New Fic of the Week: 3/12/12

March 20, 2012

My Sweet Variable by LifeInTheSnow

Rating: M
Genre: Angst/Romance
Characters: Edward & Bella

Summary: He white-knuckles his pen, dragging a line of ink across the page. I can guess which passage he's marking: "All things truly wicked start from an innocence." Hemingway wouldn't have known about us. No one does. Teenage E/B, AH, quasi-dystopian.

Let’s set the stage shall we? On one side, we have Bella, the typical teenager. Likes to hang out with her friends, likes to look at boys, is kind of a nerd … after all she is the captain of the Mathletes, and worries about getting her French translations correct. On the other we have Edward … just your average skater boy with holes in his jeans, bored, and his screen saver is a picture of college co-eds with soaking wet white t-shirts. He’s the New Guy at school and the topic of all the hot gossip. Normal, everyday stuff, right? Wrong. This Edward and Bella are no normal teenagers … instead they have code names Phoenix for Bella and Big Bird for Edward and they are a part of a super-secret, lethal espionage squad.

In this quasi-dystopic environment LifeInTheSnow has created, Edward and Bella have been friends for years, though this is the first assignment they’ll be working together as partners. In their world of sat com’s, where parents are resources instead of mom and dad, and where knowing how to shoot a dart into a man’s carotid artery from a hundred feet away, they are all each other has.

"Do you remember our first weapons orientation?" 

I look up from my French-English dictionary. "Of course." 

"You were all skinned knees. So scrawny." He knocks my feet with his. 

I frown. "And you weren't? We were eleven." 

He rests his warm hand on my shin. "You didn't let me finish. I was going to say no one would have guessed you were such a natural with a pistol." 

"Mhmm. I don't see it as being a natural so much as paying careful attention. It's not like I can see targets the way you do." 

"No. But you control your piece. You stay calm." 

"I guess Charlie always taught me to have a healthy respect for guns. For how dangerous they are." He is fastidious about his service revolver. The first thing he does when he comes home from the museum every day is unload, lock, and store his gun. 

I start to page through my work again, but Edward's comments have started the wheels turning now. I glance up at his face to find him watching me. 

"That's not really what you remember about that weekend, is it?" 

He smiles sadly and shakes his head. He's never told anyone that during our search-and-rescue simulation he came across me half-submerged in a pond behind a deadfall of trees. I was hiding. From the rescuers. From all of it. 

At the time, I'd tried to explain to him about the explosions triggering flashbacks to the fire that killed my mom, but he didn't want to hear any of it. He just waded in—fully clothed—and distracted me with stories about make-believe colonies of elves living in the mossy shadows of the branches. Elves are afraid of humans, he'd said. So they just pretend we're not real. It's easy.

I let myself rely on him so completely that day. If I hadn't been so exhausted and overwhelmed, if my defenses hadn't been down, I would have railed against it. But as it happened, it felt like comfort. It still does. It was like a part of me attached to him the way the arrow on my little gunmetal compass tied itself to the poles of the earth—invisibly, irrevocably.

LifeInTheSnow’s writing is impeccable as always. She has a way of weaving a tale and making the reader feel totally immersed in the story. There’s much going on in My Sweet Variable, and at only 5 chapters in, the story is just beginning. There are already clues, like little bread crumbs, hinting at lots of twists and turns to come.

Edward is complex, Bella is conflicted. The world they live in is not an easy one, but it’s one they must navigate together amidst growing feelings for one another. How will that work? Is it possible? My Sweet Variable is already shaping up to be a hell of a ride, jump on with me and see where it goes! I can’t wait!!


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