Joi Friday. She’s probably one of my most disliked characters I’ve written about to date. She’s an undeniable bad guy with a backstory that helps make sense of the person she becomes when readers first meet her in Forbidden: An Anthology.
She hints at it at the start of her story “Decadent Contradictions.” But because the story was a short story, we really didn’t have the time to get too deep into it. Loveless allows us to peel back Joi’s layers and to sort through the complexities that molds her character.
Sometimes I get the characters who are easy and other times I get the characters who are flawed but willing to grow. For this season of my writing, I got characters who have made bad turns by making one (maybe two?) poor decision(s). Poor decisions that aren’t major or detrimental but end up being highly unfavorable for them, forcing them to deal with the effects of their choices. And here enters Joi.
At this point in her journey, Joi has made materialism the love of her life. Because she came from very little but was exposed to a lot, she never really had an opportunity to focus on what mattered most. Security, which is an understandable thing to desire in life, through her perception, is distorted. What she views as being secure offers her a false sense of security, but because that’s all she knows, she believes gaining this version of “security” is the best she can do.
Her view on men and love is also an unhealthy one. Joi hasn’t had the best representations of male figures growing up or in her adult life. When we rejoin her in Loveless, she has yet to love someone romantically or know what it feels like to have them love her without conditions.
The men she’s exposed to are probably the worse examples a woman can come in contact with, ever. None of them whom she’s known socially or physically have bothered to see past what she presents on the surface. With no reason to peel back the layers that are her, Joi focuses on the shell of herself and only taps into part of what constructs attraction and intimacy. There’s a lot of take in the relationships she’s used to on both Joi and the guys she entertains end, and when you’re doing something for so long it becomes a habit and is viewed as something normal after a while. This is where we are with Joi, and this is who Joi is at the start of Loveless. She isn’t jaded. She isn’t angry. She’s loveless and unfamiliar with what being in love is. Her expectations are stunted regarding the opposite sex until she’s exposed to something more, something unexpected, someone who opens her eyes to things she’s never considered concerning herself with in matters of the heart.
Jeremiah Rhames is a man who steps into Joi’s life and shifts her perception on love. If you read my No Fraternizing series, you know his name and are familiar with his character. As Joi puts it, he’s the guy who pierces through the veil she’s been weaving with an iron heart for what seems like her entire life.
He’s different, doesn’t meet not a single mark on her checklist, and this makes Jeremiah perfect for her. Meet him here.
Did you read Joi’s story in Forbidden: An Anthology? What was your first impression of her?