu. Maybe it was just because I thought she was beautiful. She has the prettiest blue eyes I’ve ever seen.
Have you talked to her?
Yeah. I ran into her a few times and finally managed to have a real conversation with her at the Buchans’ house. I think we were both nervous at first, but then once we started talking it felt like we hit it off. I told her about cage diving with great white sharks in Australia and she acted like I was completely crazy, but I think she was a little bit impressed too. I like that she banters with me. Most girls don’t—maybe because I can come off as reserved, like, I don’t know, the strong silent type. I know I’m not exactly approachable, and I probably scare a lot of girls off. Plus, I’m in a long distance relationship with a girl named Amelia, so I haven’t exactly encouraged flirting from other girls.
Uh-oh. So you already have a girlfriend.
Sort of. Amelia is the daughter of my dad’s business partner from London. We’ve known each other for a long time even though we don’t see each other too often. But I’ll be seeing more of her if I move to London, and I’ll be working under her father’s supervision until he thinks I’m ready to move up in the business. Amelia is very beautiful and intelligent, and we get along okay, but we don’t have that much in common. It’s tricky though because I know it would mean so much to our parents if we ended up together.
Wow—no pressure. What are you going to do?
I don’t know. But I’d better figure it out because Amelia’s coming for a visit soon. Do I keep dating her and move to London? Or do I take a chance and see if there’s a future here with Abby? I feel such a strong connection to Abby—what if I’m too scared to take a risk and miss out? I did take a risk the other night—I offered to drive Abby home on my 1961 Harley. I like it that she was adventurous enough to ride with me—we had a lot of fun together. Amelia, on the other hand, won’t go anywhere near my bike.
You have a big decision ahead of you. Maybe you should talk to your parents about the pressure
Maybe. I’m starting to realize that I’ve allowed other people to direct my life rather than figuring out what I want for myself. But don’t get me wrong. My parents are great, in spite of the pressure I feel to go along with their plan for my career and my love life. They adopted me as an infant, and I’m grateful for the wonderful life they’ve given me. I admire my dad, Philip Corbin, for working so hard to build his company. He’s taught me a lot about how to be a leader. I just hope I can live up to his expectations. And I’m really close to my mom, Margaret. When I was away at college we used to talk on the phone almost every day.
You’ve had a great life so far, and it sounds like you have a promising future. Has life handed you any major disappointments?
Funny you should ask, because I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. No. I’ve never been sick, never gotten hurt, never wanted for anything. And I’m starting to think maybe that’s not normal, because bad things do happen to people. All the time.
I can’t remember anything horrible happening to me, except…something weird did happen to me once, and I was never sure if it was real or just a nightmare. There was this monster in my room—some kind of black beast with red eyes. The memory is kind of foggy, but in the morning I found a silver seashell under my pillow. It wasn’t there when I went to sleep. Does that sound crazy?
Maybe your parents put it there.
That’s what I thought too. But they swore they didn’t. I’m sure they thought I made the whole thing up. What bothers me most about this is even though I know the seashell is real, I don’t know if the monster was. What if it wasn’t just a dream? But that sounds insane. I can’t talk to anyone about this.
What about your friends? Can’t you talk to them?
Well, the thing is…I have a lot of friends from high school and college, but nobody I could talk to about something as crazy as this. I don’t even have anyone I would consider a best friend. Can you be surrounded by people and still be alone? I feel like that sometimes, but I know I’m not totally alone. I’m probably closest to my mom and Moira Buchan, a friend of our family. They seem to know me better than anyone. I tried to talk to them about this, but they just brushed it off, insisting it was a dream. I’m not convinced it was.
What about Abby? Maybe you could talk to her.
Are you kidding? I don’t want to scare her away.
Fair enough. I hope it works out. Let me ask you one more question. What song best captures your life at this point in time?
“Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash (or maybe “London Calling”).
Thanks, David. Let’s move on to talk with Jonathon. Jon, what impression do you make on people when they first meet you?
They think I’m a dead sexy rogue who doesn’t take life too seriously.
David? Is there a problem? He’s shaking his head and laughing.
Hey Corbin, you had your chance. It’s my turn now. Shut it.
Do you guys always act like this, Jon?
No. Usually I only want to destroy him when Abby’s involved.
I see. Well then, moving on…what do people think about you after they've known you for a while?
They still think I’m easy on the eyes. But, if they really know me, like Abby does, they know I do take some things seriously. Abby knows I’d do anything for her or for my mom. I take school seriously too, even though people may think I’m a slacker. I’m a senior in high school but I’m also enrolled in Dr. Buchan’s psychology class at the University of Santa Linda. Not that I share that with everyone—I do have a reputation to uphold.
Tell me about your relationship with Abby. Are you dating?
Not anymore. We’ve known each other forever, and we’ve always been best friends. We tried dating, but Abby decided we’re better off as friends. I wouldn’t mind giving it another try, but I don’t want to pressure her. I think she might have a crush on Corbin, and to be honest, I’m not thrilled about it. I want her to be happy, but I don’t want her to get hurt.
Why do you think she would get hurt?
Just look at him. He’s cocky, he’s spoiled, and he’s going to rip out her heart.
He doesn’t seem that bad to me. Is it possible you’re feeling jealous because Abby likes him and you still have feelings for her?
Maybe a little. But it’s more complicated than petty jealousy. I love Abby. She’s my best friend. I’m the one who has always been there for her, the one who understands her. So yeah, maybe I’m a little over-protective sometimes. But Abby and I come from the same world. David Corbin? He’s from a totally different universe.
What are you saying? He’s an alien?
Yeah, I am. Only kidding, Corbin. What I mean is Abby and I both come from Santa Linda. We live next door to each other. My mom works in medical records at a health center, Abby’s mom is a school teacher, and her dad’s an accountant. We go to the same school, and we’re both working to save for college. I work as a life guard at the Newcastle Beach Inn, and Abby works in the pool’s guest services cabana. But David is from Newcastle Beach, which is the wealthiest neighborhood in Santa Linda. He didn’t have to work to go to college—he just had everything handed to him. So how can he understand Abby like I do?
Maybe he’ll surprise you. Let’s change gears. If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
I’d probably be hanging out with Abby at her house or mine. Maybe we’d go to the beach.
What is it that you want out of life?
To be happy and for the people I love to be happy. And I want to make my mom proud. She works so hard and does so much for me, and I want to do something with my life to show her I appreciate all she’s sacrificed to take care of me. I don’t yet know what I want to study in college, but I know she’s proud that I’ve already started taking classes. She didn’t have the opportunities she’s provided for me.
What are you most afraid of?
I’m most afraid that something bad will happen to people I love. After that, not much scares me, except maybe the fear of not taking a risk. I’d rather take a risk in doing something and fail than to never take a chance. Abby teases me sometimes about flirting with girls who are, let’s be honest, out of my league, but I’d rather take a chance and be rejected than miss out.
What song best captures your life at this point in time?
Well, I did say I was dead sexy, and I try not to take myself too seriously, so naturally it would have to be “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred. That’s a classic, and Abby and my mom would think it was hilarious if I started strutting my stuff to that song.
I suspect you’ve done that before.
You would be right. We act endearingly dorky at the Reyes house. It’s part of our charm.
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