Wednesday, October 19, 2011

TLS Fics of The Week 10/19 - 10/25/2011- The Fab Four

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Each week, you choose which fics move you the most. Here are your four FANTASTIC Fics of the Week, this week, at The Lemonade Stand.

Air by Rochelle Allison
Edward and Bella meet at a summer barbeque. A story about - what else - falling for someone, hard. Once a WitFit. Twilight - Rated: M
Review by: SueBee0619

Rochelle Allison wrote one of my all time favorite fics, “Volition”, so when someone suggested “Air” when I was looking for a good, non-angsty read, I jumped at it.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but I devoured this lovely fic that night.

What I love the most about “Air” is that it depicts the first year of a realistic adult relationship between Edward, 29 and established in his career and his way of life, and a younger Bella (19) just figuring things out.  They meet fairly awkwardly at a birthday party for Edward’s sister and, in a fit of braveness, Bella has one of Edward’s brothers invite him along to go hang out afterwards.  I was already drawn into the story, but the description at the end of chapter one put me right in the moment and made me even more invested in what was going to happen with the two of them. Reading it, I could almost feel the summer air on my skin and the anticipation between the two of them.

He looked at me and walked over, his expression different than before.


We all began to walk then, meandering and happy and summertime-free, Rose riding by in loops, her bicycle glinting in the moonlight.

Edward and I didn't talk. We just walked side by side, stealing glances, catching smiles.

Besides the wonderful descriptions, what I really love about this fic is that the relationship just feels real. There is no drama for drama’s sake, there is simply two people trying to figure out how they fit together.  And with so many fics that rely on miscommunications and misunderstandings as the basis of the story, this is a couple that actually talks to each other.  Although Bella is intimidated to speak up at first, Edward guides her until she is comfortable.  I love this exchange between them, early in their relationship:

"You were pissed off at me last night," he said, his eyes locked with mine.

"I was…" Emotional. Horny. Lonely. Disappointed. "Tired."

"Don't do that. Don't play games. If you were angry with me just say it." His voice never rose.

"Okay, I was mad. Just a little bit. I wanted to see you." I ducked my head and sat down, careful to keep my legs closed in this silly little get up.

"I wanted to see you too."

And then later, we get to see how far she’s progressed.

We'd been together for awhile now. I always felt so vulnerable with him and yet, he always made it easy to talk. For as quiet as we both were in general, as used to and appreciative of companionable silence as we both were, he tended to bring the words out of me. And I sensed I brought the words out of him, too. I could tell him anything. I felt compelled to.

I trusted him.

In the deepest, most serious way, I trusted him. With the non linear-ness of my thought patterns and the nuances of every feeling. It was like he was teaching me to peel back the layers of emotional armor I'd grown used to wearing for protection. Every day relationships; they wore on a girl. Having to look and act right, maintain, not wanting to upset things, wanting it all to go right with the guy. The game.

We all played it.

He and I had played it, the first time we'd met.

But it just wasn't necessary anymore. He'd already told me he wanted my thoughts.

So I gave them to him.

And neither is made out to be perfect, either. But the way Bella describes how Edward takes care of her is just lovely and perfect and real. Yes, I know I keep saying “real” but, to me, that is an amazing thing to find in a fic and that believability is what struck me over and over again while reading.

"You pay your dues. I'll pay for dinner," he said.

And that was fine.

I liked the way he took care of me.

It wasn't typical gentlemanly type stuff.

He didn't open my door for me or pull out my chair. Sometimes he was still late, even though he'd gotten better. His bed was chronically unmade from sleeping and sex. There were blueprints and contracts covering the coffee table and multiple projects he had going in every corner. And tools, everywhere.

He wasn't clean cut and GQ.

But he got me. In the silences and the conversations, in the presence and the absence, he got me.

When I told him I'd finished reading a book I loved he'd gone out and found the sequel. Without fanfare. I found it in my messenger bag later the next day.

When we walked down the sidewalk he kept me on the inside, putting himself between me and the road. The only other guy ever to do that was my dad.

While you’re reading “Air” you are watching slices of a couple’s life in their first year together; watching them figure each other out and how to communicate and connect.  The writing is lovely and there is something about the quiet love these two show each other that touches my heart each and every time I read it.  Every single time (and I think I’m on my fourth go), I’ve teared up at the tenderness, acceptance, and love they each have for each other.

Go read “Air”. Your heart will thank you.

Comp Sem 101 by bornonhalloween
What happens when a scholarship athlete and an English major from opposite coasts meet in a freshman writing seminar? Will they be drawn together or forced apart by their weekly discoveries of themselves and each other? All human college coeds!
Twilight - Rated: M
Review by: Twific Crackmum

I have to preface this review by saying that I am a big sap. I love stories about teenage Edward and Bella finding first love with each other. I love the awakening of  those first feelings of attraction. I love the slow burn of new love. I love the voyage of discovery as emotions and desires emerge. I love the angst as mistakes of the past and present collide, and I REALLY love when love overcomes all the obstacles and I get my HEA. As I said, I’m a sap. When I find all of these things in one story, I’m a really happy sap. You get all of this and more in bornonhalloween’s beautiful story CompSem 101.

The story opens with the new freshmen arriving at Holden University at the start of the academic year. Edward is the star golfer on a sports scholarship, who already has older brother Emmett (star footballer and senior) to help him out. Edward has been paired with Jasper as his room-mate, as he is also attending Holden on a golfing scholarship. Bella is a freshman too, and has been paired with Rosalie as her room-mate..

This Bella is our usual book loving English major with a twist - rather than being the “slip of a girl” that we are used to, this Bella is a larger girl - 190 lbs to be precise. After a potentially disastrous introduction to college life where Bella is humiliated at frat party, she decides to take charge of her life, and her weight, with Rose’s help. What Bella doesn’t realise is that Edward witnessed the debacle and is secretly upset that he didn’t “do the right thing” and step in to help when she needed it.

Both the kids are in the same Composition Seminar 101. The course is naturally a breeze for Bella, but Edward is dyslexic and requires some assistance. The two are paired together as partners in the course, and from there they slowly develop a friendship. Through the weekly writing tasks that they are required to do, and the peer reviews that they conduct on each other’s essays, they slowly learn more about each other. Against this backdrop, Bella begins a diet and exercise program and starts losing weight and Edward begins his competition golfing program and goes “on the road” to tournaments.

Jasper and Edward attract a lot of  female attention when the play (who knew there was such a thing as golf groupies!) and Edward makes a less than chivalrous decision regarding one of the girls whilst playing an away tournament. This comes back to bite him in a big way later in the story.  The friendship between Bella and Edward continues to grow, and Edward invites Bella to practice with him early in the mornings. This leads to a blossoming relationship. At the same time, as she begins to lose weight and become fitter, Bella begins to attract the attention of other guys, and gets asked out on some dates. The “Green-eyed Monster” comes out in Edward, as he struggles to understand what his feelings for Bella really are:

"I'm going out with Connor Saturday night. Actually, we're staying in. His housemates are having a party."
'Staying in' with a previously declared hot guy in his own house, where there are sure to be alcohol and loosened inhibitions. I can't mask my disappointment this time. "Oh," is all I can muster.
Bella pivots and puts her hand on my arm. "Edward, he asked me early last week. This is awkward, right?"
"No, I get it. It's fine."
"Yeah? You're okay with this?"
"As long as you promise me one thing."
"What's that?" she asks.
"Miss me while I'm gone?"
Her smile fills across her face without any effort. "I don't think that'll be a problem."
"Well, just in case," I say, dropping all the balls down and taking hold of her face, "let me just remind you what you're supposed to be missing."
I feel a little gasp as Bella figures out what is about to happen. Right there on the putting green, I give Bella a knock-down, drag-out kiss. The kind you can feel right down to your toes. There is no uncertainty in this kiss; it isn't the starry night, come in gently and leave her wanting more, kiss. No, this is a sun's coming up and right here in broad daylight, I am kissing the stuffing out of you, kiss.

 There are a lot of ups and downs in this story - you feel bad for both Bella and Edward with some of the decisions they make, and the miscommunication that ensues, but when these guys finally get together it makes your heart glad.  This Edward is delightfully romantic and very patient with Bella, who is naturally very inexperienced.  Their physical relationship moves forward very slowly, and the UST in this story is just about incendiary - which is entirely appropriate given that Edward is Bella’s first ever boyfriend.

And I feel no less guilty when my thoughts automatically reroute themselves to Bella's body. In much the same order. Soon, my cock is positively banging against my zipper and I'm going to have to do something about it.
I try drawing her attention downward to test the waters. "He says, 'You're welcome.'"
Her eyes flick down, as I suspected they might, and her smile gets just a smidgen darker.
"You know, it's not really fair," I tell her.
"What isn't'?"
"That you can see exactly what you do to me, and you're all hidden away."
Even though the room is mostly dark, I see the blush color her face. "A girl's gotta be entitled to her secrets."
I reach out two fingers and tuck away the few strands of hair blocking my view of her hot cheeks. "You sure you don't want to tell me your secrets, Bella?"
She nods her head gently and whispers, "Not yet."
I immediately bring my lips to hers and kiss her with all I've got. Anchoring my nose right up against hers, I tell her, "That's fine, Sweetheart. I am happy to wait."
She whispers again, closing her eyes with relief, "Thank you, Edward."

One thing I found particularly delightful about this story was the fact that bornonhalloween revealed in her review replies to me that the this story is semi autobiographical. Here is a snippet from one of her replies (hope you don’t mind boh!):

This is MY love story, my husband and I met freshman year, lived
upstairs/downstairs from each other, took classes together, experienced this same innocent journey. Though some details have shifted in time and quality (my weight loss was senior year of high school, the 'past' was a smaller range, etc) the growing feelings for each other and the way the characters wrap themselves around each other's lives are similar.

 How gorgeous is that! I totally swooned when I realised that there was some truth in the words of this story - it just makes it all the more special for me. Yeah - I know - I’m a sap! Of course, Edward and Bella do go “all the way” eventually, but not before some delightful wooing and indepth planning for the big event. This story is just so sweet, and the dialogue is wonderful. All the secondary characters are really well developed. All-in-all it is simply a terrific read that will leave you swooning and sighing at the end. You’ll want to say GIMME!

An Undefined Affair by jayhawkbb
Bella, recovering from a broken heart, meets Edward, who isolates himself emotionally. Their attraction is immediate, but can they be friends and lovers - without the love? BxE, all the regs, some drama, some funny, lemony, language AH.
Twilight - Rated: M

Review by Surething302

An Undefined Affair by Jayhawkbb is one of my favorite fic’s of all time. It’s just an all around feel good fic.  There is romance, humor and just a little angst as well. Jayhawkbb leaves you wanting more when the chapter ends and she gives us the best nickname for our beloved Edward and Bella ever, Stella and Ned. These two hold such a special place in my heart. If you are not reading this then shame on you because you're missing a great time.

Bella is 26 yeasr old and working for her two best friends, Jasper Whitlock and Emmett McCarty. She has a business meeting with Hale Software, where she meets Edward Cullen, Executive Vice-President. Edward seems to be an asshole but we soon find out he is not. I've inserted a snippet so that you can see how their first meeting goes:

"Ms. Swan, it's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Edward Cullen," he says. Oh, hell. Again? Damn girl parts. Stand down! Stand down! Just because a man speaks to us with a voice so sexy that it makes us want to rip our clothes off and roll around on satin sheets, we do not release the cream! At this rate, my well will run dry before I even meet any hot boys tonight. But, yeah…totally worth it.

"Mr. Cullen, it's nice to meet you, too. Please call me Bella," I say, smiling at him. He doesn't return the smile. He also doesn't say anything resembling 'call me Edward or Eddie or Ned or Teddy'. Semi-asshole status preliminarily confirmed.

I finally reach his desk and extend my right hand to meet his, grasping it firmly before letting go quickly because I swear to God he's got one of those gag hand buzzers hidden in his palm. I felt a freaking current shoot up my arm, take a sharp turn at my shoulder, whiz by both boobs (hello, highbeams) and electrocute my girl parts. They are stunned into silence.

Thankfully, Jane returns then with bottled water for each of us. She tells us that Mr. Hale called to say he wouldn't make it back for the meeting at all, but hopes to meet with me soon. We both say thanks – mine sounded genuine, his dismissive – and she quickly exits the office, shutting the door behind her and leaving me here with Mr. White Lightning.

"Sit," he barks at me in that silken, baritone voice.

I remain standing, tilting my head slightly to the side and lifting one eyebrow at him.

"Please sit down, Bella," he corrects. It doesn't escape my attention that he did not apologize for speaking to me like a dog.

I take a deep breath and sit down, though, reminding myself that this could be a huge client for our firm. The firm has grown so much in its first four years, and I've been there for all of it. I got to know Jasper and Emmett both during college even though they are two years older than me. They were friends of my old roommate's boyfriend, and the three of us spent many nights drinking cheap beer and watching movies while waiting for Mike and Jessica to either make up or break up from their latest fight. I was really sad when they graduated – well, not Mike; he was an idiot.

Then, the summer before my senior year in college, I interned at the advertising firm where Jasper and Emmett both worked and I guess they were impressed – enough that when they started their own company the next year, they asked me to work for them. They are like the big brothers I never had. Well, Emmett is like the big brother I never had. Jasper is more like the big brother's hot friend who I made out with a few times during college, but who is now truly just a friend.

I hastily open my water and take a sip before pulling out the proposal Emmett and I prepared for this meeting. I hand Mr. Cullen his copy and start to go over some of the details.

"I'm able to read, Bella," he says brusquely, cutting me off mid-sentence, not even bothering to glance my way as he interrupts.

Then read this, dickhead, I think, flipping him off as he continues looking down at the papers on his desk.

"Of course, Mr. Cullen. Would you prefer to read through it on your own and then go over any questions you have together?" I ask politely, recovering from my momentary lapse into immaturity.
"Yes. And I'd also prefer it if you didn't flip me the bird while I'm trying to do it," he says, smirking slightly, but still not looking up at me. I chuckle quietly in spite of myself.

"Of course, sir," I answer, erasing the smile from my face and replacing it with a look of complacence. He lifts his head up, meets my gaze for a moment, lifts both eyebrows at me, then looks back down at the proposal.

After a few minutes of silence, broken only by Ned – or whatever name he answers to – turning the pages as he reads, I reach down to grab my phone, quickly switching it to silent mode. I read through my new emails, answering them quickly if I need to, and then am tempted to play a game. Ned is not paying attention to me anyway.

I open up SkyBurger, holding my phone down as far as I can so he hopefully won't notice me tilting my phone to the left and right to catch the burger toppings. Stupid Emmett, getting me hooked on this stupid game. I have completed five burgers when Ned starts talking again.

"You are extraordinarily distracting, Bella. Do you know that?" he asks as he continues reading.
"How so, Mr. Cullen?" I ask.

Well, you're clearly playing some game over there while you are sitting in a business meeting – a business meeting at a software company, I might add. I am not only distracted by your constant movement, but also extremely curious to know what game has so wholly captured your attention," he says, turning another page.

I believe these two have so much chemistry from the first time they meet but there is a kicker. Here’s a peak...

"Bella, you're beautiful, intelligent, funny. There would be a thousand guys lined up to date you if you'd let them. You deserve that – to have a guy who can love you passionately. That's why I'm hesitant to ask you if you want to continue with me – because I can't give you those things," Edward says softly, looking down at our joined hands on his leg.

"I don't want those things. I want no-strings, fun, sexy times. If we continue this," I say, pausing to wave my hand between us again like I did last night in the cab, "I don't expect or want any of that hearts and flowers crap from you. You know, if we want to hang out, see each other, we can. If one of us is busy, no big deal. The only thing I don't want is to be one of the harem. If there are going to be other women, I'm out."

"There won't be anyone else," he says, looking back up and gazing at me with those intense green eyes.

"Well, if we're really going to do this, I think we should agree to be completely honest, then, and if one of us wants out, no hard feelings. If one of us meets someone else or something. I promise I will be honest with you. You can trust me," I say, feeling tingly all over that he wants to continue having hot, crazy sex with me.

"I promise I will be honest with you, too. And you can trust me," he says, smiling crookedly at me.
"So we agree? Monogamous fucking until one of us calls it off?" I ask.

"Agreed," he answers, leaning in to kiss me again.

It surely seems like Bella and Edward have an arrangement. Can they have a sexual relationship with no strings attached or will they fall in love? Read An Undefined Affair to find out and leave Jayhawkbb some love. She is a very talented author and I love her to death, I think you will too.

Branching Inward by LifeInTheSnow
He's a brilliant, sensual, tactile artist with a huge personality and love for least, he used to be. She's a shrewd historian, content to observe from a distance...until now. At Newcoven College in Clearwater, OH, no secret is safe. All Human. Twilight - Rated: M
Review by: Evilnat

Branching Inward by LifeInTheSnow is one of my absolute favourite twilight fanfics.

It is an incredible love story about Bella, a historian who moves from Phoenix to take a job at Newcovern College in a small town called Clearwater in Ohio, and Edward, a complicated and intense artist and professor with a past he is reluctant to reveal.

Bella is intrigued by Edward from the moment she sees him in the prologue.  He is guarded and reticent; Bella gets to know him through his family (who live next door to her).  Bella has her own past to face and as she helps Edward deal with his she has to tackle her own demons.

Branching Inward is a little bit of a slow burn but not too slow that you are dying for lemons.  Edward and Bella’s relationship is beautiful as it progresses and they get to know each other.  As I read, it gave me butterflies I felt like it was almost happening to me.

Seven things happened next, in quick succession. I'm not sure how I processed it all. It was like a spare lobe of my brain snapped to life just in order to store it all away. My deep subconscious weighed in: "This is the Edward Cullen kiss, brain. The one you've been fantasizing about. It's not going to happen a second time, so remember this."

Oh, and I did.

First, I felt Edward's hot breath. He was so close to me I could feel the air swirling gently around either side my face. The second thing that cemented itself into my brain was the vision of his translucent eyes boring into me, shards of color radiating out from an inky center, glances of light sparkling from deeper than I would have expected. Next, I let my eyes drift closed, my eyelashes floating through that cushion of warm air. The fourth thing that happened was that I heard his breath, a continuation of the same slow exhale, measured and controlled. I could smell the damp fabric of his coat, the tea and honey, something spicy and earthy I couldn't name. That was number five. Six: I felt the warmth of his face like a radiator, my own personal sun just millimeters from my skin. And finally, I felt his lips on mine.

And I was alive.

Each character is developed brilliantly as they meet Bella and she gets to know them.  From Alice, to Emmett and Rose, to Sue Clearwater and Angela.  Bella is an intelligent, down to earth and sincere character with an interesting and entrancing inner voice.

Throughout the walk home, I was lost in thought. Big families were such a curiosity to me. For as long as I could remember, it had always been just me and Charlie, or me and Renee. I never suffered over my lack of siblings, but as an adult I wondered about the complexities and nuances of relationships within big families.

How did they make room in their hearts for so many people? Did they feel varying degrees of affection for different people? I imagined what it was like to know that a sibling was just as loved as you, as cherished, as tightly bound by trust and expectations. And I wondered what it felt like not to be the family's main screw-up-but instead, to watch a beloved sibling go astray, to disappoint and then be forgiven. What would you learn from that about how unconditional a parent's love was? Would it strengthen your own ability to forgive, to restore relationships?

I shivered. Now that it was just me and Charlie, I was beginning to think that as the years unfolded, I seemed to get less and less good at really connecting with other people.

There are also a few twists and turns in the plot that keep you guessing and the storyline develops perfectly as you read further on.

The museum was small but with a beautifully curated collection. Stillness and quiet surrounded me. The clicking of a humidity sensor was the only noise I could hear. That, and my converse sneakers padding along the high-shine floors. I wandered through the student galleries in a wing that connected the museum with the working studios and art classrooms. I stopped myself from heading down the hallway I knew would lead to the faculty offices-to Edward's office. But I did browse the permanent exhibit of faculty work. The studio art department included only eight full time professors, and Edward was one of three specializing in installation and multimedia sculpture.

I found his bio in the row of placards identifying the various artists.

E.M. Cullen 

Distinguished Professor of Studio Art 

Professor Cullen began teaching art at Newcoven College in Fall 2003. His MFA is from the University of Washington. Awarded the prestigious North America Foundation Emerging Artist Award in 2006, he works primarily in multimedia installation, using tactile and sensory media to explore issues of epistemology, experience, and trust. 

But where his artwork should have been was another placard. Exhibit has been temporarily removed by request of the artist. Puzzling. The other professors had work on display, but in Edward's designated three-foot by three-foot space was just an empty white pedestal.

LifeInTheSnow writes beautifully, her expressive, poetic style keeps you captivated and you feel like you are there in Bella’s shoes.  It’s a little swoony and just plain amazing, I'd almost go as far to say it should be published I loved it so much.

I’d recommend this story to anyone who adores a vivid love story, with a little bit of drama and amazing lemons.  It really is a must-read.

Nat xx

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