“Happy Birthday to you,” You sang softly as you put coffee and a bagel with cream cheese on the nightstand. “Happy birthday to you,” You sat on the edge of the bed next to him as he slept. “Happy Birthday, dear Andrew, happy birthday to you,” You moved his hair out his face and kissed his cheek, stirring him. “Good morning, birthday boy,” You told him as he woke up. He pulled you on top of him, causing you to laugh, and kissed you, “Good morning.”
You spent the morning cuddling and sharing coffee and cream cheese kisses. Andrew was snuggled into your side with his head on your stomach while you were playing with his hair. “How’s twenty three treating you so far?” You asked.
He rolled onto his back so he could look at you, “If this morning is an indication of how my year is going to be, twenty three will be the best year yet.” You laughed at his cheesiness, but appreciated the sentiment.
After losing the finale and their winning streak in Arlington, the team worked hard in the series opener against Tampa. You talked to a couple of the guys and told them that you wanted to surprise Andrew for his birthday by going out for drinks after the game. They all were on board and happy to celebrate, especially after Andrew’s performance on Tuesday. After the game, you told Andrew that you wanted to go out for a drink to celebrate his birthday, leaving out the fact that his team would be there too.
Andrew was surprised to see his teammates and a few friends from college whom you had contacted just for this occasion at the bar. He gave you a hug and you kissed his cheek, “Happy Birthday, sweetheart.” You wiped the faint pink lipstick off his cheek and said, “Go on, I’ll get the drinks. We’ll catch up later.” You made your way to the bar and ordered a round of drinks. You looked back to see Andrew smiling at you and mouthing “Thank you.” You shook your head and blew him a kiss.
While you were waiting at the bar, an old friend from your hometown came up to you. “It’s been a long time. How have you been?” You asked, touching his arm. The two of you had dated in high school, but it was nothing serious. You talked for a bit while you waited for the drinks, laughing as you discussed old memories. “It was so great seeing you,” You smiled, hugging him. As you carried the drinks back to the table, you noticed Andrew was no longer smiling.
You sat down next to Andrew, putting your hand on his arm, “Is everything okay?”
He knocked your hand off of his arm by reaching for a drink, “I’m fine.”
You frowned, “Are you sure?”
He knocked back about half of his drink, “Oh yeah, everything is just great.” You tried holding his hand, but he shifted away from you. Trying to shake it off, you reaching for your own drink, but you knew something was off with him. He was rarely ever like this.
The rest of the night passed on similarly. He was standoffish and seemed like he was avoiding you. It had gotten to the point where a few of the guys even noticed it. Usually Andrew always had an arm around you or was holding your hand, but tonight he was as distant as ever. “He’s just jealous. He’ll get over it,” Brock told you while you were staring at Andrew, trying to decipher what the problem was.
Your brows came together in confusion, “What are you talking about?”
“Who was that guy you were talking to at the bar? An ex? Old high school sweetheart, maybe?” Brock questioned.
You laughed, “Barely. We would just drive around town with each other because there was nothing else to do. Nothing serious.”
Brock nodded, “I figured as much, but big strong Beni’s got his ego bruised.” It was hard to keep yourself from laughing. Ever since you met Andrew it was like no one else existed. But you knew you’d be jealous too if his ex showed up.
After talking to Brock, you decided to show Andrew that no one was coming between you two. You sat next to him, placing a hand on his arm and before he could push you away, you nipped at his ear and whispered, “Let’s get out of here. I need you.” He checked his phone for the time, trying to appear disinterested, but he stood up to leave with you anyway. As you were leaving, your ex waved to you, but your pretended like you didn’t see him. Instead you reached back to take Andrew’s hand to hold and ducked under his arm so he was holding you to his side.
Since the hotel wasn’t far, you decided to walk. “Did you enjoy your birthday?” You asked him. He nodded, looking down at his feet as he walked. You stopped in front of him and went on your tip toes to kiss him. “I’ve got one more present for you,” You said, “And I can hardly wait to give it to you.”
He shook his head, “I don’t know. I’m kind of tired, long day.”
You sighed, “You know that I dated that guy when I was 16, right? That’s nearly seven years ago.”
His face went red with embarrassment, “What?”
You stroked his cheek, feeling the heat radiating from it, “I know you were jealous in there and you don’t have to be, Andrew. I don’t even think of people like that anymore. Not since I met you.”
He sighed and put his hand on top yours, nodding, “I know. I was just being stupid.” He kissed the palm of your hand, “I guess I just needed to hear you say it.”
You smiled and laced your arms around his neck, “There’s only you. I promise.”
“Did this conversation change your mind about wanting your present?” You asked, tugging at his hair a bit. He nodded and leaned down to kiss you. His kiss was gentle and soft, almost apologetic in a certain way. “Good, because you turn me on so much when you’re angry,” You said once he pulled away. “You just get so..” Your hands massaged from his chest to his shoulders and down his arms, “tense.”
He leaned down to kiss you, “Let’s get back to the hotel before I have to take you in some restaurant’s alley.”
By the time you got to the correct floor, the only thing holding up your dress was your hands. Andrew made quick work of stripping you of your bra and panties, but tonight was supposed to be about him. You undressed him and pushed him onto the bed, kissing from his thighs up to his lips. His eyes were closed in pleasure as you worked his length in your hand and reached into the bed side drawer to retrieve something else. His eyes opened when there was a click. “What the fuck?” He said when he looked up to find himself handcuffed to the headboard. You gave him a devilish smile as you made your way back down to his cock.
You wet your lips and pressed kisses to the head of his cock, collecting the precum that had begun to drip down his length. You took him deep into your throat and maintained eye contact while you pulled off of him slowly. You heard him struggle against the handcuffs, knowing that he wanted nothing more than to touch you. You straddled his face, leaning down to fondle his balls and take him back into your mouth. A moan escaped your lips when his tongue licked up and down your folds, causing vibrations against his cock. He sucked on your clit as ropes of his cum hit the back of your throat. The moans you let out sent him into ecstasy.
You straddled his cock and kissed him, tasting your juices on his tongue. Your hips involuntarily bucked against his shaft. You kept at this for a bit until you felt him get hard again. You rolled a condom onto his cock and unlocked the handcuffs. As soon as he was free, Andrew flipped you onto your back and thrust into you. When he was inside of you, a string of expletives left his lips. His hands held your hips in a tight grip while your calves rested on his shoulders. His thrusts were fast and deep. “Fuck Andy, I’m going to cum” You moaned. Your back arches when you do, hands grabbing the sheets so hard while he thrusts into you that your knuckles become white. His forehead rests against yours when he cums, rolling his hips into yours a few more times. He shifts onto his back with you on top of him, his hand stroking the small of his back. “I should get you jealous more often, huh?” You tease, kissing his cheek, “Happy Birthday, love.”
This was submitted by the wonderful anon, E. Thank u so much!!!
“Are you ready yet?” Your friend asked over the phone. You were going out to a party tonight with him and a couple of your friends which was something you hadn’t done for a while because Andrew had been traveling with his team.
“Yeah, definitely,” You responded even though you still hadn’t done your eye makeup or hair yet and you were still trying to decide between two outfits.
“Y/N I’ve known you long enough to know you’re not ready. I’m on my way to yours right now. Do you think you’ll be done getting ready by then?” Andrew asked.
You smiled, “Yeah you know me too well.” The two of you had been friends since freshmen year at Arkansas and ever since you met, the two of you have been inseparable. All of your friends thought you were dating and all of his friends thought you were hooking up with each other, but you two were just best friends. Sure you had your moments of flirtiness like when you would slap his ass before he went on the field or when he’d hype you up any time you posted a picture of yourself, but you always told people that you were just friends.
“I’m here,” Andrew said when he showed up in the doorway of your dorm, hanging up the phone. He was dressed nicely with a backwards baseball hat on, but he looked exhausted.
You smiled as you wrapped your arms around him, feeling his hands travel down to your waist, “How was the road trip?” You pulled away so you could go back to finishing your makeup, “You seem tired.”
He nodded, flopping back onto your bed with a yawn, “Long and unsuccessful. I’ve got some school work to catch up on so I can’t be out too late tonight.” He rubbed his eyes, “Are you coming to the game at home this week?”
“Have I ever missed one of your home games since I’ve met you?” You asked, turning around and gesturing to the outfits you had laid out on the bed next to him. You really don’t know how you ever got ready without him since he usually helped you pick your outfits or told you what to do with your hair.
“Yeah, I guess that was a stupid question,” He smiled, sitting up and looking at the clothes you had chosen. “Can I make an option three?” He asked, standing up and walking over to your wardrobe. He shuffled through it for a bit before finding what he was looking for: a long sleeve black romper that showed off your breasts.
You smiled at his selection, “Good choice. Now shoes.” You had moved on to doing your hair, deciding to wear it straight. He picked up a pair of strappy black heels and held them up in the mirror behind you to show you. You laughed, “Fine, but you’re carrying me home because my feet are going to be sore.”
He nodded, “Fair enough.” He came up behind you and ran his hand through your hair, resting his chin on your shoulder, “I like your hair like this.”
You turned around once you were finished, “Someone’s a little touchy today. Did you miss me or something?” Andrew blushed, but didn’t respond. “I missed you too. You’re not allowed to leave for that long again, deal?” You interlaced your pinky with his and made him promise. “Now turn around, I need to get changed,” You told him as you slipped out of sweatpants you were positive were his at some point and into the outfit he had selected for you. “Alright, how do I look?” You asked, posing for him.
“I made a good choice,” He commented with a wide smile, his eyes going straight for your breasts.
You rolled your eyes and laughed, “You’re such an ass sometimes.” You made sure you had your phone and keys before leaving with him.
Andrew was a little less than thrilled with your behavior at the party. You had started doing shots with one of your close friends almost as soon as you got there. It had been nearly four hours since you arrived and Andrew wanted to get going since he had to do some studying. He was only on his second beer while you were drinking him under the table, not that you were having a competition.
You were in between a girl and guy you had never met before on a couch, but that didn’t keep you from flirting with both of them. You were currently leaning into the girl while the guy was telling a story you couldn’t quite keep up with when Andrew came over. “Andy!” You smiled when you saw him. You stood up a little too fast and stumbled into him. He caught you, making sure you were stable before letting you stand on your own again. “These damn heels,” You giggled. “Where have you been, Benny?” You asked slowly slurring your words. “I haven’t seen you in a looong while,” You laughed.
“I’ve been around,” He said, his voice even and clear, unlike yours. “Listen, I think we should head out. It’s getting late and I’ve got assignments to finish,” When he said this, you began to frown.
“But you haven’t even finished your drink and we haven’t danced yet,” You pouted. Your heels made you closer to his height, but your inability to stand still made you shrink back down a few inches every time you tipped into him.
“Y/N, I think we should leave soon,” He said, but you were already shaking your head and cutting him off.
“No, I made new friends,” You said pointing back to the couch where the girl and guy were still sitting. “And I’m having fun,” You smiled, touching his face and pulling the corners of his mouth into a smile.
You could tell he was getting more and more annoyed with you, but you didn’t really care at this point. He moved your hands from his face and reluctantly agreed with your wishes to stay. “Fine, but we’re leaving soon. You have classes in the morning,” He said.
“Hey man, I can get her home safe if you’re leaving,” The guy from the couch said which made you smile. He took your hand and pulled you back to the couch, pouring you another drink.
“No. I’m taking her home, it’s fine,” Andrew said before retreating back to the corner where he was standing before he came over to you.
You stayed and flirted a bit more with the two people on the couch, letting the guy do a body shot off of you. He licked the line of salt from your neck and took the lime from your mouth, something Andrew had seen that caused him to come over to you again with the same half empty drink in his hand. You stood again when you saw him and led him to where people were dancing, not giving him time to tell you that he didn’t like it when other people were flirting with you. You danced with your back pressed into him and stole the cup from his hand, downing the rest of it. His hands lingered on your hips until the song ended. He pulled your hair back and leaned close to your ear so you could hear him, “Come on, let’s get you home.” You nodded, following him out of the party.
“Fuck these shoes,” You said, leaning up against a wall and taking them off. You looked up at Andrew and giggled, “This is the v-very last time I’m letting you choose my sh-shoes.” Usually Andrew would be laughing and teasing you for slurring your words, but tonight was different. Despite being drunk, you could still tell that he was annoyed with you. “I really did miss you, Benny,” You said, taking his arm for support and walking with him. He nodded and told you he missed you too, apologizing for the way he was acting and blaming it on his lack of sleep.
After a few minutes of walking, he realized your feet were too sore to keep walking. “Hop on,” He told you, stooping down so you could get on his back. You smiled and hopped on, kissing his cheek as a form of thanks before he carried you back to your dorm.
He let you down once you reached your residence hall and helped you up to your dorm. He set you down on your bed and started making his way to your door to leave. “Andrew?” You said, looking at him, “Could you stay for a bit?”
He nodded, closing your door and sitting next to you on the bed. You rested your head on his shoulder, drifting off. “Do you need help getting changed?” He asked, looking down at you. You picked your head up and nodded as he opened your drawer in search of an oversized shirt he knew you liked to sleep in.
He took off your romper and put it in your laundry basket, then reaching behind you to unhook your bra. “Are you trying to get me naked or something?” You teased, poking his chest. He shook his head and chuckled, slipping the shirt on over your head after taking your bra off. You were surprised you didn’t have to tell him your nightly routine. It seemed as though he had learned it through watching you do it so many times. He opened your makeup bag and took out cotton pads and micellar water to remove your make up with. “It feels nice to have someone else do this,” You told him, involuntarily leaning into his hand as he gently wiped your face clean. He then moved to sit behind you so he could brush your hair , freeing it of any tangles. You were growing more and more relaxed as he took care of you. You leaned back against his chest and gazed up at him, “Why are you so good to me?”
He shrugged, putting your brush down, “I don’t know. I love you.”
You smiled and stroked his cheek, “I love you too, Andy.”
Andrew shook his head, “No, that’s not what I mean.” He took a deep breath and sighed,” I really love you.”
Hearing him say that made your heart stop, “What do you mean you love me?” You were still pretty drunk so you didn’t know if you were mishearing things. “Like you’re in love with me or like oh she’s my best friend, I love that girl?” You asked, sitting up and turning so you could look at him properly.
He looked you in the eyes and placed his hand on top of yours, “I’m in love with you.” You smiled softly and you were about to tell him that you loved him too when you felt your stomach lurch. Your eyes went wide as you felt the vomit rising in your throat. “Are you okay? You look like you’re going to be si-, Oh!” Andrew said, grabbing the trash can that you kept by your desk and giving it to you. He pulled your hair back and held it out of your face while you threw up. You couldn’t believe it. Someone who you love tells you that they love you and your reaction is to vomit.
He let you sit for a few minutes before you put the trash can to the side. “Sorry about that,” You said finally. You were surprised to hear him laugh. “What’s so funny?” You asked him.
“I was nervous about telling you that. I thought I considered every possible reaction you could have, but I never,” He paused to keep from laughing too hard, “I never thought that you would throw up.”
You kept your head down to stop him from seeing how embarrassed you were. “I can’t believe I did that,” You said as he stood up. You figured he was going to leave and never bring this up to you again, but then you noticed him holding his hand out for you. “What are you doing?” You asked, finally looking at him.
“You’re going to brush your teeth. I’m going to dispose of the vomit,” He said, pulling you onto your feet. “And then I’ll tuck my little drunk girl into bed,” He teased, leading you to the bathroom.
You smiled, feeling extremely lucky to have someone like Andrew. Someone who could take care of you and look after you when you needed it and someone you could return the favor to. Someone who saw you in your bad moments, such as vomiting in a dorm room at two in the morning, and still think you’re the greatest thing in your life. After you brushed your teeth, Andrew laid with you in your bed and rubbed your back. “For the record,” You told him, “I’m in love with you too.”
Red uchikake. Mid Edo
period (1750-1825), Japan. The Kimono
Gallery. This rare and stunning chirimen crepe-silk uchikake wedding kimono
which features twenty-five embroidered tortoises. The richness of the dyes and
silks, the extensive metallic embroidery, and the extraordinary design indicate
that this was created by talented artists for a high-ranking samurai family. No
other extant kimono found in museums or known private collections bears design
similarities to this unique example. It so unusual for a kimono to be decorated
with only tortoises, that one scratches one’s head about the intent: it has the
padded hem typical of uchikake, but could this robe have been created for a
different function than a wedding, such as for the stage or a different
ceremony, a Shinto one perhaps? The embroidered tortoises were created with
silver and gold couching. Some of the turtle shells are of gold, while others
are of a gold/silver mixture. This couching is unusual in that it involves not
only the main outside, but also the interior and the padded hem. The five mon
(family crests) are couched in gold thread. The inner lining is of a beni red
sha silk. Young samurai women of high birth were dressed in this particular
color of red - known as “akahime” to mean red princess. The red
represented the passion hidden within a blue blood. Japanese notions regarding
the tortoise (kame) form a complex tapestry woven from Hindu, Taoist, Confucian
and Buddhist traditions. These traditions claim that the tortoise helps prop up
the world, guards the northern quadrant of the universe together with the
snake, and carries on its carapace sacred inscriptions. The animal is believed
to live an exceptional age, at which time, it develops a flowing white tail and
exhales special vapours that conjure up sacred jewels. Beliefs in the tortoises
longevity have linked it, in turn, to the Taoist paradise of Mount Horai and to
the underwater palace of the Dragon King of the Sea. . This latter linkage is
reflected in folktales. “Urashima Taro” the most prominent among
them, that feature a tortoise navigating between the real and imagined worlds
and the terrestrial and marine domains.
Wedding over-kimono. Early
19th century (1810-1840), Japan. The
Kimono Gallery. A chirimen (crepe) silk uchikake featuring decorations of
rustic rural scenes of pavilions, bridges, boats, pine trees, rivers, as well
as many plum trees in full blossom. These motifs were created painstakingly and
masterfully, utilizing a combination of yuzen paste-resist dyeing, sumi e
painting, and silk embroidered details that are accented with extensive use of
gold thread couching. Subtle color shading was accomplished of painting on silk
with ‘bokashi’, gradual shade dying accented with brush strokes (dry and
not-so-dry). The inner lining and lower hem is of a very fine beni red silk
softened to a dark salmon color. This wedding over-kimono garment would likely
have been worn by a samurai household bride. It is probable that the different
bridges and pavilions depicted on this robe represent actual structures at the
time. The bridge on the lower part is possibly the Uji bridge of Kyoto; such
scenes of famous places are referred to as “meisho-e”. A bride
wearing a meisho-e robe proclaimed that she had both the financial resources
and leisure to visit such locales.
THE BLACKLIST Titan Comics - Cover A / Cover B – Photo Variant
The Blacklist #6 Start of a brand new story arc. When a terrible explosion and fire rips through an Italian high security prison and a small rural town in America is incinerated in an horrific chemical plant accident, Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, the Concierge of Crime, realises that the sinister organisation known as the Cabal is cleaning house and using a deadly new Blacklister by the name of the Arsonist to cover their tracks with large-scale, pyrotechnic attacks.
The Blacklist #7 With the Fulcrum now in the hands of the Cabal organization and new Blacklister The Arsonist continuing his pyrotechnic campaign of destruction, Red and Liz find themselves in a deadly race against time to stop him before he can destroy any more of the Cabal’s secrets.
The Blacklist #8 As the FBI continues its manhunt for wanted fugitive (and former agent) Elizabeth Keen, Red helps Liz overcome her incapacitating fear of fire in order to strike back against the Arsonist - even if it risks leading the FBI right to her doorstep.
The Blacklist #9 As the FBI and the Cabal both close in on their location, Red and Liz take refuge in a mysterious, off-the-grid town designed for criminals on the run.
While planning their final move against the Arsonist, Liz discovers the town holds many secrets - including one about Red himself.
Artists - Beni Lobel / Colin Lorimer Author - Nicole Dawn Phillips
Picture Book : Plum of the Bedchamber (Toko no ume 艶本床の梅) Kitagawa Utamaro (喜多川歌麿) 1800 Kansei Era 2/12
A folding album in the ‘chuban’ format, employing a “red avoiding” (beni-girai) colour-scheme; the only example of this within Utamaro’s erotic ‘oeuvre’. The preface is by Sukitei, the erotic ‘nom de plume’ of the comic writer Shikitei Samba, who at the end makes reference to Utamaro as the artist, calling him by his erotic alias Mudamara (Waste Prick).
Utamaro even makes an appearance as a character in the pornographic story that concludes the volume, where, significantly, the normal characters of his name are glossed with the pronunciation “Utamaru”. In addition, the Fukagawa prostitute in the third plate addresses her lumberman client as [Masadaya no] Zen-san, and also mentions another lumberman, Murataya no Sho-san. Hayashi Yoshikazu argues these are both slightly altered versions of the names of real-life acquaintances of Utamaro, who make regular appearances in his erotic works, along with the disguised personae of some of his publishers. Thus there is a lot more specific content to Utamaro’s ‘shunga’ than just entertainingly erotic pictures and stories.
The dating of the work relies on a remark made by the man in plate 5: “Oh! Oiwa, I fell for you when I saw you at the Musashiya at the time of the display of treasures at Mimeguri Shrine” (Kore Oiwa-bo Mimeguri no kaicho no toki Musashiya de mi-somete oita). This display of treasures (kaicho) at Mimeguri began on the 15th day of the second month, 1799 (see cat. nos. 328, 329), so the present work is thought to have been issued at the following New Year.