sawed in half by the passage of time


Give My Love to Huckleberry Finn - Part Seven

Cece didn’t wake until noon. Harry was still fast asleep, so she quietly slipped out of Louis’ cot and climbed down the ladder. The barn doors were open; Louis must’ve come in at some point. When she went around the barn to use the outhouse, she saw him knelt in the fields, a brimmed hat on his head to block out the sun, which was big and bright that day.

           Another half hour went by before Harry began to stir. Cece sat on Louis’ cot, rereading her favorite passages from Huck Finn to pass the time. When she heard him let out a little groan, she put the book aside and knelt down beside his bed.

           “Harry? You okay?”

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MMFR, Time, & Furiosa

I’ve noticed that a seemingly large amount of fandom has taken to the idea that everyone in the wasteland measures time in days. It is the only way (oops) anyone bothers to mention time and it’s passage in the movie, so this makes sense. It also really makes sense for War Boys—the Half Lives—those whose time is slipping away so fast and each new battle is awaited as an opportunity to fly glorious into Valhalla. So, like, that is awesome. And each person who takes time to calculate the time they want to convey in days… well that’s excellent and shows how dedicated they are to keep that world alive in their work. 

The first time I saw the movie; however, I had a very different reaction to Furiosa’s use of days to convey the amount of time she spent in captivity. First of all, I come from a world that measures time in years, months, weeks. I assumed this was the same in this world, unsurprisingly. As I started to get into the fandom and learning backstories, it made sense to me too that a dedicated military man (Joe) would likely stick to time as he knows it best and is more comfortable using. 

So Furiosa’s use of days to convey her time meant two things in particular to me. One, that this was the Vuvalini measurement of time, as the other women took it in stride as if this was normal. The other thing that this conveyed to me was just how much Furiosa hated her captivity, ticking off each day at a time, like a prisoner tally’s their days in the same cell. And I had the head canon that continuing to mark time in days was a silent defiance against Citadel, a way to always remind her of her heritage,  keep her grounded in her roots, and defy the cultural norm as precedented by those within Citadel who held her captive. As she was conforming to War Boy culture, she kept this thing to herself to keep connection with her past… The more I consider War Boys though, the more I’m starting to also develop the head canon that maybe they did pick up measuring time solely in days from Furiosa, that maybe when she became a War Boy and began to have some modicum of agency, she verbalized her method. Because while other Imperators and Joe himself would find purpose in measuring time in weeks, months, years—not being half-lives and all, many War Boys don’t expect to live on more years, months, or even weeks. Hearing a comrade constantly using days to measure time would probably sit so right with them…

I’m getting off point. 

This idea that she kept this method of time measurement in spite of Citadel having another also really resonated with me when she makes the comments, “plus the ones I don’t remember.” So much is left unsaid about that. Things she blocked out because of the trauma? Days she spent recovering from injuries? I also have the head canon though that this includes days she forgot to mark. Days she became so entrenched and caught up with her new culture and her new crew that she forgot, for days or a week, to mark the number of days it had been. The days that Citadel had been home and not The Green Place. Because outside even head canons, there’s some pretty convincing evidence in the movie that at least her crew, for some time there, became something like family.

Using days for all of the wasteland continues to set this world a part from our own, and it really feels right. I hope this in no way is read to invalidate, even a little bit, the use of days to measure time in the Wasteland, by everyone. I often feel conflicted in my own head canons. In the end, my choice that Citadel didn’t use days and the Vuvalini did is a reflection of my putting greater importance on Furiosa’s character than the world at large. I just love what that small difference in culture can say about Furiosa as a character and how she dealt with her time at Citadel. 

The Lady & The Shark


Put on your tin-foil hats and buckle up for a ride to Crazy Town, folks. I admit this one is out there.


In late July of 1974, a 13-year-old girl walking her dog in the dunes outside of Provincetown, MA, followed her beagle into a stand of stunted pines, and nearly stepped on the badly decomposed body of a young woman. For a time, the inconclusive investigation into her death gripped all of New England.

An attempt had been made to remove her head, probably with the blade of a shovel, but the decapitation had been unsuccessful. The killer had better luck taking off her hands, which were never found. Several teeth had also been removed, all part of an effort, one presumes, to make her impossible to identify. Her jeans and a blue bandana had been folded and placed beneath her head.

The press dubbed her the Lady of the Dunes and at the time of this writing, over 40 years later, no one has ever claimed her. She remains without a name or a history. Her killer has never been identified.

Much has been written about the Lady of the Dunes and I won’t bother to recap four decades of investigative work here. Deborah Halber dug about as deep into her story as anyone has ever gone in her book The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths are Solving America’s Coldest Cases. I recommend it to anyone interested in the granular details of the Lady and also for readers of true crime in general.

For now, though, accept that to this day there are only a limited number of established facts. We know about the blue bandana and the Wrangler jeans. We know she was between the ages of 25 and 49 years old… although 30 seems a particularly good bet. She had expensive dental work. Her hair was auburn or red. She was fit, 145 pounds, and when she was discovered her hair was in a ponytail, captured by a holder with gold sparkles in it. There have been several attempts to reconstruct what she looked like. Here’s one of the most recent efforts:

That’s it. That’s what we know for sure. Everything else is conjecture. And in all the time since her death not one person has stepped forward to say, “I saw her. I met her a few weeks before she was found. I can tell you her name.”

But what if we’ve all seen her? What if she’s been in front of us for decades and we just never noticed?

Who’s in the mood for a ghost story?

Yeah. Okay.

So let’s talk about JAWS.


JAWS was filmed in Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 1974. It was a famously challenging production; originally scheduled for 50 days of shooting, it took over 120 days to complete, and was continuously teetering on the edge of disaster. The work was worth it - it is the summer movie by which all other summer movies are judged. (The story of how the film got made is a fascinating narrative in its own right. Carl Gottlieb’s The JAWS Log is probably the single best recounting of those hot, desperate days on the beaches of Edgartown, MA)

It’s also my favorite movie. Nothing else is even close. It’s a story I’ve returned to again and again. I think I was nine the first time I saw it, on laserdisc, a format which predated VHS and DVD (God, I loved those big silver platters!). I’ve seen it at least once, almost every single year, ever since. I’m sure I’ve viewed the picture 25+ times. I can recite the lines in much the way a tent revival preacher can recite long passages of the Bible.

And yet I had never seen it on the big screen until this summer. In June, JAWS was unleashed on theaters once more to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Naturally, predictably, maybe inevitably, I was there. For the first time I saw the picture the way it was meant to be seen. On the big screen, baby, that shark’s mouth is just about wide enough to ride a bicycle into it.

I was watching in my usual tranced out state of dreamy pleasure… and then, suddenly, found myself half-lunging out of my seat, prickling with gooseflesh.

Now understand, I had only just finished reading The Skeleton Crew a few weeks before. The Lady of the Dunes is in many ways the centerpiece of the book, and unlike the other crimes Mrs. Halber explores, it remains infuriatingly unsolved. After finishing the book, I had spent a few minutes online, acquainting myself with the latest details… and studying the recreation of the Lady’s face.

And now, suddenly, impossibly, there she was… life-size and looking over her shoulder at me. There for a moment in a busy crowd scene, and then gone.

I settled back into my seat and after my pulse returned to normal, I was able to enjoy the film. By the time I got home I had mostly talked myself into believing I had fantasized the whole thing. Just to be sure, I queued up the scene in question my DVD and rewatched it, to see if my eye would find her once more. But no. At least on the 15″ screen of my MacBook Pro, at 11 at night, I was unable to spot her a second time.

But the thought wouldn’t leave me that my unconscious mind had, in fact, latched into something. In the weeks that followed I talked to several friends about what I had seen (or thought I saw). Finally, I broached the subject with an FBI agent I know socially. I expected a good bit of teasing. Instead, he raised an eyebrow and said, “You know, it might be worth going forward with your theory. There might be something in it. Odder ideas have cracked colder cases.”

With this modest encouragement, I watched the film yet again, going over the sequence in question on a big screen TV, frame-by-frame, with @VoodooDarling as an extra set of eyes.

@VoodooDarling saw her before I did.

Here’s that recreation of the Lady of the Dunes again.

And here’s a crowd scene that appears 54 minutes and 2 seconds into JAWS.

Is that her? On the left?

Isn’t it?

Let’s take a closer look.

Blue bandana. About 30. Fit, 145 pounds. I don’t believe those are Wrangler jeans, but a lady presumably owns more than one pair of jeans.

Is the Lady of the Dunes in JAWS?




I admit its pretty goddamn wild speculation. And yet…

And yet.

Let’s go a little further down this very dim, very narrow alley of fantastic conjecture.

It is impossible to say with complete precision when they filmed the “July 4th - Crowd Arrives” sequence, which is where this shot appears. But we know it was almost certainly shot in June, because they filmed all the “on island” scenes they could early. The water was too cold for swimming, and the malfunctioning shark wasn’t ready for the “at sea” material until late July.

We also know the Lady of the Dunes was alive in June and that the filming of JAWS was a big deal locally. Lots of folks turned up to try and get a peek at the stars, or the shark, or to see if they could sneak into a shot.

The geography works too. Martha’s Vineyard is a short hop from Provincetown. It would be no surprise at all if a girl summering on the Cape decided to take a few days to explore the Vineyard… especially with the added bait of celebrity to draw her in.

Of course this is far from being even vaguely conclusive. The girl in my isolated frame of JAWS wears a blue bandana, but what of it? In the next sequence, on the busy beach, there are half a dozen women wearing blue bandanas. It must’ve been the style. Furthermore, it sure would be nice if her hair was in a ponytail, looped with a holder that has gold thread in it. But her hair is loose. It would be great if those were Wrangler jeans, but my Google Fu suggests they aren’t.

Here’s all we really have: an extra who bears a startling resemblance to a girl who turned up dead, some coincidences of time and geography, and a writer of horror stories who has a “feeling.”

Not exactly case closed, huh?


I create fiction for a living and I am always my own first audience. Telling stories to myself (especially ghost stories) has been my great pleasure - and compulsion - since childhood.

I am under no illusions about the situation here. I was watching JAWS, under the influence of The Skeleton Crew, and my subconscious invented an exciting little story about the Lady of the Dunes on the spot. It was so good, I persuaded myself it might be true.

It IS a helluva what-if, isn’t it? What if the young murder victim no one has ever been able to identify has been seen by hundreds of millions of people in a beloved summer classic and they didn’t even know they were looking at her? What if the ghost of the Lady of the Dunes haunts JAWS?

I know: to believe an extra glimpsed in JAWS is the verysame woman killed outside of Provincetown is a leap into the extreme hypothetical. That said, before her death, this woman had a life, and some of that life was spent on the Cape during the summer of JAWS. The odds are long that the Lady of the Dunes appears in the picture… but maybe not unimaginably long.

I turn this possibility over to the greatest puzzle solving instrument humans have ever created: the Internet. Give JAWS another watch. Look for the Lady.

Did you spend the summer of 1974 on the Cape or on the Vineyard? Were you in JAWS? Who else was there, the day they captured you on camera? Who did you talk to between shots? What do you remember?

This woman does not have a name:

Does this one?

Leg Hair Beauty

To be quite honest, I am utterly disappointed and dissatisfied with the way female hairy legs are depicted. Yes, even ones that support female hair growth of all kinds.

I am a woman who has not shaved in over a year and a half. I started when I was eleven. I saw it as a rite of passage to become a woman. I grew up seeing my mother shave every single night. I would sit on the side of the bathtub while her expert hands glided up and down her freckled legs. To become even a fraction of the strong woman she is, I thought I had to do the same: it is what my sister before me did.

And I cannot tell you the joy and wonder I experienced the first time I jumped into a pool and felt my two legs glide against each other and through the water: it was the feeling of soft beauty. 

Sadly, this did not remain. I have a variety of skin conditions I lump under the term “peely skin disease.” I have a few different types: they effect my feet, my arms, my face, and my scalp in all different ways. None of them are severe, just annoyances. However, when it came to my legs it was different.

To this day, I have not gotten a clear answer from the dermatologist as to what was happening to my legs. Every time I would shave I would get little red spots the size of a pin head around my hair follicles. Shaving did not hut but the little sores itched. They itched in a way that makes you want to tear your skin off. And the more frequently I shaved, the worse they became. They gave me a ointment to put on after I shaved, but the prescription was expensive for something that seemed frivolous.

I didn’t stop right away. I would go weeks without shaving and then take away the hair for special occasions to minimize  the chance of the little red spots appearing. I continued this way for around four or five year, the whole time calculating how bad things would be if I shaved now, or if I waited a little longer.

I officially quit shaving when I traveled to India on a study abroad program. Not knowing how my skin would react in my new environment, I did not want to take the risk of having irritating my legs and having open sores. Moreover, I knew no one there would care how hairy my legs were since I would be wearing traditional clothing that went to my ankles. And never before did I feel more at home in my body. I did not have to mold it to look a certain way or calculate how grossed-out people would be against my own comfort. My legs just were and they were beautiful. 

When I came back I had to consider again my own cultural and its push for silky smooth hairless women. I was not as concerned about the general public. What worried me most was the man I was dating at the time and what he would think about my new fuzzy look. It was one of the first conversations we had, whether he would still find me attractive if I never shaved again: I told him that I would pick it up again if it truly bugged him. But I will never forget his response. 

He put his hands on my shoulders and drew me close to him. He looked in my eyes without wavering and told me that it was my body and that he would love me no matter what I did to the surface of it. It was not up to him to decide. 

People ask if it was for feminist reasons or even just for shock factor. I reply every time that I do it for my own comfort.
Yes, it saves me money.
Yes, I think that it is horrible the standard of beauty women are held to. 
Yes, it does shock many people.
Yes, people do make fun of me. 
Yes, it hurts when people make comments, some well intentioned. 
Yes, you can ask why
But I am doing this because this is the way I feel at home in my skin. 
To do it just to destroy the bullshit patriarchy we all are subjected to is to still be controlled by it. I am hairy because I like myself this way. I am hairy because I am more comfortable this way. I am hairy. 

But the pro-hair legs art does not capture this. Those images still depict silky-smooth beautiful legs next to tainted hairy legs that are covered with unflattering little lines that disrupts the unity of the legs. The slogan is supportive saying “It’s your body: It’s your choice!” and other such motivational lines of solidarity. And yes, it is my choice, but these images still make me feel like I have chosen the lesser choice. This guilt is not what they intend but it still remains. 

But the honest truth is that these do not make me feel beautiful. These images are supportive of my choice but still do not see me as beautiful.

So I leave you with a challenge:
Draw a picture, paint a form, capture the light, craft an image that shows hairy legs as beautiful, 
that makes hairy legs not an supported anomaly, 
that depicts hairy legs not as unusual or shocking. 

I have found only a few images in the whole of everything that I have seen that do this. Some are advertisements, but I do not know where they comes from or what they are for, but they depict simply a normal, stylish woman who happens to have hairy legs. Her hair is apparent, but she is still depicted as beautiful. 

I am beautiful. All of me is beautiful. The confidence I walk with is unmistakable. I know this. And I do not need the media to tell.
But please, do not say that you are with me, that you support me and my choice if you do not show this also. 

The Immortals Quartet by Tamora Pierce

  • As far as plot goes, I did and still do prefer this to the Alanna quartet. Give me a dose of politics and a war or two with my fantasy/scifi any day.
  • Numair. You’re great. A lovely nerd. But you’re also thirty fucking years old. Please do not canoodle your sixteen-year-old student. She’s half your age. You met her when she was thirteen.
  • That said, this was pretty much the height of romance to me at age nine. They were elementary school me’s first OTP, really, as far as I remember. I have no idea how many times I reread the canoodling scene when I was little, but it must have been a bunch, because the moment I saw the word “canoodle” the entire passage came flooding back to me. Did I remember the plot of any of the books? Heck no. Did I remember canoodling? Yep.
  • When you’re nine, sixteen just seems sufficiently grown up, I guess. But now that I’m no longer a teenager, sixteen-year-olds freak me out a bit, tbh. (No offense meant if you’re reading this and happen to be sixteen. My sister’s turning sixteen in a month, and she’s very nice usually. Grumpy, though.) The mere idea of making out with sixteen-year-olds when thirty is kind of horrifying.
  • At least there weren’t any sex scenes. I’m not sure I could’ve taken that.
  • It’s weird what you remember after over a decade of not reading a book. All these years I remembered Daine’s little friends as “darklings,” but apparently it’s “darkings.” (I still think darkling is cuter, though. And a real word, which is probably why I remembered it that way.)
  • And some bits it’s not so much remembering as just knowing exactly what’s going to happen next, to the point where I’m not sure if it’s remembering, foreshadowing, or obvious plot points.
  • I was going to say I wanted to know more about Numair’s past, but apparently there’s going to be a series about exactly that in a year or two, so hey, I’m ready.
  • And the gods are all douchebags.
Say It Ain't So, Part 10

Hey everyone, Sorry it took so long to get part 10 out. Its pretty short this time. I hope you like it. Let me know what you think. Forgive me if I tag you twice or miss your tag. Forgive the typos. I think I’ll wrap this story up in 12 parts. The other parts are here 

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Thud, thud, thud….

Rae could hearing the music from the warehouse from several blocks away. Finn turned to smile at her, clearly excited about tonight. The bass from whatever this track was had rattled the car. I thought this shit was supposed to be secret. You can hear it from miles away. Rae had spent most of the car ride trying to decide if she would take another one of those pills. By the time Finn found a space to park the car, she decided against it. I’ll just get drunk, nothing else.  

Rae took Finn’s hand and they followed Chop down the road to the warehouse. Chop was jumping up and down as he walked, clearly the most excited of the gang. Rae had to admit to herself that she was nervous. Even with Finn holding her hand and sneaking kisses every few steps, she felt like anything could go terribly wrong tonight. Chloe glanced over her shoulder and Rae and Finn. She gave them a smile and joined arms with Archie whispering something in his ear. Archie didn’t give anything away and  Chloe almost looked back again but stopped herself. What the fuck is that about?

“Alright girl?” Finn asked. She had involuntarily squeezed his hand. 

“Yeah, I’m alright.” She smiled at him push her doubts and Chloe out of her mind. No one would ruin this night for her. Finn smiled back at her and kissed her lips softly. 

The warehouse loomed in front of them and streams of people were going inside in various states of dress or undress depending on how one looks at the world. Rae thought most of the girls were basically naked in the dead of winter. Not unlike Chloe. 

The light from the doorway was the standard black light and neon paint splashed on the wall mad it look like a killer clown got sick on his way inside. It wasn’t a doorway really, but a rolled up hatch of some sort. Chop whispered a few words to the “bouncer” and he wave them inside. The music was a form of industrial house music and Rae could feel the whole building shake to the bass pounding in her ears. Her body relaxed and she was finally in heaven. Finn tugged her arm, “Drink girl?”

“Yeah, I’ll come with you.”

“Don’t worry I’m not leaving your side tonight.” Finn yelled before pulling in the direction she could on guess was a bar. Archie took her other hand and went along with them. She noticed that Chloe had seen some girls she knew from somewhere because they ran up to her and started hugging her. Chop and and Izzy were ahead of them and Keiran and Danny brought up the rear. 

Once at the bar Finn started yelling drink orders and Rae took things in while she stuck her finger through one of Finn’s belt loops. Izzy nudged Rae and they both started dancing and laughing.

“Shots first!” Chop yelled as he handed everyone a small neon cup. “Where the fuck did Chlo get to that fast?” Chop asked.

“She saw some friends, I’m sure she’ll catch up with us.” Rae said as she took her cup. Izzy stuck out her bottom lip. Rae kept forgetting she couldn’t drink. Izzy quickly recovered and continued dance with Rae. Finn turn away from the bar and the gang took Chop’s shots. Finn started handing out the other drinks.

“Let’s dance.” Finn said as he wrapped his free hand around Rae’s waist and clinked his cup against hers. They made there way to the biggest dance floor Rae had ever seen. It was just a bit smaller than a football pitch and on the second level she saw the deejay waving his arms in the air and screaming at the top of his lungs. The gang minus Chloe were jumping up and down and dancing to the hypnotic beat for what felt like ages. Archie and Keiran would leave to get more drinks while Rae made it clear that Danny was not to leave her eyesight. Rae noticed that Finn made sure some part of him was always touching her at all times. It was some much fun that Rae lost track of everything except Finn.    

It was half past 11 when Rae got the urge to pee. Fuck! Maybe I can hold it until after midnight…no can’t do it. Damn it!

“Finn,” Rae put her hand on Finn’s shoulders to stop is jumping, “we gotta find the loo.”

“All right girl.” Finn took Rae’s hand and lead the way. I hope he knows where he’s going. Finn saw Barney and a few other blokes we know, asked about the toilets and they pointed to a dark passage a few feet away. He turn to Rae and tugged her hand with a reassuring smile. Rae smiled back and followed him down the corridor. It was a cold passage way and near the end were red emergency lights that illuminated the entrance to the ladies and gents. 

“I’ll meet you right here, all right?” Finn said letting got of her hand and giving her a quick kiss on the cheek. He waited until Rae opened the door before he turned to go into the men’s room. Inside the ladies, a few girls were fix their makeup or getting a quick fix of white powder. When one girl straightened up from inhaling whatever it was, Rae recognized Stacey Stringfellow. She was with some girls that Rae didn’t know and she hadn’t seen Rae yet. Rae ducked into the nearest cubicle before being noticed. Luckily the toilet was relatively clean and Rae quickly did her business and holed Stacey would be gone by the time Rae got out. Rae heard the doors open and close and the chatter died down. 

Rae kept her head down as she walked toward the sinks. “Well well look who it is. What are you doing here, Earl?” Stacey spat out, she was alone by now and Rae wondered why she hadn’t left with the other girls. Fuck really? Was this bitch waiting for me?

“Fuck off Stacey, I’m just trying to have a good time with me mates.” Rae breathe with as much annoyance in her voice to make it abundantly clear that she was not here for Stacey’s shit. 

“Oh luck at you, someone’s grumpy. I guess a bit of Finn has rubbed off. Shame really, what of waste of such a fit boy.” Stacey giggle and tugged on her pony tail. Does she know any other hair styles…

“Right, well I’m off…” Rae turned and made her way out the door. When she opened the door she saw Finn waiting and was greeted with a smile that quickly fell when he saw Stacey hot on Rae’s heels.

“The fuck are you doing here,” Finn mumbled as he took Rae’s hand and lead her away. 

“Fuck you Finn, you must be madder that that fat cow to actually want to be seen in public with her!” Stacey shouted from behind. “I can’t believe you went from me to her of all the girls in bloody England.” Finn was walking faster and Rae tried to keep up. Once he found the gang, still dancing and laughing he turned to Rae. Rae hadn’t let Stacey’s words get to her and she could see the relief in Finn’s eyes when he saw her face. He leaned in and kissed her gently.

“Where were we? Ah yes I was dancing like this,” Finn started jumping up and down to the rhythm of whatever song this was, “and you had your arms here,” Finn put Rae’s arms around his neck, “and you were jumping too I believe?” Finn yelled over the music, Rae laughed and they continued dancing. A few minutes later Chloe found her way to them with a few of her old mates. They joined in on the dancing with the gang. Danny and Chop reappeared with more drinks and there was five minutes to midnight on the neon clock overhead. Keiran had found a cute little blond to dance with but he stayed close to the group. 

Rae noticed that Chloe noticed how close Keiran and the girl were dancing and she gave Chloe a sympathetic look. Chloe just smiled and moved closer to Rae. “Its okay babes. To be honest and because I’m high, I never really loved Keiran that much anyway. Not like I loved…"Chloe stopped her self and glanced at Finn who looked confused and a little annoyed that Chloe had pulled Rae away from him. "Sorry, Rae but you know its now easy turning feeling off. I love you and I’d never try anything on him I promise. I’ll get over it soon, its just being here brings back memories of that first kiss…."Chloe looked down with guilt.

"Its all right Chlo, I get it.” Rae said but she was a bit shocked. She knew something was up with Chloe all this time but she didn’t think her feels for Finn were still so strong. She glance over to Finn who was dancing next to Archie and laughing even though he kept his eyes on her. She smiled and looked back at Chloe. “He’s a hard one to get over that’s for sure.” Chloe hugged Rae and kissed her on the cheek. 

“Thanks babes!” She started dancing again and her friend moved closer.

“Hiya Rae!” all three said in unison. 

“Hi,” Rae replied with a small wave that immediately made her feel like a dolt. But then Finn caught her hand before she put it down and kissed it. Rae could hear lustful squeaks and moans for Chloe and her friends. 

“All right, Chlo?” Finn asked and she started to dance with Rae again. 

“Yeah, just girl talk. She’s yours again!” Chloe laughed and danced with her friends. Then the ten second countdown had begun. My first new years kiss with Finn is about to happen. Get this right Rae! Finn was already pulling Rae closer to him as the clock ticked down to midnight. He looked directly into her eyes and smiled. 

The clock struck midnight and Finn pulled Rae closer and kissed her softly at first, but the kiss became passionate and deep. Rae felt light-headed and delighted all at once. She felt Finn move one of his hands to the back of her neck and the other to her lower back. He held her tightly as she tugged on the hairs on the back of his head. When the came apart Rae pulled him into a hug and rest her head on his shoulder and light kissed his neck. “I love you,” she whispered. She felt him hug her tighter and he pressed his mouth against her neck.

“I love you too, Rae. This is gonna be a good year as long as we’re together.” Finn said as he smiled on her neck. Rae opened her eyes and saw that everyone was still screaming and dancing around them but they were perfectly still. She wanted to stay that way forever but the beat of the next song got the best of them and she started dancing again. This time Archie and Izzy appeared with tiny glasses of champagne and passed them to everyone.   

“Cheers and Happy New Year!” everyone shouted. The gang hugged and kissed each other then continued to dance and drink. After a few hours the crowed has thinned a bit but that gang were just as excited as ever. They laughed and joked about things they were seeing around them. There were a few couples having sex in not so dark corners of the warehouse. 

“Finn I hope you don’t get any ideas about you and my Raemundo!” Chop shouted over the music. The deejay had changed and the music was more of an up tempo ambient sound. Still good dance music but not as loud. Finn smirked at Rae and she could swear she saw a bit of disappointment in his eyes. She laughed. 

“What girl? You can’t tell me you weren’t thinking about it too.” Finn yelled in her ear. Hell yeah I was.

“No of course not, I’m a lady, ” they both laughed and Finn pulled her into another kiss. Suddenly, an air raid alarm with off. At first Rae thought it was the beginning of some trance song but then she saw people running. Finn grabbed he by the waist and looked around.

Chop ran up to them and yelled “Cops! Let’s go!”

Finn grabbed Rae and pulled her toward the exit. She reached out and grabbed Chloe’s hand. Danny was in front of them along with Archie, Keiran, the little blond girl, Izzy and Chop. They made it out a side door into an alley with a large crowd of kids. They were all trying to push their way out to the street and avoid the cops that could be seen entering the warehouse. Chop was going on about how mint this night had been and Archie was sing a song that he made up. Finn and Rae walked hand in hand smiling at each other. 

People started pushing from the back. Rae assumed the cops had found the side exit. The crowd got more and more rowdy and people were trying to run towards the front. A big blond twat ran in between Finn and Rae’s hands separating them and then all hell broke loose. She could hear Finn yell her name but she was being pushed to the side and forward. Luckily she still had Chloe’s hand and they held each other up and decided to just get out of the alley and make it back to the cars. Rae kept looking to the side hoping she would get a peak at Finn but all she saw were bodies rushing forward. Her heart was pounding and the alcohol was starting to make her dizzy. Finally, she and Chloe made it out of the alley. They still didn’t see anyone else in the gang. A couple of Chloe’s friends emerged from the crowd and scurried over to Chloe. Rae thought one was Lori and the other might be Sara. She wasn’t sure. 

“Wow, that was epic!” Might be Sara yelled and threw her arms up.

“Don’t relax now we gotta get to the car. Where’s Glory?” Lori said looking around. 

“Chloe you want a ride?” Sara asked not looking at Rae.

“Nah babes I’m gonna find the rest of my friends. See ya around” Chloe said as she squeezed Rae’s hand. “Let’s just go to the car and wait for them, yeah?” She said to Rae and started to walk. Rae kept looking around. She saw several torchlights that meant the cops were close. She and Chloe walked down the street where the cars were parked. She was still feeling uneasy without Finn around her. The street was starting to clear out but she heard a lot of noise and running behind them. She kept turning back to make see if it was anyone else in the gang, but it was always someone she didn’t know. She started to turn around when she noticed that Chloe had frozen. She looked and Chloe then she turn to see was Chloe was looking at. Ian, Saul and their loser friends were walking toward them. Fuck! Rae wanted to turn and run but they had already been seen and the twats were heading to them with sickly grins on their faces. Chloe began to shake. 

“Let just keep walking Chlo, the gang bound to be at the cars by now. They’ll see us soon.” Rae said as she pulled Chloe forward. 

“If it ain’t the hog and the piglet…oink oink!” Ian yell from a few feet away. His loser friends laughed and she heard Chloe take a deep breathe. “What you too slags all dressed up for? No decent bloke gonna want anything to do with either of ya!” Ian was now standing in front of them blocking their way. 

“Fuck off, and let us pass.” Rae said looking in his eye to let him know she meant business. Chloe let out a weak whimper and Ian laughed harder. Rae could feel a warm breath on the side of her face and from the smell of him she knew it was Saul. He started to lean closer and raised his hand to touch her. Rae quickly moved away from him before she could touch her. 

“Frigid as ever.” Saul said and a sickly voice that made Rae’s stomach turn. 

“Yeah, it makes no sense really mate, I fat girl like that should put out for anyone willing to put up with ‘er.” Ian laughed. Rae could feel the air get colder around her. She tried again to push past them but Ian and Saul kept blocking the way. “You gonna scream, fat girl?” Rae closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Stay strong Rae. You’re perfect and these twats are scum. 

“Oi! Rae!” Finn yelled from behind, she could hear him running hard behind her. “Rae!” She turned to see his smiling face. He obviously had no idea what she and Chloe were up against. She could see the rest of the gang running behind Finn. 

“Who’s this wanker.” Saul shouted and Finn got close enough to hear him. “Hey pretty boy, why you running after my girl.” Rae felt like she might be sick.

“I said FUCK. OFF!” Rae shouted as Finn got to her. 

“The fuck did he just say? Fuckhead, Rae’s my girl and you heard her, fuck off.” Finn glared at Saul as Ian and the rest laughed from behind. “Did I say something funny?” Finn glared at the rest of the losers. Rae could see that he was starting to recognize them. “Chlo, you still hang out with these twats?" 

"Who the fuck you calling twats?” Ian yelled and stepped closer. Chop, Archie and Keiran appeared behind Finn.

“Seems clear to me he was talkn’ 'bout you and your mingy friends,” Chop bellowed with a toothy grin. 

“So our Chloe and this fat bitch have back up now.” Ian said as he turned back to Rae and Chloe. Then Ian was on the ground and Saul soon after that. Finn and Archie were standing over them glaring at the rest of their loser friends. 

“When Rae says fuck off, I’m pretty sure she means it.” Archie said as he adjusted his glasses and then he kicked Saul in his stomach when he tried to get back up. Ian was out cold and blood oozed from his nose. 

“You alright girl?” Finn said as he took Rae’s hand and then took Chloe’s in his free hand and they headed for the cars. Once they made it to the car, Finn helped them both inside and shut the door.

“I’m sorry Rae, I choked. I didn’t expect to see them so soon.” Chloe whispered from the back seat. “If Finn hadn’t gotten to us when he did…” Chloe started to cry. Rae had expected Finn and the others to be in the car by now. She looked out the window and saw Finn jogging a bit down the pavement. She opened the door and got out. Are those twats still at it? But when Finn moved to the left, she saw Izzy on the ground with Chop and Archie hovering over her. Oh shit.

“Chlo somethings wrong with Izzy,” Rae said as she jumped out the car and ran to help. Izzy had blood running don her legs and she was white as a sheet. Chop was trying to wake her with tears running down his face. Finn had his hand on Chop’s back and Danny was pacing back and forth. Keiran was running across the street to a call box. Rae knelt down and checked Izzy’s pulse. It was strong but slow. She nodded to Chop and whispered words of comfort in Izzy’s ear. Rae felt a panic attack coming on as she heard her friend crying and talking at the same time. You gotta be strong Rae, they need you. Don’t fall apart, not now. The ambulance was there a lot sooner than expected. Apparently several had been called out to this location because of the rave. The medics assessed Izzy and took her and Chop to hospital immediately. The rest of the gang followed.


At the hospital, there was a lot of pacing and crying. Finn held Rae for comfort but she was numb. Izzy had lost so much blood. Parents were yelling at them, calling them irresponsible for taking a pregnant girl to a rave. Linda kept asking them if they were on drugs. Chloe’s parents kept trying to make her go home. Danny’s parents dragged him out of the hospital which made him laugh and cry at the same time. Izzy’s mum sat quietly holding herself while her dad was nose to nose with Chop. Archie and Keiran were trying to hold them apart.

The first bit of news from the nurse was bad. Izzy was further along than everyone thought and she had lost too much of blood. The nurse struggled to tell them that she had an early second trimester miscarriage. There was damage to her uterus as well since it was in the process of stretching to make more room for the baby. Rae remembered Izzy complaining about a cramp the other day but it went away quickly.

“How the fuck does a doctor miss that? Isabel said she was just a couple months gone.” Izzy’s father was yelling at the nurse. 

“Bloody hell Rae, that means she probably got pregnant at the end of summer,” Chloe whispered. She had sat down on the other side of Rae as her mum stood in front of her arms crossed over her chest. Izzy’s mum was crying uncontrollably, so Chloe mum went over to comfort her with Linda as Izzy’s dad paced back and forth yelling at no one in particular. Chop had sat himself on the ground with his head in his hands.  Archie and Keiran on either side of him.

After an hour things got quiet. No one knew what else to say so they all sat in various positions looking at the ground. When the doctor finally came out everyone jump out of their seats.

“I was able to stop the bleeding and Isabel is doing well in recovery. I couldn’t save the baby but we were able to repair the tear in her uterus,” the doctor address Izzy’s parents. Rae could see that Chop was relieved but also gutted.  He’d lost his baby. The lads went over to support their friend and Rae and Chloe held each other. Izzy’s parents were going in to see their daughter. The nurse came out to let them know that only family would be allowed to see Izzy tonight and it was best if they all went home. 

“I can’t leave ma Izzy nurse, I’ll just stay right here. You guys go home, I’ll call you laters, all right.” Chop ordered. Rae had never seen him so serious. Everyone said good night to Chop and Izzy’s parents.

“Rae you are to be back home the day after tomorrow, in the morning young lady. Don’t you dare give me that look, you’re lucking I don’t drag you home with me right now,” Linda said as everyone was walking to the car park. Finn squeezed Rae’s hand and pulled her closer to him. “Finn, I’m sorry but Rae needs more boundaries and structure. I know you both think you’re adults but, what happened tonight proves you’re not ready.”

Rae and Finn were on their way back to his house. Rae hadn’t said anything the entire ride and she knew Finn was the last person to initiate a conversation. She kept glancing over at him and she could see that he was gripping the wheel pretty tight. "Ya know its not like I’ll be in another country. We’ll just have to get used to our old routine again,“ Rae offered. Finn made a slight nod. 

"I don’t think I’m gonna like not waking up next to you,” Finn whispered and Rae could his voice cracking. He reached over and took Rae’s hand. He’s so dreamy. Oh my Finn! “So why did that twat call you his girl?” Finn had parked in front of his house and he was now looking at Rae. Oh bloody hell.

Take a Chance: Ch 1 - The Meeting

Emma Swan will never be the princess - or queen - Misthaven really needs. Neither will a man ever own her heart again. Guarded and proud, can a forward young Lieutenant sneak beneath her emotional walls? And more importantly, will he even want to? Lieutenant Duckling AU with a sprinkling of Pride and Prejudice.

A short little multi-chapter fic to while away those dark winter nights - and I can’t resist me some Lieutenant Duckling. This is also a very tardy follower appreciation fic dedicated to jscoutfinch. Please let me know what you think.

Also on FF.NET and AO3

The royal family of Misthaven were seated for breakfast when Crown Princess Emma’s father announced that an impromptu ball would take place that evening. Her ten year old brother instantly begged to be allowed to attend (“No, James, no balls til you are at least twelve,” their mother had reminded him, only to be met by a disappointed groan). Emma herself had silently eaten her apple and sighed at the prospect of further public exposure.

Yet another ball; another stream of haughty suitors. Another chance to show them all just why Princess Emma of Misthaven held the reputation as the most determined old maid this side of the Enchanted Forest. Because a princess ought to want to marry? And a princess who’d almost reached the age of thirty without even coming close to that, well, wasn’t that strange?

Not to Emma, who had long since decided that she and marriage were incompatible.

Her mother had claimed acceptance of her daughter’s feelings on the subject, but that hadn’t made her any less keen to introduce her to any and every eligible man who passed through the kingdom. It had become something of a game between the courtly ladies these past few years: just how many men would the princess reject this week?

Not that Emma cared. It wasn’t as if she was actively seeking this attention. She wished that the world could just accept that she was happy as she was.

Because she was - happy. Alone, that is.

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