i don't know how it ended like this

I don’t know how Ouat writers come up with some great ideas only to solve them in the span of an episode in the most superficial and depth-lacking way possible.
I said it before that I never liked the idea of Regina splitting herself, but it could have led to interesting situations. I for one would have loved to see Regina getting used to have the Queen back and the struggle there. To go back being a whole person.

Instead we get Regina giving the Queen some of her love and taking some of her darkness and then send her to some fake place with a fake Robin? Also a place where her other half killed the queen and king and kidnapped the princess, that happen to be her son’s grandparents and other mother. So she also has her wishrealm son trying to kill her.
I never thought I’d see any part of Regina being willingly separated from Henry. Part of season 6A was spent making it clear the EQ was his mother as much as Regina (like that scene in 6x03) and then she just leaves him to go live in a a fake realm, created by her wish, to be with a different version of a man she was with.
What has this show become? I refuse to believe the same minds and writers were behind season 1.



Lana was incredible, though. But she always is.

GUYS

Okay, I’m having a serious issue here. For tagging purposes, what would I call what Gideon’s done to Killian at the end of 6x14???

It doesn’t really count as a “kidnapping” if you’re not taking the person with you, does it? I mean, I think that’s sort of a requirement for a kidnapping. You have to, like, steal a person and take them somewhere else, not just… show up unexpectedly and send them on their way with totally different people.

In actuality, Gideon has more or less hijacked the Nautilus, but it’s not really accurate to call this a “hijacking”, as the way tags are used on this blog would imply Killian is being hijacked, and he isn’t. It’s more like “happened to be on board a submarine when it was hijacked by Kylo Ren Gideon Gold” but that’s much too long for an organizational tag.

I have a tag for involuntary teleportation (what even IS this blog right now, ISTG), but this isn’t teleportation at all. I could switch that tag to “involuntary traveling” but that kind of sounds more like he’s gone to see the Eiffel Tower entirely against his will (which would just be silly - I mean, who wouldn’t want to go see the Eiffel Tower?), and this is definitely more of a forceful ejection from the premises than a jaunty holiday in the country.

“Forceful ejection” does have it’s merits, but I know at least half of you mis-read that as “forceful erection” just now and on the off chance I may have a need for that tag in the future, it would seem prudent not to confuse the two now. I could be more specific with something like “jettisoned away on a submarine unexpectedly” but that seems a little TOO specific, really.

So what’s a good general tag term for what’s happened here? I could go with a simpler “jettisoned away” or perhaps “torpedoed away” (borrowing on the wording from the 6x14 press release there)… Maybe wax poetic with, “disappearing into the night” or maybe “taken by the sea” *heavy sigh* Or I could be a smartass and go with “gideoned” - maybe even put it in all caps to truly capture the Homestar Runner influence. Speaking of which, I could also tag it “he’s a pirate and” and just use that for everything I don’t have a tag for from now on.

Or is there a term I’m missing? A term for reverse kidnapping / incidental hijacking / forcefully bon voyaging someone? GIF for reference.

cestlafilledunroi replied to your post: Okay…but imagine TC singing Evermore from Beauty…

And like. Evermore is so. similar. to If I Can’t Love Her. The compositional structure is the same, the sentiment is the same, even the orchestral interjections at the end??? But like the poetry in Evermore doesn’t come close to IICLH and honestly I feel like Dan Stevens could have managed that song since it’s pretty much within the same tessitura?? IT’S MY FAVORITE BATB SONG I’m just

HAHAHA I feel you, mon ami….Like…

“I rage against the trials of love (??? what this mean, laddie boy)
I curse the fading of the light  (ok, very Twilight but ok, I gotchu)
Though she’s already flown so far beyond my reach (ok…)
She’s never out of sight” (is this a Facebook vaguepost, my dude?)

It is the tell of the Show vs. Tell storytelling phenomenon. I haven’t seen the movie yet so I probably will notice the song’s shortcomings less when in combination with the visuals but I can’t help but feel a little cheated out of my Awesome If I Cant Love Her on the silver screen dreams! Oh well. 

6

And I don’t want a never ending life
I just wanna be alive while I’m here

8

“No one knows what tomorrow will bring… But I know we will walk slowly together for our tomorrow..” - Guhai & Bai Luoyin / Huang Jingyu & Xu Weizhou

you know you have a problem when
  • Me: *starts playing tons of Otome games*
  • Guy I like in real life: *asks me out on a date*
  • Me: okay so where are my dialogue options and which ones do I need to pick for the good ending
  • noctis has fallen asleep on everyone at least once
  • scratch that - a fuckton of times
  • gladio is his favorite to sleep on because he’s so warm what is this sorcery
  • gladio doesn’t really mind anymore because hey the kid is tired let him sleep
  • noctis sometimes just fuckin keels over in the car and at this point gladio just pulls him into his lap and keeps talking because yes this is perfectly normal
  • he just kinda puts his hand on noct’s back and rubs it if it seems like he’s having a nightmare and it always helps at least a little bit
  • even if he still has a nightmare waking up to gladio right there is always really comforting
  • ignis is pretty good too??? like noctis has known him for so long that it’s honestly just natural
  • noctis will just lean on his shoulder when he gets tired and it startles him a little bit but as noct’s adviser he’s pretty used to things like that
  • honestly it’s impressive that he can continue whatever he’s doing with a straight face when noct’s hair keeps tickling his neck
  • (“highness you need a haircut, come here” “if you come any closer with those scissors i swear i will jump in that lake and literally become a fucking fish don’t test me on this ignis i s w e a r”)
  • in other words, that never changes
  • but having fluffy hair is good for something (annoying your local mom friend™)
  • ignis often ends up with his fingers resting lightly on noct’s shoulder
  • he isn’t quite sure if that’s more for noctis’ comfort or his anymore but neither of them are complaining
  • it’s just nice to know they aren’t alone and that they’re safe for the time being
  • prompto still fucking dies if noctis falls asleep on him because ???
  • it eases the doubts he has about his self-worth (at least for a little while) 
  • because noctis trusts him enough to let his guard down around him and ahhh even if they’ve been friends for forever it’s like???? he’s just so happy he’s on this stupid road trip and they’re alive
  • he always smiles really big and runs his fingers through noct’s hair
  • he’s really cuddly and always tries to be quieter for noctis’ sake
  • the key word there is ‘tries
  • since noctis is tired 99.9% of the time this happens almost daily but hey
  • no one is complaining

part one 

One of my favorite little changes they made to the new beauty and the beast was when the beast realizes that belle has come back. First off, I love how belle grabs the arrows from gaston and breaks them over her knee, “where is he?!” like girl…I love you so much, and then she wrestles with the gun gaston has! That was so great to see because you see how desperate belle is to protect the beast because she knows the type of man gaston is and what he can do. 

So at this point the beast is jumping from turret to turret on the castle because he’s trying to get his footing, but everything is falling apart where he lands. That’s when it happens. Belle, who runs to an opening on one of the turrets, looks out and see’s the beast almost fall and she screams “No!” and the beast stops, whispers “belle?” and looks over and there she is. She’s wearing her white under garments and against the darkness, she sticks out, the light of hope and love that the beast thought he had lost. 

He then jumps up to another turret and it’s this shot that I adore

“Belle!” he screams and it shoots back to her face and she looks so relived that he’s ok, “You came back!” and EVERY TIME I see this movie (i’ve seen it like…5 times…maybe more) I get goosebumps at that line. The way that Dan delivers his performance as the beast is fantastic. Belle then screams that she tried to stop the villagers from coming, but the beast is all focused on belle. “Stay there! I’m coming!” and he has this focus on belle, he’s completely forgotten about gaston, he just needs to get to belle, to see belle, to be with her again. 

Fast forward a bit and the beast has this great line when he’s holding gaston over the edge, “I am NOT a beast” and then it quickly shoots to belle who gets this watery smile on her face, and the beast yells to gaston to leave. And the beast is getting ready to jump over to belle and she’s all panicked, “no! it’s too far!” so worried about him, and he does make the jump, pulling himself up and then they stare at one another and it’s a moment of peace because finally they are back together. 

BAM. Gaston shoots the beast and belle quickly runs over to him and is trying so hard to get him out of harms way but he’s too heavy and he’s too hurt to move on his own, and she’s so desperate. Calling for gaston to stop, trying to pull the beast, “come on!” she says at one point (caught this on my 3rd viewing, she sounds so scared and desperate as she tries to get him to safety) and then gaston shoots the beast AGAIN and he tumbles out of belle’s arms and she runs to him. 

Yes, the end exchange between them is quick. But, for me, that makes sense. The beast has been shot 3 times in the back and had been hit multiple times. It would make sense that he is dying faster in this version. That was something that always bothered me in the animated version (which i love and adore mind you) because…he gets stabbed in the side. And maybe he gets hit in a vital organ, I don’t know. But he gets stabbed with this little knife (after an arrow to the leg and being hit a few times) and just dies on the spot. It’s an animated movie of course, so things will differ because of our suspension of disbelief. 

Am I saying one is better then the other? No, because I love both movies. I love them for all their similarities and their smaller differences. Some tweaks I like more in the live action movie, and some things I like more in the animated. But for me, both these movies are pure magic. 

Consider this: Episode 10 showed us that Victor most likely went to Hasetsu with the expectation that Yuri would be at least somewhat like the bold, daring Yuri he felt drawn to at the banquet, which would explain why Victor seemed so surprised/disappointed every time Yuri backed away from his attempts to get closer… and yet, AND YET… even though Yuri turned out to be this shy, anxious soul who was not at all like he expected… Victor ended up completely falling in love with him anyway. And I think that’s beautiful.  

This picture actually meant to be for the 15th anniversary…but I couldn’t finish it in time….then 686 happened and I was like screw this. Months later I saw it just sat there in the folder and be like “Eh…whatever, this is for SS arc anyway…”

bluebelladon  asked:

So i had an Idea but I can't think of anything past the concept (+ yr writing for this kinda thing is like 200% better than mine) but what if the Lads founded the Fake AH crew and recruited the gents?

Ooh that’s fun – i’ve seen versions where they were two little gangs who combined into the FAHC but the idea of the actual Fake’s starting as the Lads is definitely interesting.

There were a lot of names tossed around at the start; it’s the part of forming a crew no one really talks about, the vaguely embarrassing period of building an image, choosing a name, defining yourselves. Like band names there is a lot of bad before the good. Like band names ‘good’ is wildly subjective, particularly when determined by a pack of teenage boys. The humour behind ‘Fake Crew’ isn’t particularly high brow and not a single soul outside the original four Lads, including and especially their future members, have any idea at all what the AH could possibly stand for. Most think its mysterious, assume something clever or at least meaningful, but the shifty looks the boys shoot each other when pressed tell a different story.

Still, they’ve made something of a name for themselves in Los Santos – the FAHC, who pull off unbelievable stunts, who lack any semblance of respect, dangerous in the way of feral animals, of wildfire. In the foolhardy way of children, who care far more about making sure you hurt than they do about protecting themselves. It’s enough to keep other gangs wary, to buy themselves a little breathing room with reckless gestures and bared teeth, but not exactly the glory they are looking for. Not quite the trembling respect they’ve dreamed of.

For that, it seems, they’re going to have to think bigger, smarter. Be clever not just in the tricks they play and jobs they pull but in the way they twist their image, they way they recruit, build their crew. Just being more won’t do it, added thugs for the sake of numbers; it would take an astonishing amount to really match the size of some of their rivals and the Lads don’t exactly play nice with strangers. No, they have to be strategic, have to select a few choice additions who can help them rise, and after much discussion they settle on three names they’d like to pull in; Ramsey, Patillo and the Vagabond. Lofty goals to be sure, but then, delusions of grandeur or not, the Fake’s have always considered themselves to be rather magnificent.

Everyone who’s anyone knows about the Vagabond; none of them will admit it (Ray will admit it, Ray doesn’t give a fuck) but the Lads all have hearts in their eyes every time the Vagabond slinks around, all follow every rumour, gossip over every job. Something between hero worship and healthy respect, without any of the fear normal self-respecting individuals feel, is the perfect cocktail to have the four of them plotting outlandish ways to pull in the mercenary. Patillo has an incredibly solid reputation for someone with no real ties, invariably thought to be smart, dependable, one of the best drivers in the country and definitely not a woman to be trifled with. That she and Ramsey seem to have some kind of relationship, worked together back in the day and while going their separate ways don’t appear to have had any kind of blow up, will hopefully work in the Lads favour. Last, but certainly not least, there’s Geoff Ramsey; the rouge Rooster who’s been traversing the country, constantly on the move and pulling all kinds of jobs from hilariously wacky to darkly perverse. Maybe the Lads are looking a bit outside their paid grade but with Ramsey reportedly looking to build his own crew they can’t not try, not after realising that their crew is unfortunately in need of a proper leader.

Because none of the Lads are leaders, not really, especially not back then. They aren’t incapable, are clearly wildly talented and loyal enough to one another to defer a certain kind of leadership to whomever has the best idea or the most experience with whatever task they’re facing, but no one individual is capable of being the permanent boss. No one individual actually wants that role, not really, they’re all too young, too impulsive, too eager to abandon necessary goals at the drop of a hat.  

Ray, who has arguably the least interest in being the boss of all, is less leader than lone wolf; when he’s taking point a lot of his orders tend to involve stealth, hanging back while he picks off targets, only charging in when long-distance is no longer an option. Necessary for particular jobs, and it’s certainly not an easy task keeping the other three in line until it’s their turn to burst into action, but it’s not a method that works for every task.

Michael makes a magnificent leader, fierce and fearless and unwaveringly loyal, protective of his crew until the bitter end. He is, unfortunately, utterly devoid of tact, of the patience to put up with any kind of shenanigans from anyone he doesn’t personally like, the ability to create and maintain necessary relations with anyone outside his crew. Michael himself knows he makes a far better Lieutenant, busy with duties he actually cares about, walking the line between following orders with absolute obedience and unapologetically calling out anything he disagrees with, reliable and relentless in equal measure.

Jeremy is meticulous, when he’s in charge he plots and plans and double checks, the very image of the perfect boss except for one flaw; more often than not he’s easily swayed. Will put together the perfect stealth plan only to agree when Michael makes a convincing argument for the importance of rocket launchers, conduct an ideal heist until Gavin begs to go after something shiny or Ray inquires about abandoning the sensible get away car for hilarious motorised scooters.

When Gavin is on his game he is fucking glorious, a flashbang of reckless laughter and terrible ideas none of them can resist, the promise that come hell or hand-grenades they will all be going home with a story. When Gavin plays leader he needs a lot of faith, needs the others to trust in things that don’t seem remotely feasible, but the payoff is always worth it. Except for the days when his words are too sharp, his eyes too cold, when he wants nothing more than to pick a fight with the most dangerous crook in the room, to swagger around the LSPD’s station unmasked, jump from a plane without checking his parachute; dancing with death just to see if he can. If they’re not careful on those days, if they missed the clues, the rest of the Lads would follow him down, unable discern between Gavin’s usual absurd genius and those streaks of genuinely aimless apathy until they’re all careening towards destruction.

So, as grating as it seems, there is an undeniable argument for a permanent leader, someone to keep them all on course, to take the responsibilities they don’t want, someone who can captain their ship without trying to push them all overboard. Still, you can’t just walk up to one of these infamous criminals and hand them an invitation; selling yourself – your dream, your crew, your city – takes time, takes planning, so in the end the FAHC’s first recruitment isn’t even one of those big three.

It’s pure luck when Michael meets Lindsay; finds her twirling a nail-studded bat in the wreckage of a bar, sipping a cocktail like she hadn’t just caved a man’s head in, and really nothing on earth could have stopped Michael from offering her a place in the crew. From talking them up in a way he’d never really bother with normally, because honestly how could he not. It doesn’t take much to get the other three onboard, Lindsay was a perfect fit, a seamless addition, and with her the FAHC is unquestionably more efficient.

Strangely the Vagabond is actually far easier to get on board than any had anticipated. After they start actively seeking his attention Ryan can’t help but watch the Lads. Not because their jobs are impressive (they are, actually, but Ryan’s in high demand, so very many crews out there are impressive enough) but because they are endearing eager; nothing like the pathetic begging of so many others, no attempt to convince Ryan he should be desperate to work with them, just genuine enthusiasm to prove themselves worthy of his time. They’re funny, something akin to a pack of reckless puppies; certainly capable of outrageous damage but equally likely to trip over their own oversized paws in their excitement, and in this business Ryan really shouldn’t find it as charming as he does. They take to leaving him all kinds of gifts; generally intriguing , often amusing and near always utterly gruesome, and after a month or so of hanging around the city toying with them they manage to get a former Rooster onside to run the show and Ryan’s run out of reasons to say no.

Gavin’s the one they sent after Geoff, when the Lads decide they’re ready to try to bring the notoriously creative, fortuitously crew-seeking man into the FAHC. Gavin’s first approach, full of deferential respect playing to Ramsey’s ego, is a complete bust; Geoff thought he was sweet, called him kid, laughed in his face and sent him out the door with a crack about coming back when he was old enough to drive. The second approach involves pulling a full blown job on Ramsey, one that starts with the man unknowingly buying Gavin a supercar and ends with the priceless tailored suit he’s wearing being pinned to the wall with a nail gun, Gavin grinning away like a particularly bloodthirsty shark, and all of a sudden Geoff can’t say he isn’t tempted. Deigns to finally listen to the recruitment spiel, as though he’s got any other choice right now, and despite himself is quickly sold on the whole crew.

Jeremy goes out one day and comes back with a handful of people, some they’d been discussing as a group, some the others hadn’t heard of, but all perfectly capable of holding their own agains the Lad’s disgruntled dissent. Steffie, who takes a look at their set up, rolls her eyes, then pulls out her phone and starts making a list, talking dealers and bases and possible new hires. Trevor who immediately sets to soothing ruffled feathers, sidling up to Gavin and gushing about some ridiculous theft, questioning Michael about his preference in heavy weaponry, ignoring the way Ray is skulking around behind him. Matt they’d all agreed on, welcoming the chance to push off all computering nonsense onto someone else, and Mica assures them all that she’s got no interest in sticking around, will work contracts as requested but isn’t about the stationary crew life. In the end no blood is spilt, no tempers flare too badly, and Jeremy is reasonably sure he isn’t going to wake up with a gun to his temple, so all in all it goes pretty well.

The last missing piece, Jack, is actually tracked down by Ray in the end; he wanders off one day and comes back with a very amused woman in tow, decked out in a hideous Hawaiian shirt and driving an obscenely nice Lamborghini. Apparently after finding her, not particularly difficult considering she wasn’t trying to hide, Ray simply told Jack all about Geoff’s fumbling attempts to simultaneously familiarise himself with the mess that is Los Santos, integrate himself into, and begin to take control of, an already close-knit, functioning crew, and do it all while pretending he’s not at all rattled by the Lad’s unwavering fascination with the horrifically notorious assassin who insists on sticking a straw through his mask to pound down a truly irresponsible number of diet cokes. It took a while for her utterly joyous, completely uncontrollable laughter to die down, but when she finally calmed Jack immediately started packing.

I am a ball of emotions after this chapter, every word Touka said, every honest feeling she delivers,,—how she gives Amon advice/helps him to have courage and go see Akira, speaking about her own personal feelings and fears, the exchange of thoughts.. the way Amon feels about the fact she’s rabbit but doesn’t blame her, he understands the circumstances&the other side of the story, honestly..  everything about this talk with Amon was everything I ever wanted and never expected.

Take My Hand

( let’s see where we wake up tomorrow )

Anonymous requested: Jungkook/Reader + one of them has amnesia and how they deal with it
Pairing: Jungkook | Reader
Genre: Angst/Fluff
Word Count: 11,663
Author’s Note: I made myself hurt writing the outline, which ended up quite long and intricate so I apologize. Title taken from Adam Levine’s “Lost Stars”—although I do prefer the Jungkook cover :3

Summary: In which you lose your memory in a car crash, and Jungkook desperately tries to keep both of your lives intertwined. This in itself proves to be a challenge, especially when you can only remember him as the idol you once adored from afar.

.

Jungkook never paid too much attention to those moments in life where he would figuratively hit the wall and knock the wind out of himself, until he gets the call from the hospital. And then he’s running, dashing fast and wild as quickly as his legs can take him, his mind clouded with so much fear, so much apprehension that even when he can no longer breathe he forces himself to keep running. He feels as if he might lose his mind, already grappling with deniability over his situation, the only thing that can remain consistent throughout his mind is you.

“Are you Jeon Jungkook, Y/N’s emergency contact?”

Jungkook stills, pausing in his momentary movement to wipe the sweat that has formed across his face in recovery from the intense dance practice session all the boys have just ended. “Uh, yes I am,” He answers, furrowing his eyebrows together at the seriousness of the situation, his disposition changing in such a drastic manner that all the other boys stop what they’re doing as well to watch the maknae. “Is something wrong?”

“I’m letting you know that Y/N was recently involved in a car accident and was rushed here under critical condition. She’s undergoing surgery now but—!”

“I’ll be right there,” Jungkook interrupts in a breath, the panicking settling in before the gravity of what has just happened to you really weighs in his mind. He doesn’t wait for the nurse on the other end of the line before he’s hanging up and pocketing his phone. His heart starts to race, making the blood pump quicker as air leaves and enters his lungs at an alarming quickened pace. “I have to go,” He relays to the guys, grabbing his jacket off the couch.

“Woah, woah, Jungkookie, what’s going on?” Jimin inquires, straightening from his seated position on the polished wooden floor. “Is everything okay?”

“No, it’s not,” Jungkook says, desperately trying to pull himself from the conversation so he could make his way to the hospital. “Y/N got into a car accident. She’s in surgery right now, I have to go—I have to see how she’s doing.”

“Let me come with you,” Namjoon interjects, already joining Jungkook’s side, jacket on.

Jungkook runs a hand through his hair. “Whatever. I’m running, so keep up.”

Namjoon dismisses Jungkook’s words for stress as he merely nods, following the younger boy out of the studio and dashing down the street. The hospital you have been rushed to is nearby, thank god, only a few blocks away from where Jungkook stands, but it feels like miles stretched on for miles. He runs, runs, runs faster than his legs can possibly carry him, huffing and puffing but never quite moving fast enough.

Keep reading

ok but like…..i can’t imagine being Aloy after learning what she did inside the mountain. what her mind is going through and what she must be feeling. and then having to come out of the mountain and have all the Nora worship her after they mocked and hated her all her life. And THEN still have to listen to their ignorant words about “All-Mother” and the “Goddess” and the “Anointed”. like… having learned all this knowledge and not having one single friend to share it with except a dude you only speak through your Focus once in a while and has no care for your feelings because he’s just using you to find out more about what the hell happened to the world. and she can’t share it with anyone else anyway because these people have lived all their lives worshiping an imaginary goddess and basing their lives around it so how do you even begin to tell them what you just learned????

6

Modern AU where Jean loses a close friend and occasionally texts or calls their phone just to hear their voice or talk to them because it makes it hurt juuuust a little bit less. The phone number ends up belonging to one Marco Bodt (who of course wears pastel sweaters like a dork duh) who ends up being an awesome conversationalist and friend for Jean :3

A Christmas present for @pololotp who tolerates my weirdness and sends me pictures of his plant ARMY. I love you husbando!! Enjoy the super late Jeanmarco 

Fanfiction - A Lifetime of Her (Part III)

Part III – “You don’t know how lovely you are”

Twenty-four

The night was unusually dark, even for the end of September – the scarce light of public illumination swallowed by scraps of mist, like cold long fingers, stretching to capture an unwary victim. But the lack of visible stars caused me more dismay – the feeling of infinity I usually felt gazing above my head, of endless life beyond the flapping of butterflies’ wings of human existence, veiled beyond my reach. I felt small and locked outside of a mystery that made my life more meaningful.

I was walking fast across Princes Street, my hands buried on the pockets of my overcoat, thinking about the job interview I had endured that day – a promising position as a Math teacher for a local high school, very surprising considering my lack of experience and the fact that I was fresh out of college. The headmistress had seemed pleasant and competent, interested in knowing things about my personal life as well as my academic course – inevitably she had asked why I had took almost an entire year off school, four years ago. I had answered truthfully, reassuring her about my full recovery.

To my right I could see the Gardens and the outline of the Scottish National Gallery, one of my favourite places in Edinburgh to relax and spend some free time. Without a second thought, I decided to make a shortcut across the park, which would lead me straight to the neighbourhood where I had rented a small, yet cosy, apartment.

I saw her before I could even hear her – she was standing alone, talking on the phone, close to the museum entrance. She was wearing a long black dress with sleeves, which fitted perfectly her mesmerizing body, kissing her curves with fabric lips – her hair pinned up in a simple but elegant knot. She sounded distressed and – I thought – angry enough to make me want to run in the other direction. I recognized her instantly, even in such different circumstances than those of our last encounter – Claire.

I walked – levitated, really – towards her, without any notion of why I was doing it. Perhaps I meant to thank her for what she had done in the past. Maybe I was fascinated by the idea that, for once, I could be her saviour. She was clearly dressed for an elegant party – as I approached the building, I noticed several people in similar clothing, probably heading for some sort of gala inside.

I could hear her talking more clearly, her voice quick and deadly, like the stab of a dagger. “Fine!” She snapped, suddenly finishing her conversation. Claire looked at her phone with aversion, like she was considering the idea of throwing it to the nearby bushes.

I was near enough for her to notice my presence – without recognizing me, she quickly composed her expression and looked at her phone with pretended interest, fearing any unwanted advances from a strange man in the night.

“Claire?” I called her, as I reached the circle of light streamed through the museum’s doors. Her eyes jumped to mine and softened, as she promptly identified me.

“Jamie!” She greeted me, smiling – her lips were a soft pink with the touch of discrete lipstick. “How are you?”

“Good.” I grinned back – a gesture that almost entirely faded away as I noticed the ring on her finger. It was a sizable diamond, shining like a beacon made of crystal, outrageously dominant on her slender finger. An engagement ring.  “I couldna resist, coming to say hello.”

“It’s so good to see you!” Claire seemed honestly happy and warm – a million miles away from the cold glacier of moments before. “Are you coming to the charity gala too?”

“Ach, nae.” I gave her a lopsided smile and raised my brow. “Is that why ye’re here?”

“Yes.” She shrugged, sliding her phone inside her black satin clutch. “I was waiting for my fiancé but it seems he is…rather busy at the moment. He won’t be coming.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” I said softly, trying to abstract myself of how magnificent she looked – dark as the night, but with millions of stars inside her. “I’m sure ye’ll have a lovely time, nonetheless.”

“I doubt that.” She replied, somewhat conspiratorially. “This night was organized by a friend of my uncle – he was kind enough to invite me in honour of his memory. Actually, I don’t know a living soul inside those doors.” Claire’s eyes darkened, sadness creeping in. “Maybe I’ll just go home and send him my apologies afterwards.”

“No!” I instantly rejected the idea. “Perhaps I could go with ye?” I suggested in a cool tone, praying that I wasn’t about to blush. I pointed to my black attire, matched with a grey tie. “I’m wearing a suit after all.”

“That you are.” She smiled, with a hint of mischief in her eyes. “Do you really don’t mind?” Claire asked, nervously adjusting a stubborn curl that had fled her hairdo. “We could just pretend you’re my fiancé. No one really knows Frank, either way.”

“Of course, lass.” I mockingly offered her my arm for her to hold. “Shall we?”

We entered the party, quickly mingling with the crowd – an assorted array of wealthy men and women, with a taste for art and philanthropy - or for ostentation. Soon enough we had located the canapé and champagne flutes, launching ourselves in a conversation about the artistry on display – or lack of it.

“So, are you fully recovered?” Claire eventually asked me over the live jazz music, that a small band was playing in the corner, a saxophone crying about the loss of an imperfect lover.

“Aye.” I nodded, offering her one of my owlish winks. “I’m so verra thankful for what ye did for me – I…”

“Don’t be silly!” She dismissed emphatically, waving her hand. “I should be the one to thank you!” And seeing my puzzled look, she leaned over and talked closer to my ear. “After what you told me, I went ahead and applied to medical school. I work some shifts as a nurse to pay my bills, but I’m a proud med student!”

“That is wonderful!” I congratulated her, squeezing her hand – soft and capable, warm under my fingers as a pulsing heart. “I’m so glad!”

I convinced her to dance, afterwards. She conceded with an amused smile. We swayed together, amongst other couples – I wasn’t an eager dancer and had no memory of a time when the idea of dancing had seemed appealing to me. But with Claire everything was natural and effortless – every move and word had the magical quality of destiny, of a life finally fulfilled. I tried very hard to overlook the shackles symbolized by her ring, the deafening warning of a tragedy I was powerless to avoid. She had wilfully surrender to the dragon – I couldn’t be her saving knight.

“So what happened to yer fiancé?” I asked tentatively, my hand struggling not to caress her lower back. God, it seemed so easy to touch her, to hold her against me. “Ye seemed distraught.”

“He had a meeting with another faculty assistant.” She pursed her lips in discontent, her eyes avoiding his – hiding her pain and shame. “Something about a spectacular discovery in his newest research.”

“Oh.” I babbled, trying to sound charitable. “Have ye been engaged for a long time?”

“A couple of months.” Claire sighed, her fingers accidentally brushing the back of my neck and making me shiver, preparing to confess her secrets under the protection of the music around us. “Actually, he has been invited to go to America to teach – and asked me to go with him.”

“And will ye?” I asked, almost breathless – pushing down the sudden feeling of panic, like a dark wave that threatened to swallow the skyscrapers of my soul. “Go with him?”

“I honestly don’t know.” She admitted slowly, wincing a little. “But I accepted his proposal so…I should want to go with him, shouldn’t I?”

“I dinna ken much about serious relationships.” I said in a hoarse voice. “But I dinna understand how a man can leave a woman like ye, alone, in such a night. I dinna ken how anything can be more important than being with ye.”

“It’s complicated!” She tried to argue, but her voice lacked the vigour of certainty. “He has to work a lot to get recognized. Sometimes he has to let go of superfluous things, as much as I –“

“Dinna say that!” My voice was a deep rumble, suddenly stripped of all civility. “Ye should be the priority in his life, lass. Ye are a wonderful woman.” I gulped. “Any man deserving of being with ye, should give ye the place ye deserve in his life. Never settle for less, Claire.”

She nodded, looking away to hide the sudden threat of tears. Eventually, her body relaxed and her cheek came to rest in the lapel of my blazer, silently thanking me for my support. I could feel the small movements of her lashes, the hot breath of her life so close to my heart – I never felt more alive, nor more defeated.

We talked and danced the night away – I made her twirl and laugh, until her face was less pale, more like the lively girl in the graveyard, so alive amongst my ghosts.

At the end of the night, I escorted her to a taxi – not daring to offer her my company to her doorway. I feared what the intoxicating mixture of her and the champagne might conjure up.

She smiled – skilfully tucking something inside the pocket of my overcoat – and stood on her toes to kiss my cheek in a tender goodbye. Later, feeling less overwhelmed by the lack of stars, I read her note – “In case you need it. XO”. She had added a phone number underneath the short sentence and a funny smiley face, with abundant curly hair.

I kept her note under my pillow for the next few weeks – a silent dare, urging me to take a leap of faith. I was convinced that my path was fundamentally entwined with Claire’s – it had to be a reason for the insistency of life to place her in my way. She lured me in – fascinated me.

I must have grabbed the phone, adamant on calling her, half a dozen times. Started to dial her phone number – by then carved on my brain with luminescent red ink of desire – at least a dozen more. I mentally prepared our conversation – tried different variations of casualness, honesty and tenderness. I laid awake at night, gazing at the phone, ominous and teasing.

Iffrin!” I desperately reprehended myself one night, almost a month after the gala. I clenched my teeth, breathed deeply several times, and made the call – prepared to invite her for innocent coffee.

“The number you are trying to reach has been disconnected or is no longer in service.” – said the mechanical and metallic voice that took me back to a place with no stars.