Imagine Steve AND Nat finding out that she's older than him together. Add some romance or something similar please.
Thick snow drifted to the ground while the abandoned Siberian hangar was engulfed
in flames. Cinders rose into the sky, swirling beside smoke and ash.
The flames would take the surrounding complex next. Sparks landing
on nearby shingles had already begun to burn.
Searching room to
room, Steve located Natasha near a row of filing cabinets. The room
was far enough from the burning to not be on fire, but close enough
that it will be gone before the hour is up. Smoke drifted down the
hallway ceiling trying to creep its way into every room. Amidst a
pile of crumbling folders, Natasha sat on the floor. She held a brown
file open in her lap.
When she didn’t
look up, Steve knelt nearby. Leaning close, he saw a black and white
photos of a smiling family with a red-haired girl. The mother hugged
the girl tight, while the father had his hand on the mother’s back.
He beamed at his family, and the little girl beamed back at him.
“That’s me,” is all she said. While she stared at the photo, Steve looked over
the Russian text. Inked letters written in a flowing hand onto the
top margin. He couldn’t read much. The only thing he could make out
was the date.
She looked up at him and smiled. “Who would have guessed I’m the
Leaning in, he
gave her cheek a kiss, and took her hand. Gently he tugged her up.
“Let’s read this outside.”
His ghost was pale. From his cheek a plume of blood rose, swirling into the air like smoke. His eyes and lips were golden; he was shimmering with sunlight from within. He was no longer a creature of the dark, a denizen of Allerdale Hall and all the madness and barbarity of his tragic, passionate family.
Raph had felt bad plenty of times.
He felt bad all the times he lost his temper or snapped at someone. He felt bad every time his rash actions led to danger or pain. Every time he screwed up, he felt bad.
But this? This was the worst he had ever felt.
He held the smashed music box in his hand, staring at the dented silver that had once been beautiful. The music box had been with you since you were a baby, your mother had played it every night.
The design had been one of swirls and roses, that seemed to match the sweet lullabye perfectly. Your name had been inscribed on the front.
You had told him how much you loved the music box. That it still helped you sleep at night. Raph knew that it was the most important object that you owned, a prized possession. And he had smashed it.
You came over and looked at him.
“It’s not that bad. It can be fixed, Raphael.”
“It reminded me of ya.”
“The music box. It reminded me of ya. It was tiny and pretty and when I saw it, I just…thought of ya. And now I broke it.”
“Oh, babe…accidents happen. Breaking an old music box doesn’t mean that you’re a monster or anything. It doesn’t mean that you’re gonna hurt me.”
You took the music box and placed it on your nightstand.
“I’m sorry, tiger.”
“I know you are.”
You kissed his forehead and Raph started to feel a little bit okay.
She had rhythm, a flow and swerve, hands slicing air, body weight moving from foot to foot, a beautiful rhythm. In anything else but a black American body, it would have been contrived. The three-quarter sleeves of her teal dress announced its appropriateness, as did her matching brooch. But the cut of the dress scorned any “future first lady” stuffiness; it hung easy on her, as effortless as her animation. And a brooch, Old World style accessory, yes, but hers was big and ebulliently shaped and perched center on her chest. Michelle Obama was speaking. It was the 2008 Democratic National Convention. My anxiety rose and swirled, watching and willing her to be as close to perfection as possible, not for me, because I was already a believer, but for the swaths of America that would rather she stumbled.
She first appeared in the public consciousness, all common sense and mordant humor, at ease in her skin. She had the air of a woman who could balance a checkbook, and who knew a good deal when she saw it, and who would tell off whomever needed telling off. She was tall and sure and stylish. She was reluctant to be first lady, and did not hide her reluctance beneath platitudes. She seemed not so much unique as true. She sharpened her husband’s then-hazy form, made him solid, more than just a dream.
But she had to flatten herself to better fit the mold of first lady. At the law firm where they met before love felled them, she had been her husband’s mentor; they seemed to be truly friends, partners, equals in a modern marriage in a new American century. Yet voters and observers, wide strips of America, wanted her to conform and defer, to cleanse her tongue of wit and barb. When she spoke of his bad morning-breath, a quirky and humanizing detail, she was accused of emasculating him.
Because she said what she thought, and because she smiled only when she felt like smiling, and not constantly and vacuously, America’s cheapest caricature was cast on her: the Angry Black Woman. Women, in general, are not permitted anger — but from black American women, there is an added expectation of interminable gratitude, the closer to groveling the better, as though their citizenship is a phenomenon that they cannot take for granted.
“I love this country,” she said to applause. She needed to say it — her salve to the hostility of people who claimed she was unpatriotic because she had dared to suggest that, as an adult, she had not always been proud of her country.
Of course she loved her country. The story of her life as she told it was wholesomely American, drenched in nostalgia: a father who worked shifts and a mother who stayed home, an almost mythic account of self-reliance, of moderation, of working-class contentment. But she is also a descendant of slaves, those full human beings considered human fractions by the American state. And ambivalence should be her birthright. For me, a foreign-raised person who likes America, one of its greatest curiosities is this: that those who have the most reason for dissent are those least allowed dissent.
Michelle Obama was speaking. I felt protective of her because she was speaking to an America often too quick to read a black woman’s confidence as arrogance, her straightforwardness as entitlement.
She was informal, colloquial, her sentences bookended by the word “see,” a conversational fillip that also strangely felt like a mark of authenticity. She seemed genuine. She was genuine. All over America, black women were still, their eyes watching a form of God, because she represented their image writ large in the world.
Her speech was vibrant, a success. But there was, in her eyes and beneath her delivery and in her few small stumbles, a glimpse of something somber. A tight, dark ball of apprehension. As though she feared eight years of holding her breath, of living her life with a stone in her gut.
Eight years later, her blue dress was simpler but not as eager to be appropriate; its sheen, and her edgy hoop earrings, made clear that she was no longer auditioning.
Her daughters were grown. She had shielded them and celebrated them, and they appeared in public always picture perfect, as though their careful grooming was a kind of reproach. She had called herself mom-in-chief, and cloaked in that nonthreatening title, had done what she cared about.
She embraced veterans and military families, and became their listening advocate. She threw open the White House doors to people on the margins of America. She was working class, and she was Princeton, and so she could speak of opportunity as a tangible thing. Her program Reach Higher pushed high schoolers to go further, to want more. She jumped rope with children on the White House grounds as part of her initiative to combat childhood obesity. She grew a vegetable garden and campaigned for healthier food in schools. She reached across borders and cast her light on the education of girls all over the world. She danced on television shows. She hugged more people than any first lady ever has, and she made “first lady” mean a person warmly accessible, a person both normal and inspirational and a person many degrees of cool.
She had become an American style icon. Her dresses and workouts. Her carriage and curves. Toned arms and long slender fingers. Even her favored kitten heels, for women who cannot fathom wearing shoes in the halfway house between flats and high heels, have earned a certain respect because of her. No public figure better embodies that mantra of full female selfhood: Wear what you like.
It was the 2016 Democratic Convention. Michelle Obama was speaking. She said “black boy” and “slaves,” words she would not have said eight years ago because eight years ago any concrete gesturing to blackness would have had real consequences.
She was relaxed, emotional, sentimental. Her uncertainties laid to rest. Her rhythm was subtler, because she no longer needed it as her armor, because she had conquered.
The insults, those barefaced and those adorned as jokes, the acidic scrutiny, the manufactured scandals, the base questioning of legitimacy, the tone of disrespect, so ubiquitous, so casual. She had faced them and sometimes she hurt and sometimes she blinked but throughout she remained herself.
Michelle Obama was speaking. I realized then that she hadn’t been waiting to exhale these past eight years. She had been letting that breath out, in small movements, careful because she had to be, but exhaling still.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
To the First Lady, With Love [x]
This year has absolutely flown by, accelerated, swept past me at a speed that has left me mostly breathless, wide-eyed, and entirely exhausted. I spent the better part of three weeks sick in bed, and am just now getting back on my feet, back into the kitchen, back into the swing of work and email and life. Back to busyness. Away from the stillness.
As frustrating as it was to wake up morning after morning and still feel the congestion rattling around in my chest, there was something I relished about the quiet. It took me back to the things that soothe me: Listening to stories, talking to the people I love most, reading, taking baths, listening to music. Stillness.
It was a lonely period, too. I live alone, and there were many, many moments when I wished there were someone in the living room, someone to bring me a glass of water or take my temperature or make sure I wasn’t going to die. I exaggerate, but the loneliness was—and is—real. And being sick, it’s magnified.
But throughout this period, I was also getting some of the kindest texts and check-ins from a group of folks that have, this year, become some of my best friends: My fellow bloggers.
I can’t tell you how excited I got when I got another order for swirl ring. Possible one of my favorite designs. This design was made in rose gold and featured a 1.50ct Morganite. The swirl features diamonds in an Italian pave setting.
Ruby wasn’t at all sure why she was here. There she sat at a bar, once accompanied by her older sister, whom had disappeared off to socialise half an hour ago, leaving the twenty-one year old rose to sit alone, swirling a drink absentmindedly in hand. Why had she even agreed to come along here with Yang in the first place? She knew eventually it would end up with her sat by herself alone, too shy to talk to anybody and a little embarrassed, whilst the blonde beauty would be off socialising confidently. Sighing to herself, the dark haired girl rose to her feet, deciding to get some fresh air. However as Ruby turned to walk away, she accidentally bumped into a taller man, causing her drink to spill over his coat. “O-Oh my god..! Sir, I’m so sorry! I’ll go fetch a towel o-or something right away!” the rosy girl stammered quickly as she placed her now empty glass down upon the bar table.