WIP of the Week: 11/15-11/21

November 15, 2010

Pressed For Time by Chele681 and Twanza
Reviewed by Domysticated

Rating: M
Characters: Edward/Bella

Summary: Is it possible to fall in love in five minutes? "He showed me what he was reading and, accidentally, I think he may have shown me his soul" BxE AH

“When you ask a child what he wants to be when he grows up, he never tells you that he wants to be an asshole. And yet, here I was, living the dream.”

These are the opening words of this amazing, complicated, challenging and infinitely satisfying fiction, and they gripped me right from the start.

And, boy, does Edward deliver on his opening statement! He is an asshole… although we have to take his word for it, as this story is told entirely from his own neurotic, self-deprecating, unflinchingly analytical point of view. He is far from perfect, and not particularly likeable (because he doesn’t particularly like himself), and yet the quiet desperation that emerges from his words instinctively inspires the reader to side with him.

We meet him as he goes through the motions of his life- work, relationships, family commitments- while at the same time bitterly berating himself for his stifling life and aborted creativity. It’s almost as if he’s created a perfect storm of dissatisfaction that simultaneously justifies his perceived sense of failure and gives him an excuse to avoid looking for his real self.

All this changes when, on a lunchtime trip to the local sex store, he impulsively decides to step into one of the slot-coin cubicles, and watch a girl behind a glass window. “The girl”, of course, is Bella, and what transpires between these two in the course of multiple, 5 minutes encounters, is so much more than their smoldering sexual attraction:

“He showed me what he was reading and, accidentally, he might have shown me his soul”

And so begins a complex, exhilarating relationship, conducted across different levels of reality and virtuality, and on many different levels: romantic, sexual, intellectual, and existential. Right from the start, there is a barrier between Edward and Bella, physical at first- the glass- but other barriers will be there once they meet in person, under surprising and unexpected circumstances.

As Edward’s reality slowly crumbles around him, his pursuit of Bella seems at first almost a pursuit of himself: after the explosive encounters of chapter 1, it isn’t until well into chapter 4 that the ever more abstract Bella (the girl? Bella? Isabella? Forbidden Fruit?) finally appears in the flesh. Even then, she remains mysterious and unattainable, for reasons that are both obvious (although in the interest of preserving your reading pleasure I will not give away any spoilers!) and still unclear. So intoxicating is Bella in this fiction that we are pulled in right alongside Edward into the mystery and complexity of her multifaceted persona, and the many, sometimes contradicting ways in which she expresses it.

“Who are you talking to? This me or the other me?” “They’re both me. Just so you know.”

Bella’s “voice” is all over this story, and yet, we, alongside Edward, are never sure whether it is real, whether it is hers, whether it is part of a game or an experiment.

“Sometimes I imagine that things are entirely other. I am easily seduced by possibility.”

Pressed for Time is many, many things: an incredibly sensual, sexy romance (so far, Edward and Bella have only kissed, and yet, and yet… they’ve done so much more!); a reflection on language, on identity, and on reality; an exceptionally well crafted and well written story by two intelligent, sensitive writers, who blend realism and lyricism in a masterful way.

It is also, in places, very funny and well-observed: some of the secondary characters (Emmet and Jasper, in particular- watch out for a memorable Rose!) are hilarious and provide regular comic relief; the dialogues are fantastic and every character has his or her own distinctive voice; the observations about workplace dynamics are sometimes so real they made me cringe (in a good way).

Most of all, this is a story that surprises you at every step- it never goes quite where you expect it to go. I know I haven’t made it justice, because I’ve tried to avoid spoiling it by giving anything that might take away from that delectable sense of surprise. But if you, like me, want your fics to be well written, challenging and unique as well as romantic and sexy, please go read this fiction now- you will not regret it.

“You are capturing me with color, saturating me with scent. I taste the powder against my tongue for a second before it finds the warmth and salt of your neck. I want to rub the color away from your mouth, and when my thumb arcs across it, dragging the yellow away, your lips plump back into place, defiant from being pushed. I want to lick away the remaining tint. I want to hold you in my arms among the pulsing crush of people. As more colors are splashed on our bodies – the crowd so thick and deep, so happy and joyous – they become an outward echo of my soul.

This is not the me, me, me of my every waking hour – it is how I disappear into you and how we evaporate into the world.

Yes I want to be transparent with you; yes, I want to be gloriously invisible.”


  1. Honorella said...:

    Love it. Why aren't more people reading this amazing fic?!!

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