Like most Twilight fan fiction readers, I am obsessed with Edward Cullen. Who isn’t right? But I recently read a couple of stories, where I found myself more attached to our favorite heroine, Bella Swan. These particular Bellas are quite different from canon. They had a more difficult childhood, and as an adult and/or young adult, they are dealing with the consequences in unusual ways. I found it unique and emotional moving.
The authors of both of these stories do an amazing job of dealing with the delicate subject of emotional, physical and sexual child abuse. If these issues are troubling for you or a trigger in some way, you may want to tread lightly. I think both stories are worth the angst and turmoil that I felt to get to the HEA.
First, karenec and transitory07‘s, A Dove’s Cry. *complete* It’s a AU story, which I found surprising, because although we know that Edward spent years “listening” to the mind’s of predators, I have not read a story, besides Pastiche Pen‘s If Love Could Light a Candle, where we see Edward taking action, because he knows the victim.
We get to experience this story from both Bella and Edward’s POV. Their stories break away from canon, obviously. Bella’s in high school, haunted by her past, and doesn’t really trust anyone, outside of her father. Bella decides to do some research on dealing with sexual abuse, and stumbles upon a chat room, dedicated to teenagers who are victims of abuse. She makes friends with a girl there, pixy-Ali.
Edward is a newborn vampire of only five years, living with Carlisle, Esme, Jasper, Rosalie, and Emmett. When he was twenty, his parents died in a car accident, leaving his younger sister Alice and him alone. A vampire attacked and kidnapped them; changes Edward, but leaves him alone after. His sire takes Alice, never to be seen again. Edward has spent the last five years searching for Alice.
Exert from Chapter 3:
I was also part of the family that existed beneath the disguise, the coven of vampires who depended on and supported each other. My family needed me just as I needed them. Despite our dead hearts, we shared deep connections, and cared for one another with affection and great love. Any one of us withdrawing for too long was cause for concern. Of course, I was the one most often withdrawing.
And I needed to hunt. I had put it off for as long as I had dared, telling myself I needed that time for searching. Now the thirst burned the back of my throat as I made my way to my room and I knew my discomfort at school today would be sharp.
I left the library and made my way to my room on the third floor, passing Emmett on the stairs.
He gasped in mock surprise to see me and then shouted, “Edward’s out of the library before 7:30. Someone owes me twenty bucks!”
I chuckled and rolled my eyes when I heard Jasper groan from the first floor.
In my room, I changed my clothes absently and made a passing attempt at taming the hopeless mess of hair on my head. It was comforting in some ways, going through the motions of making myself presentable. But it was difficult to care very much and, as always, a part of my mind was with Alice, wondering and hoping.
In the beginning, when I had started the search for my sister, I hoped only that she was alive. That she had not been turned as I had and was living a healthy human life somewhere. Carlisle and the others guided me through the first year after my change, when I was uncontrollably bloodthirsty and strong. As I changed and learned about my new world, and how to conduct myself around others, I made plans for how things would be after I found Alice. I knew how I would reinsert myself into her human life, and how I would disguise myself so Alice would never know what I had become. It would grow more difficult over time as she aged and I did not, but it didn’t matter to me. I was determined to be there for Alice for as long as possible.
One day he takes a break from his family to go into Port Angeles, to look for a music store. That’s where Edward sees Bella for the first time. There is an instant attraction that he is confused and uncomfortable with. Their relationship is a slow burn, but done very well.
Bella asks Edward to do something he had not done before, being a new vampire. Kill someone. This story does take a darker turn for this reason. I found the story too compelling to walk away though.
One of my favorite authors, Edward’s Eternal, recently completed, The Other Side of the Fence. This is a beautiful AH story, about overcoming your fears and self-loathing. Bella is the new neighbor, that Edward instantly takes a liking to. She’s in her backyard using her brand new grill, when Edward “smells” her for the first time. LOL This Edward is pretty funny, because he starts this new friendship, based on food alone. He has no idea what Bella looks like, but looks forward to spending time with her, on the other side of the fence.
This Bella or Chefgirl as he likes to call her, is difficult nut to crack, but Edward’s curiosity gets the best of him, when he hears Bella in distress, one evening. What we find out, all told through Edward’s POV, is quite disturbing and sad. Bella has self-worth and image issues, like nothing I’ve read before. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.
Exert from Chapter 27:
“You need to be patient.”
I sighed. “I’m trying, Emmett.”
“Anthony,” he began quietly. “Do you know that abused children, even adults, often protect the person abusing them?”
“I’ve heard that, yes.”
“Do you know why?”
I shook my head. “No, no idea.”
He smiled sadly. “It’s all they know, Anthony. They don’t know that love doesn’t have to hurt.”
I leaned forward. “But she has me now. I want to show her it shouldn’t.”
“And you will. But, Anthony … she’s had you for a few weeks, less than that even. She’s had them all her life. It’s going to take time. It’s all she’s known. “
I sat back as his words sunk in. He was right. She’d only known pain and rejection for twenty-six years and it was something she almost expected. I couldn’t expect her to be healed instantly because I was in her life.
“I won’t give up on her. Somehow I’ll help her see she is more than the nothing they told her she was.”
Edward has his own past that he needs to deal with, because he can’t just tell Bella everything about himself, for her protection. He’s living alone for a reason. His story is quite interesting all on its own, but I’ll let him tell it. I will say that the ending is beautiful and sweet. I loved it!
Both stories have fair amount of angst, but are beautifully told. I would highly recommend both.
Happy reading everyone!!
We are celebrating the 4th of July here in the states. I hope everyone enjoys this time with friends and family!!