how do you justify text like this and not feel uneasy

  • <p> Emotional manipulation is about control. The goal is to gain power over the situation, over you. Manipulation is accomplished through toxic tactics, behaviors, actions and attitudes.
  • Toxic people are controlling, insecure and self-serving.
  • (Your feelings are valid. If someone makes you feel uneasy that is reason enough to avoid them.)
  • Over talking, barely listening
  • (If someone controls the conversation and/or doesnt really listen to you, be wary.)
  • Charming, too good to be true
  • (coming as everything you want, agreeing too easily, too perfect.)
  • Overbearing, too many compliments
  • (Preoccupied with a trait, story of yours. An unusual level of flattery.)
  • Asking too personal questions
  • (Wanting you to share personal details. Becoming irritated even jokingly when you refuse.)
  • Expensive, over the top gifts
  • (Unwarranted lavish gifts, trips)
  • Must be right, must “win” the discussion, argument
  • (everything’s a debate)
  • Refuses to apologize
  • (Seems insincere, can’t apologize or excuses bad behavior, blame-shifts. If they spill their drink, it’s the waiter fault for putting it too close to their arm.)
  • Passive aggressive
  • (Eyes rolls, silent treatment, criticisms disguised as comments, stubbornness, intentional mistakes, disregarding time)
  • Drama Queen, Drama King
  • (They are always in the midst of some turmoil that’s usually someone elses fault.)
  • Negativity, Complaining
  • (They complain, find fault in basically anything. Especially if you suspect they’re already upset.)
  • Saying one thing but doing another
  • (Words don’t match their actions. Say they never lie but lie to a stranger)
  • Lyings even the small ones
  • (Omitting information, changing stories, twisting the truth)
  • Grandiose stories
  • (Something feels off. Trying to hard to impress you or others.)
  • Tales of woe
  • (Campaigning for your sympathy or pity)
  • Badmouthing Ex’s
  • (Talking negatively about anyone is a bad sign. Healthy people don’t vent to strangers)
  • Sharing way too much too early on
  • (Telling you stories or details that seem too personal and may make you uncomfortable)
  • Gossipping
  • (People gossip to make themselves feel/look better. They tear others down to lift themselves up. Sooner or later they’ll do it to you too.)
  • Disrespectful, disloyal
  • (Excusing bad behavior like cheating, lying is a small jump to mistreating you.)
  • Talks down to service people, strangers (watch how they treat people who can do nothing for them)
  • Hero mentality
  • (Always the savior, always right, people are lucky to have them)
  • Victim Mentality
  • (Someone else is to blame for their problems; ex, family, friends, strangers, boss and coworkers)
  • Feeling drained after spending time together
  • (The people closest to you should lift you higher. Not deplete you.)
  • Constant Attention/Reassurance
  • (needs validation to feel good. Becomes upset without reassurance)
  • Insecure
  • (Easily upset or angry. Overreactions to perceived slights, injustices or normally minor issues)
  • Little to no boundaries
  • (Invades your space, occupies too much of your time)
  • Too Eager to please
  • (Willing to sacrifice own needs for your wants)
  • Offering advice or opinions, Pointing out insecurites,
  • (Healthy people don’t give unwanted advice or opinions.)
  • History of toxic relationships or failed jobs
  • (Especially if they are never at fault. It was the other person.)
  • Jumping into the relationship
  • (Saying your their best friend, soulmate to early on. Using social media to prove their relationship. Oversharing photos and posts about you. Inside jokes and texts are needed to validate  They may share texts with others to brag or as proof.)
  • Validation, cares too much of other opinions.
  • (Needs to be seen as “good” by others)
  • Put downs, sarcasm, judging
  • (Using sarcasm in place of a real conversation. Putting down you or others.)
  • Expects you to be grateful
  • (Gets upset if you are not as grateful or as impresses as they think you should be.)
  • Makes you feel like you owe them
  • Controlled by their past
  • (If their business failed you shouldn’t start a business. Their past dictates everyone’s future.)
  • Paranoid
  • (Is sure others dislike them or are out to hurt them)
  • Self-centered
  • (Confidence inspires others. Conceited people are unhappy with another’s success and good fortune. They believe that it is owed to them)
  • Jealousy
  • (Makes comments about others. Doesnt like to be upstaged. Feels threatened by others happiness.)
  • Inattention
  • (Selectively ignoring you, paying too much attention to their phone, talking to others instead of you.)
  • If you find yourself making excuses for anothers bad behavior (behavior you would not tolerate from yourself or others) that’s a warning sign.
  • Healthy individuals are respectful, loyal and honest people who value integrity and humility. 
  • Toxic people divert responsibility, blame others, refuse to apologize  and are insincere. 
  • They disregard others boundaries, feelings, wants and needs for their own.
  • If you are disrespected, mistreated, used or abuse you have every right to stand up for yourself.
  • If someone becomes upset or angry at your boundaries then that’s where their respect for you ends. 
  • Remember you are the company you keep. You will bring out your own toxic behaviors if you surround yourself with toxic people.
  • (If you lie with a dog, don’t be surprised when you get fleas.)
  • Emotional manipulation is emotional abuse. 
  • Do not justify or excuse hurtful or harmful behavior and actions.
  • Save yourself the trouble, walk away. Trust your gut and find someone who treats you right.
  • Let it be. Let people live their lives.
  • You can’t save, change or help another person who disrespects you or others, who sees no issue in their actions, who doesn’t want to change.</p>
(Natasha x reader) Secrets

Request:  “Can I please have a Natasha Romanoff one shot? Something fun, fluffy, humorous with a little bit of badassery and kindness/whole lotta love from the reader that impresses and totally makes Nat swoon/fall in love with them even more? Would love to include a display of affection in front of the team that is initiated by Nat to not only show the reader that she is now ready for the team to know but also a kind of ‘announcement’ of the relationship too? If that makes any sense! Love your work! Xx”  @labyrinth-of-thoughts

A/N: Okay so this can be a part two to another one shot I did which can be read here but it can also be its own thing. I also tried to add all the elements you listed but I kinda got on a roll and I didn’t want to add too much so it wouldn’t feel forced, so I hope you like it!

Words: 2,010

Warnings: minor swearing

“Y/N! Wake up!” Natasha’s silent but tense voice woke you up from a peaceful sleep. You were hugging the soft pillow on your bed and you were still groggy and tired, trying to register what was going on.

“Y/N, it’s eleven thirty!” she exclaimed again, shaking you gently and you rolled over to look at her. You blushed a little when you noticed that she was getting dressed, putting on a pair of jeans and wearing a cute lacy black bra.

“Nat…what’s wrong?” you muttered, rubbing your eyes and sitting up a little.

“Y/N! We slept in! They’re going to know something’s wrong!” she said as she put her shirt on and walked over to the bed. You suddenly panicked and sat up quickly, looking around at the scene before you. The two of you were in your room, which was messy as always. Nat was running around, rummaging through the clothes on the floor. The bed sheets were ruffled and you looked at the clock, still rubbing your eyes. You suddenly snapped awake when you realised what time it was.

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Outsider Pt. 6

Pairing: Step Dad Tony Stark x Teen Reader

Word Count: 2k

Summary: You see first hand how your life is changing, and Bucky decides to take you out.

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After a few hours of buying things you didn’t even like, for school, for photos, for whatever event Tony might need you to look nice for, you were finally allowed to go to shops that had things you would actually wear.

“Are you sure you don’t want to go somewhere else for lunch? There are so many fantastic restaurants and you want to eat at a food court?”

You gestured to the shops across the street. “Look! Four stores with regular clothes, a music shop, and two book stores. Why leave? Besides, I just want a smoothie.” A soft tittering from the person behind you made you aware you had been speaking a bit too loud. You offered him a small, embarrassed smile before your mom started talking again.

“Ok, fine,” she put her hands up in surrender.

Halfway through your meal, you noticed a familiar face with a phone aimed in your direction.

“What’s security supposed to do?” you asked.

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“How can you not like milkshakes?”

“They’re empty vessels of sugar.”

“Excuse you, they are delicious!”

“Coming from the guy whose diet consists of Fanta and squeezable cheese.”

“Are you calling me fat?”

Derek just shrugs, and oh, fuck him, he deserves the french fry Stiles throws at his face across the booth. 

It’s not often the whole pack hangs out together, let alone gets dinner at skeezy diners outside of town. But it’s spring break after their first year separating from college, and Scott is a stickler for tradition, if anything. Or, friendship. 

Either way, that’s how Scott, Stiles, Lydia, Allison, Kira, Malia, Jackson, Derek, and Liam find themselves squished into a round booth in the back of Granny’s Closet.

“You’re like a twig, Stiles, how could he be calling you fat?” Kira retorts, taking a sip of her water. 

“He just shrugged!” Stiles exclaims brashly, and then glares at Derek. “You think just because you’re all buff and muscular and eat raw bunnies that anyone else is a disgrace.”

Derek rolls his eyes. “I never said that.”

“Yeah, well, you said it with your eyebrows.” Stiles slumps in his seat. 

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Prompt seventeen: Unfairness

Fandom: Boku no Hero Academia

Characters: Amajiki Tamaki, Kirishima Eijirou, Fatgum. Toogata Mirio (mentioned), Hadou Nejire (mentioned)

Disclaimer: Established relationship. Angst. Hurt & comfort. Dadgum.

Read it on AO3: here

Today was just a bad day for one Amajiki Tamaki.

He doesn’t know why but he had woken up feeling so horribly upset that he called his friends just to hiss at them so they’d stop texting him. They were only trying to make sure that he was okay, because Tamaki knows he slept past first period and now it was probably third period.

He wasn’t okay though, he was miserable and angry for no reason, it was even leaking out of him from his fingertips, eyes, and his mouth. A downpour of rage that came like thunderous storms rampaging across the oceans without end. He. Was. Not. Okay.

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If you guys can collectively hate Nero in the tag, then I can put one rant in it, fuck it.

I’m not usually one to start shit. I do think fandom/ship wars are dumb and I try my best to avoid participating in them. But hey, it’s you guys who came out of the woodwork with this, so you reap what you sow.

To everyone hating on Nero: please make a mental list of everything that has happened in this show so far and reconsider? As soon as I finished watching episode 10, I got very afraid for some reason, and now I know this is exactly what I’ve been worried about. That this fandom would get a collective fucking kneejerk about Corteo and would start hating Nero. And before you start going on about how I don’t care about Corteo’s death; actually, I do, and I’m upset about it, but that doesn’t prevent me from using my fucking brain.

This show is designed to make you think about morality,

In case you haven’t noticed yet. More specifically, it’s the usual ends-justify-the-means trope. The point of the entire thing is to push everyone’s limits in how long can they keep supporting Angelo. They pulled all the dirty tricks; he’s the protagonist, he looks good, he even has a few ‘nice’ moments. The characters’ names also support the good/evil dichotomy between Angelo (angel) and Nero (black). Now, we don’t know the show’s stance on this, since we don’t have the ending yet, but I’m pretty damn fucking sure it’s not gonna be ‘Angelo’s just fine lol, he’s a good guy, did the right thing’. Like good, don’t consider this a conclusion, putting your common sense to exercise is exactly the goal, so go ahead and keep thinking Nero is the ‘bad’ side. Knock yourselves out. And I’m looking forward to your reaction to the last episode.

Nero’s life has been completely and disproportionately fucked over by Angelo

He lived his life in self-loathing up until now for not being able to shoot someone. At fourteen. He obviously gets way too attached to people for his own good as a mafioso. And there comes Angelo, murdering his best friend then another one of his comrades, making him kill his own brother and slowly isolating him until he can’t trust anyone else. You guys are mad about Corteo’s death, right? Guess why THAT happened? Only so Angelo could keep messing with Nero’s mind. On top of everything, Nero just became Don, one more thing he has to deal with besides everything going to shit. His father seems to be sick, and once he dies (along with his still present authority), people will start coming for Nero from all around.

And you’re gonna call him a shitty person after this. You’re just gonna ignore every motherfucking episode that has happened so far and only look at Angelo and Corteo’s one-week domestic life, as if Corteo’s death was some big fucking surprise, something completely unexpected and out of the blue, moreover, something Nero did just because he’s Evul

Also on the subject of Corteo

Look, I’m not gonna go into the realm of blaming someone for dying. But he could’ve made so many better choices. He had so many chances to quit. I still think that, among all the romantic loyalty, Corteo could’ve considered the realistic outcome of his actions. If he just left, he could’ve went to college and maybe, after Angelo got over with his revenge, he could’ve had something to live for. He was literally the only person Angelo had from his past. Instead, he decided to betray the Vanettis, have the entire city wanting him dead, walk over to FANGO, and then come back again. 

Corteo is not dumb. So, why has he been acting irrationally since episode 8? He’s jealous. I don’t even mean this in an exclusively ship-way; ever since the beginning, he’s always looked uneasy and concerned about Angelo being all buddy-buddy with Nero (first the face he makes when they meet at the brewery and he sees Angelo laugh at Nero’s joke; then later when he overhears the brother-line after Frate’s death). If he’s afraid that Angelo might feel sympathy for Nero and end up very badly, or he just doesn’t want his childhood friend to be taken from him, I can only guess. Either way, Corteo’s betrayal was an act of self-indulgent altruism (yes, that’s an actual oxymoron, make an attempt at understanding what I mean). He wanted Angelo to be happy, but happy in his own definition, by his own terms, at his own pace. 

And you all love Corteo, I get it, okay? Corteo is nice. Corteo is likeable. I also like Corteo. Everyone likes Corteo. Corteo didn’t deserve this. Corteo shouldn’t have gotten involved with the mafia. But that doesn’t mean that once he’s dead, you can claim that he has made no mistakes in his life EVER.

To the ones who ride this bandwagon to shipbash

Oh yes, I love listening to this Discourse TM. The goddamn, fucking fantasy-is-basically-reality bullshit. Because surely, shipping something is gonna hurt someone. Even better: it’s gonna hurt the characters themselves. Of course, that’s right, so reasonable, so intelligent, so mature, not entitled and egoistic at all to want the entire fandom to cater to your sensitivities, likes and dislikes. That’s right, this is so worth bashing people over. 

Yes, I’m talking about avilero, I’m gonna name it, so you can just blacklist the tag. See? Did you a favour there. You don’t have to look at it anymore, it’ll be magical. You know what I’m forced to look at, though? Your whining in the main tag, because there’s no universal tag for ‘complaining about irrelevant things’ I can block. 

In conclusion

I wouldn’t have showered you with this wall of text if only you didn’t freak out. 

About Ueno (Koe no Katachi)

Well, I did not like her from very start but she also gave me this uneasy feeling that I was supposed to gradually forgive her. And I didnt want to (and still dont). At some point I also started to wonder if she was supposed to be Ishida’s antipode - because she goes the same path Ishida does (trying to redeem themselves in the eyes of the person they bullied) but unlike him she does not really regret things she done. She just wants to be forgiven and liked.

She’s quite difficuld character to rant about but something about her is very clear to me - the thing that completely stops me from giving her current self a chance is that she tries to win Ishida’s favor by manipulating him. She is pressuring him in weakest spot he got - that he was a bully too. Ueno uses it against him several times to comfuse his feelings so he would give her a chance (like when she says ‘Nishimiya-san must have felt the same way!’ when he told her he doesnt want to see her anymore).

She misses a difference by a mile - Ishida was given a chance because he understood, properly, just what kind of pain he caused Shoko, and went to apologize not to win her favor or gain anything, but to convey his regret and maybe try to heal the mental wound he caused her. Ueno? Most likely doesnt even realise that 'that time he was bullied’ fucked him up enough to push him toward suicide and the amount of self hate he got may be even greater than Shoko’s. About only time Ueno was actually sincere in good way was when she made Ishida go to the bridge to try to make up with everyone after they find out he was a bully. But even then she only regreted that things got bad with Ishida again, because she likes him, but she still keeps believing that her behavior in the past was somewhat justified

Now we jump to the present where Nishimiya’s suicide attempt caused Ishida to fall from god knows what hight. We dont know how badly he got hurt. Badly injured shoulder and hip? Probably means he fell on his side. His head and spine not mentioned, so they must be fairly fine, and he was rescued right after the fall, so the lack of oxyden to the brain probably also was avoided. At this point scariest outcome will be him loosing some of the mobility of his arm or leg and I am still on stand by with theory that he might go deaf. 

What Ueno does, is yells at Nishimiya. And it’s completely for her own satisfaction - Nishimiya is deaf. She doesnt hear. She doesnt look at Ueno’s mouth either, her face is completely covered with her hair. And Ueno doesnt even try to be heard, she just goes with her own rage and pain and fear - and it’s really ironic that just few pages ago Ishida’s own mom just learned that her son is uncosious in hospital with severe damages because of Nishimiya, and yet she doesnt show even ounce of anger. But Ueno is manic with it, she’s borderline crazy pulling Nishimiya by the hair like some rag doll, hitting her and punching her - last time we heard from her was her text message to Ishida 'what should I do to show you that I changed?’ and honestly, it wasnt that.* She tries to punch into Nishimiya all her pain and fear she’s feeling, but Nishimiya already got plenty of her own - she was there. She saw Ishida fall. No matter what Ueno can yell at her and no matter how hard she can hit, there’s nothing that can make Nishimiya feel worse than that moment Ishida fell in her stead.  I honeslty dont know how she gonna heal from that, because I already can picture Ishida’s weak smile from hospital bed, going, 'thank god you’re okay’. And. Ugh. Anyway, I really wonder what Nishimiya’s mom gonna tell Ueno now. But mostly I just want to see Ishida, please.

*nicole-blanchard pointed out that message was indeed from Sahara and not Ueno! I got confused because panel before that all the messages were from Ueno. Ooops.

Can’t Complain - Pt. II

ok so this is the sequel to this and this sorry it took so long i am the worst (also heads up it’s a bit lengthy)

There is a sick feeling swirling in your stomach when you wake up the next morning, and you automatically attribute it to the copious amounts of alcohol you had consumed the night before. Initially, you had no reason to think that the uneasiness twisting at your stomach and the blinding pain wreaking havoc behind your temples had another origin (you had woken up cuddling a bottle of vodka after all).

An annoying beeping is what woke you from your slumber, and in your sleep-induced haze it takes you a minute to realize that it was coming from your phone. Your eyelids are still heavy with exhaustion so you keep them closed, reaching around blindly at the sound of your phone. Finally grasping the offending object, you silence it swiftly before retreating back into your blanket cocoon. You barely have time to relax back into the warmth of your bed before your phone is ringing again. Recognizing the sound as the notification of a missed message, you groan in annoyance before untangling yourself from all your blankets.

Dialing your voicemail without checking your missed calls, you let your eyes fall closed as you listen to the monotone voice reiterate that you have “1 unheard message” before rattling off a number you remember all too well. You’re wide awake by the time his voice sounds through the phone and you can barely hear him over the pounding of your heart echoing through your ears.

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Just Sam

Imagine meeting Sam after he’s been cursed with Amnesia and trying to help him figure out who he is.

Author’s Note: I know I’ve been MIA as far as fics go for a while! I still have some old ones to catch up on (Brothers Grim part 3 I know) but I wrote this on a whim when I had a very short amount of free time. Plus, there hasn’t been a Sam fic in a while.  Hopefully there will be more writing soon. Sam x reader based on this imagine. Little angst, little suspense, little fluff, little humor. Warnings: tiny angst, reference to death, amnesia, 

I was racing down the highway when the clattering of hundreds of rain drops broke me from my thoughts. The windshield erupted into shattering splashes that forced me to ease back on the gas and flick my wipers on full speed. I squinted through the veil of water obstructing my view of the road ahead. Great. Just what I needed after another long day of work and pocket full of tips that would barely buy me this week’s groceries. 

I sighed and reached over the seat to peek at my phone, but decided against it. Just as I returned my gaze to the road, I tried to focus my eyes on a distant dot on the horizon that seemed to be getting larger. I was grateful for not screwing with my cell when I realized the fast approaching figure was a person walking in the pullover lane. They had a rather empty looking backpack slung over one shoulder and their clothes were already soaked through. I cringed and instinctively slowed down my car. In the very short amount of time available I weighed my options. 

Picking up hitchhikers wasn’t something I did, especially not at night when I was by myself. I had seen enough dateline television to know how often that ended up poorly. But at the same time, my chest was twisted with a pang of guilt. It was fairly cold outside, and that rain wasn’t going to stop anytime soon. A green sign overhead reminded me that he was still another 30 miles from the nearest town. I chewed on my lip in consideration. Another bad month at work and that hitchhiker could be me. Without another thought I switched to the break and brought the vehicle to a stop. As I unlocked the door my heart sped up a little. The drenched silhouette approaching the passenger side was much, much larger in person. I swallowed back apprehension and leaned over to throw the handle open with a friendly but nervous smile. 

“Hey! You need a ride?” From my place in the car I could only see a man’s pair of faded jeans, and realized just how tall he was. I watched with a dry mouth as the backpack was removed and the figure bent down to meet my level. He made no motion to accept my offer initially, just to meet my wide eyed expression with his own. Long hair was slicked back behind his ears and he looked exhausted, like he’d been walking for days. He glanced at the open space beside me and then back up. 

“I’d get your seat wet.” If his voice didn’t reflect true hesitation I would have laughed outright. I couldn’t believe this man was actually concerned about my aged upholstery. 

“I don’t care about that, it’s probably the best washing it will have in a while.” The man gave a small smirk, but the action looked difficult to perform, as if his face had to strain against whatever heavy weight pressed his shoulders downwards. “It’s just a car.” My words caught him of guard, and his eyebrows furrowed slightly. He was deep in thought and far from reality for a long moment. Finally he shook his head, sending a small spray of water with his hair. 

“I owe you.” He ducked into the opening and struggled to find room for his long legs in the limited floor space. His massive body made everything seem tiny in comparison. His ears perked up curiously when I stifled a laugh. 

“Sorry, I don’t mean to be rude. You’re just a few feet too tall for my ride I think. Here, use this to dry off.” I retrieved a blanket from the back seat and put his bag in it’s place. He muttered a quiet thanks as I pulled back into the road and returned to driving. I watched him from the corner of my eye, my hands tight on the steering wheel. He was dressed plainly like any other man around these parts, but his clothing looked well worn and stained with use. His hands alone were calloused and scarred from hard work. He gently folded the blanket back into a damp square after scrubbing it over his rain streaked skin. A short layer of stubble shaded his cheeks and jaw, but it appeared more a result of negligence than intent. 

“You shouldn’t pick up hitchhikers.” His mellow voice startled me from my silent examination. I could feel his dark eyes on me as I shifted in my seat and cleared my throat nervously. 

“It’s not safe. You have no idea who I am, I could be anyone.” I tried to relax my white knuckles on the wheel. Is this how psychopaths talk? I forced a chuckle and played with the stereo dial. 

“Well I guess there’s a risk in kindness, but I hope someone would do the same for me. Here, could you put some music on?” My attempt to change the conversation went without question, and the man began scanning the radio. He had an oddly pensive face as he paused on each station and listened a little longer than expected. I took another opportunity to soak up the scattered details of his cryptic behavior. The backpack in backseat was clearly half empty. I wondered how he could possibly be living off its contents. “What kind of music do you like?” He flipped through several more genres before stopping on a classic rock station that was just finishing up a track by Styx. I wasn’t adverse to the song, but his behavior made me uneasy. He wore a barely discernible smile and he sounded satisfied with his discovery. 

“This. This sounds familiar.” Great, I picked up a complete lunatic. We drove in silence, but our lack of conversation was made up for in road noise and the sounds of led zeppelin. Despite how strange some of the things he said were, my passenger seemed like anything but a threat. He was still and quiet, gaze locked on the asphalt ahead with more focus than I had. He didn’t seem uncomfortable riding shotgun, and I wondered if he was used to catching rides with people. His eyes had a certain darkness tho them though, one much more permanent than that of tiredness. He looked worn down mentally. It reminded me of the distant stare a few of the veterans I knew had. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was ex military, although I didn’t see any dog tags or identifying tattoos. Whoever he was, he had seen some shit in his lifetime, I just hope he had seen it and not caused it. 

My few questions were answered curtly, and I soon realized he wasn’t going to be open to sharing anything other than his taste in music. Clearly he didn’t have the money for a bus ticket, and I couldn’t imagine what would possesses a man to walk all this way. Suddenly I felt less unnerved and more compassionate considering what could have possibly brought him to this place in his life.  


Once we got to Amarillo I stopped in front of my quaint, chipped-paint house and began to gather my things. “Thank you again. I’ll repay you sometime, I promise.” Before I could say otherwise the man at my side threw open his door and stepped into the rain. 

“Hey! Wait!” I followed him as quickly as I could but his long strides were already taking him down the street in the opposite direction. My shirt began to cling to my frame as the cool rain slid over every inch of my body. 

“Stop! You can’t just sleep on the street tonight!” I grabbed the flannel sleeve in front of me in a last stitch attempt to keep him from escaping. Finally he paused and turned around, his face bent with confusion and slight aggravation. 

“You don’t have anywhere to stay tonight, right?” He looked surprised that I spoke so plainly about what he was trying to hide. “It’s okay, you don’t need to explain. I think I picked you up for a reason, call me crazy, but maybe it’s a God thing.. or fate or karma.., I don’t know.” I pushed back the wet hair that slipped into my face and fumbled around in my pockets for my cash. The crinkled bills I retrieved made me red with embarrassment. 

 "I don’t even have the money to give you for a motel room… I’m not exactly rolling in it right now.“ I shrugged and stuffed the small change back into my jeans. He was already raising his hands in a gesture of refusal but I cut him off. 

“But I do have a couch. And yes, it is much too short for you, but hey, it comes with a roof over your head.” He sighed and looked up to the raging sky, causing his face to be riddled with water droplets. I had the feeling he much rather take his chances with a park bench than “inconvenience” me any further, but I wasn’t going to let him get away so easily.

“Look you said you owe me one. I need someone to help me do some work on the house, and I can’t afford it. Maybe you could lend me a hand or two? Just until you can get yourself back on your feet?” The stranger searched me with a stare that made me feel exposed and under dressed. It felt like he could see through every bit of me and my frantic attempts to justify my favor, but something about his eyes was soothing. I was willingly being taken apart by his gaze, reduced to the skeleton of my intentions. 

“Please, let me do this for you.” He considered my words for a long time before turning his attention to my humble home. He shrugged shyly and did his best to smile. 

“Well, I guess it could use a bit of paint.”


“I know it’s not much, but it keeps the rain out and the heat in. Here, I brought some blankets for you. There’s a shirt and some pants there too.” The man lifted a skeptic eyebrow at the possibility of clothing possibly being his size. His eyes flicked to my left hand in what I now know was a search for a wedding band. 

“Your boyfriend’s?” I laughed and busied myself with tidying up the living room. I didn’t have guests over very often anymore. If anyone needed me, they just showed up at the diner. I was there longer than I was ever at home. 

“Afraid not. They’re my brother’s. He’s tall like you.” I smiled at the thought of my elder sibling and tried to imagine what he would look like now. Probably something like the man in front of me. Suddenly I was sobered by the photograph on the wall, propped against which was a crisp red, white, and blue flag folded into a triangle. My brother wasn’t a month older than 22, and he never would be. I cleared my throat and ran a hand over the shirt before passing it over. 

Was. I should say, he was tall like you.” There was no hiding the slight crack in my voice. My body felt much colder than it had before, the damp fabric worsened by my shivers. I was still staring down at the grey Henley in my outstretched arms when a hand laid atop mine gently. Rough fingers smoothed over the hills and valleys of my knuckles with hesitant kindness. 

“I’m sorry.” Those dark eyes were made soft by understanding. I could tell this stranger knew my pain, maybe better than I did. I sniffed sharply in an effort to maintain my composure and self respect. 

“Don’t be. It’s been over a year now. He died a hero. Afghanistan.” I forced a smile and pushed the shirt into my guests arms. “He would want you to have these. He was always giving the shirt off his back, if you know what I mean.” The man across from me didn’t accept the gift immediately, but let his fingers rest over mine in a gesture of silent gratitude. When color began to rise to my cheeks I withdrew my hand and rubbed the back of my neck.    

“Go ahead and change up, and I’ll wash your clothes for you.” He nodded and placed the pile of blankets on the couch reverently. I was leaving to go to my own room when I remembered that I didn’t even know the name of the man who would be sleeping in my house.

“By the way, I guess I should introduce myself. My name’s Y/N. Yours?” By the time I turned back around to face the living room again, the man was already pulling his wet shirt over his head. My jaw went slack at the sight of his toned chest, but he didn’t seem to notice my shock. For a homeless guy, he had the body of a model. He wouldn’t be unemployed for long if he walked into any one of the many outlet stores nearby. 

“It’s Sam.” Sam… I repeated the name in my mind. It suited him. I forced down a dry swallow when he started buttoning the new shirt over his broad-shouldered frame. The fabric strained slightly, but I wasn’t disappointed. Finally I snapped myself out of my reverie and folded my arms in feigned casualness. 

“Well nice to meet you, Sam.” I loved the way it sounded rolling off my tongue, especially when it was directed at the man only a room away. “Do you have a last name?” His eyes shifted to the carpet and wandered for a moment. If I didn’t know better, I’d think his hesitation was failed recollection. Teeth raked over his lip before he answered. 

“Just Sam.”


The first few times I passed the living room, I couldn’t help but be startled. Seeing an attractive man reclining on my couch was unnerving and out of the ordinary. I chided myself for being single for so long… it was making me skittish when I should have been excited. I anxiously grabbed the folded wet clothes from the arm of the couch and did my best to avoid any unnecessary eye contact, but Sam had to smile and thank me before I could escape. I returned the congeniality with a stutter and retreated to the laundry room. 

While I opened the washer I couldn’t help but notice that his clothes smelled amazing. It wasn’t at all characteristic of a hitchhiker to smell like ivory soap and musk. I resisted the urge to move the fabric to my nose, but did get close enough to recognize the many rips and stains. Each tear was stitched without any real pattern. I chuckled to myself; it was obviously the work of his own huge, less than graceful, hands. Looks like there’s no female figure in his life to do his mending. I felt strange satisfaction at the thought.

I had almost tossed the jeans into the machine when a full pocket came to my attention. I narrowed my brow curiously at the worn wallet that fell into my hand when I turned the denim over. 

“Just like a man to forget to…” In an action that was more instinctive than nosy, I splayed the leather pouch open. I flipped past a few business cards and receipts to find a license. After all, was it wrong to know who I was offering my couch to? 

“Ah, here it is. Sam… Sam Smith. That’s a nice name I guess. Wait… whats this? Sam Frehley, FBI?! Sam Fisher… Sam Perry… Johnson…” I gasped in horror as varying and unrelated identities unfolded before me. There must have been dozens of licenses and ‘federal’ identifications. My hands began to shake as I read each alias. 

“You found my wallet.” A deep voice made me flinch and I swung my knee into the dryer with a loud thud. When I spun around the contents of the wallet fluttered out onto the floor by my feet. My heart was racing and my free hand gripped the wall for support. I couldn’t help but feel like I was in the intro of a low budget horror film, as the opening-scene girl. And I knew well that those girls only ever get hired for their screams. Sam shook his head at the falsified papers covering the carpet and stepped towards me to scoop them up. 

“Don’t get any closer! I’m calling the cops!” My threats were empty and high pitched with fear. The man put his arms up and frowned in shame, his eyes still effortlessly persuading my soul.

“I’m not going to hurt you, Y/N.” I was speechless. He looked like the most genuine thing I had ever seen. If this was all a charade, he deserved an Oscar. All 6′4 of his solid muscle seemed soft and inviting as could be. 

I had to remind myself of the precarious situation I was in, and the murderer or psychopath he could very well be. “They all say that!” 

He wrinkled his nose and looked around in confusion. “Who does?” 

“All of the… you know what never mind. What is this?! Who the hell are you?!” I threw the half emptied wallet in his direction and backed into the wall in a failed attempt to distance myself. He rolled his eyes when my aim barely skimmed his shoulder. There was a long pause filled with my panting and his loud thoughts. I could see the contemplation on his face creating new lines and shadows. When he found the words to speak they were low and tinged with anxiety.

“That’s just it. I dont know.” He heaved a pained sigh and massaged his forehead, long fingers pulling down over his face. I could feel my eyes widen.

“What do you mean you don’t know?” He hooked his hands over the back of his neck and paced back and forth from his place across the room. 

“Two days ago I woke up in a shitty motel without a dollar to my name… or any of my names for that matter… and without a single memory.” I tried to envision his retelling of events and it didn’t take much imagination. He certainly looked as though his story was true. His “amnesia” would explain some of the strange mannerisms, but so would being high or drunk.

“I know you’re scared because you don’t know me… but neither do I.” Sam, or whatever his name really was, stopped his pacing and faced me with sober seriousness. His eyes begged me for whatever trust I had left.

“Y/N, you have to believe me. I have no idea who I am.”

I’m terrified, guys. Have you all heard about the recent UCSB shooting? If not, I’ll give you the skinny: a self-proclaimed ‘supreme gentleman’ went on a mass-murdering rampage because girls wouldn’t sleep with him, and called it a well-deserved ‘retribution’.
Six people are dead now, because someone felt that death was an appropriate punishment for women not finding him attractive.
RIP to the victims.

This is something important to me, so I’ve got something to say. Or, a lot of somethings to say…signature wall of text inc.

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