Reviews for The Keepsake
PAT2024 chapter 20 . 1/20
I loved, loved this story. You made me cry and laught. Your Edwards are always so swoony and adorable.. Very well written as usual. I have now read all your "completed" stories and I want more.

Will you ever finish the other 2 stories that are still incomplete today ? I love so much your writing and imagination, but I hate starting to read a story that is not finished it's so frustrating.

Thank you for sharing and don't stop writing you are truly talented.
Gemma chapter 20 . 1/15
Can I just say that I have absolutely loved this story, this should have been the way the saga went. I can really relate to blocking out memories as its too painful, and this story just made you feel everything along the way. I dreaded getting to the end of this, as I was loving it so much, and would love to see a sequel if you ever feel the need. As it would definitely be something I would read.
Ophelia85 chapter 18 . 1/12
I don't buy that Edward had to be the one to help Kim:
Renee Aubin chapter 20 . 1/5
In an epilogue it’s always interesting to see what the author chooses to shine a spotlight on. This one had some fun surprises.

Good job imagining Bella’s experience of running through the woods with her enhanced body and senses. Re their race into town, I half expected Edward to come sauntering out of a store next to the Jeep “finish line”. I didn’t expect Bella’s mother any more than Bella did! But your explanation for what she was doing there was perfectly believable.

Wonderful description of their reunion. Including this:
‘But I also know exactly what I have to do here. I have to turn my head and hurry away. Disappear quickly, changing my posture so completely as I walk that Renee will be certain she's made a mistake. But I can't move.’
The reunion is especially touching because although Bella never expected to see her again (hmm, rather like Edward’s departure in NM), Renee had no idea what a bullet she was dodging.

Laughing out loud:
‘I wonder how to explain why I don't look quite the same; why my features are sharper, more refined.
"Oh, Bella," Renee whispers, leaning in close. "Honey have you had botox?"’

‘My vampire mind, normally so clear and calm, is all chaos. I want to tell my mom everything; about me, about her grandson, but all I can offer her is lies. But what lies exactly? How do I play this?’

A very suspenseful moment as ‘I see the truth begin to dawn in her eyes’. And yet to a mother this is the only important thing:
‘I hold out a trembling hand. "Mom, I…I'm still me."’

Oh my:
‘Then she opens her arms and pulls me into a fierce, fierce hug. "It's okay, honey," she whispers. "Don't be frightened."’
Very Renée.

Excellent resolution for Charlie, too:
‘"We weren't there when he found out," I say. "But according to Jake he just said it explained a few things then went very quiet for a while. Quieter than usual."

And when he'd processed, he'd come straight to Alaska, driving through the night to see me and make sure I was okay, and that my change had been my choice.’
Good dad.

I enjoyed Renee’s outrage that they weren’t going to tell her because, after all, “I've been embracing the weird and wonderful my whole life."
Also how she tests Edward’s mind-reading, and wonders if it can be learned.

Nice: "Your mother's protective instincts are incredibly strong," he says. "So is her resolve. She won't be slipping up."

Sniffle: ‘"I get to keep my Mom," I whisper so only Edward will hear.’

Wonderful: ‘The change in relationship between Carlisle and Edward has been subtle and though I know it started back when Edward lost and then regained his memories, the new dynamic has become clearer since our marriage and Alex's birth. Carlisle will always be like a father to Edward. His opinion will always be valued, and his advice sometimes sought, but Edward is his own man now.’
There was a hint of that in the movie, but this is so clear.

Surprising, but you’ve laid the groundwork during this entire story: ‘In some ways, he's so far removed from the boy I knew in Forks, I barely recognise him.’

Carlisle was certainly right that it’s good for Alexander to know his grandmother. Good for her, too.

So sweet: ‘…my heart swells at what I see. Alex is riding on his father's shoulders as Edward jogs across the grounds. Both of them laughing, their faces lit up, shining, like this is the best game in the world.’

I like this much better than canon: "He's a little more advanced than the average two year old, but not so much that it would seem too unusual."
SM really wrote herself into a corner with she-who-must-not-be-named’s rapid development – she could never be around other children.

Aww: ‘It was Edward's idea to keep a visual record of as much of my human life as possible, to help me keep as many memories as I could, and to share them with Alex.’

Your brief sketch of their wedding is touching. Especially this: ‘…I'd waltzed with Edward in the moonlight. The love in his eyes that night is one human memory that's crystal clear.’
I like the idea of the private photo album too!

Sounds like a pretty good description of any new parent: "I was euphoric. And terrified.”
Of course Edward had more than most to be terrified of.

I enjoyed Alex’s fascination with rocks, too. Sounds like me at his age. Well, or even now sometimes.

That was a nice extended motif, Edward and Bella quietly reminiscing and daydreaming while they watch Renée and Alex through the window.

What a great summary of how far they’ve come:
"Edward, do you ever think about how close we came to not having this? ... All the near-misses," I explain. "All the things that could have broken us apart. I mean, what are the odds, after you left Forks, that we'd find each other again?"

Nice variation on “interrupting cow” joke too – interrupting with a kiss!

Lovely focus back on the bookmark at the end.

Sigh, what a great story! I always hate when one comes to an end, but on the other hand yours are thoroughly satisfying. Thanks as always for sharing your wonderful imagination and talent with us.
Renee Aubin chapter 19 . 12/29/2016
‘"If I told you that..." And now I'm treated to an Edward Cullen smirk of the highest quality.’

Oh my gosh: "Your message only came through a couple of hours ago…”
Boy he really slips back into Forks Edward with all his tizzy about her taking the risk to come up to Alaska. She’s remarkably calm and nonreactive about him thinking she wasn’t smart enough to figure out her own travel plans.

Smile: ‘He can drive me to the[ir] airport. He can drive me wherever he likes.’

Aww: “I still want forever. With you. That's why I've come here. To tell you that to your face, so you can see in my eyes that I mean it."

An interesting way to put it: "I'm a lot to take on."
And soberingly true.

Terrific dialog:
"And where is the surprise?"
"It's everywhere."
"Well, that's very helpful, Edward. So I could have stayed in Portland and seen this surprise?"

Imaginative, he gives her the gift of one of the best star views on the planet! I took a cruise in Alaska and couldn’t believe the stars at night out on the water. I love me some trees but they do block the sky.
Perfect: ‘It's almost as if the world has dropped away, and now we're part of the heavens.’

Good for her:
‘”I wish I could be as optimistic as Emmett, but I think New Years might be too soon." My heart sinks as disappointment flares through me, but I try not to show it. … I'm sure Kim wishes things were different too.’

So sweet:
‘"It's been a long day for you," Edward says.
Very long. But worth it, to feel his head on my shoulder and his arm around me.’

Interesting: Kim “has so much anger about what's happened, and that anger seems to have fuelled her thirst and made it stronger."

Part of their conversation re Kate:
‘"I'm just glad I realised it felt wrong, before I did anything I'd regret."
So am I.’

Lovely: ‘He's both the strongest, and gentlest person I know…’

"I don't think I've told you yet how much I've missed you, Bella." He lowers his face, runs his nose over my throat. "Missed having your scent on me."
Followed quickly by fabulous reunion sex.

I love her imagining these intimate domestic details as they discuss their house:
‘"And your black sofa would fit perfectly there…" I can see him lying there, beneath the window, reading. Or with his eyes closed, stretched out, listening to his music.’

Interesting that he not only wants their own house now, but in the future too! "I'm starting a new life.”

Fun ending to their play in the snow, after she brings up finding the honeymoon bikini:
He swings me up into his arms and starts striding through the snow, back towards the hotel. "I don't want to build snowmen anymore."

This is so true:
"You could buy the DVD."
I shake my head. "It's not the same if you can just watch it any old time."

It always made me happy that the canon date for their first time in the meadow fell on my birthday … I’m just saying. A perfect choice for their rescheduled wedding date.

Charming: ‘The endless, starry sky surrounds us once again. Snuggled in my new snow clothes, and the even newer thermal blanket, I sit curled up in Edward's lap while he sits on the hood of the car.’

Wow: "Despite what I might have thought about myself, and what I'd become, coming here and looking at the stars always made me feel that I was still a part of something."
That really conveys how profoundly alienated he had become.

‘"You know that spare room in the house? The one that could be a library or a second study?"
I turn my face to his. "I'm thinking it could be a nursery."
The gentle surprise in Edward's eyes is beautiful to see.’

I can’t believe how anticlimactic it is to be back at work at The Drum! But life is like that sometimes.

OMG, even Alice finds it necessary to scold Bella about taking off for Alaska. But then, Bella worries about Edward in the blizzard, which is just as illogical. It was nice that she also thought about Jared and the weather.

A fun Cullen moment:
"Jasper and I were planning to watch the fireworks from the top of the Wells Fargo Center. The view's great."
"They let people up there?"
"No," she giggles. "But we have ways.”

I like this, when she debates calling the agent after going out to the new house:
‘Either way, I want to hear the news from Edward.’

What a mental picture this creates:
"Hey, you could bring him next year. I know I've said it before, but Edward would make a great Goth."

Fabulous, and very cinematic:
‘I notice something else. …
My bookmark.
Lying there on the carpet, just like that evening at the library.
My heart speeds as I approach it slowly, cautiously, almost like it's a frightened animal. … My skin tingles. My hands are shaking as I lift my eyes and there he is.
Edward Cullen is standing at the end of the instrument aisle. Smiling.’

Another sniffle:
‘…he curls my fingers back over the leather strip. "It was a keepsake," he says. "I don't need it anymore." Then he pulls me into his arms. "I'm never going to need it again."’

With all the travel obstructions she has heard about, this is a vivid illustration of his otherness:
‘"But the blizzard? The snow?" He waves a dismissive hand, and I realise now, he ran through the storm to get here.’

That’s the most perfect last line of a story that I can recall!

I looked up the song by Madness – it reminds me sooo much of British pop from the 60’s, which is a marvelous thing.

See you for the epilogue.
Renee Aubin chapter 18 . 12/22/2016
I love this point, talking about Kim at first:
‘"It wasn't her choice. It's not the life she wanted.”…
"It wasn't a choice for any of us, Bella." Alice says quietly…’
We so easily forget that.

Good conversation between Alice and Bella, drilling down into why "Every loose end has to be tied up” when they’re concealing something. Also, it’s shocking to realize how dangerous Kim (and Bella herself) will be.

So easy to forget this, too: ‘Most of the La Push population is completely unaware that werewolves, and sometimes vampires, walk amongst them.’

Something to smile about, in all this destruction: “Last night [Edward] was teasing me about his suit. He said it was powder blue, with velvet lapels.”

This is a big “thunk”: ‘Kim had been planning a wedding, too.’

Sobering: "You do really have to think if this is what you want." [Alice] smiles at me sadly. "Because this won't be the last time something like this happens."
Ah, so that’s why you put this in the story!

Oh, dear, Bella’s panic about Edward helping with Kim:
‘I remember Carlisle's words about Edward and the newborn that almost killed him.’
But he was ready to die then.

Excellent scene of Alice guiding Bella thru the phone call from Charlie – just like a guilty criminal having to constantly think about what would be “normal”.

Wow, when Bella says she “can’t” fake her way through Kim’s memorial service:
"You can and you will." Alice cocks her head. "You play your role first, Bella, and then you can do what you want second. Part of being a Cullen is being meticulously responsible."

You know, it’s so much more responsible, too, that Alice is educating Bella about the realities of their life, and Edward is urging her to consider carefully. It drove me nuts in canon that nobody talked to Bella about what lurked under the glamorous lifestyle.

A delightful little detail in the middle of a grim discussion:
"Do you think it matters if the tea is stirred clockwise or counter clockwise?"

Oh, here’s another “thunk”:
"And one day, it could be me you're covering for."

It WAS surprising that the latest major cover-up was in the 90’s! Also this: ‘But still, to hear Alice confirm [that she had killed a human], sends a new chill up my spine.’

Well said: ‘The fact is, I've always known the truth. I just haven't always let myself see it. … It's like lifting a veil that previously I've only peeked behind.’

Chilling, I hadn’t thought of the possibility that Kim might not succeed at the vegetarian choice.

You know, with all this “reality” about Kim as a bloodthirsty newborn, this sentence opened my eyes about each of these Cullens’ pasts:
“Edward knows what he's doing. He's been through it with Esme and Rose and Emmett. It'll just take time."
I really don’t like picturing the three of them that way.

So good: ‘Life with Edward will be beautiful, but sometimes it'll be hard. Very hard. If I want to be with him I have to accept that, and get used to it now.’

Oh my gosh, hearing Kim’s shrieking and Edward’s urgent instructions to restrain her, over the phone!

Fun that Bella finds the honeymoon swimwear among Edward’s clothes.

It was surprising that Bella and Jacob connected so well in their conversation. But the pool of people either of them can talk about the truth with is very small. Encouraging.

Shiver: ‘…with Kim…" [Jacob] pauses. "There's also the fact she's become the thing we've all been raised to hate."
Jacob’s account also gives some good hints about the cost to Edward (and Jasper) of Kim’s ordeal.
And what a relief that the treaty restrictions will be lifted.

Holy crap! Jared “even asked Emmett to change him so he and Kim were the same.”

Excellent description from Jacob of Edward hunting. Not surprising: ‘…a part of me is jealous that Jake has seen this side of Edward.’

Kind of shocking, re Jacob’s question about whether Bella plans to change:
"If you'd asked me a week ago, I would have said yes, but now…"

A wonderful Cullen family moment:
‘Carlisle … asks me how I am and how are things in La Push.
"She doesn't want to talk about all that," Emmett chuckles. "She wants to hear about Edward, right?"’

‘Emmett chuckles. "But his Bella moping is different to his regular moping. It's mopier."’

Amazing, from the photo album:
"Oh!" [Edward] looks so different. Denim flares, a purple paisley shirt. Arms crossed as he leans against the hood of a car I don't recognize. "His hair looks longer."
And the glasses in 1957 – yummm.

Wow, what an awesome letter:
‘The love I felt for you then is a pale reflection of the love I feel for you now – the love I've discovered quietly and gently, with wonder instead of fear.’

Thank goodness: ‘He's not pushing me away like he did back in Forks, when things got hard. Back when his love then was all about control and calling the shots and thinking he knew best.’

Terrific: ‘Looking at his words, and the prospect in black and white of being without him, my future is suddenly, blindingly clear. The thought of living out my human years with him, and then leaving him behind, is unbearable.’

Oh my: ‘Edward would have seen me in Jared's thoughts when he went back to Denali after Kim's ceremony. He would have seen that I wasn't wearing his ring. He would have heard my words… "No-one should ever go through this."’
Wow, look at you, Bella, tearing up to Alaska to make it absolutely clear to him, right now!

I enjoyed Bella’s hour-by-hour thoughts on the trip to Denali. You come up with such charming ways of illustrating his vampirism - racing through the trees alongside the bus! “Probably a mountain lion”- chuckle. And then his texts convince her ‘It's Portland Edward!’

Happy sigh.
Renee Aubin chapter 17 . 12/16/2016
‘He stared into Bella's eyes, lost in their depths, his new heart open for her to see. He'd carried the news of their potential for almost a week… And while Edward had allowed himself a few fleeting moments to think about this new information, he hadn't let himself feel. And now that he did, those feelings came as a shock.’
“His new heart”… sigh.

‘Despite Edward's vast intellect, it still took him a moment to fully understand Bella's words, or measure the meaning in her smile.’

Oh, my!
‘He could be the man he would have been, should have been, if he'd stayed human.’

I love this twist on the “dead heart” trope:
‘In his chest, his heart felt like it would start beating any moment.’

Oh, hell’s bells, what a time for the crew from Bella’s job to decide to visit! I liked how you described Edward’s patient (mostly) demeanor with them, while struggling to process the huge discussion they interrupted.

‘Edward went back to his thoughts.
What if he and Bella had a daughter?
Edward almost spilled his coffee.’

Smile (or maybe smirk):
‘He hadn't been kidding when he'd told Bella that he'd be protective. If they did this, he'd be by her side every second of her pregnancy. … His family would have to bring him his meals in a thermos.’

Sweet, and so sexy:
‘All her gasps and sighs were music to him. The most amazing symphony he would ever hear. And it played just for him. Only him.’

Wonderful, insightful:
‘…this time something was different. All week since her illness, all afternoon since his news, his emotions had been kept in check. Pent up and locked down. Now Edward gripped the headboard, and let himself go.’
Wow that was close, his urge to bite.

Well done:
‘But his post-orgasmic bliss only lasted a moment before a cold creeping panic began to steal over him.
What had he just done?’
And this:
‘His eyes searched hers, looking for the truth. And he found it. Relief flowed through him.’

‘"S'okay," she said. "It's part of who you are. And I wasn't scared..." She stopped and looked up suddenly, meeting his eyes. "Should I have been scared?"
Edward frowned. It was probably one of the most sensible questions she'd ever asked him.’

"The urge to bite during sex is always there, but usually I'm well in control of it. Today..." He looked at Bella. "Today was too much," he whispered. "There was too much to feel. I didn't know what to do with it all."
I also wonder if she knew about his urge to bite during sex… I liked your point that she totally “gets” how a run helps him process things.

Thank the goddess you avoided that whole BD nonsense.
‘She had a point. He knew that there'd been a time when something like this would have sent him from her bed, swearing never to touch her again and that he should never have touched her in the first place.’

‘Edward nods and leans back against the cupboards, smiling. There's a dish towel thrown over his shoulder and it's a sight worthy of a picture. My domestic vampire.’

Wow, I didn’t think about this for a hybrid:
“In theory, they could even have children of their own."

Good for her:
‘I'm about to protest and tell him I'm not going to change my mind, I'm just thinking things through, that's all, but then I remember this is Edward I'm talking to. So I don't protest. Instead I acknowledge what he saying to me.’

Such a touching exchange – and he doesn’t fall into a chasm of emo:
‘"Losing you was too painful. I blocked my memories to survive." … A frown clouds his face and I kiss his cheek.
"I'm right here," I whisper.
Edward smiles. "You are," he says and gives my leg a squeeze.’

Oh, I immediately didn’t like it when Joham brought a couple “followers” with him. Or their interest in the Quileutes.

Ah, I didn’t make this connection either:
‘"That's why I didn't want him to know anything about you. Because if the myths and rumours were true..." He gives a grim, knowing smile. "A young, human female willing to mate with a vampire." His meaning suddenly becomes very clear.’

I thought the phone convo between Bella and Jacob was very realistic. This even made me sniffle a little:
‘"I'll remember the bikes," I whisper, and finally, I let Jacob go.’

Aww: ‘My heart flutters s little at the image of [Edward] dropping everything to come to me.’

Delicious speculation about a place of their own. With their special-order extra-reinforced bed.

Shocking, what happened to innocent Kim. A good illustration, though, that being around mythical creatures really is playing with fire. Perfect:
"Jasper and I will come," he says. "I can get inside her mind, Jasper will help with moderating her mood.”

I’m sure Edward would have preferred to have that whole conversation about Kim’s needs without Bella there, but it’s good information about her future too. Aaack, he has to leave for a few WEEKS!

True: “Carlisle had been tracking [Joham] down before you and I were even back together, you know that."

It will be interesting to see how this changes things, a Quileute’s imprint being a vampire. Good conversation, too, about the necessity of Bella learning to lie, and lie well.

"And if we have a child, Bella, they'll have to learn to lie, too." Edward's voice is low and soft now. And sad. "We've been planning a wedding and ordering flowers and talking about a future, but part of that future will always involve death, and lies, and having to move at a moment's notice because someone has slipped up."

Kim’s unwilling change throws a very sobering note into this story. In a way it’s sad that E&B didn’t get some time to wallow in their exciting decision.
Renee Aubin chapter 16 . 12/10/2016
This was such a touching chapter. I never would have guessed that a bad case of flu could reveal so much.

Well imagined:
‘"You think it's a cold. Then comes the cough. And the fever … And then..." He shudders and I know he's not here anymore. He's back in Chicago, a hundred years ago.’

Your images of his distress are so easy to visualize. ‘…he's back again, bringing me water. The liquid shakes inside the glass, sliding up and down the sides, as his hand trembles.’

"Please. Edward I need you."
Those are the words he needed to hear. … his voice is unsteady and rough. "I'm so sorry. I'm here now. I'm here."

This starts out as a compassionate insight from Bella, but quickly gets deadly serious:
‘"You're scared," I whisper.
"Don't be."
"I can't lose you." His voice breaks.
"I'm not going anywhere."
Edward leans down and kisses my forehead. "Not without me," he says.’

During her fever,
‘Sometimes he sings.
And sometimes he prays.’

Jeez, I knew where this was going:
‘"Bella, I'm sorry, I have to do this." Dark and low, his voice cuts through the haze and really gets my attention this time. "You can sleep when your temperature comes down." …Edward has a scarily determined expression on his face.’

A vivid image of being forced and held under a freezing shower in the dark.

Aww, this would be so hard for him:
‘"Please, let me go. It hurts."
"I can't." And now Edward's sobbing too.
… It feels like hours that we're under there, but Edward tells me it's only fifty-seven seconds.’

Well done: ‘I turn my head on the pillow and see Edward sitting cross-legged on the floor, close by my bed. He comes slowly into focus as I blink. Hair more tousled than usual, face drawn. He stares into my eyes and this morning he truly looks like someone who hasn't slept for a hundred years.’

Nice: ‘When I run my fingers through his hair his body almost seems to sigh, and he sags deeper into the mattress.’
No doubt the first moment he’s relaxed in those two days.

Wow – Bella remembers the shower:
‘"You were shaking, I could feel it while you held me. But you don't get cold."
"Scared," he says simply. "It was the shower or hospital. For a while I didn't know if I was making the right decision..."
He looks away, out the window, and again I know where his mind has gone. Hospital would have seemed like the end. It was for his parents. And almost for him.’

Sweet – I think?
‘…gently touching the tips of his fingers to my throat. I see him swallow as he feels the throb of my blood at the place where he will one day make his mark. His fingers rest there, massaging gently in time with my pulse, just as I open my mouth and yawn. Edward rolls his eyes and smiles.
"Always the wrong reaction," he says.’

Aww: ‘I snuggle against him, savouring the feel of him, the feel of his hard chest beneath my cheek, his arms pulling me close. His hand making slow, comforting strokes along my back. He really is the best medicine.’

A good insight: "Usually his filter is faultless, but he's out of practice too. He was responding out loud to our thoughts and he never does that…”

Wonderful snapshot: ‘It's dark, but I can see Edward sitting on the window sill in a puddle of moonlight, knees hugged to his chest, looking out at the street.’

‘"You're staring at me," he says, and a smirk tugs at the corner of his mouth. ...
"I'm just enjoying the view."
He rolls his eyes, but the smirk turns into a smile as he looks back at his book.
"Miss Swan, are you flirting with me? … My mother warned me about women like you," he murmurs.’

The subsequent conversation about how influenza struck his family was so well imagined.
"I don't really remember being sick at all. Most of what I know is what Carlisle has told me."
How terrifying to come home from school and find his father had died. Believable that he didn’t even realize his mother had gotten sick too.

"I don't know whether it was day or night, day one or day two, but there was one brief, blinding moment of clarity, when I knew my family was all gone, and I was alone, and probably wouldn't survive. The sadness was..." He shakes his head. His fingers still. "That's my last human memory. My last human feeling. That sadness."

A wonderful insight for Bella:
‘So there are no memories of a kindly Dr Cullen telling him everything will be alright, that he could save him. Just the crushing sadness of losing everything. I wonder now if that sadness came with him into this life. When I think about it, how he was in the beginning, I'm pretty sure it did.’

An interesting theory:
"All those discussions about how dangerous you were. Warnings. That whole display in the meadow." I roll my eyes. "You were so much more open about what you were."
"I know."
"But then, after James, and were different … It was like...anything vampirish got locked away."

Progress! “If I'm more open now it's not because I want to warn you away. It's because I know I can really be myself around you.”

With Joham’s news, it turns out it’s a good thing Edward insisted on that conversation about birth control before their first time!

So not canon Edward:
“A pregnancy would have risks, and it would have to result in your change. But with the right preparation, with the right care...I won't deny you this, Bella. If it's what you want, we can try."

Good job on their discussion of the many things they need to think about. She sure has to push him, to pry his own wants out of him. But at last, he tells her.
Renee Aubin chapter 15 . 12/3/2016
‘"Edward, how you could ever have doubted this, us, I really don't know."

"Sometimes, I'm not very bright," he murmurs…’

Happy sigh: ‘And now I'm staring into amber eyes that are warm and beautiful and happy.’

I appreciate your realistic take on this:
‘Last night ended perfectly. This morning has started the same way. But I'd be naive to think that the pain and confusion he felt yesterday with the return of his memory, would evaporate overnight.’

Kind of startling, and very good:
"You've outgrown who I used to be," he whispers…
"You're right," I whisper. "I have outgrown who you used to be. But Edward, you've outgrown him too."

An interesting insight:
"The way we were before...if we'd stayed together I would have made you unhappy. Desperately unhappy. … And I would have always been scared."…
"Scared of what?"
"Your regret."
I think he’s right.

Wow what a change:
‘"I hurt you so much," he says, voice breaking... He leans his head against mine, eyes closed. …
"Don't let go," he whispers.
"I won't." … I'm just so glad he's seeking comfort, instead of punishing himself with distance.’
There’s something very respectful in his acknowledgement that she can offer comfort.

‘"Edward, you and me, we suck at break-ups. But we're good at making up, and seeing where we went wrong. And that's the important part. … This, what we have now, is beautiful."’

Delicious: "The old me would never have been naked in your bed."

This is a genius question from Edward:
"Why were you never angry with me?"
And then:
"Like the night of the prom. But I was always manipulative and you always gave in." …
"Yeah, well...I was stupid then."

Hmm, I just noticed that because we veered off mid-New Moon, Edward never had that experience of thinking Bella was dead for a day, and not having a problem with her scent after that. Instead you’ve had her scent morph while they were apart.

Yeow (in a good way):
"And this morning, your scent is all about last night. You smell of sex...and me."

Oh dear:
‘His eyes flicker towards Charlie's room. "Even in his dreams he hates me."’

Wise (and brave) of Edward:
"My decision to leave affected [Charlie], too. There are things he might want to say to me that he wouldn't want you to hear."

Good job on Renee’s interpretation of "He left you in the woods, and then he found you in the woods?"
"The symmetry, Bella. The symmetry.”

I snickered at Edward’s summary of the conversation with Renee: "I know. I heard. We have a symbiotic relationship. The universe has righted all wrongs."

Well said, too: “Charlie basically wants you to be happy. He just wishes the thing that makes you happy wasn't me."

I could understand him being reluctant:
‘I wonder if it's the memory of the last time we were together in [the Cullen] house that has him so uneasy. Memories of broken glass and blood and fear.’

‘"Oh? How will [Jacob] know?"
Edward's nostrils flare slightly, then he wrinkles his nose in the sexiest way. "I'm all over you," he mouths.’
No way would I have showered after that!

Nice, from Charlie:
“But the way Edward looks when he talks about you…that's what I would want to see in a son-in-law."
"He's not the same boy he was back then, I can see that."

Smile: ‘I borrow Charlie's phone and take photos. Of everyone. Tonight will be something I want to keep with me for the next thousand years.’

"Isn't there a law against texting and driving?" I ask.
"Yeah, well..." [Charlie] gives me a lazy look. "Who you gonna tell?"

There’s something grown-up and sexy about being in the Cullen house alone.
An interesting perspective, though, about the house looking “worse for wear”:
"It's always like this at first, when we come back to a place." Decades of experience.

Interesting: "But sometimes I feel like I don't fit my own skin anymore. It's going to take me a while, I think."

Smile, the family’s reaction to news of his recovered memories:
“Carlisle wanted details and I gave him what I thought was necessary." He gives a mock sigh of exasperation. "He'll want to shine lights in my eyes and feel my head when I get back."

He’s really like a 12-step person, making an inventory of all his wrongs:
"You don't like big celebrations. You didn't want your eighteenth birthday party."

I was a little surprised he didn’t grumble about the piano being out of tune from months of fluctuating temperatures.

Oh yes: ‘There's something so beautiful in the way he plays. Sexy even. I've never told him that. There are quite a few things I've never told him. Some of them involve this piano.’

“Bolero” on the piano would take a lot of skill – I’ve mostly heard it with different instruments coming in on each round. But yes: ‘Under my hands the piano throbs.’ And then ‘The music ends. But my body is still humming.’

I enjoyed that when she confesses she fantasized about making love on his piano, he admits
“Any fantasies I had were very...tame."
Excellent “improvising”! “Allegro or adagio?" indeed.

Nice: “So, Christmas and a wedding, it would be a nice memory. For them too, when they don't see me anymore.”

What a relief that Bella eventually accepts Edward’s advice re Joham.
A perfectly reasonable request: "Bella, please, be guided by me on this."
Oooh: "And if you still think this is me slipping back, I'd have to ask if you're slipping back too."

True: ‘I know so well who Edward is, it's easy to forget sometimes what he is.’

(Of course) I wondered what was up with Bella waking with a headache. I’m relieved (I think) that it’s a cold rather than some exotic reaction to vampire jizz. I’m hoping he’s just overreacting to her influenza because of the 1918 epidemic…
Renee Aubin chapter 14 . 11/29/2016
My dear Windchymes – this chapter is so critical and contains so much great stuff that I’m really struggling to cut my review down to 1000 words (didn’t quite get there either)!

What a dilemma – Charlie is on his way, in a panic, not knowing anything about Edward, and Bella absolutely doesn’t want to leave Edward on his own to deal with his just-recovered memories.

‘"Edward, I'm not leaving you here in the woods alone."
I hold his face between my hands. … But his body shudders and I realise what I've just said to him and I'm sure he's remembering when he left me.’
Yikes, an accidental kick in the ribs…

And it only gets worse: ‘…what he's seeing in Charlie's mind. Edward's mouth falls open as horror washes over his face.’
In virtually every other story I think “you deserve it” when Edward is confronted with mental images of how Bella was after he left. But not this time. He has come so far since then.

Charlie’s viewpoint is understandable, but oh my this is harsh:
"You want to go back to the coward who abandoned you in the woods?"
Good for her for clarifying that isn’t exactly what happened.

"You drained the life out of her when you left."
What an interesting phrase to use with a vampire!

Absolutely true:
"Chief Swan, there is nothing that you can think about me that I haven't already thought myself.”

It’s so painful to imagine this:
‘I can feel Edward weakening. His hand goes limp in mine. I can only imagine what he sees in Charlie's mind and after going from two years of silence to this, I wonder how much mind reading he can take right now.’

Excellent, Bella to Charlie:
“Edward and I both made mistakes, but we're different now and when we met up again a couple of months ago, we knew we still wanted to be together. I know that makes it sound too simple, but…it kind of is that simple.”

Well done, persuading her to go with Charlie:
"I love you," he says. "And you spent the last hour sitting in those freezing woods, holding me like you'd never let go, and I can't tell you what that meant to me, or how it made me feel." …he kisses each one of my knuckles... "But right now, I think I need to be alone for a while."

‘My words echo with memory and pain. I sound like I did that afternoon he said goodbye. The realisation hits me harder than the cold night air. It brings another realisation with it – that this isn't about me.’

And the final straw:
"You've told me that you trust me. Is that still the case?"
"You know it is."
"Then you'll let me go and I'll see you in the morning.”

The reality of having a grown child:
"It doesn't matter if I'm okay with it or not, does it?"
I shake my head slowly. "Not really, no."

Well this is a nice change:
“I don't expect you to cook while you're here."

An excellent illustration of Bella’s increased maturity, when she can’t reach Edward by phone:
‘I hang up for the final time and decide that's enough. He knows where I am, he knows how to reach me. He'll come back when he's ready...’
Also not butting in to tell the Cullens was wise.

The whole conversation when he comes back to her room was masterful.

Re the photo from the birthday party:
‘"You knew then that you were leaving me, didn't you?"
I wonder if I knew too.’
Ooh, fascinating idea.

Whoa, and the first thing he says to her is:
"I was so angry with you."

But it makes perfect sense. I don’t recall any other story addressing Edward’s complex feelings about James in Phoenix. It’s powerful looking at it from his POV:
"You were lying on that floor, broken and bloodied, his venom in your veins…”
Shiver: “…would he kill you or would I…”

I loved Edward’s flawless analysis of what she was thinking when she went to the ballet studio alone.

Hardly any of us thought about this:
"You would risk yourself to keep me safe. Me," he murmurs. "Can you imagine, for just one moment, what it would have done to me if you'd died?"

Hmm: ‘He's wallowing. I sort of expected it but after the past few months, with a different Edward, this is hard to take. I wonder if this is how it will be now.’

“I'd have gone mad tonight without your arms around me. Every memory was like an assault, a physical battering but you held onto me, you didn't let go."
Deep sigh.

Good for her:
"There's a strength in you I didn't see before..."
"It wasn't there before."

"In some small way I wonder if, when I left, it was to protect myself as much as you."

“Bella, I didn't think it was possible to feel any more loved than you've already made me feel over these last months, but tonight you proved me wrong.”

Oh my gosh:
“And I still don't know why you love me the way you do, especially after what I've done, and I've spent a lot of the past eight hours trying to understand, but now I give up. I'm beyond analysing and questioning, I'm just going to let you love me, if you'll let me love you too."
Who are you and what have you done with Edward Cullen?

A nice touch:
‘He sighs and whispers things I can't hear but their meaning is clear when he presses his lips to my shoulder, my neck and my chest.’

Clever of her to ask if he discovered any good memories. I enjoyed their teasing about whether she remembered their first kiss.

Loved the story about that little beach, the summer after their junior year. It was practically shocking to hear him admit this:
‘"I wanted to make love to you that day," he whispers, almost to himself it seems.’

My eyes practically rolled back in my heading reading his seductive way of inviting her to make love on the floor instead of the bed.

What an image: ‘He throws back his head, screws his eyes shut and bites hard into his lip as he comes. So quietly.
So beautiful.’

‘The last thing I hear is my lullaby on his lips, but the ending is different, brighter. Like sun after a storm.
"I like the new ending," I yawn.
He kisses me again.
"So do I," he whispers.’
gleri chapter 20 . 11/28/2016
I don't speak english, but i loved this history.
I read by traductor, kiss
Renee Aubin chapter 13 . 11/23/2016
Delicious first moments upon waking.

Aww: ‘…the happiness I feel almost hurts. I blink back some tears, fast, because I don't want to miss the beautiful smile on his face, or the joy that shines in his eyes.’

Smile: ‘He sits up, the sheet rumples loosely around his hips and I'm distracted, but just for a moment.’ Yeah, me too.

This is exactly right: "Thank you," I whisper, my hands still cupping his face. "For keeping me safe."
Short-circuiting his angst and turning it into triumph.

Their playfulness this morning is perfect too.
‘"I don't want to get out of the bed."
"Then I'll be showering alone," he says casually and I'm out of the bed and into the bathroom like a shot from a cannon.’

So good for her confidence: ‘It's a revelation, the way my touch can bring him so undone…’
Wonderful description of how that looks, too.

"I used to think I had a good imagination. But I don't."

"I know I have a good imagination," he whispers. "And it still fell way short."

"You know, Edward, I bet the glasses made you look really sexy."
Amen, sister.

Great use of an impromptu school holiday:
‘We spend the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon curled up on my bed, talking about Edward's hundred years.’
It always bugged me how little interest canon Bella showed in Edward’s long lifetime.

‘For a second I wonder where home is, and then I realise...
Right now my home is standing on the other side of that bedroom door.’

Wow, stunning to hear Edward say
"And we'll have a thousand more [Thanksgivings]."

You really made me nervous (and Bella too) with Edward’s distractedness when he meets her after work. What emo rabbit-hole has he fallen down?
Of course she wonders this: ‘…maybe we have moved too fast and everything is catching up with him and mentally prepare myself to slow things down.’

Grimace, I was nervous too when Bella used a knife to smash the garlic cloves. It just feels like something dark is looming on the horizon…

I’m shaking my head at these two:
"Do you need to go?" I force myself to ask the question, and when I do it grabs his full attention and he stares at me, almost alarmed it seems.
"Do you want me to go?"
Thank goodness they didn’t turn nothing into something.

What a lovely idea, a bracelet because “I would like you to have some symbol of my feelings.” And for once Bella doesn’t respond to a gift like a self-centered thoughtless brat.

A mildly shocking reminder of where we are in this story: "Have you seen me in the sun very often?"
He doesn’t know!

Well I guess the timing of the fire alarm could have been worse.

Hmm: ‘There had been so many times when I'd imagined a reunion and always it had been full of hugs and smiles, but now the reality is different. Everyone is tense.’
At least the Cullens take the opportunity to apologize properly.

What a nice thing for Jasper to say: "I don't want you to be frightened to come here.”

Edward ‘leads me to the familiar black leather couch and I could almost cry as I sink onto it, beside him.’ Funny how it’s like a long-lost friend, isn’t it?

Well done: "Is it strange that I'm jealous of the Edward in Forks? Because he got the first kiss. He took you to the meadow. You saw him in the sun."

Sniffle: ‘"I've tried so hard to remember," he whispers. His eyes are deep and sad right now and I crawl into his lap and hold him as hard as I can.’

Yaay, finally some action on the black leather sofa!

Hmm, Edward playing blues on the harmonica – as appealing as the piano, maybe.

Interesting arc where Bella realizes she is changing her mind about marriage, at least to Edward.

He ‘touches the glittering heart. I realise now he probably thought this was as close as we'd ever get to marriage.’
And hooray, he wasn’t going to badger her about it!

These are the perfect, simple words for his proposal:
‘"Marry me," he whispers against my lips.’

Yeah, those rainstorms on the Olympic Peninsula can indeed make it impossible to drive.

Well thank goodness it’s Edward that finds her and not some random vampire! At least we knew Victoria’s dead.

‘"Edward, what is it?" But I know as soon as I look at him. His body is still but his eyes are wild and panicked as I watch the last two years fall into place and I know...he's just remembered.’
Makes sense that it would be triggered by a combination of fear for Bella’s safety and being lost in a forest.

Oh, yeah, this would definitely be a worry:
"Don't go," I whisper and my own panic matches his. "Don't run."

Sooo painful that what immediately comes back to him with brutal clarity is the afternoon he left her.
‘We sink down into the mud and I hold him, his head buried against my chest, and it's dark before his shaking finally stops. When he lifts his face the raw pain in his eyes almost kills me and my tears start again.’

Perfection: ‘We sit longer in the dark, just me and the man in my arms. He's so quiet, so still, as he clings to me, but every now and then he shudders as some new memory takes hold and when that happens I whisper that I love him. I make circles with my fingers over the back of his neck, the way he likes. I kiss the top of his head and tell him everything will be okay.’

Ah, and the mind-reading is back too!
Renee Aubin chapter 12 . 11/18/2016
I enjoyed how you used the countdown of Bella’s seconds of stunned silence following Edward’s revelation.
‘Bella was still staring. Still silent. Edward swallowed hard and wondered if he had just blown everything. The silence between them was only four seconds long, but each second felt like a lifetime. A vampire lifetime.’

A definite improvement over canon:
‘They shouldn't be having the sex talk so soon. So soon? He'd never thought they'd have it at all. He never thought he'd have this evening.’

Welcome to human life, Edward:
‘The whole evening had just happened, it had evolved like some living, dynamic thing, like the universe had plans it hadn't told him about and was taking him in directions he could never have anticipated.’

Nicely said: ‘His eyes darted between hers, searching for clues and coming up empty.’

Oh, I forgot that she ran across incubus stories when doing her initial internet research!
"Gruesome stories with deadly results" indeed.

Clever twist on how they came to learn of Joham, looking for information on vampire abilities and gifts, specifically Edward’s unprecedented losses.

Poor guy, he’s really without a clue for this critical conversation:
‘…it was a thoughtful face, not a frightened one, he decided. That was a good sign.’

‘"I'm on the pill," she whispered to the light fitting above them. "Would that be enough?"
Whatever he'd thought she might say, it wasn't that.’

Some definite maturity on his part, re whether Bella had gone on the pill for another partner:
‘Edward felt his dead heart turn to ash. … It was none of his business, he knew that. And whatever had happened before didn't matter, she was with him now.’

Loved this observation about her lullaby:
"But perhaps without the sadness at the end. … Like the light would eventually return to dark."

So important that she knows this, about not being ready for sex tonight:
"It's not that I don't want to. I do."

A wonderful job giving us a window into what he thought about all night while Bella slept, after this momentous evening.

Interesting: ‘He wondered what he'd seen when he looked at her back then. It couldn't have been what he saw now - her strength, her courage, her confidence.’

Wow – startling:
‘What sort of asshole had he been?
A lucky one, as it turned out, because she still wanted him, despite everything he'd done. And not done.
In some ways he hoped he would never regain his memory.’

Going through this a second time, it was charming that these plans eventually didn’t matter:
‘Not here in her small apartment with cracks in the ceiling. He needed to plan. He would make it special. And he would make sure it was somewhere warm.’

Smile: ‘And he wanted to take his time, not rush like the adolescent he was.’

Hmm, a shout-out to another author? ‘She was in a blue bathrobe…’ (Actually I’ve never read “Tropic of Virgo”)

Aww: ‘With her mussed up hair and sleepy smile she was beyond adorable.’

Wow he sure overreacted to her uncertainty over where he’d gone when she woke up – I’m glad to see he’s still sensitive to the fallout of his earlier desertion.

Nice: ‘Her trust meant as much to him as her love.’

"What are you doing?" she breathed.
"I'm letting nature take its course."

Delightful foreplay: ‘He rolled her on top of him and she kissed over his chest and his hips moved subtly, rolling gently beneath her, in time with his fingers down her spine. He was caught in the delicate rhythm they'd created, their hips, her kisses, his slow, so exquisite.’

Another excellent description: ‘His body shivered with equal parts desire and restraint…’

I don’t often quote back descriptions of sex scenes but this was just sooo good:
‘He was the string to Bella's bow and as she played him his body sang. His love was in every move, every thrust, taking the love she gave to him and giving it back, giving more, wanting more...and more...and more...and more...until Bella cried out and then he could bear no more...his world exploded and his body broke and his heart was consumed.’

Terrific: ‘He wanted to tell her what he felt, but he couldn't, there were no words, in any language.’

‘He wanted to ask if she was alright, but right now, in this moment, as he tilted her chin and saw the joy in her eyes he knew the question was unnecessary.’

Yummm: ‘Then he kissed her very slowly for a very long time.’

Bakergrama chapter 20 . 11/12/2016
Absolutely love this story...this is one I will and have read over and over...thank you!
Renee Aubin chapter 11 . 11/7/2016
This moment is amazing – wondering why she panicked when someone knocked on her door at the same time Edward got a phone call.
‘"Bella, what happened before?" he asks softly.
He comes towards me, crouching down by the sofa, meeting me at eye level. He hesitates then rests his hands gently on my knees.’
So sweet.

Good for her for being honest:
"Times when Alice would call and you'd just tell me it was nothing to worry about and then you'd suddenly change our plans. And I never knew why, but I just knew it was bad."
That was sooo frustrating in canon. And annoying.

‘"But I would have made you more vulnerable by keeping the truth from you," he whispers and gently kisses my palm.’
Definitely a eureka moment. Also have I mentioned how much I love soft-spoken, whispery Edward?

Nice exchange setting both of their anxieties to rest, about both Jacob and Kate.

Thank goodness:
‘There was a time when being changed was all I wanted, I thought it was the answer to everything - but … I realise that for now this is all I need.’
The stridency of her demands to be changed in canon was as annoying as Edward always knowing best.

‘The whole scenario reminds me of Port Angeles and that night in the Bella Italia restaurant.’
That was such a lovely evening (well, after the whole nearly-gang-raped interlude). It’s a shame he’s lost that.

‘"You could win gold medals for brooding, Edward."
My words are a risk but the risk pays off. After a momentary look of surprise Edward throws back his head and laughs. And it's beautiful.’

What an interesting speech about how losing his gift has changed his interactions with humans.

"…my instincts tell me this, you and me, is right." …
"So, do you think your instincts didn't tell you that before? About me? Us?"
He frowns. "I think I probably didn't know how to listen."

Oh, damn, he doesn’t remember her lullaby! And apparently in this timeline she has never found the hidden CD, so she can’t even play it for him.

Wow, what an intense (and exhausting) conversation:
‘On Sunday in the clearing, when the world was falling down around both of us, I told him everything [about their history] ... but I kept to the facts, I hadn't gone into any depth of detail.
Edward wants that detail now. Not just the facts, but how I felt, what I thought, what led me to make this decision or that one.’

I’m glad he figured out what a pain he’d been about going to “prom”. It’s good how she’s honest with him but kind. Actually I was sorry they left this moment out of the movie:
"And you thought being changed was a black-tie occasion?"

Throughout this conversation he’s really seeing how controlling he had been, how dismissive of her thoughts and feelings.

Excellent, her reaction when she understands he has changed his mind about his soul:
‘"But all that angst…and the …the angst…and the drama…we could have avoided…are you…? Seriously? Are you…when? How?" In my shock the words almost sound like accusations and Edward's eyes widen as he blinks at me.’

‘Edward's eyes flash. "I would never treat you like an idiot!" The hiss and anger in his voice pulls me up. …he glares at me across the table.’

Re the Volvo theft:
"The anger I felt was frightening, but the humiliation was crippling. I didn't handle it very well."
He had barely begun to adjust to the loss of his gift, and what a slap in the face.

God bless Esme for the way she handled Edward’s meltdown. I don’t often appreciate her character, but this was perfect. And if Esme wasn’t a monster, maybe he wasn’t either. A clever way to get him to that conclusion after all these years.

Charming, after Bella’s impulsive leap into his lap following the “soul” conversation:
"Um, I'm not usually one for such outrageous public displays," I mumble.
Edward's eyes twinkle. "Pity," he says. "I rather liked your outrageous public display."

"It seems I wasn't a very good boyfriend to you when we were back in Forks."
The simplicity of his statement hits me. I'm about to disagree with him but I also realise there is some truth in what he has just said.
"… And I wasn't exactly perfect. I wasn't very good at listening, either."
That’s for damned sure.

Cute: “swell”

Great idea – when he says he regrets not being the one to tell her the truth about himself,
"Tell me now," I say quickly. "Tell me what you were going to say."
And didn’t that lead to some lovely moments!

Thank you for this image: ‘…he is wearing just his jeans and a plain white t-shirt. His hair is more tousled, no doubt from dragging his sweater over it, and he looks so beautiful in the soft light...’

Wonderful: ‘Edward has come into my bed before, but never [quite?] like this. There is something different - a quiet surrender, his own silent acceptance of his feelings; there is no guilt here, no doubts, no fear.’
Umm, also no Charlie in the next room.

Very well done conversation about her single bed in Forks, leading to
"Bella, were we intimate?"
I may have gasped out loud.

I’m glad he confirms this: "If your scent affected me as you've described, then yes, it would have been very dangerous."
And yet he realizes
‘"So I would have been prepared to let you live your life without sex." … I hear him mutter something under his breath. It sounds like selfish bastard.’

Well said: "It feels like we've gone from zero to sixty when we should just be getting out of first gear."
And yet we get this momentous announcement:
‘"I want to be with you," he whispers.’
Happy dance! Talk about whiplash – after all this remarkable progress, we skid to a halt due to birth control. Well thank the goddess for that too. I’ll be curious to see just how he found this out!
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