Departures by TheFicChick
"Every day for the rest of my life, I will wonder how kissing a virtual stranger goodbye could have felt like a hello." Rated M
Review by @Bebeninja
Bella is a flying out of Chicago to Seattle in the middle of winter, a week after Christmas. The airport is packed with post-holiday travelers and those stranded from flight delays. Edward is on an EOD (military bomb squad) team and is on his way out on a tour of duty in Afghanistan. He offers her a seat, and their story begins.
In their friendly conversation, they quickly cover topics of family, tantric sex, and women’s magazines.
"Well, since we've discussed family, hometowns, and your bedroom,
I'd say it's about time I asked your name." His smile is warm and I feel
something unfamiliar but not entirely unwelcome unfurl low in my belly.
They bond over Pearl Jam and other mutual music likes in their iPods. And while their exchange is innocent at the start, it quickly becomes peppered with innuendo as they spend time together and really start to notice each other.
Breathtakingly green eyes, the jawline of a marble statue, eyelashes befitting
a starlet, long fingers, and he just used the word poetry. And just like that, I'm
aroused in an airport terminal.
When flights are delayed further, Edward asks her to breakfast. They eat, walk the terminal gift shops together, exchange personalized key chains, mark up a map with places they want to go, discuss public sex experiences, and Bella even takes off her shirt!
But despite all the sex talk, the UST isn’t overdone and in your face. TheFicChick possesses the unique ability to reveal character and develop a story through believable dialogue that gets you so comfortable with the characters, it’s like you’re sitting right next to them, chin on hands, listening to their conversation and nodding along. Ok, maybe that’s just my fantasy. But it’s still truth. Their banter is playful, and the fact that it is so believable makes it all the more dreamy.
"You're like a Kennedy, aren't you?"
"Like, big family, all perfect, all beautiful."
He beams. "You think I'm beautiful?"
Warmth creeps up my neck, and I shuffle through my magazines so I have something to do with my hands. I do think he's beautiful, especially when he's smiling at me like that, and I want to kick myself for tipping my hand so spectacularly.
"You know what I mean."
"I know it takes one to know one, Bella Swan."
Through their conversations you get to know these characters so well that you feel what they feel before they can tell you what they’re feeling. You know when important things are happening. You can feel the instant connection and building attraction.
"I think we've surpassed the stranger portion of the program, don't you?"
Edward considers me for a moment and glances away from my face and down to his shirt before his expression sobers, his eyes hooded. "Yes. I'd say we have." There is a faint scraping sound, and I look away from the intensity of his eyes to see that he's pushing and pulling on the red straw of his now-empty smoothie, thrusting it in and out of the Styrofoam cup.
The motion is erotically reminiscent of something else, and heat licks at my body.
By the time Bella’s flight is ready to go they don't want to say goodbye.
"If this were any other day, and if I weren't flying off to fiddle with bombs in the middle of the desert, I'd ask for your number."
I attempt to swallow against the lump that lodges itself firmly in my throat.
"If you weren't flying off to fiddle with bombs in the middle of the desert, I'd give it to you." My voice is barely more than a whisper.
They can’t help but kiss. They exchange emails and he takes a picture of her with his phone. He writes immediately and they both can't stop thinking about each other.
This story was originally written as a O/S, and she was fiercely persuaded to continue it. Because that’s what we do around here. If you’re as good an author as TheFicChick, we butter you up with sweet, true words, and then demand more.
The bulk of the remaining chapters are flashbacks to the four months that passed between that day in the airport and the day Bella is sitting in traffic on her way to pick Edward up from his tour. Things moved fast. They wrote each other, sharing more about themselves, flirting, discovering more about what they think of each other, and counting down the weeks until Edward is back stateside. Bella admitted “I suspect there's nothing about this that isn't somewhat strange, stranger. So how is it that it feels so normal?”
By the end of the first week, Edward was already asking, “ARE you still single? I thought I'd been working on changing that.”
Through a series of events, Bella met and became close to Edward’s family while he was away. They began referring to each other as boyfriend/girlfriend. Their words shifted from innuendo and flirting to outright plans to be naked together.
From: Edward Cullen
To: Bella Swan
Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2012 7:29 p.m. PST
Subject: The horse
Forgive me for saying so, but there are certainly parts of me that could be described as…"horse-like." And rest assured that I'm not talking about my hair.
. . .
From: Bella Swan
To: Edward Cullen
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 6:12 a.m. PST
Subject: The jockey
Which parts of you, specifically?
And that's convenient, as I've been told in the past that I'm a pretty good rider.
For reasons you will have to read about, they have a short window of time to be together upon Edward’s return before they are temporarily separated again. Within a matter of days they’re exchanging I Love You’s. And all I can say is their sweet, blessed reunion more than makes up for the long wait! It sounds unrealistic, but the friendship and the trust that they’ve built with their words alone, and the way TheFicChick reveals their feelings with hers, makes you realize these two are meant to be together. In fact, you long for this to happen.
Departures gives you everything you need in a fic in the perfect amounts: friendship, humor, UST, a little bit of drama to keep things interesting, and of course, romance. It moves you, entertains you, makes you laugh, and yet, it’s so very original. TheFicChick beautifully delivers all of these in a complete and tidy package of 10 chapters.
I can tell you that with over 300 fics under my belt, this has got to be in my top 20. So, if you haven’t gotten to this one yet, you definitely need to join in on the flailing and read this story. Go. NOW!
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