It’s Friday again and Michelle wants to talk about a story that she has mentioned before, but this time she wants to share more. It’s that good…
I read it. And you should too.
Author’s Summary: Bella, I’m not perfect. ……I’ve loved perfect before, and he broke me anyway. (A Twilight/Remember Me crossover.)
Loss is such a common event in life. No one wants loss, and yet, it will touch everyone’s life. No one wants heartbreak but it happens to the best of us. This story has a theme of loss in it that makes you cry. But ultimately, isn’t loss felt so strongly a good thing? Doesn’t it make you reflect about how much you lived, loved, and laughed before hand? This wonderfully bittersweet story takes us full circle through loss, love, new beginnings, and a heart-wrenching ending… only to have love come back.
From the Prologue:
As I stand blind, hand registering only the faintest echo of my own heartbeat, I do what I’ve made it my life’s mission not to do: I look back.
TheFicChick takes us on a journey that you won’t forget. Yes, it’s a hard read. But trust me, it’s one of those stories that will stay with you and make you look at your bad day and see that it’s not such a bad day at all.
The gate is surprisingly populated for a mid-morning Wednesday flight, and she weaves her way through the maze of travelers and carry-on luggage to find a seat near the floor-to-ceiling windows, beyond which gray skies leak drizzle onto jets and tarmac and jetways.
“Where are you headed?” comes a friendly voice mere moments after she settles into one of the available leather seats. She looks up to see a boy close to her age peering at her over a magazine.
“New York,” she replies, unearthing a paperback from her bag.
Bella is off to begin her new life after a “frozen in time” boy breaks her heart. She can start again, right? If she leaves the past behind, she’ll be different. That should be easy in the mass of people in New York. No one will notice her. She’ll go quietly through life.
When she bolts awake one night toward the end of September, sheets knotted and pillow damp, her roommate, Kelsey, is kneeling on the edge of the bed, her cool hands curled around Bella’s shoulders, soft voice coaxing her back to awareness.
“Bella? Bell, you’re dreaming, hon. Wake up.”
“He was…perfect,” she says, sitting cross-legged atop her comforter, pulling absently at a loose thread. Kelsey is sitting facing her, their postures mirror images, watching and listening intently. “Too perfect for me,” Bella adds. “He belonged to a world I couldn’t join – his whole family did – and so he left me. Suddenly, with no warning, and I’ll never see or hear from him again.” Surprising, she realizes, that the magnitude of Edward’s all-too-brief presence in her life can be condensed to four short, bare sentences. When she looks up, Kelsey is frowning.
“Like the mob?” she asks, the smooth, mocha skin of her forehead pulled into creases, and if it weren’t for her earnestness and the subject matter, Bella thinks she might have laughed.
“Not the mob,” she replies. “Though that’s not a bad analogy.” She makes a mental note to remember that in case she’s ever forced to recount the Cullens’ role in her life for anyone else’s benefit; the mafia isn’t a bad cover story.
Kelsey’s fine-boned hand reaches out and stills Bella’s where it continues to worry the thread of her blanket. “I’m really sorry,” she says, and Bella is relieved and grateful that she’s not pressing for more details. “I’m really, really sorry that he hurt you like that.” She’s so earnest, so genuine, so sympathetic, and Bella can feel tears she hasn’t shed in months welling up behind her eyes.
“Thanks,” she says simply, wondering if there’s a similar story – minus the vampires, of course – in Kelsey’s own past.
“If you ever want to talk about it,” she says, and Bella nods once. “I get that talking’s not really your style,” she continues, her voice a degree lighter, and the small laugh that bubbles up and escapes Bella’s lips does a lot to make the threat of tears recede.
“Thanks,” she says again. “It’s not, but I appreciate the offer.”
“Can I ask one question?”
“Is that why you came to college so far away?”
Bella considers this, the first time anyone’s asked her point-blank. She is relatively certain that Charlie – and likely most of Forks – suspected as much, but no one ever came right out and asked. “Probably in part,” she admits. “I just…needed a change.”
It’s her love of books that brings the biggest change to her life.
“You should hit the Strand while I’m gone,” Kelsey says as the train pauses at 23rd Street and a few passengers disembark.
She sighs. “I probably should have taken you before now, but frankly it’s not somewhere I can spend upward of an hour, and I suspect you could kill an entire afternoon in there.”
“What is it?”
Kelsey shakes her head. “I forget how truly West Coast small-town you are,” she sighs, but offers an affectionate smile to cushion the blow of her words. “It’s the biggest bookstore I’ve ever seen. The motto is ‘Eighteen miles of books.'”
“Eighteen miles of books?” Bella echoes, and Kelsey nods.
Bella finally gets a moment go to the famous Strand. It’s there her new beginning starts. Slowly…very slowly.
“Excuse me; do you have Virgil’s Doomed Love?”
The boy turns to face her, and she sucks in a breath. At first glance, he’s too similar, too close a replica, too familiar, and all of the contentment that had cocooned her like cotton is torn away, leaving her feeling as though she’s been stripped and sucker-punched. She stares at him for a moment, mouth agape, before spinning and dashing up the long aisle, hearing a faint “What the hell?” coming from the boy behind her as she flees. Darting around the tables near the entrance and nearly tripping over a stroller near the checkout counter, she finally bursts through the exit and onto the crowded sidewalk.
“Are you okay?” the look-alike asks, and she turns, half-convinced that her momentary vision had been a trick of dim lighting. Those blue-green eyes narrow, a heavy brow creased in concern.
Blue-green eyes, she wills herself to remember. Not gold. It is this detail she latches onto as she nods, but the boy is still frowning. “Are you sure? Because you kind of look like hell.”
A bark of surprised laughter escapes her lips as she stares at his face, and if she needed further assurance that the person before her was far removed from his vampire doppelganger, those rather blunt words were it.
“I kind of feel like hell,” she admits, releasing the metal cart and balling her hand to coax blood back into her palm, as if she is gripping her courage in her white-knuckled fist. His creased brow smoothes slightly and a relieved half-smile twists his mouth, even as he appears to be trying to hold it back.
“I have those days,” he confesses with a slightly awkward nod. “Regularly.” This time he grins – in commiseration, she assumes – and she takes in his plain white t-shirt, his faded jeans, his stubble, and the strands of unkempt hair peeking out from beneath his knitted hat. The red oval nametag hanging from his neck by a silver chain. Tyler, it reads, and the name is soothing in its modernity.
Tyler. Warm. Vibrant. Alive…..not frozen in time.
This is where TheFicChick works her magic. Not only does Bella fall in love. We do too. She lets us see this sweet journey between Bella and Tyler in such a way that all you want to do it wish them the best. Young love. True love.
This Tyler is a charmer. He’s swoony. He’s a guy. He’s a goof. He’s a bit crazy about Bella. He doesn’t hide it. He’s all in.
“Friday,” he continues, undeterred, and she looks back up.
“Some of the people in my building are having a party. Will you come?”
She shakes her head. “I don’t think so.”
“Tomorrow,” he counters, and she shakes her head again, this time in confusion; she’s having a hard time keeping up with his rapid-fire non sequiturs.
“Have dinner with me,” he says.
“I have a study group.”
“Have breakfast with me,” he amends, the ghost of a smile around the corners of his mouth.
“I have class.”
“Have coffee with me,” he says, and, finally, the smile breaks free. She knows, as it does, that she’s going to concede.
“I have more class.” But she’s answering his smile with one of her own, and he realizes he’s winning.
“When do you not have class?” he asks.
“You don’t even know my name.”
“So you’ll tell me, and I’ll tell you mine, and we’ll go from there.”
“Tyler,” she says, and the momentary surprise is obvious in his features before his eyes narrow and he gives her a sly grin.
“Wow, that could get confusing. We both have the same name.”
She rolls her eyes, and a chuckle escapes her before she can corral it. “It was on your name tag.”
“Cheater,” he says, still grinning, and she considers him for a moment, this strange boy who looks just familiar enough to make her heart twinge.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” she says finally, and any levity is gone from her voice, replaced with a heavy sadness that he doesn’t miss.
“Coffee is always a good idea,” he argues, but the tone of his voice matches hers and his smirk dims. When she looks up into his eyes, they are blue-green and appraising. “Have coffee with me.”
“Why?” she wonders aloud, the Hail Mary of her excuses, the last-ditch attempt to deflect his inexplicable interest.
“Because why not?” His answer is so simple and so honest, and she finds herself saying yes before her brain has okayed it with the rest of her. The momentary gravity that graced his angled features is gone. “Okay, Tyler,” he says, forcing his lips to curl over his teeth, as if to temper the smirk-cum-smile. “Where can I meet you?”
From here, they share their hopes, dreams, secrets, and fears. And from that… they share love. It’s too beautiful to share just a few quotes, so I won’t. That’s because I want you to read this story!! ((I’m evil…sorry!!))
But all good things come to an end, right. This story is about loss. It’s also about what loss can teach us. How to appreciate what we have. Not material items, but the people in our lives.
“Doomed Love,” he murmurs.
“What?” she asks, even as she’s transported to a giant bookstore, an eerily recognizable bookseller.
“Would you let me love you all over again, knowing everything?”
“Of course I would,” she replies instantly, her voice catching around another sob.
“I’m so sorry, Bella. I’m so sorry you’re going to hurt again because of me.”
Yes, you’ll need a box of tissues. Yes, you’ll need a friend to read along with you. I’ll be here if you need to vent!! Just remember, the story will take you full circle. Just like life does.
And suddenly, there before her, is Tyler.
He stands in the open doorway, a lone figure silhouetted, before stepping across the threshold and into the brighter light. “Hello, Bella.”
She stares at him for a moment before crossing the small balcony in two quick steps – steps, healthy, fast, full-strided steps – and throws her body against his, wrapping her arms around his neck. The low rumble of his laugh quakes against her as his arms come around her body and he lifts her to the tips of her toes. And, just like all those years ago, every inch of her burns where she touches him. She wants to sob in relief, to collapse in anguished gratitude, but all she can do is hold on. She realizes that Tyler is murmuring into her neck – her name, over and over – and she doesn’t want to let go of him for a second, but at the same time she wants to pull back and look at him – look at him, not a photo or a drawing or a memory – for as long as she wants, never looking away. “I missed you so much,” she gasps into the warm skin of his neck, the tears she can’t seem to shed thick in her voice.
“God, Bella, I missed you, too.” He pulls back and drags a featherlight fingertip over her cheekbone. “You’re so beautiful.”
Just how sweet or bitter is a bittersweet story? Just how much light can come from darkness? After reading Infinite Visibility, you’ll have to decide for yourself. I really hope you take the plunge to read it.
See ya next time,
Thanks Michelle!! I need to read this one for sure…