Monday, April 25, 2011

Team Anything Goes: Red by 22blue


Team Angst is a constantly changing teams, depending on who can handle the angst levels of the Team Angst pick. Only the bravest (or craziest) Pervs tackle the tears and pain to bring you the best angst and heartfail that fan fic has to offer. Non-canon pairings? No problem. Cheating and Break-ups? No sweat. Character death? Bring it! It’s all in a days work for Team Angst. So if you think you’re tough enough put on your big girl pants, take a seat and join us for the Team Angst Pick.

The Team Angst Pick is...
Title: Red
Author: 22Blue
Words: 38,096
Reviews: 495
Winner in the Beyond the Pale Contest. "As she walked by, he imagined traces of her lipstick left on his neck… then his stomach and..." E/B, AH, Mature Theme and Explicit Content.

Jen - Red is one of the most emotionally wrenching fics I have read. In just eight chapters (plus a newly posted outtake) 22blue takes the reader on an intense journey, experiencing lust, love, anger, grief, despair, sadness, and yes, even some happiness.

There isn’t much that’s conventional about this Edward/Bella story, which really shouldn’t be surprising since the first chapter was written as an entry for the Beyond the Pale contest. Don’t be confused, though: nothing in this story is done simply for shock of it. As you learn more about them, Bella in particular, even that which is beyond the pale makes sense for these real and flawed characters.

Edward and Bella’s relationship is rife with obstacles. She’s a prostitute; he has a child with a woman he no longer wants to be married to . She has innumerable scars from her childhood, and grapples with the consequences of her parents failing to protect her. Even when they have the chance to be together, ghosts from the past keep them apart.

Their long separation was so difficult to read. Despite knowing that each loved the other, they chose to remain apart. I know they both had their reasons for the distance, but it felt comparable to a vow of silence. It’s an incredible chapter, told predominantly through Edward and Bella’s letters to each other. Their longing and love for each other is so palpable, I can’t imagine anyone being able to read this chapter without a lump in their throat.

Their intense emotional relationship was born out of their intense sexual relationship.

She turned her head to kiss him again – heated yet loving – and then she turned her body. She lay on her back, he cradled her head, they kissed, and they rolled their hips in a forbearing rhythm. Bella felt so heavy, so desperate, her chest feeling as though it would implode, her throat tightening, her eyes burning now. Longer, please let this last longer, she silently begged.
Edward sucked in her bottom lip, his eyes clenching shut, surrounding himself by her warmth – he hadn't worn a condom, there was no barrier between them, nothing to keep them separate. I want this always, he thought, and a gravelly whimper rose from his throat. What he wouldn't give to feel her every day of his life. He kissed her again and again, gliding his nose along hers, pressing his forehead against hers, and she pulled him closer.

This isn’t an easy fic to read, but it’s worth every clench of the heart, twist of the stomach, and tear shed. 22blue has crafted an amazing story of love and loss and overcoming obstacles.

Emmy - I cannot begin to tell you just how much I love this fic. But there were some chapters I could not read. Yep, some chapters killed this WP stone cold..... So that is why it is perfect as a Team Angst pick! But seriously, this is one beautiful fic. Beautiful and heartfelt. Such a good piece of writing and complete in only 8 chapters, 9 if you include the newly posted outtake...

It starts out as a deeply erotic fic, where Bella and Edward share a prediliction for getting the jollies off to a certain kink, involving the colour Red. Flipping heck, it makes for steamy stuff. But there is ALWAYS more simmering under the surface of this fic. Even in the first chapter. Bella is not a happy bunny in this fic. And Edward? Well Edward is living a lie of sorts...

But Bella and Edward forge this deep connection, a connection that transcends a good bout of sex, or a relationship of intense fucking. But how do you transfer that over to a proper relationship? Can you? Can you ever? How can you make your ‘normal’ life fit or accept a love affair so blinding that it eclipses all normality or rationality? A love affair that eclipses all that you held true to, all your life thus far? This is what is at the centre of this story. Do YOU deserve a HEA if you haven’t gone about it by traditional means? Is happiness warranted if others have suffered or will suffer for you to get your forever? VERY canon themes in that sense in this fabulously intense tale.

You will feel that this story is longer than the scant (but brilliant 8 chapters). Yet at the same time you could agonise over each chapter, and want to know so much more. More detail of every decision, god more detail of every breath that these two make.

I don’t think that 22blue takes the easy OR the expected route with these two and their journey. Any happiness does not come easy to them, when they are happy or things are easy for them, we feel their uneasiness and in fact feel even more uneasy for them! We know that things are not that simple or easy. Heartfail and separation is sure to come there way.

It does.

Bella is broken in this story. So much more broken than we could ever realise or concede. Its far outside the majority of our comfort zones. How far is Edward willing to go to get that back....? What does Bella need. Not just from Edward, but from life? Will she ever find peace? Will it be through sex or liaisons...?

Edward. Well Edward is sexy, but he is also highly flawed, niave at times and too simplistic. He is smitten, in turns in love and in turns so frustrated and scared by events. So ruddy good to read.

What I love so much about Red is that it looks at what sex and an intense sexual connection is often a front for. Can you have real intimacy and real sexual connection without deep and real or sure/true love? Can you truly give yourself away to another, trust included without head-over-heels love? What sacrifices have to be made to find happiness? What is love? Does good (and INTENSELY erotic) sex blindsight us to the reality? This fic is fabulous for helping us explore these issues, but more than that, letting us join Bella and Edward on a desparate and heartfelt journey to love. Such a good read, so beautifully written, this story gave me lots to think about, which stayed with me long after I had finished each chapter........

One tiny caveat... A kinky (aka dirrrty bird like me, would like to know - the kink that drew Edward and Bella together? Does it return later to them? Once the initial burn has settled, would that still feature as part of their love making, or did it merely fulfill a certain desperate need at the time? Do you need to live on the edge to enjoy that predilection? Or would it always be something that provided each of them with the certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’ to lengthen , deepen and heighten their orgasms and intense highs?

Jess - I really enjoyed this sad love story, but to be completely honest, I’m not even sure how to begin to describe it. Red is the story of two people who find themselves mired in the muck of life circumstances. Bella is a prostitute who has a very dark, sad past. It is the foundation and reason for essentially all the things that happen in this story, and it is utterly heartbreaking to watch her struggle with all of it. Edward is the CEO of Cullen Securities and is essentially living a double life through the first part of this story. Together, they find love and an intensely sexual relationship - one that often involves the color red and breath play. This issue of breath play is a huge element and is an indication of the nature of their relationship shifting. I don’t want to say much about this, but it was extremely well played.

The first time we meet these two, Bella arrives at his hotel room wearing, of course, Red. Here’s just a glimpse into the nature of their early relationship.

She heard Edward's voice call from the other side of the door for her to enter, and so she did. Her red, silky dress was wrapped around her slim body and fastened only by a sash. It had a dramatically deep neckline and brushed against her thighs, showing the outlines of her long legs as she walked toward the center of the room. The neckline accentuated the curves of her breasts and small hips. She knew Edward would be pleased.

Pleasure, of course, was what Bella knew best.

Edward stood just feet away from Bella, wearing a charcoal suit, crisp, white shirt, and a claret tie. He smiled at her presence – Mondays had become his favorite day of the week.
Bella parted her scarlet lips, the tip of her tongue barely visible, she asked, "What do you want?"

As Edward cocked his head, he chuckled. "Week after week you ask the same thing. Do you not know the answer to that question by now?"

She knew he wanted to fuck her, but she didn't know how he wanted to be fucked. How could she possibly know if he preferred to start with a blow job or simply take her from behind?

"No, Edward, I can't read your mind. Would you care to enlighten me?"

The truth was, Edward had hoped, just as he always had, that Bella could read his mind. He would have paid one hundred times her amount if she could… maybe even more.

"I'd like you to undress me… slowly," he said.

Bella strode toward Edward, gliding the tips of her nails along his scalp once she reached him.

She loved the feel of his hair between her fingers, soft and thick and just the right length to pull when she came, should she be in the position to do so.

Bella touched the tip of her nose to Edward's jaw and inhaled; he'd recently showered. The scent of his soap was still strong on his skin. She slid her hands underneath his jacket, removing it slowly per his request, and let it fall to the floor.

Edward's hands went to Bella's breasts, and he was delighted to discover she hadn't worn a bra. Her nipples immediately became erect from the touch of his thumbs circling them.

"How do you want me?" Bella's lips barely touched Edward's ear as she loosened his tie.

"Under me. I want to fuck you hard tonight." Edward squeezed her tits, his erection apparent as she brushed her stomach against his crotch.

"Of course, Edward. Will you fuck me so hard I'll ache tomorrow?"

Bella wasn't taunting him; it was merely her request.


This is only the beginning of their ride. Over the course of time... and a lot of time passes in these short eight chapters... we watch their love blow and groom. But life is never that easy, and past pain and baggage always take a toll when brushed under the rug. What ensures is heartbreak and loss that left me in some places feel breathless and aching for these two to deal with stuff and get on with it.

I won’t spoil what happens or how this unfolds, but one of the things I loved most about this story was the realistic way 22blue allows the story to unfold. The dialogue is well placed, the secondary characters - several original and others we know well - really supplement this story nicely.

To my fellow Wusspervs, read this story. It won’t kill your heart, and it will show how love grows and blossoms even with time and distance... and that healing, hope, and love can and do prevail.

Liz - There has been a spate of hooker/escort fics in the last year or so; some great, some just okay. This one is amazing.

What started as a beautifully, elegantly tragic one-shot was extended into a punch-packing eight chapter gem that reads like a much longer story. 22blue loads this story with rich intensity that will leave you rubbing the ache in your chest.

Bella hugged him to her then squeezed his hair between her fingers, hot tears filling her eyes as she felt the build, the rise of her orgasm. No.

With his thumbs, Edward brushed away the dampness trickling from her eyes, her beautiful brown eyes that held his heart and soul. He whispered, "Shh," and his own tear fell onto her cheek. He felt her constrict around him, her thighs tightening against his sides, her heels digging into his thighs, and her fingers gripping at his shoulder and his back. He slid his arms around her, holding her as close as he possibly could while she came, fighting off his own orgasm. Bella sobbed as her peak lessened and his rose.

As Edward stilled, unable to hold off any longer, he shifted his arms. He held her face in his hands, his forehead against hers again, his eyes closed again; he felt ecstasy and at the same time, a profound weight in the pit of his stomach.

Neither would look at the other. If they had, they'd be forced to acknowledge their quintessential heaven had ended, and the jolt of reality would be too much to bear.

Bella and Edward have formed a passionate, but co-dependant union that burns so brightly the reader knows it can’t last. Living as Edward’s dirty little secret finally becomes a heavier weight than Bella can bear, and she makes a drastic choice. Terrified of losing her forever, he begs his godfather to intervene.

Bella was not just another one of Gabriel's patients - presumably, she'd play along with his methods whether honestly or not – and he couldn't help but feel something for her. Perhaps it was simply because Bella was his godson's lover. Even more so, she was the center of Edward's world; it didn't take long for Gabriel to come to this conclusion.

Gabriel offers Bella a place in his home as she recovers, and she quickly becomes an extension of his family. Gabriel urges Edward to give Bella the space she needs to deal with her demons, but Edward stays near, never able to be far from her even as his marriage dissolves. The comfort they find in each others arms is a superficial balm on Bella’s deep scars, and eventually their relationship crumbles, despite their deep love and passion.

22blue pours on the angst in the form of Edward’s vindictive ex-wife, and across their seemingly endless and gut-wrenching separation as Bella struggles to redefine herself.

The last chapter blew me away.

Teal - The original one-shot of this fic was so intense and shocking that I can remember feeling both struck and devastated the first time I read it. It was heartbreaking because it seemed as though there was absolutely no chance for them to ever be together. The circumstances of each of their lives felt too tied down, too impossible . . . but the continuation turned everything upside down.

Truly, this story was nothing I ever expected it to be after the setup of the first chapter. While it moved in an unpredictable direction, the story was wholly enthralling. From the ups and downs of Edward and Bella’s relationship in the beginning to the healing and self-discovery they both had to do as individuals and to find what they could and couldn’t be to one another, it was truly a roller coaster ride of emotions. The supporting cast were easy to fall in love with, and the genuine friendships developed between everyone added to the story so beautifully.

Through it all, the physical bond, the needs, the lust, the love so fucking scare you thought it might kill them - that intense, undeniable, fiery connection between Edward and Bella was the glue that bonded this story together. Everything they struggled with was to make them whole as individuals so that they could give in to avalanche of love and desire they felt. There were truly a lot of moments that made me hurt for these characters, but that spark they had when they were together struck something inside me (and I imagine many other readers) that always made me want to cheer them on, even when being together may have needed to slow down.

This fic has a little of everything. While it starts with a very taboo sort of domination and fetish play, there is sweetness, family, fear, and healing. The timeline was greater than I ever imagined it would be, but in the end, it just felt right.


Anonymous said...

I don't know where else to leave a comment about a recommendation, so I guess I'll post it here!

I don't know if any of you have heard or use but there is a really angsty story that I love called House of Cards written by therunaway. The only down side is that you have to have a username in order to view the story :/.

If you're looking for a tear jerker (happens to me everytime I read it), this is definately a story to read!