Hey Taylor! Here for RvG POGs edition (Team Gold!) and for that one requested review from... last summer?! lol. My apologies for the lateness.
There's a lot to unpack in this chapter. Funny how alcohol escalates inner turmoil, huh? Abby has a lot on her plate, and the cracks are getting wider and more foundational--I think she's going to crumble pretty soon. She's learning a few lessons, I think, that a lot of young adults face: that we cannot do it all, drawing boundaries in all facets of life is okay (and healthy!), alcohol isn't a sustainable coping mechanism, and that curating perfection is draining. Abby hasn't quite arrived at these realizations yet. I can sense that she's getting close, but, based on the ending of this chapter, she might be distracted by other major obstacles, which will ultimately add to her growth but might slow things down.
I can understand Abby's guilt about overindulging in this chapter, how it makes her a hypocrite. She has a lot of anxiety about how James would react if he were to find out, which is fair, but also she's setting herself up for further and bigger conflict in the future. I think James will eventually find out, maybe from Dom who might make a seemingly harmless and offhanded comment in passing. I'm curious to see how Abby will hold herself accountable for her actions. I'm reminded of how White people tend to react for being called out on their racism: that they get upset, backtrack on their racism with a non-pology, use their ignorance on their actions being racist as a defense, and get others to support them with glowing character references. There is little to no accountability, no commitment to move forward with changed actions--is Abby destined to do a similar thing once things blow up? The same could be said about James, too. Lack of accountability is going to undo their relationship, I'm afraid.
Dom and Albus's stresses are also pretty valid, and I think Abby is interalizing them, which is also not good--Dom and Albus are perfectly capable of handling their life decisions--and their dramas are not the distraction that Abby needs right now. BUT I am stoked that Dom might have (read: definitely has) feelings for her fellow Beater, ahahaha.
The ending: a dead body! Oof, that really puts things in perspective, huh? How the mutilation of this victim in death overshadows the complexities of life! Another great chapter, Taylor!
here for RvG - POGs Edition.
It's nice to be back reading complex. I thought this chapter was a good change of pace. it was good to get a lot of different character all together. I thought you handled a big cast so well so it's really nice to see character's popping up again. I love the concept that they're different types of 'levels' be introducing partners to the family. I can totally see it. I think it shows how much that Abby really does fit into their dynamic so well. Abby is comfortable enough to judge Molly and Zara about their decision. That says it all for how much she thinks of the Potters as family. It was great to see Lily back as well. I've always been a fan of her characterization. Just throwing it in there that I love Caroline/Fred basically as much as Potchester.
I'm so happy to see Dom back! I was getting worried that she had disappeared. Dom and Abby have such a good friendship. I always just enjoy when they interact with each other because you just capture something very realistic between the two which is a joy to watch. I'm a big fan of Dom's spunky character in this story. (side note: does this mean that more hit like a girl will be coming? or am I get ahead of myself here?? haha). I hope we get to see more of Dom in the coming chapters anyway. I need the goss on her and rajhi! So don't leave it too long before she makes a reappearance!
I'm desperate to know about the mystery so it was nice to get a little tease at the end of the chapter about it. I'm really interested to know what's going to happen in the case next. Is it a sign that things are going to be kicked up a gear in the coming chapters? I'm extremely here for this if so! I would love to see more of Abby/Markus' partnership explores too. I think Markus is a really good side character so any excuse to see a little more of him wouldn't go a miss! I'm looking forward to seeing whats next for everyone!
Hi Taylor! Here for RvG - and please forgive me because I realise it's been a while since I reviewed, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the more recent chapters I'd read rather than going back to James and Abby fighting :P
I've really enjoyed seeing the character development for Abby in particular in the last few chapters. I think you know by now that her and James were driving me slightly insane with the way they were being so antagonistic towards each other and just refusing to talk about things in general and almost wilfully destroying their relationship, so the fact that they've finally had a conversation after everything came to a head and that they're working on that stuff together is so, so nice to see. And I also think that we're seeing Abby grow in a lot of ways - being more willing to admit that she needs help and that she's made mistakes, like with the fact she wishes she'd hired a wedding planner, are really small ways of showing that but they're so effective for highlighting that growth. I've got much more hope for her and James now than I did a few chapters ago!
It was really nice to see an event that's outside of the wedding planning and relationship drama too - I love a good extended Weasley family gathering and it was really fun to read! Especially now that Abby and James aren't trying to keep up the facade of being this perfect couple, that they've actually been more honest about how difficult things have been and are just being nicer to each other. The difference in tone between this chapter and earlier ones, like the Christmas party, were so marked.
I loved reading the banter between James and Lily in this chapter, with the way that he teases her as brothers enjoy doing, and his easy acknowledgement that Abby's his sister's favourite. It was just so fun seeing the different family members and the way they interacted - George greeting them at the start, and the conversation with Caroline and Freddy about who's "won" the argument about which flat to move into. Your characterisation of all of them is just so strong and believable - it's probably not a surprise after writing so many chapters with these characters, but it's easy to imagine them as real people now.
Molly and Zara seem to be moving pretty quickly on the relationship lines, but I'm happy for them if it's going well and that's what they both want! Although I don't envy Zara - I can't imagine having to meet all the Weasleys and Potters at once, only a week after being introduced to Molly's parents!
Ah, I'm so happy for Dominique as well! What a way to send out those notices, right in the middle of a party for Roxanne and Lily. I'm not surprised Dom was kind of angry about the timing but I'm glad she managed to hold in her celebration and that nothing was actually wrong. It's so sweet that she doesn't want to spoil the celebration and take the limelight from the others. And Rajhi got on the team too - I'm so excited to read more of their story!
That ending was dramatic, too! I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that after a few chapters with things going comparatively well, there's going to be some more drama and angst. I definitely have a bad feeling about what's going to happen next but I'm kind of excited to see some more of the mystery!
It is really good to see that this story is back. I love how you've brought forward some of the things that I love about the story. Obviously it is really great to see the development of Abby and James' progress of fitting their relationship. You were heartbreaking my heart. I think Abby and James are such a great pairing when they are at their best. I'm so happy to see some the female interaction, Abby is so likeable when she is with her friends also. I've always liked Caroline's character too. I would have liked to have Dom back too.
I can't believe Abby is only 22. I think it is easy to forget because Abby has so much going on in her life already. She has a lot on her shoulders that most people her age really don't. She is getting married quite young too. The girls are so much fun together, they feel really natural together as friends. I think your dialogue has always been a strength but I really enjoyed in this section. It's nice to hear about some secondary (maybe third string) story lines. It's nice to hear that Freddie and Caroline (Creddie?) are going on well because I've always enjoyed them together. I liked the ending line from that section about her 'being fine' for the first time in a while.
I like the interaction with Harry and Ginny, you've captured how I imagined them as married couple to be like. I like how it's really playful dynamic that they still have. They obviously care a lot about Abby and James a lot. I love the characterization of Ginny being the boss mum towards James. I imagine that she does expect a lot from her children (in a positive way anyway).
Abby is a wonderful OC. I think every now and again that I just stop to appreciate how you've created her because she is so well rounded. I love that she isn't always so likeable but she has such clear character traits that always be found. I love that James picks up on Abby's organisation skills. She has to keep going on 'track'. James knows Abby so well. It was nice to see some fluff moments in this chapter. We haven't seen too much of that over the past few chapters (erm, most of the story ha ha) but the moment that you created was silly but basically adorable. There is lots of good signs for the progress that they've make. I look forward to seeing more of that.
WHOOOO! Freddy and Caroline are back together!!!!!
Hi Taylor, back again for more Complex!
Abby and James's relationship is pretty low at the moment, isn't it? I mean, this is of our own devising, lol, but it's really cleverly done. Both characters want to make amends, but whenever they try to reach out... they shoot each other down! I think that happens often in human relationships, and not just romantic ones.
"I watch as James’ hand lifts off his lap and hovers for a second - it looks like he was about to reach over to me, to give some sort of ‘we were right, go us’ type of gesture, but had second thoughts about it.
OOOF. Abby and James's issues in a nutshell. COUPLES' THERAPY PLZ. Nothing wrong with that!!! It's easy to fall into the mindset of being the bigger person in order to fix things. Been there, done that. I still do that sometimes. But... it doesn't always work out. For Abby and James to make it through this rough patch, they both have to fess up and work out their issues in a way that doesn't build resentment. Sure, living with someone is tough, being alone is a legit fear, but that's part of life, and Abby and James are still relatively young adults with a lot to figure out. I really am rooting for them to pull through.
I'm curious to know more about Sleakezy's... is it somehow linked to what's going on in Abby's case? Or two separate events? Hmmm....
Also, the MVPs this chapter go to Dom and Harry. Dom, because she's the comedic relief we need--setting herself up as seventh wheel like that--but... seven is supposed to be the luckiest number, right? I have high hopes for her. And then Harry, calling out Abby on her BS and wanting to help both her and James. I wonder if he's had a chance to speak with James about everything?
But one thing is resoundingly clear... Abby needs a confidant about this all. It's a lot for one person to bear.
Taylor, I shall be back! Believe it or not, you requested a review in my review request thread MONTHS ago, so I strive to be back soon with another review (after I catch up on my other swaps from ages ago). It was a pleasure swapping with you this month in the Lion's Den!!
Taylor! Here for our swap and it's great to delve into this story again!
All right. I'm making the call. Abby and James need couples' therapy. STAT.
Of course, we only only privy to Abby's thoughts. One would think that we'd be more inclined to take her side, since we get the full explanation from her. And when James speaks, it becomes twisted again, like is anyone more at fault at this point? Clearly, something is broken in their relationship. Which is oodles more fun to write than a harmonious functional one. BUT... reading one?
Okay, that's fun, too. I do feel the despair at them not getting along, but I also admire how you write their passive aggression mixed in with their aggression mixed in with their... rough sex, lol.
I can really relate to: “Godric, you’re so caught up in your own head and in your own need for attention that you can’t see that I’m literally running myself ragged trying to be everything for everyone - and apparently, absolutely none of it is enough
One thing that I had to do in my early twenties was heavily define boundaries and realize that I need to sort out my own shit before sorting out other people's. While I think that Abby excels at being very busy all the time, I think she'll benefit immensely if she takes a step back and focus on her wellbeing. Sure, that won't get her as far in her career in that sexist Auror department (Grrrr), but what's the cost? Her happiness. Her relationships. Her sanity.
Of course, James has TONS of growing up to do, too, the dipshit. I want to smack in on the side of the head for rejecting Abby's efforts and being spiteful just because. He has to work through his insecurities, definitely. It's almost like his relationship with Abby was, while a moment of growth, like a band aid. Enough to stop the wound from festering, but perhaps not enough to heal it completely. He shouldn't rely on his relationship with Abby to be the be-all solution to his insecurities. He's a talented, friendly bloke, he's enough. But that's oftentimes hard to accept.
A great chapter--I'm looking forward to the next one. :)
Also... I ship Rajhi and Dom, can I scream that into the void?
Hey Taylor! I’m here for your review request!
Even though they are being a little more formal with each other, it’s really nice to see James being understanding of Abby spending a lot of time at work, and Abby making sure to update him if she’ll be late. They’ve learned from their mistakes and are really working hard to fix it – even if things aren’t as easy now, or conversation as natural as it used to be, it’s nice that Abby knows they can be again.
Super nice to see the Auror office trying to be transparent about their investigations despite not having made much progress. Things have changed a lot since the corrupt leadership of Fudge and everyone in that era. Harry and Hermione are really doing a good job.
I think it’s also a big sign of how much things have drastically improved over the past few days that Abby and Markus are able to joke about that article again and tease one another about being homewreckers and stuff. That part was really funny to read btw, despite being on the way to their chaotic interviews to find out about murderers. On that note, though, the chapter strikes a good balance between serious and fun, and also between work and personal things for Abby.
Eep the blackmail and stuff is scary though. I’m glad they were able to track down how it got into the Prophet, but it doesn’t sound like they know who did it yet, if it was just via a note? Too bad wizards don’t pay attention to forensics and fingerprints and things, because they could probably find out who sent it. Abby is the only one who could possibly think of something like that after learning all about cells last chapter. I am curious how they’re going to track down the person and what will be done with them, and like I’m also still worried about that intern or whoever the person threatened, because something could still happen to them especially if the blackmailer gets caught…
Finally, date night movie fluff and James being super excited about TV’s was the cutest.
Really enjoyed this chapter! I’m so glad to see things smoothing out between James and Abby after so long of wringing my hands worrying about them haha. And this investigation is getting so intense! I’m so interested to see what they find out next. Great writing <3
So it's been an emotional few chapters for Abby and James as a couple so it's nice to get a place little more stable place with the start of the chapter. I'm really interested to get back into the mystery about what's happening there! what a twist of events and how exciting for us as the reader but the way it read was really chilling. I think it's going to be really explosive the way you're now setting things up for future chapters.
I really like Markus and Abby's partnership, their dialogue really popped together and it's really good that we are able to keep each other sane and have a little laugh when they are really stressed and busy. Suddenly Abby's problems have changed from personal to work. I love that Scorpius is popping up again in the story. He seems like quite a cool character but I can only imagine the pressure that he is under with his work. I liked that little detail about him not being as stressed when he asked out Rose for the first time. I thought this is such a cute little detail.
I think this chapter has such a good mix of personal/work life for Abby. I enjoyed seeing both aspects. I'm glad that Abby is still building up her relationship with James again. The addition of the TV is so cool. It's really fun little scene between the two of them. I always really wondered about sleekeazy's about obviously it was founded by James' great grandfather or something like that. I always wondered what happened with the company and when it changed hands. I'm interested to see how this plotline with James' work may fit into the bigger picture.
Hey again Taylor, I'm here for the reviewing event, and also representing team emerald in this month's Slytherin EvS review battle.
Okay, so I am really starting to worry for James's and Abby's relationship right now. Things really don't seem to be going well. Their communication is really starting to break down. I was originally leaning on Abby's side, but as time goes on I'm a bit more on James with this. It seems that really, all he wants is a bit of time and attention from Abby. But while I can understand why he his feeling so down, I do think he's going about it the wrong way.
Abby on the hand needs to get her head out of the clouds and realise that her actions are going to push James away. Her drive is admirable, but she really does need to improve her work-life balance, in my opinion anyway.
And let us not forget the whole fight, then have angry hate sex... Definitely not healthy, and I can totally see it being something that tears these two apart. AND I DO NOT WANT THAT! Frankly, they are both being idiots and just need to sit down and talk it out like adults.
I did really enjoy seeing Molly in this chapter though. Bu golly, that girl needs some love and happiness in her life. So I just hope that Zara has her best interest in mind and doesn't break Molly's heart.
But thanks for the chapter, I can't wait to read on.
Hey Taylor, I'm here for the reviewing event, and also representing team emerald in this month's Slytherin EvS review battle.
I'm so excited to jump back into Complex, I've been away for a while. But damn, James silent treatment was next level. I don't know how I feel about it - it even made me uncomfortable reading it. Like I was watching a really private fight. You reckon you could have cut the tension with a knife when James came down. I can see both sides though - and it's nice to see such an epic breakdown in communication. It's such a mundane thing, but it really adds something to writing in my opinion, and it's that sort of thing that I enjoy reading. But both James and Abby seem to pig-headed and stubborn to back down and relent.
I also loved the fight sex they had. But damn, James is cold for just walking out straight afterwards. Neither of their behaviour in this very moment is conducive to a happy, healthy relationship. And I'm glad that Abby feels that too. Despite the apologises to each other, there seems to be an undercurrent of something much more serious in their relationship. A lot of insecurities and baggage that they still need to unpack.
But at least the chapter ends on a positive note. It's good to see Abby getting a nod of praise from Hylsop right there at the end.
Great chapter, and I can't wait to read on!
I loved this chapter, so nice to read all the cute little moments in it! Looking forward to reading more of the wedding planning!
I am loving this story so much. I've read it and Complicated far too quickly and basically ignored my actual life to do so and now I'm dying that I no longer have a next button to hit! The depth and complexity to your characters is amazing and I'm so glad James and Abby seem to be back on track. And despite the fact that I feel like something big is about to blow up, either about the case or something else, I'm desperate to read what happens next!
Hey Taylor! I’m here for your request! Confession: I actually read this chapter a long time ago, and I don’t know why I didn’t review then. Anyway, I’m glad to be doing so now!
Ugh they’re so cute and this is such a welcome change from previous chapters. I love that they’re rediscovering this tender side of their relationship and that they’re really putting in the effort to avoid fighting by communicating honestly, rather than by just completely avoiding each other or having angry sex. I also kind of love that this return to loving each other was at a falling apart cheap hotel. Even James thinks its gross.
The fact that they kiss in the rain for the sake of sentimentality is possibly the cutest thing ever. And it’s wonderfully symbolic that they drove out there in the dark, and that they’re returning in the daytime when it’s raining. Everything looks brighter now and there’s new emotion infused into their relationship where previously everything was miserable and hard to understand.
Abby attempting to explain cells to James and his subsequent reaction is the greatest thing XD Also, especially for me as a scientist, it’s really weird to imagine people who don’t have any sense of scientific advancements made after like 1840. I wonder if wizards get vaccinated. Or if they use anything made of plastic. This is a very non-relevant tangent, sorry. But I now really want to explore this in a fic lol
I’m so happy for James figuring out what he wants to do with his life! Also really jealous of him, haha. That’s such a huge decision and I love that he’s taking the steps to make that change, which is such an improvement over his current job where he feels unfulfilled and unhappy. It’s sad that Abby missed it at the time, but I like that they don’t fight about it and James understands the regret in Abby’s selfish (though not really selfish bc they’re quite understandable) thoughts. I like that it inspires them to do better. And their open communication about even really mundane things at the end – James is making lunch, Abby will be back in half an hour – is proof that they’re not falling back into old ways, and actually walking the talk that they said they would. I have so much hope for them now which is great because it’s been a while since things have looked this hopeful for them.
Uh, I relate to Dom way too much right now and I feel attacked lol. Help. I don’t have anything else to say about this section XD
THE SNEAK PEEK HAS ME VERY WORRIED, IS IT ABOUT THE CASE? OR SOMETHING WORSE??????? Y U SO MYSTERIOUS
i'm back, back again, kris is back, tell a friend :P
i think (??? i’m also senile so who knows) this is my last challenge review, idk why i'm so slow with them but! here i am hah.
but seriously, i laughed out loud and really hard at the entire freddy/abby&james interaction. ‘we’re not animals’ and ‘you were going at it like rabbits’ was hilarious. (generally, though, this entire chapter was both funny and sweet and adorable and made my day better when i read it ^_^ )
the fact that freddy is still not over caroline is sad but i’m kinda hoping she makes an appearance (soon? not soon? :o ) and that even if the two of them don’t get back together, that he manages to find someone with whom he could be happy. he’s one of my favourite characters from complicated (along with dom :P ) so i’d love to see him have a happy ending.
also another favourite line is definitely the one about the augurey (the mixture of loud music and insanely strong spirits almost always foretells the death of good decision-making skills) – it's so clever, i love it :D the entire exchange between dom and louis made me smile. i can relate ahhah
though then both freddy and dom are obviously still….not over their respective exes but ultimately, the sentiment is very true. i’m still amazed at people who are together with their partners from high school :o and i know that james and abby will have their issues in complex but i also think it’s so cool that you’ve decided to write the sequel and to explore how people grow together and their relationship develops, even when things get tough and difficult. (even though i’m only on chapter two i also think this was a good foreshadowing of the future james&abby problems :o)
but aww, i totally aww-ed for real when abby thinks how she’s been with james for so long but now it’s going to be official and how she really feels as if she belongs with the potters&weasleys. it’s wonderful that they’re so accepting and welcoming, especially since her home life is……..not that great <.<
and ooooh the mystery is starting! i can’t wait to read more about the case :D
I didn't know this was what I needed to read today but it was! The mood of this chapter is just... quiet? You're really making us a fly on the wall in these incredibly emotionally packed, intimate moments. It works perfectly. This is like awkward, unsure-but-clearly-in-love complicated era James and Abby again and it's wonderful. We start off with them literally closer than they have been in chapters (because I refuse to count all the smut as them being close because it was the exact opposite), tangled up together sleeping in such a normal, couple way. Like trying to get up without waking James up being an issue is a) relatable and she makes very good points about it and b) A RIDICULOUSLY GOOD ISSUE FOR HER TO BE HAVING IN THIS NOVEL HALLELUJAH!
The scene in the car was a brilliant way to show the difference from the last chapter. It's morning and everything is a little bit easier and lighter. The conversation about cells was actually amazing and such a good way to lighten the pretty dark mook of the last few thousands of words you've given us lol. But it's so nice to have them back on the same page (hopefully?) and talking about normal stuff like actual normal couples. And James having found something he's actually interested in is really good news not just for him but for them both and Abby being able to talk about work with him again is another total positive. Also the way she's constantly reassuring him through the chapter that she'll be coming back or that she's not leaving again just in little ways is so so cute and just agh... makes me sad and happy for them all at once.
Okay so now the fact that we have dom back in the story only cements this as an insanely good chapter. And not only do we have Dom... we have Dom with FEELINGS!!!! Now she's just the one I want to hug because like with all the drama going on between her friends she probably feels a little bit like she's got nobody to turn to, certainly the way she attempts very unsuccessfully to hide her feelings around abby shows this so well. It's really quite sad to see the always-strong girl with the big career ect ect unset like that over a guy but that's sort of the point. She cant bury her feelings forever, it's super unhealthy, and if this novel has hammered anything home it that you gotta talk about sh*t before it eats you up. It's definitely dom's turn now because she needs some love.
Ending note... the last scene with james and abby was quite possibly one of my favourite moments with them from both complicated and complex. It's just adorable and sweet and normal... something i've missed from them recently.
Amazingly written as ever.
All my love,
ah i love that description of it. yeah, this chapter is quiet for sure - they're feeling each outher out all over again and there's tenderness and closeness there that definitely wasn't there before. (also yeah, the smut doesn't count. they were physically close then but couldn't have been farther apart emotionally/mentally.)
there's a lot of growth and a lot of ways that things have changed in just one night, but a lot of the insecurities remain - they've certainly got a lot to work through still, though they're absolutely on the same page again in many of the ways that count.
lol yes dom needs a hug, she's kind of in the same place as abby earlier where she doesn't really want to burden anyone with her problems and bottling things up never goes well. (lol i should abide by the lessons i attempt to teach my characters, but lmao oops) but dom will get her turn eventually, there's still a third chapter of hit like a girl after all!!
ah yes, the return to normalcy is good for them.
thanks for reading and for this wonderful review <3
hellou..................................when i said i would wait until this is completed.......i lied. like a liar. because i have no self control. /aka this is one of your challenge reviews and i'm a liar :P
it feels so good to come back to abby and james and the craziness that is their relationship/their lives :o
so first i adore how abby is both annoyed at the journalists but she also fully admits to secretly enjoying the attention. it's just so her, she'd obviously probably never admit that out loud, but nevertheless it's something that she has fun with, toying with the reporters, not saying anything but oh-so-accidentally flashes her ring so they can get a good hard look at it. you got to appreciate her skills with giving them enough to momentarily give her (and james?) a bit of peace.
and even though i'm 100% here for the drama of abby and james i'm also 100% here for the murder mystery and abby in her auror element. to me, even in this first chapter where we basically just get a hint of her workplace/work/pet project, it seems obvious that she enjoys what she does, especially when she thinks about james and his work. there's no doubt in her mind about the career she chose for herself, as opposed to james who she thinks is just doing his law thing for the sake of doing something. and knowing abby from complicated and how determined she is, i have a feeling that particular part of her personality will really shine in being an investigative auror *_* idk, maybe i'm just a sucker for badass girl detectives :P i'm also now wondering if james ever figures out what it is that he really wants to do with himself :o because doing a job you don't love is probably what would be my boggart. and it can lead to like.............so many frustrations. <.<
and even though i'm probably the least romantic person on the planet, i can still appreciate how much thought james put into the proposal. he obviously knows abby so so well that he hit all the right spots, and even though it was pretty much all-out and very dramatic, it's obvious she loved it with the way she retells the story (which i doubt she minds all that much :P). james definitely did keep his promise heh, and it's not even that...cheesy? like, it's actually adorable in its dramatic-ness lol
and the chemistry between them is stronger than ever, i loved the ending scene where they're first so excited about the fact that they're getting married but it very quickly turns into a steamy almost-sex which freddy very rudely interrupted. idk, i just love these two :D
lol i fully support the lack of self control :P
ah, abby will always love attention, even when she doesn't. and she definitely knows how to toy with reporters at this point. :P
she definitely enjoys what she does, and is good at it. it's a big contrast from james, who doesn't feel that same affinity at all - which... yeah, really fucking sucks. i can't imagine working 40 hours a week at a job i don't actually enjoy in some way.
james definitely did good here with the engagement, lol. (i'm also very unromantic as a person which is why i just avoided writing the actual proposal altogether. idk how to write one of those :P )
thanks for reviewing <3
AND WE ARE BACK YES I HAVE MISSED YOU DONT EVER LEAVE ME FOR THAT LONG AGAIN.
Caaaannnnnn we please have a round of applause for the two idiots who finally actually spoke about the fact that they love each other and have not just huffed and argued and shagged their way around their actual issues without ever dealing with them!! JAMES AND ABBY ARE BACK Y'ALL WE CAN ACTUALLY BE HAPPY AGAIN... hopefully...
Abby's driving just seems so utterly unlike Abby and i sort of love it, because just driving out into the unknown with no plan is not something she would ever do and it shows this desperation in her and this new energy. It shows how much this whole thing has pushed her over the edge and beyond her comfort zone so much that it takes something pretty drastic to fix. Having said that... yeah the motel sounds gross. In a way this chapter exposes her to us again in a new light. She's been through the ringer emotionally and this is the first time we've seen her back with James in a controlled manner in a while and you can see how much she's changed. There are quiet little hints through the chapter that just beautifully demonstrate how much she's grown up in recent weeks.
This whole chapter was just a wonder of emotion. As always, your writing is simply faultless and you capture these two in all of their best and worst aspects so well. Abby and James reconnect, in a pillow fort which is so them and just the cutest. And finally it seems like they're on the same page again, or at least in the same chapter again rather than different books. No matter what thought this has been a truly massive step forwards for them. Their conversation and the fact that they've both grownup enough to take their share of the blame is a really good sign for going forwards. It's a showcase of how to get out of an unhealthy dynamic and get back to just being in love and being them. Like seriously, I have the first warm and happy and unworried feels about them that I've had since bloody complicated and it has been too long, Taylor! Too long! Hopefully this is only going to continue going forwards.
I need more now, again!
All my love as ever,
PS can I have some Dom in the next chapter because emmm.... It's been a while :P
*insert standing ovation*
there's definitely a level of desperation there - she's determined not to lose this, and is basically acting counter to all of her natural impulses not to do so. she's grown up and there's a lot that's shifted between these two. this whole thing is basically just a massive step forward - not a complete fix, because god knows you can't fix a full 10 chapters of monster in just one, but they're moving in the right direction. i'm glad i've prompted warm fuzzy feels in this fic for once instead of complete dread, lmao. (although let's be real, the dread was also kinda fun. for me at least. :P )
also lol there's definitely more dom coming
Hi again! August RvG!
(It's getting late here so this is probably going to be the last review tonight, and I'm also sorry if it's incoherent because I've edited 4,000 words of Griselda today as well.)
Right, so. I still want to bang Abby and James's heads together, unfortunately. I had hopes at the beginning of this chapter that they might actually be able to have a civil conversation with each other and maybe make progress, but no, of course not. You build up my hopes to tear them down again. You're so mean :(
The opening of this chapter felt like the tension had abated a tiny bit, even if they still seemed out of sync with each other. And I think they're both in the wrong at different points in this chapter, unfortunately. It shows the level of tension that they've reached that Abby can actually try and make an effort and finally ask James about his job, and his first instinct is to snap at her and wonder why she's pretending that she cares now. It's going to take a lot to fix this, if it even can be fixed at this point, and it's really sad to see.
The brunch was both cute and awkward. I love a good brunch date and it's really nice to see the way that this group are still making so much of an effort to keep up with those friendships, but I have absolutely no idea how none of their friends have picked up that there's a problem between Abby and James yet. Markus's joke could so easily have been a funny, throwaway remark, but with the state that James and Abby are in at the moment, it wasn't great timing. And the way that James reacted made me worry that he's actually becoming so insecure in his relationship with Abby that he might start wondering if there's actually any truth in the rumours that were printed about her and Markus.
Caroline and Fred were really a much needed silver lining in this chapter, they're adorable and I'm so happy they're back together!
The two scenes when they got back home were so heart-breaking. Both of them were in the wrong in turns there, but I still kind of want to curse Abby for revealing that she actually heard James so desperate and heartbroken last night and just... didn't do anything about it. They're really out of sync and the tension just keeps mounting more and more, and I'm so worried you're going to take this to a point where it'll break irreparably...
Harry is also adorable, and I loved the really gentle way that he approached the subject. But Merlin, if even your fiancé's father can realise that something is going wrong between you and his son, isn't that enough to tell you that this is really bad and you're going to have to face up to the problem rather than run away from it? The ending really worried me, when she mentioned that she wasn't sure that she'd be able to give up James's family as well as him. As amazing as the Potters (and Weasleys) might be, that can't be a reason to hold onto a relationship that's not working. And I'm really worried that that's what Abby and James are both doing, hanging onto something because they can't endure the thought of it not being there, but if neither of them does something to fix this soon then I feel like there won't be anything left to hold onto...
I'll be back for more soon!
oh man it took me a moment to remember that you named your thesis griselda and i had a moment where i was like 'wait sian doesn't have a fic called that??' before i figured it out :P
ah yeah, they still deserve to have their heads banged together. totally valid. they're super out-of-sync, and it's making reconciliation really difficult - they're never in the same state at the same time, and it's only just compounding everything.
lol yep, that brunch is just a mess of different dynamics. james and abby are a lot less obvious about things than they seem in abby's head, which is why it's so easy for everything to go over everyone else's heads. and also, they're just... not paying much attention, if that makes sense? they're just kind of accustomed to james and abby being that couple and having it all together, that they're not really paying enough attention to their dynamics to notice that they've shifted.
yeahhhh, if harry potter, literally the most oblivious person ever to relationship dynamics, can sense that there's something wrong, you should DEFINITELY take that as a sign that things are really bad. and you're totally right - james's family isn't a valid reason to hold onto him. and if she sees things that way, it's just... there's not much there anymore. at the heart of it, it's gotta be about the two of them before they can get things right, and abby's still not in that right headspace yet.
thanks for reading <3
Back again for August RvG and also to leave review #100 on this story, yay!!
I have a lot of complex (pun intended) feelings about this chapter, and most of them aren't very charitable towards James and especially towards Abby. Maybe I'm more forgiving towards James at the moment because we can see what Abby's thinking, and she knows what's wrong and she's ignoring so many opportunities to fix it, choosing to pick fights and lash out instead, and that's such a frustrating cycle to see her fall into. I don't think it necessarily means that she's gone all the way back to the person she was at the start of Complicated, but I think she's reverting to some of the same coping mechanisms. I kind of feel like since her and James got together, everything's been going pretty well for Abby (and the two of them as a couple), and because of that she's never really had to develop more mature coping mechanisms to deal with issues when they come up. And suddenly she's overwhelmed with work and planning a wedding and things are spiralling downwards really quickly with James and she's freezing up and digging her heels in rather than trying to do anything to fix it.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I can definitely understand why she's behaving the way she is, but I think that's making it all the more frustrating to read.
I'm not impressed with her at all for deliberately picking the fight with James, but I was pretty impressed with the way that he managed to stay more level-headed through it and not rise to the bait that she was laying out for him. And as strange as this sounds, I can definitely see how much they love each other when these fights come up. They know each other so well, they know exactly what to say to hurt the other most, and they're doing all of this because, deep down, they care so much about the other and don't know how to deal with it going wrong.
I want to bang their heads together, yell at them to sort it out, and then give them both a big hug. I think they both need that.
It's kind of scary to see how easily they slip into the act in front of everyone else when they finally arrived at the gala. There were so many red flags there, especially with Harry and Ginny knowing more about what James is doing at work than Abby does - it's almost like she's so preoccupied with her own work and knowing he isn't in his dream job that she's decided his work doesn't actually matter. Or at least I can see why James would think like that, anyway. They still come together at certain points, when it's really needed - like when they had to deal with her mother - but it's all just a front and it's so sad and frustrating to see the way that they're putting it on, and the chasm that exists between the couple everyone sees and the couple they really are at the moment.
I was right about Rajhi! I'm glad they finally talked, though I'm really hoping that Dom realises she's also being an idiot about this soon, before it's too late with her best friend.
(Are you deliberately trying to frustrate me with this chapter? The characters are doing a pretty great job of it.)
And WHAT ARE YOU DOING, ABBY??? James just offered her the perfect opportunity for them to start rebuilding this relationship before it's too late, and instead she just ignores him and then sits crying because she doesn't want him to leave?? ARGHHH SORT YOURSELF OUT, ABBY! They both deserve so much better than this and I'm really hoping things get better soon. I'm not hopeful, though...
ah yes, that's very valid - neither of them are in good form here at all. it's definitely easier to see abby's mistakes than james' though since we're seeing everything through her eyes. but your take is solid; she's not used to struggling with things, and suddenly being faced with all this difficulty in so many different aspects of her life is really throwing her for a loop, and calling on some coping mechanisms that aren't really there. and so she's just being really stubborn instead of handling things properly.
i'm SO glad that comes through in their fights, because that was really kind of the intent. they care about each other SO much, but it can also make things backfire and get so intense so much more quickly - they know how to hit where it hurts the most.
(lol yes this chapter is meant to be incredibly frustrating)
yeahh, not her best decision of how to handle things in the end here. and.... yeah, things are gonna get worse before they get better.
Hi, me again for August RvG!
Have I said recently that I love Dominique? She's so brilliant. Her views on sports bras and open bars are two things that I can definitely agree with!
She's so brilliant and sparkly (in personality as well as in fashion choices) and I really love her. But she's really quite oblivious as far as Rajhi is concerned, isn't she? Even if Abby's theory doesn't seem to stand up quite as well in the face of the fact that he left his own flat before she'd woken up the next morning, I think she needs to trust her instincts on that one, and there's no way that Rajhi hasn't fallen for Dom. I mean, I can't exactly blame him, but I really want the two of them to sort this out (and I'm still holding out hope that he's going to be Dom's date to the wedding, if James and Abby can get their act together, which isn't looking... promising).
Those leaflets are really alarming. It reminds me quite a lot of the far right rhetoric that's leaking into mainstream politics across the western world at the moment, making disgusting, extremist views more palatable by somehow trying to justify them with statistics and nicer language. It definitely has to be related to the case that Abby's working on, and I'm glad that Hyslop seemed to appreciate that she was so eager to make the effort. Her other colleagues, though, I'm less than impressed with. I don't understand what people gain by trying to tear their colleagues down, just so they look better? Especially in a department like the Aurors where relying on each other could literally be a life or death situation. Ugh, it's just so frustrating to read, especially with how pervasive it is and the way it's affecting Abby's thoughts, even when she's at home reading a romance novel on her own or something. It's really unfair, even if it is an accurate depiction of the underhand, sexist comments that are so often part of a workplace that's meant to have stamped that sort of thing out.
Yay, Caroline and Freddy! I had such high hopes for them, and I'm glad they're not going to disappoint me! Although I'm also really sad for Abby, because this is her trying to reach out and get out of her own head with everything that's happening and it's not worked, through no fault of her own. She's so lonely at the moment, even in a long-term relationship with someone she really loves, and I'm really worried about whether the two of them are going to take this to a point that they can't actually come back from...
lol dominique has some very solid takes on most things :P but she's definitely still a little in the dark about rajhi, whether from actually being oblivious of just choosing to pretend it doesn't exist because there's a lot to confront if it's true. there's still time for them to sort things out though, if the wedding still goes to plan.
yeah, those leaflets definitely draw a good bit from real-world far right rhetoric - they're so good at spreading misinformation by packaging it nicely, and it's really terrifying how many people you can convince that way. the auror department is still definitely a bit of a mess though - there's a weird amount of competition for a group of people who are theoretically supposed to work as a team, and it's really not great for abby's mental state, as shown by the fact that yeah, it's started permeating her thoughts even outside of work.
caroline and freddy definitely do not disappoint, but yeah, it puts abby in a sticky place. she's definitely really lonely at this point, and she's just retreating farther and farther into herself in a way that's really not good for her in any sense.
thanks for reading/reviewing <3
Hi Taylor! Here for August RvG and also because I've been terrible at reviewing this lately and I just need to yell some more about James and Abby.
Although of course this chapter starts off with Abby and the other girls, so I have to wait a little to yell about the main couple :P
I really loved the scene with Abby and all the girls from school. They're really lucky that they get to schedule a regular catch up with each other, because that transition into adulthood when you're suddenly not around your friends all the time is really difficult, and it's good for all of them that they've got each other - though it must be hard for Dom, knowing that the rest of them are all meeting up without her. I loved how naturally they were all chatting away and the way there's no real filter on what they tell each other, especially with Amelie's gossip about the intern - it reminds me a lot of my group of friends and it seems very realistic to me. Well, I suppose some of them have filters, and I don't think it's necessarily going to help them. Caroline being very cagey about how her and Fred are getting along kind of makes sense to me, since they have a lot to work out, but Abby bottling up everything that's going on with James doesn't sound like a great idea, even though it's very believable - both for her character and just because people don't want to admit their relationships aren't going well more generally.
The way that Caroline's comment about love not always being enough resonated with Abby is making me really worried for her and James, especially with the way that James seems completely convinced that it has to be enough...
Aw, Markus and Louis! Well, at least the relationships seem to be going pretty well for the minor characters in this story, even if you're hell-bent on destroying James and Abby :P
The case is really intriguing, but there definitely has to be something big coming up with all the preparation that's obviously gone into finding those records, and I'm not as confident as Markus seems to be that the Aurors are actually going to be any better prepared for it when it does...
The Valentine's celebrations for James and Abby were really difficult to read about. It's all so forced, even though there were elements of the old them coming through at times, they definitely read like they're off-beat with each other, which was never the case before. It's like they're trying to paper over the cracks that are appearing and just pretend they're not there, but even when they're focused on doing that something happens to make them snap at each other. I can understand why Abby decided sex was going to be easier and better than fighting again, but I'm a bit worried about the way that's going to develop as a distraction from arguments. Ughhhh. I want this to be fixed already!!
lol totally valid, they deserve to be yelled at. :P
that transition is so hard! making time for everyone when you all are living such different and busy lives is so hard. although i imagine they've got it a little easier, just because apparating makes it way easier to get to people who live a little farther away, meanwhile in the real world we're stuck booking flights and trains, lol. there's definitely a little caginess there from both caroline and abby - caroline's is a bit more warranted than abby's though.
ha i think i have a thing where i have to have some relationships going well while other ones are falling apart - balance!
ah yes, so much of their valentine's day was forced. they're very much pushing things down, and the result is that none of it feels really genuine at all. and yeah, using sex as a distraction from arguments is a really unhealthy way to handle things and definitely is going to have some longer-term effects.
thanks for reading <3
I'm here for RvG (or you could say gifting gala though it's not even my side but love is love right?)
I was so pleased to see that you had updated because it was really interested to see what was going to happen because it was left on rather a cliffhanger. I felt like something big needed to happen in this chapter. I'm so glad that we go to see this because I feel it's so important for the chapter development between the two. I know you'll do these characters justice though they have been through so much!
This chapter totally made me fall in love with Abby all over again. The characterisation can be not faulted at all. I love how she is so rich as a character, she has so many flaws in her character but all feels so real. She is such a strong female but has so much vulnerability which is so endearing to her character. I thought her inner monologue/thought process was such a highlight of this chapter because it shows how much emotion that you've packed into this. She is so fleshed out as her thoughts come across as so vividly that I feel like I can really connect with them (even without personal experience.)
I love that you structured this as a two handed between Abby and James. I think basically the whole chapter is one long conversation makes it so powerful. I loved the detail that James makes a pillow fort for them to talk in is just really cute detail. I kinda love that Abby was being so snobby about the 'motel' because even when she is going through so much rubbish, she is still herself. it's a personality trait that I love for her and yeah, Bee is the same :P
I feel like this chapter has given me so much hope going forward, I think it's going to be start of something for those two. I am glad that they decided not to cancel the wedding but I really hope it is the right decision for them. I feel like this section was brilliant and so passionate. I thought taking the sex out of their relationship was interesting but it makes sense to take that toxic side away until it can be something positive.
I'm really looking forward to seeing how the story develops now, seeing the other strands coming together as well as their relationship. I think you have some great subplots so it'll be fun to see the return of some of them in the coming chapters. What a wonderful return for Complex!!
abby definitely gets some solid character-building moments in this chapter, because this whole thing is just packed with emotion and thoughts. and, of course, it's basically one big conversation, which is absolutely what the two of them needed.
and it wouldn't be abby without her getting a lil snobby about the motel room :P
there's definitely a lot of hope for them going forward - it's not going to be an easy path but they've both been apart for just long enough to realise that they want to be together, and that they're willing to fight for it and admit that they've been wrong and try to rebuild everything.
there's a lot still left in store for them, that's for sure. thanks for reading <3
I'm so happy they talked!!! Of course there are still going to be arguments in the future, but this was a HUGE step for them and I'm so glad they talked it out like adults. In a blanket fort. :D
I'm just about to head out the door and unfortunately don't have the time to write more, but I was so excited to see that you had updated this and it was such a good chapter I've been waiting for for so long!! Loved it
oh yeah, this is a HUGE step for them. it's not going to solve everything, and they're still going to have to work to rebuild everything they've lost, but they're finally on a proper path to recovering.
so glad you enjoyed this one <3
So the last review I left for you was an anxious keyboard smash, and in general I've been crap at reviewing this properly! Time to fix this! (I make no promises to eliminate keyboard smash, there will just be other words in there too this time XD)
Dom is the best. Dom for Best Friend of the Year Award. Dom for President. She deserves all of the accolades. I'm so glad she is there for Abby and just allows her to cry on her shoulder and is exactly what she needs at that moment.
I wish I didn't relate to Abby so much in how she distracts herself rather than processing her emotions :P
I love that Abby had a Muggle autopsy done on the victim because she really wants to fully follow each lead. She's such a thorough worker. I only wish she didn't have to work twice as hard as everyone else just to get any notice. (And when I say "she", I mean... most women in male-dominated workplaces, because despite this story being fanfiction about magic, it gets REAL sometimes)
Also sidenote can you imagine reading an autopsy report having only ever taken science through primary school? Like you'd see these sentences and they'd mean absolutely nothing to you, medical jargon is already dense enough even having some knowledge from high school or college biology, but without that, you'd be like "wtf is a spleen". Major kudos to Abby for fighting through that anyway and reading complicated science.
Caroline for Other Best Friend of the Year Award and maybe VP. Because Abby also needs to hear this. Caroline's approach is a little bit more of tough love, but sometimes you need that. I also think her perspective is really valuable here because of her own relationship circumstances. And while Abby had decided she was going to fix things before, it didn't feel as decisive as this. As Caroline said, you can't just do the same thing over again and expect different results. Ah, I'm so proud of Abby and I really hope this works out.
Great chapter, I can't wait to read more of this <3
i love the anxious keyboard smashes, i'm not mad about those :P
dom and caroline definitelt deserve some awards in this chapter, for sure. dom's the supportive friend that she needs, and caroline is the voice of reason and the slightly harsher friend who comes through with the truth that abby maybe doesn't want to hear but needs to. they definitely both help her a lot in different ways in this chapter.
lol distracting myself from emotions is a mood, all the time.
haha yeahhh, there's definitely some real-world realness that has crept into this story. and YES omg it would be so hard to read a scientific report without understanding anything beyonf primary school science, like... literally all of the words would just be a completely foreign language. :P
thanks for reviewing <3
Taylor! HEre for our swap (and RvG)!
I believe there's a Dominique Weasley fan club, and if I am not yet a member, I would like to register this chapter because I love her in this. From wearing real bras to being totally oblivious (of COURSE he's caught feelings, he'd be crazy if he didn't), she really is a spitfire. I'm really intrigued where this plotline is going because there's a ship and I want it to set sail, lol.
But the flyers! With that message exactly?! Something that definitely hints towards blood purity, but it's spun in some sick direction. Dilution? Ugh. I have a few suggestions for what this witch can do instead of handing out these hateful flyers, but none of them are appropriate to leave in a review.
And not only do these flyers exist, but when Abby turns it into the department, she's met with such blatant sexism that I want to hex Kitchens and Richards into oblivion. "Looking at the pretty dresses?" What century are they even from? You are kidding me?! How did they even get hired in the first place? Was the Auror department that desparate after the War that idiots like those got in, got tenured, and by the time Harry back Head, it was too late? Because that is the only reasonable explanation that I can think of. These idiots are going to cost people their lives by thinking this way, and asdhfajhsdkfal. This is so frustrating!
But poor Abby. Office and institutional sexism is not the least of her worries. Keeping up a facade is hard work, and I wish she were honest with her friends. And James is being so passive aggressive, omg... but Abby is also being so stubborn that when she stumbles upon Freddy and Caroline, she doesn't even ask for help. Sure, she doesn't want to intrude, but she leaves feeling resentful towards them... and for what? Out of jealousy! Not a good shade on you, Abby. You need the help, and there are so many people in your life who can help you. You go for it, girl!
James is another story, but I'm sure you have lots in store for him, so I'll save my rant for him for later. ;)
haha you'll have to contact deni about fan club membership, she's in charge of that bit :P
they've definitely spun blood purity in a really twisted direction, and there will definitely be more on their motives and all that in future chapters. and the aurors are *absolutely* some frustrating assholes. they're super petty and judgmental in a way they don't really have a right to be - but they're good enough at office politics that they don't really get caught for it all that much.
abby's definitely stubborn, for sure, but i don't fault her at all for her jealousy here. it's hard to see things going right for other people when it feels like everything else is going wrong, and even thought you *are* genuinely happy for them, there's just that perpetual inward twinge of wishing your life could be going like that. it's a complicated existence, haha.
haha yes there will definitely be plenty of material for ranting about james in future chapters. thanks for reading!