Beautiful People: Ricky and Sophia

It's time for another Beautiful People post! Yay! This is a monthly link-up hosted by Cait and Sky. It's been a long time since we've had one of these, since the focus has been on books and new year's plans for the past four months or so.

February's theme is couples. After considering Mr. and Mrs. Mouse from my middle grade fantasy Lillian and Biff and Renna from my space novella, I've decided to go with Ricky Hartford and Sophia Rainier from my middle grade novel The Time Traveling League.

Ricky is a World War One American pilot stationed in France.

J.C. Leyendecker illustration cover art for Kuppenheimer Style Booklet, Chicago, Fall-Winter 1917-1918:
Image not mine.
Ricky smiles more than this fellow.

Sophia is a Southern belle from an antebellum plantation...somewhere in Tennessee, I'm thinking.

Would love to see the front of it, but I will take one of these dresses:
Image not mine.
I don't really like the bare shoulder, but.
1. How and why did they meet?

Sophia ended up in the Time Tunnel pretty much on accident, as a result of trying to help the main characters Alice and Jeanie out of captivity on her father's plantation. They took her with them to the Den, where the members of the League hang out, and that's where Ricky and Sophia first saw each other.

2. What were their first impressions of each other?

Ricky was mildly smitten, in his cavalier but gentlemanly way. Sophia didn't particularly notice him at first--she was too busy taking in the weird happenings of that day--but when she did finally notice him the first thing she saw was his outlandish aviator's costume, and the second thing was his pleasant (if a little too nonchalant) attitude towards everything.

3. How would they prove their love for each other?

Ricky is continually doing little things to show Sophia how he feels about her--like rushing for the first aid kit when she burns her finger or guiding her to a seat when she seems about to faint. And he's always very polite to her, calling her "Miss Rainier" and not teasing her the way he does everyone else. Sophia favors him with a gracious smile now and again.

As the story progresses, they get to prove their dedication to one another in bigger ways. I can't go into too much detail because of spoilers, though.

4. What would be an ideal date?

A square dance. Any dance, really, but they think square dances are particularly fun.

5. Is there something they emphatically disagree on?

Well, Sophia is a staunch Southerner because she was born and bred on an antebellum plantation in Dixie-land. Ricky, on the other hand, is a Yankee through and through. This isn't as big a rift as it might seem, though, since Ricky's a Northerner from 1918 and as such doesn't threaten Sophia's 1859 world.

Image not mine.

Still....they see the world differently. Slavery in particular is a big issue: Sophia doesn't see anything wrong with it, and Ricky can't imagine how a sweet girl like Sophia can talk so calmly and matter-of-factly about owning people.

Their moral priorities are pretty different, too. Sophia puts family first, and is willing to compromise her values for the sake of her loved ones. Ricky, as he puts it, can't imagine knowing which side is right and joining the wrong side anyway.

That said, they respect each other's opinions even when they deeply disagree, and are pretty good about not flaring up at each other.

...So far.

6. List 5 "food quirks" they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they're allergic to something, etc...and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)

This is the kind of thing even I don't know about my characters. :P Let's see.

1. Ricky has a remarkable appetite. Sophia has a very delicate one, because--well, are you familiar with Gone With the Wind? We must keep our 17-inch waistline!
2. Sophia would like a little tea or coffee with her sugar and cream, thank you. Ricky would drink coffee black if someone offered it to him.
3. Ricky prefers icing to cake...not that he won't eat the cake.
4. Sophia finds modern foods uncouth, artificial, and unappetizing.
5. Both are very fond of good antebellum food...Sophia for sentimental reasons, Ricky for less sentimental reasons.

Southern Peach Cobbler - FoodGaZm..:
Peach cobbler--yum!
Image not mine.

7. What's one thing they know about each other that no one else does?

There's not too much opportunity for secret-sharing in The Time Traveling League. But they do have one conversation alone together, and that's when they explain to each other what's really important to each of them. For Sophia it's the South and her family; for Ricky it's being on the right side.

8. What's one thing that they keep a secret from each other?

I don't think Ricky's told Sophia about the Civil War. She's bound to find out sometime, but he doesn't want to be the one to tell her. If by any chance he had a relative who fought in the Union Army, as I have a sneaking suspicion he does, he'd spare her that information for a long, long time. And he wouldn't tell her his middle name for the life of him--at least, he wouldn't admit that he was named after a Union hero.

As for Sophia...she wouldn't keep it secret at first, but as time goes on and she gets to know Ricky better, she probably tries to hide from him just how big a part of her life slavery is.

9. How would their lives be different without one another?

Without Ricky, Sophia would've never come back to the Time Traveling League after she left. And that would have changed everything.

Without Sophia, Ricky would've still been his happy-go-lucky self....maybe too happy-go-lucky, come to think of it. She put some seriousness and sweetness into his reckless pilot's life.

Black Flight by Terry Jones (Sopwith Triplane):
Image not mine.

10. Where do they each see this relationship going?

Well, they'd really like to have a formal courtship with marriage as the ultimate goal. But being from different time periods complicates things quite a bit. One of them would have to shift settings--either the Southern belle would have to plunge into twentieth-century northern America, or the World War One aviator would have to go back in time to the war-torn South. And that would be hard.

Sophia's father would never approve of his daughter marrying a middle-class Yankee from the future, and Ricky doesn't exactly savor the idea of living as a professed Northerner down South (he couldn't possibly hide that he was a Northerner). And it would break Sophia's heart to leave her home and family for a world where the Southern society she's used to is "gone with the wind."

So they're going to wait and see if Ricky lives through World War One, and then start to make serious plans.

So! There's this month's Beautiful People. What about you? Are you doing Beautiful People this month?? What do you think of Ricky and Sophia? Do you find WWI aviation and the antebellum South fascinating? 


  1. Awesome!!!! Now I know what couple you spoke of! ;) I love Ricky and Sophia soooo much! You know, Ricky was tied for my favorite character by the end of the book (tied, I am somewhat ashamed to say, with rascally Trick). And Sophia was certainly interesting. She's definitely got the most vivid mental picture in my imagination for her physical looks...

    1. Haha! I'm glad you like them. :) Ricky was...supposed to be my favorite. As it turned out I didn't like him as much as Trick, but I'm still prodigiously fond of him. :) You have a vivid mental image of Sophia? Interesting...did I describe her, in the version you read, as having light or dark hair? I know it changed at some point. :P

    2. Haha, I really hated Trick when I first met him, and though little of Ricky, but by the end of the thing, I didn't like my previous favorite (Michael), and those two were my favorites. :P You.... didn't describe her at all, I don't think. Actually, wait! She had light hair. Oh, dang... That means my mental image of a character is wrong... again. :P

    3. Well, actually, that description is one of the things that changed in my head without changing on the paper due to NaNo craziness. Sophia actually has very dark hair. :)


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