Sunday, October 28, 2012

Advocated! "Bluebird" by @meliz875

"Bluebird" by meliz875
Embry & Bella, Hurt/Comfort, Angst, AU-NM, MA/NC-17, WIP
Summary: Bella and Jacob are together but an unforeseen tragedy rips them apart and Jacob leaves La Push. In his absence, Bella befriends and is comforted by the person she least expects. Will Jacob return? Can Bella imagine her life with someone she never considered a choice? Some Bella/Jacob. *Nominated for two JBNP Awards and one Emerging Swan Award*

How the hell does a broken heart
Get back together when it's torn apart
Teach itself to start beating again

— Bluebird by Christina Perri

In a world where vampires are more than campfire tales and werewolves prowl the forest after dark, meliz875 weaves a stunningly realistic tale of resiliency of the human heart, showing us how much the fantastical doesn't matter when there are emotions on the line. With a an entrancing tone, she creates a poignant image of grief and redemption; she makes you fall in love, just so she can tear your heart apart and sew it back together again.

Most love triangles are not equilateral. One side, from the very beginning is the clear winner. In the first chapter of "Bluebird," we're shown a beautiful scene of Jake and Bella, of Jake and his two best friends, his brothers, and of his proud father who loves them all. It's set so realistically, the picture painted so vividly, that I found myself checking the pairing listed at the top. And then, she rips that perfect little world apart, one instance causing ripples to ring out and change the world for them all.

I kept looking at the hallway out of the corner of my eye, half-expecting Billy to come wheeling around the corner any second and ask me what was for dinner, just as he had that morning before breakfast. It took me a fraction of a moment to realize it wasn't going to happen. My stomach tightened, the tears resurfaced, and I swallowed the thick lump in my throat.

My mind was again bombarded with memories, good and bad. The memories had led me to this place in my life, the spot I was standing in right now.

I remembered flashes of the past year. I recalled the night in March, almost 15 months ago. It was the night Harry Clearwater died, the last time any of the Quileutes had come face to face with death. Jacob and the other members of the pack were hunting a sadistic vampire that wanted me dead. Jacob had stopped by my house in Forks to check on me and seek some solace for himself as the news of Harry's death was hard to bear for the entire pack.

I was standing in my kitchen against the sink when he kissed me for the first time, asking me to stay with him forever.

It wasn't long after that night I realized I needed Jacob in my life as more than my friend. He was my air, my sun. He stitched me up, stopped the bleeding when Edward Cullen and his family disappeared without a trace the previous September. Our relationship was easy and with him, we completed one another without even trying. I could be myself with him and he accepted every little piece of me, even the broken ones.

Today, the hole in my chest was long gone, a distant memory that rarely, if ever, appeared. While there was still a tiny sliver of my heart that would never return to me, the crack left behind was completely sealed and what was left wholly belonged to Jacob.

From the very beginning, even when the story is solidly in Team Jacob mode, she makes sure the reader is aware of Embry. He's one of Jacob's best friends, part of his family, and Bella, although not in any way that could be considered romantic, notices him. In the wake of his father's death, Jake retreats from Bella and everyone, even before he's gone physically. And again and again, there's Embry, someone to hold her together when her sun is missing. The groundwork is set so well, that when Embry becomes the person Bella leans on after Jacob takes off, in a heart wrenching attempt to outrun his grief, it makes perfect sense.

His smile drew a small one out of me but as expected, it quickly faded. It didn't seem appropriate to smile and I couldn't justify keeping one on my face for longer than a fleeting moment. Automatically, my eyes averted Embry's as I asked him one last question. "So will it get better? Will he get better? Or do I have to keep my hand over my nose for the rest of my life?"

Embry managed a smile laced with amusement and sympathy. "We're still best friends, aren't we?"

Nodding, I threw a glance at the house, wondering silently where my father was. Then, without really having a reason why, I looked up at the sky. It had stopped raining but the expanse of it was black and desolate, and not a single star could be seen. Everything good about the night sky was missing, leaving it dark and empty. My chest tightened unbearably as I stared at the mourning heavens. Empty like me. Empty like Jacob.
I lingered for a moment before my gaze fell back to Embry. "I'm really gonna miss him."

Embry's face blurred as my eyes quickly filled with warm tears. Admitting it out loud, admitting Billy was really gone, I suddenly felt the weight of the day's events in combination with the overwhelming sadness I'd been fighting start to crush me. It was too much. I couldn't hold it in any longer and I let the grief swallow me as a loud cry escaped my throat.

Before I realized what was happening, I was pulled forward and two arms wrapped completely around my body, cocooning me in a comforting blanket of warmth. Sobs racked my body as every tear I'd held in, every cry I'd suppressed came out in a torrent of emotions. I clung desperately to Embry, burying my face in his chest and allowing him to hold me there, his hand gently stroking my hair as my tears left wet stains on shirt. It wasn't Embry who was supposed to comfort me, but I was grateful for it anyway.

I felt Embry rest his chin on my head. "I know, Bells. Me, too."

The story doesn't end here, of course; this is only the beginning. There's no imprint here, no moment of intense unrealized love slamming in out of left field. "Bluebird" is a slow building story, each step along the way feels real in a way that many stories are unable to achieve.

Written in a straight forward manner, the story delineates the action; it shows rather than tells the reader what to feel. But there are lines, bits of writing that slam the point home. These too begin early on. In chapter two, before Jake is gone, she finishes with a single line of inner monologue that not only shows so beautifully where Bella's head is at in the moment, but foreshadows what's to come.

As soon as Jake comes home — wherever he is — we will make it through this day.

One of the best things about fanfiction is the opportunity to build on the characterization. Meliz875 does this in a way that makes you fall in love with your favorite characters all over again and maybe develop a passion for ones who you never saw in quite that light before. Embry isn't the only person who's hurting from Jacob's actions, nor is he the only one who steps up in support of Bella. The wolf pack and her father stand solidly beside her during her difficult time, and so we, as the readers, don't become lost in the grief, moments of humor are interspersed. Some of the best coming from the goofy lovable Quil Ateara. The story reminds us that life is so rarely one note; there's laughter in times of sadness, and there's almost always a ray of sunshine waiting just behind the looming clouds.

When the romance begins to bloom, it’s more than worth the wait. Embry and Bella fit so naturally together here, that despite the angst, despite the valid reasons that they shouldn't be, they fall together like two pieces to the same puzzle. Their journey is written with heartfelt emotion and a wonderful sincerity.

In the moonlight, he was beautiful. It was like I'd never seen him until this moment.

I didn't have to move. Embry did it for me as he leaned forward, softly and hesitantly pressing his lips to mine. I should have pushed him away, but I didn't. I couldn't. My body felt like stone, forbidding me to budge a single inch. I remained stoic as Embry lingered, my lips refusing to bend or reciprocate.

However, it only took a second for Embry to invade my senses. His smell, the way his lips tasted sweet on mine, his mere presence – a presence I associated with comfort and happiness – had a small part of me wanting more.

And another small part of me wanted to feel him.

My heart leapt into my throat and my head was screaming as I found my lips pressing back.

I encourage you all to jump on board and fall in love with this well-written tale of love and angst, friendship and sorrow, hurt and comfort, choice, and grief and how it's capable of tearing us all apart only to put us back together again, in new and intriguing ways.

Can a relationship built in the shadow of Jacob Black survive? Read "Bluebird" to find out and leave meliz875 some love while you're at it.


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