Reviews for Shelter
Renee Aubin chapter 11 . 2/23
Fun playfulness as Edward hangs around to help Bella close up the coffee shop.

Bella is thrilled Edward can’t read her mind: ‘There's no way I want to share all the embarrassing things I think about him. What would he think if he knew how desperately lost I am in his presence?’

So sweet: he guesses what she’s thinking but ‘He can't possibly get it right, because each time I ask him to tell me what I'm thinking, my heart is screaming I love you.’

A charming variation on “the pot calling the kettle black”.

So funny: Spencer “has an unhealthy fascination with me." Bella’s all over that!

Oops: ‘Since Alice is not only the pushiest but also has the best chance of helping us avoid any potential disasters, she and Jasper seemed like the obvious choice for our first house guests.
Esme will forgive me, eventually.’

Aww, so he’s fighting the same battle:
‘"Sweet girl, they will love you. How could they not?"
I love you.’

Nicely said:
"Oh, Bella, my family has had to put up with my unhappiness for nearly a century. You cannot imagine how 'worth it' they think you are."
But, oh yuck, she knows nothing about the Volturi yet.

What makes your lemon so special is that you really take your time with it. It grows so naturally out of their cautious explorations (an organic lemon!). I enjoyed how you wrote Edward’s very normal lust, too.

Thank you for reversing this sentiment: ‘Bella is looking at me like I'm something delicious she'd like to taste…’

An example of your yummy details: ‘When I'm in position, she runs her fingers up from my wrists, exploring the lines of my forearms, the bend of my elbows, and the muscles corded around my upper arms.’ Very cinematic.

When she wants more,
‘I curse myself for making her cry.
God, I wish I could just give her what she wants.’
To be fair, in canon we never got Edward’s view of this kind of interaction, but we sure didn’t see the combination of compassion and sheer courage that your Edward shows.

An interesting complication that in your story they’ve already shared mutual orgasms once, so it’s difficult to convince Bella they can’t have that again.

Now this line was pretty much the same in canon: “I can't risk hurting you—not for some selfish desire." It always bothered me that this focused only on HIS desire. Doesn’t hers matter? Not in SM’s universe.

Good for him: ‘This isn't my Bella. My Bella is a fighter—she doesn't give up. I hate what this is doing to her.’
And so he actually thinks about alternatives, rather than just slamming the Victorian gate closed.
‘An image flashes in my mind: Bella wild with passion, my hands exploring places I've never dared. …the thought sinks its teeth in, latches onto me, and my imagination takes the fantasy to its natural conclusion. In my mind's eye, Bella looks completely satisfied, and I haven't lost control, haven't put her in danger. If I could pull it off, it would be amazing.’

Aww: ‘“…maybe I could try something else." I have no idea what I'm doing. I just know I can't keep looking at the disappointment on her face.’

Good one: ‘I can't even call it playing with fire—what I'm considering is like surfing a volcano.’

I like that he allows her to explore his body (north of his jeans, at least), and not in a grim or fearful way. I enjoyed his response when she does something he likes: ‘I'm sitting up in a flash, removing the offending t-shirt and flinging it aside carelessly. … I smile as I lie down, pulling Bella across my bare chest…’ There wasn’t a lot of smiling Edward in canon.

Lovely: ‘Soon, my fingers are teasing the skin under her shirt, and Bella stops her ministrations on my mouth to focus on the sensation. She rests her forehead against my shoulder as my fingers saunter up her spine, dance across her shoulder blades…’

The rest of it, from Edward musing that he’s a breast man, through announcing to Bella that he’d like to try something, through the end, is all sensational. Some favorite bits:

‘"May I?"
Her mouth is open, but she can't seem to form any words. Instead, she nods her head slowly, looking like someone who's inexplicably found themselves inside the lion's den.’

‘I want to tell her I love her. I want to thank her for trusting me with her body and her heart. I try to tell her all of that with my kiss as I draw her down to the bed.’

‘"Don't you dare think of stopping," comes her husky reply, and I almost chuckle at her eagerness. But I'm not that stupid.’

‘Before I can reconsider, her panties are gone, and Bella is naked.
On my bed. Waiting. For me.
Oh, God.

‘My God, the heat coming off her is blistering. I'm almost certain my fingers will have burn marks on them if I'm ever stupid enough to pull my hand away.’

‘With my free hand I part her outer folds. The sight that greets me ignites a fire in my belly that scorches a path through every limb, until I'm nothing but ash.’

‘Her arousal is like a flaming dessert at a five-start restaurant—dangerous and seductive. She tastes sweet and spicy, like I'd imagined…
It's not just the best thing I've ever tasted. I am certain—without a doubt—it is the best thing anyone has ever tasted.’

And thank goodness your Edward takes care of his own arousal after Bella falls asleep.

Lovely finish: "I love you, Bella," I whisper to my darling girl. "I love you more than you will ever know. I promise you'll hear me say it when you wake."
Renee Aubin chapter 10 . 2/18
Hmm, so no action in the dark theater, but only because Edward is fighting such a powerful urge to do more than explore the first three bases. Afterwards, ‘I need Bella's reassuring touch to remind myself that I am not, in fact, a debased, licentious degenerate.’ Poor guy.

I really like their conversation as they walk by the river, cleaning up the debris that litters their short time together.

"I'm sorry you were upset by my following you."
"That's not the same as being sorry for following me."
"No, it's not."

Bravo Bella, taking the risk to say this: "Who could possibly resist a beautiful mystery like you?"

And finally, he’s perfectly direct: ‘"Do you forgive me, Bella? For your window, for following you, for . . . losing control. Please say you do." I can't have this between us.’

Love her answer: "Will you promise to stop trying to run away from me?" Which, amusingly, seems like a non sequitur to him.
And better yet: “Stop trying to decide what's best for me. I know what I want. Do you?" Halleluia!

Lovely phrase: ‘…the woman who has forgiven me, the woman who wants me—flawed as I am.’

Aww: ‘I picture her under these trees in the sunlight, and it's the most beautiful thing I can imagine. It pains me to think it's something I won't ever get to see.’ I never thought about this consequence of his limitation.

Nicely said, Edward musing about his life a year ago: ‘…I struggle to understand how he ever resembled the person I am in this moment.’ A striking change for him.

Excellent imagining of how E&B missed being in Forks at the same time. And his reaction: ‘She would have been there—in Forks—with me. Three years. I could have had three more years with her.’

Wow this Edward is remarkably revealing of himself: "It scares me to think how much chance had to do with bringing us together. …What if we'd never met?" I feel my voice rising in panic, and my stomach tightens sickeningly. "I don't think you understand what my life was like before you came into it—how empty it was."

What a lovely little moment: ‘She continues stroking my hair, sending calming waves throughout my frame. I could sit here forever, if she would let me.’

Terrific synthesis of how this relationship works for Bella. Reminds me of M. Rosenberg’s speech at the end of Eclipse, only this time thankfully it IS all about Edward:
"But when I met you, I had this feeling of finally being right in the world. I mean, yes, there have been some shocks, but even with everything we're both trying to adjust to"—she gazes down at me, a wry smile playing on her lips—"I still feel more at home with you, here in my lap, than I ever have—anywhere.”

I didn’t know whether to smile or groan when he backs away from saying the L-word! But yes, sigh, it’s just not like Edward to act impulsively.

Good for him: "Since you clearly don't understand, let me enlighten you about exactly what I see in you."

‘I wasn't planning on spilling my guts that way—telling him he felt like "home", basically saying I believe meeting him was fate.
What a crazy fucking thing to say on a first date.
But for some reason, this doesn't feel like a first date. This feels like finally being right after a lifetime of being wrong. This feels like everything I never knew I wanted.’

Good for her:
‘Edward's silence is unnerving, and I frantically scan our last conversation for clues.
Then it hits me. Edward is quiet. And pensive. Of course.
"What is it?" I ask. …
"I'm sorry?"
"You should just come out with it, now—whatever you're not saying that has you all twisted up in knots. You know you're going to tell me eventually.”’

Touching, when she sees his apartment: ‘All the times he tried to tell me what his life was like before, how lonely he was. I see it here, in this sterile space—this room that could never be called a home. I see someone who doesn't care. Someone who has given up.’

Very good: ‘The juxtaposition of these two men—the one who created this space and the one in front of me—tell me it's true. He's different. I've changed him.’

I really appreciate this: ‘"Can you explain what you were thinking before you initiated that pleasant little surprise?" He's trying so hard to make me feel better about basically attacking him…’
Canon Edward so rarely seemed to think about how his words or actions affected Bella’s feelings.

Clever: ‘Edward just trashed his place for me.’ It’s charming to see him act so spontaneously!
Renee Aubin chapter 9 . 2/9
Funny moments with Alice coming unglued with happiness over E&B’s progress. It’s not that much of a stretch to imagine canon Alice getting too excited to be tolerable.

Nicely done:
‘“Bella's meant for you, Edward. I can see it—she's your future."
Then my future walks into the room, and I can't see anything but her.’

Boy, he sure could have introduced this problem more gently: "I'm sorry, Bella. I know it can feel like an intrusion at times, but there isn't much privacy in my family. …It's something you'll have to get used to."

And then he makes it worse by trying to backpedal, saying “we can just focus on taking things one day at a time." If the timing had been better they could have talked it out, but Angela and Spencer are waiting.

A nice idea that Edward learns a lot by overhearing Bella and Angela’s conversation on the way to the movie. ‘But as I listen to the pair locked together intimately, I realize they sound nothing like their peers. This conversation isn't sharp and brassy; this conversation is a strange, delicate, half-formed thing, like wisps of colorful tissue paper floating through the air.’

Aww: ‘I couldn't believe it, couldn't fathom I would mean so much to her.’

Very girlfriend-y – Angela knows E&B haven’t had sex yet because “anyone who blushes around a guy that much obviously hasn't seen his bits and pieces." I like seeing Bella in this relationship – canon Bella was so tenuously connected to her peers. Aside from Charlie she was almost adrift except for Jacob and the Cullens.

Hopefully Edward will learn something important from overhearing this part: "But then he says something that makes me think he's doesn't feel the same way, that I'm not as important to him. He keeps trying to pull away, and it hurts so much." Like “one day at a time”, for instance?

‘I can't even process all that I've heard. It'll take me days to unpack the feelings she voiced, and I wish with everything in me that she felt she could express them to me.’ Sounds like he needs someone to talk about it with, too.

A sweet follow-up to Bella and Angela’s conversation about how Edward “blew the doors off the plane” she’d been stuck on, allowing the stale air to escape.
‘Bella smiles as she crosses to me, placing a small kiss on my lips and beaming up at me.
"What was that for?" I ask.
"Just enjoying the fresh air."’

Very vampire: ‘Then he pulls me in and bends down, brushing his nose along my neck while inhaling deep and long—like I'm the only air he wants to breathe—and I know he feels it too.’

Fun conversation about both of Edward’s mothers and their feminist credentials. "The terms 'gentleman' and 'feminist' are not mutually exclusive, love." If only more (male) people understood that!

I enjoy your Bella’s curiosity about Edward’s lifetime. ‘My focus on the outside world fades as I think about everything Edward's revealed in the past minute. I picked at one little snag in the fabric of his history, and instead of a single strand, he revealed a million linked threads, all begging to be loosed.’ I always thought, for as smart as she was supposed to be, canon Bella was appallingly incurious about everything the Cullens had seen in their long lifetimes.

Smile: ‘It's amazing how his touch affects me, like a snake charmer drawing a tightly-coiled serpent up into a languorously swaying dance. I feel like rubbing myself against him and purring.’

Looking forward to the next chapter. There promises to be some yummy interaction in this dark theater. With Bella wearing a skirt. Hmm.
Renee Aubin chapter 8 . 2/3
I have to say good for her: ‘I want to punish him, make him feel this rage coursing through my veins. I want him to understand the pain of learning he was always within reach—even in those moments I vowed to stop looking, even as hope drained out of me…’
But then ‘While my ire dissipates—swirling into the air like harmless fumes…’ A bad precedent?

I have to admit I was confused for a while by Bella’s thoughts, in the middle of starting “break-up sex” in the kitchen, returning to “the last time this happened”. Her musings end with ‘Edward's face as his hand closed around the handle of my door, the silent goodbye in his eyes that threatened to break my heart.’ I had to reread the last chapter a couple times to realize she’s reacting to the fear of believing he was going to leave earlier, even though in the event he didn’t go. It made sense, though, that she’d want to avoid doing anything to trigger that kind of drama again.

Nice job with the Icarus analogy, btw, especially ‘And when I burst at last, melting from my draw to the blazing sun, it took me a moment to realize my wings were mangled and my body was smashing to the ground.’ She is very clear how much power he has over her.

This does get nervewracking: ‘I shift, trying to pull away, trying to give voice to these fears, but his grip only grows tighter, his kiss more insistent. … I feel fear creep up my spine and skitter into the spidery network of my nerves. He could do anything to me, and I would be powerless.’
Oh, good tactic, just going still. That both gets his attention AND doesn’t do anything to throw gas on the fire, as escalating her struggle might well do.

Good girl: “Don't you dare think of leaving."

I think it’s a huge improvement on canon that Bella actually tries to help with his struggle not to hurt her. ‘But it's not just his job to keep me safe.’ That’s right. It drove me crazy that SM thought Bella endlessly repeating “you won’t hurt me” was in any way helpful or romantic or responsible.

Well imagined and well said: ‘I see the doubt in his eyes, the desire to escape—to protect me—and I wonder if we're destined to play this scene out over and over again. Will he always have one eye on the exit?’

"I've never done this before."
This I understand. Doubt. Fear of inadequacy. I feel the connection of that trepidation, and I hope it's enough to pull him to me again.
"Me neither. Can't we learn together?"

Wonderful that she sees it this way: "I know I'm making this hard for you because I'm human. If I were like the others, if I weren't so fragile—"

Terrific that this opens the way to his confession “There are no others. I've never done this before—with anyone." I loved her stunned non-response as she struggles to understand and believe what he’s telling her. Very well done.

I smiled that after they retreat to her bedroom, ‘I need something to distract myself from his touch or we'll be right back were we started—me a hot, steamy mess and him heading for the door.’

I smiled even more at
‘"I don't . . . sleep."
I really need to start preparing myself for these little revelations.’
Good luck with that.

And when she starts babbling about what she could accomplish with all that non-sleeping time,
"I may not sleep, but you obviously need to."
He's laughing at me behind that smooth voice…’

Very good: ‘There are some things that shouldn't be asked of a virginal vegetarian vampire. To be here in Bella Swan's room as she sleeps is chief among them.’

Your description of breakfast the next morning with Angela and Spencer was certainly amusing. Easy to imagine anyone from the cast of Friends in that scenario, but it’s a new one for Edward! Could have done without the second flashback in the same chapter, though.

Fun conversation when Bella wakes up. Good line: ‘"I'm not sure I could take any more of your dreams, love," he chuckles.’ And then his revelation that she not only talks in her sleep, but also “wiggles”.

Oh my, canon Edward would never have flirted like this: "Most of what you said was indecipherable, but I did catch two distinct words: 'Edward' and 'hands.' …Do you mind telling me what it is my hands were doing?" Yummy.

Yup, entirely believable: ‘I thought I could be strong. I thought I would have the power to tell him, "No, we need to think about what we're doing," but my resolve is a useless thing against his touch. I just want more.’

When Angela wants to compare notes in the morning, Bella opens the door ‘and look behind me to find Edward looking like sex and ice cream sitting on the windowsill. He grins widely, no embarrassment marring the perfect ease of his expression.’ I can’t decide whether I like “sex and ice cream” or “the perfect ease of his expression” better!

Fun summary: ‘I mean, he's a vampire with a serious martyr complex, and he thinks I'd be a super-tasty snack. He doesn't eat food, and he doesn't sleep—ever! He has a psychic sister, and I can't seem to keep my freaking hands off of him even though physical contact poses a serious threat to my future ability to be alive. And now the fact that he can't go out into the sun complicates things?
I'm such a dope.’
Renee Aubin chapter 7 . 1/26
I loved how Bella makes tea to soothe her nerves because ‘There's a vampire in my apartment.’ We never got a moment like this in canon because Bella was too young to have her own place.

Vivid description of Edward coping with the concentrated scent in Bella’s apartment, in part by stopping dead at the threshhold. Sniffle: ‘whispers of suffering haunt his eyes.’

Poignant, after Edward offers to go if he’s scared her: ‘I wish he'd stop trying to leave me.’

Good one: ‘He's so out of place here—a shiny new Porsche parked in a broken-down used car lot.’

A particularly good formulation of this thought: "I just don't know how to read you. I tell you I only drink blood, and you smile—it's completely ridiculous. You never react how I think you will."

Well-imagined conversation about her scent.

Very good: ‘I know he's talking about my blood. I know I should be horrified—scared beyond thinking—but the desire in his voice is intoxicating. It may be desire for my blood he's describing, but my body doesn't care.’

When she asks how she’s still alive, he answers:
"I remembered who I was. Who I want to be." Carlisle would be so proud.

Throughout their conversation she thinks ‘Don't let this be a joke.’ Makes perfect sense that she’s thinking ‘How can anyone so beautiful, so god-like, say these things about me? ‘

Great insight into Bella: ‘Stop! Please, stop, I silently plead. Don't say anything else. You could break me so easily.’

He says this about what he saw through her window: “In all of my many years on earth, it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen."
And then you give us a whole paragraph of the most wonderful description of her reaction:
‘My mind is a wasteland, an empty barren desert. A blinding mushroom cloud has wiped the space clean—thoughts, feelings, basic functions . . . all razed and turned to ash from nuclear fallout. The shell of me, the Bella-shaped thing sitting here, taking up space, leans in slowly to the angel in front of it. It doesn't think, it just moves. It presses lips to exquisite lips, and all is right with the world.’

Edward admits that ‘I have time enough to stop it, time enough to be out the door and down the street before she knows I'm gone.’ Better yet, he's honest with himself that he wants to let her kiss him.

More favorite lines:

‘It's a Herculean task, increasing the space between us by millimeters…’

[after the kiss] ‘Like the slow arc of a sunflower turning toward the light, her eyes open, lost and faraway.’

‘I want to find the person responsible for tearing this girl down—for teaching her this blasphemy—and I want to rip out their spine.’

‘This time, I let my desire flow from me, sharing the flame she has ignited, stoking it with long-dormant passions of my own.’

It’s riveting to hear the flow and buildup of Edward’s thoughts before he suddenly, mercifully manages:
I fly across the room, crashing into plaster, white dust floating around me.’
Entirely believable: ‘There are no words for the horror I feel.’

Terrific, his response to Bella’s “tell me what I did wrong”:
‘I am tumbling down a rabbit-hole of despair because these words—these words—are base profanity, a black, stinking lie; and they cannot go uncorrected. Just like that, I'm turning, my resolve as fragile as a butterfly's gossamer wings. I should have known I wouldn't leave.’

Oh my gosh I didn’t expect this:
‘"I can't be trusted with you. You don't know what I almost did. How close I came—" Her hand reaches out to stroke my cheek—maiden comforting the dragon—and I break.
I bury my face in her lap and sob…’
But it makes perfect sense.

‘We make our way into the kitchen, fingers still entwined. That simple act, that casual intimacy, fills me with more hope than I've felt in a hundred years. I feel like I could burst into a thousand points of shimmering light.’
I’ve never thought of that – this story, these many stories, illuminate so many simple moments between two people, because these two people are so extraordinary.

Smart of Bella to realize this: ‘There's no way it can possibly end well. He will destroy me—one way or another.’

Fun conversation about the Cullens, with the extra insight of the thoughts Bella doesn’t speak aloud. Leading to the much more serious topic of how he acclimated himself to her over the next weeks.

"When did you follow me?" …
"All the time."

More crackling, insightful prose:
‘As I spin and face his chest, glaring up into startled eyes, I'm not looking at a fierce vampire, but staring down the boy who has dared wrong me. I am The Furies come to rip and shred and tear.’
Wonderful that her venomous speech reveals the truth that he needs to hear, that all week she has been looking frantically for HIM.

Terrific finish:
‘I think of resisting him.
Oh, who am I kidding? I don't even spare it a thought.’

Of course you’re not the first one to reimagine moments like the ones in this chapter, but what a satisfying combination of a heartfelt, fresh imagining of what these moments would be like for these characters, combined with a gift for words and images!
Renee Aubin chapter 6 . 1/16
I love it: ‘I didn't know it was possible for his backside to approach the majesty of his front, but there it is, in all its denim-clad glory. I giggle stupidly. I feel drunk; the scrutiny of his gaze has turned my brain to mush.’

And now that he’s walked away, she becomes clear that she had a lot of questions that never even got raised. Smile: ‘I'm going to have to find a way to get over his looks if I ever expect to get any answers from him, 'cause I could seriously spend hours drooling stupidly as I stare at his face.’

‘"You came back."
I can't hide the surprise from my voice. A glimmer of hurt flashes in his eyes…’
Huh – he wouldn’t have felt hurt if he hadn’t been hoping for a different reaction…

Truly sweet that he brings a flower – as his mother trained him. Wonderful admission about the bag of assorted food: "I think I might have panicked."

A hopeful turn: ‘I choke back another laugh and smile at him. It's unexpected, this suddenly-casual banter, and I marvel at how natural it feels to be with him.’

Your Bella is so smart, to put it this way: "What can you tell me? I mean, I know there's something. You're different. Special."

A lovely moment: ‘I reach my hand out and place it carefully on his knee. It's hard and cold—I can feel that even through the fabric of his pants—and it scares me to think how different he is. But the fear is eclipsed by wonder, and as I smile encouragingly at him, I see a flicker of hope in his eyes.’

Nicely done echo of the canon moment when Edward allows his threatening side to show, and Bella realizes she doesn’t care, she can’t run away. Wow: ‘I would let him kill me, if he wanted. I could give up my life, if it would bring this beautiful creature joy.’

His reaction to her offer is perfect: "What? Are you insane? What's wrong with you?"

Well said: ‘He's trying to convince me he's bad, but everything … in me says he's the most right thing in the world.’

Clever Buffy reference: ‘He looks so fragile, like the slightest touch would turn his skin to crumbling ash—a cascading pile of dust.’

Terrific description of what it’s like to fade away at the shock of Edward’s admission, and slowly be called back out of the cloud.

I’m glad you address this: ‘He's kneeling in front of me on the grass, his hands on my shoulders. They feel solid and comforting, like being cradled in granite. How is it possible that feels good? But it does.’

Well done pivotal moment, when he decides he should walk away.
‘Something inside me snaps, and I jump up, grabbing his hand.
"No! You can't! Please, don't leave!"
He looks down at our entwined fingers, then up at my face. He opens his mouth to speak. Closes it. His face is beautiful, even as flashes of fear, confusion, and hope play across his brow.’
One of my favorite things is how active Bella is in this moment.

Excellent, Bella wondering how it could be that ‘My world has shifted’ but everything around her looks unchanged.
‘Is this real?
Is Edward real?
Am I?’

Loved her question, as she rolls the world “vampire” around in her head: "Are you sure?" Laughing out loud.

Beautiful phrase: ‘…he shines his gaze down on me and my heart soars.’

Pretty funny how useless Bella is at work the rest of the day. She’s absolutely right: ‘How can I be expected [to] function in even the most basic way after finding out what I have about Edward? I should be applauded just for standing and breathing at this point.’ Your imagining of the shock to Bella’s world was much better than canon.

A good Angela moment: ‘If she didn't suspect my behavior [since the first day Bella met Edward] was related to him before, she does now.’ But being Angela, she ‘just smiles thoughtfully at me.’
It must be nice to have at least a little of the truth out there. ‘Even with all that I can't say about him, I want to gush, I want to giggle with my friend.’

Snort: ‘…for some reason I'm more in the mood for Kate Beckinsale in black leather than Zooey Deschanel in a flowery fifties skirt.’ Can’t believe I’ve yet to watch any of the “Underworld” series!

Clever, after Edward’s offer to “accompany her home” in the dark. ‘I have a crazy vision of Edward dressed in Victorian finery, all ruffles and white gloves like some Jane Austen gentleman suitor…’ Pretty close!

Another good observation, among all the crazy aspects of this day: ‘the fact that I am incomprehensibly an object of interest to him…’

A shivery moment how he reacts when she touches him, ‘brushing my fingertips along his furrowed brow’. ‘I pull my hand away, burned by the chill in his eyes.’ I like that she takes charge of moving them past the awkward moment.

‘…the blood racing to my cheeks sings a twin song of desire and fear.’ That’s the spice of it, yeah?

Smile, as they walk down the street ‘I feel like a skittering raccoon next to a sleek panther…’

Yumm, after he scares her with his teasing: ‘How can he think of apologizing when all I want is to feel that cool breath on my neck again? I would accept terror a thousand times greater if only that luscious mouth would brush against my skin.’

In this chapter I’m really noticing your gift for painting cinematic images: ‘He shifts his weight and draws a hand through his unruly bronze hair, apparently—inconceivably—as unwilling as I to part ways.’

I’m grinning with anticipation over opening up the next chapter!
Renee Aubin chapter 5 . 1/11
You set up an interesting mystery in the last chapter about what Bella was up to in her morning walks. I wondered whether (a) she was doing it for exercise, (b) she was suddenly inspired to explore the town that she’s been in for a while, or ? Now it makes perfect sense that SHE was searching for someone too!

I like your take on Bella’s response to her brief encounters with Edward: ‘My secrets are all so linked—what I've been dreaming, what I do with my days, what I'm thinking about all the time—and there's no part of those secrets I can share without looking insane or like a complete stalker.’ And later: ‘…as miserable as it's made me, I don't have a choice in the matter. I have to find him. It's a magnetic pull, an undeniable imperative.’ Wouldn’t he be thrilled to know that?

Aww, the erosion of her relationship with Angela: ‘My heart thanks her for not giving up on me; I hope I can deserve this devotion again soon. Instead, I disappoint her once more.’ Wonderful: ‘Why am I wrecking the only friendship I have over some stupid, absent, beautiful, mystical, peeping-tom boy?’

No wonder she’s cranky when she sets out this morning: ‘…knowing I won't go looking for him again feels like closing a door. Like giving up.’

Ooh, how fun that she feels ‘a presence behind me’, and notices the complete lack of animal activity.

I enjoyed this: ‘I run into something hard—a brick wall where none had been a moment before…’ And then oh shoot, she passes out!

From EPOV: ‘I'm afraid to touch her, afraid not to touch her.’ Very believable.

At first I didn’t see why he was so rattled by other people noticing Bella passed out cold. Oh, yeah: ‘I can't control the situation if others get involved. There's little chance I'll be able to stay at her side if an ambulance is called. … I couldn't follow a path that would certainly lead me into the sun.’

Ouch: ‘I've never been so thankful for humanity's boundless apathy.’

Touching: ‘I just wanted to see her. I just wanted a glimpse.’

Well done description of what it’s like for Bella as she regains consciousness. I laughed out loud when ultimately she goes after him:
I stalk forward, wanting to swing out, wanting to pummel him.
"Where have you been?"
Probably the last thing he expected out of her mouth! And then, not surprisingly, she just loses it. ‘Wow. What a flipping nutbag I am.’

Aww: ‘…I dare a look into his eyes. He's so lost, like a little boy who only wants to hide behind his mother's skirt. His confusion—his vulnerability—gives me the courage to speak.’

And from Edward – whoa: ‘Her voice echoes in my head as her earnest brown eyes eviscerate me.’

Excellent: ‘I'm prepared for confusion. I'm prepared for disgust or anger. I'm certainly prepared for terror. I am absolutely not prepared for longing. I can't wrap my brain around it. Why do I read disappointment in her face, not fear?’

Terrific Edward voice: ‘“…I want you to know my intentions in seeking you out were . . . chaste." Murderous but chaste—how gallant I am.’

‘All of a sudden, Bella blanches, her face drained of color. Afraid she might lose consciousness again, I reach for her, my hands lightly circling her arms.’ It turns out to be because she’s never seen him smile before! I like that she’s in as deep as he is.

Nice switch: ‘Good lord, I'm going to get whiplash from the emotions this beautiful girl inspires in me.’

Wonderful image: ‘I look at the sharp blades of mid-morning light cutting through the trees…’

And she’s smart enough to realize – having seen what she did – that he needs to avoid the sun.

Very well done meeting! A lovely balance of realistic (according to SM’s vampire rules anyway), humorous, and emotional.
Renee Aubin chapter 4 . 1/9
I enjoyed Edward’s musings about the older woman who owns the garage that he’s lurking in – a human that he actually finds likable!

An interesting way to think about this: ‘I owe her an apology and whatever explanation I can afford, and that isn't a conversation for a public venue.’

Very 1918: ‘I long for the moment when this watching and waiting will be over, when I can finally approach her as I so desperately want—as a gentleman, as a suitor.’ And such a long way from his original plan to devour her.

I liked your take on the phone conversation with the family (via Alice) after Edward manages not to kill Bella. And when he thinks Alice isn’t sharing everything she has seen, ‘Not for the first time, I'm irritated that my power doesn't work through the phone.’ Smile. But without her advice he would certainly have made fatal errors.

Over the phone, he hears: ‘Carlisle's voice faintly prods, "Emmett, why don't you take Rosalie for a walk?"’ I have this image of putting a pit bull on a leash.

Well said, in his conversation with Carlisle: “There's something about her that makes me feel . . . warm . . . and whole. Rationally, I know I should stay away from her... But when I consider it, something inside me starts screaming. It's like I'm being ripped apart."

Interesting, the Denalis have “managed a physical relationship with their human lovers, but they've never revealed the secret of our nature.” Must be true, since they’ve kept it going for centuries. A good trick!

Good for Carlisle: "Then do what you must, son. You deserve an opportunity for the same happiness granted the rest of us." He certainly does!

Great description of Edward’s reaction to being inside her apartment: ‘I realize my horrible mistake. The world falls away, and I'm shuddering on the floor as acid burns a path from my tongue to my belly. Razor fingers scrape at my neck, willing the pain away. It's a torture worse than anything I've ever felt—save for those three horrifying days of my change.’

Particularly well said: ‘By degrees I pull my attention to the room, desperate for the smallest handhold, the barest crimp in the rock-face of my sanity.’

Whew, he manages to complete his mission and get out of there in one piece.
Renee Aubin chapter 3 . 1/3
Wonderful image: ‘My eyes follow the beautiful figure as he runs away, staring at the empty space left in his wake long after he rounds the corner, out of sight.’

I’m enjoying this, no longer 17 year old Bella: ‘…I still feel a strange energy crackling just under my skin, and I'm reminded of a cold, pale hand shooting sparks through my own.
… I have no patience for delicate lines [of Dickinson] right now. I want soft sheets against my bare skin; I want whispers of pleasure from the rosy mouth of a stranger.’

I loved her ruminations on his physical beauty. When I was growing up in the 60’s, it was generally thought that women didn’t respond to men’s visual beauty, beyond maybe safe things like eyes or smile. How wrong they were, thank goodness! Something to celebrate that this generation takes it for granted.

Ooh, well said: ‘The rest of him is boyish, but his eyes are those of a man much past his years, haunted and ripe with secrets.’

Bravo – so well described, the imagination that goes along with her pleasure! Hmm, how does she know about his sharp teeth? Good for her: ‘I'm beseeching him, yet I feel no shame in begging.’ Especially well said: ‘…all I know is the feeling of his wet mouth on me—his tongue mapping out places I never dreamed of being explored.’

Wonderful: ‘It feels like I've just taken the last breath of my childhood.’ And ‘A feeling of loss washes over me as I grieve years of wasted opportunity. What have I been missing?’ Smile.

And oh crap, she not only catches him balanced on her 3rd-floor windowsill, watching and listening to what she just did, but also a beam of sun lights up his skin! Busted in so many ways!

Then back to Edward’s POV, the beginning of their encounter on the street: ‘I think of the way I allowed the beast inside to take over—the ease with which I planned her demise and relished the thought of taking my time. Had Angela not intervened, my course was clear and it would have ended in blood.’ Shiver.

Quite an epiphany for him: ‘…I gasp in horror. With sudden clarity, I understand the thoughts I've plucked from the minds of others all these years—feelings that have, until now, eluded me—a feeling of hunger for another person that has nothing to do with blood. …It was all theoretical before, but now I've had a taste of it myself, and I'm terrified to discover I want more.’

Excellent use of the Robert Frost fragment. Fits better than in canon, IMO.

‘There is a name for my affliction.
For someone who has never felt it in 100 years, it must be staggering. Well, I’d say we’ve gotten past that sense of emptiness from the earliest chapters, eh?

Good description of his conflict:
‘I should leave—run back to my family, run away from her scent and her face and my burning need.
With a sick realization, I know I won't do it. I can't pull myself away from her, can't stand the thought of never seeing her again.’
It took him longer to get there in canon, didn’t it?

An interesting puzzle, illustrating how aloof he’d been from the people of Forks: ‘Chief Swan is a bachelor; he doesn't have a daughter, does he?’

Well done tightening of the trap: ‘…as though the universe is amusing itself by tempting my resolve…’ It certainly seems that way, despite his best intentions.

Excellent: ‘Her voice, her heartbeat, her breath—it's all wrong; she sounds panicked. I have to find her, make sure she's okay—the irony of that thought does not escape me.’

More than he could be expected to resist: ‘…I take in the earth-shattering beauty of Bella reaching her climax. My thoughts are an incoherent jumble. What did I just see? What does it mean?’

I enjoyed how Bella takes a while to talk herself down:
‘I can't barge into Black Ground and make a scene, grilling her about her old friend. A friend who climbed up to my window to peep at me, then jumped three stories down and disappeared. And, oh yeah, he sparkles.’ A nice variation on the canon mystery of the van accident: ‘But when I go over the story in my mind, there's no way I can say it out loud.’

It made me smile that Bella too is sure the universe is out to get her: ‘…the first time I explore a little . . . self-gratification . . . the object of my fantasy sees the whole thing! How does that happen?’

Very canon Angela: "Look, Bella, I don't like to talk about the Cullens because in high school people were so mean to them. Nobody really knew them, but that didn't stop the rumors." Good for her.

Meanwhile, fun insights into Edward’s thought process: ‘Did you think Bella was going to fall in love and make little vampire babies with you?
With that I stop, my body as still as a statue. What is this about "love"? How did I go from thoughts of hunger to lust to love in less than an hour?’

Fascinating, the sequence of messages from Alice. Probably a good thing he didn’t get them in real time.
And finally, startlingly, some hope!: “If you really want this, you need to proceed . . . delicately."
Renee Aubin chapter 2 . 1/2
Your Edward voice is flawless. Some favorite bits:

‘…I've been spoiled—first by Forks, then Denali—and I sorely miss the freedom afforded by isolation and cloudy skies.’

‘…I'm relieved to be out of my little cell.’ Interesting that he hasn’t chosen to go out after sundown – maybe in his mind that doesn’t “count”.

‘…if I just ignore everything I know to be true about myself, I can almost believe I belong in their world.’

‘I can't fault [Alice] for watching me; she can't turn her power off any easier than I.’ I’m glad he understands that – sometimes the family gets pretty snippy, as if Alice were choosing to have her visions.

‘"How's everyone?"
"The same." Funny. Vampire humor.’

Oh, and a little later you explain exactly why he hasn’t chosen to leave “his cell” at night:
‘I want to explore my new city without being confronted by intoxicated, hormone-fueled humans at every turn. … a painful reminder of what I will never have.’
Another shade of sad.

You also answer another simmering question, why exactly he has chosen to be away from the other Cullens: ‘…my whole family is worried about me. In many ways, their worry precipitated this break from them.’ That would get exhausting after a few decades!

Oh wow: ‘In spite of the family surrounding me, sometimes because of the family surrounding me, lonely is second nature at this point. But empty? That's something new. Being empty makes this charade pointless. Being empty makes this century on earth feel like enough, perhaps too much, already.
And sharing that would shatter my dear sister, which I'm not ready to do.’

Now I’m worried.

An interesting twist on canon, that Angela from Forks becomes Bella’s roommate in Boston. Also that it was Charlie who introduced them. This made me smile: ‘And now we go to school together and live together and work here, at Black Ground, together . . . and yeah, we should probably think about getting some other friends.’

Well done, the stream of thoughts rioting through Edward’s mind as he follows Bella. For instance: ‘Even obscured by coffee and rain, her smell—her essence—is so enticing that if fate had positioned us that much closer, I'm not sure she would have survived even a few seconds.’ Shiver.

I didn’t expect how helpless he is: ‘But all it takes is a gust of wind blowing her scent in my direction, and I'm hooked to the invisible tether again.’

Startling when his obsessive planning is interrupted by Angela recognizing him from Forks! Which forces him for at least a short time to stay close to Bella. ‘Can I just run away? I try to lift a foot but find myself rooted inexplicably to the ground.’

Good job: ‘…howling, Take her! Kill! Drink! But under that is another, more confusing voice—growing insistently louder—that wants something very different, something I'm too scared to think about. It's screaming at me to get out of here as it wrestles the monster into a cage—urging me to run.’

Geez, at least he does manage to run away – whatever the girls may end up thinking about him. Or this story would have been over quickly!
Renee Aubin chapter 1 . 12/21/2014
As I mentioned in my PM, Moirae, I found your story in the FicCentral list of AUs. I was immediately intrigued by the difference in your premise from canon. Can’t wait to see where you take this!

I enjoyed how Edward describes his Alaskan cabin, a mile from the main house:
‘…it isn't fit for habitation.
It's perfect.’

It’s surprising how reading this makes me just a bit sad: ‘After our most recent tour of duty in high school—Forks, this time—they're due some freedom, some relief from oppressive scrutiny.’ Because he’s been there but he never met Bella.

I laughed out loud at Tanya’s method of blocking her thoughts: “Nothing . . . nothing . . . nothing . . .”

But this must be so wearing on him: ‘For her my failure to read her thoughts means progress, intimacy. For me it means lack of diligence.’
And then she basically jumps him, although ‘Pride allows her to go no further.’ Ugh.

Your description of Tanya’s thoughts is intriguing for a couple of reasons:
‘You could have me. It would be so easy. You don't have to be alone.
And under that, quieter than the voice she is projecting, I don't have to be alone.’

First, “it would be so easy” echoes Jacob and his (sometimes) unwelcome advances. Second, I don’t recall anyone else referring to layers of thoughts, which makes sense even for a human mind, let alone a vampire – well thought out!

Well said, and very Edward: ‘Little does she know these few glimpses of honesty, of vulnerability, are more attractive to me than all of her carefully engineered seduction. I let myself be swept away by the pain in her eyes, their desperate emptiness a mirror to my own.’

Excellent description of how it all goes wrong with Edward’s “trying” to reciprocate. The fact that he even gives it a try conveys his desperate loneliness in a way we didn’t see in canon.

A good image: ‘For a while, I allow myself the luxury of a blank mind—I think nothing, feel nothing.’

And then we cut to Bella at a “blackout party”: ‘Why did I think this was a good idea?’

I definitely snickered at her evaluation of the hulking guy who blocks her into her chair: ‘He's defined, bulkier than necessary, and I wonder how much time he has to spend in the gym to get his neck to bulge into his shoulders like that.’ Not impressed, eh?

Interesting: ‘When I was young and I'd get stressed or really overwhelmed by something, sometimes I'd zone out for a little while—"take a leave of absence," Charlie would call it. … To the outside observer I looked like a creepy china doll—dead eyes and limp limbs. … Inside I was safe.’
Might not be the best strategy at this party, though!

Aww, on the bus:
‘A girl meets my glance in the reflection of the grimy window. Long brown hair, sad brown eyes.
She looks lonely.’

Geez, a bleak start for both of them!
mia chapter 13 . 12/3/2014
Poor Bella and Edward. I feel bad for both of them. I have to give it to you I didn't see that one coming. And i so want to review but I just can't stop reading.
mia chapter 10 . 12/3/2014
I've read lots of twilight fic and I think this is the most romantic thing Edward has ever done for Bella. Who knew trashing your place could be so romantic! So dar loving it.
Guest chapter 16 . 4/26/2014
Not gonna lie this is not the direction I thought this story would go in. I didn't see Bella reacting that way at all. Though it shouldn't bc they never discussed what she wanted. Still like it but I feel so bad for Edward.
BrennAstotle chapter 6 . 4/24/2014
No idea why this story doesn't have more reviews or how I'm just finding it. I Ike it a lot. I like how the characters are the same but everything is different. Can't wait to finish.
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