Hi Renee! I'm here to celebrate you writing something new with a review!
I love Alicia. I love how shy and insecure she is, and I love how quickly you made that come across in the story. The painful awkwardness of her first kiss is perfect, but I think it's important how you've written that Alicia feels like she's behind all of her friends in life, and that kissing boys will bring her up to date with them and make her feel normal. This feels very much like a journey for Alicia to me, to find out who she is. So I love how kissing boys for her is just blah and then kissing Katie has so many sensations and emotions. It's beautiful.
I love when the story title came up!
I have a few favourite lines. First, this sounds AMAZING:
Katie had a set of teacups charmed to never go empty, so the room smelled of Earl Grey and firewood.
And then I really loved Alicia's thought here:
Like it was nothing. But kissing wasn't nothing. Kissing was something.
HERE FOR THIS
I love both Lee and Oliver, but they are both so blatantly wrong for Alicia (our headcanons or not).
Having a first kiss during a quidditch after party makes me think of Harry and Ginny’s first case in HBP, and though this kiss is quite different, it’s a nice nod to that.
I like the ambiguity you used to describe Alicia’s awkwardness around Lee in the beginning. It’s not totally clear if it’s because she likes him or because she doesn’t, or a mixture. I think that works really well, because the root of those feelings isn’t totally clear to Alicia either.
There is a great simple evocativeness to a lot of your lines, like “She’d just leaned over and done it, no trouble. Like it was nothing. But kissing wasn’t nothing. Kissing was something.” and “prayed they’d forget the question so she didn’t have to say not yet out loud.” These lines work really well because they feel very earnest and genuine.
I’m really glad Alicia ended that kiss when she knew she didn’t like it.
I’m not sure if the timeline of this lines up with My First Date(s), but in my mind the stories are part of the same universe. Not actually the Polyverse, because I don’t think that Oliver has ever considered kissing a girl in his life, but maybe a little bubble universe. Polyverse AU.
“She could have a crush on Oliver” This is so real, kill me now. That wanting to be normal. Wanting to like a boy not for the sake of the boy, but for the sake of liking a boy. Deciding to have feelings that aren’t there. This really gets me.
“It was cool and vacant, like arriving at an empty house. Nobody home. They pulled apart.” WHAT DO YOU MEAN THIS ISN’T ALL THAT GREAT, IT’S PERFECT
Did Oliver think it was a date or not? His behavior when asking her to go seemed like it, but not during. I’m applying my He’s Super Gay headcanon to this story.
One thing I really like about this is that Alicia doesn’t necessarily spend a lot of time anguishing about her sexuality, but more that the factors that she would anguish about are underlying anyway. It’s very real. Obviously
I enjoy your characterization of Katie. “Always sweet, and kind, and deceptively fierce” is a great description. Gryffinpuff?
I know I said Polyverse Katie doesn’t have partners other than Alicia, but she might test that for one night with Angelina. Those three girls together…. It needs to happen at least once.
Oh, Katie has a secret crush? I would expect the truth or date to focus on Alicia, so that was interesting.
“Someone turned on the wireless and why hadn’t they already been dancing? Dancing was brilliant. The Weird Sisters were brilliant. Other people joined them on the dance floor, and that was brilliant.” That line is brilliant.
All the hugs for everyone who needs them for the end of that section.
Omg the three girls hanging out is so intensely beautiful and nostalgic. How did you make that so magic.
I was surprised with Katie being so bold in “Alicia lifted a finger and traced the outline of Katie’s form.” Or did she mean that in a platonic way? XP It read as incredibly sensual, so I was a bit confused about how sensual the characters both thought it was.
Face touching. How are they still making words. XD
“and oh, god, she had never considered this.” Mic drop.
That ending. The last eight paragraphs. Chills and tears.
I really really love this. And, you, obviously.
Fun fact, the first time I saw the title I accidentally read it as “Skewered By Truth.” Kinda different.