I didn't actually come across this fic, because I am admittedly horrible about searching for new fic to read. Usually I'm the one who starts it when everyone I know has read it and told me repeatedly that I need to read it and then has moved on to being tired of hearing me say, "I'm going to read it soon." Lucky for me, these authors follow my work and emailed me when they posted their story, asking if I would take a look because they know I love me some AU/Canon.
When I read Edward's voice in the prologue, I was almost immediately sucked in.
Guh. Simultaneous clenching of all of my sympathetic girlybits: activate.
The premise is pretty straight-forward: what if Edward never returned in New Moon? Done before, right? Not so fast. Now imagine that Bella writes Twilight (here called, "Dusk") as a catharsis to help her deal with the heartbreak that she endured in losing him. Lo and behold, the book takes off and is an enormous success and suddenly Edward hears about Bella in the minds of those around him.
The thought was crystal clear, yet totally unfamiliar as it floated to me from the mind of a faceless human some distance away. The shock of it forced me backwards into a rock face, where I landed with a thundering crack, my face still dripping with blood.
I was on my hands and knees then, crippled by the weight of it. Of her name, in the mind of another. The thoughts were feminine, but a tide of jealousy rolled through my body and I began to convulse. A torrent of blood streamed out of my mouth.
I'm tempted to post the entire prologue here because it's that good... but that would be rude of me. You should read it. Then, almost like a drug, Edward begins seeking out the images from the book, to relive his favorite memories through the minds of others.
I soon began to recognize and seek out my favorite scenes.
The first time I touched her smooth jaw. The first night she'd dreamt of me. My lips on hers.
The story alternates BPOV and EPOV, so we also see Bella's experience. Although at times the characters feel OOC, you can imagine somewhat how they'd end up where they are. Edward is a little crasser than I'd imagine, but here it generally works. Plus, I never mind references to Edward wanking. Never. (Did you hear that MasenVixen? Wank = good).
Certainly with Bella we can see how she ended up how she is - she is guarded and ultimately broken, but this Bella has been trained in PR with the success of her book so relies on that in social situations now. It's not forced or awkward, but underneath everything is a layer of sadness that is now ingrained.
In truth, no human being apart from myself knew the true story behind Dusk. I had been giving the "dream" explanation for so long now that I sometimes believed it myself.
This Bella has moved on, resigned. She doesn't even seem to be hoping to see Edward again. She is involved with someone she knows she should love. But she also knows, as do we, that she won't find another love like Edward.
There is a chapter a little ways into the story where Bella is completely shut down in the face of something quite traumatic (a very ballsy plot twist, I must say), and at first it gave me pause, almost as if the authors gave short shrift to something that canon-lovers would find mind-blowing, but the follow-up chapter delved so much more into her reaction that it really helped highlight how Edward leaving her affected her completely and how numb she truly is.
The story is only nine chapters at this point (including the prologue) and I've been pestering them to tell me how it's going to unfold, but the simple truth is that I love reading stories where Edward doesn't return and we readers get to see how different authors envision what Bella looks like down the road. Then, of course, we get the reunion that is inevitably filled with such complexity of emotion. The first story I read in this vein was Seducing Ms. Swan, and since then I've been hooked on this type of fic. This collaboration is promising and has me totally sucked in. If you like canon/AU, and like alternate New Moon, I definitely recommend that you give this one a shot. The writing is good, the premise is original, and I can't wait to see what this duo does with it.
Lo writes smutty fanfic and the occasional dry hump to please her Mistress Sam. She is currently hoping Mr. Shoes brings her a glass of water through his power of mind reading. She just started the sequel to the sequel of her first story. She hasn't worn a cute kitten heel in a very long time. She also can be found over at Twigasm!