Hi! I could not resist the urge to take a quick peek at the other reviews for this chapter before I sat down to write mine. The first thing I'd like to say is
I TOLD YOU SO!
I told you readers were going to be gathering in the streets, lighting torches and sharpening pitch forks. I mean, sure, they were going to be happy that there was a new chapter, but oh, once they read it... Chaos, I say!
Anyhow, you've once again done a brilliant job of twisting us around your little finger and yanking the rug out from underneath us. Calling Gwen and James "impossible" is probably giving them too much credit, because if it was truly impossible then we'd stop agonizing over the two of them. It is possible, we all know it's possible. It just never happens! Grrr...
The kissing scene in the closet felt like an absolute triumph. Yes. Yes! YES! This is the moment we've been eagerly awaiting for the past 24 chapters. You captured "their" moment beautifully. All of the feelings and sensations and little sounds... just amazing writing.
AND THEN YOU DID IT TO US AGAIN!!!
It all gets awkward when Gwen can't quite forget about Joshua for long enough to lose herself in James. Did you read what I just wrote, Hanna? Do you really appreciate what it means for a guy who loathes romance novels and romantic movies to write a sentence like that? You're turning me into a soppy fool here!
Gwen does an impressive job of reeling herself back in. It felt like she and James were going down a path with no return for a while. But she's been down that path -- to a lesser extent -- before. Joshua is the future. He's good for her, right? So why does this feel so wrong?
James Sirius Potter is a big, wishy-washy scaredy cat. I think I can state that without hesitation at this point. I think he knew very well what he was doing and at the moment he should have spilled all of his feelings for her, he chickened out. Isn't there somebody in your story who can smack some sense into that boy? Again, grrr...
I really, really loved the little plot thread with the paintings. It cracked me up. They lead such a boring existence, I could easily see them being very nosy and gossipy.
Of course, Gwen does her own share of damage to James's confidence, which is apparently somewhere between plate glass and balsa wood in terms of its breakability. "About that – that didn't really – that didn't mean anything, did it?" Smooth, Gwen. Very smooth.
And then real life intrudes on what was meant to be the private discussion where these two finally confess their true feelings for one another. At least that was what I meant it to be. Apparently somebody else had different ideas. Yes, I'm talking about you. :p
Alex is rapidly becoming the most annoying human being in this story. He always seems to pop up at the worst possible moment.
At least they get a brief respite from the awkwardness, hanging out with the kids. Viola was really cute. Gwen had some pretty good advice for her.
Wow. I think the conversation between Gwen, Joshua and James was one of the most awkward you've written. Definitely from the reader's standpoint, and from Gwen's. Probably from James's, and very possibly from Joshua's, too.
"No, of course not," he interrupted and pulled me into a hug. But even that felt a bit forced. "I meant it, let's just forget that whole stupid thing, no need to make a bigger deal out of it when it didn't mean anything." -- I highlight this line mostly because I don't want to imply that Gwen has a monopoly on "smooth".
Wow, what a roller coaster of a chapter! The highs and lows were crazy. Someday when you look back at this completed story, I think you'll find that this was one of the most memorable chapters in the whole thing. Great job!