Sunday, April 8, 2012

TLS Fics of the Week 4/1-4/7

Volition by Rochelle Allison

It's Belfast, N.Ireland and the year is 1972. Bella's worried about her brother and his best friend, Edward, and their dangerous involvement in the Irish Republican Army. Is it really wise to fall in love with a rebel? Twilight - Rated: M

Reviewed by:  SueBee

I stumbled upon Volition by Rochelle Allison fairly early on in reading fan fiction and I can honestly say it’s one of the fics that made me stick around this fandom and read more.  It made me realize just how good the writing in fic can be and the amazing places you can take the characters we all love.  Rochelle blew me away with how she was able to seamlessly intertwine Bella and Edward with the early stages of the uprising by the Provisional IRA back in the early 70’s in Northern Ireland. And as only Rochelle Allison can do, she does it with such beautiful words and descriptions.  She makes you understand completely what they are fighting for and why they are taking such extreme action and the complete desperation that led them to that point.  And in the middle of all of that violence and chaos, there is a wonderful love story.

Edward is best friends with Emmett, Bella’s brother, and Bella is best friends with Alice, Edward’s sister.  They’ve all known each other their entire lives.  When the story begins, the boys have become fed up at the treatment at the hands of the British government and have quietly formed a local faction of the Provos with some of their friends.  And although he might need to be fierce to head up one of the local brigades, we get to see Edward’s tender side with Bella.

He pushed me onto my back and thrust very slowly, holding me tight.

"Your brother might kill me," he chuckled breathlessly after a minute.

"But how will he know?" I panted, my eyes slowly opening.

Edward paused and gazed down at me, his hand curled around my calf as he moved it up. "You don't expect to keep this a secret, do you?"

I grinned and shook my head. "I guess not,"

His face grew serious."I know you're frightened Bella, but I will always take care of you."

Tears began to blur my vision, again, and I fisted them impatiently away.

Edward leaned down and kissed each of my eyelids. "I promise, "he added.

"I know," I murmured and he quickened his pace, the snaps of his hips.

He reached down and rubbed his thumb against me in small, tight circles, giving me the tingly feeling he had given me the night before, pushing me closer and closer until I peaked and clenched around him.

"Always, "I whispered.


As always, Rochelle’s descriptions are so vivid, so perfect, that you can see a scene play out in your head almost as if you were watching it happen.  These two paragraphs encapsulate the feeling on the streets so completely; I can imagine myself walking through Belfast with Bella.

On Thursday morning IRA men with their signature black masks were everywhere, armed and patrolling several of the areas Alice and I had to pass to get to Queen's. We may have even known some of them, but it was impossible to tell with their faces and hair completely covered. They looked ominous that way, with nothing but their eyes peering out, AR-18s cradled in their arms like skinny, metal babies.

I wondered if something had happened that would have initiated a switch; it had become a gloomy habit to see British RUC officers riding through the neighborhoods in their armored vehicles, harassing and patting down any youth that had the misfortune of strolling by. Today they were nowhere to be seen and, brandished weaponry aside, seeing the IRA instead was encouraging… familiar. These boys were on our side – we were on their side. At the same time there was something feral and unpredictable about them. Maybe it was just the way they dressed; those black masks were bloody intimidating.

And then later in the same chapter comes the moment where Edward as a Provo hits home.  This is, quite honestly, my favorite moment in Volition because of its deceptive simplicity. It’s only when you take a step back that you realize it carries so much weight.

Smiling to myself, I saw from the corner of my eye yet another pair of IRA men, silently leaning against a wall. One was looking the opposite way, at something up the street, but the other one's gaze was set steadily on me. My heart stopped as I recognized the clear green hue of his eyes.

He said nothing; none of them ever did when they were on patrol like this. Caught off guard, I blinked and looked away first as Alice and I passed by. My mouth went dry and I swallowed roughly, my thoughts scrambled as I tried to reconcile my love with the man I'd just seen. I glanced back as we turned a corner but his attention remained focused the other way.

She never shies away from reflecting the ugly parts of the uprising and of Edward’s part in that ugliness.  Rochelle summarized it perfectly in this author’s note after a particularly violent fight Edward was involved in:

let's not forget; edward is a fighter, a rebel, some would even classify him and the boys as terrorists (although the IRA of then and the IRA of today are two different matters but let's not get into that please and thank you). edward is not romeo…  anyway, if seeing edward this way disturbed you or made you mad well...good. it should. it's a dirty business, isn't it?

Alice, in particular, struggles to reconcile the brother she loves with the man using violence to try to achieve freedom and I appreciate that we get that point of view woven into the story.

It’s this unflinching look at The Troubles that solidified how much love and respect I have for this fic.  I don’t want to go into detail about everything else that happens as you follow Edward and Bella on their journey together.  Going along for the ride as it unfolds is truly one of the joys of reading a fic like this and I wouldn’t ruin that for anyone.

Do yourself a favor, and pick up Volition. I should warn you - you will find yourself muttering "eejit" and "feckin' hell" and maybe a "Judas Iscariot!" or two after you're done. More importantly, though, it will grip you by your heart and not let you go. Goodness knows, more than two years after I read it for the first time, it still has mine.

Last Tango in Forks by Awesomesauce76

Bella Swan has spent a lifetime putting everyone else's needs before her own. Could a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger begin to change all of that? AU/AH Twilight - Rated: M

Reviewed by: Jordan Christopher

Ever read a fic that just completely sucked you in and wouldn’t let you go? Well, for me Last Tango in Forks did just that.  It’s loosely based off of the 1970’s film “Last Tango in Paris”, but naturally includes our beloved characters.  I was awestruck from just the first chapter and it only got better from there.

This Edward, and even this Bella to a certain extent, was unlike any other I have read.  He’s deep, he’s hurt, he’s damaged, he’s rough, and he’s carrying the weight of his wife’s suicide on his back. Pretty much he’s an epic douche bag, at least in the beginning, but he’s unlike every other doucheward I have ever read in that he isn’t a womanizer.  He’s just coming out of a really messed up situation that he’s been “trapped” in for the past ten years and he’s not sure how to process things when he meets Bella for the first time.  And while their “relationship” is anything but conventional in the beginning, it’s the first time that Edward has been able to feel anything other than numb.  Bella still lives with her father Charlie, but stumbles upon an apartment for rent when she goes to the gym one day after work.  This is where her life takes a drastic turn from the path she was on.  Personally, I loved the first words spoken between the two:

Bella crossed the room and propped herself on the window ledge. "Listen... I'm sure you'd love for me to get the hell out of here. Even if you don't want the place, it's obvious that you need some privacy." He grimaced in response to her words but maintained eye contact. "Are you alright?" After what felt like minutes he shook his head slowly. "It's just that... I would feel terrible if I left here and didn't at least try to help." She tried to smile but it felt odd under his scrutiny. After a long pause she took a deep breath and bit the bullet. "Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Yes," he choked out. Although his voice sounded raw to Bella as if he'd been screaming, she wasn't surprised to hear the musical perfection behind it.

"What can I do?" She didn't notice that she had stopped breathing until she needed to speak.

He moved then, slowly walking towards her like a wildcat stalking its prey. The closer he got to her, the more she could feel something growing and tingling, as if an electric current was shooting between their bodies. He didn't stop until he was right in front of her with his arms on each side of the window, effectively caging her in. He even smells beautiful.

He looked deep into her eyes for almost a minute, allowing the electricity to build between them to a breaking point.

"You can let me fuck you," he whispered.

See? Not your typical meeting at all.  They continue to meet up in that apartment and you get to read some of THE HOTTEST lemons I have EVER read in a story (and yes the author included the butter, anal sex scene that was in the movie…consider this a warning if that kind of thing creeps you out). Oh, also a piece of pertinent information when it comes to Bella…she’s engaged.  Yes, you heard me right…engaged.  I’m pretty sure I hollered WTF when I read that, but it adds yet another level to the game of cat and mouse Bella and Edward are playing.

Moving forward, you begin to see that Bella is more tied into Edward’s life and family than he even realized.  You see, when they start hooking up Edward doesn’t want to know her name or anything about her outside of that apartment (which he uses as a studio to paint).  Like I said, he’s coming out of a very toxic and emotionally damaging relationship that lasted ten years.  It takes time for him to realize that he feel more than just lust towards this brown haired beauty that he refers to as ‘my girl’.  And when he does figure that out, and he learns just how well she fits into his family, well…he freaks out.

I don’t want to ruin the plot any more than I already have, so I’ll end with this:  GO READ THIS STORY! You won’t be disappointed, I personally guarantee it.  Also, if you read and love Last Tango in Forks be sure to check out AwesomeSauce76’s other stories, as they are all great (especially The Single Game...Shyward is so adorkable…you’ll love him.)

The Vagina Monologues by Jtmd24

What happens when 2 strangers have a 1-night-stand in college? Life. But not the way you planned. It's raising a foul-mouthed toddler, selling sex toys & trying to make your dreams come true. Oh, and running into your drunken hook-up 5yrs later. AH/AU Twilight - Rated: M

Reviewed by: Kelly Clwn

I hate kids.

These are the first three words of jtmd24’s excellent story The Vagina Monologues, and when it was soon followed up with:

Let's face it: no one was ever honest with you about childbirth, not even your mother.

"It's a pain you forget all about once you have that sweet bundle of joy in your arms."


I knew that I was going to enjoy this fic.

And enjoy it I did, after the first chapter I was hooked and with it being complete I was able to read the story straight through. I have never read anything that has consistently made me laugh out loud as much as this story and I am now anxiously awaiting the sequel.

I’m not spoiling anything by telling you that Bella has an adorable son, Mason. We find out in the first chapter that a night out with Alice in college resulted in Bella’s mission to lose her virginity being more successful than anticipated. She meets a guy and has an instant attraction to him, they drink, laugh and get on well before drunkenly falling into one of the bedrooms, where one thing leads to another.

Less than two seconds later he was inside me, and I was waving good-bye to my virginity.

I wanted it to last forever. I saw stars, came three times that night and it was the most beautiful experience of my life.

Yeah right. Are you fucking kidding me? Have you lost your virginity lately? It hurts like a motherfucker and it's awkward and messy.

So with Bella finally having lost her virginity, she slips out of the room the next morning, not even knowing his name, which is all well and good until her period is late. She searches for her mystery baby daddy all over campus but no one can tell her who he is. Resigned to never knowing, Bella defers college and moves back home to Forks, getting a job in a bar.

Now almost five years later she is raising her son, and just getting started in business with her best friend Alice. Obviously she has never forgotten the boy she had a one-night stand, Mason is a constant reminder, but it’s more than that. We learn Bella hasn’t had much success with dating since then and has never felt anything for anyone like she did for her mystery man.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to Edward who has just found out his long term girlfriend was cheating on him. He has recently relocated to work in Forks with best friend Emmett and they are drinking in a bar. Edward is wasted and thinking back to a night five years ago, where he slept with a girl who’s face he just can’t seem to remember, but who’s chocolaty scent he has never been able to forget. He too had searched for her after he found her gone the following morning, but even with Emmett’s help he had been unable to find her.Edward is attracted to the barmaid, she reminds him of his one-night-stand, although he has no idea that she is the same girl. Bella however recognizes him instantly and panics. Luckily Alice is on hand with a large volume of alcohol to numb the shock, as Bella refuses to look at Edward and he is too drunk to realize why her scent is so familiar.

Waking up in the morning Bella realizes she still doesn’t know his name or if he was even staying in town but she has a four year old and a hangover to contend with first.

"Papa says your friends Johnny, Jack, Jose and Jim maded you sick. Friends shouldn't do stuff like that, Mommy. If Gavin maded me sick, I'd punch him in the nuts!"

Oh my God.

"Mason! Come on, we don't say things like that," I scolded him.

"Fine," he huffed. "I'd tickle him in the nuts."

Jesus Christ. There's a reason why some animals in the wild eat their young.

Thankfully, with the help of Jasper, who manages to figure out who Edward is when he gets talking with Edward and Emmett at work, he invites them over for dinner at his and Alice’s place where he knows Bella will be.

One hilariously embarrassing situation involving vibrators and Bella’s sexual history, or lack thereof, later and Edward is still incredibly drawn to her and asks to see her again. Bella knows she has to tell Edward the truth and she arranges to meet him at her new place of work the following day.

It’s here that Edward learns that she is the same girl he slept with all those years ago, although his happiness at finding her again is short lived when Mason comes running in followed by Charlie, this leads to a confused Edward wondering why Bella has flirted with him, when she so obviously has a husband and a child.

"I slept with your wife," I stated, staring him down.

All three of them stared at me with equal looks of confusion on their faces.

"You swept wif my Nana? Did she read you a bedtime story?"

Charlie took a step towards me and I actually gulped. Regardless of how old his balls were, I was sure he could kick my ass. Or kill me and make it look like an accident.

"Dad," Bella said in warning.

Dad? Oh, fuck. I really am an asshole. I have Tourette's of the mouth and now he's going to kill me.

"Shit. I didn't sleep with your wife. Total mistake."

He stopped walking towards me and if I had a brain I would have kept my mouth shut from that point on. Obviously I was drunk the day they were handing those things out.

"I got confused. I meant to say I slept with your daughter."

I heard Alice groan and saw Bella's mouth fall open.

"But it's not what you think," I continued quickly. "I mean, we were both really really drunk and I didn't even know who she was until a minute ago."

One of his eyebrows cocked and I swear I heard him crack his knuckles.

"She smells like chocolate and I don't like to be spanked," I blurted in a panic.

"Jesus Christ..." Charlie muttered, shaking his head.

So the introductions to Bella’s father don’t go as well as they could, but nothing prepares him for the shock of finally getting a good look at Mason.

"Who are you?" Edward whispered, staring straight at Mason like he was trying to figure out the square root of pie in his head.

"I'm Mason Swan, who the hell are you?"

"MASON!" we all scolded, except for Edward. He still looked like he might throw up.

Aided by their friends who are all characters in their own right, we have a lot of laughs, a lot of hilarity and a lot of love now Edward knows the truth, and we follow them on their journey of getting to know one another and Edward bonding with Mason.

I stood there peeing and trying not to think about Bella being naked on a tray when the bathroom door suddenly opened and Mason walked in.

"Oh, hey there, Mason. Uh, I'm kind of going to the bathroom here buddy. Can you shut the door?" He shut the door while he was still inside with me. And now he was staring at my junk. Okay, this wasn't awkward at all. "Um, Mason can you look somewhere else? Oh hey, look at that duck in the tub. That's pretty cool." Still staring. Was this something I should be concerned with?

"Wow, Edward. You've got a HUGE wiener."

I finished pissing, zipped up my pants and flushed the toilet. And tried not to pat myself on the back. Yeah, had got a huge wiener. You bet your sweet ass I did. I almost needed a wheelbarrow to carry it around. And because a toddler said it, it must have been true.

We got back to the table and I couldn't keep the shit-eating grin off of my face.

"What are you smiling about? Do you have gas?" Emmett joked.

"Hey, Mommy, Edward has a HUGE wiener," Mason said around a mouthful of cookie, holding his hands up in the air about three feet apart, like you do when you're telling someone how big the fish is you just caught.

Bella quickly reached over and pushed Mason's arms down while everyone else at the table laughed. I just sat back and smiled and tried to keep my three-foot-long penis tucked under the table so it wouldn't scare anyone.

This story had me laughing so hard, there were moments where I genuinely spat at my computer and I would definitely issue a “no drinking while reading” warning to anyone that was going to start this fic. By the end I had developed a nasty wheeze from laughing so much. I love a funny fic and The Vagina Monologues is by far one of the funniest I’ve ever read. To write this review, I went back to skim it and ended up reading the whole story again, it still had me hysterically laughing and quoting it out loud to my other half.

The author is writing from experience and this comes across in every chapter. She has taken the normal, embarrassing, and at times hilarious moments of parenthood and written them into a story with all our favourite characters for us all to enjoy.

I would recommend that anyone read this, because it is so very funny, but certainly for every mother out there who has had to deal with their child having a foul mouth, singing inappropriate lyrics, and getting their hands on things they were never meant to find, (Think condoms, lube and swords, purple vibrating swords,) then it’s a must read. I defy anyone who has a child, not to identify with some of Mason’s antics. If you don’t find something in every chapter, then you’re a better parent than I am.

Theories of Bellativity by Kikki7

Bella Swan is a physician assistant student trying to survive a grueling clinical year. Add Dr. Edward Cullen, a cocky, irresistible ob/gyn resident. Throw in some chocolate, sprinkle with a few of Bella's quirky theories about life, and see what happens. Twilight - Rated: M

Reviewed by: Twilover 76

Any Bella whose motto is “chocolate makes everything more tolerable” is a favorite of mine, and so is Theories of Bellativity.  This story by first-time fic author, kikki7, combines plenty of humor, romance, and a cocky Doctorward complete with scrubs.

The story begins with a determined Bella starting her last six weeks of rotation before graduating as a physician’s assistant. She is set on her career path, having a job already lined up for her in pediatrics back in her hometown across the country, Forks, WA.  Unfortunately this last rotation is filled with “va-jay-jay and estrogen”. Yep, the OB-GYN.

Well, nothing will knock her off her goal to her dream job…right?

Enter Edward, aka Dr. Jackass.

… I've become utterly fascinated by what has been in my line of vision for the past hour or so - his hands. Well, more like his fingers. They're long and graceful, and move with confident and meticulous precision. My mind is somehow hijacked with uninvited thoughts of what other talents those fingers might have.

Why the hell is this room so damned hot?

My eyes dart up in a sudden panic and are met with a set of curious green ones. I can't help but notice that they're not just green; they're probably the clearest, prettiest green eyes I've ever seen. And they fade to a lovely shade of amber at the center. Except now they don't just look curious, they look a little irritated. Shit. Eyes down.

"Excuse me, Miss Swan?"

"Um…yes?" Fuck. I suddenly feel like a kid with her hand caught in the cookie jar. I even sound flustered. I inwardly smack myself on the side of my head.

"Do you need to use the bathroom?"

I stare at him dumbly. I blink. Several times I think. Words. He's expecting words. An answer. Brain kicks in and gives my mouth a shove. "No thank you, I'm fine."

He looks back down again. "Very good. Then could you please stop shifting around like a five-year-old that needs to pee? It's a bit distracting."

No, he didn't.

It just got infinitely hotter in here, and I can't tell if it's from embarrassment or indignation. I know the look on my face says it all because now he looks rather amused with himself.

Stupid, pretty green-eyed jackass.

For the rest of the procedure, I make sure I am completely invisible. I don't make a single move, don't ask a single question, and don't glance at him or his lovely hands. I am strictly focused on the pure clinical aspects of the procedure. I review in my head the different phases of the menstrual cycle and different types of ovarian cysts. I do not wonder what he looks like under that surgical cap and mask. Not even once. I swear. I'll bet the rest of him looks like a Neanderthal, anyway. He obviously has the bedside manner of one…

…He looks up at the ceiling with a deep sigh and rolls his head around to loosen his neck muscles. He removes his bloodied gloves with a snap, drops them unceremoniously on the table, and pulls down his mask.

And I'm dumbstruck. And royally pissed. Because Dr. Jackass does not look anything like a Neanderthal. Not one bit.

Now Bella has theories about why people behave the way they do.   In the case of Dr. Jackass, she believes that big egos compensate for teeny-weenies.   It will take some time before this theory is found unsupported (at least in Edward’s case), but he loves flustering her in the meantime.

After meeting up with Alice at the hospital cafeteria and letting her laugh at me about the pee incident, I'm back in the OR watching a hysterectomy. Dr. Cullen seems a bit less uptight now, and I'm assuming lunch probably had something to do with that. He actually starts to quiz me here and there, asking me about anatomy, indications, and complications of the procedures, and I'm eternally thankful for all the obsessive studying I did to prepare for this rotation. I definitely don't want to look like an idiot in front of this guy. And just when I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable around him and thinking this day isn't going so badly after all, his pager goes off.

"Swan, can you get my pager for me?"

I'm momentarily confused. I don't see a pager anywhere. "Where is it?" I ask, and I'm suddenly flustered all over again.

He glances up at me. "It's in my back pocket."

Holy. Shit.

I hesitate for a moment and can't look back at him. With my eyes cast downward and my face feeling hotter than a whorehouse on nickel night, I move myself behind him and awkwardly move his surgical gown out of the way to expose the back pocket of his scrubs—which just so happens to be covering his very fine ass. I'm in a semi-panic at this point, trying to figure out how to get the pager out of his pocket without touching said fine ass. I've now broken out into a light sweat, and I vow that I will definitely get those thyroid function tests done, and soon. I know I'm over thinking this, and can only imagine what I must look like because when I look up for a moment, to look for the hidden camera to see if I'm being punk'd of course, I meet Tyler's clearly amused eyes. Son of a bitch looks like he wants to laugh out loud any second. I grimace at him and take a moment to compose myself.

"What the hell, Swan? You get lost back there or something?" Ah, Dr. Jackass is back in full effect.

I bite my lip with newly channeled resolve and gingerly grab the outside of the back pocket, which is gaping a bit due to the weight of the pager, and pull it gently away from his…person. I then ever-so-carefully reach my hand down into his pocket, being as precise as possible, and finally reach the pager. I'm in the home stretch now, but the hand tremor is in full force at this point, and just when I think I'm home free and the offending pager is almost to the surface, my hand twitches just enough to graze him.

And if that wasn't enough to completely mortify me, the "fuck" that I hiss reflexively under my breath sealed the deal.

I close my eyes for a moment, draw in a deep breath, and muster up as much dignity as humanly possible. I square my shoulders and hold my head up high, avoiding all eye contact.

"Would you like me to answer the page for you?" I ask. My throat feels ridiculously dry.

"If it wouldn't be too much of a bother," he quips. "As you can see I'm a bit tied up."

Now that's a visual.

I think my face just turned a new shade of purple, and I wonder if it would be possible for a big hole to appear so I could just throw myself into it. Sadly, no such hole appears, and I must endure the rest of the day pretending that I still have an ounce of pride left.

This is going to be the worse rotation ever.

After a rocky start, Bella and Edward give us plenty of laughs as a relationship blooms.  Edward moves up Bella’s chocolate scale (Krackel is pretty much entry level. Mr. Goodbar would be the next level, then milk chocolate. You have to be pretty darn special to be worthy of dark chocolate status) while Edward trains Bella on stitching finesse.

I was correct in thinking that scrubbing in on Edward's cases would be more interesting. The view was infinitely better—there was no question about it. However, much to my chagrin, the view that seemed to be the most fascinating was directly across from me, and it had nothing to do with female anatomy.

Though my female anatomy would most certainly beg to differ.

I had my eyes glued to each procedure, almost by force, in a conscious effort not to gawk at him like some prepubescent girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

It's unnatural. Completely illogical. And utterly embarrassing. But the truth of the matter is that watching this man perform surgery was like porn for me. Disturbing, don't you think? Like I'm developing some weird surgery fetish or something? But something tells me it has more to do with the surgeon than the surgery itself.

I decide to test that theory…I try to imagine the most unappealing thing I can think of, and doing laundry is the first thing that pops into my head. I try that out. Edward doing laundry…Edward doing laundry shirtless…holy fuck, that would be hot.

This isn't working. And now I'm wondering if he's a boxers or briefs man. I sincerely hope he's not a tightie-whities man. That would be a grand disappointment.

Ha. Who am I kidding? This man would be appealing in Batman underoos.

I've got to stop with the visuals.

There was such an intensity and confidence he just emanated while he worked. Something about the way his forehead creased in concentration, and the grace his talented hands possessed…it was sexy as hell. The ovaries wondered if he had that same intensity and expertise with everything he did...

Even watching him scrub was a religious experience. The way the prominent muscles in his lean, defined arms would flex and protrude as he vigorously worked the scrub brush over his lovely long fingers, hands, and forearms…in quick, rhythmic, calculated motions… 

It astounds and concerns me how pathetic I've become. It's now perfectly clear to me—I definitely have OCD. Obsessive Cullen Disorder.

Plenty more theories and humorous times await in this fic, but I won’t give them all away.  Go read, get your chocolate fix (After all, chocolate can fix just about anything as far as I'm concerned. It's my version of duct tape), and give kikki7 some love.  You won’t regret it!

An Angry Man by Katinki

Edward is a bitter, angry man, a man suffering the sins of his past. An emotional & physical recluse, he pushes everyone away. That is, until Bella, a mysterious woman with her own demons, enters his world and forces him to face himself. AH Twilight - Rated: M

Reviewed by: Dragnfli Threethreesix

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love angst, especially of the Hurt/Comfort variety. You might also know how much I love and admire katinki’s writing.  So, when I was asked to write a review for An Angry Man, my response was simply, “YES!!!!!!!!”

I have been reading this story since it was first posted and I was sucked in from the first chapter.  We first meet Edward in a very heart-wrenching way.

"Mr. Cullen? Sir, we're going to try to get you out and move you. Please try to stay calm.

I couldn't speak or respond to this odd, disconcerting voice. Like the rest of my body, my lips denied me relief. Inside, however, I was screaming in both frustration and fright, because while I couldn't speak, I could hear. It was so loud, a cacophony of disharmonious and confusing sounds. Horns and motors and screeching metal pierced my consciousness. Somewhere, some high-pitched noise, something mechanical, buzzed and grated. And there were voices that sounded hollow and echoing in my ears, none to which I could put a face or name and none of which I could really understand. It was all just a garbled hum of clamor and noise. Nothing, none of it made sense.

How can I be calm? I yelled. What the hell is going on?

An abrupt, wrenching crash of glass and metal jerked at my awareness, interrupting my train of thought as I suddenly felt a tingling sensation ripple through my body. The pressure that I'd felt before vanished and it was instantly replaced by… pain.

I choked as a dozen knives cut through my body, slicing through my flesh. Unyielding, they twisted and buried themselves deeper inside. Waves of nausea swept over me, and I fought to maintain what tenuous measure of cognizance I possessed. I could hear the blood sloshing and chugging in my ears, pulsing with my stuttering heartbeat. My lungs gasped for air, only to release it in shallow, wheezy and gurgling pants.

Make it stop! I pleaded, feverish from the onslaught.

Sir, stay with us. We almost have you.

A final shriek of steel rending rang out, and what I thought was pain turned into sheer agony. The knives cut deeper, ripping me apart, tearing my body in two. It felt as though I were on fire, burning at the stake. Yet still, my body refused to obey my commands to move and to escape the blaze and the torment."

Years ago, Edward was in a car accident, one that was so horrible that his sister didn’t make it.   He blames himself for the accident and completely isolated himself from everyone in his life.  He’s turned to alcohol to take the pain of losing his sister, and basically everything in his life.  The only person he has contact with, is his receptionist/assistant for his in house job, who “takes care” of him in a grandmotherly, non-judgmental, non-hovering way.

It turns out in one of his hazes, he agreed to have someone rent the house that was on his property.  He wasn’t very happy about not remembering and not knowing why he agreed to this.  The renter turns out to be a Mrs. Isabella Lovelace.  She has moved to Forks, where her father was Chief of Police before he died a few years before, to start a new life. We get some very interesting confrontations between the two of them at first.

"The dog," I snapped tersely. "I don't allow dogs on my property. They ruin things."

"Mr. Cullen?" Mrs. Cope said quietly.

"Now, wait just one minute," Mrs. Lovelace interrupted sharply, her eyes flashing heat. "That lease clearly states that I have a dog and it has your signature. I've already paid the deposit and if Garrett damages anything, I'll more than compensate you."

"It says no such thing!" I replied, my voice rising in volume as I glared down at her.

A crimson blush crept up her neck and her nostrils flared. But she didn't break my stare, nor did she back down as I'd expected she would. I was used to people cowing and acquiescing, not wanting to loose my unpredictable temper. Instead, her shoulders straightened as her arms crossed over her chest. I heard her foot tapping in irritation.

"Mrs. Cope?" I asked, turning and holding out my hand. "Give me the lease."

And of course, to my intense aggravation and embarrassment, the woman was right. Again, something I'd apparently overlooked in my less than coherent state.

Inwardly, I spat a series of epithets and derisions. Goddamnit, Edward. Are you seriously this stupid?

"Fine. Whatever. But that animal is not allowed in the house. At all. I don't care if it's three degrees outside and an ice storm. I just put new carpet down and I won't have it destroyed. And I swear if it comes into my yard, I'll call animal control."

I turned on my heel, for some reason desperate to escape this situation.

"Fucking ass," she muttered under her breath, thinking I wouldn't hear.

It turns out that Bella has had a tragedy in her past too, which the reader finds out about later on.  They build their relationship up, based on the fact that Edward realizes Bella doesn’t sleep at night either, much like him.  They start to paint her walls in the middle of the night together.  And trust me, this is the most delicious slow burn.  So completely realistic in their situations.  There is no instant true love and they don’t jump into bed together right away.

I just have to say how truly brilliant katinki writes this Edward.  The story is completely told from his point of view and each and every chapter I feel every emotion that he is going through, from drunken stupors to flashes of his past and the night of the accident.

The hard spray pelting my back was almost too hot, almost scalding. But after a few minutes, my muscles finally began to loosen; the tightly wound springs slowly uncoiled. My skin reddened, and I could see wisps of steam rising and unfurling off my arms and chest. Inside these walls, the air was wet and hot, and it was impossible to see anything beyond the shower glass. My lungs eagerly sucked in the overheated, humid air, as if it could somehow scorch and cleanse me on the inside in the same way it did the outside.

Ever so slowly, the ache in my head began to subside and I could think. And think I did.

Her voice came unbidden, perfectly captured with all her anger and irritation.

"Edward, it's none of your goddamned business who I date. I'm twenty-two years old and I have a fucking college degree.

"And it's not like you don't know him! Jasper's your best friend! We've known each other forever! Why can't you just be happy for me! We're getting married, Edward!"

"No! For fuck's sake, no! I won't allow it! I will not stand by and watch you waste your life with that loser. He isn't good for you; he'll never be good enough for you. God, he's fucked half the town! Don't you know that? And he doesn't even have a job!

"We're leaving. Right now, and I don't want to hear your shit. You've been drinking and it's time to go home. I told Mom I'd bring you back. Now. Get in the car! I swear I'll carry you out of here if you don't."

"I hate you, Edward."

Wave after wave of images and sounds washed over me, and I felt my knees buckle. I staggered, and cold marble tile suddenly hit my back, holding me up. Grateful for something solid, I slid down to the shower floor and curled my knees up against my chest.

I looked up, trying to see through the pouring hot rain coming down, but all I saw was gray, hazy mist. My eyes stung and my breath caught in my chest, ballooning and pressing uncomfortably against my ribcage. I felt like I was choking on the very air that I needed so desperately. I hugged my knees, trying to stem the ache, but it was to no avail.

A lone sob escaped and my fingers involuntarily shot up and wound themselves into my wet, flattened hair. I frantically pulled at my scalp, trying to rid myself of the images and her voice. Barely aware of what I was doing, I buried my face into the crook of my elbow and chanted, "I'm sorry, Maria. I'm so fucking sorry."

I have to say that this is one of my favorite stories and it is winding down now.  Such an emotional ride. If you have never read anything by katinki before, or have read her vamp stories and want to check out an amazing AH, please give it a try!!

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