sandy trail

Leader of the Pack

Was it requested: Aye!! Find it here!

Fandom: Game of Thrones

Pairing: Ramsay Bolton/Stark!reader

Rating: I think your gran will actually like this one, not a lot, but she’ll like it nonetheless. Or at least, I hope she will. 

Warnings: Arranged marriage, mentions of violence. Lots of fluff though. 

Summary: [the request itself]  Hi babyy, if it’s not too much work could i request a Ramsayxreader imagine? it would be like the reader is one of the Starks and marries Ramsay instead of Sansa <3

Tagging: @tinaruthbelcher @jemin-guay @that-was-not-supposed-to-happen @sansaboltonofwinterfell @you-bloody-bastard @newrealiti@little-red-wolf-hood

Originally posted by amatubumitai

Keep reading

Gray is Sexy

This is a short imagine in response to this request. I’m a bit rusty, I’m sorry if it’s not my best work.

GIF Credit: @all-things-raul-esparza


Originally posted by all-things-raul-esparza


Something was definitely wrong. He’d been in there for almost twenty minutes. Sandy knocked lightly on the bathroom door. “Mi amor, are you alright?” she asked. There was no answer; she tried the door only to find that it was locked. “Rafael, you’ve been in there for a while…I’m worried about you,” she called out.

The lock clicked and she turned the knob to let herself into the bathroom. “What’s the matter, sweetheart?” she asked her husband. He looked so unbelievably sad that her heart ached for him.

“Do you think I’m old?” he asked her in a shaky voice. Old? Where had this come from? She knew there was an age gap between them, but she didn’t think it bothered him.

Sandy shook her head, “no, baby, I don’t think you’re old. Why would you think something like that?” she asked, resting a hand on his back.

He stared at himself in the mirror with disgust, “hey, look at me,” she said turning his head so he’d focus on her instead of his reflection. “What’s going on? You can tell me anything.”

Rafael sighed, lowering his gaze almost as if ashamed to admit the truth. “I’m going gray,” he muttered.

Sandy almost didn’t hear him, “baby, is that what this is about?” she sighed. She fingered the flecks of gray hair, “that’s nothing to be ashamed of, everyone gets gray hair.”

“I’m getting old, now it’s evident to everyone,” he complained. Rafael pulled out of his wife’s hold and walked out of the bathroom. Sandy trailed behind him, trying to reassure him. He stopped in their bedroom and turned to face her, “doesn’t it bother you that your husband is an old man?”

“No, it bothers me that my husband is putting himself down,” she countered, crossing her arms across her chest. “I don’t see gray hair as a sign of you getting old.”

Now he was curious, “what do you see it as then?” he questioned skeptically. No matter how much she tried to sugar coat it, he was old and it bothered him.

She smirked, “I see my husband getting sexier. You’re not old in my eyes. I think of you as wise and experienced.”

Rafael rolled his eyes, “you’re trying to stroke my ego, babe, it’s not working,” he huffed. He carried on getting ready for bed.

Behind him, his wife let out an exasperated sigh. “I am not! I’m telling you the truth Barba!” She never yelled at him, hell, she never even raised her voice at him. He opened his mouth to say something, but she gave him a pointed look. “Grey is sexy.”

Rafael smiled and opened his arms for his wife, his stubborn and brutally honest wife. Wrapping his arms around her, he kissed the tip of her nose. “You make me feel young,” he pointed out with a suggestive smirk.

anonymous asked:

You should do a spicy boom!sonamy prompt ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Ok for real tho, would you write some cute, fluff, slightly angst boom! Sonamy prompt? I need some feels! Btw you're awesome I love all of your work. Is the only thing I've been reading for the last week and I'm obsess <3

Haha, just kidding! I would love to do some fluff~ I’m still not quite sure on the definition of ‘spicy’? But I think it means ‘steamy’ right? Well, I think you were kidding, right? Cause you said, ‘but for real’ so I’ll go with fluff, cute, and some mild angst. Boom is hard cause it’s not very easy to place these two in a moment of vulnerability besides-….

Besides-

…..Oh my gosh.

(Also thank you so much!!! XD I know it’s a deep pool of prompts to swim through since 2 or 3 years of writing these suckers but I thank you for liking them so much~<3 I love you for your love and support! XD)

Prompt:

Sonic walked with a wide swing in his step, looking around before directly to Amy, and seeing what she was doing on the ground.

“Uh… Ames? Not that I’m trying to be a bother to your… ‘experimentation’ thing or whatnot, but…” he shook his hands in the air, looking a little bored before leaning over to see what she was doing, fiddling with what looked like puzzle pieces placed in a slider.

“Sorry, Sonic. I know I called you over here for your speedy abilities, but I honestly can’t seem to figure out this… stupid… errkk!!!” she tried to slide one more square piece over, tugging and struggling before getting it’s rusty self in place.

“Ha!” Amy was forced back by her own power, but the titles in the small square glowed suddenly, and Sonic’s mouth formed an ‘o’ as he leaned back.

“I did it!” Amy jumped back forward, holding her hands up triumphantly. “Okay, now I need you to- AHHH!!”

The two were suddenly pulled into the small, miniature vortex and spiraled into it, becoming small and only pint-sized selves.

“Oh no!” Amy looked herself over, “The effects of those ancient geared tablets must have triggered some form of…. of an ancient shrink ray!” she gripped her head, looking worried. “I must have misread it!” she suddenly ran over to a large book, hitting it open and then looking down at the page as Sonic raced up to look at her.

“It’s no use… it’s all the way on page 380…” she looked at all the pages, seeing how hard it was to flip each individual one separately.

Sonic jumped up, gesturing to himself and for her to move as she smiled and got by his side.

She laughed as she jumped while he ran over the pages, having them flip quickly under his speedy shoes before she was finally able to see the right page.

“Oh! Stop, stop, stop!” she motioned her hand out before dropping to her knees, using her hand to read over the now large printed words.

“Shoot!” she hit her hand to the paper, “I thought it said sight array, not shrink ray!”

“How could you mess those up?” Sonic had his arms folded, before parting them with a shrug and leaning his head back, “They don’t even sound the same!” He then looked back at her with the expression that he was somehow smarter at getting this than her.

As he shook his head in complete haughtiness, she just stared at him as if he had no idea what the difference was in hieroglyphics and modern language.

“Some things can mean a number of things, Sonic.” she rolled her eyes, and continued to read. “Now… let’s figure out how to fix this…”

“Pfft, boring!” Sonic jumped down from the book, taking off a ways.

“W-wait! You can’t just go! It’s dangerous!” Amy stood up, looking upset and worried before he about faced, hearing her words, and coming back.

“Did I hear dangerous?” he gave her a funny look, “Amy, I’m magnetically pulled to dangerous!”

“I really hope you weren’t just winging words there.” Amy insulted, as he did in fact looked offended.

“What’s your problem?! You act like I can’t understand anything!” Sonic put a hand to his hip and then gestured up to her, “Like, what? You’re some sort of ‘high scholar’ above of me?” he turned around, folding his arms and looking behind himself, pouting in a grumpy way.

“Well… yes.” Amy nonchalantly answered, even looking up a moment to bounce her shoulders as if that was ‘matter-of-factly’ a true statement, and then looked back at him with drooped eyelids. “And you’re point is?”

“Augh! I don’t need this!” Sonic threw his hands up in the air, fed up with her attitude as he was about to take off again.

“Wait!”

“Sorry comes after the brooding, Amy. You know this.” he stayed bent down in his running pose, arms up and ready to swing out like a running man and his toe tipped up to start the first step.

“No, not that! I mean, how am I gonna get around if you take off like that?” she jogged to the corner of the book, and looked down over at him.

“Sonic… we can’t just abandon each other!”

He slid his mouth to the side of his muzzle, narrowing his eyes and drooping his eyelids as if he wasn’t really disagreeing on that comment… but he could just go if he wanted too..

“…Sonic?..”

Her voice turned more desperate.

He looked down, his frown slowly stretching out and untensing.

“Please?”

He shook his head and ruffled his hands in his quills, getting up and waltzing back to her. “Ahhh.. fine! FINE! But you have to say you’re sorry!” He stuck a finger up at her, still looking upset.

“Fine.” Amy nodded, liking that deal as she sat pretty up top, tilting her head slightly side to side to rustle her own quills into a neater place from looking down. “I’m sorry for referencing that most men are blind idiots who state their opinions as fact.” she smiled down to Sonic.

She acted so innocent…

He hated it.

He glared and puffed up his own chest, “Oh yeah? Well, I’m sorry for referring to all women as pompous and stubborn!” he folded his arms, turning away. “Acting so high and mighty… but then needing someone to cuddle with in the dark~” he suddenly mocked her by throwing his arms around himself, then placing his hands together and to the side of his face, as if doting or acting ‘feminine’ as he pretended to sleep and close his eyes.

His eyes shot back open when he heard a battlecry and looked up, jumping a bit in shock and parting his legs, racing away as Amy came down with a hammer.

The dust piled up and he coughed while fanning it away.

She breathed loudly, looking ticked.

“YOU WANNA GO!?”

“Yes. Thank you. Adios!” he nodded, saluted her with a flick of his two, put together fingers goodbye, and was about to race off.

“STOP!”

“WHHHYYY…?” he groaned, swinging his arms down and back around himself in a huge, over-exaggerated whine.

He looked to her with arched eyes, as if so done with fighting her already.

“I thought that’s what you want!”

“We need to get that-!” She pointed to the tablet’s holder. “To Tails!” she threw her pointed finger down, looking ready to chew his head off.

“Hmph. And why should I help you?” he folded his arms, sticking his tongue at her before turning his head away. “All you ever do is unappreciated me.”

“Excuse me?” she raised an eyebrow, confused by his wording.

“You never listen to me!” he suddenly over-acted, flinging the back of his hand’s wrist up to his forehead, leaning himself back. “I’m all alone in this big empty world, and all I ever wanted was for you to notice me! Ah!” he suddenly dropped to his knees, laying with an arm supporting him up, looking helpless, and clearly seeming to reference a previous conversation he must have had with Amy Rose…

“I’m just a woman! With feelings too!” he kept mocking, and as he did so, Amy’s face shifted from anger to hurt, as if he was making fun of her feelings when she had spoken those words long ago.

“But of course! You wouldn’t understand!” he hit his hand down in a fists, “Because, what? What!?” he suddenly threw his hands up to his face, shaking his head back before glaring at her, turning back to his old self.

“Because men don’t understand love!?”

He bounced himself up and walked over to her, looking much more serious as she stepped back, a little afraid that he wasn’t just acting anymore…

“I came here to help you! Not be told I’m stupid!” he thrust a finger at her, and she tripped over the side of the book’s cover, hitting the stacked papers to break her fall.

“..A-Ames?” he suddenly pulled away, worried.

She looked down, sniffing as she rubbed her nose and got up.

“Is that what you think of my feelings?” She walked past him, before looking up as she did so, “That their a drama to be acted out?” she looked deeply hurt, and turned away as she squinted her eyes shut, before running off to get the tablet, pushing it as it started to jut-forward.

“…H-hey now… hold on! I’m the one that’s suppose to be offended and hurt here!” he stomped his foot down. “Don’t suddenly make this about you!”

She kept struggling to push it, but little by little, she got it going.

“Just don’t come, Sonic! I get it! You’re better off alone…” she looked away from him as she passed, before his face drooped and he watched in sorrow as she pushed the square puzzle passed him.

He outstretched an arm, “Amy..?”

He had taken it a bit too far, and looked away, scanning the ground as if he could find answers there.

“Ah, man…” he rubbed his head again, before he moved down to his neck, looking regretful.

“Amy… Ah, Ames. Don’t push it yourself!” he gave in to his better nature, rushing up and helping her push, causing the square to go must faster.

“I said I didn’t need your help anymore!” Amy felt the ease on her shoulders while she pushed, but it didn’t change the fact of how she was feeling toward his little act back there…

“Look, okay, I have feee… feeel… feelllllingggsss toooo…” he contorted his face and mouth as if saying that was difficult, before shaking his head and sighing as if relieved he got it out.

“Ah, there. Now we’re doing what you love to do. Talking about the inner-crisis of our teenage lives!” he kid, still shoving the darn thing forward.

“At this rate, we’ll get to Tails’s soon enough!” he then stated, as Amy looked back at his expression…

She smiled.

At least he tried.

The two finally made it, with a sandy and dirt trail behind them, to Tails.

Changing them back, just before he did so, Amy and Sonic stood in the box that Tails had closed the door on.

She bounced her feet, looking up and waiting expectantly for the beam to change them back to normal.

Sonic looked away, as if nervous, before scratching the tip of his head, and turning back to her, putting his hands together.

“Umm… A-about what I said…”

“Forgiven. Now brace yourself.” she happily squinted her eyes.

He looked back up to her, almost sorrowfully, before chuckling lightly and leaning closer to her.

“No.. about not treating your feelings fairly.”

“It’s in the past! Afterall, you’re a ‘solo-rider’ I get that.” she continued to let it all go, but Sonic just frowned more, trying to be real with her.

“…Ames, I wasn’t lying when I said I liked danger.”

The computer started rotating a countdown.

“Yeah? So?” Amy kept her eyes closed, still acting cheery like she didn’t care what he said.

He looked more gently to her, his eyes showing more in them then what he was saying.

If only her eyes were open to see.

“I mean…” He leaned closer, as tenderly as he could, he leaned his head behind her shoulder.

“I’m not afraid of the most terrifyingly, dangerous adventure any hedgehog could ever go on…”

The computer started counting down from 3…2….1…

“What’s that?”

Loving a stubborn woman.”

Her eyes shot open, turning to look at him as he moved his head, acting as though he hadn’t done or said anything.

“Geronimo!”

The two zapped back to normal sizes, as the door was flung open in a light of blue.

Tails raced up before watching Sonic spin out the window, and then went to open the swinging close door for Amy, but she just knocked it clear off it’s hinges with her hammer, chasing after him with large smiles on her face.

And if there could be, hearts piling out around her from thin air.

Soooooniiicccc~<3

9

Hogback Mountain and Little Presque Isle

We spent our second day hitting some of the highlights in Marquette, including one we had tackled last time. In fact, Hogback was the first big hike we did together, when we had camped in Marquette almost exactly two years ago.

The scramble up the rockface summit was so scary to me then and he had to coach me up it and help me back down, but this time I led the way and easily ascended and descended without a second thought. I was pretty proud of myself in that moment. 

Later we hit up Little Presque Isle, which we had wanted to do last time and hadn’t had a chance. I was a little nervous about this because we were literally wading up to our chests in Lake Superior (which even is August is not warm by any means) and people have died after getting caught up in the current.

But after seeing some others crossing (including a man with three kids in an inner tube), I felt more comfortable and got over it - I’m glad I did!

We took it slow and Nick took the lead so he could warn me of any drop-offs or change in terrain. I still wore my sandals because I didn’t want to cut my feet on any jagged rocks, but it was pretty smooth overall. I’m not sure of the exact distance to the island, but I’d estimate it’s about three quarters of a mile or so.

Once we got on the island, we walked along a sandy trail up to a point and had a quick snack overlooking the black rocks. The most surreal part was looking back at the mainland and the way back was a little easier, knowing what to expect. The best part was the fact that the water was warm enough to actually get used to it, which often is not the case with Superior just due to its size.

All in all, our second day was a good one! One old favorite and one new experience, done early enough to go into town and explore the breweries and grab dinner at a decent time.

A Helping Hand

Originally posted by hello-sheiseverything

Pairing: Peter Pan x Reader

Prompt:  anonymous asked: Can you do 56 with Peter

Warning:  Smut!! Some swearing

A/N:  It’s been a while since I posted, and I am truly sorry! I hope you enjoy! This is slightly AU. Pan is living in Storybrooke after the events of Season 3.

 

You were always one to help people, no matter what. Helping others brought a sense of joy to you. With this situation, however, you felt like you had gotten in over your head. When Regina approached you asking if Peter Pan, the demon boy who had terrorized your friends, could stay with you, you hesitantly agreed. You saw this as an opportunity to help another person, but the thought of watching over Pan was slightly concerning. Emma had told you to be careful, that this boy was pure evil, but you wouldn’t listen. You didn’t believe anyone could be pure evil. There had to be some sort of kindness in his heart.

When you first met him, he barely spoke. You introduced yourself with a smile on your face, but he didn’t respond. He just looked at you with a single eyebrow raised. You didn’t let that deter you, however. You brought him to your small apartment in the middle of town, and gave him the not-so grand tour. Even then he didn’t speak. He just locked himself in the guest room, and didn’t come out until dinner.

As time went on, the lost boy started opening up to you. His usual sassy remarks and mischievous attitude were coming back, and you could honestly say you preferred it over the brooding silence. You figured he was quiet during his first few weeks here due to the fact he had, in all honesty, just lost his home. However, the two of you became sort of friends. You would help him learn about modern life, and he would tell stories of Neverland and all of his adventures. The closer you got, the more you realized you were falling for him. His sass and mischievousness didn’t deter you; it just made him more endearing. There were also special moments, though they didn’t happen often, where he would be incredibly sweet to you. While these moments were scarce, you cherished them with all of your being.

There were times, however, that your mind would wonder to, well, unspeakable things. You felt bad about thinking of Peter in such a way, but you couldn’t help it. You had felt an undeniable attraction to the sandy haired boy, and the more time spent together, the worse it got. You mind tended to wonder to what it could possibly be like to be with the boy. What his lips would feel like against yours, those long fingers trailing across your bare skin, the absolutely sinful things he would say to you in his accented voice…

You were snapped out of you little fantasy when you heard his voice ring through the apartment, a slight blush forming on your face due to your previous thoughts. “I’m heading out for a little bit. Gonna pick up some items we need. That okay with you, love?” he asked, his eyebrow rose slightly while awaiting an answer. You merely nodded, not trusting the sound of your own voice.  He smirked slightly at your response, and sauntered out of the apartment, slamming the door behind him

You let out a sigh of relief while allowing yourself to relax into your chair. Your hands covered your face as you groaned into them. Fuck, you were horribly frustrated. You figured Peter wouldn’t be home until later, so you might as well do something about it. You stood up and walked into your bedroom, and flopped yourself on your bed.

You sighed and slowly undress yourself, leaving yourself completely bare. You closed your eyes, and slowly trailed your fingers down your body. When you finally reached your womanhood, you sighed in relief. You traced your outer lips with you finger, before slowly pushing it in. You moaned loudly at the intrusion, the feeling of your own finger inside of you bringing you some relief, but it wasn’t enough. You pushed another finger inside of you, while letting your other hand grasp your breasts. You pumped your fingers slowly in and out of you before picking up speed. The hand on your breast tweaked and rolled you nipple between your two fingers. You were soon a moaning mess on your bed, you back slightly arched and toes curling in pleasure.  

You let yourself get completely engrossed in your fantasy, imagining it was Peter causing your pleasure instead of yourself. You were so caught up in your own pleasure that you didn’t hear the front door open. You were so close to your release, but all of the sudden you hear a cough come from the other side of the room. Your eyes snap open, your fingers stopping their previous movements. You quickly pull your fingers out of you, and scramble to pull the sheets over your naked body. Staring at you from the doorway, clearly amused by this little display, was none other than Peter Pan himself. Oh, bloody hell.

Neither of you spoke for what felt like forever. You couldn’t tell if he was disgusted or not, the only indication to what he was feeling was that stupid smirk that seemed to be constantly plastered on his face. You decided to break the unbearable silence. “What?! You think girls don’t do this kind of stuff?” He didn’t respond, instead he walked closer to the bed. Your eyes widened, unsure of what to do.  When he reached the end of your bed, he grabbed you by your ankles and dragged you down the bed, a yelp escaping you. Your legs were now dangling off the bed, the sheets barely covering your naked form.

He stood between your legs and leaned down to your ear. “Need some help with that, love?” he whispered, before gently nipping at the shell of your ear. You let out a low moan at the feeling. He simply smirked against your skin, before trailing kisses down your jaw and neck, stopping along the way to bite and suck at the skin. Your hands flew up to his hair; roughly gripping onto his sandy blonde locks. He trailed his hand up your hips before suddenly removing the sheet from your body. You gasped as the cold air hit your newly exposed skin.

He chuckled softly as his hands trailed your body before roughly grabbing onto your breasts. You whimpered at the sensation, loving how roughly he was treating you. He attached his mouth to your right nipple, lightly bighting and sucking on it. You were a moaning mess beneath him as you lost yourself to the wonder feelings he was giving you. You hadn’t even noticed he had trailed one of his hands down to your wet pussy until you had felt him slowly insert one long finger inside of you. You moaned loudly at the sudden intrusion. “You’re so wet, princess. Is this all for me?” he said against your breast. You merely moaned in response, your mind to clouded in pleasure to form a coherent response. He quickly added another finger into you, and started pumping his fingers in and out of your cunt and a brutal pace.

You couldn’t control the moans and whimpers escaping your lips, the pleasure becoming too much. “That’s it princess. Keep moaning for me. Your tight cunt feels so good around my fingers, love. I can’t wait to be inside of you.” He said, that stupid smirk still present on his face. You felt your orgasm approaching quickly; you were so close…until he abruptly pulled his fingers out of you. You whined at the loss, your hips bucking up in a desperate attempt to receive more friction. He merely chuckled at your reaction before snapping his fingers, making all of his clothing disappear. “Don’t worry princess, I will let you come. I just wanted you to cum around my cock while I’m fucking you. Would you like that, love?” you nodded your head in response, desperate for him to be inside of you.  He leaned down and captured your lips in a sweet kiss before slowly pushing his cock inside you. You both moaned against each other’s lips, the both of you loving the feeling of becoming one.

He slowly started moving inside you, giving you some time to adjust, before picking up speed. He was soon thrusting into you at a harsh pace; the only sounds filling the room were a mixture of your moans and his groans. You wrapped your legs around his waist in a vice like grip, pulling him deeper into you. Peter suddenly put his hand between your bodies and started harshly rubbing your clit. You nearly screamed, the pleasure becoming too much. “Oh, princess, you feel so good around me. Your pussy is squeezing my cock so perfectly. Cum for me, princess. Cum, now.” He growled out, his voice strained. You immediately obeyed his request, the force of your orgasm shaking your body. Your back arched off the bed and your eyes clamped shut, Peters name falling of your lips in a hoarse scream. Peter followed behind you, his release filling you.

He all but fell on top of you, the both of you attempting to catch your breath. He quickly rolled off of you, lying next to you on the bed. You rolled over, laying your head on his chest. He idly played with your hair lulling you to sleep, a smile gracing your lips. As you slowly fell asleep, you barely heard him say three words you didn’t expect. “I love you.”

9

Queen Maxima’s foreign visits → The Netherlands Antilles, 2002

For her second official visit, Maxima went to the extended Dutch realm when she toured the Netherlands Antilles with her husband, visiting Aruba, St Eustatius, Saba, Bonaire and Curacao. Several countries within the Island group are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and they all share historical and cultural ties with the European nation. In 2002 they were looking to break away from their ancestral homeland so the Dutch state visit was designed to smooth relations and capitalise on post-royal wedding excitement. The connection to the Netherlands was clear throughout their visit as they took in two separate sites called Fort Orange, named after the Dutch signature colour. But they also experienced the culture of the islands with cultural displays, the Rincon Cultural Market in Bonaire and a colourful carnival in Curacao. The islands are known for their beautiful natural landscapes and so Maxima and Alexander ensured they traversed the Sandy Cruz Trail in Saba and the Salt Mountains in Bonaire. The rest of their visit focused on philanthropy as they visited schools, youth projects, medical centres, retirement homes, and projects for the disabled. The visit was a resounding success and Maxima’s warmth, charisma and boundless energy won her legions of fans in the former Dutch colonies. 

The Queen's Throne// Chapter 2

Prologue Chapter 1

Eisuke woke up in the morning with a woman beside him. He reached out towards her chocolate, brown hair shining brightly in the morning light. Her hair felt soft and fluffy, almost like touching a cloud, to which he wished to touch for all eternity.

The woman made a noise; a sign that she’s woken up from her slumber. She stretched her thin pale arms up in the air and began to turn towards him. Bright, brown orbs gazed onto his dark brown ones. Hoshiko, his beloved, was right by his side once more. 

“I love you, Eisuke; I missed you!” she said, smiling brightly like the brilliant morning sun.

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Numb - Surfer!Ashton one shot

Summary: Ashton was nearly pro, until a bad accident halted his surfing career. Angry and caught between medication and depression, Ashton met Y/n, the new girl in the picturesque coastal town. He crushes hard, and you two have a bit of fun…

Requested

Rated: Explicit. Smut. 

In Ashton’s POV

DISCLAIMER: Includes talk of injuries, scars, depression and medication use.

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“Catch up!” Selena laughed, taking off down the sandy trail.

Justin watched from afar, shielding his eyes from the glaring sun. Her laughter warmed him. He was hit with a heat wave and reached for the nearly empty water bottle laying on the sidewalk. “Wait up, baby,” he called out.

“Nope.” Her pace slowed just enough that she could walk backwards. “Come and get me.”

He sighed, wiping his forehead with the back of his hand. “I guess you win.” Feigning defeat, he slightly turned to the side, nodding to his bodyguard. Music filled the air and Justin faced her once more. He swayed side to side, moving in an awkward string of dance moves that could only be described as chaotic.

“Oh..,” she sighed, covering her face. “Justin, what are you doing?”

“What’s that? Want me to sing along?” He smirked, belting out the lyrics as his shuffling became more erratic and whimsical. “Come back over here, Sel!”

She threw her body forward, shrinking her arms in. “Justin!” His name was interrupted by breathy laughter. “Quit it! People are staring!”

“Well if you wouldn’t run off we wouldn’t have this problem,” he berated, jogging the last few feet between them. “I still want my kiss, you promised me one when we got out of the car.” He puckered his lips, locking his arms around her waist; a boa trapping its prey.

“Hm,” she squinted against the sun, “Doesn’t ring a bell.”

“I remember it quite clearly.” His grip tightened, forcing her closer.

She gasped, slinging her arms around his bare shoulders. “Alright, alright!” She tilted her head, pressing her lips to his cheek. “Better?”

“That’s all I get?” He squeezed her sides, eliciting surprised squeals from her. He laughed, dropping his head forward. Their noses bumped and he caught her bottom lip between his, carefully dipping her and applying more pressure.

His pulse quickened and her breathing caught, almost like it had become entangled in a string that was pulled taut. He felt wildfires in his veins and she felt a Pacific wave hit her at light speed. One of his hands migrated north, resting at the base of her neck.

She mumbled some incoherent sound and he inhaled her words, pulling back just to make sure she was alright. He kissed her again, two, three times, and released her from his grip, studying her flushed cheeks.

“Oh, my..”

“Race you to the top,” he whispered breathlessly.

10

Riding at High Elevation

For the last couple of days we have been riding our final miles through the San Juan Mountain Range of the Rocky Mountains. Since we last updated, we rode through the many steep short mountains of the Ozarks. There, with minimal services available, we made our way through the rugged terrain and dealt with the psychological effects of the ever present and biting horse flies with which we shared the road and campsites. We have ridden across Northern Oklahoma, including the Panhandle, in an essentially straight line at a gradual 1-3 % grade. We learned how valuable access to water is, how tough it is to survive in such a desolate land, and how generous and kind the remaining residents are. We give Oklahoma our respect and are grateful for all of the friendly people who welcomed us into their homes for water. We learned how difficult it is for us to ride in deep sand, something on our minds as we head into the San Rafael Swell in Utah, just as Oklohoma mud was a concern when we were in Mississippi. We “vacationed” in New Mexico for less than 100 miles, where the change of scenery, geography, and prevalence of operational windmill driven water pumps, made for easy and entertaining riding. Into Colorado with a lot of momentum, where new types of food, abundant opportunities for espresso, awe inspiring scenery, ideal road conditions, interesting culture, mountains, water and trees sucked us in and slowed us down. The mountain climbs and weather have so far been generous to us, with few exceptions.

The first being our first major high elevation climb on the route to St. Charles Peak, located in the Wet Mountain range in the Southern Rocky Mountain System. In our observation, the climbs we have done that go over 10,500 ft. typically offer difficulty of a sort related to varying combinations of the road conditions, temperature, and physical effects on the body. The bulk of our riding in Colorado has been at an elevation of 7,000 to 10,000 feet, so when we climb from circa 8,000 to over 10,500, that’s typically a big deal for us. The length and distance of a climb are also crucial. On paper, St. Charles Peak looked like a moderate climb of 4,100 ft gain in 25 miles, ultimately reaching a peak elevation of 11,200 feet. We started our ride that day with a hilly 35 mile warm up from La Veta. By the time we stuffed our bellies with good eats from the Wild Flower cafe in Gardner, it was 3 p.m. Our goal was to climb and set camp at lower elevations on the other side by dark. As the story always seems to go, the climb was much harder than expected, took much longer, and required us to improvise. We had been spoiled by the smooth fast roads through Colorado to this point so when our route turned onto a sandy ATV trail and our giddy initial enthusiasm for a change of terrain wore off, we started noticing the effect of the many short steep descents. We had assumed there would be a more constant grade while climbing. What we encountered was sharp descents, steep climbs, and very infrequent periods of low intensity cycling. We had expected to be moving much faster than we were, and after many hours of pedaling (sometimes walking, in my case) we reached the top of the mountain, just as the sun was setting. We had no idea what the descent would be like, other than it was 10 miles, but we have a preference for setting camp in the light, so we decided to set camp where we were, at the top. This was only our third day in Colorado, and our first day riding anywhere above 9,000 ft, so choosing to sleep at 11,200 ft was pushing our luck. We were both physically well and had carried enough water to the top with us to camp without access to a water source (we call this dry camping). We set camp, built a fire, and quickly put it out (to be continued…), ate dinner, put on all of our clothes and enjoyed a relatively good nights rest, lit up by billions of stars in a clear black sky. This climb set the bar of difficulty, and from then on we started taking a different approach to riding through Colorado, one that is defined by shorter distances, more rest, and a more micro-based analysis of the statistical information of each mountain climb.

So, we carried on, spending time in more towns than we had planned, spending more money than we would have liked, but overall enjoying the trip. When the trail challenges us most, we often, shortly thereafter, find reward.

We took a day off in Salida where we realized how much we missed other cyclists and spent most of our time getting to know and talking bikes with Chris and Harry, who traveled from the UK to ride the Colorado Trail.

From Salida we rode our first major pass, Marshall Pass, and crossed over the Continental Divide. The weather, the colors, and the terrain seemed to simultaneously change upon our descent into Sargents. We were also entering Gunnison National Forest, notorious for being “big country,” as a local put it, refering to the vast, desolate land, cooler moist temperatures, and ever present winds. We spent three days, and two nights riding the 133 mile route from Salida to Lake City. Living up to its reputation, the weather we experienced was grey, wet, and windy, offering long slow days in the saddle, cold restless evenings, and later starting mornings. We pushed ahead, knowing that Lake City and all of its majestic beauty lie ahead. Sure enough, on our final day, the sun came out, warming us up, and illuminating the brilliant change in the fall foliage. We enjoyed a rugged and colorful ride up Slumgullion Pass (11,200 ft. elevation), and a speedy twisting descent into Lake City where we would fill our bellies and rest up to tackle our most challenging high elevation climbs over Engineer Pass and Imogene Pass.

One thing is sure, the deeper into this route we get, the more difficult the terrain becomes, and everything we have done along the way prepares us mentally and physically for the next big challenge. Since the first day of researching this route, we learned that these high elevation mountain passes would be some of the most difficult terrain features we would experience on the entire route. The technical, steep riding we did through the Ozarks, the mental challenge of riding across Oklahoma, and the gradual introduction to Colorado’s Rocky Mountains have all played an integral role in training us for these mountain passes. We tackled the passes one day at a time, back-to-back. Our experience went a little like this…

Engineer Pass

Total distance from Lake City to Ouray: 35 miles

Elevation gain in 18 miles: 4,300 feet

Peak elevation: 13,000 feet

The road conditions of the 18-mile climb were smooth and easy, allowing us to soak up the views of crystal clear, trout filled streams, the remnants of old mining operations, and incredibly colorful mountainscapes. We took our time, stopping to snap a photo and to explore. As we rode closer to the top, the grade grew steeper, but was manageable. Now that I think back on all the times I have been at high elevation, I have not been so high as 13,000 ft., especially not on a bicycle. To have ridden our bicycles there, not only just from Lake City, but from the coast of North Carolina, inspired an emotion inside of me that is hard to describe. We are travelling over a continent experiencing drastic cultural and geological change at a slow enough pace to experience a level of immersion, but quickly enough to experience the shock of differences. The descent from Engineer Pass was drastically different. Technical, steep, rocky terrain swept us downhill. Many sections were so complex that we paused to evaluate potential lines of travel that we would take. Once again, I put my feet to work, by hiking down some sections I wasn’t willing to risk, while Tom conquered what appeared to be impossible. We had fun all the way and enjoyed the hell out of the terrain, putting all of our equipment to the test and coming out relatively unscathed (with the exception of a small, impact related {Tom} sidewall cut, and our first flat in 3,000 miles).

Imogene Pass

Total distance from Ouray to Telluride: 18 miles

Elevation gain in 9 miles: 5,000 feet

Peak elevation: 13,200 feet

Imogene Pass was a different story. I remember when we were in Salida, I was showing Harry the statistics of our upcoming climbs. I got to Imogene’s statistics and we looked at eachother perplexed. Those numbers can’t be right, I thought, I must have done the math wrong. I also recall saying something along the lines of, “If we had to go up Engineer Pass, the way we went down, I don’t think we would have been able.” We knew what was ahead, we knew it had taken motorbikes two hours to go 20 miles, but we weren’t talking about it. What’s the use? Well… After we had gone 1.5 miles in almost one hour, reality set in and we knew that this climb and descent would likely take us more time than the day prior, at half the distance. Why? It was steep, rocky, and loose (a lot like the descent of Engineer Pass. The higher up we got, the more we walked. Some sections were so steep our feet could not retain traction so we used our bikes and brakes as leverage. We put our Teva sandals on and hiked in those for a while. On one occasion, while pushing up a steep slope, Tom lost his footing, and dropped his bike. This was tough, but there were plenty of people around us in 4WD off-road vehicles to laugh at us, cheer us on, and comiserate with the seeming insanity of what we were doing. We made it through and being over 13,000 ft. in elevation with your bicycle does not get old. The descent was much like Engineer, only steeper, which meant some walking, but considerably less than the way up. Despite it’s difficulty, we have grown fond of high mountain riding and the views don’t suck either!

That’s it for now! We took a day of in Telluride and stayed with hosts who have generously allowed us to stay in their home while they are away. It happens that Telluride’s Blues and Brews festival is occurring now, which we have been able to enjoy from their balcony. Thank you Max and Hillary!
We hit the road again tomorrow as we make our way to Moab, Utah!

If you aren’t already, follow us on instagram (https://instagram.com/swallowbicycleworks/) for almost daily updates. We update our Flickr album with some extra photos as well (https://www.flickr.com/photos/79517887@N02/).

Thanks for following along!

You and Your Heart.3

Pairing: Alec Hardy x Hannah Baxter

Rating: teen and up

Part 1 Part 2  Ao3 FF.net

Author’s note: Bonus points if you can guess the movie that inspired the end of this chapter. Also, check out the pretty graphic the lovely August rain did for me.

ETA: Part 4  Part 5

Previously:

Alec’s ex called him and Bambi called Hannah for her birthday which made her realize how little she wants to go back to London.

 He studies her face, brows knit together. He gently swipes a strand of hair off her forehead, tucking it behind her ear and he’s got to stop doing tender things like that because her heart can’t take much more.

“I’m fine.”

He blinks slowly and nods. They move on to another subject when he suggests they go out somewhere nice to celebrate her birthday. She agrees immediately, she just needs to shower and change first. She’s halfway up the stairs when she hears Alec call her name. She looks back down. He’s leaning against the banister, clutching his hands.

“S’like you said before about burdening people with your problems…you can, you know, burden me.”

He grimaces at his own poor choice of words and seems relieved when she smiles.

“Same here.”

 * * *

 “Come on Baxter! I’m hungry,” Alec shouts from the other side of her bedroom door.

Hannah walks out.

 “Nude or taupe?”

She holds up two pairs of high-heels in front of his eyes. He pulls a face, his expression somewhere between confusion and annoyance.

“Urgh, you’re useless.”

“I’ll remember that next time you want to ask me another question about police work.”

She notices he’s wearing that moss green oxford they saw in a shop window last week. The one she said he would look good in. She was right.

Keep reading

7

I got to check out the 100 mile course for my race in September. It’s flat, a mix of sandy trail, grass and some pavement. Some shaded and some open. There’s bathrooms, showers and a full service kitchen on site. Plus an area for tents and your own aid station (first picture).

My only concerns are snakes at night, one step up to a wood platform on the grass loop and bees. Oh and running 100 miles. But overall, for this distance, that’s a pretty short list.