the fact that in your eyes was playing in the background

PSA

I follow a lot of awesome vegans and a lot of vegan posts pop up on my dash. I’M NOT GETTING INTO AN ARGUMENT ABOUT VEGANISM WITH ANYONE. THAT’S NOT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. I just feel like I need to address a trend I see pretty frequently:

Anthropomorphism of farm animals.

This is DANGEROUS, for both the animals and the people who believe what’s being said about these animals. 

For example, cows. 

For obvious reasons the images of cows in posts talking about how cows aren’t dumb, unfeeling hamburgers in waiting are generally like this:

And usually they’re accompanied by talk of how they can be trained, how they have best friends (which is actually true!) and how sweet they can be. 

On the other side, there are posts like this going around 

Thing is, cows do not cry tears like humans do. In fact, there are a lot of posts claiming to present animals weeping like humans do (and not always by vegans).  In fact watery discharge can be a sign of early eye infections in cattle. Claiming they’re tears of sadness normalizes signs of ill health as normal animal emotions. This is also I why I get so worked up over people saying a stressed out dog with its lips pulled back is ‘smiling and happy’. 

All of these posts combine to make the popular perception of cows something they’re absolutely not and is very dangerous for people with their hearts in the right place looking to help the world out. 

Cows are dangerous. I feel like I shouldn’t have to tell people that a thousand pound animal is dangerous, but I do. Not the people I see on my dash, but actual people looking to interact with actual cows (I work with them). Yes, they can be lovely and docile when socialized and handled correctly and consistently but if you have no way of knowing the cows background you have no way of knowing their temperament. If you decide to volunteer at cattle rescues, this will very likely be the case. Moreover, well socialized and docile cattle ARE STILL DANGEROUS AS FUCK. Even the most tame animals can lash out if in pain, under stress or “out of nowhere” (read: lashing out because from their judgement of a situation in makes sense to them, but you misread their judgement). So you get things like this:

With the huge emphasis on docile cows who are good, loving, devoted mothers it’s understandable someone would want to give her a calming and congratulatory stroke after giving birth. 

That cow could have killed her. 

This is obviously dangerous for humans but it’s also dangerous for cows. Aggressive animals are often euthanized, no matter what provoked the aggression and it also inflates statistics that could be used as a counter argument to veganism. 

The same sort of thing happens to pigs. 

The vegan info posts about pigs tend to use images like this:

Cute, eh? The posts also talk about how intelligent these animals are and how they can be kept as pets. Who wouldn’t want one? Usually people who look into pigs as pets look into ‘mini’ pigs or ‘micro’ pigs. Pigs that will stay small forever. Except even ‘mini’ pigs can grow to a hundred pounds in size and they’re STRONG. I say ‘mini’ because sometimes people are duped into buying regular piglets that are claimed to be fully grown. 

Which brings me back to warning anyone who wants to volunteer at a pig rescue that pigs. are. huge. People mislead into thinking they’re not will likely not keep and care for their little pig once it’s not so little and I don’t know anyone who would/could keep a 500 lb hog in their home and/or backyard. 

And, like with cows, they are DANGEROUS. 

And, unlike cows, they are not herbivores. 

PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED AND EATEN BY PIGS. Yes, eaten. One could argue that this happens when pigs aren’t well socialized and habituated with humans, but if you’re working with a pig you don’t know you have no guarantee that they’re tame. 

I could go on, but cows and pigs are the animals I see most represented in these posts (chickens too, but they pose less of a threat, unless you count avian flu) and another thing I see very frequently are cute pictures and videos and cows, pigs, and chickens interacting with dogs. If you’re under the impression that these animals are sweet and docile and your dog is also sweet, what could go wrong?

A lot. 

Odds are your animals will not be used to interacting with an animal of that species and these animals ‘languages’ don’t always translate! Animals get things mixed up all the time! The most common one I’ve seen is a dog misreading a cat’s irritated swishy tail as a wagging ‘I want to play!’ tail. Claws to the face aren’t fun, but attacked by a large animal? Possibly deadly. Dogs do not comprehend size and strength and potential for an aggressive strike in the same way that we do. That’s why you end up with things like this:

Again, that dog could’ve easily died OR MIGHT HAVE DIED LATER. 

This little trooper was kicked by a cow

Projecting your feelings and ideas onto an animal can potentially kill them. Again, if you have the opportunity to work with these animals KEEP YOUR OWN ANIMALS AWAY. 

All of these things remind me very much of the people who claim wolves are nothing but big puppies, or who cohabitant snakes so they don’t get ‘lonely’. 

You can’t love and advocate for the protection of an animal when you only love and advocate for the protection of your fantasy of that animal because when real animals fall short of that, real animals get hurt. 

Horses, cows, and pigs are big. Respect their size. Horses, cows, and pigs ALL have the potential to become aggressive. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Respect their potential to become aggressive. 

Thank you, 

Signed, a person who is sick to fucking death of watching adults assume every farm animal I work with has the personality of a bowl of whipped cream and the patience of a saint and encourage their children to interact with them as such. That’s how animal “attacks” happen, that’s how lifetime fears and hatreds are born. 

harry potter fandom, circa 2007
  • harrypotterfanfiction.com
  • harmony vs romione vs dramione – it was getting UGLY out there (hell, it’s STILL ugly out there)
  • constant idealization of draco and constant demonization of ron – which led to the creation of the “draco in leather pants” and “ron the death eater” tropes. (you still see this, of course, but i think we’re getting better)
  • my immortal dramatic readings EVERYWHERE
  • my immortal still being on fanfiction.net
  • actual fanart of my immortal
  • soooo many youtube music videos for the creator’s otp
  • “harry potter chatroom” videos on youtube where the premise was that each character had a laptop and was in an online chatroom for some reason. usually each character got their own music that played in the background while they “typed,” and they all looked like this:
  • i wish i was kidding
  • i may have been obsessed with these when i was nine
  • so many fanvids of draco with “untitled” by simple plan (aka “how could this happen to meeeeeeeeeeeee i made my mistaaaaaaaakes”)
  • fanfics where voldemort had a daughter (and it was ALWAYS a daughter. pre-cursed child, mind you.)
  • people actually liking snape
  • pretty blatantly ignoring the fact that electricity doesn’t work at hogwarts in fanfictions
  • THE RISE OF DRARRY
  • drapple (draco + green apples. not joking.)
  • that fanfic that was a lemon of the giant squid and the hogwarts castle… i can’t be the only one that read it out of sheer morbid curiosity 
  • jily fanfics that gave lily two OC friends that would be paired off with sirius and remus
  • no muggleborn slytherins, ever
  • fanmade potter puppet pal videos – some of them were quite good, but most weren’t
  • bashing viktor krum, cho chang, lavender brown, fleur delacour, and the entire weasley family for no reason
  • fics where people “switched houses”
  • people actually shipping snily
  • you could always tell the author’s opinion of draco malfoy based on whether they called him “malfoy” or “draco” in their narration
  • fanvids of “you belong with me” for every ship imaginable 
  • the trio ALWAYS being white in fanart
  • fics where hermione randomly got hot over the summer
  • sorting yourself into slytherin to be “edgy”
  • or because you had a crush on tom felton
  • or both
  • pairing hermione with literally every male character. ron, harry, draco, cedric, fred and george (sometimes both at once), lucius, snape, voldemort, neville, dean, seamus… if they interacted in canon (or even if they didn’t), they were shipped
  • “transfer student” OCs to explain why they haven’t been there for the past five years
  • not many same-gender pairings apart from wolfstar and drarry
  • harmony fanfics making ginny an “evil bitchy slut” and ron a drunken rapist so harry and hermione can find comfort in each other’s arms
  • people placing literal bets with actual money on who would die in the last book
  • which led to a bit of an issue for people who had bet on harry, as no one was sure whether or not it actually counted since he didn’t stay dead
  • my immortal predicting that harry would turn out to be a horcrux
  • people flipping the fuck out when their otps got sunk in the epilogue and swearing off the series forever
  • everyone having a crush on oliver wood (to be fair this one is completely understandable)
  • school play fanfics, usually with the purpose of getting their otp to kiss on stage (i am 1000% convinced jk rowling had “tales of beedle the bard” mention that theatrical productions are banned at hogwarts specifically to get people to knock it off)
  • “american exchange student” OCs
  • a girl ends up in harry’s (or draco’s) dorm for some reason – either bc she’s pulling a mulan or because of a mistake no one bothered to fix
  • lots of fanfics of the otp banging bc “i don’t want to die a virgin”
  • “101 ways to annoy lord voldemort” lists
  • calling voldemort “moldyshorts”
  • fanfics of the characters somehow reading the harry potter books and reacting to them (these were all taken down bc of copyright)
  • leaving peter out of marauders fanart and fanfic (i understand the urge but come on he was a marauder it’s what made his betrayal so tragic)
  • fred/george fanfic (my eyes, they bleed)
  • fred and george (but mostly fred) being the school heartthrobs
  • think of any two characters. any two. there is a fanfiction somewhere that ships them. (this is still true, of course – in a fandom this massive, it’s inevitable)
  • if you spoiled THAT DEATH from the sixth book, and someone murdered you for it, it was your fault
  • same with THAT DEATH from the fifth book. and a certain few THOSE DEATHS from the seventh.
  • cedric dying was old news within like a month though.
  • the divide between people who had gotten into the series late (or, sometimes, because of the movies) and people who had been there since (almost) the beginning
  • people refusing to go online until they’d finished reading the seventh book for fear of spoilers (i am SO glad i didn’t have tumblr back then)
  • people actually saying they wanted to join the death eaters
  • every character was either good or evil. no in between as far as the fandom was concerned.
  • everyone’s icon looking like this for some reason


  • dramione fanfics where he calls her mudblood AFTER THEY START DATING??? AND SHE PUTS UP WITH IT????
  • dramione fics where hermione heals him with her love
  • making ginny out to be the school bicycle and basically burning her at the stake for going on dates
  • fics where the head boy and girl get their own separate room??? for some reason???
  • VAMPIRE AUS (usually harry and/or draco)
  • dumbledore either being 100% heroic or satan
  • hermione’s parents always being named “dan and emma”
  • fics where hermione turns out to be adopted and a pureblood all along!
  • harry switching to the dark side for some reason??
  • basically
  • the harry potter fandom has ALWAYS been wild
  • it’s the same shit as always, the details are just different
Pepero Day (M)

MASTERLIST

Pairing: Yoongi x reader

Genre: Smut, Bestfriend!Yoongi, Valentine’s Day themed

Word count: 5.7k

warnings: Rated M, language, graphic sexual descriptions

A/N: This was meant to be a valentine’s day fic, but it’s a day late, rip. I hope you enjoy it regardless!

Keep reading

Baby girl

CEO!Ash - This is pure fucking filth alright

Words: 6.1k

“Miss y/n, what’s your input on this?”

You heard your colleague’s voice in the background. But you didn’t react to it. You were focused on something else. Rather someone else. Your boss, that was sitting on the other end of the table, twisting and twirling a pen between his long, slender fingers. He was completely staring at you, head cocked to one side in a rather smug attitude. He was young, not much older than you. Only by a year or two. It always amazed you how successful he was for his age, but with that charm - although he most of the time radiated arrogance… and that smile, his success did not surprise you.

You’d lie if you said you weren’t attracted to him. Hell, that man could have his way with you without you even questioning it, you wouldn’t mind at all. In fact, you wanted it. You wanted him to fuck you, and by judging the look he was giving you, you understood he knew that, too. What made your chest rise and your heartbeat increase, was the fact that he tugged on the collar of his shirt. Then, he gazed up at you again, and the look he was shooting you this time made you weak. He wanted it, too.

“Miss?” your colleague repeated.

Keep reading

on the new Iron Fist series

So after binge watching a ton of Marvel’s new Iron Fist series, I went onto tumblr, wondering what the fandom was up to now, what with all these new gifs and stuff to make. ‘Maybe I would find some fan art or something’ I thought innocently to myself,

BUT BOY WAS I WRONG

instead, I was greeted with SO MUCH DISCOURSE on how Iron Fist ‘needs a chinese-american actor’ or ‘has terrible dialogue and is slow’.

the best part is when I found out that some of y’all are trying to get this show boycotted like ‘????’

Now as a Chinese-speaking Asian female, living in Asia, with an Asian background and a good know-how of Chinese history, as well as a decent knowledge of comic books, (although I confess I got into the animated series first) I’m here to end the discussion before y’all get your full rage on and start fighting fans of the show like it’s Lord of the Flies up in here

So keep reading if you want to be educated or if you just want to fight me before you know what you’re even talking about

“THE SHOW INSULTS CHINESE CULTURE”

Uhhhh…no? I’ve seen a few episodes and I mean so far there isn’t really anything that screams ‘insult’ or even offensive in the slightest. Besides maybe the fact that they take the beliefs and twist them a little bit but honestly even that ain’t that bad as to what I’ve seen elsewhere.

I’ve read the boycott post and let me say that yea, they dressed him with an eye for Asian elements, but maybe that’s because it’s supposed to be resembling Asian clothing? I mean how is that offensive? Is it the part that it looks Asian? Or that you simply feel that white people that direct these shows should not be using Asian stuff for entertainment? Because I hate to break it to you but it’s still not offensive. Even the dragon tattoo is totally fine because it’s supposed to resemble Asian elements yea but also have y’all read the comics? Because he punched through a dragon and basically took it’s heart. So I mean a dragon tattoo kinda matches the theme.

I mean in the first episode they speak almost flawless Chinese for Pete’s sake! Hell, I was surprised that they even had it in them to have a non-Google translated line. Sure the accent was a little overdoing it cuz not even I have that thick a Chinese accent but I’ll excuse it since he was apparently learning and speaking 15 years. (I speak it maybe a few times a day for like the last 14 years or so only)

So no, the show doesn’t really insult Chinese culture, sure they might be ignorant, but you must understand that after generations of stereotypes and misconceptions that that can’t just go away with one show

“Danny Rand should be played by an Asian guy/be a Chinese-American”

I can’t even begin to tell you my frustration about this.

Y’all do know this show is based on the comics right?

You know, the one with the white guy.

I know Marvel is infamous for not including enough representation in their shows but seriously? This is like the Harry Potter thing all over again with Hermione being black, it’s not that we don’t want representation or anything, but it’s the fact that this hero that us comic fans have come to already love has been replaced. Or at least it feels like it. Like when a movie is made from a book and people go crazy because character XYZ suddenly has different traits or isn’t quite what was described as compared to the book.

Frankly, it sucks.

So even though yes, Marvel should have more Asians in their shows, don’t expect them to completely give the main character a makeover, even if the makeover was supposed to provide representation. And honestly? I don’t want them to change him because I really freaking love Iron Fist, just as he is.

“This show just villainizes Asians”

So you tell me that my race is being made villains because Marvel decided that most of their Asians on their shows are evil ninjas (aka the Hand) and at most there are like 3 sorta good Asians. Oh and I’m sorry, you want more Asian men that are good guys? You want a balance of Asian heroes?

Well I guess that would be kind of hard to fit into the story since, oh, I don’t know, everything happens in the USA?

If you want more Asian characters well then look no further because you do have them. Daisy Johnson from Agents of Shield? What about her extremely brave mom? Or maybe Colleen in Iron Fist? Everyone seems to be blatantly ignoring her badassery and only seeing the part where she’s a sorta love interest.

Facts are, there are Asian characters, you’re really just looking hard enough. I agree wholeheartedly when you say that more Asian men need to be in the Marvel universe that aren’t part of the bad guy team but you gotta say that they are still awesome.

Does anyone even remember the Japanese ninja yakuza guy from Daredevil? Dude got set on fire and STILL came back to kick ass. That’s a plus in my book because even though he’s considered bad, he’s been proven to be cunning, smart, and overall awesome.

“The show has terrible stunts/acting/dialogue/fight scenes”

From here on out it’s mostly just me trying to explain why the directors and writers of the show made decisions in the show to make it what it is, so let’s dive right into it.

  • STUNTS

Actually the stunts weren’t half-bad. If you’ve seen other shows or movies that are heavily reliant on stunts and action, and compare it to this show, they really aren’t that much different. Sure it might seem a little unbelievable sometimes like they’re breaking physics or something, but he already has a glowing fist. I think we’ve crossed the line of believable long ago.

  • ACTING

I have nothing to say about this except that go and take some acting or drama classes before coming and criticizing these awesome men and women who did indeed try their best

  • DIALOGUE

Now I get the dialogue might be a little weird at times and what not, but you must understand that this show was partially written with the Defenders series in mind. So almost everything that was said in the show is meant to lead to something more. Thus, you must take it as a bigger picture. Sorta like how everyone said that Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them wasn’t as good as they thought it would be, that movie was also meant to lead on to a bigger story so you might want to excuse the weird speech and cryptic lines at times.

  • FIGHT SCENES & ACTION

Okay seriously people, please read the comics. Danny Rand is supposed to be an accidental hero, one that doesn’t want to fight unless he really has zero choice in the matter. So yea, the fight scenes won’t be that interesting, but only because the character in question is more interested in ending the fight than anything.

~

So there you have it, my whole slightly angry info-dump on Iron Fist and Marvel’s representation problem in general. If you want to correct me or scold me even then by all means message me or shoot me an ask. But just keep in mind that Marvel can’t make all your problems go away in one show, and please for the love of all that is good read the comics before coming to rant okay?

Reasons to adopt Otabek

iNow that everyone has been revived after getting ‘good’ slaughtered by victuuri in ep.10, do you have some time to talk about Otabek Altin? The precious cinnamon roll and Yurio’s new friend?

Let’s get to know this Dark Horse.

Originally posted by sarapyon

So he’s 18, he was the first to qualify for GPF, won last season’s bronze and represents Kazakhstan.  

Many of you might not even be aware of the existence of this country, so in brief: Kazakhstan is a post USSR country in the centre of Eurasia, right between Russia, China, Middle East and Europe continent.

So, why would Kubo-sensei even include someone from there?
The answer is Kazakhstan’s real life figure skating hero - Denis Ten.

Originally posted by fyeahskatinggifs

Originally posted by hanyuedits

Denis Ten is: 

  • the first skater to represent KZ in international championships  
  • currently 23 years old
  • is from Kazakhstan but of a Korean origin
  • Olympic bronze medalist, World silver and bronze medalist, 4 Continents gold medalist, Asia Winter Sports gold medalist
  • cinnamon roll like you wouldn’t believe how sweet

Otabek is definitely inspired by Denis, and therefore I will take his perspective to judge his background.

The thing about sport athletes in Kazakhstan is that they’re ALWAYS self-made. Neither education system nor sports practice is well-developped here yet. Which is understandable since the country is still young (25 years of Independance, yay) and confused in many aspects. That’s not fine but we manage. That however does not change the fact that Kazakh sport education is a complete bullshit when compared to Europe, USA, Asia or Russia (with the exception of boxing and martial arts, probably). 

Therefore if you are from KZ and want a world champion for a kid, these are the steps you need to take:
1. Sign them up for sports club early. No team sports, only individual. Team sports have no future here yet.
2. Once they start to show a talent, interest and/or competitive spirit send them to Russia. Russia has better coaches, facilities and programme. Russia is close, cheap and easy to travel to, and not emotionally stressing for the kid, since it’s the same environment there. 
3. Once they come of an age to participate in a competition SEND THEM AS FAR AS YOUR BUDGET ALLOWS YOU. USA and Canada for figure skating. USA, Europe and Australia for swimming and tennis. Why? Because it’s one thing to train in your rivals’ adobe, all of them young talented and ambitious, being coached by their coach, at the same time as them, and completely other thing to be enrolled in a kind of sports boarding school where the coach is from some France and other students are from all over the world, struggling to get better same as you. Goverment does not provide any stable scholarships for this, btw. It’s all up to parents to find, choose and pay for. If you happen to have a kind, well-educated and persistant coach in KZ, they might win you some bonuses in a harsh battle against bureaucracy, but it will not be enough to cover for all or even half of it. 

LAST YEAR!!!! You hear me?? He was 17, and already a bronze medalist when he returned to his hometown!! 

That means that all the time before he spent overseas. Can you imagine that?? A 13-16 year old Otabek in another hemisphere from his home. That’s like half an equator, one ocean and 11-14 timezones away. 

a l l   b y   h i m s e l f

struggling with language barrier (think he had time to perfect his English before? not likely), with harsh training and obligatory schoolwork - all on top of taking care of himself all by himself.  

Can you imagine Otabek coming back on one of those days to an epmty room in a dorm and messages from his family. Calls might be very hard to time up with such time diference. His mom inquiring how he has been, if he eats properly and does his laundry in time, scheduling for skype calls, updating him on his relatives and friends, giving advice on treating colds and stomach ache, and all those other things that most of the boys his age get for granted. 

My heart aches over thinking how lonely he must’ve felt. 

And, he probably wouldn’t be able to tell them, if anything would not go well. Because there would be nothing they could do from over there, it would only cause them to worry more. Even more than they already would have been.

So there was only one way for him: to suck it up, train hard, suceed and make them proud.

He is not trying to prove himself to himself as Yuuri, nor does he need to prove himself over others like Yurio. He doesn’t want it for fame like JJ, he wants it for his family, his people and his country. That’s any Kazakh’s default mission in life - make your parents proud. Especially after he had returned home with a medal and proved himself to be capable of competing at the same level as Victor fucking Nikiforov and Christophe Jeacometti!!!!!! Him! A Kazakh boy of 17 years!! Kubo-sensei does not joke around when calling him a hero, because he is one! A hero and a history-maker, same as Phichit.

We haven’t seen his coach or team yet, but I have a feeling that it would be the same situation as Denis’s. Meaning, he doesn’t have one. 

Denis Ten often travels (or used to travel) to the competitions by himself. There is no staff assigned to help him out. He is used to do trivial things like filling paper forms, booking time for practice, booking hotels, turning in audio tracks for the performance, etc. There have been numerous times when they had either messed up the music at the start of his performance or even played the wrong hymn during the awards ceremony. In his interview, Denis admitted to being totally lost at what to do at those time. There’s also no one to defend/protect him when something comes up, since there’s no one from KZ who has a weight in figure skating world. 

I have a distinctive feeling Otabek will be the same.  

I mean, how the hell would he be comfortable enough to rent a bike and ride all over Bar-freaking-celona, with no fear to get lost/in trouble, if he wasn’t used to this kind of responsibilities? Again, he’s 18. 

At the same time Yurio is like: 

 

Therefore his friendship with Yurio is truly a blessing. They do have a lot in common, they’re practically from the same background: the lifestyle in KZ and Russia does not really differ. It’s the same culture, the same language (KZ is bilinguial: both Kazakh and Russian are widely spoken), a really similar mindset, educational system, environment, custom etc. They’re both outsiders in the current lineup, striving to make a name for themselves. It’s almost the same as 5 years ago in that camp when both Otabek and Yurio were new to the rink in Saint-Petersburg. That’s what Otabek referring to, I think, when he says Yurio had eyes of a soldier. In that environment they’d be both treated the same, you know. Otabek as a no one from nowhere and Yurio as a that guy from Moscow. Not even sure what’d have been worse.

Also there’s a post going around about bad realtion between Russians and Kazakhs, stressing that Kazakh is an inferior race to Russians - PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE DO NOT BELIEVE IT THAT IS NOT TRUE!!!!!!! 

Our nations have always been close, we have a long and complicated history but the friendship between two countries and people is very strong. 

There are some issues in terms of racism on both sides but it is very rare/obscure case and is usually triggered by something.

Therefore I ask you to support Otabek Altin and his friendship with Yurochka!
Please do adopt him! Please do dote on him! He really deserves and needs that! 

Originally posted by christinophern

and if you have some more feels to spare, please take a look at  Denis Ten too :3  

Thank you for reading, 
with love from Kazakhstan

The Ultimate Guide to POT Dates

POT
noun, (pronounced: pē-oh-tē)
A potential Sugar Daddy. This is a man you have not met yet, but are considering starting an arrangement with, or have been on a date with, but haven’t established anything solid yet. In short, a man who you think could potentially be your sugar daddy, but aren’t quite sure yet.

So you’ve checked out his profile, messaged with him a little, decided he could be the one for you; the main question asked now is - what do I do next?

The answer is simple, but for the Sugar Babies who are new, it’s often terrifying. Using the experience I’ve gotten after being a Sugar Baby for a while, I’ve put together a complete guide on how to handle that very first date, so that maybe it goes a little smoother than mine did! xo

Before You Meet

  • Get a feel for him over messaging/text - There’s nothing worse than being stuck for an hour or two with a man who has an attitude, is full of himself, or is just salty, that’s why it’s important to work out what type of person he is. 
                    ‣ Identifying Factors:
                            - He has a sleezy username on SA: if his username is ‘CunnilingusMaster69′ or something along those lines, it’s blatantly obvious what’s he looking for.
                            - His responses don’t mirror yours: think about conversational mirroring and use it to help you gauge the success of your conversation. It’s a form of social psychology that is pretty important to how anyone is perceived. If you’re typing out paragraph after paragraph and he is replying with short responses (or vice versa), it’s obvious one party is more interested than the other.
                            - He asks for sexual photos: if he’s asking for sexual photos without even met with you for the first time, then he’s got one thing on his mind and it’s probably pay per play. However, most Sugar Daddy’s will ask for extra photo’s, to make sure you’re not catfishing them, so be ready for that request and have extra photo’s you can send that aren’t on your profile (I usually send one cute selfie and a second full body pic in a nice outfit.) Please note: Snapchat ‘puppy’ filter selfies are not appropriate to send as an additional selfie, maybe once you’ve met him a few times, but not prior to a first meet. You’re already younger than him, there is no need to make yourself seem even younger.
                            - He asks you questions of a sexual nature (ie: your favorite position, sexual history, what you’re into, kinkiest desires, etc): there is absolutely no need for tacky sexual questions, especially if you two haven’t met before. It is important to understand that yes, sugaring is based on sex, sugaring is sex work, but it’s not only sex. Sugaring is about companionship, chemistry, new experiences, and then sex. If he requires a detailed list of what you will or will not do sexually just to meet you for the first time, then he is obviously not looking for a sugar arrangement, he’s just looking for pay per play (which is fine if pay per play is what you’re looking for, each sugar baby is entitled to her own wants and desires out of an arrangement).
                   ‣ Tip:
                           - Whenever an SD asks me “what i am willing to do”, i always reply with this. It’s elegant, polite, and successfully moves the conversation to other topics.
  • Get as many details about him as you can - Meeting someone off the internet is always a little unnerving, especially when it’s a man twice or three times your age. To feel safer, ask for as many details from him as you can, then reverse search the information you have (ie: his phone number, email, name, etc.) to find out his address, income, family members, and other information of the sort. The same goes with photo’s, reverse search them to find out company info, criminal history, and if he’s on any other sites (this helps cross-check age, location, and other facts he has listed on his profile).
  • Choose an identity and stick to it - Think about the type of person you want to convey (ie: the struggling but motivated university student, the driven twenty-something, the educated single mother, the urban socialite, etc) and build yourself up around that image. If you don’t feel comfortable using your real name with POT’s, use a fake name. Invent fake facts and stories or recall certain facts and stories from your life that correspond to the type of person you want to be. Remember, the more you have, the better. Most POT’s will ask you to some extent, some more than others, about you (ie: your job, your likes/dislikes, your upbringing, your dreams/aspirations, your background, your parents/their occupation, etc) and you will need to be prepared to answer. On the other hand, be prepped with questions to ask him, this date is about getting to know each other, it’s a waste of time if you leave knowing nothing about him.
                  ‣ Tip:
                           - If you’re struggling with coming up with questions, check out this and this, there’s a large variety of questions that you could use.
  • Make sure he understands that absolutely nothing sexual will happen on this date - There should be no sex on a first date, absolutely nothing sexual. If your POT believes that coffee/lunch/dinner/drinks and a hundred dollars should equal sex in the hotel down the block, then you leave him right there and then. We are ladies looking for gentlemen with the means to provide for us and support us. If he’s only interested in sex in exchange for money, then he’s looking for an escort, not a sugar baby. (Note: if sex in exchange for money is what you’re looking for, then go right ahead and make that cash, every girl is allowed to make her own choices!)
  • Agree to meet in a PUBLIC place - Always meet for the first time in a public place (A restaurant, coffee shop, bar, hotel lounge/lobby, etc) because your safety and comfort comes first! If he invites you up to his hotel room for a drink, decline by saying that is something you would love to do sometime, but would feel better meeting in a public space first. If you starts arguing or does not agree to this, drop him. You don’t need to waste your time on an asshole like him. 
                 ‣ Additionally: 
                          - Have your own transportation to and from your meet! Do not get into his car thinking you’ll save a little cash, even if he was kind and definitely legitimate! Personally: I don’t let POT’s get me an Uber home either, I don’t feel comfortable with them knowing my exact address.
  • Ask for a gift - While this isn’t something that is necessary to do, it’s something that I do. If you’re aiming for a gift, make sure to ask after you have made plans to meet or at least a day before you meet, this gives the POT time to either go shopping for you or go to an ATM for some cash. If you’re aiming for travel compensation, then feel free to ask a few hours before or even during the date, travel compensation is something usually all POT’s will agree to. This or this are the ways I use to ask, either one usually work flawlessly.
                 ‣  Keep in mind
                         - It is not a red flag if he declines to bring you a gift! At this point in your relationship, he owes you just as much as you owe him, which is nothing. If he declines, just say that’s it’s okay and then (if you still want a little cash) try the travel compensation method.
  • Text to confirm - One of the worst things is dolling yourself up and then coming out to meet, only to find that your POT actually couldn’t make it. That’s why it’s important to confirm your meeting a few hours before in a quick little text.
  • Stay SAFE - Safety has always and will always be the number one thing in the sugar bowl which is why you need to make sure you have at least one person who know’s who you’re meeting, where, and when. If you don’t feel comfortable telling anyone you know in real life, message me and I will gladly be your safety contact. In addition to having a safety contact, it is always a good idea to carry around a bottle of mace with you, for creepy POT’s and creepy men in general.

During Your Meet

  • Make an entrance - Often,the first part of the conversation happens before you open your mouth, sometimes it happens before you’ve even laid eyes on them. When you enter any room, have your head up and your shoulders down. Don’t strut, but walk gracefully, swaying your hips gently, you can even look up videos of models on catwalks and learn how to walk like they do. Be dramatic, walk like you’re the center of attention - you’re a sugar baby: you’re young, stunning, and seductive. Pause in the entrance and survey the room slowly, let your eyes to travel from one side of the room to the other, until you locate your POT. It may sound a little silly, but a proper entrance will captivate anyone, especially your POT. Knowing how to walk properly and make an entrance is useful in practically every aspect of your life, not just in sugaring. 
  • Keep the focus on them - I’ve noticed that POT’s (and SD’s in general really) love to talk about themselves, some SB’s will even go as far as to say that these men don’t care about the things you say unless it directly relates to them (in my experience this isn’t always true, it depends on the man). Try to find a way to refocus the conversation about him, you will easily become his favorite person to speak to.
                ‣ Additionally:
                         - If he shows pride, you give praise. If he says something, then pauses, and looks at you significantly, he’s waiting for the applause. Be there to give it to him. You don’t even have to think what he did was impressive. You just have to be there ready to dispense a pat on the back  Do not be over dramatic, smile, look impressed, and stroke his ego.
  • Pay attention when he speaks - Be engaged in the conversation: ask questions to further your understanding of the topic, make comments to indicate that you are paying attention, laugh a little to signal that you are having fun, smile to show that you enjoy being in his company, and make eye contact! If you look a person in the eye, it signals that you not only hear what they’re saying but are interested in it. If you have to look away do it slowly, this reinforces your interest and enjoyment of what you’re hearing.
  • Don’t fidget - It ruins your credibility. Often, stillness is compared with integrity. Those that can look someone in the eye and sit still are usually believed over those that try to say something while squirming in their seat. It’s important to have good posture as well, don’t slump in your seat and if you do, catch yourself and correct your posture. 
               ‣  Don’t worry:
                        - Your hair looks fine, your clothing fits you well, and your phone will not explode if you don’t check it for an hour. Your main focus should be your POT, not the little things about your appearance.
  • Relax - You might be a little nervous over the first date, but chances are, he probably is too! Some SD’s are nervous the first time meeting, this might be due to the fact that you’re much younger than he is or he might be downright intimidated because of your looks. Your job is to make him feel at ease and the easiest way to help him feel at ease is to be at ease yourself. People play off each other’s energies and your body language speaks volumes, so try your best to just relax.
  • End on a good note - End the date with a hug or a handshake (or a kiss on the cheek, if you like him), something physical so that you touch and it leaves him wanting a little more. If you went out for lunch/dinner, tell him how thankful you are for taking you out, how much you loved the food, and how he has great taste in restaurants

After Your Meet

  • Assessing him - A person’s appearance and demeanor speaks volumes about them. Observe not his wallet, his cufflinks, or his shoes, but his mannerisms, his eloquence, and his overall conduct. Many good sugar daddies may not look the part, but they will act it. There’s no forcing chemistry, so it’s best to figure that out right away before delving deeper.
                  ‣ Questions to think about:
                         
    - Does he ask you first what you want to eat?
                         - Is he interested in what you’re saying?
                         - How does he talk about his family, his employees?
                         - Is he nice to the waitstaff?
                         - How much is he tipping?
                         - Were your personalities compatible?
                         - Did you have a lot in common?
                         - Was it easy to hold a conversation with him, or were there awkward silences?
                         - Is this someone you’d be comfortable being seen in public with, going on vacations with, and generally spending time with?
  • Send a follow up text - If the date went well, shortly after you meet (a few hours or a day, at most), send the POT/SD a text saying that it was a pleasure meeting him and you’d love to see him again. When (or if) he responds, you might be able to schedule your next date!
  • Think about your loses - If the date didn’t go so well, you got a free coffee/lunch/dinner/gift. If your POT contacts you and asks you out again, decline politely and wish him luck finding what he’s looking for.

Allowance Talk - Yes Or No?

There’s a lot of disagreement on whether or not you should speak about allowance with your POT on a first date. I’ve had POT’s bring up numbers over text/on the phone/email (prior to meeting and after meeting) and during coffee/lunch/dinner/drinks. In my opinion, let him bring up the allowance talk.

  • If he does, express your desires concerning allowances, gifts, and how the arrangement will work. Most arrangements end due to schedule conflicts and misunderstanding expectations, be clear about what you want. 
  • If he doesn’t, that’s completely fine too. You’ll most likely speak about it on your second date or over some electronic format.
  • If you touch on the subject but you notice he’s not too keen on delving into it at the moment, leave it alone. This sends your POT the message that you’re more interested in a suitable arrangement than the money, as well as that you are nowhere near desperate and while you are interested in him, not overly so. This lack of overt interest gives you more control of the relationship from the get-go. It also shows that he cannot control you or gain your interest with his money alone. This makes it easier for you to discuss the terms of the relationship, set boundaries, and negotiate your allowance later on.

What to Wear

Men are visual creatures, they love eye-catching arm candy, but most prefer elegance or casual classy to outright flashy. However, showing all your goods on the first meeting is not a good idea. Choose one thing to show off, this leaves his imagining and wanting more. Keep in mind where you’re meeting, as well. There’s no need to go all out if you’re just meeting for coffee.

  • If you’re meeting for coffee - Jeans and a pretty blouse will be just fine, top it off with flats or boots and you’ll be good to go. If it’s warmer out, a sundress is perfectly acceptable too.
                ‣  Keep in mind
                        - Meeting a POT for the first time in shorts is not appropriate, there is no need to play up the age difference between the two of you, even if it is hot outside.
  • If you’re meeting for lunch/dinner/drinks - A formfitting dress will do you good, especially if it’s dinner or drinks. Complete the look with a nice pair of heels and some jewelry, if you’re having trouble figuring out which jewelry to wear with what, check out this!
  • Makeup - Keep the makeup light and natural, opt for neutral colors rather than darker ones. Get your nails done, fill in your brows, foundation, mascara, light colored eye shadow, and lipstick/lip-gloss is all you’ll need. I prefer to top up my look with a slightly red nude lip (since my lips are full and the color makes them pop more), even though most SB’s suggest to stay away from all red’s.

So there you have it dolls, an ultimate guide to POT dates. Feel free to add on your own tips! Keep sugaring, dolly xoxo

Brutally Honest Venus in Houses

Venus in House I
Aren’t you miss Marilyn Monroe? You present yourself to the world with charm and cuteness and get stuff on your way like that. You’re very flirty and love to play dumb so stupid people thinking they’re too smart will lecture you and you will even get out of the situation pretending you’re a good learner when in fact you’re just being diplomatic and shady. You like to be sexually admired and know how to use it in your favor without being obvious. How not to like you? Not even you know that.

Venus in House II
Here comes Lana del Rey in her Sugar Baby phase. Maybe is not even conscious but your love life has to be luxurious and you will probably fall for rich people - not that you are actively looking for this kind of thing. To you, romantic means financial effort, and if they care enough they will do it for you, right? Also you’re pretty obsessed with stability. Love comes with a price, and you won’t marry and put your being in the hands of someone who can’t even pay its own bills. Maybe you have a heritage or come from a wealthy family, and you will keep at least the same pattern of life you already have with someone stable that knows how to $ enjoy $ life.

Venus in House III
You probably fell in love for a teacher once. You just can’t resist a sweet talk and somebody that can share stories, knowledge, with good humor and a mind sharp… you’re so done. You also like to be with someone that can talk about anything without making a big deal of it, and if they don’t have anything interesting to say anymore you get bored and that’s it, the end. Also because of your endless need for new information and learning you may feel polyamory is something considerable, maybe even desirable. So many people with so many stories to share! Or maybe not, if you date a true nerd with a good heart. Is very likely you will find romance in school or college, or any study group, and maybe inspire you to follow an academic or scholar career.

Venus in House IV
You are very, very, very romantic and sentimental. Love means marrying and children, or at least marrying and having loving pets to raise. Sometimes both. You like the traditional bound - you may even say is not for you but honey, you don’t fool anyone. You like the idea of having a ring in your finger and showing off your sweet partner while making up names for your future children (or pets). You probably came from a family that gave you this traditional view - or from a so fucked up family you desired your whole life yours were better than that and decided to make your new family the closest thing possible from a traditional one. Either way, you will look for someone that can handle your family or be among the other half’s family as it were yours. And you are a hard worker to keep things as perfect as a butter advertise.

Venus in House V
You are so in love… with yourself. And everything you create. You are expressive and people love your presence - they better do, you’re a fucking genius - and you know how to attract people, how to flirt, how to keep them interested. Is like they say: work on your garden and the butterflies will come to you, and geez, your garden is a stage with high quality lightning while Mozart plays in the background to make the flowers grow more beautifully. You work on your appearance, on your expressiveness, you know exactly what you’re doing and those who don’t know how to appreciate it are not worthy of you. Your partner is someone you picked from your fans, they must admire you too - better saying, they have to understand what you are and what you do. Otherwise why even bother to lose your time with them? Losers.

Venus in House VI
You love someone who is responsible and hard working. Love to you is something a bit colder than others, you have high standards for what you want in your life and need someone to help you achieve it. This someone must work as hard as you do, must cooperate with you and stand still facing critics because you’re really mental, and your relationship is one of the things you will analyze more than feel it. The problem is you might over analyze it and ruin things when they were supposed to be ok. Chill, man. You do a good work, trust your standards, you will do fine. And so will the person you coldly chose to be with you. You will probably fall in love for a competent co-worker, maybe even your boss, or someone with a very practical view.

Venus in House VII
You’re the Venus itself. You’re a social butterfly and diplomatic af, everybody likes you and you don’t even give them the chance to not like you. You’re so fucking nice and loving, how can they not like you? Unless you have a stellium in aries or something, geez, you’re good at attracting people. You will probably fall in love for pretty people, be pretty yourself and want pretty things surrounding you. You’re all about beauty - inner and outer, but c'mon, everybody likes the outer more. You’re well behaved, gentle, you talk looking into people’s eyes and genuinely asks if everything is ok. You will probably marry and be very happy since the person that will be attracted to you will admire every piece of you, and feel lucky to have you around. Just run from people that use other people (they might perceive you’re too nice and use the shit out of you) and creeps (they might see your kindness as openness and try to do creepy shit).

Venus in House VIII
The more complicated, the better. Not because of drama, you just like… intense things. Normal relationships bore the shit out of you, you need something that will change your life completely, change the way you see things, you feel things, someone that can divide your life in “Before my partner” and “After my partner”. Someone to do new things, develop new dreams, and someone to take care emotionally and trust completely. You’re not the type of going around telling everyone you’re in love - sometimes you don’t even feel it coming. Is just there, and then you want that person all for you, in a very possessive way, and do everything to mark your territory without being obvious. You like mysterious people, or just really different people, because they will make you feel beyond the obvious and share dark secrets - the ultimate love proof for you. You may have a thing for people you shouldn’t - be the other person, or even cheat. You also are a bit traditional… but a darker version, like Morticia and Gomez - to die and kill for it. Partners in life, partners in crime. Usually in life, though, if you’re healthy.

Venus in House IX
You want to PaAaARtYy. Woohoo. You have energy, passion, attitude, and you fall for very optimistic people that will take you out of your comfort zone and go beyond with you. You might fall for college teachers and researchers, maybe people that traveled the world, or even high knowledged religion leaders, like priests. Or just a parter for crazy ideas. To you, a relationship must be something to add flavor and spice to your life and make it something incredible. Make you do incredible things, go to places you never - or always - dreamed of. The ultimate romance is to take you in a trip where you will experiment so many new things and cultures. You’re all about expansion and your love will take you beyond, make you learn something new, master a new technique… love is something almost religious that will bring you salvation. The problem is when you notice the patterns of things and get bored, or if your beloved is passing through dark times of regression. You feel lonely and that energy becomes irritation, and you may go alone with hope to find new love since you have no time for sad people.

Venus in House X
You’re the boss here. You know exactly what you want for love, and this comes with traditionalism, effort and a good status. You like the idea of marrying and having kids but indifferently from your gender you will be the “man” of the house, the boss. You will lead the relationship, take the initiative, ask to go on a date, decide when to marry, choose where to live, what to do, how to do. You are very hard working and security is important to you - and if the person doesn’t give you enough of it you will just fire them and leave the spot open to better candidates. You may seem cold but you don’t play with your life and love is something strong for you, so you just don’t give it for anyone that messes with your head. You actually know very well the difference between love and lust and are able to have lustful relationships without love, just to relieve your carnal needs. Cold, right? But real. You take responsibilities and obligations very seriously, and if you decide to bond with someone you will do it in the right way.

Venus in House XI
You’re popular and care about everyone. When it comes to love you have to find someone that will bond with your friends and coworkers. You go along with everybody and important people tend to like you. You may get involved with someone very political, or with strong political views, particularly with the power to actually do something for the masses. Or maybe a technologic nerd that is developing solutions for daily problems. You’re all about improvement and will want someone to share this view, and work together to something that will help others somehow. You’re here to make things better and your partner must recognize this. You don’t fall a little tiny for selfish bastards, even if they look pretty af - at this point you’re probably questioning the beauty standards and laughing at people that tries too hard to look good. You’re different, unique, and sometimes this is a blessing, sometimes a curse. You know you’re out of the place and fall for smart all of the place people like you. And if your morals and political views matches you will probably going to die together, holding hands and shit.

Venus in House XII
Your love is unconscious. You’re dreamy and imagine a life together with an ideal you’re afraid it doesn’t exist. This may indicate your love is in a past life too, someone you’ve bond so strongly you miss him/her and don’t even know its face. Your love makes you better as a person, grow and learn more about you. You might feel you’re infantile and this is so strange for you, while it seems so obvious for others, and will want to hide and never try. You’re too ashamed to show your feelings and always expect the worst, sometimes making a self fulfilled prophecy, and then going after easy escapes such drugs, games, porn. Bonding is specially hard for you because that’s what you need most to grow, and growing is never easy. You might break up as soon as you realize the person is not what you wanted it to be, not wanting to deal with their problems. Don’t run. You’re lovely and you can make your big dreams come true if you stay and keep on trying. Or at least the closest thing to true, which is fantastic anyway, because you’re a fabulous dreamer and that’s a great gift.

Punish me (Smut)
I did a thing. I figured it to be best if this was EXO member optional, since with this storyline you could end up with any EXO member really. God forgive me for I have sinned. 

Pairing: EXO member x Reader (You will have to choose one at a certain point, or read it nine times)

Genre: Smut

Edit: Apparently the first part can be classified under ‘humour’. My sister read this and she was laughing her ass off? I did not intend for this to happen but yeah… If it’s the same for you, enjoy.

Word count: 4670 words

Warning: Phone sex, Oral sex, explicit language.

Punish me:

“No, I’m not a free phone sex service!” I shout annoyed through my mobile and immediately cut the call, throwing my mobile onto the kitchen counter. Once, just once, I had been spotted in public with the members of EXO and that was the result; forty calls a day that begin with either “What are you wearing?” or “Tell me how wet you are”.

My mother is the fixed cleaning lady for the Exo dorm, but she broke her leg a few weeks ago. In agreement with SM, I replace her until she gets better. It is summer holiday and that way I don’t need to search for a summer job.

The guys from EXO are my age, so of course the relationship between EXO and me is different than the relationship my mom has with them. Whilst my mom is more a motherly figure, I am more of a friend. That’s why a few days ago, they asked me to go out for dinner with them.

Keep reading

20 Out Of This World Facts About The Universe That Will Sweep You Off Your Feet

We’ve compiled a list of the 20 most incredible facts about the universe you will ever come across. The infinite expanse of stars and galaxies are riddled with mysteries which leading scientists and experts are yet to explore. In their quest to unearth the hidden secret of the universe, startling facts and information have emerged - 20 of which we’ve featured below.

1. When you look into the night sky, you are looking back in time.

Originally posted by apparently-artless

 When we gaze at stars in the night sky, we are actually looking into the past. This happens because light emitted from a star has to travels many light years ahead to actually become visible to our eyes. For  example, Orion is 640 light-years away, so the light left the star around 1370 is what we are seeing now.


2. The Hubble telescope allows us to look back billions of years into the past

Originally posted by dreamofthedragon

NASA releases some incredible images of space, from time to time, and it’s made possible with The Hubble Telescope. Here’s an image which is a collection of 10,000 images captured by The Hubble. 


3. You can watch the Big Bang on your television

Cosmic background radiation is an after effect of the Big Bang, the event that allegedly gave birth to the universe. This can actually be seen on television where the old fuzzy noise we saw contains 1% of the same radiation. 


4. There’s a giant cloud of alcohol in Sagittarius B

Sagittarius B, is a huge cloud of vinyl alcohol whizzing in space near the Milky Way. It’s important as it leaves crucial information for scientists about how early life forms originated in space.


5. There’s a planet-sized diamond in Centaurus named after a Beatles song

Originally posted by iclalove

A planet , made completely of diamond, which has been called Lucy by scientists after the Beatles song, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,”  can be found 50 light years away in Centaurus and weighs in a mind boggling 10 billion-trillion-trillion carats. 


6. It takes 225 million years for our Sun to travel around the galaxy

Originally posted by toomanythoughtanddreams

While our planets in the solar system circumnavigate the Sun, the star itself it on a orbit around the Milky Way. And if we’re counting in humans years, it takes 225 million years to complete the journey. 


7. Our solar system’s biggest mountain is on Mars

The tallest mountain in our solar system is Olympus Mons, located on Mars. It’s calculated  to be three times taller than Everest, spanning 600 kilometers across and 26 kilometers in height. 


8. Uranus spins on its side, with some rather strange results

Originally posted by spaceplasma

Uranus is not just unique because of its strange spinning, but the consequences of that effect results in 42 consecutive years of summer sunlight followed by another 42 consecutive winter darkness.


9. A year on Venus is shorter than its day

Originally posted by spaceplasma


Venus is the slowest rotating planet in our solar system - it takes longer to finish a rotation on its axis than orbit the entire Sun!


10. Neutron stars are the fastest spinning objects known in the universe

The fastest spinning known pulsar, a neutron star which emits a radiation beam as light, cycles on a whopping 70,000 km per hour speed.


11. A spoonful of a neutron star weighs about a billion ton

Neutron stars are unimaginably dense, in fact one spoonful of one such star would weigh around a billion tons!


12. The Voyager 1 spacecraft is the most distant human-made object from Earth

In 1977, the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were released into space as an ambitious project and are still cruising the outskirts of our galaxy and maybe beyond to help us explore space even further.


13. Voyager 1 captured the most distant photograph of Earth

The same spacecraft, Voyager 1, took the most distant photograph of Earth: Voyager 1 took a shot of the Earth from the far reaches of space in 1990, and the small speck at the end of the image that is the world we’re living on right now became known as the Pale Blue Dot. Astronomer Carl Sagan noted,“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.”


14. Scientists are looking for evidence of extraterrestrial life on Earth

Originally posted by ajshostak

One of the most exciting mysteries of the universe is a quest to find aliens, or as termed by scientists a project called The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI), where they are pulling n all data about extraterrestrial life on other planets through evidence they have at their hands.


15. It is estimated there are 400 billion stars in our galaxy

Originally posted by thelucidnation

Our own Sun is one of 400 billion others, some astoundingly larger, some smaller, in the Milky Way alone. 


16. There could be 500 million planets capable of supporting life in our galaxy

“Goldilocks Planets” are  habitable planets which fall into a specific zone around the star to make life sustainable on it. Many factors come into play to get this perfect distance such as temperature, atmospheric content, water, chemical compounds on the surface etc. 


17. There are probably more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe

Based on extensive calculations, using data from the Hubble Telescope and as far as it can see into space, there’s a probable 170 billion galaxies besides our own Milky Way.


18. There could be an infinite number of universes

Originally posted by sci-universe

Speculative theories in advanced branches of science such as mathematics, quantum mechanics and astrophysics have summed up that we could be living in a “multiverse”- a convergence of an infinite number of universes. 


19. The human brain is the most complex object in the known universe

Originally posted by teapotsandroses

Our brain is a blueprint for the most complex network in the universe, with over a hundred billion neurons and quadrillion connections- this system isn’t even the tip of the iceberg which we know about what our brains have the potential to achieve.


20. We are all made of stardust

Originally posted by drugsruleeverythingaroundme

Carl Sagan beautifully summarises this fact, “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” In fact, every element on Earth transpired from a burning heart of a star.

VIRGO: So, you’re finally figuring out where the pieces of your life are supposed to fit together and ‘relief’ is a bit of an understatement. There was a time in which your existence felt a lot like trying to finish a puzzle while blindfolded: all of the parts within reach yet, still so far away. But you kept going and you found yourself again and I hope that you’re proud. I hope that when you go to sleep at night you feel comfortable with your decisions and all of the things you’ve been strong enough to overcome. I can’t promise that you won’t find yourself faced with broken things in need of fixing again, but I can promise that you’ll be able to put it back together. You always do.

LIBRA: It seems like every time you leave the house nowadays you brace yourself for impact, which is another way of saying that you’ve had to abandon being soft in order to survive. You’ve had to use your voice to ask for things that your earlier self would’ve shoved under the carpet. And while that’s definitely something to be proud of, the strength you’ve found within yourself, don’t let that close you off to all of the joy that accompanies being kind and open. It’s possible to stand your ground with open palms; asking for what you deserve and embracing the gentler aspects of life aren’t mutually exclusive. They never will be unless you let them.

SCORPIO: I know that it’s hard to refrain from comparing yourself to every person you meet, but you have to remember that not everybody has had the same background as you. Not everybody understands the feeling that comes with being told you’re not good enough, or the feeling of realizing that the people you thought were friends had been bringing you so far down that your back was flat against the floor. You haven’t fallen behind or lost your way just because you’ve had to take a few detours in order to find yourself. You’re trying your best, and your best is more than good enough. Someday you’ll be grateful that you kept on fighting.

SAGITTARIUS: Recently you felt the spark that can only ever mean something is beginning; it’s unfortunate that sometimes this also indicates that another thing is ending. And while that’s typically sad, an event you’re bound to mourn, every closed door is an opportunity to turn yourself around and have an experience that you wouldn’t normally. Eras will end as you continue to grow into yourself, and that doesn’t mean that they’re THE end. Be self-aware and work some more on loving yourself as you embrace these fresh starts and their accompanying lifestyle changes; there’s nothing shameful about being a fan of yourself.

CAPRICORN: One of the hardest things you’ll ever have to learn is that sometimes people leave and there isn’t a reason or a motive behind it, they just go. And that doesn’t mean that you did anything to instigate this, or that you push where others pull; it just means that because of whatever external reason, something wasn’t quite right. There’s no reason to make lists of all the people that you feel you’ve driven away when there are others beside you that are supportive, wanting only to shower you in the affection that you dole out so generously. The way that your peers choose to exit your life is always going to be a choice that they make themselves. You are not a burden.

AQUARIUS: You don’t have to treat every beautiful thing that waltzes into your path as if it’s temporary, bound to disappear as soon as you look away. I know that it’s hard to take good fortune with anything other than a grain of salt after everything you’ve lost, but perpetually being in a state of worry when you have no reason to be so is ridiculous. Your potential for happiness is so much greater than you’re allowing yourself to have. There aren’t limits or rules when it comes to the progress you make and the people you invite into your life. If you spend all of your time walking on eggshells, you’ll never able to leave your mark. Be bold. Be genuine.

PISCES: You’ve been taking happy vibes to the next level lately and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I know occasionally you start thinking that maybe you don’t deserve to be feeling this light, or that there are more pressing aspects of your life that you should be devoting your attention to, but what you’re doing right now is more than okay. It’s encouraged, in fact. Try not to hold yourself to a higher standard than you would hold the people that you love to. The perfectionist that shows up within you very once in awhile to make unnecessary comments about your progress isn’t the boss of you, you’re the boss of it. Allow yourself to be happy without any strings attached.

ARIES: It always takes time to adjust to a situation that you’ve never been in before, especially when you’re doing it all by yourself. Don’t forget that you’ve seen and conquered cities much bigger than this one. I know that everything in you wants to make a snap judgement regarding whether or not you like the direction you’re walking in, but try to refrain from doing so too soon as it could change your perception of an otherwise lovely experience. Give this road a chance before re-routing and switching courses altogether. Listen to your gut, you know more than anybody else what will benefit you most in the long run.

TAURUS: Are your days really blurring together, or are you so afraid of feeling something new that you’re hiding behind the safety of monotony? Sure, you’re stuck in more than a couple of ways, nobody’s denying that you’ve faced more than your share of quicksand. But something you should consider is how your actions play into that. I think there’s a sort of comfort in being stationary, as you know exactly what to expect, but I also think that you deserve a better quality of life than you’re currently getting and some of the responsibility for changing that rests on your shoulders. Try something new this month and see what happens next.

GEMINI: The heat of summer has peaked and descended and you’re finally able to leave the house without getting burned. This means that it’s time to refamiliarize yourself with your surroundings, because in the midst of life and all its trials I think you’ve forgotten about what’s in front of you. Examining the ground that your feet touch day after day, with eyes that are wise and observant and actually looking, can lead to revelations about yourself. I know that you’ve felt the holes in your life as of late and you’ve been looking for something to fill them, and the materials to do this are closer than you think. You might already be holding them.

CANCER: It’s really easy to overthink your choices when you’ve become accustomed to exposing the soft parts of yourself only to be handled roughly and without the right amount of care. And yet despite your history of hurt you’re still choosing to try again, which says a lot more about you than other people’s actions ever could. Nobody is going to hate you for laying bare your heart and soul, and if they do then that means they don’t deserve to see it anyways. You are allowed to feel proud of your accomplishments and you’re allowed to be vocal about it. Don’t be hesitant with self praise and accepting it from others. Everyone’s rooting for you.

LEO: Your environment lately has been hectic, to say the least, and that’s starting to take a toll on you more than you can probably see. I know that it feels as though you don’t have time to take a break, and that in order to cross-off every task on your never-ending to-do list you need to constantly be on the run, but that’s just your anxiety talking. While time is a constant wave that we’re all riding, that doesn’t mean you can’t lay back and enjoy the view as you float. Caring for yourself will never be detrimental to your progress, as the health of your mind and body are crucial when it comes to success. Give yourself a break for not being a superhero.

Aesthetics For The Signs

aries: fairy lights, ripped fishnets, disco balls, neon signs, movie tickets, concerts, roller blading rinks, train tickets, listening to a good song for the first time, watching scary movies with friends, screaming until you lose your voice.

taurus: flushed cheeks, playing in the snow, staying up all night to talk to someone you like, caring for someone, hugs, travelling, the sound of a pen scratching against paper, twirling around in a pretty dress.

gemini: finishing a paper ten minutes before its due, sending a risky text, ripped skinny jeans, storm clouds, standing in the rain, screaming into your pillow, making out with someone for hours, blasting your music.

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  • being friends with a gryffindor is: never having to worry about not having someone to fight for you; knowing that you are arms length away from receiving the warmest hug you have ever had, like hot apple cider or hot chocolate; pillow fights at 1AM because why not? it's not like sleep could ever give you this feeling of joy; it's sitting next to a roaring fire painting nails, or trying to braid hair [and failing miserably]; it's watching the sunset together, and trying so desperately to memorize how the colors from the sky are making their face glow; it's standing up for them, even if they screwed up - because they're your friend, and what they did isn't worth giving up those uncontrollable giggles late at night; it's teaching each other how to grow up, and be mature, and learn from your mistakes; it's often going out of your comfort zone to do things that you might regret later, but you know will be worth it in the end; it's trying new recipes together and almost coughing it back up because you seriously needed to have had a recipe; it's always being there for each other when it counts.
  • being friends with a ravenclaw is: turning around in your seat during class, to look at them and roll your eyes simultaneously; coming up with new conspiracy theories about your favorite tv show; writing messages on each other's jeans and hands/arms, and getting in trouble with the teachers for not paying attention; it's not being afraid to tell them that they need to go back upstairs and change their outfit; it's not being afraid to give them the facts, and show them how it correlates with their circumstance; it's watching the stars together, and having a contest about who can spot the most constellations, before you both decide 'screw it,' and make up your own constellations - each with their own history and characterization; it's trying out new things together, whether it's completely foreign to the both of you, or just one of you - to please the other person and to gain their perspective; it's reading to each other late at night, while the other plays with your hair; it's always going above and beyond to keep your friendship alive.
  • being friends with a slytherin is: silent gestures and small smiles during the day, to let the other know you care about them; it's like finding a four-leafed clover - once you find it, you never let it go; it's throwing rocks in water and watching the ripples as they calm you; it's not being afraid to point out the bad qualities in each other, as well as the good, and have conversations about them; it's doing each others makeup and laughing so much that your eyeliner is all over the place, and you can forget about mascara; it's seeing who can sculpt the weirdest animal [with a backstory, please and thank you - along with its diet and habitat]; it's staying on the internet until dawn, and barely speaking, but giggling as you send each other memes; it's jumping on the bed to your favorite music while singing in a hairbrush; it's texting each other in near-tears, spilling your heart out, while the other listens and comforts you, and tells you all the reasons why you'll get through it, and how you don't need the person who is the source of your hurt; it's constantly picking each other up after someone's knocked you down; it's knowing that you have someone you can be completely bare-faced with, and know that they'll either cut all ties with you, or know that you have someone to love you for life.
  • being friends with a hufflepuff is: late-night talks about nothing and everything; sending each other baby hedgehog videos; hand-holding; seeing who can eat the most in one sitting [and then comforting each other the rest of the day, because oh my god who would even eat fifteen pieces of toast in their right mind]; sketching each other [and failing miserably]; lighting dozens of candles and laying down on the couch side-by-side, whilst your favorite instrumental record plays in the background; not being afraid of tear-stained clothes; sometimes having to pull all-nighters working through problems with each other, due to too much blatant and tactless honesty; always smiling at each other while you pass in the halls; always lending an ear when needed, even if you can't give advice; squealing at seeing their selfies, because oh my god, I am friends with the cutest little bean in the universe; making road-trip plans for the future; tripping over air while going on hikes together; drying flowers together; knowing that although they might have their head in the clouds, they will always come back down to earth just for you.
Sex With Him Includes...

A collection of smutty, sexual, “13 Reasons Why” preferences of what it would be like to bang one of your favorite boys because why the hell not.

* * * * *

Clay Jensen❤️

- It probably starts innocently, like him, gently flirting as you help each other with homework at his house.
- He asks if he can kiss you.
- “Please do.”
- Every kiss you both have is deep, slow, and romantic, both your hands on his pink cheeks and his resting on your waist.
- You end up doing it on the homework you two should probably be working on.
- He tops.
- He’s the nervous type, so you take it slow.
- He’s not very loud, but you can tell he’s enjoying it by his closed eyes and slightly open mouth.
- It is no doubt that Clay is inexperienced, but that surely doesn’t mean a night alone with him all to yourself isn’t pleasurable.
- You rest one on one your hands on his neck as he slowly and gently thrusts.
- He’s a gentleman and always asks if you’re comfortable.
- “Are you ok?”
- “I am absolutely wonderful.”
- You lay by his side afterward, hand in his, as he fills the air with awkward and nervous comments and jokes.

* * * * *


Justin Foley💙

- The first kiss you both share is messy and graceless, and quickly turns into a hot and heavy make out session.
- The neck biting.. He’s like fucking Dracula.
- He’s definitely the dominant one.
- Lots of dirty talk on his part.
- He’d totally tie you up to the posts of his bed and use you. He’s the kinkiest.
- Out of all the boys, it’s Justin that’s most likely to do you against a wall in an empty closet with a house full of people.
- “Careful.” You tell him, in response to his loud, sexual grunts of pleasure. “If you’re not quiet, they’ll find us.”
- He smirks. “Let them.”
- He always smells like sex afterward, but you don’t mind. So do you.

* * * * *

Alex Standall💜

- He’s sorta awkward at first, especially when he places that soft, gentle kiss onto your lips. But it’s the cutest, sweetest kind of awkward.
- Lip biting.
- He slowly pulls your clothes off of you, making sure you’re okay with it before doing so.
- “Y/N, you are.. Just… Wow.” He says, getting a look at you. “You are stunning.”
- You run your fingers through his soft, bleached hair, gently tugging on it.
- Collarbone kisses.
- He’s tries his best not to giggle like an idiot when your fingers trailing down his pale chest tickles him.
- Trails of red scratches up his back from your nail.
- Short, breathy moans come from his vocal chords. You’re so close to him you can feel his breath on your lips.
- Lots of passionate touching.
- “I love you” Is said.
- Your fingers intertwine and lock with his.
- You take turns being dominant. He’s totally cool with letting you top. In fact, it turns him on.
- In the end, you lay next to him on his bed with your head on his shoulder as one of his strange CD’s play in the background. Deep conversations ensue as you ponder your existence and talk about if aliens truly exist. It’s casual pillow talk for you guys.

* * * * *


Jeff Atkins💛

- He places his hand on the back of your neck and pulls you closer when he kisses you.
- Strip teases.
- “Strip.”
- “Yes sir.”
- He asks you to rip his clothes off of him.
- He cracks up when you rip a hole in his shirt.
- “I didn’t mean literally.”
- Lots of compliments.
- “Damn, I’d say you were beautiful, but even that doesn’t cut it.”
- He calls you an array of different nicknames. Babe, sweetheart, hon, dear, every cute pet name in the dictionary.
- Hickies.
- He’s likes to do it rough, but not if it is too much for you.
- He lives for watching that look of pleasure spread across your face as you orgasm.
- Round 2 in the shower.

* * * * *


Zach Dempsey💚

- He’s the kind of guy that sneaks you into his room at night.
- He’s also far too tall, so he lifts you up and you wrap your legs around his waist so you can kiss him better.
- That kiss. That full, powerful kiss.
- He clears a spot on his desk and places you there as soon as he does so.
- It’s seems as if you two are always in the bedroom, but never in the bed.
- His thrusts shake the desk.
- “You like that?”
- Although he’s a gentleman, he’s got a bit of a daddy kink.
- He’s loud. It’s definitely a turn on.
- He’ll totally nibble on your ear.
- When you have both finished, he’ll take you out for some food- he’ll even let you wear his sports jacket.

Skyline {III}

Originally posted by coolbackflips

Warnings: Blood

Pairing: Peter Parker x reader

Word Count: 3.2k

A/N: You guys!!!!  I can’t believe you are all so nice honestly!!!!  I hit 500 followers today so as a thank you, here is pt. 3 a day earlier than expected!!  Forgive me if there are any mistakes, as I stayed up late to finish it (I have to be up in six hours for work oh lord) and I really hope you guys like it.  There most definitely will be a pt. 4, and possibly pt. 5, as this scene became longer than expected, and I decided to split it between two chapters.  Again, thank you so much, guys.  All my love.

{part I} {part II}

As the end of August neared, you began to fear the return of school.  Not because you hated it—in fact, you were fond of school.  You liked learning, you liked seeing your friends from certain classes, and you even missed some of your teachers. However, with the return of your school came the return of Spider-Man’s school.  He had explained to you how difficult it was to balance the responsibilities of his civilian life with the responsibilities of being a superhero. Between those tightropes of time management, you doubted there would be any hours allotted to visiting you.

You knew that you had no right to be sad about your predicament.  The right thing to do would be to not think selfishly, and just be happy with the time you were given with someone who doesn’t normally share their world. But, no matter how many times you had a talk with yourself, you still couldn’t bring yourself out of your melancholy thoughts.

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Another Wednesday, another Hiveswap development team interview!

Hey there folks, we’re back to our new normal: it’s Ash here once again! I’ve returned from my brief outing to E3 last week and – don’t you worry – I’ve got a brand-new Hiveswap development team interview lined up for you today, just as scheduled!

But before we get to that, I’d like to toss a great, big “Thanks, man!” Cohen’s way for posting last week’s interview in my stead and, in fact, interviewing me so I didn’t have to very awkwardly interview myself. I may not be a super-cool artist or animator, but hopefully you all found what I had to say to be sufficiently interesting nonetheless!

But speaking of our illustrious creative types, today I’ve got an interview lined up with James Roach, Hiveswap’s sound designer and lead composer! These weekly interviews have been focusing mostly on the game’s visual elements and aspects up to now, but why should eyes get all the love? Not that eyes aren’t awesome and all, but I have it on good authority that ears everywhere are also looking forward to Hiveswap. Fortunately, James has very graciously prepared a smattering of Hiveswap sound samples for you to listen to as you read through the interview, so be sure to get equipped with some headphones before you begin!

Take it away, James!

Introduce yourself to the fans! What is your specific role on the Hiveswap team?

I’m James Roach, and I’m the Sound Designer for Hiveswap! I teamed up with [Undertale creator and composer] Toby Fox to compose the soundtrack for the game. I’m also responsible for most of the game’s sound effects and ambient sound alongside Marcy Nabors!

When and how did you get your start on the Hiveswap project?

When I saw the opportunity I reached out to What Pumpkin and sent along my portfolio. I was never part of the “Homestuck music team” in any official capacity, but I was pretty active in the community, so they knew of my work. I was as surprised as any of you when they offered me a job! They paired me up with Toby, who at that point was already a Homestuck music veteran. We’ve both been on the project ever since then.

Tell us a little bit about your career background! How did you get your start in music and sound design? Do you have any advice for others looking to enter this field?

I have been playing piano since I was about four years old. My family and culture have a strong musical tradition, and my mom thought playing music would keep me out of trouble. I got my start scoring web cartoons and doing freelance work. I only started doing sound design in the last few years out of necessity. A friend needed sound work done for their thesis film and had nobody else to do it, and I can’t leave a friend hanging! As far as advice goes, I recommend having your work accessible and easy to find. Make connections and be easy to work with. Being reliable, consistent, and professional will go a lot further than solely being good at something.

We’re making a video game, so of course the question must be asked: what’s your favorite game of all time, and what games are you playing currently?

The first game I remember having a big impact on me was The Legend of Zelda on the NES. My favorite game of all time is probably Bastion, but I don’t play a ton of video games anymore. I play a lot of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s all I ever talk about. My friends are so tired of me. Anyway, did you know a group of Myconids is called a “Circle?” Myconids are like cool mushroom guys that live underground. A lot of people think they might have a hive mind, but did you know they communicate using spores? Another cool thing about Myconids is–

Are there any games that you currently use or have used as inspiration for your own music and sound work here on Hiveswap, or just in general?

Obvious notes are stuff like Transistor, Luigi’s Mansion, Monkey Island, and so on and so forth. A lot of the inspiration for Hiveswap’s soundtrack comes less from games and more from my own musical and cultural background. There’s also a third-wave ska song. I have a really complicated relationship with ska.

As someone who writes music for video games, surely you must have a favorite video game composer or two (or three)! Who are they and what games have they scored?

You can’t talk about video game music without mentioning Nobuo Uematsu (the Final Fantasy series’ original composer) in some capacity, and his work has always been an inspiration to me. I think there’s an obvious Darren Korb (Supergiant Games) influence on my work as well. I’m really looking forward to hearing more of the Pyre soundtrack. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that Toby has greatly influenced my work, since I worked with him specifically on this, but he absolutely has. The way he writes counter-melodies is phenomenal.

What’s your workstation like? Do you listen to any particular kinds of music while you work? If so, tell us about it!

Because I’ve been doing a lot of Foley work, I have this bizarre assortment of things lying around everywhere in my apartment for the weird, specific sounds they make. I’ve had this bundle of straws (which I flick rapidly to make monster footstep sounds) on my desk for weeks. There’s a broken umbrella (perfect for a monster’s wing flapping) hanging on the door, and a big pot with a fork and a broken slinky in it (scraped and slapped together to make creepy, echoey laser sounds) just lying around too. It’s a disaster to live in.

Favorite Homestuck character?

Aradia Megido.

Favorite Homestuck ship?

I used to be all about Intermission shipping, but it’s a little complicated to get into.

Favorite Homestuck flash?

I think like most people who started reading as a carryover from Problem Sleuth, “WV: Ascend” was the big “Whoa!” moment for me, so it’s always had a special place in my heart.

Do you have a personal message you’d like to relay to all the Homestuck and Hiveswap fans out there?

Hey.

Where can people find more of your work? Link us to your own little corner(s) of the Internet!

Whenever you close your eyes and open your heart… I will be there. No, I’m kidding – please follow me. You can find me on Twitter and SoundCloud!



“Can’t hoooold on much longer… But I will neeee-ver let go!…” –oh, wait, I’m back on? Sorry about that, James’ last answer there brought out my inner Crush 40 fanboy. (Sonic Adventure had a killer soundtrack though, didn’t it?) Thank you again for letting us pick your brain for a while, James – and for those lovely sound samples, of course!

More KatsuDeku Thoughts/Ramblings

The other day I was seeing a lot of people complaining about hate in both the ‘Katsudeku’ and ‘Bakudeku’ tags, but to be honest, I didn’t see it. I suppose I must have the right people blocked.

But, it did get me thinking about things that people love to bring up when discussing the “p r o b l e m a t i c” elements of this ship. Two big ones in particular come to mind.

One has already been discussed to death, and I hope to jeezus I never have to talk about it myself. Yes, Bakugo told Deku to jump off a building. It’s horrible and despicable and I would never defend such awful behavior. It was simple shorthand for Horikoshi to establish Bakugo as an unremorseful jerk. Congrats, dude. It worked.

The second thing, however, is something I could talk about at length.

So I will.

Let’s talk about THIS.

Warning: this is a goddamn long post. Pour yourself a drink.

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Heal My Wounds

Peter has a massive crush on the reader but can’t help but wonder why she always covers her hands with gloves. 

author’s note: heyo just small hint the reader has a metal arm yeet this is like the fifth time i’m rewriting this so here goes nothing (i still don’t know how i feel about this it’s quite bad tbh) shout out to @toms-spidey for helping me out with this big time and literally being the only reason i’m posting this ily girly.

word count: 1.6k

warnings: kinda angsty and fluffy at the same time….?

Peter had been crushing on you for god knows how long. You were in a few of his classes and every once in a while he would look over at you a smile placed on his lips as you tugged lose strands of hair that would occasionally fall in front of your face back behind your ear.

He couldn’t help but notice one thing, you always had gloves on. No matter what the weather was, hot or cold you always had the same brown fabric covering your hands.

Flash had teased you about it multiple times and it pissed Peter off. No one deserved Flash’s unnecessary comments least of all you, the girl who barely spoke, not even when spoken to.

On multiple occasions Peter had tried to talk to you but you always managed to slip right past him acting as if you had no idea he wanted to talk, although it was fairly obvious.

And now as he sat in his usual seat his head resting in the palm of his hand he couldn’t help but admire you as you squinted your eyes slightly, concentrating on the papers sprawled out in front of you, your tongue poking out of the corners of your pink lips.

Ned nudged Peter bringing him out of his daze as he diverted his attention back to his best friend who was now giving him a judge mental look as his eyes wandered to who Peter had been staring at.

“Just go talk to her, your not so subtle staring is probably starting to freak her out” Ned sighed his elbow resting on the table in front of him, Peter scoffed his gaze finally meeting Ned’s.

“Don’t you think i’ve tried!? Every time i get as much as this close to her” Peter says squeezing his index finger and thumb together so they were almost touching “she runs off”.

“So don’t let her” Ned states matter of factly patting Peter on the back as he ushered him towards you, completely ignoring the quite protests leaving Peter’s mouth as they neared you with every step.


“Hey Y/N” a voice brings you out of your thoughts as you spit the pen out that you had previously tugged between the corners of your mouth, a awkward smile reaching the corners of your lips as you mumbled a quite ‘yeah’.

“Peter here wants to talk to you about something” Ned smiled, forcefully pushing Peter onto the stool next to you before he walked off a proud smile on his lips.

“What did you want to tell me?” you asked breaking the awkward silence that had settled between the two of you as soon as Ned left. “I um-well just wanted to uh see if you may-maybe wanted to I don’t know hang out sometime or something like that” Peter stammered a blush rising on his cheeks as he looked down at his lap slamming his eyes shut inwardly cringing at how awkward he was.

You were baffled, you couldn’t believe Peter Parker had just asked you to hang out, you a girl who wore gloves to hide what you hoped no one would discover. So as you were about to reject the offer, you looked back up at him and his hopeful beautiful brown eyes stared back into yours and you couldn’t bring yourself to do it.

“Sure, Peter I would love too” you smiled going to place your arm on his shoulder but quickly pulled back realizing he would definitely feel what was not a flesh arm.

His wide eyes once again met yours and he looked like he was about to burst from happiness and you couldn’t help but giggle as he fumbled to get back up from the seat next you trying his best to act casual as he reached into his pocket so he could hand you his phone. 

But you reacted quickly telling him it was better if you called him knowing well enough you would have to take your gloves off in order for you to be able to type your phone number into the small phone he had placed in the palm of his hand.

“How about we just hang out after school, study date?” you asked hoping he would put the phone back into his pocket, and thankfully he did sending you a warm smile as he nodded walking back to his seat where he plopped down next to Ned.


Finally the school bell rung signaling that school was over and you happily stuffed all your stuff into your backpack before you slung it over your shoulder following the crowds of students that were exiting the classroom.

You were ready to get home and sit down on your couch with your favorite ice cream whilst Friends played in the background, but you then remembered your study date with Peter groaning at the fact you wouldn’t be getting these damn gloves off anytime soon.

You made your way toward Peter’s locker where you saw him clumsily stuffing his books into it—your heart almost melting at the sight, you quickly made your way towards him picking up the books that had fallen out of his tight grasp.

“Thank you” he awkwardly laughed scratching the back of his neck as he finally managed to slam his locker shut, the noise emanating off of the now empty school hallways. “It’s no problem, so your place or mine?” you asked as you walked side by side thankful that your left arm was brushing against his and not your right one.

“We can go to mine since Aunt May’s not going to be home anytime soon” you nodded and sent him a warm smile, you lived alone so a parent coming home early and yelling at you for being alone with a boy really wasn’t a problem, but Peter didn’t need to know that.


As soon as you had arrived at Peter’s small apartment he shared with his aunt, you followed him into his room where he nervously asked you to sit down on his bed and wait whilst he went and got you two some snacks.

You happily obliged sitting down on the bottom bunk your backpack resting in your lap as you pulled some of your books out of it and placed them on the nightstand that was next to you.

You heard clattering coming from the kitchen and took this as your chance to finally let your left hand breath for the first time that day. You sighed as you pulled the brown glove of your flesh hand, your palms were extremely sweaty and you made sure you could still hear Peter in the kitchen before you removed the glove of your right one.

A heavy sigh yet again left your mouth as you rubbed your hands together, your cold metal hand met your flesh one sending shivers down your spine at the unsuspected coldness.

Zoning out for a bit you completely missed when Peter stepped into the doorframe and quickly backed away when he saw why you always wore those same brown gloves.

Peter’s POV

Peter was struggling to make his way up the stairs as he tried to keep every single thing he was carrying still, the glasses he had filled with water were spilling everywhere at his clumsy excuse of walking and he couldn’t help but let out a satisfied groan when he reached the top of the stairs.

He smiled adjusting himself a bit before he walked into his room. But he stopped dead in his tracks when he saw what rested beneath the surface of your glove.

You hadn’t heard or seen him walk into the room so he quickly and quietly sprinted back down the stairs the water now completely abandoning the two glasses that rested on the top of his palm.

He laid every single snack he had carried up the stairs back onto the counter top as he reached for his phone that was placed in the back of his pocket quickly unlocking and dialing Tony’s number.

Tony picked up on the fourth ring and immediately starting scolding Peter for calling him since he told him he could only do that if it was an absolute emergency.

“This is an emergency Tony!” Peter panicked running his fingers through his brown locks as he started pacing around the kitchen making sure you hadn’t come down the stairs.

“You remember the airport fight right!?” Peter asked his grip on the phone becoming tighter with every word he spoke “yeah I don’t think I’m going to forget that anytime soon kid” Tony sighed “And you remember that dude with the metal arm right!?” 

“What’s your point here Peter?” Tony asked his brows pulling in as Peter continued speaking “well I’m with this girl right now her names Y/N, and I-I went down to get us some snacks since we were going to study but then I came back up and she-she had taken her gloves off… She has these gloves that she always wears—anyways! she has a metal arm Tony, a metal arm! And it’s exactly like Bucky’s”

Peter’s eyes went wide as he realized he had begun to raise his voice significantly during the last part of his sentence and he quickly looked around making sure you were nowhere insight.

“Do you think you could find a way to bring her to the tower?” Tony questioned and Peter nodded before realizing Tony couldn’t see him and he frantically mumbled a yes before hanging up the phone and climbing back up the stairs into his room.

“Hey I hope you don’t mind but-” Peter stopped abruptly realizing you were nowhere insight “Y/N?” he asked slowly walking into his room were he saw the previously closed window was now wide open and all of your stuff was gone

“Shit” he cursed knowing you had obviously heard his conversation with Tony and climbed out the window. What was he going to do now?

Next Part

If you want to be tagged in this embarrassment that I call a fic hmu in my ask and i’ll gladly add you to it <3 (this is so shitty i could cry)

I Don't Wanna Live Forever [Connor Murphy x Reader]

Title: I Don’t Wanna Live Forever
Pairing: Connor Murphy x Reader
Fandom: Dear Evan Hansen
Requested: no
Summary: Your family takes an annual trip to the mountains with the Murphy family every year to unwind over the winter break–that being said, Connor Murphy isn’t the sweet kid he used to be, and you’d rather be anywhere else than sharing a room with him for two weeks. However, between your parents, a line of accidents, and a mapless trip in the woods seem determined to bring you together–if you can make it out alive.
Warnings: Connor’s potty mouth | Mentions of drugs, abuse, alcohol, panic attacks, sex trafficking, sex, blood, hospitals | First person reader | face paced/vignette style | not proof read | tenses may change
A/N: Here’s that long ass thing I’ve been working on for weeks and just finished a few minutes ago, ayy. Based entirely off the “Connor hated skiing” line. This is long af with no read more option, sorry :/ Here we go! (THANKS FOR 500+ FOLLOWERS ♡♡♡)


Connor Murphy was a lot of things.

He was stubborn–I’d never seen him admit he was wrong, but I’d definitely seen him throw scrabble pieces across the wooden floor of the cabin, leaving Zoe to scramble red-faced to collect them as he stomped up the oak steps to his room, echoing around the house.

He was annoying–I’d told him once I wasn’t crazy about Iron Maiden, which resulted in the album being on blast for the entirety of the time he drove Zoe and I around the mall in the family’s silver minivan.

He was stoic. He was impatient. He was angry.

I’d begged my parents not to go cabins for winter break. I’d begged them to pick a different mountain range if we were so dead set on skiing. But Mr. Murphy and my mother were business associates, and the last thing she wanted to do was make them feel like we were no longer on good terms–especially because of Connor.

“Larry’s been having an awfully hard time with Connor, sweetheart, you have to understand,” my mother crooned in our rental car, fixing her lip liner as she drove, my father keeping a white knuckled grip on the Jesus handle above his head. “He’s not doing very well in school and he’s been throwing tantrums at home. Poor Cynthia is at her wits end. They’re lucky to have that sweet Zoe, she’s so talented and smart. Poor Connor is jealous and acting out, just try not to rally him up, alright, dear?”

I didn’t dignify her with a response, mostly because I knew she wouldn’t like what I had to say anyway, but also because I knew she wouldn’t care to listen, either. I sighed loudly, watching the snow flurry softly outside the window. It wasn’t fair–here I was in the middle of something so remarkably beautiful, and I’d be shoved in a minivan with the Murphy kids and stuck in the valley town’s 1970s mall with crappy t-shirts and a vape store that Connor would spend all day in.

The cabin was huge, up with a view of the town below, nearly three stories made of solid, stripped oak, in the middle of a winding road with a four percent grade. Half the cabin was supported on beams which plummeted down the mountain face. I’d be lucky to stand on the deck without vomiting, let alone being able to venture into the hot tub.

The Murphy’s minivan was already in the drive, trunk shut, meaning they’d unpacked and I’d be left with whatever miniscule space they’d left for me in the loft area.

“Remember to be nice, sweetheart,” my mother crooned again, fluffing her hair in the mirror and giving me an enthusiastic smile in the rearview. “It’s important! They’re practically family.”

Geez, I was lucky to not have Connor Murphy for a cousin.

Slinging my backpack over my arm and exiting the rental car, I took the liberty to stretch, despite the cold air that stung my cheeks and the snow that fluttered down into my hair. This may very well be the last moment of solitude I had for the entirety of the week, and I was going to revel in it.

A movement caught my eye, suddenly, and I lowered myself off my tiptoes to glance up at the second story window–a curtain fluttered shut. It was most likely Zoe or Connor checking out the commotion that was my father and mother bickering over who carried what into the house, and shutting it once they’d realized I caught them. Feeling vaguely uneasy, I turned just as Larry Murphy, bundled in a parka, burst out of the house to take two suitcases from my father.

It was going to be a long two weeks.

——

Cynthia Murphy made me stand by the kitchen counter as she was stocking the cabinet with neon colored cardboard boxes containing various sugary, pink cereals with marshmallows and prizes inside. The Murphy kids were both picky eaters, I remembered quickly, Connor more so than Zoe.

Mrs. Murphy kept playing with my hair, crowing about how much longer it looked (despite the fact I’d cut it since the last time I’d seen her) and how pretty and grown up I’d become, asking me the usually annoying adult questions (“Any thoughts on schools yet? Oh, Connor can’t decide either! Do you know what you’re going to major in? That’s alright, you’ll figure it out soon!”) It would’ve been annoying, I decided, if and only if she didn’t look so sad all the time, the purple bruising under her eyes visible still underneath the layers of makeup. My mother could say whatever she liked about Cynthia Murphy where her wifely duties were concerned–Mrs. Murphy tried to be a good mother (re: tried, period), and that was more than enough to pass her in my book.

In the background, my parents were settling into the second master bedroom, Larry Murphy yelling at the bottom of the stairs to announce our arrival. I could do without the annual reunion, awkward questions about school. The Murphy kids were tolerable–Zoe definitely more so–but it didn’t mean they had to force us together so artificially.

Zoe skimpered down the stairs first, her soft moccasin boots barely making any sound on the stairs–I was surprised to find her long legs bare, her thighs peeking out beneath a pretty pink chiffon dress, covered by what I hoped to be a faux fur parka. Her pretty auburn hair was curled, pulled back with a polka dot headband I could recognize from her childhood. She was wearing eyeliner, and cotton candy flavored lip gloss I remembered sharing when we were thirteen.

It was such a stark contrast from how I remembered her before. The last I’d seen her she’d been gawky and fifteen with a mouth full of metal and a bra full of kleenex. She was practically grown now, and beautiful–it made me feel slightly subpar in my own blue jeans and blue sweater. Regardless, she smiled brightly and skipped over to me, opening her arms to wrap them around my neck.

“It’s so good to see you!” She exclaimed, pressing a quick kiss to my cheek that shocked me, as well as some others–Larry Murphy’s horrified expression was priceless, and I was convinced Connor put her up to it–but I just laughed and hugged her tightly before letting her go.

“You look so pretty,” I told her with a wry grin, and she just tossed the expression back, nodding with a, “So do you!”

“It’s so good to see you girls are still so close,” my mother tittered, beginning to uncork a glass of wine–we didn’t drink much at my house, but the Murphy’s, I knew, did, and my mother certainly wasn’t going to let that go to waste. “Where’s that sweet boy of yours?”

Larry Murphy at the bottom of the stairs, banging on the oak walls, yelling out, “Connor!” was enough to make both the Murphy women flinch visibly. Zoe still had her arm around my waist as we stared up at the ceiling above us, waiting for the squeak of sneakers on the polished wood.

“Don’t yell.”

Zoe jumped away from me as if she’d been burned, pressing herself against the countertop as if to make herself invisible. Mrs. Murphy, her hand clutched to her chest after the initial nose, fought hard to smile believably. I, myself, had jumped at the unexpected sound–Connor Murphy’s curt tenor clear across the room, no where near the stairs, instead standing the doorway were we had just come from. I couldn't  quite make out his frame from here–there was a line of bodies blocking my view, my parents, Mrs. Murphy, and Zoe all formed a human barrier that constructed the divide between Connor and I. Fine by me.

“There you are!” Mrs. Murphy chirped, clearly still nervous, visibly by her shaking voice and hands, fluffing her hair to give her something to do. “You didn’t miss much, Connor, they’ve just arrived.”

My mother said something unintelligent in way of greeting, to which Conner didn’t reply, just shut the door carefully behind him to keep out the cold air. I couldn’t see his face from here, but I could make out that he was much too still for a teenage boy, much too quiet.

“–You remember her, don’t you, Connor?”

My throat closed up as the Red Sea parted, everyone’s heads turning to look between the two of us.

He didn’t move from the doormat–boots  caked in snow, as if he’d gone for a walk, and the bottoms of his skinny jeans were muddy and slick looking. Still, he didn’t shiver, which was slightly unnerving. He was skinnier than I remembered, like he hadn’t been eating, and his face was all angles. He slouched, his pink mouth which was mottled red from the cold was set in a heavy frown. His eyes, which were scanning somewhere around my waist and hadn’t come anywhere near making eye contact since he’d seen me, had blown pupils. Drugs. He was doing drugs in the middle of the afternoon.

He hadn’t cut his hair since I’d seen him last, brown curls poking out of the bottom of a black sock toboggan with a soft pompom on top. It could’ve been funny, I supposed, his rough puberty finishing to leave him left over with this, something akin to a drugged out vogue model who listened to way too much 2008 Fall Out Boy, if he didn’t seem so…unnervingly somber for someone who clearly wasn’t sober. Geez, this kid was a school shooter in the making.

I glanced back up to find him finally staring at my face, shooting an uncomfortable alertness down my spine. His eyebrows were crooked in vague amusement that didn’t seem to reach his mouth, and I felt my face heat up under his scrutiny. If he was trying to intimidate me, it wouldn’t work. I wasn’t scared of boys like him.

“Yeah, I remember her,” he grinned mirthlessly, stuffing his hands into the gut pocket of his hoodie, giving me a nod that, while meant to appease our parents, also felt like a vague threat. I didn’t smile back.

“Great! Wanna show her the room?”

Connor grinned crookedly. “Follow me, kid.”

——

The upstairs layout was just like I remembered  it–Two rooms, one main one in the first entrance with a king bed tucked in the corner, a TV and a few gaming systems with some furniture in the front, a bathroom with two doors which lead through to the other room, which held the fold out couch and television I was accustomed to using.

The Murphy kids already had their belongs strewn about the room–Zoe’s stuff animals and princess blankets eclipsing most of the bed and an ancient Nintendo DS on the table with SpongeBob stickers on the cover that I’m sure belonged to Connor–and it left me very little room to maneuver through.

Connor was silent as he lead me up, as if I didn’t know the way, but surprised me by stopping in front of the king bed, holding out his arms to signal me.

“Your room, my lady.”

I cocked an eyebrow. “This–this is your bed.”

“Not this year. Dad’s decided it’s a little too Flowers In the Attic for Zoe and I to share a bed this year–I’m on the pull out and you girls get to have your fun.” He shot me a bitter smile to let me know he wasn’t thrilled about having the pull-out–he shouldn’t be, the thing was total garbage–but surely he’d enjoy the privacy of it?

“I don’t care to take the pull-out,” I told him, keeping my bag on my shoulder despite the fact it was beginning to be painfully heavy. “If you wanna–”

“Don’t have a choice,” he said, already turning toward the bathroom to walk to his half of the loft. “The bed’s yours.”

——

So, Connor Murphy had turned out to be a total dick. It should’ve unsurprising information, I knew, but part of me still remembered him as a charismatic kid I was, at one point, friends with. Back when the three of us all slept in the king bed, before any of us ever had a zit, when we’d fall asleep in the floor watching early 1990s Pokémon episodes, because Larry Murphy didn’t like them watching it.

Even the Connor I remembered at fourteen, gangly and silent and shy with close-cropped hair felt better than this. I was past uncomfortable, sitting stiffly between he and Zoe on one of the couches in the living room. There was a faux fur blanket hanging behind us, shedding hairs onto Connor’s black jacket, which would’ve been funny if he wasn’t picking at his nails with a slightly rusted pocket knife–I notice he’d painted them, which I oddly admired. I’d kissed a boy earlier this year who painted his nails, and his palms were always soft when he’d reach up to cup my cheeks. It softened Connor in my head, just slightly.

He was careful, I saw, to stay on his side of the couch, leaning into the apex of the arm and the back of the couch rather  than flush with me, his thin legs stretched out and crossed at the ankle to avoid me. I appreciated it, but it didn’t stop me from leaning forward, my elbows on my knees, sitting on the edge of the cushion. I could still feel warmth radiating from him–it was late, and I was tired with a full stomach. If I wasn’t careful, I’d fall right into him, and he’d never let me live that down.

Zoe practically was asleep, leaning forward as well with her head on my shoulder. Cynthia had let her have nearly two glasses of wine at dinner–not enough to get her drunk, but it didn’t change the fact Zoe was still lithe and young, and easily tipsy.

We’d all gone into town for a very awkward dinner–I was just thankful to be placed between my father and Zoe, in a position on the opposite end of the table from Connor, who was stuck in between Larry and Cynthia, looking as if he were in a permanent time out.

Now we were gathered around the coffee table in the cabin, the seven of us hunched over a tiny photo album that I couldn’t really make out from here. There were fuzzy polaroids of us as children, looking nothing like we did now. Connor and I at six, soaked from romping in a sprinkler. Zoe and Connor sharing a chocolate icecream cone, their faces covered in the brown spatter.

“You were all so small,” Mrs. Murphy crowed with a choked voice, covering half her face with her hand in a faux attempt to eclipse the emotion. “Oh, I miss it. You kids used to spend so much time together! Now we only get together for break, and Zoe is so busy there’s hardly enough time for her to spend quality time with her sweet brother.”

Zoe snorted loudly, earning a glare from Mr. Murphy I was positive I wasn’t supposed to see. I snuck a glance at Connor, whose face betrayed no emotion, just staring blankly ahead in the direction of the album. From his position, I was positive he couldn’t see more than the chipped leather cover of the book. Even if he leaned forward, he wouldn’t have been able to see much.

My mother and Mrs. Murphy went out in loud voices in a seamless attempt to pretend the seemingly secret interaction had taken place, so, while the focus was shifted, I turned my attention to Connor.

He didn’t cock an eyebrow this time when he caught me staring, instead just furrowed his eyebrows and looked at me, as if he expected me to speak.

“Can you see?” I asked, nodding my head in the direction of the book.

“I’m fine,” he said immediately–vaguely irritating, I’d admit, but nonetheless understandable. I was sure Cynthia Murphy had spent most of her life making sure Connor was comfortable at all times. Still, this was my olive branch, in an attempt to make this trip a little more tolerable, and Zoe seemed less than likely to console her brother at this point.

“We can change seats, I’m not really looking,” I promised, sitting forward more in my seat to show that I was ready to make the change.

“I’m fi–”

Connor was cut off by a squeal from his mother, who had tossed the book into our laps. It had taken a great deal of squinting, letting my heartbeat slow before I realized she’d been showing us something and not trying to kill some giant bug between us.

The polaroid was grainy, an ivory hue that whitewashed the photo and the years of existence made the picture hard to decipher at first, especially when we were so tired. The time stamp was from the late nineties, glowing yellow in the corner of the frame. I recognized the gilded tub from upstairs that dominated half the bathroom, big enough for three adults easily.

Connor threw to book onto my lap first, like it had scalded him. I should’ve done the same, but it took me a moment. To see, to adjust, to read and understand what was so socially condemning about the photo.

It was Connor, I realized first, small and tanned with bony ribs and chunky fingers and the apples of his cheeks straining against his baby skin. His hair was cropped so short, it looked almost silly. Beside him was me, my hair wild and tangled, curled as if my mother had teased it for dinner. My wide eyes were blazing, much too big for my face, and I was grinning with wet lips at the camera.

We were in the tub, surrounded by big pink bubbles.

We were very, very naked.

It shouldn’t have been a big deal–not really, unless you counted the fact that if this had been printed, our parents would be arrested for child porn. I was mostly covered, sitting beside Connor, my shoulders hunched forward. But Connor was standing, meaning the camera got a very decent view of–

“What the fuck, Mom!” He screaming, standing and ripping the book off my lap. Cynthia’s tittering died immediately, the hands covering her laughed instead covered her horrified face.

This was how it started, I realized.

“It’s not fucking funny,” he growled, tossing the book across the room, banging against the wooden wall with a heavy whomp.  

“That’s enough, Connor,” Larry Murphy growled low in his throat. Cynthia’s head was downcast, her eyes wide and wet. I recognized the emotion immediately–she shut down with conflict the same way Connor did.

“You don’t get to laugh at me for shits and giggles this whole trip,” Connor said, already lunging up the stairs, his hands shaking. “If I wanted to feel shitty, I’d have a conversation with you.”

So much for having a quiet trip.
——
Zoe wasn’t quiet in her gossip about Connor–his door was fashioned shut, I saw, and I doubt he’d come out for the rest of the night. I was positive he could hear his sister’s loud comments from our room.

“Sorry, he’s such an ass,” Zoe groaned, stretching on the bed, her little lilac nightgown shifting across her thighs. “I think his high is wearing off or something–don’t let it bug you. You don’t have to be nice to him, by the way. I’m not gonna let him hurt you.”

I shrugged, noncommittal. “We were friends once. I’m not gonna be mean, he’s never done anything to me.”

Zoe snorted. “You didn’t just see that? He’s a monster, and it gets worse.”

“He just has a temper. Everyone gets like that sometimes.”

I wasn’t sure why I was defending Connor–half because I didn’t want Zoe to tell Connor I disliked him, then he’d actively terrorize me–half because I had no idea why Connor Murphy was so pissed off. It was just a picture. Yeah, embarrassing, I’ll admit I wasn’t too thrilled about eighteen year old Connor Murphy seeing my nipples, and I’ll admit he definitely had the worst end of the stick.

“He loses his shit like that all the time,” Zoe said. “It’s not just a temper.”

“He’s your brother, Zoe,” I reminded gently, brushing out my hair in the bathroom mirror. “Can’t you give him the benefit of the doubt?”

“He’s no brother of mine,” she whispered, rolling over on the bed and clicking off the light.

——

The next few days passed as the usually did–the adults going places without us, albeit romantic and boring, and leaving the three of us to wander about the town below the mountain crests. It was Zoe’s turn to pick the day’s activity, and she’d chosen the mall.

The place was all dark oak, and hadn’t been remodeled since the late seventies at the earliest. Zoe was chipper, balancing a bag of organic soap and bath bombs on her lap that she’d bought at a local shop, pouring over the cheese fries between us on a plastic red tray.

Connor had also been well-behaved since his outburst several days ago, albeit quiet. He’d separated from us the second we’d arrived, holed out in some record store. Zoe was thrilled to be rid of him, and very vocal about it. I was bored out of my mind.

“Don’t look now,” Zoe said brightly, despite her face suddenly shifting into a mask of disinterest. She bit down on her lip, covered in a pink glitter lipgloss she’d applied much too liberally, and pulled on her pretty auburn braid. “There’s some boys two tables behind us checking you out.”

I felt my face get hot. “You’re lying.”

“Nuh-uh,” Zoe said, leaning into take a sip of her milkshake, biting down on the straw–the look on her face told me she’d got their attention.

“How old are they?” I hissed. The last thing we needed were some creeps following us around the mall–this was how sex trafficking started. Surely Zoe knew that this was a huge red flag.

It was clear from her overzealous wave she didn’t.

I felt a hand on the back of my chair before I saw them–to Zoe’s credit, they were pretty. Both in thick denim blue jeans, both in letterman jackets over white tee-shirts. One was tall, skinny, with pretty dark skin and hair cropped close to his head. The other was a little thicker, pale and short, in badly need from a shave. They were smiling brightly at the two of us in a way that was less awestruck and more closely resembled a triumphant conquest.

“Hello, ladies,” the shorter man greeted, grinning like a shark between Zoe and I. His hair was dark, curling around his temples–handsome, maybe my age, maybe ten years older. It was impossible to tell. There were lines around his eyes that either indicated he smiled too much or was simply older. “What are two cute girls like you doing inside on a day like this–the ski lift is just a walk down the road.”

“We’re here shopping with our brother,” I said immediately, giving a grin. The taller boy quirked his eyebrows at me–his eyes, I noticed, were dark with tawny flecks hidden in them.

“That’s cool,” he said to me, switching places so that the other boy could be closer to Zoe. They both pulled chairs up to our table, facing us. My stomach pinched uncomfortably. “Where’s he at?”

“Nike,” I lied, seeing the sign from the distance and knowing very well that Hot Topic, while probably true, didn’t exactly invoke fear.

“Ah,” he said with a grin, his eyes glancing down at my bare arm with a grin. With two slim fingers, he reached forward to pluck at my woven bracelet Zoe had made me a few nights ago, my name in block letter strung across the twine. His hands were uncomfortably hot, and I drew my arm back into my lap. “Aren’t you cold?” He nodded to my bare arms. I’d left my flannel with Connor, who was sitting on a bench at the time–I hoped he remembered to grab it. I was just wearing a striped cotton tee right now, and my arm had broken out in a case of goosebumps, though I wasn’t sure it was from the cold.

“I’m fine,” I said, careful not to meet his gaze. He was pretty, and if I wasn’t careful, I might end up going somewhere with this guy.

“You know,” he began, and I could hear his grin turn predatory. “You’re very pretty.”

A jolt shot down my spine–I wasn’t pretty, not really, which terrified me. I could hear what the other boy was whispering to Zoe, but I could tell that all the stars were gone from her eyes. She looked pale, panicked. These weren’t the kind of boys we needed to hanging around with.

“I know,” I said quickly. “We really need to call our brother–”

“I think he can wait long enough for me to get your number, right?”

Across the table Zoe laughed, too loudly, pushing back and standing from her chair. She was grinning at the dark haired boy, beckoning her to follow with a jerk of her chin.

“Zoe–”

“We’re gonna run to get some coffee, okay? Connor should be back soon, don’t wait up.”

She didn’t meet my heavy glare for long, and didn’t turn around when I yelled her name. I watched in silent horror as the boy put his hand flush with her lower back.

I was alone.

The panic crept onto the back of my neck long before his thin fingers did. He smelled like cinnamon, strongly, like he’d done one too many sprays with his cologne that morning. When I turned to face him, his tawny eyes were asking.

“Is this the part where you say you’ve got a boyfriend?” He grinned, his teeth blindingly bright in his tan face. He was so close I could see the threads on the collar of his letterman jacket–it looked soft.

There was a possibility, I realized, that they weren’t dangerous. That I was just being paranoid–Zoe wasn’t stupid, and she wouldn’t go off with a strange boy unless she was sure it was safe. Still, they were definitely in college.

And boy, were they pretty.

“I do have a boyfriend, actually,” I said, lifting my chin to meet his gaze so he wouldn’t think I was lying. There was a small voice in the back of my head, screaming, raised on her tip toes that I should just take this plunge–let him hold my hand or kiss him or whatever he wanted to do, because this was a shitty trip and I deserved to be as reckless as the Murphy kids were allowed. I didn’t see a reason why I shouldn’t.

Besides, you know, the obvious.

He quirked an eyebrow. “You have a boyfriend?” He asked, biting back a smirk. I felt the voice in the back of my head get sucker punched by my ego. So, he didn’t think I was pretty after all. Which meant he was dangerous.

Which meant Zoe was in trouble.

“Yes,” I growled, standing, yelping a bit when his hand snaked up to grab at my wrist, nearly breaking my bracelet and keeping me bent over the table.

“Let go,” I hissed–the food court was nearly deserted, and the family in the corner was carefully avoiding my eyes. I wasn’t sure I had the voice to scream.

“I don’t believe you have a boyfriend.”

“Let go, or I’ll scream,” I warned, yanking on my arm. He let go immediately, holding his hand high above his head, which I knew was meant as a gesture of calm, but instead looked an awful lot like he intended to strike me.

“Where’s your boyfriend, then?” He taunted loudly, thrilled to see no one in the court coming to my aid. I felt sick, the panic rising in my chest. Where was Zoe? She was in trouble. I was in trouble. I was going to have to scream–

“He’s right here.”

My arm flailed, immediately cocking back in an attempt to elbow in the stomach whoever had wrapped their arm around my neck, their other spidery hand snaking just slightly under the hem of my t-shirt to splay across my hip, finger tips barely brushing my skin above my jeans. The arms were strong, vice like, pressing me against a hard body, and suddenly I felt limp, panic leaving me as I realized whose familiar smell I was enveloped in.

Hair grazed across my cheekbone, and I could make out the dark locks if I looked out the corner of my eye, and I nearly yelped when I felt lips press chastely against my temple.

I couldn’t make out much of the boy anymore, my eyes level with Connor’s adams apple from where he was pressing me against him.

“Babe,” Connor said cooly, calmly, making my knees knock against his. “Who’s this?”

“H-he’s leaving,” I managed to stutter out, barely a whisper, my voice hoarse. I sounded terrified. No wonder this ass in the letterman jacket hadn’t be intimated by me, I sounded about as frightening as a kitten. Connor pressed his fingers against the nape of my neck, tilting my head against his jugular so that I couldn’t see anything but the pale column of his throat and his dark hair. It was getting difficult to breathe–I felt sick. He moved his hand to wrap around my waist, yanking me tightly to him.

“You heard her,” Connor said, again stoic–half of me wished I could see his face, but the other half knew it would be terrifying. Connor’s temper was legendary and destructive–to see him so angry wouldn’t make the fist in my gut unclench. “Go. Take your friend with you.”

There was a beat of silence. Then two. I couldn’t hear much but my own shaky breathing, warm and wet against Connor’s neck, his hair making the space much too hot. I wasn’t aware I had knotted my fingers into his shirt until he started walking, dragging my stumbling form forward with him. He was going fast, too fast for me to keep up, and my chest could only rise so far before deflating painfully.

“You gotta breathe,” he grunted, one of his arms still around me. His face felt hot against me.

“Z-zoe!” I choked out, realizing I had no idea where she was. She could still be with that boy, be in danger–

“Oh, Christ,” he exclaimed bitterly, letting go and beginning to trudge forward. I was terrified briefly, suddenly overwhelmed with the fact I didn’t know where I was. There was a Game Stop, and a Victoria’s secret, the neon lighting combined with the screaming toddlers and the kissing teens and Connor was leaving

An arm swept up from behind me, leading me just as quickly, mumbling something I couldn’t make out into my ear.

“Zoe!” I grinned, immediately feeling safer, feeling my fear melt away just smidgen in my gut.

“I’m so so sorry I left,” she sobbed. “I went looking for a cop, but I found Connor first and I told him you were in trouble–”

“It’s fine,” I said immediately, surprised that my voice was no longer wet. “Thanks, Zoe.”

I was calm, or, at least calmer by the time we reached the van. Connor was waiting by the passenger side door, which was opened, leaning against a scratch in the silver paint. He wasn’t looking at us, instead appearing to observe the silver snowflakes as they fell.

My reflection in the side mirror revealed my face was red and blotchy, not just from the cold wind. I felt gross–guilty for the fact I hadn’t been able to defend myself and Zoe, guilty for the fact Connor Murphy was the one who had to come to my rescue, and guilty for the fact I’d cried all over him. His zipped up hoodie seemed to have escaped the mess, but that didn’t mean I didn’t feel awful. 

He stepped out of the way when I made it close, gesturing for me to get in the passenger side door while glaring at the ground. I was only vaguely surprised, and followed along immediately. Zoe and I almost always rode together in the back. I let Connor shut the door, ignoring the disgusted look Zoe gave as she got into the back.

Connor hoisted himself into the driver’s seat, surprising me with a costume change, reappearing in only a forest green tee. He held out his hoodie to me, balled up in one of his fists without looking at me, before just tossing it into my lap.

“I–”

“I left your flannel in the back. Put that on or you’ll freeze.”

He licked his lips, staring coldly out the front window, before starting the car. I swallowed. Yeah, he definitely hated me.

“Okay.”

——

“You’re sure you’re alright, honey?” My mother asked for the third time. Her hair was tied up, her pink bathrobe covering little of her cleavage and bare legs. She was cradling a wine bottle in her hands, looking at me in faux concern.

I gave her a soft smile. “I’m fine,” I lied. I’d calmed considerately. Connor and Zoe had both agreed I needed to shower to wash off the panicked look on my face–I’d asked them to keep the days happenings a secret. They’d reluctantly agreed.

She gave me a clipped smile. “Maybe you should go to bed early, yeah? That’s what I plan to do.”

I nodded, scratching at my bare leg. I’d taken advantage of Zoe’s absense and changed into boxer shorts and an oversized tee with a kitten on the front–she and Cynthia had headed into town for the night, spending the night at a spa and would be gone for a few days, and my father had taken his annual ‘me time’ and booked a hotel downtown to do his own thing. I think Mr. Murphy went with him, but regardless, he was out of the house. It was just me and my mother.

And Connor. I tried not to think about it. I planned on offering him the big bed tonight, in way of thanking him for today, but we hadn’t spoken much since the incident and I felt…odd. Unsure how to thank him. Unsure why he helped.

I supposed the Murphy men were just gentlemen, even under all that teen angst.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “I’m probably gonna sit out on the balcony and then head to bed.”

She grinned. “Don’t stay out too late, it’s almost down to single digits, dear.”

I just nodded, sliding off the countertop, and slinking upstairs. I was surprised to see Connor sitting on the bed. I grinned.

He looked different, to say the least. He was still without his jacket, wearing only his tee and jeans, and little pair of socks with stars on them, which did seem a little out of character, but I assumed Cynthia bought them. His head perked when he saw me, simply craning his neck, keeping his shoulders bowed forward over his body.

He looked small, I realized. He didn’t look like a boy who punched holes in walls or scared off very big very scary men in shopping mall food courts. He looked like a vogue model with a little too much innocence.

He gave me a grin with no teeth, and it didn’t quite meet his eyes, but I gave him a sheepish smile back.

“Hey,” I greeted, tugging on my top to cover my shorts a little better–Connor Murphy didn’t have any interest in seeing my thighs. Despite all the panic, I’d been playing over and over in my head the comment the boy in the mall had made, incredulous that I had a boyfriend. It was silly to let it sting me, considering he probably wanted to stuff me in a van, but it crippled me nonetheless.

“Hey,” he greeted back, not rising from the bed.  I waited for him to speak again, and when he said nothing, I continued.

“I, uh, meant to say, since Zoe’s gone, you can have the big bed like good old times.”

He frowned. “I don’t need the bed.”

“I don’t either,” I promised, leaning against the banister. “Plus,” I sighed, scratching at the back of my head. “I’m not entirely sure how to thank you for today. I’d probably be selling for a low ball price on the dark web right now, if it wasn’t for you. So, thanks.”

Connor was still frowning. “You’ve had a really rough day. You should take the bed.”

“No,” I insisted, beginning to get frustrated. “I’m really okay, I promise. I can’t give you anything else, take the bed.”

His dark eyebrows knit together quickly, licking his lips again nervously. “I don’t–”

“Plus,” I cut him off again with a curt laugh. “I owe you for your Oscar performance. That was crazy, you know. I can’t believe you fooled him into thinking a guy like you would be with a girl like me.”

His head snapped up. “A guy like me?” He reiterated coldly. I felt my face grow hot.

“You know,” I said quietly.

“Know what?”

“That you’re cool,” I muttered. “And nice looking. And I’m not.”

I was thankful for the warm lighting in the room, concealing my red face. It was already dark out, the blinds drawn tightly. Connor’s fists clenched in the white lace comforter on the bed. I didn’t want him to feel bad for me, and I sort of regretted saying it. Connor had already seen me blubbering today and he didn’t need my shitty teen angst to deal with.

He bit down on his lower lip, staring coldly at the ground before murmuring, “I need a shower. Take the bed.”

I shook my head. “I’m gonna go for a walk.”

He just nodded, rising from the bed. “Don’t get too far. It’s cold out.”

Connor shut the bathroom door behind him, and I was left feeling like a total idiot. I could hear the shower running before I left, snagging Connor’s grey jacket from my bed post and sliding it on. I went down the stairs, sliding out the first door to the outside, stepping out onto the first floor balcony. I made a mental note to the shut the blinds later, before walking around to the front of the cabin.

I should’ve been thrilled to be alive, I realized, snorting at how melodramatic that sounded. Still, as I burrowed deeper into Connor’s jacket, watching my thighs turn red from the cold, I realized that I was shrouded in a veil of melancholy I wouldn’t be able to shake off.

I missed Connor. I missed being his friend. I missed him coming over for play dates when we were kids, gauzy fairy wings strapped to our backs, jumping on a trampoline when Zoe was still to young to participate. I missed writing him letters, like a pen pal, despite the fact he only lived on the opposite side of town. Going to different schools hadn’t deterred us, for a while, at least. We had sleepovers every birthday, and Zoe told the best scary stories. I remembered hiding under Connor’s bed with him, a hand clasped over my mouth so Zoe wouldn’t hear our breathing.

I remembered kissing him when we were in kindergarten, ridiculously late at night, a quick smack on the lips during a game of pretend. I’d kissed Zoe, too, when we were probably much too old for it, but thinking of Connor tugged on my chest.

It stopped as we turned twelve, I realized. I never saw him–he was still playing little league, and I stopped coming to his games to pick dandelions with Zoe. He was beginning to get teased. My parents insisted the slumber parties should stop, we were too old. Every time Connor and I were together at birthdays or Christmas parties, adults would joke about when we’d fall in love, how soon would it be before we got married. We avoided each other like the plague, unless we knew we could be alone. And we were never alone.

Connor hid inside himself. Zoe made fun of him at parties, loudly. I kept quiet.

He stopped calling during the summer months. He never rode his bike by my house. The only time I saw Connor Murphy was the annual ski trip.

I missed him. He’d been a childhood friend, and I’d let him go without a second thought to save myself some shred of dignity, like it wouldn’t be ripped away from me regardless.

Connor Murphy was nothing to be ashamed of.

And now it was too late to be his friend.

It had started to snow again, so I wiped my face and rose, walking the opposite way I had come, skirting the stairs–they led to the upstairs, but only to Connor’s room, and I didn’t plan to barge in uninvited, especially if he was still in the shower, two rooms blocked me from getting to the king bed, so I’d have to walk all the way around the house.

The lights were out, I saw, but again no one had bothered to close the blinds. The television might have been on, a dim blue glow resounding onto the leather couch–

I froze.

As it turned out, my mother hadn’t gone to bed. The television was on, showing some late show with some old white man making cracks about some politician I didn’t care for, casting the blue haze onto the coffee table, revealing the wine bottle my mother had been cradling. Two empty glasses sat on the table–my mother’s bathrobe crinkled on the floor.

I was disgusted in a comedic way, just for a moment, to see my mother in her nightgown kissing my father, who my brain had filled in under the assumption he’d arrived back.

I’d begun backing up to the stairs, Connor Murphy’s naked body be damned, when I realized my father’s car had never pulled up, and I’d been on the front porch the whole time.

A better look in the window revealed a man a little older, a little more gray and a little more handsome than my father.

I was sprinting by the time Larry Murphy had begun to peel his shirt off his back.

I didn’t knock by the time I’d made it to Connor’s room, just threw open the door, struggling to get my breathing under control. I stumbled to the pull out couch, dragging the sheets up around my freezing legs. I was in shock, I knew, and I needed to calm down before Connor came in–the bathroom door was shut, but I couldn’t hear the shower anymore, despite the steady trickle of steam coming through the cracks. I was trapped in this room until Connor came out.

My mother was cheating on my father Larry Murphy. Larry Murphy was cheating on his wife with my mother. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t believe it, I had to have made it up, this had to be a dream–

“What are you doing in here?”

It was an exclamation, alarmed, grasping a towel tight with thin white knuckles.

Connor. Connor in a towel. Connor wet with slick hair and chest hair and navel and hip bones. Connor Murphy, son of Larry Murphy, who had his tongue down my mom’s throat–

“Hey, breathe, what’s going on? What’s wrong?”

By the time my eyes snapped back into focus, Connor was struggling to pull on grey basketball shorts without dropping his towel, and I dropped my gaze back to my shaking hands, almost startlingly red from the temperature change and what was most likely shock. I was hyperventilating, struggling to smother the sobs. I knew this deep in the house, they probably wouldn’t hear me–they were most definitely preoccupied anyway. 

The bed dipped, and Connor’s bare side brushed my thigh. I didn’t mean to jerk back, but I did, clinging to the arm of the couch and staring horrified–Connor looked almost hurt, but mostly panicked. I tried to calm down, for his sake.

“S-sorry!” I sobbed. “Sorry! I-I-I didn’t mean–I didn’t mean–I didn’t–I–”

“Hey, stop, breathe. You gotta breathe. Go slow, okay? Stop tryna talk,” he commanded, holding up his hands to show he wasn’t gonna hurt me, readjusting so that he sat up on his knees, leaning  over me to take my hands, rubbing them between his own despite the claminess.

I avoided his eyes, focusing instead on the dip of his collar bone, surprised to see thin lines of chest hair, wet and plastered to his chest. He was skinny, and I could see his ribs despite the tiny stomach roll from where he folded in the middle. His thumbs rubbed soothing circles across the backs of my hands, and for a moment, I didn’t think. I could’ve forgotten everything and fallen asleep right here with him.

He pulled my hands against his chest, cradling mine in his own, pulling me forward, asking with his slate eyes if it was alright.

I pretended we were friends.

“You wanna talk about that?” He asked very softly, looking down at where our hands were clasped against him–he was warm, his skin pink and hot from the shower. He’d combed his hair back out of his face, and it was almost cute like that. “If it’s about today, I promise you’re safe, alright? I wasn’t gonna let that guy hurt you.”

My heart sunk in my chest, nearly restarting my panic attack. I shook my head.

Connor deserved to know.

I was scared, briefly, that it would set him off. He might yell at me, throw things, kick me out of the room. He might hit me.

I didn’t care. He had a right to know.

I swallowed thickly, shaking my head. “N-no.”

“Did something happen on your walk? Are you okay?”

I shook my head.

“What? Trouble back home–your boyfriend break up with you or something?”

“My mom–” I started, voice breaking, feeling fresh tears of shock on my cheeks.

His eyebrows furrowed, tightening his grip on my hands. “Is she okay? She–”

I saw it in slow motion–his jaw unclenched, eyebrows relaxing from their set, pouted mouth turning down. It was calm. It was knowing.

“You saw them,” he said very softly, letting my hands fall back into his lap. I was too shocked to move them away from his thighs.

“You knew,” I spat–an accusation. I hadn’t meant to make it one.

Connor scrubbed at his eyes roughly, flopping onto his back against the bed. Frustrated.

“I was tired of my dad reading my fucking emails, so I hacked into his–I only saw a few. I didn’t want to see anymore.”

I paled, feeling nauseous. “So it’s happened before?” I choked.

He swallowed. “That was two summers ago.”

“Fuck,” I hissed uncharacteristically, surprised to find Connor stretching out an arm to me. I took his hand with a firm grip. “How long before then.”

He shrugged. “Maybe our whole lives. Maybe before. I’m not sure, angel.”

I nodded, secretly pleased that he was so calm. It kept me level, grounded, watching where our hands were linked.

“What do we do?” I choked. “I have to tell my dad. He deserves to know.”

Connor’s eyebrows furrowed. “Everything would change. He’d tell my mom.”

I bit down on my lip, folding down onto my back to lay down beside Connor. “I hadn’t considered that.”

Connor sighed, scratching at my hand tenderly with his black painted nails. “I’m not sure that my mom and Zoe could handle the news–it’s not like they’d turn to me. They’d be alone. Zoe might even take my dad’s side.”

I groaned, stealing my hands to scrub at my eyes. My wet hair was beginning to dry in a tangled mess.

“This is too much,” I mumbled, rolling onto my side to face Connor, staring at his bare, freckled shoulder. “I don’t know what to do. If I can do anything.”

I jumped a foot out of my skin when he placed a hand at the corner of my jaw, brushing the tangled hair back out of my face. “You don’t have to think about it right now. You’ve had a really long fucking day. You should sleep.”

I didn’t want to sleep–I didn’t want Connor to leave. I didn’t know how to say that.

I couldn’t believe that everyone had tried to desperately to convince me Connor Murphy was a bad boy–fuck them, Connor Murphy was good. He was better than everyone in this cabin combined.

He cared about me.

I caught his wrist, which froze in my grasp, but I just took his bony hand and cradled it between my hands the same way he’d done mine, tracing the lines across his palm. He sucked  in a sharp breath.

“Okay,” I said, and he smiled, moving away. I let go of his hand.

“I just have to turn off the light. Get comfy.”

His retreating footsteps filled my stomach with dread, but nevertheless I unzipped his jacket and draped it on top of the blanket so that it would at least keep my feet warm. Pulling the pillow tight behind my head, I was pleased to find it sort of smelled like Connor’s shampoo as the light clicked off. It left me feeling a little more safe. Ironic, I realized. I was in the middle of a wilderness, I’d almost been abducted, my mother was downstairs ruining our family, and all I could find myself to be worried about was if Connor would be okay.

The bed dipped behind me, shocking me into stillness, surprising me even more when someone lifted the sheet and slid in behind me, a bony hand resting on my hip.

“This okay?” He asked, and I dared to open my eyes to meet his. They were unsure, nervous. He was scared I’d reject him. I nodded, scooting closer.

“It really will be okay, you know,” he assured. “Whatever you choose, I’m gonna be with you.”

“You’re amazing,” I said without thinking, but being entirely sincere. Even in the dark, I saw his eyes go wide and his cheeks tinge a deep magenta in his pale face.

“No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you are,” I assured with a laugh, reaching across the divide to poke at his side, slightly surprised to still find him shirtless. He’d withdrawn his hand almost immediately, keeping respectfully to his side of the bed. “I’d be dead without you. And you’ve supported me this whole way.”

His jaw clenched and unclenched, freeing one of his arms to pick at the wrinkled sheets between us. “I just, fuck, I knew you’d hear some shit, but I was hoping you’d be able to come out here and we could start over again, like before? Zoe started her smear campaign almost immediately. I just, fuck, nevermind.”

I watched him withdraw, turning over with his back to me, the pale plains of his back bared to me.

“Con,” I said very softly. “I don’t care what they say–fuck them,” I laughed, watching Connor’s shoulders shake. “I think you’re good, Connor, and I miss being your friend.”

I watched with bated breath as his back rose and fell with his steady breath in the cold room, his skin radiating heat. I shifted closer, crossing the divide between us. He didn’t respond.

I didn’t sleep.

——

I was alerted late in the day by a noise–it was daylight, I noted, the clock on the bedside table reading it was almost noon. I was groggy, still in the state between sleep and consciousness. The room was shrouded in a bright grey hue from the winter wonderland outside–it had snowed a significant amount, apparently, and the white fluff stuck hopelessly to the window.

At the foot of the bed, Connor was on his knees, pulling a navy sweater over his head. It was tight, with a stretched collar and holes at the hem, but he looked good in it. His hair was frizzed at the temples, and his eyes were wide when we saw me.

“You’re awake.”

I just nodded, a little embarrassed. Part of me hoped Connor would just let last night drop, and we could continue our indifference toward each other, but most of me felt as if we had an unfinished conversation to attend to.

“Is anyone back yet?” I asked, surprised as Connor came to sit in front of me, legs crossed kindergarten style. He shook his head.

“No, actually. No one came back from their trip, and the lovebirds have miraculously vanished for a ski day. It’s just me and you.”

“Oh.”

Connor seemed unsure for a moment, brushing his hands off on his pants. “I’m sorry, um, about last night? I should’ve asked first if it was okay to sleep next to you, I just–I know you said you missed being friends, so I thought–”

“It was nice,” I cut him off with a smile that was nearly all false bravado. “Warm. I really do miss hanging out with you.”

He pursed his lips in way of a smile. “Me too. Miss having friends, period, but you’re kinda great, so–I’ll shut up.”

Stretching, I groaned with the sensation and smiled widely at him. “We can be friends again, don’t you think?” I asked, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. When my vision cleared, he was sitting by my feet, eyes downcast.

“It’s kinda lame, isn’t it?” He asked, sending ice down my spine.

“What, I’m not cool enough for you?” I teased half heartedly, despite feeling slightly sick. If Connor left now, I’d be marooned on this island I’d made for myself, and it wasn’t ideal knowing I no longer had any allies.

“No! That’s not what I–no, fuck, I just meant. Don’t you like Zoe better?”

I shook my head. “I like Zoe–but I liked you first.”

“Yeah, I liked the Teletubbies first, doesn’t mean I prefer them to Death Cab for Cutie.”

I snorted. “Okay, I like you best. You’re both really similar, you know, but you’re kinder.”

He shot me a glare, which I supposed I’d earned. “Liar.”

“Can’t lie,” I protested. “And I like you better. Get used to it.”

He swallowed, shifting on the bed and looking at me again as if grappling to say something. His eyebrows were pinched in the middle, making him look slightly worried, small. I watched the way his mouth bowed as he opened and closed it, my eyes tracing over his soft lips.

He was pretty, I realized, in a way I wouldn’t have considered before.

“What about when you leave?” He asked softly, scratching his arm absently.

I frowned. “What about it?”

“We won’t see each other again.”

I smiled. “Connor, you just live on the other side of town. I do own a car.”

He frowned. “You’d come to see me?”

“If you wanted me to,” I answered honestly. “Or we could go do stuff. It doesn’t make me any difference–whatever you want, I’m game for.”

His eyebrows took a sharp hike into his hairline. “Whatever I want, huh?”

My stomach clenched nervously–decidedly a good kind of nervous. I didn’t realize it till he placed his hand on my ankle, grinning up at me with crooked teeth and pretty eyes, that I might’ve begun to develop a small crush on him.

Which wasn’t okay.

——

“This is such bullshit.”

I cackled as Connor continued to strap on his snow boots, repeatedly tripping and losing his balance in the snow.

“C'mon, it’s fun!” I protested, pulling my sock toboggan down tighter over my ears, trudging another few slow steps through the slush. Connor was frustrated, I could tell, seeing his pink nose and ears, his breaths coming out in angry puffs of smoke.

“No,” he grunted, dragging himself up the trail a few more steps. “Video games are fun. Cartoons are fun. Cheap Internet porn is fun. Dragging my frozen ass up a mountain covered in snow for ten miles is not my idea of fun, dude.”

“It’s not ten miles,” I protested, taking a seat on a mostly clean looking rock, patting the seat beside me in condolence to Connor, giving him a much needed break. He’d agreed to go outside with me at least once to take a hike, since the Murphy kids never ever wanted to do anything that didn’t involve fried food or touristy tie dye t-shirts. We’d been going for a few hours now, and the last bench had easily been miles ago. I wanted to see where the trail ended.

Part of me was scared he’d only agreed because he thought I would break. I’d surprised myself with how calm I’d been after, well, what a nightmare this trip had been. I supposed I’d be worse once my dad got back–but he wasn’t yet, so I was content to have my last moments with Connor.

“We’ve been out here for hours, man, don’t you think we should head back before it gets dark?” He whined, leaning forward on his elbows and rubbed his hands together–he had on mittens, which was probably the cutest thing I’d ever seen. Say what you want about Connor Murphy, his aesthetic was absolutely demolished once you put him in a fire engine red puffer coat.

I sighed, glancing wistfully up the trail. I’d like to finish, but Connor was right–it was getting dark, too dangerous out for us to be out here alone. He’d humored me enough for today.

Time to go back and face reality.

I just nodded, stuffing my hands in my pockets and rising from the rock, giving a decent stretch before moving forward back down the path, Connor scurrying along beside me.

“Thanks for coming,” I said again, nudging him with my shoulder. He stumbled gracefully, grinning with a subdued force that warmed me a little, before checking me back with his shoulder.

“Don’t tell anyone,” he warned, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “But it wasn’t totally awful.”

I snorted. “I won’t let anyone know Connor Murphy can feel fun.”

Biting back a smile, he nudged me again. “God, please don’t. Then they might bring me back here and I’ll have to spend another two weeks with you.”

“I’m sure I’m just killing you inside,” I teased. “How dare your parents give you unfiltered access to a teenage girl.”

“Who never wears pants around the house,” he added sagely.

“And sleeps in your bed!” I choked with laughter, the bird walking along the snow path in front of us clearing the way. “God, I can’t believe I did that. I’m sorry, I was probably awful. Did I snore?”

His mouth twisted, as if trying to look indifferent but instead just failed at smothering a smile, both corners of his lips turning in a different direction.

“Not awful,” he offered, earning an embarrassed groan from me. “No! It’s cute, like a kid, I promise. You kicked the shit out of me, though.”

“You’re kidding me,” I groaned. “I’m so so sorry! I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

“Might be some bruises,” he grinned, to my further mortification. “Hey, nah, I’m kidding. Any damage will heal. It’s kinda funny.”

I cocked an eyebrow from where I was hiding my face behind my gloves. “Seriously?”

“Yeah, don’t sweat it,” he said, reaching out to take my wrist, pulling one of my hands away from my face. He didn’t realize it, just held it, swinging stiffly between us as we walked. He held his breath for a moment before continuing, “I would’ve let you know if I didn’t like it.”

“Kinky,” I said upon reflex, earning a lazy kick to my ankle.

“You’re hilarious. I just meant you’re warm, maybe the bruises are worth it.”

I felt my face get hot, words forming in my belly, escaping before I could choke them back. “Yeah? Maybe I’ll kiss them better tonight, if Zoe isn’t back.”

He let go of my wrist like I’d burned him.

“Sor–”

“Don’t,” he said quietly, stuffing his hands in his pockets, beginning to walk quickly ahead of me.

“What?” I screeched, frustrated.

“Don’t fake flirt with me. It’s not funny,” he spat, continuing walking too fast on his ridiculously long legs.

“Who said it was fake?” I grumbled. “I’m not making fun of you, Connor.”

There was a beat of silence, pulling at my heart with sharp claws, the dull ache starting in my chest and spreading. I’d messed up everything.

“It’s getting dark,” he growled. “And we don’t have a flashlight. Try and keep up.”

——

The panic set in at twilight.

We were running.

He was holding my hand again, dragging me roughly down the mountain, hoping desperately to see some kind of light pollution as the sun set, but there was nothing.

“We should see lights by now,” I told him. “We can see the lights from our cabin, we should see the lights now.”

“We went down the wrong side of the mountain,” he gasped, already out of breathe. I knew his lungs weren’t the best, and we’d been running for awhile now.

“There has to be something at the bottom,” I whispered hopelessly.

“There is,” he growled. “It’s called a gorge, then you climb the other mountain, and there’s the next state. Fuck, how did we get so turned around?”

“Doesn’t matter, Con,” I said hopelessly. “It’s gonna be dark soon.”

His dark eyes widened. “You aren’t sincerely suggesting we try to find shelter. In the middle of a national park.”

“I’ve got a flare gun and a flint,” I told him. “But we have to get back up out of the trees.”

“You want us to climb the mountain again?” He hissed, holding both my hands now. “Are you positive you don’t have signal?”

I nodded. “I’m really sorry, Connor.”

“Don’t be sorry. Start walking.”

——

It was an accident.

It was dark.

I had an analog watch, letting me know it was nearly nine pm. We’d found shelter just as it had started to snow–the  ground here was wet, quickly freezing into ice, and we kept slipping up on the trail. I’d set off the flare an hour ago, and, so far, nothing. The snow had begun to pick up, and we’d found a alcove between two adjacent rocks–not big, about the size of a walk in closet, but enough space for us, our bags, and a pile of wood that refused to light. It kept the snow and wind off of us, and the alcove was high enough I felt safe, with a small mouth that made me feel as if at any instant we could be trapped.

It was an accident.

“The fire won’t light,” I said again, hopelessly, watching my now bloody fingers go numb from trying desperately to get the flint to do its job. I couldn’t feel them without my gloves on.

Connor, huddled in a corner, viciously rubbed his arms in an attempt to get warm. I knew the  temperature would only drop from here. If someone hadn’t seen the flare….

“There’s no dry wood. I checked.”

“Nothing?”

“No, okay? Nothing. That’s it.”

I knew he was right–and searching now would only prove to be counter productive and dangerous. I moved our bags and the pile of firewood to the entrance, sealing us in.

“It’s gonna be pitch black soon,” I warned, watching Connor tap angrily at his phone. “You should probably save your battery. I don’t have a flashlight.”

He snorted. “You’ll bring sleeping bags and a flint, but not a flashlight?”

“It’s the emergency bag! I didn’t pack it, Connor. Make fun of it all you want, but it’s keeping us alive!”

There was a beat of silence, before he clicked his phone off, leaving us in darkness. “M sorry.”

I dragged out the single sleeping bag, stretching it out to him. “Don’t be sorry.” I felt guilty–it was my fault we were in this mess to begin with. “Wanna granola bar?”

“Save it,” he said in a clipped tone, unsure what to make of it since we were veiled in darkness. “We might need it later.” Then, softer: “What’s the plan?”

I heard him stand, and walk across the slick ice of the alcove, coming to stand beside me, his hand at my elbow.

“Well,” I said very slowly, feeling my throat get thick. “Survive the night, stay awake, and once dawn hits we head back to the other side of the mountain, if no one comes.”

“If no one comes,” he echoed, voice oddly hollow. I choked.

“It, erm, is very possible they think we just wandered off, you know? We’re teenagers,” I reminded gently. I left out the part the police would be less than willing to look–Connor had a history of running away after a bad binge.

“Fuck,” he growled.

It was an accident. It was quick, in the dark, we couldn’t see.

He reached our for me, his open palm colliding with the back of my head, yanking me tightly again his chest, my nose buried in his nylon puffer coat. I felt his other hand, too forcefully, at the small of my back, and I nearly screamed, terrified this was an episode I couldn’t control–

“We’re gonna make it outta here,” he breathed against my ear, his breath warm and humid against my freezing ears. It set off a light bulb in my brain. “We’re gonna go back home and–fucking shit, I’m gonna be a goddamn good friend to you and we’re gonna–fuck,” he hissed, his clipped voice breaking off. “I’m gonna take care of you, I’m not going anywhere.”

I let myself break open, collapsing against him, openly sobbing with regret. He stiffened, but just tightened his arms around me despite our bulky clothes.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered. “This is all my fault.”

“It is not,” he hissed, shaking me a little. “We had no way of knowing this would happen. The trail looked safe.”

I just nodded, knowing that arguing would tire me out. I felt the lethargy begin to creep in my bones–Connor was warm, and it was late, and we were tired. Falling asleep meant dying.

“Get out the sleeping bag,” he said, extracting himself from me, and I heard his hands scrape along the hard rock looking for the entrance. “And I’ll look for some more blankets in the bag, see if we can’t insulate–fuck!

“What is it?” I screeched, turning, grabbing his hand to only find that my own was suddenly wet, almost sticky, and Connor pulled away with a howl. I smelled the metallic sting before I realized.

“Something cut my hand!”

“Stay away from the wall,” I warned. “Take your undershirt off, I’ll rip it up.” I felt around desperately for Connor’s phone, immediately illuminating our little cave with a blinding blue light.

The amount of blood smeared across the wall was nauseating. There was a sharp spot Connor must’ve grabbed too quickly.

He was crying, trying desperately to unzip his coat with one hand, the other dripping onto the floor.

“Fuck, I hope something doesn’t smell that,” I whispered, laying down the light and running to help him get undressed, careful of the open cut across his palm.

“I knew I was gonna get naked tonight,” he said with an unsure laugh, “I just didn’t realize it would be like this.”

My face flushed. “What, you thought I’d suck you off because we’re about to die?”

He shivered, accentuated by me ripping his white shirt down the front, exposing his blue, goosebumped skin.

“Fuck,” he hissed, and I was unsure if it was from the cold, the pain, or my foul language.

“Hope this is clean,” I muttered, wrapping a strip of his white shirt across his palm in a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding. It was a good way to get an infection, but I wasn’t sure what else to do.

“I didn’t–I wouldn’t ask you to–”

“I’m not sucking you off!”

“Fuck, I just meant–hypothermia, skin to skin, I saw it in a movie–”

The phone light clicked off. I sighed, tying off the cotton bandage.

“You wanna get naked in the sleeping bag,” I finished.

“I don’t want to!” He howled. “And not naked–just, enough to stay alive, shit. It’s gonna be negative ten out here soon, I just wanna stay alive.”

“We should hurry,” I said, surprising myself by reaching out to urge him to rub at his bare chest, earning a gasp from him. “You’re gonna freeze soon. Get your pants off.”

I handed him the sleeping bag, my breath catching as I heard his belt clink to the floor, trying very hard not to think about the implications of this. How far did he expect me to undress? And, if we did get in here, it would be ridiculously tight, we might fall asleep–

“Hurry up, this bag is an icicle with one person.”

Straightening out my bra and panties (even if we were going to die, Connor Murphy did not get to cop a feel) I felt my way to the sleeping bag.

My hand on his chest, he guided my legs one at time–one by his side, one between his knees–and gently folded me down against him, uncomfortably tight as his shaking fingers zipped the sleeping bag up.

He was breathing hard against my temple, and I immediately began to sweat–between the nylon bag and the fact I felt all of Connor Murphy pressed against my chest and stomach–it was nerve wracking.

“Don’t fall asleep,” he reminded in a hoarse voice, shaking a little. I couldn’t quite figure out where his hands were.

“Don’t get a boner,” I begged, earning a beat of silence before:

“I, uh, am–I’m really trying not to,” he groaned, and I could feel how hot his face was against my temple.

“If it helps,” I said, slightly disgusted. “You can imagine our parents kissing. That really kills my fire.”

“Ew,” he said. “Please don’t.”

I grinned. “What? You don’t want me to be your hot step sister?”

Stop it,” he begged, making me laugh, pressing my face against the soft cushion of his hair, nosing at the column of his throat. He groaned a little, and I felt his fingers twitch beside my hips.

“I can’t believe their secret is going to die with us,” I sighed. “No one is ever going to know.”

“I can’t believe you’re lying on top of me in your spiderman panties, but that’s also happening, so you’d better believe it,” he sighed, hands twitching again.

“You can touch me, you know,” I breathed, a little embarrassed against his ear. “We’re gonna die anyway, might as well die comfy.”

“We won’t die,” he promised, his hands clasping over the small of my back regardless.  “Hey,” he crooned, in a soft voice I hadn’t heard before. Encouraging. “Remember sharing a sleeping bag when we were kids?”

I laughed half heartedly, remembering fully. “The thing was always full of pixie stick wrappers.”

“It was an addiction, and I have quit,” he said sagely, earning another laugh from me. I almost joked about the pot, but part of me knew it wasn’t a funny joke. It didn’t have anything to do with him. He sighed, one finger trailing up my spine. “God, I was so in love with you.”

I froze against him, my body a live wire. His hand pulled back.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said tha–”

“Were you really?” I asked. I felt him smile, before leaning in to kiss my cheek, slowly, his dry lips lingering.

“Don’t tell me you didn’t know,” he groaned. “Zoe had me convinced you were just humoring me because you knew I’d do anything for you.”

I pulled up, as far as I could (which wasn’t much) squinting to make out his face in the dark. “That wasn’t true. You were my best friend.”

He nodded. “Yeah, I know. God, that time when you kissed me….I’m so sorry we stopped talking. I don’t think I’m ever gonna forgive myself for that.”

“Connor,” I said very softly, reaching up to tangle my hands lightly in his hair. “If we’re gonna die…can I just….”

He surged up before I could, the nylon around us snapping taunt, squeaking in protest. Up on his elbows, his bony hands found their purchase on my bare hips, and I felt the wetness through one of the bandages–his hand was still bleeding, the idiot.

His lips were dry, and he kissed much too roughly for someone who wasn’t holding my head in place, our teeth clinking together in a way that I knew was an accident, sending my skull ringing. His eyes were squeezed shut in the darkness.

I can’t believe it took us to the brink of death for him to admit this.

God, he’s an idiot.

I reached up, pulling at his hair, holding his head to mine, his tongue licking roughly up into my mouth before breaking away–

“Boner,” he warned in a squeak, earning a loud laugh from me, collapsing against his chest.

“Not even in death, Murphy, am I sucking you off on a first or last date,” I giggled against his neck, giving him a chaste kiss there, listening to him groan. His hips canted a little, scaring me, before taking a deep breath to calm himself.

“First date, huh?” I felt him grin, followed by a yawn.

“Stay awake, Connor,” I urged, smacking him hard. “Or I’m gonna twist your nipple.”

“Kinky,” he sighed lethargically. Shit, he was gonna sleep.

“Connor–”

“Promise me this,” he sighed, nuzzling lightly against the side of my face. “If we survive the night by some miracle, and we don’t freeze to death or get eaten by bears or bleed out–you wanna kiss me again? With more clothes on? As my girlfriend?”

I leaned into his touch, tilting my head up to give him access to suck a hickey into my neck, groaning.

“Murphy, if we live, I will suck you off.”

That was the last thing I remembered.

——-

Three days later, it’s still cold. I’m not wearing much–a blue gown with shitty pink flowers, it’s made of some kind of plasticy cotton material. There’s blood under my fingernails and bruises on my neck that are almost embarrassing when I remembered how I got them. My clothes were gone.

Connor was gone.

My mother and father were leaning over my bed, the Murphy's  (minus Cynthia) are behind them. No Connor.

They explained it slowly, eyes wide. They found Connor and I nearly frozen, unconscious. Connor lost a lot of blood, they said, and he wasn’t do so well but he’d woken up several days before me.

He wouldn’t eat until they let him see me.

I’d nearly ripped out my IV to get to him.

He was wearing the same shitty hospital gown, his hair pulled back. He’s got hickies I don’t remember giving him across his collarbone that are ridiculously visible. There were purple bruises under his eyes, like he hadn’t been sleeping.

“They said you were still too sick to get out of bed,” he grinned, opening his arm, and I immediately stumbled over to the thin mattress, pressing myself tightly against him. His hand is thickly wrapped in cotton, a few tubes full of a yellow brown liquid in them. He was combing my hair–which I’m sure was a rats nest–out with his free hand.

“They said the same about you.”

“We’re really lucky, you know,” I said softly, tapping at his chest. “I almost lost you.”

“Almost lost you,” he choked out, pulling away to scan my face, before grinning. “Which would’ve sucked, because you’re my only friend right now.”

“Friend?” I said, trying hard not to sound disappointed. I supposed I shouldn’t have been–what we’d done in the heat of a moment hadn’t meant anything then. It had been a lie for my humor.

It wasn’t fair.

Connor’s eyebrows furrowed. “You, um–do you wanna be my girlfriend?”

I frowned. “I mean, only if you want me to.”

He grinned, the smile splitting across his face. “It’ll suck–your parents will hate me.”

“Right now, I kind of hate my parents, so.”

“I do a lot of pot.”

“We can do something else instead,” I grinned, nudging him, having the nerve to blush.

He licked his lips, looking down at where he’d intertwined our hands. “You–you can’t fix me, you know? I’m still gonna be, you know.”

I nodded, bring his hand up to kiss across the bloody knuckles of his good hand. “I know. I promised I’d be your girlfriend, though. A promise is a promise.”

He grinned. “I’m glad you say that–because you did promise something else.”

I shook my head, rising from the bed. “The kiss is for when we have clothes on, remember.”

“I wasn’t talking about that kiss.”

Connor Murphy!