Staceygirl's entry, “Unspoken,” landed in Elle's queue for validation first. We alternated (as best we could) validating ALL the entries that came in before shipping them off in anonymous gdocs to the judges. Often we'd read stories from each other’s queue, particularly if a pairing or summary caught our interest. Stacey's was Bella/Jasper so I knew I was going to have to read it, but before I got to it, Elle informed me that it made her sob like a baby (on her birthday, no less). I hate it when people make me sad (even when I love it), so I put off reading it for a while. Finally, I had one of those days where I really wanted to have my heart ripped out, and so I dove in.
Elle was right, it is sad as hell. But on top of that, it's also funny, sweet, cute, and touching. It's a story of missed opportunities, of bad timing, of "what could have been." As hard as it is to stomach that kind of emotional stuff sometimes, it's also the stuff that sticks with you the most, long after you've read it.
This is the story of Bella and Jasper, who meet in college and form a deep and meaningful friendship over long lines and very embarrassing cafeteria experience. It's the story of what happens when you hide your feelings, due to insecurity or uncertainty, and what impact that decision has on your whole life. It's a story about choices and the ambiguous line between what makes any choice the right or wrong one. It's like a Choose Your Own Adventure in which a wrong choice at the first fork in the story just leads the main character down a path from bad to worse. It's not all doom and gloom though; there is something to be learned from it all, and it will certainly leave you thinking long after you've read it.
The subject matter will hit close to home for some, but whether you have a similar story or not, there is no way you'll be able to read this and not empathize - not with the very real, very engaging way Stacey has written it. She's not wordy or manipulative. You never feel like she wants you to cry, but the character development is so rich and thorough that you find yourself naturally invested in the characters and their emotions. It's the kind of story that has you giggling, screaming at the screen, pulling your hair out and eventually weeping and just wanting to pull both Bella and Jasper to your bosom for a good hard snuggle. This story is most definitely worthy of every one of its votes. I thank Stacey for writing it, and I encourage you to check it out, if you haven't already.
Just don't forget the box of Kleenex.
Link to story: Unspoken by staceygirl aka jackbauer