Thank goodness for the Indie awards, and gosh darned those Indie awards. In the validation process, I was exposed to some amazing fics that I had never heard of. Of course, I didn’t just stick to the list I had to read, I found myself immersed in the complete list of nominated fic. I lost a lot of hours, perusing those nominations, but out of it, some truly special words stood out.
One author who really caught my attention was AnaG. I actually waivered on which of her fics to rec because I was impressed by all three. She has a cadence that really resonated with me. She writes in short sentences, but the words are carefully chosen for maximum impact. She keeps a flow in the story that manages to grab attention and maintain it.
I hesitated to choose a fic that only had 5 chapters. Sometimes it takes a while to really get a feel for the direction. Other times, the author takes their fic in a direction you don’t expect, but she is updating regularly, and since I’ve looked at her other work, I have a good feeling about where this one is headed. It’s funny, sexy, and interesting.
The premise is that Edward and Bella have been best friends for years, though they have never dated each other. When the story begins, both of them are about to get married. Bella is actually throwing Edward his bachelor party, which ends up being an opportunity for two friends to finally come to terms with their feelings. A party for 2 if you will. On the couch. I have a thing for friends and couches, so I loved this scene.
It’s in the first chapter, so I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler that Edward and Bella give in to their long standing attraction. This scene is what captured me. They have an intense and passionate lovemaking, done very tastefully. My favorite line from that section occurred just as the physical connection was made: “I take him in just as my heart had - all at once, blurring the line between pleasure and pain.” It is that type of description that just floats my boat. Being a fan of metaphors and descriptive language, particularly in relationship to lemons, I found this initial scene very satisfying. It drew me in to the myriad of emotions this couple has been dealing with as they resisted their love for each other.
AnaG then offers the reader two options of endings. One essentially serves to make the fic a heartbreaking oneshot, while the other goes on to develop the story as both Edward and Bella have to deal with their respective fiancés and any fallout that may come if they choose to progress their relationship beyond the one night of passion. That storyline is only a few chapters in, so many details are still to come, but it’s ripe with potential emotional conflict for both of them. Imagine having to break up on your wedding day. Think of all the people who would be disappointed. I get the impression this Edward is quite a people pleaser, so I’m curious to see if he can even handle it.
At this point, the reader has only been introduced to four characters, and we’ve met only three in real time. Both Edward and Bella come across as believable and realistic though as expected, not entirely in character. Very engaging though. Bella is not a typical weak woman. She’s made choices based on convenience, though her motivation doesn’t seem to be steeped entirely in insecurity, but also in altruism. A line like this one: “I'm trying to convince the man I love into marrying another woman. There's only so much of it I can take” tells me she has humor and perception on her side. When she goes forward to handle her feelings with her fiancé, she does so head on but also with compassion.
Edward is . . . well . . . Edward, which is always a good thing. What I love is that he is the one to push the emotions, to encourage them both to be honest with their feelings. He is also selfless in a way, motivated to action more by Bella settling than his own sense of loss. He also gives the reader the idea that these two are a perfect match and the conflict will have to come from something external rather than from compatibility flaws. “We were equals in that; we always were. Other women forgave too easily or not at all. Other women were afraid of my intellect or the shape of my body, and to some they were both insufficient. Not with Bella. We were always enough for each other, never too much. She matched me step by step, whether we were doing the crossword puzzle or jogging around my block on Sunday morning.” That seems like a darned good relationship to me.
I know some people like to wait until a story is farther along before getting started, and I respect that. Should you decide to wait, I think you’ll find The Best Woman one that you can get caught up on fairly quickly. However, if you’re like me, these days I enjoy getting in on the ground up and watching the characters unfold over time. I have come to appreciate anticipation, and I’m very anxious to see what will happen as both Edward and Bella have to step out of the bubble of the bachelor party and face the reality of ending an engagement and cancelling a wedding. These are two solidly formed characters with an interesting plot and a host of potentially unique challenges facing them. What’s more, I know the lovely writing will draw me in to the emotional roller coaster they are about to face.
Profmom(72) currently writes Rabbit Hole, an AU fic, and is working on another collaboration with hmonster4 called, the Fates. She’s a columnist for this blog and the proud owner of an iphone, designed to feed her fic addiction.