Monday, September 12, 2011

Team Angst: Pocket Change by aWhiteBlankPage


Team Angst is a constantly changing team, 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: Pocket Change
Author: aWhiteBlankPage
Chapters: 18
Words: 62,298
Reviews: 1422
Summary:I know of three kinds of change: the kind that jangles around in your pocket, the kind that happens slowly, every moment of every day, and the kind that blows you away in an instant.

Emmy - I am really not sure how I stumbled upon this fic. But I am so ruddy glad that I did. As soon as I started reading Pocket Change I was completely hooked on it. We do know from the get-go that things are not good or hunky dory in Bella and Edward’s world. But it was so captivating, that even I, WussPerv extraordinaire had to read it. I had to find out how their love unravelled. Or if they ever even had love before it all went tits up.

Immediately - we know that Bella is unhappy, that her life has been unhappy and that at some point she broke Edward into unhappy pieces. . . . . . We learn this through alternate POV’s - here is our introduction to Edward:

The next 24 hours will be the most time I've spent with my family in years.

I made excuses for not coming home for Thanksgivings, Christmases. They are the only family Bella has left and I didn't want her to spend the holidays alone. But as it turned out, she wanted about as much to do with my family as she did with me. She didn't want us. It took me years of missed Christmases to accept this as true.

And now I am going to see her again for the first time in forever. At a wedding of all places. Alice's wedding.

As a general rule, I try not to think about her. It only makes everything more difficult.

I was relieved when Alice told me that they were going to have the wedding in San Francisco instead of Forks. When I left Forks for college I thought for sure I'd be back, that I'd spend the rest of my life there. Because I wanted to. But I can't go back there now, not when every last inch of that town reminds me of Bella.

My mom spoke of Forks like it had a beating heart, flesh and bones. She missed it. Even back when it was that place I'd only heard about in stories, I felt like I belonged there too. It was everything she said it would be. She hadn't been back in years, but she spoke of the little town often, particularly near the end.

Her voice was shaky and foreign as she told me, "Whether it is real or a fantasy that my heart has created, it doesn't matter because it has always been my very own reality; a reality that I visit in my mind whenever I need a smile or I need solace in times of trouble and despair." In her last few days, she needed that reality. She needed the solace. I can still see her hands lying motionless by her sides when they should have been gesturing wildly.

Sometimes I can hear her voice and it's as if she's sitting right next to me. "It will remain in my memory forever. Even when I'm gone." I couldn't imagine it then. The town. Her being gone.

Maybe it was too much, seeking Bella out that first day. But I had to know her. I felt like I did know her, before I even met her. Maybe she could tell that I was already obsessed with her. Maybe we were doomed from the start, from the first day in the cafeteria, from the first day in the barn, but it didn't feel like it then. It felt like the beginning.

I've been wrong more times than I care to remember.

See why its a Team Angst pick?

From just the first few chapters we know that things are not going well for either Bella or Edward. But we don’t know how, why or when it fell apart. Over the course of Pocket Change, aWhiteBlankPage writes just enough to keep us hooked, without revealing how Edward and Bella have ended up so apart not just in physical miles but also emotional ones. The tension is kept tight, and my emotions were highly strung. I read this fic so ruddy quickly - desperate for answers, desperately hoping for reconciliation. What aWhiteBlankPage has in store for us with this fic I do not know. I am sure that my heart strings are going to be well and truly yanked (even more than they are at the mo!) before the end! Which is why its a perfect pic for Team Angst. Honestly I think this fic is so well written. It’s not heavy handed tension, where you are screaming at the fic as you feel the author has contrived a cliffie or situation, instead it’s a perfect fit.

To me there is something quite canon about the situation that unfolds. Bella and Edward are both products of their past, their experiences. And perhaps most importantly - Bella is the one whose insecurities and issues get in the way of their potential and tentative feelings. In true canon style - all this Edward wanted was to be with Bella, to make her happy, to make things better for her, to protect her. But he’s not allowed to. . . . .

So, the writing is crisp, tight, taut and compelling. The descriptions - particularly of the barn (one scene with Edward, rain and books - GAH - he slayed me!); but also of their lives and love, of school, their families all are spot-on and add to the richness and sadness of the story... But this IS the PPSS... SO I am guessing there is something else you are wanting to know about? What could that be? Ah yes the lemons......?

Well to me they are hot, again the chemistry and tension from the storyline simmers over into the lemons. When reading them, sometimes I was hoping hoping they were in the present to realise they were a flashback... Gah!

Feet slipping on wet porcelain. The water too hot to breathe.
Carrying me out of the shower. Carrying me to the bed, water still running. Wet bodies on sheets. Hovering over me. Hands raking up my body. Steam filtering into the bedroom.

I'm already melting.

His lips run along my jaw. My hands desperate in his hair.

I pull his mouth to mine, demanding. Tongues wanting. Frenzied.

He rolls us on to our sides, hands wandering. He cups my breasts in both hands. Those hands. Like I might die if he stops touching me.

I can feel him against me and it seems impossible that he could be aching the way I am.

His hand on my hip. I no longer have control of my own body. Trying to get closer.

Gah indeed. These lemons mean something. This fic means something. Its truly impressive. One of the best fics I have read. But I might need you to hold me through the journey ahead.

Jess - When I first saw this story being talked about on Twitter, I thought, ugh, I can’t start another WIP. But because I’m such a sucker and weakling for stories that tear it up in the angst department, I dove right in. And when I say dove right in, it was head first, eyes-wide open. The smack of sad reality I got as I was introduced to these characters was heartbreaking.

Emmy did a nice job above setting the stage for this story and what we get from the beginning. I’ll just add this little blip in for the intrigue... because it’s the line that completely sucked me in. Hard. hehe

The memory of meeting Edward for the first time sits on my chest like a dead weight. I didn't know then that our lives were already intertwined. I didn't know anything.

That was all before. Before Rosalie and I made a truce. Before Alice was my best friend. Before Edward was mine. Before I ruined it.

For my portion of the rec, I think the thing I’d like to focus on is the push-pull between Edward and Bella. This is what struck me the most about this story - the tension and mystery between them. With a setup like you see above, you can’t help but wonder what the hell happened between these two. Was it something in their pasts? Did one of them cheat? What was going on? The more I read, the more I desperately wanted to understand why Bella was the way she was, why she treated Edward so... coldly (and we’re still learning why), and how Edward could continue to love her in spite of all the crap she put him through... for years.

I can feel a sudden panic rising in my chest. "I'll walk you." She looks at me like I've just offered to drown a puppy.

"No. You won't."

"Why do you insist on making everything so difficult?"

"I can't do this with you."

"Do what? Be a human being?" I regret the words immediately. Maybe even before I say them. Now she looks at me like I've actually drowned her puppy.

"Yeah, that's what I thought."

"Bella, I'm sorry." All I do is apologize to this girl. But it's too late. And then the dark night swallows her up.

Every interaction they have, especially early on, it seems, is like this. Shrouded in mystery with the hint of hurt just below the surface. You can’t quite put your finger on why you feel that way or what about the scene does it to you, but you can feel the ache and longing on Edward’s part and the confusion and distance on hers. aWhiteBlankPage does a phenomenal job of giving just enough to keep you breathing, to keep you reading without screaming, and when you finally get some answers it’s like the pieces of the puzzle lock together. It just makes so much sense.

Not only is Edward and Bella’s relationship full of emotional tension, but the chemistry between them will leave you feeling just as needy. The attraction, the desire to touch and be near each other physically is palpable... especially on Edward’s part. In fact, sometimes it’s so intense it’s painful. Which just means is is extremely well done. Take this scene from their early days...

And I finally have his eyes. They are surprise and fear and hope and pride and longing and something else. I close my eyes before I let myself see it.

I'm afraid he won't kiss me. Not after the last time. The only time.

I hear his sharp intake of breath.

Three. Two. One. Flash.

Eyes closed, I know exactly where he is. I know every inch of that face. Kiss me. Do it.

Three. Two. One. Flash.

And his lips find my lips. I don't move. I can't move. Soft and aching.

Sweet mercy, the UST is... off the charts. And it only gets more intense from there.

I love this story for a lot of reasons. Some that Emmy mentioned, some that I’ve stated above, but mostly because it is exceptionally well-written, has real depth in both the primary and secondary characters and in plot, and paints a compelling case for a love that can endure through the often challenging ups and downs of life.

This story isn’t yet complete, but I have no doubt aWhiteBlankPage will do us proud as she places the final pieces of the puzzle. Give Pocket Change a chance. I guarantee you’ll love it.

Jen - Pocket Change is not a story that slowly wades into the angst. From the start you are in the deep end, with heart-hurt occurring in both past and present.

aWhiteBlankPage lets the story unfold slowly and in layers. The chapters alternate between BPOV and EPOV, and each chapter starts and ends with what’s currently happening in their lives, with a flashback to their lives around the time that they were eighteen or so in the middle. This gradual, layered approach really works well for telling this story. You find out just enough in each chapter to add another piece to the puzzles; yes, puzzles-for there’s more than one in this story.

Both Bella and Edward are in pain. Bella seems to have a lot of self-hatred, and believes that she doesn’t deserve happiness. We still don’t know every bit of the past that shapes this Bella. She seems completely locked down, and doesn’t allow herself to experience her emotions very often. Only when she allows herself to feel do we see that she might just wish that things were different. I love this passage for embodying the longing for something Bella no longer has and somehow manages to be sensual as well.

And then there is a hand on the small of my back and suddenly I want to stay here forever. One hand and I'm no longer cold, or empty or lost. One hand and it's as if he's the only thing tying me to the earth, preventing me from floating away.

I want to lean in to him. I want to do a lot more than that. But Alice may not appreciate me groping Edward against his will in her wedding photos. So I enjoy the moment before it's over.

I smile and I mean it.

I thought I could remember the feeling of his hands on me, but this is better. This is better than any memory.

Edward’s pain appears to be more straight-forward. He lost his beloved mother, he lost Bella. He’s tried to move ahead, but even when purchasing an engagement ring for his girlfriend he can only see Bella in his mind’s eye. He’s lived his life plan, but he’s on automatic.

Like the other girls have said, the lemons really serve to move the story along. But just because it’s not gratuitous smut doesn’t make it hot as hell.

The possibility of him not wanting me this way suddenly ridiculous. Impossible.

My dress around my middle. Panties gone.

One slight shift of my hips against him, and it's enough for him to start to slip inside. This is when time stops, when frantic becomes deliberate. As he slowly fills me, almost painful and there is nothing else. Nothing.

Until he's filled me completely and slow is gone.

Until I'm biting my lip with such force that it might bleed. Until he's sucking it into his mouth. Until I'm breathing his name. Until I'm falling to pieces. Until we're the same. Until we're sliding to the ground.

Sometimes falling to pieces, shattering, crashing and burning isn't tragic. Sometimes it's everything.

Forehead to forehead, between labored breaths, "No, Bella, we're notfriends."

There are still a lot of puzzle pieces floating around. We understand a lot of Bella’s past and a lot of Edward’s, but there is still much to learn about these two complex characters and how they’ve come to be where they are. aWhiteBlankPage has a really lovely hand with angst--if angst is your thing, you definitely want to give this story a read!

Teal - Early on in this fic, we learn that Bella and Edward have both faced loss of a great magnitude at far too young an age. Where Edward is often an enigma to Bella, it’s she who seems to cling to the burdens of her past, not just carry them. You get the immediate feeling that Edward is the only one who was ever able to peel back the layers of scar tissue and find a way into her heart...but that was a long time ago. Something happened to these two that drove a wedge between them - from the looks of it, something done or said - but it’s obvious that neither of them ever recovered from it.

They wouldn’t dread seeing one another if their parting hadn’t been wracked with pain. They wouldn’t feel the nervousness they both do if they had a hold on their emotions. The impression I got from the early chapters was that Edward and Bella still loved one another - had never gotten over what they had - though their fear of being crushed any further kept them from ever trying to resolve things. It was self-inflicted pain in so many ways, and it didn’t appear that the people in their lives were any help there. How could they ever understand?

The problem is, those deep-seated emotions have a way of revealing themselves. They come in impulsive reactions and rash confessions, followed quickly by so much confusion and questioning, but in the end, that seems to be the catalyst to get them both to face the feelings that have never gone away and admit to themselves, and eventually one another, what it is that they truly want.

Heartbreaking and rough, Pocket Change is a journey. There are rough patches and wrong turns, memories and revelations, but most importantly, love and truth to fuel the fire and get them where they need to be. Though the “trip” isn’t over yet, I truly believe that the healing and potential reunion of Edward and Bella will also allow other characters, living and dead, to find the resolution they also need.

A self-proclaimed first fic, this is a gem of the Twific community. The steamier scenes reveal the desperation and need these two have for one another and the deep bond they just can’t escape. They add greatly to the plot, not distract from the rest of the story, which I feel is a sign of a well-rounded, talented author. I genuinely hope we see more of aWhiteBlankPage when this story is complete!