now i am alert

instagram.com
Blue Ivy's Freestyle (from the 4:44 Deluxe)

*SPOILER ALERT* If you do not want to hear part of the song please wait until tomorrow to hear it on Tidal. I don’t need SeriousHive in my notifications with the “wait for Jay to release it” bullshit. But in other news, Nicki Minaj, Remy Ma, Lil’ Kim, Cardi B & the other rap girls are cancelled! Blue is HERE!

3

BMC= Brooke Marries Chloe

ice cream au part four.

Neil somehow finds himself getting used to sharing ice cream with Andrew. It’s no longer surprising to find Andrew waiting outside of his class with two spoons and a too-sweet pint of whichever flavour had caught his fancy. Andrew doesn’t show up at Palmetto quite as often, but there’s something more companionable about sitting together on the hood of Andrew’s car and taking alternating bites of ice cream.

“Hey,” Neil says in delight when he sees Andrew standing outside the door to his calculus lecture, tub of ice cream held between fabric-covered hands. “You’re wearing glasses. It’s a good look.”

A couple students glance his way in alarm, as if Andrew might attack him suddenly. Neil finds the idea absurd. These past few weeks have convinced him that Andrew is nothing more than a horrible sweet tooth.

Andrew glares, but something about him seems vaguely pleased. He turns and walks swiftly towards the parking lot, not checking and trusting that Neil will follow him.

They climb up onto the hood, both having to do embarrassing little hops that they mutually agree to never mention. A spoon is passed Neil’s way and Andrew cracks open the ice cream, this time a chocolaty KitKat mixture that looks like something Matt would enjoy more. Feeling particularly instigative, Neil reaches out and grabs a biteful of candy, wincing at the amount of sugar in it but grinning victoriously in response to the sour look Andrew gives him. “Problem?”

“Yeah,” Andrew tells him, drawing the ice cream closer to his body and guarding it possessively. He glares at Neil over the top bit of his frames. “You.”

Neil huffs in laughter. He shoves his spoon into his mouth so he can lean back without scratching the shiny paint of Andrew’s car and watches Andrew dig through the tub for something good. Andrew looks up to study him, and Neil is distracted by the way sunlight bounces off his hair and the way his jawline looks softer in the brightness.

“I like this,” he admits. “It’s nice.”

Andrew slowly brings the tub back to the middle, but Neil doesn’t reach for more. He looks up at the clouds lazily drifting by and thinks about how impossible this life seemed a few years ago.

The cold press of the ice cream against Neil’s cheek jolts him out of his thoughts and he nearly falls off the car. “I can hear you thinking from here. Stop it before you hurt yourself,” Andrew tells him.

“You’re the worst,” Neil complains, but he finds himself readjusting so he’s sitting closer to Andrew. He goes in for a scoop of ice cream, plain this time, and lets Andrew reach out to swipe off a bit of chocolate from the corner of his mouth.

saw someone saying V/riska shouldn’t be held responsible for her terrible behavior because of her abuse and ptsd and imagined Dave going

Body Loving

I know there be a lot of people out there asking themselves how anyone could ever possibly want to be with them when their body is looking so horrible. This could mean many different kinds of “horrible”. Maybe you feel you’re too heavy, maybe you feel you don’t have much curves, maybe you have acne, stretch marks, scars, discoloration, too much body hair, too little body hair, or you just don’t feel comfortable in your skin regardless of any specific issues.

So let me tell you a bit about me. I am a college student, Hispanic, and a female. Very recently I had a former model beg to sleep with me, I had two attractive brothers take me out for frozen yogurt, a guy I just met ask to have sex with me, a young asian guy ask me out after dancing with me once, and had many many different men asking me to dance with them. On top of this I had so many women complimenting me on my looks and my ability to get guys, asking me how I do it. Now yes, spoiler alert, I am pretty. I am very pretty, and I am a relatively good dancer. However, that’s taking into account the fact that I have really bad body acne. My arms, chest, back, and even my stomach is littered not only with acne but also with dark scars. I’ve always considered myself pretty, but I’ve always thought in the back of my head that if anyone saw my bare body they’d be disgusted, that no charm, good sense of humor, or booty shaking would keep anyone by my side.

Then I remind myself, that I am so pretty. I am not pretty because my face is, or my body with clothes on is, I’m pretty because I am. I’m not pretty because guys ask me out, guys ask me out because I’m pretty. When I started to go out there believing that I am pretty, that I am wonderful, that I am intelligent, charming, and powerful, that’s when others started to notice it too.

I’m gorgeous because I say I am. I’m beautiful because I believe I am. I am worth it because I am. People have seen my body, but because I’ve learned to love myself, they end up loving me too (some times a little too much ;) lol)

I actually drew this as a part of my late night unpopular pairing fanart tradition but it was TOO late so I just pushed off coloring to morning.

The reason I wait for the dead of night to draw a majority of my comics (or anything really) is cause I need sleep deprivation to hamper my sense of reasoning so I’ll actually draw shit instead of just thinking “this is stupid” and not draw it. Plus I am way funnier when I am tired. This comic isn’t funny though. It’s just embarrassingly fluffy.

anonymous asked:

Um, D with Sefikura? Please and thank you!

D. Subtle kindness

Cloud got the picture, thanks.

Sephiroth could be blunt and harsh. Sephiroth didn’t really get personal relationships. Sephiroth wasn’t romantic. Sephiroth probably just wanted to use Cloud as an adorable little fucktoy then throw him away when he got bored.

(Cloud had decked an asshole for that last one, this was why he hated working with other units.)

They didn’t get it. Even Zack, who was only trying to be kind and make sure Cloud didn’t get hurt when he warned him that Sephiroth wasn’t so great with words. He didn’t get it either.

Sure, Sephiroth had never actually said the words ‘I love you’. But what did that matter?

Sephiroth stayed with him on the nights Cloud got angry and insecure over his failures to get into SOLDIER. He didn’t try to comfort Cloud with hollow words; “next time”, “keep trying”, “you’ll make it eventually”. He just listened, and when Cloud was done, Sephiroth sat down beside him and held him.

Sephiroth woke Cloud up in the mornings so that he wouldn’t be late for patrol, even on the rare days Sephiroth didn’t even need to be up himself. He fetched a blanket to wrap around Cloud’s shoulders as Cloud groaned and burrowed out from beneath the warm covers.

Sephiroth shared the little things with Cloud, things he thought were too insignificant or foolish to share with anyone else. Like the fact he adored goldfish and would spend hours watching them in the pet store, or that he hated the flavour of bubblegum, or that he had a miniature waterfall statue in his room because he found the sound of running water soothing. He wanted to hear the same sorts of things about Cloud. The little things. How his day went.

Sometimes Sephiroth would stare at him in a way that made Cloud’s heart ache, before gently touching Cloud’s cheek or hand.

“Have a good day,” he would say. Or, “I’ll see you this evening.” “Stay safe.”

“You too,” Cloud smiled.

Sephiroth had never said the words back when Cloud told him that he loved him. But that was okay. He didn’t need to.

  • Magnus Bane: There's no need to clarify my finger snap. The implication was clear in the snap itself.
  • Magnus Bane: The only person who gets to canoodle in my bedroom is my magnificent self.
  • Magnus Bane: Does he normally just lie on the floor like that without moving?
  • Magnus Bane: She wasn't very pleasant the last time I saw her. Of course, that could be because I've got an eighteen year-old boyfriend with a stamina rune and she doesn't.
  • Magnus Bane: I think of myself as a freewheeling bisexual.
  • also Magnus Bane: You endure what is unbearable, and you bear it. That is all.
  • also Magnus Bane: If you ever need me - and I hope if you do, it will be many long, happy years from now - send me a message and I will be with you at once.
  • also Magnus Bane: I can tell you that the end of a life is the sum of the love that was lived in it, that whatever you think you have sworn, being here at the end of [their] life is not what is important. It was being here for every other moment.
  • also Magnus Bane: Still I pictured having you for fifty, sixty more years. I thought I might be ready then to let you go. But it's you, and I realize now that I won't be anymore ready to lose you then than I am right now. Which is not at all.
Inlustris

Rated: E for everyone
Inlustris: (latin) Starlight
Hogwarts AU
~~~

“…A potion once considered a terrifying evil. Amortentia causes the effects of falling in love; euphoria, light-headedness, and giddyness, once consumed. Depending on the potency, Amortentia can lead to extreme mental issues such as; severe obsession compulsive disorder, paranoia, and…”

“Allura?”

He didn’t know why he called her name, only that it was such a pretty sight to see her eyes break away from the book in her hands–here under this tree and patch of sunlight, at this very moment in Autumn–and gaze at him curiously. Shiro stifled a smile, closed his eyes and rolled over onto his back where a ray of sunlight landed over his cheek.

“What is it?”

“Mm, nothing,” he said, placing his arms beneath his head as a cushion.

Keep reading

merenloven-deactivated20170111  asked:

I have to give you props on your art, it looks amazing! My friend is an artist but is constantly bashing his work & compares it to your art. Any words of advice? How long does it take you to complete a sketch? He says it only takes you 4 minutes.

Hi there,

First of all, thank you for the kind words!

Now, I’m not sure where your friend got that number, it’s oddly specific and also not at all true. I actually spend anywhere between one to two hours on the sketches that I’ve shared on my blog. Anything less is doodles or quick sketches in my sketchbook which I don’t often share publicly. These are mostly to get ideas and comps down for myself, not to have something presentable.

As for advice, and this goes for anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation, stop bashing yourself and your art. I understand and appreciate that it’s not a simple thing to do, but it’s not healthy, period. It’s no good for your mental health nor for your growth as an artist, and when you’re trying to learn, it makes relating to your peers and mentors all the more difficult.

It’s well and actually good to compare your art to people you look up to, but pairing it with self-deprecation or even self-bashing is pointless. It won’t do anything to help you improve. So don’t do it. Instead, look at your favourite artists and see what they’re doing well, try to take away something from them that would help in your own personal growth. 

Knowing where you lack is a good thing, and it’s a very different thing from self-deprecation. The former encourages growth, it teaches you to identify where you’re lacking and gives you something to focus on. Failure isn’t your enemy, it’s the best way to learn. If you’re struggling with perspective, then focus on tightening up those perspective skills. Anatomy? Then focus on anatomy, take a life-drawing class if you’re able to. Or maybe you’re struggling with your colours, then focus on doing colour studies. You get the idea.

Belittling yourself won’t get you anywhere, if you want to be good at what you do, then you need to put in the work and time to get where you want to be. Recognize that failing is part of the learning process. It took me five years of formal schooling and even more time spent practicing to be where I am now, and I’m not anywhere close to being done (spoiler alert, there is no being done, there is always room to grow). 

Hopefully your friend and anyone else in a similar situation finds encouragement in this. Keep at it, folks!

Cheers!

reminder to me: you have a human body that requires energy to function, so you need to remember to eat food regularly or, like, at all

Steven Bomb 3 did not disappoint on the feels (spoiler alert)

I’m in utter shock right now I really am though, I really like this episode!

Garnet had every right to mad at Pearl she was basically being “used” and felt she was being disrespected as a fusion and more importantly as a person.

And what I’m shocked about is what Pearl did… PEARL WHAT THE FLIP! Though this only highlights even more why Peal feels inadequate she feels and made me notice something…. Is it because she truly a “defected Pearl” like what Jasper said. That’s why she has a strong need to feel powerful to herself.  (Still what she did was messed up and I I feel so sorry for Garnet right now…)

NOW I UNDERSTAND WHY IT’S CALLED “THE WEEK OF SARDONYX!” It’s highlight the rebuilding relationship of Pearl and Garnet. (that’s my theory)

We’ve seen the Gems fight before but I don’t know why when Garnet and Pearl fighting I got chills… not because I like Pearlnet (and I really do) but the fight it self felt so realistic and humanoid. Being used and hurt and by someone you trust and care about too. 

But if there’s any sliver lining in this episode it was Amethyst. She was amazing in this episode, and I was totally shocked when she jumped in to defend Pearl. That’s because she saw a bit of herself and that’s why she didn’t tell on Pearl in the first place either. Amethyst has grown and matured so much! :D

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Chapter 6 - What the Heart Wants)

Another submission! ———————— The following contains material for mature readers.]

CHAPTER 6: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

[“Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite. Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman).”
― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being]


Maks fidgets, fingers drumming on the arm rest, willing the plane to pull away from the gate. He has booked a LGA-LAX flight connecting to hers out of Salt Lake City. His transfer window is tight. The risk that he will miss her flight is worth the chance that he can be with her for an extra four hours. It has been three weeks since he has held her.

——-

The first night without her started simply enough. He arrived home. He texted her. He took a shower. He ate dinner. She called him. And then he lay down.

His arms were empty, so useless without her. A deep ache began building in his chest. It spread inside him until his fists clenched from the hurt.

He got up and circled the bedroom; wandered down the stairs and out into the darkness. If he had ever thought he loved before he knew now he had been mistaken.

He tried to bring back the euphoria he had felt when she answered him, had whispered her vows. But the memory morphed into an void so profound he could find no answer for it.

The anxiety from contemplating and constructing the possibility that she might love him was nothing compared to this new visceral pain: knowing that he was hers and she was away from his embrace.

Maks drives himself harder than ever, trying to leave nothing but exhaustion at the end of each day. Surely the intensity of his loneliness will lessen.

“Babe, can we not talk at night anymore,” he finally asks her. “It just makes it too hard to… Sleep.”

She had agreed without making any attempt to comfort him. She knew what the solution was but it wasn’t possible, at least not soon enough.

——-

“Okay,” Meryl says, nodding into her phone. “I have to check luggage anyway. I’ll wait until the final boarding call. They won’t fly if there are unaccompanied bags in the hold.”

“I’ll be there,” he promises.

As Maks runs through the airport, he hears,”Meryl Davis, please report to Terminal 2, Gate C-6, this is the final boarding call for flight Delta Air 1211 to LAX.”

“Maxim Chamovsky, please report to…”

She is holding the flight for him. C-1, C-2… And then he sees her, standing alone. Her arms are crossed tightly around her body as she scans the corridor.

“Meryl,” he calls, catching her attention. He does not slow down as he approaches. She starts to sidestep as his final strides bring him close, almost bracing for the impact of his body. His free arm wraps around her waist, lifting her. Her legs wrap around him. His momentum shifts as her weight spins them around until he is standing still. Her eyes laugh into his. He holds his lips against hers trying to calm his breathing until he can kiss her fully.

They stay like this awhile, oblivious to the sound of their names over the loudspeaker.

They are safe, even if the plane goes. They walk slowly toward the gate, their bodies pressed together.

“I couldn’t get a seat next to you,” he says. “I’ll take care of it.” Maks steps away but his fingers do not release hers. Ignoring the irritated expression of the flight attendant, he talks quickly, gesturing toward his heart, tugging at his hair. After a curt smile, the attendant walks ahead of them into the cabin.

Meryl watches Maks lift their bags overhead, reaches up to touch the skin exposed between his shirt and waistband. She grins as his eyes move quickly down to hers. One hand grabs her wrist as the other slams the door above closed. He sits, sliding almost into her seat, his hand keeping hers on his skin.

After takeoff, they turn to face each other. Meryl studies his face. “I’d hate to see the other guy.” Her fingertips trace the dark circles under his eyes.

“Just a lot to do before India.” He shakes his head. “I can’t sleep without you.”

“Hey, did I tell you that Val decided to go with Alex? They’ll be there while you’re there.”

It takes her moment to shift gears, but then she doesn’t. “I wish you were there while I’m there.”

When he feels the wheels hit the runway, he realizes he’s been sleeping. Meryl’s head lays against his chest. She hasn’t felt their return to earth. As the plane rolls into the gate, he doesn’t wake her. He will have her for this day and tomorrow. Dammit. If she delayed Hawaii they would have four more days before he left. Jenna would understand. He reorganizes her schedule in his mind. Her days on the islands would be shortened to three, then Japan for ten days, and he would be done in seven, leaving three… It’s an exercise in futility.

The day is half over by the time they settle into his apartment. After a quiet dinner, Meryl climbs into his lap, listening to him make some plans for the next day. When he sets his phone down, she kisses him, her lips closed, fitting them to his. It is many breaths before she moves away. She licks her lips. When they reconnect, that thin film of moisture compels him to pull her bottom lip between his. His lips part, his tongue softly answering hers. They continue this way, eyes sometimes open, sometimes closed; sometimes silent, and then accompanied by almost inaudible sounds that manage to ride on the exhalation of breath. Once in awhile, they break apart. Their hands stay lightly wrapped around each other’s necks and faces. They kiss for the pleasure of kissing, not as foreplay. They do not need a physical release. What is building inside them is even more rare, a sensation of fullness and joy that begins in their pounding hearts, an emotion that spreads through their brains and surprises away all thought.

Maks opens his eyes and she is looking back into them. “I love you,” he says. He outlines her lips with his fingers. How they had moved, when they had discovered sleep, he has no recollection.

He frowns at the sound of the television? He kisses her before sliding out of bed, out the door.

“Val? … What the hell…”

Val just points at the television. Maks watches the story break. A plane has been shot down over Ukraine. Early reports implicate the involvement of pro-Russian….”

Their eyes glance at Meryl as she moves into the room, her eyes fixed on the screen. She walks past Maks, leans to give Val a quick kiss and squeezes between them, drawing her knees to her chest. They sit in silence watching the news.

Finally… “Babe, come.” Maks stands, reaching for her hand. Get dressed, we gotta go.”

Turning to his brother, “Вы хотите поехать с нами?”

Meryl nods. “Пожалуйста?”

As they get ready, Meryl asks, “where are we going? I could ask Jenna to come, too?”

Maks shrugs… His invitation had been sincere but he had hoped Val would understand. Meryl’s plea couldn’t be rejected, though. “Yuh, that’s probably a good idea.”

“Tell her we need pick her up now…. And pack a bikini.” His smile barely reaches his eyes.

“She says she’s been packed for our Hawaii for days so she’s ready when we are.”

“Lyrem!!” Their moods are noticeably lightened with Jenna.

Alone at the end of the pier is the Contamessa I.

“Bro!,” Val exclaims as he and Jenna jog ahead to board the sailboat.

Maks pulls Meryl back. “Not really what I’d planned,” he says watching them disappear onto the boat. He kisses her neck before turning her to face him.

“…Maks.” Her eyes are bright with tears.

“Fully stocked,” yells Val as he waves a bottle of champagne at his brother. Maks rolls his eyes at Meryl. “He knows nothing,” he says shaking his head. “I didn’t plan for four. Hopefully Merv remembered your appetite and packed more.”

They sail that day in the company of all the versions of love. Family, friend, husband, wife.

As the sun moves toward the horizon, Maks feels the ache start to creep into his arms. He wants desperately to take Meryl below deck, strip away all their clothes, and hold her so tightly that when she leaves him, he will still feel her skin on his.

Meryl feels his mind tack. Settling against him she reaches for his hand. He lifts it before her fingers can wrap around his, wipes his lips. He knows what her touch is capable of and… right now…? He does not want to be calm and accepting. He wants to express his misery and frustration.

Agreeing on tomorrow’s schedule, they finally leave Val and Jenna to search for their own night.

Quiet driving home. Quiet as they slide into bed.

They make love in a desperate, almost angry way on the eve of their upcoming separation. He comes before her and rolls away too quickly. After a tension filled pause he moves his body back to hers and stares into her stoic face. “I love you, Baby… I’m sorry,” he whispers. She turns from him, curling her arms around her pillow. She wills herself to show him the separation that is once again inevitable.

She feels his fingers slowly move down her spine. She feels his mouth on the nape of her neck. She feels him shift up and knows he is looking down on her. As much as she wants to detach herself from him, she involuntarily arches, raising her hips almost imperceptibly off the bed. She knows her body has betrayed her. She presses her face into the pillow.

“I’m sorry, ” Maks murmurs, as his hand cups her shoulder blade. He slides her hair away from her neck a few strands at a time, his fingers damp with her perspiration.
“Meryl…” He starts. His voice is husky, like tears might be forming…

She starts to turn to face him but he presses his hand around her neck, keeping her from looking at him. She had expected his apology to take a more physical form but now she is alert, her mind slows down.

“I am your husband,” he continues slowly, the barest rise in inflection creates a question out of the statement. She nods into the pillow.

“I want to take care of you… All of you. I want to touch you like you have never been touched before.” She feels his hand slide around her neck, his thumb caresses her lips. His breath stutters as he almost smiles, realizing that she is biting her lip.

“I don’t mean physically,” he whispers, even while his palm slides along her sternum and his thumb swirls around her breast.

“I want to you to feel what I feel. I want our life to start. I’m so proud of you and all that is ahead of you. I know you’re leaving… And I’m going. I just want… need to know you will always come home, every day, to me.”

Maks strokes her arm and feels her skin rise with goosebumps under his fingertips. He feels her shoulders start to move with a small sob that shocks him into into a kind of guilt because he doesn’t know why she is crying.

“Maks,” she whispers, almost pleading for understanding.

They have never really talked about the day they had pledged their lives to each other. It had seemed so surreal. Born from an intensity that might not have been grounded in reality.

“I AM your wife.” Her words are so muffled by sheets she is clutching, he doesn’t understand them.

His hands trace the profile of her face. He continues… “I’m not afraid. Are you? I know… I know what you have with Charlie has no questions.” He’s veered off course.

She shakes her head. He doesn’t know. His words tell her that he doesn’t understand the truth. That her life has been filled with both fear and… selfishness. She knows no one will ever use these words to describe her. Only she suffers this knowledge. Even now, as she listens to him, she is considering the impact his dreams will have on her future.

She reaches for the understanding that the reason her life with Maks is so raw and intense and confusing and beautiful comes from her own deep desire for something she cannot control, cannot perfect with practice, cannot dictate, can relinquish to the strength of others.

He runs his hand through her hair. He strokes her temple. His thumb brushes her lips.

He closes his eyes, says, “I will give up everything to be with you.”

When she hears these words, she recoils at the implication, wonders at the strength of his conviction. She searches her mind to see if she has the selflessness, the love, to say the same.

“After Japan and India, can we go away together,” he asks. “Let me prove to you that we are real and forever…

Meryl lays still but her brain feels like it’s combusting. The trail his fingers leave feels like a burning fuse. Her mind considers their future. Her vows on the Contamessa II were a promise. She rarely makes promises. They are too frightening, too important. But she had said those words.

As her thoughts ricochet around in her brain, she realizes his question is still hanging in the air.

He has been speaking to her and she has been quiet for too long. He doesn’t care how long it takes for her to consider. Now that he has begun, a sense of calm patience settles over him.

His palm cups her knees pulling them upward until she is curled into ball, allowing her to protect herself from whatever she fears most.

His hand glides along her hips, her arm, before pressing into her forehead.

"I know you’re afraid.”

The pressure of his hand pulls her back and she feels his lips in her hair.

He is talking to the painfully shy, scared child that still lives inside her.

She will not cry. But then her frustration grows until she is. She clutches the sheets to her face, trying to regain some control over her emotions.

She begins to call for the great bear… But he does not come because he knows the fear she will give him has her face.

“Baby, please. Talk to me.”

Meryl finally twists through his arms and faces him. Her face is wet.

“I feel like everything I’ve done my whole life has been just for me,” she can barely get the words out. “I… Don’t have doubts about you.”

“I… Only I needed to escape my own fears and I found a way to do that on the ice.”

“Everyone has sacrificed so much. For my dreams.”

Her body stiffens as she begins to detach from her emotions… To try to give a calm analysis of her world.

“I have lived the most selfish life imaginable. So selfish I don’t even know how it would be to give purpose to anyone else’s.”

He holds her face.

“You are wrong. Whether you know it or not.”

With this glimpse, her admission, she has become even more powerful and alluring to him.

“Yes,” she says finally. “Let’s go away… ”

“Where will we go?” He asks…

“Far away… The seven seas.”

She feels his arms fold around her. An inescapable feeling of comfort envelopes her. His fingers brush her eyelids.

Her fingers mimic his, closing his eyes.

They sleep, their bodies intertwined.

Meryl’s eyes open an hour before the alarm is set to go.

With slowly dawning memory, she knows what transpired just hours ago was like waking up from a long, confusing dream. The intersection between mind and body, reality and hope, has always been blurred when it comes to her love of this man. Now she feels a great physical urgency as morning approaches. They will part soon and she needs to carry his thoughts, his words, his scent, his body, his love with her during their separation. She is exhausted from the intensity of the previous night. Her eyes are swollen from her tears. He had pushed her beyond her ability to contain…

Maks’ breathing is even and steady as he sleeps next to her. She doesn’t want to wake him but as her eyes glance at the red numbers on the clock, she knows these are her last moments with him before oceans and time zones separate them.

She leans in and inhales the smell of him into her nostrils; passes her hand over his chest without touching him. Catching the sheet that covers his hips, she uncovers his body. His nakedness exposed, she cannot stop herself from touching him. Her fingers graze his body beginning low along his belly before sliding down between his legs and lightly up along the softness of his penis. She watches as the blood surges into his groin. He shifts to accommodate his erection, his hand reaches down to adjust himself, but he remains asleep.

Sitting up, the sheets wrapped around her hips, amazed by her desire, she stares down at his sleeping form… Slowly, she bends down and lightly licks the tip of his hardening shaft. A low sound escapes his closed lips. She tastes the drop of salt that tells her, awake or not, his dream is real. The night will soon give way to daybreak. She wonders if his dreams are the same as her awake desire.

When his hand presses down on his stirring member it catches her hair between his fingers. She hears him say her name. He is just on the edge of consciousness.

She turns and lays back down, forming her back to his body. She hugs the cool pillow, making her intensely aware of his heat.

She feels his hand slide between the pillow and her stomach, traveling down until his fingers slide between her legs.

“You’re awake?"…

In silent answer he moves his hardness into her back.

She presses her hips into his fingers as his free hand swirls her hair into his fist. Her knees spread apart as she raises her hips, her buttocks press into his stomach. She feels his cock poised between her legs. “I love you, Meryl,” he says as his hand slides down along her throat. Her body begins to move as his fingers caress her nipples. His fingers find her belly button and with one slow circle she feels a sharp, painful desire in her groin. When he slides his fingers into her she releases almost immediately… And then again and…

As they make love, it feels beautiful and fragile. They hold each other and repeat the vows they made to each other. Their reaffirmations are full of hope and also the knowledge of all that is good and all that is terrible.

——-

Jenna boards, sensing their need to be alone.

"I love you.”

As she disappears, he realizes this is the first time she has said those words to him.

It is like she has struck a bargain with something unknown. He is filled with elation… And then an emotion akin to fear.