Sunday, October 11, 2009

Weekly Rec: An Idiot Gets Sweet


I wouldn't call myself a wussperv.

I write angst, and I don't really read that much smut, so I guess you could call me more of a connosieur of cute fics and general lightheartedness. I crave it. Most of the fics I read these days are either funny, or romantic, or (hopefully) some combination of the two. "The Sweetest Thing" is that golden combination, mixed with an intriguing plot that is believable and different.

When I saw WriteOnTime recommending this on twitter, I jumped on it because... well, duh. See above. The first chapter plays coy, introducing Bella and her fiancé as they talk to a priest for premarital counseling. Bella's inner dialogue is funny and intriguing from the start as she describes her perfectly pious fiancé and her sinful self (wow alliteration).

He looked at me as he spoke and I couldn’t help but think that he was seeing every naughty thing that I’d ever done. Hell, I mean heck, they were probably written all over my face.

I’m a sinner. I’ve had sex already.

I get drunk. I curse like a sailor.

I covet. I lie. I think dirty thoughts.

The first bombshell happens at the end of the first chapter. She's not marrying Edward... or Jacob or Jasper or any of the guys she is frequently paired with. This Bella is married to Mike Newton, who is a genuinely good guy (and also happens to be a member of an incredibly prominent family).

In fact he is such a good guy, that Bella has been lying about herself for over three years. She wants to be a good girlfriend to him, so she tones down her sailor talk. She lies about her sexual history, her likes, her long term desires, pretty much everything important in an attempt to make herself perfect in Mike's eyes. This all blows up when she fails the first test of premarital counseling. The priest asks them if anything could tempt them away from the other. Bella jokingly thinks of a celebrity crush. Mike thinks of nothing.

This understandably makes Bella incredibly anxious as she approaches her wedding to man who barely knows her. See the difference between this and other fics where Bella has a different lover is that she genuinely does care for Mike. She loves him and wants him to love her for who she is. She wants commitment over the country club, and she knows that she'll never get that unless she can work up the nerve to admit the truth.

By this time, you're probably thinking, "But wait! This is a fic rec by americnxidiot. Where the hell is Edward?"

I'm getting to that.

In the midst of her pre-marital freak out, Bella hastily returns a stack of bridal magazines that Mike bought her to a local bookstore. There she bumps into Edward (see, I told you), a handsome shopkeeper who shamelessly flirts his way to better business. And right there, over unused magazines, Bella finds a confidant to listen to everything that's bothering her... and she feels the chemistry that is so lacking in her relationship with Mike. As if she needed anything else to confuse her further.

My favorite thing about this fic is that no one is really the bad guy. It would have been so easy to make Mike really smarmy, or Bella a completely insensitive troll, but magpye manages to avoid this. Because we spend half the time in Bella's head, we struggle with her as she comes to terms with her fears regarding Mike and her barely controlled passion for bookstore Edward. Our time in Edward's head tells us that he is a sweet guy who had the misfortune of falling for a girl that he can't have. Even Mike, as stiff and yuppy as he is, is good to Bella. He is never someone other than who we expect him to be.

Magpye does a great job of keeping us wrapped up in the romance even as Bella's carefully woven life starts to unravel. The writing is engaging, the characters are top-notch, and I really can't wait to see where it goes from here.

Americnxidiot has written four angsty stories, despite her tendency to avoid them. When she's not reading or writing fic, she's daydreaming about kittens, rainbows, and Robert Pattinson's fingers. You know, happy things.

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