It is the story of a very human Edward who suffers from cripling anxiety attacks, so severe that he is incapable of interacting with anyone outside of his family. Well, at least until he meets Bella. As is very canon, Edward is immediately aware of Bella and is suprised both by her kindness and her ability to understand his anxiety.
Bella is able to understand Edward's anxiety, and discovers that the best way to communicate with him is through passing notes. What I find truly amazing is the fact that no one had to tell Bella why Edward sat isolated from the rest of the students in class, no one told her why his hands were in tight fists and he was nearly shaking with his attempt to control his anxiety, and no one explained Edward's anxiety.
There is something truly special about the instant bond that seems to form between Edward and Bella. Knowing how difficult every day life is for Edward, I couldn't help but feel his relief right along with him as he realizes that there is something different about Bella.
I especially loved the way Sunking wrote Rosalie's character. Here, she is Emmett's girlfriend, but acts and behaves as if she were truly Edward's older sister. She is protective without being too bitchy, and I found her characterization to be refreshing. But mostly I love the way all of the characters are written, and getting to know them through Edward's eyes. Because of his condition, he is mostly an observer of life as it happens around him, and as such gives him a unique perspective on others. It allows his narrative to be incredibly insightful as well as credible.
As the story progresses and Edward continues to make progress, little by little thanks to Bella's influence, you can't help but cheer him along and celebrate each of his little accomplishments. Every time he actually speaks, I wanted to reach through the screen and give him a huge hug.
As the story continues, we follow Edward as he decides to try medication to manage his anxiety; something that had failed and nearly caused him to commit suicide the last time he had tried medication. It is here that we truly get a sense of how severe his anxiety is and how desperate he is to conquer his anxiety. Through it all, Bella is there by his side, encouraging him and comforting him. Where things might have become too cheesy or too saccharine, Sunking manages to keep things simple and honest.
And when the medication starts to work, Edward is blessed with a full night's sleep and a beautiful dream of his Bella. The tone of the story shifts to one of hope, and like Edward's friends and family, I felt a great sense of pride in his strength and perserverence as he struggled through the different medications. His drive to be better for Bella is simply endearing. Bella, perhaps, describes it best in one of her notes to him; as his hope begins to show in his music.
The final hurdle that Edward faces in this short story is his audition and application to Julliard. But this time, the anxiety he experiences is the kind that most people would experience in his place. But for Edward, the anxiety is also linked to his fear that if he were accepted, it would mean his separation from Bella as well.
She is there with him at the audition, along with his family, encouraging him.
The way Sunking writes his audition is incredibly beautiful and touching. As a musician, I always appreciate it when an author manages to capture what it truly means to be a musican, to play music, to completely give yourself to the music you play. With every word, I felt my heart slowly work its way up into my throat. I know I said it above, but it bears repeating; this story is told with such tenderness and it really touched me.
The final chapter is a culmination of everything that brought Edward to his audition, and ties the story together perfectly. I really could quote the entire chapter in here, it is all so good. But I won't. Because I know you are going to go read this short little story right now, just like you should.
I don't want to spoil the ending, because it truly is beautiful. I will, however, leave you with this...
This is truly a touching story, and is written remarkably well. Any story that forces me to slow down and really absorb each and every word is something special - especially in this fandom where it is easy for a story to become weighted down by cliche's and familiar storylines. This novella is perfectly short and sweet.
Be sure to visit Sunking's author page, as she's also written Bella's perspective of Brave, called Catch Your Fall. You'll also want to read Brave: Tomorrow, for a look at Edward and Bella's future.
Gemmabobella, aka Gemma, is the author of Lost and Found and its companion story, Amazing Grace, as well as Let's Get Physical, Going Down?, and a few others. She wishes she didn't need to sleep so that she could spend more time writing and doing everything else in life she wants to do instead of work. She has a black lab that she loves, and is lucky enough to call herself a professional musician. Her family doesn't understand her obsession with the TapFish app on her iphone, where she takes care of imaginary fish, but then again, she doesn't understand why her family is so crazy - so it works.