Reviews for Easy
JustARead chapter 2 . 8/18
JustARead chapter 1 . 8/17
Renee Aubin chapter 20 . 8/12
Oh gosh, I hardly know what to say about this chapter.

Except that Bella has such a black-and-white view of people. Maybe partly because of her age, a strong streak of youthful idealism? Or looking for some kind of certainty after her chaotic and neglectful parenting? Maybe she only feels safe when she can convince herself to be 100% certain about something or someone. Edward has worked so hard to be someone she can count on.

It’s not surprising that Irina took the chance to torpedo that, out of pure spite.

I sure hope someone can get through to Bella about perfectly wonderful people making occasional mistakes. Of course, holding others to this Procrustean standard means she expects the same of herself, which is exhausting and self-defeating. Sigh.

Next chapter being EPOV isn’t much consolation! That just means we get to see how he suffers from this debacle.
Renee Aubin chapter 19 . 8/5
Well done:
‘"I don't like seeing you so sad," he whispered.
I fought against the tears that so freely tried to flow the past week. "So, you're sending me out here to get rid of me?" I tried to joke.’

Thank the goddess she’s learning: ‘I couldn't refuse the gesture, not when it obviously meant so much to him, even though I know it was far too much.’
That was such a lovely list of all the ways he has shown care for her.

Excellent! ‘I should be giving him that same feeling of being cared for, and I wasn't quite sure if I ever had, because my own issues were usually holding me back.’
He sure as hell never got that from Irina, hopefully his parents. But I bet he’s thirsty for it too.

Aww: ‘He was the reason I needed to get through the therapy and bad memories and learn to let go of everything, no matter how hard it was. So, I could be there for him just as much as he was for me.’
Bravo, for the character and the writer.

‘I gasped, pulling away to stare at him with wide eyes when, after his hands had snuck underneath my back, I felt the back of my dress rip.
"I'll buy you a new one," he shrugged, sliding off the bed and pulling every scrap of clothing I had on with him.’

‘As much as I enjoyed tasting every possible inch of him I could, it was his response that kept me going.
He would mutter a string of curses if I ran my tongue over his nipple. His abdominal muscles would quiver if I ran my hands down his stomach. My favorite was when his fingers knotted in my hair when my tongue traveled from the waistband of his slacks up over his navel and back down again.’

I loved her “mine!” moment, too. And their “best I ever had” exchange. It was fun that she kind of accidentally wandered into that one.

When he has to leave the hotel room, he tells her
"You can call me if you need anything," he told me. "Or if you want to talk about anything."
Under current circumstances, that last sentence is really important.

That’s great that her weekend includes a good long visit with Rosalie.

The stepmother conversation was very good:
“I'm the least qualified person to ever be a mother."
"That's not true," Rosalie scoffed. "You're constantly taking care of other people. You'd make a great mother."

Perfect girlfriend interaction:
‘I looked at her, eyes wide and a little horrified. "So, you and Emmett can wait a year to move in together but I'm already popping out a baby?" I gasped.’

The way she approaches an afternoon with Masen and Lucy is so Bella – a whole questionnaire for Edward.

Fabulous: "Because in two week's time, I'm all yours."

I love this about Bella: ‘I had been the child left behind in a divorce before, so I was going to make damn sure they never felt like I did.’

True: ‘…I was very close to them in age if I thought about it too hard…’ Now you’ve got me curious whether she’s closer in age to Edward or the twins! If she's just out of college herself, that sounds like maybe 6-7 years older than Lucy and Masen?

Aww, what good kids: ‘They had every opportunity in their lives to become spoiled brats but they followed every instruction given to them with a smile.’

A wonderful step forward: ‘I had never realized how similar they were to Edward, and now that I had there was very little hesitation in me when I talked to them.’

Yet another reason to despise Irina: “Mom hates [dogs], doesn't want to clean up after them. I guess that's why we never asked."
No dog should have to be around her anyway.

I like that the kids are able to be so direct. "Are you going to marry our dad?"
Smile, and then Bella’s ‘response was out of my mouth before I could stop it.’

Nice – when they got home ‘They were like a little stampede, barreling down the hall.’
I’m a little jealous that ‘they both plopped on the couch next to [Edward]’. It would not have occurred to me as a 16 year old to plop down next to either parent.

Ouch: ‘You have so much to lose, now.
The realization felt like a knife to the heart.’
That’s the price of having something wonderful.

Gosh, as if the therapy sessions themselves aren’t hard enough, her brain goes bipolar on her, trying to deal with dredging up all this stuff. Maybe soon she’ll trust Dr. Stanley and give the meds a try.

Oh, so even the receptionist is well aware of the divorce. That would be nice if Irina actually WOULD change her name – I wouldn’t put it past her to keep “Cullen” out of pure spite.
Renee Aubin chapter 18 . 7/29
Bella’s “hopelessness” after her appointment, as her memories relentlessly continued to surface, was so sad.

What a great guy, coming to her house to check up on her.

‘I was too tired to pretend’ – easy to believe, and paradoxically also a good thing.

‘He didn't press me for details or try to pretend that it was just a typical Tuesday night or even look at me like I was being dramatic.’
Maybe what seems so remarkable to her is just a loved one showing care for her.

Nice: "You don't have to worry about anyone else right now, Bella."

Sniffle: ‘Once the first tear slid down my cheek, my fight was over.’

Yes, it would be tough to know there was a long road ahead of her:
‘My hours of crying last night with Edward seemed to help a little bit. But, tomorrow I would have to do it all over again.’

Honestly, this would scare me too about Masen and Lucy:
‘…they were teenagers. They could change their minds a hundred times and I was never popular among the teenage crowd even when I was one.’

Smile, her sole request for the new house: “I want to be able to hesitate outside the door in peace."

Good for her:
‘"Are you okay?"
It was a loaded question. But, in this moment, I was okay. Mostly. "For now," I answered honestly.’

Moments like this help: Lucy ‘had on the same focused face I had seen on her father in the kitchen a dozen times. It was incredibly cute. I liked finding little things in them that I knew they got from Edward.’

The truce holds:
‘"He told me you're a little helpless in the kitchen," Lucy said, a playful smile on her face. One I had never seen before.’

How helpful to have an adult who has been through the whole college rigamarole to help Lucy (and Masen) with the application process.

Remarkable that Lucy asks if Bella wants to volunteer with her. I see a shelter pet in their future… The new house better have a yard. And of course Edward is blown away that Bella is concerned about how his kids will respond to the divorce.

Good phrase: ‘He looked down at me, eyes pulling all of my secrets out of me.’

Snicker: ‘I must have had some asshole repellant in college that had worn off recently.’
Yes, a newly opening heart will do that.

Hmm, so where is this leading? "I thought you could use a few days to relax." Promising!

Wonderful, both sophisticated and thoughtful: ‘I wasn't sure how he always knew what I needed, because I never would have thought a dinner at a fancy restaurant with food I didn't even know how to pronounce correctly would have been the highlight of my week, but it was.’
I think she's right, the hand on her thigh through dinner was the key element!

Also a genuine grown-up: ‘I knew my life was going to feel a little out of control for the next few months until I, hopefully, got a grasp on all of the things Doctor Stanley was making me revisit. When I told him as much he smiled and nodded and that was that.’

It’s hard to imagine how (or even why) she would have undertaken the archaeology expedition with Dr. Stanley without Edward’s support. Where did he learn all this? Surely not from his relationship with Irina.
Renee Aubin chapter 17 . 7/18
Snicker, re the car loan: ‘I was fairly certain my bank never wanted to hear from me again…’ Most of the time it’s the other way around – she must have been relentless.

Oh I like this: ‘…he let it slip he test drove the car earlier in the week.’
Involved, and helpful, without being overbearing. He probably intended to keep his mouth shut unless he found something unacceptable.

Cute: ‘An apron seemed like it should come with more responsibility than the lettuce, though.’

Ugh, while they look at house listings,
‘The little voice in the back of my head, the bitchy one that constantly tried to remind me that it was only a matter of time before I fucked something up, started whispering in my ear.’

Good for her: ‘His children deserved uninterrupted time with their father and he deserved time to enjoy finally having them to himself before they went off to college.’

Bella’s New Year’s Eve dress sounds awesome, and like it would really show off her hard-won body.

Lovely sentiment from a mother’s point of view:
"You have no idea how hard it was to watch that woman constantly walk all over my son," she said quickly. "Carlisle and I, we kept our mouths shut after a while because Edward had obviously made his decision. It never made it any easier to watch.
"But, now he has you," she whispered with a weary smile. "You look out for him and you love him and you look at him like he is the center of the universe.”

Interesting: "I always planned on giving it to whoever he found. And he found you."
But she never gave it to Irina. She must have been stubbornly holding out hope for 16 years.

Boy this confidence in them is so much progress for her:
‘I'm going to marry him.
The words floated through my mind without an ounce of hesitation.’

Smile: ‘"I know I'm not great with the whole socializing thing, but I'm pretty sure the point of a party is to be in there," I chuckled, pointing back toward the house.’

Huge adjustment: “I spent most of the last seven years alone, and now my house is constantly full of teenagers.”

Sure sounds like Bella: ‘I never really thought the whole feeding each other messy foods thing sounded all that exciting, but I was sorely mistaken.’

I think you meant “banter” in this sentence
‘settling for more lighthearted banger as we enjoyed our strawberries and champagne’
but “banger” is kind of hilarious!

So glad he feels free to admit this: "This might make me the worst fucking parent in the world, but I'm tired of being alone."

Truly sweet, re her upcoming (and dreaded) therapy appointment:
‘"Is there anything I can do to make Tuesday easier for you?" he asked softly.’

Nice: ‘It wasn't often that I was the one doling out the advice or making him feel better. I was usually the one needing him to help me in one way or another.’

Excellent: ‘… I never realized how cathartic it was to have someone to talk to. Someone who never made you feel like a nuisance or bother, and who genuinely wanted to hear about your day or help you solve your problems. I also never realized how much I would cherish being that person for someone else.’

A great New Year’s Eve finish: ‘…the undeniable feeling that the upcoming year was going to be nothing like my first twenty-two.’
Renee Aubin chapter 16 . 7/9
This made me smile:
‘I was the first to admit I had no clue what was going on in our relationship half of the time, but it seemed to be moving in the right direction. Albeit a little faster than I would expect the average courting to go. Rosalie had dated men for two months and I could guarantee they never talked about their future or marriage or made any of the hundred hints Edward tended to leave.’

I liked her stewing about why Edward had offered her an out.

Ooh, evil: ‘There had been hours of conversations and fights after I left the Thanksgiving table. I knew that if I wasn't the one to plant the seed of doubt in his head, then Irina was.’

And then they need to have a conversation “that requires pants”! This is worrisome:
‘He had that same sad, almost wistful look he had on his face last night and I didn't like it.’

With all his life experience, he really does need to be the grownup and consider this:
“But… sometimes I worry that I'm rushing you. Pushing you into things you might not want in the long run."

It’s so important for them to have this conversation:
‘It was never something I had thought about. Kids.
I had seen pictures of Edward with Masen and Lucy over the years and knew being a father was something he loved more than just about anything.’

I was impressed that she admitted this:
“And, to be honest, the whole child birth thing is really kind of horrifying to me and probably skewing my reaction."

I forgot she was going to immediately dive into the tour with Ashley when she got back. What a challenge after being together 24x7 in paradise!

Whoa! "Masen and Lucy moved in with me today. Permanently."
And Irina’s not fighting it? Yet? I have to think at least a little bit of that is having found out on vacation that Bella is a formidable opponent, and wholeheartedly on Edward’s side. Plus “I think the kids genuinely wanting away from her sent a very clear message.”

There’s a hint too that something has changed with Irina in the last few months. Hmm... I wonder what that is.

Thank goodness Bella knew Alice, to help with Ashley’s clothing emergency. Until Ashley’s team fills out, Bella’s publicist role kind of includes “jack of all trades”. (Or maybe it always does…)

Hooray for Bella for taking the chance of going to dinner with Sam and Seth. ‘My instinct told me to shut it down at all costs, and the new one I was working on following told me to try my best not to let my innate anxiety control me.’
Good girl: ‘… it was another step in the right direction of popping out of my bubble, sitting here with two near strangers who went through the trouble of finding me at one in the morning.’

Bella’s natural cleverness paid off in the conversation about whether she was with Edward “for his money, status, or body”. Great reaction to her story about the screaming match:
‘"Damn. The one year we don't go to Thanksgiving," Seth grumbled.’

Awesome: ‘My reward was an onslaught of stories about Edward, all of which I committed to memory.’

A nice connection to the previous story:
"No shit," Sam gasped. "You're the reason he asked for a nice restaurant last time he was in town?"
A good sign: “Edward's very tight lipped on the whole affair thing, but it's the juiciest gossip he's got and he will not spill."

I love this idea: ‘Our last stop was a performance and [Ashley's] first late night television interview with Edward…’
That was quite a greeting Bella got when she found him at the theater!

A fun exchange:
"You're done after this, right?"
I nodded with a smile. "Yes. So long as, you know, Ashley's first late night television interview goes well and the host doesn't try to get her to say something stupid that leaves me working all weekend to fix it."
Edward chuckled. "Late night hosts are assholes, sometimes."

And this:
"Isabella Swan," Edward gasped, fake shock covering his face. "Are you offering me sexual favors in return for not blindsiding your other client with rude and intrusive questions?"
"Well, I don't know if it's technically a bribe if I was going to do all of those things anyway."

An even better greeting when they get to his house. This was fun:
‘It was when I felt him smiling against my lips that I realized he was going slow just to torture me.
"That was mean," I mumbled into the kiss.
"You're the one that called me a serial killer."’

Again, I’m impressed by your ability to clearly convey the logistics of a sex scene without a lot of words, and keeping our attention on the juicy stuff.

Enjoyed this:
"You were so nervous our first time," Edward panted, both hands coming up to tangle in my hair. "And now you're…"
Whatever he was going to say died out when one of my hands gave his balls a firm squeeze.

What a perfect “Welcome home”! Are we SURE he's pushing 40?
Renee Aubin chapter 15 . 7/1
Wow, the overheard conversation between Irina and Edward:
“You're not sad at all? About the divorce?" …
"No," he breathed out. "I'm finally happy… for myself, and not just happy that the kids are happy."
"Because of her?"
"Yes. Because of her."
Finally happy for himself – there could hardly be a better endorsement.

But as touching as that conversation was, this was so Bella:
‘"Ow," I mumbled, the door suddenly opening and nearly hitting me in the face. I hopped back, eyes wide, as Edward frowned around the door at me. Busted.’

Revealing backstory on Irina:
“She didn't grow up with a lot, she only ended up going to the same private school as me because her aunt worked there…”

I enjoyed Rosalie’s complaint about having missed the vacation:
“I could have been there. On the beach with a margarita in my hand and sending glares toward Irina as a best friend should."
Would have served Irina right.

Good perspective: ‘…it was a little surreal, sitting down to this meal surrounded by people I didn't know a year ago.’

So of course it was Irina who started the rumble at Thanksgiving dinner. This was shockingly direct from Masen:
"Bella didn't ruin our family, Mom. You did."

Bella proves herself quite capable of defending herself. Particularly enjoyed this exchange:
"Oh, I know much more than you think I do. So, I would be very careful about how you handle yourselves in the coming weeks."
A sinister smirk covered Demetri's face. "Is that a threat?"
"I thought it was fairly obvious, but yes."

Then on her way out:
‘My eyes traveled over to Demetri and Irina one last time.
"You go to the media with anything about him and I will have no problem ruining you."’

I think this is called good character: ‘It did sound like him, taking on the responsibility, or blame, for anything that happened to Irina after the pregnancy and their relationship.’

‘Alice and I spent the rest of the afternoon sequestered in my bedroom. Esme brought us each a plate of food and the wine Alice requested. …
Every time someone opened the door, fighting could be heard from across the villa. Sometimes it was Edward shouting, sometimes Irina or Demetri. I was pretty sure I heard both Masen and Lucy at one point, too.’

When she eventually finds Edward on the beach, this is a scary moment:
"Are you breaking up with me?" I gasped, my heart beating much too fast to be healthy.
"No," Edward sighed, a confusing smile on his face when he looked over at me. "I'm much too selfish to be able to do that. I'm giving you an out, though."

Interesting where his mind goes: “I think it would kind of kill me if you ever ended up hating me as much as she does."

Hopefully their position avoided the sand-in-bad-places aspect of sex on the beach, which otherwise sounded spectacular!
Renee Aubin chapter 14 . 6/23
Wow, that resort is cabins within villas. Hard to imagine that kind of opulence.

Nice, after all Bella’s waffling about going on the vacation,
‘Standing here in the breeze with the sound of the ocean in the distance and Edward smiling down at me was enough to win the argument a hundred times over.’

That’s a sweet routine, coffee and clandestine work in the morning with Carlisle and Esme.

How nice that they’re equally fit so they can enjoy a run on the beach together. ‘Sometimes I would slow my pace just so I could watch him…’

Hah! Far from being intimidated by Irina and Demetri, Bella avoids them ‘Because I had more than a few things to say to them and none of them were exactly family vacation appropriate.’
I bet she could give them an earful.

Aww, from Lucy: “I'd have to be an even bigger idiot to not see that you make him happy. He's kind of the best dad in the world, so I want him to be happy."

Smile: ‘If I were the optimistic type, I would say things seemed to be falling perfectly into place.’
At least she recognizes that there IS an optimistic way to look at it.

Yeah, it’s easy to see how this habit would linger on: "Sometimes I just… still think we're supposed to be hiding something.”

One of the best features of the resort: ‘The sky was completely clear, hundreds upon hundreds of stars floating above us.’

That was an alarming twist at the end:
‘“You make me happier than I've ever been. And you're usually the best part of my day, every day. But, I need to buy myself a car to prove that I can still take care of myself." If I need to.’

Well this is true: ‘I'd never had quite so much to lose, before, and it was terrifying to think about that too often.’

‘He wasn't angry at me.
He was angry at them.
The people that made me feel the need to thank him for wanting to keep me safe.’

What a lovely interlude. Well, at least until Thanksgiving dinner.
Renee Aubin chapter 13 . 6/15
Enjoyable scene of barely-awake Bella going downstairs in just Edward’s shirt, to find Alice and Rosalie eagerly waiting. All they needed was popcorn to make the scene complete.

I especially liked this line, once E&B are back in the bedroom:
‘I stared at him, eyes wide, and motioned over my lack of clothing. I still had very little understanding of what was going on and wondered if there was still alcohol lingering in my system.’

A classic Bella way of looking at it: ‘Alice was a personal stylist whom I was sure had seen more interesting people than me half naked.’

Edward’s life is looking up, re buying presents for Bella:
"I know I don't have to. I want to buy you things. It's quite a refreshing change of pace considering I have to meet with Irina and our divorce lawyers today while she tries to gauge more money out of me."
[I think you meant “gouge”, but the point is clear!]

Big (and surprising) progress that she agrees to this: "So, can we abolish the whole no spending money rule?"

Interesting observation that in the relaxing atmosphere of the spa, she’s better able to take a look at her “issues” than she can in Dr. Stanley’s office.
Good for her: ‘…my issues and insecurities and fears never seemed to bother him too much, but they bothered me. Held me back from ever really truly enjoying myself.’

Good job, Bella, wading into a little girl talk!
Some really fun lines:
‘"Ah, that's why she gave the best advice!" Alice interrupted. "She had all the facts and could easily ignore the sex aspect."
"I guess that means you'll probably give me really shitty advice from now on," Rosalie smirked.’

Very encouraging: "He does seem happy. Happier than he was for a long time," Alice added, before frowning. "Maybe ever, actually."

This is delightful, at the restaurant: ‘"Hi," I sighed, embarrassingly dreamily as I stared up at him.’

I certainly appreciate that your Edward can be concerned about Bella’s crappy car without being obnoxiously overbearing.

You sneaked a really important line in here: ‘…listening to Edward and Emmett discuss cars even though I didn't understand half of the words coming out of their mouths. I didn't question everything that came out of mine, either.’

Sweet, re Thanksgiving with the Cullens:
"Emmett and Rosalie?"
"Are your family," he answered honestly. "Of course, they're invited."

Truly: ‘I thought of Edward spending the last seven Thanksgivings there, with Irina and Demetri, and my anger flared.’ That is an above-and-beyond accommodation on Edward’s part!
I can see Bella deciding to go, to protect Edward from “one last time” with Irina and Demetri.

"Anyway, I made myself this little bubble to protect myself… and now I want out. Because I want a lot of things I can't have if I'm stuck in there."
Edward's voice was rough when he asked, "What things?"
"You. I want you.”
All the stuff that followed was good, too.

Edward is so patient: "Was me telling you I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you not a big enough hint?"

And an absolutely charming final exchange. 'Marvelous and terrifying', indeed.
Renee Aubin chapter 12 . 6/6
Nice: ‘Four hours of restless sleep used to be a win for me, but having Edward around had spoiled me with a more constant, satisfying sleep.’

Smile: ‘The laugh wasn't because Lucy was grounded, but because of how very fatherly he sounded. I still didn't know why him exhibiting any kind of parental quality made me laugh.’

I love your Edward:
"I thought you were exaggerating when you said you needed to sleep for twelve hours."
But it’s not that he’s annoyed because he had other plans or got bored:
"You shouldn't work yourself so hard you pass out as soon as you fall into bed."

Her turn to be a good human being:
"You told me not to look at our relationship with my publicist glasses, and that's what I'm doing. I helped your daughter, and I don't want to be paid for that."

I loved Edward’s card with the thank-you orchid! And the white theme. And the sly echo from canon.

Good exchange with Eric, turning from his weekly invitation to some real communication, a small victory.
“You kept your head down and focused on your work instead of feeding the drama. It was a month before I ever saw Cullen show up around here. You're not who I thought you were…”

And then she finally accepts the invitation for Friday night drinks, even if it’s only for half an hour. Dr. Stanley will be pleased.

Amusing, trading Newton stories:
"I hear you gave him quite the verbal bashing when he fired you."
"Oh, good," I sighed, suddenly wishing I had ordered anything besides a water. "I'm glad that's going around."
And a moment later, she fills in a missing detail for Alistair: "It was insufferable, misogynic, prick, actually."
I love Bella’s sense of humor.

Does Edward ever figure out that his “one rule” was too broad for a 16 year old? Especially given his own story about his father’s car.

Huh, I guess this is a skill Bella needs in her job, knowing when to switch modes:
‘I had listened to him rant about the whole situation all night, and we had gotten to the point where it seemed like some logic would start to help.’

A sudden gut punch re Bella’s piercing:
"How much trouble did you get into?"
"None," I shrugged. "My parents never noticed."
Ouch. They have no idea how lucky they were that she didn’t decide to keep escalating until they noticed.

‘"Do you have any fantasies?" he asked suddenly.’ Good for him! And moments later ‘I was pretty sure the haze clouding my brain was now mostly Edward induced with only a little bit of alcohol left in my system.’

Yummy: ‘I should have expected the exquisite torture when he said he wanted to have his wicked way with me. Still, every time his mouth and fingers worked up right up to the edge, I thought he would let me fall over it. Instead, every goddamn time he pulled away…’

What a terrific sex scene!
ai se eu te pego chapter 23 . 6/1
Renee Aubin chapter 11 . 5/27
Smile: Bella didn’t go for Friday night drinks partly because ‘for the first time, I had things outside of work I would rather be doing.’

Yikes! Fireworks at the staff meeting:
‘"What you asked was unprofessional and inappropriate. I'm not using my personal relationship with Edward in a professional capacity for anyone, myself included."
"No one should expect you to," Renata added, frowning over at Lauren.’

And the day is far from over, with Lucy turning up asking for help.

This was so touching: ‘If it was absolutely anyone else in the world crying across from me, I would have just uncomfortably tried to comfort them from here. This was Edward's child, though. … I couldn't just let her sit there and cry.’

Creep! "I guess I'm not as exciting to date anymore, now that I can actually date.” Derek was in it for the chase, the forbidden fruit.

It had to be so helpful to Lucy that Bella immediately got the picture and was able to finish Lucy’s sentences for her.

‘”Please, Bella. I just… want it to go away," she cried, though I didn't see any actual tears.’
Huh, are you suggesting Lucy is being manipulative? A spoiled 16 year old? No!

I’m impressed by how professional Bella is being, leaving it up to Lucy which parent gets informed.

‘It should probably be on [Lucy] to tell Edward…’ Yes. But it might also be easier for Edward to hear this from Bella, give him a chance to gather himself before he talks with Lucy.

Oof – well done:
‘His voice was monotone when he finally spoke. "Pictures."
"Of my daughter. Pictures of my daughter."’

“You can't call him or his parents. That will only make things worse, especially when you're this angry."
He sure gets robbed of the satisfaction of telling the boy and his parents how he feels. But that wouldn’t be likely to do anything but make them circle the wagons. (Again, as it turns out.)

‘It was stupid of me to give Lucy and Edward a definitive answer, but they were both so sad and defeated and I hated it.’
Yeah, that’s the only part of Bella’s actions that I question. It would have been even worse to get their hopes up and then fail, even if the failure was an agreement without certainty that the pictures were really deleted.

“I should probably stay at my place to get some work done – "
"No," he interrupted quickly, eyes suddenly panicked in my direction. "Stay with me. Please."

He probably felt like it was the least he could do:
‘He was sprawled out on the couch, long legs draped over the back. He didn't have his phone or the television on or anything. He spent the last three hours in silence as he sat beside me while I worked…’

Good insight into Bella, re why she chose her field:
“… PR isn't just about getting your client exposure or making them money through paid promotions. It's about being five steps ahead of anyone who would try to tear them down, given the chance. … I thought about how no one ever protected me, and how someone in the public eye probably feels just as terrified of a stranger on the street as I do."

Borderline creepy: The Andersons’ home ‘was worth millions. Something I knew for a fact, because I knew basically everything about the family now.’
But it all feeds her strategy. Grimace:
‘… I hadn't been the first person to need to talk to him about Derek.’

You do a good job portraying what was attractive about Derek, also why Lucy was especially a target, with her famous father and grandparents.

Trust Derek to throw Lucy’s nastiness toward Bella onto the fire. Whoa, a perspective he needs:
"Damnit Derek, she is making this problem go away for you, too! Do you want to end up a registered sex offender before you've graduated high school?"

Sigh. ‘There was no verbal agreement or anything else strong enough to keep the kid from changing his mind in a day or week or two years from now.’ And it’s true: ‘…in the long run it would affect Lucy much more [than Derek] if they ever got out.’ Such a good argument against having pictures like that floating around anywhere.

After that meeting ‘I didn't even have the energy to smile at the key in my hand like I had the first few times I used it. The key. To Edward's home. That he gave me. To keep.’ But she’s still running her litany about the key!

Smile, another one of those “Edward’s child” moments: ‘"What?" they both asked, two sets of stern eyes on me. In any other situation, their similar facial expressions would have been amusing.’

That was a nice little negotiation allowing Bella to stay at Edward’s that night. ‘Then two unfamiliar arms were wrapped around my waist, a head of blonde hair pressed against my chest.’ Unexpected!

A much more rejuvenating way to crash than at home alone.
Renee Aubin chapter 10 . 5/15
Ha ha: ‘"You had sex," Rosalie blurted out as soon as I walked in the door Monday night.’

Rosalie strikes again: “I never would have guessed the first guy you'd date would be a married thirty-five-year-old father of twins."

Another good one: Dr. Stanley ‘obviously underestimated my avoidance abilities that I had been working on since I was about twelve.’

“Talking about it will help you learn to let go of some of the anger you're holding onto."
I frowned. "I think I have a right to be a little angry."
"Oh, you do. … But… isn't it exhausting?"
I was used to the anger, always bubbling under the surface. I had developed coping mechanisms over the years to dull it, but there was only so much time I could spend in a gym, sweating away my aggression.’

Excellent way to put it: "You deserve a life where they're not constantly holding you back, Bella. They've taken enough from you, don't you think?"

What an introduction to Seth and Sam:
‘"You're the girl!" a man exclaimed as I walked pas[t] him.’

I like the idea of an annual “we hate Demetri” dinner.

Sweet: ‘I rested my head against his shoulder, the tension that had been building up in every part of my body from my shoulders to my toes slowly dissipating.’

How did I just now notice that Bella’s the one with the Volvo? It made no sense in canon as a car for Edward, but a sensible car for Bella checks out.

Smirk: ‘Ashley actually wanted people to talk about her, which was a nice, new challenge.’

An honest reaction: "I wish there was something I could say to make it better… but, I've got nothing."

Awesome: "For what it's worth," he said, hesitating for a moment before going on. "I will do my damnedest to make sure no one ever lays a hand on you like that again."

Nice: ‘My fingers finally got what they wanted, digging into the soft hair at the nape of his neck to pull him down to me.’

Excellent: "If you're done eye-fucking me, we can get to the real thing.”

You are so good at describing the, um, physical action in just a few words. I’m never scratching my head about what’s happening.

When they talk about Bella staying over “all the days” of next week:
"I'm going to let you in on a secret. … I'm going to spend the rest of my life with you."

Terrific – just what she needs:
“I wasn't going to be this blunt this soon because of it, but after Wednesday… After Wednesday I thought it might help. If you knew you didn't have to worry about me or us. Because I'm all in, love. Until you say otherwise, I'm not going anywhere."

Therapy will help you see things like this!
‘I spent the entire time thinking I was being practical, holding myself back from him in order to keep myself safe in the long run. But, maybe it was the stupidest thing I had ever done.’

This is a talent: ‘In true Edward fashion, he was able to brush right past the heavy conversation and on to lighter subjects.’

Typical Bella:
‘I hesitated, my desire to stay, especially after everything he told me tonight, fighting a good battle with my need to flee. "I just… hated teenagers even when I was one. Or they hated me. I don't know which started first."’

Sigh, it’s so … unfortunate? Annoying? … that girls get so sexualized so early:
‘Lucy's friends were both blonde, both wearing outfits that would be questionable for a twenty-year-old to wear to a club, let alone a couple sixteen-year-olds. Masen's friends were much more casual.’

I loved this moment, after Edward introduces Bella to his kids’ friends:
‘"Nice, Mr. C," one of the boys said, immediately followed by Masen shoving him back down the hall.’

"I just," I chuckled, finally calming down enough to speak. "Sometimes I forget that you have children. That you raised. For sixteen years. And then they come over here and their friends call you Mr. C."

Aww: ‘It was funny and incredible and amazing that even though we were completely different on paper, he was also now the most important thing in my life. One of the truly good things I had going for me. He didn't even look at me funny for my laughing outburst. Just smiled at me from where he leaned against the counter.’

See, it was such a good thing that Bella didn’t flee before his kids got home!
Renee Aubin chapter 9 . 5/7
I particularly like this line, as she reviews the last 24 hours:
‘Sitting across the counter from Edward and realizing I was stupidly holding myself back from the best thing to ever happen to me.’

Smile: ‘He was usually cute and frowny for a good twenty minutes when he woke up.’

It kind of amazed me that he’s been pondering this question all this time: "When you… left… you said something about butterflies and not knowing what they meant."
He has to love the answer, especially since it covers the whole arc of their relationship.

You did a nice job describing how the softness didn’t get lost even in the midst of hot (literally) steamy sex:
‘Edward lifted me up by my thighs, my legs wrapping around his waist, but pressed a soft kiss to the tip of my nose as he did so.’

‘Somehow we both ended up on the floor, Edward with his back against the wall and me sprawled in his lap. It was a wonderful start to the morning.’ Truly!

Classically Bella:
‘It wasn't the first hint he had dropped. They were all over the place if I looked close enough. He offered me half of his closet yesterday. He broke every dating rule I knew, which was an admittedly small number, but they were all broken. And now, apparently, he was fine with the amount of trying we'd have to do to have a child.’
Those are HINTS? Good lord, woman, meet him halfway!

So sweet: ‘I squeezed his hand, because I could, smiling when I got a gentle squeeze back.’

This was a great family moment:
‘"How long was the lecture on how to tie the bows?" Edward asked with a laugh.
"Forty-five minutes. For bows," Lucy grumbled…’

Also very sweet how Alice and Esme were so obvious about including Bella in the socializing. And the official photos!

Yeah, I was a little surprised Bella wasn’t more on edge about Alice’s wedding:
‘"Um, hi," I mumbled, giving [Charlotte] an awkward wave. I hadn't thought this wedding through very well, and I suddenly realized I was in a lion's den of Edward's family and friends.’

Awesome that Charlotte thanks her for getting rid of “the ice queen”.

What a nice idea, at least if you have the space: "Carlisle and I like to make the kids their own bedrooms in every house we have."
And how fun to see this, looking at the old photos of Edward: "He and Masen are nearly identical."

Quite a blessing from Esme: "He's happier now than I've seen him in years. Thank you for not letting me ruin that for him."
She and Alice really could have caused a rift trying to interfere in his not-divorce.

Yeah, he didn’t happen to mention this, did he? ‘"He's officiating the wedding?" I gasped.’

When she walks with Masen to the seating area for the ceremony: ‘There couldn't be more than fifty people here, but it still felt like they all turned in my direction when I walked in.’ I’m really curious whether she imagined that. Probably if ten people turned their heads, she’d interpret it as “everyone”.

I do always enjoy her interaction with Masen. This time, she agrees with him about not liking to be “in front of people”:
"No offense but… isn't that kind of your job?"

It was inevitable that she would think – with stomach-wrenching jealousy – about Edward’s wedding to Irina. Although it seems likely that given their ages and circumstances it was likely a far more low-key affair.

Good phrase: Alice ‘seemed almost excruciatingly happy’.

Very interesting conversation with Renata about cancelling Edward’s talk show appearance. And thank goodness it ends well.

Well this was bound to happen: ‘…there was a new blonde sitting next to him. My jaw clenched when I recognized Serena King. One of the notorious six names on his list…’
Oho, Edward shines some light on the “making out against Bella’s office door” incident:
"She kissed me, for the record." My incredulous look led him to continue. "And I let it happen because I was harboring an inappropriate crush on my new publicist."

Thank you, Carlisle, for rescuing Bella from his parents!
And then this gem: ‘Carlisle smiled over at me. "You fit in very well here, Bella."’

‘"I don't like that you were married," I blurted out, once the silence and stares got to be too much. I had a history of being excellent at keeping my emotions in check, usually, but two minutes of Edward staring at me was evidently better at getting me to open up than a month with a highly trained therapist.’

Oh that’s right! “I was about seven when you got married”. A good perspective.
And then Edward admits he’d be just as jealous if Bella had ever been married.

"You have no idea how much I cherish the fact that you're mine." He leaned down, lips trailing along my neck to my ear. "That no one else knows the way you taste… the way you feel… the noises you make when you come."

Terrific “mine mine mine” sex. Sigh:
"I'm yours, Bella," he whispered against my neck, lazy kisses pressed into my skin. "More than I've ever been anyone else's."
Just what she needed to hear.
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