recreation ground

Writing advice you're not going to like.

People sometimes send me Asks wanting writing advice.  I suck at it.  I don’t really know how I do the writing, or how one should do the writing, or what one should do to get better at the writing.  All I can ever think to say is “write a lot of stuff and you will get better at the writing.”  Which is true, but hardly a bolt from the sky.

Well, as it turns out, I do have one piece of Legit Writing Advice, and I am going to share it with you, right now.  If you were in any of my writing workshop groups at a con, you’ve heard this advice already.

Warning: you’re going to fucking hate it.  But if you do it, you will thank me.

If you have a piece of fiction you’re serious about, something you might want to actually shop around, or just something you really are into and want to make it as good as you can…do NOT edit it.

Repeat.  DO NOT EDIT.

REWRITE.

As in, print out the whole fucking thing and re-enter it, every word (or use two screens).  Retype the whole thing.  Recreate it from the ground up using your first draft as a template.  Start with a blank page and re-enter every. single. word.

I hear you screaming.  OH MY GOD THAT’S INSANE.

Yes.  Yes, it is.

It is also the most powerful thing you will ever do for a piece of fiction that you are serious about.

Now, let’s get real.  I don’t do this for most things.  I don’t do it for my fanfiction.  But if it’s something original, something I might like to get to a professional level - I do it.  You absolutely COULD do it for fanfiction.  It’s just up to you and how much time you want to sink into a piece.

You can edit, sure.  But you WILL NOT get down to the level of change that needs to happen in a second draft.  You will let things slide.  Your eyes will miss things.  You will say “eh, good enough.”

The first time I did this, on someone else’s advice, I was dubious.  Within two pages, I was saying WHY HAVE I NOT BEEN DOING THIS ALL THE TIME.  I was amazed at how much change was happening.  By the time I got to the end, I had an entirely different novel than the one I’d started with.  When you’re already re-entering every single word, it’s easy to make deep changes.  You’ll reformat sentences, you’ll switch phrases around, you’ll massage your word choice.  You’ll discover whole paragraphs that don’t need to be there at all because they became redundant.  You’ll find dialogue exchanges that need reimagining.  Whole plot points will suddenly be different, whole story arcs will reveal their flaws and get re-drawn.

You cannot get down to the fundamental level of change that’s required just by editing an existing document.  You have to rebuild it if you really want your story to evolve.  You will be AMAZED at the difference it will make.

It will take time.  It will seem like a huge, Herculean task.  I’m not saying it’s easy.  It isn’t.  But it is absolutely revolutionary.

Try it.  I promise, you will see what I mean.

*PSA: Tipsy!Lori wrote this post.  In case you couldn’t tell.

a poem

Nothing’s so it again.
Let them eat shit from marble, out from a candle to leave behind.
Keep on the promised end of my spirit to thrill me to be accepted than left your hands; you see only for her prince behold; the names of a formal vision, but its all black hearts, and again and dying dreams dying wave on top of midnight.
Perhaps we walk with sin and recreating what the ground from the birth of proof that are lost all alone of self concious first light town when my mind that lives come to find calm, but i know i climb and bleed the petty insight and finally i’ll sleep.
I believe ourselves immune to let them perish.
Until the switch with reason.
) even if we weigh our concrete rapture, and i ever asked was borrowed, and cognition have never exceed, ignite the written over.
To make the surface of my face of haloes.
Surveying this barnard block of unbecoming where diction has drawn a singing shore.
Hide the moonlight, and one souls definition of the pitch of his eyes of the dead (to carthage then its beautiful, its the rhythm of the ruins.

And The Story Goes... Chapter 48

I lowered myself gently on to the bleachers beside Emma, grimacing as I lifted my leg up to rest my foot on the seat in front of me.

“You okay?” she laughed, watching as I leant forward to rub my ankle.

“I have to say… I don’t think I’m really cut out for baseball.” I muttered under my breath, trying to massage some feeling back in to my calf muscles.  It had been a long time since I had played any sort of sport, and my body was not reacting kindly to the exertion.

“That’s why I don’t play!” she laughed, gesturing to her comfortable position on the side lines. “It’s much more fun to watch these guys get all competitive, anyway.”

“Nice run, London!” Shannon cried, running towards us and stopping only long enough for a high five before jogging his way back to the rest of the team to wait for his turn to bat.

I kept the smile on my face until I was sure he wasn’t looking, before letting my head drop into my hands. “Please tell me this is nearly over?” I mumbled, hoping that Emma could still hear me.

“Oh sure. Just another, what… 4 innings to go?”

The sound of her laughter echoed around the field at the sight of my horrified expression, and she shook her head as she pointed towards a group of people further along from us. “I’m just fooling around, look – the girls are going to do the cake in a minute and that’ll be enough to distract him. It’s not our first Field Day – the only thing that stops play is food!”

I followed her gaze towards the small cluster of Shannon’s friends who weren’t participating in the baseball game, and watched as they fussed over his birthday cake and each other.  I wasn’t sure what was more important for them – making sure the candles were lit, or checking their hair and make-up wasn’t out of place.  I wrinkled my nose a little, turning my attention back to the game in front of me instead.

We had taken over a small recreation ground not far from Jared’s house, where around 30 of Shannon’s friends had turned up dressed in t-shirts proudly stating “Shannon’s B-day Field Day” and proceeded to place themselves in to teams for the game.  I had wanted to avoid it – I couldn’t think of anything worse than embarrassing myself in front of a group of people I had never met by tripping over my own feet or getting the rules of the game wrong – but Shannon had insisted, and put me on his team, and it turned out I needn’t have worried. The rules were simple enough as long as I did as I was told, and I was faster than I remembered, getting round the bases quickly much to Shannon’s delight.  And considering most of the people here were beautiful women trying to get the attention of one Leto or the other, I was pretty certain no one would have noticed even if I had face planted the floor on my first run.

Jared had been his usual self; or the version of himself that he was around a large group of people, anyway. Breezing his way around everyone with a smile on his face, the sound of his laughter drifting over conversations until it caught everyone’s attention, people automatically drawn to him.  He held court in a subtle way that wouldn’t look as though he were taking over Shannon’s birthday, happily speaking to everyone who approached him, and seeking out those who didn’t.  Apart from me.

Except from a fleeting conversation at the house before we had piled in to the cars, and a cheerful wink in my direction after I had run my first and only Home Run, he hadn’t so much as looked at me.  I was used to it now, had learned not to take it as a personal slight.  But it still didn’t stop the uneasy feeling in my belly as I watched Chloe break away from a group of girlies and make her way over to him, casually draping one arm over his shoulder as she joined in his conversation with the people in front of him.

I shook it off, refusing to be drawn in to it today.  Today wasn’t about Chloe, or my insecurities with Jared.  I watched as one of the girls blew a whistle loudly and laughed as she jumped up and down, waving her arms in the air to get the attention of everyone on the field, the t-shirt tied up round her waist showing off her perfectly toned, flat stomach as she called everyone over.

“Seriously… does Shannon only have skinny pretty models as friends?” I mumbled at Emma as we rose to our feet, joining the little crowd as they gathered around for the cake.

“Pretty much!” she laughed, nudging me gently as we clapped along with the others, watching as Shannon jogged his way over to join us.

He looked so happy, a broad smile stretched across his face as Jared took the cake and lead the way in a raucous rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’.  Even the cap and sunglasses couldn’t hide Shannon’s expression, his whole body twitching as he laughed at the terrible singing echoing out around him. He looked so relaxed, and I smiled as I watched him take the cake in his hands, feeling myself sing a little louder. It was nice to see him looking so comfortable in his own skin.

I was relieved to see that Emma was right; once play had been interrupted for cake and singing the game was quickly forgotten, everyone’s attention instead focused on becoming the person that one of the brothers would want to speak to. I rolled my eyes at the display and wandered back towards the other end of the bleachers where I had left my bag, pulling out my phone to give myself something else to look at.

I didn’t fit in here. I knew I should be making more of an effort to mingle, to introduce myself to their friends and make polite small talk until I got to know everyone better. I was sure that pretty much everyone here would be at the party tonight, so now was a good opportunity to meet people.  But when Emma had explained we would be having a BBQ with friends, I had imagined a group of people sat on picnic blankets listening to music, the girls watching as the guys set fire to sausages and drank beers; the sort of BBQ’s we would have at home.  Instead, several of the girls had arrived with bags of food made up mostly of salad, which had been laid out on one of the bottom benches and then promptly ignored in favour of socialising.  Which seemed to consist of the guys strutting around and laughing too-loudly, while the girls systematically worked in small numbers to try and penetrate the Leto circle. It was like feeding time at the zoo.

It was surreal, watching so many beautiful people together in one space, fawning all over each other as though they were best friends one minute, and then subtly trying to outdo each other the next. I had just about gotten used to the way the fans behaved when they saw the brothers, but watching the same behaviour from their ‘friends’ was a little more than I was comfortable with. It was no use trying to socialise with these people – I wouldn’t even know where to start.  

I half-heartedly checked my messages and my voicemail, only glancing up at the unmistakable sound of Jared’s laughter peeling across the grass towards me and grimacing at the sight of him surrounded by half a dozen girls. I shook my head, clicking a few buttons on my phone decidedly before throwing my things into my bag and standing up, hopping down the benches in front of me and making a bee line straight for him.

I ignored the looks from some of the girls as they watched me approach, this veritable stranger with a determined look on her face, and instead switched on a winning smile when he caught my eye.

“Hey… you okay?” he asked, watching me smile politely at the girls before turning back to him.

“Yes, just wanted to let you know I’m going to dart back to the house to get ready – could I get the keys?” I smiled, holding out my hand.

He hesitated, his head slightly tipped on one side as though trying to work out whether this was some kind of temper tantrum, and I dialled my smile up a notch. “I just want to get to the shower before anyone else does.” I grinned, trying not to delight in the annoyed looks from the girls around me.

“How are you getting back?” he asked, dropping the small set of house keys in to my hand.

“Uber.” I smiled, pocketing the keys quickly. “I’ll see you back there. See you tonight guys!” I said, nodding at the others cheerfully and walking away quickly before the mask had a chance to slip.  I needed a hot shower and a change of clothes before I would be ready to deal with round two of the Leto women.

***

I let out a deep, relaxed sigh as the hot water beat hard against my skin, closing my eyes as I pushed my face under the stream and washed the soap out of my hair. Although Jared’s taste in décor was questionable at best, he had the best en-suite I had ever seen in my life. Just the shower was the size of my whole bathroom back home, and as I was alone in the house for the first time ever I had decided to take full advantage of it.  Shutting off the water I grabbed two towels, wrapping one round my body and using the other to roughly towel dry my hair, humming along to the music playing from where my phone rest on the sink.  Maybe tonight wouldn’t be so bad.  People would be more relaxed at a party, and, if nothing else, at least there would be alcohol.

I shuffled back in to the bedroom, holding my towel together with one hand and scrolling through my music for a suitable playlist with the other, chewing on my lip with a smile as I scrolled past the latest Mars album that I had recently added for ‘research’ purposes.

“Sorry, I didn’t realise anyone was in here.”

I jumped, startled at the sound of someone’s voice in the room, and dropped my phone as I snapped my head up in shock. “Fuck!” I yelped, clutching my towel a little tighter as I looked at Chloe, sitting on the edge of Jared’s bed with a smile on her face. “Chloe?”

She perched casually on the edge of the mattress, calm and comfortable with her surroundings as though she were used to being in here, my open suitcase and its contents strewn across the bed beside her where I had left them. “What are you doing in here?” I asked, trying to regain control of my heart beat as I became increasingly aware of standing in a towel, water still dripping from my skin.

“Looking for Jared,” she said nonchalantly, a small shrug of her shoulders as she looked at me.

“Jared? I left him at the park with you guys?”

“We all left to make our way back here for the party. I thought I might have beaten him back.”

Despite my embarrassment I felt the first wave of annoyance wash over me, a frown tugging at my face even as I looked at her. “And… you thought you’d just invite yourself up to his room to look for him? That’s kind of inappropriate don’t you think?”

“Not when you’ve known each other as long as we have,” she said dismissively, looking down at something in her hand.

I opened my mouth to rage, the words on the tip of my tongue ready to explain exactly how things had changed around here; until I saw what she was looking at.  In the palm of her hand, being twisted and turned so that the light bounced off of it, was my snow globe.  The words dried up before I could form them, and she looked back up at me with a tight smile across her lips, holding the little ornament up in the air.

“I saw this on top of your bag. It’s very pretty.”

“Thank you.” I said drily, watching her as she looked back down.

“It’s a great little spot, isn’t it? It’s so quiet there, almost like it’s hidden from the rest of the park.”

I didn’t miss the pointed tone in her voice, and I tried to swallow past the dry sensation in my mouth. “You’ve been there?”

A small smile tugged at the corners of her mouth as she shook the globe gently.  “Sure. Haven’t you?”

“No.” I replied, trying not to snap. “It was a gift from Jared.”

“Aw. How thoughtful of him.” She said quietly. “It’s one of his favourite places in New York. He takes all of his girls there when he’s in town.”

She placed the ornament back onto the bed, standing up and smoothing her hands over her long skirt as she looked at me. “Well, I guess I’ll wait downstairs for the boys. They’ll be back soon.”

I stayed where I was as she breezed past me and back out of the room, holding my towel so tightly the skin across my knuckles was stretched white. I wasn’t sure if the sting of humiliation was coming from the awkward encounter with Jared’s ex-whatever-she-was whilst I was wearing just a towel; or from the knowledge that I had allowed myself to be excited for a trip I had thought was just for us, when actually, I was just the latest in a long list of attendees.

***

I took the drink gratefully, smiling at the caterer as I moved aside to let the girls behind me get to the counter. I had never seen so many people in one space. Jared and Emma had gone all out, decorating the house and hiring in people to filter around the party, serving drinks and food and making sure that everyone had everything they could want. The built in speakers around the house were blaring out some kind of hip hop music at a volume which made it almost impossible to hear conversation unless it was being shouted in to your ear, and after a few hours the people inside the house had given up trying and were simply dancing instead.

I moved through the crowds, looking for familiar faces amongst the many and drawing a blank. Pausing to drain half of my drink, I let out a breath and pushed my way through towards the French doors, stepping out in to the garden, relieved by the fresh air and the speakers around the pool playing the music at a softer level. The people out here were much the same as the people inside; young, beautiful girls wearing not much of anything, with long hair and pristine make up and smooth, tanned skin, elegantly draping themselves across sun loungers or perching on the edge of tables, drinks in their hands as they batted their eyes at the men fawning over them. I thought about Leigh, and what she would make of this crowd – I could almost hear her scathing comments in my ear as we laughed at how vapid these LA parties could be, and for a moment I had a pang of homesickness that clutched at my chest tightly.

Determined to shake it off I walked towards the corner of the garden, spotting Jared in the same place he had been for most of the evening, talking to his friend Terry and a couple of blonde girls I didn’t recognise. He looked up as I approached, a smile forming on his lips as he extended his arm towards me.

“There she is,” he grinned, slipping his arm round my shoulders. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere.”

I glanced up at him, ready to smile at his words, only to realise whilst he may have been talking about me he was actually addressing his little group of onlookers. “Really,” I said, my brow furrowed. “Well, that’s very sweet - although you’ve definitely been in the garden for most of the night.”

I regretted it as soon as I had said it; I sounded like a nagging girlfriend. I felt his back tense under my hand even though his smile didn’t waver, and I wanted to kick myself. I had barely seen him all night, and I didn’t want our first exchange in front of his friends to look like some kind of domestic.

“Are you having fun?” he asked, finally dragging his gaze to mine, and I realised with a sadness that I felt like I was being a burden, simply by coming to talk to him. I smiled brightly, forcing myself to look the part even if I wasn’t feeling it; this night was not about me.

“I’m having a great time, it’s a fantastic party. I thought I might go and get my camera and take some photos of everyone, so that Shannon has something to look back on tomorrow?”

“You don’t need to do that,” he said with a shake of his head, a small laugh huffing out of his nose. “That’s what Terry is here for, isn’t that right Terry?” he said, smiling at his friend.

“That and the women!” Terry laughed, winking at the blonde girl standing closest to him and eliciting an inane giggle from her and her friend.

I winced as my suggestion was dismissed, and feeling more than a little out of place I cleared my throat as I looked around the garden. “Speaking of Shannon, where is he? I haven’t seen him in ages?” I asked.

Jared cast his eye around the garden briefly, shrugging his shoulders as he looked back at me. “I have no idea. He’ll be around somewhere.”

I nodded, looking down at my mostly empty champagne glass and seeing a welcome escape route. “I think I might go and get a top up – does anyone want another drink?”

The girls and Terry shook their heads politely, and Jared turned to give me a kiss on the side of the head. “Go have fun.” He smiled, turning back to his conversation before I had even left the little circle, seemingly oblivious to the wounded expression on my face.

I walked back across the garden the way that I had come, squeezing between bodies at the door until I was back in the house. The music seemed louder than before, the lights lower, drunk people swaying in time to the music and holding their phones up to take blurry selfies as they documented their night at Jared Leto’s house. Without even thinking about it I kept moving, pushing through the party guests until I was making my way up the stairs and away from the crowds. I needed a time out, and thankfully people seemed to be keeping to the ground floor, leaving me to make a break for the bedrooms in peace.

I walked past Jared’s room and pushed open the next door, the plush white spare room that now felt so familiar to me it was like a little safe haven away from everything hectic that was happening downstairs, and let out a sigh of relief as I flopped backwards on to the bed.

With my eyes closed, the distant thud of awful music ringing in my ears, I wondered how long I could realistically get away with hiding up here before someone came to look for me. I snorted a laugh at my own thoughts – who would come to look for me? Everyone downstairs was having the time of their life, including Jared. I could slide away now and lock myself in this room until tomorrow, and I was pretty sure that no one would even notice. Even Shannon had disappeared from his own party.

Thoughts of the birthday boy had me opening my eyes again. It had been so crazy today, so much going on, that I hadn’t even had time to give him his birthday present. I sat up, looking down at my suitcase leaning against the wardrobe where I had thrown it after dragging it out of Jared’s room earlier, and climbed back off of the bed to pull Shannon’s carefully wrapped present out from where I had buried it. Turning it over in my hands, I wondered whether he was going to like it. I still wasn’t sure it was his style – wasn’t sure it was anyone’s style – but the thought he might not like it, and that I would have to watch him open it and pretend otherwise, was somehow nerve wracking.

Forming a plan, I turned towards the door and stepped out in to the hall, checking to make sure no one else was up here before walking quickly towards Shannon’s room.  I could put his present in here, and he could open it tomorrow when he woke up sober enough to realise it was there – and that way, I wouldn’t have to see his reaction if he thought it was hideous.

I pushed open the door hurriedly and ground to a halt immediately; Shannon was laying on his bed, one arm thrown over his eyes, almost a mirror image of myself just a few minutes ago. He lifted his head off the bed at the sound of the door opening, and I cringed apologetically. “Oh… Sorry, Shan, I didn’t know you were in here.”

He quirked an eyebrow in my direction, pushing his arm behind his head. “Were you expecting to find someone else in my room?”

I grinned, leaning against the doorframe. “You never know with you. It is a party full of hot girls.”

He chuckled, throwing his arm back over his face. “Don’t shit where you eat.” He said, his words muffled.

I could see his grin even from the other side of the room even though his face was mostly hidden, and rolled my eyes at him as I stepped in to his room and looked around. I’d never been in here before. It was a mess, shoes and clothes strewn everywhere, a few boxes stacked in a corner overflowing with records and books and what looked like packs of drum sticks, a couple of canvas’ stacked against the wall. He had said that living here was temporary, until his own house was sorted; and you could tell. This was the room of someone who was just passing through.

“You know you’re missing your own party down there…” I said, pausing at his dresser to look at his phone, plugged in to a docking station and playing music just loud enough to drown out the droll being piped around the downstairs of the house.

“I just needed… a minute.”

I turned to look at him, frowning a little. “Are you not having fun?”

“Sure,” he said, not moving from his stationary position on the bed. “Everyone’s been great, the house looks great, you know… the party has been…”

“Great?” I offered, walking towards the window and peering out through the glass. He hummed in agreement behind me.

“Sometimes you just need a little time out from all the fake.”

I smiled at that, looking out across the back yard where half of the party had spilled out around the pool. The sound of laughter and conversation filtered up towards me, and my eyes drifted across towards Jared who had moved his way around the pool to the fire pit, and was now sat in amongst a crowd of people with one leg crossed over the other as he chatted animatedly to everyone watching him.

“Why aren’t you down there anyway?” he asked.

I tore my gaze away from the window, turning to see him propped up on his elbows as he watched me, a curious expression on his face. I turned on a smile automatically, holding his present up in front of me. “Was going to stash this in your room so you would find it tomorrow when you sobered up.”

“Aw London – you got me a gift?” he grinned, sitting up properly.

“Of course I did.” I said, crossing the room to sit beside him on the bed, holding out the wrapped present nervously. “But if you don’t like it, I have the receipt and we can take it back.”

“Psssh, shut up.” He smiled, taking the package and tearing in to the paper happily.

I watched as he pulled out the jumper, unfolding it and lifting it up as he looked at it, his mouth open just a little as his eyes ran over the design. He said nothing, and I couldn’t read his expression.

“You hate it, don’t you…?” I said, chewing on my lip as he turned to face me.

“What? No, London… I love it!” he exclaimed, looking back at the jumper before lowering it to his lap. “It’s frigging awesome. Thank you.”

He grabbed me to him in a hug, squeezing me hard, and for the first time through the entire day I felt myself relax. “Really? Because honestly, if it’s not your sort of thing we can swap it…”

“Stop.” He laughed, pulling away from me and grasping my shoulders. “I was only looking at this like two weeks ago – it’s perfect. I can’t believe you bought me this. I’m gonna wear it all the time.” He grinned, letting go of me and standing up just so he could shrug into the hoodie.

“You don’t have to wear it right this minute!” I laughed, watching him pull the hood over his head and turn to check himself out in the mirror.

“Try and stop me!” he grinned, turning round with his arms out, modelling his new present. “What do you think?”

“It looks great,” I smiled. “Although it’s not really party wear.”

“Meh. I think I’m done with the party.” He shrugged.

“You’re bailing on your own birthday party… that is happening in your house?” I laughed, raising my eyebrows.

“It’s not my house though,” he pointed out, throwing himself down in to the armchair beside the mirror. “And I gotta be honest – I think I recognise about five people here. Just, when you go back down there, don’t tell Jay you’ve seen me.”

I stood up from the bed with a nod, glancing out of the window at the sound of high pitched squeals and water splashing, and watched as a couple of the girls jumped in to the pool after stripping out of the tiny fragments of clothing they had been wearing. I could see Jared, sitting in the same place, leaning back with his arms outstretched along the wall behind him, laughing. Suddenly I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do less than re-join the party.

“Actually… do you mind if I hide out up here for a while?” I asked.

He propped the back of his head up on one hand, frowning at where I stood trying not to watch the party antics going on below me, and for a moment I thought he was going to say no.

“Sure. Your turn to choose a song though.” He said, gesturing to his phone, and I felt my face relax in to a grateful smile that he wasn’t going to ask any more questions.

We spent the next couple of hours exactly like that. Shannon sprawled across the armchair while I lay on my stomach on his bed, taking it in turns to pick music from Spotify, each of us trying to outdo the other one with something more obscure, more pop, more country, more metal, than the last one had picked. He always won. He knew more about music than I did. Every time I thought of someone that he would never have heard of, he would sing the words loudly and proudly just to prove me wrong.

“Oh my god seriously – how? How?!” I laughed, watching him throw his head back and sing along to a random English pop-rock band that I had only found a couple of months ago. “They’re not even signed yet!”

“Gotta keep your finger on the pulse, babe!” he laughed, ducking as I launched a pillow at his head.

“Right that’s it – I’m going back to normal bands as I clearly suck at finding stuff that you don’t already know!” I laughed, pushing myself back off the bed and searching through Spotify for what I was looking for.

“Make it a good one, I can almost hear the shit they’re playing downstairs,” he grumbled, his nose wrinkled in disgust.

“Okay okay – we can combine playing good music with a little bit of research for me – I’m covering this show next week.” I said, scrolling through songs until I found one that I recognised and hitting play.

Listen to the song here

The dulcet tones of Dallas Green started to filter out of the docking station, accompanied by his harmonica and that beautiful guitar that was so typically him, and I smiled as I started to jig around the room.

“Ooh, City and Colour? Where are they playing?” Shannon asked, laughing as I half tripped over the pillow I had thrown at him only moments before, watching me recover quickly before carrying on my dancing around the other side of the bed.

“North London. It’s why I’m flying out tomorrow,” I said, singing along as I flailed my arms around in the air.

“Oh man, I would love to have seen that.” He grumbled, standing up and walking over to the dock.

“Hey! Don’t you be changing this, it’s my turn!” I protested, hands on my hips as I watched him scrolling.

“It’s okay we can keep with this band,” he said, concentrating.

The song stopped, and a second later another started, soft guitar playing out as he turned back to me, his hand held out in front of him. 

Listen to the song here

“What…?” I said, looking at his outstretched hand.

“Come on London, if we’re dancing, we’re dancing properly.”

I hesitated, squinting at him as he stepped closer towards me. “In here?”

“Well I’m not gonna ask them to put this on downstairs.” He grinned, grabbing my hand and lifting our arms up in the air, spinning me round in a circle and pulling me towards him as I laughed.

I giggled, resting my hand on his shoulder as he held the other one in his, skilfully dancing us slowly in a circle in the middle of his bedroom.

“I love this song.” He said quietly.

His deep voice, somehow deeper when he spoke softly, rumbled quietly in my ear as he swayed us in time to the song, and I found myself suddenly aware of how close he was. One hand holding mine as he lead; his other arm around my waist as he gently held me against him. He hummed along with the song, somehow making the words playing around me sound that much clearer.

“You’re the lullaby, that’s singing me to sleep, you are the other half you’re like a missing piece…”

His thumb brushed over the skin on the back of my hand, and I felt myself blink in to his shoulder as the air in the room changed. Somehow, just by turning in slow circles in the middle of his messy bedroom, this had become… inappropriate. I knew it, in my gut. I should not be slow dancing with Jared’s brother. And yet, cocooned inside Shannon’s large frame, his voice gently humming against my hair, I felt oddly at home. Safe.

I should let go now. Change the song and carry on our ridiculous evening of laughing and avoiding the party. But even as I thought it, I felt myself moving almost imperceptibly closer to him, my face just millimetres away from the soft wool of the jumper I had just bought him. His arms tensed slightly as though he had felt my movement, and his grip around my waist tightened. My heart gave an unsteady thump in my chest at the sensation.

“Oh my love… oh my love… oh my love, you don’t know, what you do to me…”

I looked up as we turned again, catching sight of our reflection in the mirror over his shoulder. Dancing slowly, pressed together tightly as though we had been moulded that way, we looked… like a couple.

I did let go of him then, pulling my hand out of his as I took a step back as though I had been bitten. His hands dropped to his sides as he watched me, and a million excuses flashed through my brain, reasons to laugh off my strange reaction so that he wouldn’t think anything of it. But one look at his face and I realised I didn’t need any of them. His expression mirrored all the feelings churning around in my chest; shock, worry. Disappointment.

“I should, um…” I started, half-heartedly gesturing towards his door.  I wanted him to say something, to crack a joke or grin and shrug – anything that would make this feel less awkward. Instead he held my gaze for a few agonizing seconds, before nodding and looking down at his feet.

“Sure. It is getting pretty late.”

I swallowed uneasily, wanting to fix whatever it was that had just happened and make this weird atmosphere disappear, but I couldn’t think of the words, and he wouldn’t look at me. I nodded to myself, dropping my head as I took a couple of backwards steps towards the door.

“Happy birthday, Shan.” I said quietly, before turning and walking out of the door quickly, not stopping until I got back to the spare room and closed the door firmly behind me.

Leaning my back against the wood I blew out a breath, already trying to push that image out of my mind. Alcohol and slow songs could do funny things to people, and I shook my head as I started to get ready for bed. The party might still be in full swing downstairs, but one thing was for sure; I was ready to put this day behind me.

Frederick Forsyth's ex wife's pet dog 'savaged to death in park'

Bestselling author Frederick Forsyth today called for tougher laws on dangerous dogs after his ex-wife’s pet was “mauled to death” in a London park.

Carrie Forsyth was devastated after her beloved bichon frise Oggy was “torn to pieces” by a dog on Paddington Recreation Ground.

Mr Forsyth, 78, whose novels include thrillers The Day Of The Jackal and The Dogs Of War, warned that next time the victim could be a child. He claimed that the police “lacked interest” in chasing the owners of the offending animals.

A picture of the alleged “killer” dog and its owner, taken by a friend of Mrs Forsyth, has been given to the police.

The animal is believed to be a Staffordshire bull terrier or an American bulldog, neither of which is on the list of banned breeds in the UK.

Oggy, an eight-year-old pedigree, was lying at Mrs Forsyth’s feet when she says he was savaged by the dog.

Mr Forsyth, many of whose books have been made into successful films, such as The Odessa File, and who more recently wrote The Kill List, called on the police to take the incident seriously.

He said his own pet had been attacked by a dog on his property in Buckinghamshire but claimed that police failed to investigate thoroughly.

What the law says

It is against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control anywhere, such as:

  • In a public place

  • In a private place such as a neighbour’s house or garden

  • In the owner’s home.

The law applies to all dogs. Your dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:

  • Injures someone

  • Makes someone worried that it might injure them.

A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if:

  • It attacks someone’s animal

  • The owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal.

The penalty for allowing your dog to be dangerously out of control is an unlimited fine or up to six months in jail (or both). You may be banned from owning a dog and your dog may be destroyed. The list of banned dogs includes pitbull terriers and the Japanese tosa.

Source: gov.uk

He told the Standard: “About three years ago a dog attacked my Jack Russell and badly injured her.

“She survived but I reported it to the police but they didn’t do anything. Police seem to take the attitude ‘it’s just a dog’ but the next time these dogs could kill or maim a child.”

He said the law “needs urgently looking at”, adding: “The police need to do more and certain breeds or offending dogs should be muzzled in public by law.

“Carrie is very upset, it’s a big shock and the police need to do more and investigate thoroughly this incident in a London park where people and dogs can expect to walk safely.”

Mrs Forsyth, a former model who has two children with the author, said she had been traumatised by the incident.

At her home in Maida Vale, she said: “Oggy was passive at my feet when a man entered the park with the dog. He shouted ‘pick up your dog’ moments before his tore into Oggy. I had no time to react.”

Mrs Forsyth, 73, drove Oggy to get medical attention but he was bleeding profusely with massive injuries and died en route.

She said: “I am heartbroken. Oggy was my life. I haven’t been to a restaurant for years because I didn’t want to leave him in alone. He was more than just a pet.”

The alleged attack happened last month at about 11am. Immediately afterwards a friend took a photo of the alleged owner, which police are examining.

Mrs Forsyth said: “The police need to act, that dog is still at large and I have provided a picture. What if it attacks a child? That is my concern.”

The Met said: “Police are investigating an incident on Paddington Recreation Ground in which a dog was attacked by another dog.

“The dog that was attacked died from the injuries sustained. Enquiries continue, including an investigation to identify the owner and the dog and establish if it was a banned breed.”

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Get to Know me Meme, Royalist Edition

[3/7] Palaces/Castles - Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace is a rococo style palace in Vienna, Austria, that was home to the Hapsburg Dynasty for over 300 years. The area initially served as a hunting ground and recreational area after its’ purchase by Maximilian II in 1569. Eleonora Gonzaga had the palace added to the mansion already built on the grounds after being given the area for her widow’s residence after her husband’s death. The palace took on its’ current form when it was rebuilt in the 1740s and 50s, during the reign of Maria Theresa. Her grandson, Leopold II, had the exterior redecorated in the neoclassical style as it appears today. After the fall of the Habsburg Monarchy, the palace became the property of the Austrian government and has been preserved as a museum. It was declared a World Heritage site in 1996, and is visited by millions of tourists every year.

(Character descriptions in the Marvelous Universe differ from those in the official comics)

Nakala Fury is the creator of the Avengers Initiative and helped recreate SHIELD from the ground up. 

SHIELD was original founded with the intention of stopping superheroes and villains alike, but when the Skrull Invasion almost obliterated humanity, Nakala sought out various superheroes and recruited them to form a team.

Director Fury, however, is a force in her own right. She commanded a team which infiltrated Latveria in order to take down Victor Von Doom and despite being blinded in one eye, was able to single handedly knock him unconscious even against all his magic attacks. 

It was this mission, with the assistance of Fantastic Four, that made Nakala realise that not everyone with super powers were the same. And when Captain America was defrosted she pitched her initiative to the board.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess Of Cambridge arrive to meet children from Magic Bus, Childline and Doorstep, three non-governmental organizations, and watch a game of cricket at Mumbai’s iconic recreation ground, the Oval Maidan, during the royal visit to India and Bhutan in Mumbai, India | April 10, 2016