Reviews for The Relative Intimacy of Kisses
HB's Favourite chapter 1 . 2/22
I think this is a complex piece and could be interpreted in a number of ways, which is unusual in fanfiction as the writer often has a clear agenda (this is NOT a criticism of you - quite the opposite). On the one hand you have the poignancy of Constance being forced back to her youth and the fears she has never quite fully outgrown. Then you have the version of her who is seemingly afraid to be touched but quickly relishes the act. She is appalled but powerless.

But how much of that "powerlessness" is down an inability to refuse the controlling Broomhead, and how much, if any, is a latent or unexpressed desire for her?

Broomhead refers to Constance as once having been "...eager". I wonder if perhaps, as an impressionable young woman, Constance succumbed naively to the older woman's advances and only distance and maturity have shown her how depraved they were. If that were the case, I would go so far as to say that Broomhead ruined Constance for anyone else, which goes some way to explaining her asceticism. When Constance later kisses her, is it genuine affection or a seeking of approval? From my reading of Broomhead's character, I wouldn't put it past her to have drummed it into Constance that she was unlovable - with Broomhead appointing herself as "the best you'll ever get".

Then you have the conflicting versions of Broomhead: the one who refuses to use first names "except in exceptional circumstances", which in the context undermines Constance as an exception. Yet, later, the self-sadistic restraint of her passion betrays that - Constance is her world, her obsession and has been for decades. I wonder what motivates her, really. She doesn't seem to want genuine love. She seems to fit the psychological profile of a psychopath...

Self control is essential to both of them - Broomhead because she won't yield in the face of Constance's undeserved affection, and Constance because being told she doesn't have it insults everything she stands for. But then Broomhead is the one "...who knew her every flaw, every fault, every weakness", and she knows how to press her buttons.

(So, as we often wonder with the literary greats whose works we so willingly dissect, was it your intention to write something the rest of us would relish analysing?!)

Really great and thought provoking bit of work. I remember feeling a bit disturbed by it the first time I read it - but that hasn't stopped me being drawn to it time and time again. I feel you've been sorely short-changed on review front; but in my experience the best works are often the least appreciated.

PLEASE write more.
lets get xiggy with it chapter 1 . 7/27/2014
Wow I can't believe this doesn't have more reviews! The emotions within this were incredibly well written and the story could almost be canon! An incredible piece my dear :-)
Halewyn's Lady chapter 1 . 10/24/2013
Wow
I don’t know how to react to this. It is gruesome. It is gripping, well-written, heart ripping abuse of the worst kind. In a way this is exactly the story I wanted to read.
I wouldn’t call it love, but I understand the choice of the word. I am very grateful for Amelia being there, protective, motherly and wise to help Miss Hardbroom deal with this.
What fun to get a playlist with a story.
typicalRAinbow chapter 1 . 10/23/2013
I was a bit cautious of reading this at first giving your description and glad I read the first bit of your authors note/review first. Very well written piece.
BelovedAnaktoria chapter 1 . 10/22/2013
If FF lets me post this, I shall be very amused. I shall also treat it as the chance to write Author Notes, which I like to do, but have always disliked putting them at the end of the story. You scroll down, thinking there's plenty of story left to enjoy and then - erk. The story has come to an unexpected halt and the rest is chatter. I tend to feel let down, so I don't like doing them to my readers.
Let's talk story structure. I don't plan short stories like this one - they usually just come as they are - but sometimes they do some rather clever things all on their own, which this one has. Most love stories start with one person thinking of the other, then a lead into a first kiss, then (perhaps) sex, and then a resolution of relationship status as being together. This one reverses that entirely, but still keeps a sense of tension. We lead from sex, to the tension of a kiss, to the meditation of a kiss and thinking of the other, and then resolution of the relationship status as permanently broken. I was rather impressed when I saw how it was coming out.
Why is there a need for tension in romance writing? Tension is a requirement because what we seek, in writing and in life, is intimacy, and intimacy is utter risk. You are revealing yourself entirely to the person who matters to you most, and the prospect of rejection is unutterably painful. In this story, the tension builds when Constance reaches out to Hecate. Prior to that, there was sex without intimacy, and an abuse of power supplied the erotic tension. It was a situation that suited Hecate, because she ran no risk of rejection. She knew exactly how to manipulate Constance and got everything she wanted from that manipulation. But by kissing Hecate, Constance demanded intimacy, not just sex. And by responding as she did, Hecate showed both herself and Constance that she wanted it too.
Of course, in her meditations, Hecate suddenly realised that the erstwhile eroticism wouldn't be enough for her anymore. What she truly wanted was to have that next step of emotional intimacy expressed by the shared kiss. But she immediately rejected that because it would make her vulnerable, and this is a woman who clearly created herself to be invulnerable (to everything except time, of course!). The moment she rejected that opportunity to change, the relationship between them died. It's not possible to go back from a step like that.
Amelia, not knowing Hecate's mind, still recognised from Constance's tale roughly what had occurred. Amelia is a very wise woman. The kiss was a watershed moment, and Hecate was clearly not ready to go with it. But the kiss, and the fact that the kiss was returned, told Amelia it was love, and she was right to tell that to Constance. Love, even in a form which shall not grow, needs to be respected and mourned. Constance, given that permission by a friend she trusts, and with whom she has true intimacy, can begin to let go of a relationship that held her in stasis.
If you get fascinated by the concept of intimacy in literature, the touchstone will always be "Howard's End" by E. . "Only connect..."
Lastly, I don't normally do songfic-ky things, but before I started this, I went through my iTunes and put together a playlist that I thought was very Broomhead and Hardbroom. Velvet Underground's "I'll Be Your Mirror" got a spin, as did the Eagles "Witchy Woman" and Cream's "Strange Brew", but there were three that I seemed to press repeat on the iPod a lot. "Caramel" by Susanne Vega doesn't seem at first to be a fit, but the slinky bass line is brilliant when trying to write erotica and lines like "I know your name, I know your skin, I know the way these things begin.." are pretty evocative. The Divinyls "Pleasure and Pain" is an Australian classic, and the perfect agony of Chrissie Amphlett's voice as she sings "Sooner or later I'll find my place; Find my body, better fix my face; Please don't ask me how I've been getting off..." is just great when you're trying to create an experience of a bad but addictive sexual relationship. Finally Barton Hollow's "Poison and Wine" got a marathon go - about six times in a row at one point. Acoustic, spare arrangement, lovely harmonies that soar almost sorrowfully, and the absolute perfect lines for this fic. "I don't love you, I always will..." "Your mouth is poison, your mouth is wine; You think your dreams are the same as mine..."
Actually, I'm going to go listen to that one right now :) Cheers!