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#and my friends who are doing all of these Successful things Also stress me out
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How I am making the best of my education!
I see lots of people asking how to be successful in college. I thought I’d make a post to throw everyone my 2 cents--though no one asked for it. It’s free money though. Who doesn’t want it?
1) Figure out your learning style. If you google VARK learning profile, there's a great quiz you can take with study techniques based on your results. We actually use this quiz at the tutoring center at my college. You’d be surprised how many students come specifically for help figuring out how to study.
2) Keep a planner. Or a bullet journal. Or use google calendar. I even know someone who carries around a full size 18 month calendar folded up in her backpack (and she’s a professor). Just find something and WRITE EVERY SINGLE ASSIGNMENT DOWN IN IT. EVEN IF YOU THINK YOU’LL REMEMBER IT, THERE’S A CHANCE YOU WON’T. DON’T TAKE THAT CHANCE.
3) Try to make a personal timetable and stick to it! This kind of goes along with the planner point, but it is different. It takes lots of discipline to block off and actually study during study times, but you’ll be thanking yourself later when you’ve finished your homework and can actually get to bed at a reasonable hour. In addition to studying, homework, and classes; also block off time for eating, possible times for napping (if you take them), and extracurriculars. If you can’t find adequate time for things, maybe you should consider dropping a class or an activity for the semester.
4) Make a to-do list every day. I personally use sticky notes and stick them to the page of my planner. This helps me remember things that are school related, but also other things, like appointments, social gatherings, research stuff, and family events (since I live at home and commute to school). Yeah, it’s important to remember school stuff, but the other stuff you’ve gotta get done, like laundry and social time, is JUST AS IMPORTANT.
5) Don’t neglect your health! I cannot stress this point enough!! If you aren’t eating enough, sleeping enough, or spending enough time relaxing, you will burn out very very quickly. You think it won’t happen to you, but it will. I thought I was immune to burnout, but after a month of intermittent and inadequate sleep and nutrition--I really figured out that I was SO wrong. I ended up missing an entire day of class towards the end of the semester (plus missed a lab the next day because my professor sent me home) because I just couldn’t make myself do any more stuff. It could have been much worse, but I was lucky. I used those days to rest up and returned to my classes ready to finish out the semester strong. College is hard enough to do with no mental health conditions. If you have one, and even if you don’t, be extra sure that you are taking care of yourself. YOU come before EVERYTHING ELSE. Nothing is more important than you. If you have to, ask people to check up on you. Ask a friend to check in with you, or your RA, or even your parents. They won’t mind. Your RA really does want to help you.
6) Study smart, not hard. Sometimes, studying just isn’t worth it. If it’s been half an hour and you just CANNOT FOCUS and feel like you’ve learned nothing: go outside, do some homework, do some laundry, or even just switch the topic you’re studying. If you’re trying to study the right way and you can’t make yourself do it, just find something else productive to do. Come back in another 15 minutes and try again. It happens to all of us. Also, if you’re studying for hours at a time with no breaks, it leads to burnout super quick. I have friends who do that and I don’t understand why. They’re so miserable about studying. It doesn’t have to be terrible! If you take the 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off approach, studying becomes less terrible, because you know there’s an end in sight. Plus, the 5 minutes off gives your brain a little time to process what you’re learning. That said, try to study what you learned in class that day a few hours after class. Material is so much easier to learn this way! Don’t save it for the night before your exam. Cramming rarely helps. Don’t let other people fool you--studying doesn’t have to be something out of your worst nightmare.
7) Find professors who inspire you. I always love a subject more when the professor makes it exciting. Luckily in college, it’s a lot easier to find those kinds of teachers--those who genuinely love what they do. I never would have gotten interested in math without my stats professor (who actually taught me how to integrate, bless her heart), and my proofs professor, who basically let me live in her office last semester (i.e. I like doing my homework with help 5 feet away because I always have so many questions). Find the professors who want to help you. They exist.  
8) Make connections with them! Show up to office hours. Ask them questions you had from lecture. If it’s not a rushed, busy time for them, ask how they got interested in their subject; ask them about what they study--they’ll totally explain it to you like you’re a 5 year old, so don’t worry. In my experience, I have found that professors really like to connect with students. Maybe I’ve just been really lucky. Making connections is easier to do at a smaller school, or within a smaller major--but you never know what will come out of a few questions! Maybe you’ll find a research advisor, or someone you could TA for. I am friendly (and even friends) with so many of my professors just because I’m a curious person. I ask them questions about their experiences in academia, and just general stuff (believe it or not, the decorations they have in their office often lead to some cool conversations). In turn, they’re usually curious about me too. They ask me about what I’m interested in, if I need a reference letter for anything, and even just about my life in general. I know I can ask them for advice on applying to grad school, any problems I’m having with lecture material, and sometimes even general advice. For me, it’s just comforting to know that I have some people on my side who have been through college (especially if you’re like me and 17 or 18, fresh out of high school). Also, they know what you should do if you accidentally miss a final exam (like I did my first semester).
9) This is for all my math, science, tech, and engineering people out there--and people taking those classes! It also applies to other majors to maybe not as great an extent. Don't get frustrated if you come across a problem you can't solve.  If you can't figure it out and have spent a chunk of time on it, move on and go back to it at the end. If you still can’t quite get it, try to go to office hours for help! You are not stupid for not being able to arrive at an answer. When you can’t figure something out, you might just be missing the most crucial piece of the puzzle you need to solve it! Don’t think “Wow I’m such an idiot” (don’t be like me basically), think “what am I missing here?” Think about it. See if you arrive at any conclusions. If not, go find someone to help you. If you find that you’re struggling with a majority of the questions, consider getting a tutor. Tutoring should be offered by your school for either very little or no charge at all. Take advantage! Tutors don’t know everything, but they sure can get your thought process on the right track! I’m a tutor and believe me--it really does help.
10) Find study buddies! My study buddies have become my best friends. We all share a love of biology, and it really brings us together. We love hiking together, and commiserating when it feels necessary. Plus, we make studying fun! If you have trouble making friends (I know I really struggle), start a study group. It’s really a great way to make connections with other people in your major, or even people outside your major.
I hope this helps! Good luck in the fall to any of you kids who are just starting college--and happy studying!
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studynostalgic · 2 years ago
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you’ve gotten a bad grade. the assignment you turned in was not as good as you expected. the exam just went awful. we all know the feeling when this happens. but i’m here to help you!! don’t stress my friend everything will be okay
first of all: it’s okay!!!!!! everybody fails sometimes! i know it feels awful because you worked your ass off and now this happens. what’s important is that you don’t give up. academic success is not everything, so don’t beat yourself up too much. (also like there’s so much wrong with this system, but that’s a topic for another time)
- ̗̀ right after  ̖́-
give yourself some time to be sad, angry, frustrated, etc. talk to someone or journal your thoughts down and just get everything out. (it would be best to talk someone who isn’t in the same situation, so instead of maybe making your classmate uncomfortable, talk to somebody who will listen and give emotional support)
nobody excepts you to go right back to studying. in fact it would be better to get your mind off of things and distract yourself a bit. do something you love and relax a little.
but! don’t forget to pick yourself up again and take the next step:
- ̗̀ mindset  ̖́-
put your “failing“ into perspective. how bad is it really? is it the end of the world (no it isn’t). do you only think it’s a bad grade because you keep comparing yourself to your classmates?
don’t!!!!! compare!!!! yourself to others!!! focus on yourself. you don’t know all the other things your classmates may struggle with and your academic performance does not determine your self-worth. so what you didn’t do that good? there are so many other great things about you, believe me mwah
- ̗̀ identify the cause  ̖́-
what was the cause you didn’t do as well you expected?
did you study the wrong things? or did you study them the wrong way? were the concepts just way to complicated and you didn’t understand them?
did you panic while taking the exam?
didn’t pay attention in class?
did you not start early enough?
is your teacher just awful™?
whatever the reason try to identify it and find a solution. try to apply it the next time. but remember that there is not always a cause, sometimes things are just like they are. if that seems to be the case, just remember that it’s probably not your fault and try to continue doing your best.
- ̗̀ solutions  ̖́-
ha you thought you have to figure out the solution all by yourself. but i’m here to (hopefully) help you.
don’t be afraid to talk to your teacher/prof! most of the time they want to see you succeed, so maybe there is something you could do to improve the grade or you could try to tackle the issue you have/had.
find a study method that suits you and make it a routine. there’re so many helpful posts on here (just search up “study tips”) so there is to 100% something that works for you.
study schedule? some people do better with one, some don’t. with one, you can exactly plan out when and what to study for the upcoming tests, so you’ll be able to improve your grade. also, try to plan in when you’re going to revise hard topics again or the ones you didn’t understand if there were any.
do your homework and assignments! they help so much with improving your grade and the teacher/prof sees that you’re willing to make an effort.
join a study group or visit a tutor. they are a great way to find help and make you remember that you’re not alone and that there’s a solution to everything.
be a pro at exam taking. i’ll maybe do a separate post on that because there is so much i could say, but the most important thing is: be positive. give yourself a pep talk and don’t stress. you got this.
okay, that’s everything i have to say! i hope i could help u a bit <3 remember: you got this!!
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dreamonhunters · 7 months ago
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I said I was gonna pop off about The Dream Verdict and all of that so here we ARE babey!!!! I have a lot of feelings on this topic and I couldn’t just...not, honestly.
Firstly, I want to start out by talking about Dream himself a little. I know a lot of people love to hate Dream, and that’s very easy to do because I think he suffers from not being great at wording things sometimes and comes off badly. This isn’t about whether or not he’s a good person, though. He is a content creator who works ridiculously hard to perfect everything he releases, and works exceptionally hard within the MCYT community. George and Sapnap have said previously that for prior speedruns, Dream has disappeared for months or so to train. He doesn’t stream the Dream SMP at all, giving other creators a chance to build their platforms (most notably Tommy, I would say). When it comes to speedrunning, a lot of people have taken a greater interest in it because they’re fans of Dream. He’s genuinely done a lot of good both for the community and his friends, and always has a good word for them.
Now onto the cheating allegations. I was speaking to @itsfundy today and they went through the main ways he could have cheated:
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This post goes into a little more detail.
It makes no real sense for Dream to cheat, honestly. Outside of speedrunning, he’s got a lot of success — his manhunts, the Dream SMP, MCC — he doesn’t really need to speedrun. I would hazard a guess to the majority of his fans coming from Dream SMP content, and getting into his other content as a part of that. He has a huge reputation to maintain, and I just don’t really understand why he would risk throwing it all away for a speedrun. He doesn’t need to speedrun for entertainment value — that’s the primary purpose of manhunts and the Dream SMP, so that reasoning personally makes no sense to me.
There’s also the fact of the mod team being heavily biased against Dream.
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You cannot call an investigation “fair” and “unbiased” when people who will publicly say these things are involved. You need independent, outside parties who are not biased in favour of either party.
The release of information was also highly unprofessional. Two months of investigation, and a 29-page document released the day before MCC13 and the Streamy Awards. It’s awfully convenient for the verdict to be made the day before two major events for Dream, and honestly is pitiful for “two months of investigation”. I’d be unsurprised if they finished it a while ago, honestly. Dream hit 14 million a few days ago, and yet in Geosquare’s video he says 12 million. Seems like a weird mistake to make, especially when 13 million wasn’t too long ago either.
I’m no mathematician, so I won’t go into that side of things, but I have spoken to a few statistics students (degree level and upwards) who would agree the sampling selection makes no sense and is inherently biased against Dream. Here’s a few screenshots from their explanation as to the sample selection:
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It’s cherrypicking available data, at it’s core, and makes no sense.
Really, Dream had far more to lose than gain from cheating, and I personally don’t think he’s done anything wrong. This whole ordeal seems more theatrical than professional on a lot of levels, and I genuinely feel bad for Dream. He’s passionate about this community, has done a world of good for it, and this is the thanks he gets. Please remember that these creators are human, and he’s probably under a lot of stress right now. Dream is one of those creators that a lot of people love to hate, but at the end of the day, regardless of my personal opinions about him, I think he’s truly innocent.
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cassandraclare · 3 years ago
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q&a: anna, writing, various
thepurplewarlock said:Hi Cassie. I have a question about Helen and Aline. Sorry if it sounds silly or I'm asking something obvious. At the end of Lord of Shadows, they both get brought back to Idris to be with their siblings at the meeting that went wrong. We know during Queen that they stay to look after the younger Blackthorn's and the rest of them. My question is this: has their exile been lifted or, given how wrong things have gone, is it a case that the Clave have forgotten to send them back??
All I can say is that since Queen starts up right after Lord of Shadows ended, you’ll get to see how this plays out. Nothing is elided in a time-skip.
aquaillovingkat said: Hey Ms. Clare, I love all your series, and I can’t wait for sword catcher! What is your favourite place to write, or where have you had the best success writing? Also, do you ever write with pen and paper or only on a computer? Much love from Canada! Thank you! <3 I am also super excited about Sword Catcher. I like to write in a variety of places: at home, in my barn, and in coffee shops. I tend to like to have things going on around me while I work, so I invite writer friends over pretty much every day that I'm working. It makes for good company, but it can also be useful for our productivity, because if one of us is stuck on something we can talk through ideas and help each other out. That's also why we go on writing retreats together—writing can be isolating work, so you have to find ways to push back against that isolation. (Unless isolation is your preferred state. It isn't mine. : ) I write and outline pretty much exclusively on a computer; my handwriting is awful, and I also have a stress injury in my right wrist from signing books. If you're curious about writing programs, I write in Scrivener these days and recommend it for novels!
rosqles said: hi cassie! will we see any characters getting a redemption arc in qoaad (eg. zara?)
Zara is a pretty clear analogue for some real-life political figures. I mean, I guess the question is, what would a redemption arc mean for Zara? What would it entail? It’s not as if Zara has someone who’s done bad things for good causes or even understandable causes, like Kieran. People can absolutely make mistakes and find redemption. Zara’s whole belief system is poisoned at the roots. She’s an abusive bigot, and it’s her whole life. So it would depend: what would you consider a redemptive arc for someone like that and what would be the inciting factor for her to start to realize her whole worldview is broken? More of a TBD than an answer. :)
sania0810 said: Hi Cassie, just wanted to ask you if Anna's secret lover is someone we have heard of or just a random new character. <3
Anna had a first love that didn’t go well, but not a “secret lover” really. I don’t believe we do know who she will be, but we’ll find out soon enough in Every Exquisite Thing, and she certainly is a character in TLH (though admittedly I haven’t described/publicly named every character yet.)
ellacarstairs said: Hi Cassie! Can you tell us more about how the relationship is between Anna and her parents (Gabriel and Cecily)? Lots of love!
I can promise that Every Exquisite Thing is very much about that. It’s not just about Anna’s first love, but about her identity and what it means for her in terms of her family and her place in it.
lovelqces said: hey cassie! without giving anything away, how do you think we’ll feel at the end of QUAAD?
I asked my friend Kelly Link this (she’s read it) and she just laughed and laughed and is still laughing. O_o
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backofthebookshelf · 2 years ago
To be honest, hearing Melanie and Jon chat towards the end of season 2 and more or less "sympathizing with each other" (as best as they're able to, bless them), I'm not /sure/ Melanie would have handled season 2 much better than Jon - she got /very obsessed/ as well, and while she would not have grown paranoiac maybe like Jon, she would have felt like everybody kind of treating her obsession like it's "a sickness" like an insult to her character? she's not /crazy/ and all that etc.?
HOWEVER, oh my /god/ we need a role swap. I’m crying a little bit just imagining Jon being - really a whole lot healthier, probably, without the magnus Institute, for a longer time at least. Also: Martin is still very very gay for him, he just fell in love with his voice and smartness ages ago, it’s literally his favourite podcast. Georgie&Jon’s break-up went more okay. Melanie /is/ still in contact with Georgie too, which helps. …             
Oh hell no, Melanie wouldn’t have handled it better than Jon - it’d just be different. I think the paranoia is mostly down to the Beholding versus the Stranger with not!Sasha working there in the Archives and the Beholding knows something’s wrong but the Stranger is too powerful for it to see through so it just results in this horrible paranoia. (I know we usually ship Melanie and Sasha and normally I’m all for that but I c a n n o t do it in this AU, so maybe Melanie wanted to ask her out but didn’t because boss? OOOF still bad but less bad.) So Melanie’s paranoid but, I think, generally more willing than Jon to trust her co-workers, so she’d probably figure out Elias faster but she’d also be telling the Stranger absolutely everything she was doing at all times.
Jon, meanwhile, is working on this YouTube series, he does it mostly alone but Georgie helps and hooks him up with technical people, it’s not a live action thing like Ghost Hunt UK but more an eerie atmospheric storytelling thing like Seriously Strange. (He hates doing shitty Top Ten videos but they get clicks, and he has rent to pay, and frankly the most successful one he’s ever done is Top Ten Most Absurd Statements from the 1999 Magnus Institute Leak, and he feels okay about that.) And then he’s doing a bit on Cambridge Military Hospital, he’s had it on the list for years but they’re going to tear it down, and he desperately needs a second person to help him out with the video but Georgie has a hard line about trespassing after an Incident when they were at uni so she hooks him up with Sarah Baldwin.
And then Jon goes in to give a statement about it, because look, that was unacceptable, and Melanie accuses him of being a dilettante and Jon accuses Melanie of selling out to the ivory tower of academia, and also Martin makes him a cup of tea and apologizes profusely for Melanie, she’s been under a lot of stress, I’ve always been a big fan of the show, d’you think you might ever talk about… And Jon is just barely civil and Martin is, as usual, very, very, very gay. Tim makes fun of him mercilessly and decides to get caught up on the back catalog of Jon’s show ASAP so he has more material (and is Very Mad to discover that this guy has learned things about Robert Smirke he never knew, who puts original research in YOUTUBE VIDEOS, literally the least accessible format on the planet, Martin your taste in men is TERRIBLE. I know I’ve said this before when you wouldn’t go out with me but this is a NEW LOW.)
By season three when Melanie’s exhausted from the revelations about Sasha and Jurgen Leitner, when she’s crashing at Georgie’s because she really doesn’t have any other friends close enough to crash with, and Jon’s just come back from India with a limp and a permanent scowl on his face, Jon and Martin have established a kind of low-key YouTube comment flirtation (egged on by user 888annabelle888 who is apparently just subscribed to encourage Martin to talk to Jon) and Tim is a simmering ball of barely-repressed rage, but after Elias’s confession and the whole revelation about Leitner/Gertrude/hey you really are working for an eldritch fear entity, the three of them sit down with cups of tea and Martin admits he doesn’t have any qualifications and Jon tells them about Mr. Spider and Tim tells them about Danny and they start plotting to murder Elias together. (It still doesn’t work, because Elias, but it’s a whole lot more…wholesome than it was before. And if Tim still can’t quite trust that Jon and Martin are actually Jon and Martin, well, they’re helping him for the time being, that’s going to have to be enough.)
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renesis-jj · 9 months ago
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Better Us Than Them// Fox Miya Twins x Fem!Reader
If you are a minor, please DO NOT READ//DNI with me about this.
Pairing: Miya Atsumu x Fem!Reader x Miya Osamu
Summary: The Miya Twins finally come to an agreement in regards to sharing sharing you.
Tags: 18+, Fox-folk Miya Twins, Fox Miya Twins, First Time, Consent, Established Relationship, Ghosts We See-Related Warnings: 18+, Mentions of stalker-ish/territorial behavior, Dubcon but not really?? (more like first-time jitters), Slight Magical…Bondage? Word Count: 6.4k
A/N: Shoutout to @yanderexbabydoll​​ for their support and Master™ advice! And @knightofameris​​ for constant encouragement and listening to all my stress screams.
My first time writing a mature fic and it stressed me the hell out. I warning tagged the hell out of this as a precaution. You don’t need to read Ghosts We See but it will give you a LOT of context. This is to celebrate the new HQ release, Miya twins’ birthday, and Kinktober I guess? I can’t do 31days(this alone keeled me), so this is my only contribution. GWS readers have also been DEMANDING Fox Miya Twins + possible Repopulation?? scenario😂😂 I mentioned to readers of GWS that Hyquile Twins are likely kinky but….maybe I chickened out in anything too hardcore/explicit oops–!! If this is a success, maybe I will write more but… If this flops….💀💀💀
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The Miya Twins of Hyquile are not famous for their kindness and patience. They are infamous for their brazen self-assertion.
In the diseased whirlwind you’ve been planted at the core of by forces beyond your control, a chaotic firestorm in the form of Vicious Atsumu had risen to swirl and rage around you as a pillar of hellfire that burned between you and those who sought to harm you. And at the center of this firestorm is Frosty Osamu, a glass plateau lilting precariously on the crest of a waterfall, keeping you grounded through the howling gales that threatened to whisk you away.
Atsumu and Osamu had been your unlikely pillars through your ordeals.
Unlikely because they weren’t the same Miya brothers you grew up with in your world.
This particular pair, the alternates of your childhood friends, grew up with everything taken from them, with a deep-seated wound of hurt and vengeance festering in their very bellies.
That they, and you, had somehow managed to overcome that amongst other things was almost miraculous.
And they were- strangely enough- uncharacteristically…careful? considerate?- of you; of your feelings and comfort levels, in a way you did not expect them to.
It is one of the biggest tells, as sure as the impatience of passing summers and the lazy departures of winters, of their mutually shared feelings for you.
You still haven’t forgotten the way they tag-teamed you early on when you first met them, the way they cornered and clipped you between them with the metallic scent of human blood wafting from their clothes, suffocating the very air you breathed.
Truthfully, you suspected either Kita or Suna, perhaps even both, had given them a talking to at some point. Compared to the other fox-folks, those two had always been more understanding of your position as a human in the presence of the fox-folks.
Especially now that things have come to a head with the twins, and you have…come to terms with your feelings for them; accepted that you have room in your heart for more than one person.
To their credit, Atsumu and Osamu might even prefer it that way- sharing you- so long as it isn’t anyone outside of them. You were pretty sure there had been hefty disagreements here and there between the brothers, but they sorted that out, even if it wasn’t peaceful in the village for a while. Your time with the fox-folks and all you have learned of them told you that they are a protective folk-territorial- of things they have staked a claim on. It was seen in where they continued to build their livelihoods, despite the horrors of the past that have occurred where they sleep.
It hadn’t been easy of course; nothing with the twins ever was, whether they were the Miya brothers of Hyquile or their alternates in your own world.
Your relationship with them was not built on a cobbled-path lined with the aroma of roses, no.
It had been filled with unhealthy amounts of vengeance, anger, hardship, loss- like a parody gone wrong in a traumatic collaboration between all the great tragedies- Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Medusa- you name it.
If the story of your love with the Miya Twins of Hyquile was ever made into a book, it would be one of those that made readers both love and hate themselves, indecisive of whether they want to fling the book in frustration or allow themselves to be further drawn into its thorn-filled pages.
You know that because that is exactly how you felt, as the one who held their sometimes barbed affections.
And…you supposed you’ve been tip-toeing around a particular subject long enough.
You know…the birds and the bees?
It isn’t that you didn’t want it or anything like that…whether as athletes or fox-folks, the Miya brothers are undeniably attractive.
You just…clam up when things start getting heated; having the attention of one brother on you is overwhelming enough but to have two carbon copies trying to one up each other with you sandwiched between them?
Well, your nervousness and inexperience never let them get too far, and incidents frequently ended with you escaping them with a blabbered excuse or two, hiding with Kita or Suna for the remainder of the day with red-stained cheeks.
However, there was only so much you can dilly-dally for before either one of them took the reins from your hands -the reins they let you hold- and into their own.
In all honesty, the fact that they even let you dance around the whole thing for this long surprised you.
They hadn’t been very subtle with their intentions.
Their needs.
Neither of them was very good at masking their emotions (well, maybe one of them is but, at his core, he is cut from the same cloth as his brother), and they have gradually- inch by inch, one small push briskly followed by a second small push- toed the delicate line set by your innate insecurities and innocence, testing the limits to see how far you would let them go.
And if you acquiesced to their sneaky pawing an inch, they never hesitated in taking a whole yard.
It started off small.
Either one of the twins (or both) is always there whenever you arrive in Hyquile, waiting for you with barely subdued eagerness.
In the early stages, when denial and reluctance to accept their growing attachment to you still reared its head, the twins would often put on an air of detachment: cool and haughty tones, words of degradation and condescension to your frailties as a human, tension and stiffness in their figures whenever you walked by.
It didn’t fool anyone though, especially when they were unable to keep their fox ears from perking up and their tails from swishing excitedly when they saw you, even as they wore a mask of impassiveness and exaggerated annoyance.
But as the denials receded with time, boldness started to take its place.
They started popping up wherever you went.
It didn’t matter if they needed something from you or not; you could turn around and there would be one (or two) pairs of eyes eagerly watching you from a nearby roof. They followed you as you went about your day like unruly puppies. They would openly scrap around you about silly things like who gets to stay with you whilst the other goes on patrol, or who’ll accompany you to the market even though you were fully capable of going yourself.
Whenever this happens and Aran is there to witness it, he would throw you a stern frown and ask you to control them better.
Apparently, you became their official caretaker without your knowing it.
Then came the not so subtle touches.
Gruff pulls and pushes turned into firm and steady grips; the hands and arms on your waists and shoulders lingered longer with each passing day, and they seem to have this incessant need to find every excuse to be in physical contact with you.
From Osamu purposefully tripping you with illusions just to catch you with a comment about what a “clumsy scrub” you are, to Atsumu insisting on piggybacking you to your destination to “get there faster” even when you were in no hurry, they made up all sorts of reasons just to hold you without outright saying it.
And it kept escalating overtime.
Because again,
The Miya Twins of Hyquile are not famous for their kindness and patience. They are infamous for their brazen self-assertion.
Now, they stuck to your sides like a pair of wings, flanking you and baring their teeth at anyone that looks a beat too long or gives off the wrong aura. They draped off you and around you, chins on your neck and shoulders, morphed tails wrapped around your hips, arms on your waist, and heads in your lap.
Atsumu always leaves small nips on you whenever he’s got his clutches on you, and Osamu never hesitates in unnecessarily licking food off your fingers from out of nowhere.
The twins kept pushing how far they could go with you, be it in public or in private (it’s always worse in private).
You frequently caved to their needy pawing, but always stopped them at a certain line-
-that delicate line that you can’t seem to erase, always reflexively redrawn with each new day after they painstakingly erased it the day before, whenever a hand or mouth went too low or too close to somewhere no hand or mouth ever went before, despite yourself.
The Miya twins never fail to make you a walking body of nerves, heart thundering so loud that you were sure all the fox-folks heard it, face red and threatening to explode from their blatant attention and touches.
You don’t deny that you liked it- enjoyed it- but you weren’t used to such attention, not like this.
And you don’t possess the sense of smell that the fox-folks do but…Suna is always mumbling about a “Miya stench” whenever you pass by him in his home.
With how often they were around you, quite literally sometimes, plus the fact that the fox-folks possessed heightened senses, you didn’t need to be a genius to figure out what Suna meant (when you sniffed your own clothes to check, you couldn’t smell anything out of the ordinary). You resisted asking any of the others whether the Miya twins smelled…well, like you.
In the end, their constant presence around you got to the point where even Suna, who you have continued to stay with despite your budding relationship with the Miya twins, had just about enough.
And that’s saying something.
“They’re outside waiting for you again.”
“Are they?”
“Behind the roof of that house ahead.”
“I-I’ll talk to them-”
“It didn’t work the last four times. They are always here. I chose to live further out from the rest for a reason. But they are always here. Their house is way over there .”
“…are you kicking me out?”
Yep.
Suna kicked you out.
It was actually not as harsh as it sounded.
It came as no surprise to you that Suna already figured out your reasons, subconscious as they are, for continuing to stay with him before you realized it yourself.
And called you out on it.
Suna had quite thoughtfully, and considerately, sat down with you and discussed your continued living situation with him when the entire Inarizaki House and its surrounding territories know of the twins’ mark on you, and by extension, yours on them.
Everyone can see it.
Everyone can smell it.
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Staying with the twins is actually…not so different from staying with Suna.
You just had to multiply Suna by two, switch the pair of Sunas for the Miya brothers, and turn up the gauge for attention to the maximum.
If you thought they hovered around you a lot before, well…
Now you see them from the moment you wake up to the time your eyes close for the night.
It’s not bad, per se. You cared for them both, and didn’t mind showering them in the attention they so craved but…you really weren’t used to receiving this kind of attention.
The one where they take you by surprise and tag-team you as they are apt to do.
Only less tag-team and more co-op.
To an extent.
A muffled squeak leaped from you when a pair of rough hands suddenly ran up your sides, grabbing at your chest from behind and kneading in a manner that told you the owner of said hands tried to be gentle but didn’t put much thought into it.
“Can’t believe yer tried to one up me when I was out ‘Samu. I thought we agreed to be in on this together.”
Atsumu growled against the column of your neck, nipping your sensitive skin the same moment his hands squeezed your chest. Golden eyes honed in on his twin with a near-feral glint, bright and sharp in the indigo of the dark room.
Osamu gave your bottom lip one last harsh suck, before detaching himself from you with a loud pop. Grey eyes, silver in the dim light of the moon, blinked slowly at his twin.
“Yer were slow. And we never agreed on everythin’ together.”
Now that the twins had you behind their walls and not Suna’s (much to his relief), occurrences like this became more frequent.
You could turn around from washing your hands and voila, Atsumu would have snuck up on you silently to push you against the basin with a mischievous grin, mouth ravishing yours and hands roaming freely, until Osamu would appear to either pull him off or join in, to the discontented complaints of Atsumu.
Osamu is the worst with his illusions though. He could be standing in the room with you, his illusion magic blending him into the environment, and you would be none the wiser. Not until you felt invisible hands on you, which never fails to pull a scream from your throat (you weren’t sure how many more jump scares you could take from them both). Atsumu would always come blasting in not long after, howling about Osamu being sneaky and using his magic to shake him off to get the upper hand.
Atsumu’s eyes narrowed, his hands squeezing your breasts harder in reaction to Osamu’s words. You winced, squirming in an attempt to alleviate the pressure.
A red rope slithered and rose from the ground, smacking one of Atsumu’s arms and causing the blonde to yelp indignantly, his hand letting go.
“Yer hurtin’ her ya’ idiot,” Osamu murmurs reproachingly, his own hand coming up to soothingly massage the breast Atsumu had relinquished at the beating.
Atsumu rolled his eyes and returned the abused hand to latch onto your hip. “It’s not like she minds….do ya’? Yer have faced worse in Hyquile than this. I know yer can take a lot more-” Atsumu breathed into your ear teasingly, and you felt the nick of sharp teeth on the shell of your ear.
You desperately wanted to hide your blushing face behind your hands but they were caught in the twin’s hold, one by each brother, preventing you from hiding any part of yourself or pushing them off.
Their remaining free hands went about as they pleased, Osamu’s traveling from your chest and down toward your back, gliding on the skin of your thighs in languid circles; Atsumu’s went up in parallel to his brother’s, dragging up the sides of your legs, pinching everywhere along the way and coming to a rest at the base of your throat. An incoherent sound bubbled at the back of your throat as you resisted sighing at the polar sensations the twin always brought upon you.
Atsumu is fiery, each touch from him purposeful and determined in its goal.
Whilst Osamu is free like water, explorative, and adaptive in reaction to you.
And you…
You were still trying to wrap your mind at the new sensations your body undergoes whenever the twins crowded you like this.
“G-Guys, come on it’s late, we have an early day t-tomorro– h-heey!” Teeth pulling at your ear interrupted you.
Atsumu shook his head in refusal, his hair brushing against your cheek. A dissatisfied growl rumbled from his chest on your back, and he proceeded to nip and suck below your ear, jaw, neck, and shoulders with an immature fervor, like a child that does not want to put away his toys and go to bed.
Osamu made an equally discontented grunt and dropped his head on your shoulder, blinking up at you with a frown. “Yer always stopping us before it gets good.” He grumbled and you smiled sheepishly, taking the hand from his loosened grasp to card through his hair.
Biting your lip, your face scrunched as you tried to articulate your thoughts and ignore Atsumu who continued to explore your body as he pleased.
“I just…I’ve never-…” You sighed in frustration. Your feet drew nervous circles into the wood floor. You’ve never directly admitted it to them before.
The twins know though.
It wasn’t hard to figure out with how flustered you got from even the tiniest of touches.
If anything, it only drove their territorial instincts up the wall as there was this incessant nagging at the back of their minds that kept telling them to stake their claim first.
But you weren’t any of the other she-foxes who were more than happy to satisfy for a night or two, or any other human girls they could lure into a quick tryst with simple shapeshifting.
After all that they have lost and been through, and all that you have been through with them, the twins would very much like to cherish you (they don’t have a lot of those left).
Losing you is something they want to avoid. It’s one of their strongest motivators and how they managed to even keep themselves in check for this long.
(not only that, after the lecture Kita gave them about treating you properly, they preferred not to disappoint their Alpha-Leader)
(the twins were also sure Kita and Suna would not be the only ones on their backs if they ever hurt you)
But on the souls of their ancestors, they’ve passed their threshold long ago and if it wasn’t for the fact that they have endured hellish endurance training their entire lives, they would have snapped.
Didn’t mean they would stop trying to edge that line though.
A hand sliding between your thighs made you gasp, which turned into you sucking in a sharp breath when a different hand joined the first.
Atsumu’s hand had not-so-sneakily slipped up your thighs and under the hem of your robes, his destination obvious. But Osamu’s hand quickly followed, going up after his brother’s hand beneath your clothes and blocking his advance by literally placing his palm across your core. Spluttering in a mixture of shock and embarrassment, you pried at both their hands but they didn’t budge.
The twins ignored your nervous squirming and protests between them, glaring at each other from opposite shoulders.
“The hell ‘Samu? Go away .” Atsumu’s hand pushed at Osamu’s palm, fingers digging into his brother’s wrist.
“Why should yer be the first one?” Osamu bit out in turn and the walls of the room wavered. (Is Osamu’s illusion magic leaking?)
“Cause I’m the older brother, now stop blockin’ me.” Atsumu’s skin against you felt hot, hotter than it normally was. Almost searing. (Atsumu’s magic too?)
“We’re twins, it doesn’t matter. And yer were late this time. First come first serve.”
Their arguments with you clipped in between are nothing new; happens all the time.
But there was something in their tones and words this round that made a thought click.
Funny how that it is in this exact moment that you realized this, when they were both arguing with a hand between your parted legs, that it became clearest to you that Vicious Atsumu and Frosty Osamu might have been able to reach a mutual agreement about sharing the work in keeping others away and staking the Miya claim on you, but they hadn’t exactly reached one for sharing sharing you between them.
It made more sense now, how they always worked together but also never failed to cockblock each other.
Their hands battled for dominance between your thighs, pushing your legs further apart as a result. With a yelp of mortification, you slapped at their shoulders to get them to stop turning the area below you into their personal battlefield. “S-Stop it!”
But they didn’t listen, and you slipped further into embarrassment when the continued brushing of their rough knuckles against you caused your hips to jerk and a sharp fluttering in your stomach: arousal.
You didn’t need to look at the twins to know that they knew it too, and more than likely felt the telltale dampness that had started to gather, needless to say the erratically loud rhythm of your heart.
Their hands stilled between your legs and you slapped your hands onto your face to hide from their gazes.
The air is tense- charged with an electricity born from indecision, lust, hesitation, desire, and yearning that crackled like hot sparks between your three figures.
If possible, Atsumu and Osamu were tenser than the atmosphere, stiff against your front and back. Someone’s fingers twitched on your thighs, you’re not really sure who.
They had immediately caught the scent.
Atsumu’s body is taut, his fox ears that were always morphed atop his head slowly dissipating as his focus and control slipped. His golden eyes were blown wide as he looked down at you, then to his brother.
Osamu stared back, grey eyes equally large and diluted. But he bit down on his cheeks, grounding himself from giving in to his fox instincts. He’s the one with the better control so it has to be him, and he slowly, reluctantly, shook his head at Atsumu.
No.
They’re going to back off.
Now.
This is the furthest they went with you and it happened in the spur of the moment. They liked the fun of toeing the line but they never wanted to cross it without your absolute consent, not even unintentionally.
“‘Tsumu, ‘Samu?”
Shy mumbles of their name snapped two pairs of pinprick eyes to you.
Atsumu and Osamu’s senses are abnormally heightened, hyper-aware of every rise and fall of your chest, the bead of sweat on your neck, the distinct scent of your arousal permeating the narrow space between your legs-
They should really go.
Atsumu unconsciously licked his lip and Osamu bit down on his cheek till he tasted metal.
“You know I love both of you, right?”
Brilliant reds of chagrin and embarrassment remain painted on your skin, peeking back up at them through cracks between your fingers, but the sincere lilt of your voice- your words- instantly pulled their wits back to them from the mindless void that you had inadvertently sent it to.
The reins they’ve always let you hold, albeit stealing it from you every so often in moments like this, is once again safely in your hands.
They felt their instinctual, territorial- carnalistic- sides settling, reeled in by the gentle tugs of your timid smile, and the absolute adoration and love shining in your eyes.
You’re here for both of them. You weren’t going to leave either of them.
Love that they’ve never seen since…(well, that’s a memory for another day)
With a sigh, Osamu tilted his head down to kiss your forehead whilst Atsumu buried his face in the crook of your neck.
You could feel the years of loss and anguish in the slightest of trembles in Atsumu’s arms and Osamu’s lip on your skin, their hidden fears of losing more in their lives seeping through them, and your hold on each of them tightened.
Your situation in Hyquile continues to be precarious, unstable. But you wanted them to know that each time your existence left this world, they each continue to hold a piece of your heart. Just like how the Miya Atsumu and Miya Osamu of your world will always hold a piece of yours, no matter what happened.
You shifted nervously with a tint of anticipation in your chest.
You wanted to cement that reassurance, your promise, to them.
“I-I’m…r-ready.”
The twins froze again.
They have hyper-hearing but did they hear that right? Did you mean what they are hoping you meant? Were they projecting what they wanted to hear on your words? Perhaps you meant something else, like you were ready to tucker out for the night??
Their territorial instincts that you had managed to tame moments prior started to tingle.
Atsumu abruptly spun you around to face him, earning an annoyed ‘tsk’ from Osamu.
“Are yer serious? Do yer mean what I think yer mean? Did ‘Samu put ya’ up to this to trick me??”
Your laugh at Atsumu is airy but shaky with a good kind of nervousness, as you ran a hand down his fox ears that had begun to morph on his head once more with the elation vibrating through his entire being.
“No, ‘Samu didn’t put me up to anything,” you timidly glanced back at Osamu who looked like he would whip Atsumu if you weren’t in the way.
“I really care for you two, just as much as your alternates in my world…” Your brows furrowed, and you took in a deep breath to quell the maddening flutters in your chest and stomach.
“A-And I want to show that to you both…e-even if I’m…not really sure of what to do…” Trailing off anxiously, your fingers twisted and twirled in the fabric of your sleeves.
Your conversation with Suna right before he displaced you replayed in your mind…and you were certain of your decision.
A beat passed during which Atsumu and Osamu glanced at each other, to you, back to each other– and then identical wolfish grins broke out on their faces.
You’ve never seen them move so fast and with such perfect coordination outside of battle before.
Atsumu’s mouth is instantly on yours, eager and dominating, taking your gasp of surprise as his chance to slip his tongue in to ravish every crevice of your mouth, coaxing at your tongue -shy and fumbling against his aggressive approach- with his. Hands holding your cheeks, his long fingers curled into your hair to tip your face upwards, his large frame towering over you.
Behind you, Osamu tugged at your clothes in a hurried manner- quiet excitement- that is unlike him, all semblance of the precise control he normally had thrown away alongside the clothes he was taking off you. It’s always him that had to reel both himself and Atsumu in (because his brother just can’t be relied on for that), literally biting down on himself to maintain any self-control over his own instincts and natural tendencies.
But not this time.
You just gave them the green light to go wild.
Osamu all but single-handedly maneuvered you, with a fervent Atsumu still attached, towards the bed, ridding you of all your clothes as he went. Atsumu stumbled after you, hands trailing blazes over virgin skin and his open mouth glued to your neck, shoulders, chest-  leaving blooms of purples and red as he traveled down.
You whimpered when you were suddenly spun around the second time that night, this time by Osamu who pulled you away from his brother and pressed you against him insistently, marking the areas on your neck and chest that Atsumu hadn’t.
A quiet snarl reverberated from Atsumu at Osamu’s interruption but it was quickly forgotten when the elder twin dropped down to his knees, giving the back of your thighs the same treatment he bestowed on your bruised torso as he traveled back up.
You gasped, back arching and legs reflexively moving to step away from Atsumu’s assault. But his hands on your hips tugged you back, and your arch only prompted Osamu to lick a long, wet path across your chest before pulling a sensitive bud into his mouth.
Like earlier, two different hands reached for your core, one from the back and one from the front. Unintelligible sounds bubbled up to your throat when two fingers- one from each hand- slowly prodded at your folds.
For the life of you, you couldn’t keep up with them and the various sensations that they were hailing onto your body. The entirety of your face and body is flushed with the heat of embarrassment and distinct arousal, further intensified by the novelty of everything you were feeling.
There is a feeling of exposure at being revealed so intimately for the first time, to two at the same time no less, and yet, despite the giddy vulnerability that stuttered in your gut, you felt at ease knowing who it is that surrounded you.
A low string of curses from Atsumu followed by the lewd sound of him sucking his finger that was covered in your slick made you want to cover your face again; your hand automatically rose to do so but you found you were unable to lift it. Looking down, you gaped at the sight of red ropes courtesy of Osamu’s magic binding your hands, securing them to invisible anchors in the air that moved to maneuver and position your arms as its conjurer pleased.
Osamu smirked mischievously at your wide eyes, the tip of his tongue peeking out from the corner of his lips.
In contrast to the delinquent expression on his handsome features, gentle hands as cool as the river on a hot summer day caressed up your waist, settling to cup your jaw.
“Yer shouldn’t hide,” Osamu murmured, thumb lightly tracing your quivering bottom lip.
Atsumu pushed at your thighs from behind, further parting your legs for his exploration. Your fingers twitched in reaction, vulnerability whispering for you to hide but you didn’t, not with the way Osamu’s steel-gray eyes gazed at you.
“We’ll take care of yer so…”
Unlike the impatient way he had been roving hastily over you early on, the brush of Osamu’s lips on your own is steady and tender, with his eyes remaining locked on yours.
“Keep ya’ eyes on us…”
Atsumu’s signature hot breath seared your inner thighs, his fingers gripping a pinch harder on the plush skin, and his wet tongue prodded right along where his and Osamu’s fingers were moments prior. A shiver ran down your spine when you felt him lick once, then twice, before pushing past your folds, slowly tasting and savoring the experience for you and himself.
Osamu never took his eyes away from you, keeping your gaze locked on him as he continued to whisper against your lips.
“And don’t miss a thing.”
The first time you came (both for that night and in your life), all the twins used was Atsumu’s tongue and the overwhelming force of Osamu’s gaze. Not for a single second did he allow you to look away from him, even as your legs shook pitifully from Atsumu’s unrelenting assault and threatened to crumble; red ropes extended to your waist kept you up alongside Osamu’s arm wrapped around you.
People say that closing your eyes allow you to better feel the sensation of touch, the lack of sight acting to enhance your other senses; but those people never experienced Frosty Osamu’s chilling eyes that froze your attention onto nothing but him, making you hyper-aware of the feeling of his brother’s face pushed between your legs.
The second time you came it was with Osamu between your thighs from the front, with your back pressed tightly to Atsumu’s chest. The golden-haired twin shared with you the taste of yourself, any and all your cries ate up by one blonde, greedy twin, whilst the other greedy twin took his time lapping and devouring you with your trembling legs hooked over his neck.
It is when you laid panting and gasping for breath on the bed between the twins, recovering from the turns Atsumu and Osamu took at you, that they began to argue once more, their figures towering over the top of yours as they met in the center in a fast and heated quarrel.
The subject at debate?
Who got to pop your cherry.
You were about to sit up and reassure them that regardless of who it was, your feelings for them will not change (you were secretly glad that they didn’t think of ‘sharing’ this one; you doubt you could have handled them together at the same time….you really didn’t think so, not after what you felt when you were pinned against them) when they abruptly stopped arguing, and silent nods of agreements were exchanged.
H-Huh? They…settled it? That was…quick.
They turned to look at you simultaneously, and you reflexively pulled the blankets up, as if the flimsy cloth would have done anything to save you from their ravenous eyes.
You squeaked. “W-What?”
“We decided.” Atsumu smiled in that childishly eager way that only he could pull off, grin wide and hungry as he leaned down towards you to trace the tip of his nose up along your cheek.
“Decided…what?”
“That we can share yer.” Osamu caged your torso with one arm, forcing you to lean back down as he rested his chin on your chest, glancing up at you.
“Weren’t you…already kind of doing that?”
Atsumu hummed into your ear and playfully bit at your lobe. “Yea but I sure wasn’t gonna let ‘Samu do as he wanted without me on watch. Can’t trust him to control himself.”
Osamu scoffed at his brother, fingers peeling away at the blankets wrapped around you. “It’s the other way around, ‘Tsumu.”
“But now we decided that we can share yer equally.” Vicious Atsumu.
“Divvy yer up.” Frosty Osamu.
“Half and half.” Vicious Atsumu.
“Fifty-fifty.” Frosty Osamu.
“If I get somethin’, ‘Samu gets somethin’.” Atsumu.
“No more gettin’ in each other’s way’.” Osamu.
“It’s better than sharin’ yer with anyone else.” Atsumu.
“Better than sharin’ with the… us, of ya’ world.” Osamu.
“So whoever gets this-” Atsumu’s fingers suddenly ran up your slit and you squealed in surprise.
“-the other gets this.” Osamu squeezed your butt cheeks and you jerked with a choke when a sneaky finger snuck in between.
“W-Wait-” You stuttered as they lifted and moved you to their whims, one twin taking up a position in front of you and the other behind. Your breathing and wits still barely recovered, it was a blur as to who was in front and who was behind.
“A-At the same t-time?” You squeaked, gulping as you felt a hard length brushing your back. But you couldn’t deny the tingle of excitement in your veins.
“I-I d-don’t know if I c-can-” A finger was pushed on your lip, silencing you.
“Don’t worry-” Osamu’s frosty eyes shone with a promise in their depths.
“We’ll take turns-” Atsumu’s vicious smirk held an equally fiery promise as his brother.
“For now.” The Miya Twins.
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(A few days ago)
“You’re nervous with their physical affections. You’ve never done it before, have you?.”
Yikes, Suna.
Did he have to call you out like that?
Like, that isn’t exactly the reason why you subconsciously chose to continue staying with Suna-
“And despite your feelings for them, you feel nervous about staying with them because you know they are pushing for the next step and you don’t know what to do.”
“I-”
Damn, Suna.
“I won’t force you to leave if you really don’t want to, even if I would like to clear my own house of their stench,” Suna wrinkled his sensitive nose and eyed your clothes. “And as brash as they are, I doubt the twins would force you to do anything you don’t want to do. They’ve shown that by holding out this long.”
He sighed before continuing. “But I would remind you that though we are born of humans, we are ultimately fox-folk. We have heat cycles.”
“…oh.”
You were no veterinarian but even you understood what that meant. Your mind momentarily blanked at the realization Suna brought upon you, and the fact that you’re having this conversation with Suna Rintarou’s alternate, of all people.
Embarrassing.
Suna smiled in amusement at your dumbfounded expression. “It’s usually not a problem if we do not have a significant attachment to anyone, and is wholly controllable for us unlike our more animalistic fox kin; the human lineage in us gave us that. Most times, the cycle passes without us noticing. But that is not the case for the twins right now, especially with you involved.”
Dull yellow eyes leveled with you with a knowing glimmer.
“They are very much attached.”
“I…I know.” Again, everyone knows.
“You know of our biology and the role humans play in it. It’s in their instinctual nature, as much as they might try to deny or resist it. We’re territorial folks as it is.”
This could be the real reason you were so scared, so hesitant, up till now.
“I’m too young to have kids!!” You wailed with a shrill into Suna’s silent home, hands carding into your hair harshly.
Suna sighed again in exasperation at your outburst. “Please, let me finish before you jump into further conclusions on your own. I’m not saying you need to bear their offspring. Yes, it is in our biology as fox-folk to breed with humans but that is not equal to having children. It’s isn’t like the success rate is very high…” He softly mumbled the last part.
“The twins are troublesome enough as they are, I rather not have to deal with any of their offspring for a long time.” Suna continued with a pinch to his brow.
His words calmed you immensely and made you snicker at the same time. You can’t say you don’t understand where he’s coming from.
“But, as far as I’m aware, they’ve passed one, maybe two, cycles already since their attachment to you began. Their baser instincts only get worse and stronger the longer they ignore it; instincts will tell them to mark their territory, whilst their logic will fight it out of respect for you.”
“…why did no one tell me about this sooner?”
“We’ve never had this issue before, considering our history. And you never asked.” Suna shrugged much too nonchalantly for the topic at hand. “But do you understand what I’m trying to say here? They’ve already held out this long with you around, and we both know full well that self-control is not exactly their greatest strength.”
Suna sighed but there was a small smile on his sharp features. “I cannot speak for the depths of their feelings as I am not them. But I can say with confidence that they care for you more than they ever have for anyone else. Their resistance thus far is proof of that; their patience with you is testament to that.”
Patience.
Your eyes lowered and there was a welcomed beat in your chest.
A smile that you didn’t intend, swelling and spilling from the depths of your soul without your permission, lifted your lips; an involuntary yet wholly genuine smile, the kind that someone would only have without conscious thought when they saw the subject(s) of their entire love.
Yeah…you understand now, more than ever.
The Miya Twins of Hyquile are not famous for their kindness and patience, after all.
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I hope GWS readers enjoyed a possible canon, non-canon, alternate future? with the Hyquile Fox Twins :D (NOT answering questions about whether this is truly GWS canon or not; it's open for interpretation atm, and your guess is as good as mine at this stage of the GWS story :P ) I may or may not had some foreshadowing in here for GWS...but it isn't anything major-ish HAHA no, please, don't go back to reread to find where it is, it isn't worth it x.x just wait for GWS to be updated.
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hit-it-or-crit-it · a month ago
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Wizard Breakdown Tracker: Campaign 2 Finale Edition
AND LO THE COMEUPPANCE OF TRENT IKITHON HATH COMETH UP, AND I SAW IT, AND IT WAS SO FUCKING GOOD
I began this in late March, amidst the mists and fiercest frosts* and blithely declared my intentions to "to keep up with this nonsense until such time as Trent Ikithon is dead or as good as".
Well,
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Let us begin. I should warn you that it's a long one.
As a reminder Caleb Widogast is a PC and is not included in the wizard breakdown tracker, except in Quebec.**
Finally: due to the nature of the finale and epilogues and such, the timeline is just completely fucked and some of this is pure headcanon. I promised nonsense to you two months ago; to nonsense we shall return.
Lady Vess Derogna: I eulogized her last week and as she's dead she gets no actual assessment. So this is just to say that Ludinus did not even like, register her seat as empty when he spoke to Caleb. Vess, babe, you got involved with some real bad groups. Like, the Emotionally Repressed Uk'otoa Warlock Family is fully out there being the fucking Skywalkers of the Lucidian Ocean and you still stand out as a shining example of Girl, What Were You Thinking.
Oremid Hass: honestly he's mostly been here to shut people up because when I made the first one despite clearly saying "I am not including people who haven't shown up recently" people were like "WhAt AbOuT oReMiD hAsS" and it was just like. easier to do it. Anyway we still haven't seen him but I'm hoping he was ignorant of Trent's crimes; I think both the Halls of Erudition and the Soltryce Academy would benefit from keeping their weird cat wizard professors.
Conclusion: 5/10. I mean it can't be like, great; even if he was innocent, having the Cobalt Soul on your ass is going to stress you out. Good thing Scrytube exists.
Pumat Sol: This was one of several cases where it's like...man I wish we'd gotten to see him just one more time, but also, this means the last time he saw the Nein during their main adventure was as the Spice Girls, and also Vess is dead, and that is beautiful. Anyway I hope that shortly before his return expedition with Essek to Aeor, after a difficult day at the Cobalt Soul in support of Beau during Zeenoth's trial, Caleb takes a break before meeting up with his friends and purchases some of those spells with the money he received as reparations from Trent Ikithon's seized assets. Also I hope Pumat went Tenser's Transformation on any Volstrucker spies and that they wisely ran away.
Conclusion: 2/10. It's not that he's worried, exactly, so much so that he's approached by someone...not exactly savory, bearing a pretty rare artifact who will part with it for a surprisingly low price provided he doesn't ask any questions. Pumat quickly clocks this is coming from the Myriad, but he wouldn't need to because Jester pretty quickly tells him. But they're really good artifacts and, uh, geez, the Assembly sure had its own moral quandaries, don'tcha know.
Ludinus Da'leth: Caleb Widogast proved himself in many ways this episode. Not only did he both think through the implications of time travel and how to avoid loops or contradictions better than quite literally anyone I can think of - and I love me some fucked up time travel stories - but he decisively made the choice to remove it as an option. He allowed himself to trust, to let go, to grieve, to let like three of his friends simultaneously sit on Ikithon's abdomen which honestly probably should have burst that guy's liver then and there, and finally, to love. But all that aside, he was probably the first person to match Ludinus Da'leth for sangfroid in a good four centuries.
The status of the Assembly was left open, so I don't know if Ludinus specifically faced consequences. I will however say that I think he felt the pangs of something in his slimy, hollow chest, seeing his two evil frenemies' seats become vacant in rapid succession as Caleb Widogast calmly turned down the offer of a lifetime and as the Cobalt Soul sharpened their...fists(?) rhetoric.
Conclusion: 5/10. Not sure he's capable of higher, but if he is I wish Caleb Widogast, Beauregard Lionett, and possibly Astrid Beck a very pleasant making Ludinus Da'leth's life a living hell.
Trent Ikithon: imagine being held in a prison cell in a time before electricity, unable to use your two most powerful weapons - your voice and your magic. Now imagine doing so, but also you are a horrific abuser with no empathy such that making up stories in your head isn't even going to be entertaining.
Conclusion: Oh this is good he's just perma-stuck at 9/10. Deny that bitch catharsis and hope his liver lasts a good long while. Maybe let someone trustworthy - perhaps one of the Clays, who deserve a little vengeance, heal that jaundice to ensure he spends a decent chunk of time in imprisonment before he dies. Say, eleven years. Seems fitting.
Then Beau can kill him with a whole bale of suude because god that's fucking funny.
Astrid Beck: I know people are probably thinking she had hers onscreen this episode but I have Thoughts. I think it happened in the past week in-universe, off-screen. I find it difficult that Trent didn't put two and two together regarding the necklaces and possibly even the escape in Nicodranas. And yet she's still there, by his side. She doesn't want to fight, clearly; it is not hard to turn her even without the dominate person, and when Trent is at her mercy she needs to be held back from killing him. But we know something snapped when she told Caleb it would be a good time to strike.
I think Trent didn't bring any of it up, and there was nothing to push back against. I think it was like that every day for half her life. I think she gave up, in those few days while Caleb was in Aeor. And maybe in a different story she'd have had time to come back herself, and finish the job. I hope she would have. But when she first appeared in combat at the Blooming Grove? I think that was a hopeless person.
Conclusion: The good news is she can make what she wants of the rest of her life, whether that's mostly sticking with the status quo except a lot less child torture, or whether she becomes the insider in the Lionett-Widogast Assembly Destruction Apparatus. Her future is her own for the first time in decades. But at some point shortly before her first appearance in the finale she hit 10/10 and she hit it hard.
Welcome! This is definitely a funny post that is NOT about abject despair.
eɪʌdwʊlf: Okay on the other hand, others have made the excellent point that he just like...is a big strong man who exclusively seems to make passes at people who insult and/or stab him. The fact that Caleb compares him to Fjord did sort of clarify to me why Eadwulf was my personal minor NPC of choice but also while I see Astrid as mostly a tragic figure with a deliberately ambiguous but ultimately hopeful ending, Eadwulf, despite sharing the same basic story as Astrid, is hilarious to me, because he doesn't end up on the Assembly. And I don't think he wants it.
You know, before it was confirmed that Caleb was also romantically involved with Eadwulf I was like "oh is this guy not only going through these experiences as a teen but also he's third wheeling the whole time?" but here's the thing. He was still the third wheel, just not romantically. I'm like, pretty sure Trent saw him as such. I mean, no one was recommending Wulf for the Assembly. And while his choice to give a deposition means he does not need to run far away, and while I do choose to believe he becomes Astrid's house husband, I also think there is a great story where he does run and he lives out the rest of his days in Ank'harel or Tal'Dorei and as the myths of the Mighty Nein slowly coalesce, as the Assembly is torn down and the crew of a ship in Lucidian slays a leviathan and a woman in Nicodranas teaches a generation of mad archer-bombers he hears vague scraps of news and swigs from his Wristpocketflask and says "I am so fucking glad I don't have to deal with any of that shit."
Conclusion: I just can't see his needle moving from 4/10 actually. It's just stuck there, except when Yasha outdoes him with the Harvest Close decorations and then it briefly shoots up to 9/10.
Allura Vyesoren: I understand not seeing her in the finale; there was a lot to do and not much to say. I am going to be magnanimous towards the Mighty Nein, a word that through connotation implies I may be more powerful than they are, and say they gave her back her staff and Kima back her sword. Actually I choose to believe that part of the off-screen Nicodranas partying includes Yussa messaging her to come by and she does and she brings Kima and it's great.
Conclusion: 1/10. The world is saved and this time she literally just had to let a Cat Wizard use her staff. This is getting easy, and the fact that Tharizdun cults are increasing in activity is fine like it happens every few decades. She does briefly go to a 6 when an absolutely hammered Yussa explains his particular role but Kima and some fine wine calm her down.
Yussa Errenis: Yussa made decisions that nearly rival Vess's and probably tie with the Warlocks of The Coast: Pelagic The Seal-shattering. I cannot stress this enough: Caleb would have been well within his rights to confiscate the Happy Fun Ball and honestly the main reason he didn't was probably that he himself was thinking about going to Aeor and maybe playing with the time-space continuum a little bit. And yet Yussa not only survived, but he made friends in the bargain.
Also he's now officially reclaimed the title of Wildmount's Archmage Who Gets Off Scot-Free from Everything from Ludinus Da'leth. Fucking pettiness icon, that Yussa Errenis, and I wouldn't have him any other way.
Conclusion: 0/10. He actually did learn his lesson and it's "be friends with the Mighty Nein before making poor decisions." And he's right! We cannot help but stan.
Essek Thelyss: kind of jumped the gun there on the sad deep meta for him last week and a part of me just wants to be like LOOK. LOOK. THESE WIZARDS ARE BOYFRIENDS. But you know, I think I'll let him speak for himself:
Episode 97: I am but a humble, selfish creature...There are so many mysteries around these beacons, around dunamis, what it's capable of. My entire life, I've been propped up to be perhaps worthy of being one to break those boundaries. To find applications for it that could change everything. And if I don't do it, the first person who does, I don't trust them.
Episode 141: But such pursuits are selfish. For the more you understand time, understand you cannot see the ramifications of changing such things. Were I have found this before I found you, perhaps I may have done some incredible, terrible things with it. But I accept my regrets, my thoughts now, and I'm here today with this knowledge, in this moment with you, because of those mistakes. And as much as they hurt me, I don't want to change a thing."
[moments later, in response to Caleb outlining his exact plans for 'such pursuits']: Will you do it? Will you do it? I will help you.
Conclusion: to go from point A to point B like that? You think, even given the infinity that exists between the number zero, and the number ten - even that small infinity we all have access to, in a fashion - I can rank that? On a scale?
Halas Lutagran, aka Known Gem Wizard Hotsauce Lutefisk:
"And so we leave the Mighty Nein. The camera pans out, from a lavender tiefling on small ship on Darktow. We travel a few degrees north of east, towards the coast; on our way we find a somewhat larger ship on which a half-orc and a blue tiefling have their arms around each others' shoulders, gazing out towards the sunset. We move on, reaching the coast; in Nicodranas we find a family of halflings - a mother, a father, and a young son, having a lively dinner, two crossbows and an empty potion bottle resting on a side table for after the meal. We travel through the Wuyun Gates, flying over the small towns of Trostenwald and Alfield. We do not alight in Zadash; we follow the Amber Road north to Rexxentrum. It is darker there, further east, but we stop in two flats, one near the Cobalt Soul with a riot of flowering window boxes where two women laugh and kiss over glasses of wine, another just outside of the campus of the Soltryce Academy where two men, one human and one elven, read as they lean against each other on an overstuffed couch, the legs of which have been scratched by several cats. We then resume our just-north-of-east direction for a time across chilly forests until we at last finish in a garden, surrounded by purple crystals. It is dark but we see two tall figures; firbolgs, a man and a woman. The man is smiling as he holds his staff, topped by a crystal not unlike the ones at the perimeter of this site, and the woman gives him a friendly punch in the shoulder.
These are the Mighty Nein. Their deeds are many, if unevenly heralded. The consequences thereof are for another story. At their hands, the dead of Aeor are finally free; perhaps some of the living as well. Uk'otoa is nearly unbound. Tharizdun's chains loosen. And me? I am still in this FUCKING gem."
Conclusion: still in this FUCKING gem/10.
*not irl; I live in a swamp, and our frosts are long gone by late March. However, the first Wizard Breakdown Tracker did mark the return to Eiselcross after the Nicodranas-Emon-Rexxentrum-Vergesson-Nicodranas-Plane of Fire/Happy Fun Ball-Zadash-Blooming Grove whirlwind tour.
**Only Quebec Critters may read the following:
Caleb Widogast: S'il vous plaît envoyez-moi de la poutine. Désolé si c'est grammaticalement incorrect; Je ne connais pas le français. Conclusion: On s'en fout? Il a un petit ami gothique!
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stillstudies · 2 years ago
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after 2 years in community college, I recently graduated with three AA degrees and a 3.9 GPA. the last two years have been so transformative for me, with so many ups and downs! so as requested by my followers, here’s some FAQ insight into how I did it and what my experience was like. also, disclaimer: I’m pretty sure CC’s are an american institution so if you don’t live in the US I’m not sure what the equivalent option would be lol.
Q: why did you choose to go to CC?
A: there are many reasons people choose to go to CC- one of the most common reasons is to save money. another reason is that CC’s are commonly attended by students who could nor/did not get accepted into 4-year universities after high school. my case was both! I got into 2/6 unis I applied to out of high school, but I decided I’d rather save money and go to a CC to try to get into my dream uni rather than settle for a uni I didn’t really want to go to for 4 years. CC’s are also a great place to go to if you want to continue your education but you’re not exactly sure what you’d like to major in.
Q: how much time do you need to spend in CC in order to transfer?
A: it depends on your ability to accumulate credits, transfer courses, and your major. some people take 3-5 years, some people take 1. I was able to finish in 2 years, which included taking some classes over semester break. this means when I start at my uni I’ll be in my 3rd year.
Q: do you have any tips for CC students?
A: see a counselor/coach/advisor on a regular basis! I know it can get scary talking about your future but this truly reduced so much anxiety and usually they’re very nice and helpful. this was essential to my success in graduating after 2 years; the first time I set up a  meeting with my counselor was the first week of class. I used to visit my transfer counselor at least once a month during transfer application season. come in with questions about transferring, the classes you need to take for your major, or literally anything you want to ask about the school! these people are here to help you.
also: get a planner, check for online versions of textbooks before you buy the hardcopy, and go to your freshman orientation! 
Q: how can you get involved and make friends in CC? I’m afraid I’ll miss out on the college experience.
A: I was lucky enough to go to a CC in my hometown, so I was able to keep in touch with a few of my high school friends; however, I wouldn’t think it’s super different thing to make friends at CC than it is at a uni! my top tip would be to talk to people in your classes, set up study dates outside of class, and join clubs!
Q: is it easy to transfer to a university?
A: it’s a well-known fact that universities prioritize transfer students from CC’s moreso than they do with university students who want to transfer to other universities. I’d say that my saving grace was seeing my transfer counselor on a monthly basis and making sure I was taking all of the courses required for my major and the unis I wanted to apply to. the only super stressful part was transfer application season, so I’d say to start your apps as early as possible! 
Q: are CC classes easier than uni classes?
A: I’ve never had a uni class before, so I’m just gonna answer with: yes and no. for example, my CC was on a semester basis while most unis are on a quarter schedule which means that I spent more time in my classes. also, CC class sizes are significantly smaller. however, it was not “easy” to keep my 3.9 GPA, in my own experience so I’d imagine the workload is similar. not exactly the same, but similar. 
Q: what are CC transfer>uni applications like?
A: they require all of the usual personal/legal info, alongside your high school/college transcripts and a personal essay section. the only big difference with high school>uni applications is that they don’t ask for SAT scores so they do not require you to take the SATs again (which in my case was SO helpful lol)
Q: pros to going to a CC?
A: smaller class sizes (which I loved bc it made for great class discussions), saving money on tuition, saving money on dorming since you can live at home, gives you room and time to grow academically in order to transfer, and leaves you time to find what you really want to do with your life.
Q: did anyone seem to look down on you because you went to community and not a university?
A: I definitely felt the stigma. hard. even when people didn’t necessarily say it to my face, the looks you get when you tell people that you’re going to CC say a lot. people seem to think that CC students are either stupid or poor or a combination fo both. I remember crying to my parents when I told them I was choosing to go to CC because I was truly embarrassed. it really took a toll on my self-esteem.
all I have to say is: I’ve learned that people go to CC to get better. it’s just like any other school. I wasn’t confident enough to leave for uni after high school, and the failure of getting rejected by unis was really a learning curve for me. at my CC I learned what my goals were and what I was willing to do in order to accomplish them. and after 2 years, I did!
...and that completes all of the questions submitted! I hope this was at least a little bit helpful to any of you considering CC as an option. I really appreciated my time there and don’t regret one bit of it. if you have any more CC questions, feel free drop me an ask or view my other CC posts, all tagged #community college. good luck to all! xxx
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md-admissions · 2 years ago
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Help and Failure
As someone who is often put in a position to offer advice and as someone who has never shied away from being very open about my own less-than-smooth journey in medicine, I want to share something that happened today with you all. Especially the young ones, who are just starting or have barely started their journey in medicine. 
Let me start by saying that I have never been ‘naturally bright’. Every ounce of ‘intelligence’ I have been praised for having was either through titanic amounts of work and tenacity, seeking tutors and friends to help me. A lot of failing and learning from the failure to rise up and improve. So I’m no stranger to the humility and shame of doing poorly, and the important lessons it teaches. 
That said, I’m still a human being so I still really hate being wrong or failing. And growing up, failure was not met with kindness. It was met with yelling. A lot of yelling. Yelling that extended beyond the grade itself into unnecessary dissection of my personal faults and decision making. For you see, my parents loved to ‘diagnose’ problems. B- on a test? Must have been because we let you get dinner with your friends. That was a mistake. Didn’t make honors? Why are you crying, you weren’t honors material anyways, you like reading comic books too much to be in the honor roll. Stuff like that. That’s the kind of, ha, encouragement, I received. 
So understand that I don’t, at baseline, have a healthy relationship with failure or asking for help. It took me years of therapy, finding good role models, taking to mentors, findings supportive friends and family members to unteach and help me learn better ways to frame the narrative of my failures into stepping stones upon which to build my success. And on the whole, I do pretty well these days. 
But today was very disappointing. Already really down from my grandma’s passing, my program director, who is amazing and meant no harm and was wholly pleasant and kind and supportive about the whole thing, asked me to come to her office. She wanted to arrange a time to meet after my grandmother’s funeral to talk about my abysmal in-training exam score and how we could come up with a study schedule together based on my weak areas from the test. It came to no surprise to me that I had tanked the test. I blew through it, not really interested or focused, because I knew that if I didn’t hurry, Lord knew how many consults would be waiting for me. And I had already gotten into the funk I always do with standardized testing: I’m gonna suck at it anyways, why try harder. I can usually lift myself but I was so stressed out, so nervous. So I knew when I got that score back, I’d hate myself for it. I just didn’t think anyone would care enough to notice or point it out. 
Initially, when my program director brought it up, I felt like my cover had been blown. Not only was my grade, albeit not a real grade that counted for anything except personal pride, not up to snuff, but also an attending I really admire had mentioned in her eval that she loved my enthusiasm and desire to learn but wanted the program to help me shore up my ‘fund of knowledge’. Shit. I had always known. My medicine program never prioritized my education. What I knew, I had to forage for myself. I think it’s fair to say that most of what I learned in residency was self-taught. So of course, I already felt like an imposter, getting into my dream fellowship, a place I never thought would take a scrappy, foulmouthed internist like myself. I actually recall myself physically wincing when I heard that, although I knew no one would strike me. 
Internally, I was a storm of guilt, shame, embarrassment, and self-hate, but also strangely relieved. I felt like a cry for help, no matter how soft, perhaps even one I had been trying to hide for a very long time, had been heard. It was also the first time in a very long time anyone in a position of authority did not ridicule or belittle me for my shortcomings, did not threaten me with the specter of punishment or disappointment, but asked to help me without any trace of pity. She genuinely just wanted to help me do better for myself. 
I’ve spent so long in residency depending on myself. Hell, I’d say in life as well. Although an uncomfortable and sad experience, it was also very healing and I felt hopeful. Perhaps this time, as I often have to do, I have to take the long road, the harder road to get to where others get to easily. But I take comfort in knowing that this is the road I always have to travel. I am tired of traveling it, but it’s nothing I can’t do. And I will have some help along the way this time. 
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kdramaxoxo · 2 years ago
what are some good noona romance dramas you love?
I love this ask, thanks anon! For those of you who are new to K-Dramas, a noona romance is when a younger man falls for an older woman. Normally the woman is a successful lady, and the man is a softer, totally in love puppy type (which I’m total trash for).
Good K-Drama Noona Romances:
Witch’s Romance: A totally cute noona romance between a successful 39 year old reporter and a 25 year old jack-of-all-trades (played by Park Seo Joon!). Their chemistry is off the chain you guys, and their first kiss is iconic to me. 
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Encounter / Boyfriend: A heartfelt and gorgeously filmed romance between a sucessful but emotionally damaged hotel CEO and a soft boy she met in Cuba. Their relationship is not perfect but you’ll fight for them because of how dang soft they are. 
Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food / Something In The Rain: I have LOTS of feelings about this drama (mostly because i have a hard time with really mean parents, which is a very common k-drama theme) but I’ve never seen so much cuteness in the first 6 episodes of a k-drama, ever. While this IS a romance between a younger childhood friend of an older women, there are a lot of other issues being address: Sexual harrassment in the workplace, the pressures of being an older woman/marriage, family dysfunction, etc. Also, it has an unusually indie filming style, making it feel unlike other dramas out there. I still recommend everyone see it but you’ll have feelings when you’re done! #theworstmom
Secret Love Affair: There really is no other k-drama like this one: A dark and serious  love story between an older women working in a music univerity, and a gifted pianist. The chemistry between Yoo ah In and Kim Hae ae is really intense and unique. This is the moment that I fell for Yoo Ah In as an actor (I’d seen him in other things but this one was the clincher). It’s a very stressful drama with a slow pace and and a very distinctive soundtrack. It wasn’t my jam but I’m glad I saw it!
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When I was the Prettiest: A short drama special about an older woman with cancer who meets a younger man (Lee Jong Suk) at the hospital. It was an interesting drama with a very awkward kiss scene but the Lee Jong Suk’s character was interesting and I really loved the ending. It was very empowering for the woman.
Reunited Worlds: I’m very aware that this drama is not popular and was not well received (due to the acting chops of the second lead) but I loved it. A high school teen (Yeo Jin Goo) is killed and through k-drama ghost magic nonsense, comes back 12 years later and finds his first love, now much older than him. This is an unusual noona romance because the leading lady is NOT successful in her work when they start their romance. It was a very beautiful love story though (oh Yeo Jin Goo how do you DO IT!), and I enjoyed the melo moments mixed with total cuteness. I laughed, I cried :) 
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Noona Romances On My To-Watch List:
I Need Romance 3
I Hear Your Voice
Enjoy!
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papofglencoe · 3 years ago
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On Bullying and Libel
For the past couple years, I’ve been cyberbullied by a group of women here on tumblr. The bullying has taken many forms, from clandestine solicitations to tumblr users asking them to boycott my stories to publicly mocking me via group post for blocking them to protect myself from their harassment. Last spring, while undergoing IVF, I took a hiatus from tumblr with the hopes of managing my stress levels so that the embryo transfer would go well. Having posted that I was taking a hiatus so that I could surround myself with positivity, one of my bullies went to FF.net to harass me anonymously, calling me toxic, telling me the fandom would be better without me in it, and then mocking me, stating that I would post their words here in order to play victim. The day I received that message was the day I found out I was pregnant with the daughter I would then go on to lose. When I found out that she had stopped growing and had no heartbeat, I blamed myself for this loss for weeks, wondering if my elevated blood pressure and the stress that message had caused me had caused me to kill my own daughter. Maybe saying this will only bring gratification to the bully who sent me that message- well, then congratulations. You took away from me the most important day I would ever have with my girl. One of the only days. That doesn’t make me a “poor, me” victim. It just makes you an evil asshole. 
Fast forward to this past fall. Facing another round of IVF and a successful embryo transfer, I made the conscious effort not to be here- or online anywhere, for the most part. Early in this pregnancy I had a threatened miscarriage, which meant I was on bedrest for a little over a month. I’m also taking care of my furbaby Pippa, who is dying of cancer but putting up a valiant fight. I sleep on the couch downstairs now to be near her, and I get up every couple hours in the night to take care of her. She’s worth every second of lost sleep and every backache. But it’s been a stressful time for me and my husband, and although most people here have been so supportive and wonderful, I’ve made the choice not to be around because my daughter’s life and what little time I have left with my dog, who has been a daughter to me through seven out of eight years of trying to conceive, is too precious to squander because of a few miserable people spreading their misery to me. I apologize to anyone I’ve disappeared on, but survival has been the name of the game. So no tumblr for me. No instant messaging. No facebook. No twitter. It’s a lonely choice, to isolate oneself, but it’s all I can think to do to protect my daughter and hope that it’s enough to bring her into this world. And maybe that’s a completely shit thing to do to some genuinely amazing and good people, but my daughter is my whole world. She is my all and everything. Everything I do, I have to do for her. I hope you understand.       
Anyway, earlier this week AO3 informed me that I had been accused of plagiarizing a novel I had never heard of (”Wallbanger” by Alice Clayton, published in 2013) for my story Against The Wall. Interestingly, one of my bullies posted to tumblr just a few weeks ago that she had read the novel (I was sent a screenshot of this). Entirely coincidental, I am sure. 
After researching the claim, AO3 has dismissed it. As is only right. As many of you know, my story was inspired by a prompt sent anonymously in the spring of 2016 to the Everlark Fic Exchange, a third party blog to which I have no administrative connection. (Thank you to the person who submitted the prompt, by the way, whoever you are.) The only similarity my story shares to “Wallbanger,” from what I have gleaned from reviews, is that the female heroine can hear her manwhore next door neighbor (in that story, the love interest) have loud sex through the wall with one of his three fuckbuddies. She’s an up-and-coming designer in San Francisco, and he’s a traveling photographer. They’re thrown together through mutual friends, and then end up having sex, where, through his manwhore prowess, he helps her find her missing orgasm. And there’s a ton of shit about a cat named Clive, too, I guess, who is supposedly hilarious. And there’s a road trip from Lake Tahoe. And commitment issues caused by shady exes. 
Plagiarism indeed, right? 
Ironically, I have not posted the final chapter and epilogue to ATW for fear of being plagiarized. And I now have absolutely no intention to do so because I am going to protect my intellectual property, come hell or high water, from those who would attack it out of nothing but malice. What I will be doing is converting the story to an original, which I will either have traditionally published or will self-publish, as fate allows. I thank everyone who has supported Against the Wall, and I hope you’ll check it out as an original- but if not, I understand and thank you anyway. Every comment and kudo along the way gave me the confidence to believe in myself and my story’s worth. To be frank, it doesn’t really matter to me if, as a novel, it only ever sells one copy, so long as the story is undeniably and legally mine.  
Which leads me to the next point. Formally accusing someone of plagiarism in writing to a third party is defamation of character. Specifically, it’s libel. To my bullies: you should familiarize yourself with these terms (as well as plagiarism, which you clearly still haven’t mastered the meaning of). When I go to publish my story professionally, if you wish to continue your attacks against me, you should think long and hard about what you want to accuse me of, and why, and with what evidence. If I am accused of plagiarism out of actual malice, which means from a personal vendetta against me and without evidence, I will not hesitate to file suit for defamation of character, seeking pecuniary, general, and punitive damages. It will be my intellectual property and my professional reputation at stake, and, to put it bluntly, I will not fuck around with being bullied by anyone when it comes to my writing. My stories are also my babies, and I will protect them by all means at my disposal. 
To my bullies: if you want to continue throwing your block parties on tumblr against me, go right on ahead. This playground is alllllllll yours. If you need a bogeyman for all your frustrated hopes and dreams, by all means, I can be the ghoul of your fantasies. Ultimately, you only out yourselves as sad, bitter, and obsessed, and I’ve moved onto other things that matter more to me. But, to be crystal clear, if you harass me on AO3, their abuse and legal teams have already been apprised of the situation and will take action against you. And if you harass me as a professional author, you won’t be hearing from me. You’ll be hearing from my lawyer. It’s not a matter of “if.” So what I suggest is that you pick up a new hobby. Knitting. Tai chi. Hell, join the goddamn Rotary Club. Find some outlet for your misery that won’t land you in legal trouble. Because you’re fucking with the wrong girl. At some point you’ll have to move onto your next obsession. I say the sooner, the better.   
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heeydolan · 3 years ago
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Scheming {G.D.} – Part 1
Summary: Being best friends with the Dolans only naturally means Y/N will do anything for them. Even if that means possibly sabotaging any chances she has with Grayson, she just can’t seem to say no to the people who have been there for her the most.
A/N: Hey guys! This is my first ever fanfic I’m posting! Sorry if it sucks lol. Enjoy! Also, this is inspired by the movie John Tucker Must Die.
Warnings: N/A
WC: 1.9k
masterlist
Senior year.
The year every high schooler anticipates but never expects to come so quickly. On your first last day, you feel this weird excitement that you can't really explain but at the same time you're dreading another year at the place that you've dragged yourself to every morning for the past three years. You're ready to be done with this hell hole but you can't imagine leaving.
All the perks that come with the title of being a senior also keeps you pushing regardless if you're ready to leave or not. Being the Kings and Queens of the school, half-assing every class, and the parties all make it pretty bearable, too.
All the anxiety and stress Junior year caused me makes the work load that Senior year is going to hold look wimpy.
Of course that was my choice last year but overall, my GPA and I are very thankful for all my effort.
Aside from school work, high school has been very good to me.
I've discovered my true friends, Camilla Vargas, Ethan Dolan, Matt Jensen, and Grayson Dolan.
Cheerleading has brought me a lot of joy. Thank you Camilla for forcing me to try out our freshman year.
And it's taught me to live and appreciate life.
I'm sure there's a lot more to learn from high school, as I still have this next year to get through but my priority is walking across the stage, getting my diploma, and graduating.
Pulling into the student parking lot, I make my way to my assigned parking spot next to my best friends. The three of them had already arrived and I'm not surprised that they beat me here.
Gathered around Ethan's truck, they turn their attention to me as I get my things out of my back seat.
"Of course Y/N is the last one to get here." Camilla says as she pops her lollypop back in her mouth. I roll my eyes at her as I swing my book bag over my shoulder and shut the car door.
"At least she made it on time." Grayson chuckles as he swings his left arm around my shoulders.
"You guys are rude." I wrap my right arm around Grayson's waist and we all begin walking into the large school building.
I honestly love all of my friends so much. They're like my family. But Grayson has always been extra special to me.
He's the first person out of our group that I met.
He and Ethan were moving into the same neighborhood as me the summer before we started third grade. Grayson was in my back yard hiding from his parents so he didn't have to help unpack and I got scared so I told my mom. When she came out to look, he was gone. Later that afternoon, as I was playing alone in my treehouse, he popped back up and apologized for scaring me.
I didn't have many friends due to the fact I was so introverted but thanks to Grayson and Ethan, they really pulled me out of my shell.
Now Lisa and Sean are like my second set of parents and Cameron is like the older sister I never had.
Grayson and Ethan, are easily known as Long Valley High's it boys. Both are stars of the football team– Grayson being the quarter back and Ethan as the wide receiver makes for the perfect duo. Not only that, but their success in academics are pretty impressive, too.
When we all arrive at our lockers, we compare our schedules. Being seniors, we only have a total of four classes.
First period: Economics with Camilla, Grayson, and Ethan.
Second period: AP Lit with Grayson.
Third period: Statistics with Camilla.
Fourth period: Physics with Grayson, Camilla, and Matt.
Economics flys by. Our teacher, Mrs. Frost, gave us our syllabus then talked about her kids the rest of the time.
Grayson and I say bye to Camilla and Ethan and head to our second period together.
"Sucks that we couldn't have just gotten that one other class together." Grayson says as we pass the other students in the hall. Some faces are familiar and some aren't.
"Yeah, sucks but probably a good thing. I need a break from you at some point, Gray." I joke.
He laughs then gives me a little nudge, "don't lie, you can never have enough of me."
"Right–"
"–Hey Grayson! How was your summer?" Some girl interrupts, stopping us in our tracks.
He looks over at me giving me a questioning look. I shrug my shoulders and he turns back to her, "Oh uh, it was great. Football practice kind of took it over though."
"Oh yeah! Can't wait to see what you and Ethan do this fall!" She rubs her hand down his bicep and I feel myself flench.
"Thanks!" He says, trying to be as friendly as possible to the girl neither of us know. "But hey, I gotta get to class. Nice talking to you!"
"Of course!" She begins to walk away but turns back towards us, "I'm Maya by the way. I'll see you around if like, you want to see me."
She winks and then she's gone. Grayson and I look at each other and laugh.
"What the hell does that even mean?" He questions as we walk into the classroom.
We both take a seat in the back beside each other. Every english class I've ever had since I met Grayson, we've had together. It's always been a thing and I've always helped him due to the fact it's a little more difficult to him.
"Good morning Seniors!" Our teacher, Miss Wilson, walks in as the bell rings. Miss Wilson also happens to be the cheerleading coach so I can already tell this class is going to be a breeze.
She introduces herself, goes over the syllabus with the class, then gives us the rest of class to mingle.
"Cameron just asked for You, Me, and Ethan to meet her at Perk's when we get done with school." Grayson says while looking down at his phone.
"Sounds good." I say while scrolling through instagram.
Although our group is close, Ethan, Grayson, and I are way closer. We hang out without Camilla and Matt a lot of the times but they don't seem to mind.  
Statistics goes by super slow as our teacher, Mrs. Abney, gives us actual work to complete. It's the first day of school and we're already being graded.
"Alright, ladies and boys, how's it going?" Mr. Bass, the Physics teacher, begins class. "This year is going to be easy, if you apply yourself. Now to begin, I want you to choose your lab partner. This is the partner you will have for the rest of the year. You will turn in assignments together, work together everyday, and be graded off of your teamwork."
I look around the room for Grayson. He didn't get a seat by me because he came in a little later than I did.
"Y/N, be my partner?" Camilla asks.
I feel a little caught off guard. Camilla knows Grayson is my go to. I finally find Grayson and he's already giving me a look. "Sorry C, I already told Gray I'd be his partner." I lie.
She rolls her eyes, grabs her bag, and walks over to Matt.
"She good?" Grayson asks as he sits at the table with me where Camilla was previously sitting.
"I think she's mad." I reply, resting my chin on the palm of my hand.
"I mean, I'd be mad at you too if I was stuck with Matt. He's great at football but he's as dumb as a bag of rocks."
I laugh and we both focus our attention to the front of the classroom.
The hour in Physics ends. Once the bell dismisses us, I gather my things and we all head to the student parking lot. I throw my book bag into the back seat of my Toyota 4Runner and hop in the drivers seat.
Camilla and Matt ask where we're going but once we tell her Cameron asked us to meet her, they don't say anything else.
I follow Ethan and Grayson to Perk's Diner. It's only about 3 miles away from the school so it doesn't take us long to reach the familiar building.
Cameron is already here. The three of us walk in and take a seat at the booth with her.
"Ok Y/N," Ethan starts before I can even say hello to Cameron, "if you don't want to do this, we will completely understand. But we really need your help–"
"–really, really need your help." Cameron cuts in.
"Ok, go on."
"So you know our friend Charlie, right?" Ethan questions. I slowly nod my head. Charlie is in the same class as Grayson, Ethan, and me. He was held back a year so he's technically a year older than us and a year younger than Cameron. He plays football with the twins and somehow managed to convince Cameron to date him for two years.
"Well, he cheated on me. Guess that's what I get dating a younger guy."
I give her a sympathetic look, but before I can give her the 'you-deserve-better-than-that' speech, I'm cut off by Ethan. "I could kill the guy. And that's exactly what we're gonna do." I look at Grayson, to Ethan, then to Cameron with wide eyes.
"Not literally!" Cameron reassures me, "Just, emotionally."
"Ok, so how exactly do I fit into that?"
They all give each other looks. Cameron and Ethan both nod to Grayson, as if they're giving him permission to speak, so he takes the floor. "After Cam found out he cheated on her, she immediately ended things between the two of them. Well, us being the great siblings we are, we knew we needed to give him a taste of his own medicine. Ethan and I decided to pretend to still be friends with him, because that opens a door of numerous opportunities."
"So basically keep your friends close but your enemies closer?" I question.
"Exactly," Grayson continues, "so he came up to me this morning during third period and asked me to give him details about one of my friends. That friend being none other than you, Y/F/N." He looks down at me with his beautiful, hazel eyes and the butterflies in my stomach begin to flutter. "That's when it hit me, instead of giving him a taste of his own medicine, why don't we take it even further?"
"You have to make him fall in love with you, Y/N!" Cameron exclaims. "Then break his puny heart... assuming he has one." I feel hesitant at first, looking down at my chipped nail polish. As much as I want nothing to do with the drama, I couldn't bring myself to say no.
I couldn't say no to the girl who was basically like another big sister to me.
"Fine," I finally sigh, "I'm in."
They all let out a breath simultaneously and I receive thank you smiles from them all. Grayson drapes his arm around me and pulls me into a side hug.
"The other two girls who he cheated on me with are in on the plan, too." Cameron begins, "They're meeting at our house after school so can you be there around three?"
"Yeah! I'll be there."
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deacysfatbottomedgirl · a year ago
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Disclaimer: This post is based merely on my observation of the relationship between Freddie Mercury and John Deacon as viewed from an outsider's perspective gleaned through interviews and photos. I don't claim to be an expert in this matter in any way, shape or form. It's also based on my own personal experiences gained by going through this thing called "life". Let's get to it.
John and Freddie were extremely close: That's something every true Queen fan can agree on. True, John was also close to Roger; but his relationship with Freddie ran much deeper. His relationship with Brian was contentious at times, arm's length respect at its best.
Freddie's passing affected all the remaining band members differently, just as grieving is an individual, deeply personal process. We all know John couldn't continue performing with Queen after Freddie died, but the dynamic of their relationship when Freddie was alive is something truly special.
John alluded to the fact that Freddie, "brings out the best in me (him)". It's a fact that his shyness was softened by Freddie's flamboyance and John appreciated that. Losing his Father at the tender age of 11 affected John in many ways. He looked up to Freddie as a big brother, almost a surrogate father figure. John was able to become a part of one of the most influential bands in history because Freddie protected him from the pitfalls of fame as much as he allowed him to. Even though he married Veronica and had a large family, there are certain things you can't or are unable to share with your partner. Veronica wasn't a rock star, Freddie was. Veronica didn't go on tour with the band or experience the stress of having to record an album and couldn't know what the pressure was actually like: Freddie did. A soul mate is extremely rare to find in life and in my opinion, John found two: A partner in Veronica and a best friend in Freddie.
I've studied the group dynamic within the band for a very long time. Without telling everyone how old I am, (LOL) suffice to say, I was around to remember and appreciate Queen's early success and release of "A Night at the Opera" in 1975. John Deacon was my first celebrity crush so many years ago, and still is today!
I had the honor of finding a "soul mate" in the form of a best friend, who died suddenly at a young age. I KNOW what that pain feels like. I miss my best friend EVERY DAY.
I haven't found one in a romantic partner, but I'm not dead yet. 😉 I read somewhere that John and Veronica would frequent a Pub near their home about three times a week for several years. Veronica informed the Bartender who John was and instructed him to NEVER mention Queen in their presence. John also told Roger and Brian at their last concert appearance in 1997 that he "couldn't do this anymore". Roger indicated that John appeared to be extremely nervous and uncomfortable at that event because he was "chain-smoking, pacing and was generally miserable" the entire time. Photos of the band at that concert show John's body language as closed and distant.
I also find it interesting that there are no photos of John smoking prior to the mid-80s, around the time Freddie would have told his bandmates he was HIV positive. People who start smoking, using drugs or drinking heavily in their 30s, usually experience a life altering stressful event that leads them to adopt those habits.
John isn't fragile or weak: He's experienced the loss of two dominant and very important male "guardians" in his life. Both losses have profoundly affected him in ways only he can understand. I pray he finds peace and know this long-time Queen fan would like nothing more than to see him smile and be happy once again when remembering the large part of his life he believes died with Freddie.
Much love to you, John Deacon. (From one of many fans who love you)
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Rohinie Bisesar is not an imposing woman. Standing at only 4’11” at 85 lbs, she appears utterly harmless and shy. She is pretty, intelligent and highly educated. And yet; she stabbed a woman to death 2 weeks before Christmas in 2015, at a Toronto pharmacy while in the grip of a schizophrenic episode.
 She was born in 1975 in Guyana, to Hindu Indian parents who moved to Canada in 1980. Rohinie ran away from home as a teen, but was caught and punished by her father. He took her to a Hindu faith healer, and they performed a disturbing cleansing ceremony. They forced her to strip naked, and poured chicken blood onto her.
 After graduating high school in 1993, Rohinie attained a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology, an Administrative Studies degree in General Management, and an MBA in 2007. She moved out of her parents’ home at the age of 28; with a deadbeat boyfriend who she supported.
 Rohinie was unable to survive at investment firms with 12- hour work days, and was promptly fired. She took out loans and amassed $200k in financial debt. She also began showing symptoms of schizophrenia. After being dumped by her boyfriend; Rohinie was left homeless on the streets of downtown Toronto.
 An eyewitness who worked at her gym described Rohinie as polite, yet disturbed. She spent 5-8 hours a day in the gym bathrooms, and even showered and washed her underwear there. She often stared at her reflection in the mirror and screamed at it. One day, she had a psychotic episode and destroyed a blow dryer. While being thrown out by security, she apologized and claimed that “it was all because of these voices in her head who ruin everything, they’ve deprived her of her house, fiancé, and a career.” 
 She visited the same Starbucks everyday, and sat there all day with her laptop. Employees described her as “very antisocial. We knew something was off because she would stand at the cash and give us a blank stare.” She usually slept on the subway, in the underground PATH system, and couch surfed. 
  A restaurant server saw her with a succession of different men each time, noting that “they looked like lonely guys probably trying to pick her up. They were older men who obviously didn’t know her.”  Before Rohinie snapped, she sent a final disturbing email to all her colleagues and friends:
“I need to speak to the top professionals in artificial intelligence, military and government… Something has been happening to me and this is not my normal self and I would like to know why. There is either a single person or more responsible…. I am sorry about the incidence…. I felt the need to be extreme to see if it would work. I would normally not do such a thing.”
 Rohinie believed that the government had inserted a microchip into her body, and was using nanotechnology to control her brain. She had stopped taking her medication, was under extreme stress from being homeless, and was estranged from her family.
 On Dec 11, 2015, Rohinie walked up to a 28-year old woman named Rosemarie Junior at a downtown location of Shoppers Drug Mart, and wordlessly knifed her in the heart while she was shopping for lotions. She died in the hospital five days later. Rohinie remained on the run for four days, during which she was the most wanted woman in the country. 
 When asked by police why she targeted Rosmarie, who was also Indo- Caribbean; Rohinie told them that she chose to stab Rosemarie because they were both of the same height. Rohinie also said that the voices in her head compelled her to commit the crime. She was deemed not criminally responsible for the murder, and sent to a mental institution where she currently resides. 
- How Rohinie Bisesar Lost Her Mind
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etherealbts-mp3 · 6 months ago
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Gotcha || knj
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pairing: kim namjoon x reader
genre: fluff, slight angst, coffee shop/ bakery!au, e2l, neighbors!au, non-idol!au
warnings: none really, slow burn, enemies to lovers, mentions of death/ fire, mentions of panic attacks, hints towards sexual themes, pranks played against one another constantly, b a n t e r
words: 20.3K (it’s a monster, i’m so sorry)
summary: rival shops aren’t the worst things in life, but maybe their owners are. after a less than ideal first meeting, y/n swears kim namjoon off as their mortal enemy. this is tolerable, bearable even. nobody said they had to step foot in each other's shops, but what happens when the vacant apartment in their building gets filled with a noisy neighbor with constant….guests. and what happens when said neighbor is revealed to be none other than kim namjoon? prank wars and lots of meddling from best friends.
A/N: this story was originally posted on my instagram @/constellationkookie and my wattpad @/hoodftarreaga. this was also originally written for Calum Hood but I’m bts trash now and have no regrets:) -toro
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 I’ve never had a constant variable in my life. Moving around as a kid and changing schools happens to have that effect on a person. You learn not to expect too much from a friendship that you try to make work over texts and slowly dwindling phone calls and you begin to search for things in life that can become constants in some way or another. My form of constant was as simple as flour, sugar, eggs, and butter. The basic, core ingredients to any baked good. No matter where I moved or who I did or didn’t talk to, I had baking. All I needed was flour, sugar, eggs, and butter and I was whisked away to the safety of my kitchen where I didn’t have to deal with the chaos surrounding me in the outside world.
I didn’t need a boyfriend, best friend, or school club like everyone else. I didn’t need anything that would ground me into my surroundings since it would only make leaving that much harder. However, sometimes certain people try their hardest to latch onto you and gain your trust. They make you feel comfortable and allow you to open up and be vulnerable around them. I was twenty years old and living in Seoul with this certain person who just so happened to be my first and only best friend, Mal. She stood by my side through thick and thin and supported me to follow my dreams and do what I never thought was possible: open up my own bakery. It was hard at first and very stressful, but the end result was well worth the sleepless nights and crying fits.
Sunrise Bakery was my pride and joy and very successful. The name was Mal’s idea as she saw ‘the sun was rising on the start of my new life’. Seven months in, everything was going great, but then slowly my regulars began to not be so regular. ‘Friends’ turned into strangers and it seemed like everyone in the city forgot. I tried just about everything in the books from sales to new recipes but nothing kept them back for long. It wasn’t until I heard about a new coffee shop in town that I started to get worried. The Hideout Cafe was new in town and conveniently just down the street from my bakery. 
“Are you still plotting,'' Mal called from behind me. I turned my attention to her and furrowed my brow. “I’m not plotting anything,” I stated defensively and started rolling out the previously abandoned dough on the counter.
Mal snorts and rolls her eyes playfully before taking a sip out of her coffee cup, I hadn’t noticed it before. “Sure because staring out your window to try and see what's going on in there isn’t creepy at all.” I ignore her comment and look at the sleeve on her coffee cup before realizing which logo was on it.
“You went there? And actually ordered something?” I say incredulously. Her eyes widen slightly before sighing and slumping her shoulders. 
“I’m sorry but their latte is amazing! I seriously don’t know how they do it like it’s insane. I know you have some personal vendetta against them but just check it out one time and you’ll see how stupid it is. Customers aren’t going to stop coming permanently to a bakery because of a coffee shop.” I tried to ignore her and go to the back of the shop but she gently grabbed my wrist and stopped me in my tracks. 
“Come on, Y/N, you’ve been working since you opened and it’s time for a break. Please? For me?” I huffed before finally looking over at her and giving in. She silently cheered as I untied my apron and turned the open sign before locking up. We headed down the street and stopped in front of the shiny, new Hideout Cafe. Walking inside felt wrong but also relieving as the shop took over my senses. The warm air inside tickled my face, cold from the winter breeze outside. The clatter of cutlery accompanying the scent of coffee beans and light chatter of patrons soothed my senses in an instant. 
I followed Mal to the register and looked up at the seemingly endless menu posted on the wall. It was written in varying colors of chalk along with the seamless flow of script font that spelled out “Today’s Specials”. Mal pushed me forward and my eyes met the face of a boy around my age. He looked slightly amused and had a brow ever so lightly quirked up as he looked at my most likely flustered state. I opened my mouth but no sounds came out.
“First time?” The barista let out in his low voice. I shakily nodded my head before averting my gaze elsewhere. “Can I have a name for the order?” The barista started tapping on the screen in front of him. “Uh, Y/N. Just checking out the competition” I suddenly spoke, effectively shocking myself and him. He furrowed his brow before smiling almost smugly. I thought I saw a hint of a dimple but my attention was drawn elsewhere as he spoke again. 
“Oh, you must work at that dumb little bakery down the road. What is it? Moonlight or something?” I scoffed at his words and felt anger rush through my veins. “I happen to own that very successful bakery. And it’s Sunrise.” I spoke confidently.
“It’s irrelevant. It’ll probably be shut down in three months max at the rate of our shop. But hey it’s nice of you to add to the steady demise of your own bakery by buying something from us. What would you like? Pumpkin spice latte?” He spoke with such ease it infuriated me to no end. 
I turned away from the register to find Mal and leave as soon as possible. I knew coming here was a horrible idea and the sooner I left the better. I found Mal standing by the area to pick up drinks ‘talking’ to another male barista. I walked up next to her and waited for her to look at me but it seemed the only things on her mind were the warm eyes and cocky smirk adorned by plush lips on the other side of the counter. I cleared my throat and stepped closer to her and gained her attention only to lose it two seconds later as she turned back to the boy and introduced me to him.
“This is Y/N, it’s her first time here.” She spoke sweetly and I tried not to gag but the instinct was harder to resist as the barista from before walked up with a drink in hand with a smirk on his face. “Pumpkin spice latte for Y/N. Don’t worry, it’s on the house.” He winked at me before walking away and I scowled at his retreating figure. The barista with warm eyes laughed lightly before speaking, “Well it seems you made friends with our owner, Namjoon.”
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Namjoon. Namjoon...blank. I don’t know much about him but I know the important things. He’s the owner of the Hideout Cafe. The self-righteous asshole who took it upon himself to spite me by not only making a basic drink that I will never admit to drinking half of, but also by misspelling my name. As soon as I noticed the lazy scrawl on the side of the cup with a lopsided smiley face next to it, I texted the photographic evidence to Mal and promptly trashed the drink.
I felt a heavy weight on my chest for the rest of the day and couldn’t seem to keep the scowl off my face as I suspiciously looked down the street. I tried to ignore the cocky smirk and the harsh words from earlier by rolling out dough and frosting cupcakes but something about the situation just didn’t sit right with me. Before I could overanalyze or create more conspiracy theories to add to my growing list (42 currently reside on this list and they all seem somewhat plausible) closing time for the bakery came and I started to clean up before walking home. 
My eyes felt droopy as I leaned against the elevator wall. The steady motion was quickly luring me to sleep but I forced my head to face forward as the doors opened and my bed became that much closer. I fumbled with my keys a bit before dropping them on the floor in front of my apartment. I grumbled out a curse before successfully entering and falling into bed after changing my flour ridden clothes. I fell asleep almost instantly and waited to be awoken by the sun through my blinds.
Except that’s not what happened. I awoke at 3:04 am to a loud blaring and lights flashing in my room. I groggily sat up before realizing what was happening. The fire alarm. My eyes widened and I jumped from my bed, grabbing my phone and the first pair of shoes I saw before bolting to my front door. I turned to my left to run to the stairway when I collided with a firm blur and stumbled backward. My vision was still slightly spinning before I heard the voice start to apologize. 
“Ah, shit. Sorry I didn’t see where I was going. I just moved in here and don’t know where to go.” That voice. The voice I had on repeat all afternoon after I left his shop. The voice of Namjoon. Namjoon Last-name.
I opened my eyes and saw him sleepily staring back at me before his ever-present smirk took over his face again. I groaned and threw my head back, begging the universe to tell me this was a joke but the semi hoarse laughter in front of me proved otherwise. 
“Nice slippers, Moonlight” I looked down and saw my fuzzy mermaid slippers on my feet. I let out a huff as I looked at him again before seeing it. His body was completely bare except for the black boxers and single sock on his right foot. My throat dried up and my eyes widened at the sight. I shook my head as the current situation sunk back in. Fire alarm, fire, danger, get to the stairs, get to safety. I ran past him to the stairway and didn’t look back. I couldn’t get stuck up there, I can’t. Visions of thick, black smoke and watery eyes flashed in my mind and my breathing picked up speed. Don’t think, just run.
I found my way to the ground floor and was greeted by a hoard of grumpy, tired people in pajamas crowding the entrance. I tried to squeeze my way through to the exit but as soon as I reached it a hand grabbed my wrist and I yelped before trying to pull my hand free. The hand let go almost instantly and I fearfully looked up only to see Namjoon again looking at me confused. I turned my head away from him and held my wrist close to my chest. 
“Woah, no need to freak out. It was a false alarm but I saw you running for the exit and wanted to stop you.” I dropped my arms and looked at him before seeing the hint of concern lacing his features. I chose to ignore it and said what I had first thought when I saw him in my hallway. 
“Why are you here and why are you naked?” The monotone delivery caught him off guard as his eyebrows raised and he chuckled at me. Those damn dimples proudly being displayed. “You must not have heard me earlier. I just moved in and it’s three in the morning so I was sleeping. This is how I sleep, well except for the boxers anyways.” He smirked again and I tried my hardest to not slap it off his face. I chose to roll my eyes instead and questioned him further.
“What apartment are you?” He had a devious glint in his eyes and I knew what he was thinking. “I’m not asking for that. You were in my hall so I want to know which door to avoid.” He squinted his eyes at me but the boyish grin on his face stayed. He looked me up and down and I crossed my arms over my chest, blushing at the intensity of his gaze. “5B.” He finally stated and I groaned in defeat at his answer. Of course, he lived there. 5B had been vacant for as long as I had lived in this building and I always hoped it would stay that way. “Well what about you,” he started,”which apartment is yours?” I brushed past him and walked to the elevator. The lobby had significantly cleared out since I got there and I decided I would rather sleep than talk to Namjoon Insert-Name-Here. 
The doors opened and I pressed the button for the fifth floor as Namjoon walked on and stared at me. I ignored him and his piercing gaze the entire ride up but he seemed to think this through as he motioned for me to exit first when we reached our floor. “Ladies first,” he said smugly and I grumbled to myself as I walked to my apartment. The number and letter on my door seemed to be mocking me as I stopped in front of them. I heard Namjoon trying to hold back his laughter to my right as he spoke. “Oh, Moonlight, this is gonna be fun.” He opened his door and walked in, leaving me to sulk in the hallway by myself. I banged my head against the door of 5C and felt the urge to scream. Namjoon...whatever his last name was, is going to be the death of me.
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I didn’t sleep much after the fire alarms blaring that night. My thoughts were racing much too fast to grant me any type of peace. In fact, I hardly slept at all the few days after that night due to Namjoon constantly having friends over and yelling or blaring music at alarming volumes all night long. I walked groggily down the street to my bakery and fumbled for the keys in my bag. I let out a stream of curses under my breath as they fell to the ground, a seemingly new trait I had developed due to no sleep, and sighed as I leaned to pick them up. I could already tell this day would not be fun.
Customers filed through the shop door and the smell of sugar filled my senses until Mal walked in for her shift clutching two coffee cups. I narrowed my eyes at her cheery smile and the two cups in her hands. “You seriously stopped by that shop again? And you bought me a drink?” I questioned incredulously. Mal playfully rolled her eyes as she walked behind the counter without a care in the world.
“I just so happened to walk in to talk to Jimin and get my regular when a certain someone handed me another on the house.” Mal wiggled her eyebrows as she slid one of the cups towards me. I furrowed my brow, “Jimin? I’ve never heard you talk about them before. And if you’re trying to be subtle and make me guess how you managed to flirt with one guy while charming another so much that he bought you a free drink, it’s not working.” Mal chuckled lightly before shaking her head and explaining.
“You do know Jimin, you two met that day we went to check out the Hideout. He asked me out when I stopped by today and after I agreed your neighbor stopped by to ask me to give you this. Have anything to share, Y/N?” She tapped the lid of the cup and based on the tone she used and the faux innocence in her wide eyes, I knew she was trying to not scream at me for not instantly telling her Namjoon was my neighbor. Or she was trying not to laugh. Laughing seemed to be all the universe was doing to me recently.
I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply “Unfortunately yes. I found out last week that we live next door to each other.” I could only grumble the words that left a bitter taste in my mouth. Namjoon always seemed to have that effect on me. The fact that he even had an effect on me made it worse. I opened my eyes to see Mal smirking at me while she continuously shifted her gaze to the cup that seemingly shifted closer to my hand resting on the counter.
I picked up the cup slowly, scared it would explode or an animal would come out and attack me at any sudden movement. I saw the messy handwriting on the side that was slowly becoming familiar and felt my blood boil at what it read. My name wasn’t too complicated but once again he had seemed to misspell it so bad that it almost had to be done on purpose. Mal was struggling to hold back her giggles and I glared at her. “You can’t seriously be that mad at him, it’s funny!” She spoke defensively. I threw my head back in defeat and groaned before starting to walk towards the kitchen. 
“But I can be because he’s a self righteous jerk who only cares about himself and doesn’t even try to be a decent human being and spell a name right. I swear, every single thing he does makes me want to scream.” I finally vented as Mal followed me. “I bet he wants to make you scream,” Mal states smugly, making me glare at her over my shoulder before she changed the subject, “So what are you gonna do about it?” She questioned me and I turned to face her with confusion etched across my face. “You keep complaining about the guy and you just let him keep getting to you. You need to annoy him back or at least let him know you’re not going down without a fight. And I’m only saying this since apparently hate sex is off the table.”
I thought for a minute and it didn’t seem like a bad idea. Better than the latter one at least. “I don’t even know what I would do. I can hardly face him without wanting to run away and yell into my pillow.” I was whining and I knew it but in my defense it was true. If I had to look at Namjoon whatever his last name was smirking at me with those dimples one more time I was going to lose it. Mal’s eyes slightly widened and her grin started to grow as I felt fear rise in me. She had an idea and it would most likely end up with injury or prison.
“You live next door to the guy. And his shop is down the road. There’s nothing wrong with a little prank to tell him to back off.” I crossed my arms and opened my mouth to protest only to close it as her words really hit me. It really wasn’t the worst idea ever. I would have to think everything through and leave no room for mistake but he had to know it was me. I had to give him the sign to back off but I couldn’t anger him too much. Luckily though Mal was already listing ideas before I could think of any on my own.
I cut her off after hearing the words ‘peanut butter’, ‘toilet paper’ and ‘hedge clipper’ by putting my hand out and laughing. “Let’s start off tame first. I can barely think straight after getting no slee-'' I suddenly stopped speaking and smiled largely. I knew what I wanted to do but I had to make sure it was perfect. 
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I checked the clock on the microwave one more time as I started to get nervous. It was 4:03AM and Namjoon’s front door had closed roughly thirty minutes ago. I hadn’t heard any noise from his apartment aside from the shower and shuffling around. Suddenly I had found benefits to paper thin walls. Everything was perfect and now it was time to set my plan into motion. I loudly swung open my cabinets and turned on my bluetooth speaker as music started to fill the spaces around me. I dropped some metal pans on the floor and slammed a cookie sheet onto my counter for good measure before grabbing my ingredients. I would’ve worried about other neighbors complaining but I thankfully had an apartment on the corner of the hall. Only Namjoon would be able to hear the noise I made.
 I worked loudly and sang along to the music coming from my speakers. Soon enough the electric mixer was loudly whirring and the oven was beeping to alert me of the temperature being reached. I had just aggressively closed the oven door when I heard a harsh banging at my door. I smiled and ignored it. I had riskily left the front door unlocked and just as I had assumed, Namjoon Last Name raced into my apartment after knocking and being ignored once again. 
He walked to my kitchen and found my speaker, quickly turning it off. I didn’t even glance up at him once as he breathed heavily through his nose and stared at me. “Do you have any idea what fucking time it is?” He spoke angrily and I tried not to laugh. “Yep” I replied coolly. “What are you do- are you baking a cake? It’s 4am. Why are you baking a cake? And what’s with the party decorations?” He spoke confusedly as he looked around at the streamers and balloons decorating my apartment. “I’m celebrating the death of my sleep schedule and sanity. Want a cookie?” 
I finally looked at him and kept a straight face as his jaw hung open and his eyes narrowed. “A cookie? No I don’t want a fucking cookie. What the fuck is wrong with you?” He threw his hands up and looked at me like I was crazy. I think I probably was after almost a week of no sleep, but I kept up the act. “You sound tense. The cupcakes should be done soon, maybe they’ll help you loosen up.” Namjoon huffed and talked to me like I was a child. “I’m pissed. You can’t just fucking make all the noise in the world at 4AM and expect everyone to sleep through it and be okay with it-”
I pointed my rubber spatula at him and glared, effectively cutting him off. “Why not? It’s all you seem to do every night when you have friends over and scream at a television for four hours straight.” I stuck a finger into the frosting I was in the process of creating and put it in my mouth to suck the frosting off. “Needs more vanilla” I mumbled to myself. I still had some left on my finger and stuck out my tongue to effectively lick the rest of it off and went back to mixing. Namjoon was silent. After a minute of ignoring him I looked up, almost expecting him to be gone but there he was. His jaw was tense and his eyes slightly wide while his eyebrows almost raised to the top of his head. 
He looked away as I met his eye and grunted out a “Just keep it down okay?” Before bolting out the door and leaving me confused in my kitchen. I put some plastic wrap over my frosting and put the cupcakes onto a cooling rack before retiring to my bed for a few hours of sleep. Namjoon was on my mind though. He seemed to leave pretty quickly and I wondered if I had gone too far. Did I get him too angry? Did I cross a line with what I said? I pushed away those thoughts since I was only doing and saying what he had to me. It couldn’t be that bad. 
Could it?
I slept surprisingly well after Namjoon left. My alarm greeted me only a few, short hours later, however, I felt like I had slept for years. I took a quick shower and started to get ready for the day when I heard movement through the thin walls of my bedroom. Namjoon was awake. Namjoon. My eyes widened at the thought of him and his probable reaction to my little prank last night. My heart beat started to accelerate ever so slightly as I hurriedly finished getting ready.
I slowly opened my bedroom door and peeked my head out slowly. I turned to thoroughly inspect every hidden corner for anything Namjoon could have planted while I was sleeping but found nothing. Nevertheless I was still paranoid. I walked to my kitchen quickly and grabbed a granola bar before slipping on my shoes and heading to the door. I was ready to get to my shop and away from the close proximity of him.
I felt my phone vibrate rapidly in my pocket and groaned as I barely had enough energy and concentration to focus on getting my shoes on the right feet. I saw Mal’s name on the screen and answered quickly. I couldn’t even get a word in as she instantly greeted me with a warm “Where the hell are you?!” and I winced as I pulled the phone away from my poor ear.
“I’m leaving the apartment? Same time as usual.” I stated tiredly. Mal wasted no time as she once again responded too loudly for this hour. “You forgot what day it is, didn’t you?” I froze at her words and pulled my phone away to see the date on the screen. A bold ‘February 4th’ stared back at me and my eyes widened once again that morning. Shit.
Ever since we became friends, Mal and I had created a tradition. On the same day every year we would meet up and spend the day together doing whatever we needed at the time. Some years we went shopping for dates we had or prom dresses, others we stayed at home doing face masks and watching Queer Eye and some harder years we ate ice cream and vented about how much life sucked and how glad we were to have each other. The most important year though was when we moved out to Seoul together after graduating college and saving up money for plane tickets and moving expenses. This day was our day and it always had been, it was more important than some official holidays to us and it was today. February 4th. 
“I love you?” I tried pathetically and Mal laughed at my response, already knowing I had forgotten. Thankfully she wasn’t angry with me as she playfully replied, “You move out of our place for three months and suddenly you forget the most important day of the year.” I laughed but couldn’t help the guilt I felt weighing me down. Mal was my best friend, my rock and I wouldn’t be doing half of the things I had accomplished without her by my side. 
Seemingly reading my mind Mal spoke softly, “Don’t feel bad Y/N/N, I’ve easily forgotten at least four times in the past. I’m coming by yours in a bit and we can decide what the plan is from there.” I smiled even though she couldn’t see it and we said our goodbyes before hanging up. I walked to the front door to be ready to meet her in the lobby as she wasn’t too far from me. I went to lock my door but decided against it as we probably would just end up there for the day and walked to the elevator. 
“Junk food and netflix?” Mal spoke as I opened her car door and got in. I eagerly agreed and we headed to our first stop: the closest convenience store. It easily was the most cost effective option and yet another monument of our friendship. Whenever we were bored or wanted to hang out we always ended up at the closest convenience store and always bought too many things (mainly snacks) we didn’t need. It was always worth it.
After spending too much time and money we headed back to Mal’s apartment and got ready to spend the day together. We pulled up ‘After’ on Netflix because we knew how bad it would be and wanted to laugh at ourselves and each other for reading the original Harry Styles fanfic the movie was based on. After pausing the movie a million times to laugh and talk about what chapter this would be, Mal turned to me and spoke genuinely, “How are you today?” I sighed and looked her in the eye. I smiled as big as I could and told her the truth. “Could be better. It’s always going to be hard though and my neighbor really isn’t helping things.” 
February 4th wasn’t a randomly chosen date. It was a date chosen to help me be prepared for another significant date just around the corner. Mal smiled and nodded in understanding before speaking again, “What would be best for us to do the rest of today?” This is why I loved Mal. She knew the real reason why this day was created and she still never tried to do what she thought I needed to have fun or be okay with it or even ignore it. She always wanted to make sure I was doing what I needed for myself.
I smiled again, larger this time and told her gratefully, “Honestly watching ‘This Is Us’ and crying over One Direction sounds great right now.” We laughed before we pulled the movie and cuddled up together under the blankets. I was so lucky.
I got back to my apartment around 9pm that night with a smile on my face. Today was great and I knew it would help me be prepared for the next important day. I went to unlock my door but it was already unlocked. I froze as I remembered not locking it this morning in case we ended up here and felt my heart drop as I heard the TV on inside. I knew I didn’t leave it on this morning as I hardly used it in general and I braced myself as I slowly opened the door, ready to face whatever burglar or serial killer was inside. Only it was worse.
Namjoon was relaxed and sprawled out on my couch with his feet on the coffee table in front of him. He had a mug with tea in it next to his feet and I gaped at him. He turned to me as he heard the door open and smiled smugly at my expression. “Oh, hey you’re back.” He turned back to the TV and I was too shocked to move from my place in the doorway. He spoke casually like he had every right to be in there. “You know, you should probably stop leaving your door unlocked. You never know what creep or weirdo could walk in.” He took a sip of his tea and raised his brows at me. 
I started to mutter out a response but he stood from the couch and cut me off from my stuttering. “I just want to apologize for keeping you up last week. It’s not cool and I learned my lesson completely. It won’t happen again.” He spoke sincerely and it was honestly scary to hear him talk without sounding sarcastic or cruel. I narrowed my eyes at him and spoke in disbelief, “Really? So...we’re cool?” Namjoon laughed genuinely with his award winning dimples in view as I arched my brow in confusion. He patted my shoulder as he replied. “Yeah, we’re cool.”
With that he walked past me and out the door, closing it behind him and calling for me to “Make sure you lock it”. I looked around my apartment for anything that seemed broken or tampered with to ignore the pounding of my heart and the heat that lingered where his hand was. After coming up empty handed I was confused. Surely he would’ve tried to get me back. Maybe I was wrong about him. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone so far like I did and just talked to him. I sighed and groaned as I felt guilt start to swallow me up again that day. 
It wasn’t until I moved to get ready for bed that I saw I had no need to feel guilty at all. I was right about him. I should’ve gone further than what I did because he did get me back. He had replaced something of mine I hadn’t thought of before and it was way worse than I could’ve imagined. Sitting innocently on top of my dresser was a little note with his messy scrawl reading ‘Gotcha ;)’ and I panicked. I looked through all my shirts, pants, socks but found nothing until I looked in the last drawer. I gasped as I saw his handiwork and couldn’t believe it. He had replaced my entire underwear collection with brand new, lacy thongs.
To say I was fuming would be an understatement. Not only had he completely invaded my privacy but he had touched and stolen things that were for my eyes only. I had to use every ounce of strength in my body to not feel embarrassed that he had seen my lackluster collection since that was not the issue here. I couldn’t just ask him to give them back and at the moment putting on my dirty pair I discarded after the quick shower I had taken was also not an option. I swallowed my pride and slipped a lacy red thong with floral details up my legs and dove into bed hoping to forget my day and have sleep take over me.
Shockingly, I seemed to once again be the only one who found my situation infuriating. Mal was practically suffering the next morning as she tried to hold in her laughter at my explanation of the night before. My glare did nothing to ease her laughter that had finally bubbled out of her loudly and I brushed past her into the kitchen in my shop. I ignored her wheezing as I pulled out the bowls and ingredients for the day. Today called for a new creation and ultimate focus since all I could think of was the fact that I could feel the soft material of my sundress against just about every part of me.
Tying my apron around my waist, I got to work. I started with cupcakes as I was constantly out of stock of my new flavor “Maliblue”. It was a spring themed cupcake with lemon flavored cake and a blueberry frosting. The hoards of college students on spring break back at home posting pictures at beaches inspired the name and surprisingly it sold well for a small bakery in Korea. As I placed my first batch in the oven I got to thinking on what to do next. I wanted something new and good. 
Before I could clearly think out any ideas I started grabbing ingredients and let my body work for me. Mal walked back, seemingly calmed down and ready to let me vent. “Alright I’m sorry but you can not tell me you don't see any humor in this!” 
I rolled my eyes and pushed a stubborn strand of hair back behind my ear as I worked on the mystery item in front of me. “Honestly I don’t see any humor in him discovering my granny panty collection.” I murmured under my breath. My eyes widened as I spoke and I hoped she hadn’t heard me, but as her smile widened and she crossed her arms over her chest smugly I knew the damage was done. “So that’s why you’re upset. You’re embarrassed cause the guy you like saw your underwear and now he probably doesn't think you’re sexy. I mean it’s understandable.” 
I fought the urge to wipe her smug grin off her face and instead spoke in a tone way too defensive “I do not like him and couldn’t give two shits if he thought I was sexy.” This only made her grin widen even further and my growing blush worsen. I groaned at the sight and went back to mixing the batter in front of me. I apparently was in a cupcake mood as that’s what I decided to make with it.
“What are you making?” Mal questioned as I moved to grab some cream cheese and raspberries from the fridge and I shrugged in response because I truly didn’t know. I had finished the chocolate cake batter and now started on a filling. I heard Mal’s phone buzz and she grabbed it at lightning speed while smiling at her screen. I raised my eyebrows in reaction to her sudden movement and she gave me an apologetic glance before hurriedly typing out a response. It was now my turn to question her and she seemed to realize this as she innocently looked at me before trying to dip her finger in the chocolate batter.
I swatted her hand away and put my hands on my hips while tilting my head at her accusingly. She sighed and started to blush before I even asked the question she knew was on my mind. “So who is he?” I suddenly spoke and Mal flushed even further before smiling and quietly muttering “Jimin” in response. I kind of expected his name even though I constantly teased her for ‘liking the enemy’. Before I could question her further though, the oven dinged and the front door swung open against the bells above it, signalling a new customer. “Literally saved by the bell.” I spoke as I went to the oven.
She darted to the front of the store leaving me confused as she never was excited to greet customers. I shook it off and pulled the cupcakes from the oven, continuing to mix the filling for my new batch as they cooled. After placing the chocolate batter in a greased tin and placing them in the oven, I walked out of the kitchen, wiping my hands on my apron, and froze. Of course it wasn’t just a customer that had come in. It was Jimin and behind him stood an amused looking Namjoon. I rolled my eyes at the sight and overheard Mal and Jimin talking about their plans for the evening. I smiled slightly hearing them so excited and watching them act like love sick puppies.
“Wow you sure know how to greet your customers huh?” Spoke a familiar voice and my smile vanished. I still hadn’t come up with my plan to get him back and I honestly didn’t have the patience to face him while wearing lace. That he had bought.
“I wouldn’t consider you a customer, more like a nuisance.” I spoke boldly and his signature wicked grin appeared. Before he could speak up again Mal put her hand on my shoulder. “I’ve just had a great idea.” She spoke loudly, gaining everyone's attention. “Oh no.” I mumbled at the glint in her eyes. “Why don’t you and Namjoon join me and Jimin tonight? I’m sure staying here all night can’t possibly be better than mini golf and ice cream.” She spoke sweetly but I knew better. 
Jimin instantly agreed and I saw a similar look of dread on Namjoon’s face as I turned to face him. It quickly vanished though as he replaced it with a cocky smirk and made eye contact with me as she spoke “That is a great idea. It’s a date.” I almost choked on my spit at his words but before I could retort, he glanced at his watch and got Jimin’s attention as they had to head back to their shop. “See you at closing, Moonlight.” He winked after his words and was out the door. I saw Mal turn to me with eyebrows raised and knew she was going to question the nickname but the oven dinged once again and I sheepishly told her, “Saved by the bell?”
I had finished my new cupcakes and placed them out to be sold when shockingly they sold out. I had to remake them twice throughout the day but had yet to come up with a name for them. Before I could though, it was closing time and Jimin and Namjoon had come back to the shop, ready to go mini golfing. I cursed myself for wearing a short sundress and jean jacket as Seoul decided wind was a great idea tonight. I locked the door to the shop and we headed off. Before we got too far, however, Namjoon pulled me back to walk with him and leaned into my ear as he spoke “Hope you’re wearing one of my presents tonight under that dress, Moonlight.” I felt my jaw drop as he let go of my arm and innocently smiled before walking off to join Jimin and Mal.
This was going to be a long night.
Walking to mini golf felt like an eternity with Namjoon standing next to me, towering over my frame, and with Mal and Jimin giggling and holding hands in front of us. I didn’t realize I was staring at them until a chuckle sounded from next to me. “What?” I asked him questioningly. He smiled softly at me and I felt my heart clench at the sight. This was the first time he had looked at me with anything other than cockiness or venom in his eyes. I brushed off the feeling as shock and waited for him to reply. 
“You just had a funny face is all. You looked bored, angry and like you were plotting some evil plan all at once.” He spoke jokingly and I sighed at his answer. “Why does everyone say that?” I groaned and Namjoon looked at me confused but intrigued. I answered the question I knew he was about to ask, “Everyone says I look like I’m plotting something and I never am. I don’t plot anything. Ever.” Namjoon just laughed lightly at that and looked up at the setting sun.
“If it means anything, you look cute when you plot how to escape third-wheeling. You furrow your eyebrows and squint your eyes and get all focused.” He looked sheepish as he finished his statement and scratched at his neck before he shoved his hands in his pockets. I felt heat rise to my cheeks and cleared my throat before retorting. “Don’t think you can just try to smooth talk me and make me forgive you for your little prank last night.” I sounded much more confident than I felt and I praised whatever higher power for giving me that strength.
Namjoon smirked but it wasn’t cocky like it usually was. He hung his head down and shook his head while smiling, dimples proudly on display. We were quiet for a while after that but soon we were at the mini golf place and practically pulled inside by Mal and Jimin. The interior was dark and covered in blacklights and neon paints lit up the otherwise hidden walls and courses. Jimin paid for Mal and I went to grab my wallet when Namjoon stopped me with his question of “What color ball do you want, Moonlight?”. I quirked a brow at him in slight protest before he tilted his head at me in response and sighed out a ‘green’ in indignation.
He grinned in triumph as he received our balls and the score card from the teenage cashier. He tossed me my green ball which I easily caught and rolled my eyes as he led me to the first hole. My worn, white shoes lit up under the lights as well as Namjoon’s shirt under his flannel and warm looking jacket. He boyishly smiled at the sight and his eyes widened as he did so. I couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of him acting like a little kid and he looked like a deer in headlights as he realized he was caught. 
I placed my ball down after Mal hugged a blushing Jimin for getting a hole in one and was ready to give a half assed attempt at hitting the ball before Namjoon asked in shock “What are you doing?” like I was committing a crime. I stood up straight in confusion and lazily gestured to my ball before responding plainly “Playing mini golf. It’s not like I’m trying to win or anything.” I leaned back over before he moved towards me. I stood up again and held out my hand for him to stop before speaking again.
“No. Absolutely not. You’re not about to pull some cheesy rom com bullshit on me where the guy goes behind the girl to ‘help with her technique’. Go stand by that neon pink dick on the wall and look pretty while I take five attempts at getting this ball in the hole.” I pointed my finger at the wall as I spoke and he laughed loudly at my speech before raising his hands in surrender and stepping close to the wall with said spray painted neon pink dick. He crossed his arms and challenged me with his eyes to do as I said I would.
“Thank you.” I curtsied in my sundress and he laughed in response. It took me four tries before I finished while Namjoon got it in two and we walked to the next hole before realizing Mal and Jimin were far ahead of us. I sighed at the sight of the next 17 holes and Namjoon nudged me with his elbow. “You know, the tickets for mini golf also came with unlimited arcade credits.” he pointed his head in the direction of the arcade on the other side of the courses. I smiled and started walking towards the bright lights and sounds of the games being played before speaking over my shoulder “I’ll kick your ass in skeeball.” 
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“You’re a cheater.” Namjoon spoke grumpily as I won another game and beat him. We played a few rounds of skeeball then moved on to air hockey where he destroyed me and I sulked until we played mario kart where I came in second to him again. I pouted until he led me to the basketball game where I beat his ass twice. 
I laughed at his words as we walked to the counter for prizes. “I never cheat. You just chose to get your ass handed to you by a girl. It’s okay, Joon. Happens to the best of us.” He stopped moving and smiled and I grabbed his wrist to drag him to the counter before dropping all our tickets onto it. “Stop smiling like a doofus and get me that angry minion.” I put my hands on my hips as I spoke and he looked at the worker before saying “You heard the lady.” and pushing our tickets to them. 
He kept smiling and looking at his shoes as if they were incredibly interesting before I flicked his shoulder and asked him “What are you smiling at?” He shook his head and grabbed the minion from the employee’s hand and mine in his other hand. I blushed lightly at the sudden contact and moved to keep up with him. “You called me Joon. It’s cute. I usually reserve that nickname for family and close friends so the fact I’m not throwing your ass outside and blocking off all contact with you is a shock to us all.”
I laughed at his statement and we soon ran into Mal and Jimin who looked equally smug and love sick as ever. Mal looked down to our still interlocked hands and I quickly withdrew mine from Namjoon’s grasp before speaking. “So. Ice cream anyone?”
The walk to the parlor was quiet and Namjoon looked deep in thought as his hands were shoved in his pockets and his brows were furrowed. The ice cream shop we were going to wasn’t even a real shop as it was a cart with outdoor seating under strung lights and wooden beams. The wind had only gotten worse as the night went on so the cold was brutal against my exposed skin. I pulled my surprisingly thin jean jacket tight around my frame and moved my hands quickly up and down my arms in an attempt to gain some warmth. Suddenly a hand stopped my quick movements and I was pulled into a firm body. I looked up in shock as Namjoon hugged me tightly against him and wrapped his arms around my waist.
I tried to push away from him but he was so warm I was finding it hard to resist. “Stop pushing, Moonlight. Put your arms inside my jacket, it’ll warm you up.” I eyed him suspiciously and he sighed before rolling his eyes and starting to pull away. I practically shouted in protest as I felt the sudden frigid wind hit me again. I hesitantly listened to him and leaned fully against him with my arms inside of his incredibly warm jacket.
“Who’s bullshit idea was it to get ice cream outside.” I grumbled against his chest. I felt the vibrations of him laughing at my words and felt soothed at the sensation. I closed my eyes and released a breath I hadn’t known I was holding in. His arms rubbed up and down my back and I felt tension leave my body as we started to sway side to side. “I’m still pissed at you.” I spoke again and I felt him look down at me. I met his amused eyes and put my chin on his chest as I looked up at him. “Damn, you mean my plan to woo you and make you fall for me so you’ll forget how mad you are hasn’t worked yet?” 
I smiled at him and breathily laughed before speaking with new found confidence. “Barely. It might’ve worked if I wasn’t wearing red lace all day with no one to admire. It’s frustrating really. If only I were wooed.” 
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Nobody could have prepared me for the absolute chaos that came from joining Jimin and Mal on their date. It was only the next morning and my phone hadn’t stopped buzzing due to texts and calls from Mal. I only briefly glanced at them before I went to sleep the night before and knew she was begging for “details” of the night she imagined happened. Namjoon had walked me back to our building after we finished up our ice cream. We walked in silence with our hands brushing slightly with every sudden movement. After a few blocks I crossed my arms over my chest, too high off the feeling of his skin against mine, no matter how miniscule and told myself it was due to how cold I was. 
I was utterly dumbfounded. Yes, Namjoon was undeniably attractive and we had gotten along well throughout our night together but he was still Namjoon. The guy stealing my business, my noisy neighbor who replaced all my underwear, the jerk who couldn’t even attempt to spell my name right, Namjoon. He made my blood boil and my heart race but it was beginning to get confusing as I couldn’t distinguish the anger for something else. We parted ways as he stopped in front of his door and I kept walking to mine. I thought he was about to speak but I had already opened my door and rushed in before he could utter a single syllable.
Sleep didn’t come easy, and before I knew it I had tossed and turned until 5am. I sighed and pushed myself up to get ready. I clearly wasn’t going to rest and the only form of relaxation I knew was a few blocks down the road. I shrugged on my clothes after a quick shower and grabbed my keys before heading out. I froze as I heard the door next to mine open as I was locking my own and willed myself to not look at him as I heard the footsteps suddenly stop just like mine had.
I finished locking my door and turned in the direction of the elevator without making any effort to actually walk towards it. Namjoon quickly closed and locked his door and suddenly we were in a silent battle of who would speak first. Shy glances and nervous movements could only do so much and he seemed to grow tired of it as he spoke up first. “Early morning?” He asked as he reached up to scratch at the back of his neck awkwardly. It seemed to be a nervous habit of his but before I could think about what that made me feel I responded. “Couldn’t sleep.” I spoke sheepishly and played with my hands in front of me.
I took in a breath and looked up with a smile as I walked to the elevator behind him. He joined me and soon the doors were closing behind us. “Was I too loud or anything? I was kinda up all night too. Just...thinking.” He grew quiet as he finished and I assured him it had nothing to do with him. At least I think so. We once again started walking down the road to our respective shops by each other's side. Our hands brushed again and I praised the yawn that left my body as it gave me an excuse to move my hand away from his. He looked over at me and once again looked like he wanted to say something. This time, however, I let him say what was on his mind.
“Do you maybe want a coffee? I mean that’s at least why I left my place.” I looked up at him and blinked away the tears that had formed due to my yawning and saw something flash in his eyes and a small smile grow on his face. I was hesitant to spend more time alone with him but before I could deny him another yawn left me and he chuckled. “Come on, Moonlight, I think I know a good place.”
We made our way to the Hideout Cafe and he grabbed the keys from his back pocket before holding the door open for me. I smiled at him in thanks and took in the coffee shop once again. It was different at this time of day. The chairs were stacked up and pushed against the walls along with the wooden tables, the dim lights were calming as the sun had yet to rise and fill up the shop with its bright rays. Namjoon moved easily behind the counter and turned on some machines I didn’t recognize. I stood next to the door taking in all the artwork and posters lining the walls before I noticed a section at the corner of the shop. There was a wooden ledge lining the corner covered in pillows and soft looking blankets. The lights hanging above it made it look inviting and I slowly walked towards the bookcases on the wall next to the makeshift reading nook.
I looked at the familiar and unknown titles until I heard Namjoon call for me. I turned to answer him only to see him walking towards me. “I didn’t see this here the first time I came.” I spoke softly and he smiled at me before pulling a book off the ledge and placing it on the shelf where it belonged. “When I bought this place the corner seat was already here so it just felt right to add everything else.” He shrugged as he spoke but the almost longing look he wore towards the books told me there was something more to his story.
He turned to me again as he spoke “What would you like?” and his right arm stretched out to the chalkboard menu above the counter. I walked with him to stand in front of it to get a better look but couldn’t decide. I bit down on my lip in concentration as I tried to figure out something right to order. I didn’t want to get something embarrassing and ‘basic’ but I wanted something that tasted good. Namjoon stood next to me and looked at the side of my face before I decided to say what I thought was a good answer. “Surprise me.”
And surprise me, he definitely did. I moved to lean against the counter as I watched him work. We talked about random facts and our favorite things and every few minutes I would ask what he was making before he would continue to avoid my question. After a seemingly never ending wait he handed me my to go cup with steam and an addicting aroma wafting up to my nose. He already looked smug before I even took a sip and I knew it was going to be good. I took the lid off to let it cool off and smell it clearly. Fed up with my stalling, Namjoon rolled his eyes and ordered me to drink it. I huffed out a sigh and did as he said. I was right. It was good. Before I could stroke his ego with my full review of the magical drink in my hands I had to open up my own shop.
That didn’t cause the image of him smirking and calling out to me “Bye, Moonlight.” to leave my mind for the rest of the day. If anything it only made me long to see him even sooner. Mal had burst into the shop on schedule and I prepared myself for her interrogation. “Well you two were certainly cozy last night. It’s truly amazing how well you can get along with others when you aren’t trying to rip their head off.” I rolled my eyes before changing the subject. “I was only trying to get close to him and make him think I don’t have my next prank planned and ready to go.” 
Mal laughed at my words before looking me in the eye and speaking confidently, “If you wanted my help coming up with a prank you could’ve just asked instead of lying.” I laughed before looking at her with pleading eyes. “My God you’re hopeless.” She sighed and I silently cheered as I knew she was going to help.
A few google searches, texts to Jimin, and a visit to a public library copy machine later we were ready. It was still only noon and I sent Mal out to put up all the flyers we had made before taking a lunch break together. I was nervous to see how this went. I wouldn’t be around him all day and I was relying on updates from Jimin to see how everything was going. All I could gather from the last text Mal had received and read out to me was that Namjoon was pissed. Mission accomplished. 
Walking to my building on my own felt lonely after having someone with me the night before and this morning. I brushed that thought aside as I knew Namjoon would be home soon as I saw Jimin turning the ‘Open’ sign on the door to the Hideout Cafe to ‘Closed’ before giving me a wink. 
I had made it to the elevator in the lobby before the door to the building opened behind me. I felt a shiver go down my spine in anticipation and excitement. Sure enough a tired and annoyed looking Namjoon stood next to me while glaring down at his phone. I bit back my laugh and pressed the button for our floor in silence. He leaned his head back onto the elevator wall and let out a deep breath. I started to feel guilty but he didn’t know I was to blame for the likely endless calls he had received today so I swallowed my fear and walked to my door as the elevator came to a stop at our floor. 
I was putting my key into the lock when I heard a deep groan and ringtone start to play loudly. I couldn’t help the smile on my face as I heard Namjoon angrily speak into the phone “No this is not the number for Chewbaca roaring contest, please don’t call again.” before hanging up. I laughed before clamping a hand over my mouth quickly, but it was too late. Namjoon looked over at me and realization flashed across his face followed my anger and...hurt? He opened his door before slamming it behind him and I continued to laugh until I made my way inside my own apartment. That’s when the confusion hit. Why did the hurt look on his face make me feel guilty all over again?
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I woke up not being able to breathe. My eyes were open wide and I continued to cough and wheeze, trying to desperately fill my burning lungs with the air they craved. I threw my duvet off my body and fell to the floor of my bedroom coughing with tears streaming down my face. 
“Y/N run!” 
No. This isn’t real. It’s all a dream. My head was tormenting me with memories from that night. My chest started to rise and fall frantically due to the lack of oxygen and the flashing images behind my eyelids.
“Help! Please someone help me!” I was running around the hoards of people filling my street and in front of my house. There were red and blue lights flashing and blurring my vision until all I saw was a kaleidoscope of the two colors.
I clamped my hands over my ears and let out a violent sob. I couldn’t see clearly in front of me. There was a thin fog covering the room and burning my eyes.
I fell to my knees and sobbed until I was mobbed by a herd of paramedics and police officers. I was hysterical. “Please, just help me please! They're still inside please, they were on the second floor please!” I pushed away hands full of gauze and bandages, trying to get them to just understand. “My mom and sister are still inside please! Go get them” All of my senses were overpowered by fiery embers and heat, yet I could see more clearly than ever as a firefighter walked quickly to a police officer helping to try and calm me down. I was zeroed in on the interaction and would never forget the feeling of my heart dropping and shattering when they pulled away and looked back on me with that undeniable look of pity on their faces.
I screamed and felt all of the life leave my body as I fell to the asphalt below me. There was silence. I couldn’t hear my screams of agony, feel the hands pulling me up and into an ambulance, taste the smoke that I had been choking on earlier, smell the burnt remnants of my home that had gone up in flames, or see anything aside from the flashing images of my mother and sister in my mind.
I was rocking back and forth, mumbling incoherently, and sobbing as I curled into myself at the foot of my bed. I felt my body being shaken and shot my eyes open to see the concerned face of Mal above me. Her hands were on my shoulders and she was calling out my name. I launched into her arms and continued sobbing into her shoulder. She brushed her hands through my hair and held me until I was only hiccuping every few seconds. 
“I came to check up on you because I know 5 years is a big anniversary. What happened? I could smell that air freshener from the elevator.” She spoke softly as she looked into my eyes with concern. I furrowed my brows in confusion before looking around the room. “What? It’s not the 14th yet, Mal. Right?” She pulled my phone off the nightstand and showed me the screen with the date I’ve despised for the past 5 years on the screen. I felt my heart drop and tears well up all over again. I blinked them back before continuing to answer her second question.
“I don’t know what happened. I woke up and I couldn’t breathe or see clearly. What do you mean you could smell the air freshener? I didn’t spray anything.” As I calmed down more I could smell the overpowering scent of fruit and hibiscus. I scrunched up my face and gagged at the suffocating aromas. Mal furrowed her brows and grabbed an almost empty aerosol can of air freshener from beside her. “I mean I assumed you didn’t do this since I had to cut a zip tie off of it. Babe, I think you were pranked.” It made sense. The surprise and shock of it, the zip tie, all of it. 
I shook my head and moved to stand up. “What are you doing?” Mal questioned. I moved to my closet and grabbed some jeans and an old t-shirt. “Getting ready for work. I was pranked, it’s not the end of the world or a reason for me to stop living life as per usual.” I couldn’t meet her eyes as I spoke. I didn’t want to talk about what had happened. Especially today. Mal sighed before standing as well. “I know it still hurts. Anyone in your place would feel the exact same way. But it’s been 5 years since that fire and I know the anniversaries always hit you harder as the years go by. When you choose to talk to me, I’ll be here.”
I nodded my head as I held onto my clothes for the day. 5 years. 5 years. They died exactly 5 years ago today and I still missed them like it was day one. I let out a sigh before starting to get dressed.
I spent all day in the bakery trying to avoid all my emotions I had kept bottled up. It was getting harder to ignore everything but being in my safe place usually made it bearable. However, today I was confused. Customers kept asking for refunds repeatedly throughout the day and I didn’t understand why. I baked everything fresh this morning, the same as I always have. Even my regulars were complaining and throwing perfectly fine food into the trash. It seemed like the cherry on top of everything that had happened already. Mal and I struggled to find the answer for hours. We retraced and rebaked until our heads were spinning.
I was dealing with a new customer who was demanding a refund when the answer became clear. “It’s just pure salt! Honestly how can you run a bakery and mix up your salt and sugar!” I froze. The customer continued to rant but I felt like I was underwater. I know for a fact I had used the sugar. I hadn’t mixed up like that since I was a child experimenting at home. I quickly apologised and handed the customer their money before rushing back to the kitchen. Mal had watched the encounter and followed quickly behind me. I practically threw the sugar container onto my work table before ripping off the plastic lid. I put my finger inside and tasted the white contents. Salt. I was dumbfounded. How could this have happened.
The bell above the shop sounded and I walked out to greet the customer while trying to hide the confusion on my face. I walked in view of my “customer” and felt like a brick wall had collapsed onto me. I felt the pricking of tears behind my eyes and my mouth grew dry at the sight. Namjoon was standing in front of the register looking smug as ever and I felt utterly stupid. 
“What’s wrong, Moonlight? Shop’s empty, looks like you’ve been having some trouble with customer satisfaction today. Wonder why.” I untied my apron and tossed it off quickly before going to the back to grab my things. Mal looked up at my sudden appearance and I spoke before she could. “You know what, you were right. Today is a big deal. I’m closing up for the rest of the day. It’s too much.” I was trembling as I grabbed my purse and walked out to avoid her concerned gaze. Namjoon was still standing at the register as I walked to the front door. He looked confused and worried but I bit my lip hard to avoid crying in front of him. 
“Hey, what’s wrong. It was just a prank I didn’t think-” I turned around to face him and pointed my finger at him. “You’re a fucking asshole you know? This is my livelihood and my everything. I could’ve maybe handled you fucking with my business any other day of the year but today it’s way too much. Whatever prank war or competition we were doing to spite each other is done. Congrats! You won. Now never touch me or my things or come into my apartment or store ever again.” The tears were freely flowing down my face but I didn’t care. 
“Wait, Moonli-” Namjoon reached out for me but I turned and opened the door before he could finish. “And don’t call me that. You don’t know me. I don’t know you. What’s the point of stupid nicknames for people you don’t really know or want to talk to ever again.” I walked out before he could stop me again, not halting until I was at my apartment. I locked the door behind me and fell onto the couch with sobs and memories of laughter and people I’ll never get back lulling me to sleep.
Coping has always been difficult for me. I never really understood that I could let out my emotions and talk about them with people without being judged or told it’s not important. It only got harder for me when my mom and sister died five years ago. I never talked about it. I avoided the emotions and my guilt and pain from that day for five years and I was only hurting more as a result. I was curled up on my couch under a fuzzy blanket with tears streaming down my face, but I didn’t feel anything besides numbness. I wasn’t struggling to catch my breath or having sobs shake my body, I was numb. I was on my couch for what felt like infinity but realistically was probably a few hours. It was dark outside and no matter how exhausted I was, I knew sleep would never come.
I heard a soft knock at my door and made no move to answer it. My phone was abandoned on the coffee table and hadn’t been touched since I first came home. I knew Mal had been trying to reach me as the vibrations hadn’t stopped all day. The knocking came again, louder this time. I took as deep of a breath that I could manage before moving to sit up. I pulled my blanket tight around my body as I walked to the door. I didn’t check the peep hole because nothing mattered to me anymore. I didn’t care.
I unlocked the door and opened it to see a worried Namjoon….I still didn't know his last name. Further proof of why he shouldn’t be here and why I shouldn’t feel warm inside that he is. He looked up to meet my eyes and his expression fell into a sorrowful one laced with confusion. I turned back around and walked towards my couch, not in the mood for formalities.
“I’m sorry.” He spoke softly yet confident as I sat down. I huffed out a laugh and shook my head. “Why are you here?” I croaked out. He took a step closer and I felt my body tense slightly. He stopped moving before answering, “Why would I be anywhere else? I hurt you and I need you to know it wasn’t my plan for that to happen.” He started to scratch the back of his neck and I sighed.
“It’s not your fault.” My voice was shaky and my eyes filled with tears. I cleared my throat and looked up at him. He looked sad and curious and I knew I couldn’t keep it all in anymore. I scooted over on my couch and motioned my hand for him to join me. He hesitantly obeyed but never took his gaze off of me. “I need to be honest.” I spoke softly. He moved his hand above my shoulder to comfort me, before moving it back to his lap. I took in a breath before speaking about something I thought would be internalized forever.
“Five years ago I lived in a small town in Colorado. I had lived there my whole life and was happy. It was just my mom, sister, and I in a small house with a gorgeous view of the mountains. Mal lived in the neighborhood with us and we’ve basically been joint at the hip since birth.” I stopped as the night came back to me. I closed my eyes tightly and Namjoon turned towards me. I don’t know why, but I reached out and grasped his hand. He squeezed my smaller one tightly before rubbing circles into the back of my palm with his thumb.
“One night, we were having a sleepover. We were 18 but acted like children so we made a blanket fort in the living room. We watched movies all night and eventually we decided to go to my room so we could sleep. We thought we unplugged everything but we were tired and there was a stupid fucking candle. My room was on the first floor but my mom and sister’s were on the second.” I felt Namjoon squeeze my hand tighter and I let out a choked sob. He pulled me into his arms and rocked me slowly.
I cried into his chest as his hands rubbed my back soothingly. After I started to calm down a bit, I pulled back a bit to look at him. “We made it out. The neighbors had already called but there was no way they could’ve made it down the stairs without being trapped by the fire. I did it. I killed them. It’s been five years today and I’ve never talked about it. So it’s not your fault, Joon. It’s all mine because I’m too much of a coward to accept what I did five years ago.”
Namjoon gently placed his hand on my face and turned it to look into his eyes. “It never has been, and never will be your fault. It was an accident. Don’t carry that guilt because it’s not true. Okay?” I felt more tears flow and he wiped them away. “I’m sorry, I don’t know why I’m telling you all this. I shouldn’t have lashed out at you, it’s just that baking is how I try to cope. I mean I still bottled up everything so I guess it didn’t work too well but-” Namjoon cut me off with his next words. I was shocked after he did. He looked into my eyes with nothing but kindness and genuity. 
“Teach me how to bake.” 
“What?” I started to wonder if confiding in him was the right choice since it seemed that he didn’t even know how to listen to me.
“You said it helps you cope, and it clearly makes you happy. I want you to start learning that it's okay to not get over something as big as that in one conversation. And that it’s not your fault. It’ll take time. So we’re going to bake something and talk about whatever you want to until you accept that it’s not your fault. We may bake a lot of things since this is gonna take a while, but I’ll be here until that day comes. I also really want to see you be happy right now. So teach me how to bake and I’ll teach you whatever you want in return.”
I was in awe. I didn’t know why he cared so much but I knew he was right. It was going to take some time and he clearly wanted to start now. I stood up and started walking to my kitchen. He followed behind me and stood awkwardly in the doorway, looking around the array of ingredients I pulled out. It was only flour, sugar, eggs, and butter but he already looked stressed. He let out a breath and pulled off his jacket as I reached to grab some mixing bowls and measuring cups. “So what do you want to bake?” I asked him so I could narrow down the necessary tools and ingredients. 
“A cake?” He shrugged his shoulders and I smiled at his seemingly nervous behavior. “Ask me. It makes it seem more official and I like hearing you ask to be taught something you don’t know.”  He smiled before rolling his shoulders back and dramatically clearing his throat. And so he asked, “Y/N, will you please teach me how to bake a cake?” and I did.
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The week following our first “lesson” was only filled with constant interaction and more lessons. At first we only baked random sweets while dancing around to whatever song came on shuffle through my bluetooth speaker. We talked about our loves and passions and sometimes we touched on my mom and sister but Namjoon would never push me too far. I knew the feelings I was starting to harbor for him were more than platonic. It wasn’t just his looks or stupid jokes or smile at my even worse jokes. I was the little things. 
It was his caring heart. ‘Teach me to bake in a bakery.’ “So why do you add that if it’s not in the recipe?” he questioned me with a slight tilt of his head. “Because it’s the secret ingredient, Joon. And if I find out you tell anyone what it is I’ll burn down your coffee shop. Okay?” His eyebrows raised and his eyes widened before a boyish grin spread across his face. “Jeez, what’s with you and fire?” I tensed slightly but before I could feel any negative emotion, Namjoon lightly touched my arm and turned me to meet his pleading gaze. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean it like-” I cut him off with a flurry of giggles and my hunched over frame. “Why are you apologizing? I am really shit when it comes to fire safety.” I winked at him and saw him relax. With him around, it was okay. He cared.
It was his patience. ‘Teach me to make a beat’ “Ughhhh. Joon, I’m never going to get this right.” The throbbing in my fingertips and crease in my brow due to my frustration were evident. “Moonlight, it takes practice. And a good teacher always helps, hence why I’m here. You’re gonna get it, just try again.” He was seated next to me at his impressive studio desk trying to correctly position my randomly placed snare drum and bass sounds on the program in front of us. If it wasn’t his equipment I would have thrown it all at the wall ages ago. I sighed and sat up straighter in his desk chair before moving around some of the beats and trying again to make something that didnt sound like a middle school band warming up, or just a total cluster fuck of noises. Namjoon hummed along to the beat of the song I was “creating” and while it was incredibly off beat and by no means perfect, it was an incredible improvement. “See! I knew you could do it.” I smiled widely, matching his own. “How are you so optimistic and patient? You literally just sat through an hour of me butchering your presets with a smile the whole time.” He laughed before grabbing the instrument from my arms. “Because it’s you.”
It was determination. ‘Teach me to appreciate Shakespeare’ “Wait so Juliet is actually dead now? How did Romeo not even check to see if she was breathing?” Namjoon spoke confused. “She was in a tomb and looked pretty dead. All he knew is that his true love was dead and they were supposed to run away together.” I closed my copy of Romeo and Juliet and continued playing with his hair in my lap. “Huh. But why kill himself? And why would she do the same? Why couldn’t she just tell him her plan so that this wouldn’t have happened?” His hand gestured wildly in front of him and I looked down at his head that he had moved to my lap during the final act of the play with a smile. “That’s the tragedy of it all. They were so close to being together and running off on their own with no judgement.” Namjoon sat up at my answer and looked me in the eye as he spoke once more, “I guess you taught me how to appreciate Romeo and Juliet so congrats. But you still didn’t answer my other questions. Why would they see that the only option was death?” I looked away before answering. “I guess we all just want somebody to die for.”
It was his knowledge. ‘Teach me the best movies’ “Well we obviously have to watch The Godfather if you want to review the best movies of all time.” Namjoon had just come back to his living room with a bowl of popcorn as I settled into his couch with a fluffy blanket. “Well I’ve never seen it so I guess it wouldn’t be a review for me.” I spoke casually as Namjoon sat next to me under the blanket. He turned to me so fast I thought he might snap his neck. “You’ve never seen my favorite movie of all time? Okay we definitely need to start there.” I laughed as he pressed play. “I never watch movies. I just feel like I have more important things in life to spend my time on.” He looks offended as he processes my words. “I’m just going to pretend I didn’t just hear that.”
It was all these things about him and more. I was falling for Kim Namjoon more than I thought possible. I also finally learned his surname during a slightly embarrassing lesson of ‘Teach me your last name’. Currently we were still in our lesson about movies. Namjoon was insistent I was “educated” and no matter how hard I tried to watch the movie, I couldn’t concentrate. When I looked around all I saw was Namjoon. Namjoon’s apartment,Namjoon’s couch, Namjoon’s arm around my shoulders, Namjoon’s favorite movie playing, Namjoon’s blanket covering my body, Namjoon’s incredibly soft and cozy hoodie he let me wear, Namjoon. Thankfully my lack of concentration and stream of thoughts were broken by the man himself.
 About 10 minutes into the film, Namjoon asks a question I wasn’t expecting. “Wait so since you don’t watch movies, what did you have in the background during makeout sessions growing up?” He threw some popcorn in his mouth as I froze. He turned back to me at my lack of response. “Um, nothing?” I spoke timidly. “Wow, straight to the point, huh?” I shook my head and spoke the embarassing truth, “No I just, I’ve never been kissed. So there really wasn’t ever the chance to put something on.” I turned away from him, scared of him laughing in my face. Instead he just spoke “Bullshit. There’s no way nobody’s kissed you before.” I looked at his stupidly charming grin and said, “Well it’s not bullshit. And why are you so shocked?” He looked at me like I was stupid before stating “Because you’re beautiful.” He spoke the words like it was obvious. 
After a moment of silence, I turned my attention back to the movie playing but I couldn’t focus. I played with my fingers until Namjoon spoke softly “I can teach you, if you want” and I stopped moving completely. “But only if you’re okay with that” he blushes and hurriedly adds. I stopped his rambling though as I nodded my head with a quiet “okay”. I watched as his eyes widened. He fumbled for words a little before he moved impossibly closer and leaned in. He hesitated though and pulled away to my confusion. “You have to ask me. It’s our rule.” He says it almost playfully but the look in his eyes contradicts his playful smirk. I knew he wanted my full consent before doing anything.
 I let out a nervous laugh before uttering the words, “Teach me how to kiss.” And he does.
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I dreamed of Namjoon and soft yet heated kisses that night. Waking up, I was confused to see the surroundings of his apartment lit by the soft glow of sunlight peeking through the curtains. I froze as I felt movement under my head. I was fully resting on top of Namjoon with my ear pressed to his chest and I smiled as I heard the beating of his heart. He suddenly  took in a deep breath and moved around a bit and I quickly shut my eyes, hoping to stay in this moment for as long as possible. I didn’t know how he felt about last night. Was he only teaching me as a friend? Did he feel even half of what I felt for him? 
His lips were soft as they pressed against mine and I hesitantly returned the kiss. His right hand came to cup my face softly as his head tilted slightly. I felt my heart pounding and the blood coursing through my body like electricity. I pulled away from him slowly, anxious for his next words. “Was that okay?” I spoke quietly and after a moment of silence I looked up to meet his eyes. He didn’t speak, instead he kissed me again with more emotions present than before. I placed my hands onto his chest before moving them to the nape of his neck. I played with the small curls there and felt him shiver in response. He was the one to pull away this time and he moved his hands to my hips before pulling me onto his lap. I was now straddling him and dazed at the sight of his flushed face and red lips. “You’re a natural, Y/N, and as much as I’m enjoying this I think I asked you what you played in the background when you made out with someone.”
My racing thoughts and fluttering heart came to an abrupt halt as I felt Namjoon lean down awkwardly to press his lips against the top of my head. I couldn’t help the wide grin that appeared as a result of his action. I opened one eye and turned to look up at him. He chuckled as he realized he had been caught. “Mornin’, Moonlight” He spoke in his gravely morning voice. I felt my cheeks start to ache slightly due to the size of my smile. “Good morning, Joon” I could only manage a whisper, too scared to shatter the blissful sight and moments of this morning. 
We stared at each other for a bit until the buzzing of Namjoon’s phone caught our attention. Jimin was calling him, however, he made no move to answer it until I pinched his side gently with a glare. “Not answering your best friend’s call is rude you know.” He rolled his eyes playfully before declining the call completely. “Yeah, well calling your best friend while he’s cuddling with a gorgeous girl this early is even worse.” He smirked at me and I sat up slowly while he groaned at the loss of warmth. I moved to straddle his lap and played with his soft hair while he looked up at me with a soft smile on his face. “Hey, what are you staring at, loser?” He shook his head softly and leaned into my hands in his hair.
“You.” He spoke softly with his eyes closed in bliss and a smile on his face and I couldn’t stop myself from leaning down and pressing my lips against his even if I had tried to. He smiled into the kiss before placing his hands onto my thighs and kissing me back. We moved together like a perfect symphony. A rolling wave on the ocean. Ink flowing against the page of a classic novel. I pulled away for air but stayed close to him as he moved his lips to my cheek and slowly kissed down to my neck and the sweet spot he had found the night before. 
“Namjoon” I sighed out as his lips worked against my neck sensually. I moved my hands to his hair and lightly tugged against the strands. He moaned against my neck and his teeth grazed a spot that had me shuddering and letting out a small whimper. He moved his head back up to face me. “Found it.” He stated cockily and I rolled my eyes before pressing my lips against his again, effectively wiping the smug smirk from his face. I felt his tongue brush against my lips and I decided to tease him before granting entrance. He grunted and bit my bottom lip lightly in frustration. I gasped at the sensation and he took the opportunity of my lips parting to explore the new territory.
“Joon, eventually we’re gonna have to go to work and open up for the day.” I spoke to rid my head of the memories of the night before. The groan he let out in response made the butterflies in my stomach appear. “Five more minutes” He muttered and I laughed before grabbing his phone on the coffee table to see how long we had before needing to leave before I gasped and my eyes widened. “Joon, get up. We’re so late, shit.” It was 10 AM and the shop should’ve been open two hours ago. He sat up slowly while squinting his eyes adorably. I shoved his phone into his hand and rushed off of him to head to my apartment for clean clothes. I heard a soft “Shit” as I closed the door behind me.
I bolted into my room and grabbed the first items I saw, which unknowingly included a baby pink, lace thong from Namjoon’s prank. I shoved my legs through my jean shorts and found some comfortable shoes before grabbing my keys and running out the door. Namjoon was already waiting by the elevator doors, tapping his foot impatiently. I let out a breathy laugh as I ran to meet him. He smiled at my presence before looking me up and down. He squinted slightly at the top of my head and laughed as the elevator doors opened. I patted my hair before feeling the slight knots left from not brushing it. As we moved down to the lobby I reached up to fix it as much as I could with my fingers before giving up and reaching for the hair tie around my wrist.
I lifted my arms up to gather all my hair into a messy ponytail and unbeknownst to me, my flowy top lifted up and revealed the baby pink  lace above the hem of my shorts. I heard Namjoon cough and clear his throat suddenly as my hands fell to my sides and the doors opened. “You okay, Joon?” I looked up to him and noticed a slight blush and flustered expression. He tightly smiled and nodded his head before grabbing my hand in his and guiding us out of our building. It was now my turn to blush at his sudden action and the feel of his hand in mine. 
We walked quickly so as to not be even more late to our own businesses. We approached the Hideout Cafe first and Namjoon reached into his back pocket for the keys to the shop. He kept his hand securely in mine as he tried to find the right key. He dropped the key ring onto the concrete before grumbling out some curses. I chuckled and leaned down in front of him to pick them up. I heard him choke out a gasp before I leaned back up to face him with a smile. He quickly took the keys from my hand and before I could think, he leaned down to kiss me before resting his forehead against mine and huskily whispering “I thought you threw out those fucking panties, babygirl.” He pulled back after kissing my cheek and he unlocked the shop before entering, leaving me hot and flustered on the sidewalk outside. 
The walk to my bakery after that was a blur. All I could sense was Namjoon. His whispers in my ear. His hand in mine. His shy smile full of dimples and crinkled eyes. His cologne surrounding me as I was in his arms. The taste of his kiss. The sight of his wink and smile as he walked into his shop. I barely realized I was inside the bakery until Mal called out for me.
“You okay, babe? You look pale.” I took in a deep breath before pushing her hands away from my face. “We need to talk. In the back. Now.” Her eyes widened and turned serious at my words. As I moved to the kitchen and started pacing, Mal moved to turn the ‘Open’ sign to ‘Closed’ before bolting to the back. She stood with her hands on her hips and eyed me pacing frantically before stopping me with a gentle hand on my shoulder. 
“Y/N, all you need to tell me is his first initial and I’ll find him within the week and beat his as-” I cut her off by blurting out “Namjoon and I kissed.” Her eyes widened once again and her jaw dropped before she started smugly smiling. She squealed and pulled me into a tight hug as she rambled about venues and summer versus spring weddings and I looked down at my shoes at her words. “So how did it happen? How long have you two been a thing and why didn’t I know sooner?” I sighed and looked at the excitement covering her face. “We’re not a ‘thing’ and we probably never will be. We’ve been hanging out a lot more recently and teaching each other our favorite things and last night we kissed a lot and I was on his lap and then I woke up with him on his couch and fuck, Mal I’m so scared.”
“Woah, hey what’s wrong? Did you not want him to kiss you?” I opened my mouth to speak but no words came out. I really wanted him to kiss me. I really wanted to do it again. But I was really scared to admit it. I felt tears well up in my eyes and Mal pulled me into her arms and shushed my quiet sobs. “I really like him, Mal.” I whispered. She pulled back and brushed some hair out of my face before gently holding my face in her hands. “Then what’s so wrong about kissing the guy you like? He wouldn’t have done it if he wasn’t at least slightly interested in you too.” 
I closed my eyes and saw his sleepy smile and bright eyes. I opened them again and voiced my fears, “Because I’m not good enough. He deserves so much more than some broken girl who’s too scared to kiss him in public or even admit to him how she feels. I’m fucked up, Mal. He doesn’t deserve someone like me.” Mal squinted her eyes as I finished.
“Are you done? Good. Number one, you might need to brush your teeth after spewing that much bullshit. Number two, you’re completely right. He doesn’t deserve someone like you. A beautiful, strong, kind, funny, talented, amazing woman who I’m lucky enough to call my best friend. So what if you’re scared about PDA, you said it yourself that you guys aren't anything official so that’s completely understandable. And number three, you never have been and never will be broken. You’ve gone through so much and no one expects you to be one hundred percent healed or back to normal after that. You are worth so much. Okay?” We were both crying as I nodded. I was lucky to have her.
“You’ve been so happy recently and I honestly feel dumb that I didn’t realize why sooner. If he makes you happy then talk to him about this. Let yourself have something good because you deserve it.” I thanked her and held her tightly. “Oh and don’t think you’re off the hook. We are definitely going to talk in full detail about last night and all those times you’ve ‘hung out’ alone together.” I laughed and rolled my eyes before wiping under my eyes. 
“I wouldn’t expect anything less.” 
I was cleaning up the shop after closing for the day when the bell above the door sounded. I groaned as I realized I hadn’t locked it yet and now had to deal with late night customers. “We’re closed.” I called from the back, too tired to go up front. “Aw damn. Even for your favorite customer?” A familiar voice spoke in faux disappointment and I felt the butterflies burst to life in my stomach. I smiled and walked up to the register, suddenly full of energy. 
“Bold of you to assume you’re my favorite.” I tilted my head and watched him smile as I appeared. “And to think, I was going to surprise you with a date and everything.” Namjoon shook his head and shrugged his shoulders before turning to leave. I laughed before running to grab his arm. “Well I guess I can make an exception for my favorite customer. But just for tonight.” He turned to me with a bright smile and leaned in to kiss me. I pulled away from him before he could though. He looked confused but brushed it off. 
“I need an order of your best creation.” I bit my lip and thought about what I would make before remembering the cupcakes I had made a few weeks ago. I had thankfully scribbled down the recipe and knew they would be relatively easy. “Only if I have some company while I make it.” I turned to walk into the kitchen and felt his presence behind me. I grabbed all the ingredients listed in my binder of recipes and got to work. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Namjoon picking up the binder and inspecting the page with my messy scrawl. 
“I asked for company so I had someone to talk to, not someone to snoop around and be nosy.” I smiled but never shifted my attention to him. He breathed out a laugh and moved to stand behind me. I felt his arms wrap loosely around my waist and his head rested on my shoulder. He sighed against my back and I leaned into him slightly. “Why doesn’t this one have a name? All the other pages have names at the top but this one just had question marks.” 
“I just came up with this on a whim. Didn’t really have any names in mind. I guess I just forgot to come back to it.” I spoke truthfully as I stirred the ingredients together to form a smooth batter. Namjoon hummed in response and I continued working with his arms around me. When I had to place the cupcakes into the oven I nudged his arm with my elbow and he groaned. “‘M comfy.” He mumbled and I laughed as I struggled to unravel his frame from mine. 
“Weren’t you the one who promised a surprise date?” I reminded him and saw his eyes instantly light back up as a blush slowly appeared on his cheeks. “Do you want that?” He questioned silently and scratched at the back of his neck. I closed the oven and turned to face him with furrowed brows. “Want what? A surprise? Cause that’s kinda why I’m baking these-” “I meant the date. Did you want it to be a date? Because if you don’t then that’s fine too.” He cut me off with nerves lacing his words. 
“Yeah. I would love that. Why did you think I would say no?” I questioned with a matching blush on my face. “Well you just, you kinda rejected me up front when I tried to kiss you so.” I looked down in embarrassment before taking Mal’s advice from earlier. “I was just scared.” I paused and looked up to meet his eyes before continuing, “I really like you, Joon. I just didn’t want to get my hopes up by kissing you if you didn’t feel the same.” I played with my fingers anxiously as I waited for his response. He smiled largely before finally breaking the silence. “You don’t have to be scared, Moonlight. Cause I really like you too.”
When I finished up the cupcakes we packed them up and walked hand in hand to our date. I was giddy as we swung our hands between our bodies. When we stopped in front of the Hideout I was confused. “Is this your surprise? Making me another coffee at 10 PM?” I questioned him but he didn’t respond. He unlocked the door and held it open for me. I narrowed my eyes at his smug smile and walked into the dark shop. I stood awkwardly in the middle of the shop and looked around in confusion.
“Joon, I appreciate the effort but I-” I stopped speaking as the shop was suddenly lit up by the few strands of fairy lights in the corner by the reading area. I gasped at the sight. Instead of shelves of books and pillows, there were large, comfy blankets covering the entire section with Namjoon standing at the entrance holding a laptop. “I know it’s not much but I just thought it would be cute or that you would like it cause I remembered how much you liked it over here last time.” I walked up to meet him at the entrance with a large smile on my face. He looked nervous again and I couldn’t understand why. 
“It’s perfect, Joon. Thank you.” I leaned in to punctuate my statement with a short kiss before pulling back the blanket behind him to crawl into the makeshift fort. He entered a few seconds after me and settled on my right side before opening his laptop. While the shelves of books were covered on the outside of the fort, the interior was filled with the sight of them. The soft glow of the string lights and comfort of the pillows and blankets set the perfect environment for reading and I darted my eyes across the different titles in awe. 
“You there, Moonlight?” Namjoon called out and I shifted my gaze onto him easily. I raised my eyebrows and turned to face him, not realizing he had been calling for me. “I asked what movie you wanted to watch.” I felt my face flush for the millionth time that night and bit my lip as I debated on what I should answer. “Could we maybe read something instead?” I spoke hesitantly but the grin on his face as he shut his laptop eased my fears. “Whatever you want.” I smiled and grabbed the familiar title on my left. 
“Have you read this before?” I asked softly. He shook his head but never lost the small grin on his lips or diverted his eyes from mine. “Well it’s a personal favorite of mine, so get ready to experience literary genius.” I moved to get more comfortable and ended up laying on Namjoon’s chest while his hands played with my hair. 
“Chapter one.”
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“Are you even listening to the story?” I questioned accusingly. Namjoon smiled innocently despite being caught staring at the side of my face for the third time in the past ten minutes. Meeting up after closing had become a routine for the two of us. He would meet me at the bakery and ‘help’ me bake something for the night ahead. Usually we get to the Hideout and read after eating a bit and get through at least a chapter or two before he distracts me with kisses or tickles. Tonight, however, Namjoon was dead set on staring into the side of my face laying on his chest. “Of course I’m listening, Moonlight. Why’d you stop?” He smirked and I rolled my eyes with a sigh before continuing.
“As he looked into her eyes he saw nothing but pain and sorrow. The guilt he felt consumed him but he had no choice. He turned away as he heard her choke out a heart wrenching sob-” I was cut off by Namjoon kissing me for the fifth time that night. I giggled lightly against his lips but made sure to keep my spot in our book. “Joon, it’s been four days and we’re still only on chapter 10 of 45. As much as I love your kisses, we need to actually read the book in order to finish it.” He moved his lips to my left cheek and down my jawline as I spoke.
I lightly pushed his head away and playfully glared at him while he pouted. “But it’s so sad. Honestly, I don’t know why she keeps going back to him and shit when he only hurts her. Guilty or not, he’s still fucked for cheating on her like that.” He reached for a leftover cupcake in the box next to him while I grinned. He let out a low moan as he took a bite and I felt my body ignite with heat. “Fuck, these are always so amazing. I can’t believe you don’t sell them anymore.” He spoke with his mouth partially full and I rolled my eyes at his boyish behavior.
“I’ve told you a million times, I can’t sell something without a name.” He threw his head back with a groan and I laughed at his frustration. “Well let’s come up with something then. It’s better than reading about heartbreak.” I sat up from my spot on his chest and faced him fully. “It needs a catchy name, that’s for sure. It also needs to hint at the surprise inside.” He licked the stray frosting around his mouth as he spoke animatedly. I took in the appearance of the man in front of me. He was in some basic sweatpants and a hoodie since after night two we had decided it was best to change into more comfortable clothes to read after closing.
“The surprise inside?” I laughed, “What, do you mean the filling?” He rolled his eyes and waved his hand in dismissal. “You know what I mean. You’re just not expecting it but it's a good surprise for sure.” His explanation brought a memory to mind.  
Sitting innocently on top of my dresser was a little note with his messy scrawl reading ‘Gotcha ;)’ 
“Gotcha.” I spoke quietly with a smile, remembering the first prank he had pulled on me so long ago. “What?” He questioned innocently, taking another bite of the cupcake in his hand while his free one came to rest on my thigh. “Gotcha. That’s what I’m naming it.” He furrowed his brow in confusion and tilted his head slightly to the side. He was silent for a bit before looking at me with hope and excitement. “Why?” He asked with fake confusion, but the giddy smile forming on his face revealed his true intentions. I smiled and sighed loudly before looking away dramatically. “I guess because it reminds me of the time a loser stole all my underwear and left me a note saying that on top of my dresser.” He laughed loudly and I turned to look at the sight of his bright eyes crinkled at the sides and his prominent dimples. 
“Fuck, you’re perfect.” He spoke softly with a look of fondness on his face. I flushed and looked down at the hand on my thigh that was rubbing soft circles. “Be my girlfriend.” I moved my head up so quickly I thought my neck would snap. “What?” I spoke in shock. “I don’t want someone else to be with you. And I really don’t want to be with anyone other than you. I know we’ve never really put an official label on anything but fuck it. So, will you?” He looked nervous but his eyes showed nothing but honesty.
“About damn time.” I spoke after releasing a breath I didn’t realize I was holding in. I grabbed his face and kissed him passionately. I was smiling widely but he didn’t mind as he moved his hand from my thigh to my waist. Our kisses turned heated as his tongue brushed across the seam of my lips urgently. I pulled back and leaned in to whisper in his ear, “I think you were right about movies. They make great background noise for making out.” His breath hitched and I watched as he fumbled for his laptop. I giggled and straddled his lap as he furiously typed in his password for Netflix.
I lightly feathered kisses onto his jaw and down his neck. I felt the vibrations as he groaned at my actions. “Fuck, how have you only been kissed for the first time last week?” I let out a breathy laugh as I sat up from my slightly hunched form. “I think I got the basics down pretty quickly thanks to my teacher. But I think I’m ready to learn something else from them.”  His eyes darkened and before I knew it I was being rolled onto my back as the opening sounds from Avengers: Infinity War played in the background.
“Babygirl, I’ll teach you anything you want to know.” He smirked as he started moving down my body.
I was sure the smile on my face would become permanent after how long it had been painted on. We didn’t go all the way but we definitely made some progress on my lessons. I was laying on the blanketed floor with Namjoon resting on my chest. I was wearing his hoodie and my sleep shorts from earlier while he was left in his sweatpants and a bare chest. I was looking at the soft lights around me while my hand was playing with the messy curls tickling my chin. The sounds of the Avengers battling Thanos in Wakanda paired with Namjoon’s soft snores was lulling me to sleep slowly but surely. 
I knew we would both regret sleeping on the hard floor of the Hideout in the morning, but
at the moment I couldn’t find it in myself to care. I closed my eyes and let out a deep breath, ready to fall asleep when a notification sounded from the laptop. I turned slightly to see what it was but suddenly felt all possibility of sleep and tiredness drain from my body. I didn’t want to jump to conclusions but I had to try and make sense of what I saw.
GM<3: i miss you:(
I tried to calm myself before overreacting. It could be a relative or someone close to him. He just told me earlier how wrong cheating was. He wouldn’t do thi- Another notification sounded and effectively cut off my racing thoughts. I felt more confident in the situation as I looked at the incoming text but it’s contents only made me feel sick.
GM<3: when are you coming over again? 
GM<3: please say soon:( you left pretty quick the other night
GM<3: i love you, talk soon <3
I felt tears threatening to spill and was confused. I thought of every possible explanation but none of them were innocent or made any sense. I was hurt. I was angry. But mostly, I was numb. The thought I was dreading the most kept circling my mind. I didn’t want to believe it but it made too much sense.
You fell for the greatest prank of all. You believed he actually felt anything for you.
I felt hot tears fall down my face while one word played on a loop in my head. A heartbreaking lullaby played like a broken record.
Gotcha.
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I was frozen. I didn’t move or sleep at all that night. My body ached from the hard floor and lack of movement but all I focused on was the heartache and racing thoughts that hadn’t seized through the night. The sun started to rise and I took it as my cue to leave and head to my shop. I carefully moved and tried to remove myself from Namjoon’s tight grip on my hips. I freed myself eventually and felt hot tears welling up in my eyes. I grabbed my clothes from the day before along with my other belongings and headed to the front door.
I placed my hand on the door handle and hesitated. Talk to him. “Let yourself have something good”. I turned to look at his frame under the dim glow of the rising sun and felt the lump in my throat grow. I forced myself to look away and walk out the door before I could change my mind. I made it to the front door of my shop before breaking down and crying. I told you so. 
I wiped my tears and stood up straight before unlocking the door and walking in, determined to bottle it up and not talk about it. The faster I avoided Kim Namjoon and everything involving him, the better. I silently worked throughout the day with a tight smile and locked my phone up in the storage area so I wouldn’t see any missed calls or texts. Mal could sense something was up but didn’t push me. 
As the clock moved closer to closing time I panicked. He was surely going to come by to walk us back to his shop. “Hey, Mal? I just remembered I have to head back to my place early tonight. Do you mind closing up for me?” I spoke with a shaky voice and Mal’s questioning glance almost broke my act. “Of course. Just take care of yourself.” She spoke sincerely and I let out a breath of relief at her words. I threw off my apron and grabbed my belongings again before heading home. Namjoon would probably try to get me to read the book with him but I couldn’t face him. I walked quickly past the Hideout and his apartment before collapsing into my bed. I made sure to lock my front door and bedroom door for extra precaution.
I screamed into my pillow as I sobbed. 
This routine went on for the next three days. I started leaving my phone at my apartment after it died. I didn’t have the energy to look at it or charge it to see the messages I had waiting for me. I opened my door at 5 AM to start my new routine of avoiding Namjoon. I was fearful that he might try to come into my shop during the day but so far he hadn’t. That fear came back like a crashing wave, however, as I heard a body fall onto the floor of my apartment when I opened the front door to leave. 
A tired looking Namjoon stood quickly and sighed in relief as he saw me. He reached out to hold my face as he spoke, “Fuck, Moonlight, I’m so glad you’re okay. You haven’t responded to my texts or been at the shop when I stopped by and I was so fucking worried.” He leaned in to kiss me and I pushed his hands off me. He looked confused at my actions but I looked away as anger and hurt filled me.
“Maybe that was for a reason.” I mumbled out as I crossed my shaking hands around my frame. “What? Moon, what’s wrong?” He reached for my hand again and I turned around to walk into my apartment. I heard the door close softly and his quiet footsteps following me. “Baby, you need to let me know-” I spun around at the pet name and pointed shakily at him. “No. You don’t get to call me that. You don’t get to hear about my life or what’s bothering me because it’s you. You’re the problem for me. You need to just stop. Stop kissing me and holding my hand and looking at me like I’m the only girl in your eyes and just making me feel like I’m actually worth something to you. Stop.” I was angry. The tears flowed freely down my face and my hand fell to my side as I finished my words.
Namjoon looked down and shook his head before looking back at me. “Moon, I don’t know what I did but all of that is never going to stop. I never want to stop kissing you or holding your hand or showing you how I really feel about you. You are the only girl in my eyes-” I cut him off with a scoff “Bullshit! How can you just lie like that. I saw the texts that night Namjoon. You fell asleep and when you did you got some texts from another girl. Congratulations, you win. Once again you’ve utterly broken me.”
“What texts? There is no other girl, I promise you. Please, I never meant to hurt you, especially like this.” He was starting to tear up and his voice broke as he finished but I stood my ground. “And I would’ve believed you if I hadn’t seen the texts for myself. I hope you and ‘GM’ are happy together because it seems like you two made it longer than a few hours since you’re already in love.” He scrunched his face up at my words. “Wait. Hold on. GM?” He breathed out a laugh as he spoke. His words cut me like a knife. 
“So you used me and cheated on me and can’t even try to act serious about it? Fuck you, Namjoon.” I moved to walk past him and into my bedroom but he grabbed my arm before I could. “Wait, Moon, no. My sister’s name is Geong Min. That’s who you saw text me that night. I’m telling you the truth, you’re the only girl for me.” He turned my body to face him as he spoke with a small smile. 
I furrowed my eyebrows at his confession. “You have a sister? Wait, why did she ask you to come over and say that you left quick the last time?” He smiled largely as he spoke. “I went to her place the night I set up the Hideout for us because I had to borrow her blankets and lights. And I also needed her advice on if the date was even a good idea.” I sighed and hugged him close to me. “I’m a fucking idiot, I’m so sorry, Joon.” 
He held me against him tightly and moved us side to side. “You’ve always been more than enough for me. You are worth so much to me and to everyone you come into contact with. I know it’s scary to have these feelings, because, Moon, I’m fucking terrified too. But I promise you that you’re all I want. I never want to hurt you and I never want to see us like that again. You’re more than worth it, Moon.” He pulled us slightly apart as he looked into my eyes for his final words and I felt tears welling up again as I smiled.
“You deserve better than someone who can’t love you back the way you need to be. I’ve never felt like this and I know it’s too soon to say I’m in love with you but I know for a fact that I’m falling.” I spoke softly. He smiled and leaned down to press his forehead against mine while I closed my eyes. “Ask me, Moonlight.” He whispered. “Ask me to teach you how to be loved.” He pressed his lips to my forehead then moved down to press a kiss to each cheek and the tip of my nose before pulling back to look in my eyes and wait for my answer.
He returned the smile that grew on my face and laughed as he leaned down to kiss me properly after I spoke softly,“Teach me how to be loved, Joon.” 
And he did.
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kdramaxoxo · 2 years ago
Can you please recommend me forbidden romance dramas, I'm desperate and I searched for everywhere but I can't find any. Thank you ❤
I love this ask - thank you! 
It’s a hard one because “forbidden” could mean anything from being forbidden because of your class status, age or job position. For me a true “Forbidden Romance” has a sense of underlying danger, stress, and sacrifice. Usually they have to hide their love, be fearful of “losing it all,” or be put in some sort of actual life danger for that love. K-Dramas don’t have a lot of that so my list is a little short. 
Forbidden Romance K-Dramas:
Secret Affair: When I think of forbidden romance, I 100% think of this first. I About an older woman who falls in love with a student, it has a highly stressful but passionate vibe and is unlike any drama I’ve seen before. Their love was powerful but also very complicated and difficult. 
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One Spring Night: This show is airing now so I can’t say it’s for sure a forbidden romance, but given that they are sneaking around and that she’s cheating on her boyfriend (even if he sucks), it feels forbidden and dangerous so far, and there is a ton of angst. Jury’s out if this really is a forbidden romance.
The Smile Has Left Your Eyes: A really nice girl falls for a hot mess of a guy who tragedy and crime follows around. He dated her best friend first and her police brother is mysteriously SUPER against him. A lot of secrecy, mystery and stress but this drama is one of my absolute favorites. 
Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food: Just like One Spring Night, there’s a lot of scary family stuff to contend with, and just a feeling of hopelessness (I know i’m really selling this right?). The ex husband is dangerous and the mom is abusive so it’s literally the most stressful thing I’ve ever watched.
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Lite Forbidden Romance a.k.a Our relationship is a Little Complicated:
Goblin or Hwayugi, or even You who came from the Stars because their relationship will cause the literal demise of one of them, but to me that’s more of a tragedy than forbidden romance.
Coffee Prince: While this show is funny and light, we do have the overall theme of Gong Yoo’s character really struggling with the idea that he is in love with a man. I don’t really like calling this drama a forbidden love story because honestly once he’s comfortable with his feelings, he doesn’t feel like he will lose anything by being with her. He is rich, successful, and his friends support him either way, but while he is grappling with his feelings, it does have a forbidden feel. Ho Goo’s Love also has this situation but he feels way more in danger of dealing with his sexuality than in coffee prince. 
Boys Over Flowers, Encounter because of the family not approving of the class disparity but that’s something they can overcome, or walk away from, so again, not totally “forbidden.” They have enough resources to get through the issues and usually do.
Scarlet Heart Ryeo because of the commoner, royal family thing, plus the fact that everyone is pretty much in love with her and thus willing to cause harm to the relationship. But there are a lot of other characters and love lines so I’m not sure it’s really a “forbidden romance.” k-drama but a drama with forbidden elements.
And then there is Come and Hug Me and Suspicious Partner because of the relationship between family members and the couple and that’s more of a grey area. I can’t put my finger on why it doesn’t feel “forbidden,” but maybe because there are so many other things happening and it’s more just sad? Plus, when they get together, it’s so cute - not stressful or dangerous.
Noona romances can feel forbidden because of the age gap like Witch’s Love, but the age stuff will work itself out and it’s really a mild society thing instead of a hard forbidden story.
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moonshadow-memes · a year ago
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don’t be sorry, be better
hi i’m moonshadow memes and i’m just as sad and disappointed as the rest of you. i usually don’t post about stressful meta like this because it’s upsetting and there’s very little we can do about it as viewers. however, i have a lot of young followers, some of which are passionate fandom friends who are anxious about it, and are having trouble processing how to deal with the news. 
the brave ladies who spoke out (and those who didn’t feel safe to, and those who still work there) have every right to expose the injustice they face in any workplace. especially in the cut-throat Hollywood industries where people are routinely pressured to perform at the cost of their own well being. it is highly competitive with a strict hierarchy based on gender and who has the better industry connections. it needs a serious looking into. (i get the impression that this push for better management attitude is the main reason this is happening, as the people involved made it clear they don’t wish for the show itself to suffer)
i’m not going to take sides or ask for proof from either party, that should be discussed with their lawyers and in safer environments than the troll-infested social media platforms. any public response they publish may be used against them, or hurt their chances of finding future employment, so please don’t try to have either side give statements or explain things to fans.
if there’s something we can do to help, we should wait for them to feel safe to talk about it and then spread the word, or we can ask them in private how to best help their cause without putting them (or current employees) in danger.
i will not be bycotting the show. the animators, the voice actors, the character modelers, the interns, the junior writers, the guy who mops the floors; they deserve success. we’ve seen them talk passionately about the show, we personally spoke to some of them on panels and on twitter and on discord, they are real people and this is their show just as much as it is the senior writers.
i’m also in favor of not drowning it simply for the fact that the show has upped the standard for children’s animation tenfold: amazing characters, compelling plot, creative world building, no skimpy outfits, no sexualized teenagers, no enforced love drama. even the non-american languages and accents are shown to be beautiful and worthy of admiration.
i don’t want Netflix to cancel something this good in favor of shows that are dumber, full of harmful stereotypes, but evidently easier to advertise to children. 
if you want to stop watching the show, that’s fine, do what feels right for you and what makes you happy. just don’t expect others to do the same, or accuse them of awful things for not making the same decision.
if you want to keep watching the show, that’s fine, i know a lot of fans who would rather not get involved in real-life aspects of a production because it’s an escape from an already stressful life.
if you want to watch the show but not talk about it, or if you need time off to make up your mind, or if you’re still excited and want to disregard all of the scary anxiety-inducing problems, that’s also fine and good and valid and if someone gives you trouble over it send them my way.
as for me, i will watch season3 and post to this blog about it, but only because my netflix sub has already been paid this month and this is the only show i had planned to watch, so i guess this is my last payment. i will not be recommending tdp to others until i know the working conditions have improved.
i made a lot of fantastic friends in the fandom, it took me out of a two-year bout of depression, and i absolutely adore every single person who draws and writes and memes about it on tumblr, you’re all my children and i love you. so no matter what you decide to do, know that the real primal source is the friends we made along the way.  
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j2madhatters · 3 years ago
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Bearding is Real
Hello, I absolutely love your blog and I hope it is okay to submit something I felt like sharing…because there has been doubt and speculation lately among us Hats, I really wanted to share a reality that I have discovered, in person. There have also been such aggressive denials on some other posts about bearding actually being a ‘thing.’ I have worked in a male dominant environment for thirty five years. Yes, I’m getting old. :0) The workforce is law enforcement but I’m not going to say where, of course. There are two couples that I know, personally, within my huge agency, that are married only as a convenience cover. The women are long time friends of the men. The men have long time successful careers and are well liked. This agreement to be married on paper, only, was done so that they can all four live out their chosen careers and not be ridiculed, ganged up on, left out of promotional opportunities, or simply made miserable by negative energy. I was shocked because this happened totally off celebrity type status…this is a every day career, non famous, but still faced with discrimination and harassment if they do not remain closeted. I would support them, and others would, of course, however the leaders, and the majority in many organizations like mine are still backward, egotistical, close minded arrogant assholes who, aside from all the discrimination laws and harassment protection, would find a way to fail to support them or treat them equally. They knew this going in, so they arranged these marriages with female friends long ago. It’s worked for them. They do not have any children, so there isn’t that added stressor. Anyway, I thought it was pertinent to share something I personally know, but didn’t even realize was close to home. This has to be happening all over, not just with celebrities. I can’t imagine the amount of pressure for J2 with the added stress of their higher ups, possible family members or other people who don’t approve, and on top of that to be in the constant eye of all of us…I see there are fans on the set, in Austin, in Vancouver, con cities…we seem to be absolutely everywhere! There must be somewhere they hide once in awhile and it must be a lot of pressure to actually attain it. I also can’t imagine what happens with Tom getting old enough for school and having to deal with how you are presenting the family unit to the children. This may be something they have agreed not to disclose to them until they are young adults and could understand it and accept it. At least they love both J’s, anyway. Just one more little tidbit to add, I know two lesbian couples in my same workforce and they are open and accepted to everyone! It has no bearing on their lives or careers. The same administrative idiots may judge them in their minds, but they do not say it. They have done well. They have also raised two children together from a surrogate and are some of the best damn parents I have ever met. The kids had no trouble, at all, in school with two mom’s. This makes me so proud and happy because something is actually going in the right direction for the women. The men still don’t seem to have that freedom yet and it’s upsetting.
Thank you @krispykritter50​ for sharing your stories and perspective.
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joshscorcher · 3 years ago
Hiya, Josh. I want to start this ask message by sending my thoughts out to you and your friends. It sounds like this has become a stressful moment for you all, and I do wish you well in dealing with the ToonKritic Conundrum. But for the questions at hand, I have a couple to ask. First, regarding Peet's video on Toon, how much of it do you agree with and disagree with in what Peet talked about, and in regards to the statements you disagree with, do you have any rebuttals to what Peet said?
Thing is, Peet is an outsider looking in, making a sweeping judgment on EVERYONE who knew Toon.
Example: I wasn’t an active member of the domain (Toon’s Discord). I showed up for the occasional livestream, but I never engaged in chats. Anyone can tell you I’m not a fan of large chatrooms and the only reason I was a part of the “coping-with-toon” room was that people needed my help. But apparently, I knew EVERYTHING that went on and knew EVERYTHING that Toon did. 
There’s a little more nuance to the situation and I don’t appreciate it being ignored.
You know how many people were in the domain? Nearly 50. And people want to claim that EVERY one of these people knew EVERY little incident involving Toon?
I find that very hard to imagine.
And again, here are the reasons that outrage over Toon never happened sooner. People were either:
1. Intimidated into silence by Toon.
2. Manipulated into seeing the story a different way by Toon, which caused people to not believe his victims. (I don’t know the finer details of your situation, but I’m assuming the case was similar.) Believe me, many of us feel REALLY bad about falling for it.
3. Begged by Toon for second chances to improve and be better when he was caught for the less vicious offenses.
4. Unaware of every single situation that happened.
Some people were one of these things. Some people were several. But if Peet wants to take the easy way out and blame all of us for obviously knowing everything when she was in a similar situation as many of us were, then fine. Go ahead and be wrong.
As BritishNinja said, when he first heard about this from the victim, his first instinct was to gather indisputable evidence so there wasn’t any way he could twist it. He then slowly started talking to people to let them know about everything Toon did. As people shared testimony, it soon came to light that Toon would likely try to find people sympathetic to him to get “his side” of the story and try to paint himself as a victim. We realized we had to get to everyone else first, so we kept it silent until his closest friends and colleagues knew about it. We weren’t even going to let him try to talk to people to smooth things over. We were successful to the point where the only people who were vouching for him were his family, particularly his grandmother who tried to guilt us into backing down with the “dindu nuffin” and “he’s a dumb kid who made a mistake” rhetoric.
Look, I’m glad that Lily cares. Especially for Patchwork. Lily did a great thing there sheltering them and I’m glad she’s talking to and helping Toon’s victims. I’m glad Lily’s spreading awareness of the incident, making it clear that Toon’s actions are intolerable, and also informing people on spotting potential warning signs of predatory behavior. Contrary to what some people believe (I read every message her fans send me), I don’t think Lily’s evil or always wrong. But I don’t appreciate blaming innocent people, several of whom are also victims of Toon. Lily probably has the best of intentions, but contrary to what she may think, that’s not helping.
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urbanspellcraft · 2 years ago
Hello there, merry met, your blog is lovely. I was wondering if you know of any remedies or mixtures for encouraging hair growth. Possibly something that can be taken from a spice rack?
First off I want to say if you are having hair loss you should probably see a dermatologist or doctor about it. I work for a dermatologist who works with this a lot and many of the home remedies are literal garbage and can do more harm then good. I’ve seen people suggest rubbing chili pepper and vodka on their scalp to stimulate blood flow and like… just don’t. All that is doing is drying your skin out and is going to cause more damage.
If you are having hair loss or just want your hair to grow stronger, there are a few at home remedies that may help, but you have to focus on your hair health. If you are having hair loss or its not growing and its really damaged from dying it or bleaching it or styling it… reduce or stop if at all possible.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep, enough water, and enough nutrients from your diet, and try to reduce your stress levels. These are super important for not only your health in general, but your scalp health. If you aren’t getting enough of any of these, it interrupts cell turnover in your body (along with other things) and can slow or even stop hair growth. Foods rich in vitamins A, B and C, along with iron and omega 3 fatty acids can help with hair growth as well. Avoid fad diets or starvation diets or any diet that makes your body think its in trouble because that will slow hair growth. A biotin supplement can also help hair growth but please make sure you are taking the correct dosage because if you take too much remember it doesn’t discriminate where your hair is. Unless you are trying to be mistaken for Sasquatch. Some people have success with pre-natal vitamins as well too. 
CHECK YOUR PRODUCTS! Make sure you are using a shampoo and conditioner (and other styling products) that are formulated for your hair type/needs, and make sure you aren’t washing too often. You don’t have to be nasty and never wash your hair (please wash your hair) but you don’t need to do it every day. Its not that great for your scalp and hair. Every other day is fine, or if you are like me and are a complete lazy bum, wash your hair 1-2 times a week. Avoid sulfates if at all possible. Change your shampoo and conditioner and styling products as needed. Your scalp is SKIN and the needs for it changes, as does your hair needs change. It can be seasonal, daily, whatever but they change. Also avoid really tight hairstyles if you can, as this can also damage your hair. Also use a heat protector when you heat style your hair, although if you can avoid heat styling your hair, that is even better!
Get a regular trim. This will help you avoid split ends and damage.
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GIVE YOURSELF A SCALP MASSAGE. Instead of trying to use vodka and chili powder on your scalp to stimulate blood flow to the area, just give yourself a scalp massage. (Seriously don’t try the vodka and chili thing its such a bad idea). Scalp massages feel fucking amazing. You can use your fingers, a silicone scalp brush thing (they are less then $10 - get soft silicone), ask a friend to massage your scalp if they are into that sort of thing… whatever. But a scalp massage will actually stimulate blood flow to your scalp in a healthy way and is super good for your hair health. Once or twice a week massage your scalp.
Added bonus and want to make it witchy? Massage your scalp with OILS.
Scalp Massage Oil Recipe:
1 Tablespoon Carrier oil (Suggested oils: Almond oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil - my favorite, olive oil, grapeseed oil)
4 drops essential oil (optional) (Suggested oils: rosemary, lavender, chamomile, thyme, cedarwood)
Mix together, and massage into scalp for at least 3 minutes. Let it sit. If you have normal or oily hair, let it sit for a few hours at most and shampoo it out. If you have dry hair like myself, you can even leave it in overnight and shampoo it out in the morning.
I have reasons for suggesting these oils as well! Jojoba oil and lavender oil have shown to increase hair growth in lab mice. (source). Jojoba, grapeseed, rosemary, thyme, lavender and cedarwood oils mixed together have shown positive results in alopecia patients. (source) Chamomile calms the scalp and has been proven to reduce dandruff and dermatitis. (Can’t find the study at the moment - sorry!) I am purposefully linking the studies here because there is a LOT of quack essential oil information out there so I wanted to show actual medical& scientific studies so you can see for yourself. I have also sourced information from the doctor I work for AND several hairstylists. Ask your hair care professional (yes a stylist is a hair-care professional) for tips for your own hair type as well. If you are having significant hair loss, see your doctor.
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