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for Maybe a Dance

6/10/2023 c26 Renee Aubin
And Laurent babbles on, re waiting for “Angie” to see a photo of the engagement ring:
“…I live two blocks away from the wicked witch of the valley and I want to have my window open to hear her screech.”
You know, with four years of Edward/Angela history to catch up on, Laurent might be an excellent place to start. At the very least, Edward might be more forthcoming knowing Laurent is just waiting to spill ALL the beans.

“Twatgoblin”? That’s a new one to me! I like this too, before Edward hangs up: ‘the two men shared a rainbow of compound insults’.

Bella’s timing is perfect when she drops this line: "Ten months is a long time to wait to fake-date your crush."

I was surprised, though, that Bella doesn’t remember it this way:
"Baby, we couldn't stop talking to each other at least half a dozen times after my class was over. We ran into the next class every single time."
She said her brain was overloaded with ‘submitting articles and writing my thesis’. I suppose she had also done the equivalent of “friend-zoning” her lecturer. And sometimes if you’re just not looking, you don’t see!

This sure seems true, when she says if he’d have asked, she’d have gone out with him:
“Even if I never really thought much about you, it's flattering to be asked out, and... honestly, one evening with you and I would've been a goner.”

OK, so with each new story you reveal depth of knowledge in some totally unrelated new area – Alaskan survivalism, ballroom dance, indie filmmaking, and let’s not forget the marshal/spy guy in Emma Matthews. Surely your life has not immersed you in all these wildly different worlds – you must be a tireless researcher! You seem to have a gift for inhabiting all these worlds from the inside out. Lucky for your readers!

I enjoyed Alice’s reaction to seeing them practicing:
"Holy shit you guys. I don't know if I feel dirty, or turned on, or dirty for being turned on. I don't know if you should be allowed to dance in public, it's like... it's like... porn."
It’s supposed to be!

Smile, re accidentally revealing his tattoos to Alice:
"I've trained myself not to roll up my sleeves around others, but... my brain malfunctions around you."

The “not until you” conversation was delightful.

Lovely: ‘It was a wonder to watch Edward come, it felt erotic and hot but also... beautiful.’ As it should be.

Oh, no, Alice messes up (again), posting video of them dancing and tagging his university account.
‘It was a video so loaded with new information—his engagement, and one to a former student, his ability to dance, and his tattoos—it was no wonder it went viral in the night.’
Apparently when Alice makes a mistake, she super-sizes it.

Edward does a good job finding the most practical, adult response, rather than panic and fury:
“…I don't know what the new followers expect of me but I will definitely science them to death."

Another road nearly taken, that would have changed everything:
"I almost asked you to be my supervisor."

"I would've done it," he said. "But how quickly would we have ended up in bed together?"
6/4/2023 c25 Renee Aubin
Ha, ha, Jake’s reaction to Bella being with Edward:
"The moody jackass who always yelled at us when we were kids is your boyfriend?"

What’s not funny is Bella’s discomfort at being “unsupervised” with Jake.

Jake’s news about his girlfriend, though, is encouraging:
‘… the way he admitted it, it was like he was sharing something he cherished, and when their eyes met, Bella smiled.’
Finally, he grew up some. He also has good empathy, having dealt with Billy's death, about how hard it must have been for Bella when Charlie died, without other family to help.

Sounds like this burden is lifted now: ‘…she always visited Chilliwack with a feeling of apprehension and heaviness, scared that she'd bump into Jake and he'd remind her how old their kid would be by now, feeling the guilt of not feeling guilty…’ Ugh, I never thought of that.

A weird, but understandable, observation from Jake:
“I think Payton has this fear that if I ever saw you all the old stuff would resurface but..." Jake paused. "Nothing. It's like talking to a chair."

Well, like canon Edward, your Edward overreacts to Bella’s conversation with Jake… but in the opposite way!
"I can't fight... whatever you have. You have a heavy history, and I've only had... four days with you. It's not enough to get to, to—keep you."

And your Bella, also unlike canon Bella, keeps her response simple and rational.
Which works better than heated protestations of undying love based on their four-day relationship. In my book, though, she lets him suffer about five seconds too long!

Ha ha, their (and my!) worry that Jake might be Alice’s mystery man:
“It would be some Peruvian telenovela level stuff if my ex, because of whom I went through an abortion, had knocked up my childhood best friend who was unaware of the extent of our history, and we had to spend happy Christmas together.”

One of many, many yummy details: ‘He had such an attractive, manly presence to him, and she adored the way he pressed her tight against him before he kissed her.’

And here’s the Peruvian telenovela moment:
‘Two things happened at once—Esme came to see where Edward and Bella had disappeared for so long, and the front door opened, revealing a red-cheeked Alice, who closed the door behind her and misunderstood the look Esme was giving her.
"You told her?!" Alice accused. Bella and Edward had not yet had time to discuss how they'd handle covering for Alice, but it seemed like no further lying was needed.’

When returning the congratulatory calls re his promotion, it was fun to see the difference between Edward’s interaction with the “hierarchy” vs. his college friends. ‘…this man, Professor Cullen, had a wild, precious side of him she'd never seen, and the person he was around his friends was a wonder to witness.’ Sounds like some good times ahead when she gets to meet them. Now that she actually will.

Also impressive that he’s so good at networking, usually an extrovert quality. I guess I always start off believing any Edward is an introvert, and with this guy's history of fighting depression that wouldn’t be surprising, but at the very least this guy has learned some skills.

Excellent line from Laurent: "That's not fair. If this is the kind of girl a wanker like you can land in Canada I'm booking a flight."

Then during Bella's much-resisted (by Edward) conversation with Laurent,
‘…when she locked eyes with Edward, he peeked out from behind his fingers as if waiting for a death sentence.
"Holy shit are you telling me he never told you he had a massive crush on you?"’

Great way to end the chapter (or a season of a TV show).
6/3/2023 c24 Renee Aubin
review for chapters 21-24

Hard to believe! ‘It had been three days since she'd arrived at his basement. So much had happened, so many feelings had emerged, it felt surreal. Three days ago, she didn't have a clue what she was in for.’

Perfect, when she’s getting nervous about their dance,
‘He tilted her chin up and stepped against her, touching his forehead against hers. "It's just me," he whispered, wrapping her up in his arms and holding his mouth against her ear. "It's just me."’

Fun conversation about the trust required to do lifts. And ‘following him was by far the easiest dancing she'd ever done’.

‘"Do you think it's possible to fall in love with someone in three days?" she asked, forcing her voice to be steady.
"No," Edward replied. ...
"Not until I met you," he whispered.’

My total Latin dance experience is watching Dancing with the Stars. But I’ve wondered how often these sexy, intimate dances result in the kind of erotic explosion E&B are experiencing!

Fun, when Carlisle walks in on their, uh, dance practice:
"Who needs to be able to look their dad in the eye, anyway?"
Bella laughed.
"On another note, that was pretty convincing."

Your “explicit content” was delicious! Fabulous! Including the dirty talk, and the just plain honest communication talk. Some favorite lines:

‘Foreplay with him was hotter than any sex she'd had.’

“I may have reached nirvana there, so I don't think disappointment is in the cards."

"Baby, don't let the things I say convince you to do something you're not comfortable with. I only say them because... for years, talking dirty was the only way I could bring myself to orgasm.”

"I thought I knew my favourite position but I guess I was wrong," she said.
"No," she whispered. "Professor Cullen."

‘He was everything she didn't know she needed, and the possibility of a life together with him filled her with giddiness. To come home to a man like him, every day? Surely it was too much to hope for.’

Vivid contrast between Angela – four years and nothing but doubt – and a few days with Bella.

Wow: "I wish I wouldn't have to tell you this but the only thing worse than losing you now, before we even began, would be to lose you three or four or five years from now, when it's messy and, and we have—"

His honesty about the possibility of having to go back on SSRIs, and the effect on their sex life, was heartbreaking.
“…there's a subreddit for it, dead bedrooms. Go there. Go see those stories. Read them. They are—endless misery."

Yes: ‘He was incredibly brave and vulnerable, putting that stuff out there so soon, doing the right thing, and she was so proud of him and yet terrified of the conversation they were about to have.’

Bella was brave, too, asking for the clarification she needed.
‘“If [Angela’s] excuse to you was that she didn't like it that you couldn't come, especially with you being eager and willing to do other stuff, then... I'm sorry, but I call bullshit."
Edward looked at Bella like he'd never seen her before…’
I bet! How refreshing for him to get a new perspective.

Terrific: “I wish Charlie was still here so I could ask him how he raised you to be so brave."

The best line of the story so far: "Your cock is not nearly the best part of having sex with you."
Mike drop!

Wonderful: ‘She was in a poem, feeling the words that always felt stupid and flowery and made no sense, and she was in them.’

This is the bottom line for them, isn’t it? I love that he keeps coming back to it until he’s sure she understands the risks they might face.
"But if there is an issue, could you live with it?"
"Yes," she confirmed. "Of course I can live with it. Edward, I know couples who've been together for decades whose communication has nothing on us. If I can't make it work with you, I'm not sure I can make it work with anyone."

A fun conversation about his white roots growing out:
"I love the white."
Edward searched her eyes. "You don't have to say that."
"I know. And my opinion doesn't matter anyway."
Just like she told him his opinion about whether she should wear makeup is irrelevant!

“…how about we put some moisturizer on and head downstairs?"
"Not clothes?"
"No, moisturizer is mandatory. Clothes are optional."

Definitely laughing out loud: "I'll never forgive myself if I propose to you with my cock in your mouth."

A good strategy: "From now on, if I say something that you can interpret in two ways, please always assume I mean the version that doesn't give you a heart attack, hmm?"
In their precarious situation, they’ve both had a few unnecessary panic attacks from incompletely worded comments.

Geez, they’re in this incredible bubble, but life goes on. Alice’s pregnancy, which she asks Bella to cover for!
‘…even though Bella knew adult Alice very little, her eyes said, I will explain, and Bella's said, You'd better.’

And then Jake shows up at the door. Please tell me he has nothing to do with Alice's baby...
6/3/2023 c20 Renee Aubin
This review covers chapters 13-20.

Wow, Esme re having some celebratory champagne:
"What's it going to do, give me more cancer?" Esme asked, standing up to reach for her glass, and it felt like the air was sucked out of the room. Sitting back down, Esme raised her glass. "I know, I know. Not today. Change of topic, quickly. Before I die."
"Not funny, mom," Alice said.
"I'm finding it quite amusing myself."

This was quite a conversation after Alice’s dig that Edward would not be dating Bella if she was still fat. And it isn’t just Edward who defends her:
"And we may have discovered why Alice will die alone," Esme said.
"Mom! You said I wouldn't!"
"I changed my mind," Esme replied. "I think a bit of identity crisis and self-reflection may be needed before you should be allowed to talk to people."

Bella’s reflections on being with the Cullens:
‘Bella didn't know how she'd go back to Christmas alone in the dorm... Maybe she could stay friends with Edward and visit the Cullens, too, if nothing developed or worked out between them. But then, she'd have to see him bring someone else home, and the thought pierced like a knife through her heart.’

Such good words:
‘The side of him that she'd seen as her serious lecturer Mr. Cullen had become so enmeshed with the sweet, teasing Edward in her arms, she didn't know where one ended and the other begun. She didn't know when his every touch had begun to set her on fire, or how to prevent herself from falling further.’

Certainly seems true:
"I could never have done this with with anyone else," he replied. "I thought all I needed was just anyone convincing enough, but your history with us, your history with my mom, your history with me – it had to be you.”

Well described: "My social battery is quite drained. I love spending time with your family, but I'm not used to being on quite so much."

We’re already bleeding into arrangements well beyond the planned self-destruction of their fake relationship:
"Tell you what, … if I have to move out of my dorm before I find a job and a place to stay, you let me stay on your couch." …
"Be serious for a moment. You have nowhere to go?"

Oh my gosh!
"When Bella was born, she barely slept during the whole summer – certainly worse than either of you when you were small – and Renee and Charlie could not figure out how to make her sleep. One evening, we were out in the garden, and I gave Alice for Charlie to hold and we set up Edward to hold Bella, and she went from screaming bloody murder to smacking her lips and falling asleep."
Charlie called Edward “the Bella whisperer”, which Edward remembers.

Ha ha, she falls asleep getting dressed for bed.
‘Cursing, he wiped his face. The blueprint of her shape was burned into his retinas, and he loved every curve of her – as did his cock.’

His “cold (but hot) shower” – ‘…grateful beyond words that release was even possible now that he was no longer on SSRIs…’
I can’t imagine how toxic that must be for a man from 19-30. The SSRIs must have been utterly essential in order for him to make that sacrifice.

So Bella isn’t the only one who is amazed how he affects her:
‘…they had chemistry beyond anything he'd imagined a relationship could have, and they weren't even dating. He could barely comprehend the depth of their connection...’
Wonderful reflections on her personal maturity, too.

Smile: ‘If he had to jerk off four times a night to be able to handle her proximity, he at least wanted to get spooning out of it.’

Huh, I never thought about the need to shave body areas with extensive tattoos, to show them at their best.

What a great job he did helping her calm down before her third-round job interview.
This is terrific: "I stand by what I've said before," he whispered… "I think it's time for you to start dating men."

Excellent, re Edward’s food-sharing issues:
"You didn't even share food with your ex. We thought it was a lost cause."
"You can say her name, mom. She's not Voldemort."
"I don't know," Carlisle said. "Voldemort would've been happy to recruit her."

Another important way he came to her defense, explaining to his parents that “she wasn’t doing anything wrong” in her job search.

Wow, the kind of support everybody needs:
"I know you're used to being alone, but you have me now. I told you, I'm going to support you. Looking for a job is a full-time job... Take your time."

Clever! ‘The Cullen family did not do Christmas presents—instead, … the person you got was the person with whom you had to do an activity together…’
Especially nice that the tradition crossed over to include the Swans.

I enjoyed this, when she discovers she’s been wearing his underwear:
‘Still avoiding his eyes, she lay down on the carpet next to his bed, face-first against it, and stayed still.
Edward laughed.
"What are you doing?"
"Just one moment," Bella replied, her voice muffled. "The ground is about to swallow me whole. Just give it a second."’
Has she not peed since she woke up?

She watches him (OK, drools over him) while he’s on his work Zoom call.
‘It was such a small moment, minuscule in the grand scheme of things, and yet it showed her what life, a casual, normal life would look like with Edward, and she felt giddy and taken aback by how sharing a life with him was something she never knew she wanted.’

Oh my, for her activity with Bella, Esme wants to go wedding dress shopping. That’s a little awkward!
But yikes, how can she say no? “I will never—I will not have the chance to do this with Alice but it would mean the world to me to do this with you.”

Perfect, Edward to Esme:
"I almost feel like... if this is what being in love is supposed to feel like, I don't think I've ever been in love before."

Esme’s right to worry about long-term damage:
"It's a bit alien to take someone at their word after—after my ex and Stanković. I'm not used to it."
"You'd better get used to it, honey. You deserve kindness in your life, and I hope your ex didn't do so much damage that you'd consider sabotaging your relationship just because you're used to toxic people.”

Sniffle: ‘He did not know how anyone could handle two such different and intense emotions at the same time. How do you prepare to grieve your mother while falling in love?’

Stunning, Esme’s good news! It’s chilling that if they hadn’t decided on a second opinion, they’d still be waiting for her to die.

Bella wonders if this puts an end to their charade. Good for her:
‘But she didn't intend to presume anything about what Edward wanted, and she was determined to put her wishes out there before he had the opportunity to assume that she wanted to leave.’

Good news #2, Edward gets an assistant professorship, on the tenure track. It’s cute that Bella now feels a little intimidated by him.
6/3/2023 c12 Renee Aubin
Hello, Anton. I read and loved this story, but I don't usually write chapter-by-chapter reviews for wildly popular ones. So I thought I would just speed through and pick out a few favorite lines and write one review at the last chapter... Silly me. There were sooo many good plot points and character developments and luscious writing... so I compromised and collected my thoughts from several chapters together. This one is for chapters 1-12.

A solid setup for the fake fiancée trope, especially since Bella has known Esme for a long time and was very fond of her. Funny that neither of them recognized each other for a while. Huh, and it turns out they haven’t seen each other since Edward left Chilliwack for college, more than half of Bella’s lifetime ago.

Edward: "My brain is trying to match the image of Alice's best friend and you and I keep getting an error."

Smile, an early video call:
‘Nothing could've prepared her for what his camera showed.
Edward hung, upside down, on a bar. She couldn't tell if he was in shorts or boxer-briefs, but his torso and arms were uncovered. He was fit, and his black-and-white tattoo sleeves reached his torso in an artistic but indecipherable pattern.’
So not nearly as clipped and correct as he seemed as a lecturer. And Esme doesn’t know about the tattoos.

It was so interesting to watch them get acquainted with the details of each other’s lives, things a fiancé would know. They have such a short time, too.

It’s delightful how easily they interact:
“…I never expected that getting along with you would be so easy. Christ, this is probably the single longest conversation I've had in years and… it's so easy.”

Later Bella says, “Honestly, this kind of effortless interaction is exactly the type of stuff that will convince your family we're for real.”

Clever, re Angela: "Unfortunately, when you're looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses, all the red flags are just… flags."
I've heard lots of good things about Bojack Horseman ... I'll have to check it out.

All sorts of unexpected insights into the world of PhDs and their struggles. The academic world isn't much like we imagine it to be.

I loved the plot line that Edward struggled with depression, and the SSRIs he took (since age 19!) messed with his sex life.

More good dialog: ‘"Can I ask what made you decide to quit them? Or is that too personal?"
Even better – a psilocybin study!
“So far, whatever it did to my brain, the change is still there. … My next aim to recreate it with meditation, but that could take years."

Nice: ‘"It's a little bit strange, still," she admitted. "All the way here, I thought… okay, do I shake your hand? That's a bit formal, now. Do I hug you? Is that too informal? I'm not sure –"
Edward embraced her, holding her against him, and she sniffed his shirt as he breathed against her ear. She sunk against him.’

Hilarious that Edward was Bella’s first kiss, when they were 5 and 10.

I was stunned (but Edward didn’t show it if he was) that Bella had an abortion when she was 17. So true: you don’t “see it being shown in TV or movies as this small thing that happens and then you move on. It always becomes this defining moment or moral dilemma that lasts for several episodes or even an entire season and then the character is never the same. It's like the entire world is out there to remind you that you're supposed to drown in your guilt forever and you couldn't possibly live without second-guessing the decision you made."
And Esme! “…your mother knows. She's the one who drove me to Vancouver."

OMG Angela: “I started using condoms again after that pregnancy scare even though she was on the pill, and… I caught her poking holes in them last November."

Nice: ‘She barely knew Edward, this adult version of him, and yet he was silly and charming and attractive beyond the ever-professional lecturer she saw at the university.’

And re dancing together: "We're like two blushing teenagers dancing around each other. I'm not blaming you – I'm the same. It's too new and we don't know each other very well. We need to get some of that out of our system before Chilliwack."

A good peek into years ago, re the dance studio: ‘…when Edward got his licence, he often got stuck with driving Bella back home. Scared of his moodiness, Bella rarely said a word and he did not initiate conversation unless spoken to.’

And now: ‘She'd had attractive partners before … but she'd never been wholly attracted to her partner. She couldn't compartmentalize Edward into a box where intimacy became impersonal ...’

Interesting: “You have that dancer's confidence and posture when you move. Maybe people who haven't danced can't tell, but it is obvious if you have."

The haircut was fun. "You know, people might actually believe we're dating, now that I look like this." And the skin care negotiation.

Bella sleeps in her dad’s old polo shirt, and Edward makes a discovery: "You might want to consider wearing underwear for the night unless you want to wake up with my cock buried inside you." Yikes. Can’t get much more direct than that!

"Not that I'm complaining, but why kiss with nobody around?"
"As I said, practicing." He grinned. "Because right now you look like we've never kissed before."

I have to admit to being a bit rattled by their frequent scenes enjoying the snow. I suppose that’s a northern thing. I grew up in central California, where the snow was far off in the mountains where it belonged! I could appreciate how beautiful the scenery must be, but had no wish to be there with them.

Alice’s greeting to Edward when she recognizes Bella and realizes they are “together together”.
"What the fuck happened to your face? And your hair! Oh my God your hair! You almost look – you almost look good. How did that happen?!"

And Esme’s reaction: "I always hoped Edward would find someone worth bringing home but that it would be you – is some kind of wonderful.”
Exactly what Edward had hoped to accomplish.

Fun family interaction, getting the story of how they got together.

Sweet: ‘Bella felt a rush of emotions. She didn't have people in her life who remembered her dad fondly, and it was such a lovely experience to hear others reminisce about the man she'd lost.’
6/1/2023 c36 Patty T
Adorable historia, gracias por tu creatividad y compartir
5/24/2023 c36 EeWee
Beautiful story.
5/14/2023 c36 2Pa Trizia 88
Thank you (string of hearts)
Now I need some more things "scheduled for Friday" to keep floating on that cloud you've put me on...I don't want to face the world yet...xoxo
5/13/2023 c34 Pa Trizia 88
Lovely, sweet, funny, fluffy, sexy - but no tooth ache in sight! Just how I love it!
5/13/2023 c31 Pa Trizia 88
I'm sorry I don't find many words for giving you reviews for this beautiful story - just want to assure you of the pleasure it gives me while reading, sending me to this fluffy place on a pink cloud, angstfree and enjoyable and even arousing and satisfying, that I don't want to come down and out of. It's equal parts wonderful and bittersweet, as there's no way I will meet this kind of man, ever, in my lifetime. But thanks to your words - in any of your stories - you're giving me the pleasure to disappear in your creatively crafted worlds and making me happy! Your imagination gives me joy and puts smiles on my face, regularly! Thank yoy...xoxo
5/7/2023 c9 1Elvire23
This story is beautifully written; I love their chemistry.
5/3/2023 c10 MarisaWrites
I do the shivering thing too, but not really in response to being nervous. Maybe boredom? It's pretty random when it happens. Have I mentioned I love this story?
4/15/2023 c34 Dazzlingsparkle
Totally loved it! Favvvvv
4/15/2023 c29 Dazzlingsparkle
I hate alice
4/15/2023 c29 Dazzlingsparkle
She is so selfless
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