Fangs are NOT Straws (and you’re probably going to bruise)
I never thought I would have to explain this but I must share the
stupidity that I have suffered. Twice now someone has asked me how
vampire fangs work.
They were not asking if fangs are
retractable or stationary (which is dependent on the lore) but rather
what the fangs do as the vampire bites.
And the reason they
asked this is somehow these individuals assumed that fangs double as
dual straws that suck up the blood. Do they not realize that the blood
would then be flooding the inner part of the vampire’s skull,
particularly the sinus cavity? Where would the blood go once it is up
Not all vampires are like the versions in The Strain. The
traditional vampire fangs were for making small, discrete wounds so that
the vampire could repeatedly feed on the same person again and again
without detection or obvious harm to the intended prey. The intention
was so that the vampire may repeatedly target the same person again and
You rarely see a traditional vampire rip out the
throat unless they truly want to kill the victim right then and there
and are utterly greedy and savage for the sake of horror movie gore.
Think of it like this. When you drink soup do you slam your face into
it and splatter most of it on your face and clothes? That would be a
disgusting waste. So why would a vampire do that to his food?
once the two punctures are made the vampire draws out the fangs from
the wounds and then allows his or her lips to form a seal over the
wounds and suckles the spot the way a baby would suck a teet. (Note:
Some vampires like Carmilla actually do like to draw blood from the
breasts of women).
I cannot believe I just had to explain
how vampire biting works but apparently the world is full of idiots and
Twilight and The Strain have caused “confusion” among vampire fans.
The right way to feed:
The Alucard way to feed:
Hammer Horror films got one detail that I think many horror films don’t quite comprehend or consider. When you bite down with fangs there is pressure and then as you withdraw those fangs from the wounds and press your lips over them to suckle the blood, there will be some bruising. Bruising is caused by the rupturing of blood vessels under the surface of the skin or the pooling of blood under the skin. This is nearly unavoidable.
It just occurred to me that I never showed anyone the first scene I wrote of Gentlemen Thieves, and seeing as it won’t be in the final product, I have no problem with posting it here. So for those of you curious, while I work on the next chapter, here’s the first scene I ever wrote of this AU. I hope you guys enjoy it!
“No. Absolutely not.” Shinichi scowled. “There is no way. I’ll find some other way out of here.”
“But Baron,” Kid crooned. “The
only people in this section are the two of us and anyone who snuck in. How ever
would you explain yourself all alone?” Kid closed the three inches between
them, backing Shinichi towards the wall.
Shinichi tried and failed to step
away from him. Damn this closet, Shinichi thought bitterly.
“I’ll come up with something,”
Shinichi grumbled, glancing about the closet for something to use. Anything to avoid Kid’s plan.
What the fuck? What the fuck? What the fuuu… Pushing
away from his chest she tried to catch her breath, stumbling away blindly and
coughing up the sickness rising in her chest. No one tried to stop her. She
guessed no one really expected her to get far on those skinny trembling legs.
‘You’ll have to stay here until the Inspector arrives
to the scene,’ informed one of the officers. ‘Could you state your names…?’
‘Riley Rider and Věra Vávra,’ he recited
automatically, making the officer straighten up.
‘We have been looking for you Mr
Rider. Did you know?’
A black eyebrow quirked at that, giving a special
reinforcement to Riley’s warm, calm tone. ‘Really? Why is that, if I may ask?’
The sharp light of oncoming headlights hit their
faces. Věra put her hand in front of her eyes to shade her vision, but Riley
just squinted into it, straightening his back. A man exited the car and started
walking towards them, a black silhouette in the white and red light of the headlights.
He was wearing a black shirt and a police badge glistened on his belt.
He stopped before Riley, dark eyes flashing, ‘Mr
Rider. Long-time no see,’ spoke the newcomer in slightly accented English.
‘Teodor,’ greeted Riley with a smile. ‘Heard you’ve
been looking for me.’
‘Where were you last Tuesday evening at four p.m.?’ was his
‘At home. Preparing for my course, while my sister
cooked dinner. If you need her to confirm this, I can give you her phone
Teodor’s eyes narrowed. ‘You’re not fooling me, Rider.
The moment you stepped over the state line corpses started pilling up. Not even your amazing lawyers can dismiss that fact.’
Riley sighed, pushing his hands into his jeans pockets.
‘You can’t just automatically assume every crime in hundred miles’ radius is my
doing. That’s what my lawyers have been trying to explain to you. I’m not the
only criminal on this planet, you know.’
‘No,’ he hissed, taking a threatening step towards him.
‘You’re the devil and the road to your hell is paved with corpses.’
‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions,’
spoke Riley and Věra in complete unison.
The newcomer’s gaze fell to her then. She straightened
up from her awkward trembling position and tried, for better or worse, to look
less like a walking dead extra and more like a person. It must’ve worked because his
angry red aura flashed soft pink, warming at the corners. The newcomer liked
her. Liked her very, very much. She stepped closer to him, offering her hand. ‘Věra
He took it automatically, his warm palm enveloping
hers as he whispered, ‘Teodor Duška. Nice to meet you.’
‘What is this about, constable?’ asked Riley, ruffled
by Teo’s intent gaze on her. ‘My girlfriend just saw a murder. She is pretty
shaken up. If you want our statements I can give you one right now, but if
you’re here to pester me about your own conspiracy theories, I will ask you to
catch me some other time. I want to get her home before she drops.’
She opened her mouth to deny it. All of it. She was
not about to drop and she definitely wasn’t his girlfriend, or any other kind of friend
for that matter. She was a victim of a crime he was for some reason trying to
cover up, and she didn’t want to have any part of that.
Sadly, before she could organise all those points in
her mind the detective nodded, looking at her with a warm expression. ‘We do
have your names on file. You can give us your statement tomorrow morning if
you don’t feel like waiting.’
‘I’m fine,’ she said quickly, steadying herself on
Riley’s arm. Her knees were buckling and she felt like throwing up any minute
now, but if they needed one she would give them the statement of their lives.
Starting with: he lied. He came out of nowhere. For all I know he is the
‘Are you sure, miss, you look…’
Her leg stumbled on the grass and she came down, with
Riley, holding on to her as she tried, rather unsuccessfully to scream she was
great. Where is the interrogation room? Wait, they were still at the park,
there were no interrogation rooms at the park, were there?
‘Okay, enough!’ snapped Riley, slipping his other arm around her waist too and touching her face gently. ‘You’re going home, blue. I don’t care about their statements.’
‘He is right,’ said the detective with obvious
distaste about having to agree with his archnemesis. ‘Go home. We will contact
you in the morning.’
Once again they gave her no time to argue, damned men.
The detective went on to investigate, leaving her alone to be dragged away by Riley.
She was quite determined to get out of his clutches the moment they reached the
end of the park.
Shinichi is like, fucking obsessed with Heiji’s collarbones. Shinichi is sure that Heiji knows this and that’s why he always wears shirts that hang kind of loose and show them off. Heiji actually has no fucking idea.
On that note, Heiji got a thang for Shinchi’s hipbones like o d
They almost never call each other by their first names, even when they’ve been together a long time - only in like the throws of passion or when something is really fucking serious like “I need you to get this through your thick skull"
They’re both not too big on PDA, Shinichi especially though.
Heiji is a giant fucking goober in private though. Shinchi practically has to peel him off sometimes.
They don’t get to go on dates much for two reasons - one, because they’re recognizable and that could get them in a whole lot of shit and two, dead bodies fucking everywhere goddammit Kudo.
Neither one of them would say no to a threesome with Ran, just sayin’.
Mysteries just kind of come to them, they actually don’t make a career out of it (Heiji thinks it would stop being "fun” if he had to do it as an actual job. Shinichi actually kind of had a bit of a burn out at the beginning of college, so everyone steered him away for his own health)
They’re both dog people.
Heiji is an early riser, Shinichi not so much.
In turn, Shinichi can stay up for hours while Heiji’s eventually gotta crash.
Black coffee, shot of espresso - keep that fucking creamer out of their fridge.
Shizuka, Yusaku, and Yukiko are pretty chill about them, Heizo doesn’t really acknowledge it.
Kazuha’s reaction when she found out: “I knew it."
I never thought I would have to explain this but I must share the stupidity that I have suffered. Twice now someone has asked me how vampire fangs work.
They were not asking if fangs are retractable or stationary (which is dependent on the lore) but rather what the fangs do as the vampire bites.
And the reason they asked this is somehow these individuals assumed that fangs double as dual straws that suck up the blood. Do they not realize that the blood would then be flooding the inner part of the vampire’s skull, particularly the sinus cavity? Where would the blood go once it is up there?
Not all vampires are like the versions in The Strain. The traditional vampire fangs were for making small, discrete wounds so that the vampire could repeatedly feed on the same person again and again without detection or obvious harm to the intended prey. The intention was so that the vampire may repeatedly target the same person again and again.
You rarely see a traditional vampire rip out the throat unless they truly want to kill the victim right then and there and are utterly greedy and savage for the sake of horror movie gore. Think of it like this. When you drink soup do you slam your face into it and splatter most of it on your face and clothes? That would be a disgusting waste. So why would a vampire do that to his food?
Usually once the two punctures are made the vampire draws out the fangs from the wounds and then allows his or her lips to form a seal over the wounds and suckles the spot the way a baby would suck a teet. (Note: Some vampires like Carmilla actually do like to draw blood from the breasts of women).
I cannot believe I just had to explain how vampire biting works but apparently the world is full of idiots and Twilight and The Strain have caused “confusion” among vampire fans.
So, Bill Nye made a post about climate change and the increasing temps in the west, and naturally, my sassy, sarcastic ass commented on it.
So I said something similar to what our lovely president thinks about climate change, about it being FAKE NEWS made up by the LYING MEDIA or something like that.
But apparently, there are people who cannot detect my obvious sarcasm. So I had to go back and explain that I am an advocate for climate change and that it is indeed real, all because thIS FUCKIN IDOIT THINKS IM BEING SERIOUS WHEN I QUOTE TRUMP AND SAY CLIMATE CHANGE ISNT REAL. IM A FUCKIN CHEMISTRY MAJOR I HAVE FUCKING WRITTEN MULTIPLE PAPERS ON CLIMATE CHANGE OF COURSE I FUCKIN KNOW ITS REAL WHAT THE FUCK YOU DUMBASS HOE JESUS CHRIST IT WAS FUCKIN SARCASM TAKE THAT DILDO OUT OF YOUR ASS SO YOU CAN SIT THE FUCK BACK DOWN HOLY FUCK
ANYWAY THIS WHOLE BULLSHIT GOT ME FEELIN LIKE:
I’ve been holding onto this cause I’ve had a post in my drafts on my thoughts on Robin once I finished. Once I got this ask, I decided I’d post them here. So here’s a bunch of random thoughts on Robin in no particular order. I’ll put it below the cut cause it’s kinda long also, you know, spoilers.
Alfred wasn’t entirely sure why he was here. He definitely
wasn’t being a stalker.
Stalkers are evil creepy
dudes. Totally… not like me.
Still he had to admit what he was doing was kinda
stalker-ish. Honestly, all he’d meant to do was take his most recent…
acquaintance… home safe. But he couldn’t get the taste of undernourished blood
out of his mouth, or mind. So when he’d come across the dropped groceries he’d
been struck with a brilliant plan! He’d bring them back to the guy’s house,
along with some iron supplements!
Iron supplements were for anemia, right? He was pretty sure
that’s what the guy’s blood was missing…
Anyway, that should have been it. Wanting to help the guy
wasn’t an excuse; he’d wanted to help every single one of the “acquaintances”
he’d made over the years. Wanted to take every one under his wing, cook them a
hot meal, help them recover from the hangover, hell, maybe pay their debts or
But he couldn’t. He’d made a rule. He’d get them home and
that would be it. It had to be.
I’m just making sure
he’s ok. He tasted pretty sick, I’m just… making sure he’s not hurt too bad.
That ran around his mind on loop as he watched the Russian
through the foggy glass.
It’d been almost twilight when Al had happened to pass by
the man’s apartment, and as it so happened, the man himself was walking through
the front door. Keeping to the long shadows, Alfred had managed to follow the
large man all the way to a high school, where apparently he worked as a
And now he was watching Ivan mop floors through the little
window of one of the classroom doors. Which might be a little… yeah, ok, he was
Alfred made a face at the thought. Heroes aren’t stalkers. And I’m trying to help him, so I’m a hero!
As Alfred watched, the Russian man suddenly started moping
more urgently, his expression angry. Alfred felt himself ever so slightly
tempted to take a peek in the other man’s mind, but quickly squashed the idea.
Looking inside other people’s minds was just wrong, plus he was really bad at
it. It always made him flat-out exhausted afterwards, and sometimes all he
could detect was an obvious emotion.
Totally not worth… it…
He sensed something was wrong a moment before it showed. Not
in a specific, this-is-what’s-wrong way, but more of a subconscious nudge. His
gaze zoned in on the Russian…
Just in time to see his knees buckle.
With a rush of air and the slam of a door flying open, the
classroom was empty.
As it so happened, the Russian man had been thinking about a
particular vampire that made his blood boil.
He still felt pretty ill. It had been a chore to force
himself out the door and all the way to work. That damn vampire had shaken him
so badly. The burly Russian had never feared isolation or dark before. He
hadn’t jumped at the slightest sound echoing down the school’s tiled halls.
That damn creature had broken him; the final straw. Ivan felt his anger grow, and
had pushed himself harder into the motions of mopping.
Suddenly his head was light, and the hallway spun.
Ivan’s vision went blurry, all blacks and whites, too bright
and throbbing. He was vaguely aware of falling but not hitting the ground. His
pulse was pounding in his ears and he was short of breath. All he was sure of
was the coolness of the tile at his back. And… the sensation of something
around him. Supporting him. Slowly his pulse calmed enough for him to hear…
“—get you to a hospital!” A near-frantic voice exclaimed.
“Shit, I knew you were sick! This is bad, we need to—“
Ivan’s eyes wouldn’t focus, but they didn’t need to.
“YOU,” Ivan growled, pouring the last of his strength into
the hate behind the word. A wave of exhaustion hit, ripping away the anger and
bitterness he was leaning on for energy. His head lolled back as he grappled
What had he done? Not work hard enough? Care for his sisters
too much? Anger some divine being unwittingly? That’s what it felt like; a
curse. An old, true curse, the kind that destroyed not only the person but the
people around them too.
He didn’t want this. He didn’t want to be sick. He didn’t
want to be useless. He didn’t want to have failed his family. He didn’t want to
be alone in a foreign country…
“Hey, hey, hey! Stay with me, big guy…”
He didn’t want to hear the genuine concern in the damn
Ivan blinked rapidly, his vision slowly clearing. His eyes
managed to focus somewhat on the boy’s murky blue eyes. The slightest tint of
purple threw off the vivid blue he remembered.
“Come on, we need to get you to a hospital…”
“Nyet!” Ivan grabbed onto the arm supporting him. He sighed.
“Nyet. No hospital.”
“Dude, you just collapsed…”
“NYET.” Ivan insisted through his teeth. He slowly eased
himself back down to the floor, closing his eyes. “I will rest and be
The boy continued to hover over him worriedly. “Well is
there anything I CAN do?”
“Da, you can leave,” Ivan grumbled.
“Oh, yeah,” the teen snapped sarcastically, “I’m gonna leave
a sick dude half-conscious in the middle of an empty high school at night.”
“Why do you care?” Ivan growled.
“Cuz it’s my fault!” The teen said it like it was the most
So, thekrovopiytsa has a conscious. How sad.
“If I were you,” Ivan mumbled coldly to himself, “I would
not be wasting my energy on a weak human.” Ivan’s cruel, childish smile twisted
onto his face. “Unless I was board and hand nothing better to torment. Tell me,
how long are you going to be hunting me? Until you get your fill, bit by bit?”
“What?” The boy’s expression twisted in disgust. “Ew, no
dude! I’m not even hunting right now.”
“THEN WHAT DO YOU WANT?” Ivan snarled.
“Dude, chill, I just wanted to check on you. Make sure
you’re ok.” The young man nervously scratched the back of his neck.
“Ah. So you are feeling guilt.”
“Are you taking medicine for it?” The young man said
suddenly, ignoring the last comment. “The anemia, I mean. You have a doctor,
right? If not, I’ll fine one for you. I’m sure I can find someone good.”
“Nyet, that is not being necessary,” Ivan mumbled. He did
not, in fact, have a doctor. You needed money to have a doctor.
Ivan pushed himself up into a sitting position and locked
eyes with the young monster. “Guilt. Pity. Kindness. These are all wasted on
me. I have nothing for you but blood,” Ivan spread his hands, smiling sadly.
“And even that is no good.”
“That…” The boy stumbled, his face flushing. “That’s not…”
“Leave.” Ivan ordered.
“LEAVE!” he roared, lunging forward. He threw all his energy
behind his swinging fist, and felt a deep satisfaction when it connected with
the young man’s face.
But then he was spent. He fell forward, unable to right
himself, and found himself down, face first, at the mercy of a now probably
“Please,” Ivan begged, feeling the last of his will sap
away. His voice was broken and quiet, almost a prayer. “Let me be alone.”
There was a long silence, But Ivan knew the vampire hadn’t
left. A bitter chuckle confirmed it.
“You wanna be miserable?” the young man asked quietly, all
the mirth gone from his voice. He helped Ivan back into a sitting position.
Ivan noticed that the boy’s bottom lip was split, but it
looked like it had already been healing for a day.
The teen studied him a long moment, his intense eyes
suddenly very old. He closed them and smiled sadly. “…I get it. Alright then…”
He sighed, standing. The vampire turned to leave, but
“…Tell ya what, I know a great place to be miserable at.” He
smirked down at Ivan. “It’s a bar. All imported liquor. The good stuff. I’d bet
they’d have some decent vodka, if you’re into that stuff.” The vampire stuck
out his tongue. “Tastes like liquid hate to me but whatev’. You want a place to
be miserable at? Bruderhaus ‘s the place.”
Ivan stared up at the smirking vampire, not sure what to
think. Was this kid seriously recommending a bar? To the man he’d nearly killed
the night before? Ivan would be damned before he took the vampire’s recommendation…
But god, he’d been
missing good vodka.
The vampire winked at Ivan as he began his retreat. “Take
care, big guy. Oh,” he paused. “And go to your doctor already, dude. You’re not
gonna get any better this way.”
Ivan glared knives at the empty air where the vampire had
been a moment before.
Several days passed, and Ivan started feeling as bad as
normal. Still, it was an improvement to almost passing out every time he
The large man set the school’s alarm and strode to the door,
stepping out into the muggy night air. He glanced around the empty, dimly-lit
parking lot, shuddering despite himself. The orange light made him uneasy, and
probably would for a while. He growled under his breath, pulling up his scarf and
charging into the darkness.
Unfortunately, since he was no longer pushing a mop, his
mind had no good reason not to wander. It floated back the realization he’d had
when he’d woken up… It was Katusya’s birthday.
Ivan felt his stomach take a nasty twist and his hissed
under his breath. He couldn’t keep going like this. What he wouldn’t do for
Ivan gritted his teeth. The last thing he wanted to do was
take advice from that vampire. But even as his mind tugged at memories of past
birthdays, Ivan found his feet turning from home to downtown.
He didn’t know where he was going. Ivan ended up awkwardly
asking for directions from several passers-by. Fortunately, it seemed
Bruderhaus was a bit famous, and the second person he asked pointed him in the
Ivan finally found the place, its entrance a bit below
street level and lit in blue light. There was a sign with a black eagle and the
name of the place written over it in gothic script. Ivan snorted to himself and
double-checked the open sign before pushing in the door.
The strong scent of beer, salt, smoke, and a hint of sweat
assaulted him as he glanced around. The place was an odd mix of stereotypically
German paraphernalia and American night club. Ivan could hear the faint heavy
beat of club music, and there was a dance floor off to his left, but thankfully
it was empty. He headed to the right, where he could see a low-lit bar area.
Ivan noticed a few other patrons mulling about as he pulled himself up on a bar
stool. His violet eyes took in the place, never having been to bar like this in
“Vodka,” Ivan growled softly at the bartender who had his
back to him. He was pleasantly surprised when the barkeep set down a full
bottle of Stolichnaya in front of him, instead of just a glass.
“You struck me as a bottle kinda guy.”
Ivan’s eyes went wide. He looked up to see the bartender’s
sky blue eyes and bright smile grinning cheekily down at him.
We live in a society where “hobo chic” is a totally acceptable style of dress. And this fact is completely fine! We are bombarded with everything from slinky buns to sock-os on a daily basis, and there is no issue with that. I am your average woman who will throw on leggings for a Walmart run just praying to God that I don’t run into anyone worthwhile while I look like an actual big toe. But, this is not the matter at hand. The real issue here is when an attempt to have a full-face on ends with receiving the belittlement of others for going the extra mile.
We’re all too familiar with the “this is why I have trust issues” post that litter our timelines. They show pictures of girls amplifying their natural beauty using their spectacular makeup skills. I, being a makeup enthusiast, always gawk at their transformations, but sadly these post are taken the wrong way by some. “Too much makeup” and “I prefer natural looks” are just the tips of the brainless iceberg. Witty remarks in the realm of “This is why you take girls swimming on the first date” boil my blood even more. The peak of my anger exudes from one word: “ugly”. When I see that comment on a picture of anyone, my stomach twist in knots. Considering I know firsthand how difficult applying the perfect wing and brow arch can be, seeing this pushes me to my breaking point. I fail to put my thoughts into words when seeing something this degrading. The 99 percent of guys who post stuff like this would not even know who Jeffree Star is. They have no qualifications to downgrade us, plus this type of negativity should never be tolerated! Alas, this type of behavior still isn’t the worse thing. No the worse is yet to come, and my fellow girls already understand where I’m heading here.
Let me be clear and concise that the absolute worse thing is when females put down other females for frivolous things such as their decision to wear makeup. If Beyonce taught us anything, it’s basically that ladies have to stick together against male power or whatever. With that we see the post. And you know the post I’m referring to. “I don’t need to wear makeup to be beautiful!” Well guess what sweetie, neither do I. No one on this Earth needs makeup to be beautiful. Girls who brag about their natural complexion…okay good for you. But I am fully aware that I look fierce without a drop of mascara. However, if I want to be beat to the gods then dammit I will look like I’m going to prom on a Wednesday afternoon excursion to get frozen yogurt with my friends. I feel silly even having to justify my actions because it’s my face. Never in my life have I looked down on someone for choosing to go natural, butthere have been days where I get asked what possessed me to wear makeup. For these questions, I have compiled a complete list of my personal answers:
Why are you wearing makeup to school? Because I want to.
Why are you wearing makeup to work?
Because I want to.
Why are you wearing makeup for (insert reason here)?
Because I want to.
I hope you’ve detected the obvious pattern, but in case you haven’t, let me state what the driving force behind this piece was to take away the notions that girls wear makeup for any reason besides pleasing themselves. To the boys who only like “natural looks”, that’s a valid choice, but please don’t put me down for choosing differently. To the girls who get angry at seeing ladies putting forth effort, just take a breath and realize that you’re about to tear another sister down, and do you really want to do this? Finally, to my fashionistas, may your highlight look like a glazed doughnut, your lips stay on for hours on end, and your mugs always be beat. Never allow others to manipulate your choices. First impressions are hard to alter, and just think about how great it could be if you could walk away and hear them whisper “Wow, what a makeup goddess.” We’re all in this together ladies, and I’m glad to have y’all on my side.
Chapter 1 - Can A Man And Woman Ever Be Just Friends?
Disclaimer: Hello everyone! This is the first chapter to the series prequel of The Thing Is… I Love You. This work is purely fictional - any mentions of real persons or events are coincidental. Please read, reblog and enjoy :).
Sprawled against the warm leather of the car, I watched as the raindrops slid slowly down the window. We hadn’t been on the road long, a mere fifteen minutes, but it was already pouring. The rain was so thick I could barely see past the glass. At this point though, I didn’t care. I was exhausted.
I was coming straight home from the 2014 Golden Globes. It went about in the most spectacular fashion. From the glittering parade of designer gowns to the prestigious awards, the night didn’t disappoint. Although I’d established a solid acting career, I didn’t feel like one of the ‘elite’. I was still the young girl from Louisville, Kentucky.
As the car stopped briefly at an intersection, I found myself reflecting on the event. The first category they presented was the award for Best Supporting Actress. I was so deeply engrossed in staring wide eyed at my favourite actress Meryl Streep that I almost didn’t hear my name being called over the microphone. I blinked, glancing around the table in confusion.
Nick had squeezed my waist, leaning close so he could whisper in my ear. “Go on, babe, you’re up. You’ve won.”
He kissed me very briefly, surprising me, before giving my butt a gentle pat. Too bewildered to even object, I hitched up the skirts of my white tulle Dior gown and clumsily made for the stage. As I walked, several hands patted me on the back. My heart stopped when Meryl Streep herself pulled me aside, her feather-light fingers brushing my bare shoulder as she whispered her congratulations.
My hands shook as I slowly climbed the steps. No way in hell would I let last year’s spectacular fall happen again.
A beaming Tom Hanks pressed the small yet heavy Golden Globe into my hands. I stuttered my thanks as Sandra Bullock, THE Sandra Bullock, kissed my cheek. Clutching the globe tightly, I addressed the audience.
“Wow. Uh, thank you so much for this.” I suddenly became very aware of how breathless my voice sounded. “God, I don’t know why I’m shaking but yeah, um, thank you so much. I wanna thank David O. Russell, you’re a brilliant man in so many ways.”
The crowd was filled with several smiling faces; all of which telegraphed genuine pride. I paused for a second, collecting my thoughts. I knew at least half the room, having only interacted with the other half in passing.
My heart beat along to a strange rhythm. I was euphoric, literally on cloud nine. And yet, I knew something was missing. Or more accurately, someone.
“Uh, I wanna thank my family, my team. I would not be up here without you guys. Aargh. Who else? OH yeah! I wanna thank my fellow nominees, it’s such an honour to even be nominated with you. I am inspired by your work so thank you.”
I swallowed, hoping I could inject some much needed volume into my voice. “Oh god, I’m still shaking! Seriously, please don’t do this again. It’s freaking scary.” I say breathlessly as the crowd roared with laughter. I held up my Globe in gratitude as music echoed across the great hall.
Miss Golden Globe, a pretty young lady whose face I didn’t recognise, led me briskly from the stage, escorting me to the press room. I blinked rapidly, eyes watering; almost blinded by the lights. Journalists were clamouring, like angry bees, taking my picture, hurling questions in my direction.
“Jennifer! Hold it up for us!”
“Smile, this is for People Magazine!”
“You look gorgeous, Jennifer!”
“How do you feel about winning the first award of the night?!”
“Tell us about your acceptance speech. Are you really still that nervous?”
I felt the adrenaline recede from my system as I shuffle slowly along the platform towards the microphone. Flushed from my speech, I spotted my assistant and friend, Justine, lurking in the corner. She beamed at me, hands outstretched, preparing hold the Globe while I addressed the press.
Acquiescing almost immediately, I passed the little marble-gold award to her, then turned to face the media. I narrowed my eyes, squinting against the blinding glare of the cameras. “I’m sorry. Could you please repeat the question?”
“Oh, tell us about your speech. Are you still really that nervous about talking in front of crowds?”
I felt a momentary stab of irritation as I glanced down at the young woman who posed the question. She held a silver iPad in her hands but it wasn’t the gadget that captured me. It was the badge on her lapel; the yellow E! embossed in a gold circle.
The gossip channel held no attraction for me, it never really did. A derisive laugh escaped my lips. They saw me as an actress; not an actual human being who suffered from the occasional stage fright.
“Yeah, I mean, talking in front of a big group of people is nerve wracking.” I say petulantly. “Especially when the people watching you are your favourite actors. People you’ve admired since you were a little kid.”
Luckily, they didn’t detect the obvious petulance in my tone. Eager to coax more answers from me, they scrambled among themselves, debating on who should ask me next. I shuffled my feet restlessly, waiting.
“Jennifer, you’ve had a stellar award season so far. Firstly, congratulations. Second, what do you plan on doing after? Do you have a post-ceremony relaxation routine?”
“Well uh, I dunno. I’ll probably catch up on my drinking. There’s so much alcohol there callin’ my name, you know what I mean?” I laugh, longingly picturing the glass of champagne I’d left, still full, sitting on the table.
“Do you have any other projects in the works right now? Projects which could attract the same Oscar buzz?”
“Yes I do, although I don’t know if the 'Oscar buzz’ part is true. I’m shooting the last Hunger Games movie which has been split into two parts. But we’re filming it in one whole bunch so yeah, very busy.”
“Has the film been disrupted because of the awards?”
“No, I don’t think so.” I frown, biting my lip. Production was currently on a two week break to accommodate the hectic awards season. We were still based in Atlanta and had at least another six weeks there before moving overseas.
“Okay, ah, how do you see your future in the film industry? Is directing a movie something you’d consider later on?”
“Definitely. I’d do directing at some point, yeah. But I’m still a newbie at this stuff so I think I’ll keep learning for awhile. I’ve worked with incredible directors so I’m learning a lot from them.” I reply cheerfully; Francis’ face was vivid in my mind.
“Jennifer, over here! To your right.”
I started shuffling in the opposite direction before bursting into laughter. “Oh my god, you said right and I went the other way. Hah. Anyway, I’m sorry. Interrupt me quick!”
“You were at the Governor’s Ball last year, your family was there too. They were having more than you celebrating backstage.”
“Because they didn’t have to go through this. It’s hilarious. I really miss them though. I don’t know what they’re doing now so I’m gonna call em’ right after the press thing.”
“As a young actress, how do you stay grounded?”
“Family. They’d stop me before I get my head stuck up my own ass. Plus, I have a group of really good friends. Friends I’ve known for a long time..” Despite my lighthearted remark, I felt my heart clench painfully. I guess I’d be lying if I didn’t wish he was here too.
Amidst the rapid-fire interrogation, I thought of my loved ones. My family. Throughout my career, they’d remained steadfast in their support for me. This was the first awards ceremony they couldn’t attend. My parents. My two older brothers. I missed them all and wished, more than anything, that they were standing here there beside me.
When the press conference concluded, I slowly made my way back to the great hall. Nick was enjoying himself, deeply engrossed in an avid discussion with Amy. He kissed me briefly when I got back, then resumed his conversation. I sat down, fingers curled around the champagne glass, feeling a bit lonely.
The rest of the night passed by quickly. I watched esteemed actors win well deserved accolades. I didn’t stop acting like an obsessed fan all night, somehow neglecting my costars as I stalked my favourite actors. When the event concluded however, I was strangely relieved.
Nick didn’t stay long; he was flying out early the next day to attend the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. So he bundled me up in the town car, still wearing his black blazer. The blazer had since been clumsily folded up and put away.
It was still pouring outside. Sheets upon sheets of rain pelted the window, obscuring the glass, making clear vision difficult. From what I could see though, the roads were still wet. There was barely any vehicles on the road, save the limousine, traffic was almost non-existent.
The car pulled into my street, cruising slowly past the darkened houses until it parked beside front gate of my condo. I didn’t live here alone, I shared the apartment with Justine. I couldn’t find her after the backstage press conference at the Globes; for some reason, she’d disappeared.
Don, the driver, flitted to my side, kindly offering his arm as I climbed awkwardly out of the vehicle. He held a large black umbrella over our heads as we approached the gate. Through it all, I didn’t stop talking, thanking him for being my chaperone.
“No problem, Miss Jennifer.” He smiled, somehow reminding me of my father. “Please don’t apologise. It’s an honour for me to escort you. Plus, it’s raining. You wouldn’t want your lovely dress to get wet.”
“Okay, if you say so.” I reply, shuddering in the cold. “Thank you again. I hope you didn’t wait too long. The awards show took forever.” I dig through the silver purse for my keys. “I can take it from here. Go home, it’s late, your family’s probably waiting up for you.”
“Are you sure, Miss? I can wait if there’s no one at home..”
“Very sure.” I smiled warmly at him. I paid him handsomely, making sure I added a generous tip. He waited until I was safely inside before departing. Such a lovely gentleman. Definitely a father.
I clambered up the steps of the front porch, slowly; gritting my teeth as I concentrated on not slipping in my sky high Louboutins. I peeked through the window, seeing that it was dark inside. So Justine wasn’t home.. Oh well, maybe there’s still time for a pizza.
The lights flickered on all at once as I pushed open the door. I let out a high pitched shriek, clutching my chest as my family members came into sharper focus, screaming the word 'surprise’. I laughed through my tears as several sets of arms embraced me.
My mom, Karen, was the first to claim me. She looked younger than her fifty one years, her golden hair shining. She peppered my face with kisses, the way only a mother could. “Surprise!” She cried. “Congratulations, darling. We are so proud of you.”
“Oh my god, I didn’t know you guys would be here! When did this happen?”
“Well it wouldn’t be a surprise if we told you, now would it?” My father Gary’s blue eyes, so like mine, twinkled mischievously. He folded me into his arms for a tight bear hug. “We landed in LA this afternoon, booked a room at a hotel downtown.”
“Really? Oh my god, you guys should’ve told me. There’s plenty of room here.”
“Yes but like Dad says, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we told you.” My eldest brother, Blaine, teased. He ruffled my pixie cut, easily avoiding the punch I aimed at him. “Congrats, little sister. You look nice!”
“Thanks, bro. Where’s Meredith and Bear? Are they here too?”
“No, they’re in Louisville. They couldn’t make it but they wish they could be here. I know Bear misses his Aunt Jen.”
“Aw, well I miss him too.” I say, thinking of my cherubic, golden haired nephew. He was five years old and already a precocious child.
“Look who it is, it’s Bambi!” My brother Ben crowed, nudging me playfully in the ribs. Ever since I tripped at the Oscars in 2013, he’d taken to calling me 'Bambi’, which I secretly liked but never admitted out loud. “I saw what you did to Taylor Swift. Interrupting her, how dare you?”
“Hey, I was joking around!” I protested indignantly. “Come on, she found it funny. Plus she was very sweet about it.”
“Considering the last time we talked to her, you fangirled so much, you freaked her out.” A familiar voice teased. My heart thumped to a strange, irregular rhythm at the sound. I turned, slowly.
I’d know that voice anywhere.
There he was, standing beside my brother, hazel eyes gleaming. He wore his favourite black leather jacket and a pair of matching motorcycle gloves. He was still devastatingly handsome but it wasn’t his obvious good looks that captured my attention. It was the warm smile on his face.
“JOSH!” I shrieked joyfully, flinging myself at him. He wrapped his arms around my waist, holding me close. He even smelled the same; like cinnamon. The tears started again, mingling with my laughter. “JOSHY! OH MY GOD! What are you doing here?!”
“Hey beautiful. I wanted to surprise you. Congratulate you on your award.” He chuckled, planting a kiss on my forehead. “I’m so proud of you!”
I beamed at him. “Thanks. Holy shit. I actually can’t believe you’re here! I didn’t think you’d be in LA right now.”
“Me neither. I flew in from Madrid and was going to go straight ahead to Union but then I thought I’d stop by.”
Oh, Madrid. My heart clenched painfully again. Better shut that door. He was here now. It’s all that matters.
“Don’t cry, you. It’s your big night.” Josh chided gently, brushing away my tears. “Besides, I ordered a late night feed for everyone. Feel like some good old Pizza Hut?”
“GOD YES.” I started marching towards the kitchen as fast as my dress would allow when suddenly my mother’s voice stopped me in my tracks. I turned sheepishly, catching her stern gaze.
“Jen, change. You don’t want pizza toppings all over that gown, now do you? Go now. We’re still gonna be here by the time you finish.” She said briskly, giving me a slight push in the opposite direction. “Actually, you might need help unzipping the dress. Come on, I’ll go with you.”
With no other choice, I marched up the stairs, my mother trailing behind. In my bedroom, I quickly singled out my favourite sweatpants and Louisville High sweatshirt. My mom held me by my shoulders, spinning me round until her soft fingers found the zipper.
I waited impatiently as she unzipped the dress, somehow reminded of my years as a teenager in Kentucky. After every prom, every high school dance, this was something my mom did, no matter how old I got. It was the way we talked. She’d ask me if it went well, whether I had a good time. Being the only women in the family; we shared a close bond.
Living a few states apart made me appreciate my mother’s presence even more. Once I was out of the dress, she stayed to replace it back in its plastic sheath, smoothing the folds until all the creases were out. I quickly changed into my sweatpants while she hung the dress on a hook by the door.
“Thanks for helping me out, Momma.” I say affectionately, carefully removing the Neil Lane earrings. “I missed you a lot. You know, this reminded me so much of prom. Do you remember?”
“How could I forget, honey?” She smiled fondly at me. “You’re as beautiful now as you were back then. Now I’m not just saying that because I’m your mother.”
“Yeah, I know. So how did you guys get here? Did Justine swing by to pick you up?”
“No, actually Josh did. He got in touch with her, I guess. When he did swing by, he told us he was ordering pizza, in case we were hungry.” The look in my mother’s eyes was unmistakeable. It was a look of pride, wistfulness.
“He’s great.” I say honestly. “I actually can’t believe he did all this for me.”
“Well, sweetie, he’s got a big heart. Like you. Now come on, otherwise they might eat all the pizza. And we sure as hell can’t let that happen.” She winked at me playfully, making me laugh as we descended down the stairs.
Sure enough, we found the boys playfully squabbling over the pizza. At least my brothers anyway. Josh was sitting with my dad, trash talking one of his favourite teams, the Louisville Cardinals. It was something they often did, something that made my father see him as another surrogate son.
I sat down beside my best friend, pulling the box of cheese pizza towards me. I dug into it without hesitation, nibbling on the delicious crust. “You’re not really insulting the Cardinals, are you? They’re on pretty good form at the moment, aren’t they Dad?”
“Well I think it’s time they change coaches.” Josh said, raising an eyebrow. “In basketball anyway. They gotta knock the number ones off the leader board at some point. Come on, I can’t even remember the last time the Cards won a championship.”
“Twenty thirteen, mind you.” My dad retorted playfully. “Since 1982, the Cards have been in the top five. You weren’t even born then, son, so you wouldn’t know.”
“Oh no he didn’t..” I teased in singsong as my brothers laughed.
“Yeah well, the Cats are gonna kick ass this season. I know they will. They’ve recorded over 1700 wins. AND they’re two time National Champions. I mean, granted this was back in '62. Nick Van Exel was a graduate from Cincinnati, he’s been coaching the Texas Legends since forever. We got Cats champions in the NBA, man.”
“Wow, when did you learn all this stuff?” Blaine asked, impressed.
“I do watch ESPN sometimes.” Josh chuckled. “Plus, you know I got this from my best pal, Google. Just then. I actually got scared.. I’m like 'Oh, shit. I need more basketball trivia. He’s gonna kill me with his awesome knowledge.” He shared an impish smile with my father.
My father, bless him, smiled back. “Okay enough sports, we can talk some more after the Cards kick your ass next month. Jen, honey, tell us about the Globes. Did you have fun?”
Josh pretended to be offended as he reached for another slice of pizza. “I’ll take that bet. You’ll be sorry you ever cursed the Cats.”
“Bring it on.”
“The Globes was fun.” I answered loudly, giggling. “I had a great time, acted like an obsessed fan. Stared at Meryl Streep for hours. No joke, I watched her eat, drink. I was THIS close to following her to the bathroom.”
“You’re such a weirdo.” Ben quipped, shaking his head as he chewed noisily.
“Ugh, I should not be allowed near people ever.” I laugh. “Meryl’s gonna get a restraining order put on me, I swear. But she actually congratulated me when they called my name. I almost passed out.”
“Speaking of.. I’m surprised you didn’t fall over on your way up there.” Blaine teased, roaring with laughter at the way my face reddened. “I remember last year your dress got caught on the step.”
“This year, I made sure the Dior people didn’t give me a train. Freaking hate big dresses. I swear, it’s the last time I’m wearing a dress that makes me look like a pastry.”
“Did you eat enough while you were there?” My mother asked sternly. She knew I had the tendency to neglect the basic human needs whenever I got overexcited.
“Yes, Mommy. Amy made sure I did. It’s the motherly instinct coming out of her. She was all bossy. Her partner, Darren, apologised afterwards. He said it’s because Aviana started eating solid foods recently so Amy’s making sure she eats it all.”
“Amy’s three year old daughter.” I smile, remembering the first time I’d met the bubbly little girl with tufts of bright, strawberry blonde hair. She looked exactly like Amy. “She’s a cute kid.” I snapped my fingers, remembering something. “Oh! Guess what? I met Sam Worthington.”
Josh sat up straighter, swallowing the mouthful of pizza he was eating. “You did?! Oh my god. That’s awesome.”
“Uh huh. I even got a picture with him.” I say happily, fishing my phone from the pocket of my sweatpants. I scroll quickly through the images until I found the picture, then scooted my chair closer to his. “See? We took a selfie.”
“Wow, very nice! Did you tell him we loved him in Avatar?”
“Yeah, I did. He said he really liked The Hunger Games. I almost passed out then too, I was like 'Oh god, Jake Sully just told me he liked the Hunger Games’. I texted you as soon as he left. I’m like 'Holy shit. Josh has gotta hear this.’”
He smiled, his eyes glowing. It sent a strange yet welcome warmth searing through my veins, making my heart beat a little faster than usual. “Oh yeah I did get your message. You texted me from the bathroom… I’m all 'Dude, shouldn’t you be up there presenting?’”
Laughing, I nudged his shoulder. “Well, I needed to pee. But I also needed to text you. So I thought, 'Why not do both?’”
I took another bite of my meat lovers pizza, ignoring the knowing look on my mother’s face. I had no doubt that she observed the casual exchange between us. The affectionate, almost tender, way we touched.
Despite the lateness of the hour, the conversation flowed easily. I served some coffee and rolls when the pizza was finally gone, beaming fondly at my loved ones. They chatted happily about the goings-on in their lives; so far removed from my own.
My father was amidst yet another project at his construction firm. He was building townhouses for a real estate company. He talked animatedly about concrete, bricks, cement. While my brothers rolled their eyes, I found myself listening aptly. Normality was so rare these days; my father’s talks brought that closer, even if only for a brief moment.
Blaine was navigating parenthood with my sister-in-law Meredith. So far he helped Dad out at the firm while raising their five year old, Bear. His wife was still on indefinite leave from her job as a paediatrician, holding play dates, forging friendships with other young moms in the area.
Although the summer had long since passed, my mother was still busy. She planned ahead for the coming season; adding more activities, booking venues, hiring new counsellors. As a teenager, I often assisted her, going along as a trainee counsellor when my brothers couldn’t. Now that we had our own lives however, she had a team of college graduates around her.
Wedding bells were ringing for my other brother, Ben, and my future sister-in-law, Carson. Like my parents, they still lived in Louisville, never straying far from their roots. The ranch ceremony would be held in the spring. This was something I couldn’t miss, being one of the bridesmaids.
Everyone was happy, healthy. Just as I hoped they would be.
Try as I may, I couldn’t stop myself from yawning. Against my will, the exhaustion was creeping back into my system, extinguishing what was left of the adrenaline. At first I thought I was doing well hiding my yawns, but when I stretched, my mother flicked her fingers.
“Oh, someone’s sleepy.” She said, rising from the table.
“No. No I’m not.” I protest feebly.
My mom laughed, shaking her head. “Sweetheart, you’ve been yawning for the last, oh I don’t know, ten minutes now? I think it’s time you call it a night.”
“But come on, stay. It IS a weekend, isn’t it?”
“Yeah but we’ve got a plane to catch. There aren’t many flights headed for Louisville.” Blaine reasoned, getting my mom’s message. He started gathering the empty plates, piling them on top of each other.
“Don’t worry, sweetie. It’s late anyway. We know you’ve had a long day.” Dad replied, kissing the top of my head. “You actresses need your beauty sleep.”
“Especially you. You get so crabby in the morning when you haven’t had a full twenty hours’ rest.” Ben teased, carrying the empty coffee pot into the kitchen.
“I do NOT get crabby.”
“Hah! Okay. You don’t get crabby.”
Shaking my head, I stood up to help clear away the mess. I’d spent years being the brunt of my brothers’ jokes. There were nights when I even cried over them because I was too young to understand. But now that we lived separate lives, only seeing each other when there was free time, I missed them so much more.
As tired as I was, I felt guilty having my family clear the table. But my mother insisted I relax while the men helped her with the work. So, I hung around in the living room, drifting in and out of sleep. When they were done, they each prepared to leave, grabbing coats, beanies, gloves.
My mother pulled me into her arms, holding me tight. “You were wonderful tonight, Jen. I’m proud of you, alright? Don’t forget.” She whispered, stroking my hair. “I love you.”
“I love you too, Mom.” I say, feeling my throat constrict. “I’ll see you in a few weeks.”
“Take care, squirt.” My father said, embracing me. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Work hard but stay relaxed, okay?”
“Sure, Daddy. Thanks for coming. Really. I missed you guys tonight.”
My brothers were next, tackling me so fast I was lifted off my feet. Laughing, I screamed, begging them to put me down. When they did, they both ruffled my hair. “Go and sleep, little sister. Congrats on the Globe.” Blaine replied, grinning.
“Yeah, it’s a miracle you didn’t fall over, Bambi. Really shocking.” Ben quipped, pulling his beanie low over his head.
I chuckled, watching my family walk down the path. Five minutes later, they all but disappeared into the night, leaving behind a trail of white smoke. I shuddered, closing the door. The house seemed colder without them here, less lively.
Desperately craving some warmth, I shuffled into the kitchen. To my surprise, Josh was still there, washing the dishes; his elbows caked with foam and soap. The sleeves of his plaid shirt were rolled up, revealing his fair skin.
He smiled when he saw me come in. Warmth gushed through my veins, turning my limbs into jelly, making my hands tingle. My heart skipped a beat, thumping along to some strange rhythm. I smiled back, grateful for his presence.
“What are you still doing here?” I ask, combing through the cupboards for a mug. “It’s late. You should go home. I can do all that in the morning.”
“No, don’t sweat it, Jen. I got this.” He reached for the last plate, coating it liberally in dishwashing liquid. “You’re exhausted, so I don’t mind.”
“But, you know..” My voice trailed into nothingness. There was no point arguing. I sighed, conceding defeat. I brewed some hot coca and poured myself a mug, sitting at the kitchen counter with my fingers curled around the handle. “Thank you, though.”
“You’re welcome.” He smiled, drying his hands on a dish towel. “Wow, that hot cocoa smells good. Can I have some too?”
Once he had filled up his own mug, he joined me in the living room. We sat together on the couch, talking quietly, sharing stories. Like my family, he enquired about the Globes, wondering if I had a good time. I said I did but when I reflected on the memories, I suddenly found myself wishing he was there.
If it were up to me, I would’ve stayed up longer. Exhaustion crept back into my system, making me feel so sluggish I almost spilled my hot cocoa. He pushed it out of the way before it could fall on the rug.
Strong hands steadied me by the shoulders. Half a second later, I was lying on my back, my head pillowed by a cushion, with a blanket spread over me. I vaguely registered the sound of boots scraping across the floor. Oh no, was he leaving?
“Wait, don’t go.” I say, heart thundering in my ears.
“Relax, Jen.” He murmured gently. “I just moved my boots. I’m not going anywhere, okay? Shh. It’s alright.” He sat down again beside, shifting so that he cradled my head in his lap. His soft hands brushed my hair soothingly. “Shh, it’s okay.”
My body calmed at his touch, my heartbeat returning to its regular rhythm. I yawned, turning so that my face was almost touching the fabric of his shirt. My skin tingled as he pressed his lips to my forehead.
“Stay.” I whisper as the tendrils of sleep pulled me under.