‘The Arrangement’, Romance and HEA
photo: Christine Evangelista and Josh Henderson; via Variety, courtesy of E!

BEFORE ITS DEBUT, E!’s “The Arrangement” was marketed as a titillating fictional version of the Tom Cruise and Katy Holmes story, complete with a guru and “The Institute of the Higher Mind” model meant to mimic Scientology.

Whenever a love story is depicted through pop culture, the lessons, rapture, and delicious intrigue can be mated to create a dramatic guilty pleasure without limits.

But is there a larger story being told beneath the scintillating storyline?

There are secrets between the two lovers, Megan (Christine Evangelista) and Kyle (Josh Henderson), even after an arrangement is agreed upon. The contract between the two main characters is demanded by the man with all of the power.

We’ve seen this before in “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Out May 13

A contract doesn’t make the woman in the relationship mute, whether it’s “Fifty Shades,” or “The Arrangement.”

In every relationship where happily ever after is the target, there will always have to be an arrangement between the two parties, whether it’s explicit or implicit.

In my novel, Beltway Betrayers, the “arrangement” between Alex Gantry, the heroine, and T.J. Gale, the hero, begins as a set of mutually agreed upon points, which were hashed out through intense conversations when they first met.

Some modern women aren’t sure about jumping into a marriage contract, or a written agreement of any kind.

At one point in Beltway Betrayers, Alex has to teach T.J. a valuable lesson about what it means to be in her life.

“I was trying to protect you. You can’t blame me for that,” T.J. said.

“What about telling me so I could take care of my own business without any help from my new boyfriend? I didn’t get this far by requiring a protector. This would be unbelievable if it weren’t so predictable,” Alex replied.

It’s foundational for a man to want to protect the woman he loves. In modern love, however, there are unwritten boundaries that must be arranged on the road towards HEA (happily ever after).

In my novel, Beltway Betrayers, the conclusion to the Beltway Series, there is no written agreement, but that doesn’t lessen the difficulties in navigating a relationship that requires agreed upon specifics between two independent spirits who have fallen in love with one another and are trying to come to an arrangement that makes their relationship mutually satisfying.

In modern romance, the arrangement between two people is a moving target.