Starting Marielda again... it’s been long enough since the first time I listened to it that I’d forgotten how it starts, and I’ve played and facilitated The Quiet Year enough times since then that when the Samothes exposition turned into “Come winter, the Frost Shepherds will arrive, and we may not survive the encounter. But we don’t know about that yet” I was like Wait a minute! That’s The Quiet Year! That’s my home!
asdfghjkl i have the most talented friends !! my sweet, sweet friend valadomi ( check her out on most social medias !! ) asked me about berry when posted about her best fail for a giveaway, falling down a cliff in a silence spell .. great moment, great moment. so i told her pretty much everything, bless her for listening to my rambles, and apparently berry inspired her to draw a portrait of ‘sad berry’ and i’m sdfghjkl she’s beautiful, she’s perfect, i’m speechless and in love.
summary: y/n hopes that variety’s lie detector test will bring her friend back to her, but harry proves to have other ideas
word count: 10.2k (holy christ)
warnings: language, and mutual pining
a/n: hello! here is the long awaited part 2 to “I don’t believe you’ve met my baby.” I would like to preface this by saying that this is not (NOT) the last part. I’m making it a mini series and there’s going to be a third part after this one and that will be the last. so I know that the ending is not what y’all are wanting but just know that this isn’t the end so don’t COME FOR ME. anyways a big massive thank you to @nationalharryleague (Clara I just typed your old url and was like???? where is she???) and @gucciwins for being so patient with me and assuring me that I'm not a shit writer I appreciate you sO MUCH. nothing is possible without you. I hope all of you enjoy this and I hope it was worth the wait! I am no longer asking (insert Bernie meme) for you to reblog if you liked and send feedback if you have it (it makes my day you have no idea). big love to all of you, can’t wait to hear from you. xx soph
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The room is chilly. She regrets wearing the thin, navy bodysuit. She’d chosen it because when paired with her sparkly gold and navy pinstripe trousers, Harry always made a comment about stealing the outfit from her closet next time he comes over. It always gets a laugh out of both of them.
And since Harry is no longer speaking to her, she’s hoping the ensemble will do it’s trick, and maybe spark a conversation in him. Though based on their recent text conversations, it is not looking positive on that front.
It’s been a week since his huffy exit at the Glamour video shoot, and since then she’s not been able to get a single word out of him. Not when she sent him photos of her outfit for her upcoming movie premiere, or when she asked him if he wanted to come over for dinner and movies a few nights ago, or when she reached out to tell him she saw his billboard in Times Square for his new single out on Spotify. It was only when she checked his location on a whim that she realized he’d flown back to LA.
After that discovery she’d texted him, “I know you’re avoiding me, but damn didya have to fly across the country over it?” It’d been passive aggressive, but she was hoping the petty asshole in him would have something to say in return. It would appear that she overestimated him.
“y/n, we’re going to start in five, does that sound okay?” A timid looking intern asks from her elbow.
She blinks, startled out of her negative reverie, “Yes, yes, that’s fine. I’m ready.”
She’s not really. She doesn’t want to look at him, or fake the banter their fans have always loved, or think about what’s going on behind that abnormally thick skull of his. She’d prefer to send sullen glances his way the rest of the afternoon until he realizes he’s been a right prick and grovels at her feet for forgiveness. Unfortunately, they’re on set for Vanity Fair’s lie detector test so the likelihood of that last part happening is slim to none.
Sighing, she pulls herself from the makeup chair and marches confidently to the metal folding chair behind the silver table. Harry has not yet arrived. She hopes darkly that he’s gotten stuck in traffic, or locked in the bathroom, or broke his leg falling up the stairs. Anything to keep him from occupying the seat next to her.
But no sooner is she heaving a deep breath to quell the nervous jitters in her stomach is he pulling the second chair out, the legs grating harshly against the concrete floor.
“Morning.” She mutters, looking dead ahead.
“Good morning,” he repeats, straightening the buttons on his multicolored checkered shirt, “Are we ready for this one?”
“Dunno,” she chews her bottom lip, “You recovered from our last shoot?” She chances a look at him, looking down at his black trousers, and back up to his wide eyes.
He exhales heavily, “Just barely.” He dodges her eye line.
“I hope that doesn’t affect this one.”
He sniffs, irritated, “It won’t.”
“Good.” She crosses her legs, bouncing her toe up and down on her other side.
She can feel the tension mounting between them, the side that faces him tingles as if the atoms in the air are prodding her ribs, muttering,
“He’s sitting next to you. You want to look at him. Look at him. Look-”
She ignores them.
The lie detector operator arrives next, a tall bearded man carrying a briefcase who introduces himself as John. She greets him with a warm handshake and a smile and watches Harry do the same from under lowered lids. She twists her rings in her hands uncomfortably while the crew finishes setting up around them, only looking up when the director calls action.
In her silence, Harry chats obliviously with an intern about how he’s enjoying his summer, what he’s studying in university, what he wants to do after graduation. She listens to him drone on while softly picking at a loose thread in her pants-- which by the way he hadn’t even commented on yet.
Someone clears their throat in front of her. She looks up to see the director standing across from them, “y/n. Harry.”
They nod seriously, matching the overall dramatic direness of the set.
“We’ve brought you here to take a lie detector test. One of you will be hooked up to the machine and made to answer questions from the other. You must not lie, or we will know. Understand?”
She nods while Harry utters a firm,
“Excellent. Then we’ll get started. Who wants to go first?”
“She does.” Harry says immediately, pointing to her.
“Yeah, cheers,” She jokes, “Throw me to the dogs, why don’t you.” She plasters a smile on her face, rising from the chair and running her hands down the front of her outfit.
He smiles cheekily, “Love you.”
They both fall into awkward silence as they each individually realize the inappropriateness of the sentiment.
John goes about hooking her up to the machine, wrapping metal strings around her torso and attaching a heart monitor cuff to her upper arm. Once everything is in order, he returns to his seat and gives the camera operators a thumbs up.
“Alright, missy,” Harry smirks, straightening the folder of questions on the edge of the table, “Is your name y/n y/l/n?”
“Yes sir it is.”
“Very good. And are you a hollywood actress?”
“Yes.” She nods, clasping her hands on the table top.
“Are you nervous?” he asks, with a tilt of his head.
“Yes.” She emphasizes, biting her bottom lip.
“You’ll be fine.” He assures her.
“I’m not so sure.”
“Well that’s too bad because I’m asking you the first question.”
She sighs dramatically, “Alright if you must.”
He clears his throat, scratching the tip of his nose, “Do you think you’re a good actress?”
She frowns, “Yes. I mean, I’m not the best but… I’d say I’m pretty alright.”
He narrows his eyes at her, “Think you’re better than alright, love.”
Her heart wrinkles its nose at the pet name, “If you say so.”
“I do, and my word is gospel,” he says, a cocky air resting on his shoulders, “Erm, do you think you’re a better actor than me?”
Her eyes widen, “Uh… no?”
Harry looks to John.
“She’s having trouble with that one.”
Harry bursts out laughing, rings clanking against the tabletop as he slaps the hard surface.
She looks aghast, “No, I’m not!”
“It’s okay, you are though.” Harry assures, “Better than me, I mean.”
“I can’t believe this.” She grumbles, hiding her face in her hands, “I don’t think that.”
“It’s okay, really. It’s the truth, anyways.”
“It really isn’t.”
“Yes it is, stop pretending.” he insists, “I have my singing to fall back on.”
She snickers, “Oh right, that old thing.”
“Yeah, my side gig,” he giggles, “Right, back to business. Is there a song of mine that you don’t like?”
She winces, twisting the star and moon ring he bought her in New Orleans, “I mean there are ones I skip more than others.”
“Oh?” He raises his eyebrows, “Which ones, do tell?”
“Uh… probably Falling? And maybe Ever Since New York.”
He nods slowly, “Alright. Noted.”
“Wha- okay but that doesn’t mean I hate them!”
“Nope, s’fine. I get it.”
“Harry Styles, you stop that.” She reprimands.
His sulking exterior cracks as he lets a slow grin slip through, “Only joking.” His eyes return to the paper as he reads the next question, “This is kind of a weird one. Have I ever appeared in your dreams?”
Her stomach lurches into her left breast. Of course he had. Lord knows she thought about him enough for his face to drift into her subconscious, for his voice to narrate her dreams. Sometimes she dreamed they were really together, just fleeting pictures of hands holding and limbs tangled under sheets. She’d wake up the next morning feeling as if she were walking amongst the clouds, only to be brought crashing back down to reality when he texted her and remembered that he wasn’t really hers. The only place he could ever belong to her was in her most private daydreams, the ones that sometimes made her blush in public, and look around to see if anyone had caught her grinning stupidly over nothing.
She clears her throat, “Oh sure, plenty of times.”
He leans back in his chair, brows furrowed, “Really? What am I doing?”
She blows a puff of air out of pursed lips, “Uh, I dunno specifics. I remember I had one where we were on a cruise ship and it was sinking and we had to rescue everyone and bring them to land but when we got there we found out it was inhabited by dog zombies and they were trying to eat everyone’s faces.”
He snorts loudly, “Jesus. Where the hell did that one come from?”
“What, you’ve never had a stress dream?”
“Sure, but mine are usually that I’m stuck in traffic on the way to a venue and I’m not going to make it for the show.”
“Oh,” She pauses, “Yeah, no mine are usually about being killed by zombies.”
“How nice,” He muses, “Have you ever had a crush on a co-star?”
“Fuckin’ hell,” She mutters, palming her forehead.
“Don’t think I’ve heard of him.” Harry teases.
“Oh my god, you’re such a whore,” She shoots back, “Well, I’ve dated a costar, so obviously I’ve had a crush on one.”
He rolls his eyes, “Boring. What about one that you haven’t dated.”
She hopes that the audio editor is prepared for an interview that is sure to be full of exasperated sighing, “Probably, I dunno.”
“I think that’s something you would know.”
“Fine!” She throws her hands up, “Yes.”
He smirks, “Who?”
She glares at him, not so playfully, “I want a lawyer.”
He giggles, a cheeky grin spreading across his face. She wants to grab his face by the dimples and rip it off. He reaches into the manilla folder and produces a glossy photo of Ariana Grande dressed in a sparkling purple stage outfit, long ponytail swooping behind her.
“Do you recognize this person?”
She nods, “Duh. My girl AG. Queen of pop.”
“Do you think she’s a better musical artist than me?” He asks, the same smirk occupying his mouth.
She mimics a trout out of water, “Well… uhm…”
He raises his eyebrows, “The court is waiting.”
“Well, here’s the thing. You’re very different. Like your music styles are way different so how am I supposed to answer that?”
Harry leans forward to inspect the photograph, “You know I wrote one of her songs, right?”
She sighs, exasperated, “Yes, dear, but like… Do you really want me to say it?”
He looks her dead in the eyes, “I do a little bit.”
The tension in the room thickens as she tries to avoid cracking beneath his stare, “Alright fine.” She gives in, leaning back in her chair, “I think she’s a better artist than you.”
He crosses his legs and folds his arms across his chest, letting the sheet of questions dangle from the tips of his fingers.
“How’s that?” She quirks an eyebrow.
He shrugs, “S’fine. You’ll pay later, though.”
“Yeah? You gonna punish me?” She bites the tip of her tongue.
His slick facade crumbles faster than he put it on, “Right, moving on. Are you familiar with this man?”
He slides a photo of Shawn Mendes across the table, looking dapper in his Met Gala suit from that year.
“Sure. He’s so cute.” She reaches out to scratch the photo’s nose.
Harry rolls his eyes, “Do you think he’s a better artist than me?”
She shakes her head emphatically, “No. I much prefer your music. I just think he’s nice to look at.”
He frowns, deciding whether to feel complimented or not, “Do you think I’m nice to look at?”
“That wasn’t part of the question.”
He grumbles something indecipherable and moves on to the next question, “Was I your favorite member of One Direction?”
“No. Zayn was.”
“That must’ve been heartbreaking.” He quips.
“It was!” She insists, “First time I cried over a boy.”
He snorts, shaking his head, “Have you ever hated a movie you’ve starred in?”
“No, I like all my movies.” She looks over at John, “That’s true, don’t say it’s not.”
John nods, “She’s telling the truth.”
“Thanks John, I knew you were my friend.”
“Hey, hey, focus on me.” Harry taps the table in front of her with the pen they gave him.
“Sorry John, he’s very needy,” She tucks a piece of hair behind her ear, “We can talk later.”
“No we won’t.” John responds bluntly.
The two of them cackle across the table. For a moment, it feels as if everything is normal again. It’s just the two of them-- and two cameras and a room of people-- joking and laughing as though he hadn’t been ignoring her for a week straight.
Harry recovers, running a finger along his brow, “That was too good. Okay, next one. Is there anyone you have refused to work with?”
“Oh?” He tilts his head to one side, “Who?”
“Uh- I’ll tell you later.”
“You better,” He mumbles down to the paper, “I want the tea. You’ve kissed a lot of people on screen, isn’t that right?”
“Yes it is.”
“Who was your favorite?”
“Good God,” she mutters, “I hope yours are like this. Uhm… Michael, I guess.”
“B. Jordan?” His voice tilts up at the end, growing suddenly squeaky.
“The very same.” She nods, “It was very steamy.”
“I can imagine,” he slouches in his seat, “Have you ever used your fame to get you things?”
“Absolutely. That’s half the fun of being famous.”
Harry shakes his head, “Didn’t hold back on that one.”
“Well I don’t wanna be a liar, do I!”
He plays with a button, “True,” He falters on the next question, giggling around the words, “Oh God, good luck with this one. You’ve dated names such as Jacob Elordi, Alfred Enoch, and Logan Lerman, is that correct?”
She shifts awkwardly in the uncomfortable chair, “Yes.”
He tries to hide his grin behind a long pointer finger, “Rank those three men in bed from best to worst.”
Her forehead collides with the table top, “Are you kidding me?”
He only chortles in response. It’s her favorite laugh of his, the one that’s silent except for the sound of his breath catching in the back of his throat.
She comes back up to bury her face in her hands, “Can I pass?”
She blows air through the holes in her fingers, “Okay fine,” She pulls her hands away, feeling the heat of the room on her cheeks, “I can do this. Uhm-”
Looking at his mirthful face was a mistake as it only makes her more embarrassed. They don’t commonly talk about their sexual partners, let alone their encounters with them. Whenever either one of them brings it up, the other either grows increasingly uncomfortable or sullen, leading to an awkward silence that stretches for miles in either direction. Thinking about him thinking about her in the company of another man is enough to set her ears on fire.
“Uh, okay. Well, Jacob sucked… so. He’s last. And then I guess Logan and then Alfie. Right?” She looks to him for support.
He holds up his hands, “Why’re you looking at me, you’re the one who was sleeping with them!”
“I don’t know!” She collapses into her folded arms on the table, “My publicist is gonna kill me.”
“I’ll protect you.” She hears him rumble comfortingly.
He likes to say that a lot. She supposes it makes him feel manly, or protective. Sometimes they’ll be out having lunch together in the city, and someone will timidly come up to them and ask for a photo. That first group will be followed by a second, and then a third, and then they’ll be forced to leave the table due to the sheer volume of fans. She’ll get claustrophobic as they push their way towards his car, and he’ll wrap and arm around her and whisper consolingly in her ear,
“I’ve got you, don’t worry. I’ll protect you.”
It’s always made her feel secure before, coupled with the familiar scent of his laundry soap. Now, it just reminds her that last week when she’d been feeling uncertain about an audition and had called him for solace, the only thing there to comfort her had been his voicemail.
“Stop saying things like that.” She grumbles, hoping he can’t hear her through the cave she’s formed with her arms.
“Alright, moving swiftly along. Do you think I’m better at singing or acting?”
She sits up, hair falling in front of her face. She pushes it out of the way exasperatedly, and purses her lips, “Um… Well I think you’re good at both.”
“Nope, you have to pick one.” He instructs. He’s wearing the same cheeky grin he’s had the whole shoot. She detests him for it. He’s enjoying this.
“Fine. I think you’re better at singing. But your acting is very good so…”
“Thanks,” he hugs the papers to his chest in mock embarrassment, “Do you think you’ll ever win an Oscar?”
She frowns at the ceiling, wondering how best to answer without looking immodest, “Uh… I don’t know. I guess it depends what kind of jobs I get. I don’t usually think about that… I sort of just do the film and enjoy the process and the people and the characters.”
“How method of you.” He muses.
“Well, I try to remember what’s important.”
“Alright, now you’re being noble,” he grunts, pulling the chair closer to the table, “Do you recognize this man?”
He slides a glossy across the table to her. It’s a photo of Rege in a suit and tie at an event she can’t place from the red carpet backdrop.
“Sure,” she says, “Nice guy.”
“Mm, quite,” Harry mutters, looking stoney, “Someone special?”
She opens her mouth then realizes no words are coming out. There isn’t really a right way to answer it. If she says no, she’d be lying. He’d already taken her on two other dates, and they were in the midst of planning a third. To say she wasn’t interested in him would certainly qualify as a lie.
But to say “yes, he is special, I actually quite like him, thanks for asking” would most certainly lead to complications down the road. She takes pride in staying out of the tabloids as best she can, and connecting herself to one of the public’s new favorite heartthrobs was not exactly keeping a low profile.
“You mean is he special to me?” She parries.
“Yes, you are the one in the hot seat after all.” He reminds her snootily.
“Well then… uh sure. He’s a good friend.”
“Having problems with that one.” John annonces.
“John!” She slaps the table with the flat of her hands, “I thought we had something going here.”
“I don’t make friends with liars.” John grumbles.
She looks over to Harry to see if he is hearing the slander against her. But he is staring at his hands twisting his rings around his fingers with a sad smile on his face. She frowns quizzically at him.
“Earth to Harry,” She snaps her fingers in the air between them, “Am I done?”
He starts, looking down at the paper, “No, you have one left.”
“Thank God,” she sighs dramatically, “Lay it on me.”
He hums a dull note and straightens the papers before looking into her eyes. Something in them makes her recoil slightly, her breathing stunted. He clears his throat, “Have you ever had a crush on me?”
Her eyes widen. Of course he knew. Harry noticed everything and anything. He could tell everything about her- if she was sad based on how she answered the phone, if she was hungry based on how she responded to his questions, if she was angry based on the way she sat on the couch. She was stupid to think she could hide a crush from him.
She coughs delicately, feeling the back of her neck and underarms start to sweat, “Well, sure when I first met you I did.”
She waits for a reaction but all he does is gently nod, fold the papers over and slide them back in the folder.
“Right then,” he says, clapping his hands together, “I suppose it’s my turn then.”
He rises, running his hands down the front of his trousers to smooth the wrinkles out. She watches his hands make a path back up his outer seams, hoping that her eyes don’t linger at the tortoiseshell button on his waistband, and the smooth skin that flashes in between his shirt’s buttonholes. She can feel her neck heating up as she watches him run his thumb across his upper lip, disturbing the golden stubble above his cupid’s bow.
John removes the machine from her, and she exits the chair, lifting her pants by the belt loops in hopes Harry is watching her retreat. But when she turns around after faking a lengthy stretch, he is watching John fiddle with the knobs on the machine. She takes her seat, disgruntled, and fiddles with her hair until the director gives her the go ahead.
“Alrighty,” she mutters, straightening her papers with a newly polished manicure, “Is your name Harry Styles?”
“Yes.” He nods, splaying his hands out on the table.
“Were you a member of the band One Direction?”
“Yes I was.” He says, nodding again.
“Are you here to take a lie detector test?”
“Unfortunately.” he shifts in his chair.
“Yes or no answers, sir.” She sternly instructs.
“Sorry,” he raises the tips of his fingers off the table top in surrender, “Yes, I am.”
“Great,” she crosses her arms, hoping to seem authoritative, “Here’s your first question. Do you have a song that you’re tired of performing live?”
He screws up his face in thought, “No.”
She looks over at John, “How’s he looking, Johnny?”
“He’s telling the truth.” John asserts.
“I was!” Harry echoes.
“Just checking,” She wiggles her eyebrows at him, “Ok. Have you ever done something that would be considered illegal?”
A sly grin spreads across his face, “No.”
“Fail.” John announces, while Harry giggles into his shirt collar.
She titters, “Yeah I could’ve told you that. Well, well, Mr. Styles. What kind of crime?”
“Mr. Styles, this is a lie detector test. I think you’ll find we need to know.”
He chuckles, “You’re enjoying this way too much.”
“The crime, Harry.”
“Fine!” He throws his hands up, “Public indecency. Is that still a crime?”
“Yes.” She and John say in unison.
“Great,” He grunts, “They’re gonna come after me now, look what you’ve done.”
She rolls her eyes, “I’m pretty sure NYPD has more important criminals to be chasing.” She scans the paper with her index finger, “You’ve made some pretty bold fashion choices in the past, would you say that’s true?”
A few glossies are slid across the table- one of him in his yellow suit from the Brits that she jokingly refers to as his “Big Bird Suit,” another of his Met gala look from the year before, and his grey sparkly jumpsuit from his first tour. He examines each one carefully.
“Sure.” He muses.
“Do you regret any of the outfits you’ve worn?”
He purses his lips, “I regret that jumpsuit on a practicality basis, but otherwise… not really.”
She nods, “I see.”
He frowns, “What, d’you think I should regret some?”
She bites her lip without looking at him, “I’m not the one answering questions.”
“We’ll discuss that later.” He grunts under his breath.
“I’ll let you think so,” she mutters, “Oh this one is juicy. Have you ever written a song about me?”
“Ugh.” He smacks a palm to his forehead.
“That’s not an answer.”
He coughs, fiddling with a peeling cuticle, “Fine. Yeah, yeah, I have.”
She raises her eyebrows, surprise written in her eyes, “Really? Which one?”
He rubs the corner of his eye, “Uh, it’s unreleased.”
“Aw,” she wilts, disappointed, “Play it for me sometime?”
“I’ll think about it. If you’re nice to me.”
He won’t play it for her though. Or any of the other dozens of songs he’s used her as a muse for. Frankly, he’d rather shoot himself in the foot than play her any of those songs. No one has heard them, not even the recording booth. They’re the songs that he uses to wallow in the bathtub after a long day of listening to her gush about whatever man she’s been seeing. He sings them to himself while cleaning up after a party that she stayed late at, hobbling around the living room with a garbage bag wondering why once again he hadn’t been able to drum up the courage to at least kiss her on the cheek.
He tries to forget them, but it’s hard when every time she smiles a chorus floats through his head, and whenever she says hello, his brain writes another lyric.
“I’m always nice to you,” she says pointedly, “Do you have a least favorite of my movies?”
She frowns teasingly, “Answered awfully quickly.”
“He’s telling the truth.” John tells her, turning knobs on the machine.
“See!” Harry exclaims, “I’m a supportive friend.”
She resists making a face at the last part, “Do you recognize this man?”
She pulls a photo of Zayn Malik on his most recent red carpet and slides it across the table.
Harry visibly tenses, “Yep.”
She chews her lip, immediately feeling sorry for him. Zayn had always been a touchy subject. Harry rarely ever mentioned him and even when he did it was short and the conversation was quickly moved along.
“Talk to him at all?” She sighs.
“Nope.” He replies shortly.
“Right. Next question. You wrote a lot of songs during your time in the band, is that true?” She folds the paper over on the table in a delicate manner.
“Yes, that is true.”
“Would you say the songs you’re writing now are better than your work in One Direction?”
“Yes,” he says firmly, “Absolutely.”
“Interesting,” her eyes scan his slouched form, his collar slipping down to show the tip of a swallow wing, “Would you say your songs now are better than the songs of your fellow members?”
He folds his bottom lip over, “No.”
“True.” John declares.
“Wow,” she muses, “More humble than I thought.”
“Hey!” he scolds, knitting his handsome brow and folding his arms over his broad chest.
She smirks, “Oopsie. Do you listen to any of the songs that have been written about you?”
He smiles, sheepish and soft, looking down at his lap. Her stomach flutters in spite of herself.
“Yeah.” It’s almost as if he’s speaking in lowercase letters.
She giggles, biting the end of the ballpoint pen, “Really? You like any of ‘em?”
He nods his head side to side, puckering his lips, “I mean Taylor’s got some bangers, hasn’t she? Style’s just… I mean what a tune.”
She shakes her head, “You are unbelievable.” She opens the manilla envelope and produces three photographs, “Do you think I could be a musician?”
“Yes,” he nods, tapping his nose distractedly, “It’s really frustrating, actually.”
She snickers, “I keep telling you I’m coming for your career.”
“And I keep telling you that you could.” He emphasizes.
It’s a hot summer night in Malibu, the kind that makes you want to peel your skin off your body just to feel some kind of relief. She’s lying face down on her kitchen floor, letting the cool air hovering just above the tiles seep into her pores as drops of sweat slide off the end of her nose and into the cracks in the pattern. Her phone buzzes just out of reach.
“What.” She answers it after clawing her way across the floor to where it’s lying.
“Wow, we’re awfully cheery this evening.” Harry’s voice rumbles, friendly and soft.
“I feel like an expired avocado.” She grunts, rolling to lie on her back.
He titters a laugh. She can picture him shaking his head at her dramatics, “Now that’s a picture.”
“It’s so hot.” She drags the last word out, making sweat angels with flailing limbs.
“That’s why I’m calling,” he says, exasperated, “I’m on my way to pick you up to go for ice cream.”
She sits up so suddenly, tiny white stars float across her vision, “Ice cream!?”
“Yes, and I’m about to pull up to your gate so get your shit together and meet me in your driveway.”
She stands, singing a few bars of his song, replacing hallway with driveway, and adding a few silly lyrics about waiting at the security gate. Soon her purse and shoes are gathered and she’s standing on her front step, buckling her sandals as his convertible crunches across the gravel, casting yellow beams across her hibiscus plants. She waves jovially at him.
“You look awfully nice.” He comments as the hem of her favorite silk summer dress swings into his passenger seat.
“Thanks,” she smiles, giving him a kiss on the cheek that burns on his skin even well after he’s dropped her off at the end of the night, “You’re the only man I dress up for.”
He snorts, “I appreciate it. I’ll be sure to put that on the accomplishments section in my resume.”
“I’ll make you a plaque,” she grins, situating her bag at her feet, “ ‘Harry Styles: the only man worth looking good for.’”
“I’ll hang it in my trophy room, front and center.” he promises, guiding the car out of her driveway and back down the road. The wind plays with her hair that she slicked back in a scarf, and he’s playing a song she’s only ever heard in the background of early 2000s rom coms.
She hums along quietly, “So where are we going?”
“Just the ice cream and yoghurt place on the beach,” he says, turning onto the main road, “Why, d’you have somewhere else in mind?”
She shakes her head, “Wherever you’d like to go, king.”
He smiles into the windshield as she takes his phone from the center console, muttering something about getting proper driving music going, none of this weird alternative shit. Kid Cudi replaces whatever he was listening to before, the psychedelic piano drifting over their heads into the magenta clouds that serve as a souvenir of the sunset that has long since faded into the waves.
He looks over at her as they pull onto the canyon road towards the PCH. Her hair is fluttering from beneath a yellow and pink silk scarf and there are tiny pearl earrings that shine in the dull glow from his headlights. In the purple evening she looks ethereal, mystical, the patron saint of the canyon and the goddess of the mountains that rise craggy above them.
She catches him in his stare, turning to look at him with a flick of her hair, “You gonna watch the road, or did you also plan on getting in an accident this evening?”
He shakes his head, hoping to clear his mind, “Sorry, got… distracted.”
She smirks, “Yeah. So what did you do today?”
He shifts his hand on the steering wheel, “Well… I went to a yoga class this morning and got lunch with Jeff and Glenne-”
“Oh fun, how are they?”
“-They’re good, they say hello. And then I went back home and did some cleaning and then plunked around on the piano for a few hours-”
“-no not really. And then I had some dinner and I uh- then I called you.”
“What a fun day,” she says as Foster The People bubbles through the speakers, “Sounds like you were very productive.”
He rocks his head side to side in time with the music, “Depends what your definition of productive is. What did you do today?”
She stretches her arms in front of her, “Well, I had an audition-”
“Oh that’s right, the new Spike Lee film! How’d it go!?”
She smiles to herself, “It actually went really well. I feel really good about it. But I don’t wanna jinx it.”
He raises his hands off the wheel, “Got it, we won’t talk about it anymore. What’d you do after?”
“Well, then I went to lunch with a couple of girlfriends and then went to a couple meetings for brand deals and such and then just kinda vegged out until you called. Watched like half of the new season of ‘Barry’-”
“You did!? We were supposed to watch that together.” He protests.
“Oh… sure enough.” She cringes, shrinking away from him, “Will you ever forgive me?”
He sighs, “I suppose. But you’re not allowed to watch anymore. And you have to sit with me and rewatch what you already saw.”
“That seems an appropriate punishment.” She concedes.
They drive in silence for a while, appreciating the cool breeze kicking up from the canyon. He sings softly under his breath until she joins in on the harmonies during the chorus. He’s always loved her singing. He loves the ad libs she noodles to herself during instrumentals, or parts of the lyrics she doesn’t know. He loves that she can listen to a song only a few times and pull the harmonies out of nowhere. She has the kind of voice that he could listen to for years, light and airy, with enough body to hit notes that he could never dream of reaching.
Sometimes she gets mad at him for not singing along when they’re riding in the car. Truth is, he gets so wrapped up in listening to her, he forgets he’s in a car at all.
“By the way,” she taps him on the arm, “I got a call from Glamour. They want us to do their friendship test video thing.”
“Oh, cool,” he nods, “What’d you tell him?”
“Well I figured since I have my movie coming out soon, and your new single is about to drop, I said yes. I’m sorry I should’ve asked you first, but Jeff said to go ahead and accept.”
He laughs, “Don’t worry, I’ll be there.”
She clutches her chest, “Thank god, I’m so glad. I thought it would be fun.”
“Yeah, I thought Niall’s and Lewis’ was really funny. So…”
“So our’s has to be better.” She finishes for him.
“Yes, glad we’re on the same page.” He snorts.
“We just have to create lots of tension,” she tells him, “Like did you see Lily Collins and Zac Efron?”
He whistles through his teeth rolling his eyes, “Guy looked like he was minutes away from proposing.”
“Yes, oh it was so cute,” she gushes, fluttering her hands in front of her face, “Those are our vibes.”
He looks at her as they reach the red light that connects them to the coastal highway, “That will certainly make people talk.”
She giggles as the Neon Trees joins them just as he finishes that sentence, “More than they already do?”
He bows his head, fiddling with his fingers in his lap, hoping his smile is not melancholic. In a moment of bravery he asks, “Do you mind… when people say those things? About us?”
She is humming along to the stereo, and staring out the other side when he voices one of his biggest concerns. She turns back to him shaking her head in answer, “No, it doesn’t really bother me. I mean of all people I could be rumored to be dating… I don’t suppose you’re so bad.”
He makes a noise in the back of his throat, “Thanks, I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“It was meant as one,” she assures him, “Why? Does it bother you?”
He shakes his head, puckering his lips, “Nope. I will say, though it’s tough when I then see my supposed girlfriend out with other men.”
It’s meant as a joke, though there are more truthful connotations lurking beneath the surface.
She pats his hand on the gear shift, “Darling, they don’t mean anything to me, I promise.”
And the same could be said for her statement.
They pull into the parking lot of the ice cream stand on the tail of a Honda Pilot packed to the ceiling with teenagers.
“How do you think this is gonna go?” He asks her, only half joking.
She makes a face, “Hopefully they’re too involved in each other to pay attention to us.” She pauses a beat and then adds, “I always feel so arrogant in public. Like everywhere I go it’s just ‘ugh I bet these people will recognize me, c’mon I just want a normal life.’ Like… why do I think everyone is thinking about me?”
He breathes a laugh through his nose, “Being famous is mental illness, love.”
“It’s mental illness, innit luv.” She repeats.
They park, and climb out of the antique car. He loops their arms together, and stuffs his hands in the pockets of his favorite white short shorts. The line is long- understandable for a hot, but otherwise beautiful, Saturday night- and they spend the time it takes to get up to the window playing Chopsticks and Slapbox- a game she commonly refuses to play with him on account of his copious rings.
When they finally arrive at the window and place their order with the spectacled high schooler behind the corner- strawberry for Harry, oreo for her- the group of teenagers has noticed them and is not so slyly taking photos of them from the picnic benches.
“Should we just like… stand here or go say hi.” She asks, fiddling with the strap on her bag.
He wrinkles his nose, “I don’t wanna talk to them.”
She looks up at him, bumping her hip against his, “We feeling grumpy this evening, old man?”
Harry shrugs, wrapping an arm around her shoulder, “I’m with my best friend. Don’t really wanna waste precious time taking photos.”
“Wow, so many compliments in one sentence.” She giggles, fiddling with the fingers that hang over her right shoulder, “Wasn’t aware I’m considered precious time.”
His nose finds her forehead, “Well, now you know.”
It takes another ten minutes before their order is up. After he fends off a few fans who want to sit and chat with them, they make their way back to his car, leisurely lapping up the ice cream that drips down the sides of their cones.
“Can we go somewhere?” She asks, when they’re seated in the front seat again, “I don’t really wanna go back to the house yet.”
“Sure,” he replies, wiping his face with a napkin, “Where to, miss?”
“Beach? Good idea, can you hold this while I…” He passes her his cone to put the car in gear, “You’re gonna have to feed me. Can’t shift with a cone in my hand.”
She obliges, shoving the pink dessert in the direction of his mouth as he pulls out of the driveway.
“Oi!” He exclaims, catching a dollop that falls on his chin before it can soil the clean interior of his car, “I said feed me, not make me wear it!”
She giggles, “Oopsie, sorry! Wanted to see if the great Harry Styles could pull off ice cream stained shorts.”
He glares playfully at her, “I don’t think anyone can.”
“Oh, don’t give up on yourself,” she says through a mouthful of chocolate cookie chunks, “I think the new Met Gala theme is actually ‘food stains.’”
He shakes his head, “I’m gonna pull an Angela Martin and throw your ice cream out the window.”
She gasps, “You wouldn’t!”
“Actually, she didn’t throw it out the window, she actually smooshed it onto the side of Andy’s car so… fake fan.”
“Fuck,” he mutters, “Alright, you got me.”
Fortunately, they hit enough red lights through town where he’s able to finish the ice cream before they get onto the main drag. The car picks up speed and soon they are cruising past beach houses and palm trees while an Aminé song plays at full volume. She dances, making faces and pointing at passing cars, while he chides her, saying they’re going to start an accident. To which she replies,
“Says you, you’re the one watching me and not the road.”
But it’s impossible to take his eyes off her. She glows purple and silver in the night, eyes like dying fire embers, a wide smile like crystals, and a laugh like windchimes in a monsoon. She was the flame and he was the bumbling insect that fluttered around her, trying so desperately to get close enough to feel her warmth.
The highway falls away in front of them as the convertible cruises around curves, beneath cliffs stained purple and navy in the evening, past crashing waves against the shore. In the midst of her favorite duet they sing together, she reaches forward and turns the music down.
“What the heck that was my favorite part!” He sputters, the chorus dying on his lips.
“Sorry, we can go back and sing it again,” she promises, “I just wondered… do you regret not finishing school? Like going to college and everything?”
He frowns, “I suppose sometimes I wish I had. But then I think about all the stuff I’ve gotten to do, and all that I achieved… think that sort of outweighs college.”
She nods, breathing deeply through her nose, “That’s true.”
He looks over at her as they pull into a straight away, “Why? Do you regret not going to college?”
She shrugs, “I guess I’m sort of the same as you.”
“I mean, there’s always time to get your degree, yunno. And you can quit acting any time if that’s what you want.” He reminds her.
“Yeah, I know. I don’t think I’d ever quit acting, though. I’ve worked way too hard to get here.” She says, folding her arms across her chest, the night breeze raising goosebumps across her forearms.
“And you’re too good.” He adds, bumping her bicep with his elbow.
She smiles, leaning her head across to lean against his shoulder. He freezes, hoping she can’t feel the electricity that crackles beneath his t shirt sleeve at her touch.
“I just got thinking looking at those kids.” she hums, “How I kind of miss that age. When there’s no responsibility. You can just pack in your friends car to go get ice cream at ten at night.”
“What the hell do you think we’re doing now?” He mutters, incredulous.
She taps his thigh. Again, the sparks, “I know, but it’s different when you’re sixteen.”
He looks out the driver’s side at the roiling ocean, “I dunno. I think sixteen is sort of glamourized. I was sixteen once. Didn’t really like it.”
“Have something to do with being on national television at the most awkward stage in your life?”
He snorts, “Probably. I dunno.”
She sighs, “And to think, I’m sitting here wishing I was those kids, and they’re probably jealous of our lives.”
“Grass is always greener, right?”
“That’s for sure.” She mumbles, “I hope my future partner is someone not in the spotlight. That way I can have the best of both worlds.”
His heart wrings itself out inside his chest cavity, as if to purge any feelings of her from even the tightest corners. After that statement, any hope of him being romantically connected to her life in any way most certainly had been dashed. He clears his throat,
“Yeah me too,” he manages, throat constricting, “That’d be nice to settle down. Have a regular life.”
She nods into his shoulder, “Yeah. Will you and your soul mate invite me and mine over for dinner parties?”
His hands suddenly feel hot on the steering wheel, “Absolutely. But you guys have to bring the wine. And dessert.”
She claps her hands together once, “Consider it done.”
But he doesn’t want her to come over with her soulmate. He wants to be her soulmate. He wants to be the one sitting next to her at dinner parties, with his hand on her thigh beneath the table. He wants to be the one helping her carry the kids from the car and putting them in their pajamas and tucking them into bed. He wants to be the one making pancakes in the morning while she puts away the dishes from the night before.
In a moment of bravery, he summons a deep breath and prepares to tell her just that. That he secretly likes to read the articles that falsely pair them together, because it feeds his irrational fantasy that they are true. That she is the one who appears in his thoughts before he drifts into sleep, where she appears again in his dreams. That he’s typed out these very same words thousands of times into her message thread, and then gotten cold feet and deleted it.
He clears his throat, and wipes away the thin layer of sweat on his upper lip.
“(y/n),” He starts.
But before he can finish his thought, “Midnight Sky” by Miley Cyrus filters through the speakers, and she lets out a loud shriek.
“Oh my god this is my favorite song!” She cries, turning the volume knob all the way to the right, “You have to sing along with me, or else you’re out of the car.”
He recovers, blinking harshly and shaking his head, “Wha- this is my car!”
“You heard what I said, mister!”
She pumps her hands in the air to the beat of the drum, singing the lyrics into the wind, growing increasingly louder as the first verse transitions into the chorus. And though he wants to sit in this moment and bask in her perfection, he knows that her threat is real. So, he throws his head back against the seat and belts the chorus out with her, letting one hand drift lazily over his door to play in the wind.
Maybe it’s his infatuation for her shining through, but it almost seems as though her voice drowns out the radio, drifting in and out on the heavy wind that has picked up, carrying the smell of salt up and over the side of the car and into their hair. He can hear every break- though there are few- every warbled run, every syllable that drips from her lips like liquor- hot and addictive.
He wants to live in this moment forever, surrounded by her perfume, the drum of her voice, and the heat that radiates from her body like a supernova. He can hardly breathe- the air far too thick with her very presence, and his own unspoken words that buzz like mosquitoes around his head.
They share a look across the center console during the second chorus. She is nodding her head to the drums, hands stretched far into the heavens, as though she is trying to pull the stars from their beds. The scarf around her head is coming loose in the wind, tendrils of hair peeking out from beneath it.
“I can’t hear you!” She insists as they approach the bridge.
“S’cause you’re too bloody loud!” He gripes. Even though that is not a problem, not at all. He loves her voice, and he’s told her that many times over. Regardless, as the first bars of the bridge near, he puffs his chest out and belts the words into the windshield.
“That’s more like it!” She cheers from next to him, joining in on the second half.
He can see Deer Canyon Beach approaching in front of them. He wills it to move further away, just so that they might keep driving like this.
But as soon as the last chorus fades into the sea, the turn has arrived, and he is pulling into the vacant parking lot.
“Wow, look at that!” She laughs jubilantly, “Perfect timing!”
They park, and she vaults from the passenger seat and skips around the car to him, grabbing hold of his hand as they slip down the dunes to the shore.
His ears feel fuzzy from the volume of the radio in the car, and his head feels even fuzzier from the way her fingers lace with his. He lays that blanket he’d brought from the car onto the sand next to a piece of driftwood, and she plops down, legs crossed beneath her. He collapses next to her, stretching out with his hands clasped on his stomach.
She sighs deeply, “Kinda wish we’d brought a joint or something.”
Harry raises his eyebrows, “You’d be smoking by yourself, darling.”
“Oh right, I forgot we drove her.” She muses, “What if we just slept out here one night. Just us and the stars.”
He closes his eyes, “We could do that right now.”
She lies back next to him, the tips of their ears brushing, “Don’t threaten me with a good time.”
He giggles, nuzzling his head closer to her, “Those stars kind of look like a fork.”
“Where?” She narrows her eyes at the sky.
“There.” He gestures with his finger, drawing a trident in the navy abyss.
“Still don’t see it. I think you’re on drugs.”
“Oh my god,” he grabs her hand and makes a pointer with her fingers, guiding them to his discovered constellation, “See it there? There’s the stick, and there are the prongs.”
“Oh yeah!” She says, “Sure enough. The fork constellation.”
“Nah, we can come up with something better.” He mutters, “C’mon, think of something.”
“Hm, okay,” She flutters her eyelids, thinking, “Can I name it Harry?”
He makes a face, “Usually they’re a little more like… mythological sounding.”
She turns her cheek on the blanket to look across at him, “Well I hate to break it to you darling, but your name is not the most mythological sounding thing.”
He mirrors her, “Well it doesn’t have to be named after me.”
They are close enough for their noses to touch. She blinks, the whites over her eyes flickering, “What if I want it to be?”
“Oh… well then, alright. If that’s what you like.”
She nods, “Harry it is. Harry the fork.”
He laughs, because he’s not sure what else to say. The feeling he had in the car has returned. That inexplicable spark of bravery that has ignited itself somewhere in his abdomen, the flames growing higher until they are licking his face. His fingers drum the blanket.
She has turned to look skyward again. He watches her eyelids flutter as he says her name.
“Yeah?” She replies softly.
He clears his throat, hoping that he won’t pass out from how hard his heart is hammering in his chest. He’s sure she could see it raising the shirt of his breast if she looked hard enough.
“I-” Something stops him. Maybe it’s what she said in the car, about wanting to be with someone normal- something he knows he is not. Or maybe it’s the knowledge that if she doesn’t like what he’s about to say, he will have to drive her home in awkward silence only to have to apologize profusely at her front door. And she’d say it’s fine, and she’s the sorry one for turning him down, and that they shouldn’t think about it.
But they will think about it. He’ll think about how much he regrets saying it, and she’ll think about if she’s hurt him and they’ll both think about how those three words ruined years worth of perfect friendship and how they could’ve ever let them. All that thinking will seep into the pores of their friendship and fester until pores become fissures, fissures become cracks, and cracks become canyons.
And eventually, they’ll be so far apart that the one time she doesn’t respond to his texts, he won’t even notice until it’s months later. Maybe by that time she’ll have gotten a different number. And the world will wonder what happened to them- why did she stop posting him on her Instagram story, why did they stop appearing on lunch dates, why did they stop talking about each other in interviews. Maybe the two of them won’t know themselves.
But he’ll know why. And he can’t live with the knowledge that he did that to them, to her. So instead of saying what he wants to say, he closes his eyes and his mouth.
“H?” She asks, brows furrowed as she lays her ear against the blanket to look at him, “What were you gonna say?”
His eyes jolt open, “Oh. Um… just that I think you’re a really good singer.” He says, floundering for an appropriate statement, “And I’d really like to feature you on a song sometime.”
Her eyebrows shoot towards her hairline, “Really!?”
He nods, the bravery flame retreating towards his toes, “Yeah. I didn’t know if that’s something you’d be interested in though.”
“Oh my god, are you kidding!?” She exclaims, “I’d love that!”
He cracks a smile, “Alright. Great, I’ll set that up then.”
She rolls over onto her stomach, “I’m gonna hold you to that.”
He faces the sky again while she plays with the ends of his hair, “You won’t need to. I’ve always wanted you on a song.”
The last three words are filler.
“I’ve actually already signed a contract with Jeff.” She tells him, shuffling the papers, “Okay, next question. Have you ever read fanfiction about yourself?”
He giggles, looking away from her, “No.”
“Fail.” John says.
He hides his face in his hands, “Okay, maybe once or twice.”
“And what’d you think?”
He rubs his eyes harshly with his fingertips, “Uh… well… there are certainly some talented people out there.”
“Did you watch After?”
“No, good God no. I said there were talented people out there, that does not qualify as talent.”
She claps a hand over her mouth to stifle the snort that his comment elicits.
He looks sheepishly at the camera, “Maybe we can cut that bit out. Don’t wanna sound like a dick head.”
“Yeah, it’s all ‘treat people with kindness’ until shitty fanfiction is involved.”
He giggles, “Leave me alone and ask the next question.”
“I will, ‘cause I wanna know the answer to this next one. Have you ever lied to me?” She flicks her hair over her shoulder and raises an eyebrow.
He opens his mouth and stares at the ceiling, “Not on purpose.”
She throws the papers down on the table lightly, “What is that supposed to mean?”
“Well… like not to hurt you.”
She nods slowly, narrowing her eyes, “So you have.”
“That is what I’m saying.” He agrees.
Truthfully, he lies to her most every day. Like when she asks how his most recent date went and he has to tell her it went really well and he had a lot of fun even though he spent the entire time staring right through his date and thinking about whatever funny story she had told him about a co-star the night before. Or when she asks him if he minds if she brings her new boyfriend to their brunch meeting and he says no, it’s not a problem, even though he does mind. A lot. He’d rather drink three raw egg yolks than watch her play footsies with another man under the table.
So yeah, he does lie. Like a rug. Maybe it’s to protect his dignity from fear of rejection, or maybe it’s to protect her from getting swept up in his life. Either way, if he’s going to continue to be completely and totally infatuated by her, he’s not going to be telling a lot of truths any time soon.
“Alright then,” she sighs, “Have you ever been in love?”
Harry coughs, choking on his own inhale, “Uh… yeah. Yeah I guess I have.”
He is in love, present tense, with the woman sitting directly across from him. He can feel the back of his neck heating up as she examines his face through narrowed eyes. He averts his eyes to the piping in the ceiling.
“That’s so cute!” She coos, “With who?”
His stomach soars into his mouth, “I’ll uh… I’ll tell you later.” He stutters.
“I’m holding you to that.”
“Sure. Great. Is that it?”
She shakes her head, “No I have one more question, off the record. But just while I have you here.”
His leg starts to jig in panic. Surely this is when she asks him if it’s her he’s in love with. Then he won’t be able to lie anymore. This certainly hadn’t been the way he’d imagined telling her- in a room full of people staring at them, while harsh lighting glares down at them so bright it seems to expose all their insecurities and dark secrets before they’re ready to come out.
He’d always imagined if he did tell her it’d be a moment of passion, possibly in the middle of a rain storm, and she’d pull him into a warm kiss while he swept her off her feet. He’d never imagined so much public embarrassment. A little bit, perhaps, but certainly not this much.
“Right, yeah, go ahead.” He stammers, shoving his hands in his pockets, hoping he will find security there.
She finishes stuffing the papers back inside the manilla envelope, and folds her arms on the table, “Are you mad at me?”
He frowns. That was not the question he was expecting. “I- no? Why would I be?”
She shrugs dramatically, “I don’t know. Thought it was worth asking.”
“Was it?” He replies shortly.
She sighs, “Not really. We’ll talk later.” She rises, brushing imaginary dirt off the front of her pants and stalking away, leaving him to marinate in the awkward silence in her wake.
It is not until she sits down in her makeup chair that she realizes she’s been holding her breath since leaving him at the table. She lets it all out in a huff, sinking into the canvas chair and running her fingernails against her scalp. She feels as if she needs to take centuries long nap and wake up in a different person’s body.
Acting came to her easily. She liked playing characters, and trying on different backgrounds, stories, personalities. She could use that talent to put up fronts, to make people like her even when she didn’t like them, to seem as though she were happy when inside she was moments away from tears.
In front of Harry, she’d never had to act. He saw through whatever veil she wore. Sometimes it felt like when he looked into her eyes, he was seeing straight into her very soul, into her essence. It made their conversations feel that much more open, vulnerable.
It’s what made their performance today all the more painful. Not only did she have to act as though nothing was wrong between them, she had to do so in the face of the one person she’d never had to pretend for.
Footsteps scuff behind her. She looks in the mirror to see Harry standing behind her, hands deep in the pockets of his tan pants.
“Hi.” he mutters.
She merely nods in response.
He settles himself in the chair next to her, leaning forward to examine a spot developing near his hairline. Sniffing, he looks over at her, “Well, that was quite something, yeah?”
She chooses to understand “that” as the interview, and not her stormy exit, “Yeah. Some of those questions were… aggressive. Pete and Colson’s was nothing like that.”
He nods, scratching his upper lip, “Yeah. Even Chrissy Teigan and John Legend’s were much tamer.”
She hums a response, pulling her purse from beneath the vanity and rifling through it for her phone.
He clears his throat, “While we’re on the subject of questions… you wanna tell me what the hell your problem is?”
Her mouth disappears in a frown. She looks over at him furiously. His face is set in a stern scowl, and his hands drum in his lap.
“My problem?” she echoes, disdain dripping from every syllable, “What do you mean my problem?”
He stares straight ahead at the mirror, glowering at himself, “You heard me. There was no need to storm out like that.”
“Oh, and I suppose it was alright for you to do it last week at Glamour?” She retorts, her toes wiggling in fury inside her leather boots. Her voice quavers as her heart rate rises, “And it’s fine for you to ignore my texts for a week straight?”
He’s silent, chewing ferociously on his lip.
“That’s what I thought,” she mutters, shouldering her purse and rising to leave, “I think you’ll find if either of us has a problem, it is certainly not me.”
Her boots thud across the wooden floor as she makes her exit, “Call me when you’re ready to act like an adult. And not a high school boy.”
While in your arms shoto nuzzled his flushed face between you neck and shoulder. It was a short walk up to your room but even that made the anticipation for tonight's activities heighten. You couldn't wait to make love to your boyfriend for the first time. That's right this will be both of your first times, that thought alone excited you more.
You closed the door to your room, placing shoto on the bed gently, you kiss him loving before getting up and grabbing everything you need from your bedside table. Placing the lube and condoms onto your tabletop you nodded, this should be enough it was the first time for either of you, so you wanted to start vanilla.
Thinking about using toys next time your reserved boyfriend wants to make love again. 'Making love' you internally chuckled what a cute way to say fuck but it felt right to use for you two. Your thoughts were tossed to the side as you heard your boyfriend moan and his short nails lightly scratched at your arm. "I understand, baby boy.~ my attention is all yours now.~"
You kissed up his neck, nibbling at his skin. Here and there until you heard a moaned whimper. "Oh?~ that's the spot, eh?~ Noted~" you say with a purr. The vibration making your lover quiver.
Shoto sucked in a breath. Your lips where gently kissing at his skin, your teeth even more gently nipping at his neck. His pelvis buckled, without thinking. Rubbing his crotch onto your growing hard on. You let out a groan at that, taking of his pants easily As he was helping you as you do so.
You let the pants fall to the floor, shoto tugged at your shirt. Feeling the gently movement made you chuckle you took off your shirt then once it slide off you, you started taking off his.
Once his shirt was off him, you started Bitting and sucking at his chest, his nipples hardening as you bit at them, one cold on your tongue and one hot. The sensation making your wet muscle tingle, the sounds he made where so pleasant to hear as you where distracted with playing with you lovers chest.
You didn't notice the hands that were taking off your pants until it was halfway down you thighs.
You kick the other half off and started kissing down his chest to his stomach, going all to way down to his clothed crotch.
Kissing his hardend cock through his underwear.
His moans were so cute as he squirmed underneath you. Todoroki said. "Ah~. Stop teasing me y/n. I want you now. Ngh." Him saying that with such a red face you couldn't deny him.
You slide off his boxers and grabbed the pun in one hand while other carresed his leg then up to his length, pumping at his cock and finger teasing the pink cockhead. You poured some lub into his dick as to make it easier to glide your hands on it.
You give the cockhead a kiss and flick your tongue over it. The loudest moan you've ever heard from him made you look up and let out a chuckle. His face was red up to the ears and the hands covering his face was even a brighter pink then usual.
"Hey~ Don't be shy, candycane~ I want to see that pretty face of yours~" you said with a purr. One of your hand grabbed at his wrists and pinned them down to the mattress. With your free hand slick with lub you circled the rim of his puckered hole.
To distract him from your the fingers motions you began kissing him feverishly. Your lips so passionately moving with his, with a flick of your tongue on his lips, his lips parted as to give you permission. His breath shaking, you could almost hear "More, nah~" come out of his lips if not for your tongue ravishing his mouth.
You already had to fingers inside your pretty boyfriend his hips where rocking in time with you thrusts. Your kiss was wet but it didn't seem to bother either of you as a string of saliva connected the two of you.
Licking your lips cut it, then you started licking and kissing at his neck. Giving little love bite on his shoulder which made the young man underneath you shudder and moan. His moans where so cute tho shoto would deny you. "You're so cute, baby~ You're being so good for me~." you teased, looking into his eyes and kiss him deeply.
Once your lips seperated you continued to speak in the same teasing tone. "and your moans drive me crazy, kitten~."
The moan that came out of the duel haired boy sounded almost like a mewl. Then a deep breath came out of his lips. "nghh, There. Do it again with your fingers, ahh. In that spot. Please~ Please~" Shouto said with a hiccuped moan. You did as he asked. Kissing him as you positioning your fingers the same way and thrusted deeply in and out of his hole.
A few thrusts later you slip out your fingers from your boyfriend plump ass . Kissing at his thighs as you hear his whines. "Y/n. Please don't stop. I need it~ I need you." His eyes are glossy and his pupils are dilated. He looks so pretty.
You kiss him and reassure him that you've only gotten started. He nods and asks you if he could lub your dick. Saying. "It's only fair since you, umm... Stretched me out? That is the word, correct?" He asked red cheeked yet nonchalantly as any other questions his ever had to ask. But you know him better, his ears flush when his embarrassed.
So cute, his way to cute. "Hmm, Yes, kitty~. You're correct. You learn so fast~. Alright since you were such a good boy, I'll let you lead only for a bit~." You hummed, you really enjoyed teasing him it seems but now you had to guide him.
You grabbed the lub and said. "Give me your hand, sho."
Shoto titled his head but gave you his hand. He watched as you poured some lub in his hand. Your smirk making his heart skip a beat he almost didn't notice you guiding his hand towards your hard on but started focusing right away.
Making sure not to squeeze to hard. Then second coat y/n cock in lub intirely or it'll be harder to move inside of him.
Alright, he can do it! He is a good boy for you, he wants to be so good for you
Your moans and growls encouraged him to concentrate on making you feel good and to prep you as you did for him. Once your condomed covered dick was slick from the base to the tip. You switched positions with your boyfriend, you on top while shoto laid on the mattress.
"I'll start slow, shou." You said, then kissed his cheek. One hand on his hip the other on your hardend member, inserting only the tip to start. You kissed his lips and asked. "You ok, babe. It doesn't hurt does it?"
Shoto nodded and Said in a breathy tone. "Good, hng.. It doesn't hurt. Please keep going.. nghh, I'm doing good? Right?" It surprised you how much more vocal he is since dating you it made you so happy.
"You're doing amazing, baby boy." You say kissing him more passionately. Not noticing that as you did so you hips bucked and you heard a pretty moan come out of your lover.
"Move more, y/n." The demande from your boyfriend's lips where the only thing you needed to start rocking your hips in deep, shallow thrusts.
Moans came out of both of your mouths as you steadily rocked your hips onto your boyfriend. Faces red and filled with pleasure, shoto grabbed at your hand. Both of your hands interlocking as you made love to each other. It was soft and loving, the perfect first time for the two of you.
You kissed shoto. The words "faster, more. Ahhhh need you so much. Nngg~ Please y/n." Keeped you going. You were so close to cumming but before your breaking point shoto came hard onto both of your chests making his ass clench onto you dick. A few minutes more of thrusting your hips, you came hard into the condom. Slipping out you kissed you duel haired lover. Got up and took off the condom tying it then trew it in your mini trash can. You then slid back to bed and cuddled onto your boyfriend, grabbing the couver and laying it on top of you both. You gave each other a kiss Goodnight.
Hope you all like this! It's a request by anonymous on tumblr. Have a great week everyone. 😌💞
❥ pairing: han jisung x female reader (feat. hwang hyunjin)
❥ genre: fluff, romance, angst, fake dating!au, college!au, mini-series
❥ warnings: none (let me know if I am missing something, though!)
❥ word count: 5.7k (split into sections for easy reading)
❥ synopsis: Han Jisung only wants one thing: to get his ex back. And for that, his best plan is to get a fake girlfriend, choosing Y/N as the one. Although she is not very happy with this idea, she knows she also has something to gain from this. She agrees with one condition: they must follow her list of rules.
However, a simple list of rules cannot prevent one from falling in love and the other from getting their heart broken.
❥ A/N: Hello, I hope you’re doing well. Here I am after a small interruption with a new chapter. I'd like to inform you that next week, there will be no chapter. I'll share with you the next series I'll be working on. Also, there are two chapters left (for this season). If you are new to the series, you can find the masterlist for it under “ongoing series” in my pinned post to read all the previous chapters. Please, like/reblog this if you enjoy reading it and let me know your thoughts, I’m always looking forward to hearing from you! As always, happy reading!
You gulped as you looked up to the red neon sign that blinked in the window. It was strange to be here by yourself after everything that had happened at this place. Still, it had been a week and you hadn’t heard from Hyunjin ever since.
You tried to call him and text him, but you didn’t get any answer every time that happened. You were worried, mostly because he also wasn’t showing up to class. Of course, he needed time, you knew that. Of course, he would be avoiding you, ignoring you, keeping his distance. However, one thing was doing all of those things and still being present, even if apart. Another was seemingly disappearing from the face of the earth, without any warning.
None of this was easy. You felt like you had just ruined one of the most precious things you had, your friendship with him. And you couldn’t help but blame yourself for most of it. Still, what was done was done and you couldn’t take it back. All you could do was move forward and keep control of what you could control.
You opened the door, a soft jazzy melody playing inside. All of the tables were empty, some employees were setting them up, making sure to wipe the tabletop after they were done putting the chairs down.
“We’re closed!” a familiar voice spoke from behind the counter and your heart picked up the pace. You cleared your throat and moved closer to the counter, each step echoing.
“I know,” you sighed and her eyes quickly looked at you, a certain disdain in her expression. “I wanted to talk to you, if possible,”
“We’re busy. We need to set up the tables for the evening. We’re closed for the next hour,”
Kat turned her back on you and walked away from the counter, towards a couple of the other employees and gave them some orders. They nodded and she turned to face you. She rolled her eyes and pointed to the door behind you. You nodded and stood your ground.
“I know you’re closed. I just… I just need five minutes,”
“I don’t have five minutes,” she crossed her arms and stared at you, intensely.
She paused and studied your expression.
“Two and that’s it,”
You nodded and agreed to her offer. She had the upper hand here, this was her workplace and you were a customer, a stranger to her still. It didn’t matter what kind of relationship you shared with Hyunjin, you didn’t know Kat and Kat didn’t know you.
She removed her apron and folded it in a quick motion and placed it on the counter. You followed her and sat across from her at a booth, the sunlight creeping in from the big windows.
“How is Hyunjin doing?” you asked.
“Why do you care?” she leaned back and crossed her arms, examining you. “Haven’t you caused enough damage?”
Kat was not who you thought she would be. When you met her, she seemed kind and caring, always smiling as she did her job, even if it was monotonous. Right now, she was mad, hurt even. She looked at you with pain, her jaw clenched and eyes burning with distaste.
You may have broken Hyunjin’s heart, but why did it seem like you had broken hers as well?
“He is still my friend,” you answered. “It’s normal I care about him.”
She pondered your answer. After a few seconds, she shrugged and shook her head.
“He told me he’d be gone for a while. He probably went home, I don’t know. After what happened between you two, he hasn’t been answering my calls or texts, for that matter,”
“I call him but it goes straight to voicemail and he also doesn’t reply to my texts…” you confessed, worried. “I thought that maybe you’d know something…”
“Why?” she asked, defensive. “What makes you think that?”
“The day we came here,” you gulped, “I saw the way you looked at each other. I thought you two were something more than just friends…”
This time, you were the one that studied Kat. She avoided your gaze and slowly uncrossed her arms, leaning forward on the table. You recognised the look in her eyes: heartbreak.
“We’re not,” she answered in a low tone, defeated. “Hyunjin… always talked about you with such tenderness and consideration, I could tell he liked you. And at first, I found it endearing,” a small smile crept upon her face. She chuckled, “And then, you started hanging out with someone else. Our conversations were now about you and this other guy… hm…”
“Yeah,” she nodded, “Jisung. He wanted to confess his feelings for you but he didn’t want to make a fool of himself. He valued the friendship you both shared a lot, he was worried that being honest with you would ruin it,” she looked you in the eyes for the first time, “So I suggested we figured out where your feelings stood. That’s what you saw. We pretended to be in love so we could understand where your feelings stood,”
You slowly nodded, her words taking shape in your mind. You weren’t sure what to feel about this situation. Hyunjin didn’t want to make a fool of himself. So instead, he chose to fake being in love with Kat to see what your feelings toward him were.
It pained you to know this, all of it. But you had both been the fools. You both had chosen to pretend with someone else because you were too scared to be honest, too scared to ruin what you had. And yet, where had that taken you?
“He was the only one pretending, wasn’t he?” you asked.
Kat lowered her eyes to meet her hands and she nodded slowly. You sighed and fixed your hair.
“I liked him,” you stated and she nodded.
“But I… fell for someone else. I mean,” you took a deep breath, remembering how back in time the story you and Jisung both shared went, “I always loved Jisung. I didn’t want to admit I still had those feelings for him. It’s a complicated story, I won’t get into it.”
“Isn’t love always complicated?” she stated with a bittersweet smile. “It’s never simple, is it?”
You nodded, relaxing onto the cushion seat. Someone from the counter rang a bell and Kat quickly glanced at them.
“We need you to prepare service,” he said in an annoying tone.
“I’m coming!” she stood up from her seat and sighed, fixing her ponytail. “I’m coming!”
“I guess our two minutes are up…” you followed her and stood up as well.
“Yes,” she confirmed. “I guess they are,”
The two of you stood there, glancing at one another from time to time, unsure of how to end this conversation.
“I… hm… I’ll let you know if Hyunjin tells me anything,”
She gave you a small smile and walked back to the counter and disappeared from your view. You stood there for a few seconds, listening to the muffled sounds of meals being prepared, a soft jazzy melody playing in the background.
When you exited Bennie’s you couldn’t help but feel a certain relief. Yes, you still didn’t have all the answers and that was partially killing you. And yet, you knew what you needed to know and that was more than alright.
Hyunjin had Kat, you could tell how deeply she cared about him. And that was all you needed to know. You needed to know that he wasn’t completely alone, even if right now that had been his choice.
And right now, there was nothing more you could do than to wait for some sort of answer.
You laid in your bed, eyes glued to the ceiling. Eunbi scavenged through your drawers looking for something to wear tonight. You tried to ignore her but it was almost impossible.
“Are you sure you didn’t bring your black dress?” she asked, almost desperate. “It would go really well with the heels I bought the other day…”
You sighed and sat on the bed and pointed to your wardrobe. “Have you tried in there?”
“In there?” she raised an eyebrow and you nodded. “I’ll take a look!”
She quickly got to your wardrobe and opened it, quickly glancing at the hangers inside. After a few seconds, she smiled triumphantly and pulled out a black dress.
“There you are!”
“I told you it’d be there,” you collapsed back in your bed and looked at the time on your phone.
Ten more minutes, you thought and bit your lower lip.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come with us? You wouldn’t be third-wheeling, trust me,”
You laughed and shook your head, “I am waiting for Jisung to call me,”
“Uhh,” you rolled your eyes and she sat at the end of your bed. “How are things going between you two?”
“They’re… fine,” you could feel your heartbeat increasing, your cheeks becoming warmer. You smiled at her. “We’re… fine,”
“Just call it what it is, please!” she playfully slapped your leg. “You’re madly in love and you can’t wait to see him…”
You nodded. It was true, you were madly in love with Jisung and this entire distance between you was very inconvenient. Still, you tried to make the most out of it because part of you couldn’t bear to be apart from him. You had your life to live but your life became more colourful and lively when Jisung was in it.
“I miss him a lot,” you admitted and sighed. “It’s strange, you know? I was so used to being with him and now he is far away… part of me is with him, that’s what it feels like,”
“Well,” Eunbi started, trying to lighten up the mood, “the good thing is that you only have to wait two more weeks! And next time you blink, you’ll be meeting him at the airport and these three weeks only made you two stronger. Look at the bright side,”
She stood up from your bed and went to close your wardrobe.
“Since when do you have this dress?” she picked a dress from your wardrobe, one with the tag still on it. “It’s so beautiful!”
You stood up from the bed and grabbed the dress. You gulped, somewhat embarrassed.
“My mother sent me the dress…” you placed it back on the wardrobe and closed it. “Apparently dinner with my grandparents requires us to dress elegantly…”
However, it wasn’t just that. You didn’t mind dressing up and wearing beautiful dresses. Part of you enjoyed that entire routine of getting ready for one of these family gatherings. What you didn’t like were the family gatherings. For the majority of them, you had gone by yourself, since your grandfather refused to invite your father. And the first few ones were fine, you had Jiwoo and your grandmother to lean on.
But lately, you felt more and more alone at these events. Your family couldn’t get over the fact that you were different, that you hadn’t grown up in the same environment they had and they made sure to point it out any chance they got. It was unpleasant and you weren’t sure how long you could handle it.
Still, this next family gathering was going to be different for a variety of reasons. For the first time, your parents had been invited so you weren’t going to be completely alone. You would also see Jiwoo and possibly confront her about what she did to you all those years ago. It wouldn’t be pleasant but you were tired of being the one with the bitter taste in your mouth. Of course, it would be so much better if you could do it with Jisung but some things had to be done on your own.
“When is it?” she asked, bringing you back to the present.
“This weekend,” you stated. “I am going a day or two early to spend some time with my grandma,”
“Well, I will be one phone call away,” she stated and gave you a reassuring smile. “And please, make sure you bring some wine,”
You laughed and nodded. “Deal,”
Eunbi gave you a thumbs up and exited the room with your black dress. You went to your bedside table and grabbed your phone and, after scrolling on social media for a while, your phone lit up with Jisung’s name. You couldn’t contain your excitement and immediately picked up the call.
“Hello,” you greeted him with a bright smile on your face. “How are you today?”
Jisung waved at you and laughed, his smile growing bigger as soon as he saw you. You were so glad facetime calls were a thing, spending three weeks without seeing his face or his smile would be too much.
“I am exhausted,” he leaned forward and you understood he was sitting at a table, probably in his hotel room. “Today I trained with some professional fighters and it was… embarrassing,”
“I am sure it wasn’t that bad,” you reassured him. Still, the look in his eyes told you otherwise. You sighed. “They do this for a living, Jisung. Besides, it was your first time training with them. I am sure you’ll do better next time.”
He nodded and the two of you stayed in silence for a while. Jisung glanced at you and smiled.
“What about your day? Any progress on the article?”
You shook your head and stood up from your bed and started to walk around your room.
After Jisung was gone, you focused your attention on everything you had to do. You tried to find a job but that didn’t work out very well for you. Still, Jisung told you to not give up and maybe try to write one final article before calling it quits. At first, you weren’t sure if that was a good idea, you were afraid that you wouldn’t be able to improve your skills and overcome your shortcomings.
But after you started it, the words just kept on flowing. You would write every time you got the chance and you were proud of what you were writing. If this would be your final article, if this would be the last writing you’d contribute with to the newspaper, then you were happy.
“I might finish the first draft tonight,” you announced, proudly. He smiled. “I want to give it to my supervisor before I leave to go to my grandparent’s dinner. It would be great if I could have an answer before then…”
“Well, I’m proud of you,” he said in a laid back tone, unaware of how much these simple words meant to you. “Look at everything you’ve done this past few weeks. You called your grandmother, you wrote an article…” he gave you a playful smile, “you confessed your love for me… All great achievements, of course.”
You rolled your eyes and collapsed on the small sitting nook near your window. You glanced outside, the sun disappearing leaving the sky with bright shades of orange and pink. You glanced at the stuffed animal Jisung had gotten you on your first date, a sudden wave of longing hitting you.
“I miss you,” the words rolled out of your tongue unintentionally. “I really do,”
You meant it. Nothing like being apart from someone to know how much they mean to you. A week had gone by but it felt like an eternity. It was strange to not have Jisung around. Oftentimes, you had to stop yourself from going somewhere where you’d expect Jisung to be, only to remember that he was somewhere else, in a different timezone. There was so much you wanted to share with him, so much you wanted to tell him, so much you wanted to show him. You missed seeing his smile, feeling his touch, being with him.
There were things that distance couldn’t give you.
“I miss you too,” he whispered, a sad tone in his voice. “But… I’ll be back in no time. Two weeks will fly by and next thing you know, I’ll be right next to you, the both of us watching the sunset together,”
“That sounds nice,”
The two of you talked for a while longer. Jisung asked about Hyunjin and if you had any updates from him. You told him what had happened with Kat and how she also didn’t know where he was. He also asked about Jiwoo and what was going to happen. That was something that you had been avoiding thinking about but with the dinner night quickly approaching, you’d have to come to a decision.
“I think I am going to tell her what I know,” you concluded, a sting in your chest. “It won’t be easy but… this is the final step…”
“I meant it when I said I wanted to be there with you,” his voice embraced you softly, a melody you loved to hear.
“I know,” you nodded and gave him a reassuring smile, “but this something I also have to do on my own. It’s time, you know? To confront her, to ask her to be honest about all of this. I want, no,” you sighed, “I need answers. It’s been three years but I still don’t get it.”
Jisung and you were planning on chatting for a while longer but afterwards, someone knocked on his bedroom door and he took a deep breath.
“Afternoon practice?” you asked and he stood up from his chair.
“I have some physical exams today,” he stated and shrugged after seeing your worried expression. “They are monitoring how my body is reacting to practice and the recovery process. Don’t worry too much about it,”
“If you say so,” you stood there, staring at your screen, Jisung doing the same on the other side. You knew that none of you wanted this call to end. It always felt too short. “I’ll message you later tonight,”
“Have fun with the article,” he waved you goodbye and disconnected the call.
You sighed, a void suddenly filling you as silence took over your room. Talking with Jisung was like a sudden rush of adrenaline, you felt at the top of the world and then slowly but surely, you’d come back down to reality, a reality in which you could only see him through phone screens and where you couldn’t hold him in your embrace.
It was frustrating, to say the least. But at least, the distance you both shared only made your feelings for Jisung clearer and stronger.
You loved him, you couldn’t deny that. His smile, his presence, his eyes,… you missed everything about him.
You loved him and you missed him.
And you couldn’t wait to see him again. You couldn’t wait to kiss him, to feel his arms wrapped around your waist, his voice in your ear as he whispered sweet words to you.
It was an endearing thought and when you thought about it, you felt better. Because even though you were away, there were parts of you that were always together, there was something that you both shared.
Your love for each other. Your endless desire to be back together.
So you’d continue to count down the days and weeks until you were both reunited and you’d enjoy the little moments you got to share while you waited to be together again.
You sat on your couch typing away the words slowly, making sure nothing was escaping you. You wanted to make sure this article was the best it could be and that meant writing the greatest first draft you possibly could. You typed slowly, mouthing the words as you wrote them down. When you finished the last sentence, you leaned back on your couch and admired your work.
“Done,” you whispered under your breath. It was indeed done.
You had considered all of the feedback your supervisor had given you, the events of the past few weeks and tried your best to write an article that expressed and showed your evolution as a writer, that showcased how much you had grown and how much you were willing to continue your growth and improve your skills.
It also helped that you had found a theme that you connected with. This time, however, you didn’t rely solely on what you thought was right. You went out and asked people about what they were going through, you gathered their opinion and perspectives and you were glad you had done it. Everything felt more fleshed out, more complete, more compelling.
You were glad your supervisor had pushed you over the edge and had shown you you had to work harder because you could do it. You were also glad that you were finally starting to step out of your comfort zone and accept things as they were. Instead of waiting for answers, now you were actively searching for them. In your work, in your life, in everything.
The old passive you was melting away and giving way to a new, confident and active version of you.
You placed the laptop on the couch and stood up, walking into the kitchen to prepare a midnight snack. You boiled some water for your tea and grabbed a small cupcake Eunbi had bought earlier. As soon as you were about to take a bite, your phone blinked in the dark living room and you quickly walked towards it.
Done for the day, Jisung texted you and attached was a photo of him smiling. Instead of texting him back, you called him and waited for him to pick up on the other side.
“Do you miss me that much?” he teased you and you rolled your eyes. Still, it was true.
“I do, I do,” you stated and collapsed on the couch, a tea mug on the coffee table. “How was the afternoon?”
“Busy, as always,” there was a small pause. Jisung chuckled. “For what it’s worth, I was hoping you’d call me,”
“Oh, really? And why is that?”
He sighed and you imagined him on the other side, eyes looking at the blank ceiling, your voice in his ear.
“I like the sound of your voice,” he said shyly. “I also wanted to know how your article is going. Isn’t it late there?”
You nodded and then remembered he couldn’t see you. “It’s one in the morning but the good news is that the first draft is complete! That’s exciting, right?”
“It’s more than exciting, it’s great news!” you could hear the excitement in his voice. “What now? How are you feeling?”
You shrugged and took a bite out of your cupcake. After a few seconds, you answered.
“If this is my last article for the newspaper, then I am proud. I did my best. I just hope it’s enough,”
It was true. You couldn’t help but be doubtful of everything. Of course, you were proud, you could see the evolution in your words, in the way you wrote. But what if he couldn’t? What if all of this was still partially an idealised version of your mind, making you believe in something that wasn’t there?
“Well, you should be proud. I am proud,” you could sense Jisung’s smile widening. “I am proud of you, Y/N,”
Your heart shrank a little in your chest, the sudden realisation of the distance between you being too much for you to carry. You missed him dearly and you wanted to see his face as he told you all these heartfelt things. You wanted him to see the effect he had on you, how your cheeks burned at his compliment.
“Thank you, Jisung,”
“You’re welcome,” a few seconds passed by and he sighed. “I’d love to continue our conversation but I want to get changed and grab some dinner. I’ll call you tomorrow. Same time?”
“I’ll be waiting,” you stated. “Have a good dinner and rest, please. You need your body in order to succeed in your career,”
“You should rest as well,” he warned, concerned. “I can be worried about you as well!”
You rolled your eyes, “I can see that. Is it because you care?” you playfully asked.
“It’s because I love you,”
The words rolled out of his tongue carelessly, like a fact that he had known for a long time and couldn’t wait to share. Your smile widened when you saw the moon in the sky, a reminder that even apart, you and Jisung still shared the same stars at night.
“I love you too,” you whispered, almost like a lullaby. “I really do,”
It had been like what Jisung had written to you in the letter. There were no words to describe you, he’d say. And an ‘I love you’ wasn’t enough for you to express how you felt towards Jisung.
Your feelings for him transcended that.
The afternoon came swiftly and with it, your stress over the edge. For the past few days, you kept editing and re-reading your article, showing it to your friends and reading it out loud, unsure if it was at its best. Still, part of you was relieved that this was getting done. After you delivered this document, all you would be able to do was wait.
“Are you sure you’ll be fine?” Eunbi asked you as you walked towards the building, the sounds of people chatting around you giving you comfort. “I can always wait, you know? I don’t need to go home right now, Chan can wait…”
You shook your head and smiled at her. “I’ll be fine,” you stated. “Besides, there’s no need for you to stay. I’ll leave after I am done with this,”
She nodded and the two of you stopped right in front of the building. You looked at it, remembering all the wonderful moments you had spent here. Some dull ones upset you and made you frustrated when you thought of them but part of you understood their importance now: they had been fundamental to your growth as a writer. You had to fail to become better at what you loved to do.
“This is it,” you gulped. Eunbi softly squished your shoulder and you reassured yourself. “I’ll be fine,”
This isn’t the end, a voice reminded you, bringing you encouragement. You saw this moment as a beginning, a chance to start over. And maybe, that chance would be here or maybe, it would be somewhere else.
“You won’t go home after you’re done here?” Eunbi asked, turning to look at you.
“I packed everything already. I want to have dinner with my grandparents and settle in for the night. I’ll leave after I’m done, yes.”
“How are you feeling about it?” she asked, a taste of concern in her voice. “Are you sure you want to go this early? Dinner is only on Sunday, you could go-”
“I am sure, Eunbi,” you interrupted her. “Staying here wouldn’t make much difference, to be honest,”
She understood what you meant. With Jisung gone and Hyunjin nowhere to be found, you had little to nothing to do. And Eunbi was spending more and more time with Chan and it was clear to you that these moments they shared were important. They always invited you to hang out with them but it never felt right to you to join them.
Going to your grandparent’s house was the best thing to do. You couldn’t wait to reunite with your grandma and help her around the greenhouse or stay by the pool while reading a book. You were looking forward to these moments, a small escape from your regular life. Of course, the dinner party would bring you back to where it all started but for a while at least, you could just pretend everything was fine.
You took a deep breath and fixed the shoulder strap on your shoulder. You turned to Eunbi and opened your arms wide and invited her into a hug. She held you tightly and kissed your cheek softly.
“Make sure you keep me updated, okay? And please, if you feel like you have to leave early, let me know. Or if you need support there, I can go and meet you,”
You nodded and for a brief second closed your eyes, taking in this moment. When you let go of her, Eunbi fixed your hair behind your ear and patted you softly on the shoulder.
“Go do your thing now,” she smiled and pointed a finger at you. “And don’t forget the wine.”
You laughed and agreed. “Never forget the wine,”
“That’s right,” she waved you goodbye and walked away, leaving you and the building in front of you all alone.
You took decisive steps towards it, pushing the door open and walking to that so familiar floor where you had spent so many mornings and afternoons. You glanced around, trying to look for familiar faces but most desks were empty. It was Friday afternoon, after all. Most people were home by now.
That was a relief. This way, very few would remember you had been here which would be easier to deal with if you got rejected. Part of you remembered the last time you had crossed these doors, your heart crushed and your reality upside down.
You passed by your old desk, still empty, and looked at Felix’s desk opposite to yours. You smiled when you noticed he was there, staring at his computer screen, a focused expression.
“Good afternoon,” you greeted and pointed to the chair across from him. “Is this seat taken?”
He quickly raised his eyes, worried and afterwards his expression melted into a smile. He stood up and walked towards you and hugged you.
“Y/N! I’ve missed you! How have you been? You disappeared and it has been lonely without you!” he complained and you let go of you. “You’re back?”
You shook your head. “Not yet. I was given the chance to write one more article and I am here to turn it in. If it’s good, I may be back. If not…” you sighed and shook your head. “Let’s not think about that,”
Felix nodded and studied your expression. After a few seconds, he smiled and sighed.
“Well, he’s in his office right now,” he pointed to the small cubicle you had been in a few weeks ago. A small shiver went down your spine. “And Y/N?” he asked, bringing you back to reality. He was back at his desk. “That isn’t the last piece you’ll write for this newspaper,”
You thanked him, remembering the feedback Felix had given you when you sent the article for him to read. He was always supportive of you, always ready to help and make your writing better. Maybe that was the reason why he was the head of the sports report team at the newspaper. He was a good leader.
“Thanks for the support,” you gave him a thumbs-up. “I’ll go and get this over with so I can leave for the weekend,”
You turned your back on him and walked towards the office, your heartbeat increasing in your chest as you moved closer to the door. You breathed in and out in slow motion just to calm yourself down. When you knocked on the door, you waited a few seconds until you heard a loud “Come in,”
As you pushed the door open, the supervisor didn’t raise his eyes to meet you. You cleared your throat and after a few seconds, he finally noticed your presence.
“Y/N,” he said in an indifferent tone, “I was starting to think you wouldn’t come back,”
“For a moment neither did I,” you admitted. “But I couldn’t just walk away, could I?”
“I hope not,” he leaned on his chair and crossed his arms. “Are you here to surprise me?”
You pondered on this question for a while. What were you doing here, exactly? Were you just delivering an article to hopefully continue in this newspaper? Were you doing it because you loved your job or because you were afraid of what would happen if you had to let this go?
“I’m not sure if I’ll surprise you,” you stated, looking at him. “Surprises aren’t always good,”
“I am here to turn in my article. I believe it is the best I have written so far and maybe that’s why I took so long to come back. This time, I didn’t wait for the story to find me, I went after the story. And this,” you placed the envelope on his desk, “this is the result of your feedback and my hard work. I hope you can see why I deserve to continue. You gave me one last chance but this isn’t my final article for the newspaper,”
“Okay, then,” he picked up the envelope and opened it, looking at the pages inside. He chuckled. “You could’ve emailed me, you know?”
“I know,” you sighed. “But this was too important to me. An email wouldn’t do it justice,”
Silence took over the office as you stood near the door, unsure if you should leave or stay. His eyes glanced over the article and you tried to understand what his expression was telling you. Was it good or bad? He didn’t give it away. After a while, he placed the pages back in the envelope and smiled.
“I’ll give you an answer by Monday,” he announced. “For all it’s worth, I never thought you were a bad writer otherwise you wouldn’t have sat at one of those desks. But talent still needs refinement. And writing is a skill you shouldn’t take for granted. Ever. No matter what happens Y/N, remember that. You should be proud of all of the work you’ve done so far,”
“Thank you,” you gulped. “I’ll wait for your answer, then,”
You exited the office, your legs trembling from the nervousness and the excitement you felt. As you walked out of the building and were greeted by the afternoon breeze, you couldn’t help but smile.
It was done. And there was nothing you could do about it now other than feeling proud for everything you had achieved so far.
You remember all the times you had gone on family trips as a young child - the packing, the excitement of arriving somewhere fun like Disneyland, the sights and foods you got to enjoy with your loved ones. But the part you cherish the most is the sensation of arriving back home, sinking into your bed, closing your eyes to an all-encompassing warmth after being gone for so long.
The feeling of being home.
You stir as the early sunbeams are dancing through the bedroom curtains in Ransom’s bedroom. Your bleary eyes continue to focus, taking in the room. You are slotted against Ransom’s left side, his right hand holding your smaller left hand atop his chest securely despite his soft snores. His left arm curls around your body, hugging you snug against him. The tangle of legs beneath the bed sheet move just a bit as you slightly stretch your legs down the mattress.
How can you feel so at home in his bed?
Visions of the previous night dance through your head. Did he actually ask me if I wanted to be more than friends?
Ransom’s hold on your body tightens while he makes a low moan in his throat, the sound humming in your ears as he decides whether or not he wants to keep sleeping. He turns his face towards you, his eyes open slowly to find you right where he left you.
“Good morning YN.”
His scratchy voice matches the light stubble along his jaw and you smile in return, a quiet good morning leaving your lips. He leans in and kisses you softly, curling your joined hands closer to his heart. If he has any issues with morning breath, he does not show it as the two of you relish in a lazy makeout session. Your body, however, has other concerns. The embarrassingly loud noise from within your empty stomach causes Ransom to pull back and laugh, tickling you out of bed to usher you both to the kitchen once more after tossing you an old shirt from his closet.
You’ve slept over at Ransom’s before, but this morning carries a different sensation - a lightness shared between loved ones with the promise of something new and exciting.
You and Ransom work alongside one another in the kitchen with little conversation, only stopping to bump his hips with yours as you cross from one part of the kitchen to the other or when Ransom sweeps down to place a quick smooth against the crown of your head.
After 20 minutes or so, you look at the breakfast counter to see two full plates of pancakes, fruit, a couple of sausages for him, a couple of bacon strips for you (knowing very well that you would eventually trade one piece for the other like always). The accompanying cup of coffee and orange juice placed nearby completing the meal. Ransom takes your hand under the counter as you both dig into the fresh food.
He squeezes your hand and you squeeze back, the innocent game becoming more and more playful.
“Ow! Ransom!” you exclaim after a particularly intense squeeze. You set your fork down and turn more in your seat to face him better.
“Kitten, I’m sorry!” he sputters, laughing at your dubious expression. He sets his coffee down onto the tabletop before continuing, “Let me make it up to you.”
You raise an eyebrow, silently asking him how he’d atone for his pseudo mistakes when a loud knock on the door echoes throughout the house.
“Who the hell is at the door?” he asks, getting up from his seat to walk towards the front door. You swivel in your seat and get up as Ransom looks through the door’s peephole. He sighs as you see him slide a hand down his handsome face.
“Hugh honey, who is it?” you get up from your seat and walk slowly to join him at the front door. He motions a hand behind him, as if trying to keep you away from the entryway.
But before you could reach him, Ransom yanks the door open to a woman on his doorstep.
“Ugh, finally Ransom! What took you so long?” The high-pitched voice coming from a relatively small woman, a loose cardigan hanging from her shoulders, a gaudy purse in hand. You glanced at Ransom, tense at the door despite his affectionate actions earlier this morning. His wide shoulders almost block you from sight, but you peek from his side anyway.
“What are you doing here Sheila?”
“Oh who’s that inside?” she replies, a finger pointing at you as Ransom frowns down at your guilty face. “Is she another one of your whores?” she accuses him before turning back to you to add, “Sweetie, you might as well leave. This man put a baby in me and I’m gonna be sticking around for the long run.”
So much for feeling at home.
Oh, Ransom. Why do you do this to sweet reader? Please let me know what you think of this so far 😘
A/n:- Dancing with Kuroo while listening to your favorite song :)
Word count:- 1.4K
A post for @ohajime song fic collaboration
Funny isn't it? When you plan something out and nothing seems to go accordingly? The excitement, the joy and the hard-work seems to be wasted when something messes it up. Well that's the situation you are in right now!
Thinking aback, sleeping when the alarm snoozes for the umpteenth time but you seem to still doze off with sleep lingering within you and your body asking you to rest some more. You move to the other corner of your bed where your boyfriend sleeps. You groan when you find out that his spot on the bed is empty and cold. You stir back to your side of the bed and try to pull your plush blanket over your form for some kind of warmth. You tried pulling but something kept it on its spot , slightly opening your eyes you see your boyfriend with his arm on his chest.
"What do you mean NO? I need my blanket!" you whine.
"No, you can't have your blanket, we have to get ready."
" Huh?" you replied with a confused face
"Babe, did you forget what day it is today? We have to go to your brother's wedding?" He gets up from the bed and stretches himself so that the remaining sleep is gone. "Yeah I know , but we can do one thing " you reply with a yawn. "And that is? " he opens the closet to take out his towel. "You go bath and once you are done would you please wake me up?" your reply as you stir back to your previous position. He hums and enters the bathroom.
The bedroom was filled with dim light even though it was quite sunny outside along with slight voice of water and a humming sound could be heard which lulled you in a deep slumber. Kuroo gently twists the door knob and the enters the bedroom with a towel hung loosely on his body, just giving the glimpse of his perfectly sculpted body. He then walks towards you ,sleeping on the plush bed with pillows underneath your head, your hair scattered everywhere on your face, your slightly parted lips had urged him to kiss you but he stopped as he remembered that you guys had to attend a wedding!
He caresses your forehead and brushes your hair off your face, you grab his wrist and kiss his knuckle earning a chuckle from the ravenette and you get up. The blanket was now on top of your head and you spin your head with the blanket. He observes your mini performance and how you tangle yourself more into the mess of the blanket. You groan as you look at the time on the clock placed on the nightstand. You were supposed to be up by 7:00 but now it seems like you woke up an hour late as it was 8:00 now. You get up from your bed irritatingly and fold your blanket and set your bed in order, Kuroo was observing you from corner of his eyes and had one of the biggest smiles plastered on his face. He could think of only one word and that was "Adorable." (Your mess is adorable 😣☹️)
You take a towel with you and you tie your hair into a messy bun before stepping into the bathroom. You set your products on the flat surface of the tabletop and get ready to take a quick shower.
Kuroo goes to the kitchen to look for something to munch on . He decides to make some breakfast as he knows once you get late you don't like to have breakfast and you also forget to carry some snacks with you. He takes out a pan and cracks open an egg and makes sunny side eggs the way you like it. He prepares some toast along with a cup of your favorite coffee. Your coffee preference always confused him because you were known to be a sweet tooth but you always liked your coffee to be bitter so that it would wake you up and help you stay awake during work.
You step out of your the shower-room and start drying yourself . As soon as you look up at the mirror you see some sticky notes on them. It had small messages written on them like "Before you forget I wanted to let you know that this big boy loves you and he fucking adores you!". "Good morning sweet cheeks ! You have no idea the amount of happiness you brought into my life! <3." You would call it cheesy or what not but those messages did make you giddy and lightheaded.
You smile looking at them and start getting ready. You apply some of your products and take out the dress you were supposed to wear. You come out of your room and enter the kitchen to have a small snack before leaving, because you knew that you would always get angry at your boyfriend if you weren't fed well. You were flabbergasted when you heard him humming to your favorite song as you enter the kitchen from the long hallway.
“Your wonder under summer skies
Brown skin and lemon over ice
Would you believe it?
You don't have to say you love me
I just wanna tell you something
Lately you've been on my mind”
You clear your throat as you look at Kuroo's flustered face and he whipped his head left and right to cover his pink cheeks and ears from your loving gaze. He was already surprised when you showed up but what escalated was the way you continued to sing the song
I'd walk through fire for you
Just let me adore you
I'd walk through fire for you
Just let me adore you"
You walk towards him as he sets the plate on the dining table with an enchanting smell of your coffee along with your favorite breakfast and to top that he also kept a small piece of the cake that you had bought a day ago. You were amazed at how much this guy knew you, your habits, your weirdness and what not. You guys look at each other for a brief second and continue to sing the song,
"Like it's the only thing I'll ever do
Like it's the only thing I'll ever do
I'd walk through fire for you
Just let me adore you
Oh, honey I'd walk through fire for you
Just let me adore you
Like it's the only thing I'll ever do"
You bow down as you perform this small set with your beloved and then hug him saying "Thank you I could not have done this without you " .After having your breakfast, you guys washed your dishes and finally after completing all the chores ,settled on your respective car seat.
The sun was high in the sky, the light came seeping through the shades you were wearing . The sky was almost the color of pastel pink , soft for the eye and absolutely lovely. The scenario outside looked mesmerizing almost breathtaking as you reach the venue of the wedding. You met your mother and she was complaining about how late you were , but you couldn't find right reasons to explain her. The only possible reason was that you overslept but the way you got ready, the way you cherished the moments ,the way you twirled around your house dancing to your favorite song with the person you love made your heart fill with upmost love you had for your boyfriend.
The wedding ceremony concluded and various toasts were made . A soft music played in the background which made you jolt out of your seat and you made your way to the dance floor with your boyfriend. He placed his arms around your waist pulling you closer and you placed your hand on his broad shoulder. You slow danced to the song and at that moment maybe today god was with you (quite rare), the sun had set in the background , the small rays making you look ethereal, the smile you had glowed more and the way your eyes shined made him blush. He looked so handsome as the way the sun kissed his features on his face , his wide smile and even his hazel eyes penetrating through your soul. It felt like he found the one for him , he found his home, his partner in crime, his paradise. At that moment Kuroo and You came to a conclusion and that was,
"You have to hold my hand tightly love, because it is a long journey ahead, lets dance till the end with your hand in my hand. Let's love till the end."
what: i reached a milestone a bit back and wanted to do another big event like spring tea session. but i just don’t have that kind of energy in me anymore haha so we’re gonna go with a mini one! thank you sm for your support and for giving my writing sm love. as always, i hope that i’ll continue to leave you with little pieces of my heart♡♡♡
when: friday, nov 5, 9pm hkt — monday, nov 8, 11:59pm hkt.
˚｡⋆.inch of gold: send me a favourite (sfw) sensation and drink (alcoholic is okay), and i’ll match you up with a haikyuu character and the pet they’ll adopt with you.
hi! i feel super fuzzy and warm whenever i smoosh my face against a glass tabletop when it’s storming outside and i can drink pickled plum juice all day
˚｡⋆.lucky star: send me your favourite word and memory, i’ll match you up with a haikyuu character and what you remind them of.
hello hello my favourite word is galaxy and my favourite memory is when my partner got temporary amnesia and forgot that we were married
˚｡⋆.lamplight: send me your ideal irl setting to live in and when/where you’ll time travel to and i’ll let you know who’ll you’ll meet in both of these places and a mini summary of your lived lives.
hey hey my ideal setting is living alone in a big, east asian city in my own apartment with a samoyed and no paper lamps! i’d like to travel back in time to the last year of college and tell myself that things will be okay
˚｡⋆.come chat and introduce yourself while i do these matchups! some prompts for your consideration...just in case...
your first/favourite anime/drama + how you eat your fries
favourite character overall/you see yourself with + your (least) favourite tropes/what you (dis)like in fics
the most interesting person you know + the one that got away
the most satisfying thing you’ve done + what you want to find in the lost & found
something that you’ve wanted to shout into the void for a long time now
˚｡⋆.please only send in asks during the noted time.
˚｡⋆.#event: worm: event posts will be under this tag.
˚｡⋆.#yuren’s food blog: posts containing food will be under this tag.
HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY TO MY BELOVED @tinalbion !!!! I'm so sorry for the delay and I super duper hope this is something you love! I hope your birthday was fantastic!!
WORD COUNT: 1509
WARNINGS: fluff, fem!reader which is tina, domestic norman, established relationship, just teeth-rotting fluff!!!!
When you woke up the bed was empty. It was winter, the hotel empty for weeks at a time, so you were sure Norman wasn’t out at the front desk. He woke you up on those rare occasions to let you know; he hated waking up to an empty bed and he didn’t want to make you feel that way. Sitting up and stretching, you glance around the room, a soft smile growing on your face.
Before Norman had allowed you to move into the bedroom with him, his place was quite sparse. He only had the necessities and a few of his mothers things tucked away in a box under the bed. When you came in, however, Norman felt like your mere presence lit the room up in a way he hadn't seen in a long time. You brought in colorful items, your own memories of your old life and your new one lining the walls.
“Norman?” You call, breaking the silence. You wait for a response.
“In here!” You hop out of bed, wrapping the quilt Norman had made you for your anniversary over your shoulder and you pad out of the room. The closer you got to the kitchen the warmer the house grew, the smell of bacon and eggs wafting towards you. You turn the corner into the kitchen and pause in the doorway, leaning against the frame.
Norman was in his pajama pants at the stove, humming along to the jazz song playing on the radio. His back and shoulders were littered in freckles from his time working around the hotel outside. You can't fight back the giggle that bubbles in your chest at the sight of him using the spatula in his hands as a microphone, wiggling his hips as he dances.
He turns around quickly at the sound, eyes wide and face burning bright red. “Oh! Tina, you scared me, honey.” You walk over to him and he wraps his arms around your waist, kissing your forehead. “Did you sleep well? I’m sorry for not waking you, I wanted to surprise you with breakfast in bed.”
“It’s alright. I slept well! How about you?” He kisses the tip of your nose and moves you around so, while you were still holding onto him, he was able to face the stove. On the table to your right was a metal tray, a teacup and two stacked plates on it. A mini vase with a single rose inside it sat beside it, clearly a sweet thing he was going to put on the tray when he brought you food.
“I slept nicely. You talk in your sleep still,” You scoff, letting go of his waist and he laughs kissing your cheek as you walk past him to the table. “It’s actually pretty cute. You were saying something about a goldfish and a bear, so I’m sure whatever dream you were having was fun.”
You groan, embarrassed, your head falling onto the cool tabletop. He tsks at the sound of your head thumping against the granite and turns the stove off, walking over and grabbing the tray. “So embarrassing.” You mutter and he shushes you.
His hand rubs circles on your back and you lift your head to look up at him. The sunlight coming from the open window was bouncing off of his tanned face, his brown eyes lit up like molten copper. Norman looked absolutely beautiful. “Go on and get back in bed, Tina. I still wanna give you breakfast in bed.”
“Only because you asked so nicely.” You tease, standing up and waddling back to the bedroom. In the beginning, a joke like that would have sent Norman into a fit, shutting down and getting hit by a wave of anxiety. Jokes at his expense, no matter how light or passing, used to hurt him. They still do, but when you make them, it only fills him with a warm, pleasant feeling.
You crawl back into bed, settling under the covers and waiting. You can hear Norman in the kitchen, the clanging of silverware and the sound of him cursing after a particularly loud noise floating down the hall to you. When he enters he’s holding the tray filled with food. “Here we go!” He puts the tray onto the bedside table and sets up the tray over the bed, one you had teased him about keeping. “And you said that we’d never use this!”
“I can admit when I’m wrong,” You hummed and he laughed softly. He sets the food onto the tray, kissing you on the cheek before walking around the bed and settling in beside you. “Thank you for making yourself food. I didn’t want to have to bug you about eating before you got to work today.” He blushes at the compliment. Before you it was common for Norman to skip meals accidentally, so occupied by his own work that he would come too and be sick to his stomach from the lack of food.
You had caught onto that immediately and promptly put a stop to it, making him sit down and eat no matter what it took. It meant a lot to him; reminded him of his mother, how she would dote on him and care for him. You take a bite of the food and you hum. “Did I do good?” He asks tentatively. Norman wasn’t a bad cook… but he wasn’t great either. There were often times where you would take a bite and have to force it down with a forced smile.
“Yeah, actually. You’ve gotten way better at cooking recently, Norm. You been practicing?”
“On occasion.” He was being humble now. Prepping for this day had taken weeks of planning solely on cooking you something appetizing. Norman watches as you eat, talking about something he couldn’t quite understand but found interesting nonetheless. Your passion and enthusiasm was contagious. “So, I have something I wanted to ask you.”
Turning your head to him, you swallow the bite of food quickly. “Go one…” Your heart was hammering in your chest for some reason. Norman was looking nervous and he was fiddling with his fingers, picking at his cuticles. A habit that only came out when he was worried. The possibilities flew through your mind as you waited; what if he was sick? What if he had decided that he didn’t want to be with you anymore? Hundreds of ideas, none that stuck, but Norman can tell you were getting yourself nervous.
“Hey, relax, alright? It’s nothing bad, I swear. It’s actually pretty good,” He says, grabbing a hold of your free hand. He was sitting upright on top of the covers and he put a hand into his pocket. You watched him curiously. “Hopefully you think so too.” He pulls his hand out of his pocket and reveals a ring. It was one you had seen on his mothers hand in the photos he had of her.
“Norman…” You were practically speechless. Your mind had gone blank and all you could do was stare at the ring, your eyes welling up with tears. His other hand was still on yours and you squeezed it tightly. His palms were sweaty.
He clears his throat and shifts in his seat. “Tina, I love you. I know I tell you that everyday, and I know I mean it every single time, but I’m not sure you understand just how much I do. Before you, I was… lost. I was a mess and I was so convinced that I would never find someone who would truly get me. And then you came in.
“You were so kind and appreciative, and empathetic. You were everything I had ever needed. I was a person before I met you but you made me a human. Tina, you gave me a reason to really look in at myself and get better because that’s what you deserve. All I want is for you to be happy and be taken care of and I want to do that for you. Will you marry me, Tina?”
He had stumbled over his words, his face bright red and beads of sweat beading at his forehead. You answer his question with a loud ‘Yes!’ and jump into his arms, your feet bumping into the tray of long-forgotten food. He laughs, the relief clear in his voice, and he kisses you.
The kiss is sweet, broken up by giggles and declarations of love. He pulls back slightly and holds your hand up, slipping the ring onto your finger. You rest your head onto his shoulder and stare at it, sniffling. You were so fucking happy. There weren’t words to explain what Norman meant to you and you would be lying if you said you hadn’t dreamt about this moment before. You just never thought it would happen so soon.
“I love you so much, Norman.”
“I love you too, Tina. My future wife,” He hums, kissing your temple. “That has a nice ring to it, don’t you agree?”
Cyberattacks & shortages - isolated incidents or test runs?
Months ago I made a video about how we might expect supply chain disruptions from cyberattacks.
Why did I make this prediction?
In 2019, the World Economic Forum, Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, and other major leaders wealthy elites hosted Event 201 a tabletop simulation to test preparedness for a global pandemic of a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus.
It now looks to be more and more likely that the lab in Wuhan was working on SARS-CoV-2 prior to this event, and we know China has involvement with the World Economic Forum (Xi was their keynote speaker at their 2020 Davos forum). So question: is it a coincidence that a novel coronavirus leaked from a lab less than a month after elites held a planning session that focused on how to use messaging and media to make people and businesses comply with “public health measures”?
Now, you may not be ready to go with me to “China did this on purpose and the WEF was in on it.” That’s fine. But at least we can acknowledge that maybe the WEF knew something we didn’t, and that the elite billionaires had a chance to prepare that we didn’t have.
This July, many of the same people will be involved in another planning exercise: this one called Cyber Polygon, focused on preparing for a cyberattack on our supply chain.
Now we’ve had two cyberattacks on our supply chain (Colonial Pipeline and now the JBS meat processing plants) within a matter of weeks. The oil pipeline caused short-term outages at gas stations in a particular region of the U.S. We don’t know what the impact of the JBS attack will be yet, but it could be much more widespread.
None of these events have been enough to totally collapse the economy (in order to Reset something, you have to turn it all the way off). Could we be in for another, much bigger attack? Possibly simultaneous attacks on multiple supply chain systems?
My theory - and please note this is just me connecting dots and throwing something at the wall to see if it sticks - is that in order to have a good tabletop exercise, you need data points from real-world events that you can use to build a simulated event.
With Event 201, they could look back to previous pandemics. With the supply chain, they may have found they didn’t have enough real-world examples to build their scenario. After all, it’s only been in the last few decades that our supply chains have been so dependent on internet-connected computerized systems.
If I’m right, this JBS cyberattack will cause short-term, localized shortages of meat in specific regions of the country. We won’t see the true widespread (nationwide or even global), empty shelves, no timeline for restocking kind of shortages until after the Cyber Polygon event in July.
My prediction will be winter. That’s when people are most dependent on the just-in-time delivery system to bring fresh produce from around the world, and energy demands are higher from increased heating and lighting needs.
If I’m right, you have time to prepare. I have time to get more prepared. But we cannot waste this time.
There are different ways you can go about being prepared for these things.
1. Store some extra water and have a way to filter and purify more. Sawyer has a great mini filter that’s good for 100,000 gallons. This way, if water filtration systems fail in your area or you have to find water from other sources, you can still make your water drinkable.
2. Store some extra food. This could mean an emergency food bucket (I’m still trying to find one I really love - Mountain House seems to be one of the good ones), or it can just mean buying a couple extra cans every time you go to the store. Consider learning how to store and preserve food (canning, dehydrating, etc) so you can take fresh foods and put them away for long-term storage. If you always have extra food on hand and use the oldest stuff first, you can always have a buffer of extra food for when the next crisis hits - whatever it may be.
3. If you have any space at all, even a patio or a sunny window, consider growing something that provides food. Anything. If only to have the experience of growing something so you know you could grow more if you had to. If you don’t have yard space for a garden, look for a community garden in your area and get involved. They’re usually happy to teach you the basics, and you often get to borrow tools and other supplies.
4. Move out of the cities if at all possible. When supply chains fail, the cities are the hardest hit. You have high population density and low resource density. We saw last year how even a hint of shortages caused people to fight over toilet paper. What will people do if the shelves are truly empty for weeks?
5. If you have the money and resources, there are some investments you can make now that can pay dividends no matter what crisis comes next. Solar panels, rainwater collection, and buying a freeze dryer are all great preps that make you less dependent on fragile systems.
All of these things are good in general to insulate you against the next financial, political, social, or health crisis that you face. Many of these will even be good for a crisis that just affects you and your family, like a job loss or a major unexpected expense. So even if you think I’m being alarmist about the cyberattacks, even if I’m totally wrong, these steps are still worth following.
But if I’m right, these steps could be the difference between knowing you and your family are safe in a time of crisis and being stuck with your family in a refugee camp waiting on rations from China.
warnings—angst , unrequited love , break-up , some aspects based off american high school , there may be a little ooc i'm still learning to writing the hq boys sorry :/
a/n—this is a one-shot i wrote i'm hoping to make into a series- i've started part two so that's promised if not a series, send an ask or wtv to be tagged for that <3
“I’m tired of hiding, Tooru. I’m tired of being kept a secret.” You said softly, twirling the necklace around your neck between two fingers. The weight of this relationship finally lifting off your shoulders, but that didn’t stop the inevitable thump growing in your throat. You love Oikawa, you really do, but you can’t keep going like this. Your heart won’t allow it. You want someone proud to show you off and cherish you with all they have. Maybe, your expectations were too high from the beginning; if you had set the bar lower, this all could have been avoided. Or if Oikawa truly cared for you, loved you as he said he did. Whatever the reason, the dull ache was too much to bear. “I can’t do this anymore; it hurts too much.”
Oikawa had not expected those words to leave your plush lips. No, he thought you’d complain again, he’d kiss it better, and you would forget about it, like usual. But this—this was the last thing he wanted to hear. You were happy; he was sure of it. What the hell provoked you to feel like this? “What do you mean? We agreed we would wait.”
“Yeah, months ago.” You wave your hand through the air. You had no intention of allowing the boy to dismiss your concerns, not again. “And every time I mention it, you disregard my feelings like they don’t matter.”
His eyebrows furrowed, a clear frown set on his face. “Of course, your feelings matter to me.”
“If that were true, we wouldn’t be in this situation.” Anxiety started creeping up your spine, a deep shiver demersing. You couldn’t help but feel off-put; if you didn’t end the conversation fast, you knew you’d slip back in his clutches. “Please, don’t make this any harder than it has to be. No one even knew we were together; that means things can go back to normal.”
“Normal?” He mumbled, eyes downcast to the floor. “What does that even mean? Nevermind that—is this about my fangirls? Because I can tell them to back off. Or Mei? Did she say something to you.” Oikawa’s calm demeanor began to wear off, and panic soon set it. The perfect picture he had planted in his head was decaying within the second, and he couldn’t manage the thought. He couldn’t even see the harsh reality behind his imagination; nothing about your relationship was ideal. Oikawa pushed you too far off the deep end, and as he tried to meet his own needs, he neglected yours.
His hands reached out to you, afraid you’d disappear if he didn’t get ahold of you soon.
The mention of his ex stung a little more than it should. But what are you supposed to feel? Tooru was publicly dating her for a lot longer than you've been together and you felt inferior to her in so many ways. They didn't break up on bad terms and you can't help but wonder if he still has feelings for her—it would justify his need to keep you a secret. “No! I’m done, I’m done with this, Tooru. This how couples are supposed to act; I don’t want to act like this. I’m sorry, but I can’t keep doing this. I need time, a break, anything but this.”
That night you both went home with a gaping hole in your chest and beds a little colder than before. Uncertainty crept in; was this a temporary break or a breakup. Neither of you had the answer.
You spent the first day of the long weekend cooped in your room, fresh tear streaks following the tracks on the old. On Sunday, you had to head to the school to decorate lockers for senior night or week in Sejohs case; the volleyball team had games on Tuesday and Friday this week. Luckily your appointed third year was Iwaizumi, so you didn’t have to trouble over an awkward encounter with Oikawa. Monday consisted of endless baking; it was safe to say you went slightly overboard. Assortments of brownies, cupcakes, mini cheesecakes, and peach cobbler aligned the countertops. One might say you’re a stress baker.
On the contrary, Oikawa spent his weekend hounding down on his team with tiring drills and repetitive rotations. His temper was short, and his attitude anything but playful. None of the club members wanted to be the one to confront their captain, leaving him alone in his thoughts—thoughts about you. At night he got little to no sleep, spending his sleepless nights replaying all his wrongs as if the answer will all of a sudden appear. But how is Oikawa supposed to fix a problem he didn’t even know what there.
Tuesday rolled around faster than anyone could have expected. You sat restlessly in the clubroom, waiting for Iwaizumi to meet you there. You requested him to join you in the room, considering you didn’t walk to school with him and Oikawa as you usually would. Regardless of where you interacted, you knew Iwa had many questions, and you’d preferably be interrogated in private than in front of the entire student body.
Iwa rushed into the room, school bag around his shoulder and one of his jerseys flailing in his hand. “Hey,” He spoke, his usually irritated tone nowhere to be heard. Upon seeing him, scorching anxiety rose in your chest. Deep breaths, Y/N, deep breaths. “I brought this.”
“Iwa, hi,” You chirped, hopping on the tabletop and embracing your friend—holding on a little tighter than usual. Despite your constant mantra of ‘I’m fine,’ you did long for some form of comfort. “Yes, right, thank you. Just set in on my bag. I want to show you what I made.” You dragged the boy by his hand to the table occupying your tasty treats. You figured he could share the desserts with the rest of the team once they won tonight. The hopeful look on your face slightly dropped. Iwa didn’t look as excited as you hoped for. Instead, he looked deep in thought, like something was bothering him.
“What’s going on?” He questioned quietly, finally meeting your puzzled eyes. “Come on, Y/N, you cook when you’re upset. Anyone who’s known you for more than a year knows that.”
Mouth ajar and eyes wide, you searched for an excuse to preach to Iwaizumi—although you know your attempts will be futile. Since you were in elementary school, you’ve grown up the boy and had no doubt he would read you like an open book. And if not you, then most definitely Oikawa. “Nothings going on; I just wanted you to have an array of options. Is that so bad? You could be a little more thankful, you know.”
“Of course, I’m thankful for all of this. But I’m going to find it a little concerning when Shittykawa is as quiet as a mouse, and you’ve got bags under your eyes from what? The hours you spent baking through the night?.” Iwa uttered, raising his voice a bit.
Unfortunately, that only further pushed you to the defensive stature. You wished he’d just leave it, shove it under a rug as you did this weekend. “Not everything I do involves Oikawa! If he’s acting weird, then you can ask him about that instead of undermining what I did for you!” You frantically grabbed your bag off the ground, planning to leave the room. “If you didn’t like it, you could have said thanks and thrown it away—”
“Hey, Hey,” A tight grip encloses around your bicep, halting your departure. “I’m sorry, I really like everything you did for me, you know cheesecake is my favorite. I just wanted to make sure you were okay. I’m sorry.” Iwaizumi’s grip doesn’t falter, even as your teary eyes meet his own.
The lump grew in your throat as you fought back the waterworks. “We broke up, or I broke up with him, I guess. Can you even break up with someone who didn’t want you in the first place?” You said, through a broken sob. Iwa doesn’t say anything. He just stares at you with the same pitiful look you’ve seen a thousand times. His free hand moved to the side of your face, patting your hair a few times before he pushed your head into his chest. Words wouldn’t provide you with the support you needed, so Iwa simply let you cry in his embrace—secretly plotting all the ways he wanted to beat Oikawa’s ass.
He didn’t need to ask. He knew all the reasons why this happened. Hell, Hajime had seen the foreseeable future unravel when Oikawa presented your relationship.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be such a downer on game day.” You lifted your head, lightly brushing your palms along his uniform, waiting for your tears to dry. The door to the clubroom snapped open, hitting the opposing wall, prompting you and Iwa to rush apart. The look on the face read shocked, more towards the fact you didn’t need the club questioning why you were crying this early in the morning. But the brunette boy in front of you idly took a long, deep breath encouraging you to do the same.
“Oh, are we interrupting something?”
“Just Iwa and his not-girlfriend, what’s new?” Mattsun and Makki seemed to be having a good morning, and not even Iawizumi could shake them out of the teasing moods. Despite their playful banter, you couldn’t help but focus on the silent set of eyes following your movements, and something about his silence was off-putting.
You turned to the two, a sly smile planted on your lips. “I’m not even indulging,” Fake it til’ you make it. “But I did make a small arsenal of desserts, so help yourself-”
“If I decide to share with these idiots.”
“Help yourself-if Iwa chooses to so graciously gift you the pleasure.” You said sweetly, playfully bowing as Mattsun and Makki rolled their eyes. “I have to go to class, so enjoy, and good luck.”
“Here I got it.” Iwa offered, plucking your bag from the floor with a small smile. The kind gesture made your heart flutter, your mood beginning to lift simultaneously. Ever since you were little, Iwaizumi always seemed to know what you needed to feel better, almost like an institution. Maybe that’s why his tone was short and sharp when he told Oikawa to move away from the door as you tried to leave, you’re used to his cold demeanor, but it was unsettling. You didn’t want him to be this angry with his best friend because of you, although it was a little awarding.
Oikawa’s lips laid ajar, fumbling his thoughts to form a reasonable enough sentence. He wanted to say something astounding to you, something that gave you no choice but to come back to him. He planned it all day yesterday, but now as you hide behind Iwa, he drew a blank.
“I’m serious, Oikawa. Move.”
Oikawa hung his head in shame, shuffling to the side, allowing you and Iwa to exit the room. The overwhelming feeling of patheticness climbing his veins. He didn’t mind his best friend’s anger towards him, but this wasn’t rage. Iwaizumi was disappointed, and Tooru couldn’t shake his glare.
Practice was usually a time the boys could assert their worries into energy, but the thick tension left everyone unsettled. Today’s warmup was eerily different.
Tooru watched you bounce in and out of the gym with the rest of the cheer squad; Iwa’s jersey adorned your figure. His expression held that of a kicked puppy, and it was pissing off the rest of the team. They needed their captain in his best frame of mind if they wanted to win.
Hajime’s humorless laugh broke the silence. “I warned you, you know.” Oikawa shifted his attention. “I told you you’d only hurt her, and you continued reassuring me you wouldn't, time after fucking time. And...there was a time I believed you, but you’re a liar, and Y/N sees it too.”
Oikawa’s sadness morphed into anger, eyes twitching as he bit the inside of his cheek. “If I’m a liar, that makes you one too.” He sneered, eyes still downcast on the court. His emotions were on overdrive, plucking and pinching in his mind. Oikawa knew he should resort to this method of release, but he was losing all control.
The ace sucked in a sharp breath, eye blazing. “Yea, well, I can live with that. Can you?”
Coach cut the conversation short, asking why the boys weren’t warming up before the game. The captain and ace have begotten many altercations through the years, but they always found a way to convert their anger into power. Coach Irihata only hopes that proves true with tonight’s game.
You, on the other hand, had a million tasks to complete before you could settle down in the gym, so you ultimately missed the scuffle in the gym. Just that didn’t make you ignorant to the rising tension, and you couldn’t help but feel it was your fault.
Summary || Morgan Stark drags Bucky to one of her legendary tea parties, Sam leaving him to drown in pink fluff and glitter.
Warnings || Bucky actually smiles
You do not have permission to post my work anywhere else
“Lay up Cyborg, live a little. It’s not like I’m gonna di—”
“Look! Sam, I drew something for you!”
The two men’s attention is diverted from their conversation as little Morgan Stark comes barreling down the hallway, paper flapping in one hand and an assortment of crayons in the other. Her hair is covered in little butterfly clips, strands adorned with a wide array of colors from the chalk dye strewn across her cherry wood floors. She’s wearing a massive tutu, dressing to the 9s in a blue ballerina costume.
Sam smiles at the little girl, always excited to see what she has to offer. Ever since Tony passed, all of the Avengers men have taken on a father-like role towards the child, always making sure she feels loved and cared for. It’s the least they can do.
He bends down to her eye level, giving her his full attention. The smile on Sam’s face is in complete contrast to the grimace adorning Bucky’s features.
“What’s up sweetheart? Whatcha got?”
The little Stark giggles in excitement, overjoyed to see her two favorite Avengers come to see her again. They’re always quite busy, saving the world and everything. So each visit is quite meaningful to her. They’ll never replace Tony, but they ensure that his memory and love for Morgan is something she’ll never lack. They’d all die before that happens, and she knows that.
She takes the drawing from behind her back and lays it out for both of them to see. It resembles some sort of bird-like figure, Sam thinks to himself. Next to it is a robot-type figure, not failing to notice the frown etched into his features with a Crayola marker. Shaking with excitement, the little Stark looks at the two men expectantly.
“What is it?”
Morgan sighs loudly, annoyed by their stupidity and lack of “artistic vision”. The two men have yet to figure out where she learned such a concept.
“It’s you guys! Duh!” Their mouthes form into an ‘o’ shape in understanding.
“Well it’s stunning. It’s absolutely beautiful Morg. You know, I might have frame this one actually. When you become a famous painter, this is gonna be worth so much money!” Morgan squeals, jumping around excitedly as Sam praises her.
“I think it’s kind of ugl—” Sam cuts him off by sending a small electrical current to Bucky’s arm, causing him to hunch over in pain as he’s being electrocuted.
“What he was trying to say is that it’s very avant-garde, meaning unique in the art world. Don’t worry little Stark, it’s a good thing.” Sam smiles at her encouragingly, hoping Terminator’s harsh words back there wash over her. She nods in understanding, James’s words already long forgotten.
The two men attempt to continue their conversation from before, discussing details about their next mission. There’s a hostage situation in the Palace of Westminster, the perpetrators threatening to blow the whole thing up with everyone in it. But before they can really strategize how to scope out the place, Sam feels a tap on his leg.
“Can you guys come to my tea party?”
“Actually Morgan, we have to go so—” Bucky starts to say before being rudely cut off my bird-man to his left. Sam shoot daggers in his partner’s direction and the words die in his throat.
“Actually, I have to go take care of something really quickly. But Bucky can join you.” At those words, Bucky’s head jolts in his direction, giving Sam one of the meanest looks he’s probably ever seen. But the big man is all bark and no bite, so Sam just laughs in his face. Bucky’s fists tighten at his sides, thinking of all the ways he plans to torture and murder Sam when they leave the Stark house.
Morgan, on the other hand, is practically bursting at the seams. Bucky doesn’t know this, but he’s her favorite of all the Avengers, especially because his titanium arm reminds her of her dad’s suit. She feels closer to him when she’s with Bucky. Plus, they’re both kinda stoic, but it’s only an act in her eyes. She knows that deep down, he has a heart of gold.
Morgan takes Bucky by the hand, dragging him down the hallway back to her room. Meanwhile, Bucky looks back at Sam, pleading for some kind of mercy or aid. Sam, of course, provides no such thing and only cackles at his best friend’s misfortune. He says goodbye to Pepper, promising to be back once he finishes talking to Torres.
Meanwhile in a certain Stark’s bedroom…
Morgan bounced from corner to corner of her large bedroom, capturing all of the items she needs for this special occasion. It’s not often she has a guest for her weekly tea parties, let along James Buchanan Barnes of all people. She has to make a good impression if he’s ever going to come back.
Standing like a dark looming giant,surrounded by tiny chairs and more pink and purple than he’s ever seen, Bucky is clearly out of his element. At 6’0 tall, he stands taller than anything in this room, standing neck and neck with the canopy bed in the middle. Morgan doesn’t take notice of his discomfort however, she’s just happy to have him. She whips around him, gathering her stuffed animals at the table and setting up the placemats for each guest.
Almost as if having an epiphany, the mini Stark girl gasps and runs out the bedroom, yelling that she’ll be right back. Bucky wanders around the room, taking notice of all the little trinkets and toys that he, along with the rest of the team, gifted to her over time. His lips contort into a ghost of a smile, reminiscing all the times Morgan screamed for joy every time they came bearing gifts. The gifts didn’t really matter to her, though. It was just their presence that set her heart into cardiac arrest and her cheeks aflame. They were her family.
Not soon after, Morgan returns dragging a more normal sized chair into her room. Bucky is surprised at this action, as the small girl is barely breaking a sweat. That is, until he noticed the two small gadgets attached the back of the chair, marked with Tony’s insignia. So little Stark is smart, just like her dad.
Morgan sets the chair down next to her own pink, fluffy and bedazzled throne at the head of the table. She sits down, motioning Bucky to take a seat and calls the tea party into session. Bucky’s eyes wander over the pristinely white tabletop, taking in the wide assortment of snacks. From shortbread, frosted oatmeal cookies, to cheeseburgers and mini sandwiches, you name it and she’s got it. The baked goods are Pepper’s doing of course, courtesy of her daily afternoon attempts to become the next Martha Stewart. Morgan doesn’t mind at all, eager to indulge in a daily sugar high as the designated guinea pig.
“Tea?,” the child offers, “it’s raspberry, your favorite.” James can’t help but blush as her consideration of his tastes. For a kid, she’s a pretty decent host. He quickly covers up his blush by coughing and nods firmly.
After filling up the China tea cups lined up around the table, Morgan moves towards introductions. “Bucky, these are my friends. There’s Mr.Whiskers, Genevieve, Fae, Natasha, Tony, and James. They’re very happy to have you here with us. They think you look quite nice today.”
James? As in… Bucky can’t help but blush again, honored that Morgan named one of her beloved stuffed animals after him. He smiles shyly, staring at the lavender Elephant across the table. The girl doesn’t fail to notice his smile, happy that he’s happy.
“So James, how do you feel about glitter?”
The doorbell rings sometime around 7:00, just after sunset. Pepper opens the door to a smiling Sam, carrying a mysterious box by his side. He just left Torres house, the two men agreeing to scope out the place just before dawn when everyone is still sleeping. That way, they can get a good picture of what it looks like on the inside without having to use night vision technology.
“What’s in the box?”
“Lemon Merengue. For Morgan.” Lemon Merengue is Morgan’s favorite dessert. So by bringing her some, Sam hopes that she’ll forgive him for taking a rain check on one of her illustrious tea parties.
“They’re still down the hall.” Pepper points in the direction of mini Stark’s room, before returning to her baking. Tonight, she’s trying devil’s food cake.
Even from down the hall, Sam can hear the chatting of two distinct voices, a deep scratchy one and a much higher, daintier tone. He shakes his head at Morgan’s complete lack of an inside voice when she’s excited. They must be having a blast in there.
To Sam’s surprise, Bucky actually seems to be enjoying himself. He stands in the doorframe, watching the two chat back and forth while a Disney movie soundtrack plays in the background. From the distinct piano, Sam recognizes Beauty & the Beast (also one of Morgan’s favorites).
Sitting down obediently, Bucky gives Morgan his full attention as she places puffy stickers on his titanium arm and adds little doodles to his real one. He smiles as he watches her drawing a picture of the two of them with princess tiaras and feather boas, just like they are now. She babbles away, telling him the details of the movie she wants them to watch together. It’s called Tangled, he learns.
Sam decides to leave the two alone, going back to help Pepper bake in the kitchen. Although, not before snapping a picture of the two together, reminding himself to print it and put it on the fridge. He knows that Pepper isn’t exactly the kindest person to be in the kitchen with, as she is very bossy and demanding. But he’d take that over ruining this special moment in the princess-themed room down the hall.
He can still hear the faint giggles and screams of Morgan, this time begging Bucky to stop tickling her. She pleads for mercy but he refuses to budge, only making her laugh harder and her giggles to bounce off the walls like they’re in an echo chamber. And to think, he was gonna say no earlier.
[12:00am] "Happy birthday!!!" Your friends shouted as you undefended in your discord call and your animal crossing character exited the airport on Donghyuck's island. The 2021 balloon arch was right in front of the pathway towards the airport entrance, various coloured balloons lining the entranceway. Your friends all popped their confetti poppers as you walked under the arch.
"Thank you oh my gosh, this is so cute!" You said happily. You followed your friends as they led you towards the bulletin board at Donghyuck's resident services, where it was filled with short birthday messages from each of them.
You thanked each of them as you read the posts on the board, thanking chat as well as they too flooded with little birthday messages. You and the boys conversed and ran around Donghyuck's island, and you failed to notice your boyfriend's absence as the other six boys dropped small gifts to you. It wasn't until you noticed the question asking of your boyfriends whereabouts circling in chat that you furrowed your eyebrows and brought it up with the boys.
"Guys, where's Hyuck?" You asked, running around your island. There was a pause, followed by a chorus of hesitant hums before Mark made a statement.
"I think he just went to grab a drink or something, he'll be back soon." He said, a reassuring smile evident in his voice. You laughed softly, slightly confused at Donghyuck's timing, but not minding all that much. The boys hopped back into the conversations, distracting you from the lack of your boyfriend's lively voice, until there was a knock on your door. You furrowed your eyebrows and got up to open it after excusing yourself for a second.
"Hyuck, what are you-" You started, opening the door, only to have the rest of your words be caught in your throat when you laid eyes on your boyfriend; party hat on his head and a cake in his hands.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!" He hollered, moving further into your office as you stepped aside. You shut your door behind you with a giggle and hurried back over to your desk, pulling up an extra chair and clearing a space on the tabletop. You covered your mouth to suppress bubbly laughter when you looked at your discord call, seeing that the rest of the boys had turned on their cameras and all wore party hats that matched Donghyuck's. Donghyuck moved into frame as you sat in your chair and watched chat fill with excitement upon seeing the cake.
Your face lit up with happiness as you changed your stream category and displayed the boys on your screen instead, chat immediately flooding with "awwww" and love emotes. Donghyuck kissed the top of your head before helping you slip the extra party hat on your head.
"How the fuck did you hide this cake from me, babe?" You asked, taking a better look at the cake. Your eyes went wide upon realizing it was a recreation of the birthday cake from New Horizons.
"Well the rest of the guys helped out quite a bit. Chenle kept the cake at his place pretty much all day and when you started streaming with Jisung, Jen, and Jaem, Chenle dropped it off!" Donghyuck explained with his smile made of sunshine and pulled his chair closer to yours. You looked over at your group of friends with a soft smile as your heart melted, proud smiles appearing on their faces.
"You guys are the best, what the heck. Thank you so much!" You repeated to your friends. You turned to Donghyuck with a sweet smile; he was quick to lean in and press a kiss to your lips. It was quick, hyperaware about keeping things stream friendly, but filled with love nonetheless.
"Alright! Let's get these candles lit and you can make a wish!" Donghyuck said, clapping his hands together before reaching for the lighter he had previously placed on your desk out of frame. You thanked donations, subs, and nice messages in chat again as your boyfriend began lighting the candles and your friends conversed quietly. Donghyuck moved the cake in front of you once all six candles were ablaze.
"Hey chat, we know that discord delay is a thing but we're going to sing happy birthday together anyway because it's the thought that counts!" Donghyuck spoke directly to your views, looking directly into your camera. You laughed softly as your friends cleared their throats.
On the count of three (roughly), the six voices came in a mess through your headphones, following your boyfriends from right beside you. You laughed more, and your cheeks turned pink in slight embarrassment. Even over a video call, having people sing happy birthday to you was just as awkward as it would be in person; but your heart still swelled with love. Their efforts were truly endearing, and you couldn't ask for more.
You giggled and clapped your hands together as they reached the end of the song. Donghyuck rubbed circles on your back with his thumb, watching you close your eyes softly and blow out the candles. Applause came through your headphones when you opened your eyes again and you shook your head.
"What'd you wish for, baby?" Donghyuck said quietly, kissing your shoulder. You turned to him and pecked his nose.
"That, my love, is a secret." You smiled before turning back to your stream, engaging with chat and your friends again. Donghyuck smiled softly and kissed your cheek before moving the cake out of frame to cut it.
On the other side of the class, Ms. Zywicki I see is distracted by Professor Thottie who has decided to go without his blazer during a period of required focus. My pencil eraser sits between my teeth as I watch him move about with my thigh crossed over my leg in a black leather miniskirt. He's been purposely avoiding my eyes.
He has a broad back, legs leading up to an ass that won't quit, and arms that could destroy me. I quiver at the thought. There's something electric about that idea and.. that table.. at the front of the class.. would do just fine. I can imagine his hands around my neck as he takes me in front of the class giving them the show they know they all want.
Someone's dropped pen reminds me to get back to work and for a minute or so, I do. But..
He's been shrewdly strolling through the aisle with those gold-rimmed glasses on the edge of his nose and his muscled arms crossed making the students who didn't adequately study nervous by peering over their shoulders and making stink faces dependent on their test answers. I can't help but remain aware of his presence.
I circle and write in the correct answers on my test. I would've gotten an A on my own, but it's alright. I'll get a perfect score.
Glancing back up through my lashes I'm in time to see Professor head back to his favorite seat on the corner of the front table. He has a handful of student papers but his eyes flicker subtly to my bare thighs and back to the papers. It's an eye motion that's easy to miss. I, however, observe the slight lick of his lips and the fact that he doesn't flip pages. He keeps stealing glances.
Why not give him a show?
Focused on my test, I let the hem of my mini raise slightly, adjusting my legs so that he sees the meeting of my glowing toffee brown thigh and ass.
Just like that his clipboard slips, clanging to the floor. Biting my lip I keep my eyes on my test as he picks it up slow as if he's slick. I know what he wants to see.
I uncross and recross my legs in the opposite direction, innocently of course.
When I finish, I finish first. I stand and he keeps his eyes down as I put the completed test next to him on the front table and walk out nearly giggling at his behavior. I finally do what he asks, wearing less in class, and he can't handle it. I guess the lack of panties caught him off guard. Oopsie!
There's a scene at the of the hall where a few students are gathered and I head that way to see police standing around.
"What happened," I ask a guy in a faded grey tshirt. He does that thing that white people do when they take that initial first second to assess you, looking at you like you're short before answering your very simple question. It drives me crazy.
"The details aren't certain, but they found a body on campus."
My eyes widen. "Again?"
"What do you mean again, this happened recently?"
"In my dorm, a girl was killed."
"This one's a guy, someone found him in the trashcan out front," he nods toward the scene. "Someone dismembered him but there're no leads as to who."
"What the hell is going on around here? You'd expect this at a DeVry, but Stanford?"
...I kinda want to see the body.
After all I do plan to be CSI. I'll be in the gore of it, collecting forensic evidence for analyzing. I'm not squeamish.
I try walking up but the they're shewing students away and I get it. I just wonder now the race of the victim.. the motivation of the killer..
The pattern of the blood spill!
I clap in dark excitement and spin off toward the car that's waiting for me. My loyal sub has asked to treat me to a juicy porterhouse at Sundance.
"Travis," I smile climbing into the car. He's a cute older Italian and Chinese mix and he's starting to grey which he's self conscious about. I keep telling him to stop dying his hair black but he's stubborn. "Take me to my dorm so I can put on some panties."
"Oh mistress," he grins, "You don't have to do that on my account."
"That's true, I could send you up to get them for me. Go ahead and don't touch all over my shit, grab one pair and come right back. Don't be weird."
He's definitely going to be weird, but it's part of his charm. I always tell him to be himself and I can picture him now, in my room trying on my panties in the mirror after tucking his dick then jerking off. He'll probably steal them to hide them, launder them, and keep them hoping I won't notice they're missing. Ten minutes later, he comes back to the car and I can tell I was right. His sneaky ass cannot sneak or hide anything from me. I apply my gloss in the pull down mirror.
"Mm," my lips purse in faux judgment. "You can have them," I smirk watching his lip quiver. "But you have to wear them through dinner."
After dinner, he offers to return me to my school's campus but I've been there long enough. Instead, we go to his and grab a couple glasses of wine.
His Italian side shows in his collection. Pinot Grigio, Proseco, Chianti.. For a while, we just talk and it feels good to have a non-academic conversation with no looming responsibility.
"You look so beautiful," he says suddenly.
"You said that five times already."
Rising from my cushion, I take his glass and set it on the tabletop next to my empty one as he stares at me in admiration.
"Now come suck my pussy."
"Hell yes," his eyes widen as I guide him by the hand up his staircase to his room, having full reign of his home.
"Give me this." I raise up a stainless steel chain bracelet from his nightstand. I have him clasp it. "Looks better on me don't you think?"
"Way better on you, Mistress. You are perfect."
Sigh. "I know."
Shifting his pillows to my comfort, I lay back across his bed. This is my resting time when I can relax and be catered too with no disruptions. He knows the drill. He puts two slices of cucumber over my eyes, turns on the mood music, and gently moves my skirt up to kiss on my inner thighs, meandering lovingly over the fabric of my panties for about 5 minutes before I decide... I want the money in his wallet.
He gives me his wallet from his pocket and as he's between my thighs, I count his loose cash. It's not much, $87, but I still take it. It's my dream to be filthy rich and little things like this won't help but it will buy new shoes.
I give him permission to remove my panties and then he's eagerly exploring my garden.
Since he loves the frangrance of the flowers, I let him spend time as I record him from above with my phone, relaxed as if it were a spa. I know he won't mind me posting this as long as I doesn't fully show his face.
When the text notification from Professor Stevens crosses my screen I click on it immediately to read it. It says to meet him at his office and he expects my arrival within two hours.
Ok, I reply and he immediately corrects me. Yes, master.
"How would you feel about me driving your car," I ask Professor Stevens as I lead the way to the black Mercedes Benz in his parking space. He smirks, a definite hell nah that makes me smile. I just want to be aggravating.
"Can I drive just this once?" I stand at the driver's side door and he bumps me to take my place. I bump him back.
"Watch it, slave."
"Plea-ee-eeese," I jump as he unlocks the door getting in. He hits me in the thigh meat under my ass.
"What I just say?"
"I heard you..," I pout. "I just feel like you didn't mean it so I'll ask a few more times. Can I drive just this once?! Only to your house?"
"Ain't your subs got cars? Drive one of them."
"I do.. but I'm saving to buy my own new vehicle straight out in cash. Also Professor, it's don't your subs have cars."
His door shuts and the car starts, zooming back in reverse, straightening to leave me. I put my hand up and he stops long enough for me to walk around and get in. Of course, I adjust my skirt first.
"Did you hear about the murders on campus," I ask turning down the radio just as he's getting into the song.
"Yes, I'm sorry about your friend.."
"One of my subs are installing an extra lock on my door right now because I don't feel safe. First my dorm, now the body was discovered out in the garbage at the science building. Has this happened before at Stanford?"
"At Stanford? It's new to me. Be careful hanging around by yourself."
"Nigga, I don't want to be careful, I want to be safe."
The car jerks and out seatbelts keep us both upright. "Now you know better than that.."
"Master," I correct with a side-eye. "Don't play like that though, my constitution is too delicate for the foolishness right now."
"Fuck your constitution," he mumbles, an idea lighting his face. "Hey, I know what you need tonight."
"After nearly giving me whiplash? I don't think you do.. Master."
From my fixed and fully nude position I watch him work. My neck and wrists are cuffed in a bar that sits over my shoulders. I'd comment but he's placed a ball gag in my mouth. At least the ball is pink.
He extends the spreader bar separating my cuffed ankles so that my legs are splayed wide on this red rug. Did I mention, I am fully nude?
I can't turn around while restrained like this so I can't see what Professor Stevens is grabbing, but I have an idea where this could go and I'm right. He sets up a big black industrial looking vibrator on a stand with it flush against my clit. This one has a chord that the stand is built to also hold. The chord plugs into the outlet. He turns it on.
"Breathe in and out through your nose," he directs from behind, groping and kneading my breasts as my chest rises and falls, the vibration low, steady, and even. "Keep breathing in and out."
He tugs gently on my nipples both together then one at a time.
"Mm," I moan as he grasps my neck with his right hand, squeezing my breast in his left. The vibration level increases.
"Breathe," he reminds me as I pant. I can feel that I'm building and I move my hips continuing to breathe to slow it down. "Good, keep breathing."
In and out, in and out. I'm focused.
I close my eyes briefly, the feel of cool metal slowly clamping onto my sensitive nipple opening my eyes.
When he lets go I feel the weight pulling and it's a direct line to my clit which jumps as the vibration level is increased again.
"Don't cum," he directs.
I'm breathing through it.
He attaches the second clamp gently and slowly lets go as a spring flows from between my smooth open thighs. I couldn't hold it.
As the weights pull on my nipples he raises the vibration. It's loud and strong. My eyes roll back and I'm no more good.
"I told you not to cum," he says from behind. I laugh inwardly in ecstasy, panting. I'm about to come again. "That's funny?"
He removes the gag and I take a breath to quell my building orgasm, a laugh coming out.
"Obviously," I breath, deeply humored but knowing I'll regret it.
"I'll show you funny.. My type of funny."
When he comes out front there's a wooden cane in his hand that has me nervous. His dick is hard in his tan pants which means he has it out for me.
"No sir, it's not funny." I shake my head, coming again. He hits the bottom of my foot and I flinch.
My knees want to close. Surprisingly it's bearable which soothes my anxiety.
"See? Trust me."
"It will only hurt you as much as I want it to."
That one hurt.
"Mmmm," I groan fighting as my body wants to cum again. He briefly grabs his bulge through his pants.
"I told you.."
"-Not to cum.."
Smack. Smack. Swat.
My knee trembles.. moreso from the force of the vibrator. I can't hold it in.
"-And yo ass came 3 times.."
"Maybe if you turn down the damn machine I won't cum so much."
His eyes widen with the grin that says I fucked up.
"I'm sorry master!" I rush but it's too late.
SWAT. SWAT. SWAT.
I whimper and pant with tears falling because the shit stings like a bitch! I twist my ankles and tug at the restraints.
"Stop crying. This ain't nothing.. Keep fuckin moving I'm a really use it." He pauses with a face of disappointment. "No the fuck you ain't cum again.."
"I can't help it," I groan fighting the one I feel in the verge of slipping. "This strong ass industrial vibrator is directly on my damn cookie!"
SWAT. SWAT. SWAT.
"STOP MOVING OR I'LL GO HARDER."
Whining, I try my hardest to stay still because I see him getting excited and he wants me to keep moving so he can keep hitting me. My knees tremble.
"Fuckfuckfuck," I cry now in a full sob.
"You think it pleases me when you cum without my permission?" His chest is rising and falling faster and his voice has more rasp. I look away because I'm trying so hard not to cum. He takes off his glasses. "Look at me!"
I look up. His face is smug with a smirking evil glint in his eye.
"No sir," I sob. Biting my lip I feel it. It's coming. I try to disappear mentally and not feel it, moving my hips. "Please master can I cum!?"
"No you may not. Slave. What will you do from now on when you feel like you need to cum?"
"Ask, master.. PLEASE! Can I cum?"
"NO. Hold it until I say you can."
"I can't!" It's coming either way.
"Why do you think I should let you off so easy when you know what I wanna do to you?" He fixes the cane in his hand and I whine again as he licks his lips.
"I'll please you, I swear," I beg with tears streaming. Anything to cum and avoid getting caned. "I swear, master!"
"And what are you?"
"I'm your slave, I'm your slut. Please can I cum!"
I moan so loud my entire body flexes and it's one of the strongest orgasms of the year.
"Thank you sir," I groan and for the next half hour, I cum repeatedly with him groping my breasts, tugging gently on the weights pulling against my strained nipples, thanking him after every orgasm.
"Please," I sigh once I've hit my limit for one round.
"Master," I cry.
"You want more?" He sounds hopeful, ready to turn up the machine.
"No. No no no..," I breathe barely able to speak. I want to laugh because I'd die if he turned it up.
"Really? You?.. Ms. Gemini herself tapping out?"
"Crazy," I humor him.
"Nah, you can go a bit more."
I honestly need a minute or two to collect myself without anything touching me.
He purses his lips, pride flowing through him. At this point, I give it to him. He turns the vibration down until it's off and gently removes the nipple clamps. I watch patiently as he removes my restraints.
"Fuck.... I need a nap," I giggle as he helps me off of the floor and onto the twin bed with the black satin sheet. Surprisingly he switches the lights off and lets me as he sits in the chair watching over me. I don't hear shit else as I doze off.
“Whats this dice for again?” Karl asks, poking curiously at the d12 you had told him not to touch at least four times ready. You were rummaging through your dice bag, carefully picking out the matching sets to the d20s you had rolled the highest on.
You take the dice from him, carefully placing it beside its brethren. “You probably won’t need to use that one much. It’s mostly used for large weapons and your character is too small to use those.” You place the mini he had selected from your collection before him. It was a small gnome cleric mini you had painted several years before. The paint job was subpar compared to your more recent work and Karl’s character wasn’t a cleric, but it was all you had on such short notice.
Originally your plan was to buy him his own mini and have a miniature painting date, as you had a few you already had to paint and you didn’t doubt it would take Karl all day to paint his given how delicate the miniatures turned out to be, but the game shop had been closed due to COVID and you couldn’t find any you liked online.
Anyway, you preferred to buy in shop and support your local gaming shops.
“My character is so cute.” Karl giggles excitedly.
You smile. “You gotta start praying I don’t kill your cute little gnome in your first session.”
“Babe!” Karl says, betrayal clear on his face. You giggled lightly and leaned towards him, pressing a firm kiss to his lips before you continued to collect your dice.
“I promise I won’t try to kill your character. Sometimes it just happens and that’s on the dice, not me.”
“Why do you own so many sets of them if they are so cruel!”
“Because they are so pretty.”
Karl lifts one of your d20s, carefully holding it against the light that spilled from a nearby lamp. The dice shimmered between his fingers, the glitter catching the light perfectly enough to send a sparkly highlight onto his cheekbone.
You gentle poked the highlight, unable to keep the tender look off your face.
“It is pretty.” Karl agrees, placing the d20 in your hand before pulling your fingers up to his lips and pressing a firm kiss to your knuckled. “I still don’t think you need more than 10 sets of dice though.”
You gasp playfully. “So rude.”
Karl giggles once more.
It was almost half an hour later before you and Karl were ready to start your dungeons and dragons session. Karl never realized how long it took to set up for a session. Normally when you’d text him saying you were preparing for D&D over an hour and a half before you and your friends had arranged to start your session he would pout, saying it couldn’t possibly take that long and he wanted to spend more time with you before the tabletop game took you away for several more hours.
Karl knew he would never say that again. Between watching you set up your own station, meticulously going over your notes one final time before the session, and setting up the actual playing area Karl could see why it took so long.
Normally your setup would be on a large table, your friends surrounding the table and the map with your miniatures and the small modular sets you made for the game in the center of the screen but now it was a little different. Given that COVID prevented your friends from coming over the whole setup was on the smaller scale, with a camera pointing at the set up from above while your phone captured the side of the small forest scene that was currently on the table.
It was all so careful and Karl couldn’t help but watch as you moved some of the scenes around, replacing some of the trees that crowded the space with bushes instead. It was so sweet watching you so dedicated to something.
You felt arms wrap around your waist as you leaned over the table.
“Karl!” You shout as you jump back a little, startled by his arms.
He places his face against the crook of your neck, inhaling deeply. “You’re so perfect.”
“You’re pretty sweet yourself, babe.” You laugh.
You turn in his arms, wrapping your own around his neck as you watch him carefully. His expression was soft and familiar, a small grin at his lips and eyes smiling at you lovingly. You move your hands to cup his cheek. He immediately moved against your touch, pressing his cheek further into your hand.
“Are you nervous about playing?” You ask, rubbing your thumb against his chin.
“I don’t think it can be more nerve-wracking than live streaming, right?” Karl asks. You shrug. “I’m not really scared, I just don’t want to ruin the game for you and your friends. You’ve all been playing for years and I don’t want to ruin the dynamic.”
“Karl, of course that won’t happen.” You promise. “My friends all love you. You’re going to make the sessions so fun.”
“Is D&D as serious as it looks online?”
You shake your head. “Nah, it’s mostly just us goofing off to a slight plot. It’s a little like group therapy but you get to pretend to kill things and romance your friends.”
“How do I romance your character?” Karl asks, carefully pushing a strand of your hair out of your face.
“Well, seeing as my character is every character that isn’t played by one of you guys I’d say it depends on which one you want to romance.”
“Which ones your favorite?”
“Hmm, probably Eanok Raslin. They’re a 60-year-old Dragonborn artificer that builds and enchants some cool stuff for the party.”
“That’s a lizard. I can’t seduce a lizard.”
You laugh loudly. “Sure you can. Be careful though, Eanok’s a biter.”
Can you write Diavolo or Lucifer (or both) with a tiny!MC? I mean, MC would be helpless against either of them regardless of their size, but, you know, it would emphasize the power difference a little.
It’s a metaphor, baby! Although, every Darling might be a mini Darling compared to Diavolo, not that Lucifer isn’t a wall of a man on his own. I’d hardly think their Darling would have a chance, against the both of them.
Title: Cruel and Unusual
TW: Shrinking, Unhealthy Relationships, and Implied Captivity.
“How long is this going to last?”
The question was mumbled, spoken under your breath and barely audible, even to the one asking it. You supposed it was fitting. It was hard to make yourself known, like this. It was hard to do anything, like this. When you were barely as tall as your captors’ thumbs, doors were insurmountable obstacles, common housepets turning into dangerous predators and any platform that may have been a fraction of your normal height becoming an inescapable prison. Lucifer’s desk was no different, a cell of scattered pens and stacks of paper that weren’t nearly as comfortable as you imagined they’d be. Right now, your weight was fully supported by the square base of Lucifer’s antique hourglass, its contents having gone still and settled while Lucifer continued to scribble away at whatever grand declaration he was working on. You didn’t care enough to remember the details, despite all the many times he’d explained them. Attachment was an affliction to be feared, in your current relationship.
He glanced towards you but didn’t look away from his work, barely scanning over your much smaller form before he bothered to express his poorly-veiled disinterest. “What was that, love?”
“This curse,” You clarified, quickly remembering all the many, many times he’d corrected your descriptions. “The vex, or spell, whatever. When is it going to wear off? I’ve learned my lesson, I won’t try to…” You trailed off, attempting to remember what you’d done to incur his wrath. It was all you could do to recall when you’d first woken up like this, coming into consciousness in the palm of Diavolo’s hand, his cooing nearly drowning out Lucifer’s explanation. You never asked him to repeat it. The reason usually didn’t matter - when Lucifer deemed you worthy of discipline, you’d be disciplined. At least this method didn’t hurt. “I’ll follow your rules. I just want this to stop.”
At this, he gave you his full attention. His quill was tossed to the side carelessly, his now-free hand reaching out, coaxing you forward with a twitch of his fingertips. Mindlessly, you obeyed, standing rigidly as the back of his index finger rubbed lazily over your cheek. Petting you the same way an idle collector might pet one of his many beloved, fragile treasures. “Another week,” He muttered, bleary eyes taking in your current state. “Maybe two, depending on your behavior.”
Your expression fell. “You don’t even know--”
You were cut off as someone pinched the back of your collar, pulling down with the slightest bit of strength, your spine taking the brunt of the blow as you failed to catch yourself. Lucifer stifled a laugh as you sprawled out on the unforgiving surface, your tailbone beginning to ache and your shoulder blades screaming in protest as you quickly moved to push yourself up, only to find the pad of Diavolo’s thumb pressed against the top of your head, halting your progress and ruffling your hair in the process. It was effortless for him, but that wasn’t anything new. Holding you back had never been a problem for either of your loving partners.
“I don’t see the rush,” He chuckled, speaking more to Lucifer, even if he was still watching you struggle to stand. “It’s cute. You can’t get into trouble, nor can you make trouble for Lucifer and I. And we’ve been taking care of our little doll properly, haven’t we, sweetheart?”
“You could act a little less eager,” Lucifer remarked, a playful smirk pulling at the corners of his lips. “Sending Barbatos out to find an appropriate wardrobe might have made your true colors a little too apparent.”
“I’m a man of status. You can’t expect me not to provide for my loved ones, regardless of what befalls them.” Diavolo pressed a palm to his heart, sliding onto Lucifer’s desk, shoving its native occupants to the side to make room for himself. Abruptly, you were plucked from the wooden tabletop and placed a little too roughly onto his knee, every movement too quick, too thoughtless, too big. It was bad enough to have to scramble for stability on the uneven terrain, but Diavolo made no attempt to improve your situation, his grin only growing wider as he watched you cling to inhospitable silk. “It’s not so bad, (Y/n). You seem to be managing well.”
You didn’t indulge him with reassurance. “I’m still alive, but… two more weeks?” He pursed his lips, reaching down to comfort you with a gesture that would be far more harmful than he intended it to be, and you did the only thing you could, latching on to his fingertip, digging your nails into skin much too thick for you to have an impact. You couldn’t do much damage, but you got Diavolo’s attention, his demeanor shifting to border on annoyed as you refused to let go. You didn’t care. As long as he was listening, you could live with his irritation. “I can't… I’m really stressed out, alright? Its already been so long, and it’s so hard to live like this. I’ll be good, I swear, but I can’t just rely on you. I’m not… I’m not your pet.”
You held your breath, resisting the urge to shut your eyes. This was the part when Lucifer would yell, and Diavolo would smile, and things wouldn’t work out for you. This was the part where you regretted trying to stand up for yourself.
But a second passed, and Lucifer didn’t yell. Diavolo didn’t smile.
Neither of them spoke, and yet, you were still beginning to wish you’d never said anything at all.
Diavolo turned towards Lucifer, and after a moment of quiet tension, Lucifer sighed, nodding before letting his chin fall to his fist. Diavolo didn’t bother with formalities. One moment, you were on your feet, and the next, you were being thrown into something round and clear, the empty base of the hourglass you’d used for support only minutes ago. The small hatch was secured and locked in a matter of seconds, your form thrown against a glass wall as Diavolo set the makeshift timer. Your mind went blank, panic and confusion distancing you from reality, but you weren’t given much time to figure it out. Diavolo was never one for subtleties.
“You’ve got an hour to apologize,” He said, a patronizing drawl clear in his muffled voice. Polite and condescending and awful. You couldn’t have missed it if you tried. “You can be so ungrateful, sometimes… Hopefully, this will give you time to realize how much worse we could be, if we tried to be cruel.”
You opened your mouth, but closed it just as quickly. You couldn’t think of anything to say.
Not when the first grains of sand were already beginning to fall.
We made it folks, 141 episodes and 141 posts (approximately, I think I grouped a few posts together early on). Lemme tell ya, I was fairly confident there would be no more Campaign 2 minis to archive and review. But then I heard the finale was 7 hours and I started to consider the possibility. And sure enough, we got one final, terrific battle and battle map.
If you ask me, no campaign finale is complete without a finale tabletop mat. Whether you’re starting a campaign or ending a campaign, Mats by Mars has got your mat needs covered. Go to matsbymars.com and use my code DNDEED0621 for 10% off your entire MBM order.
Blooming Grove? More like Blazing Grove. -it’s time for Crit Role Miniature Rollout Campaign 2 Episode 141!
Mats by Mars: Green Hills Tabletop Wargaming Play Mat
Monster Fight Club Verdent Forest Double-sided Neoprene Area Template
Monster Fight Club Village Well
Chest and Trove 5E Condition Rings
Hagglethorn Hollow The Tavern
Dwarven Forge Dreadhollow Forest Set
Dwarven Forge Tudor Ruins Add-On Pack Roof Fire
D&D Spell Effects: Wall of Fire & Wall of Ice
Axe N Shield Single Flyer Risers - Clear Mithril
Steamforged Mighty Nein Miniatures
Resin Printed Veth Model (not publicly available)
Eldritch Foundry Essek Painted by Iron Tusk Painting
The Blooming Grove looks quite lovely. I had forgotten that it is also known as the Bone Orchard. Gee, can’t imagine why they rebranded. Great map for sure, but I didn’t at all imagine the Grove being situated on a hill. Bit of a safety risk I should say, just look at the precarious placement of the front door:
Building code violations aside, the Blooming Grove temple itself is a most impressive model from Tabletop Troubadour Games. An impressively whimsical and stylized design. These resin terrain pieces are reportedly quite durable, so a bit of magic fire damage should be no big deal.
The Nonplayer Characters
More quality painting from Iron Tusk Painting on some well designed HeroForges. Eadwulf is a properly antagonistic looking multiclassed wizard-hunk. Neat spell effect to boot. Rather intimidating. Definitely don’t wanna get zapped by that.
Cool mini, cool paint, cool collar! What’s the enhancement bonus on that thing? A powerful collar indeed. And ya love to see a good asymmetrical haircut. Do you think Astrid cuts it herself? Like maybe she casts scrying on herself and uses mage hand.
This blog series proved to be quite the undertaking. But it was enjoyable and rewarding throughout. Here’s to future campaigns and what miniatures they may bring, cheers! See ya next sesh!