Syzygy (#words) (J.A.M)

United States

SYZYGY (#words)
J.A.M.
Corinne
14
Female (she/her)
Straight
CJCLDS
Dreamer
Anxiety
Reader
Webtoon Geek ;)
Music Must-Have
#giveusbackourwords
Middle child and only girl :w:

Message from Writer

Hello Lovelies! Thank you so much for 200+ followers! It's insane how many of you I've had the chance to get to know. I LOVE YOU! I can't believe it has yet to be a year!

New here? Go check out Dmoral's piece to get you started!
https://writetheworld.com/groups/
1/shared/132307/version/254176

Well, I have exciting news! Busssy.Beee and I are doing a collaboration! We're so excited to share "As Fate Would Have Us" with you, and we hope that everyone is excited too! Go check out the trailer!
https://writetheworld.com/groups/
1/shared/203788/version/418460

I'm slipping, into the deep end
I'm in over my head, can't catch my breath
"Deep End" - Ruelle

Published Work

Only in my Dreams | Bookshops

I smiled, running a hand through my dark hair, doing a little spin in my white knee-length dress with a large brown belt around my waist to accent my curves. I stood beneath a light in a bookshop, one of those old, yellow toned lights that set that aesthetic mood. Old, dust-covered books were stacked down the aisles, their worn pages filling the room with vellichor. Fairy lights are strung up along the shelves, adding a romantic mood to the shop. My fingers brushed the spines of novels along the middle shelf of the bookcase I stood by, reading the titles and grinning until I found the one I wanted. I gently pulled in out, afraid if I pulled to hard the cover would tear. 

"Which one is that?" 

I just smiled, opening to the table of contents. Two arms looped around my waist and a cheek was pressed against mine. 

"Beauty and the Beast?" He hummed, swaying side to...

Genevieve Elizabeth Greer, Room 481, Subject number 72, Age: 14. Failed Subject. Extermination by gas and fire | #Howdy

I peer out of a small window embedded into the large white door to my cell, my calloused hands on the doorknob earnestly jiggling it in hopes it would open the door. Why haven't you done it yet!? the voice in my head screams for the quadrillionth time this morning. Let me out... let me out.. let me out.

I kick the door, hands tugging at my hair as I pace away from it. GET ME OUT! the voice shrieks, making my ears ring. I plug them, curling up on the floor and rocking back and forth. LET ME OUT! I whimper and start pulling at my hair again, trying my hardest not to cry. I stare around the blank room. The white ceiling had one light bulb that was impossible to reach, the floor was plain white mats, and the walls were cold white concrete. Everywhere I look, I see white. How I hate that color. White. So boring....

Dust Jacket

I Know Y'all Know Me Pretty Well By Now, But Here's A Dust Jacket In Celebration Of 200!

1.) favorite aesthetic(s) [if multiple I want a l i s t] *sorry sorry I’m obsessed with aesthetics*
(No problem xD Aesthetics are cool) Vintage is a nice one. Aesthetics of Nature is by far one of my favorites too. So basically, but me in a vintage cabin covered in flowering vines in the woods next to a pond :)

2.) favorite duo (Thor and Loki, Lance and Keith, etc.)
Korg and Miek from Thor: Ragnarok . They're an everlasting joke in this house. xD

3.) favorite ship (Will and Nico,...Lance and Keith, etc.)
Will and Tessa from The Infernal Devices

4.) favorite odd thing you have
Hmm. I have this wood block I like. Does that count? Like, literally just a piece of 2x4.  

5.) dream pet
I REALLY want a smiling gecko. Like, they make me so happy! I wanna poke it's little cheeks xD

6.) Is the Hogwarts house you’re in the one you wanted/want?
Yes, actually....

A Home Built For Me

I've designed my forever home,
It's small,
It's gorgeous,
It's freedom. 

    The grass is a lush green, pretty poplars poking out along the stream's edge. There's a simple, small pebble path that leads to a glass dome, a cherry tree inside turning the glass pink. Butterflies circle the bubble of freedom, and birds sing their songs of light and love. You may step inside the clear house, and look up at the magnificent height. Bookcases full of stories of old line the trunk of this beautiful blossoming tree, dried roses marking my place amongst the pages. My bed is made up of soft pillows and threading string. This place was built to perfectly suit me.

    And my lover may sit beside me, strumming his guitar, and we'll sing of love, hope, and freedom. And the deer prance along the edge of out home, looking at us through the small glass dome. I'd wear a pretty little...

How It Was Supposed To Be

I touched up his hair before placing the crown back on his head. Trey Allaires, prince of Meava Commonwealth, heir to the throne. That's who sat before me. I was the only maid left in the room, and my palms are becoming sweaty. I'm in the prince's room. With him. Alone. It wasn't like it hadn't happened before. He and I grew up together. The rebellious prince who hung out with the children in the kingdom square, that's how I saw him. I latched onto him quickly. A charmer he was. 

We got a little older before he asked me to come work as a maid for him. It took him many months before I finally gave in to his request. Trey shirked his duties every day for an hour or two to hang out with me. In that time, we'd become something more. 

He turned to look at me over his shoulder as I stepped away. His silver...

25 Words

Longing

When it comes to you, I'm filled with Saudade*, because every time I reach out, my fingers slip right through you.

Two Halves Make A Whole (Message Board!)

Standing across from me on this marble floor, you look like an angel. A golden sword is held in each hand, your blonde hair swept back, blue eyes focused solely on me. I know you look at me as your exact opposite. A devil, if you will. My bow made of ash wood strapped to my back, dark hair pulled into a long, slick ponytail. My eyeliner making my brown eyes look more red than chocolate. While you remain stoic, a smirk tugs at my lips. You always said I was impulsive, and I always said you were too uptight. But we're two puzzle pieces, and we connect better than you'd like. Connect less than I'd want. You believe we'd destroy the world. I believe we'd balance each other out. Light and dark. Fire and ice. Black and white. Together, we make shadows. Water. Grey. The world need a little bit of both to create perfection. The perfect ratio of...

The Memory In The Photo

"Pretty little baby
Pretty little baby
Pretty little baby
Yes she is!
She's my pretty little baby
Pretty little baby
Pretty little baby Corinne."

She giggled, shoving her tiny fist in her mouth as her dad held her high above his head, looking up at her. It felt like he was never home. Ten months ago, is wife had just given birth to their third child, a little girl, and though he'd love to stay and hold her all day, his college was important. Having come out of the trucking business, the job he'd been doing since twelve years of age, he needed a better income to support his family. And he'd chosen engineering. He was two years in to his six year degree. 

Staring up at his daughter, he smiled, singing the song again. He wasn't sure where it had come from, but after holding her in the hospital, he'd sung it to her. Not even a year prior...

This Sorrowing of Tears

I tapped my collarbone in a steady rhythm as I waited, watching the rain pour in rivulets down the glass of my window. Somewhere in the distance, thunder stuck, it's grief-filled wails piercing my ears and shaking me to my very core. It had been raining for the last three days now, and the river was at the highest it had ever been. I felt the world's ache as if it was my own. Claimed it as my own child. But now, sitting alone in this house amid the turmoil of Her deepest fears, all there's left to do is wait.

When I Close My Eyes | Thoughts?

"Do you really think that of me?" he asked, running his hand across my back as he walked around me.

I didn't say anything, my mouth as dry as the Sahara. I watched him out of the corner of my eye as his face neared mine, hot breath on my cheek. Tingles went up my spine as I stood there, unable to move. I was afraid. He was so close, the tip of his nose touched my cheekbone. 

"Won't you answer me, Clarissa?" he asked angrily, blue eyes boring into the side of my face. His dark hair spilled into his eyes in a beautiful wave of curls. His bronze skin was rich in the dark, starless sky. He traced one of my collarbones with his pinky, clucking. "Sometimes I wonder if you're even alive."

I worried the inside of my cheek, still watching him. He came around to stand in front of me, using his thumb to tip my...

Learn to Love

Our love is crashing onto rocks below
I'm not sure that we can survive this fall
Stitches of black and blue our hands will sew
Should we not part, I'm sure we'll lose it all.

I can't imagine my hand in another's
But I know for certain it must leave yours
We were once friends, now we're broken lovers
I have realized your heart is not mine anymore

These chains that weigh us down are made by guilt
Neither wants to let go first out of fear
Neither wants to ruin what we have built
But someone has to kick the curb, my dear. 

So I will leave with my heart in your hands
Now, I must learn to love another man.

The First and Final Letter

Dear Gray Beckett,

    Remember when we were little? In that little park down the road from the cabin in the woods, the abandoned one we'd play hide-n-seek in, do you remember those times? We were so innocent back then, thinking we were invincible. Do you remember the game we used to play? We thought we were so cool. You were Peter Pan and I was Wendy. You were there to take me on an adventure of a lifetime. I'd sit on the merry go round and you'd spin me around before hopping on. I remember we'd link arms and scream and giggle as we spun in circles. You would give me piggy-back rides through the woods, balance on fallen logs across the creek. 

    Do you remember that last birthday together. I didn't even throw a party. I was content spending time with you on those rocks by the creek, looking up at the chirping birds and...

As Fate Would Have Us | Chapter 11

Looking for the other chapters? Check in the Footnotes so you don't miss out!!


William stalked down the hall, hand on the hilt of his sword. Buck hadn’t been able to give him much details except that a hooded figure asked him to get certain materials that seemed poisonous. He hadn’t even been able to determine if the person was male or female. William huffed. He supposed Buck wasn’t trained, or expected to remember specific details of suspicious people. He fidgeted with his sleeve, the one that hid his mark from the world. He needed to talk to Chandler. 

Turning the corner, he immediately bumped into someone else. He reached out to grab them by the shoulders, steadying him and the other. “Are you okay?” He looked down at her, and upon realizing who it was, stepped back and clasped his hands behind him. “I didn’t mean to run into you.” He looked behind her, scanning for her guards.

“I...

My Tree of Freedom

Sitting in a tree, 
looking out at the vast beyond.
Here I will be,
until dawn.
The place where no man dares to go,
is where you will find me.
Healing is what the color of green will sew,
here in my tree.
Come and join me,
little one.
Let me open those blue eyes so you may see,
what the thing we call nature has done.
I will share with you the stories of life,
and those of nature's natural death.
The great mother's animalistic strife,
and her enemies loss of breath.
But here we are safe from her wrath,
her sorrowing fury.
Here in my tree away from her vicious path,
we can be free.

Only In My Dreams | Our Own Little World

I smiled, kneeling down and cupping my hands together as if trying to hold water. I held rose petals, each one a different color. My hair slid from behind my shoulder to in front of it, falling across one of my eyes. Someone knelt beside me plucking one of the petals from my hands and twirling in between his fingers. "You okay?" he asked.

"As well as I can be," I hummed, leaning into him and resting my cheek on his shoulder. I held my hands closer to him and he kindly put the petal in my hands once more. "Sometimes I don't know why I'm sad. I just am."

He wrapped one arm around me, tucking me closer to his side. "It's okay to be sad," he said, resting his head on mine. "I'm sad too, sometimes."

"Over what?"

"Sometimes it's more disappointment, family, sometimes about you." He squeezed my arm lightly. "Other times, I don't know why I'm...

Where the Weeping Willow Touches the Earth

And the golden light cast by fireflies dotted the night sky like twinkling stars, a vision of ecstasy in the right mind's eye. And we would sit shoulder to shoulder underneath that silver moon, fingers laced together like the branches of our weeping willow which bowed reverently over our heads. And where her locks of green hair met the grass, a river of heartfelt tears stream to where the yonder meets the mountains, the peaks reaching up to caress the heartbroken moon. And together, they whisper their early condolences, for they know what we may not. But we will pay them no mind, and continue to watch our fireflies from the soft bed of moss we have seating ourselves upon. 

No Other | Footnotes!!

The hands that hold
All in the world that is good
Belong to a man with a heart of gold.
And the lips that speak
Desired words of truth unto me
Belong to a woman whose motions are silky sleek.
The eyes that see
Me for someone I cannot begin to fathom
Belong to no other than thee.

Do You Think He's Right?

I stared at the computer screen, my eyes scanning the words. I'd just entered 4th period: study hall. My regular teacher was absent. Had been for a couple days now. I'm minding my business, and the man in charge is talking to one of the other kids. They seem to know each other. Through football, it seems. Suddenly, the man starts going through role. Now, there's only five of us in our class normally, and my name is last on the roster. People struggle to say my name for the first little bit, but eventually get the hang of it (I never thought of it as being that hard, but apparently it is). He calls out my name, or something that sounds similar to is anyway. He looks me dead in the eyes and asks if he said it right. I hadn't been paying close attention, so I shrugged and said, "Close enough."

Instantly, he shook his head, frowning at...

Self-Love

Because I Feel like We All need a little Self Love

1) I'm outgoing! I love myself for being able to talk to other people and brighten their day no matter what's happening. It makes it easy to get my point across and makes team-work simple and fun!

2) I love myself for my goofy hiccups. I always sound like a squeaky toy and it makes almost everyone laugh every time. I one had the whole class rolling in the middle of a test. It was awesome!

3) I can cook! I'm actually really proud of how far I've come when it comes to food. My grandma and aunt are caterers, and my dad makes awesome soups and stews, so being able to cook with them, learn from them, and cook for myself makes me happy and brings wholesome memories that make me smile.

4) I love myself for my double-joints. It's not always the most convenient, but it can make getting into tight spots easy, and Halloween crazy, lol! It...

Only in my Dreams | Hearing

Yes, this is the continuation of my dreams. . . You don't have to read the other parts to understand. . . at least, I don't think so. You can if you want! I don't mind xD

The lights shimmered around me like fairy dust, soft gold against white velvet. My dark hair hung loose in soft waves to my collarbones, a crisp white daisy tucked behind my ear. In my hands was a bouquet of daisies to match. I noticed I was in a white dress that trailed behind me on the ash floor. It was a simple dress. A wide V-neck that didn't show much of anything, silk sleeves down to my wrists. The bodice complemented my curves, and flared out slightly at the waist. It was silk. Pearl silk that left me speechless. For the first time in a long time I felt beautiful. I took a step towards the mirror, my feet making no sound. I...

In The Broken Twilight...

...all I hear is your whispers.
You singing softly from the bed, 
Staring out the window. 
The dying sun glances off your face,
Casting a golden haze around you.
And you rock the sleeping child in your arms,
Tears streaming down your cheeks.
It's been a long year,
Hasn't it?
Through the multitude of treatments, 
He's survived,
But how long will it last?
He's in pain,
And he screams until his lungs can't bear it anymore.
You say that you're drowning,
And that I'm awful for having optimism.
Truth is,
I don't.
But I can pretend until the end, 
Can't I?

A Drifting Piece Of My Soul

But where do these thoughts come from?
Deep in my mind.
A piece of my soul,
Is sad you will find.
But why is is sad?
So bitter and broken.
I guess we'll never know,
But in my tears it is drownin'.
And the rest of my soul?
It's wailing in grief.
It's missing a part of itself,
It just can't get back, you see.
But where did this broken piece of me go?
It's drifting away.
Far out of reach.
And it'll be all gone one day.
So what do I do to bring it back to the glory it once sat under?
Chase after it.
But it gets even further away.
And I'm definitely not fit.
Do I repeatedly call for it?
Screaming for it to come back.
But I receive no reply.
A voice is what it lacks.
Do I even try anymore to return it to it's place?
No, I do not.
I give up and...

Dear Anxiety

Dear Anxiety,

    Why are you always there, lurking in the back of my mind? You've created a cavity in my chest. Well, opening that aching hole bigger than ever anyway. You make me second, triple, and even quadruple guess my decisions. And even then, I'm never happy with what I've chosen. I used to not worry, but when life got be down, you showed up. I don't want you, Anxiety. Why won't you let me sleep at night? Why do you have to appear at the worst times, and attack me with vicious thoughts, and feelings? 

    Anxiety, you gave me trust issues! Maybe I did? Ugh! There you go again. Lately, you keep intruding with the memories of friends who hurt me. Who made me feel like I could never be enough. Who used me and disposed of me when I wasn't needed anymore. Heck! I thought they had my back, but I found out on...

As Fate Would Have Us | Chapter Nine

Looking for the other chapters? Check the Footnotes so you don't miss out!


“It’s been a long time,” Maud commented, leaning against the stone wall behind her. 
 
“Not long enough,” William argued, scowling at her.

“I’m lost…” Heirny said. 

“Me too,” agreed Benjamin.

“This wasn’t…” Sam started.

“... what you imagined?” Maud finished. She nodded. “Figures. I haven’t seen William in… how many years now?”

“Haven’t been counting,” William growled. His horse, Monarch, snorted behind him and he reached back to scratch her neck. “Not surprised you’re still here. You never did have the heart to leave.”

She narrowed her eyes. “I have my reasons. But you, on the other hand, always seem to come back. Don’t have a heart to turn away either, ey?” She raised a dark, perfectly curved brow much like William’s. He took after his mother more than his father for certain. They had the same blue eyes people claimed pierced them to their very...

Only in my Dreams Continued Again... | Republished after removing link because admins -.-

I sat at the building's edge, looking over the city below. A bitter wind whipped through my hoodie, chilling me to the core. Beside me sat a radio that played I Wanted to Leave by SYML. I dabbled my fingers in the puddle next to me. I wasn't sure where I was, but the place was vaguely familiar to me. But something was missing. No, someone was missing. Was I too late? Did I screw up? I surprised myself by keeping my breathing calm. A beautiful feeling of acceptance and melancholy swallowed the peaceful chaos of the morning streets below my dangling toes. 

Still perturbed, I stood, staring down at the taxis on the falsely small street between skyscrapers. Was this New York? Houston? Richmond? D.C.? Philadelphia? I didn't know what Toronto looked like, but could it have been Toronto? I'd never been deep inside a city before, only ever trimming the busy outskirts. Philadelphia was the only one I'd...

Only in my Dreams Continued...

I looked up at him through my lashes as he looked down his nose at me. Anger twisted between us. We'd been fighting, but over what? My fists clenched at my sides, knuckles going white and my top lip curled in a silent snarl. But there was an ever-present question. What were we warring over? Why did I feel ready to break his long, nimble fingers, and punch his downright gorgeous face that I can't remember? 

"You're always like this!" he yelled. "It's never enough! I've given you everything, and will sacrifice so much more." His wings ruffled behind him, the white feathers tainted with crimson. I looked at my hands, noticing blood coating my fingers, one of which was broken. I didn't feel the pain though. Only searing white rage flooded my senses. 

"Maybe I don't want to be cared for!" I knew it was a downright lie the moment it came out of my mouth, but I had...

Only in my Dreams

He wrapped his arms around my shoulders, resting his chin on the top of my head. Everything was so quiet. My friends were on the waters in the dark blue rowboat, their small forms starless skies. One arm moved away from me, reaching forward so I could see his hand. He wiggled his fingers, moving his head to my shoulder as he concentrated. Slowly, green sparks rose from his outstretched fingers as a small flame grew in his palm. I giggled, reaching forward and laced my fingers in his. The flame didn't hurt. It was a special trick he'd learned, and one I enjoyed. 

I was on his lap, my cheek pressed against his, watching as a green aura surrounded us, casting emerald shadows onto the water's surface. "You turned the moon green," I laughed, my head tipping back slightly. He gave me a quick kiss on the cheek, a laugh bubbling out of him too. He hugged me even...

The Drabble

Dead-Center

His hands clenched the bow until his knuckles were white. He knew that it wasn't proper form. He should be loose, allowing him to be fluid, but he was just so mad! He'd spent so long looking at these targets, but no matter how long he tried, he couldn't center an arrow. His opponent, his very own brother, looked bored as he landed his shots straight on the red circle. Lifting up his arm, he took a deep breath and peered along the side of the bow. He re-planted his feet, and then the arrow flew. And it hit dead-center. 

As Fate Would Have Us | Chapter Seven

Duke Blackwell ran a hand down his clammy face before staring at the bread he’d abandoned on the railing. He’d hardly been able to keep anything down, but he was slowly getting better. Slowly. The sun was blinding, but the breeze felt nice on his overheated cheeks. He’d changed out of his formal attire into something less flattering: a white short-sleeve shirt. From his balcony, he could see soldiers running through the gate, whooping joyfully that they’d completed their training for the day, and felt a sense of longing to join them. But in his condition, he hardly seemed to be able to walk twenty feet without falling over. 

His mind went back to the figure in the corner of his room. He couldn’t piece together any ideas to whom it may have been. What he didknow, was that Chandler wouldn’t have done such a thing, and he doubted Madame Akemia would either. Yeva didn’t seem the type...

JUST DO IT | Sorry Nike xD

My Brain:
Right
Left

Why are you crying?
Because I'm... I actually have no idea. Because I want to, I guess.
Oh. Uhm.. let's go downstairs and eat marshmallows? 
It's two in the morning..
Oh.. not that then. You have homework to do. Why don't you go do that.
But that makes me sad.
Not that either? What do you want to do then?
Sleep. I just want to sleep. I'm so tired..
But I'm wide awake, so not happening.
I thought this was about me?
Well, be considerate of me too <3
But... ugh. Never mind. We can go downstairs and eat marshmallows and do math homework if you let me have hot chocolate too.
Deal! Now, how do we get downstairs?
Girl, this is our house. What do you mean 'how do we get downstairs'?
Uh... My brain is tired.
YOU ARE A BRAIN.
Fine! Take me downstairs so I can eat!
But... this was-
Just do it!

Is it Love that I'm Feeling, Or Deceit?

Is it really love?
You tore me down,
And rebuilt my walls to your liking.
Threats and curses are thrown back and forth.
You treat me terribly.
Put in front of me the life I had before just to mock and tease me.
You take away everything!
And yet,
I escaped,
But think of you as I would a lover.
As I would a friend.
Deep down, you were never one of those things.
But,
I feel like we were.
They tell me it was manipulation.
Deceit.
It doesn't feel that way.
I want to run back to you,
For some odd, 
Unexplainable reason. 
Is that love?
This burning feeling in my stomach?
I think you made me love you!
I hate you for it.
I want to burn these bridges,
But you're branded into my soul, 
My bruised, abused skin.
So, please, tell me the truth.
Is that really love?

As Fate Would Have Us | Chapter Five

Looking for other chapters? Check the Footnotes for the previous chapters so you don't miss out.


William staggered to the chair in the corner, tugging the collar of his blue button-down shirt. It was too hot in the room. Akemia had left only a short while ago, but the seconds seemed to go slower than ever before. He fell into the cream colored cushions, swiping at the sweat on his brow. The doctor said that the pain was good. But it was worse than being stabbed with a sword. 

He glared at his damp bed sheets with his icy blue eyes. “You can’t make the sheets feel bad,” someone chortled from behind him.

William glanced back at Chandler, coughing until his face became crimson. “A… guy can try,” he wheezed, pointing to another chair in invitation. Chandler plopped down, crossing his arms over his chest. 

“You better get well soon, Will. You gotta train me so I can be stronger...

Did He Leave Because He Didn't Love Me

"I can't do it," Dax muttered, dropping the pen on the table. "It's too hard."

"You've got it, love," I said, grabbing the tool and drawing a swirling shape on the paper. "It's a 'c' with an extra line."

"I don't understand how anyone can write," the five-year-old huffed, gazing up at me with tears glistening in his eyes. 

"Well, we all had to learn at some point. And not all of us are great at it. Some are really good at it too." I handed him the pen and gave him a small smile. "You just have to know the letters, and you'll be fine."

"Was Dad good at it?" he asked suddenly.

I paused, blinking hard and then looking down at him. "Yeah. Yeah, he was," I said slowly, continuing to reach for another sheet of paper. "He was really good at it, actually."

"Could he write a 'g'?"

"He could. And he could write so much more."...

Hate Me, Push Me, Break Me - Part 7

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6



I stumbled through the underbrush once more, letting the anger and fear and sorrow seep from my being as if it were sap. Slow and sticky. I could hardly speak my frustrations. I cursed when my dress got caught on a branch, not taking the time to carefully unravel it, but instead tearing it. I immediately felt horrible. It was a dress that Arthur's brother, Avery, had kindly got me when I had nothing else. I finally plopped on the ground, defeated. I'd been walking for over an hour and still hadn't found them. I had to have been terribly lost. I buried my face in my hands and let out the loudest groan I could, sweeping my emotions into one disgrace of a sound. 

"Beth?" I glanced up, and jumped to my feet, rushing out to meet him. 

"Avery!" I blubbered, wrapping...

Pandemic Memoir

.. Need I Say More?

Nothing I did was worth while.

As Fate Would Have Us | Chapter Three

Looking for other chapters? Check the Footnotes for the previous chapters so you don't miss out.



William hurried down the hall, his shoes making short clicks on the tiled floor. The meeting had been postponed since the royals of Kariliea had arrived later than expected. So, the families decided to indulge in simple pleasantries such as dancing, eating, and whatever else one could think of. Chandler and Akemia had spent the whole afternoon together, as far as the duke was aware. It bugged him, slightly, but he wouldn’t intervene in the prince’s affairs. Speaking of Akemia…

He stopped outside her door, listening to the quiet chattering of the ladies in the room. He knocked once and took a step back, waiting for someone to open the door. The royal steward, Yeva, answered. “Oh, Duke Blackwell. To what do we owe the pleasure?”

“I assume you’ve informed Madame Akemia of the sudden arrival of the Blessed?” he asked crisply, peering into...

As Fate Would Have Us | Chapter One

Looking for other chapters? Check the Footnotes for the previous chapters so you don't miss out.



Duke William Blackwell stared out at the vast city beyond the kingdom walls, rubbing the pale marking on the inside of his right wrist. It was a beautiful summer morning, and a chill breeze swept through the gardens below his balcony. The sun reflected off the white marble of the palace, making the day all the brighter. He rested his chin in his hands, closing his eyes.

There was a sharp knock on his chamber door, and he quickly pulled down his sleeve, hiding the burn in his flesh. "Come in," he called, turning to stride back into his room. Prince Chandler flung the doors open, pacing into his room and flopping onto his bed. "Is there a reason you're here?" William asked, quirking a brow at him.

"Can I not come see my friend?" Chandler snorted, raising a slender, blonde brow of his...

The Stars Are The Limit

I look up at the night sky. My back is pressed flat against the hard Earth, hands clasped over my belly. I smile softly in the dim light of the moon, leaning my head against my lover's. She hums quietly, her dark hair flayed out in a halo around her head. She points up to the stars and giggles, "Look, Orion!" She turns her head in my direction, a grin lighting up her features. I look up at the constellation she's pointing to and nod. "And there's Taurus," she sings, pointing nearby to constellation Orion. Sure enough, the Taurus constellation gleams in the dark sky, 

"You're going to be the best astronomer in existence, Harper," I say, kissing her cheek. She giggles breathlessly, turning to give me one on the lips. I grin, sitting up so I can get a better look at her. Her tan skin has a certain celestial glow to it, and her amber eyes sparkle in...

Hate Me, Push Me, Break Me - Part 5

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

I trudged up the main road, hugging the firs around me. They smelled like cinnamon. They smelled like Arthur. I was grateful that he didn’t, in fact, take me back to his village, but guide me to the road instead. I didn’t think I could face the people there after what had transpired. 

I wasn’t going home. Not immediately, anyway. I wanted to stop by Heidlinburg first. That was where I was supposed to have gone anyway. The walk would be shorter, and I needed to talk to someone there. My stomach growled, and I looked down at it. I hadn’t had breakfast this morning. I’d talked to Arthur before, which was honestly stupid, but I wouldn’t have been able to keep the food down due to all the emotions flowing through me.

Five minutes after leaving Arthur, I was entering Heidlingburg, glancing around at the people. Many were shoveling the last...

Hate Me, Push Me, Break Me - Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

Traipsing through the woods alone was.. well... lonely. It was strange not having Arthur with me, nor any of his friends. I supposed it was better this way. Who knew what mess I would have created if I had stayed. He'd chipped away pieces of my heart, and I knew if I stopped moving towards a horizon I could not see, it would break completely. My feet made soft thuds on the ground as I stepped over roots and fallen branches. 

I remembered the day I met Arthur. It was a cold winter, and I'd left Mother to visit the store in Heidlinburg. He'd been robbing a stagecoach, and I'd stopped him, letting the people escape with all their belongings. I thought of him like Robin Hood. After all, he said that he had tried for the sake of his village. I'll never forget the argument he and I had about how annoying we each were....

Oh, What War Does To A Young Lad

Let me share a story that perhaps you've never heard. A tale it may be, but the story itself holds my heart. Augustus was a young lad who went to war on one destructive night. The torches burned bright, and the flags were raised. The kingdoms had fallen apart, you see, and so they went to battle to claim what was not theirs to have. The battlefield was red with blood; the streams were infested with it. Bodies littered the ground like leaves from the autumn season. 

Augustus didn't go into battle alone, you see. With him, were his friends and family. A young woman whom he loved dearly was by his side during these ruthless days and broken nights. On that last rotation, when Augustus as his heart, Anna, charged back onto the slick field, their stomachs roiling from all the death, a tragedy struck. 

Augustus and Anna had fought an old soldier, attacking from the front and the...

Hate Me, Push Me, Break Me

"Elizabeth!" I didn't turn around, continuing to stalk through the shrubbery. "Elizabeth!" he called again, trotting after me. I ducked under a low hanging branch, feeling no remorse. "Elizabeth, please." 

"Please what, Arthur? Please don't walk away? Well you did it first." I shook off the hand that wrapped around my bicep. "Please don't say those things? Well sorry to inform you, but you said them right back." I swallowed down the bile rising in my throat. I looked up at him with what I hoped was hate instead of the agony I felt. "I just can't do it anymore, Arthur. You and your cadre can traipse these woods all you want, be with anyone you want, laugh all you want. I don't lead that kind of life! I abandoned everything to follow you here only to find you engaged to someone else?" Disgust with myself flooded my veins, and I had to force back the tears that threatened...

Novel Writing Competition 2020

The Survivors | Final

"Auggie!" my younger sister shouted, walking into my room. "Are you ready to go?"

"I'm like... right here," I grumbled, zipping up my suitcase. "No need to scream in my ear." I glanced around my room, looking for any last-second items I may have missed. She didn't say anything, so I looked over at her. Her lips were moving, but no sound was coming out. "Thanks for shutting up," I said cheerfully, flashing my most charming smile at her.

She huffed, brushing her artificial, platinum blonde waves out of her face. "No need to be so rude. Mom and Dad have got everything in the car, except for you and your luggage. Hurry up."

"They've got Autumn too?" I asked, mentioning our beagle. They said we could bring the dog with us this time if we behaved, to which Ashley and I agreed. Ashley nodded, grabbing my carry-on off my bed and walking out of the room. I surveyed the...

Like the Peonies, Fragile Heart

And he stands there underneath the sky. His lips parted ever so slightly as he takes in the big blue yonder and it’s magnificent clouds.
He’s like the peonies that surround him, 
A beauty amongst the weeds. 
He was so innocent looking,
Standing there all alone,
But beneath his newfound looks,
He is still the same,
Ugly boy on the inside.
I wonder how I could have fallen for this boy.
I wonder how,
After all he’s done to my fragile heart,
It still beats for him.
He doesn’t blink,
Just watches from behind fake grey eyes.
I huff,
Spinning on my heel and striding into the ruins of what was once a library.
Oh fragile, sad heart of mine.
Of all the people to love,
You chose him.

Change In the Air | Please Read FOOTNOTES

I'm changing.
I'm a caterpillar in a cocoon, 
Preparing to become beautiful.
But the change is painful.
Hence why I hide behind this cast. 
Please,
Stay beside me.
I'm so lost.
Stuck in the blinding ache.
Won't you have some patience?
I may be different,
But I'm still the same.
Wait for me to spread my wings,
As I have for you.
Please.
I'm simply changing.

Novel Writing Competition 2020

The Survivors | Final

"Auggie!" my younger sister shouted, walking into my room. "Are you ready to go?"

"I'm like... right here," I grumbled, zipping up my suitcase. "No need to scream in my ear." I glanced around my room, looking for any last-second items I may have missed. She didn't say anything, so I looked over at her. Her lips were moving, but no sound was coming out. "Thanks for shutting up," I said cheerfully, flashing my most charming smile at her.

She huffed, brushing her artificially blonde waves out of her face. "No need to be so rude. Mom and Dad have got everything in the car, except for you and your luggage. Hurry up."

"They've got Autumn too?" I asked, mentioning our beagle. They said we could bring the dog with us this time if we behaved, to which Ashley and I agreed. Ashley nodded, grabbing my carry-on off my bed and walking out of the room. I surveyed the room...

Blossoms of Blood and Bile

Have you ever seen a floor covered in blood? At first glance, there is a simple beauty to it and how the red contrasts with the white linoleum. It doesn't immediately register that what you're looking at is actually blood. Slowly, a stiffness builds up in your body as your mind begins to realize that the beauty is actually life's essence. Then, what was a simple beauty becomes repulsion. Seeing Marcus laid out with a meter-wide red polka dot under him wasn't beautiful. It was downright hysterical. Not hysterical as in funny, hysterical as in I can't control my reaction. I didn't remember screaming, but I know that I did. Elizabeth's blue eyes were round with shock, her lips parted slightly, and chest rising and falling quickly with every panicked breath she took. The baby she holds in her shaking arms is shrieking in agony, alligator tears rolling off his chubby cheeks.

There's a man sitting opposite of our frightened...

Novel Writing Competition 2020

The Survivors | Final

"Auggie!" my sister shouted, walking into my room. "Are you ready to go?"

"I'm like... right here," I grumbled, zipping up my suitcase. "No need to scream in my ear." I glanced around my room, looking for any last-second items I may have missed. She didn't say anything, so I looked over at her. Her lips were moving, but no sound was coming out. "Thanks for shutting up," I said merrily, flashing a smile at her.

She huffed, brushing her artificial, blond waves out of her face. "No need to be so rude. Mom and Dad have got everything in the car, except for you and your luggage. Hurry up."

"They've got Autumn too?" I asked, mentioning our beagle. They said we could bring the dog with us this time if we behaved, to which Ashley and I agreed. Ashley nodded, grabbing my carry-on off my bed and walking out of the room. I surveyed the room one last time...

Sweet Venom

Love me / Cherish me / Tell me I'm safe / Tell me I'm forgiven / Hold me / Care for me / Tell me I'm yours / Tell me you're mine / They're all lies / They're all said for comfort / So false / So sweet / Venom in my veins / Poison in my brain / Help me / Protect me / Give everything to me / Share your weakness / Share your strength / Share everything in-between / Red / Blue / Green / Red / Over and over and over again / A blur of hope / A dash of fear / A blooming flower / A wilting rose / Thorns caress / Petals smite / Pillow of fire / Cage of feathers / The same / Incongruent / Bitterly fixed / Divinely broken / Save me

.

I'm weak.
I'm disposable. 
I'm not unique.
I'm unrealistic.
I'm forgettable.
I'm worthless.
I'm horrid.
I'm bruised.
I'm shattered.

You're strong.
You're cherished.
You're your own.
You're perfect.
You're unforgettable.
You're worth it.
You're beautiful.
You're flawless.
You're whole.

Together Until The End, Daphanie | Tribute to a friend who died of brain cancer

    I smiled at her through the tears, clasping her cold, small hand tight. She couldn’t smile back, but I could tell she was grateful, and happy, and loved. I kissed the top of her bald head, pressing my face against it as I held back the waterworks.
    “I’m okay,” she said, squeezing my hand lightly. I knew that was a lot of effort for her to do, and it comforted me a little that she was still fighting, still so strong.
    “I’m not,” I laughed, blubbering. I wiped at my face with my red sleeve and grimaced at the large wet spot it left. “I don’t know what I’m going to do without you, kid.”
    She watched me carefully from behing dim amber eyes. “You’re going to continue what I’ve started,” she finally whispered, voice croaking. “You’re going to live long, and happily.”
    “I don’t know, Daph,” I sighed, burying my face in my hands. “You’re such a bright light....

Floating/Drifting/Falling

    Drowning

    You looked at the light, both hands reaching for the silky blue surface you don't want to meet. It was blissful, that final sense of calm as it washes over your aching body. Perhaps it was intentional, perhaps it was not, but either way, you have come to terms with your life. You always wanted to have a beautiful family. Small little faces of yours running around your small home by the lake seems like a wish that will never be fulfilled. 

    You're drifting off into a void that sweeps you up into it's deceitful loving arms, wrapping it's bitter cloak around your sweet body, but that always creates the best combination, doesn't it. Everything feels right.

    Until a smaller sinks closer. 

    You can't place who they are, but they're so familiar. So much like home. Home. Home. Home. Home. Home. You flail your arms in a weak attempt...

And Artist and a Writer | Footnotes!

The writer high-fived the artists, smiling down at their work. "That's awesome!" the artist exclaimed, beaming from ear to ear, a twinkle in her eyes.

"I know it is," the writer giggled, wiggling her eyebrows, which made them bust a gut laughing. They studied the masterpiece, mesmerized by the amazing compilation before them. The product of a writer, and artist's hands made everything worth it. 

Over and Over and Over Again

I scratch at my arm, anxiety flowing through every vein; every nerve.
     One 
          Two
               Three times

My breathing quickens, lungs burning for the air that just won’t come.
     One
          Two
               Three times

My toes are tapping the ground in soft, rhythmic patterns; desperate to sooth // distract.
     One
          Two
               Three times

My eyes are washed in black ink, the world around me dark; I blink into the void.
     One
          Two
               Three times

A feble sound escapes my cracked lips, a pathetic cry for help; a noise that cracks in fear.
     One 
          Two
               Three times

And...

Something or Another

Lover of mine, take me to sea, where the sirens sing.
Lover of mine, answer their call, sail to darker waters.
Lover of mine, though I wish it so, you cannot stay here, down below.
For these waters are filled with demons galore, 
The songs of the sirens, deeper they lure.

 

Mirror Mirror | Result of 10-11 hours of nonstop school today. I need a nap

Mirror Mirror on the wall, 
Will you catch me if I fall?
School work really is too much,
No one's there to be my crutch.

Mirror Mirror on the wall,
The stack of paper is too tall.
On hour ten as of right now.
I want a nap, if you'll allow.

Mirror Mirror on the wall,
The dark circles under my eyes enthrall,
My peers are asking too many questions,
And I feel like I'm their tutor and am running between sessions. 

Mirror Mirror on the wall,
I really just can't carry it all.
I'm bound to collapse from sheer exhaustion,
I'm afraid I might........yawn.........

Oh school

Oh High school, where do I begin!
Its freezing outside, let me in.
Only a moment of warmth before I go outside.
To history class, oh my.
My legs are sore, and eyes are drooping.
How I wish I could be snoozing!
But my wish won’t come true, for I’m stuck in this room, with sophomores and Juniors and Seniors.
Oh vicious people they are, leaving me - a freshman - to run the class, no friends to be near.
My anxiety hates it, these idiots nearby, hearing my voice quake as I answer with a cry.
My mask is itchy, and my face slightly damp.
I feel like I’m in a horrible Camp.
The teachers always yelling, masks muffling their crude words.
I want to be free, just like the flying birds.
My brother ditched me, saying I’d be fine, but I was to sob as I walk to math.
I can’t remember the things I’ve learned, And am...

A roleplay / day in the life (Sorta) with my little bro | He typed half of it himself, that Child x3 | Please leave something for him in the comments! xD Perhaps I'm creating a writer UwU

"Hello Brother"
"Heyo"
*Dances like a banana dog*
"Weird"
*Clutches chest* "You wound me"
"No"
"That's not much of an answer, idiot"
"How am I supposed to answer that"
*Shrugs* "I don't know. Don't make me dance like a psychopath all alone"
"You make you dance like a psychopath all alone"
*Cries* "UwU"
"Its lunch time" *Leaves, holding a Chick-Fil-A gift card*
"Child, it's three in the afternoon and no one is driving you to Chick-Fil-A. Idiot." *Screeches and bops his head*
"reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" *Runs up stairs and reads book*
*Bolts after him, and flings self onto his bed, rolling around laughing until face is red*
"Let me read" *Pushes sister out of room and locks door*
*Sits against door, frowning* "Do you wanna go on a walk"
"Depends"
"Not an answer, Idiot" *Knocks on door with forehead, laughing again when thinking about his fivehead*
*Sits in room for an hour and 1/2 reading*
*Unlocks door and steals pair of socks*...

Whispers of the words, I love you, filled the distance between Them

"I'm sorry," began Scarlet in sad, apologetic tones, "but I don't feel the same way, and I never will. I just don't love you Liam." It was a lie, of course. I horrid, destructive lie.

The rain continued to pour around them, dark and angry clouds blocking out the light. Liam ran a hand through his dark, soaked hair, violet eyes looking up as he blinked back tears. He knew they had something. Knew it deep down, and Scarlet was throwing it all away. She was throwing it all away to hide behind the walls she once always wished to leave behind. "Did that kiss mean nothing?" he asked quietly.

Scarlet didn't answer right away, pulling her fiery red hair over her shoulder and looking past him, out into the mountains. His home. Not hers. Never hers. "We're from two different worlds, Liam," she finally said, choking on whatever else wanted to be said. 

She was right, he supposed....

I Came Back To Reality

My eyes fluttered open. Sitting up, I propped myself on my elbow, a wave of nausea rolling over me. My eyes dart around the room honing in on the faces. I recognized all over them from way back when. I groaned as a sharp pain jabbed in my head. I raised my hand, and waiting for the teacher to call on me. She looked at me, her usually kind eyes full of malice. She was the kindest of all the teachers in fifth grade, but she suddenly seemed so... spiteful. She asked me what was wrong, beady eyes staring me down. The rest of my fifth grade class turned to look at me, their eyes blank; faces expressionless. 

Feeling uncomfortable, I quickly asked if I could go to the nurse. It was a common question from me. Not that I wanted to leave the classroom, but because I was a sickly child. My stomach churned as I started to retch....

It Never Gets Old

I reached a cold, steady hand out and caressed his smooth face, my fingers tracing every contour, every flaw. His stark violet eyes stared deep into mine, stealing my breath away. His skin was so pale, but the scar that ran across his cheek was paler, bright white against his pink-flushed skin. His usual tense, alert face was soft with hope, joy, and something more. He leaned into my touch, closing his eyes, dark lashes fluttering. 

"I love you," I whispered, voice thick with emotion. I rubbed my thumb along his scar. One of many, but it held the most between us. He didn't say anything, but did make a deep rumbling sound in his chest when I ran my fingers through his dark hair, massaging his scalp. His arms moved, wrapping around my waist loosely. 

"And I you," he responded after a long moment. My fingers slowed as he said it. I had been with many people. More than...

Flash Fiction Competition 2020

Don't Leave Me!

    Anneke sobbed, her beautiful blue eyes dull. The only light was the flickering lantern outside her barred cell, the candle inside nearly gone. Cold water dripped from the stony ceiling, creating a small puddle in the middle of her room, covering her pale, bare feet. "Cheer up, Love."
    She glanced up, her tears drying in shock. "Rowan?" she sniffed, standing. "Rowan?"
    He stood still, his light hair vibrant, but when she stood, and put her arms around him, his body crumpled, a figure of her imagination. 
    "Rowan?" she whimpered, breaking into tears again. "Oh Rowan, don't leave me!"

Friends and Foe

There.
Your body,
On the ground.
Battered and broken,
Hair splayed around your head like a halo.
Eyes wide,
Unblinking,
Staring through the veil I could not see.
And a man,
Tall and dark,
Eyes sharp as knives,
Staring at your limp figure,
Daring to laugh.
My hands shake in rage,
And Hopelessness,
And despair,
As I step towards you,
And towards him.
Your skin,
Once flushed,
Is ashen grey,
And cold.
A bitter wind rustles the leaves,
On the dying trees,
All around us.
Hiding us from the outside,
And trapping us within.
I can't believe you called him friend,
And called me foe.
All I wanted to do was protect,
And forget,
But you were always upset,
With me.
And now...
You're gone,
And I can't hold you in my arms,
Not anymore.
I can't breathe you back to life,
And say everything will be alright.
This is why I told you to stay away.
From him.
Maybe...

A Morning With My Dad

"Dad!"

"What?" he laughed, following me on my heels, waddling like a penguin.

"Stop!" I shrieked, smiling not because I wanted to, but because it was the only thing I could do in that moment.

"I'm not doing anything," he said, moving when I did.

"Oh don't play idiot with me," I said, lightly smacking his cheek.

"I'm not an idiot!"

"You're being one right now!"

"How are you only fourteen? You have the attitude of a sixteen year old?" He bopped me on the head, standing straight and stepping back a little to give me breathing room.

"There's only a two year difference, Father," I said in a British accent, pursing my lips. Puffing his chest, he gave me the stink-eye.

"Yes. A full two years. Stop growing up."

I rolled my eyes. "You can't keep me here forever Dad."

"Sure I can," he chuckled, pretending to cry. "You're going to need to take care of me here soon....

Ancestors Speak

The life of a 98 year old woman | #Proudofthis

    Florence smiled up at Ronny, her dress billowing all around her. "I can't believe tomorrow is the day," she beamed, a skip in her step. Ronny grinned back, and took her tiny hand in his, kissing the back of it. He said nothing. Ronny had been courting Flo for nearly a year and a half. A short time, in his opinion, but he supposed that when you knew, you just knew. They entered a tiny café just a short walk from Flo's home. Businesses had been re-opening for months now. The Great Depression was still fresh in their minds, no one could ever forget. 

    The timing of the wedding might not have been the best, but it was what it was. Ronny wished he could have done better for his future wife. She had lost much, and he wanted to do something grand for her, but knew it just wasn't in his power at the time. Together, they sat at...

Start of Summer

"I didn't mean to!"

"Sure you didn't!"

"Aspen! You know I didn't!"

"Whatever you say, Kelsey."

His dark eyes stared deep into mine, sparkling with humor even though his voice was stern. The front of Aspen's white shirt was soaked after I accidentally hit him with a water balloon. His sister, Maple, slapped me on the back. "You got 'im good!" she howled. Aspen glared daggers at her, but she didn't seem to mind. Music blasted from the speakers behind us, and the smell of the BBQ was so sweet it was almost nauseating. 

"Why are you laughing!?" Aspen shrieked, lunging for her. They wrestled on the ground for a moment before he relented. "You're practically throwing me to the wolves," he muttered. 

"What?" Maple teased, winking at me. "We just gave certain people a look at what's under that shirt."

I felt my face become red, and I looked away. White shirts and water didn't mix well. It'd become...

I love you, but I hope with all my might that you don’t love me back. | Short Story

“I love you, but I hope with all my might that you don’t love me back."

Those were your first words after seeing me for the first time in a year. You're dark hair falls into your face, your golden eyes glowing, longing for me to understand what was going on in your head. The rain poured around us, making the moment sadder than it needed to be. My body had already been shaking in the frigid weather, but now it was quaking with something else. Anger. Annoyance. Sadness.

"How can you ever hope that?!" I shouted, blinking back tears. "You're so selfish!"

"Juliette," you plead. "Please, please tell me you hate me. Tell me to go away. To get lost."

"I can't do that," I choke out, hugging myself protectively. You were so ignorant. You were allowed to love me, but I couldn't love you? You'd left me hanging for and entire year after kissing me. You left...

I Lost My Papa Today. I Loved Him So Much

I lose my papa today due to heart failure. I want to share bits of our time together. Some that I've heard from others, and some that I remember. My heart reaches out to anyone during this time. 


Age: One

My papa cuddles me to his chest, both of us content to just be there. My grandma sits on the other side of the room, a forced smile on her face. My parents, aunts and uncles are all sitting outside, playing with my cousins. It was a normal day at the family house. My family and I didn't live in the state. We had to travel through many states to get to them. My papa and I enjoy our evening nap together, pleased to just be together.


Age: Four

I run across the yard towards the fish pond, my little feet moving faster as I near my papa. He smiles, throwing another handful of fish food into the green water,...

Farsick

Home Away From Home

I miss it.
The place where larks sing high above my head,
And the fish swim far below.
The stepping stones beneath my feet,
Smooth after many years of harsh waters.
I miss the smell of pine in my nose,
And the sound of a roaring river rushing past me.
The place where I can taste the cotton-candy sky.
I miss the place where white fluffy clouds roll overhead,
And a cool breeze hugs you on a warm summer day.
The place where deer wander,
And squirrels squabble.
I miss the calls of the great beast,
Their cries ringing loud in my ears,
The surrounding mountains letting it echo.
I miss the feel of the grass beneath my feet,
The flowers dotting the land as far as the eye could see.
The feel of an exotic fruit's syrup on your parched tongue,
Refreshing.
I miss it.
I haven't been there,
I don't know that anyone has,
But I can see...

I Forgot What It Felt Like | #champion

I forgot what pain felt like the moment you looked at me,
A smile dancing on your cherry red lips,
Your long hair the color of honey,
Hands on your hips.
My whole world disappeared for a moment.
It was just you,
And just me,
I felt new.
I forgot what it felt like to breathe,
The air rushing out of my lungs,
When you laugh,
And stop by biting your tongue.
My feet move on their own,
Towards you,
My eyes meeting,
Yours of bright blue.
But just as I reach for your hand,
Our fingertips brushing,
You pull away,
Leaving the wound in my heart open and gushing.
What I forgot has now returned,
Gravity pulling me down to my knees,
As sorrow fills the cavity,
In my chest.







I forgot what it felt like.