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#but I'm seeing charles (and his fans) getting dragged left and right
petit-papillion · 13 days
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I want Charles to win.
Not when Max has damage. Or Max's car is not performing. Or Max DNFs.
I want Charles to win.
By fighting Max for P1. By having to cleverly plan when to pass Max or whoever else may be in front of him. By driving brilliantly to keep all other drivers behind him.
I want Charles to win.
When everyone is at their best. When there are no circumstances that give him an advantage. No Lap 1 bowling taking out top competitors. No convenient safety car. No team orders to give him the lead.
I want Charles to win.
And get full credit for his outstanding race craft. Kudos for his superior tyre management. Admiration for his smart strategizing.
I want Charles to win.
Not once, but over and over and over again. Setting fastest laps. Getting Grand Slams. Having the fastest pit stop. Beating records set by Lauda, Schumacher, Hamilton, Verstappen.
I want Charles to win.
So I can see him winking as he receives his medal. Fill with pride as he raises his trophy. Watch him fondly look down at his team while the Monegasque anthem plays. Join the Italians as they passionately belt out their anthem.
I want Charles to win.
Until everyone but me is sick of seeing him on that top step. Until no one calls into question his abilities as a top-notch F1 driver. Until every up-and-coming driver aspires to be like him.
Yes, I may be delusional, unrealistic, off my rocker, or in la la land, but I am a Charles-fan, which means...
I want Charles to win
Petit | 26 March 2024
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fangirl-dot-com · 1 month
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Chapter 26 - Texas Hold 'Em
The long awaited chapter is here! Thank you all so much for being patient with me!
Next on the schedule is Mexico and then I'm planning to do "Across Every Universe" pt. 2 because I have so many AU ideas that need to be written. The Brazil race is canceled due to a hurricane in my version of the 2024 - for plot purposes.
So get your cowboy hats on and yee-haw here we go!!
Everyone wasn’t surprised when you showed up in a particular outfit in Austin. The fans had been waiting for another themed outfit since you debuted in Vegas last year. So, they weren’t really in awe of what you were wearing. 
What they were surprised to see was the whole grid in matching outfits.
Thee. Entire. Grid. 
And yes, you had somehow wrangled everyone into matching beaver onesies from Bucees. How you convinced Max, Lewis, Kevin, Nico, Zhou, Valtteri, Pierre, and somehow Esteban as well? No one will ever know (there might have been bribes and threats, but they didn’t need to know that). 
Along with the group was a familiar Monegasque, also in the same onesie. You laughed as you saw everyone stair at the massive group. 
“This is amazing,” you giggled behind your hands. 
To be honest, only a few were actually happy to be in the pajamas. (Lando, Daniel, Oscar, Logan, Alex, and Arthur.) The rest could have said no. But who wants to say no to you. 
Photographers flashed their cameras every few seconds. Apparently, fall had actually come that October in Austin, so it wasn’t as hot as everyone thought. For a second, they were thankful to be wearing the long sleeves of the outfits. 
Except when everyone made it back to their respected garages, they all tore them off. However, a couple of them kept them on. And that group was up for a larger media conference. 
On the couch, the order was right to left: Lando, Oscar, Logan, you, Max, Daniel, and then Charles. All of you had yet to take the fuzzy clothes off. 
The interviewer was a little shocked to see the reigning world champion in kids clothing. Yet, they took one look at your smiling face as you animatedly talked to Max, they knew exactly who he was doing this for. 
The conference started, and the drivers put on their media faces, but it was hard to take them seriously when they were all dressed in the brown and bright red. 
“So starting off, what’s the story behind the outfit choices today?” 
All six drivers immediately looked to you, who sheepishly grinned. 
“Yes, Y/n, why don’t you tell the story,” Max said in a teasing tone. You hit his shoulder before raising the mic. 
“Well, it all started when most of the grid had said they hadn’t been to Bucees. And that is like the worst crime known to man. I mean, Daniel and Logan have been, but the others hadn’t.” 
Charles raises his mic next. “So she gets the brilliant plan to text everyone at midnight about going to Bucees.” 
You pulled an accused look. “Hey, everyone didn’t have to respond, but they did.” 
Oscar pulled a face. “I was pretty much dragged.” 
A gasp came from his right and left. Logan shook his head while Lando had his hand on his heart. 
“Osc, I am devastated. You went by your own will. It was also for her birthday, you know this.” 
The journalist piped up. “Happy birthday Y/n.” 
You smiled sweetly at the man, “Thank you so much.” 
Your head whipped to Lando, “Can I get back to the story?” 
The males quieted. 
“As I was saying, I texted everyone cause I was bored. Bucees is open all night so I knew it would be open. And we had the multi-passenger vans, so we could take everyone. I really thought that no one would show up.” 
“Darl, you have little faith in me.” 
You rolled your eyes. 
“I knew you were coming, you texted me on the side. But when the meeting time came and everyone was down in the lobby, I wasn’t expecting it.” 
The interviewer smirked. “Who drove? We saw that you had a little trouble after Singapore.” 
You, Logan, Osar, and Lando all winced. 
Logan brought his mic up. “Yeah. That one was one me. I didn’t know that roofless cars weren’t allowed in Singapore.” 
Your finger shot up. “At least we weren’t really arrested. The officer was super nice.” 
Lando smirked. “Yep. We got a warning and he let us off.” 
Your hands clapped. “Anyway, Max drove one van and I think Lewis drove the other one?” 
Max jerked his head to look at you, a smile on his face. “Yeah, don’t want you or George taking off again.” 
The microphone picked up the sound of your hand hitting his shoulders. 
“What did everyone think of Bucees?” a man from deeper in the crowd asked. 
Charles brought his mic back up. “Best place on Earth.” 
You watched as everyone climbed out of the vans and stopped to stare at the yellow and red sign. The big beaver was almost smiling down at you. You, Logan, and Daniel watched as the grid stared at the automatic doors and gingerly step inside. 
“Welcome to Bucees!” an overly energized worker shouted. You looked around and were thankful that not many people were there. 
You waved to get everyone’s attention. 
“Ok boys, er, men, welcome to the best gas station on earth. You can find everything your little hearts’ desire so have at it.” 
The group immediately shot out into different directions. You saw Lando and Oscar immediately head to the rows and rows of drinks they offered. You knew that the Brit would definitely get a slushy when he noticed. 
A lot of the older drivers went to the home decoration sections. Lewis and Valtteri were definitely looking at all the cooking supplies. 
Daniel looked down at you. “So ‘darl, where you wanting to go?” 
You had noticed that Logan had broken away to probably visit the vast fishing supply section. There was a high possibility that he had dragged Alex as well. 
Max, Charles, and Arthur were standing next to the coffee. You shuddered as you remembered as all of them drank it straight black. The opposite of what the creamers and flavors were supposed to do. 
“You wanna get a drink and then walk around?” 
You nodded eagerly before grabbing one of the giant cups. A few drivers watched as you and Daniel filled the styrofoam with Dr. Pepper, before going to the coffee station to add cream. 
“What the hell did you just do?” 
Your eyes widened as you looked at Pierre, Max, and Charles (who all had disgusted looks on their faces). 
You held the big cup up as you swirled the liquid. “Dirty soda. It’s really good.” 
Arthur already had his cup, the same way that you did, except his had Root Beer. You had taught him the ways during early 2023 when you two were teammates. The younger Monegasque rolled his eyes. 
“Don’t look disgusted until you try it.” 
Charles still looked at him strangely. “That will completely mess up our diets.” 
Daniel’s hand clapped Charles’ shoulder. 
“That’s the point Charles. Now get a cup and start concocting.” 
You, Danny, and Arthur left them to their devices and confusion and headed for the beef jerky wall. Zhou was staring at all of the flavors with eyebrows pinched. You knew the look of a beef jerky lover with no clue which one to get. You quickly picked on up and handed it to him. 
“The Korean one is my favorite. But the ghost pepper and garlic are a close second.”
The Romeo driver showed you a quick smile before he walked away. You grabbed the flavors that Daniel and Arthur had asked for, as well as two bags for you. Your head swerved as you tried to find the two men. 
Your eyes widened as you heard Danny’s laugh, loud and clear above everything. Your feet quickly took you to the toy and clothing section. By the time you reached them, Daniel already had a onesie on. 
“Great idea Danny,” you said as you gave everything over to your boyfriend, who had smartly grabbed a basket. 
You were quick to put the pajamas on and pose with the Australian. The two of you fell into laughs as you tried to find Arthur’s size. By now, most of the grid came over to see what was going on. Lando’s eyes flashed with mischief as he tried to find ones in his and Oscar’s sizes. 
You grabbed a few off of the hangers and handed them to the drivers you thought would want one. You watched as George and Alex put them on and laughed as you saw that the pant legs were too small and came up before their ankles. 
Before you knew it, the entire grid was in once section. You and Arthur gave each other looks before dashing to Max and Charles, who immediately shook their heads. 
Max gave you a stern look. 
“No, I am not putting one on. End of st-”
Moments later, Max was brooding in a brown and red onesie. The twenty of you goofed around for almost three hours before Lewis suggested that it was time to leave. (He only said something when he noticed that you were dead asleep on Max’s back. And everyone knew that Max had the widest back so ergo, more comfortable for nappage.)  
“So that’s it. And I thought it would be a good idea to come dressed in these.” 
Charles began talking. “So again she sends a text at 5:30 am asking for everyone to wear the onesie.” 
You gave him a playful glare. “Once again, you did not have to wear it.” 
The Monegasque winked back at you (or tried to anyway). 
“But I look good in it non?” 
A scoff arose from Max. 
“You look good in anything mate.” 
You gasped as you looked at the cameras. 
“Everyone heard it right? Lestappen is real!” 
The rest of the group started to laugh loudly as Max and Charles blushed. You wiggled your eyebrows at the Dutchman, making him swat at you. 
You grumbled as you were led away from the conference. 
On Thursday, Arthur was glued to your side as you watched one of the F2 drivers use your car for free practice 1. You watched as he had his eyes sharp on the car, a sigh leaving his lips every so often. 
You bumped his side. 
“We can go to my room if you want to?” 
Arthur didn’t even respond as he made a beeline for it. You quickly took your headphones off before following him. It didn’t take long for you to catch up and slide into the room as he closed the door. 
The moment you turned around, Arthur had you pinned to the door, lips locked tightly. A small gasp left your lips as he pressed into your face. Your hands gripped the polo material and bunched it at his sides. You made quick work to stick your hands against his skin. He let out a small hiss at your cold fingers. 
“Your hands are never warm are they?” he mumbled against your lips. 
“Poor circulation,” you were able to mutter back before kissing him again. 
His left hand had made its way into your hair, lightly gripping the roots. He gently guided your head to the side and decided to attack your neck. 
You shook your head. “Marks. Please no marks.” 
Arthur respected your request as he placed a gentle kiss before going back to your lips. His right hand had made its way under your shirt. It was slightly going up before a knock at the door made him jerk it away.  
You sucked in a deep breath. 
“Yes?” 
“Kid, we’re needed in the garage,” Max’s voice sounded through the door. “Oh, and Charles is looking for Arthur, have you seen him?” 
You wanted to snort at the irony. You patted you hair a bit before responding. 
“I’ll let him know. Be out in a second.” 
You and Arthur held your breath as you heard his footsteps start to grow quiet as he walked away. 
Arthur smirked down at your flushed appearance, happy that he could make you as flustered as possible. 
“I will see you later then?” you asked, placing one last kiss on his lips. “After Sunday the guys are wanting to try to go line dancing if possible to celebrate for my birthday.” 
Arthur nodded excitedly as he stepped back, trying to straighten his shirt. 
“You go first, and I’ll follow a bit after.” 
The plan was a go as you snuck out of your room, looking around as you made your way to the open garage. 
Once Arthur thought he was in the clear, he poked his head out. Not seeing anyone directly, he also snuck around the door. His head was turned around, not seeing the body in front of him. He collided into a firm chest before whipping his head forward. 
He came face to face with Max. Arthur gulped as his hazel eyes met icy blue ones. Max just looked down at the scared 23-year-old. The Dutchman smirked before planning a hand on Arthur’s shoulders. 
“Use protection please,” was all Max said before turning around and walking in the direction that you were headed. 
Arthur glowed red at the statement before heading out. His face definitely matched the shade of his red Ferrari polo. 
Back in the garage, your mouth was wide open as you looked at the leaderboard. 
“How did a Williams get there?” 
The blue “W” shone brightly in the P1 spot. “SAR” was right next to it. 
Christian shook his head as he looked at his notebook. 
“They got an upgrade from Mercedes and decided to use it for this race.” 
Max also was boggled at the sight. You looked back at Christian, wanting to gulp with concern. 
“How are we looking?” 
The Brit sucked in a harsh breath. “Not the best. But we’ll get there.” 
“Hey kid!”
Your head whipped around at the sound of Mitch yelling your name. As you were gawking over the Williams positions, you were completely oblivious to the entirety of the garage getting closer and closer. In her hands was a small-ish white cake. A small Lightning McQueen figure was on top. You let out a small gasp as Max quickly lit the candles that were shaped in a 2 and a 1. 
Everyone soon began to sing a rendition of Happy Birthday. Toward the end of the verse, your eyes started to water. When the song ended, you lightly blew out the candles, earning several rounds of applause at something so miniscule to you. 
Yet, this act of kindness really showed how much your team loved you. Christian tried to shove your face into the cake but he really underestimated how strong your neck really was. If anything, your head didn’t move much. You just gave him a stink eye as you glared at him. 
Mitch gently set the cake in your hands as you just stared at it. The little candles illuminated the tears that were falling down. 
You looked up at everyone. Some were holding their phones, taking photos. Many where mechanics that you really had no relation to. 
You were able to croak out, “Thank you.” 
The cake was split up and soon many were munching down on small slices. You were tucked between Max and Mitch as you ate your slice. 
The Dutchman nudged you just a bit. “You seem quiet.” 
You swallowed as you looked down at the cake. “I’ve never really had this. I’ve only ever celebrated my birthday a couple of times before. A few with Enzo and then with Arthur last year. My teams have never done this before.” 
Max gave you a sad smile, silently noting to continue the tradition of getting a cake. 
On Sunday, “Not the best” became an understatement. 
You and Max had definitely done terribly in qualifying. You two made it out of Q2 by the skin of your teeth, all while Logan and Alex were happily in the top four. Q3 resulted in you and Max getting a respectable P4 and P7. The latter position making it difficult for the Dutchman to be happy with the weekend. 
During the parade on Sunday, you were standing next to the two Williams drivers. You leaned over. 
“So how did you switch out your cars for ours?” 
Logan laughed loudly, currently on cloud-9 as he was on his maiden pole position. Alex was a little jealous but was happy for the blond, since the 2023 season was not very kind. 
Alex decided to join in. 
“While you two were sleeping, we snuck out here and just swapped. Logan is pretty good with spray paint.” 
That had you laughing with your next stretched out and your head leaned back. Suddenly a hand was on your neck as you looked at the arm it was attached too. Oscar was looking at you with big round eyes while it was Lando who’s arm was at the junction of your shoulder and neck. 
You gave the two papaya boys a weird look before Oscar leaned over. 
“You have a little something on your neck.” 
Your hand quickly clapped onto your neck over Lando’s hand. You flushed bright red. 
“I told him no marks.” 
Max, who had seen the entire thing, came over and handed you his pullover. You muttered a quick thank you before pulling the oversized thing on. You just hoped that no one else saw. 
When you changed into your race suit, you stared at the red marks dotting your neck. 
“Arthur Leclerc, I’m going to kill you,” you mentioned to no one in particular. For the Austin Grand Prix you had a Captain America styled helmet. The red, white, and blue shone around the garage as you got into your car. 
You took a deep breath as you looked at the cars in front of you. Logan, Alex, and Oscar were all ahead. Lando, Charles, and Max were behind you. You felt a bit alienated from your teammate, who you normally were able to catch a bit of tunnel from on the way out to bold. 
It kind of reminded you of Monza. 
When it was lights out, you were quick on the throttle. You got the immediate jump on Oscar, putting you in P3 before the first turn. 
However, Alex was really using his degree and the masters in defense. You were frustrated at the Williams driver, yet you were really impressed with how he held you off. 
But, a slow pit stop for them and a fast one for you saw your Red Bull overtaking his easily. Yet, it seemed like the Brit had taken on a student. 
One that goes by the name of Logan Hunter Sargeant. 
You were so focused on your own race that before you knew it, you were over the line with the checkered flag waving freely. 
You pressed your radio button as you taxied. 
“Great race everyone. Congrats to Logan on his first win. Ah, I thought I had him in some places.” 
Mitch on the radio knew you sounded a bit dejected. Since the Azerbaijan race had been canced before the Singapore grand prix, she knew you wanted another race win soon. She knew you were expecting to take the win from Monza and ride on that high for as long as possible. But with a hard podium in Singapore and a car that didn’t work well in Austin, she could see you getting annoyed. 
“What was Max’s position?” 
“P4. The team had a bit of trouble with his tyres. So that’s Sargeant P1, you P2, and Piastri P3.��� 
Your eyebrows raised. 
“Good job for Oscar.” 
You undid you steering wheel as you watched the American celebrate his win. The crowds seemed to roar for him as they did for you in Monza. You watched as he ran to his team, who welcomed him home with open arms. 
Funny, he got his first points in Austin last year, and his first win this year. 
Strange how the world worked. 
On the podium, you watched as the crowds placed their hands over their hearts during the Star Spangled Banner. As expected, Logan was shedding a few tears. Oscar looked so happy for the blond. COTA finally brought back the cowboy hats with the numbers on them instead of the flat caps. 
Your mind went back to the Lacy edits on Tik Tok. 
Finally, Logan was no longer being compared to Oscar. 
He could finally be himself. 
You and the Aussie were quick to douse the American in sticky champagne. Logan just laughed as he got sprayed, giving in knowing that he wasn’t going to win against the two of you. 
“Are we still going line dancing later tonight?” you asked him as the three of you stood for a picture. 
“Aw hell yeah! Bring it on Texas! Yee-haw!” 
You took the special cowboy hat off your head and tipped it to the crowd. The two boys doing the same. 
Yee-haw indeed.
williamsracing has posted
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williamsracing the man, the myth, the formula 1 race winner! I guess our pronouns are USA
liked by oscarpiastri, y/n.89, logan4president, and 803,193 others
logan4president RAAWWWW WHAT THE FUCK IS A KILOMETER
williamsduo Logan Sargeant win before GTA6
y/n.89 your Americanness is showing
logansargeant yes, and? y/n.89 do not quote ariana grande at me sir
y/n.nation the helmets today were peak >>>
logan2sarg I know right - the eagle on Logan's dannyric Daniel's hook'em horns one was immaculate
iamred_iamyellow so glad they brought back the cowboy hats for the podiums
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y/n.89 has posted
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y/n.89 it's a real life boogey and a real life hoedown
liked by arthur_leclerc, redbullracing, circuitoftheamericas, and 750,294 others
y/n.nation HAPPY BIRTHDAY Y/N!!!!
leclercbros dang, she finally taught Arthur and Charles how to wear cowboy boots
leclerc4ever she just taught them how to dress period
formula_fan does anyone know what went down tonight lol
box_box_express so they went to a local bar, y/n and Daniel taught everyone how to line dance, surprisingly Logan and Oscar are very good at it formula_gossip I was also there, Carlos and max got on the mechanical bull, most of the grid was there, and Fernando was playing darts in the corner with Lando
maxverstappen1 happy birthday kid
y/n.89 thanks maxie! even if you didn't let me get the drink I wanted maxverstappen1 I don't think a fireball is an appropriate drink for your first one y/n.89 right...my first drink...totally
beyonce now that is how you celebrate
f1 YEE HAW
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adventuringblind · 4 months
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Hi, I noticed (mainly bc u read a lot of your work) that you write a lot of dark/ self harm based/themed fics so I was wondering if you would be comfortable with writing a lestappen x reader with an Ed. It’s totally fine if you don’t want to so ofc feel free to ignore
(Your work is always very well written and I look forward to reading what you post next)
One for you and One for me
Lestappen x Reader
Genre: Angst/hurt comfort
Summary: Nobody is immune to the toxicity of social media, Charles and Max help their girl through it
Warnings: HEAVY ED, toxic media, body dysmorphia, sexual acts are mentioned but nothing happens
Notes: You must be psychic because I you sent this while I'm struggling with my own ED. I hope this helps you as much as it did me! 😊
Masterlist
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Social media is something that everyone seems to revolve around. In theory, it could be great. Getting to see photos of friends and family and updates from celebrities you wouldn't otherwise interact with.
But here's the catch: in practice, the entire thing falls apart. People are left with images of things that are unachievable. Photoshop and filters have become everyone's new best friends. People put only their best foot forward and try to look as perfect as possible.
And those who don't? The ones who are criticized? The ones who will never meet that expectation? They are left trying to swim to the surface of a never-ending ocean. Drowning under the weight never being enough.
So, they do what they can. Nothing can be that bad if it makes them feel better, right? What's one meal skipped every day to cut back on calories?
In her case, she'd cut it all out. The idea of perfection and control weigh heavy in the pit of her stomach. The one that is currently growling as she weighs herself for the fifth time that day alone.
It's addicting, really, the feeling she gets from having gone another hour without a meal. The elation of seeing the scale drop in number.
The media and fans had been all over her appearance after going public with Max and Charles. She'd tried to ignore, but there was a piece of her looking for an excuse to dive back into the habits of her teenage years.
Her mother said she never looked like she had an eating disorder. Her father only started compliment her on her appearance once she was significantly underweight.
Max and Charles had been there for the fall. Her habits finally catching up to her when she started working with Redbull. She didn't have the energy to keep up with the schedule and one day had simply collapsed.
She'd gotten better. Promised the two boys they would never be on the verge of losing her like that again.
Now here she is, breaking that promise over the triple header by not eating at all. She'd started slowly, but now she has a chance to speed things up before the two boys notice anything. Too busy to really pay attention to her weight.
Maybe it would've been better if they hadn't been caught eating together. The fans might have a little less leverage to use on her. Maybe if she wasn't wearing something more revealing to a party in Monaco then they wouldn't have noticed how she looks.
The number on the scale is far from perfect, but it'll do for now. She slips on her teamwear that is looser than it was a few days ago. A satisfied but tired smile plays on her lips as she walks out the door.
The paddock is busy prior to the race. cameras are everywhere and she does her best to avoid them. Thankful her job is away from the majority of people. The less the cameras see of her, the better. A small part of her wonders if it would simply be better to disappear or become invisible. Maybe if she's thin enough, she'll be invisible from the side.
The day seems to drag on. The race is good and ends with both Max and Charles on the podium. It's the last race of the triple header meaning they will want to celebrate properly tonight. Maybe they will compliment her more now that she's lost weight. There is a prominent gap in her thighs and maybe will even be light enough for them to carry. The though makes her swoon.
The cheery conversation in the car quickly turns to logistics. Plans for dinner are made and she claims to have eaten while finishing up her work. To hungry to wait any longer.
There is a hesitant pause. They like knowing she ate with visible proof. That being the reason they eat together or at least someone is there to tell she ate if asked. Even if it's a bite.
They don't mention it. Charles orders in while Max drags her out of ear shot. She assumes it's because he is pent up, nothing surprising after a race. But nothing happens and she is left mildly disappointed.
Max cups her face. "I'm sorry we've been so busy."
"That's not your fault."
"No, but-" Max looks hesitant. "We know you haven't been eating. You're exhausted and your clothes don't fit. We can feel your bones when we hold you at night." She looks at Max in horror. "We thought maybe if we just made sure you felt comfortable that you would come to us but it's bad again."
Charles puts hands on her hips. "We'll take it slow, like last time. But please, we love you too much to see you become a shell of yourself again."
They say in that embrace until there is a knock at the door. Max is quick to answer it. He comes back holding their dinner. An extra box sits on top. One she assumes is for her.
"We got you a small salad. Nothing massive, no dressing, just vegetables." Max sets it all out on the table. They keep up casual conversation, so she doesn't feel horribly uncomfortable. Until they notice she is just playing with her food.
"How about, we continue talking, but we take turns taking bites? If you manage three, we'll call it a night," suggests Charles. Goal setting was helpful last time around. One week she took one bite of every meal, the next was two, and so on.
She manages three bites. Each of her own followed by one of theirs.
They all clamber into bed afterwards. Exhaustion hits her hard.
No, it's not perfect or straightforward. Relapses happen but healing is full of ups and downs. But she has people who care and who love her for who she is, not what she looks like. They'd rather her be healthy then bringing herself to the brink of collapse. And she loves them enough to try her best which is all they can ask for.
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cheriladycl01 · 5 months
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Better than me - Charles Leclerc x Reader P3
Plot: You are a rookie in your first f1 season, adding to the ever-growing amount of Brits performing in the grid.
Credit to countingstars-17 for the GIF
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"I think this is the perfect outfit" your manager tells you, as you open the door for her. You'd asked for her opinion on what you should wear, knowing that you'd be in pictures with your friends tonight and you didn't want to come across badly on the media.
"Do you want to drive?" she asked, you didn't normally drink but she didn't know if you'd want to let loose and have some fun tonight where you'd performed so well in the race.
"Erm, no I'll drive. You know what I'm like" you smiled, the minute you passed your test on your 17th birthday you never let anyone else drive.
"Well, seems like your all ready. Bahrain has been a blast, so lets go party tonight and get you ready for Saudi yeah?" she smiles and you both head down to the rental Audi you'd been using while here in Bahrain.
You'd pulled up to the venue that Charles had sent you after you exchanged numbers. Half an hour after that you'd been added to a group chat called 'The Grid Boiss'
𝚈/𝙽: 𝚆𝚎𝚕𝚕 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚘𝚗𝚎, 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚐𝚛𝚘𝚞𝚙 𝚗𝚊𝚖𝚎 𝚒𝚜 𝚗𝚘𝚠 𝚒𝚗𝚌𝚘𝚛𝚛𝚎𝚌𝚝… 𝙻𝚘𝚛𝚍 𝙿𝚎𝚛𝚌: 𝙾𝚑, 𝚑𝚖𝚖𝚖 𝚋𝚕𝚊𝚖𝚎 𝙶𝚎𝚘𝚛𝚐𝚎 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚘𝚗𝚎. 𝙷𝚎 𝚌𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚍 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜! 𝙶𝚎𝚘𝚛𝚐𝚒𝚎: 𝙳𝚘 𝚗𝚘𝚝 𝚋𝚕𝚊𝚖𝚎 𝚖𝚎, 𝙸 𝚠𝚒𝚕𝚕 𝚑𝚊𝚙𝚙𝚒𝚕𝚢 𝚖𝚊𝚔𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚌𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚐𝚎 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝚍𝚎𝚊𝚛 𝚗𝚎𝚠 𝚍𝚛𝚒𝚟𝚎𝚛 𝚈/𝙽. 𝙻𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚘: 𝚈𝚘𝚞 𝚌𝚊𝚗 𝚋𝚎 𝚊𝚗 𝚑𝚘𝚗𝚘𝚛𝚊𝚛𝚢 𝚋𝚘𝚒 𝚒𝚗 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚌𝚑𝚊𝚝? 𝚈/𝙽: 𝙽𝚘 𝚠𝚊𝚢, 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚔𝚎𝚍 𝚝𝚘 𝚑𝚊𝚛𝚍 𝚊𝚜 𝚊 𝚠𝚘𝚖𝚊𝚗, 𝚈𝙾𝚄 𝚌𝚊𝚗 𝚊𝚕𝚕 𝚋𝚎 𝚑𝚘𝚗𝚘𝚛𝚊𝚛𝚢 𝚐𝚒𝚛𝚕𝚒𝚎𝚜! -𝙶𝚛𝚘𝚞𝚙𝚌𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚗𝚊𝚖𝚎 𝚌𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚐𝚎𝚍 𝚏𝚛𝚘𝚖 𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝙶𝚛𝚒𝚍 𝙱𝚘𝚒𝚜𝚜 𝚝𝚘 𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝙶𝚛𝚒𝚍 𝙶𝚒𝚛𝚕𝚒𝚎𝚜 𝚋𝚢 𝙶𝚎𝚘𝚛𝚐𝚒𝚎 𝙰𝚕𝚎𝚡𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚎𝚛: 𝙶𝚎𝚘𝚛𝚐𝚎 𝚊𝚛𝚎 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚕, 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚕𝚒𝚝𝚝𝚕𝚎 𝚏𝚞𝚌𝚔𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚜𝚒𝚖𝚙! 𝚂𝚊𝚒𝚗𝚣 𝙹𝚛: 𝚆𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚒𝚜 𝚊 𝚜𝚒𝚖𝚙, 𝙰𝚕𝚎𝚡? 𝚂𝚒𝚛 𝙻𝚎𝚠𝚒𝚜: 𝙶𝚞𝚢𝚜, 𝚍𝚘 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚠𝚊𝚗𝚝 𝚊 𝚙𝚒𝚌 𝚘𝚏 𝚁𝚘𝚜𝚌𝚘𝚎?
You'd laughed at the fact that the whole name had been changed just for you.
"Y/N over here! Come here!" you heard from the left and see a load of flashing cameras as you hop out the car. Your manager had agreed she would park your car while you went in and made appearances.
You walk over to see fans and the Paparazzi, all taking pictures. You start to sign objects thrusted towards you, some getting progressively stranger making you laugh with the fans. You had a few people ask for pictures and hugs so of course you oblige, taking selfies left and right giggling while people ask you numerous questions.
Eventually you say your goodbyes and head into the club, the bouncer not recognizing you, made a scrunched face waving his hand for you to leave.
"I've been invited by Charles Leclerc I'm a" you start but the tall man interrupts you.
"You know how many times I've heard that sweetheart, now lets ,move on and go down the street" he says his hand softly resting on your shoulder.
"I'm a driver, I'm with Audi this year sir. Not a fan" you try to explain but he scoffs.
"Sure you are... and I'm" he starts but Charles and Daniel come rolling out the club dying of laughter, before spotting you.
"Y'N" Daniel shines, pulling you in for a hug and leaning down to place a friendly kiss on your cheek.
"My apologies" the security guard admits. Nodding for you to follow the two guys in.
You take Danny's hand dragging him in, you walk through into the dark room faced by Neon lights and smoke from a machine up at the DJ booth.
"Is- is that Lando?" you shout to Danny and Charles over the music trying to work out in the person in the bucket hat up at the DJ booth messing around with the actual DJ.
"Yes, yes it is" Danny laughs shaking his head.
"Pierre, Alex!" you shout spotting them by the bar.
"Ahhh Y/N you want us to get you a drink?" Pierre smirks, looking behind you a Charles who had an odd expression on his face.
You'd only really given him a short hello when you'd first arrived and it irked him, he wanted you to talk to him, he wanted to get to know you.
But then again, the club wasn't exactly the best place for deep and meaningful conversations.
"Well Charles won today, so maybe let him buy the drinks?" Alex asks also seeing the expression on his face.
"One thing i wont ever say no to is a free drink, however I am driving so no alcohol please" you say twisting round to look at Charles having felt his presence behind you for a while.
"You've been driving all day, and you will drive here and back?" Charles asks, his gaze was so... prominent. It had your head dipping down not to meet his eye.
"I don't trust anyone else to drive" you smile, Pierre grabs you the drink, Charles leaning over you to swipe his card on the reader. He smiled down at you before taking the glass and bringing it to your waiting hand.
"Thanks, love" you grin, nodding you head at him.
"Hey guys, you look amazing Y/N" Lewis says coming over and joining the group, George trailing behind him. You pull him in for a hug thanking him for the compliment before returning it.
"You wanna go dance?" Charles asks placing his empty glass on the counter, looking over you.
"Yeah sure! You guys coming?" you ask the group that you'd situated yourself with for the night.
"Nah, we're gonna attempt to pull Lando away from the booth" Alex laughs, looking up to the stage, Lando was dancing to the beat, headphones on around his neck while the DJ just had his arms crossed watching him.
"Okay, if you need help just come and grab us" you smiled before taking Charles hand, you pull him into the middle of the dance floor.
You both are dancing together, originally you'd been facing each other, just watching each other and the way that they moved. However, as the dancing became more you'd turned around and his hands had swiftly made their way onto your waist.
Between the dancing Charles had gone back and forth getting drinks, having now been on his 4th shot and seventh drink he was beyond drunk.
You pulled him too a quiet corner, so that he could here you a little better.
"Charlie, listen to me. Do you have a way back to the hotel?" you ask, looking around to see if you can find Danny, Lewis or Pierre. The people you assumed that would be taking him home.
"Pierre he took me here" he grins, leaning into you resting his head on your stomach groaning.
"Okay stay here in this seat. I'm going to find him" you direct, you move back onto the dance floor, looking around for people. However, Pierre seemed to not be there, only Alex and George remained, talking to one another.
"Hey guys where's Pierre?" you ask, coming up next to their booth.
"Oh, he left with Lewis, Oscar and Lando a while ago" Alex offers, looking over at George hoping he'll add to the statement.
"Yeah Lando and Oscar were very drunk so they took them home. Why?" George asks.
"Charles is really drunk and he's saying Pierre was supposed to take him back!" you admit, not knowing what to do.
"Well, my cars full. You drove didn't you? Could you take him back?" Alex asks, smiling slightly making you groan.
"Sure, but if he throws up in MY rental, you Pierre and Charles are splitting that" you frown, looking back at Charles who is currently sat in his chair, scrolling aimlessly through his phone.
You walk back over, gripping his arm, he looks up at you with a massive grin.
"Come on, lets get you to bed" you tell him, he nods hopping up swaying a little bit in the process.
"You, are very very pretty" he grins, as he leans into you.
"Come on Charles" you laugh, gripping him so he wouldn't trip taking him to you car.
Tomorrow you'd actually talk to him.
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outlawsworld · 3 years
Text
Trusting Strangers - Chapter 10
Arthur Morgan x Female reader
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Summary: Reader and Arthur's relationship is growing. You go on a job together and end up with a night under the stars.
Warnings: violence, mentions of rape and a whole lat of fluff.
Notes: This chapter was so much fun to write! I hope you are still enjoying it and don't forget to let me know what you think and like and reblog ❤️ I've got so many ideas of what's going to happen so please bare with me! 🤠
Chapter 1
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You walked into your tent feeling the rush of excitement wanting to burst out of you. Every inch of your body was ecstatic and you jumped around your tent quietly letting a small burst of your happiness out before you exploded. Your cheeks started to ache from smiling so much and you could feel the hot redness filling them. The last thing you expected from tonight was to end it in Arthur's arms again, with his soft lips against yours. Only this time he didn't pull away from you, he didn't leave you standing in the woods alone. You undressed into your nightwear and laid on your cot staring at the tent ceiling. Your eyes were dry from such a long day but you couldn't sleep with the thoughts of the night flooding your head. It must have been the early hours of the morning before sleep finally took over your body. When you woke up your body were sore. You hadn't had much sleep over the last couple of days because of everything being on your mind and it was starting to take it's toll. As you sat up from your cot your eyes suddenly widened as you realised that what had happened last night wasn't a dream. Quickly you pulled on your trousers and blue shirt. You fell over whilst trying to pull your boots on, rushing, eager to see Arthur. As you stepped out of your tent you saw the rest of camp was already in full flow. Everyone was already going about their daily chores, the sun was high in the sky and the morning birds had already sang their songs. You must have slept in, which was a first for you. As you scanned the camp you found that Arthur had already gotten up and left, Dutch and Bill too. Then your eyes landed on a very angry looking Mrs Grimshaw. Your eyes met which meant there was no escaping her wrath now. She marched over to you as you still stood in front of your tent, looking very much bewildered by the fact you had slept in.
''Miss (Y/N)'' Mrs Grimshaw was now directly in front of you. ''Are you feeling well rested?'' she looked at your face sternly waiting for an answer.
''I guess, Mrs Grimshaw'' you looked at your feet trying to ignore her gaze.
''Good, now get to your chores. Seen as this is not a usual thing for you I will let you off'' she smiled at you. ''Don't let it happen' again'' she pointed her finger at you before marching over to Pearson. You smirked under your breath. You knew she was the one that let you sleep for so long, she must have known how little rest you were actually getting. However, she needed to act tough in camp and if anyone knew you had gotten away with it then there would be hell on. Charles and Kieran had already done all your chores with the horses so you spent the day washing clothes in the river. You didn't mind it so much when you were now able to sit on the sand and look out across the water. No one disturbed you except Sadie who came to wash the pots beside you for a bit. She was curing Pearson again for treating her like a maid.
''I'd love to shove that stew pot up where the sun don't shine'' she giggled. ''Damn bastard''.
''I won't be eatin' my food from that again'' you both laughed as you carried on with your chores.
''So....'' she paused looking at you with a intrigued smile on her face. You glanced at her furrowing your brow in anticipation to what she was about to say. ''Where did you and Arthur sneak off to last night?''. You felt as if your heart momentarily stop beating and a flush of heat rose to your cheeks.
''Sadie Adler'' you shook your head at her. ''I didn't take you for a gossipin' kinda gal''.
''Oh I ain't but I saw the way you looked at each other whilst dancing'' her voice was soft now and joking aside. ''then you run off into the woods'' she cocked her eyebrow at you before a devilish smile appeared. ''Can't fool me. I know something goin' on. You two have been ignorin' each other for days and then suddenly you are back smilin' again. I ain't a gossip, I'm just nosey''. You couldn't help but laugh at her comments. Sadie was probably the only girl you trusted with something like this, she was the most like you. She wasn't a fan of gossip and you knew she wouldn't tell the others. Your rose cheeks had already given away your secret. ''I won't tell anyone, I promise'' she pleaded whilst motioning a cross on her heart. You scan around to make sure no one was lurking or close enough to hear your convocation. 
''Alright, alright but you don't tell a sole'' you sighed, defeated. ''I ain't good at this and to be honest I didn't want anyone knowin' until we had figured it out'' you took one more quick look around before closing the distance between you and Sadie. ''So, I kinda care for him....a lot. We've been spendin' so much time together that I didn't even realise I had feelin's for him. Nothing too excitin' happened in the woods last night. We just talked and.....Well... we kissed but that's it'' you spoke in a whisper. Sadie's jaw dropped slightly before she smiled.
''I knew it'' she cheered quietly. ''So why the hell were you both igorin' each other for so long?''. You explained the situation to her and spoke about all the confusing feeling you had. Sadie listened to every word intently, you didn't realise how relieving it was to actually speak to someone about everything. It was as though a big weight had been lifted off of you and you could understand your feelings a lot more. You had learnt to keep your feeling to yourself but being able to talk to someone made you feel so much lighter.
''Well I'm glad, for both of your sakes, that you worked it out'' she smiled sweetly at you. ''Can't believe out of all the men in the world to be sweet on, Arthur Morgan, was the one for ya'' she teased you. You both giggle as you finished the last of the clothes that needed washing before gathering them up and heading back into camp. Sadie stayed at the river side, trying to prolong facing Pearson again. As you were hanging up the wet clothes to dry you heard Uncle call you which drew your attention to him. He was stood by one of the big trees in camp with Arthur, who must have returned from his job this morning. Uncle also called Bill and Charles over to him which made you wonder if you were going to be asked to go on a job. You slowly made your way over to the four men smiling sweetly as you and Arthur briefly made eye contact.
''What are you talkin' about?'' Bill asked, clearly irritated by the old man.
''Arthur, is above a little stick up I heard about'' Uncle teased which Arthur immediately took offence to and was quick to defend himself.
''No I'm not'' he growled.
''But you just said.....''
''Hey I'll do it'' he cut Uncle off before giving a devilish grin. ''As long as you ride with us'' he pointed at Uncle who's face went pale. You, Charles and Bill all glanced at each other amused by the shock on Uncles face.
''I got a serious medical condition'' he fumbles for an excuse. Arthur started to laugh in the old mans face.
''Yes, you are a compulsive liar'' Arthur chuckled whilst taking a drag from his cigarette.
''No need to be like that'' Uncle turned his attention to you and Charles. ''Charles, (Y/N), have I ever lied to you?''.
''I hardly know you'' Charles responded confused by the question.
''Don't look at me, I've been here for less time then Charles'' you smirked. Arthur wouldn't back down, if Uncle didn't ride with you all, then the job wasn't happening. It didn't take long before Uncle gave in and agreed to help before mounting up. He explained that it was a supply wagon carrying payroll which supposedly won't be guarded.
''As long as we get paid or you get shot, I'm happy'' Arthur bellowed before putting out his cigarette and mounting up. You couldn't help but giggle under your breath at the way he antagonised the old man. Charles, Bill and yourself also mounted your horses and followed Uncle out of camp. You rode beside Arthur and noticed the Deputy badge pinned to his shirt.
''Law man now, huh?'' you teased pointing out the golden badge.
''Seems like it'' he smirked back at you. ''Somethin' to do with Dutch's plan apparently''.
''I hope you don't get too attached to it or you'll be takin' us all in yourself''.
''I guess we will have to see'' he teased you back. Your heart lit up when he looked at you, he always managed to spark something warm inside your chest whenever your eyes met. When you reached the location that the wagon would be passing through your mind was elsewhere, so much so that you almost ran into Charles' horse. Your cheeks blushed with embarrassment as Arthur watched you fumble back into reality with a smirk on his face. The five of you waited patiently for the wagon to appear over the hill. Uncle was right, it wasn't guarded, just the driver and one other man. You rode over as it turned off at the crossroad. Bill heckled them to pull over and Uncle stopped his horse in front of them so they had to stop. Bill had his gun on one man and you had yours pointed at the other while Charles and Arthur looked in the back and grabbed what they could. You looked over your shoulder and saw another wagon quickly coming down the track.
''Shit, we've got company'' you yelled. The wagon coming down the track was being followed by men on horses with guns who had spotted you trying to rob the other wagon. Before you knew it they were coming after you. ''Charles, Arthur, hurry up. We need to get outta here''. They quickly jumped from the wagon and mounted there horses before the five of you galloped away from the on coming attack. Bullets were flying past you, barely missing you and the men were gaining speed. You spurred Dallas into a faster gallop as you grabbed your rifle from over your shoulder. Arthur and Bill were already shooting back at the men who were on your tail. You turned in your saddle, hoping Dallas would follow Uncle and Charles, as you began to fire back at the men. A bullet flew right past your shoulder and you aimed your rifle at the man who fired it, taking him down with one headshot. The three of you managed to pick off a couple of them but there were too many.
''Quick, get of the trail. Into the woods'' Uncle called out to you all. You turned back in your saddle and followed him with Arthur close behind you. The five of you galloped through the trees, getting hit from small branches that you were unable to duck under. A small house with a barn was just on the other side of the trees which would be a good place to hide and lay low. You followed the boys by dismounting Dallas and giving him a small slap to flee the area before going into the barn to take cover and rest. For now it looked like you had lost them but you knew the best thing was to wait until it was dark before leaving for camp. You went to the back of the barn, hidden behind a stall wall, and sat down with your back leaning against the wooden panel. This would be the last place to look if someone came in as it had great cover, just in case you fell asleep. The others stayed at the front of the barn, out of view from you but you could hear their mumblings. Charles was on watch and you soon heard the light snoring coming from Uncle and Bill.
''You alright?'' you looked up to see Arthur's tall figure stood looking down over you.
''Yeah, how about yourself?'' you asked in a hushed voice. He came and sat right next to you, not leaving much space between the both of you.
''I'm alright'' he smiled sweetly at you. ''Shouldn't be too long till it gets dark and we can get outta here. He's a fool that old man''.
''Better then delivering letters'' you smirked trying to lighten the mood. Arthur nodded in agreement. You wanted to carry on the convocation but you knew it was better to keep quiet in case there were any men looking for you outside. Instead you shuffled closer to him and rested your head on his broad shoulder. He slightly tensed at first but then rested his cheek on your head as he relaxed. It was a good job the others couldn't see you now or they would definitely know something was going on between the two of you. The comfort of having him right beside you meant you slowly kept on falling in and out of sleep. You felt his warmth as you leant against him, each deep breath he took and the hitch in his breath whenever you moved because he didn't want to disturb you. When you woke up fully, you realised Arthur had also fallen asleep next to you with his head still resting on yours but it had gotten dark outside so you knew you had to wake him. Gently you placed your hand on his chest and shook him. He was an extremely light sleeper and that was enough to alert him, he sat upright before turning to you. His eyes looked deep into yours as he moved his hand to gently caress your cheek before placing a light kiss on your lips. The small gesture ignited the warm feeling in your chest and you couldn't help the shy smile you gave him as he stood up to wake the others. You took a deep breath to remind yourself of the situation at hand, rather then keeping your mind on Arthur, and stood up to return to the others. There was a light coming from the house as a couple of men approached the front door. It was a couple of the men from earlier asking the owners of the property if they had noticed anyone running through here.
''Damn. L-L-L-L-Let's just....Keep this calm'' Arthur instructed. ''See what happens''. You all took cover in the barn hiding behind pillars and stall walls. You found yourself in the same place you had been in all night, crouched down, occasionally looking around the stall wall to see what was happening. The owner pointed out that he heard noises at the barn where you were currently taking cover. Two men approached the barn quietly and began to look round. The five of you remained still as the men searched the barn.
''The place looks empty to me'' one of the men shouted to the other. He was about to walk away when Bill kicked an empty can by his foot which caused the man to turn back realising we were all hidden there. God damn it Bill. Is he not capable of staying hidden.
''Shit'' Bill cursed as he shot the man at the front of the barn. The men from the house were alerted by this and started firing on all of you. You got up from your cover and ran to the front of the barn to shoot at the men coming from the house. It was dark and misty which made it hard for you to see where the men firing at you were coming from. You could only see outlines of people as they moved and they now had you surrounded. Charles and yourself were still based at the front of the barn, gunning down anyone coming from the house while Arthur, Bill and Uncle took on the others coming from the side. The men were coming out of nowhere and there was no way of telling how many were firing at you. There was a bright glow coming from the corner of the barn, you turned to see that one of the men had thrown there lanterns which had smashed setting fire to the dry wood.
''Shit.....Fire'' Charles shouted to all of you. The fire grew rapidly, like an untameable stallion rising up. Before you knew it the fire had spread to the roof of the barn and the smoke was burning at the back of your throat everytime you took a breath.
''If we don't get outta here soon....we're gonna be charcoal'' Arthur was now by your side, blocking the small bits of debris that was falling from the roof from hitting you. You took a step back, looking up to the roof that was about to concave and engulf you all in flames.
''This way'' you herd Bill call out to you from the back of the barn. He had found a small opening that you could climb through to get out. The heat from the burning wood was kissing your skin and you could barely see through the smoke. You followed Bill and Uncle out of the small gap with Charles and Arthur right behind you. Taking a deep breath of fresh air as you ran back towards the trees for cover. You decided to split up into two groups. Arthur was with Uncle and Charles with Bill.
''(Y/N), with us'' Charles beckoned you to follow him. You and Arthur quickly glanced at each other not wanting to leave one another but you had no time to think or argue. Following Charles and Bill, you quickly ran through the woods and tried to find some cover. "If you do anything stupid Mr Williamson, you're on your own" Charles threatened as Bill scoffed back at him. There were some big boulders that the three of you managed to hide behind. You managed to catch your breath while crouching down for cover, listening to any oncoming people. A small group of men soon appeared in the tree line with their rifles at the ready. The three of you remained quiet as you aimed your guns at the men walking in your direction. You waited for Charles to give you the signal to shoot but you heard shots being fired from deeper in the woods. They were coming from where Arthur and Uncle had gone. The group of men turned their attention to the sounds.
''Come on boys. That way'' one of them spoke up. Just as they were about to run off to the noises. Charles stood up shouting at you to fire. All three of you were now shooting at the group of men. They immediately took cover but between the three of you, you managed to take some of them out. Your shots were now useless as the bullets were bouncing off the trees. The best way of getting to them was to flank them. You shot Charles a quick look which he nodded at, knowing exactly what needed to be done. Charles and Bill both stood trying to draw the men's fire as you took the opportunity to sneak round and attack them from behind. You kept crouched down as you quietly made your way around them, keeping yourself in the shadows. There were four men left and you had a good shot on all of them from your new position. You took cover behind a tree and noticed Arthur and Uncle had now joined Charles and Bill behind the rock. Arthur managed to kill one of the four men as the man glanced out from behind his cover. Leaving only three to deal with. You aimed your rifle at the first man, taking him out smoothly. The other two men turned to you as you had now given away your position. Shots were now being aimed at you, you crouched behind the tree for cover knowing that this would give the boys the opportunity to approach them and take out the last two men. Arthur and Bill did just that and the two men fell down dead.
''We all still alive?'' Arthur asked. You stood up from behind the tree and regrouped with the four men.
''Just about'' Bill answered gruffly.
''Yeah, I'll deal with you later'' Arthur turned his attention to Uncle. His brow was furrowed and his face had gone red with anger.
''We got some money, didn't we?'' Uncle defended himself.
''Leave it, go on, get out of here'' Arthur shooed them all away. ''Everyone split up, come on, get going''.
''Good luck gents, (Y/N)'' Charles nodded to you and you watched as they all left in different directions. You were about to run off in another direction when Arthur gabbed your arm.
''Not you'' he smirked. ''You're comin' with me Darlin'.'' the rumble in his tone made you shiver. You followed him through the woods as he whistled for his horse. Dallas was nowhere to be seen but you suspected he would have gone back to camp. Siego came cantering over, through the trees to you both . Arthur mounted then held out his hand to help you to sit up, behind the saddle. Once you were both on you wrapped your arms round Arthur's waste to keep balanced and he kicked Siego into a steady canter. You had plenty of practise riding bareback so keeping stable on the back of the horse wasn't too hard a task for you. The smell of cigarettes and whiskey reminted from Arthur's shirt as you clung onto him. ''You alright back there'' he shouted to you as he placed on hand to rest gently on your lower thigh.
''Yeah, just fine'' you smiled at his touch. ''Where are we goin'?''.
''I wanna show you somethin'.'' you rode together quietly until Arthur turned off the track and up a steep hill through some trees. You stared blankly through the trees to try and understand why he had brought you to this place. ''Here'' he pulled Siego to a halt and dismounted before helping you down. ''Follow me'' he pulled out his lantern and lit it as you followed him up the rest of the hill until you came to a clearing where Arthur stopped. It was a small patch of open grass right on the very peak of the hill. You turned to him, cocking an eyebrow at him, confused to why he brought you to this little area. He smirked when he saw your confusion. ''Look up''. You did as he said and looked into the pitch black night sky.
''I don't see much, just a couple stars'' you pointed out.
''Keep lookin'.'' Arthur spoke softly as he blew out the lantern. Suddenly the black sky was filled with millions of stars that filled the darkness with light and colour. You had never seen anything so beautiful in your whole life. Each star was visible and glowing so brightly that you didn't need any lights to see. Your jaw dropped and your eyes widened at the spectacle of the night sky.
''It's beautiful'' you spoke breathlessly. ''How did you find this place?'' you didn't want to look away in case your eyes were playing tricks on you.
''I stumbled across it one night as I was out thinkin'. Thought you might like it'' Arthur sat in the grass. You decided to lay down next to him and stare at the sky, he followed you and laid his back on the grass.
''What were you thinkin' bout?'' you turned to look at him. The light from the stars twinkled in his eyes as he faced you too.
''You'' he admitted. He lent up on one elbow so he could hover almost above you. ''You're all I ever think about'' he paused looking deeply into your eyes. That warm feeling in your chest came back, you bit your bottom lip whilst he looked over you. Every inch of you was trembling with a mix of excitement and nerves. Heat rushed to your cheeks and you could feel flutters in your stomach. He was so close to you that you could feel his breath on your skin. You longed for him, looking at his lips, only inches away from yours. He took your glances as a plea and leant in to kiss you gently. Your whole body began to tingle as he moved his free hand to your hip. You moved your hand and tangled your fingers in his light brown hair. As both your lips moved against each others the kiss slowly became more intimate. Arthur's hand started to wonder from your hip down your thigh to your knee. He grasped a hold of the back of your knee and brought your leg over his hips until you were straddling him. Your torso now pressed against his and using your elbows on either side of his head to balance yourself. You didn't break the kiss, still desperate for one another. The feeling of his warm body in-between your legs made your thighs burn. His hands started to wonder up and down your body leaving warm trails where he touched. It was perfect, just the two of you under the beautiful night sky. The way you felt in this moment was something you had never experienced in your entire life. It was as though everything you have ever needed in life was right there with you and nothing could break you apart. You could feel his heart racing in his chest as you were laid over him. Each time you took a breath you would look into each others eyes and melt back into the kiss again. The kiss started to become passionate and hungry for one another. Both your tongue's dancing together in synchronisation. You felt how hungry he was for you as his manhood grew under his trousers. Suddenly, you panic. All the good that you were just feeling was flushed from your body and panic overtook it. Heat rushed from your body to your skin leaving you feeling cold inside but sweating in pure fear. You broke the kiss, got off his hips and stood up in a mad rush. Each breath you took seemed to get harder and harder until you felt like you were suffocating.
"Whoa, easy" Arthur was by your side before you knew it. He wrapped his arms around you and pulled you close to his chest whilst whispering softly to you. You could feel the tears stinging your eyes and you buried your face in his shirt, gasping for breath. He held you while you cried trying to calm you down. "Easy. It's alright. I'm here" he whispered to you. You listened to each word he said, hearing the raspiness from his thick acent. As you breathed heavily, you took in his smell and the feeling of his muscled chest beneath your fingertips. Focusing on him, every breath he took and sound he made brought you slowly out of you panic until you managed to catch your breath. He didn't let his grip on you go until your breathing was back to normal and the sounds of your whimpers had stopped. Quietly he took a step back just releasing you enough so he could see your face. "You alright? I didn't mean to scare ya" he spoke softly. You raised your head to look at him. Your eyes were bloodshot from crying and small wet trails ran down your cheeks.
"It ain't your fault" your voice was shaken. "I'm just damaged goods" you shook you head as you stepped away from him. You were so embarrassed and frustrated by your blind panic that you daren't look at him. You found a spot on the grass and sat down with knees hugged to your chest. Arthur came and sat by your side again and you hid your face from him in your knees.
"You ain't damaged goods" he nudged you, trying to cheer you up. "Wanna talk about it?" you looked up from your knees to catch his concerned look. You felt sick to your stomach at the thought of how you just made him feel. He had done everything to make this moment perfect and you screwed it up. You owed him an explanation.
"It wasn't your fault. I guess I just panicked..." you paused to take a deep breath. "I've only ever consented to this sorta thing once and that was before.... For a long time I was forced into lettin' those men touch me and use me at their own pleasure. They would hold me down or beat me until I gave in. Or they would just force themselves upon me. I guess I just associate being touched in that way to....well, to back then. It wasn't you at all Arthur" you looked into his eyes. He looked at you the same way he once did when you were tied to the wagon, you saw the sorrow in his expression. Tears threatened to leave your eyes again. You wanted more than anything to be intimate with Arthur in this way but ghosts from your past haunted your mind. "I've never been more comfortable with anyone before. I just got memories that flash through my head and I just panicked. I'm sorry".
"You have nothin' to be sorry for (Y/N)" he cut you off. "What happened to you, I'm surprised you let me touch you at all" he gave you a sweet smile as he laid down on the grass. "Come 'er" he held his arm out for you to lay down with him. You laid on your side next to him with your head on his shoulder and arm over his chest. "We don't have to rush into anythin' your not comfortable with. I promise you, no one will ever hurt ya again, not as long as I'm around" he pulled you in tighter to his body and you felt safe and secure. You were so glad he understood, he didn't force himself upon you because he was in the mood. All your fears slowly drifted away as he held you in his warm embrace. You knew you could trust Arthur but now he confirmed that he would never hurt you. Not just with his words but by his actions. The night sky was still full of bright stars, glistening down for just the both of you to enjoy. You spoke sweetly to one another for a couple of hours until you felt your eyes getting heavy. You can't remember when you fell asleep but you knew you had never felt more comfortable then in Arthur's arm's that night. As though nothing in the world could hurt you as long as he was there.
--
Chapter 11
@nena-ma
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the-awkward-outlaw · 4 years
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Wishing you were my Arthur right now, lol. Omg, can write something like that? Arthur is taken by another woman and reader wishes she's that woman. A forbidden love kind of thing? I don't want him to be a cheater but I like to think it's natural for him to also wish he'd rather date the reader but can't. If that's too much, then do the first part? I'm sorry! 😦
Hello, Anon! That is so sweet, I’d love to do a scenario for you and Arthur! Tell me some things about yourself and I’ll see what I can do! 😊
This one was fun, even if it did take a long time. It’s been a hellish few weeks and honestly I don’t remember most of the things that happened. 
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You stand on the edge of Horseshoe Overlook, enjoying your morning coffee. An eagle soars overhead, swirling in lazy circles in the gentle breeze. This place is beautiful, Hosea couldn’t have picked a better spot. 
You hear the sound of a horse coming up the trail behind you. Looking over to your left, you see Arthur’s horse coming up the hill with the man himself astride it. Behind him sits Mary, her arms wound around him. You wrinkle your nose in disgust as though she were a bad smell, but you go back to drinking your coffee and pretending you didn’t see them. 
Arthur knows you did, of course. He’s horribly aware that everyone’s eyes are on him and Mary. He hadn’t expected to get back together with her, it’d been the last thing he thought would happen when he received her letter. He helped her brother, of course he did. Arthur was just the kind of man to help anyone in need unless they gave him a reason not to. When he’d brought Jamie back to Mary, she’d clasped his hands and kissed him. 
“Oh Arthur,” she’d said, “I’ve missed you more than I can say. You know I… I only married Barry because it was what daddy wanted, but he’s dead now. I’m willin’ to take another chance with you if you’ll have me.” 
Arthur’s heart felt ripped in two when she’d said this to him. There was a part of him that was overjoyed, but another part that wanted to cringe and tell her to leave him alone. Deep down he knew if things hadn’t worked the first time, they wouldn’t this time. He’d only end up with a broken heart again. Not only that, he’d had his eye on you for some time. 
Although you’ve only been with the gang a few months, about as long as Charles and Micah, you and Arthur clicked immediately. It didn’t take long for you two to develop a crush on one another, but neither of you would act upon it. Arthur was handsome and too good for you. A man like him would certainly never go for you. You didn’t blame him either. Hell, you wouldn’t be interested in you. Arthur felt the same way about himself when it came to you. He saw himself as nothing more than a killer, a robber. A bad man. No way could someone as sweet and gentle as you want to be seen with a man like himself. No, Mary was what he deserved, he told himself. 
Ever since Arthur and Mary got back together, he’s been going off to see her more often. Since she already knew about the gang, no one had any qualms about him bringing her to camp, even though many of them didn’t like her. You aren’t a fan either. Sure, Mary’s pretty, smart and strong. But she’s not unique in that aspect. Mary-Beth’s smart, Tilly’s pretty and Karen could knock Mary’s teeth out if she wanted to. What they didn’t have that Mary did was her ego. It was clear to you upon first meeting her that she saw herself as better than everyone in the gang, Arthur included. It was just the way she talked to them, how she would never invite anyone to start a conversation. Most of the time when she was in camp, she acted like she didn’t want to be and she’d beg Arthur to go somewhere else with her. You had to bite your tongue, feeling sure she was dragging him off someplace to have some mind-blowing sex, which did nothing to lighten your mood. 
It wasn’t just the way Mary talked to you and the others in the gang that made you hate her. Most of it was how she talked to Arthur, always putting him down in some way. Once you’d been passing his tent when she’d been in there with him and it was clear she was trying to get him to do something he didn’t want to do. “I shoulda had you hung years ago. You’ll never change, Arthur.” 
That made you want to go in there and rip her hair out. How dare she threaten him that way? Did she talk to her late husband in the same manner? You doubt it, as he was likely a law-abiding man. You argued that following laws set by a bunch of men didn’t make people good. Hell, you grew up in a law-abiding family and most of the people during that part of your life treated you and everyone else like shit. Here, in this gang of outlaws and criminals, you’ve never known such a tight-knit family. Everyone looks out for one another. Sure, people argue and fight, but they’re still family and the whole gang would be moved to action if a single person was in danger. 
Arthur knows the gang isn’t happy to see Mary riding behind him. He dismounts and helps her off. He wants nothing more than to rip his arm out of her grasp. He regrets getting back into this relationship with her. He’s always had a low opinion of himself, but being with her has made him realize how truly horrible he is. He wonders why someone as good as her could want to be with him. He spots you by the cliff, drinking coffee in the morning light. You look so beautiful. What he wouldn’t give to be standing by your side, your hand wrapped around his arm instead of Mary’s. But that can never be. You’re too perfect for him. 
He sidles over to his tent with Mary. Dutch gives him a tense nod. He clearly wants to talk with Arthur, likely about a job, but he holds his tongue when Mary’s around. He knows, along with everyone else, that if she doesn’t like even the slightest thing, she could very easily go running off to the sheriff and turn them all in. That’s the only reason why her presence is tolerated, that and out of respect for Arthur. Arthur’s not a fool though, he knows most people walk on eggshells when she’s around. He doesn’t bring her to camp often, only whenever he needs to talk to someone or pick up something and then he heads off somewhere else with her. 
Arthur’s here to just drop off some fish to Pearson now. He’d suggested fishing when he picked up Mary. She hadn’t wanted to do it as she found it boring, but Arthur wanted to make sure his people had something to eat tonight. She’d relented at that. You eye her across camp now. Why can she not see how good of a man Arthur is? He’d break his own back if he had to for the gang. She’s not good enough for him, which means you’re definitely not either. Hell, you’ve committed almost enough crimes to get as heavy a bounty as Arthur, including murder. You go back to your cold coffee, though you’ve lost all interest. 
Before Arthur had gotten back with Mary, you two were becoming close friends. He took you out on a lot of hunting trips and you were sure one time he almost kissed you. It’d been under a tree and you’d been caught by a sudden rainstorm. Soaking wet and slightly cold, you both huddled under the tree, wrapped around each other to stay warm. Your faces had been inches apart and you desperately wanted to press your lips to his, but you wouldn’t. You couldn’t destroy your friendship with him like that, your desires weren’t worth it. You’d rather have him in your life as a friend than not at all because you couldn’t keep your crush to yourself. 
It broke your heart when he’d shown up in camp with Mary the first time and when people asked, he’d announced why she was there. You’d heard enough about her before to know she only used him for her own gains and then always tossed him aside when he was no longer useful. At least that’s what the others said. Hosea told you a bit about what their first relationship was like and why it hadn’t worked. So when Arthur showed up, his arm in her hand and a big smile on his face, you started pulling away from him. You had to in order to protect himself. 
It hurt Arthur when you did that. You no longer went hunting or fishing with him, he stopped asking you to help him on small jobs. He understood why you did, most of the others changed towards him too when he brought Mary in. It just made him regret taking her back all that much more. He wanted to end things with her already, but she had some sort of pull on him. Whenever he thought about leaving, she seemed to sense it and she’d kiss him and fawn over him and make him think things might be okay, then she’d slip back into her habits of insulting him. 
Arthur couldn’t even say that the sex was good enough for him to stay, it wasn’t happening at all. Mary had a firm stance against premarital sex. He respected her wishes, of course, he was easily capable of taking care of himself if he needed to. However, when he was with Mary, he felt no desire to be with her intimately. He used to when they were first dating, but things had ended so badly that he blamed his lack of interest on that. A voice from a dark corner of his mind told him that he wasn’t attracted to her because he wanted you. He shoved that voice out of his mind though, he’d already told himself he wasn’t going after you. He wouldn’t ruin your life like that. 
He drops the fish off to Pearson and as he turns away to go back to Mary, he bumps into you as you’d been going back to put your coffee tin in the water barrel. 
“Sorry, Y/N,” he says. 
“No, it’s okay, Arthur,” you say, quickly looking away. “You, uh, heading off with Mary again?” You try keeping the accusations from your voice. 
He shuffles his feet a bit. “Uh, yeah. She wants to go see one of them movin’ pictures, I guess.” 
“I see. Well, have fun.” You turn away quickly before he can say anything else. He realizes he genuinely misses you. Whenever he needed to talk, you were always there and easy to talk to. Not only that, you were always telling jokes, making him laugh. Your cool, easy-going temperament was infectious to him and he found himself becoming more steady and less angry in your presence. Now that he rarely gets to see you, he finds he’s gotten more angry again. He runs up behind you, calling your name softly. 
“Y/N, I just wanted to ask ya somethin’. Would, uh, would ya wanna go on a huntin’ trip with me soon? Pearson’s getting low again and, well, you’re a good shot. What you think?”
You’ve kept a steady gaze on him but when he’s done you glance over at Mary. Is that all you are to him, just a steady shot? “I don’t know, Arthur. Grimshaw’s keeping me pretty busy.” That’s a downright lie. Sure, Grimshaw’s been breathing down your neck, but no more than she always has and no more than she’s done with the other girls. “Besides, Arthur, what would Mary say if she found out you went out for three days alone with another girl? If I were her, I’d be suspicious.” 
Arthur sighs and knows what you mean. He can’t have friends who happen to be women with Mary. Because of him being a criminal she’d suspect him of being a cheater too. “Right, o-of course. Well, just thought I’d ask. Looked like ya might need to get some time away from this camp.” 
He walks back to Mary, looking miserable. He’s right, you do need a break from this camp. You’re tired, tired of Grimshaw’s barking and Dutch constantly screaming about faith and his plans. Tired of Pearson’s same stew every night, tired of everything here. You’ve missed the hunting trips with Arthur more than you thought possible. Your lip trembles as he walks away. You goddamn fool, you think. He’s just trying to help you and you can’t get over your jealousy.
Shortly after Arthur leaves with Mary, you decide to head out of camp too. Pearson gives you a shopping list, so you jump on the opportunity. You sidle into Valentine’s shop and give the shopkeeper your list. He snaps at a shopboy who starts gathering things and putting them into the wagon you drove here. As you’re browsing the shelves, the front door opens and Arthur walks in.
“Oh, hi Y/N,” he says, coming over. “You doin’ a’right?” 
You nod. “Pearson just needed some things. Is uh, Mary outside waiting?” 
He sighs and looks out the window. “Yeah, she is. I just needed to buy some provisions. I gotta go huntin’, with or without you. Camp’s gotta eat somehow.” 
Your gut clenches with a bit of guilt. “I see. You takin’ Mary with you?” 
“No. No she’s never shot a gun. I’ve offered to teach her how but she says she’ll be damned before she touches a gun. Says if she does it’s a slippery slope to turnin’ into one of the other girls from camp.” 
Your face flushes with anger. She really does think herself better than the rest of the gang just because she’s never robbed anybody. Yet here she is, abusing Arthur and judging everybody else. 
“Why are you with her, Arthur?” you ask before you can stop yourself. “I don’t have a lot of experience with dating, but I’d find it difficult to be with anyone who could so easily insult those I called family.”
Arthur dips his head, hiding his eyes. “It’s complicated, Y/N.”
“No, it’s not. Someone who can insult your family so easily can’t hold much respect for you. Seriously, why do you let her treat you this way?” 
“Why do you care?” he snaps. “It ain’t none of your business.You don’t know Mary, I pulled some bad crap towards her when I was young. She’s got her reasons for being the way she is.” 
“That doesn’t mean you have to put up with it, Arthur. Your relationship with her won’t work if she’s got no respect for you. No healthy relationship can last without it.”
“Like I said, Y/N, why do you care?” His eyes bore into yours, the blue turning cold. You swallow nervously. 
“I guess I don’t care, Arthur,” you snap. “You be with her if it’s what makes you happy. I won’t bother you anymore.” 
Before he can say anything, you push past him and march out the doors. You throw Mary a dirty look and get into the cart and go back to camp. She ignores you, though it’s obvious she’d seen. 
Later that night when Arthur comes into camp, alone this time, you completely ignore him. It’s obvious to you at this point that he doesn’t want you interfering with his life in even the smallest way, so you won’t go digging around in his business any longer. He wants Mary to treat him like the tread of her boot? Fine, let him. He walks over to you at the fire and gently calls your name, wanting to talk things through. He wanted so desperately to admit to you that he’s miserable with Mary, but you’d walked out before he could say anything. When he calls to you though, you pointedly ignore him. He gets the message and goes to his cot. 
In the morning, Arthur approaches you near Pearson’s fire where you’re pouring a cup of coffee.
“Y/N, can I talk to ya?” he said. He’d spent half the night lying awake, trying to think of how he can talk to you about Mary. He knows this fling with her can’t last much longer, but he’s afraid the more he tries to escape, the tighter she’ll hold onto him. 
You straighten up and look at him. “Why do you want to talk to me?” you say sharply. “Thought you wanted me to have no part in your business.” 
He hangs his head again. “I-I’m sorry, Y/N. I didn’t mean to get so defensive yesterday, I always do when it comes to her. But look, I… I really need to talk to someone about this whole thing with Mary.” 
“Hmm, well, go talk to Hosea. He’s good with advice.” You start walking away. You’re still stung by his words from yesterday.
“Y/N, please,” he says loudly after you’ve only taken a few steps. You can hear the pain in his voice. You sigh and turn around to look at him.
“Why?” you say, softer this time. “Why the hell would you want me to hear about anything going on in your life, Arthur?” 
He takes a few steps closer to you. “Because I know I can tell ya anythin’, Y/N, and you won’t judge me for it. Just please, give me a few minutes and then I won’t bother ya anymore.” 
That stings again. Here you were thinking you’d been bothering him. “Okay, Arthur.” 
You go into the trees with him and almost to the main trail leading to Valentine. Arthur stops there, staring off down the path to the river. He’s silent for a few moments, and you are too. You want him to be the one who speaks up first since this is his problem. 
“Yesterday when ya said I should stay with her if I was happy, I wanted to tell you that I’m not. Not happy, that is. I don’t know what it is, but that woman knows exactly how to play me. Whenever I pull away in the slightest, she reels me back in. I don’t know what to do, Y/N.” 
“You think I do?” you say quickly. “I don’t know a thing about her, except what gossip has been tossed around camp since you started bringing her around and I don’t know how much of that is true.” 
He sighs. “I know, and I got no business draggin’ ya into my problems. But, Y/N,” he turns to you and reaches for your hand. “I’ve missed havin’ ya around. I always knew I could tell ya anythin’, that I could be honest and open. I can’t do that with Mary. Seems we always fight whenever I tell her even a shred about my life.” 
“I’m sure, I uh, heard her the other day saying she should’ve turned you in years ago. Has she always been like that?” 
“Not always. In the beginning, all them years ago, she weren’t. But then I… we were gonna get married and then her awful daddy got involved. After that, I did some stuff for the gang that caused some attention and it made her mad. She left me after that, said some bad things too. Told her after that I wanted nothin’ with her no more.” 
“So why did she call on you a few weeks ago? If she knew things were over between you…” 
“Well, her husband passed away and she needed someone to help her brother. He got involved with some religious bunch of crazies.” 
“Ah, so she needed someone scary enough to go after him and you’re the most frightening person she knows.” 
“Guess that about sums it up,” he says. You look down at your joined hands and squeeze a little. 
“You’d think with her seeing you as this violent, scary person, she’d be a little less belittling.”
Arthur sighs and looks down the path again. 
“She used to know how kind you can be, didn’t she?” you say, realizing what his silence means. He looks down and nods. 
“I really loved her, Y/N, but when things ended between us and I learned she married another man, it broke my heart. I never wanted nothin’ to do with her. But when she wrote to me and asked for help, I couldn’t say no. I owed it to her. Guess I was hopin’ I could fix one of my many mistakes.” 
“And now she has you completely wrapped around your fingers.” You let go of his hand and cross your arms over your chest. “How long will this run last, Arthur? How long before you end up doing something real stupid that finally pushes her over the edge and she decides it’s over? Or worse, how long before you decide to marry her?” 
His eyes shoot up to yours. “I don’t wanna marry her, Y/N. I’d have to love her to wanna do that.” 
“So then why are you with her? If you don’t love her, end the relationship!” 
“I want to, but like I said, she’s got some kind of hold of me. I… I want nothin’ more than to end it. Truth is, there’s someone else I’d rather be with. But she’s way too good for me.” 
“Who?” you say, genuinely perplexed. “Mary-Beth? Know she’s got a bit of a thing for you. Don’t tell me you’re thinking of Karen, she’s with Sean and they fit together. Tilly, she’s cute. Can be a little scary-”
You didn’t see the way he smiled when you started rambling about the girls, but when he saw you weren’t going to stop, he put a hand behind your head and pulled you to him, your lips meeting. You’re stunned into silence, but just when he starts to pull away, your hands grip his shoulders, keeping you to him. Something in your chest purrs, a hunger you didn’t even know was there begins to melt away. He smells good, like grass and pine, old leather and tobacco leaves. His lips are slightly chapped and warm, God are they warm. His arm winds around your back and you clasp the back of his head, sinking deeper into the kiss. 
Finally, after what feels like years, you break off, slightly breathless. You stare up at Arthur, his cheeks rosy. He smiles a bit but then it fades. 
“I’m sorry, Y/N. I never meant for ya to get involved in all this crap.” 
You stare into his beautiful blue eyes. Your hand goes to his cheek, his jaw lightly stubbled. “Don’t be, Arthur. I’ve…” It’s your turn to blush. “I’ve dreamt about what it would be like to kiss you for ages, never thought it would be that good.” 
He smiles and leans forward to kiss you again. You want to so bad, but you stop him. “Arthur, we shouldn’t. Not until this Mary business is sorted out. I don’t like her, but it’s not fair to her.” 
He sighs and pulls away, nodding. “You’re right. Well, I’m supposed to go see her later today. Come with me, Y/N. I’m gonna tell her things are over.” 
You nod and smile. “Of course I will. Hell, if I have to kiss you in order to get her to leave you alone, I certainly will. I’ll take any opportunity to do that again.” 
His grin makes your heart flutter. A few hours later, you’re going along the trail with him to where Mary’s staying. She doesn’t live in Valentine, she’s just staying with a family friend in a little farmhouse just outside the town. 
Arthur steps onto the porch with you by his side and knocks on the door. A moment later, Mary opens it. Her eyes meet yours for a moment before she goes back to him. She’s certainly worked hard to make herself look prettier, even applying powder to her face and her hair plaited down her back. 
“Hello, Arthur.” 
“Mary. I um, I think you and I need to talk.” 
She glances at you again and then steps out, closing the door behind her. “May we do this in private, Arthur?” 
He looks at you a second and you nod, going back to the horses where you can see them but can’t hear them. You pretend to brush your horse when really you’re watching them. Arthur takes off his hat and says something, but his back is to you so you can’t tell what he’s saying. You can guess based off Mary’s face. Her hands clasp together and her brows furrow. She says something, looking confused and angry. Arthur responds and then she walks away from him to the other side of the porch, looking almost like she’s searching for an answer. She turns around and says something to him, Arthur shakes his head. He puts his hat on and then walks down the stairs, towards you. Mary puts her hands on the rails of the porch and hollers, “I shoulda had you hung years ago, Arthur Morgan!” 
You throw down your brush and march up the porch to her. “What the fuck is the matter with you? You treat everyone this way when they make you mad?” 
“I don’t know you,” she says, her face clearing. 
“Well you can know me from now on as Arthur’s girl, and I ain’t letting some snotty brat talk to my man like that. If you ever send a letter to him begging for his help, I will come to you and I will put a bullet between those pretty eyes, you got me?” 
Mary swallows. She looks over to Arthur, who seems stunned by your response.
“I didn’t mean… I just….” 
“You were just trying to manipulate him, you ass,” you say. “You don’t love him. Maybe you did once, but now he’s just something for you to play with and control. Well, it may come as a shock to you, Mary, but Arthur’s a person! Just because he’s an outlaw doesn’t mean he’s incapable of feeling. If you mention him or any of my family to anyone, I will destroy your entire life.” You spit at her feet for good measure and then march down stairs. When you get to Arthur, you stretch up and kiss him on the cheek. When you look back at Mary, she’s burst into tears. 
“Did you really have to do that?” he huffs softly in your ear as you go to your horses. 
“Had to get the message across, didn’t I? Now how about you and I go somewhere and have a proper first kiss?”
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astrojmonaf1 · 5 years
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A Neutron Star Merger, The Fall of A Formula One Hero, and a Belgian Maiden Grand Prix Win
The LIGO/Virgo collaboration teams, observed a gravitational wave event of a Neutron Star merger "with the probability that the source may have at least one object in between three and five solar masses" said LIGO, on September 1st.
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📸: LIGO Twitter
Kilonova observations are extraordinarily rare, for when Neutron stars collide, the remnants left are showers of gold and platinum scattered into the universe. These showers bring forth metals like the ones found on Earth.
Elements beneficial to our very existence.
Although the remnants here are believed to have merged into a black hole.
Who would have imagined that to the world of Formula One, that same rip to the fabric of space and time of a binary system hundreds of millions of years in the making, could have different consequences in the racing track.
It would arrive the same day that Charles Leclerc would make his Maiden Grand Prix Win.
While one can’t be certain what Einstein meant when he said, "God does not play dice with the universe,” we can only think of this moment. The Universe may be 14 billion years old, and with that, heroes and legends can be made because heroes are not born. Through pain and tears, downforce and minimal drag, Gravity much like F=ma, can be good friends, but in one wrong Turn, all can become the enemy, to Formula One drivers.
They are made, on the track and in moments such as these.
Racing For Anthoine
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Like the great Carl Sagan once said, “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.”
Anthoine Hubert, 22, of France, lost his life at the Belgian Grand Prix on August 31st.
The Renault French driver, was involved in a major accident with American Sauber driver, Juan Manuel Correa, at the Spa-Francorchamps. Hubert's car hit the bars then collided with Correa’s.
Correa, underwent surgery and “will remain in intensive care for at least another 24 hours to ensure that his condition can continue to be monitored by his surgical team,” read the official statement released on his website.
Anthoine Hubert, succumbed to his injuries after that tragic accident at Spa-Francorchamps.
A childhood friend to Charles Leclerc, someone he raced Karts with, laughed with, and joked with, perhaps looked up to race with head to head in this very track, the Monegasque now ran alone.
For Charles Leclerc, securing his maiden win at the Belgian Grand Prix, wouldn’t be the first place in his legacy, but a bequest to honor the memory of his now departed childhood friend. 
Notwithstanding, everyone was racing for Anthoine and to honor his memory.
This was no ordinary race and as challenging as it was it would become one to remember.
The morning of Charles’ race, he'd been seen by the media talking to Anthoine’s family.
His mother, Nathalie, Father Victhor and brother Francois, gave him their support, as Nathalie embraced him.
That heartbreaking sight will live in the hearts of fans forever.
The Love of a Mother
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📸: Kym Illman
It might have instilled love and strength in the Monegasque and a little extra push to go with the respect of millions of fans as a reminder that Anthoine would have wanted him to get to P1.
His last race having been practically stolen in Bahrain, this time, nothing would get in his way.
Phased, and unbelieving that any of it had happened, Anthoine’s loss, and his win, Charles said: “We were four kids dreaming of getting to Formula One.”
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Anthoine Hubert, Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly.
“We have grown up in karting together, so to lose him is a big shock for me, and everyone in the sport.”
“It was definitely the first situation for me where I have lost someone and then raced the following day. It is obviously quite challenging to close the visor and go through the exact corner —where he died— at the same speed as I did the day before.
Pierre Gasly, the Toro Rosso driver, gave Leclerc a little fuel to win the race too, had the words “ALWAYS WITH ME #AH19,” above the open view of his halo:
“I've grown up with this guy since I was seven in karting, we've been roommates, we've lived in the same apartment, in the same room for six years."
“We’ve been class mates, I’ve studied since I was 13 until 19 with him, with the same professor at a private school that the federation did. I’m still shocked.”
“You have to put it out of your mind because otherwise, you can’t race,” he added,
“I told Charles before the race: Please win this race for Anthoine, as we started racing in the same year, Charles, Anthoine, and myself. And Anthoine won the French Cup in 2005. We raced for many years and knew each other.”
Overtaken in Bahrain by a one-two Mercedes win, and getting wheel banged by Red Bull's, Max Verstappen in Austria, back in July, costing him-his first win, this one; means more.
“We lost a friend first of all — I would like to dedicate my first win to him. In my first race, we drove together, it's a shame what happened yesterday, I can't enjoy my victory fully.” Charles added.
"It is difficult to enjoy this victory, but hopefully, in two or three weeks, I will realize what happened.”
Everyone was cheering for Ferrari’s 16 to win it for Renault’s 19.
In the aftermath of Hubert’s passing, it’s hard to express what Leclerc must’ve felt like when he got to lap 19.
19 was Anthoine’s racing number, and the crowds paid tribute as well when the drivers came through.
it was no consequence that of all days, that Neutron Star Merger would be named S190901ap. The date that recorded the LIGO/Virgo's Neutron Stars Merger, which coincided with Anthoine's number.
And then you heard a solemn “This one is for Anthoine,” coming from Ferrari’s radio, said by Charles Leclerc upon finishing first.
Everyone burst, there was commotion everywhere, a good day and a sad day in Motorsports indeed for all the right reasons.
“It’s a good day but on the other hand losing Anthoine yesterday brings me back to 2005, my first ever French championship,” continued Leclerc during an interview.
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📸: Kym Illman
A League of His Own
Seeing the Monegasque separate the Silver Arrows and keep good pace through and through, was what Formula One is all about, but is unfathomable to know how he must’ve felt while driving down Spa’s circuit or how he feels now that it’s been completed.
As youth of this new century, explorers and pioneers, one often forgets that millennials have much on their shoulders.
They’re here to make a name for themselves, and it's undeniable that on the way to greatness, they’re bound to lose those they love because this sport is ruthless.
Charles Leclerc won't be the exception, to the rule, but he's been the valid example of losing in every aspect and yet here he is. Racing and winning. Nothing deters his will to keep going.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver, and godson to Jules Bianchi, the last casualty to the sport before Hubert, is the living reminder that today's youth, still have plenty to look up to and much to fight for.
You could see him in the podium wearing a black armband with his entire Ferrari Team, as he raised his Trophy to the sky in honor of Anthoine.
Empowering generations of new drivers to not feel like outsiders. He might have lost a friend, his godfather, his father, that battle on two multifarious and defining races before, but on his third, he got his maiden trophy with a little help from above.
Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes spoke encomiums of Charles Leclerc after the race.
"It's not easy for any driver to jump into a top team like Ferrari against a four-time world champion, with much more experience, and then to continuously out-perform, out-qualify and out-drive him. But Charles’ results speak for themselves. There is a lot more greatness to come from him, and I am looking forward to racing alongside him in the future.” 
“Then once I got in the car, as I did for my father two years ago, you need to put all the emotions to one side and focus on the job.”
Said, Leclerc “I was happy to win and remember him the way he deserved to be and, yeah, happy to do it on this day.”
"They are so much faster than us and Monza is all straights ... We will do our best, but it is going to be a tough job to match them.”
He lamented his inability to master those straights like Leclerc, before. Something the Monegasque is seemingly able to do. Monza will be the place to put the five time World Champion to a test.
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"So, there's a lot more greatness to come from him and I'm looking forward to seeing his growth and racing alongside him ... Today, it was fun, trying to chase him. He was just a little bit too quick.”
Maybe, Chekhov was right after all about Entropy, that beautiful chaos that makes our universe work, It does come easy, but as I wrote in my book, “Entropy comes easy, but Love outgrows the Universe,”©️
"I was struggling in the corners, so that allowed him to get close," said Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and Leclerc's Team mate.
"I couldn't hold him off for a very long time. I tried to obviously make him [Hamilton] lose time in order to give Charles a cushion, and in the end it was just enough, so it did the job.
"I couldn't stay in range to look after myself, and I was sort of playing a road block to make sure that Charles was gaining some time." He did everything to help his team mate achieve his first victory.
In a statement given by Daniel Ricciardo from Team Renault, he too admitted not wanting to race following Hubert’s untimely death.
“I know that, weirdly enough, the best way we can kind of show our respect was to race today,”
“But I don’t think any of us actually wanted to be here or wanted to race”
 “At least, I’m speaking for myself, but I’m sure I’m not the only one. It was certainly tough to be here and try to put on a brave face for everyone.”
 “I know a lot of people in the paddock are hurting so I think everyone’s relieved it’s done, we can move on from here, and hopefully it’s the last time that this happens.”
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For the Renault fans, Ricciardo racing that day meant everything.
To know that a driver from his team had perished, how does one reconcile, to keep the morale high for the millions of fans aching so racing is the answer.
Is the one thing the Aussie does to help the fans, and he does it well. We appreciate the effort even when we know the heartbreak he's feeling. A collective effort from everyone now to help each other heed the call of the F1 neighbor even on social media.
We love him for it.
It becomes a Labor of Love.
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“Since I was a child I’ve been looking up to Formula 1, dreaming to be first a Formula 1 driver, which happened last year, then driving for Ferrari this year, and then the first win today.”
“It’s a good day, but on the other hand, as I said, losing Anthoine yesterday brings me back to 2005, my first ever French championship. There was him, Esteban [Ocon], Pierre [Gasly] and myself. We were four kids that were dreaming of Formula 1. We grew up in karting for many, many years, and to lose him yesterday was a big shock for me but obviously for everyone in motorsport, so it was a very sad day.” - Charles Leclerc
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📸:© Reuters/ FRANCOIS LENOIR
A day filled with grief, racing, camaraderie, and the inextricable reminder that; the Universe is always at work.
Congratulations, Charles Leclerc and Team Ferrari for a well-deserved win.
We knew you had it all along.
“And when you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Paolo Coelho
Jen McCulley TM Sep 2, 2019
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goldishlock · 4 years
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Emerald Seas Chapter 7 (Pirates of the Caribbean Fanfiction)
A seamstress was measuring Kate's sizes while she stared at herself in the large mirror. It was the day of the ceremony and the ball. Her father made sure she'd be wearing the finest clothes and had already shipped some of the best fabrics from London. Every time her father brought her a gift from her hometown she felt sentimental, missing the city of her birth. The people, the markets and even the rainy days. Just so much of her childhood left back there. And her mother's grave, one of the reasons that made everything that came to her from England feel special, even the smallest and most impeccable things. Her hands reached for the silk and Kate couldn't help herself but to stuck her nose between the fabric. Like she could smell the English air or her mother's scent. The fabric smelled like roses, the scent that reminded her of her mother. She still missed her very much every day.
Katherina woke from her daydreaming as the seamstress took a few steps back to behold her creation as she finished. She took Kate by her small shoulders and made her look into the mirror again. Kate beheld her own reflection, she was wearing the most beautiful gown she'd ever seen. It was a silken green dress with a gorgeous corset with pretty stitched flowers all around the front of her waist. Her hair was tied up but one single curl was left out and curled in front of her shoulder. A beautiful but modest crystal necklace decorated her thin long neck. Once finished Kate moved down the stairs, where her father was waiting for her in the hallway of the mansion. He looked at her with a grand smile. The servant handed Kate her bergère hat, an ivory lace ribbon tied behind her red curls made it secure. It would protect her pale complexion from the burning Caribbean sun at the ceremony outside.
'You look most beautiful my dear' Lord Florence offered her his arm and they made way to the carriage waiting for them outside.
Moments later Kate and Lord Florence made their way to Fort Augusta at the front of the island of Nassau, where the ceremony would take place. Her father was surprisingly quiet about this special day, as he called it himself. Normally he wouldn't stop talking about her next suitor, he'd ramble on about these gentlemen and their amiable qualities. But today was different, almost like he was hiding something. He had only spoken of how Lord Ashwood, her father's closest friend and business companion whom he shared his Company with, was the one that by chance arranged the East India Company's new director's ceremony to be held here, on the island of Nassau. Kate knew her father was searching for new allies and the East India Trading Company was, of course, a great one to be working with, especially since the Company was moving its headquarters to the Caribbean. But Kate was surprised her father was the one that stayed in the background, as if his name was something that could work against him, he was being too secretive about this alliance. Even though her head was full of questions Kate held to the promise she made with herself not to interfere with these suitors before meeting them, and to her surprise, her father seemed rather content with that.
Soon they arrived. The fort was surrounded by many guards, making sure no one uninvited was to enter. Getting out of the carriage while being escorted by her father she had to block the sun from blinding her with her hand. Kate remembered the tremendous fort from when she was younger, it always made her think back to the time when she tried to sneak in when it was almost dark, just to see the sunset from of the high walls of the fort. Holding back a laugh remembering the times her father caught her.
Kate quickly removed her amused sight while almost smirking as the wife of her father's companion, Lady Ashwood watched her in surprise.
'Are you well my dear?' her always concerned tone whispered quickly but soft as she moved her hand down Kate's forehead. Lady Ashwood had always been sort of a mother to Kate, but she always seemed nervous and overanxious about everything. Kate didn't like the way she'd still behave as if she was a little girl.
'I am very well Milady, thank you for your concern' Kate spoke politely, feeling as if she had spoken that line to her already a million times. Kate discovered both her father and Lord Ashwood smiling brightly.
'You should be proud Charles, of the woman she has become. I'm sure he will admire her just as much as we all do, Lord..' just before Lord Ashwood could finish his line Lord Florence slapped his hand onto the back of Lord Ashwood's shoulder as in a friendly gesture and turned him away from their conversation. Kate noticed her father behaving rather unusual and she wondered what was going on as he was whispering with Lord Ashwood a few steps away from her place in the courtyard.
Ignoring Lady Ashwood still going on about her concerns Kate's eyes went through the courtyard of the fort. Her eyes caught an unfamiliar sight as she noticed large light blue flags waving in the wind, carrying a logo with the letters EICo. The drums started playing as a sign the ceremony was to begin. Kate noticed nerves that she had tried to hide, but they had made her stomach turn for some time now. Her curiosity arose as well and she caught herself standing on her toes to see who was about to enter the fort, the line of the naval officers was waiting. But it was hard to see and she couldn't block the sunlight from her sight. Suddenly she felt her arm being pulled and she noticed Lady Ashwood dragged her along to a less crowded place. Her large body made it impossible for Kate to keep standing and before she knew it she was placed just behind her father and Lord Ashwood proudly watching. From their place inside the inlet of the fort, the crowd down below almost looked like small ants from where they were standing.
'I've heard he's a very headstrong and determined man' Lord Ashwood spoke as he raised his thick small figure upon his toes to see. Kate felt the nerves race through her body as she heard him speak. It almost felt like she didn't want to hear anything they had to say about this man, it was not making it any better. Kate felt the heat of the sun touch her skin. Lady Ashwood quickly raised a fan, as she always seemed to carry one with her, to Kate's face. She accepted it gladly, hoping she wouldn't notice her nerves.
'Oh Katherina change of plans my dear, after the ceremony we will meet him at once' Kate watched at her father in surprise who hadn't even bothered to look over his shoulder to his daughter almost fainting now.
'But.. I thought we would meet him tonight, at the ball?' Kate stumbled over her words. She didn't want to meet him so soon. It always felt a lot less formal when being introduced to someone at a ball, she had planned it all out. But now her father once again had a change of mind.
'Katherina, don't be so stubborn' Lord Florence spoke without looking at her, staring into the courtyard of the fort without giving her a single glance.
'I've heard he is very picky with women ' Lord Ashwood was known to be very fond of rumors and gossip. Both men still staring into the courtyard didn't look back at Kate what so ever. Her chest was falling and raising and she didn't know if it was the weather that made her breath heavily or everything her ears wanted to block. She wasn't sure if she could handle this meeting so soon. Her small fan was moving hard to get some fresh air, but it was all in vain. The humidity made it impossible to catch some fresh air. Feeling her waist tighten within her corset. She was used to wearing corsets but suddenly felt ill. It might have been the heat of mid-summer but she knew it was the tension she could not handle any longer.
The drums now played a fast rhythm as the ceremony began. Kate couldn't see the figure entering the courtyard what so ever, her blurry vision was blocking her sight together with the bright sun. It was then she decided to ignore her father's wishes. Kate took the hem of her dress and as soon as Lady Ashwood was distracted by some of the noble women starting a conversation with her Kate saw her chance to get away.
Kate made her way through the halls of the fort trying to escape the burning sun. Lifting her dress as high as possible she tried to prevent herself from tripping, her heels echoed on the cobblestones. Some of the redcoats marching along watched her in question, seeing a young woman making her way through the empty halls alone while the party was inside the fort must have been a strange sight, but luckily they did not interfere.
Once reaching the back entrance Kate opened the large iron doors, she remembered from sneaking in at night, at the backside of the fort with all her strength. It was quiet and she could hear the crowd applause in the distance and music started playing again. Kate could smell the salt air of the ocean and once she reached outside of the fort completely she walked right in onto the beach. The fresh air of the ocean entered her nostrils. On her face was a permanent smirk and she felt quite rebellious. Removing her shoes and stockings without thinking of what formality was going on inside or if anyone could see her from up the fort she made way to the water. She lifted her dress again and her toes touched the cold sea. A soft sigh escaped her lips by the touch of refreshing water. This was just what she needed. Not thinking about what her father would be saying once she would return. This was her moment now.
After spending all afternoon on the beach Kate noticed the dusk setting in already. Time had flown by. She figured the ceremony would be ending by now and decided to head back to the fort. Sneaking around the brick walls of the fort like she was some sort of criminal, trying not to get caught. Holding her shoes and stocking in one hand, her bare feet on the hot cobblestones made her move quickly. In the distance, she saw their carriage and made her way to it. The servant looked surprised to see her alone but bowed his head and helped her into the carriage. Kate moved down onto the soft couch of the carriage and suddenly looked straight into the eyes of Lady Ashwood, she and her husband would accompany them to the ball. Kate smiled faintly as she quickly returned her stockings and heels. Before she could explain herself Lord Florence and Lord Ashwood entered the carriage as well.
'There you are my dear, where have you been?' Lord Florence spoke rather quickly. Kate opened her mouth once again but soon got interrupted by Lady Ashwood.
'My poor Katherina couldn't handle the sun any longer, with her pale skin. I decided to take her back for some shading' Lady Ashwood lied. Kate felt her jaw drop but quickly closed her mouth which made her teeth collapse. Kate innocently watched both her father and Lord Ashwood and shrugged her shoulders without saying a word.
'I hope you feel better now my dear' Lord Florence spoke smiling softly. It seemed that Kate managed to get away with her spontaneous adventure and she watched Lady Ashwood gratefully as she winked at her when the carriage started moving.
It didn't take long for them to arrive and once close to the mansion, on walking distance from the fort, it was clear there was a grand party going on inside. Kate felt a spark of excitement, watching from the small window of the carriage her hand had moved the fabric of the curtain aside to look at all the people dressed beautifully, making their way into the party. She was forgetting about the suitor for just a moment.
Welcomed by servants at the entrance Kate was guided by Lord Ashwood that rambled on about the history of this building for what felt like the hundredth time. The servants took her coat and hat. Lord Florence escorting Lady Ashwood inside was surrounded by some noblemen and women already. Lady Ashwood was laughing loud together with some of the wives of the other Lords whom just arrived. Kate had to admit, her father was a charming man and always knew how to get the attention of the ladies, and not only the single women. Kate had more than often remarked her father why he wouldn't remarry or at least try and meet some of the willing bachelorettes. He always managed to explain how his love for her mother had never died. His answers were sort on the matter but to Kate's amusement, he always joked about how she was enough 'women' in his life.
Kate managed to let Lord Ashwood go of her arm once he engaged himself into one of the conversations. Her eyes moved through the large hall where the music from inside was heard already. Lifting the hem of her green silken dress Kate tiptoed through the crowd. Not being tall at all she always had a hard time searching through the crowd of people.
'Katie!' shrieked an enthusiastic voice that echoed through the hallway and made a few heads turn. Kate watched a tall dark haired girl, wearing a large violet dress making her way as her long arms embraced her shorter figure.
'Emma' Kate spoke up and watched her smiling as she released her. Moving down to her heels from standing on her toes Kate met with her large white teeth and grey staring eyes.
'I'm so happy you are here. This will be an extraordinary night!' Emma spoke not being able to wipe away the grin on her face. She was one of Kate's closest friends and always brightened her day with her big smile and always cheerful personality. She was with her family, her four sisters and parents. Kate had always admired her large family and sometimes wished she had at least one sister, let alone four. Emma always said she would love to trade all of them for at least half the fortune of Kate's family. The grass is always greener on the other side, as they say.
'You look amazing. On a mission?' Emma's cheeky smile made Kate laugh.
'You know I'm not the one on a mission' Kate pointed to her father behind her in the hall further away, still surrounded by the other noblemen and women. Kate noticed her father looking for her and as Emma chuckled once again Kate signed her to enter the ballroom. Emma agreed and her voice let out a high pitched sound when she had taken Kate's wrist and pulled her through the crowd. They made their way through the grand hall, the decorations were astonishing to behold. But their jaws dropped once they entered the main ballroom. It was decorated perfectly in a tasteful way, some balls were too much and kitschy, but this time Kate liked the splendor and beauty. The atmosphere was pleasant. They made their way down the large staircase in the middle of the ballroom.
There was loud joyful music playing, as the formal part of the ball had not begun yet. Kate enjoyed this part of the evening the most, no one cared who was who and danced with anyone they could find. As a young woman, you ought to be careful as a lot of bold men would take this time of the evening to ask to court you or even worse, but Kate and Emma always laughed at this. They blamed it on the lot of wine and brandy that was already spilled in the early hours of the ball.
Emma pushed Kate towards the dancefloor gently, but Emma's over excitement sometimes got them in trouble. Kate almost lost balance and tripped forward over the skirt of her dress. Two strong arms caught her mid-air. Emma had let out a scream but laughed when Kate was standing tall again, helped by the gentleman who caught her.
'Lieutenant Greitzer?!' Emma called out his name and he made sure Kate was standing on her feet again.
'Ladies, what a pleasure to meet you here this evening' Kate smiled and recognized their friend she had not seen in a long time. He was wearing a blue and yellow marine uniform that made his tall appearance even taller.
'Care for a dance Miss Florence? Now that you already threw yourself into my arms' Lieutenant Greitzer joked and offered her his hand. Kate laughed softly and nodded. Emma soon had found herself a dancing partner as well, she never failed at that with her quick but charming tongue, they were standing in line for her. The joyful music continued and Kate had taken the hand of Lieutenant Greitzer to guide her to the dancefloor.
'I see you've made yourself quite a life?' Kate was curious about his adventures at sea, the last time she had seen him he was much younger and was being sent away by his father, to find himself a job at sea.
'I did Katherina. They have given me an opportunity that I simply could not resist' Lieutenant Greitzer spoke proudly while the corners of his mouth rose. He guided her into the beginning of the dance.
'They being who?' Kate did not recognize his uniform, it was much different from the Royal Navy ones.
'The East India Trading Company, I got promoted to Lieutenant some weeks ago' Kate recalled Emma indeed calling him Lieutenant. She bowed her head in a teasing manner.
'Well Lieutenant, it's an honor to have this dance with you' Kate smiled at her old friend after chuckling softly.
Emma moved next to them together with her dancing partner so she was close enough to start a conversation while dancing. Kate was impressed how she managed to stay close in between their movement, without accidentally crashing into each other.
'Katherina, have you seen the East India Company's new Lord yet?' Emma twirled around her partner with her hands held high, the gentleman's eyes couldn't leave Emma's happy radiation, there was a big smile on his face and Kate couldn't hold back a grin, but soon her eyes shifted to Emma when she asked.
'No I did not, we haven't been introduced yet and I'm quite alright with that' Kate spoke quickly as she watched Emma's surprised look.
'Besides these ceremonies are getting quite dull once you've attended what feels like hundreds' Kate spoke to Emma with a loud voice, trying to get above the joyful music. She got reminded of her little escape this afternoon.
'But Kate you must know who you will be meeting later. After all, he might be your future husband' Emma's face stared at her when the dance allowed them next to each other.
'My father decided that we should meet him right after the ceremony, even though he promised it would be tonight. I simply couldn't yet Emma' Kate looked at her friend with worried eyes.
'It will be alright my Katie. And besides, if you haven't met him yet, it might be love at first sight. How romantic!' Emma exaggerated with a dramatic tone in her voice, closing her eyes like she was picturing it in her mind. Kate rolled her eyes in amusement.
'I've heard he is very handsome! Oh if only I could marry a Lord' Emma threw her hand dramatically upon her forehead. The officer she was dancing with looked up at her offended and Kate had to hold herself from bursting out in laughter at his face.
'Well, you can have him' Kate spoke sarcastically at Emma daydreaming.
'He is doing a great job at running the Company so far' Lieutenant Greitzer interfered the ladies conversation and Kate had forgotten it was his boss they were speaking of.
'Well good for him' Kate spoke stubbornly at her friend. She quickly removed her annoyed face as she realized she had become emotionless and prejudice when it came to meeting new men. But she truly felt it wasn't the right way to meet someone you might spend the rest of your life with.
Kate squeezed Greitzer's arm just before releasing him after the dance had ended and they bowed to each other to end it formally.
'Come, I'm in need of the good company of a glass of fine wine. Besides, I can't feel my toes' Emma pulled Kate away from Lieutenant Greitzer and Kate's lips mumbled a thank you his way, he smiled and bowed his head when the ladies moved along, away from the dance floor.
Reaching through the crowd to the part of the ballroom where people were having conversations instead of dancing Emma paused their pursuit and pulled a servant at his sleeve, he apologized fast and moved his tray filled with glasses of wine to the ladies.
'Let's make a toast. To find ourselves some true love tonight' Emma lifted her glass to Kate's whose face was holding back a laugh and the sound of the crystal glass filled the room as suddenly the joyful music replaced itself for a slower and harmonious music. The ladies looked each other and understood it was the host of the evening who had arrived. This was the time everything formal started again and Kate's eyes suddenly noticed Lord Florence standing at the large stairs that were attached to the hall they had entered through earlier. He was obviously looking for his daughter that had run off once again. He seemed quite nervous, something Kate hadn't seen yet.
'I can't wait for the dancing to start again later this evening' Emma remarked the formal music. Her energetic mood had switched to a more calm one like the music had. Later in the night, most people would start dancing again as the business and most formal part of the evening would be over.
'I hope you will catch a dance with the Lord' Emma pushed her shoulder against Kate's gently and she let out a soft chuckle. Kate rolled her eyes, after that signing Emma that her father was looking for her and she needed to leave.
'I will see you later sweet Kate. Keep your head up. If you don't like him it will be alright. You only have to dance with him once for formality' Emma wished her luck and kissed her cheek softly, something she always did when they parted, to show her affection for her friend. Kate lifted the skirt of her dress and made her way to Lord Florence now asking around for her.
'Ah, my dear! I've been searching for you all over' Lord Florence offered her his arm. Kate smiled weakly and felt her nerves return to her stomach. It was the time she would meet the next suitor, and that made her nervous. But it also had to do something with the fact she remembered Lord Ashwood's words, how this Lord was a confident, headstrong and determined man. Kate wondered how she was going to shake him off once he liked her.
'Now, Katherina I want you to listen clearly' Lord Florence escorted her toward one of the inlets of the ballroom where the highest, richest and most powerful men were enjoying their evening. Kate saw Lord Ashwood in conversation with some of the East India Company's men. He must have been among them, but their backs towards her and the great distance made it impossible to see their faces.
'He doesn't know we, as in you and I, are present at this ball or that we will address him' Kate winded her eyes. And there it was, she had known there was something dubious going on here and her father was hiding something. This Lord didn't even know Lord Florence was present. Kate wondered if it was one of her father's rivals that he needed to make it up to only for the profit of his Company. She wanted to open her mouth and ask but as he had taken her to the side and laid his finger upon her lips before she could speak.
'Hush, let me finish. I know this is all very unusual. But this Lord does not go in on marriage proposals' Lord Florence tried to bring out his words carefully. Kate was swallowing loudly, her breathing started to quicken. She was certain now, her father was going to marry her off to one of his business enemies as some sort of peace offer. Her cheeks started to turn reddish.
'Unusual? You are trying to match this man without him even wanting to. What if you'll anger him? You'll shame me!' Kate wanted to shout but didn't want anyone to hear their discussion. She didn't understand why he wanted to embraces her so much. This man had to be insanely rich or extremely powerful for her father to push her into this, it seemed almost desperate. Kate worried he had finally gone insane from all the attempts of marrying her off.
'I have my reasons for it Katherina and it will soon all be clear to you' Lord Florence almost had to drag her towards the group of men talking as soon as he hooked his elbow into hers. Kate tried to act like she didn't get forced, determined not to look like a foolish woman, but she realized her father would probably do the job for her.
They strolled towards the backs of the men discussing business, enjoying their drinks and occasionally laughing. Even though from the outside Kate looked like the confident woman always presented herself as, on the inside she felt like a little girl being dragged along by her father. Her heartbeat was rising and she felt the air get stuck in her lungs.
Before reaching the group of men her father stopped her and signed he wanted to speak to the men first. Of course, Kate thought as she rolled her eyes. He needed to beg for forgiveness first if he indeed was his rival.
Her father stood tall and ignored his daughter almost fainting from the tension, leaving her behind for a moment. Kate grabbed her fan moving it quickly before her face to get some air and hide her heavily blushing cheeks. Her sight was becoming vague. Kate had never felt this way before and she wouldn't be surprised if she'd faint within the minute. Her legs were shaking underneath her skirt.
Her father entered the conversation. Next to him what must have been the Lord, wearing a white wig, one curl on both sides, with a slightly short figure turned his head, noticing his arrival. Lord Florence and the man were exchanging words and he moved a few steps back like he was surprised by his sudden arrival. It indeed was obvious they'd met before and the Lord didn't seem very happy with his arrival. That or he was just very surprised by her father's insane forced proposal.
Kate decided she couldn't wait any longer and wanted this torture to be over quickly. She placed her fan on the table, trying to pull it together. It took a lot to take the first steps toward the men. Her chest was rising and falling as the air got stuck in her throat. Walking towards the men she tried to do it as gracefully as possible, still trying not to faint, she refused to be embarrassed that way.
Kate almost reaching them could hear them talking. One of the voices caught her attention and seemed so familiar. Lord Florence's sight moved to Kate's direction while still talking. It was clear Lord Florence was surprised Kate ignored him asking her to wait and as Kate almost arrived right behind the Lord he quickly started introducing her. As Lord Florence had laid his eyes on his daughter, still almost fainting, the man did too. His head turned to her so she could finally see him, now standing face to face.
'Lord Cutler Beckett, my daughter, Katherina Florence. You have met before' Lord Florence spoke. Kate taking the last few steps suddenly came to a halt when hearing her father's words and she almost stopped breathing. Looking into the blue-grayish eyes she had met years ago, the only eyes she ever truly trusted, loved and missed. Even though she had pushed these feelings away a long time ago. It all came back to her within seconds. Like the nerves couldn't be worse they now rushed through her body.
'Katherina..' Cutler's face looked even more surprised than hers and he stepped into her direction but keeping an appropriate distance as he seemed in shock. He gazed into her eyes with his jaw dropped, but had closed it when speaking her name carefully, like he was afraid to break it.
'Cutler..' Kate had to push his name from her lips, she had been too heartbroken to speak it for years. She felt weak on her legs again, but this time for an entirely different reason.
Calling him by only his first name must have looked strange to the other people present in this conversation and not proper according to the right ways to introduce yourself, but Kate was forgetting about everyone and everything around them in the room. It was quiet for some time. The other noblemen looked confused about what happened but did not interfere.
Cutler didn't say a word and made the impression he wanted to reach for Kate's hands, that were placed upon the lower part of her corset, her bosom rising and falling even quicker as her lungs reached for air, her body frozen. But Cutler came out of his trans and coughed once. His face turning to the other men.
'Gentlemen, will you excuse us?' Cutler sounded strict towards the other men, but they nodded politely. Kate didn't realize what happened and it wouldn't take long before it turned black before her eyes. After he spoke Cutler suddenly presented her his arm in a comforting way without saying anything, she took it without hesitance, still in shock. He started walking, away from the gentlemen, quickly like he was in a hurry. Still, in silence, he guided her toward the gardens outside in a rather fast phase. Kate could hardly breathe and if she wasn't going to have fresh air or remove her corset soon, as she randomly asked herself whether the maid had tightened it to tightly, she'd lose consciousness. Her feet followed Cutler's quickly as he helped her outside. Some people had turned their heads to them while they made way outside. Kate heard a woman say something that sounded like 'did he finally court someone?'. But she was far to busy to not stop breathing.
At one point Cutler moved behind Kate to get them safely through the busy crowd, his hand reached for her waist and pushed her gently into the right direction as some people were too distracted to move out of their way. Kate's heartbeat was drumming in her ears.
Once reaching the large doors opened by the servants Kate, once outside, took a large breath feeling her lungs getting filled with fresh air to prevent her sight from going black. After a few seconds, Kate returned her calm breathing and realized what had happened as she watched two concerned familiar eyes that hadn't changed stare at her. Cutler had noticed she almost became unwell and, while no one else did, he made sure she was alright by taking her outside quickly. Ignoring all the formality rules to make sure she was alright. As she remembered he was putting her well being above anything else.
'Are you alright?' Cutler reached for her arm and took it softly, making her sit down on one of the stones benches alongside the rose fields. Kate didn't know if his touch was making her almost losing her conscious any better, but she was much better than a few minutes ago.
'I apologize for my hasty actions. I wanted to escort you out into the fresh air as soon as possible' Cutler's voice sounded so familiar, but was much deeper and more formal. Kate suddenly felt happy they were alone. With her calm breathing in the background her eyes traveled across his face, a face she had wondered about a thousand times if she'd ever see it again. He was wearing a beautiful uniform and a powdered white wig. Cutler wasn't a boy anymore but a grown man, still very handsome, even more than she could remember. Her heartbeat raised when her eyes finished their journey and ended at his again, staring back in silence.
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caranfindel · 5 years
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Recap/review 14.06: “Optimism”
THEN: Starts out pretty ominous, with clock-ticky music, Jack's grace getting sucked out, "this is the end of everything," and Jack considering himself useless. We're reminded that New Charlie exists (aw, Dean looked so pretty in AU Land) and Jack has "the mind of a hunter." Michael hurting people and Dean feels guilty (aw, Sam's Beard of Despair, how I miss you). Sounds like we're in for a real downer of an episode, friends.
NOW: Nebraska. Happy music. A cheerful librarian opens up shop, and she's cute as can be but I wore that blouse in the 80s and it needs to stay there (JUST SAY NO TO THE RUFFLED YOKE, LADIES). Her name is Harper, and she has a kind-of-date with a guy named Winston tonight, though she is clearly Not Into You, Winston. An (apparent) coworker named Miles hears her "scream" and comes to her aid, brandishing a stapler, and is reminded that he needs to mind his own business. Winston leaves, clearly walking on air, and then STAYIN' ALIVE STARTS PLAYING and we focus on Winston's feet just like the iconic opening scene of Saturday Night Fever (if you're too young to remember, watch this, IT'S IMPORTANT CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE and there WILL BE A QUIZ LATER) and y'all don't even know how much I love this song. YOU DON'T KNOW. I can't help it. My mom was a huge Bee Gees fan, partially because she was very into Barry Gibb.
Coincidence?
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What can I say? I am my mother's child.
Now, where were we?
(Pretty much where we always are, so could you please just move this along?)
Sorry for the digression. Anyway. Now I suspect this isn't going to be a downer episode after all. (Turns out it was directed by Richard Speight, which would have been a clue if I'd known that earlier, bless him.) While I've been digressing, Winston has happily bopped down the street, only to have a hand cover his mouth and drag him off-screen. There's a record scratch and a squirt of dark goo and a scream, so I guess it did turn out to be a downer for Winston, but not for me.
Title card!
{Sidebar: I didn't realize Saturday Night Fever was directed by John Badham, who went on to direct several episodes of Supernatural.}
Jack's drinking coffee in the bunker. He takes a sip and then pours a huge amount of sugar into it, which immediately makes me think of this scene from The Fly when Jeff Goldblum, who does not yet realize that he is turning into a fly, does the same thing.
(Spoiler alert: Ahem.)
Dean walks in and asks what he's doing, and Jack explains that everything tastes different without his powers, and he can't get the coffee to taste the way he likes it. That's because coffee is nasty, Jack. (And also, thanks to the Continuity Fairy for remembering that food tasted different to Cas when he didn't have grace.) Dean asks if Jack has seen Sam, because that's what Dean does; he probably walked in the door and felt a disturbance in the Force and realized he didn't know where Sam was. From Jack, we learn that (1) Dean went on an overnight run to Mobby's love shack cabin and (b) Sam went on a hunt with Charlie without telling Dean. Is Dean okay with this? Are we gonna okay with this? Couldn't he have at least sent a text message? He's supposed to be setting an example!
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"Explain to me again how you just let Sam LEAVE."
I guess Sam had to go himself, rather than send someone else, because this is one of those times when there's no random hunters in the bunker. (And where's Rowena? Did Charlie abandon her in the Southwest? Did they have a fight?) Jack imagines Sam and Charlie are doing something "really exciting."
Cut to Sam and Charlie sitting quietly in a truck outside Memphis, bored out of their minds. Hee! It's the kind of crappy old truck I always want Sam to drive, so I love it. They're staring at a bus stop with an ad for Pete the Pestinator, who seems to be an insect exterminator. (Spoiler alert: ahem again.) Sam confirms that "this is where all those people went missing," although if he's been sitting in that truck long enough to be bored, he really should have nailed that down by now. Charlie says "yep." More silent sitting.
Back to the bunker. Dean seems surprised that Sam left Jack there alone (where's Cas?) and Jack says "Sam wanted someone around when you came back. He's worried about you."
"Yeah, that sounds like him," Dean grumbles, and hello, kettle, the pot just called, and said you're black. Jack offers some encouragement, telling him no one blames him for Michael, and Dean says "Cool. Well, I blame me, so." His self-flagellation is interrupted by Jack's Cough of Great Concern. "Maybe I'm allergic to sitting around doing nothing," Jack snarks.
Dean sits down for a heart-to-heart, and Jack says he's been hunting with Cas and wants to do more. Dean says "No offense, Cas is an insurance policy on those hunts." Jack looks hurt. I don't understand this at all. Why wouldn't Jack already know that Cas is there to protect him? And why would this hurt his feelings? I'm so confused. But I immediately forget it, because Dean says "Sam's just trying to keep you safe, okay? He's a smart guy." AND THEN WE CUT TO THIS.
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Bless you, Richard Speight, writer Steve Yockey, bless you both.
I literally did burst out laughing at Sam and his fidget spinner. Charlie is not amused, and Sam puts his toy away with some embarrassment.
Bunker. Jack's found a report on our dead friend Winston, who seemed to have human bitemarks taken out of his corpse. And others have gone missing in the area. We skip part of a conversation, but whatever it was, Dean says Sam won't like it. "Sam's not here," says Jack. Oh, no you don't, Jack. Don't you go ignoring the Chief's directives just because he's not here. Dean says he'll go check it out alone, but Jack suddenly remembers Sam's Law and reminds Dean about the Buddy System.
We can be hunting buddies!
Okay, uh, (a), don't call it that, and (b), YOU'RE gonna back ME up?
Oh, Dean. You didn't do the (1) and (b) thing that I love so much. Jack gets to be the one to bare a little bit of his soul now, telling Dean that he also feels guilty about Michael, because he could have killed him but he was "distracted and stupid." He doesn't want to sit around feeling guilty all day, he wants to hunt.
Looks like that was the right button to push, because we cut to Sam on the phone, clearly not a fan of the plan and telling Dean to be careful. I assume his reluctance is because he doesn't trust Jack to watch Dean's back. But Sam, if you can trust Maggie to hunt alone, you can trust Dean with a novice backup. (I know, I know, Dean is more important than Maggie.)
Sam asks again if Charlie is sure this is the right place, and she says it's where four people disappeared. And while she was scouting around, she found a mason jar full of goo. Is this the same goo we saw when Winston was killed? (Spoiler alert: no.) And now she's trying to figure out what they're hunting, so she's reading. I'd have done my reading before the stakeout, but that's just me. (I'd also have done some reading instead of sitting there glaring at Sam while he enjoyed his fidget spinner, but that's also just me.)
(I also might have thought of more interesting things to do while I was stuck in a car with Sam, but they would have interfered with the stakeout. And they aren't anything Charlie would have been interested in anyway.)
Cut to Dick's Red Rooster Diner (ha ha, I see you, Speight). According to Winston's obituary, he had breakfast here every morning. Jack agrees with me that it's an odd thing to put in an obituary, but Dean says that when someone dies young, you don't know what to put in those things. (Oh, think of 20-something Dean's obituary.) He introduces them to the waitress as Agents Berry and Charles, and the only thing I can think of is Chuck Berry, so if someone has a better idea, let me know. He asks for details about Winston, and the only detail she can provide is that he's dead. Jack dutifully writes that detail in his little notebook. (BLESS.)
This waitress is wonderfully snippy, knows her rights, and isn't the least bit interested in talking to these FBI agents, but when Dean hands her some cash she changes her mind. She says they should should be more interested in Harper, who Winston just started "courting," and Jack is confused.
What's courting?
It's what you do before you start dating.
Ah, and that's the thing you do before the sex.
Sometimes you just have the sex.
Okay, Dean's wrong, courting is what you do instead of dating, but this is still a wonderful exchange. And the next part is wonderful too, cutting between the waitress and some customers explaining that Harper was popular in high school, but her boyfriend ran off, and now all these men connected to her have died, and she's really into romance books, and ending on I've heard too much Dean and I'm confused Jack.
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Love this.
Back at the stakeout, Sam's biting his nails, which I also love for some reason, and of course the only time we've ever seen him bite his nails was when he was worried about Dean. New Charlie picks right up on it. She tells him Dean will be fine, and comments that he's got other friends, right? Which I don't understand, because it doesn't matter what other friends he has, he's not hunting with them. He's hunting with Jack. "He used to have a pretty damn good wingman," Sam says, and I think no, Sam, what are you saying, he still has you. She says he should call "that guy" to check on him, and Sam says "that guy was you." Charlie gives him a look. "No, it wasn't." And she's right, Sam. SHE IS NOT YOUR CHARLIE. And also, was Charlie ever really Dean's wingman? I don't think so. Sam, of course. Cas, literal wingman. But not Charlie. Charlie was the little sister.
Sam apologizes, and then says "I'm just saying, I'm not surprised you survived the apocalypse." Which isn't what you were saying at all, Sam. Charlie is surprised she survived, because she was just a programmer at Richard Roman Enterprises (Dick Roman! I wonder what happened to your AU version), living with the love of her life, Cara. My heart skipped a beat because I was so ready, guys, for the love of Charlie's life to be Dr. Cara Roberts from Sex and Violence, but apparently not. {Sidebar fic prompt: Sam. Charlie. Dr. Cara. Three-way.) Charlie's Cara was a baker. Charlie tells a sad story about waiting for help that never came, and Cara eventually being killed by people, not angels. Society falls apart. (Or, as Dean once said, demons I get; people are crazy.) Sam insists society isn't falling apart here, and Charlie says "not yet."
Just like last week, we're getting some needed differentiation between the characters we lost and their AU counterparts, which I appreciate.
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I also appreciate pretty, attentive, sympathetic Sam.
Diner. Dean calls Jack "Mighty Mouse," for some reason, and congratulations him on finding a case. He tries to teach him about the importance of pie, but Jack's more interested in courting. He's never been exposed to off-screen romance, unless Gabriel and Rowena counts (Dean assures him it doesn't, but how would Jack have been exposed to Gabriel/Rowena anyway, since it happened while he was in AU Land and Gabriel didn't make it back?) Dean promises he'll give him The Talk when they get back, but right now they need to concentrate on finding Harper. {Sidebar fic prompt: Dean's and Sam's versions of The Talk. Would Dean's be like Dean's speech from Rock and a Hard Place?} Jack speculates she might not be human, and Dean says they're going to find out, and it's going to work like a romance novel. Hmm!
Cut to the library, where Harper is working. Dean enters and identifies himself as FBI, with questions about Winston. She doesn't want to talk, and he pushes. Then Jack shows up, asking for a book about the area's history, and defends her against the big mean FBI guy. Dean says "why don't you back off, kid" and Jack responds "No, you back off, old man" and DEAN'S FACE. This was clearly NOT IN THE SCRIPT. I love it. Dean slinks off, dejected, to examine his gracefully-aging face in the rear-view mirror. {Sidebar: I honestly think Jensen is aging a lot better than Dean is. Dean looks tired a lot of the time, and I'd like to believe Show is doing that on purpose, but I don't think it's the case. Jensen always looks awesome.} Harper is delighted, and apparently smitten, judging by the music. Jack introduces himself as "Jack Smith" and she invites him to her apartment, where she has the perfect book.
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Why does this library have those convenience store perp measurements at the door? Does it get robbed a lot? Also, how many episodes have signs in the background with the title of a different episode? Not very many, I'm guessing.
As they leave, Miles the Stapler Guy follows and asks where she's going. It must be close to closing time, because Harper says she'll come back and lock up. Miles, who's carrying a bag of trash, refuses to shake Jack's hand. As Jack and Harper go one way, he stomps off in the other direction. I'm suspicious, and so is Dean, who gets out of the car to follow him. As Miles puts the library's trash in an inappropriately small residential bin, he hears a noise. We then cut to Dean, who hears Miles scream but just keeps walking? But then a trash can is knocked over and that gets his attention. He finds Miles dead, and we get a monster POV shot watching him.
Stakeout. Charlie's still reading. Apparently she brought all the books. She says she hates hunting, which surprises Sam, because she's so good at it. She points out that she's good at it because the alternative was death. "I mean, no offense, but who wants to be a hunter? This job, just a lot of tears and death."
Sam says "you said something like that to me once, long ago, about hunting." He quickly apologizes for once again conflating her with Our Charlie. At first I was annoyed at him, but then I started thinking about how awful Our Charlie's death was for him, with the MoC, and the fear, and the worry, and the guilt, and his brother saying he should be the one on the funeral pyre instead, and you know what? I'm gonna cut him some slack for trying to forget all of that ever happened. A lot of slack, in fact.
Charlie casually drops that she's glad this is her last hunt. Did you give the Chief your two week's notice, Charlie? I DON'T THINK SO. She plans to get away from monsters and people, and "live on a mountaintop or something... as long as there's good wifi." I'm sure Sam can get you set up with his magical wifi, Charlie, if you stay on his good side.
Harper's apartment. She seems to be all about love, with a decorative "amore" sign in the kitchen and a big red heart hanging on the wall. She suddenly realizes it's weird that she brought him to her apartment, though she's thinking "putting the moves on you" weird and I'm thinking "inviting a potential serial killer into your home" weird. But maybe I listen to too much My Favorite Murder.
She leaves the room to get the book (odd that it's not on the stuffed bookshelves in her living room, but they're all full of romance novels). Jack asks why the FBI was "hassling" her, and she tells him about Winston's death as he surreptitiously puts a silver coin on the floor and splashes holy water all over his hands. A call comes from Dean, but he ignores it. When she comes back with the book, she notices the coin on the floor and picks it up. She touches his hand when she gives him the coin and notices that it's wet. I would have put the holy water on the coin, although a wet coin on the floor might be as weird as wet hands. He just laughs weirdly and then does a fake cough AND SAYS CHRISTO. SOMEONE FINALLY REMEMBERED CHRISTO. Oh, my heart. I've been waiting 13 years for this moment. She doesn't react to it, so she seems pretty human. He says he's nervous, so she sits on the couch and pats the seat next to her.
Stakeout. Charlie has found something in the books called a Musca. Sam already knows it's a man-fly hybrid (IT'S THE FLY; OUR MONSTER IS JEFF GOLDBLUM) and that no one's seen them, so if they do exist, they keep to themselves. She's impressed with his Sammy smarts. He says he's read all the books, but if he'd read this one, he'd know that every few hundred years a male Musca can't find a mate and he "abandons his community and starts using people's bodies to nest, binding them together with a viscous goo." Ew.
As they walk, in the background we see a figure approaching the two women who are sitting on the bus stop bench. It's clothed in black, carrying a black briefcase, and it has a giant head. At first I think it's literally a giant fly's head. But when Charlie notices it, we get a closer look, and it's a large black hood, like a beekeeper's outfit. It sits down and then casually scoots closer to the women, who scoot away, and it's hilarious.
Harper's apartment. She asks Jack where he's from, and he tells her he lives in Lebanon, Kansas. NO, JACK. DON'T TELL ANYONE WHERE YOU LIVE. Jack coughs some more and then notices a picture of Harper with her boyfriend, Vance. She says he left town after high school because he wanted to see the world, and Jack seems astonished that anyone would leave her. And that was when her bad luck started, but she tries to stay optimistic. "Me too," Jack says. "I had some not-so-great stuff happen in my past. Trying to be positive... it can be hard." Oh, Jack, sweetie. They gaze into each other's eyes and it looks like they're going to kiss. Jack's phone buzzes with a text from Dean that says CALL ME NOW.
Jack? Do you believe in love at first sight?
Do you... (music swells)... mind if I use the bathroom?
Ha!
Jack hides in the bathroom to call Dean. He tells him Harper isn't a monster, and he thinks she's in love with him. Although Dean's sure that's not the case, Jack says "but if she is, I need to know everything about sex. Go." Ha again! Dean tells him about Miles's death, which makes Jack wonder if she's cursed. Dean says it's more like all the guys around her are cursed. "Like me," Jack ponders, just before we get another monster POV shot and a strangled shout from Dean. The phone goes dead.
Jack comes back into the living room and Harper asks if he's okay and if he wants to go for coffee. Then the door bursts open and Dean comes in, and I wonder why she's freaking out until I remember that Dean is Bad FBI Guy to her. He quickly blocks the door and tell her they're here to save her from... whatever it is that's suddenly growling and banging on her door. "At first I thought it was a ghost," he says, "but then it punched me in the face." She's freaked out about a ghost, but Jack reassuringly (NOT!) tells her that he's saying it's NOT a ghost. Dean recognizes a photo and it turns out the monster is her old boyfriend Vance, who she didn't even realize was dead.
For some reason Dean isn't carrying a lot of weapons, but he has a silver knife and finds a silver letter opener on Harper's desk. Silver will slow it down, he tells them, but there's only one way to kill the undead boyfriend. Vance breaks the door down before we learn what that is. Dean starts fighting with the silver knife and tells Jack to get Harper out of there.
Stakeout. It's nighttime now. A lone man sits at the bus stop as Sam tries to convince Charlie that she can't drop out of society. She needs people, and also, it's hard to walk away from being a hunter. "I tried. Our Charlie tried." You know, for someone who did want out of hunting, and did try to get out of it, Sam spends a lot of time convincing others to do it, or at least enabling them. I mean, Dean was all "Patience, if you can live a normal life, do it," and Sam was all "well, Claire, if you're gonna hunt, I guess I should show you how to hack." Although that (and teaching Ghoul!Adam to shoot) was more about protecting someone determined/forced to be a hunter than recruiting. So maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. Anyway, if anyone recognized the futility of getting out of the life, it would be him.
Jeff Goldblum shows up again and sits by his next victim. Charlie wants to go for the kill, but Sam thinks they should wait for him to make his move, in case he's just into weird fashion. Look, Sam, if a guy likes wearing a black beekeeper's bonnet and sidling up to random strangers at bus stops, he deserves to be hunted, whether or not he's actually part bee. When the bus shows up, it blocks their view of the duo. When it leaves, the bench is empty. Which could mean they just got on the bus, but we see something disappearing behind the stop. Sam decides it's a go after all.
Let's stick with this story, rather than cutting back and forth between them like the show did.
Sam and Charlie find a door with a bunch of goo on the handle. Sam says Charlie found something in the books that theorized a brass nail dripped in sugar water would kill a musca. Because yes, of course sugar water, WHICH FLIES EAT, would kill a fly man. (Rolls my eyes at this otherwise delightful episode.) Charlie reminds him they have neither of those things. "So we get creative," Sam says. I'm expecting some kind of MacGuyvering involving a can of Coke, or Sam's sugary coffee. (Spoiler alert: I'm wrong.)
{Sidebar: Why are all the methods of killing monsters so weirdly specific? Chopping off the head should kill ANYTHING.}
They go through the door, which surprisingly leads them into an abandoned warehouse. It's full of flies (normal ones, not half-man flies) and smells like pine cleaner and rotting meat. Yum. Eventually Sam finds the briefcase, which is full of what looks like candy wrappers and also has a white cloth, which he sniffs to discover chloroform. Dude. Don't sniff the chloroform rag. Charlie finds the most recent victim, still alive, by a pile of bodies. Something grabs Charlie's hand. She pulls loose, but falls off a low platform (seriously, it's like two feet high) and... loses consciousness? Okay. Maybe he chloroformed her and I missed it. I'm old and decrepit and this would have barely bruised me. He must have chloroformed her.
Sam tries to wake her up, but is interrupted by the WORST MONSTER COSTUME EVER. Oh god, you guys, this fly man head is so bad. SO BAD.
{Sidebar: Did you know that you don't see much of the shark in Jaws because the model was so bad, Steven Spielberg decided he wanted to shoot it as little as possible? And it actually made the movie better because the unseen monster was so much scarier? Just saying, Speight.}
(Um, have you watched any movies that were made before 1980?)
Well, that was uncalled for.
Jeff Goldblum attacks Sam and gets goo on him, and if this were really a fly, wouldn't that goo be digesting him? Isn't that how flies eat? (Why yes, it is.) Charlie regains consciousness and stabs it with something, which gets it off Sam long enough for him to shoot it in the head. Creativity in action! So, I guess I got my wish. Interesting that, just like last week, the guys figured out that there are actions that will kill anything.
Aftermath! Charlie and Sam are driving, and Sam says he feels bad for the Musca, which could have been happy if it had stayed home with its people. Subtle, Sam. Charlie's all, yeah, okay, I'm like the bug, except not so much. As we see the Musca family coming to retrieve their brother's body, Sam asks Charlie not to leave. "If we help people, then maybe they'll help people, and all that, and that's worth it. Even with all the tears and death, it's worth it." Oh, Sammy. {sniff} She says she'll think about it.
Back to Jack and Harper. It was broad daylight when they got to her apartment, so I don't know why it's nighttime now. How long did he spend in the bathroom? No wonder she asked if he was okay. Cut to Dean gleefully fighting the zombie, who suddenly stops fighting and runs off.
Jack and Harper run to the library, where she struggles with the keys until Jack remembers she left without locking the door. They scurry inside and he locks it. As they hide behind the counter, they see Zombie Vance run by. Jack tells her not to worry, because he locked the door, and she asks if he flipped the switch under the lock? Obviously he didn't, and she goes to do it herself. As she stands, looking out the door, Vance shows up. She unlocks the door, which Jack obviously DID lock, and opens it. He hands her the history book - I guess Jack dropped it - and they kiss.
Um. whoops. Vance is actually still Harper's boyfriend. And he has to eat human flesh. Like, Jack's, for example. Vance lunges for Jack, who hides in the stacks as Harper gives him the villain dialogue over the library's PA system. She likes Jack, but he's obviously a hunter, and she comes from a long line of necromancers, so it would never work out between them. She killed Vance to keep him from leaving after high school, and killing every other guy in her sights is just a fun little romantic roleplay for them. We get a little scare when a hand appears on Jack's shoulder (been a lot of that going around lately), but it's Dean. He tells Jack they have to get Vance back into his grave and then drive a stake into his heart to keep him there. And they're going to convince him using another romance novel method.
Jack tells her he wants to do things Vance can't do - walk her down the aisle, raise a family. This draws Vance out, who lunges at him but finds himself facing Dean. Vance gets Dean against a wall, and Harper calls out to him. Dean thinks she's going to call him off, but she says "Baby, kill him!" and Dean's "huh" look is precious to me. Instead, Dean slaps a handcuff on his arm and cuffs him to a pole or something. Jack cuffs his other arm to a library cart, I think, which is mobile and therefore defeats the purpose of cuffing, but good try, Jack. The cuffs burn Vance, so they're silver or enchanted or something. Seems like a successful hunt, but when the guys look up, the door is open and Harper is gone.
Later we see Harper and her suitcase at a cafe, writing a letter to Jack. So she had time to go home and pack a suitcase, and Dean and Jack didn't go to her apartment and look for her? Guys. Come on. She's sorry she's going to have to kill Jack, but it means she can bring him back to life and they'll be together forever. See you soon, she writes, sealing the envelope addressed to Jack Smith, c/o the Lebanon, Kansas post office. I TOLD YOU NOT TO LET HER KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE, JACK. Is Harper going to be a Big Bad this season? Or maybe a Little Bad? I wouldn't mind seeing her again. She's a charming little villain.
Finally, Jack's drinking coffee again, probably with a lot of sugar, in the bunker. This scene, with them facing each other, is a nice callback to the beginning of the episode. Dean tells Jack he did good, and Jack pushes for more hunts, because he was right. It's not about being right, Dean tells him, it's about what you do after you're wrong, after you've made a mistake. And about not beating yourself up, Jack points out. Dean tells him he's pretty smart, and Jack smiles and coughs and Dean promises to talk about getting him on more hunts when Sam gets back (BECAUSE SAM IS THE ONE TO ASK, YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT) and Jack lies about being fine and then coughs some more and shows Dean his bloody palm and collapses on the floor with blood oozing from his mouth and nose and WELL. THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY.
And the episode ends, without Sam and Dean sharing a single scene. Has that happened before? It's unsettling. I like the ep, though. I liked the relationship focus - Sam bonding with New Charlie, Dean bonding with Jack. I liked the humor. I liked that Sam wasn't ignored, even though the brothers had separate storylines. I liked the continuation of things that have been happening this season, the gentle reminder (but not constant siren) of Dean's guilty feelings and Sam's leadership and Jack's issues. And, of course, CHRISTO!
And there was one weird thing I noticed on first watch, but it didn't jump out at me on rewatch so I don't remember when it happened... Dean said "Son of a B." This is the second episode where they said something weird instead of bitch. What's going on there? Is Dean never going to say "son of a bitch" again? Because that's not good.
What did you guys think? And please help me stay unspoiled; thanks!
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xtruss · 3 years
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Goodbye Ted Dexter, Free Spirit, Cricket Thinker, Renaissance Man
The England and Sussex captain had aura, flair, majestic batting, and impossible glamour - and that was just on the field
— Mark Nicholas | 27 August, 2021
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Ted Dexter batting in a ring of close-in fielders in Sydney, January 1963 Getty Images
I don't know when the Ted Dexter affectation started but I can guess. The last thing my father did with me before he died so young was to take me to see the 1968 Gillette Cup final at Lord's. This was during Ted's short comeback and when the great man strode to the wicket, I leapt about in excitement, cheering his name for all I was worth. He didn't get many but no matter, I had seen him live. That evening Dad bowled to me in the garden as I imitated every Dexter mannerism and stroke I had seen just a few hours before.
"There is about Dexter, when he chooses to face fast bowling with determination, a sort of air of command that lifts him above ordinary players. He seems to find time to play the fastest bowling and still retain dignity, something near majesty, as he does it." — John Arlott
I fell for the aura, and for the flair in those back-foot assaults on fast bowlers. Not for a minute do I think I saw the 70 in 75 balls against Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith at Lord's in 1963 but I feel as if I did - the power, the poise, the sheer gall of it. Nothing, not even the Beatles, could drag me from the television screen when he walked to the wicket, seemingly changing the picture from black-and-white to glorious technicolor as he took guard. Frankly, much of the Test cricket of the time was pretty dull but there was a frisson, an expectation, with Ted, just as there is when Ben Stokes is on his way today. It was all too brief, he had retired for good before I started proper school.
The West Indians of the day - Conrad Hunte, Garry Sobers, Wes Hall - thought that innings the best played against them by anybody, though Dexter himself would modestly say it was just one of those days where everything came together and the bat swung freely in just about the right arc. He was well miffed to be given out lbw, however, insisting later that the DRS would have saved him. Who knows how many careers might have been changed by the sliding doors of the DRS.
The word majesty sits well with Dexter's batting, primarily because of the way in which he attacked through the off side off his back foot. This is a stroke so difficult to master that more prosaic batters choose to ignore it. It is no great surprise that Dexter thought Gordon Greenidge and Martin Crowe the two most technically correct right-hand players that he saw, citing their ability to stay sideways-on and to play the ball alongside their body as the prime reason for the accolade.
He was a huge fan of Joe Root and became near apoplectic during the England captain's relatively lean spell a while ago, when he became square-on to the bowler and was playing in front of his body. This niggled so much that he wrote to Root without mincing his words. Though at first put out, Root soon saw the kindness in a man of Dexter's age and knowledge who bothered to write, and therefore returned an email of thanks with the observation that he took the point. Who knows to what degree? It is enough to say that this year Root has batted about as well as any man could have done, and no one has enjoyed each of these innings in Sri Lanka, India, and now at home as much as Dexter.
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One final appeal: Dexter (fourth from left) watches as umpire Charlie Elliot gives John Inverarity out off Derek Underwood, The Oval, 1968 Getty Images
For the best part of a year now, Ted has been banging on about Dawid Malan: simply couldn't understand why England didn't pick him to bat at three. He cited the hundred in Perth in 2017 and this year's big scores for Yorkshire before predicting near-certain success with the method that brought those runs. It is sad, indeed, that he didn't live to see the fulfillment of his prophecy in Malan's fine innings yesterday. He liked the look of James Vince and Zak Crawley too, cricketers who stand tall and play with freedom. He got a lot right, this man of Radley, Cambridge, Sussex and England.
Tall himself, strong, handsome and impossibly glamorous, Edward Ralph Dexter caught everyone's eye. With the golden Susan Longfield on his arm, they cut quite a dash and cared little for the sniping that came from those less blessed. The enigma in him - and how! - was often confused with indifference, and though cricket has remained his other great love, it was never the be-all and end-all for him - a fact that made his appearances all the more cherished and his company all the more engaging. It is remarkable to think that he first retired as far back as 1965, before returning briefly in 1968 to make a double-hundred at Hastings against Kent and be immediately recalled to the England team for the Ashes. In the brilliant photograph (above) of the moment when Derek Underwood claims the final wicket at The Oval, Ted is caught spinning to appeal for lbw with a face that smacks of a lifelong instinct for competition and achievement.
"Ted was a man of moods, often caught up in theories, keen when the action was hot, seemingly uninterested when the game was dull... a big-time player, one who responded to atmosphere, liked action and enjoyed the chase and gamble. Maybe this was the reason he was drawn to horse racing so that a dull day stalking the covers might be enlivened for him by thoughts of how his money was faring on the 3:15 at Ascot or Goodwood." — John Snow
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Richie Benaud and Dexter in Sydney during the 1963-64 Ashes Frank Albert Charles Burke / Fairfax Media/Getty Images
And Snow would know for he was not the type to rise above those grey days of county cricket when the stakes were so low. Snow and Dexter, my first heroes, along with Jimmy Greaves and George Best, Muhammad Ali, the Beatles and the Stones - all of them important figures at 29 Queensdale Road, where the young Nicholas grew up with vinyl records and cared-for willow, narrow-grained and well-oiled for the garden Test matches that England forever won.
Much of the 1960s were about rebellion, revolution even, in response to the age of austerity. After the long and mainly drab post-war years, the young simply broke free and changed pretty much anything they could get their hands on. Music and fashion led the way, leaving sport's establishment to stutter in their wake. Only a few precious players could transcend the inertia, using both their talent and expression to delight the crowds and influence the young. Cricket was my thing, Dexter and Snow were the wind beneath my wings.
In Snow there truly was rebellion, against authority and the system it supported. This was not so in Dexter's case, though his free spirit and somewhat cavalier approach to responsibility gave the impression of one determined to ruffle feathers. From the outset he adored sport, worked harder than some might think at his books, and embraced diversions with the enthusiasm of a man who had more to do than could ever be done.
In many ways Ted was a contradiction: at once a conformist, as shaped by the early years of his life at home and school, and a modernist, whose lateral thinking did much to reform the structure of English cricket during his time as chairman of selectors. Richie Benaud observed that Ted's imagination and drive "will be of great benefit to English cricket in years to come. Equally, I'm in no doubt that others will take the credit for it." The rebellion in Ted was hardly radicalised but he loved to challenge conservative thinking, to take risks and to invest in his life as an adventure. Both on and off the field, this made for a terrific watch.
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The best of Ted: Dexter on his way to 70 against Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith at Lord's, June 1963 PA Photos
He thought the Hundred a good wheeze and admitted he would rather like to have played it himself. He was, of course, the original thinker about one-day cricket, supporting its conception as early as the late 1950s and then leading Sussex to the first two 60-over titles at Lord's in the Gillette Cup. He paid close attention to the tactics and convinced his men that following them to the letter would do the trick. Which it did. He pushed for four-day county matches 27 years before they were incorporated and he founded the idea of central contracts for England players long before other teams caught the bug.
He was proud of his part in the development of the spirit of cricket, applying golf's moral high ground to the game that made his name. Through his own PR agency, he became a pioneer in cricket's digital-technology revolution by inventing the system of Test match rankings that first announced itself under the banner of Deloitte and is now the ICC international rankings.
On a Zoom call a couple of months back, with tongue firmly in cheek, he said, "Having a rather high opinion of myself, I can safely say that had the rankings been in place sometime around the mid part of the 1963 summer, I would have been the No. 1-rated batsman in the world." We had special guests on these calls - Mike Atherton, Michael Vaughan, Ed Smith, Robin Marlar, Sir Tim Rice and more - all keen to share a drink, chew the cud and have a laugh with the game's most original and forward-thinking mind.
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Champagne days: (from left) Fred Trueman, Dexter, David Sheppard and Colin Cowdrey celebrate after winning the Melbourne Test, January 1963 PA Photos/Getty Images
We cannot jump past golf without mentioning the game at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney when Ted partnered Norman Von Nida against Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. So enamoured of Ted's golf were they that Nicklaus suggested Ted follow him back to the USA for a crack at the tour. Player has long said that Ted was the best amateur ball-striker he ever saw and Von Nida just thanked him for securing the one-up triumph that day. Eighteen months ago Player told me that in their one head to head with each other, Ted beat him up the last at Sunningdale, receiving only four shots. "Little so-and-so," said Ted, "we played level!" They were due for a game last summer but Covid stood firmly between them. The last time I played with Ted, two summers ago now, he beat his age, shooting 83 round the Old Course at Sunningdale without breaking a sweat.
This was a man of Jaguar cars, Norton motorbikes, greyhounds, race horses and an Aztec light airplane that, in 1970, he piloted to Australia with his young family beside him, to cover the Ashes as a journalist. They flew 12,000 miles and made about two dozen stops at British military bases along the way.
Ted married the very beautiful Susan soon after returning from Australia and New Zealand in the spring of 1959. How she is hurting today. So too Genevieve, Tom and the grandchildren.
There was an eccentricity in him that was occasionally misunderstood but otherwise immensely appealing and it is with that in mind, that I turn to the man himself for the final word. It comes from his blog, which is a splendid read and will remain a platform for the family to share their thoughts about this husband, father and grandfather who brought us so much joy.
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Dexter and Frank Worrell at a BBC interview with Peter West, August 1963 Harry Todd / Fox Photos/Getty Images
It was in my last term at Radley College when I had a hard game of rackets in the morning, scored 3 tries with two conversions for the 1st XV in the afternoon, was heard listening to operatic voices in the early evening, before repairing to the Grand Piano in the Mansion and knocking off a couple of Chopin preludes. "Quite the Renaissance man it seems" said my Social Tutor and I admit I liked the sound of it, if not quite knowing what it meant.
The Encyclopaedia Brittanica description of Renaissance man (or polymath) is as follows: one who seeks to develop skills in all areas of knowledge, in physical development and social accomplishment and in the arts. A point is made that you do not need to excel at any one activity. It is enough to tackle it seriously and see how far you get. I like the physical development bit obviously and I feel the social accomplishment bit is covered by my willingness to take on responsibilities all my life. Perhaps the arts bit is a bit shaky but a love for music, and particularly opera, and love of language - being fairly fluent in French, Italian, rudimentary German and Spanish - may be some modest qualifications."
Some different cat, huh. What a man. What a cricketer. Goodbye Ted, and thank you.
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