Completed Fic of the Week: 9/10-9/16

September 11, 2010

Six Silent Goodbyes by VivaViva

Rating: T
Genre: Family/Hurt/Comfort
Characters: The Cullens

Summary: Bella never got a goodbye from each of the Cullens in New Moon... right? New Moon, canon

Like most card-carrying Team Edward members, New Moon is my least favorite book. The first time I read it, I tore through the Jake bits in six hours in sheer blind hope that Edward WOULD return, and that ALL the Cullen’s would return to Bella. New Moon still is a heartfail and a half for me. It’s the one book in the series I won’t read again cover-to cover. To be honest, if I do pick it up by chance, I just read the Italy bit.

So, when I was asked to do an alternate New Moon story, I was apprehensive. There’s hardly any Cullen-y goodness and it was bad enough reading the original. Until I heard about VivaViva’s Six Silent Goodbyes; an alternate New Moon story focusing on how the Cullen’s feel about leaving Bella after the birthday party fiasco. Jackpot! That’s exactly what I want to know!

Did anyone protest this decision? What about Alice? She would see all this play out in her mind of course, so how does she deal with the fact she is losing a future sister? How does Jasper feel? Is he guilt-ridden over the fact that he let his bloodlust affect him for a split-second, changing the course of his adoptive family’s fate and Bella’s future as well?

The story is short and a complete. It sucks you in from the first chapter which is Alice’s goodbye. The author does an incredible job of setting up each point of view. VivaViva describes the little nuances and details of a specific memory that each of the Cullen’s have about Bella. It puts the reader right in the memory and in the mind of the narrator.

You can also see how this decision affects Edward from the Cullen’s point of view. There’s a very bittersweet moment between a worried Jasper and a completely broken-hearted Edward in Jasper’s study. Get your box of Kleenex, girls!

“What he needs is Bella.”

“Edward let out a soft, keening whimper. He whirled around to face the door jam, resting his forehead on the frame and tangling his fingers into the bronze strands of his hair.”

We all know in the book, when Edward tells Bella goodbye, he is stoic and distant. But, it’s when he is around his family in this tale, the chinks in his armour show. The author is brilliant in giving us what the reader wants to see; the humanness of Edward and our favorite family of vegetarian vamps.

The chapters that really affected me were the Esme and Carlisle goodbyes. Esme, the eternal mother figure, becomes distressed at not being able to find a photograph of Bella. Of course, with her keen vampire mind, she doesn’t need a photo of Bella to remember her by. But she’s yearning to find a solid piece of evidence of a period in time when her disaffected son Edward was blissfully happy in his immortal life.

Edward explains to the family that Bella just doesn’t belong in their world. But Esme recounts a memory when Bella not only fit in their world, but enhanced it.

“If I was the heart of the Cullen family and Carlisle was the head, then Bella had the soul and she didn’t even realize it.”

I’m teary-eyed as I’m writing this. Esme’s account is the most riveting, and heartbreaking. She watches her grief-stricken son try to let go of his ‘reason for existing’ and he’s coming undone right before her very eyes. Her chapter emanates her motherly spirit and nurturing soul that is often taken for granted in Meyer’s books. For this chapter alone, you need to read this story.

Carlisle’s goodbye is soft-hearted and tender just like the kind doctor himself. He remembers a time when Bella and Edward were just “Bella and Edward”. Observing an intimate moment between the star-crossed lovers in a hospital exam room. He remembers a happy time when they just enjoyed being in love and together.

“When their gazes locked, I knew they were a million miles away. Even surrounded by the cold, impersonal aura of a hospital buzzing with chaos and sickness, they managed to light up a room.”

I’ve given you a taste of this story, but there’s plenty more amazing moments between this solid family. You walk away from this story knowing that even though it’s a family of vampires, they have incredibly strong bonds to each other like another family. They love, care and stick by one another- through thick and thin. Most importantly, they hope for the best, just like any other mom, dad or sibling would when one of their own is trying to do the right thing. In the end, even a vamp wants a happy ending. Fortunately, we all know what happens in the end.

Banner by JaimeArkin


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