I am so happy to receive this feedback, thank you!
Indeed, it's true I have very little in the way of a set past for these characters. Amusingly, Lydia has the most fleshed out one in my mind, then Ava, then Norton. I suppose that's me falling back on the generic self-insert character, which has been a serious worry for me for some time. I haven't read "My Obsession". I tend not to read things from the thread unless they specifically ask for feedback, not out of any dislike or disinterest, but because I'm far too paranoid of taking ideas from them unconsciously. So I suppose I should look over those for a better idea of how this should work.
I didn't realize I made the two mercenaries so scary. At first, yes, but as they went on I figured I softened them up enough so that Norton was at least amicable toward them. At least enough not to be scared of them. I think I've set up things that are being misconstrued. Lydia referring to Norton as a toy wasn't really a reference to a past partner Ava had, just a drunken angry rant. I figured loneliness, pity, and general attraction towards Ava, coupled with skin contact, helped to try and keep him with her. Though it seems I need more and now I'm starting to worry I can't fix this at all. I figured Ava herself has latched to Norton because he's relatively normal and can't push back.
In regards to the tests, well, some of them are very good and I might have to use one, but I've been thinking on what Ava's past actually is. Spoilers, I suppose: Ava was scarred sometime earlier in her life, I'm guessing early 20's. She had sexual partners in the past, but the scarring really damaged her mentally. No one wanted anything to do with her. Partners were nonexistent, so now that she has the chance at one that's weak and easy to manipulate, she's pounced on the opportunity and held tight. Some part of her does want a relationship, but years of only a hand to help has taken its toll.
Something like that. Perhaps it's too cliche. I'll have to think on it, though I'm still miserable with ideas.
The next portion I'm going to write (if I'm ever going to get around to it), was going to shed a little more light on how they feel properly about one another and Lydia. I had planned some outburst from Norton - at least some "pushback". It seems I'll need more internal thoughts from him as well. I'm worried I can't steer this in the right direction now, but I'll give it a shot. Maybe I'll have to rework some previous parts too.
Thank you so very much, once again.