Flags are symbols. Hand-stitched swaths of colored fabrics, a flag straddles the chasm between abstraction and representation — allegorical signifiers of pride, country, and the tenets of being. People live and die by them. They plant them in moon mud. They wave them in the wind from the tops of hundred-story buildings; they fold them and bury them in ritualistic ceremony.
But symbols are living, breathing things, with meanings that shift and shuck, depending on who is claiming them as their own. When a flag’s colors, stripes or stars fail to represent the things we hold close, we are left to create anew.
The following flags were designed by nine artists as a reaction against the political climate in this country. To combat the changes and to reflect the anxieties of our time, art collective and store Object_ify139 commissioned nine artists to design a flag that’s representative of ideals each artist believes in, and that they feel are being threatened by the current administration.
These flags will fly from the rafters of Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles all month long, and are available for made-to-order purchase on our shop. A portion of proceeds from each flag go to a non-profit organization chosen by the artist that corresponds to the ideals represented in the flag.
A/N: Request from @arrowswithwifi. I utterly
enjoyed writing this, like, I love both Brits and Aussies and I have a strong
British accent myself so this was seriously so much fun. See translations of
slang words at the end of the imagine. Have fun!
I’m so happy your inbox is open again, but seriously, I’ll read anything you write - it’s fantastic. I think it can be really hard to take established characters and put them in random plots while still keeping true to the spirit of the character, but you do this so well. If I can make a request, I’d love you to write about the reader choosing to tell Emily she’s been raped in the past. They can be in a relationship or not, up to you. Thank you!
@duchessbiscuittaco, I hope you enjoy your story because here it is, comin’ ‘atcha! Obvious trigger warnings, as well. And thank you so much for your kind words. They seriously mean so much during this time in my life.
It was getting worse.
It used to just happen when Emily was away, but now it was happening when she was here.
The nightmares, that is.
The cold sweats and the panting breaths. The panic and the shaking.
It was all getting worse, and you didn’t understand why.
“Talk to me,” Emily would always urge, and every time she did you told her you were alright.
But Emily wasn’t stupid. However, she knew better than to push you.
So, she left it be.
She checked up on you more while she was gone, and she would find more times to call you on the phone.
You knew what she was doing.
“You know I trust you, right?” you asked one night just before you crawled into bed.
“Of course,” Emily said.
“So, you know sending me extra messages and calling me more won’t change the fact that I won’t talk to you, right?”
“So, there is something to talk about,” Emily stated.
She knew what she was doing.
“I gotta go,” you mumbled into the phone.
You decided to ignore the rest of her calls and messages for that case.
Mostly because you wanted the space.
But more because you had a trip you needed to make.
Emily knew something was wrong, and she knew it was something big. Yes, the two of you had only been together for a few months and, yes, you moved in very early. But, the two of you had been staying in separate rooms only until a few nights before she left for this case.
She wondered how long you had been struggling with the nightmares.
There were several precautions both of you took. She knew the dangers of her job and how they could wreak havoc on your life, so one of the promises you both made to each other was to have the password to each other’s “find your phone” applications. That way, if something happened to the other, they could have at least a few tools to exhaust before jumping to the worst conclusion.
So, Emily sat down at her laptop and punched in your information.
She watched the little beeping dot pull out of the neighborhood, and she furrowed her brow as you headed for the highway. She watched you drive for a while before you pulled off onto an exit, and he zoomed in on the map when the dot stopped moving.
You had driven at 8 o’clock at night out to a cemetery.
You stood and looked at the grave, its headstone etched with that name.
That disgusting name with that disgusting face.
That disgusting face you had tried to forget all those years.
You saw that face whenever you closed your eyes now. For years, that face had erased itself from your memory. But, all of a sudden it was back… plaguing you like childhood acne or a recurring yeast infection: it was itchy, it was irritating, and it was debilitating.
You wanted to claw that face out of your mind’s eye… but you couldn’t.
Would you ever be able to tell Emily?
Would you ever figure out why you couldn’t tell Emily?
And then? Your phone rang out… with Emily’s name flashing across the screen.
“Just… tell me you’re alright,” Emily said.
But you knew you couldn’t tell her that.
Emily was poised, completely at the ready. Her bag was in her hand and a rental car was waiting the click of her button.
All she was waiting for was you to say the word.
“A few years ago… I was raped,” you breathe into the phone.
The statement caused Emily to drop her bag to the floor.
“I never told anyone about it. I didn’t want to… just… open myself up to all that…”
“It’s sick what they do to victims of rape in the media,” Emily breathed as she sat down onto the edge of the bed.
How she ached to be able to hold you close right now.
“But it wasn’t just…”
How could you tell her?
“Wasn’t just what, honey?” she coo’d into the phone.
It was then she heard you sniffle, and it was what prompted her to hit the “confirm” button on her rental car order.
“I saw him sometime later in an alley…w-w-…with, uh…”
“What did you see, sweetheart?” Emily coo’d as she shoved her way out of the hotel and flagged down a cab
“I saw him doing it again, y-…y’know?”
Your body was trembling uncontrollably as your vision blurred with your tears.
“Oh god, Y/N…” Emily sighed as she jumped into the cab and mouthed the address to the driver.
“And I couldn’t just… stand by, you know? I-I-I mean… h-had I s-spoken up o-o-or something, that girl, sh-she wouldn’t of, uh…”
“It’s alright. I’m right here. Take some deep breaths for me,” Emily coached as the cab driver let her off at the rental car place.
There was a man waiting with keys in his hand for her, and she thanked him profusely before throwing her bag in the car.
“I charged him in the alleyway,” you choked out as you backed up from his grave, the memories flooding your system as your breathing began to pick up.
“Listen to the sound of my voice,” Emily coo’d as she cranked up the car and threw it into reverse.
“I grabbed a bottle off the ground when we landed and I just… kept hitting, and hitting, and hitting…”
You were sobbing over the phone as you stumbled back to your car.
“Oh my god, Y/N…” Emily sighed as she careened onto the highway.
She cursed still being 5 hours from you.
“I killed him, Emily,” you breathed into the phone as you slumped down into the seat of your car.
“You were protecting that girl,” Emily corrected, “it’s what any one of us would have done.”
“You would’ve beat him to death with a vodka bottle, Emily?” you deadpanned before slamming the door and locking it.
“Please, calm down before you drive,” Emily said as a car honked its horn at her for merging too early.
“Sounds like I should tell you the same thing,” you breathe.
“I know how much you’ve been struggling, and when I realized you were crying, I just… couldn’t not come home.”
“You know where I am, don’t you?” you deadpan.
“I do,” Emily answers.
“How far out are you?” you ask meekly.
“5 hours,” Emily sighs.
“Wanna meet at our favorite place?” you ask.
“You’re gonna wait in the diner we met at for 5 hours?” Emily asks
“I’m certainly not gonna go home and close my eyes only to see his face,” you mumble as you crank your car.
Emily knew you had a point.
“Under one condition,” Emily said.
“Anything,” you breathed as you began to make your way out of the cemetery.
“Stay on the line with me until you get there,” Emily said lightly.
I haven’t made an advice post in forever but I think this is important considering how much hassle hotels can be at this point. Here are some things that I do to avoid suspicion when staying at a hotel.
1.) Become a rewards member at a few chains that you will frequent. You will start earning points/nights and as your status increases, the likelihood of them hassling you is much less. They want to keep good customers.
2.) If you have a LLC, open a business credit card or debit card and use it to check in. Always make the reservations under your “do business as” name. That way you just look like a business traveler.
3.) If I am staying at a hotel too close to my house, instead of using my driver’s license, I’ll check in with my passport and say I lost my license. There is no address and most employees won’t even take notice to the address on your reservation.
4.) When checking in, I wear a fake wedding band and I always wear business attire unless it is the weekend. Always carry luggage with you.
5.) Try to survey the entrances and exits. Find different ways to come and go if possible.
6.) Try not to call for extra things like towels. If you anticipate needing more, pack some in your suitcase. Calling for extra towels when there is only one guest seems fishy.
7.) Try to space out your clients if possible and leave the room during the day at least once or twice. It’s really strange to stay in the room all day so try to get out and about.
8.) If you check out early, just leave the key in the room. They will know you are gone.
9.) Don’t overtip the maid. I’ve heard of some providers ‘bribing’ for silence but honestly, it’s a red flag. Certain hotels offer rewards to staff who find escorts so you might be shooting yourself in the foot .
10.) Make sure you hide all your stuff in your suitcase if you leave and have housekeeping clean the room. I guess you could lock it in the safe but I have never had a problem just tucking it into the bottom of my suitcase.
11.) Bring a plastic baggie and put your used condom wrappers and whatever else in there. Dispose of it elsewhere.
Got to work today and was pleasantly surprised to look out the window and see instead of their hotel flag, the Marriott was flying a pride flag next to the American flag in solidarity. I appreciate that gesture. And the American flag is flying lower for Vegas, too.
*buying yet another book to start learning yet another language from scratch* I’m fiiiine! I’m feeling Really Emotionally Stable and Totally Ready For This Commitment and pssh I can keep up with all the commitments I’ve already made! haha no I don’t know why I’m crying actually I’m totally happy and healthy right now and I Am Definitely Achieving What I’d Hoped To Achieve In The Past lmao actually on second thought I think I’ll buy a book on Ancient Greek too
Last night we had gone out, he had business to attend at one of his clubs and I tagged along.
I sat on his lap and my arms fell around his shoulders as he pretended to make negotiations. Everyone knows it’s Js way or the highway, well at least the smart people know this.
I was in and out of the conversation until J mentioned me as part of the negotiation.
“I’ll cut ya a deal. What would ya take for the Miss. here?” A crackle leaves him and his hands flaunt me off.
I’m uncomfortable. My face floods red and my heart sinks to my stomach. The man doesn’t take long to give an answer. He accepts, he accepts me and J seems more than willing to ship me off.
Anger starts building inside me, I feel like it’s about to seep out of my skin.
The man goes to grab my arm and I slap him across the face. I get up and turn to give J a look over, his brows that are nonexistent furrow at me.
I shake my head at myself and walk away. He lets me, but I can hear the growl. I walk out of the club and down the sidewalk. I’m not exactly sure where I’m going yet, but I won’t be going back home to J tonight.
I walk to a nearby hotel, I’m tired and my feet are killing me.
Eyes are on me as I enter the lobby and also scanning around me looking for my other half. Again, the sinking feeling comes over me. I give a big fake smile to the girl at the reception desk.
“One room. One really big room!” I give whatever pep I have left.
I pull Js card from my bra and hand it over to the girl.
She’s nervous and is shuffling things around before handing me a key and the card back and wishing me a good night with her shaken voice.
I give her a wave with my fingers and make my way to the elevator, I slide in next to a few others and they shift in their spots.
I give an open smile to one of the guys next to me, “I’m not even the scary one!” I let out a small laugh.
He forces one back. I roll my eyes at him and so badly wish tonight was going differently.
I reach my floor and step out, I blow a kiss to the people in the elevator and thank them for their company.
I walk to the end of the hall and slide the key in to unlock it. Pushing the door open to a king sized suite makes me miss my own king. Everything is lavish and exquisite but bland without J here. I kick my shoes off once I’m inside.
“Why would he do that? How is that a joke? It’s the farthest thing from funny! Asshole!” I’m almost screaming at myself.
The business side of J is the worst in my opinion. I can’t stand when he uses me as a lure. This is why I protest to stay home, for reasons like tonight.
So much anger stirs inside me when he belittles me and treats me like a piece of meat. I know it’s a show he puts on but tonight was the last straw, I’ve had enough of this game.
I pull my phone out of my small purse, 20 missed calls and texts from Mistah J himself. I start reading through the ‘Where are you!’, ‘Answer me!’, ‘I’ll make it up to you!’ Text messages and voicemails. I toss my phone on the bed and decide to ignore him till morning.
The night is long, I flip through channels and lay awake till the sun starts to show.
I throw my hair up and straighten out my dress that I hadn’t even bothered to take off, I walk barefoot and decide to carry my shoes. I’m sluggish, my heart is weighing heavy. I know I’ll be in trouble for not coming home but it will be worth it just to be home.
I make my way into an empty elevator, I put the key on the receptionist counter and continue walking out of the hotel. I flag down a taxi and thankfully one comes quickly. I hop in and give him directions, since there is no actual address.
I can see the sweat forming on the taxi drivers head but it’s to early to mess with him. I stop him a block before the house and get out, I hand him the card but he declines. I don’t press it, and he speeds off as soon as I turn away.
A sigh of relief is let out as I open the front door and step inside, I set my shoes down by the entrance. It’s empty though, I don’t hear a sound as I stand still before closing the door. I
I check the bedroom.
The mattress is thrown off the frame, pictures and fixtures are thrown and broken, it looks like a storm has ran through the room.
I can’t seem to swallow as I realize just what madness I have caused.
I walk cautiously to the office and open the door slowly.
“J?” My voice is a low whisper. My eyes focus on the shirtless, green haired man laying on the floor in the middle of his office.
His chest rising and falling like he has been running. His eyes open and stare at me for a moment before her groans getting himself to his feet.
“I’m, I’m so sorry. J, I just couldn’t take …” I stop talking as he walks closer to me. I can feel the tension built up in him.
“Do you even know what you have put me through in the last few hours?” His voice sounds calm but I know there is fire behind it.
He keeps his eyes fixed on me and silence passes for a few moments, “Just leave!” there’s the fire.
I can feel my eyes well up, we have had our arguments before but this felt different.
Gritting his teeth, he orders me again, “Leave!” He turns toward his desk and leans on it with his palms.
“Please. Don’t do this.” Tears are falling down my cheeks and my voice is shaking.
He doesn’t say anything more and I know if I stay it will make it worse. I walk out of the office and close the door behind me.
I hold my sobs back till I’m outside. My legs grow weak as the crying intensifies, I sit in the middle of the drive way. I curl my knees to my chest and wrap my arms around my shins trying to hold myself together.
I’m not sure of the time but the sun is beating on my from above now. I wipe my face with my hands, I know I have day old makeup smeared down my face. I take a deep breath before getting to my feet.
Just as I was about to leave it all behind, I hear the door swing open. I turn to look and J is standing in the door frame. I bite my lip as our eyes stare into each other. He ticks his head telling me to come, his face stays neutral.
I’m hesitant at first but each step is easier to take towards him. He reaches his hand across the door frame stopping me in front of him. His eyes never leaving my face. I lean my back up against the frame and face him. I’m sure he can hear my heart beating.
His hand trails down my shoulder and his touch brings me life. He lets his fingers glide across my collarbones before wrapping his hand around my neck, gently at first. He brings his body close to mine and his grip tightens, not enough to cause pain, but fear. I close my eyes tight.
I can feel his face close to mine as his lets out a sigh in my ear.
“We aren’t through yet doll.” He leans back a little bit with his hand still on my throat.
I open my eyes and reach my hand to his extended arm and run my fingers down it, he growls at the light touches.
“Daddy?” I let out in a whisper as I bite my lip.
He responds by throwing his head back with an deep inhale and exhale. He meets my stare again and runs his tongue against his capped teeth.
“My office. Now.” He releases my neck and watches me run up the stairs as he lets a grin spread across his face.