Monday, February 6, 2012

Team Angst: The Lies We Tell Ourselves


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: The Lies We Tell Ourselves
Author: Ysar
Chapters: 72
Words: 30,715
Reviews: 1292
Summary: "The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we're afraid." The lie he told to protect her has had nine years to destroy her, and it's time to pick up the pieces.

When Nico suggested The Lies We Tell Ourselves for our Team Angst choice, it didn’t take very many chapters to see how heart-achy it is. It’s enough to make you feel like you’re the one with the gaping hole in your chest.

I was a little worried at first glance as the story was already at 65 chapters. Fortunately it’s a drabble story and reads very quickly. As I’ve said before, drabbles don’t work for every story, but they definitely work here and ramp up the anxiety from chapter to chapter. The chapters alternate between past and present, which also increases the tension in the story.

I haven’t read any other stories by Ysar, but I’m guessing she’s a master of intense angst. She uses the central canon idea of Edward making decisions for Bella, without her input, to twist the knife in both of their hearts, and of course, ours, too. Right now we mostly know of Edward’s anguish--at first his anguish of knowing he made the wrong choice, knowing that he lost the love of his life, and then later the anguish of seeing the hell that Bella’s life has become. We’re starting to learn about Bella’s anguish, as she and Edward start talking.

The Lies We Tell Ourselves is a story of contrasts--past and present, innocence and corruption, the sweet blush of first kisses and the ugliness of using sex to fill a hole in your heart, what could have been and what is. It’s also a story of mistakes and incorrect assumptions. But this is the Perv Pack’s Smut Shack, so I know you want to hear about sexytimes.

I release her wrist and bring my hand up to her face, the heel of my palm under her chin, my fingertips resting against her soft jaw line, and my thumb brushing over her cheek. I stepped forward, tilting her face up to mine and leaning in, breathing in the heavenly scent I've been lost in all night. My heart skips a beat as her eyes flutter shut. I gently touch my lips to hers, a part of me still expecting her to slap me. Instead I am nearly knocked backward as her body collides with mine, her hands snaking around my neck, her fingers tangling in my hair.  I can feel every curve of her pressed against me, every heartbeat pounding behind the soft breasts molded against my chest. My hands find their way to her hips, jerking her hard against me, pressing myself, aroused and fully erect, against her stomach. Her lips part in a sharp gasp and her eyes fly open in alarm.
They are so positively sweet! At this point in the story you can hardly guess how on earth they’ve been torn apart. College student Edward is utterly smitten with high school senior Bella, and is willing to face the intensity of Chief Swan to be with her. I won’t spoil their first time together; just know that with the alternating timeline the chapters take, you will be panting until you get to the next ‘past’ chapter. It’s really lovely, sweet writing, and such a heartbreaking contrast to the present.

With the amount of pain and heartache in The Lies We Tell Ourselves, it’s hard to imagine how Edward and Bella can heal themselves and one another. But I’m betting on Ysar to make it happen.

Sadness. There is so much sadness underlying in this story of regret. Edward had a decision he made that caused the picture perfect life he was leading to crumble around him, changing the lives of everyone this sweet couple knew.

I adore how the author uses the drabble form tell the story one chapter from now and one chapter from their beginning, alternating between their pain and some of their heart warming moments. As the reader, we get to see them fall in love as they find a way back to each other, the question is how much damage is done, and is there really anything left of those sweet kids that feel in love 10 years earlier? Edward is the narrator of our story, and he has such a strong character voice from self loathing to fiercely loyal. He’s complicated and layered, and Bella’s transformation as a character is mind boggling.

This is one of those “can’t put it down” stories. You crave to know more but each chapter brings you heartache and a pit in your gut at the damage that just one lie can create. The path Edward chose may have been the hard one, but it’s also fantastic watching him climb out of this abyss of pain and regret to fight for the girl he should have all those years ago. The question is will she let him? Is she too broken? I can’t wait find out the answer.


Having someone make a life altering decision for you is never a good idea especially when you don’t even realize it is being made for you. Edward made decisions that he thought were for the best, but by leaving everyone out of the loop, in the end just hurt everyone involved.

I love how this story lays their feelings out.  You feel Edward and Bella’s pain for different reasons but still both are hurting and you can really understand it. The flashbacks in the beginning of the story are so sweet and sensitive and touching and it makes the present that much more painful. How one decision can change so many lives years down the line.

The last chapter left us at a critical crossroads and I can’t wait to see where it leads them and the journey they will take to get there.

Misunderstandings suck. Lies of omission are even worse. But lies told under the guise of protecting someone hurt the worst. This is the situation facing Bella and Edward in The Lies We Tell Ourselves. Initially told from two timelines, we get a glimpse of what Edward and Bella were... and what they are now. This story is absolutely heartbreaking, and it all stems from the lie. The lie meant to protect.

I think what struck me most about this story was how visceral it feels. Edward’s agony over his decision - the initial break up - and the result of it - what Bella has become and the impact on his family - are so palpable. I felt myself cringing at the pain, the hurt, and the longing. There are so many examples of this, but this line in particular gutted me:
I don't think I'm going to try dating anymore. I'm still not over Bella, even after all these years away from her. I've certainly tried to take an interest in other women, but I always feel like there's something missing, and I've finally realized what it is. My heart.

And that’s just it. He’s never gotten over her; she’s never gotten over him. They are both lost. He’s lonely, and she’s on a path of self-destruction that has left her fiery and angry, bitter and alone.

When he first gets the chance to confront her, to explain, my heart was seriously in my throat. Jake, her best friend, her “everything,” stands guard over her, trying to protect her, and while there might be some romantic interest there, it doesn’t fully play out. Edward’s subsequent word vomit and then more and more would be comical if it wasn’t so damn tragic, but really, the part that kills is his inner thoughts.

She tastes of alcohol and shame. Or maybe that's me. I have no idea what I'm doing or why I thought this would be okay, but I'm done with running and hiding and wearing my guilt like a cross. I just know that I love her, and I think she still loves me, and I'm willing to give every one of the hundred years it will take me to make everything up to her.
Jen gave you a hint above about how good they were together, how sweet and playful like most new, loving relationships are.  One of the things that cracked me up was seeing Chief Swan go to great lengths to keep them on the up and up.  By the time they finally moved in together, they still hadn't done it.  Edward was determined to make it good instead of some quickie, and holy mother lovin' unf does he succeed.

Her body writhes beneath me, her breathing becoming soft panting, as her hands push against the back of my head and pull at my hair. In an instant, her entire body arches upward, my name in screams filling the room as her thighs grip my shoulders and her pussy clenches in tight spasms around my fingers. I slow my movements, waiting as her mind returns to her flushed body, and then I pull myself up to lie over her and settle between her thighs. If we're going to do this, it needs to be now, while her body's still fresh from her orgasm and ready.

Yeah. Take a minute. There's more where that came from.

There were four updates last night, all very welcome. It feels like we might be turning a corner, but it’s really just too soon to tell. If you want some heartichokey reading, this one’s definitely for you! Leave ysar some love, and tell her the Pervs sent you!