stay ready

Control your thoughts, and you will be able to control the way in which the world appears.
Think highly of events; if it’s good, see it’s beauty. If it’s bad, seek for growth. Everything that happens has a reason, purpose, and difference that it will make. So take a moment, and choose to see the impact that your thoughts have on your life.
—  Nicole Addison @thepowerwithin

Normani doing what she does best, seeking out any camera when a 25 mile radius

Someone to Stay - AU

Previous Chapters

Chapter 11

“Faster.”

“I can’t.”

“Dammit, Joe!” Claire slammed her fists on the dashboard.

“LJ, there’s a speed limit. Your plane isn’t leaving any earlier than scheduled. Calm down!”

Claire sighed and fumed, curling up in the passenger seat. She drummed her fingers against the window until another murderous look from Joe made her stop with a huff.

As soon as she had realized her mistake, she was on Joe’s phone, dialing Jamie from memory. But it had gone straight to voicemail. Joe had plucked his mobile from Claire’s hands before she could hurl it against the wall too.

He had dialed Jenny’s number instead, and put Claire on immediately.

“Jenny? Oh God, I’m an idiot, I’m so sorry—”

“It doesna matter. It will work out,” Jenny said gently. “Right now, though, I need ye to get on a plane to Edinburgh. I’ve left an open ticket for ye at Gatwick, so please come as soon as ye can. Jamie’s back since yesterday, and he’s a mess.”

“So am I,” Claire gulped.

“He needs ye, Claire. As I’m sure ye need him” Jenny’s voice had gone quiet, and Claire had snapped out of her funk, racing to her room to pack.

“I’m on my way.”

*

The stupid train was faster than driving, she reminded herself, as it sped across the Scottish countryside.

From Inverness, she called Jenny from her new burner phone to be picked up. Then to Lallybroch. And Jamie.

As the driver Jenny had sent parked in front of the manor house, Claire jumped out, feet pounding on the gravel. Jenny threw open the kitchen door and embraced her fiercely. With a simple, “Go!” Claire bolted up the stairs. Closer.

Heart pounding, Claire knocked on the door to Jamie’s room. She could hear the strumming of his guitar, which didn’t stop, and then his voice called out.

“Jenny, go away.” Dejected, forlorn.

Claire swallowed hard. “It isn’t Jenny. It’s me, Claire.”

The guitar twanged abruptly. Footsteps and a pause.

“Sassenach—”

“May I come in?”

A beat. Two beats.

Claire fully expected him to tell her to go away too. She turned to oblige before he could do so, heart in her mouth, tears stinging.

Then a flurry of activity, trampling sounds, a couple of shits thrown in for good measure. And finally, a click and twist and the door swung open.

His eyes were bright as he looked at her, fingers gripping the door. Claire looked up at him through her eyelashes, unsure of where to begin. But at the beginning seemed best.

“I’m sorry. I believe you. I saw the picture. Joe and Jenny and…” Claire sighed, frustrated with her incoherence. “I looked closer. I noticed the ring. I’m here.”

Without warning, she found herself crushed against Jamie’s chest, and her hands clutching at him equally as tight.

“Claire, mo nighean donn, I’m sorry too. When Murtagh showed me the paper, I flew back to London. I knew it would be a blow, despite the lie.” Jamie brought her into the room and shut the door behind them.

They still hadn’t released each other. Jamie stepped back briefly, brushing Claire’s wild curls away from her face as she shook her head and laughed in relief—sweet sweet relief that flooded through her and wiped away all doubts.

Tha gaol agam ort?” she whispered, her own hands tangled in his hair.

Jamie smiled. “Always.”

*

“Thank you Edinburgh!” The answering clamor was deafening.

Claire grinned broadly from the wings, clapping her hands along with the crowd. The venue lights dimmed suddenly to blue. The backdrop of Edinburgh Castle was spectacular, the esplanade packed with fans all the way to the top tiers of the grandstands.

“Thank you, everyone.” Jamie took a seat on a stool and palmed a beautiful Gibson acoustic, with a tortoiseshell inlay that Claire had given him for his birthday. He laid it across his lap and touched the strings slowly. He managed to catch her eye and winked in his usual fashion – more like a nodding blink.

Claire laughed and blew him a kiss, as he turned to the audience and said, “This one is new. It goes out to the love of my life.”

He strummed out the intro chords, and sang.

Falling doesn’t come easy
It all takes time
To give someone your heart
I saw the walls, began to climb

You only wanted someone to stay
To be there for you
To hold you close and say
I won’t let go
I promise I’ll be
Someone to stay

Jamie rose suddenly as Willie took over with another guitar, keeping the same riff going over and over. Jamie walked purposefully towards Claire, and before she knew it, he had pulled her onstage in front of thousands of people.

“What are you doing?” she hissed, her face flaming crimson.

“Claire.” Her hands, which had been tugging his so she could get away, stilled at his tone. He was still wired to a mic, and her name reverberated over the grounds. She stared into the deep azure, made bluer by the artificial lights.

And then he went down on one knee.

The crowd went wild, but to Claire it sounded as though the roar came from underwater. Her eyes were on his and couldn’t look away. Not even as turned the palm of her hand so he could place the cabochon ruby ring into it.

“Claire… Sassenach… I want to be someone to stay. Will ye let me? Will ye marry me?”

*

The roiling of her stomach and whirling in her head had her racing for the bathroom in the small hours of the morning. The sounds of her retching and the splash in the toilet bowl had Jamie padding barefoot over to Claire as he held her hair back.

“Sassenach, I’m sorry you’re unwell.” He smoothed a hand across her forehead, which felt clammy and cold.

“Stupid bloody sushi. Let’s never—” Claire’s moans were cut off in a fresh wave of nausea.

“I’m throwing the takeout menu out. Dinna fash.” Jamie helped her up. She rinsed out her mouth and pressed a damp towel to her face.

“I have class today. I can’t make it, though.” Claire stumbled back to the bed, kicking the comforter away in her flushed state. “I’ll text Louise.” She groaned into the pillow, but felt mildly better after expelling the contents of her stomach.

“It isnae catching, love?” Jamie sat beside her and patted her back gently; she curled up on her side and took deep breaths.

“I don’t think so. You go on ahead. I’ll call you later.” The soothing motions of Jamie’s hand on her back had lulled her halfway to sleep again.

“I’ll call you,” he said, leaning in to kiss her forehead. “Rest easy, Sassenach. I love ye.”

“I love you more,” Claire mumbled into the bed.

It was only hours later when she woke up that she realized: she was sick in the mornings. She was sleepy all the time. She did some backwards counting and discovered she was also late.

After almost two years of trying, she needed a pregnancy test.

*

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony…”

Claire smiled at Jamie, who beamed back as they held hands. They could hear a murmur of approval behind them as their nearest and dearest were gathered behind them in the church pews to witness their union.

“To help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity…”

All the band members were there with their families. Rupert and Geillis were there as a couple too, and all of Jenny and Ian’s bairns. The church was redolent with flowers, and flickering candlelight everywhere.

“With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”

Ian Murray stood as best man, and held a black velvet box with their rings in it. For Jamie, a simple white-gold band he could easily play guitar with. For Claire, a silver ring with an intricate Highland pattern of Scottish thistles.

They left the church amidst a shower of rice and a chorus of well-wishers, to a beautiful reception at Lallybroch and a Mediterranean honeymoon.

*

Claire waited anxiously in their bedroom as she heard the key turn in the lock. She heard Jamie close the door behind him and open the fridge. A clinking of bottles as he found the champagne.

“Sassenach?”

Claire stifled a giggle, but did not answer. She heard his footsteps head in her direction and then stop abruptly.

First, the Gibson guitar with a handwritten note on it that read “1979”.  She had set it on the floor between the kitchen and the living room.

She fought the urge to peek. Jamie walked on, his tread easily recognizable. Then it stopped again, right outside their bedroom. Lying there was the stethoscope he had given her after she had passed her medical school finals. Alongside it was another note that read “1981”.

“Oh, God.” Jamie’s voice was muffled behind the door, and Claire couldn’t resist.

“Jamie?”

The door opened and finally, he saw her. Standing in the middle of the room, holding the last of the notes. This one had a purple question mark drawn on it, and “2018” printed beneath it.

“’Tis true?” Jamie’s smile was blinding as he knelt in front of Claire, reaching out to her. His arms went around her legs and his face pressed against her still-flat belly. Her own hands brushed back his hair, and she caught the trickle of a tear sliding down his cheek.

“Are you happy, Jamie?” A knot in her throat made the words come out in a whisper. Jamie raised his head to look up at her. His eyes were radiant, and he placed a kiss on her stomach.

“I’m verra happy, Sassenach.” He smoothed her blouse over the invisible bump reverently. “Och, lad—or lass—” he added, with a smile in his voice, “we canna wait to meet ye. I’m yer Da.” Jamie cleared his throat. “Ye ken yer mam already, I’m sure. She’s a lady of grace, a woman of strength, a doctor and an astonishing beauty. She’s yer mam, Claire Fraser.”

*

FIN

Summer Playlist

Aries: “Let’s get lost you can take me home, somewhere nice we can be alone, bikini tops coming off” // Lady Gaga, Summerboy

Taurus: “And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind, I can never leave the past behind. I can see no way, i can see no way, I’m always dragging that horse around” // Florence + the Machine, Shake It Out

Gemini: “She was mine, I was hers, And all that’s in between. If she would cry, I would shelter her, and keep her from the darkness that will be” // Ed Sheeran, Sunburn

Cancer: “If you are breathing in my tears, I won’t let them dry. If you’re still squirming in my scar, I won’t let it heal. Even if it hurts, it’s okay if it’s you. Even if they are sad memories, it’s okay if they’re mine” Lee Hi ft. Jennie Kim, Special

Leo:  “So don’t you worry your pretty little mind, People throw rocks at things that shine and life makes love look hard.  The stakes are high, the water’s rough, But this love is ours” // Taylor Swift, Ours

Virgo: “What is love if you’re not here with me? What is love if it’s not guaranteed? What is love if it just ups and leaves? What is love if you’re not here no more? What is love if you’re not really sure?” // V Bozeman, What is Love

Libra: “I’ll be as honest as you let me, I miss your early morning company, if you get me. You are my favorite ‘what if’. You are my best ‘I’ll never know’” // Fall Out Boy // Fourth of July 

Scorpio: “We’re nothing like we seem, passionate words are never spoken. You don’t know how I bleed when I leave your side” // Beyoncé, Satellites 

Sagittarius: “Moods that take me and erase me, and I’m painted black. You have suffered enough, and warred with yourself. It’s time that you won” // Glen Hansard, Falling Slowly

Capricorn: “You hold me without touch, You keep me without chains. I never wanted anything so much, than to drown in your love and not feel your rain” // Sarah Bareilles, Gravity 

Aquarius: “Sounds of laughter shades of life are ringing through my open ears, inciting and inviting me. Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns and calls me on and on, across the universe” // The Beatles, Across The Universe 

Pisces: “Take my hand, stay Joanne. Heaven’s not ready for you. Every part of my aching heart needs you more than the angels do” // Lady Gaga, Joanne 

a long post about the message of the blurryface era

all the blurryface music videos (and heathens) seem to be pretty different from the rest but all of them have the same theme, which is that connection with friends is the best way to cope, and no one is really alone.

heathens/heavydirtysoul - these two music videos parallel each other closely as i talked about in my last post. both start with tyler in a dark and unfamiliar place. he is sad and withdrawn. then, he sees josh. josh is drumming furiously and doesn’t notice tyler. 

in both music videos tyler is represented by dark motifs (rooms, clothes, etc.) while josh’s motifs are glowing and bright. heathens - he’s drumming on a glowing box, which eventually becomes the stage on which he and tyler play. heavydirtysoul - his drums spark flames with every hit; they grow larger and eventually consume tyler as well. 

both videos reach a climax in which tyler and josh interact with each other for the first time. the light (heathens) and flame (hds) grows to a blinding maximum and the two are rocking out together. josh is no longer ignoring tyler. tyler is no longer withdrawn; he is interacting with josh and for the moment his anxiety is gone. it’s a release but it’s not a painful one. he is coping. 

and then in the end everything is back to normal - no yellow suit, no light, no flames. tyler is still there alone. blurryface is as present as ever. and the implication is that he has imagined josh. this is why josh didn’t notice tyler both times. he was merely an attempt for tyler to find someone to relate to. a cathartic figment of imagination. an imagination of light that tyler hasn’t found yet. 

and what these songs mean in relation to the videos is clear. “all my friends are heathens” - there are so many people here going through the same thing as me, and while the general public considers us freaks, we are all here together and ready to stay that way. “can you save my heavydirtysoul” - implies desperately trying to find a way out of the situation. imagining salvation so fervently that it manifests as almost reality. salvation, here, is josh and the flames. 

lane boy - this one is kind of similar to heathens and heavydirtysoul in that it starts with tyler, alone and contemplating, in the dark. but this time he’s worried about what he has done to become successful, and whether it’s good enough, and whether fame will change him and limit him. all these worries are new to the band, because they’re at the beginning of their rise to fame at this point. and in the video the dark road in the woods symbolizes that they’re in the dark and they’re being careful. stay low they say. 

and then they’re playing on a stage, and everything is forgotten, and they REFUSE to stay low. if you notice in the video the moment tyler sees josh on stage, that is the moment he breaks his silence and starts to dance. to me this video represents that even though not everyone in the crowd might like what the band is doing, and even though there are critics behind that stage and out in that world, being able to play in front of thousands, together, tyler and josh, is worth it. at the end of this video is the realization that having each other means much more than success. 

stressed out - i think this video illustrates the point the most obviously, but it does a great job handling the dichotomy between wanting to grow up and not wanting to grow up. obviously tyler and josh would rather hang out with each other, with no responsibilities, and make music without having to worry about how it is going to be received. and part of the music video is the deliberate denial of reality, and the fantasy of regressing into teenagerhood. but the last part? that’s the acknowledgement that they’re not always going to be kids and life will not be easy. tyler is walking down the street, alone, and without the backpack and the tricycle. this is a sign he’s maturing. and blurryface, he’s there too. i think that entire scene is representative of coming of age.

ride/fairly local - like heathens and heavydirtysoul, i think there’s strong evidence these videos parallel each other. both take place in an isolated location and make use of very polarized (no pun intended) environments. ride - the daytime and the nighttime. fairly local - the icy house and the red hallway. 

so in ride, i think it’s really important that the verses and the bridge take place at night. this is where tyler is doing all his worrying. he doesn’t know what his place in life is and what his relationship to others is. who would you live for, who would you die for, would you ever kill? he’s overanalyzing. he’s in the dark, both literally and metaphorically, about everything. and he doesn’t know where he stands with anyone. he can’t see. he’s wearing dark glasses at night. josh is nowhere to be seen. and then the chorus is where he lets up. he acknowledges that there is a lot to worry about and a lot to analyze over, but he can still enjoy his life. even though he’s hurling through the unfamiliar course of life he can still take the time to look at the things that he loves. and the light comes on, and he can look at the beauty that’s around him, and he can see that there are people and things that mean a lot to him even though he’s questioning it all. 

and then we have fairly local, where the majority of the video takes place in an icy house. the whole video seems very disconnected from the rest of the world. it’s freezing and desolate, both tyler and josh seem to ignore each other, and their demeanor is cold and apathetic. they’re trying very hard to remain unemotional, closed off, unable to see the damage they do to themselves and others. but that denial of their own feelings - that’s where blurryface manifests. he’s what’s causing their isolation, he’s there in the red hallway, changing into something darker and darker as tyler and josh continue to distance themselves.

and a thing i like about fairly local is that the quiet and desolate atmosphere of the video completely contradicts the lyrics of the song. “im fairly local, ive been around, ive seen the streets, youre walking down.” “the few, the proud, and the emotional.” he’s talking about the fanbase, and josh, and jenna, and everyone he’s been able to connect with. and the sense of group mentality and empathy are completely antithetical to the cold, quiet video that they represent breaking out of that atmosphere. 

tear in my heart - this one is an oddball. all the music videos from this era have the common thread of using human connection as a symbol of coping with blurryface. most videos choose to represent that with the relationship between tyler and josh, but this video uses tyler and jenna instead. i think the content of the video is pretty straightforward, and a lot of people have dived into this theory, but the scene in which jenna beats up tyler is important. a common interpretation is that this scene actually represents jenna beating up blurryface. blurryface doesn’t give up without a fight, of course. wrestling with such a character, such a deeply rooted part of your thoughts, is going to cause some distress. there is pain involved in battling your own mind, but the pain is a sign that you are able to fight, that you’re doing it. sometimes you gotta bleed to know that you’re alive and have a soul. but it takes someone to come around and show you how. jenna and tyler’s love for each other is what gives tyler the power to challenge blurryface, but he won’t be able to do that without some pain involved. 

and now i think i understand why blurryface is the name of this strange part of everyone’s brain. the literal opposite of the word blurryface is of course clear face. as in being able to see people’s faces clearly. blurryface is the opposite of seeing people for who they truly are. blurryface is the opposite of joining people who are fighting the same battles as you and really connecting with them. the opposite of blurryface is friendship and truth, and we must always find comfort in the fact that we are not alone. there are always people out there for you. and that’s how you defeat a demon. 

some of you wanted more of this stuff

and in celebration of the new movie coming out– I MEAN, DID YOU GUYS SEE MOKUBA???? thank GOD he didn’t follow his brother’s actual fashion sense or it would’ve been chaos

2

I’m not crazy about taking my shirt off for a movie. Right now, that’s the thing: You have a young, handsome actor, take his shirt off, put him in front of the camera. It sets up this pressure to stay camera ready all the time. I don’t want to think about myself that much. The guys who do it are like, ‘Oh, it’s been two hours, I have to eat yams. My glycemic index is dropping.’ It can very easily turn people into narcissists. It just seems silly.

Long-ass SB/ho tips outline and I don’t even care

I’m on a roll today haha.  Been typing these out as I think of them all week, so here is a list of things in order of what I perceive to be least to most talked about:

1. Be able to leave at any time. You never know when you’re going to have to make a run for it or if you feel unsafe and need to bounce.  This includes:

  • Know your exits.  Not all places have the exit the same as the entrance.  Figure out where the exit is either before you walk in or as soon as you do.
  • Keep all your things as close together as possible.  Pretty easy if you’re in a public place, but if you are at a hotel or his house or something, try to either keep everything packed or all your things in one place.  This makes you look neat and organized too, or at least you can claim that if he calls you on it.
  • When you’re done brushing your teeth, pack away your toothbrush again.  This goes for everything.  When you use it, put it back.
  • Keep your dirty clothes folded next to your suitcase, if not in it.
  • Keep your purse on your person or with your things.  I usually put it on the nightstand so it’s easy to remember, and my clothes/rest of my things usually end up next to the bed anyway.  Take your bag to the bathroom, especially if there are things inside that reveal your identity if you don’t want him to see.
  • If you take off your clothes, leave them right-side-out.  If you don’t do it as you take your clothes off, just fix them as soon as they’re off.  Leave all your clothes in one place.  If you’re naked and need to run, this speeds up the process and you don’t look a complete mess when you get outside.
    • For your shirt, grab the bottom hem and pull it over your head.  Once the neck clears your head, take the hem of one sleeve and pull your arm out of it.  Then use that arm to hold both sleeves as you remove your other arm.  This leaves you holding both sleeves by the ends as the shirt hangs down and your shirt stays ready to be put on quickly.
    • For your pants, step on the hem with one foot to slide the other leg out.  Might be a little tough with skinny jeans or leggings, but try to pull from the bottoms and slide out instead of peeling them off your body.
  • Have the number for a local taxi service saved in your phone.  Or Uber, or a friend nearby, or whatever you feel like.  Don’t rely on him to get you home.
  • Pack a pair of flats if you can because running in heels is way too hard.
  • If you do need to leave, put on your underwear, then pants.  Don’t need to wear the bra.  Put on your shirt, grab your things and leave.  Run to the staircase–don’t risk the elevator in case a bunch of people with luggage hold it up long enough for him to find you there.  Go barefoot down the stairs, then put on your shoes after you’ve reached the bottom.  At this point you should be holding your purse and bra, maybe socks, jacket, heels if you packed flats, and jewelry.  As you walk to the door, put your jewelry and bra in your purse if you can.  Put socks in the heels, or hold them if you’re wearing the heels.  Get into the taxi.  Put your bra on around your stomach, then pull it up under your shirt so you’re wearing it like a strapless bra (you can fix this later if you want).  Put on your socks if you have them.  Double check that you grabbed everything.  Get home safe.

2. Have a safe place to go to if needed.  This is anywhere very public and preferably somewhere you cannot be followed.  Know how to get there from wherever you are.

  • If you have a membership at a gym, they usually check membership cards at the door. 
  • If you are military/dependent, go on base. 
  • Go to your place of work and hide in the break room.  If your coworkers ask, say it was a Tinder date gone wrong and this creepy old guy is following you.
  • Worst case scenario, go to the bathroom in a public place.  Enlist the help of other women in there/call the hostess of the restaurant or a nearby store and explain the situation.

3. Put your phone on airplane mode.  Turn WiFi and location off.  I’ve seen it mentioned before where people pop up as Facebook suggestions.  If you spend a lot of time in the same area as someone, Facebook knows.  Even with location off, it can tell your location via WiFi access point and which cell your phone is connected to.  Turning off location and WiFi will help, but you need to disconnect your phone from service to block that avenue too.  I would say turn your phone off entirely, but my phone takes 6 million years to power on, so that could be dangerous in an emergency.  Turning off airplane mode can allow you to reconnect quickly to service.  (This is also useful because then your phone won’t be buzzing and stuff.  No distractions.)

4. Tell a friend where you’re going and what time you expect to be back.  Keep them updated with changes.  Even if they don’t respond, having it in writing somewhere can keep you safe if anything happens.  Message me where you’re going if you don’t have anyone else idgaf.

5. Ask for everything upfront.  Whatever you agreed on (cash, gifts, dinner, whatever), make sure you get it first.  I feel like everyone on Tumblr already knows this, but maybe one person will read this who hadn’t read it elsewhere and it’ll help.

6. Keep these things in your bag.

As always, add stuff I didn’t think of if you have anything!  Stay safe and may the sugar gods bless you all.