Monday, January 2, 2012

Team Angst: The War Is Over


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 day’s 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: The War is Over
Author: MariahajilE
Summary: Lies. Betrayal. Pain. A story of finally getting what you want and hurting everyone in the process. AH, ExB and ExA. M for language and graphic lemons.


This story was an impulse read for me. I saw Jeanne rec it on twitter and just dove in. I am not usually a non-canon reader, and I love my Bella x Edward stories. I love my happy endings, but the storytelling drew me in and has me on the edge of my seat. I have been known to read an update of this story standing in the middle of the aisle in my local grocery store.

I have to say I do have compassion for Angela. She's just a kid, and everyone makes stupid mistakes as a kid. But as this story progresses, it’s raw and painful but so realistically written. The author does a fantastic job at using the drabble format to give you these glimpses into Angela’s thought process. I would say this story is not for the faint of heart, but I am so proud of myself for branching out of my “safe” box and giving this a chance.


I’ve certainly done some crazy things for a guy before, things to garner attention or to feel some warped sense of love. Angela is getting something from Edward in this story, even if, as readers, we are not quite able to understand or fathom why she would belittle herself and betray her best friend and Edward’s girlfriend, Bella. I have a feeling that it will all become clear in the coming updates, but in the meantime, I’m loving the angst. Clarity doesn’t promise a HEA though, so I’m excited to see where this goes.

As I read this story, I couldn’t help but think back to all of my graduate studies in psychology and child development. I know from ANs written by MariahajilE that people had a hard time understanding Angela’s motivations. In the back of my head, I kept saying “Daddy issues” to myself. Perhaps I’m just attuned to how an absent father can affect girls because of my profession. One of the major manifestations happens to be girls who seek male attention in pretty much anyway they can, even if it’s destructive. Luckily, Angela is at least aware of what she’s doing and not going about it blindly.

I do love the internal musings of Angela and how she still allows herself to enjoy her physical relationship with Edward even if it’s not the emotional one she craves. Sometimes people find relationships that are physically satisfying, much more so than they could ever possibly be intimately fulfilling. I don’t think that’s what most people dream about, but it’s part of life, right?

We’ve all had a crush on a guy we shouldn’t. The circumstances might be different, but that strange twist of excitement and guilt feels the same. MariahajilE does a great job of portraying that feeling in Angela’s narrative. We don’t just witness her downward spiral; we are right there with her, and we are just as confused and turned on by it as she is. An author walks a fine line when they write about emotionally loaded topics like infidelity, especially when they choose to tell the story from the point of view of one of the cheaters. Here we see a very real, raw and painfully relatable story of how a girl finds herself fucking her best friends boyfriend.

Fair warning, if you’re looking for romance this is not the story for you. The steamy, visceral sex scenes are devoid of the sweet words, and declarations of love you see in a lot of other Twilight fan fics. Though, that’s what I kind of love about this story. The realism in these sex scenes at time make my ache and leave me breathless, like I’m the one getting bent over the Edward’s car and fucked within an inch of my life. Even though all the confusion, pain and guilt Angela’s heart shines through in this story. Many would disagree that a girl that sleeps with her best friend’s boyfriend could a sympathetic protagonist, but MariahajilE proves them wrong.

Angela’s vulnerability and clear awareness of just how wrong this affair is tugs at my heart every time I read an update. Real people make mistakes and make bad choices. They fuck up, and they often do it for love. Sure, many people can say they wouldn’t betray a friend, but what if your friend is dating someone you’ve loved for years? What if he suddenly turned his attention to you? What if horrible and greedy choice is all that stands between you finally getting what you’ve wanted more than anything in the world?

Despite my empathy for Angela, for me this story isn't about redeeming anyone. It’s about the destructive side of sex. Sometimes sex isn't beautiful or loving, sometimes it's ugly and selfish. The fact that it feels good can confuse the matter a lot.

That's what I love about this story, that it shows a heartbreaking, horrible side of sex and love, because I totally believe Angela loves Edward. Unfortunately, I don't think he feels the same. People do stupid and horrendous things in the name of love. They humiliate themselves, hurt their friends, and cling to what they believe is love even when it's killing them.

Now, if that isn't Angst, I don't know what is.

This fic is like a high speed train headed toward a brick wall. You know it can’t end well, but you can’t get off (the train that is) even if you wanted to.

The chapters in The War is Over may be short, but damn do they pack a punch. Since the drabble craze has hit Twific, I’ve read loads of them. While I think drabble writing has great value as a writing exercise, it isn’t always the best format for the story an author wants to tell. Luckily for us, MariahajilE knew that drabbles would be just the right format for this angst-o-licious fic. I truly believe that this story would not be as intense as it is if it were told as ‘full-chaptered’ fic.

One of the reasons I think The War is Over is so suited for concise storytelling is because it really mimics Angela’s internal state. Her thoughts swirl through her head, choppy and jumping from one extreme to another. Despicable decision making or not, you can see how easy it was for her to get steamrolled by this situation. Here’s this boy she’s always been dazzled by, and he’s finally paying attention to her--even if it isn’t healthy attention. It’s easy to think that Angela should stop the affair, but let’s face it, teenagers and impulse control do not exactly go hand in hand. Her anguish really takes my breath away.

The drabble format also plays up the secret nature of their affair. Their fucks are quick and devoid of romance, because there is no romance between them. It’s all physical, even if Angela original dreams that they could somehow be more, despite the impossible situation. MariahajilE uses the short format to the story’s benefit; their sexual encounters are described very briefly. These two are having a LOT of sex, yet the sex chapters never repetitive because MariahajilE tells us just enough to make us jealous that we’re not the ones getting fucked by Edward Cullen, even as we judge Angela for allowing it to happen. Just look at this line from chapter 70; how can that not make your insides quiver?

But I stopped wondering when you fucked me so hard that afternoon that I was sore for over a day.

MariahajilE shares that she’s curious about reader reaction to a cheating fic where Edward is the irredeemable one, because as a fandom, folks seem to give Edward a free pass. I love that she’s chosen Angela as the narrator; it only gives us more to think about as we ponder the moral issues in the story. MariahajilE has given so much thought to each bit of the characterisations and plot.

As the other Pervs have said, this isn’t an easy fic to read, but then, this is a Team Angst pick. Every chapter packs a punch, and I’m often left breathless from an update. I know that there’s some serious heartache in Angela’s future; her bff Bella is bound to learn about her fuck-buddy relationship with Edward. I’m looking forward to seeing how Angela, Edward, and Bella all handle the fucked up situation they’re in, but most of all I’m looking forward to more thought provoking and hard hitting chapters.

This fic is ugly, painful, undeniably hot, and incredibly difficult to read. As much is to be expected with cheater-fic, but there’s something so screwed up and intriguing about the entire situation that it is impossible not to keep clicking through each chapter anxiously.

I’m hooked on this story because the characters are horribly flawed, but it’s the kind of thing that happens all the time. Cheating isn’t right or pretty, but Angela’s struggle is real. She’s not necessarily a bad person. She wants to do the right thing, but if you’ve ever felt that electric, maddening attraction to someone, you might be able to understand her inability to stay away. Not to mention that Edward doesn’t seem to be making any effort to stop their train to hell either. It’s difficult not to wonder what Edward is thinking and where his motivations lie. Is there something lacking with Bella? Is it all physical? Is he just an epic D-bag? The truth is, we may never hear his side.

All I know is that I can’t see this ending well. Situations like these normally end up with someone (or many) getting their hearts ripped out. Even if they do manage to break apart, this is the kind of thing that can stay with you for a lifetime. Still, I’m dying to know how big of a shitstorm this will turn out to be.