i was considering her for val at first

billboard.com
How Fifth Harmony Moved On and Took Control of Their Music: 'The Fans Are Our Fifth Member'
They may be down one sister since Camila Cabello’s messy exit from the group in December, but the women of Fifth Harmony are counting their blessings.

Ally Brooke Hernandez, 24, has a two-tone thing happening, with a black leather hat and skirt paired with a fuzzy pink sweater and pumps. Normani Kordei, 21, has accented herself with huge chrome hoop earrings and silver-dipped nails. Lauren Jauregui, 21, wears a lacy boho-chic blouse and carries her puppy, a rescue mutt named Leo. Then there’s Dinah Jane Hansen, 20, who peels off a trippy floral jacket to reveal a bright yellow tee that reads, in big block letters, “I’M A RAY OF FUCKING SUNSHINE.”

Fifth Harmony used to tour malls like this: shopped from town to town, crammed between kiosks for tchotchkes and lit by department store signs. That was in 2013, less than a year after its lineup was now-famously chosen by Simon Cowell and Antonio “L.A.” Reid flipping through the headshots of X Factor contestants on the verge of washing out. The teens twice tried to christen themselves, but the first name (LYLAS, for “Love You Like a Sister”) was already in use, and the judges hated the second (1432, pager code for “I love you, too”), so Cowell asked viewers to submit ideas online. Rebranded Fifth Harmony, they took third place and stepped off the show into a joint deal with Reid’s Epic Records and Cowell’s Syco Music.

But those are all tales of an earlier era, before 2016, the group’s biggest year yet – and the one that ended in shambles when, exhausted and unfulfilled, 5H lost Camila Cabello to a solo career. Last year’s 7/27 debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, propelled by “Work From Home,” the first top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit from a girl group in nearly a decade. But the acrimonious December split made even bigger news, with 5H accusing Cabello of quitting through her reps, and Cabello denying the accusations. It was… awkward.

“Try experiencing it,” retorts Jauregui when I volunteer as much. The rest of the group, as it so often does, rushes in to complete her thought. “I was literally going to say that,” Kordei quickly adds. “I get to sleep at night knowing we did everything in our power as friends, bandmates and human beings” to make it work. Then Hernandez: “You can’t change people.” And finally, Hansen: “Let’s just say we’re in a better place now – there are no secrets in this circle.”

Jauregui admits she nearly threw up from anxiety before the downsized 5H’s first performance, at the People’s Choice Awards in January. But today, the members are quick to (literally) high-five each other as they talk about their ongoing 7/27 Tour, the first in which they’ve built in real downtime, and a third album, due later this year on Epic. “Honestly, in this very moment, we could not be happier,” says Hernandez with more assertiveness than the Pollyanna-ish cheer that’s her trademark. Their first new single as a foursome, “Down” – a neon-edged dancehall bubbler featuring a warmly romantic verse from Gucci Mane (“Got me showing off my [engagement] ring like I’m Jordan”) – reached No. 42 on the Hot 100. Meanwhile, Cabello’s “Crying in the Club,” which entered the charts two weeks earlier, peaked at No. 47. Both are still active on the Mainstream Top 40 list.

“Crying in the Club” is a wide-screen, Sia-style ballad and “Down” is an airy dance track, but the two have more in common than just a chart trajectory: They’re both grown-up songs for longtime professional “girls” now expected to be seductive women. The 5H video, which racked up 21.6 million views in two weeks, even seems to offer some sly commentary on this, with the group pulling up to a seedy motel and writhing on beds in separate rooms. But the women have come up with their own narrative for the lyrics, which came to them from “Work From Home” co-creators Ammo and DallasK, and include “You the type that I could bake for/’Cause baby, you know how to take that cake” – as well as the chorus, “Long as you’re holding me down/I’m going to keep loving you down.”

“We dedicate it to each other,” says Hansen. “We’ve been together five years, so that message is powerful to us. We’ve been there for each other through ups and downs.” Hernandez hits her with an “Amen.”

The single is only a slice of what’s to come, because for the first time, 5H is co-writing its songs – over half, in fact, of those destined for the new album. Since January, it has been holding songwriting camps between tour stops, mostly at Windmark Recording, just two miles from here. The group typically breaks into pairs, then takes turns with that day’s writers and producers like 5H alums Monsters & Strangerz and pop and R&B producers Harmony Samuels (Ariana Grande) and Sebastian Kole (Alessia Cara).

“It’s not like they came in at the end and started riffing,” says Leah Haywood of Dreamlab, which has two songs on the album. “We sat and wrote verses together, because they’re empowered women who want to be pushing the agenda.” Justin Bieber’s go-to hook man Poo Bear, who worked with Skrillex on a 5H session, adds, “I was pretty blown away. They were hungry and excited and seemed like they had a serious new point to prove.”

Those collaborators create “safe spaces,” says Jauregui, where they can try ideas without fear of judgment. But the world outside isn’t so cushy. Plenty of popular girl groups have lost members and carried on, but none have found more success. En Vogue withered commercially without Dawn Robinson. Destiny’s Child hit peak sales just before LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson were ousted. And the one Spice Girls album that followed the departure of Geri Halliwell was an abject flop.

One Direction provides a hopeful example – Made in the A.M. handily outsold its predecessor even without Zayn Malik. But the industry is perhaps kinder to boy bands. As much as its music (and videos) might be maturing, 5H is dedicating itself to an idea almost radical in its innocence: that four pop stars are better off as a single group – albeit with a name that, at this point, feels a bit silly. “The fans,” quips Hernandez, “are our fifth member.”

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, whose 15-year-old daughter Simone is “pretty tight” with Hansen, says 5H is “aspirational to so many young girls around the world.” He adds, “Once the drama [of Cabello’s exit] settles, instead of looking at it as a devastating loss, I look at it as an amazing opportunity for growth.”

We’re now inside, aprons on, at The Gourmandise School of Sweets & Savories. The women chat about how much they love SZA’s Ctrl as they pioneer new ways to Snapchat themselves, chopping scallions for quesadillas, charring tandoori-style chicken wings and deep-frying homemade potato chips. Overseen by a chef named Jamie, they share kitchen duties with an almost psychic ease – except for the cookies. The plan is for everyone to pitch in on a batch of the classic chocolate-chip variety, and that’s how it starts. But then Jauregui asks for white chocolate, Hansen requests pretzels, and Hernandez wants her Texas pecans (she’s from San Antonio). Soon one mixing bowl becomes four, and Kordei is in the pantry foraging hazelnuts, Rice Krispies and almond extract.

It’s a cute metaphor for how 5H’s members are cultivating their independence not only from their corporate minders but from one another. It’s also woefully inadequate in addressing Jauregui’s personal journey during the last few months, starting with a declaration she defiantly slid into an open letter to Trump voters, which she wrote for Billboard in November: “I am a bisexual Cuban-American woman, and I am so proud of it … I am proud to feel the whole spectrum of my feelings, and I will gladly take the label of ‘bitch’ and ‘problematic’ for speaking my mind.”

In March, Jauregui shared photos from a November “coming-out” shoot, as photographer Nicole Cartolano characterized it to MTV, with her then-girlfriend Lucy Vives (daughter of Colombian singer Carlos Vives). Her sexual identity has since cropped up in her music. Jauregui briefly made an appearance on the Hot 100 as a guest on Halsey’s “Strangers,” which, as a duet about an it’s-complicated same-sex romance, has inspired more than a few think pieces.

Jauregui’s openness speaks not only to the accepting nature of 5H but also to the potential for a mainstream girl group in an era where many minorities feel under attack. 5H is still a place for purity rings. Hernandez is wearing a “TRUE LOVE WAITS” band. She and Kordei identify as Christian, while Hansen is Mormon. But all insist Jauregui’s expression is “supported.” And Jauregui, who believes in “the universe and a god source, like an energy,” seems content with this. But asked if she would be comfortable singing about a relationship with a woman in a 5H song, she says she doesn’t know, “because it has to do with me personally. It doesn’t speak for everyone in the group, which is its own entity as an artist. That’s the whole reason for doing your own thing.”

Kordei has recently added a new chapter to her story, too. She competed on Dancing With the Stars this past spring, returning to a childhood passion. “I grew up dancing competitively and being in pageants, and my grandma made all my costumes and dresses. I remember watching the show on the couch with her, and she’d pause the TV to create sketches based off what she saw,” she says. Kordei and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, finished third, which is all the more impressive when you consider that for the first three weeks she flew to the Los Angeles tapings direct from 5H’s Asia tour, popping melatonin on the plane and chugging coffee (a new habit) before doing the cha-cha.

Hernandez recently dropped a summery song with DJ duo Lost Kings and A$AP Ferg. She also clocked a writing session with Christian country-folk singer Cindy Morgan and touts the acting career she plans to launch this year. Hansen has an unreleased RedOne cut featuring Fetty Wap and French Montana, and she loves tennis and jokes about becoming a volleyball star. “I’m at a place where I’m continuing to identify myself,” she says. In other words: find her part in what could become a multidisciplinary 5H empire.

“Last year, we all learned a lesson about mental health and making sure you step away from something. It just makes this stronger,” says Jauregui. “Fifth Harmony is the home base,” offers Kordei, “where we always come back.” “Yasss,” says Hernandez.

Of course, when your break from work is more work, there isn’t much room for, like, life. They all describe their days as a “blur,” and Hansen says she doesn’t know “what vacation means.” For those who keep asking: No, Kordei still hasn’t had a chance to go on that date with DWTS’ Bonner Bolton. And in a quiet moment in the kitchen, Hernandez confesses that there’s nothing she wants more than to get married. But the women don’t even have homes apart from their families – the houses would sit empty.

It was only 14 months ago, in the middle of my interview with the group for its first Billboard cover, that the same four sitting here broke down in tears detailing the extent of their fatigue and stress. “Jesus Christ, dark times,” recalls Jauregui, and they didn’t let up. The same day Cabello’s exit was announced, there was a leak of what seemed to be a recording of Jauregui telling Hernandez the band was treated like “literal slaves.” “I don’t know where that [audio] came from,” says Jauregui, “but that’s what the game does to you sometimes: runs you dry.” But it was a bit more than that.

“We were little girls coming off of a TV show and had a team of people trying to sculpt us into something we weren’t,” says Hansen. “They took advantage, like, ‘Get in there and record this, you thing,’ ” says Jauregui.

“If you’re told you can’t do something when there’s a creative desire to do it, that’s depressing,” says Geri Horner – nee Halliwell, aka Ginger Spice – who just released her first single in 12 years. “Spice Girls always wrote our own stuff, but I can relate to that.”

The long road to liberation began with 5H hiring outspoken music lawyer Dina LaPolt at the end of 2015. “I sat the girls in a hotel conference room and for five hours educated them on trademarks, copyrights and rights of publicity,” says LaPolt, who soon helped secure them new management with the preeminent firm Maverick (Madonna, U2, Miley Cyrus). “Then I educated them about every agreement they signed, which [were] the worst I’ve ever seen in the music business.”

LaPolt successfully transferred the Fifth Harmony trademark from Cowell to the group, meaning the women now own the name, along with the right to control how it is used and to profit from any deals. (The agreement – signed in April 2016, months ahead of Cabello’s exit – doesn’t name Cabello in the “Fifth Harmony Partnership.” “I don’t represent Camila,” is all LaPolt will say.) She then renegotiated 5H’s contract with Epic, which she characterized as “a very adversarial” process.

LaPolt and 5H stress that the group’s relationship with Epic is now good. The women count among their “saviors” the label’s senior vp A&R Chris Anokute, who came onboard near the end of making 7/27. (Reid left Epic in May amid sexual-harassment allegations.) “We raised our voices,” says Hansen, “and to have someone in our corner like Chris, who believes in us, is the most important element to make the wheels go.”

Which allows 5H to meet the challenges of being Women of Pop in the late 20-teens. Rihanna, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez and Lorde have all shown how much artistry, agency and album-building matter. Basically, the band needs to pursue the authenticity Cabello secured by going it alone. The challenge is not only doing that in a group, but also while relying on familiar themes, like girl power, diversity, body positivity and inclusion.

Jauregui is the first to admit she was scared about 5H’s future without Cabello. “We’d put blood, sweat and tears – and birthdays and funerals we missed – into this thing,” she says. “It’s our livelihoods and our families.’ This is the train, and now you’re like, ‘Is the conductor going to come through with the coals, or are we left here to die?’ ”

Hernandez says there were “many therapy sessions.” Hansen, at least, quit worrying when they released their first press photo as a quartet and everyone, including Ellen DeGeneres, started editing themselves into the frame, “trying to recruit themselves into the squad.” Which raises the question: Have they considered bringing in a new member? They answer in unison: “Heeeell naaaw!”

How Was Your Night?

Another Loki x Valkyrie I wrote out. I’ve got a few other short drabbles planned out for them. I hope I can get them written. Anyways, I hope you guys enjoy this one.


How Was Your Night?

It’s nearing midnight when Valkyrie returns to her room. She’s not nearly as drunk as she could be, but she does wobble a bit when taking her shoes off. Everything else stays on, she doesn’t feel like fighting with her buckles and belts and clasps. She just wants to sleep.

She all but falls face first into the rumpled bed. The blankets are twisted, lumped together and Val lazily fights with them until she’s under them. When she’s finally comfortable, her eyes drop shut and she settles. Sleep is only a few moments—

Someone is watching her.

Val tenses, her body going rigid and her jaw clenching. It takes her a moment because she keeps her eyes closed but eventually she hears a huff of breath.

“I’m surprised you didn’t notice me before.” He’s not whispering, but his voice doesn’t disturb the quiet of the room. “A little too much ale?”

“Not nearly enough,” Val replies. “You just got here, I heard you…materialize.”

He’s silent for a moment and Val slowly opens her eyes, setting them upon him instantly. He’s in the corner, dressed in black shadows and eyes glinting. Val raises an eyebrow at him.

“What?”

Loki smirks at her and shrugs. “Did you have a good time with Thor?”

Val narrows her gaze at him. Trying to decide whether or not his question is double-sided. “A drink is a drink. No matter who’s buying.”

He blinks at her answer. Val shifts in the bed and rubs her eyes. “Is there something you wanted or did you just drop by to make sure I wasn’t screwing your brother?”

Loki snarls at her, his lip curled up. “He’s not my brother.”

Val rolls her eyes and pulls a pillow to her chest. She burrows into the pillow. “So you’re confirming that’s the reason you’re here?” She drawls out, closing her eyes.

Loki sputters a bit, glaring at her from across the room. “Are you always like this?”

Val shrugs. “Usually.”

He gets to his feet and begins pacing at the foot of her bed. “I don’t understand you.” He said more to himself than her.

Val looks at him. “What’s there to understand?”

“My brother adores you, he’s always up under you working to hold your attention,” Loki grumbled. “It’s nauseating.”

Val laughs loudly, picking up to her head to fully look at Loki. “And here I thought the God of Mischief would be way better at hiding his jealousy.”

Loki glares. “I’m not jealous.”

“Clearly.” She deadpans.

He keeps on pacing and she returns her head to the pillow. “If you’ve got nothing else to say—“

“What are you going to do once we get to Midgard?” He interrupts her. Green eyes watching her intently.

Val shrugs slowly, she hasn’t really considered it. She knows that humans look like Asgardians, just weaker but Bruce is the first “human” she’s ever seen. And he doesn’t even really count.

“Dunno.” She says finally. “Guess we’ll see what I do when we get there.”

Loki looks at her from the corner of his eye. “You will follow Thor.” He states. “Fight at his side, until the end.”

Val closes her eyes. “Probably, to be fair though.” She pulls the blanket up over her shoulder. “You’ve kinda already beat me to that.”

His footsteps hesitate for a moment as if what she’s said has caught him off guard. Val breaths deeply, nearly ignoring him in favor of the sleep that’s starting to cling to her.

“I do not follow him.” He sounds offended. It makes her lips twitch up.

“Look,” she sighed dramatically. “Either get in or get out.” She held up the blanket behind her.

The silence stretches to the point that her arm hurts from where it hands in the air. Val rolls her eyes open and squints at him.

The god is standing at the foot of her bed. He’s frowning at her, confusion clear on his face. Val notes that he shifts nervously and meets her eyes.

“Well?” She cocks her eyebrow at him.

Loki hesitates. “You’re sure?”

Val looks at him blankly. “I wouldn’t offer if I wasn’t.” She lets her arm drop and rolls fully back to her side. The pillow pulled close to her chest. “Get in the bed Loki, I’m tired.”

She settles into the pillow, ready to hopefully sleep until noon the next day. For a long moment, the room is completely silent; Val wonders if Loki’s disappeared and she missed it.

Then the floorboard creaks and the foot of her bed dips down. He’s slow in his movements, removing his shoes and pulling off his shirt. The bed dips more and closer to her, the covers lift and a heavy weight settles behind her.

Val counts out her breaths slowly, waiting for Loki to relax.

“I do not understand you.”

Loki presses his chest to Val’s back, her armor digging into his skin. Under the blanket, long fingers trace her covered back.

“Maybe I’m not for you to understand,” Val says lightly. “You can’t know everything.”

He taps a finger against the bottom buckle of her vest. “Take this off.”

Val smirks, her hand reaching down to guide his to the front easier clasps. “You take it off me.” She says simply.

Loki keeps his movements slow. His hand taking its time with each one. Bowing his head forward, the god pressed a kiss to the back of her neck. He freezes after he pulls back, he’s just now realizing what he’s done.

Val bites her lip and rolls back against him, she’s tucked closed and stares up at him.

“What’s wrong?” She asks pointedly.

Loki shakes his head. He’s only got two more claps to go before she’ll be able to slip the garment over her head.

“This is not how I expecting this to go.”

Val snorted, closing her eyes and gripping his forearm. “Right, you thought I’d be screwing Thor.”

Loki growled in his throat. “I knew you wouldn’t be.” He snipped, leaning down close. “He’s not your type.”

“So you came to my room and asked about him why?” She ignores the second half of what he said. Whether or not Thor is her type is irrelevant.

His shoulders jerk a shrug and cranes his neck to bite her ear. “Was curious to hear your response.” He whispered.

Val shivers a bit, pressing her shoulder closer to him. He’s working purposely slow on the last clasp. “You were looking for a fight.”

Loki grins, pinching her earlobe between his teeth. “Possibly.”

When the last clasp on her vest comes undone, Loki slides his hand back down her torso. He grips the hem of it and rugs up. Val pushes herself up, sitting so that she’s balanced and can lift her arms. Loki pulls the vest over her head, pausing halfway through to gather her hair and move in out of the way of the buckles.

Once she’s free of it, Val takes the vest from Loki and tosses onto the floor. They meet eyes as she settles back into the bed.

“You didn’t have to try to start a fight you know.” Val reaches up and tucks some of his long hair behind his ear. “Coulda just asked to come to bed.”

Loki rolled his eyes and leaned down. “I’ll have to remember that for next time.” He grins and kisses the corner of her mouth.

“Next time.” She muses. He moves to kiss her chin and Val ducks her head down. Pressing her lips to his roughly and sloppily.

Loki brings his hand up to cup her cheek and tilt her head. Guiding her closer to him and deepening the kiss.

Soon it turns heated, as she arches up against his bare chest. Their skin warm and soft against each other. Val fists one hand in his hair, pulling him back from her a bit.

“This doesn’t change anything.”

He’s laughing before she’s even finished her sentence. Loki cranes his neck against the grip she’s got on his hair. He kisses a line across her collarbone.

“Of course it doesn’t.” He agreed, skimming his fingers over her right nipple. “It can never be anything. And we know that.”

The End

-Danyi

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Just in time for the start of October, we have a new page! This took so long to make, and we apologize for that, but we’ve mentioned the reasons why on this post , and we had a few hiccups here and there, but we persevered in the end, as always!

And here we are, the part where you folks get a proper first look at our villains! If any of our readers have watched Wander Over Yonder, you could consider Val and Alfred a sorta-reincarnation of Lord Dominator and Commander Peepers, respectively. I could talk about these two in greater detail, but I think I’ll save that for another day. What I can tell you, however, is that her sweet VHS tape-looking throne/office chair is not purely for show… ;)

Art © The Blood Moon Commission

Star Vs The Forces of Evil © @daronnefcy & Disney

Tear and Tangle - Chapter 2

Chapter 1

Val spent the following week avoiding Sharna as much as possible. Unfortunately, he realized too late, this probably just made everything worse. Sharna didn’t know anything unusual was going on. By avoiding her, he probably only made her more suspicious. When Sunday morning arrived, he hadn’t even asked her about hanging out that night. He hoped his confusing feelings would start to fade if he spent less time with her.

When she found him late Sunday afternoon, he quickly realized this was not the case. The first thing he noticed was her smile and he suddenly felt light-headed.

Get it together, he told himself as she walked up to him.

“I feel like I haven’t seen you all week,” she said with that smile. “Where have you been hiding?”

“We’ve just been busy,” Val said with a shrug. “How’s your week been?”

“A little overwhelming, but I think we’re ready. I was worried about doing jitterbug just for me to have to teach it, but it’s so perfect for James. He’s great.”

“I’m sure,” Val said, doing his best to not sound awkward.

“So, tonight?” Sharna continued, sitting down next to Val. “I owe you.”

“You owe me nothing.”

“My place,” she told him, ignoring his comment. “Dinner? A movie? Just us.”

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

IDK why but Voyager is giving me FF vibes. Feel like she's gonna have a connection to Valeria.

Huh, that’s an interesting thought considering the end of Legacy, combined with the name Voyager and the fact that her first name is apparently Valerie:

I was getting Sentry vibes, considering the altered statue we see in Legacy, but that she could be Val/some version of Val – I could see it. (I was mostly paying attention to how pretty Johnny looked in the No Surrender trailer tbh.)

Newsarama apparently has the same thought!

Day 18

Prompt: AU Dom and Zendaya move in to an apartment next door to Val and Maks, Zendaya keeps running into Val awkwardly.

Note: It’s the end, I did it which means I’m 18 (I’m finally legal) so please enjoy the final story for the 18 Days of Valdaya (which I mid way realised I should of called it the 18 Dayas of Valdaya, but then I glared at myself in the mirror). 

Requested by: @madd09

18 days of Valdaya || Other Stuff

Enjoy xx Sabrina

Keep reading

Advice - Part 4

This is basically just James and Sharna! Starting with a flashback, then to what is present day in this fic. One last part to go after this one!

Part 3

They finished the fifth live show of the season and Sharna was worried about James. He seemed oddly nervous, certainly more nervous than usual, and rather distant and disconnected. Everyone else was celebrating making it through another week. James told Sharna he loved their dance and that he was excited for the next one, but she saw his smile fade as she watched him out of the corner of her eye.

“Are you sure you’re alright?” she said, leaning in to hug him so she could whisper in his ear.

“Yeah. I told you. I’m fine. Everything’s fine.”

But Sharna wasn’t convinced and she wasn’t going to let him off that easy.

“Come on,” she said quietly, taking his hand. “Let’s go talk.”

They detached themselves from the group and made their way backstage. Here there were several rooms they could disappear into. They found an empty room off a dark hallway. Sharna flicked on the light and closed the door behind them. She immediately turned to James.

“What’s going on?” she said before he could stop her. “I know you and I know something’s wrong. And don’t tell me it’s nothing.”

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

May i request an established spideytorch, double date with another marvel couple of your choice~

sure thing, anonymous! I sort of want to do a five times thing with this but until I’ve written the other four, here’s one. I haven’t actually been to the Central Park zoo in ages so I’m going half off memory and half off their website:

Johnny knew he was in trouble when Valeria marched herself into the kitchen, grabbed a chair from the table, dragged it over to where he stood at the counter and climbed on top of it to address him.

“One sec, kiddo,” he said, swigging coffee. “Whatever you’re going to say, I’m not caffeinated enough.”

“I’m asking Bentley out on a date,” Val said, and Johnny knocked back the rest of his coffee in one go.

“Okay,” he said. “You’re like, five years old -”

“I’m four and a half,” Val said, wrinkling her nose like Johnny’s the weirdo in the room.

“I’m rounding up,” he said. “Anyway, you, Bentley - little young, don’t you think? Maybe want to wait until you can reach the counter without a chair?”

Val’s stare was withering.

“We’re going to the zoo,” she said. “I want to see the puffins.”

“That’s adorable,” Johnny told her. “There isn’t a memory card your dad can invent that’ll hold all the photos your mom is going to take.”

Val made a gagging noise, sticking out her tongue. “That’s exactly why I wanted to talk to you, Uncle Johnny. I want you to chaperone us.”

Johnny burst out laughing.

Keep reading

You know… I’ve been thinking. About James and Sharna of course.

I’ve been feeling like they are my favorite DWTS couple ever in 23 seasons. But then I thought maybe I’m just thinking that because they’re so recent and fresh in my mind and perfect and in love

So then I thought back to my other favorite couples and considered why I loved them so much. 

Erin and Maks have always been my favorites. They were my first favorites and I loved them more than life itself. What I loved so much about them was what he did for her. The way he made her feel safe. The way he took care of her. The way he made her life whole again when she needed it most. (This was also all similar for Kelly and Val. I loved them just as much for basically the same reasons.)

Meryl and Maks were of course my other favorites. And what I loved about them was what she did for him. The opposite of Erin and Maks. She let him be himself and she brought out a new side of him and she understood him. She changed the essence of who he was and it was beautiful to watch. 

And then there’s James and Sharna. And I think, Are they really more special than these other two? Do I really love them more? Have the others finally been dethroned? And you know what? Yes. There’s something special and there’s something more. Because it’s not what she did for him and it’s not what he did for her. It’s what they did for each other. 

ok ok so thanks to you guys i have reached my second thousand followers *chokes* so i decide to make my first ever tumblr award i hope it doesn’t sound ridiculous i rlly rlly don’t know if i deserve to do this UwU 

thanks to Kat with her brilliant idea I’ll add a < 500 followers blog category so to enter this one you need to screenshot your follower count and submit to me

rules

  • mbf val 
  • reblog this (likes are considered as bookmarks) 
  • must be a fandom blog (and have some signs that you reblog PJO) 
  • must reach 50 notes or i’ll delete this in shame 
  • reblog until March 24th
  • winners will be announced on March 30th

awards

  • piper award: best theme
  • jason award: best url 
  • annabeth award: best posts 
  • leo award: best edits
  • hazel award: niccest blogger  
  • percy award: best PJO 
  • frank award: best multifandom
  • nico award: best < 500 followers blog
  • reyna award: val’s favorite

winners will get

  • crappy url graphics made by me
  • following back (if not already)
  • promo whenever you want for 2 weeks; as for nico award will have it for a month
  • percy, frank, nico and reyna awards will have a spot on my update tab for 1 month

I just want to say I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING ME and anyone who enter this will have blue cookies and warm hugs from me!! Have a nice day xoxo 

banner by me

Room 23B, Update!

Maks had never felt more stressed in his life.

He wrung his hands together, idly swiping sweat from his hands on his black slacks.

The entire future of his jewelry company ultimately depended upon the decision of the one very affluent buyer he was due to meet with today.

If this deal worked out the way he was praying it would, Cantamessa would land a 2-year exclusive contract with one of the top fashion brands in the world: Alexander McQueen. The new connection with such a famous brand would bring Cantamessa an entirely new level of notoriety and fame—not to mention endless hoards of clientele.

If the deal didn’t work out, however, Cantamessa Jewelers could expect an extensive rough patch ahead of them. The business wasn’t doing wonderfully lately, raking in only about a fraction of the purchases they usually scored. Maks knew why, of course, and it stung his pride; Tiffany and Co. had just released a new line eerily similar to the design he had been crafting for months, and many of his clients had snapped it up the very second it was released.

Any piece he could have possibly released after that would make it look as though he was trying to duplicate Tiffany & Co.’s design, and Maks had the sinking feeling his brand wouldn’t come out on top in a legal battle (his rival brand was more affluent, more powerful, and more likely to hire a kickass defense attorney who would slander his reputation in the industry for good). It would be a crushing blow to his company, his wallet, and his pride.

Maks shook his head emphatically in a vain attempt to clear his thoughts. His business partner saw the grim look upon Maks’ face and said nothing, opting instead to clamp a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

The elevator carried them upwards in silence and Maks found himself wishing it would just go on forever, that they would never have to reach their destination because it was so uncertain and he had to admit he was a bit of a control freak.

The soft ping from the gold-reflected wall dashed his hopes in the gentlest way, reminding the two that they had reached their floor right before the cool metal doors slid open.

It was showtime once more.

Maks ran a shaking hand through his hair, messing with it slightly to take his mind off of things. His eyes widened in what could only be awe as he took in the scene before him.

Before the two men stood a vast expanse of cream-colored tables and chairs, candles and chandeliers, dim lighting and glasses filled with bubbling champagne. Despite his overly anxious mood, he couldn’t help but groan internally. Why couldn’t these buyers ever pick a less high-end restaurant to meet at? Even paying for our meals at a place like this could break the bank…

Maks’ feet stuttered slightly as he took a step inside, shooting a weary glance towards his partner.

“You’ll be fine, Maksy-boy. Just turn on that old Chmerkovskiy charm,” Val nudged Maks’ shoulder, shooting him a sly wink right before a young woman in a professional, gray dress made her way over to them. She took quick, confident strides; Maks could already tell that he may not be able to acquire this buyer’s approval through his usual methods.

Upon reaching the men, the female buyer stuck out her hand.

“Hello, gentlemen. My name is Karina Smirnoff; I am the primary buyer for the world-renowned fashion brand Alexander McQueen,” she announced, just managing a small smile for the two men in front of her.

Maks always found it amusing when buyers endorsed their companies while introducing themselves; he supposed they did it to make themselves seem more important, but he couldn’t help but feel like the buyers were overcompensating for some other void in their lives through their introductions.

(“Look at me, I’m divorced, bitter and alone. I work three jobs to pay my mortgage, and my ex-husband got custody rights for my three children, so I may never see them again…But did you hear I work as a primary buyer for the Alexander McQueen? Not just any regular buyer, and not any regular brand, but the primary buyer and Alexander fucking McQueen!”)

Karina continued on with her introduction, all business and black coffee, oblivious to Maks’ thoughts.

“You must be the co-founders of Cantamessa—the Chmerkovskiy brothers, if I am not mistaken?”

Ah, yes. Maks’ business partner also happened to be his brother—Valentin had taken an interest in the field just 7 years ago, after Maks had delivered a longwinded speech at a family dinner about his career at Tiffany & Co., the 4 C’s of diamonds, appraising gemstones, and working with clientele.

Upon hearing how poorly the overtly wealthy company treated his brother (a topic they also discussed in depth), Val demanded to help Maks start his own jewelry line. He would not take no for an answer. Years later, Maks had yet to stop thanking him.

Val gently nudged Maks’ side with the bent part of his elbow in an attempt to snap him out of his thoughts.

“Yes, we are, Madame Smirnoff. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” he took her hand in his and pressed a kiss to her knuckles.

“The pleasure is mine, gentlemen. For the purposes of this meeting, you may simply call me Karina, if you wish. It’s a lot less long-winded,” she chuckled softly.

It was then that Maks picked up on a definite lilt in Karina’s voice that sounded all too familiar to him.

“I certainly don’t mean to pry, Karina, but is that a Russian accent I hear?”

The twenty-something buyer awarded his inquisition with a dry smirk, “Perhaps, Mr. Chmerkovskiy, but we are not here to discuss my heritage, correct? I’m afraid appealing to my personal culture will get you nowhere this evening.”

Maks’ eyes widened marginally as Val tried to stifle a snicker.

He was correct, then; the usual methods would not work on this one.

“Gentlemen, we shall sit together and discuss what a partnership will mean for our respective companies; if such a partnership is truly beneficial to both parties, I might consider pressing for that two-year exclusivity contract you seem so set on. If not, well…you certainly wouldn’t be the first to be turned away. Now, please; enter,” Karina finished, gliding her hand through the air as if she was welcoming them inside her very own restaurant.

+

Maks walked up to his apartment complex, puffing out an elongated exhale through his nostrils.

Karina needed to mull over her decision for a bit; she would call one of the brothers tomorrow with her final answer.

Maks had hoped things went smoothly, but the more time he spent thinking about it, the more he began to dissect every bit of their conversation. Had he been too flattering at any point? She seemed turned off by his compliments. Had he and Val finally delivered their career-making pitch, or was it back to the metaphorical drawing board?

Even the sky overhead was smoothed over with gray clouds, completely smothering any glimpse of the sun he could have gotten. The sky was not sunny, nor was it stormy; he had never found such a perfect example of pathetic fallacy in his life and he may have sharply snorted out a laugh if he hadn’t been in such a funk.

Inside the building was no better. The lights in the lobby were bright and inviting, the chandeliers sparkling overhead adding a certain sense of elegance to the room. (Many times he had tried to determine the exact worth of the diamond chandeliers, his inner jewelry nerd scrabbling out to assess what most people would simply let out a low whistle at and continue on their merry way with.) The marble floors of the lobby had appeared entirely un-trodden upon, uncharacteristically free of scuff marks or stains from the dribbles of a child’s strawberry ice cream. This was a slight pity, too—He would ferociously deny it if ever accused, but he happened to enjoy witnessing his neighbors with children. He was fascinated with the way their lives were constantly intertwined, how the children and parents understood each other more implicitly than any other human on the planet. How the children stared, wide-eyed, as their parents informed them of an impromptu trip to the ice cream shop.

He mused about these things on his way to the elevator.

When he reached the row of elevators, however, he felt a strange pang of resentment. It was the most childish thing he’d thought about in a while, but the only thought that dame to mind was how the gold-encrusted elevator from that overtly elaborate restaurant betrayed his one wish.

Out of idiotic bitterness towards the insentient unit of transportation, he switched directions and headed for the stairway instead.

+

Maks reached the second floor, panting for breath, hand sliding against the railing as a support system for his body. Four flights of unbelievably steep stairs to get to the second floor of a building did not seem like the most architecturally-sound idea he’d heard.

He really needed to work out more, he realized, a bit too late.

His bones ached for him to rest, take a break from the unusual amount of exercise. His lungs were on fire, a slow burning pain that would encompass him completely if he traveled up the next two flights to his floor. Even his muscles were sore.

He couldn’t do another two flights to Floor 3. God, he was a weakling.

He shrugged to himself, grumbling as he shoved the entranceway to Floor 2 open. He took long, swift strides once he’d entered, apartment after apartment blurring together at his sides.

He would admit defeat and take the elevator although he’d hate every second of it.

Somewhere behind him, a woman locked in her room yelled out a frustrated explicative.

He stopped in his tracks, a slow smirk forming on his face at the all-too-familiar voice. It sounded like the girl from last night, the girl who interrupted his sealing the deal with one of the less influential buyers.

A conversation with her would certainly make his day feel less sucky.

He swiveled around, began searching for her golden room number.

“23A, 23A,” he repeated inside his head, scanning the tops of the wooden doors for the magic number.

He came to a halt as he discovered her door, wasting no time knocking repeatedly against the oak door.

Her door swung open at once, and there she was, her hair swept up into an unkempt ponytail whilst wearing pajamas three sizes too big.

“Oh, crap,” were the first words to escape her mouth, quickly followed by, “you didn’t think to tell me you were stopping by, neighbor?”

Maks let a flirtatious smile transform his face, “No need. You look perfect as is.”

The girl in front him pretended to gag, causing him to erupt into rumbling chuckles.

“If you don’t use any more terrible lines like that, you can c’mon in. I was just writing but, you know,” she offered, making the same hand motion Karina had made just hours before.

He nodded his head, the smallest of smiles on his face, and stepped inside Meryl’s apartment. The apartment smelled of vanilla and cinnamon, the kitchen fire alarm was going off (so he quickly walked over and shut it off, pausing to hungrily eye the tray of cinnamon buns on the cooling rack), the rooms were bright from sunshine streaming in through the open windows, and in the midst of it all he had noticed a laptop open to a Microsoft Word page sitting on baby-blue colored sofa,

Before she could stop him, he sprinted over and snatched the laptop, eyes flicking across the words on the screen.

“Hey,” she exclaimed in protest, tiny feet carrying her small frame over to him, “give me my novel back!”

Maks rose a dubious eyebrow back at her, clearly unimpressed. “Give me one good reason.”

“Because I’ll kick you out of my apartment. I invited you in, and I can get you out,” Meryl spoke again, her voice containing all the bravado it could possibly hold.

His eyebrows shot even further upwards, and he lowered his head as he issued her a challenge.

“Do it; I dare you. Kick me out.”

A wave of anger passed through her features as she yanked his arm forwards, slowly but steadily raising his body off the couch. “Gladly,” she huffed.

Maks was surprised at how much muscle the seemingly waif of a girl had as she began shoving his body towards the door. He whirled around to face her once he found himself getting closer to the exit; he didn’t want to leave just yet.

“This,” he gestured to the open page on screen, “needs more originality.”

Meryl abruptly halted her movements, as he had hoped she would, and crossed her arms over her chest. “Originality? That book is dripping with it!” She huffed indignantly, slight tones of incredulity entering her voice.

“No, it’s not. You think it is, because you wrote it, but I can already tell exactly who committed the crime from the dialogue based on this page.”

“Only a truly creative eye could comprehend the clues I left scattered throughout those pages. I call your bluff,” she snarked back.

“I’m a jewelry designer and founder of a jewelry company. I think it’s safe to say I’m creative in my endeavors,” he scoffed, raising the laptop over his head as she tried jumping for it.

“I think jewelry is stupid,” she remarked childishly, issuing him the same challenging look he had just given her.

“I think your character development is stupid,” retorted Maks, all the while a calm smile playing on his face.

“Really? Then, Maks, whodunnit?”

He paused, glancing back at the screen. Then he looked up confident girl in front of him. “It was the protagonist’s child,” he declared.

Meryl’s expression changed from confidence to shock immediately, and she shot him an icy glare the likes of which he had never previously seen.

“And how could you tell?” She gritted through her teeth, defeated.

Maks grinned in spite of the furious girl in front of him. “Sharing my worldly secrets of creativity requires a price. I’ll have a cinnamon roll,” he pointed inside the kitchen with one hand, “and a few hours of time in here.”

Meryl froze, considering her options. Clearly, the passion for her writing must have won out in her mind, because she emitted a defeated sigh. “Stay,” she frowned.

“But we’re not friends,” she was entirely too quick to add, “you’re just helping me improve my book and that’s all.”

He nodded an affirmative, inwardly grinning at her determination to remain as unconnected with him as possible. He would try his hardest to ensure such negative feelings wouldn’t last long.

“Whatever you say,” he winked, victoriously grabbing a cinnamon bun from the cooling rack in the kitchen and sinking his teeth into it.

He casually swaggered back to the sofa and sat down, taking another huge bite out of the cinnamon bun in his hand. He glanced up at her as she stood in doorway, her arms akimbo, and let out a loose laugh, patting the cushion next to him in a blatant signal to join him.

She paused a moment, then finally, she cautiously and slowly crossed the room and took a seat next to him.

“Now was that so bad?” He teased, nudging her shoulder with his.

Meryl rolled her eyes, pointing towards the computer screen. “Just help.”

Maks couldn’t help but smile, fully willing to oblige with her exasperated command.

“Gladly,” he smirked, throwing her own comeback back at her. She smacked his arm, the significance of his statement not lost on her.

“You’re an idiot.”

“One of the biggest, self-proclaimed and understanding,” he fired back.

“The things I do for my art,” she let out a martyred sigh in response, and he could only laugh.

Saudade // chapter four

Yeah because I have devils on my shoulder :D Enjoy! 

Four

When Zendaya left the cafe she took her phone out and dialed her best friend’s number.

“Hey Z, I thought I wouldn’t hear from you at all this week.” Dom said teasing her.

“Sorry I’ve been busy.” She truly felt guilty for not talking to her best friend for so long.

“It’s okay…so I heard the news.”

“What news?” Zendaya put the phone between her ear and shoulder blade.

“About famous Valentin Chmerkovskiy coming back to town.”

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Also notice...

Sorry I’m dissecting the interview lmao. I also noticed that not once did Val bring up Z’s age until she turned 18. This AH interview was the first time I heard it really other than when he mocked reporters asking when she was 16 lol. That could mean many things depending on whether you’re a shipper or not, but I find it so endearing. He never threw her age in her face like everyone else did when they were on dwts, but now that she’s a large step into adulthood but STILL considered wise way beyond her years, it’s something that can be bragged about by people who love her without sounding condescending.