Lovely. Brilliantly written... But... What on Earth is Charlie so torn about??
Oh, Anna, dear buddy. If I were to give you a one-word review, it would simply say this: beautiful.
The title of this fic is what brought me to it, because I immediately thought of the Aerosmith song Don’t Want To Miss A Thing. I wonder if that is where you got the title, or if the song had any sort of help in inspiration for the fic? It’s a beautiful song, and as I read I have the lyrics open as well, and I think the mood of your story fits really well with the tone of the song. The song also really fits with the prompt, asleep, which was further reason for me to make the connection. Whether that was purposeful or a happy accident, however, I think it worked out really well in your favor, my dear.
Your descriptions are so vivid, and they add so much to the story. From the very beginning, I’m drawn in by your description of the house and his surroundings, and by Charlie’s reactions to them all. Then going through the tour of the house, something that can sometimes come out trivial, boring, or unnecessary was not so here. As I was reading I got the distinct feeling that there was something more there, and I think that all comes from your descriptions and the dynamics between your characters.
Then, we reach Lucas’ bedroom. Before I get to the description of that, though, I just have to say that I liked the fact that there seemed to be a sudden shift in the air, like something had finally clicked before he runs off to his room. I loved the hesitancy in Lucas when he shows his living quarters to Charlie. That entire scene, description and characters, just ached with beauty.
The interaction of your characters really is exquisite, Anna. I think that is the strongest, and my favorite, aspect of this fic. It never wavers and it never disappoints. In the beginning, there is a wonderful tension between Lucas and Charlie that the reader just feels - you never outright say it, as some authors often to, but you are able to portray it through your characters. You don’t tell, you show, and through your show you make the reader feel as your characters do. Charlie’s emotions were so well-written through the entire story; you used to few words to actually convey your meanings, and yet, they were so large and so real, so raw. That is skill, my dear, pure skill. Throughout the tour that Lucas was giving, I could feel it, and then it was further exemplified by the brush of their hands and the reaction that followed. It is such a simple thing, both the action itself and the action in terms of the story, but it spoke so much to the characters and to me as the reader. It was absolutely breathtaking.
Then into the change of scene and the passing of time, yet still the beauty of your characters and their interactions does not falter, but continues new and strong. I loved the way the Lucas could sense Charlie’s every emotion because it gave them an even deeper connection. I think my favorite scene, of this part at least, was Charlie watching him sleep. It is something that lovers often do, and that writers often utilize, but the way you wrote it felt unlike any other time I had read a similar situation. You really have brought out their emotions so well and so wonderfully; I was literally in awe as I was reading that scene. I wish I could pull out a quote to better show you what I mean, but then I’d be taking out whole paragraphs because there simply isn’t just one line that could sum up the beauty of that scene.
I’ll stop gushing about those two, I think. Suffice to say, you write the two of them beautifully; they just fit so perfectly together that I really can’t do anything but love the love between them.
The end was absolute, bittersweet bliss. At this point I knew it wouldn’t last forever, but I couldn’t help but wish it could. Yet still, even as I read that last line, I wasn’t unhappy. You wrote the ending amazingly and it left the reader on the perfect, bittersweet note. I don’t think you could have ended it any better, honestly.
I am so glad we were buddies, dear Anna, because it finally gave me a proper excuse to read this. I am so, so glad I did. Really, really well done, dear.
very good but I think you should decribe the scenery more accuratly
well done though
Starting with the opening paragraph, paragraphs even, just – you write so exquisitely. Your words just fit: "dappled afternoon light", "Instead, well-trimmed ivy climbed up the first story and half of the second, leaving the pale stone of the third exposed," and the fact that Charlie did not simply walk up the steps, but the seven steps. Such simple, apparently ordinary statements, but somehow original, in the sense they sound like apt descriptions of a real time and place so that, even the briefest phrases in their simplicity, I doubt anyone has ever written them anywhere before. Also, as someone who is accustomed to your writing, there is something inexplicably distinctive of the tone that makes it feel warm and familiar.
Travelling along the same line of comments, much of the beginning of this story focuses on a description of Merridown, something I might find tedious in another story by another author (not just referring to fan-fiction here.) But, Charlie's admiration of the "house", the interplay between Lucas and Charlie, and the characterization of the house itself makes it far more than an exhaustive, flowery description of the setting. Merridown reveals a great deal about Lucas' character, which is helpful to new readers, and enriching to us seasoned ones ;)
The tour also creates an underlying tension. Maybe it's just me, but – no, it's definitely there. There's a sense that Lucas is upholding a sense of propriety because neither of he nor Charlie are quite sure how to approach the confusing nature of their relationship. Showing Charlie around and commenting on the different rooms gives him something to do and say, so that they don't simply get stuck standing in an awkward silence, deciding whether or not to mention the fact they both are fully aware Lucas is alert to every heart flutter Charlie experiences. The tour gives them a specific topic of conversation that isn't in danger of quickly dissolving, and it creates opportunities for them to be friendly (I mean, in a platonic, joking way.) So, it creates comfort, breaks any ice, and gives them both time to figure out what the other is feeling. (Though, Charlie is at a very unfair disadvantage, I must say. But it gives Lucas the opportunity to decide the right way to advance towards Charlie.)
And, while Merridown is not exactly Jay Gatsby's mansion, the descriptions are never dry, but always full of unexpected and significant details. The "reluctant" door of the ballroom, for instance.
Charlie looked away from the dark corridor and turned his eyes to Lucas instead. He could tell that his friend was trying hard to sound casual, to pretend that his grief had passed. But Charlie knew better. He also knew that Lucas would feel his sympathy even if he didn’t voice it, but wanting to emphasise it, he took hold of his hand and squeezed it briefly. Before letting go, Charlie stroked his thumb over the slender, beautiful fingers.
I have to quote this paragraph simply because it is so achingly beautiful. Among the things I like about it is how it indicates the intimacy of their relationship, that Charlie has knowledge and understanding of Lucas. It also is a very smooth way of introducing/reminding the readers of Lucas' ability and Charlie's awareness of it. The last part is just - guh - as I said, beautiful.
Followed by Lucas abruptly making a run for the wing in which he, and his bed, reside? I can just see the decision snapping into place in his mind. Hee.
I loved reading the description of Lucas' quarters. It's interesting that they are so open, when Lucas – around others – seems, or rather is so closed. But I think it’s a wonderful layer of his character, that he can be such an open person, and that – by letting Charlie into this light, open place that is personal space, he is opening up to Charlie. And, then how comfortable and "relaxed" Charlie is once he's there. I suspect you wrote that all on purpose, dear. If not, it must be your Accidental Genius playing up again.
And, the bit where Charlie mumbles into Lucas' neck – it's possibly more breathtaking than the kiss itself. It's just – so real. I find physical intimacy in an unfamiliar situation tends to happen with some kind of touch or graze or embrace, rather than that "gazing into one another's eyes as you slowly lean into a kiss" scenario that always seems to occur in fiction.
Affection, so intense that his heart ached with it, rushed through Charlie at the sight, and he saw how Lucas’ eyelids fluttered; even when unconscious, the blond man reacted to the feelings of his lover.
I think this is my favourite-ever instance of Lucas' ability. It's just so beautiful. And I loved the use of the word "lover". Charlie and Lucas are such a perfect expression of that term.
The rest of the final scene, I don't know if I can find words to describe how I feel about it. The dynamic between Charlie and Lucas is, well, as I said, they are an expression of the term "lovers". Not necessarily going to the alter to pledge their love 'til death do they part, but full of love, passion and intimacy, and appreciative of the time they spend together. Even the feeling of the scene, without the dialogue, expresses that. The dialogue emphasises it; it also makes it tangibly painful because – why exactly will Charlie regret it forever? Sigh. What happened to love is all you need.
I know that's not what it's about. I'll stop complaining. You depicted wonderfully the idea of savouring the moment and enjoying happiness while it lasts, and the aspect of Charlie's departure just makes the entire story more tangible and real, and even if it is somewhat painful, I feel it's preferable to a fluffy-happy-ever-after.
Yes, this review is empty of criticism; I see no need to go out of my way to suggest improvements when I feel there is no need for any. (Also, if I felt there was need, I probably should have mentioned it while betaing, yes?)
Awesome! You write better than I do at my best. I love the way you described the feelings and the "more than friends" aura of it. Great story and I hope to see more of you in the future.