#found language poem
S U O M I
the finnish language
Tärkeintä mitä opin rakkaudesta:
lokeilla ja enkeleillä on
The most important thing I learned about love:
seagulls and angels have
wings of the same color
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“In my dreams I am kissing your mouth and you’re whispering ‘where have you been?’ I say, ‘I’ve been lost but I’m here now. You’re the only person who has ever been able to find me.’” - Sue Zhao
“Mathas gar na fornen pa salroka atrast” - “At my side find your way in the dark”
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"I have passed by many eyes,
but I only got lost in yours."
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If you find me coweing in the dark
Trying to snap my bones till they produce a spark,
Remember, light is a present given to the free
Not destined for people built from concrete.
They called me heartless and selfish
Condemning me to finally perish;
They glanced at my cold fingers and shaking hands
Deeming them unworthy of giving the faintest of embrace
So they buried me with my wilting shame,
With my anger at not being able to curse their names,
With petals of love-lies-bleeding and an once of regret
With my remorseless pages and words they'll forget.
Rue their pity and their forceful manner,
Them tying me to the wall of this manor,
In this prison of vicious aloofness
Swallowed by the shades of loneliness.
I hoped you'd have forgiven my distance
But you still repend in silence
And shoot on sight.
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Words that sound the same and are spelled differently. Especially with One Letter difference.
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And the starting of this blog should be with something , just like him , something sweet , something romantic , something full of love , something that is beautiful just like him .
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death
(poem by Elizabeth Barrett)
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Grian dhearg anns an speur.
Chaidh a' chlach dhubh fodha
anns an linne uaine.
An fhuil ghorm a' fuileachadh
dearg, agus an t-sùil gheal
fhathast gun lèirsinn.
Red sun in the sky.
The black stone sunk
in the green pond.
The blue blood bleeds
red, and the white eye
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in the library of school
over my project on
evita, cariño evita
how do i speak
my boyfriend says
ask your mother
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One of the most important lessons I ever learned about art was when I became a late addition to the editorial board for the literature part of my high school's lit/art magazine, which nobody ever read.
Because I realized after a couple of meetings that my moments of baffled distress during them were centering around a pattern of our votes electing by majority to reject most of the good, interesting stuff and agree to publish the very bland.
So I was looking around this room of people I mostly liked or respected if not both, trying to figure out what the fuck when there was no reasonable way of asking, until the day we by majority vote sent definitely the best thing submitted all year back pending 'revisions' which of course would not be made, because the poet would definitely either become demoralized or know for damn sure she was too good for our stupid journal. I have no idea which it was; it's a question of mindset, and the submissions were anonymous.
This good poem was rejected for two reasons, both of which were actually manifestations of it being good. One was that it had made a couple of the board uncomfortable--not by having any shocking subject material, mind, just by provoking emotions with unusual descriptive language and indirectness--and they'd transmitted that uneasiness throughout the group during discussion.
And the other, seized upon as an excuse in light of the first, was that by being complex in terms of both structure and notion it had drawn several of us in, interested enough to engage critically and respond in depth, and so we'd marked it up with lots of places we thought a word choice could have been a little stronger, a line break had been a little odd; ways we thought it could have been a more excellent version of the poem we perceived in it. None of them ways it was actually bad. Just places we felt it could have been better.
At the same meeting, we voted to accept a poem that was an utterly tepid rectangle of predictable nothing-in-particular, because no one could find anything in it to object to.
It wasn't good. It wasn't noticeably bad, either, though; it was one consistent level of mediocrity clear through, and thus no part of it stood out as a weakness, and therefore the committee found it more acceptable than the poem that was superior in every way, but which by being daring and interesting had left itself covered in vulnerable places.
The understanding I reached as a result of this experience was multi-layered and difficult to articulate, but the most important part, I think, to share is that the value and quality of a work are not, in fact, very well measured by how many negative things you can find to say about it.
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“it’s all about love”
just a repost of one of my favorite found-language poems I did, sourced from YouTube comments
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References and Allusions to Male Same-Sex Relations in Chinese Literature
I am tired at this point of reading and watching Danmei/Dangai and be exposed to the same “cut sleeve” reference to allude to male same-sex attraction and relationships.
Don’t get me wrong, I thank the creative team and the writers for finding such a unique (?) way of bypassing censorship but there are so many more literary and historical references that they could use to allude to same-sex attraction. I’m kinda over the same old “Cut Sleeve” reference. 😖
Here are some of the most popular allusions used by writers in Chinese literature to reference male same-sex desire.
The Four Male Love Icons of Chinese Literature
I’m pretty sure that, if you are into Chinese history, folk, literature, etc, you have heard of the four beauties of ancient and imperial China. You have the four most beautiful Chinese women and the four most handsome Chinese men.
The same thing is true for the tradition of male same-sex love. Those are:
Mizi Xia (彌子瑕) and Duke Ling of Wey (衛靈公)
Lord Longyang (龍陽君) and King Anxi of Wei (魏安僖王）
Prince Zixi, Lord of È (鄂君子皙), and the Yue man (越人)
Emperor Ai of Han (漢哀帝) and Dong Xian (董賢)
Other literary allusions include:
Pan Zhang (潘章) and Wang Zhongxian (王仲先)
Lord Chan of Anling (安陵君) and King Xuan of Chu (楚宣王）
Hu Tian Bao (胡天保) as Tu’er Shen (兔兒神)
The four revered bottoms of Chinese literature and history are:
Mizi Xia (彌子瑕)
Dong Xian (董賢)
Chan (纏), Lord of Anling (安陵君)
If you ever come across a poem or prose that mentions any of those names to refer to a male beauty, just know that it’s an allusion to their stories. They were considered the peak of bottom literary reference.
The Passion of the Half-Eaten Peach (餘桃癖) 🍑
The story of Mizi Xia and Duke Ling of Wey (534-493 BCE) takes place in the Zhou dynasty in the state of Wey (not to be confused with the other Wei). It was recorded by Han Fei (韓非) in the legalist classic Han Fei Zi (韓非子). The story goes as follows:
Squire Mi gained favor with Duke Ling of Wey due to his beauty. There is a law in the land that states only the duke himself can ride in the duke’s carriage and that, if someone else dares to do the same, they will have their feet cut off. When squire Mi learned that his mother was sick, he took the ruler’s carriage and rushed to visit her. The duke, far from reprimanding him, praised Mi’s filial piety and his willingness to risk his feet be cut off to visit his sick mother. On another occasion, Mi and the ruler were strolling through an orchard. He got a hold of a peach, started eating it, and, upon noticing how sweet and delicious it was, he stopped eating and gave the other half to duke Ling. He praised Mi’s attention and lack of regard for his own appetite in order to please his ruler. When Mi’s looks started to wane, the duke’s love did the same. Then, the squire was accused of a crime and the duke stated it was not surprising since he had broken the law before to ride in the ruler’s carriage and disrespected him by giving him a half-eaten peach to eat.
Han Fei recorded this story as a cautionary tale of what happens when one depends on the fickle nature of their lord for favor rather than one’s own merits. One day, you are praised and, the other, you are labeled a criminal and beheaded. From this story, we get “the passion of the shared peach (分桃癖)” and “the passion of the half-eaten peach (餘桃癖)” allusions to male homosexuality.
The Passion of Longyang (龍陽癖) 🐠
The next story comes from the Annals of the Warring States, Zhan Guo Ce (戰國策), in the section of the “Strategies of Wei”, Wei Ce (魏策). There is not one author signaled out as the sole writer and it’s theorized that the annals were written by multiple people. This Zhou dynasty story goes as follows:
Lord Longyang and the King Anxi of Wei went fishing on the ruler’s boat. The favorite, at first, was delighted at catching so many fish in a row. However, after he caught a big one, he started to sob and lament. The king asked his favorite why he was crying to which Longyang expressed sadness at the realization that, upon catching the latest fish, due to its incredible size and desirability, he wanted to throw away the previous ones he had caught. Longyang further confessed that he was afraid that the ruler would one day grow tired of him upon learning of other beauties and would discard him away in the same manner he had planned to do with the previous fish he caught before. With an air of resolution, the king Anxi declared that anyone who mentioned other beauties in his presence would be executed along with his entire family/clan.
This dramatic story serves as a way to illustrate how male favorites in ancient China that obtained favor at court and, with it, enormous privilege, would try to hold on to those positions as much as possible. From this story, is where we get the “Passion of Longyang (龍陽癖)” and “a better catch” allusions that are included in poems regarding male love. The former, most notably, in one of the Emperor Jianwen of Liang’s (梁簡文帝) love poems to his favorite.
Song of the Yue Botman (越人歌) 🎶
The following is an extremely interesting story. The earliest text translated into Chinese from a foreign language that we know of comes from “Song of the Yue Boatman” (越人歌). It is a poem of unknown authorship and origin that details the pleasure the singer feels at having met the prince (Lord of È) for the first time. What makes it special is that it’s the only written account we have of the Yue language spoken by the Yue people who are an ethnic group who lived to the South of the Yangtze River. The song isn’t written using the Yue language itself, instead, compiler Liu Xiang (劉向) in his book, Garden of Stories (說苑), used Chinese characters to write down the sound of the words. In Garden of Stories, in the section, “Virtuous Speech” (善說), Liu Xiang details the story of official Zhuang Xin (莊辛) and Lord Xiang Cheng of Chu (楚襄成君). The story goes as follows:
Soon after being enfeoffed (being given land), Lord Xiang Cheng visited his lands decked out in precious garments and sporting a jade sword. Upon arriving at a river, his attendant asked whether there was someone who could help Lord Xiang Cheng cross the river. Official Zhuang Xin, who grew enamored with the sight of his lord in finery, stepped forward and said he was willing to help in exchange for the lord to let him hold his hand. Xiang Cheng was speechless and disgruntled due to the lack of propriety the lower official showed by asking to touch the hand of a man much higher in rank. However, Zhuang Xin asked his lord whether he had heard of the story of the Lord of È and his boatman.
Here is when the author introduces a story within a story.
Lord of È was traveling in his barge when he heard one of his boatmen sing in a foreign language. Intrigued by this, he asked one of his servants to fetch an interpreter. After hearing the translation of the song, the lord grew endeared towards the boatman, hugged him, and covered him in his embroidered quilt (had sex). Once the tale was over, the official Zhuang Xin asked his lord how could it be possible that he thinks he sits higher than the Lord of È enough to refuse a humble official his hand when the Lord of È, who is a prince, had “embraced” (had sex) a low boatman.
Although the English word used is boatman, due to the Chinese language not being gendered, the gender of the boatman is not explicitly mentioned. Although the character 人 can be used to refer to a man, its principal meaning is person or people. Therefore, 越人 is more closely translated as Yue person/people. As such, there have been scholars who believe that the song is most likely sung by a woman and not a man. I don’t agree with this interpretation, however, for multiple reasons.
The first is the context. Liu Xiang added the song, which was written centuries before he was born, to his chapter on eloquent speeches as a tool the official Zhuang Xin used to convince his lord to let him hold his hand. Zhuang Xin found Xiang Cheng attractive and wished to physically express that attraction. Thus, he used the song and the story of Lord of È as a precedent to convince his lord that a low ranking man could take the initiative to begin physical contact with another of much higher rank. If Liu Xiang didn’t perceive the boatman to be male and his relationship to the Lord of È to closely mirror that of Zhuang Xin and Xiang Cheng, then he wouldn’t have included it in the first place.
The second reason why I don’t think that the Yue boatman was a woman is because Chinese scholars who read the tale back in its original form and with the same historical and lexical sensibilities, considered the boatman to be a man. Multiple Chinese writers included references to the “Song of the Yue Boatman” story with Lord È in their own writings to explicitly symbolize male love such as Ming dynasty scholar Feng Menglong (馮夢龍) in his History of Love (情史) anthology, Emperor Jianwen of Liang’s poem to his favorite catamite (孌童), Liang dynasty poet Liu Zun (劉遵), and influential Qing dynasty poet Yuan Mei (袁枚). They have all used fragments of the story such as the expression “embroidered quilt” in conjunction to Lord of È’s name as well as other male-love allusions in their poems. This indicates that Chinese scholars themselves, even those who lived closer in time with Liu Xiang, interpreted the tale and the boatman to be symbols of male love. From this story we get the “embroidered quilt” expression, Lord of È, and his boat as male love allusions.
The Passion of the Cut Sleeve (斷袖之癖)✂️
The next story was featured in History of the Former Han (漢書), also knows as The Book of Han, by Ban Gu (班固) in Volume XI, “Annals of Emperor Ai” (哀帝紀). Dong Xian’s autobiography and the story are written on the section dedicated to favored courtiers.
Emperor Ai of Han favored greatly a minor official by the name of Dong Xian and they often slept together. One afternoon, after waking up from a nap, the emperor noticed that one of his sleeves was caught under the head of Dong Xian who kept sleeping beside him. Rather than disturbing his lover’s sleep, the emperor decided to cut off his sleeve. From this story we get the terms, “cut-sleeve (斷袖)” and “the passion of the cut-sleeve (斷袖之癖)”
That’s it, that’s the story. Compared to the others, I don’t understand why it’s so iconic and well-known, probably because Dong Xian’s biography as a male favorite was much more detailed than others contained in the book.
Mount Luofu Joint Burial (羅浮山合葬) ⛰
This tale originates from the Three Kingdoms and Six Dynasties period in Chinese history and was recorded in a compilation titled Anthology of Tales From Records of the Taiping Era (太平廣記) by Song dynasty scholar Li Fang (李昉). The tale goes as follows:
A beautiful and poised scholar by the name of Pan Zhang drew the attention and admiration of others, not only due to his bearing but also due to his talent as a teacher and writer. Wang Zhongxian of the state of Chu came to know of the scholar’s reputation and requested to become his student and learn together. Upon meeting for the first time, they fell in love at first sight. Afterwards, they decided to live together in the same home where they shared the same sheets and pillow while being intimate with each other. They grew so close to one another that people would say they loved each other as much as husband and wife. After they died, the townsfolk buried them together at Mount Luofu (羅浮山). On the peak, there grew a tree soon after with green leaves and long branches that embraced each other. Considering this a miracle, the townsfolk started to call the tale the “Shared Pillow Tree”.
Such a wonderful and happy story between teacher and student! One of the few ones with a happy ending and overall positive feelings in Chinese literature. It reminds me of an alternate reality 2ha where Meatbun doesn’t rip out our hearts. Also, many of these stories of male love either take place in Wei or Chu; interesting…From this tale, we get the “shared pillow tree” reference.
The Yellow Springs (黃泉) 🔥
Another story that comes from the Annals of the Warring States and takes place in the state of Chu (again) is the one of Prince Chan or Tan (壇), Lord of Anling, and King Xuan of Chu. This specific account is mentioned in the section of “Strategies of Chu”, Chu Ce (楚策), and goes as follows:
Prince Chan or Tan, was favored by King Xuan of Chu. However, as he grew older, he became increasingly worried that he may lose favor once the physical signs of aging started to show. In an attempt to establish a deeper connection with his king, he consulted with the ruler’s advisor, Jiang Yi (江乙). The older man told him that his position in Chu was precarious because he had no family members in the state, nor had arisen at court due to talent. Instead, he received a high salary and others were made to bow before him when he walked past simply because he received the king’s favor. However, the position of a favorite, just as that of a concubine, was never assured. Jiang Yi proceeded to advise Prince Chan that what he needed to do was to say that he would follow the king to the afterlife. Essentially, to claim that he would sacrifice himself for the ruler. Three years passed and Chan had yet to do what Jiang Yi told him because the opportunity to say something like that had not yet arrived. One day, the king went hunting. Upon shooting an arrow at a great distance that landed in an ox’s head, the king, pleased with his accomplishment, asked who could possibly share his joy 10,000 years and 1,000 autumns from then. Seizing the opportunity Chan answered that he was willing to go to the afterlife (黃泉) and sacrifice himself for his king. As a result he was promoted and given the lands of Anling. From that day on, the people of Chu held him in great esteem.
The story features, both a cautionary tale and a lesson on the importance of listening to advice and waiting for the right opportunity to seize the moment. From this story we get “Anling” as term used to allude to same sex love but also to symbolize devotion, self-sacrifice and loyalty.
Rabbit God (兔兒神)🐇
Another story that originates on the south of China is that of Hu Tianbao, also known as the Rabbit God (or deity). The tale where he’s featured and that gave rise to his legend was compiled by influential Qing dynasty writer and scholar Yuan Mei in his collection of supernatural stories titled What the Master Would Not Discuss (子不語). Despite it being compiled and published in 1788, the tale has its origins as part of Fujian Province (福建省)‘s oral tradition. It goes as follows:
During the Qing dynasty, there lived a handsome provincial official in Fujian. A lowly soldier, by the name of Hu Tianbao, became instantly attracted to him. He followed the official wherever he went, even to other districts. After a while of being stalked, the official grew increasingly worried but dismissed it. While the official went to the toilet, Tianbao hid nearby behind some bushes in order to get a glance at the official’s buttocks. However, Tianbao was caught and interrogated. He confessed his love, attraction, and admiration for the official but the latter was disgusted by Tianbao’s affection and wanted none of it. He condemned the soldier to death. A month later, Tianbao appeared as a rabbit at night in the dream of one of the villagers of his hometown. Although resigned to his fate and agreeing that the punishment of death was just, Tianbao declared that his actions were born from a pure feeling and that love between men should not be condemned. He asked the man to build a temple in his honor from which he would help men find a male significant other. The temple was erected and became so popular in Fujian that the Qing authorities targeted it for regulation.
From this story, we get the terms “Cult to Hu Tianbao”and “the Rabbit God”. Rabbits were used before this story was even compiled in late imperial China to refer to homosexuals in general. If you are ever wondering, “what is up with all of the rabbits in Danmei/Dangai media?” There you go, now you know.
Other literary allusions to male love and sex include:
Mandarin Ducks (鴛鴦) 🦆
Although these animals have been used throughout Chinese literature and history as symbols of love in general, both same-sex and heterosexual, it was first used to symbolize “fraternal love”. The ancient Chinese considered mandarin ducks to be symbols of love and loyalty because they believed the animals mated for life.
The Rear Courtyard (后庭) 🍌🍑
One popular phrase writers used, mostly towards the end of Chinese imperial history, to allude to anal sex and buttocks was “the rear courtyard” (后庭). Variations include “the pleasures of the rear courtyard” and “playing in the inner courtyard”. You will find those expressions in multiple works by Ming and Qing dynasty poets and writers.
Male Mode & Southern Mode (男風) & (南風)💨
Literally translated to “male wind” and “southern wind” they are both references to male-homosexuality. For some reason, the south of China has been more historically and culturally inclined to same-sex love than other places. We find this from the many mentions of the state of Chu in early works of literary reference to male love, in the lesbian Golden Orchid Society (金兰会) in Guangdong Province (广东省), and in the male-male marriages of Fujian province. In fact, homosexual practices were such a staple of southern Chinese provincial life that multiple writers satirized it in their works such as Qing dynasty playwright Li Yu (李漁).
And that concludes this veeeeeeeery long post. If you read all of that then, damn, you really are bored lol. But I thank you, nonetheless. I apologize if I mixed traditional and simplified Chinese characters. I tried to use traditional characters for the names to preserve their aesthetic appearance and authenticity. I will leave some of the resources I used for this post. I welcome you to take a look at them whenever you want.
With that being said, I only scratched the surface of literary references with this post. There are many, many more, however, I touched on the general ones. With how rich the male same-sex love Chinese literary field is, I cannot help but grow frustrated and tired at the lack of usage by modern Danmei/Dangai creative teams. Let’s leave the cut-sleeve to the side for a while and focus on the other awesome male-love references in Chinese literary history. Ok?
Anyways, 拜拜 👋
Birrell, A. (1982). New songs from a Jade Terrace: An anthology of early Chinese love poetry. Routledge. [Translation of Birrell of Xu Liang’s classic anthology of the same name]
Hinsch, B. (1990). The passion of the cut sleeve. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Owen, S., & Swartz, W. (Trans.). (2017). The poetry of Ruan Ji and Xi Kang. (S. M. Allen., P. W. Kroll, C. M. B. Nuget, S. Owen, A. M. Shields, X. Tian, D. X. Warner, Eds.) De Gruyter.
Stevenson, M., & Wu, C. (Eds.). (2013). Homoeroticism in imperial China: A sourcebook. Taylor & Francis.
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your palms were sweaty as you adjusted your slacks, making sure the pleats were where they should be with not a wrinkle in sight. you wanted to look professional and put together, at least on the outside, because you knew you were actually about .2 seconds away from falling apart.
your palms were sweaty as you adjusted your slacks, making sure the pleats were where they should be with not a wrinkle in sight. you wanted to look professional and put together, at least on the outside, because you knew you were actually about .2 seconds away from falling apart.
a quick glance to the boys at your sides notified you that they weren’t faring much better. atsumu kept fidgeting with his cufflinks, sakusa was so stiff you could knock him over with your pinky, kenma looked like he was about to pass out, bokuto was debating on squeezing under the table in front of you, kuroo was tapping a pattern on his pants (akeelah and the bee style), and akaashi kept reciting ominous poems under his breath.
the only people in the room who looked even remotely fine were osamu, oikawa, sugawara, daichi, and, surprisingly, yachi. osamu was munching on some peanuts that he pulled from... somewhere, while oikawa and sugawara were holding their own conversation by the window. daichi seemed to be minding his own business but you could never really get a proper read on him anyway.
well, you supposed yachi was okay because she knew what to expect. i mean, you were meeting her boss.
after you and kenma had posted your “exposing the hype(r) house” youtube video, an email had come to the both of you, inviting you to visit the “big boss” along with the rest of the crew.
you weren’t necessarily afraid of losing your job; the hype(r) house was already being dissolved and you were (finally!!!) getting to move in with makki and mattsun until you found your own place. you were genuinely excited to put the drama and literal hell behind you and begin to live your life again but...
that didn’t mean meeting the Man™ wasn’t terrifying. it was like being called into the principal’s office, complete with the existential dread and occasional bouts of gassiness.
the door opening made you flinch as you quickly moved out of the way to let the newcomers enter. while they walked past you, you couldn’t contain the shock that overtook your face, your jaw practically on the floor.
the man was massive.
built like a brick wall, the man who you assumed to be the “big boss,” had a chiseled jaw, broad shoulders, and massive fucking pecs, his white button up barely closing around them.
beside him stood a tall, lanky man who was dressed suspiciously un-office-like with a red buzz cut and wild eyes that seemed to cut into you as he took his place at the table.
the final man seemed a bit awkward in comparison to the other two, but he was trying to seem unaffected, his purple bowlcut, despite being rather juvenile, fitting perfectly with his slim but toned build and bright complexion.
yachi hurried to greet them, giving all three a blinding smile before motioning for everyone else to take a seat. you ended up between the redhead and atsumu, the former being way too entertained by just your general being. his eyes rarely, if ever, left your face sending shivers down your spine. the remaining members all hesitantly took their seats and “big boss” began.
“it is an honor to meet you all. i am ushijima wakatoshi but you can call me ushijima or wakatoshi or ushiwaka or toshijima or just ushi or just jima or just waka or just toshi.” for a moment you thought he was joking but his face never moved, not even with the awkward silence that followed. redhead seemed rather amused by the whole display and bowl cut looked like he was on the verge of spontaneously combusting.
it took an uncomfortably long moment for ushijima to proceed but he did as though nothing had happened. “these are my associates, satori—” redhead gave you a mischievous grin “—and tsutomu.”
“goshiki,” bowl cut interrupted, his voice wavering but his eyes gleaming with righteous indignation as though he was challenging wakatoshi to say something in defiance. instead, ushijima just gave him a nod and he visibly deflated back into his seat.
“goshiki is the social media manager for imla and satori is... satori,” big boss continued, not a hint of emotion on his face. the rest of the table perked up at his comment but atsumu was the only one who apparently had the balls to say anything.
“so yer the one who wrote that shitty among us tweet?” goshiki flushed horribly and sunk further into his plush leather chair, his body language showing he must’ve already gotten an earful about it. “thought it was a good idea,” he muttered while averting his eyes, completely ignoring satori’s cackle from across the wood.
ushijima put up a (massive???) hand to calm the both of them and it instantly worked. satori quieted down though he never lost the mirth in his expression and goshiki straightened up, a new wave of determination crossing his features.
you sat up as well, feeling the shift of energy in the room but you were startled to realize the boss had decided to focus his energy on you, his deep baritone voice calling your full name. “i am extremely sorry. we have failed you as a management team and as men. i have failed you.”
he sounded remarkably remorseful, his brown irises conveying heavy emotion and guilt. you had no idea what to say but he wasn’t done.
“although i do not have full control of the decisions that have been made here, i should have fought harder for what i believed was right and for that, i will forever be sorry.” you shifted uncomfortably under his weighty gaze, not that he noticed because his attention was swiftly taken by kenma at the opposite end of the room.
“who is in charge then? aren’t you like the ceo or whatever?” he asked. ushijima took a moment before nodding very slowly, his attention clearly on something in his head.
thankfully, satori rapidly took over the thread of conversation before the room could fall in tense silence yet again. “there’s a board of old, stuffy guys who basically kicked miracle boy wakatoshi to the curb and make all their decisions without him.”
...miracle boy? what did he have to do to earn that kind of nickname? you shook your head and tuned back in, just as the ceo spoke up once again.
“because i have not succeeded in doing my job properly, i have something to give to you,” ushijima deadpanned, sliding a thick envelope towards you. you carefully grabbed it and opened it up to reveal a thick, thick, wad of cash.
a gasp caught in your throat, words not coming to you as you thumbed through the money. there had to be at least $60k in there, your eyes filling with tears while you took in his generosity. “thank you,” you whispered, not trusting your voice to speak any louder.
wakatoshi nodded at you before addressing the rest of the table about something but you weren’t even listening.
you were so overwhelmed. for the longest time, you’d hated whoever management was for ignoring your pleas for help and trying to placate you with nice dresses and fancy dinners so meeting ushijima was quite the welcomed surprise.
despite everything that occurred, you could tell he felt horrible for letting things slide even though it was technically out of his hands and you couldn’t even articulate how much that meant to you.
the fact that he had gone out of his way to pay you extra, assumingly without the permission of the board, was heartwarming, confusing, shocking, and staggering all at once.
i mean, you could probably describe the past few months as exactly that. so much had happened, so much had changed, and while you could do without some of the life adjustments (the nightmares, spare trauma, and fear of public bathrooms to start), you felt blessed with new friends and the experiences that helped shape you to the person you were now.
the boys didn’t hate you anymore (well, not all of them at least and none were actively antagonizing you), you were seeing dr yamada again, you were getting to move in with your two best friends, you were just given enough money to expand your channel drastically, and you were finally feeling good. better than good.
meiko was behind you and though you missed the person she once was, you were so glad she was out of your life in a way where she couldn’t harm you or the boys any longer.
a grin spread across your face, your cheeks nearly burning from the intensity of it. things were definitely looking up.
a soft call of your name jolted you from your thoughts, your eyes landing on all the boys already standing as they got ready to leave the room. you could sense their worry and you shot them a genuine, reassuring smile before standing yourself.
you waved goodbye to the three men at the table, thanking ushijima profusely for his kindness but he shook you off, insisting that he had just been doing what he should’ve done a long time ago.
what a nice guy.
as you followed the boys out of the building, you took a moment to observe them together with fondness written all over your expression. they were laughing and joking around, the happiest and most carefree you had ever seen any of them. bokuto was begging yachi to get them ice cream, the rest of them piling on until she gave in with a playful roll of her eyes, giggling at the cheer that went up from the group.
atsumu seemed to notice you lagging behind, falling back to join you. “ya okay angel?” he asked, eyes focused on your feet as he slowed down to match your pace.
you didn’t answer for a while, instead focusing on the sun warming your cheeks, the cool breeze messing up your hair, and the sounds of pure joy swirling above you.
“i’m absolutely perfect.” you replied and you actually meant it. “race you to the van?” you sent him an impish grin before taking off, his yells of indignation making you laugh freely as the rest of the boys joined in, right on your heels.
this is it, you thought. no matter what, i’ll have this moment and i’ll be okay.
you’d been through hell and back and you’d survived. you’d been cursed at, choked out, hospitalized, and been beaten at mario kart more times than you could count and you had still made it through. you were resilient and strong and you’d never given up, despite how badly you’d wanted to, multiple times over.
things weren’t perfect, they rarely are, but you knew that if you could make it through all that, you could get through practically anything, especially with the boys by your side.
yeah. i’ll be just fine.
“told you it sounded stupid as hell.”
“gah, stop talking about it!!”
“you sounded sooooo old ‘shiki, what are you, 92?”
“what’s up miracle boy?”
“...what is ‘sus’?”
℗ poker face
i’ll be just fine
an - AND THATS A WRAP FOLKS 🥳 wowowow did the ending give me trouble but that’s ok SISJSK the endings will be coming shortly but they might not be daily just cs they may take more time, who knows lmfao i’ll let y’all know :3 AAAA ANYWAYS ILY I HOPE U GUYS LIKED KITH KITH don’t forget to feed me <3
taglist - if your name is in bold, i cannot tag you
@boosyboo9206 • @geektastic84 • @elianetsantana • @trashy-simp • @infinitebells • @6mattsun9 • @suhkusa • @katsulovee • @kotarosbabygirl • @fucktheworlddude • @insomniacwreck • @calumsfringe • @saltylettuce • @chai-blu • @al3x1ss • @hawksyoongi • @jooleuuh • @loubells • @kissungjae • @liberhoe • @tetsurocore • @animeoverdosee • @duhsies • @saiKishaircLip • @afire24 • @premiyagi • @kit-kat428 • @doctorspencereid • @daphnxy • @kyomihann • @maer-333 • @sinoflust19 • @peteunderoos • @peachiikichu • @iidanotlida • @yongboxerrr • @kac-chowsballs • @tanakaslastbraincell • @memorableminds • @risjime • @starry-magicshop • @sugavwara • @smuttyanimeslut • @kiwibirbs-library • @haijkk • @airybnb • @crybabygumi • @iwaisa • @decaffinatedtealover • @notameera • @kawaii-angelanne • @rintarovibes • @urlocalsimp • @keiarma • @shrimpypenis
the rest of the tags will be in the replies!!
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Hello!!! I just found your blog and I love it so much!!! I love that you have such a wonderful library of poetry and literature 💕 poetry is the best way to connect our heart into concrete terms and can help us through the worst of it all. I love the whole feel of your blog!! You are a gift 💕 I’ve seen a few people ask for some poems, and if I may, I’d like to request for a few from your vast collection on how love never really dies. I recently went through a really peaceful break up and I’ve been trying to cope with that fact that I’m not angry at him and that I’m never not going to love him. I need some poetry for my aching heart. Thank you if you are able to, love! I hope you have a lovely day 💕
— John Berger, Will it be a Likeness? from The Shape of a Pocket
— John Cage to Merce Cunningham, June 29 1943
— Adonis, Selected Poems; “Beginnings of the Body, Ends of the Sea” (tr. Khaled Mattawa)
“But whatever, whenever, however this ends / I want you to know right now, / I love you forever.”
— Andrea Gibson, from The Madness Vase; “How It Ends”
— Mary Oliver, from “Mysteries, yes”
“someone I love is praying in another language / I don’t know all the words but I know / what it means—”
— Linnette Reeman, from “The New Jersey Devil Considers Parallels,” The New Jersey Devil Washes the Blood Off (and other vignettes) (L'Éphémère Review micro-chapbook, 2018)
— Nikki Giovanni, from an interview with Cynthia Adina Kirkwood for Los Angeles Times, Dec 4, 1985
— Aracelis Girmay, “I Am Not Ready To Die Yet”
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Astro Notes 3
Omg thank you so much for 100+ followers and all the feedback! I really appreciate it. Here comes a third astro post.
Disclaimer: I am no professional astrologer. I do like to observe so here are some of my observations, there are also a few assumptions I make about some placements. If something doesn't resonate with you, then leave it be.
🪁 Whenever I see Aries rising I think of dolls like this:
🪁 When I was researching for my opera singer post, I wasn't surprised when I saw that most singers had a lot of airy placements as opera requires a lot of breath
🪁 the most dirty minded people I know are water signs, Virgos and Leos
cmon like cancer symbol is literally just 69
they are so perverted omg
my Virgo bestie made a whole poem sound dirty smh
🪁 Fixed signs, esp. Leos and Scorpios, always know their sun signs whether they like astrology or not
🪁 I think the reason why people think most Virgos are stubborn like a fixed sign is bcuz the Virgos born between Aug 24 - Sept 15 are Leos in sidereal and we all know how stubborn that is 💀
🪁 Gemini mars are fast writers + if you have it in 11H you could also be a fast typist
My Gemini mars friend: *writing at god's speed*
Me with a Pluto 3H and Taurus mars 😭
no wonder I can't seem to finish work on time
🪁 When I was younger my Leo ass couldn't tolerate other people getting more attention than me lol
🪁 "I'm highly suspicious that everyone who sees you wants you" is such a Scorpio venus /venus in 8H/venus-pluto line
🪁 I always thought that Mr. Perfectly Fine by Taylor Swift was about an Aquarius man and then I saw that Joe Jonas has an Aquarius moon. Also Sun in 11H
🪁 In synastry, venus conj. sun/moon is a soulmate aspect. The sun/moon person could also easily understand the venus person's love language
My best friend's and my venus conj. each other's sun
we also have each other's sun in our 11H
the way we always told each other that we are soulmates 🌟
🪁 In synastry, if their sun/moon is in your 7H, you will probably feel like they are just your type
My crush had their moon in my 7H and I kept imagining what kind of couple we would be while they didn't even want to see my face
🪁 If someone's' Lilith sign is your rising sign then they might hate you or be completely obsessed with you
For ex = Person A has a Libra Lilith: Imbalanced, insecure, lack of harmony, difficulty with connections, obsessed with looks, relationships, being desired etc.
Person B has Libra rising: Naturally charming, pretty, chatty, doesn't have problems with forming a connection (unless there are placements that suggest otherwise)
Person A might dislike or be really jealous of the fact that Person B doesn't have to deal with same things as they do. They might think and hate how their life is so imbalanced and turbulent but view Person B's as really put together and peaceful.
Our Lilith sign shows the darkest parts of our personality, the parts we hide, repress or reject and our rising sign is our surface, the very first part of our personality. So for someone to be able to show others the parts that you hide, without difficulty, can be provoking.
🪁 The people who have a lot of Scorpio/8H/12H in their charts. Literally nothing can be hidden from you, at least not for forever
My sister is a Scorpio stellium and omg
It's impossible to lie to her. She literally finds out everything somehow.
like one time my mom was suspecting that my father was cheating on her and she asked my sis what to do about it and this woman just found out everything under 10 mins. Like location, pics, everything. I was like wtf.
🪁 Also having those placements can also make someone very introverted, secretive or seem really mysterious
That is all I have for now. I am still learning, so please let me know if I'm right or wrong about anything I wrote.
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Interest check: multilingual mdzs creations event
Hey mdzs/cql fandom!
This is an interest check (by @rose-nebulijia and me) for an event that aims to celebrate the diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds of the mdzs fandom.
What we’re proposing
An event aimed at creators of all possible forms of content (fanart, fanfic, edits, gifs, fanvids; to name some examples) that intents to shine a spotlight on the kind of creations that usually get a bit less attention because they are not in English (and consequently might not even get made).
You have a favourite poem in your mother tongue that you really think fits wangxian but you didn’t think if you put it on an edit anyone would reblog it? There’s a line from a song in a language you’ve been studying that makes your heart ache for Jiang Yanli? You’ve always wanted to center a piece of fanart around that very specific word in your favourite language that is untranslatable into English? You have a strong emotional connection to a language and want to recreate your experience studying it in a fic featuring mdzs/cql characters?
Those are just some examples :) Anything mdzs/cql related that is centered around a language you care deeply about would have a place in this event!
Why we’re proposing it
A while ago (cough) @rose-nebulijia and I had a talk and found out that we had many sources of inspiration for fanworks that weren’t in English. Given that this fandom is centered around a source material that isn’t in English and knowing that a lot of people were inspired to study Mandarin because of MDZS/CQL, we hoped that we’d have enough company to center an event around this concept.
With this being a large and diverse fandom, we’d love to see some of that diversity being given an outlet.
Languages, no matter if they are our mother tongue or our second, third or even fourth language, hold a part of ourselves. Our hope is that with this event, we as a fandom can access entire oceans of creativity that, so far, have been relatively unsailed.
Who can participate?
Everyone! With all kinds of original fan content!
Which languages will be accepted?
All of them!
Yes, English, too. Since so much of the tumblr-centric mdzs/cql fandom happens in English, the idea of this event is to give languages other than English a place to shine. This does not mean that we will exclude English language creations. In fact, we will be happy to receive them! As we said, the event is for languages you care deeply about – which can, of course, also be English. This is just a gentle reminder that, if you ever wanted to create something in a language you thought would never get attention on tumblr, this event will the time to do so.
How will the event be structured?
The idea is for this event to run for a week, with each day being under a different theme.
For now, we are aiming for a week in November, since this is after some of the other large fandom events in our orbits are over but before the holiday exchanges start.
Do I need to sign up to participate?
All that will be required is that you follow the event blog and post your creations on the day with the theme you created them for, using the tag(s) we will announce once the event is launched.
You can post on as many or as few days as you like.
How will we promote the creations?
We will create a blog for this event where all original creations for the event will be reblogged.
What to do now?
If you’re interested, please let us know by liking, commenting on, or reblogging this post. (The last one especially, a signal boost is always appreciated! ;))
If you want to be tagged once the event is launched, tell us so in the notes.
Any more questions?
Feel free to drop an ask at either @rose-nebulijia or @inessencedevided 💙
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between the lines | lee minho
𝐒𝐓𝐑𝐀𝐘 𝐊𝐈𝐃𝐒 𝐇𝐈𝐆𝐇 𝐒𝐂𝐇𝐎𝐎𝐋 𝐋𝐎𝐕𝐄𝐑𝐒!𝐀𝐔
✑ Late fines, shared lockers, and a missing love letter:
In which a frantic search for an overdue library book leads to you finding other things that are...long overdue.
✑ PAIRING: student librarian!minho x bookworm!reader
✑ GENRE: retro!high school au, slow burn, slice-of-life romance, slight enemies-to-lovers shenanigans
✑ WORD COUNT: 9.7k
✖︎ TAGS/WARNINGS: fem!reader, mild language, bullying themes, skz are all around the same age. mc is insecure and a bit of a valentine's day grinch. minho is whipped but too hardheaded to admit it. also, an embarrassing amount of classic literature/pablo neruda references.
Ah, Valentine’s Day.
Call it the most romantic day of the year if you will, but in the treacherous hallways of Levanter High, it meant a minefield of hormonal couples, crushed chocolate boxes, and supermarket rose bouquets. Clutching your backpack with a grimace, you narrowly dodged a pigtailed cheerleader as she leapt into her jock boyfriend’s waiting arms. Turning into another hallway, you plugged your ears to block out a senior boy’s cold rejection of a freshman’s nervous love confession.
You finally caught sight of your locker and breathed a sigh of relief. Levanter High’s lockers were split in half lengthwise—one top row, and one bottom row. You dropped to a crouch to wrench yours open—you’d lost your lock a couple of weeks ago—trying to block out the early morning commotion as you rummaged for your English books.
“Hey, watch ou—”
The locker above yours opened with a screech, and you looked up just in time to see a pink avalanche of cards and chocolates raining down on your head in a painful, deafening crash. The student who had called out the warning was frozen with a comical look of shock on her face. You swore the entire hallway fell silent, blood rushing to your cheeks as you slowly raised your gaze at the person who had opened the locker.
Lee Hana—head cheerleader of Levanter’s pep squad, and in your humble opinion, the spawn of Satan herself.
“Ohmigosh,” she exclaimed, raising one hand to her mouth in mock horror, “I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you there.”
The crowd around you was beginning to snicker and point, and you felt your face growing redder by the minute. “What are you doing here?” You asked tersely, motioning towards the locker above yours. “That’s not even your locker.”
Hana smiled and held up a small, glittery package. Oh. You didn’t have to look closer to know that the envelope was a love letter, elaborately tied to a box of expensive chocolates—the kind your parents would probably have to work overtime to afford. “My Valentine—for your locker buddy,” Hana replied matter-of-factly, then added, “Not that you would understand, hm? Since you’ve never received one yourself, and all.”
A smattering of laughs erupted from the crowd that was building around you. Biting back a retort, you looked down at all the other Valentine’s trinkets that had spilled around you. Of course—you should have gotten used to it by now. After all, your locker was right underneath the one that belonged to the student librarian, school heartthrob, and the absolute bane of your existence, Lee—
“Minho!” Hana exclaimed, and you looked up to see him shuffling through the crowd, his eyes briefly falling on yours. You immediately turned away as the pretty cheerleader skipped up to him, and shoved your books into your bag. Slamming your locker shut—twice, because Levanter’s damned lockers always jammed before shutting properly—you snatched up as many of Minho’s fallen Valentine’s Day trinkets as you could before shoving them back into the now-emptied top locker. The metal door was still swinging wide open. You’d overheard Minho complaining to the boy who always did the announcements—Han Jihyun? Han Jisung?—about how he kept losing his own lock. Both of you seemed to have a habit of misplacing things (not that you liked to admit to that similarity).
Out of the corner of your eye, Minho was still watching you over Hana’s shoulder, his lips tilted in a half-smile. Your gut twisted unpleasantly. Four years and counting—that was how long you’d ended up with a locker right under Minho’s.
“You’re so lucky!” Lia—your best friend—had gushed, while you had scoffed in utter disbelief.
“Oh, sure. Just my rotten luck.”
“Come on, y/n. Are you still hung up about that love letter from freshman year?”
Yes, you had thought sourly. “No way,” you had snapped, and Lia had giggled, unconvinced.
It wasn’t like you’d always had a personal vendetta against Minho. In fact, in ninth grade, you’d been head over heels for him, just like the rest of the student body—to the point where you’d even slipped a small love letter into his locker on Valentine’s Day, too. It had been one of those gaudy 99-cent corner-store cards, and you'd saved up your pocket money just to buy a matching pack of candy hearts. Then you’d spent the day with butterflies in your stomach, anxiously waiting nearby his locker to see his reaction.
But when he hadn’t shown up, you'd shrugged and begun heading home—and that was when you had caught sight of Minho, throwing all the love letters he’d received straight into the Dumpsters in the back parking lot.
Talk about a reality check.
As if that hadn't been traumatizing enough, you’d been forced to face him nearly every morning for the following three years. To make matters worse, being Minho’s involuntary locker mate also meant that all the girls—and guys, for that matter—saw you as little more than a stepping stone to him, always asking you to relay party invitations or trying to curry favour with you to get to him.
“We’re not close,” you’d insist to his persistent admirers every time, but it didn’t help. Minho, on the other hand, you thought bitterly, seemed to think he was too good for anyone—he didn’t even respond much to Hana’s advances, and she was drop-dead gorgeous. There was no way he’d even look twice at you—you’d been firsthand witness to that. You finally gave up trying to clean up the fallen Valentines, and stood up with a sigh. Throwing him a death glare, you pushed past the crowd just as the bell rang and students began scurrying away.
What did it matter if Lee Hana was trying to get with Minho? If anything, they were a match made in heaven. Or hell. With a decided huff, you plopped yourself down at your desk just as your English teacher began class.
“We’re starting the poetry unit today! Remember, you’ll be writing a love poem of your own for the final project—so I suggest you all get started on reading!” You teacher had winked and clapped her hands excitedly while a collective groan had swept through your class. A few couples had nudged each other meaningfully, already promising to write their poems about each other, and you’d thrown up a little in your mouth.
Romance was a bit of a touchy subject for you— now, you didn’t hate the notion of love, per se, you’d just always been somewhat...wary of it. After watching your friends fall in and out of disastrous relationships and fleeting feelings from the sidelines too many times to count, your own defense mechanisms had skyrocketed, and now you found yourself trying not to roll your eyes at every piece of romantic writing you read. Still, this inexperience only made you more determined to get a head start on the topic— and so, once the last bell had rung, you made a beeline for the school library. You would tackle love the only way you knew how to—by hitting the books. Pushing open the door, you overheard Hana and her friends muttering in disappointment and immediately recoiled.
“You said he’d be in here!”
“Well, I thought I saw him! Let’s wait for a bit.”
You peeked over the librarian’s desk, and sure enough, it was vacant— save for a tray of half-shelved books and stamping cards. Maybe Minho left early today, you thought, shrugging. That’s a relief. Then you shook your head quickly. What’s it to me whether he’s here or not? You tried to ignore Hana’s disdainful glance at you, heading straight towards your favourite nook at the back of the library instead: a cozy alcove tucked behind the last row of shelves. With a deep sigh, you pulled out the first book of poetry your teacher had assigned—Shakespeare’s Complete Sonnets—and sank into the bean bag chair.
‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May…’
A couple lines in, and the Englishman’s words were already making your head spin. You grimaced, massaging your temples. ‘A summer’s day?’ Seriously? You could swear you’d seen something less cheesy on a dollar store card. After a couple of pages, you could already feel your treacherous eyelids beginning to droop, fighting to stay awake as you tried to make sense of Shakespeare’s verses. But thy eternal summer...shall not fade...nor lose...possession…
“The library’s closing.”
You jolted awake, hands fumbling blindly before you could even force your eyes open. The library came into focus first—the lights had been dimmed, the flickering EXIT sign from the empty hallway casting a warm glow through the panelled window across the room. A dull headache still throbbed in your temples.
“Sorry,” you mumbled, rubbing your eyes groggily. You had to practically peel your cheek away from the Shakespeare book, fingers gingerly feeling the dent the cover had left in your cheek. “I-I’m so sorry, I must have—lost track of time studying.”
A familiar chuckle sent your heart plummeting to your stomach. “I think that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”
When your eyes finally adjusted, your expression automatically soured into a glare.
“Now that’s more like it.” Smirking, Minho crossed his arms, leaning back on a bookshelf. He glanced down at the book in your lap—the book that you clearly hadn’t been studying. “Didn’t know you were one for Shakespeare.”
“I—” You threw your hands up in exasperation. “I’m not. His writing gives me a headache. It’s like it’s all in another language or something.”
Minho raised an eyebrow. “Old English. Why are you reading it, then?”
“We’re doing poetry in class—and our final project is to write an actual love poem, based on the poets we’ll study. Shakespeare was just first on the reading list, so…” you felt yourself trailing off, flustered. Why were you even bothering to explain this to Minho, who probably couldn’t care less? “Nevermind.”
You felt his piercing gaze on you as you shoved your books into your bag, glancing outside at the nearly emptied parking lot. If you squinted, you could spot a couple—Seo Changbin, judging by the male’s iconic leather jacket, and his lover—making out under the bleachers. You shook your head incredulously. Valentine’s Day. Love poems. Hormonal couples galore. It was like the universe was playing a long, cruel joke on you: Ha-ha, look who’s spending Valentine’s Day studying in the library alone.
Well, alone except for a student librarian with whom you had a mortifying history. Not much better. Eager to leave, you got to your feet, only to see Minho flipping through a smaller book he’d pulled off the shelf next to him. “If you want some real inspiration,” he began slowly, pushing up his glasses, “I’d suggest you start closer to our time period.”
You looked down at the book he was holding up, brow furrowing as you read the title out loud. “Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. Pablo Neruda.”
“The best Chilean poet of the 20th century,” he nodded. “‘I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way, because I do not know any other way of loving but this.’”
It took you a second to realise Minho was quoting a poem, and you were suddenly grateful that the dimly lit library hid the flush of red that had betrayed your cheeks. Clearing your throat, you mumbled, “That actually sounds...kind of pretty.”
He didn’t look up, but you thought you saw the corners of his mouth shoot up ever so slightly. Maybe the shadows were playing tricks on you? Flipping through the book, Minho fished out a pad of sticky notes from his back pocket and marked a few pages. “Here. ‘The Song of Despair’...‘Tonight I Can Write’...‘Here I Love You.’ Those are good.” Clamping the book shut, he held it out towards you.
You almost thanked him, but the words faltered on your tongue as you took it from him suspiciously. “What’s with the sudden helpful attitude?”
He shrugged. “It’s my job.” You raised an incredulous eyebrow, and he smirked. “Consider it my apology for this morning, then.”
That left you at a real loss for words, and for the first time, you struggled to find a retort. “That’s...considerate of you, apologising on behalf of your girlfriend and all.”
“Hana’s not my girlfriend.”
You breathed a small laugh. “Soon-to-be, then. Don’t break her heart.”
Minho scoffed, bringing the book to the front desk and scrawling your name on the sign-out card. He stamped the dates, then held it out at you before glancing out the window. Dusk had fallen, the empty football field lit only by rows of flickering lampposts. “You can get home safe?”
“Screw off, Lee Minho.” You eyed him warily, shoving the book into your bag before practically running to the double doors. The strange atmosphere that had suddenly built up in the library felt terrifyingly foreign to you, and your first instinct was to be rid of it as soon as possible. In the hallway, you spotted a janitor dumping a bin into a trash bag. A familiar avalanche of pink envelopes and gifts caught your eye, and you felt a wave of humiliation. Just the memory of Minho throwing yours out—after reading it and having a good laugh, no doubt—made you want to ram your head into the lockers all over again. You’ve got no chance with him, y/n, you thought blearily. Right when you’d thought you’d finally come to terms with Minho’s brutal (albeit unintentional) rejection, here he was again: crashing back into your life like some...cat-eyed, pointy-nosed meteor.
“Oh, y/n! One more thing.”
You’d already had one foot out the front door when Minho called your name again, making you jerk your head back in surprise. Minho had his bag slung over one shoulder, a pile of books in his arms as he waved to get your attention. His smile looked almost...genuine in the warm shadows, his round glasses softening his usually sharp gaze. Despite yourself, you felt your heart skip a beat.
Then Minho made a wiping motion over his face and grinned. “You’ve got drool on your chin.”
Your face reddened, and you slammed the library door shut, earning a glare from the janitor down the hall. Smacking the heel of your palm against your forehead repeatedly, you stormed out of the school muttering curses under your breath. Typical Lee Minho.
To your surprise, you practically devoured the poems in less than a week, taken aback at how much you genuinely enjoyed them. It was the first time you didn’t find yourself cringing at romance—and sure enough, in a couple days’ time, you found yourself reluctantly standing back in front of the double doors of the school library once again.
Carefully, you craned your head to peep into the panelled window, scanning the room for Minho. As per usual, a gaggle of girls were huddled on the other side, blocking your view.
“Looking for someone?”
Flinching, you nearly tripped on Hana’s long legs as she came up beside you. Before you could respond, she fixed you with a withering look. “You’ve got some explaining to do, Little Miss Perfect.”
The cheerleader rolled her eyes, sneering. “Don’t act all innocent with me, you sneaky b—”
Sighing, you pushed open the doors before she could finish. Hana followed you into the library, still sputtering angrily. Her hand snatched your arm, French manicure digging painfully into your cardigan.
“The Valentines,” she hissed, and it finally clicked.
She’s talking about the love letters, you realized. The ones Minho throws out every year.
Gut twisting, you looked up to see all the other girls crossing their arms and looking back at you expectantly. “None of you...got a response?” You asked incredulously, already knowing the answer. This happened every year: Expectant admirers showered Minho’s locker with gifts, Minho wouldn’t even glance at them— and then, for some reason, you were left to take the blame. A twinge of annoyance shot through your chest.
“You stole them from his locker, didn’t you?” Hana continued accusingly, pupils shaking. “You sneaky, jealous bitch— of course you did.”
He threw them all out, you wanted to scream back at her, but the words wouldn’t budge from your tongue. Somehow, saying them out loud felt like tearing off the stitches of an old wound; a painful reminder of your personal humiliating memory. And—though you hated to admit it—a small part of you still didn’t have the heart to throw Minho under the bus just yet, even after all that he’d done.
Feeling defeated, you sighed and turned towards her. “Why would I want to do that?”
Hana scoffed, tossing her chocolate curls over one shoulder. “Oh, please. We all know you’ve had a massive one-sided crush on him since ninth grade.”
A rush of heat flooded your cheeks, the other girls’ snickers at your reaction drowning out any of your protests. “That’s not—”
“Not true? Then—is it mutual?” Hana sneered mockingly. “Don’t make me laugh. He wouldn’t be caught dead with the likes of y—”
“Can I help you with anything?”
The small crowd fell silent as Minho appeared from one of the aisles, eyebrows raised slightly in his usual nonchalant manner. A chill of panic rushed down your spine, palms growing clammy with cold sweat. H-how much did he overhear? In your peripheral, Hana was practically batting her eyelashes at him, but Minho’s mild eyes were focused on yours expectantly.
“I—uh. Well,” you stammered eloquently, your entire body suddenly paralyzed. Hana’s cherry red lips were twisted in a smug smirk, clearly waiting for you to embarrass yourself. “The book,” you blurted, immediately rummaging for the poetry book in your bag and holding it out to him.
Minho took it from you, fingertips grazing yours slightly. They were surprisingly warm. “How’d you find it?”
“R-really good, actually.” Then, you hesitantly added, “I...like the way Neruda uses imagery—he’s precise without being plain, and artful without deviating too much into purple prose. I think I liked Tonight I Can Write the most— y’know, ‘Tonight I can write the saddest lines...’” You swallowed, then instantly began regretting having ever spoken. Great job, y/n, now you sound like a full-blown nerd.
But Minho nodded, his eyes gleaming. “‘I loved her, and sometimes, she loved me, too.’”
“That’s the second verse,” you muttered automatically, and his lips twitched.
“It’s one of my favourite lines.”
The other girls had begun to awkwardly shuffle out of the library, their absence easing your racing heart. With just a few mildly spoken words, you noted, Minho had managed to make you feel as though you had blocked out the rest of the world. Out of the corner of your eye, you spotted Hana glaring daggers at you, and the small smile dropped from your face.
“Do you need something?” Minho asked her blankly, his gaze trailing down to Hana’s hand, which was still painfully latched onto your arm. With a roll of her eyes, she spun on her heel and stormed out of the library.
As soon as she was gone, you breathed an audible sigh of relief. Minho was peeling the sticky notes off from the poetry book you’d returned, eyes still watching you intently. Giving him the side-eye, you deadpanned, “She’s pretty, you know. Maybe you should go talk to her sometime.”
There was a small smile on Minho’s lips. “Does she like Chilean poetry?”
You could only give a short—slightly too shaky for your liking—laugh in response, ruffling your own hair as you tried to calm your frazzled nerves. Don’t forget, y/n. One, that he’s out of your league. Two, how this was all his fault to begin with.
“Is that all you came here for?” Minho’s voice broke into your thoughts again, making you jump. There was a glint of amusement in his eyes. He finds this—me—amusing.
“Well…” you looked down at your feet, then grudgingly nodded at the poetry book you’d just returned. “Do you...have any other recommendations?”
Minho’s face broke into a shit-eating grin, and you bit back a groan. before your pride got the better of you and you changed your mind, he was already heading towards the back of the library, sliding books out as you struggled to keep with his pace. “First of all, Dickinson. Hit-or-miss, but you never know. Then there’s Sylvia Plath, some Emily Brontë…”
Before you knew it, you’d been whisked into a world of verse and metaphor, flying between numerous time periods and continents as you and Minho perused the shelves. Just like the time when you had accidentally fallen asleep in the library, the library seemed to grow cozier, quieter, more peaceful during moments like these, as if the entire world was holding still as you lost yourself in pages upon pages of books. Soon, you found yourself heading to the library nearly every day after school. Despite yourself, you found yourself looking forward to that sunset hour, the fleeting period where most students had left, and the entire library would glow warm as though it were blushing under the swathes of golden light. And in these same fleeting moments, you found your gaze lingering more and more on Minho—the way he would push his silver glasses on, furrowing his brow in concentration whenever he searched for a book, or run his long fingers over their worn spines whenever he was lost in thought—
“Like what you see?” With a flinch, you realised Minho had begun walking back towards you, a crooked smirk on his lips as he set a new pile of books down at the desk you were sat at.
“No!” You snapped, too quickly. “Just—spaced out for a bit. Too concentrated on the project.”
The smirk hadn’t budged from Minho’s face, and you resisted the urge to throw a copy of Emily Dickinson’s Selected Poems at his long, pointy nose. “Mm. You seem to be coming here a lot more often.”
“That’s because the due date is coming up.”
“No. I mean, you seem to be talking to me a lot more.”
You rolled your eyes, snatching a book from the top of his pile as you muttered, “Screw you, Lee Minho.”
His eyebrows shot up in wicked mischief. “You’re more than welcome to try.”
With a cry of exasperation—and surprise at having been heard—you hoisted your book bag onto the table, building a makeshift wall between the two of you.
You didn’t catch the way Minho’s laughter slowly faded as he rested his head on one hand thoughtfully, quietly watching you read. Your lips were pursed in concentration as you muttered your notes under your breath. Cute, he couldn’t help thinking.
Minho had always been good at memorizing things, but he couldn’t remember exactly when you’d begun disliking him so much. You had always intrigued him—what with the way your locker always seemed to be overflowing with books, or how you used to lend him your copy when he forgot his, back in ninth grade. That Valentine’s Day, four years ago, your name had been the only one he’d hoped to find as he rifled through the cards he’d received. But he’d come up empty, and so he’d thrown them all out. And for some reason, you’d been cold to him ever since.
Minho had assumed that you were probably annoyed with all the letters that would fall out of his locker and onto you, and so every year he tried his best to get rid of the Valentines as soon as possible. Nevertheless, you only seemed to be getting more and more annoyed with him.
And now here you were, right in front of him, four years later, and he still couldn’t bring himself to ask you why. Confrontation had never been his strong suit—his words always seemed to come out too blunt, too cold, too soon, and so he’d always avoided bringing it up with you again. Minho sighed, raking a hand through his hair. Written words—that is, books—had always been so much easier than people.
He did, however, remember when he’d started falling for you.
Tenth grade, literature studies. He’d begun arguing against your thesis during one of your presentations, and the two of you had ended up bickering the entire class—pulling out quotes from nearly every chapter of Pride and Prejudice before the class president had to intervene, and your teacher had sent you both to detention.
You had glared at him once, and he’d fallen head over heels.
These violent delights have violent ends, he’d mused in his head back then—Romeo and Juliet—and with the murderous stare Minho sometimes caught you fixing him with, he was willing to bet that you were wishing a violent end on him, too.
He couldn’t pen a love letter to save his life, either— and so, he resorted to pettily glaring at any admirer that approached your locker like Gandalf—you shall not pass—until they backed off. Minho didn’t think you would appreciate him revealing that, either. The more he thought about it, the more ridiculous his actions seemed—and like a poorly written plot twist, you had ended up stumbling back into his life again. Never in his life, however, did Minho think that Pablo Neruda would become his wingman. Glancing down at his portrait on the back cover of the book, Minho could almost imagine the Chilean poet pointing his pen threateningly: “Don’t screw this up.”
“Hey, Minho?” He snapped out of his thoughts to see you waving your hand at him from the other side of your book bag. “You were right. I don’t get any of Dickinson’s poems.”
Your words took a moment to register, Minho caught off-guard by the soft golden hour light illuminating your pretty features. You waved your hand in his face again, and he blinked, breath caught in his throat. Almost tripping over his tongue, he finally quipped, “How on earth are you passing AP English?”
You glowered and smacked his shoulder, the near-silent library ringing with Minho’s laughter once again.
With a week left to the deadline, you were planted at your desk in your room, the wastebasket littered with crumpled up half-sheets of notebook paper. To your dismay, none of the words seemed to be coming out the way you wanted them to. Gnawing the back of your pencil in frustration, you dumped the contents of your book bag onto the desk, and spotted your latest library book—100 Love Sonnets, by Pablo Neruda. Inexplicably, out of all the poets Minho had introduced to you, you always found yourself coming back to him.
Flipping through the well-thumbed pages, your fingers stopped at one titled Sonnet XVII. “I love you without knowing how,” your eyes scanned the verse curiously, “or when, or from where. I love you simply…”
It was the poem Minho had quoted that evening in the library, you realized, heart skipping a beat. “...without problems or pride / I love you in this way, because I do not know any other way of loving / but this, in which there is no I or you / so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand / so intimate that when I fall asleep, your eyes close.”
With a sigh, you buried your head in your arms, lying face-down onto the desk. Maybe the reason why you instinctively disliked reading love poems so much was because of the sheer sincerity of them all. You envied their ability to put feelings into words—with unabashed, unapologetic ardour, and be celebrated for it, to boot. Eyes scanning the verses again, your mind wandered to the way Minho’s eyes had lit up as he’d explained the lines to you, his brow furrowed in focus.
At Levanter High, you had grown used to being pushed around and out of the spotlight. It was either the popular girls and their backhanded compliments, or the boys who spoke to you condescendingly just to a) get you to do their homework, or b) get in your pants. But Minho had always taken you seriously, albeit while driving you half-insane with his infuriating remarks. And as much as you hated to admit it, that same fiery look in his eyes whenever he got worked up—so different from his usual reserved facade in front of the teachers and swooning students—had always made your heart skip a beat. In tenth grade—back when he seemed to pick a fight with you nearly every English class until Bang Chan had to hold the two of you back from killing each other—you’d thought you’d successfully quashed your feelings for the mild-voiced, hazel-eyed librarian. Yet every time he spoke, he left you feeling vulnerable, disarmed, and you were back—though you refused to admit it—to square one.
“‘I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul,’” you whispered, fingers tracing the words on the paper. Feeling a sudden surge—of confidence, or simply exasperation, you weren’t sure—you seized the pen and began scribbling on a new piece of paper. For years, you’d been afraid to face your feelings, terrified of the humiliation if Hana—or anyone at school—found out. But if getting them all out in one cheesy, hot mess of a love letter could give you some closure, you thought tensely, you were more than happy to oblige. You would write it all out under the guise of a love poem, and then it would never have to see the light of day again.
Words began coming to your head like a floodgate had been thrown wide open, and you began scrawling onto the page. “‘I love you as the plant that never blooms, but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers,’” you quoted thoughtfully as you drafted your own poem. In a way, it felt cathartic—you could get all your feelings out, pass it off as an assignment, and never think about the forbidden fruit again. For all you knew, it was a win-win situation. The pen kept wobbling, ink spilling out haphazardly and skipping, but you relaxed slightly. Maybe this assignment wasn’t too bad, after all.
Head filled to the brim with poetry, you set the pen down and dozed off.
“You’re not coming to the football game?” Lia flashed puppy eyes at you, and you smacked her hand playfully, swiping a french fry from her plate.
“Lia, since when have I ever gone to one?” The two of you had dropped by the Sunshine Coffee Shoppe for a quick pick-me-up during lunch hour, but one smile from the cute waiter—Yang Jeongin, if you remembered his name correctly—had dazzled Lia into ordering an extra burger combo, complete with a plate of fries. “Sports and crowds—not my thing. And I have an English project due the next day.”
She pouted. “Oh, come on! Knowing you, you’ve probably already finished it by now.”
You grinned, thinking back to your love poem and fighting the urge to cringe. You’d read it the morning after, and it had taken every fibre in your being to hold yourself back from ripping it to shreds. Piercing, catlike eyes, you’d written in one line. Silver spectacles. Long fingers on dusty pages. Shuddering, you’d stuffed it into the Neruda book before banishing them both to your locker and going about your day. Love poems are supposed to be cheesy, y/n, suck it up. It’ll only be this one time. Besides, it wasn’t like anyone other than your teacher would ever read it.
When you dropped by the library after school, you spotted Hana’s familiar figure by one of the cubicles. As she tossed her hair over her shoulder with a laugh muted by the plexiglass windows, you saw that she was talking to a grinning Minho.
“Are you sure you’re not coming to the game on Thursday?” Hana was whining as you pushed open the doors to the library. She patted his arms playfully. “You could be on the football team if you wanted to, you know! Why don’t you try?”
He laughed, rubbing the back of his neck. “I’m not that quick on my feet.”
“Well, tell you what. They’re having a party at Hyunjin’s place right after—his parents are out of town. If you don’t feel like coming to the game, at least join us at the afterparty to loosen up a little—have a little fun.” She blew him a kiss and stood, throwing her purse over her shoulder and spotting you. You instinctively froze, bracing yourself for whatever slew of insults she had for you today, but all Hana did was beam and wave at you.
As she passed you by the door, she threw you a knowing wink. “Have fun on your little study date!”
Her words made your ears grow hot again, but to your surprise, there was no trace of venom in her voice — only a lighthearted teasing, as if she had been your friend all along. Hana really did look sweet when she smiled genuinely, and you could see why she had so many people easily wrapped around her finger. Maybe people do change. Or she’s just in a good mood. Before you could shrug and turn away, you sensed Minho’s presence behind you and yelped.
He held his hands up in mock surrender, and you could swear he was suppressing a laugh. “Here to work on your project again?”
Hana’s strange exchange with you on her way out had left your mind reeling, and you scrambled to form coherent sentences. “No, I, um—I actually finished it last night. I just…” Thought I’d just drop by to say hi. But your pride turned the words to mush before they had even formed, and you ended up trailing off awkwardly.
“Really?” There was a flash of disappointment in his face, then Minho’s gaze landed on the book-borrowing register on the front desk. “Right—your book is due today. Did you want to return it?”
Your eyes widened, silently cursing at your own forgetfulness. “Um—yes,” you lied, pretending to search in your bag before giving an awkward laugh. “Yep. I think it’s in my locker—let me go get it.”
After jogging to the other side of the school, you flung open the bottom locker, making another mental note to replace your missing lock. Still catching your breath, your hand sifted through the notes and textbooks before coming up empty. Where is it? You could swear you remembered putting it there, unless—
Breath catching in your throat, you shut the locker with a mortified bang. The English classroom. You practically sprinted down the hallways, earning another dirty look from the janitor as you raced past. Bang Chan looked up in alarm when you nearly crashed into the English classroom door. The entire room was empty, save for the class president, who looked like he was helping to file the teacher’s papers.
“Where’s the fire?” He asked jokingly as your eyes frantically raked the room.
“Have you—seen a book, by any chance? 100 Love Sonnets. Pablo Neruda.”
Chan frowned. “We shelve all the books after class, and if it’s one we don’t recognize, we keep it until the students come back in the morning.” He shrugged. “I don’t remember seeing anything.”
Your heart sank, and you saw the corners of Chan’s mouth lift bemusedly.
“What’s the hurry, anyway? I thought you hated love po—”
With a groan of frustration, you left the baffled class president staring after you as you turned on your heel and back into the hallway. Your mind was racing, panic making your ears buzz. The love letter’s in there. Where the hell did I put it? You sprinted to the Sunshine Coffee Shoppe next, but only got an apologetic shrug from Jeongin even after you’d scoured every nook and cranny of the diner. The sun was already beginning to set as you trudged, defeated, back to the school. Spotting the library’s dim windows in the distance, you wrestled with your options — if it weren’t for that cursed love letter, you could’ve probably just told Minho you’d misplaced it. But now the book—along with everything you’d never dared to tell anyone, crammed onto a sheet of notebook paper—could be anywhere, and there was no way in hell you were going to stop looking until you found it. Heart heavy with dread, you did a full 180 and began walking home.
It was no use. You’d practically pulled an all-nighter tearing your room apart searching for the book— and then, the better part of the following day running around town. But no matter where you looked—the record shop, Blockbuster’s, or even the laundromat—you came up empty.
It’s like it’s disappeared entirely, you thought as the lunch ladies piled your tray with a few sad-looking burritos. The cafeteria was buzzing with teenagers jittery with caffeine and sugar, and you had to duck as a boy chucked an apple at another across the room. You passed the cheerleaders’ table, trying to avoid eye contact, but their giggly conversation carried over the chaotic commotion.
“Did you see how cute Hyunjin looked today on the field?”
“Are you sure he doesn’t have a girlfriend? Maybe Hana can talk to him for us—if he doesn’t fall for her first.” The blonde cheerleader that had spoken nudged the older girl insistently.
“Me?” There was a smile in Hana’s voice. You could feel her eyes on you as she mused, “Oh, I don’t know, Hyunjin’s not my type. I much prefer boys with—how should I put it—catlike eyes, silver spectacles, and long fingers perfect for turning dusty pages…” She clasped her hands together in mock adoration, and her friends erupted in giggles.
“What the hell was that? Sounds like a cheesy love poem.”
You had frozen stiff as soon as she had uttered the words, stunned eyes finding Hana’s only a couple feet away. She gave you a winning smile—the same one you’d deemed friendly just a couple days ago—and winked.
“Give me my book back.”
You pulled her aside after the last bell had rung, voice shaking. Hana only tilted her head innocently, eyes round as a puppy’s. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Before you could spit a biting retort back at her, the taller cheerleader tapped her chin thoughtfully with one bejewelled nail. “But I might think harder if...I got a little something in return.”
You grit your teeth. “What do you want?”
“Make your librarian boy come to Hwang Hyunjin’s party as my date,” Hana beamed, “and tell the office you want to change your locker.”
“You’re crazy,” you blurted, and her face immediately darkened. Dropping her voice, she leaned in closer, until her voice was right beside your ear.
“Oh, I can be even crazier. What would happen if I made copies of this little letter on Monday, hm? Or published it in the school paper for everyone to read? I’m sure Han Jisung would love that—”
Your eyes trailed down to the slip of paper she’d pulled out of her purse, the sight of your own familiar handwriting making panic surge through your veins like ice. Snatching it from her hand, you quickly began tearing it apart before noticing the calm smirk on Hana’s face.
“Photocopy, silly,” she giggled in a sing-song voice as you peered more closely at the shredded pieces, hands shaking. “Oh, all right, don’t cry. If you want the original so badly…” she leaned in again, cruel smile on her lips. “Then you might want to look in the library.”
Eyes widening, you immediately pushed her away and bolted for the stairs. “Don’t forget the deal! Thursday night,” Hana called after you, and you broke into a run.
Most of the classrooms were already empty, their dark windows reflecting your own face back at you as you hurtled past them. Your heart pounded in your chest as the library finally came into view at the end of the hallway, but you nearly came to a screeching halt when you saw that the lights had been turned off. Had Minho gone home early? Chewing your lip anxiously, you peered past the plexiglass. Aisles empty, books all shelved neatly, chairs stacked. The library was quiet as a tomb. Desperately, you tried the knob—and to your surprise, the door creaked open. Maybe he forgot to lock it. You had nothing to lose. Holding your breath, you slipped in.
Even the faint click of the door closing again sounded deafening. You rifled through the front desk first, dropping to a crouch as you inspected the carts and borrowing-bin. To your dismay, they were all empty—they must have all been re-shelved already. Heart sinking, you began tip-toeing through the shelves, fingers trembling as they ran over the laminated Dewey Decimal labels. Please, please, please…
You reached the poetry section at the back of the library, eyes squinting to try and read the spines of the books under shrouds of shadows. Poets— Nash. Naidu. Nemerov…
“Neruda,” you gasped, eyes falling on the book you had practically gone through hell searching for. 100 Love Sonnets. Almost sobbing in sheer relief, you reached out to grab it—just as another hand shot out from beside you. Your yelp of surprise broke the still, dim quiet, and you didn’t have to look up to know who the warm, pale fingers belonged to.
“Care to explain what you’re doing here?”
Spectacles glinting under the twilight, one hand in his pocket, nonchalant as ever, was the boy that had gotten you into this mess. Lee Minho.
As you stared back at him, mouth slightly agape, you felt as though your entire world was balancing precariously over a yawning abyss— as if one wrong move would send everything you’d spent the last two months—no, the last four years—repatching. You swallowed hard. His hand had landed a split-second later than yours, holding both you and the book in place, and you tried to ignore the feeling of his warm fingers on your chilled skin. Forcefully, you yanked the book from the shelves and out of his grasp. “The—book. I-I realised I still needed it for the project. It’s due this Friday, you know.”
He raised his eyebrows, unconvinced. “Today’s only Wednesday. Why not come back tomorrow morning?”
Shit. “I, um, promised Lia I’d go with her to the game tomorrow,” you fibbed, flipping through the book quickly, ready to grab any stray piece of paper that flew out. Nothing. “So I—need to finish the assignment today. Could you renew it for me?” Trying to plaster on an unbothered smile, you flipped through the book again. Still nothing. Had Hana lied to you?
In your peripheral, you saw Minho slowly shift his weight, crossing his arms as he mused, “Well, I’m not too sure about that. We’re getting...careful about letting students borrow books for too long. People tend to leave some...strange things in them.”
Your eyes snapped up, fingers freezing on the fluttering pages. “What—then did you—see anything? S-strange, I mean.”
A flicker of amusement passed through Minho’s eyes, and then it was gone. He cleared his throat, humming thoughtfully. “Why? Do you have something in mind?”
The strange intensity of his gaze seemed to corner you into the shadows, and you swore your heart was pounding so hard it seemed to echo through the room. “Nothing,” you stammered, throwing your hands up in exasperation, “I mean, I just—accidentally left—” Kill me now. You shook your head rapidly. “N-nevermind. I’m heading home.”
“Oh, one more thing.” You turned, remembering Hana’s sly words to you back in the stairwell. “You’re invited to Hwang Hyunjin’s party, after the game on Thursday.” Then, hoping you sounded more convincing than you felt, “Hana’s really counting on you to be her date.”
Minho chuckled. “You know I go to parties as often as you do.”
You rolled your eyes, but there was no malice in his words, only that same, airy indifference Minho always carried himself with. “Please? Hana—I mean, it would make her really happy if you went.”
“Would you be happy?”
The strange question caught you off guard, making you look up again. Minho was no longer smiling. His hand was still resting lightly over the missing space the book had left on the shelf, and his expression looked strangely lost under the twilit sky.
“Would it make you happy if I went?” He repeated, and you felt your mouth go dry.
Make your librarian boy come to Hwang Hyunjin’s party, and I won’t publish your little love letter for everyone to see on Monday. You nodded firmly, laughing in an attempt to ease the strange atmosphere that had settled over the two of you once again. “Y-yeah. Ecstatic.”
You turned on your heel, breath leaving your lips in a shaky sigh. If the poem wasn’t in the book, where on earth could it be? Option one: It had fallen out somewhere along the way, and hadn’t fallen into anyone’s hands. The best case scenario. Option two: Hana had been playing with you again, and she had had the original all along. Option three…
“By the way, Hana told me not to give this to you.”
You whirled around in surprise, and your eyes landed on a horribly familiar piece of notebook paper dangling from Minho’s fingers. Option three, damn it all. Mortified, you snatched it from his hand, crumpling it into your fist as he laughed lightly.
“It’s a very good poem.”
“Shut up, Lee Minho,” you wailed, wishing the ground would just swallow you up and bury you six feet under for all of eternity. “It’s a cheesy, cliché wreck.”
He hummed in amusement. “What were you writing about?”
Paralyzed, your eyes flickered towards the window before sputtering, “The—sunset. Figurative approach, you know? Emily Dickinson-inspired—”
“Mm. Then what was that quote about—” He tilted his head in thought, fingers snapping. “Catlike eyes, silver spectacles, and long—” He stopped when you plugged your ears instinctively, eyes glowering at him in disbelief. If looks could kill, Minho was sure he’d now have died more times than the characters in a Shakespearean tragedy. “—was that about the sunset, too?”
“Of course,” you snapped, your voice a tad too pitchy for your liking. Damn Lee Minho and his knack for memorizing things. “Haven’t you ever heard of extended metaphors? Rest assured, Lee Minho—I will never, ever, ever—have feelings for you.” You crumpled the sheet of poetry into a ball as you spoke with a note of finality, jamming it into your back pocket for good riddance.
Minho looked unfazed, the light curve of a knowing smile playing on his lips. After a moment, he took a step towards you, making you stumble back in alarm. “‘You can cut all the flowers,” he mused, glancing down at the crumpled love letter, “‘but you cannot stop spring from coming.’”
“Neruda quote. Tell me if I’m making you uncomfortable, and I’ll stop,” he murmured, eyes growing serious for a moment before his lips twitched with mirth, “but something tells me I deserve to hear more about that sunset from your poem.”
Gulping, you felt hot tears brimming in your eyes, and suddenly wished you were anywhere but here. This confrontation had been your worst nightmare, what you had always wanted to avoid. Your pride’ll be the end of you, y/n, you remembered Lia remarking when you’d sworn up and down that your feelings for Lee Minho were a thing of the past. And it was true—your pride had always gotten the better of you. You were a hypocrite, and a terrible one at that—always telling yourself you had gotten over that stupid, ninth-grade heartbreak, before unravelling into a nervous mess whenever Minho so much as threw a glance at you. And now, you could feel everything you’d feebly repressed for the last four years caving in. Crashing down on you like an avalanche of cheap supermarket chocolates.
“It was about you. You, alright?” You hissed, voice coming out more wounded, rather than venomous like you’d intended. “There. Are you happy now?” You were glad the shadows hid the humiliated tears beginning to roll down your cheeks, and wiped at your eyes furiously. Damn it all. So much for not crying.
“Then why didn’t you—”
“Say anything?” You breathed a short laugh. “Because I didn’t want to see you just throw it out again, okay?”
The silence that met your words was deafening, and when you finally mustered the courage to lift your gaze you saw that Minho’s look of disbelief mirrored your own.
Damn Lee Minho and his two-faced ass. Had he already forgotten? “In ninth grade. I left you a—stupid love letter in your locker, with all your other Valentines. Then I s-saw you throwing them all out, behind the school.”
“But I read every name on the cards,” Minho insisted, running a hand through his tousled hair. I left you—a stupid love letter in your locker. Your words sent his head spinning, and he felt his flustered cheeks heat up as he mumbled, “I’ve never—seen yours on any of them.”
Now it was your turn to blink in confusion. Minho’s brow furrowed in vague recollection. “But I did see Hana pulling an envelope out from my locker that day. She said that—she’d heard someone had been sending chain mail on Valentine’s Day, so she was helping the principal clean them up from people’s lockers.”
Hana? Your mind flashed to the missing locks, and the cheerleader that always seemed to be hanging around your locker, and suddenly everything dawned on you. “What did the envelope look like?”
“A corner store card. With—”
“Candy hearts. Right.” You muttered, watching Minho nod slowly. Your anger faltered slightly, feeling a slight shame wash over you, but you weren’t willing to give up just yet. “That still doesn’t explain why you dump out all the gifts you get every year.”
He sighed. “Look. Why would I keep love letters from people I don’t like? That’s just...narcissistic. And I don’t...like chocolate, either,” he added as an afterthought, and you couldn’t help exhaling a short laugh at his ridiculously blunt sentence. Another silence fell between the two of you, the angry tension in the air replaced with an almost childish awkwardness.
“I really did like the poem,” Minho spoke tentatively after what felt like an eternity, and you buried your head in your hands.
“Shut up, Lee Minho, oh my g—”
“And I wouldn’t have thrown it out.” The soft edge to his voice made you stop, peeking out of your fingers to look at him questioningly.
“Why not?” You asked, swallowing hard. “You said keeping letters from someone you don’t like would be narcissistic.”
He was barely a foot away, and the sheer proximity of his face from yours made your stomach flop—with irritation or butterflies, you weren’t sure you wanted to find out. Nonetheless, a tiny voice at the back of your head told you that you were heading towards the latter.
“You know, for someone who reads so many books, you sure are dense,” Minho murmured, shaking his head.
“I throw out all my Valentines every year because I never see your name on them, alright?” His expression was as careless as ever—that cool, calm facade he wore like a suit of armour—but you didn’t miss the slight tremor in his voice, the flicker of apprehension in his eyes. Lee Minho, you realized with a jolt, was nervous. “I...only ever wanted to receive one from you.”
Your eyes widened, hands lowering from your face in shock. The book tumbled from under your arm to the ground. “But—Hana always told me about how much you hated me.”
“Hmm.” He dropped down to pick it up before fixing his piercing eyes on yours. “Funny. She’s been telling me the same about you. How you’re a two-faced, back-stabbing...such-and-such,” he smiled at the indignant look on your face before his face grew serious. “You’ve always let people walk all over you, and you never retaliate. It’s both admirable and frustrating to watch.”
“I’m not good at confrontation,” you mumbled, still shifting your weight from one leg to the other nervously. “Every time I think I’ve finally got the guts to try and say something back, I...I get all terrified that the words’ll jumble up and I-I’ll start to cry like an idiot again—”
“You’re not an idiot,” he interrupted sternly, “You’re probably more clever—and genuine—than everyone in our grade combined. Your thesis was brilliant.”
You snorted incredulously. “Then why did you keep attacking it every class?”
“It was the only time I could get you to talk to me.”
“Weirdo,” you muttered, but you couldn’t find it in you to make the word sound insulting anymore. Minho chuckled, hand grazing yours as he handed the book back to you. You didn’t move your hand away, and neither did he.
“It is weird. I must be out of my mind. Whenever you look at me, it’s like the whole world stops, and suddenly every cheesy line of poetry I’ve ever read just seems to make sense.”
Your heart was pounding so hard you were more than certain Minho could hear it. The way he was looking at you was nearly overwhelming, stomach fluttering with a feeling so strange and foreign it terrified you. Never in your wildest dreams had you thought that you would be here, in this delicate, unreal moment, and you felt all your insecurities threatening to swallow you up again. Out of everyone in the school, he likes you? A voice snickered at the back of your mind. Don’t kid yourself.
Shrinking away, you mumbled, “Y-you—don’t have to say stuff like that, you know. I mean, i-if you feel bad because of the letter and everything, you don’t have to pretend you lik—”
There was a flash of an exasperated smile on Minho’s lips. Before you could finish, his hand reached to pull your chin towards him again, and suddenly his mouth was pressed flush to yours. You froze, lips parting in surprise, but the kiss was light—barely even a brush of soft skin, and bringing with it the faint scent of vanilla and old books. Minho pulled away almost as quickly as he’d pulled you in, stammering, “I-I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have—”
That seemed to send what was left of your hesitation crumbling into dust. You grabbed the collar of his dress shirt to pull him back in, and the library fell silent again.
Minho kissed the way he talked—soft but firm, and always leaving you struggling to catch your breath. Each touch had the growing intensity of something long overdue, starting out careful—as though you were treading over the newly shattered, four-year-old misunderstandings of one another—before your hands instinctively tangled in his hair and Minho pulled you in impossibly closer. You could feel his heartbeat pressed against yours, the crumpled poem and Neruda’s sonnets long forgotten on the carpeted ground.
The click of the library door opening sent the two of you flying apart, Minho hitting his head on the shelf with a comical thud. The kiss left you dazed and out of breath, and Minho’s face was flushed as both of you whipped around to see a livid Hana at the front of the library. Mouth opening and closing in silent fury, she shot you a death glare before storming out the door, leaving both you and Minho blinking after her.
Several moments passed, the whiplash of the unexpected interruption having sent both of your heads reeling. Then, the two of you broke into stunned laughter, slowly sliding down to the carpet as you doubled over in giggles.
When you finally stopped laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, Minho’s gaze was fixed fondly on your face. You poked his cheek. “You’re blushing, asshole.”
He didn’t respond, eyes falling to your lips again, and you felt your own face flush. “W-what?”
Minho grinned. “And you have drool on your chin again.”
“Hey, Minho! Minho, you won’t believe this!”
That enthusiastic voice belonged to none other than Han Jisung—voice of Levanter High’s morning announcements, and notorious school gossip. He hurtled down the bustling hall towards you and Minho, hunching over with his hands on his knees to catch his breath.
“Shit, ‘sung—did you kill somebody?”
The dark-haired boy shook his head rapidly. “Did you see the school newspaper?”
Your mouth went dry, Hana’s lingering threats still ringing clear in your ears. Jisung continued excitedly, “Two people submitted anonymous love poems over the weekend—at the same time! Can you believe it? I’m supposed to cover it on the announcements in a bit!”
Two? You peered at Minho, who hadn’t looked at you, and glimpsed a knowing glint in his eyes. “W-who submitted them?”
“Well, Lee Hana was handing out copies of the first one to everyone first thing this morning. But when I showed her the other one, she refused to tell me who the first belonged to.” He pouted.
Minho looked like he was trying hard not to laugh. “Do you have a copy of the paper, ‘sung?”
The dark-haired boy grinned. “Yeah, ‘course! You guys can have mine. See ya!”
As Jisung disappeared into the crowd of students, you turned back to Minho. He had been in the middle of putting a new lock on your locker, and was now setting the combination on his own. “They’re matching,” he’d pointed out when you’d gone into town together to buy them, and you’d groaned.
“Gro-oss.” The old, PDA-hating you would have probably thrown them away on the spot, but now the sight made you smile like a dork. If you can’t beat em, join ‘em.
You looked down to read the papers Jisung had deposited into your hands. Sure enough, on the left column, you spotted a photocopy of your own love letter. But on the right, there was a completely new one—and you had a sneaking suspicion you knew who the anonymous writer was.
“You know, Minho,” you deadpanned, “I don’t think either of us are cut out to be poets.”
“I stayed up all night writing that love letter, you know!” Minho exclaimed indignantly, and you just shook your head laughing. “But you’re right. I could feel Neruda turning in his grave.”
“You’re going to be the end of me, Lee Minho.”
His face broke into a mischievous grin at that, pinning you playfully to the lockers and stealing another kiss as you yelped in surprise.
“Can it be a happy ending?”
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࿓ — txt as words of affirmation <3
this post contains: fluff ! non-sexual praises (or make them sexual idc)
💌 this one is sorta in a similar yet different style to the previous 'txt as [love language]' posts. but it was really fun to write !! it's kinda just the boys telling u how much they love u ! the next and final one will be txt as giving gifts!
☁️ choi yeonjun
sends you texts throughout the day reminding you to eat, take care of yourself and rest. will never let a day go by where you don't know that he loves you and is here for you. loves loves loves to praise you for literally anything that you do. you wake up? you're getting praised. aced that test or got that job? it's praise time baby. his favorite praises are:
"you're so pretty" often comes in different variants: "my pretty baby" and "you're always so pretty for me" etc
"aa you did so well/good"
"i'm so proud of you."
yeonjun is always so proud of you and your accomplishments, just as you are for his. any way that he can remind you how much he loves you and how much you're worth (to both him and yourself), he will.
☁️ choi soobin
places post-it notes around your apartment with cute phrases reminding you about how much he loves you, and how you can do anything. like i said, he never wants that smile of yours to fade, even when he's not around. reminds you about how much of a good person you are and how much you've accomplished, especially when things in life get tough.
"i'm so grateful for you" and "i'm so lucky to have you"
"didn't know i could love you more than i already do but every time i look at you the world gets brighter"
"you're a good person, and here's why..."
with soobin, there isn't a day that goes by where he's not thinking of you. and he makes sure to tell you this whenever you're on his mind. at 1 am you'll get a soft "thinking of you" text. no ulterior motives, he's genuinely thinking of you and the love that you two share.
☁️ choi beomgyu
likes to encourage you to do your best and go after your highest dreams. reminds you that he'll always be on the sidelines cheering you on. even when things don't go as planned, he's here for you. to listen to you when you need it and to provide encouraging, loving words when you need them. because when it comes down to it, you'd do the same for him, and gyu extends that gratitude, always.
constantly brags about you to the boys "oh, so baby did this yesterday and..."
"you're so talented."
and "i'm always here for you, even if i'm millions of miles away"
sends you a playlist of songs that remind him of you (and your relationship. and compliments towards you will not stop, even if you feel like today is an ehh type of day, you're literally the sun, moon, and stars to beomgyu's earth.
☁️ kang taehyun
you know that favorite book you have or had as a child that you randomly decided to come back to? he left a small note in there for once you found it professing how much he admires you and your love for various things. likely gifts you a poetry book, in which he highlighted every action, conversation, and poem geared towards love in pink. even wrote on the first blank page of the book:
"to my dearest, my love for you never falters. from, your lover"
i also think that taehyun, like soobin, leave little notes for you to find all-around your place. you'll find on in the shower, in the closet, in the fridge, etc.
"i love you" but written in several different languages.
"i love the way you care for other people. it's very admirable"
"you are so beautiful"
taehyun has a lot of love to give. he wants to let you know everyday how much you mean to him and he thanks the heavens that you two were able to cross paths and meet each other.
writes you letters. he thinks it's cheesy and would die if the boys found out and teased him for it. but he can't stop doing it. once it's in his mind to write you a letter, he HAS to sit down and do it. and in all honesty, writing these letters to you is a way for him to tell you things that he couldn't put in words before. some people are simply a lot more vulnerable in writing rather than speaking.
"what would i do without you?"
"you have my heart. forever and always"
"thank you for everything you do and continue to do"
baby boy literally squeals at how cheesy it all is, but when he sees that smile on your face, he'll do it all over again and again because you're worth everything to him.
© PLANETDREAM 2021
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circumference thou bride of awe
word count: 3.8k+
warnings: smut (18+ only): breeding & lactation kink, pregnancy sex, piv sex. also: unabashed body worship, body image concerns, language, x fem!reader
a/n: i’m so sorry to all of you for having to suffer through my self-indulgent bullshit and my fics that are titled after poems (this one: emily dickinson). i honestly don’t know what’s come over me lately, but plz don’t look at me—this is, full stop, the most revealing thing i’ve ever written. like holy shiitake mushrooms. 🙈
Standing at the full length mirror, TV on the dresser humming low with a preseason basketball game, you openly run your gaze over your figure. What you see confounds you: A body you’ve inhabited the entirety of your life, a body you’ve watched unfold and mature and settle over time, and yet, this evening, you feel as though the body you see does not belong to you.
She is a stranger, this woman in the mirror. The familiarity of her features strikes you as curious, and you respond as you normally would, with that nervous little laugh that catches in your throat when you catch sight of someone with an eerily similar composition to your own. But with the otherworldly glow of her skin, the roundness of her hips, and the gentle slope of her womb—surely—surely—the woman staring back at you, moving in tandem with your movements, cannot be you.
There’s just no way.
You trace your fingertips over your stomach’s growing firmness, and the shoulder of your blouse falls to the wayside, the rise of your breast exposed to the room’s dim light. So much change in so little time, you can barely keep up. Wasn’t it last week you called Marcus in a frenzy, five tests and ten lines confirming your suspicions? Wasn’t it yesterday you told Missy and she cried, rough exterior giving way in the face of a unique companionship only to be found in a sibling? You aren’t sure of the timeline anymore—only that you are happy.
The underside of your swollen womb peeks out beneath the soft cotton of your sleep shirt, and you move the fabric up and over your belly. Twenty weeks—halfway there—a baby the size of a bell pepper forming within the utter depths of yourself. A peppering of red stretch marks dot your skin, places where you’ve grown too big too fast. In the three-tiered cart beside the dresser—a cheap thing overflowing with supplements and vitamins and ointments—you find a round container of cream. The contents smell like coconut and summer, like the vacation you had to postpone. (Air travel doesn’t suit you these days.)
A low, appreciative noise sounds from behind you, and your eyes lift, meeting his in the clean glass of the mirror. Marcus—sprawled out in bed, one arm tucked behind his head, the sheets and comforter shucked to the footboard in the oppressive summer heat. He’s wearing his rattiest grey t-shirt—Broad Street Bullies World Champs ‘74-’75—and unassuming black boxers, tight around his muscular thighs. His glasses, large and square, over warm eyes that drink you up, swallowing you whole in their richness.
“Gorgeous,” he murmurs, and even now, you duck your face on a hot flush.
He sits up, beckoning your forward with a bend of his finger. “Come ‘ere,” he says. “You look beautiful.”
You turn from the mirror with a poorly concealed glare. “I look like I swallowed a globe, Marcus.”
He chuckles at that and drops his hand to the mattress. “No, you don’t. Not yet anyway. Give it a month or two.” When you return to your reflection, massaging the thick cream into the jagged lines of your skin, he calls for you again, your name a fervent prayer on his lips. “Come here. Let me touch you.”
With a put upon sigh, you screw the container shut and set it aside before ambling your way to the bed. California king, his “treat yo self” moment upon moving out of the old apartment he shared with Missy and her mother. You feel ridiculous, pulling yourself onto the high-seated mattress and crawling on all fours across both zip codes the frame seems to cover, but Marcus doesn’t mind a bit.
He reaches out to toy with the swooping neck of your shirt. The crook of his knuckle drags back and forth, back and forth, over the worn material. “I can see everything when you wear this.”
You pull to a stop at his side as you press your shirt to your chest, faux modesty your only weapon against a man who can unravel you with one look. “You’re a dirty rascal,” you say, pushing your pointer finger against his chest. “A bona fide peeping Tom.”
Grin spreading full over his face, his cheek dimples; a cavern of delight. “Can you blame me? I mean—look at you.” He pats your leg, cocking his head to the side in a silent plea for you to straddle his hips.
His broad hands fall to your waist as you seat yourself, ass spilling over his thighs. There’s a twinge of interest beneath you, a tell-tale hardening that’s difficult to ignore, but you ignore it anyway. Rather, you try to. All the recent changes to your body and he still wants you. It drives you mad—with pride, with desire, with uncertainty…
He wants you now, when you are plush with more, filled to overflowing with his seed, a beacon of belonging for all to see, but what about after the baby? Will he still want you then? When your skin sags and your breasts leak over nice blouses and his touch leaves you raw and tender?
Will he still want you then?
You aren’t sure. You dare not ask. For the moment, all you can do is roll your eyes on a smirk, pushing down the hum that rises in your belly at the feeling of his arousal.
Warm fingers slide beneath your shirt, massaging the skin of your hips, and he looks up at you, circumventing the way your gaze skitters to the side with a soft kiss to your jaw. His hands creep up, up, up, taking your shirt with them. “Can I?” he whispers against your skin. “Let me see you.”
Though your heart lurches to your throat, you yield to baser desires. “Yes,” you exhale.
Marcus lifts the flowy cotton over your head, and as the world turns light blue and soft, vision tangled with the glow of bedside lamp and the momentary covering, you shut your eyes. The sleep shirt falls to the floor with a muted thump, and a rush of air pushed by the ceiling fan skirts over your naked flesh. One hand snakes around the back of your neck, fingers tangled in the hair at the bottom of your skull. His opposite hand lands at the juncture of your leg and your hip; his fingers squeeze into the crevice there, thumb splayed wide over your bump. He draws you forward, and he kisses you. A simple, soft peck to your mouth, nary a swipe of his tongue or a drag of his teeth over your lower lip. Still, you lean into him, palm to his scruffy cheek.
He pulls away first, nose carving a path from your lips to your neck. “Open your eyes.” You shiver when his tongue hits your pulse point. “You don’t have anything to be afraid of with me.”
Inhale, exhale. The wedding band on your ring finger squeezes tight. To have and to hold, for better or for worse.
When you open your eyes, he’s grinning, and it’s such a boyish look—so lopsided and eager in his enthusiasm—you can’t help but laugh. “Marcus, don’t look at me like that!”
His grin merely doubles in size. “What?! I can’t help it! I wasn’t expecting you to be totally naked under there.”
“I just got out of the shower.”
“Then I have impeccable timing.” In two quick movements, he removes his glasses and shirt, tossing them both to the side. Arm around the small of your back, he tugs you closer. You drop your hands to his chest to steady yourself, arching into the warmth of his mouth as he washes wet kisses over your sternum. “Want me to fuck you, baby?”
He murmurs the words against your skin, and you know he means them. You can feel his stiff length press into your wet heat from where it remains in his boxers. You hesitate, though, head falling forward out of its hazy droop.
Marcus leans back. His thumb finds your bottom lip. His eyes find yours, and he asks again: “Do you me to fuck you?”
Your mouth runs dry, cunt quivering (the traitorous bitch). You nod, eager, swaths of damp hair falling before your eyes. “Uh-huh.”
He’s out of his boxers before you can blink, cock resting heavy against the trail of hair sprinkled over his stomach. You would quip something about how impatient he is, but he maneuvers you well, firm hands guiding, leading, until you’re sinking down the shaft of his cock, your slick (an overabundance these days) easing the transition.
“Oh shit.” He grits the expletive between clenched teeth. “Fuck, you’re tight.”
Once pushed to the hilt of you, he rocks his hips forward once, and your eyes roll back into your skull. You think you can see pink brain matter, on the verge of turning to sheer goop after the slightest stretch of his cock in your cunt.
God, you’re sensitive when you’re pregnant. He can pull an orgasm from you in no trouble at all, and you love it—fuck, you love it. He’s come home from the office one too many times to be proper just to ruin you on the kitchen floor while the house is empty of peering eyes and listening ears. You love it then—when you can wail loud enough to disturb the neighbors as he rubs your clit to oblivion—and you love it now, when you stamp down your moan with a tight clamp of your teeth on your lip to keep from waking your daughter, asleep in the basement, summertime video game session long gone silent.
He holds still after the initial entrance of his cock. His pulse, hot and heavy in his length, throbs in your core—thump thump, thump thump, thump thump. You shift with a small whimper, eyes fluttering open as you dig your nails into his shoulders.
“Marcus,” you whine, voice soaked with childish inflection. “Come on, don’t be like that. You said you’d fuck me.” Unbidden, your lower lip puckers—and you would feel ashamed at your neediness, but you can’t find it within you. There’s only him inside you now, him and that sparkling little seedling your nurture day after day.
“And I will,” he says, but he’s not looking at you. He eyes your breasts, their newfound heft, and his hands lift, palms cupped. “But damn, honey, let me look at these a minute.”
His hands fall to your breasts, rough calluses on his thumbs (too much time at the shooting range) course against your tender flesh. Like the well-thought man he is, he inspects their weight, judging the plushness around your ribs and the way his fingertips dimple their gentle rise. He brushes a thumb over either nipple, and you inhale sharply, shiver coiling down your stiff spine.
“Can I—” His breath ghosts over your left breast, a hot wave of desire and unspoken need. He squeezes your flesh, and a single bud of liquid pearls at your nipple. Not the first you’ve seen, but Marcus stares at it in such a way, it’s like the first time all over again, when you stood in the bathroom, breath caught in your throat.
You raise shaking fingers to drag your nails through his hair. A nervous laugh bubbles to your lips. “I never took you for such a tits man. Thought you were more of an ass kinda guy.”
His eyes flick to yours; an endless pit of lust swallows his irises. “Yeah, I am.” He grabs a fistful of your rump just to make the point, but then he returns his gaze to your chest. “There’s just something about these when they—” A shuddering breath, and his hips jolt, swollen length moving along your walls.
Without warning, he surges forward, mouth caught around the peak of your breast. Your head drops back, hands trembling against his neck as he swirls his tongue over your nipple.
“Oh god—M-Marcus, shit, that feels good.”
He feels divine: strong arms around your waist, warm mouth dragging wet paths between your breasts, rigid length sheathed in the core made just for him. Hot, sticky arousal floods your center, and your hips move forward. He groans as you circle, grinding low against him, enough to send the throb in your body to a full scale ache. And then—
And then he sucks—hard—against your breast, and you cry out in a combination of surprise and relief so sudden you stop moving, frozen in place. Stunned.
He draws back. A red flush creeps over his cheeks, and his fingers press into your hips. “I-I’m sorry,” he whispers. “I didn’t—I mean, I—”
You slot your mouth over his, tongue parting his lips as you search for that essence of yourself he took from you not a moment before. You find it, warm and bitter on his tongue, and you moan at the taste.
“Do it again,” you say. He blinks, so you repeat yourself, firmer, authoritative. "Do it. Again."
He returns to your breasts with feverish need. One palm on either breast, and his tongue bouncing between either nipple, lapping at whatever paltry beads you have to give him. He drinks like a kitten after a long day of raucous play, like a dirt-smudged child in for a cool glass and fresh peanut butter sandwich.
Your skin feels hot. Your hips cant forwards and backwards, digging deep as he drinks—fucking drinks—from your body, some vampiric sense overtaking him. Overtaking you as you allow the depraved thing to happen in the warm light of your bedroom.
It’s easy—the orgasm that washes over you as you ride his length and your clit catches on his skin. You shudder with it, a gentle wave that douses your sweaty skin.
Marcus lifts his face, swipes a hand over his mouth. “Did you just cum?” The glint in his eye tells you he isn’t mad, but you won’t let him off the hook, the teasing git.
You huff. “Did you just suck milk out of my tits?”
His eyebrows lift in concession. “Fair enough.”
You angle your mouth over his, kissing him deep, before saying, “Now fuck me.”
His hands find your hips, head pushed back against the padded headboard. Together, you set a pace; always together. He moves easy through your tight walls, the slick of your previous orgasm softening the movement. You push into your knees, lifting your hips as he jerks upwards, filling you with the entirety of his length at once.
You brace your hands against his chest; his heartbeat slams against your palm. “Just like that,” you whisper. “Fuck me just like that.”
Back and forth, tandem riders on the universe’s oldest bike. You feel so full you could burst with starlight, stuffed to the point you aren’t sure where you end and he begins. His cock splits you open in a slow dance, an unhurried rhythm of adoration that makes you feel ethereal in all the best ways. No matter the stretch marks at your hips and the dark line descended from your belly button, he makes you feel like a goddess. You sit back on a moan, dragging your fingers through your hair to grip something lest you float away.
He trails a hand over your bump. “S’beautiful, all full of my baby.”
You open your eyes, smile down at him, swivel your hips in such a way he groans, muscle in his neck bulging. “Yeah, your baby.” Your chest flutters as the words part your lips—your baby. Never did you think you’d find someone—never did you dare hope that—Your grin widens. “Your baby boy.”
Marcus stutters to a screeching halt, thrusts dead in the water. His eyes pop open, and for a moment, the lust constricts, sharpening to a pinpoint of surprise. His chest heaves, labored breathing a sharp gasp in the quiet room.
Realization dawns like a slap in the face.
“Oh fuck!” You clap your hand over your mouth. A rush of shame and regret turns your nakedness revealing—Adam and Eve caught in the garden—and you push your arms over your breasts in a poor attempt to cover yourself. “Oh fuck—Marcus! Shit, I’m sorry. I know you didn’t want to know and I did, but—oh my god, I swore I wouldn’t tell you and—”
He lays a hand on your arm, fingers wrapped around your wrist. “Boy?” He shakes his head as though he doesn’t believe it. “Did you say—Are we having a boy?”
“I-I don’t know if—”
He shakes his head again, this time his senses returned, and his grip on your wrist softens. “It’s okay. You can—Please, tell me.”
Shoulders dropping, you nod. “Yeah.” Your fingers find the fine hair on his stomach, toying with it in nervous circles. “Yeah, we’re having a boy.”
Marcus kisses you—kisses you so deep you feel his tongue in the deepest parts of your throat, his mouth drowning any further apology you possess.
Then he shifts—shifts lower on the bed so that his head rests on his pillow—and he bends his knees, feet planted firm on the mattress. His hands grip your waist, and you inhale, caught askew in the ravenous look in his eyes.
“Marcus…” His name begins a question, ends a punch-drunk cry.
He jackhammers his cock into your melting cunt. You squeak, lurching forward to grab the top of the bed frame for support. Over and over, an unrelenting surge of quick, fast paced punches that tear you inside out. He’s feral, practically frothing at the mouth, a tight grit to his teeth and furrow in his brow. You’ve never seen him so concentrated, so unhinged. It makes your pussy drench, soaking through whatever dignity you have left.
The headboard slams against the wall with each thrust. Your mouth hangs open, the only sound you can make a juvenile uhhhhh, like a kid anticipating the descent of a steep roller coaster as the cart bounces over gears and levers.
“Don’t—Don’t—” He gasps for breath. “Don’t w-wake the kid.”
Tears prick your eyes, and you fall forward, hand sliding from the headboard with a sodden drag. You catch yourself on either side of Marcus’s head, forehead to forehead. Something stiff and plastic digs into the palm of your left hand, but you don’t have the willpower to move. Not with Marcus slamming into you like he is, taking and giving and taking every ounce of your strength.
The TV on the dresser ratchets louder and louder, volume increasing until it drowns out the slap of skin on skin. The sports announcer shouts over the din of the crowd—I think the Sixers thought the game was over, but it was called a two on the floor. Can you imagine if they changed it to a three?—but you aren’t listening. Your thoughts have reduced to an incoherent babble, and Marcus is the benefactor of every word.
“Oh, Marcus. I can’t—m’fuck—right there, right there.”
If it’s possible, you feel him swell within you, expanding the walls of your cunt on a sharp groan. He releases one hip to root for your clit between smooshed bodies. “Wanna—shit, ‘m gonna cum, but-but I wanna see you. Shine for me, baby, huh? You got one more in you?”
“Mhm. Yeah—yeah, I do.”
With the increased size of your stomach, Marcus can barely fit his thumb over your clit; it’s a tight squeeze. But he’s there, pad of his finger against the swollen nub like a godsend. He ruts into you, swirling the pearled bud around, around, around, shattering you on his length until—until—
You explode, cumming with a sharp cry and the collapse of your limbs. The orgasm rips through you, forcing out any negative thought you previously held about your body. Marcus loves you, he worships you, he drinks from your soul and gives back as good as he takes. You know it; you know it; you know it.
Limp against his chest, he takes you through your high and into his own with little preamble. His seed floods your cut, oozing out to wet the bedsheets and dry against your skin. His hips stammer as he groans through his release, and then he’s softening, his length and his arms, his entire body sinking into the mattress as he comes down from the mountaintop.
Silence—comfortable, simple—remains in the few seconds post-bliss.
Then Marcus finds the remote, turning the TV down, as he says, “They kept it a two. The Sixers lost.”
You laugh, cheek bouncing against his chest. “I’m sorry for your loss.”
He shrugs. His sweaty skin peels against yours. “It’s okay. We’ll get ‘em next time.”
His hand traces lazy circles over your spine for a moment before he rolls to the side, taking you with him. The movement unsheathes his length from your core, and a trail of cum leaks over your inner thigh. You might need another shower; might need to shower together if you’re going to sleep well in this heat…
Marcus props his head up on his chin and drifts his pointer finger over your jaw. His eyes are soft, pleading in their innocence and hopefulness. “Are we really having a boy?”
You nod with a sleepy smile. “Scout’s honor.”
His fingers return to hold your chin as he bends to seal his lips over yours. A smooth movement, lips a paintbrush, skin a canvas, as he works his way from mouth to cheek to tender spot behind your ear. You giggle—girlish and simpering—wrapping your arms around his shoulders as he curves into your embrace.
“You’re happy then? Even if I ruined the surprise?”
When he speaks, you feel his words vibrate against your chest. A sex-happy weariness coats his throat, and you preen under that. Your doing and your doing alone. “I’d be happy no matter what, even if you gave birth to a fuzzy Yoda-looking thing, but yeah—I’m happy.”
He leans back, finds your gaze, smiles so the crinkles around his eyes fold into loveliness. “Good.”
“Carry me to the shower, Mr. Moreno? I think you made me all sticky again.”
“Gladly, Mrs. Moreno.”
You find, then, as Marcus slips into the shower behind you, washes your hair and holds the swell of your stomach in his hands, that you cannot be any happier than this. You turn to peer out the wet shower glass, into the foggy mirror above the sink.
A woman stares at you, stomach round with child, eyes glassy with satisfaction. A man behind her, broad and tan and everything— everything. You lift a hand, wiggle your fingers when Marcus bends to grab the loofa from the floor. The woman waves back, and you smile. She smiles too.
The woman is you.
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