Contractually Bound by LyricalKris
She'd cost him everyone he'd ever loved. Surely a few months of marriage wasn't too high a price for her to pay in compensation. Fiction M
Reviewed by: Livie79
In March 2010, a new story posted called Contractually Bound. I dove right in and by the end of the first chapter I was hooked. I would check my inbox religiously looking for an update, because it was one of those stories. The kind where you think you’ll die if you don’t find out what happens next. But when one month turned to two, then more than a year passed, I was pretty sure I actually would die before I ever found out what happened next.
Fast forward to April 2013. I was scanning through my emails and what do I see? An update for Contractually Bound. I nearly fell out of my chair. I think my response was along the line of akshdakhsgdja. And while that particular email wasn’t an update, it was still amazing news: LyricalKris was adopting the story and completing it.
I’ve always enjoyed LyricalKris’s stories. She writes drama, angst, and complicated characters beautifully. It’s why I knew she wouldn’t disappoint with the continuation of Contractually Bound, because this story encompasses all of those things and more.
Bella works at the diner and lives the small, dingy apartment attached to it. It’s obvious from the beginning that her life hasn't turned out exactly how she’d planned. But with an acceptance letter from U-DUB and plans to relocate in the near future, things were finally looking up. Well, that is until Edward Cullen barged back into her life and flipped her world upside down.
They have history. A history that has turned Edward in a bitter jerk. He would rather cut his arm off than have anything to do with her. But he needs her help, and as much as he’s loathe to do, he goes to her. Under no uncertain terms, however, does he give her any false ideas about where he stands or how he feels.
"In two weeks' time, I'll take you on a quiet picnic lunch and tell you how, now that we've reconnected, I could never let you go." Edward found he had to swallow down bile as he spouted off his carefully planned lie.
"Why are you giving this to me now?"
He leaned forward, his hands again resting on the sticky table, but he tried to ignore it. This was important, and he wanted to make certain that he was very clear. He waited until Bella raised her eyes from the small gold band to meet his gaze before he spoke. "Because I don't want to confuse the lines, Bella. This is an arrangement—a contract—nothing more. This is a small town and we will have to be seen in public for this to be believable, not to mention family dinners and so on, but I want to make it clear—" he leaned even closer to her and brought up his right hand to grip her chin "—you mean absolutely nothing to me."
OUCH! Why is he there? Why would he want to enter into any kind of arrangement with Bella when he obviously hates her? I’ll tell you why, because of one person: his mother, Esme.
Bella let out a breath. "Mom said she's really frail."
Edward could only nod his head sharply in response; he didn't like to think about Esme's physical well-being... her physical health was already a hopeless cause. Right now his focus remained solely on how his mother was doing emotionally, which meant ensuring her happiness. That was all any of them could worry about anymore. Even so, he also knew that some small part of him hoped that if he could make her happy enough, make up for staying away for so long, then maybe God would grant them all a miracle.
What would ensure Esme’s happiness above all else? You guessed it. She wants Edward and Bella to reconcile before she dies. Edward happened to overhear this private conversation between Esme and Renee and it set the wheels in motion for him to give her exactly what she wants, or at least give the appearance.
And so it began. A fake marriage was born and all the complications, drama, and heart hurty angst you’d expect is delivered with each chapter. As secrets are revealed about Edward and Bella’s previous relationship―and why things turned out the way they did―his resolve is tested over and over again to hold on to his hate.
Even after he realizes maybe he was wrong, that everything was not as it seemed, it doesn’t take away the fear. Because no matter how much he tries to convince himself otherwise, he still loves her. And that terrifies him.
"You understand that at this point, it's you - only you - who's making us both miserable," she said.
Edward blew out a breath. "I know that," he admitted quietly.
"Because I can't like you. I don't know how!" The words bubbled up and out like a volcano exploding, all terrible, burning, destructive fire. "Because this is easier than losing you again. It makes me an asshole, and I hate it. I hate hurting you. You can't imagine how much it hurts, but it's the lesser of two evils, because if I don't hate you, I don't have a choice except to love you! I can't do that again. I can't!" He was shouting by the time he was done, breathing raggedly.
Oh, my heart. He’s so broken, so angry, and so utterly miserable. The lines are constantly blurred as Edward and Bella are hurtled toward Esme’s final days. Will Edward give in to his feelings and truly reconcile with Bella before Esme dies? Is Bella even interested after the awful way he’s treated her? Will they get their happily ever after?
Just as I was in 2010, I need to know what happens next. I need to know if these beautifully broken people can put back the pieces of their lives before it’s too late. Anyone who isn’t reading this amazing story needs to do so ASAP. Then we can all stalk our inboxes together. I promise, you won’t regret a single second of losing yourself in this story.
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