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#i remember that fanfic and-
fudayk3 months ago
does anyone else remember when characters would have conversations with the author at the beginning and/or end of the fic or is that just me
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sahara4k5 months ago
if dsmp/mcyt fans are actually moving to tumblr from twitter i just have one thing to say: for the love of god,聽please reblog fanart/fanfic/analysis and basically any other original content you see on your dash that people have put time and effort into. likes are more of a way to 鈥渁rchive鈥 posts that you enjoy - reblogs are what actually support fan creators. thank you!!
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thebluewritingbench2 months ago
For dialogue prompts- surprise #10 and maybe some supercorp ?
surprise #10 from this prompt list:
鈥淐hrist! What happened to your eye?鈥
It鈥檚 the first thing Alex says to her when she makes it back to the DEO, which definitely means her eye looks worse than she thought, given the fact that she鈥檚 also limping and cradling a broken arm.
Kara leans against the wall, and presses her fingers gingerly to her cheekbone, wincing at the sharp stab of pain it sends directly up her eye socket and into her skull. There鈥檚 a good chance that her cheekbone is broken, and her eye is already swollen tightly enough that she can barely see out of it.
鈥淭ook on a bunch of superpowered aliens,鈥 she says, swiping under her nose and looking at the blood that comes away on her knuckles. 鈥淭hen I got punched in the face.鈥
鈥淏y what, a house?鈥 Alex asks, incredulous. Her eyes widen in concern when Kara tries to take a step towards her and stumbles, and she hurries forward to grab Kara鈥檚 uninjured arm and steady her. 鈥淥kay, let鈥檚 get you to a solar lamp before you pass out.鈥
Alex sets her arm in silence, and then probes her ankle and declares it only sprained. She鈥檚 gently examining Kara鈥檚 swollen eye when she starts to speak again, and it鈥檚 only the slight tremor in her voice that tells Kara how angry she is.
鈥淚 didn鈥檛 find out you鈥檇 even gone anywhere until I heard you were injured. Kara, you always let me know when you鈥檙e going to do something dangerous. We鈥檝e agreed on that before. I didn鈥檛 even hear from you over the comms.鈥
鈥淚 know, I know,鈥 says Kara, closing her working eye. 鈥淚鈥檓 sorry, Alex, I didn鈥檛 mean to worry you, it was just鈥︹
鈥淟ena?鈥 Alex鈥檚 fingers freeze against her cheek. 鈥淲hat about Lena? What happened?鈥
The corner of Kara鈥檚 mouth quirks up. It sends another wave of pain through her eye. 鈥淥h, you know. The regular quarterly kidnapping-slash-assassination attempt. It was about Lex this time, I think. They were trying to use her as bait, though they clearly don鈥檛 know Lex if they think he鈥檇 risk anything for Lena鈥檚 life.鈥
Alex hums. 鈥淏ut you would,鈥 she says softly.
Kara groans. 鈥淩ao, I shouldn鈥檛 have鈥擨 just got so angry. I know I should have called you, but I wasn鈥檛 thinking straight. You should have seen what they鈥 wanted to burn the whole place down. If J鈥檕nn hadn鈥檛 showed up when he did鈥︹
鈥淪hh, okay, it鈥檚 okay,鈥 says Alex. 鈥淚 know. Did you get Lena out?鈥
鈥淵es, I think so, I鈥斺 She swallows. 鈥淚 think J鈥檕nn got her, could you go鈥?鈥
鈥淚鈥檒l go check,鈥 Alex confirms. She brushes Kara鈥檚 hair back, lays a careful kiss on her forehead. 鈥淵ou try and sleep for a minute, okay? I鈥檒l come back if anything important happens.鈥
鈥淥kay,鈥 Kara whispers.
She doesn鈥檛 actually intend to fall asleep, but apparently the exhaustion of the fight sits heavier on her than she thought, because the next thing she knows she鈥檚 being jolted awake by a whole lot of yelling. She tries to blink her still-swollen eye open, but it still feels like her eyelids are fused together, despite the improvement she can already feel from the sunlamps. There鈥檚 a crescendo in the yelling outside the door, and Kara makes out Lena鈥檚 voice in the chaos. She鈥檚 struggling to sit up before she can stop and think about it.
鈥淚 don鈥檛 care, I need to see her,鈥 Lena is yelling as Kara limps to the door, and another low voice responds in a placating tone.
鈥淣o!鈥 Lena shouts. 鈥淵ou don鈥檛 understand, it鈥檚 my fault she鈥檚 like this, I have to鈥斺
The conversation stops when Kara peeks her head around the door. Lena swallows, her eyes roaming Kara鈥檚 bruised face, the sling on her arm. Her face is pale, old mascara smudged into the circles under her eyes, her hair half pulled out of its updo, dried blood on her temple. She鈥檚 still wearing the same outfit she was kidnapped in, and there鈥檚 blood soaked into the sleeve of her shirt.
鈥淵ou鈥檙e awake,鈥 Lena whispers. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e鈥攐h god, your eye.鈥
鈥淚t鈥檚 fine,鈥 Kara says, wondering why everyone is so bothered by it. She nods at the DEO agent who Lena was fighting with, and he seems to accept this as a dismissal. 鈥淣othing I haven鈥檛 had before. I鈥檒l be fine by tomorrow, really.鈥
Alarmingly, Lena鈥檚 eyes fill with tears.
鈥淥h no,鈥 Kara says, reaching for her arm. 鈥淲hat鈥檚 wrong? Are you hurt? I鈥檓 so sorry I didn鈥檛 get you out of there myself, I saw that J鈥檕nn had you and then I was just really angry and I wanted to give them a taste of their own medicine but I really shouldn鈥檛 have鈥斺
鈥淜ara,鈥 says Lena. 鈥淚鈥檓 okay, really. Just a little shaken up, but I鈥檝e had worse, I was just鈥 god, I was just so worried about you.鈥 Then she notices the way Kara shifts her weight to avoid aggravating her ankle (which is mostly better now, really), and immediately starts guiding her back to the bed. 鈥淣o, you鈥檙e hurt, this is all my fault,鈥 she says at Kara鈥檚 protest.
She refuses to continue the conversation until Kara鈥檚 set up under the sunlamp again. Lena sits in the chair beside her and brushes the hair from her face, running her thumb over the ridges of Kara鈥檚 knuckles. Kara lets her touch gently around the damaged eye, and then smooth her fingers over the rest of Kara鈥檚 face as though Kara will disappear if she stops.
鈥淒on鈥檛 you usually get better faster than this?" Lena asks. "It鈥檚 just鈥 your eye. I鈥檝e never seen you like鈥攜ou鈥檙e supposed to invulnerable,鈥 she finishes in a whisper.
鈥淚t鈥檚 just a little swelling,鈥 Kara says. 鈥淚t barely hurts, Lena, really, I鈥檓 fine.鈥
鈥淭his is because of me. If you hadn鈥檛 been trying to save me, you wouldn鈥檛 be hurt.鈥
鈥淚f I hadn鈥檛 been trying to save you, you might be dead. This isn鈥檛 your fault.鈥
Lena buries her face in her hands. 鈥淲hen J鈥檕nn was carrying me out I saw鈥擨 saw when he hit you. With that entire support beam. I saw you go through the wall. I couldn鈥檛 stop screaming, they had to sedate me, I thought, I thought鈥︹
鈥淗ey, hey,鈥 Kara says. 鈥淚nvincible, remember? I鈥檓 just a tiny bit banged up, I鈥檝e had way worse. I was more worried about you.鈥
鈥淢e? I鈥檓 fine, I鈥檓 nothing, they just knocked me out and tied me to a chair for a couple hours, I didn鈥檛 get hit in the face by a metal post that probably weighed a metric ton.鈥
Kara feels the dying embers of her anger spark back up in her at those words, and for a moment she wants another chance at those aliens, wants to return fully charged and blast them into the stratosphere for causing Lena distress. But Lena still has her face hidden in her hands, and her shoulders are shivering a bit, and the instinct to hurt is quickly overridden by the instinct to soothe.
鈥淗ey," says Kara. "You know how you can make it better?鈥
鈥淗ow?鈥 Lena lifts her face from her palms. Her eyes are slightly reddened, her makeup smudged, her face wearied. She鈥檚 breathtaking.
鈥淜iss it better. Works like magic. It鈥檒l be better than the yellow sunlamps.鈥
The corners of Lena鈥檚 mouth upturn in a tiny smile. 鈥淰ery cute.鈥
鈥淜iss me,鈥 Kara whispers. 鈥淎nd I promise everything will be better in the morning.鈥
Lena leans in with a soft smile, her palm warm against the uninjured side of Kara鈥檚 face, and nudges their noses together. Her lips brush against Kara鈥檚. 鈥淥kay,鈥 she whispers.
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sluttyten3 months ago
the cinderella search
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summary: you鈥檙e a staff member at SM, and during the annual Halloween party, you go dressed as Cinderella. Enter Johnny as Prince Charming. You talk, you flirt, he falls in love, but you forget to tell him your name before the night ends, and thus begins his Cinderella Search.
tags: near-strangers to lovers, bed sharing, fingering, dry humping, fluff, light on the smut compared to some of my other works tbh
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Growing up, Cinderella had always been your favorite fairy tale. You just really loved the glamor and romance of the story, the idea of dressing up all beautifully and mysteriously, going to a ball to be noticed by the Prince.聽
And once you grew up, you still had that fantasy tucked away in the back of your mind, made more real when you entered the idol industry by joining SM Entertainment as a staff member. You were just a minor staff member, not important enough to be a manager (though that was the dream), but you were around idols so often that the fantasy was there, prodding you in the back of your mind.
There were days when you dreamed of being swept up in a Cinderella-style romance with one of the idols in the company.聽
鈥淚 can鈥檛 blame you one bit,鈥 your close friend Jiwon tells you one day. She鈥檚 a makeup artist for the company; she鈥檚 seen their bare faces, seen them up close and personal, and having worked there for longer than you, she knows various artists under the company better than you do.聽鈥淚 won鈥檛 disagree with you at all that a secret romance with one of them would be amazing. Just like a drama. I want Kyungsoo to be my prince charming.鈥 She sighs dreamily.聽鈥淚 can鈥檛 wait for the Halloween party.鈥
That鈥檚 exactly what you鈥檝e been talking about almost non-stop since you first heard that it was happening this year. With the party not having happened for a few years now due to one thing or another, this year it鈥檚 come back with a bang, and when the memo was put out that every staff member was invited to come in costume as well, just as a celebration for how hard everyone鈥檚 worked, it鈥檚 all that pretty much everyone鈥檚 been talking about. You鈥檙e excited that you get to go, that you get to dress up as well, and what caused Jiwon to start gushing about D.O. is you mentioning that you wanted to go dressed as Cinderella.
鈥淧romise we can get ready together?鈥 She asks you.聽鈥淚 really, really want to do your hair and makeup, I can already picture it.鈥 Jiwon holds her fingers up, framing your face between them.聽
It helped that you already had the dress to wear for your costume. You鈥檇 spotted it a few years ago in a thrift shop, and because of your pure love for Cinderella, as soon as you saw the dress, you knew that you had to have it. Sure, it had been collecting dust in your closet for a couple years, but now you had found the perfect use for it at last.
The day of the Halloween party, Jiwon comes over just as she鈥檇 planned, taking as much of the day as she possibly can to make you up and style your hair to make you look like the Cinderella of her imagination. She鈥檚 just going simply, wearing all black with some cat ears, some whiskers drawn on her face, but most of her attention to detail is poured into her work on you.聽
By the time she finishes the last touch, you鈥檙e ready to leave. Already you鈥檙e going to be cutting it close to showing up late, so as she drops her brushes back in the bag she brought, you grab your phone, and make for the door.
鈥淥h no, you鈥檙e not finished yet.鈥 She snakes her hand around your arm, bringing you to a halt. Jiwon tuts at you.聽鈥淐inderella can鈥檛 go to the ball without her mask.鈥澛
Like a true fairy godmother, Jiwon pulls a beautiful mask out of the makeup bag. 鈥淚 saw this when I was shopping for my costume, and I knew it would just be perfect. You can鈥檛 be Cinderella and have everyone know who you are, that goes against the point of being Cinderella, right?鈥
She carefully sits the mask on your made-up face, ties the ribbons around the back of your head, trying not to disturb the work she put into your hair.
鈥淐an we go now, fairy godmother?鈥 You ask.聽鈥淏efore midnight, preferably.鈥
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The fairytale vibe of the night truly hits home once you arrive at the party鈥檚 venue. Everyone鈥檚 in costumes, and at first it鈥檚 overwhelming because you can鈥檛 immediately distinguish the idols from the staff from the higher-ups in the company. As you and Jiwon step inside, you can only make out a few distinct people.聽
Red Velvet鈥檚 Irene is dressed like an actual goddess, complete with an array of stars in an arc around her (an interesting choice that definitely makes sure no one gets too close to her). You spot Chanyeol standing tall over the group of people he鈥檚 talking with too. And then you see him.
Prince Charming.
Johnny Suh.聽
He looks breathtakingly handsome, wearing a white uniform adorned with golden tassels and medals. His hair is gelled back from his face, and he鈥檚 in the middle of laughing at the princess beside him, though her back is to you. Johnny literally looks like a prince with his face full of sunlit radiance, and in that moment your heart yearns. You wish you had a Prince Charming, but it鈥檚 clear that this one already has his princess.
And then she turns around with a flip of her long, dark wavy hair.
You burst out laughing so loud that Jiwon hits your arm to make you quiet down.聽
Hendery is dressed as a princess, clinging to Johnny鈥檚 arm as Jungwoo and Ten stand there with them, both of them laughing along with the costumed couple.
There are several other princesses you soon realize. Staff members and female artists have both dressed as princesses, and the more of them you see, the more you think that you鈥檙e not the Cinderella of this ball. There鈥檚 others that shine with more glitz and glamor than your thrifted dress ever could. So you mostly stick to yourself, seated at a table in the corner, sipping at your drink to avoid talking to a drunk coworker when he stumbles into his seat at the table.
You just watch the party, suddenly no longer feeling it because the best looking man here tonight is clearly Johnny Suh (which you鈥檝e thought that numerous times before, but especially so tonight) and it鈥檚 obvious that everyone else thinks so too. He wins a prize. He has people coming up to him all night, fawning over him, running their fingers through the tassels on his shoulders.
鈥淪top pouting,鈥 Jiwon tells you as she drops down into the seat beside yours. She sits a fresh drink down in front of you.聽鈥淛ust drink this down and come have fun with me. We can mingle and actually get the chance to speak to some of these idols we never work with.鈥澛
You know she has her eyes on D.O. who鈥檚 standing in a clear line of sight from where you鈥檙e both sitting, holding an audience of a few people captive with his story.
鈥淵ou go.鈥 You nod toward him.聽鈥淗ere鈥檚 your chance, Jiwon.鈥
She frowns at you.聽鈥淚 didn鈥檛 spend so long making you look like Cinderella just for you to sit all glum in the corner. You look fantastic, darling, and if you don鈥檛 get up and show off that lovely dress and your beautiful face, then we can鈥檛 be friends anymore.鈥 She folds her arms in front of her and pouts.聽
鈥淚f I go get some more drinks, does that count?鈥
鈥淚t鈥檚 an improvement at least.鈥 She sighs.聽鈥淚鈥檓 going to try to talk to him. While I鈥檓 gone, don鈥檛 do anything I wouldn鈥檛 do.鈥 She eyes your coworker who鈥檚 slumped over in his chair now, starting to snore.聽鈥淎nd make sure he doesn鈥檛 puke on himself.鈥
You have no intention of babysitting a guy who takes every opportunity to steal credit from you, so you definitely leave the table as soon as Jiwon walks away.聽
You鈥檙e standing at the bar area, waiting for the man behind the counter to make the drink you鈥檇 requested, when someone comes up beside you, just a figure in the corner of your eye. It鈥檚 only when he speaks that you look up to see who he actually is.
鈥淚 think you dropped this,鈥 Johnny says, and he鈥檚 holding up one of the satiny blue gloves you鈥檇 worn tonight. You鈥檇 taken them off while you ate, and you forgot you鈥檇 tucked them in the ribbon around your waist.
鈥淥h, thank you.鈥 You incline your head and reach for the glove, but when your fingers brush Johnny鈥檚, you pull away with your whole hand tingling.聽鈥淚 probably dropped the other one somewhere too.鈥 You look around, searching the floor.
Johnny chuckles.聽鈥淣o, it鈥檚 still right there.鈥澛
You feel a blush rising to your cheeks, and you鈥檙e grateful that you鈥檙e wearing the mask that hides most of your face. The other glove is still safely tucked at your waist, and as Johnny tells the bartender what he鈥檇 like, you pull both gloves onto your hands.
鈥淗ere鈥檚 your drink, Princess.鈥 The man behind the counter winks as he says it, pushing the drink toward you.聽鈥淎nd yours, Prince Charming.鈥
You take your drink and start to walk away, planning to head back to your comfortable corner to drink alone in peace, but then you notice Johnny just a step behind you.聽
鈥淚 think you鈥檙e the only person dressed as a princess tonight that hasn鈥檛 come up to talk to me tonight.鈥 He says,聽鈥淲hich is unfortunate, since I saw you the moment you walked in, and I wanted to come talk to you then, but Hendery wouldn鈥檛 let go of me. I think you deserved best costume; I鈥檝e never seen a better Cinderella.鈥
His flattery works wonders on melting what nervousness you have in talking with him. Johnny鈥檚 all but a stranger to you. You don鈥檛 work closely with NCT, but on the few occasions you鈥檝e gotten to work with them, Johnny was always such a large personality, so nice and funny and handsome. Maybe you definitely have a ridiculous crush on him. But it鈥檚 always been foolish and far-fetched.
This is the first conversation you鈥檝e ever had with him, and you don鈥檛 quite make it back to that table in the back corner. Johnny drags you down to sit beside him at his table, and even though you鈥檙e surrounded by the other members, the way he鈥檚 looking at you as you talk makes it feel like it鈥檚 only the two of you in the whole building.聽
You finish your drink, lose track of time, and by the time that the party鈥檚 really and truly ending, you鈥檝e forgotten everything but the way that Johnny looks at you, the sound of his voice, and how much that you have in common with him. Maybe it鈥檚 ridiculous to form such a deep connection with someone at a party, especially when tomorrow you go back to being just a lowly staff member and he鈥檚 a world-famous idol.聽
But Princess Hendery is the one to break up this intimate conversation. His hand lands on Johnny鈥檚 shoulder, and Johnny鈥檚 head snaps around.聽
鈥淗yung, your ride鈥檚 about to leave.鈥 Hendery pats Johnny鈥檚 shoulder, and then points down the length of the table to a man you recognize as an NCT manager. A tipsy Jaehyun walks by, his fingers twisting in the neck of Johnny鈥檚 uniform, and he leans in to whisper something in Johnny鈥檚 ear, his fingers slipping down to get a better grip on Johnny鈥檚 uniform, and then he鈥檚 dragging Johnny out of his seat, pulling him away out the door with their manager before you can get another word in.
You look around then, somewhat dazed at being pulled back into non-Johnny reality, and also slightly buzzed from your drinks, and you realize that the room has emptied out around you, only a handful of people remain. Including Jiwon. She鈥檚 bright red and grinning from ear to ear, leaning on a man in costume.
You refuse to let her make any drunken mistakes tonight, so you make your way over, loop your arm around her waist.聽鈥淐ome on, fairy godmother, it鈥檚 midnight and we need to get home before the spell wears off.鈥
Jiwon moans and groans, reluctantly letting you lead her out of the party at last, taking her home to pass out on your sofa.
And it鈥檚 a bit later as you fall into bed fresh from your shower with all the makeup washed away now, as you look happily at the photos you鈥檇 taken with Jiwon and some selfies you鈥檇 snapped several times throughout the night, that you tragically remember that you never gave Johnny your name.
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By tragedy or fate or something else against you in the universe, you don鈥檛 get to see Johnny again before your position in the company takes you overseas. Not long term, just for a month. But during that month you build a lot of experience toward achieving your dream of becoming a manager for a group, getting your hands almost within reach of that prized promotion.聽
And as for your Cinderella moment, you try to put it out of your mind, just as you鈥檙e sure Johnny鈥檚 done. Over a month has passed since the Halloween party, and you doubt he even remembers the Cinderella he spent the night talking to. Even if he does remember, you feel that any chance has long since passed for you to find him and tell him it was you.
On your first day back within the building, you鈥檝e barely made it inside before Jiwon finds you.聽
You hear her slippers slapping against the ground as she runs toward you, and then she loops her arm through yours in a vice.聽鈥淐ome with me. We need to talk,鈥 she whispers conspiratorially, dragging you into the elevator with her.
鈥淚 didn鈥檛 want to tell you this while you were away dealing with everything, but,鈥 she says excitedly in a hushed voice so no one overhears, 鈥淎s your self-designated fairy godmother, I thought I should definitely give you a little heads up. Johnny鈥檚 been looking for Cinderella.鈥
Your heart thuds in your chest.聽鈥淲hat?鈥
鈥淓veryone鈥檚 heard him asking around casually about who鈥檇 been Cinderella that night, but you sneaky thing!鈥 She pinches your side. 鈥淗ow did you manage to go the whole night without telling anyone who you were?鈥
Had you? You鈥檇 definitely talked with several other staff members at the start of the night, including your supervisor. At least one of them must have recognized you, right? But looking back now, maybe you hadn鈥檛 talked in particular about anything that would have given away who you were, and you don鈥檛 remember any of them calling you by name or even acknowledging that you were in their department.聽
You鈥檙e still trying to wrap your head around it when the elevator doors open, and Jiwon walks out, still arm-in-arm with you.
鈥淟ook, it鈥檚 even a company-wide kind of meme.鈥 She points at a bulletin board nearby where normally notices about events and deadlines and everything are hung. But now there鈥檚 also a sheet of paper with the word WANTED at the top, a badly pixellated image of the Disney version of Cinderella beneath that, and below that LAST SEEN: SM HALLOWEEN PARTY. In tiny font beneath contact NCT Johnny if you have any information.聽
鈥淲hat the hell?鈥 You look around to see if anyone else is looking, and then you step forward and tear it off the bulletin board.聽鈥淲hat are people thinking? What if this shows up in the background of a video?鈥 Idols pass through here semi-frequently with cameras on them for one reason or another. You can only imagine the chaos of fans reacting to such a notice as this Cinderella one.
Jiwon laughs as you crumple the sheet up and toss it in a nearby trashcan. 鈥淎t this point, everyone鈥檚 started assuming Cinderella was just a random party-crasher or a ghost since she hasn鈥檛 come forward.鈥 She pats your shoulder comfortingly. 鈥淥ne of the aespa girls almost confessed to him that it was her.鈥
A flare of jealous heat sparks to life in your belly. 鈥淲ell, it definitely wasn鈥檛!鈥
鈥淥f course not! She was dressed like a princess too, but not anything remotely Cinderella-esque.鈥 Someone walks into the elevator area, so Jiwon drops her voice to a whisper once more as she tries to urge you, 鈥淵ou should go tell him that you鈥檙e his Cinderella! It would be so cute!鈥澛
鈥淎re you kidding?鈥 You hiss, glancing over at the man waiting for an elevator. 鈥淟ook at me, Jiwon. He鈥檇 take one look and laugh that I couldn鈥檛 possibly be Cinderella. I don鈥檛 look anything like I did that night.鈥 You gesture at the very casual outfit you鈥檙e wearing, your drastically less made-up face, and just everything about you. You鈥檇 truly experienced some kind of magical transformation that night courtesy of the woman beside you. 鈥淚 couldn鈥檛 tell him. Plus, it鈥檚 been over a month. Is he really still looking for Cinderella? I鈥檇 have given up by this point, like you said, just thinking it was a random party-crasher or something. Plus, if this is like an actual Cinderella moment, it鈥檚 not like anything romantic can happen between him and I. It鈥檚 against policy.鈥
Jiwon shakes her head, disappointed. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e such a party pooper, darling. And, you鈥檙e right, this isn鈥檛 a fairytale, okay? I get that. It鈥檚 real life and there鈥檚 actual consequences, so I won鈥檛 blame you if you don鈥檛 tell him. But come on, the risk is well worth the reward here, I would think. This job or Johnny? The choice is obvious to me.鈥
Maybe once you would have agreed. Choosing the literal man of your dreams (because Johnny has been showing up in your dreams with some amount of frequency ever since Halloween) would have been an easy choice before you鈥檇 actually landed a position in SM Entertainment. Even then, it wouldn鈥檛 have been a crazy choice in your mind. But more recently things have changed.
鈥淭hey鈥檙e promoting me.鈥 You shake Jiwon loose so you can face her properly.聽鈥淭hat鈥檚 what the whole point of me being overseas for the last month was. Training me up, seeing if I had the potential to really be a manager. And that鈥檚 my dream job, you know. I don鈥檛 think the risk is worth the reward in this case. But damn,鈥 you sigh, catching sight of a screen showing a clip from one of NCT鈥檚 music videos, Johnny鈥檚 face filling the screen.聽鈥淚 wish it was possible.鈥
To give up your dream job just for the possibility of a romance with an idol seemed far-fetched and stupid.聽
So you ignore the Cinderella search. It鈥檚 not like you ever even see Johnny, so it鈥檚 not a problem at all.
Until the day comes when you officially receive your promotion.聽
鈥淵ou鈥檙e being promoted,鈥 your supervisor tells you, 鈥淣CT needs a new manager, and you鈥檙e best qualified for the job.鈥
Your stomach feels like it drops to the floor. 鈥淲hat?鈥
You鈥檇 been expecting that you were going to get to help manage a new group, or at least maybe aespa. You didn鈥檛 think they鈥檇 throw you to the wolves that was the confusing mess of NCT鈥檚 schedules. So it was a nightmare wrapped in a thin layer of a dream, and right at the heart of it all was Johnny Suh.
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You were so nervous on your first day as a manager (because of course, you couldn鈥檛 manage one of the other units, you had to be assigned to 127) that Johnny would recognize you on the spot, call you out on being Cinderella, and make a scene. But you were equally as nervous that he wouldn鈥檛 recognize you at all.
The latter turned out to be the truer though not entirely accurate.
When you were introduced to the members, Johnny gave you a kind smile, and then said, 鈥淗ey, I recognize you.鈥
Your heart stopped and then started beating at what felt like double-time. 鈥淵ou do?鈥
He nods. 鈥淵eah, you鈥檝e worked with us before, right?鈥
Ah. Your heart rate slows back to normal. 鈥淵eah, yes, I have. Just a few times.鈥澛
Then he repeats your name back to you as if making sure that he鈥檚 got it right, and an hour later you鈥檙e still thinking about the way that your name sounds from his lips.
That feeling doesn鈥檛 pass, not for a while.聽
Slowly you grow more comfortable and relaxed in your role a manager for the group. You get used to the stunning presence of the handsome men. You get used to the sound of Johnny鈥檚 voice and his laugh. You get used to driving the members around, shuttling them to and from schedules, getting them what they need, managing them and managing your feelings.
And best of all, you never hear Johnny mention Halloween or Cinderella, which makes it much easier to put it all from your mind. Well, somewhat easier. Jiwon refuses to let you forget; she calls herself your fairy godmother all the time, calls you princess, teases you when you mention stories that involve Johnny, which is most of them because within several weeks of you becoming a manager for the unit, you and Johnny have actually grown quite close.
鈥淥h, come on!鈥 Jiwon exclaims one evening as she stretches out on your bed.聽鈥淚鈥檓 tired of all of these cute, funny stories about Johnny! I want gushy romantic, hot stories.鈥 She rolls over onto her stomach and looks at you.聽鈥淕od, let me tell you, one time when I was doing their makeup the stylist had to make an alteration on his pants, and that man whipped off his pants with no shame and stood there in his underwear for me to do his makeup. Babe, I know you鈥檙e already mentally going through hoops to avoid thinking about him, but trust me that you would reconsider if you had seen his--鈥
You slap your hand over her mouth.聽鈥淒on鈥檛.鈥
鈥淣o need to sound so pained about it.鈥 She pushes your hand away.聽鈥淚 don鈥檛 know why you鈥檙e fighting this so hard. Yeah, you鈥檙e a manager, but you and him are fully grown adults. This is a stupid policy because from the stories you鈥檝e told me, if you and Johnny were just alone for like an hour together, you would probably end up together.鈥
You roll your eyes. There have been times you鈥檝e been alone with Johnny, driving him to or from a schedule. It wasn鈥檛 like there was undeniable sexual tension in that van or anything like that. And even if Jiwon means totally alone in a non-mobile setting, you doubt anything like that would happen, but you鈥檝e never yet had the chance to find out.
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When the first winter storm hits, you鈥檙e driving Taeyong back to the dorm from a solo schedule he鈥檇 had that had run long. It鈥檚 very late. Taeyong dozes in the passenger seat, you鈥檙e yawning every other minute, and as you enter the city limits you realize that it鈥檚 starting to snow large, fluffy flakes that are coating everything they touch.
The city鈥檚 been extremely cold lately, so you鈥檙e not surprised that the snow isn鈥檛 melting, just piling up, making it hard to see at times.聽
By the time you reach the dorm, the roads are slushy and slick. Snow blows across the streets in waves.
Taeyong鈥檚 schedule had been a three-day event, so he has a few items to unload, and due to the sharp cold breeze and how deep asleep he鈥檇 been just moment before, you help Taeyong unload and carry his belongings up to the dorm. Your shoes squeak on the floor, and by the time you reach the door of the dorm, you鈥檙e both still shivering.
The door opens with a chime, and as you come inside, you see Johnny鈥檚 sitting at the kitchen table playing on his phone and eating cereal. Taeyong mumbles something, toes off his shoes, drops his bags, and just stumbles off to bed, too sleepy to even do anything else.
Johnny鈥檚 watching you as you let out a big yawn and sit what you鈥檇 been carrying down beside the rest.聽
You run your fingers over your hair, brushing away the last snowflakes that cling somewhat intact to your hair. 鈥淚t鈥檚 snowing pretty good out there. I haven鈥檛 seen snow like this in years.鈥
Johnny glances over at the large window of their living room. The puffs of snow float by, lit up by all the city lights, and he stands up, walking over to press his face to the glass, looking down at the street below and the rooftops around their building. Everything鈥檚 already covered in a pretty decent amount of snow.聽
鈥淚t鈥檚 beautiful out there.鈥 Johnny is pressed to the glass, looking out at everything.聽
Before you can register what鈥檚 happening (it is very late and you鈥檙e half-asleep on your feet, so excuse you if you鈥檙e a little slow at the moment), Johnny鈥檚 walking back past you, grabbing his coat from the back of a chair with one hand, and taking your hand with the other. He guides you along by the hand down through the building, out into the falling snow.聽
鈥淲hat are we doing?鈥 You ask, folding your arms around yourself as Johnny releases your hand once you鈥檙e outside. Shock at the situation kept you silent until then. 鈥淵ou shouldn鈥檛 be out here. You鈥檒l catch a cold.鈥
Johnny laughs. 鈥淚鈥檒l be fine. Come take my picture.鈥 He walks out into the snow-covered street, tilting his head back to the sky, arms held out. The streetlight just down the road casts Johnny and the snow in a silver light, and he鈥檚 so beautiful in that moment that you鈥檇 be crazy not to take a photo, so you pull out your phone and start taking pictures of him.聽
This photoshoot goes on for several minutes before you pause to check a photo you just took, and for your efforts of trying to be a good photographer, you get a snowball right to the shoulder. Johnny鈥檚 laugh is loud in the muted silence of the falling snow, and he only laughs louder when you shove your phone into your jacket pocket and duck down to form a snowball of your own.
The snow fight lasts until you鈥檙e both pink-cheeked, sniffling in the cold air, and neither of you can feel your fingertips anymore.
鈥淚鈥檓 t-too cold to keep this g-going.鈥 Johnny laughs and shivers, tucking his hands into his armpits as he walks toward you.聽
鈥淚 - I should get going anyway.鈥 Your teeth chatter together. 鈥淚 still need to get home, and it鈥檚 late.鈥
鈥淐ome up for c-coffee,鈥 Johnny suggests, his eyes lingering on you and the snow caught in your hair, wreathing your face. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e clearly tired and cold. You need some coffee.鈥
Damn your heart and Johnny鈥檚 good intentions. You follow him back up to the dorm, and while you shuck off your coat and wet shoes and damp socks, Johnny starts making you both some coffee. And minutes later, you鈥檙e still shivering as you clasp a warm mug between both of your hands, sitting next to Johnny while he swipes through your camera roll to check out the photos of him you鈥檇 just taken.
You know that you should leave. It鈥檚 not appropriate for you to just be hanging out at the dorm. You should put your coat and shoes back on, take the coffee to go, and head home so you can get some sleep before you have to work tomorrow. Just as you鈥檙e about to say something along those lines, your phone buzzes against the table and Johnny makes a soft, oh.
鈥淲hat?鈥 You lean closer, sitting the mug down on the table.
鈥淚t鈥檚 a weather alert.鈥 Johnny looks up at you, and for a moment neither of you speak or move or breathe. You鈥檙e so close together right now. You can see all of the little water droplets stubbornly clinging to his eyelashes from the snow. You can smell the coffee on his breath and something a little sweet too. But then Johnny snaps his mouth closed and leans back a little, just putting some distance between you and him.聽
He clears his throat, then says, 鈥淚t says the roads are really bad, that it鈥檚 just going to get worse. You should probably just stay here tonight, and I feel like you鈥檙e going to argue with that, but honestly, it鈥檚 for your own safety. Roads are dangerous, plus you鈥檙e already cold and tired. That鈥檚 a bad combination. You鈥檙e just going to have to be back here in a few hours to pick us up anyway since hyung is gone.鈥
You鈥檇 forgotten about that. The manager that normally stays at the dorm with them is gone for the week. That鈥檚 why you had to be the one to take Taeyong to his solo schedule, and why you were going to have to be up earlier than normal for work tomorrow. Maybe Johnny has a good point.
Johnny looks away from you, back down at your phone, and he swipes away the notification, then makes a little frown.聽
You look down as well, and there you see that your phone has gone back to the screen showing all of your photos, and there, just barely visible at the top of the screen, is a photo you鈥檇 taken of yourself in the Cinderella costume on the night of the Halloween party.
Johnny inhales and the silence as you wait for his exhale seems to last an eternity.
鈥淵ou were--鈥
You push back from the table, already reaching to pull your shoes back onto your feet, forgetting entirely about your wet socks. 鈥淚鈥檇 really better leave.鈥
You鈥檙e halfway to the door, hopping on one foot, struggling to get your second foot into it鈥檚 boot, when Johnny loops his hand at your elbow, helping to steady you as you鈥檇 nearly just tipped over onto your face.聽
鈥淧lease don鈥檛 leave.鈥 He pleads.
You look up at him. Your foot thumps heavily down onto the ground. 鈥淛ohnny.... please. I shouldn鈥檛 stay here, I could get in trouble with the company.鈥
His eyes are softer than you鈥檝e ever seen them before. 鈥淧lease stay. It鈥檚 dangerous out there, I鈥檝e said that already. If anyone has a problem with you staying here overnight for your own safety, then I鈥檒l vouch for you. I鈥檒l make the others vouch too.鈥 His hand slides from your elbow down to your wrist, holding loosely now that you don鈥檛 seem to be in such a rush to leave. A slow, crooked smile appears on his lips. 鈥淎nd anyway, Cinderella, you鈥檙e supposed to leave a shoe behind, not your wet socks.鈥
You roll your eyes, but you smile as well. 鈥淚 didn鈥檛 want to tell you.鈥
鈥淭hat you鈥檙e the Cinderella I鈥檝e been looking for for months now?鈥 Johnny鈥檚 hand slips even lower on your wrist until his fingers are just clasping your hand. 鈥淲hy didn鈥檛 you want to tell me? I had so much fun talking with you that night, and after we left I realized I hadn鈥檛 even found out who you were.鈥
You shiver now that your feet are back inside your wet shoes.聽
Johnny clicks his tongue disapprovingly. 鈥淭ake your shoes off. You鈥檙e staying. Go on. Sit right there.鈥 He points at the chair beside the table. 鈥淚鈥檒l be right back. Don鈥檛 you dare leave.鈥
His voice is so commanding, you wouldn鈥檛 dare leave now. He walks out of the kitchen, and when he returns a moment later, he鈥檚 carrying a change of clothes for you from his own closet.聽
鈥淚 know it鈥檚 your job to worry about us,鈥 he says, holding out the clothes to you. 鈥淏ut please let me take care of you too. Don鈥檛 catch a cold. You can go shower in the bathroom off my room, put these on. You鈥檙e staying here tonight.鈥
You nod, accepting the sweater and slick basketball shorts.聽
When you emerge from the shower several minutes later, feeling much more thoroughly warmed, the lights in the dorm have all been turned off, but Johnny鈥檚 sitting on the sofa now with his phone lighting up his face. It鈥檚 very, very late. He looks as if he could nod off right there, but as you walk closer to him, he blinks up at you. A smile breaks across his otherwise sleepy expression.
鈥淲hat?鈥 You ask, sinking down onto the sofa with him. There鈥檚 a blanket draped over the back, and Johnny immediately pulls it down over your shoulders. You clasp the edges of it together in front of you. 鈥淲hy are you smiling like that? Are you feeling feverish or something?鈥 You lift a hand and immediately check his forehead with the back of your hand, but he doesn鈥檛 feel warm.
Johnny, still smiling, reaches up to lightly bat away your hand as he sighs and rests his head against the cushiony back of the sofa, staring at you. 鈥淣o, like.... It鈥檚 just, I can鈥檛 believe you鈥檙e actually wearing my clothes.鈥
鈥淵ou gave them to me.鈥 You reply, amused at the dopey look on his face.聽
鈥淚 know.鈥 Johnny whispers. 鈥淵ou just look really good in them.鈥
Your heart flutters in the way that you know you shouldn鈥檛 let it. This is Johnny. You鈥檙e his manager. This is inappropriate to be feeling this way about him. It鈥檚 definitely inappropriate to be sitting on a sofa in the dark with him, wearing his clothes, having just showered in his shower using his shampoo and body wash. But it feels good.
You lean your head against the sofa鈥檚 back too, draw your knees up toward your chest, and you look right back at Johnny in the same way he鈥檚 looking at you. You whisper, 鈥淵ou should go to bed. We all have to be up in a few hours.鈥
He bites his bottom lip and then stretches out a risky hand to touch yours. When you don鈥檛 pull away or tell him not to, Johnny keeps going, turning your hand over, pulling it into his lap. He touches your palm, caresses your fingers, treating you like you鈥檙e fragile and delicate like a little princess.
鈥淛ohnny,鈥 you whisper a few moments later when he鈥檚 still just holding your hand, making no effort to go to bed. 鈥淕o.鈥
鈥淭here鈥檚 so much snow out there.鈥 He says after another few seconds. 鈥淭here鈥檚 no way that we鈥檒l still have our schedules tomorrow. By the time morning really comes, we鈥檙e going to be buried in. I was looking at the weather while you were showering, and it鈥檚 not showing any sign of stopping before at least tomorrow night.鈥
鈥淏anking on your schedule being cancelled doesn鈥檛 mean you don鈥檛 have to go to bed.鈥 Your hand shakes slightly as you lift it, trembling with the risky nature of what you do next. Johnny鈥檚 hair is soft and his face is pleasantly warm as you push a few loose strands away from his face.聽
Johnny exhales at the feel of your fingertips just barely brushing his skin. 鈥淐ome to bed with me. Haechan鈥檚 not here. He鈥檚 upstairs tonight.鈥
You noticed that as you crept into Johnny鈥檚 room to use that bathroom. Both of the beds were empty.聽
It鈥檚 tempting to give in, to follow him into that bedroom and let the door close behind you as you get into bed with him. You鈥檙e sure that sharing a bed with Johnny would be very warm and comforting in this snowy cold night. But you can鈥檛.聽
鈥淛ohnny.鈥 Your voice trembles ever so slightly. 鈥淚 can鈥檛. I鈥檓 your manager, and it just.... I could get in trouble.鈥
鈥淵ou鈥檙e still shivering from the cold,鈥 he argues, 鈥淏asically hypothermic. I鈥檓 just trying to keep you healthy, trying to save you from freezing. No one would know but us. If the others ask questions, I鈥檒l make excuses.鈥 He smiles, and that almost does it for you.
You shake your head, close your eyes, turn your head away from him so you鈥檙e not faced with the temptation. 鈥淣o. I鈥檓 serious. You should go to bed. I鈥檒l stay right here. Just here.鈥 You pat the sofa. 鈥淚鈥檒l be comfy and this blanket鈥檚 warm.鈥
鈥淔ine.鈥 Johnny sighs, and he stands up, still holding your hand. 鈥淏ut don鈥檛 think that you can sneak out, Cinderella. Okay?鈥
You squeeze his hand lightly. 鈥淚鈥檓 not going anywhere, Johnny.鈥
He leans in so quickly that there鈥檚 no time for you to even protest before he鈥檚 pressing a kiss to your cheek. And then he鈥檚 gone, vanishing into his bedroom as you sit frozen on the sofa, looking after him.
It takes a long time to fall asleep after that. Just you lying there in the dark with the blanket tugged up to your chin, listening to all of the unfamiliar sounds of the dorm, watching the snow drift by outside the window, shivering in the chill air.
After nearly an hour of silence and cold and overthinking, you sit up, gather the blanket around your shoulders, and you tiptoe across the living room to the door of Johnny鈥檚 bedroom.聽
When you reach the door, you stand there in hesitation, your knuckles hovering just inches from the door. You鈥檙e being silly. Ridiculous. You鈥檙e putting the future of your career in jeopardy by just standing here before his doorway and contemplating going inside. You shift your weight uncertainly, drop your hand to your side, consider turning back and walking to the sofa, but before you can move, the door swings open and you鈥檙e faced with Johnny鈥檚 chest.
You lift your gaze slowly to his face.
鈥淚 could almost hear you thinking through the door,鈥 he says with a smile, and then he steps aside,聽鈥淲hy don鈥檛 you come in?鈥
鈥淚t鈥檚 just cold out there,鈥 you mumble as you step inside, pulling your blanket tighter around your shoulders.聽鈥淚 was going to ask if you had another blanket.鈥
Johnny hums in a way that tells you that he doesn鈥檛 buy your lie one bit. He closes the door behind him, his back braced against it as he faces you.聽鈥淚 can鈥檛 believe that all this time you鈥檝e been my Cinderella.鈥 He shakes his head, gaze wandering over the shadowy shape of you.
His room is dark but your eyes are adjusted just enough that you can see him fairly well in the faint light coming in through the window. So you can see as he pushes away from the door, as he steps toward you. Your body tingles in anticipation, your fingertips go numb so you curl them into fists in your blanket, and Johnny stops right in front of you.
鈥淚t鈥檚 well past midnight, Cinderella,鈥 he whispers.聽鈥淭he ball is ended, the magic spell is worn off, and you鈥檙e still just as beautiful and fascinating and enchanting as you were that night.鈥 His hands come up to the blanket wrapped around your shoulders, fingers tucking underneath. Your grip on the blanket loosens even as Johnny starts to move the blanket.
It falls away, pooling at your feet.
His thumb brushes along your jawline. Your body feels on fire, your fingers burn with the desire to touch him too. So you do, curling your fingers at his hips, his skin warm under yours, and Johnny takes a shuffling step just a bit closer to you, his bare toes bumping against yours.
鈥淛ohnny,鈥 you repeat his name, lifting your chin to look him in the eye.聽鈥淜iss me?鈥
He doesn鈥檛 wait for you to ask him again. Johnny leans in and catches your lips in a kiss. His palm rests against the side of your neck, his thumb still stroking at your jaw. When you try to press closer, to deepen the kiss, Johnny backs away.
鈥淒on鈥檛 stop,鈥 you whine, clenching your hands at his sides.聽
Johnny chuckles, dipping forward to kiss your forehead. And then he kisses you again. He takes a step back, you follow, and another, and then he鈥檚 sinking down onto his bed, his hands moving to your hips to guide you to straddle his lap, not breaking the kiss as you do.
Making out with Johnny Suh is certainly not what you imagined you鈥檇 be doing tonight when you brought Taeyong home from his schedule, but here you are, sitting in his lap in his bed, his hands on your hips, and your mouth on his.
鈥淲ait,鈥 he mumbles, pulling back momentarily.聽鈥淟et me put some music on or something.鈥
You don鈥檛 want to move from his lap, but you let him lean away, reaching back across his bed toward the pillows to grab his phone. He taps at the screen for a few moments, and then music鈥攕oft enough to not wake anyone but just loud enough to mask any sounds the two of you may make鈥攂egins to play over his Bluetooth speakers.
As Johnny sits back up, leaving his phone tucked beneath his pillow, you admire the sight of him. His abs. His chest. His arms.
You鈥檝e seen Johnny shirtless before in dressing rooms, for photo shoots and video shoots. But seeing him like this, in the half light of his bedroom with the tingling reminder of his lips on yours, is a completely different experience.
Like a magnet, he finds you again. His mouth on yours, kiss unrestrained under the cover of the music, letting out tiny little moans as he kisses you. Each sound brings a smile to your lips, and after a few moments, you鈥檙e grinning into the kiss, twisting your fingers into his hair, and Johnny smiles as he fits his hands under your borrowed sweatshirt, his fingers chilly on your heated waist and belly.
His fingers shift higher and higher, and your breath hitches as he caressed your breast.
鈥淎lright?鈥 He murmurs, giving you a moment to answer while he kisses the corner of your mouth, skimming his lips over your jaw, down your throat.
You shiver, twisting your fingers a little more tightly in his hair, shifting just that much closer to him. You can feel every inch of him against you, your body burns and tingles, your heart racing in your chest.
鈥淪o good,鈥 you moan softly, tugging lightly on his hair to bring his mouth back to yours.
Johnny smiles into the kiss, his thumb drifting attentively over your nipple. Slowly he eases backwards until he鈥檚 flat on his back and you lie against his chest, still just kissing him and yearning to feel his hands touching you everywhere, not just your breast. You shiver against him again, and Johnny is gentle as he rolls you under him, as he tugs the blankets up over your bodies.
鈥淪till cold, Cinderella?鈥 He teases, his nose bumping against your cheek.
You push a section of his hair back behind his ear, spend a few seconds lingering there, your thumb against his face. He鈥檚 so handsome, and you being here beneath him in his bed, it鈥檚 unreal. Like a dream. Like a fairytale Cinderella moment you never thought you鈥檇 have because he鈥檚 an SM Prince, and who are you? Hardly any better than a servant.
Johnny shifts to the side, looking down at you. 鈥淲hat are you thinking about? You鈥檝e got that expression.鈥 He lifts a finger and traces the furrow between your eyebrows.
鈥淚鈥檓 just thinking how I don鈥檛 belong here.鈥 You sigh, looking away to the window. Your hand is on his arm and you absentmindedly stroke over his sunflower tattoo, mirroring the movements of his thumb moving back and forth on your waist beneath the sweatshirt.聽
Johnny鈥檚 lips touch against your throat, pulling a sigh from your lips, to which he asks, 鈥淲hat do you mean you don鈥檛 belong here? And don鈥檛 tell me again that it鈥檚 because you鈥檙e a manager.鈥
But that鈥檚 exactly why.聽
鈥淪tay here. With me.鈥 Johnny withdraws his hand from beneath your sweatshirt.聽鈥淚f you feel like this is moving too fast, we can stop here. We can go to sleep. Just sleep.鈥
He moves back an inch or two, just as much as his narrow twin bed will allow, but you don鈥檛 want him to go far. You scoot closer again, still gripping his arm. Johnny smiles at that. You sink your head onto the pillow, look up at him.聽鈥淚鈥檒l stay.鈥
鈥淕ood.鈥 Johnny brings his hand up, tracing his knuckles lightly along your cheek in a way that makes your heart pound and your toes and fingertips tingle in delight, in the need for reciprocation, to touch him and hold him too. But you bring your hands up to your chest, clench them into tight fists inside the sleeves of the sweater, will yourself to not touch him because if you do, you鈥檙e pretty sure you won鈥檛 be able to stop yourself from going further.聽
鈥淵ou promise you won鈥檛 run away after I close my eyes?鈥 Johnny asks.聽
鈥淚 promise.鈥 You watch as Johnny stands up from the bed, and he hesitates then for a moment, looking down at you, his hands on his hips. You think, for a moment, that he鈥檚 about to tell you goodnight and sleep in Haechan鈥檚 bed instead. But he takes a deep breath, his thumbs tracing along the waistband of his sweatpants.聽
鈥淪o, normally, I do sleep in my underwear. I get hot at night, so it鈥檚 just a lot more comfortable for me.鈥 He explains, glancing away as he admits this. You have a feeling that he might actually normally sleep naked, but given that you鈥檝e both agreed to draw the line at making out and some light touching tonight, being naked in bed with you might be a bit more than you wanted.聽
You appreciate his unspoken question, a request for you to consent to him stripping to his underwear to sleep in bed with you. But it鈥檚 his bed, in his bedroom, in his apartment where you still feel you don鈥檛 entirely belong. You鈥檙e the intruder here. And besides--
鈥淚 like to sleep in my underwear too,鈥 you tell him.聽鈥淪o it works out.鈥澛
Beneath the blanket, you shimmy easily out of the silky basketball shorts Johnny had lent you, and as you drop them out over the side of the bed, you watch Johnny swallow, his throat bobbing even as he smiles a little. You watch too as his thumbs tuck under the waistband of his pants, and then he鈥檚 pushing them down, kicking them off, slipping back into the narrow bed with you.
You keep the sweater on, but the bare skin of your legs, from toe to hip feel so free beneath the sheets, and when Johnny鈥檚 knee knocks into yours, you feel it from the point of contact all the way through your body. You鈥檙e hyper-aware of him, more than you鈥檝e ever been with anyone else probably.
And then you lift your leg a little, draping it over one of his so your knee rests between both of his. You prop yourself on your side a bit, a hand tucked under the pillow. Johnny faces you too.
鈥淕oodnight, Cinderella,鈥 he whispers.聽
鈥淕oodnight, Johnny.鈥
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You don鈥檛 remember falling asleep. One moment you were listening to the music softly playing still from the speakers, to the even sound of Johnny breathing. And then you鈥檙e woken by the sound of your phone ringing while the sky outside is still a dim shade of gray.
Your phone鈥檚 in the pocket of the shorts on the floor, so you fumble around for a moment before finally fishing them out of the pocket. You stab at the button to answer the call, squinting against the brightness of the screen.
鈥淗ello?鈥 You mumble into the phone.
Johnny shifts beside you, his hand sliding over your belly where the sweatshirt has ridden up through the night. His thumb touches the lacy edge of your panties. You close your eyes and focus on breathing, on listening to whoever鈥檚 interrupted your sweet sleep so early in the morning.聽
鈥淚鈥檝e got some good news.鈥澛營t鈥檚 your boss, the one who makes all of the big calls. 鈥淪chedules are cancelled for the day, that鈥檚 the official news. The city鈥檚 snowed in, so you can stay home today.鈥
You can鈥檛 believe Johnny was right about that. You鈥檝e never had a day where you heard of their schedules being cancelled because of the weather like this, but you accept it, thank him for calling to let you know, and when you end the call, you lie there in the silent darkness of the bedroom.
At some point in the night, the music has ended. It must be very early, with the sky still so dark outside the window, but even in the half-light you can still see snowflakes drifting by.聽
Johnny鈥檚 fingers twitch on your belly, his pinky finger stroking along the top edge of your panties. You turn your head to look at him.
His eyes are still closed, but you can tell that he鈥檚 awake.
鈥淲ho was that?鈥 He asks after a few moments, his voice soft and rough at the same time, drenched with sleep.聽
鈥淵ou were right. The day鈥檚 schedules are cancelled.鈥 You lay your hand over his. You鈥檙e half-tempted to move it just because it鈥檚 driving you to distraction, but at the same time you don鈥檛 want him to stop touching you like this.
鈥淢m, perfect.鈥 Johnny opens one eye to look at you.聽鈥淣ow we can just sleep for the rest of the morning. Stay in bed.鈥
You want that. There鈥檚 nothing you want more right now than to stay here in bed with Johnny.聽鈥淚 should probably go let the other boys know. Tell them to turn off their alarms. To stay inside today where it鈥檚 warm.鈥
The tip of his pinky makes it just beneath the edge of your panties. Your nipples are hard, and you鈥檙e glad you鈥檙e wearing the sweatshirt so he can鈥檛 tell how just this tiny touch is affecting you so greatly. But it鈥檚 something in the way he鈥檚 looking at you right then--his bottom lip caught beneath his teeth, his eyes on your parted lips--that tells you that somehow he already knows how aroused you are.
You almost close your thighs, squeeze your legs together to do something about that burning need rising between your legs. But your one leg is still draped over Johnny鈥檚, your calf against his. And when you move it just a little, the friction of your skin against his has Johnny breathing more deeply.
There鈥檚 a buzz running under your skin, zipping through your veins, and in the moment you forget everything else but that feeling and Johnny making you feel it.聽
Your hand covers his on your belly, and you apply just the lightest amount of pressure. His fingers slide so eagerly into your panties.
His breath sounds unsteady, and you鈥檙e sure yours does too.
鈥淚鈥檓 gonna be so honest right now,鈥 he tells you, his voice barely more than a breath.聽鈥淚鈥檓 so hard, baby. The second you made that little whimper, shit, I felt lightheaded.鈥 You don鈥檛 know what whimper he鈥檚 talking about, but you don鈥檛 care. His fingertips are edging lower and lower inside your panties and in a second he鈥檒l be touching your clit and that鈥檚 all you want right now. You almost buck up into his touch.
You grip his wrist before he can, and Johnny freezes.聽鈥淲e don鈥檛 have any music,鈥 you tell him.聽
Johnny smiles.聽鈥淕uess you鈥檒l just have to try to keep quiet then, won鈥檛 you?鈥
鈥淕uess you should kiss me again then.鈥 You reply, and Johnny鈥檚 only too pleased to satisfy that request.
The moment his mouth is on yours, he鈥檚 dipping his fingers lower, his middle finger touching your clit, and he gasps lightly as he feels the heat of your wetness coating his fingers. You can鈥檛 believe you鈥檙e doing this with Johnny.
He rolls closer, and as he does you can feel his erection against your thigh.聽
鈥淵ou want me to finger you, baby?鈥 His words flow over your lips, swallowed right down by your eagerness. You nod.聽鈥淚 want to hear you say it.鈥
A new wave of heat bursts in your belly at Johnny鈥檚 dominant tone.聽鈥淚 want your fingers, Johnny.鈥澛
He smiles as he kisses you now, pressing his long middle finger inside you in a way that would have you loudly gasping except for his mouth sealed over yours. Johnny curls his finger just right, his palm smoothly moving against your clit as he thrusts his finger inside you, soon adding a second then a third.聽
You鈥檙e openly panting and moaning into his mouth as he fucks you on his fingers. His other arm is wrapped around your back, bracing you against him as he works you quickly toward an orgasm. His erection is against your thigh, and occasionally you notice him grinding against you, thrusting forward to help with what he needs. But most of his attention is on you, making you feel good.
It鈥檚 still some time before dawn when Johnny brings you tumbling over the edge of your climax. Your thighs close around his arm, his fingers still pumping inside you, and you bite his tongue as you cum, and that just makes him moan.聽
You鈥檙e still shaking from the ecstasy when you break the kiss to drop your head to his shoulder, your breath coming out in shaky puffs.
Johnny kisses your forehead, his damp fingers pull out, slipping out of your panties to rest against your thigh, the other hand strokes your lower back, a relaxing weight keeping you resting against him. You try to move a hand down, wanting to touch him too, but Johnny makes a noise.
鈥淵ou don鈥檛 have to.鈥 His damp fingers close around your wrist.聽鈥淚鈥檓 fine.鈥
鈥淵ou鈥檙e still hard.鈥 You raise your knee a little so your thigh brushes against where his dick is still full in his underwear.聽
His eyes flutter for a moment, his hips grinding forward.聽
You lift a hand to touch his hair, tugging lightly to bring his lips to yours as you tilt your head back.聽鈥淟et me make you feel good, too, Johnny.鈥
Johnny slides his body over yours smoothly, his body bracketed perfectly by your thighs. You tangle your arms behind his neck, kissing him like your life depends on it as he grinds against you through your panties.聽
You can feel him very clearly now. Every inch of him. You wish he was inside you, stretching you wide open, filling you deeply with his length. You kiss him and trace all of those desires against his tongue. Your heart pounds with that desire, breath racing and your nails rake down his back as he picks a good rhythm. You鈥檙e going to cum again, you already know it.
鈥淔uck,鈥 Johnny mumbles into the kiss.聽鈥淚 wish I could cum inside you.鈥
鈥淭hen fuck me.鈥 You gasp back.聽鈥淲here are condoms?鈥
His lips slide from yours, over your jaw to your throat. He groans.聽鈥淚n the drawer over there.鈥 But you can tell from the tightness in his voice, from the broken staccato beat of his movements that he鈥檚 close, that he probably won鈥檛 be able to hold back much longer. Why wait? Why risk putting a pause on this if it might just ruin his orgasm?
You shake your head, tangle your fingers in his hair, guide his lips back to yours. Next time. He can fuck you next time. Right now you just want him to cum; you want him to get you to cum a second time.
A hoarse groan builds in the back of his throat, and Johnny thrusts one last time before he freezes, his cock twitching in his underwear, right against you. You can feel the wet heat of him spreading through the material right against you, and you buck your hips up, chasing your own orgasm even if it means grinding against Johnny鈥檚 sensitive cock as he comes down from his high.
Johnny鈥檚 mouth feels so soft against yours when you kiss this time as your orgasm crashes through you. Lazy kisses, bodies intertwined. Johnny doesn鈥檛 move from between your thighs, just holding himself above you, kissing you slowly and softly.
Morning is breaking outside, though with the heavy winter weather, there鈥檚 not too much of a difference visually.聽
Eventually Johnny moves away, his hand slides up under your sweatshirt, just touching your bare skin as you both tuck yourself against each other and catch your breath.聽
It鈥檚 still early. You could roll over to fall back asleep, but even as you consider that, you know it鈥檚 too late, you鈥檙e already wide awake. Johnny knows it too, so after a handful of moments, he kisses you and then sits up.
鈥淚鈥檓 going to shower.鈥 He stands out of bed, tugging uncomfortably at his underwear. You can see the damp spot spread over the front of them, and you hide your smile in his pillow. You made him cum in his pants. It鈥檚 cute. You close your eyes and replay that moment, Johnny pressed against your like that, the way he鈥檇 moved, the way he鈥檇 sounded as he came.
When you open your eyes again, he鈥檚 gone. The bathroom door is closed, only a thin sliver of light beneath it and the gentle patter of the shower turning on indicating that Johnny鈥檚 behind it.
The dorm is still thick with the sound of sleep, so you鈥檙e quiet as you redress and creep out of Johnny鈥檚 room. You stand to look out the window in the living room. The world outside is covered in thick snow that continues to fall. Your breath fogs the glass.聽聽
Taeyong鈥檚 the first one up, stumbling out of his room in just shorts and a tshirt, shivering as he walks into the kitchen. He pours himself a glass of water, and when he turns around, he spots you and nearly drops the glass. He swears viciously before realizing it鈥檚 you.
鈥淔uck, I鈥檓 sorry.鈥 He covers his mouth. 鈥淒id you stay here last night?鈥
You nod. 鈥淭he weather got worse and I was really tired, so Johnny insisted that I stay.鈥 Taeyong makes a face that you can鈥檛 quite decipher before he hides it. 鈥淵our schedules are cancelled for the day, by the way. We鈥檙e snowed in.鈥
Taeyong nods. 鈥淚n that case, I鈥檓 going back to bed.鈥 He disappears back into his bedroom, and once more the dorm falls silent.
A shiver works its way down your spine as you yawn. You鈥檙e so tired, but you know you can鈥檛 go back to sleep, so you go make yourself a strong cup of coffee, watch the snow and think. You think about how what you did with Johnny was a mistake--it was great and you loved it and you can鈥檛 truly bring yourself to regret it, but it was a mistake nonetheless because if it gets out, if this becomes serious or ends badly, then it will reflect horribly on your career, and all of your dreams will be flushed away.聽
You want Johnny. You love the way he makes you feel. But you know that you shouldn鈥檛 indulge.聽
And for the next several minutes you sway back and forth on that dangerous line of thought--you want him, but you shouldn鈥檛 want him. Maybe you should just leave today, go home, and the next time you see him pretend that the events of last night and this morning never happened. Maybe he鈥檒l forget you鈥檙e the Cinderella he spent months searching for.; maybe that was all just a fun game for him anyway, and he鈥檒l lose interest now that he鈥檚 found you.
By the time the coffee finishes brewing, you hear the sound of movement in Johnny鈥檚 room as he leaves the shower. You pour yourself a mug, another one for him, and then you knock carefully (to not spill the coffees) on his door before opening it.
Johnny鈥檚 sitting in bed again, but when he sees you, he sits up and runs his fingers through his hair.聽
鈥淔eel better?鈥 you ask him, standing there beside his bed as you offer him one of the coffees. He nods and sips at his coffee, and you look over at the window again, at the steadily falling snow. "I guess I still need to figure out some way to get home.鈥
鈥淒on鈥檛 be ridiculous,鈥 Johnny murmurs into his coffee. 鈥淵ou can stay here. Stay right here.鈥 He lifts his face out of his mug just long enough to grab your hand and pull you down to sit on his bed. He doesn鈥檛 let go of your hand.
You say his name in a warning tone, but it just makes him smile.聽
鈥淲hat?鈥 His thumb rubs gently over your knuckles. 鈥淐inderella kept running away from the Prince because she was scared of her stepmother and stepsisters, right? Well, the Prince found her and they lived happily ever after. I like you. I liked you before I knew you were my Cinderella from Halloween. Finding that out last night or this morning or whatever, that鈥檚 just a bonus. I like you in case what we did earlier didn鈥檛 make that obvious, and if you like me too, well we can find a way to be together even if our wicked company tries their best to keep it from happening.鈥
You feel very warm all of a sudden, possibly its the coffee or the bulky sweater Johnny had let you borrow, or it could very well be that he鈥檚 confessing to you. Confessing in such a cheesy manner, too. He has feelings for you. For you, not for the Cinderella fantasy version of you.聽
You push the sleeves of the sweater up your arms, trying to cool down some.
鈥淛ohnny.鈥 You know that nothing good can come of what he鈥檚 suggesting.
鈥淒on鈥檛 say my name like that,鈥 he says softly. 鈥淒on鈥檛 say it like it鈥檚 a no. Don鈥檛 say it like you want me but you can鈥檛. We already started down this path, so don鈥檛 turn your back on this, please. Say my name like you agree with me, like you like me too.鈥澛
鈥淛ohnny.鈥 This time you put your longing for him behind those two syllables. You try your best to make it sound like a yes.聽
You want Johnny. You want this to work. And if he believes in it, then you want to too. But you won鈥檛 let this affect your dream. You鈥檒l have Johnny and you鈥檒l have your dream job too. You can figure it out as you go.
Johnny grins. 鈥淵eah, that sounds much better.鈥 He takes a drink of his coffee again, watching you over the lip of the mug, then says, 鈥淚 can鈥檛 get over how a few months ago I wanted to learn your name and now you鈥檙e having breakfast with me in my sweater.鈥
鈥淐offee is hardly breakfast, Johnny. Please tell me that you know that.鈥 You groan, prying the coffee mug out of his hands.
He shrugs and grins, watching as you sit his mug and your own on his bedside table. And then he reaches for you, pulling you into his lap so you鈥檙e face-to-face. Johnny kisses you slowly, deeply, and when he pulls away, he murmurs, 鈥淎ll I know for now is that you鈥檙e my mysterious Cinderella, you鈥檙e wearing my sweater, I can still smell you in my sheets, and we have no plans for the rest of the day. If you鈥檇 like, I鈥檇 love to make you cum again.鈥
Oh God, you think to yourself, what have you gotten yourself into?
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a/n: so months and months ago back when I was accepting requests based off a prompt list, someone sent me a prompt for Johnny to use both聽鈥淣o, like鈥. It鈥檚 just, I can鈥檛 believe you鈥檙e actually wearing my clothes.鈥 and 鈥淚 can鈥檛 get over how a few months ago I wanted to learn your name and now you鈥檙e having breakfast with me in my sweater.鈥 and thus this was born
I wouldn鈥檛 have taken so long to write this, and I鈥檓 really really sorry to the original requester (especially since I know I鈥檝e messaged them and let them know it would take a while, but damn I don鈥檛 think either of us thought it would take this long, and I checked and they haven鈥檛 been active on their blog in a while, so now I feel bad) but I got distracted with writing the next part of the poly series (which was Adore You) and then forgot about this for a brief time, and then once I remembered I was deep into working on the poly finale, so I had to focus on it. But now I鈥檝e finished that! And I鈥檝e finished this too, so if the original requester is still around and sees this then I鈥檓 sorry it took so long please forgive me! I would tag them, but I鈥檓 not entirely sure if they wanted to be tagged in this or not!
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nuggsmum4 months ago
Applewine Valley
Part Five
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Captain Syverson (Jack/John) x Plus Size OFC (Izzy)
Warnings: foul language (that鈥檚 just standard for me), absolutely distasteful聽pie eating jokes, fluff, self doubt, gambling, fighting and violence, angsty cliffhanger ending - @angryschnauzer I won鈥檛 blame you if you skip this chapter but I PROMISE I WILL MAKE IT BETTER IF YOU CAN JUST POWER THROUGH IT!
Izzy can鈥檛 stand Jack Syverson. She can鈥檛 stand him one bit. But if she can鈥檛 stand him, why can鈥檛 she get him out of her head?
Author鈥檚 note: Thank you to the incomparable @amandalove for being my beta and bouncer of all ideas. And to the every lovely @luna-aestas for the amazing header and because now you have to listen to me too! You guys are amazing and I truly appreciate you humoring me and my constant blathering.
Y鈥檃ll. I don鈥檛 own shit. Sy, Sand Castle, my car, my pride, nothing. I鈥檓 just playing around.
As always, please let me know if you want on or off my tag list - I only have one and I leave you on it until you request to be taken off :)
18+ only please - minors do not interact with my shit.
Please do not share my work on other platforms. Thank you!
Part One ~ Part Two ~ Part Three ~ Part Four
Master List
..... this is Sy.... telling me not to fuck this up.... I promise, Sy. I know what I鈥檓 doing..... Maybe.聽
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(gif by @henrycavell鈥 but tumblr gif search is a dirty bitch and would only let me find the top one from the gif set so I had to save the other from the gif set and add it manually.... i am not amused.)
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Having tossed and turned for several hours, trying to get any sleep proved to be a fool's dream. I rolled out of bed well after midnight, trudging to the living room to try to read for a bit. I was just getting into my book when I heard a vehicle driving slowly down the lane. Thinking it was weird, because there was rarely traffic during the day, let alone at night, I got up to peek out the front window. My stomach dropped when I saw Sy鈥檚 van rolling slowly past.聽
He must have seen me, because he turned into the drive and sat there for a moment. Unlocking the door, I stepped onto the porch. It was bitterly cold, with little spits of snow visible in his headlight beams. Not dressed for the weather in my pj shorts and tee, I crossed my arms and waited.聽
What the fuck is he doing? Is he talking to himself? Fuck, it鈥檚 cold. I wonder if I can go in and grab a sweater?聽
Before I could go back in, I heard his door open. Boots crunching on the gravel, he came to a stop at the bottom of the stairs, licking his lips and rocking on his feet, one of his hands behind his back. He cleared his throat and opened his mouth, then shut it again.聽
Is he鈥. Nervous? Oh that鈥檚 adorable. God, what is he doing here? Is he going to tell me earlier was a mistake? Does he want to finish what we started? Oh god鈥.
I tried to tamp down the flame that shot through my core. I had to admit that his obvious nervousness made me feel a little better, because I鈥檇 felt like I was going to vomit since he stepped out of the van.聽
鈥淗ey, Captain. It鈥檚 a little late. Are you ok?鈥 I asked, shivering.聽
He nodded and cleared his throat again, holding out a bouquet of flowers.聽
鈥淚 just wanted to make sure you got home ok鈥 And I didn鈥檛 want to wake you up by calling鈥 I meant to give you these earlier.鈥 He stepped on the first step, handing me the flowers.聽
鈥淎w, Sy. They鈥檙e beautiful. Thank you,鈥 I said quietly, trying to hold back tears at the sight of the vibrant blooms.聽
鈥淵ou鈥檙e welcome, Sugar. Git inside now. It鈥檚 too cold out here. I鈥檒l see you tomorrow at the festival, ok?鈥
I nodded, not trusting my voice.聽
鈥淕oodnight, Sugar.鈥
鈥淣ight, Captain,鈥 I whispered as I shut the door, watching him until the door was closed, hoping he didn鈥檛 hear the catch in my voice.聽聽
That was so fucking sweet. But why didn鈥檛 he come inside? Because you didn鈥檛 ask him. But maybe he would have thought it was too forward? Too forward? The man had his mouth on your鈥 well. Why didn鈥檛 he at least kiss me? I wanted him to. He didn鈥檛 even come near me.聽
Watching him start the van from the sidelight, I felt tears start to roll down my cheeks. I wasn't sure if they were happy or sad.聽
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He was sitting in the van berating himself for sounding like a dunce. He鈥檇 practiced what he was going to say to her the whole way there from the mill. For some reason, he鈥檇 known she wouldn鈥檛 be able to sleep after what had happened between them that evening and that she鈥檇 be up, most likely reading to try to calm her thoughts.聽
鈥淪mooth, Jack. Real fucking smooth, man.鈥 He leaned his head against the seat, staring at the ceiling in defeat.聽
He鈥檇 wanted to reassure her that he鈥檇 wanted to stay more than anything. That he鈥檇 had to go because that machine was the main one at the mill that employed over fifty percent of the surrounding towns that didn鈥檛 work the farms. That what had happened wasn鈥檛 how he鈥檇 wanted their first time to be, but that it had been amazing seeing her uninhibited like that, and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life seeing her unravel under his touch. He knew he was in deep. Deeper than he鈥檇 initially realized. He鈥檇 never in his life been dumbstruck speaking to a woman.聽
鈥淔uck,鈥 he muttered to himself as she turned off the porch light.聽
Shaking his head, he reversed down the drive. As he was turning onto the road, he was struck by the nerve to do what he鈥檇 wanted in the first place. Why he鈥檇 driven all the way to her cottage after a long night of crawling around under the disgusting machines. He was a soldier, for god鈥檚 sake. He鈥檇 certainly faced scarier situations than Ms. Isobel Payne.聽
Well. Maybe almost as scary, he thought to himself.聽
Slamming on the brakes, he turned back into her drive, stopping just in front of the stairs.聽
He was up the stairs before he knew it, banging on the door like a mad man. The click of the lock sent shivers through his heart as she appeared in the doorway, tears streaking her cheeks. Searching her eyes, he brushed his knuckles down her cheek, wiping away the tears. She gave a little sniffle.聽
Not able to hold himself back anymore, he pulled her through the doorway onto the porch, his arms wrapping around her, holding her close. A hitch in her breath as he lifted her chin, her teeth teasing the corner of her lip, made him have to reign in his primal instinct to take her right then and there on the porch. Tilting his head and giving her a little smile, he kissed her forehead, her cheeks, her nose. Her eyelids fluttered closed and she let out a content sigh in his arms. He knew that she felt exactly the same way he did when his lips parted hers, soft and pliant against his.聽
Her tongue darted out to trace his bottom lip, disappearing too soon for his liking. So he followed it with his own, exploring the soft sweetness of her mouth. He groaned as her arms snaked inside his jacket, around his back, her hands gripping his t-shirt tightly as she pulled him closer.
Deepening the kiss, he gripped her ass, pulling her even closer. She whimpered into his mouth, making his inner caveman beat it鈥檚 chest in victory. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he noted how thin her shorts were and that her skin was freezing though the flimsy fabric.聽聽
Breaking the kiss, he leaned his forehead against hers as they caught their breaths. He held her close, his arms wrapped tightly around her. She lay her head against his chest and shivered in the cold.聽
鈥淚 just wanted to say goodnight,鈥 he murmured. 鈥淎gain. Properly. I should go. It鈥檚 cold.鈥
She gave a little laugh.聽
鈥淕oodnight, Captain.鈥
鈥淕oodnight, Sugar.鈥
He didn鈥檛 release her.聽
鈥淣ot that I mind at all, but I can鈥檛 go in if you鈥檙e still holding me.鈥
Unwillingly, he let her go. She stepped back into the warmth of the house, giving him a shy smile. He couldn鈥檛 help but grin. He decided he wasn't hiding his glee from her. He felt like a damn teenager and he was going to embrace it. He wanted her to know how he felt about her.
Grabbing her hand, he brushed his lips across her knuckles, his beard tickling the soft skin on the back of her hand.聽
鈥淪leep well, Sugar.鈥
鈥淚 think I will now.鈥 She bit her lip, a lopsided smile on her lips that made his heart soar.聽
He had to control his stride as he walked back to the van, wanting to run, jump, dance, something to let his excitement out. He settled for allowing himself a wide smile the whole drive back to his house.聽
馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕聽
鈥淲here do you want the pies?鈥 Tony asked, leaning out the window as he pulled to a stop behind our booths.聽
I gestured to the long table set up behind the smaller ones that the contestants would sit at. Pam rolled her eyes at her husband and graciously took over and directed him where to put the boxes full of pies.聽
鈥淗alf apple, half peach. The peach ones have a hole in the middle, apple has the crimped sides,鈥 Tony called to me from behind the tables as he took them out of the boxes.聽
鈥淭hank you!鈥 I called back as I went back to laying out the auction items.聽
The late afternoon had cleared from the morning snow showers. I鈥檇 already shed my jacket, thankful I鈥檇 thought to put on a sweater dress with leggings and boots as it was warm enough on its own. Just as I was putting the number tag on the PlayStation I heard the chattering of little boys behind me.聽
鈥淢om! Mom! Mom! Look! Oh my god look! Can we get it? Can we? Please? Please? Please? Dad? Please?鈥澛
Joe and Maryanne were standing just beyond the edge of the tent with their little girls in a stroller and the twins hanging on Joe鈥檚 arms like he was a tree.聽
That鈥檚 how Sy would look with kids. Would we have twins? I wonder who鈥檚 side they run on? Oh my god stop, Izzy. He just went down on you, he didn鈥檛 propose for Christ鈥檚聽sake.
鈥淵ou鈥檒l have to ask Ms. Payne how it works,鈥 Maryanne told them, giving an indulgent smile. Quietly she whispered to me on the side, 鈥淲e can鈥檛 rig this, can we?鈥
Joe tsked at his wife and pulled out his wallet to buy tickets.聽
鈥淛ust write your names on this side, and you keep this one. If your ticket gets pulled at the end of the night, we鈥檒l call your name and you win the game.鈥
The boys excitedly wrote their names on the tickets their father had purchased. Joe also bought into the pie eating contest.聽
鈥淚 plan on winning!鈥 he chuckled. 鈥淣ot everyday I get to eat all the pastry I want. Got to keep up appearances and all that.鈥
鈥淥h please, Tony told me you get three donuts every morning.鈥 Maryanne rolled her eyes.
鈥淭ony, what the heck!鈥 Joe called as he went over to talk to him. 鈥淩atting me out to the little woman?鈥
鈥淪he was saying she shouldn鈥檛 get one. I thought it would make her feel better!鈥 Tony laughed.聽
I really love this place. These people. I feel like part of their group. Like they鈥檝e accepted me as one of their own.聽
鈥淚zzy, please tell him there is no such thing as baker/customer confidentiality!鈥 Tony called.聽
鈥淥h I think there might be, Tony.鈥 I shook my head.聽 鈥淚 certainly don鈥檛 want you telling anyone how many danishes I buy.鈥
People were starting to arrive, crowding the closed down Main Street. Games, food, raffles, and vendors lined both sides of the road, and a bandstand was set up in front of city hall with a local band playing top forty country music. I watched with amusement as more people than I expected signed up for the pie eating contest. The amount of auction tickets sold was making me have a permanent smile on my face.聽
We might have enough after all.聽
聽About twenty minutes before the pie eating contest, Mikey came running up the street, out of breath when he reached us. Steve and David were trailing behind him with Annie and Rebecca.聽
鈥淚鈥檓 not too late am I? For the pie eating?鈥澛
I couldn鈥檛 help but laugh.聽
鈥淵ou realize the prize is just another pie, right Mikey?鈥澛
鈥淵eah! Two pies for the price of one!鈥 he nodded. 鈥淧lus, get to show the ladies my skills,鈥 he smirked.聽
Annie tried to smack him in the back of the head, but he dodged her.聽聽
鈥淚f you think this is anything remotely like that, you don鈥檛 know what skills are, Mikey,鈥 Rebecca laughed.聽
鈥淗ey Steve, you got some cash I can borrow?鈥 he asked his brother.聽
鈥淔or crying out loud, Mikey! What happened to the money I gave you yesterday?鈥 Annie asked.聽
鈥淚 had a date!鈥 He waggled his eyebrows as Steve handed him some cash.聽
鈥淚鈥檒l take one ticket please, My Lady.鈥 He leaned down on the table I sat behind, winking at me.聽
鈥淵our last meal, Mikey?鈥 Sy asked from behind him, making him jump.聽
鈥淥h, hey Sy, how鈥檚 it going, man?鈥 Mikey backed away, much to Annie鈥檚 joy.聽
She grinned and looked between Sy and I, elbowing David in the ribs. He nodded as he grimaced, rubbing the spot. Normally I would have been bothered by it, but I didn鈥檛 really care anymore. They knew that we liked each other.聽
Knew it before I did. They just want their friend to be happy. I hope I can make him happy. They obviously think I can.聽
鈥淵ou gonna eat some pie, Sy?鈥 Steve asked as he handed me money for him and David to enter the contest as well.聽
鈥淚鈥檒l buy a ticket, but I think I鈥檓 gonna sit this one out, boys. Gets stuck in the beard, you know.鈥 He stood in front of me, stroking his beard as he handed me the money. 鈥淣othing can compare to the pie I had last night, anyways,鈥 he whispered, giving me a wink.聽
I almost choked on my tongue as I was handing him his change and ticket.聽
Dear god, let me be the only one that heard that.聽
Clearing my throat, I closed my cash box with a snap.聽
鈥淟ast ticket! Though we鈥檒l have an extra pie if Sy doesn鈥檛 participate.鈥
鈥淚鈥檒l take it!鈥 Mikey called from over by the tables, waving his bib in the air. 鈥淚鈥檒l take the extra pie!鈥
鈥淕ood god, you鈥檇 think he didn鈥檛 eat half my fridge this morning when he got home.鈥 Annie rolled her eyes.聽
鈥淗e still living with you guys?鈥 Sy asked Annie.聽
鈥淲hen he鈥檚 home from school. Which seems like he鈥檚 home more than he鈥檚 there. I wonder if he鈥檚 even still going. His grades don鈥檛 look like he is. But it鈥檚 Mikey.鈥 She shrugged and smiled indulgently at her brother-in-law. 鈥淗e鈥檚 the closest thing to a kid we鈥檒l ever get. And he鈥檚 going to live in my basement forever.鈥
Sy was standing next to her, nodding.聽
鈥淵eah, I suppose. Yeah, let him have the pie,鈥 he said to me, watching the rest of them head over to the tables, leaning in and whispering, 鈥淚t鈥檚 the only one I鈥檓 willing to give up to him.鈥
鈥淪y,鈥 I admonished quietly. 鈥淵ou can help referee.鈥
He chuckled and walked with me over to the tables.聽
There was an announcement at the bandstand that the contest would be starting shortly. The crowd began making its way up the street,聽 gathering in front of the tables. Tony stood in front of them with a small trophy in his hand, raising it above his head to get everyone鈥檚 attention.聽
鈥淎lright! We鈥檝e got forty, well 39 contestants to the first Annual Fall Festival Pie Eating Contest! We might think of a shorter name for next year. Anyways! We鈥檒l do groups of ten, one group of nine, obviously, and best times will go on to the final four.聽 Winner gets a pie of their choosing from The Percolator, this spiffy trophy, and glory for God and Kingdom! Plus bragging rights until next year, where they automatically win a seat at the final table. And of course, all proceeds go to the library.鈥 The crowd cheered loudly.聽
The first group sat, including Joey. Sy, myself and Pam stood watching to make sure the pie was all gone, Tony had a stopwatch. Calling for the contestants to be at the ready, hands off the table, Tony shouted 鈥淕o!鈥
The ten men dove face first into the pies, trying to eat as quickly as they could. It was messy, noisy, and a little bit revolting, but the crowd was loving it. Joey didn鈥檛 make it to the final table. Joining us on the sidelines, Maryanne handed him a towel.聽
鈥淢ine was an apple pie. I hate cooked apples,鈥 he griped goodnaturedly. 鈥淚 want a redo!鈥
鈥淣ext year, buddy!鈥 Tony called.聽
The next two groups each went, the winners joining the man that had won the first. The last group came up and in it were David, Steven and Mikey. As they sat down, Mikey was looking around excitedly. Tony gave them the go and they dove in. Mikey was face first into that pie before you could blink. Suddenly he pulled his head back, his mouth full of pie.聽
鈥淎w, what the hell? I didn鈥檛 get peach? This is a rip off!鈥 Then he dove back in.聽
Even with his momentary break to bitch about the flavor of pie he got, Mikey still finished first.聽
The four men that had won their respective rounds all sat down, three of them looking a little sick to their stomachs at having already eaten a full pie in one minute, but Mikey just looked excited that this time, he did in fact, get peach.
They dove in at Tony鈥檚 word and gave it their all. Mikey came out victorious, pie all over his face and in his hair.聽
鈥淭hat鈥檚 how you eat a pie!鈥 He winked at some of the PTO moms hanging over by the bake sale table.聽
Steve laughed when Annie smacked Mikey on the back of the head again.聽聽
鈥淣o, Michael. No PTO moms for Christ鈥檚 sake,鈥 she hissed.聽
鈥淥hhhh, Michael.鈥 Mikey rolled his eyes but still shrunk away from his sister-in-law, eyeing her warily.聽
鈥淗ey, why don鈥檛 you go check out the festival, Izzy?鈥 Maryanne asked, coming over and grabbing the cash box from the table. 鈥淲e鈥檒l man the auction tent and the bake sale with Pam and Tony for a bit. You鈥檝e never been, you should get to enjoy your first time.鈥
Joey nodded as he tried to get some of the apple pie filling out of his ear.聽
鈥淥h, are you sure?鈥
鈥淵eah, they鈥檙e sure, Sugar.鈥 Sy placed his hand at the small of my back, steering me away from the tent.聽
I looked over my shoulder to find them all watching us, then pretending to not be watching us. I bit my lip to hide a smile.
We walked a little ways down the street, stopping to look at some tables of crafts and jewelry. I bought a cute bookmark that had a little silver cow on the tassle.
Sy tried to pay for it but I smacked his hand out of the way.聽
鈥淪ugar.鈥 He sounded annoyed.聽
鈥淵ou still owe me dinner tonight, Captain. Save it.鈥澛
He stared at me, his blue gaze making me feel exposed and hot amid the crowded street, a little grin lifting the corner of his mouth.聽
Oh fuck. It鈥檚 not going to just be dinner. The way he鈥檚 looking at me makes me feel like I鈥檓 going to be dinner. Maybe we should take it slower? Is this too fast? Do I care? I want him. I want him so bad. I don鈥檛 think I can go slow. I don鈥檛 think he can either.聽
Trying to breathe, I broke his gaze, moving onto the next booth where there were all kinds of knitted items. I picked up a very pink snow hat and matching scarf.聽
鈥淵ou sure do love pink, don't ya?鈥 Sy chuckled as I put the hat on, modeling it for him. 鈥淰ery nice, Sugar.鈥
I bought the hat and scarf and a navy blue one for Sy. He protested, insisting on paying.聽
鈥淪tuff it, Captain.鈥 I paid the woman, who was staring at him in awe as he grumbled and moaned about me being a stubborn woman.聽
I get it, sister. I totally get it.聽
We walked over to the next booth and I was surprised to see John standing there. I looked up at the banner they had hanging over the table.聽
鈥淎pplewine Valley Cheeses. Is that Bea on the logo?鈥 I asked him, smiling.聽聽
鈥淭hat damn heifer,鈥 he chuckled. 鈥淢ore trouble than she鈥檚 worth.鈥
鈥淥h no, did she get out again?鈥
鈥淣o, I think she realized all the apples are gone. Her new thing is trying to come into the house. Follows him around like a dog, for crying out loud.鈥 He nodded at his son, who stood behind me trying not to laugh.聽
鈥淚 do like dogs.鈥 Sy shrugged.聽
鈥淚t鈥檚 because you treat her like one.鈥 John pressed his lips together, looking annoyed, but I could tell he was just trying not to laugh.
鈥淗ow鈥檚 business today? We sold out the pie eating contest, and the auction is going well. Thank you so much for the cheese baskets, John.鈥澛
He waved me off, smiling at a couple that had stopped to look at the cheese.聽
鈥淚t鈥檚 nothing, Izzy. Glad we could help. It鈥檚 going fairly well. It鈥檚 starting to get dark, why don鈥檛 you two move along and let me sell some cheese. Taking up space, blocking the product.鈥澛
Giving John a smile and a little wave, we moved on down the street.聽
鈥淥h honey, this is the stuff that Maya had at their party last weekend. I didn鈥檛 realize they were local!鈥 The lady sounded ecstatic as she started grabbing one of each flavor.聽
鈥淵ou hungry, Sugar?鈥 Sy asked, stopping at a food truck selling different fried foods. 鈥淜nowing you, you haven鈥檛 eaten yet.鈥
鈥淚鈥檓 not starving by any means,鈥 I joked, patting my tummy, and in return getting an annoyed stare from him.聽
鈥淣o, I haven鈥檛 eaten yet,鈥 I said quietly.聽
He ordered a funnel cake, a large soft pretzel, and two coffees. I followed him over to a standing table that had been set up on the sidewalk.聽
鈥淒on鈥檛 you want sugar for your coffee?鈥 I asked him, noticing he was drinking it black.聽
He gave me a little lopsided smile and blushed.聽
He鈥檚 fucking blushing, I can鈥檛 survive.聽
鈥淚 don鈥檛 put sugar in my coffee. That whole thing with the sugar at Tony鈥檚? I just did that so I could talk to you.鈥 He looked down at the funnel cake, tearing a little piece off and holding it up to my mouth. 鈥淭hat was the most disgusting coffee I鈥檝e ever drank in my life.鈥
Opening my mouth to his offering, he popped the little piece of fried dough on my tongue, the powdered sugar dusting my lip. His thumb brushed across my bottom lip, picking up the sugar. I watched him in awe as he licked the sugar off his thumb, his eyes locked with mine.聽
Is there an alley around here I can drag him into? Maybe we can go back to the library for a few minutes鈥 an hour鈥 the rest of the night?
Nearly choking on the funnel cake, I took a large swig of the burning hot coffee, sputtering a little.聽聽
鈥淵ou alright there, Sugar?鈥 He smiled as he took a bite of the pretzel.聽
Clearly not.聽
鈥淵eah,鈥 I rasped. 鈥淛ust a little thirsty.鈥
So fucking thirsty.
As we ate, we talked about the job he鈥檇 had to do the night before, how he鈥檇 managed to get the water supply to the machine working enough to run and how he鈥檇 spend the next several days there making sure the problem wouldn't happen again.聽
鈥淭hat mill employs a large part of the surrounding towns. If it鈥檚 out of commission, so are they.鈥 He finished his coffee. 鈥淚鈥檒l try to get back to the library as soon as I can to finish. We need to get the water back on so the heat can be turned on.鈥
鈥淧lus it's a little chilly in that portapotty. But I understand the mill is far more important.鈥澛
He chuckled as he threw the trash away. Coming back to the table, he took my hand and we walked towards the bandstand set up in front of City Hall. Couples were dancing to a slow love song. We crossed the dance floor towards the games.聽
Oh don鈥檛 they all look so sweet. I wonder if Sy dances? Probably not.
A booth was set up with a target game. Sy stepped up to the counter, handing the man some money.聽
鈥淭hree shots, but I should probably just give you pick of the prizes.鈥 He chuckled, handing Sy the BB gun.聽
鈥淵eah, probably.鈥 Sy grinned, glancing up at the stuffed animals hanging from the top of the booth.聽
鈥淗ow many bullseyes for that one?鈥 he asked, gesturing at a giant, fluffy, pink leopard.聽
Sy nodded, handing over the money for the shots and stood on the line, waiting for the man to hang the paper for him.聽
鈥淲atch this.鈥澛
I turned to find Cindy, smiling at me. She gave me a little smile and gestured towards Sy with her chin.聽
鈥淪pecial forces sniper,鈥 she whispered. 鈥淗e鈥檚 always been a crack shot with a bb. Took the head clean off the little cat on Mrs. Tanners Jag when she made Pam fail summer school by one point. Also pierced Billy Scott鈥檚 right earlobe when he was beating on Mikey one day. Literally clear through it. He wore an earring for years after that. But we don鈥檛 talk about that.鈥 She raised an eyebrow at me.聽
鈥淣o, we don鈥檛, Cin,鈥 he muttered.
Oh wow. I know he said he鈥檇 seen a lot of crazy stuff, but special forces? Yikes. I want to hug him.聽
Sy rolled his muscular shoulders, lined up his sights and pulled the trigger. Twelve little pffs followed in rapid succession. The man shook his head as he returned with the paper, only showing one hole. All twelve went through the same hole.聽
Why is that hot? That鈥檚 fucking hot.聽
鈥淚鈥檒l be damned, son.鈥 He handed Sy the ridiculously large leopard. 鈥淚鈥檓 giving this one to Earl to hang behind the bar.鈥
Sy grinned at me, handing me the plush.聽
鈥淔igured you鈥檇 like the pink one, Sugar.鈥澛
I nodded, not trusting myself to speak.聽
Do not cry over a stuffed animal Izzy. You are a grown fucking woman. I know, but no one has ever won me a carnival prize.... Oh my god, can you marry me?
鈥淵ou guys heading back up?鈥 Cindy asked, gesturing up towards our booths.聽
鈥淵eah, we should. It鈥檚 almost time to draw the names.鈥
鈥淲e鈥檒l meet you up there,鈥 Sy said, grabbing my hand and leading me to the edge of the bandstand. 鈥淲anna dance, Sugar?鈥
Oh god.
鈥淪y, are you even real?鈥 I asked him as he pulled me and the leopard into his arms on the makeshift dance floor.聽
鈥淪ometimes I wonder the same about you, Sugar.鈥澛
馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕聽
Swaying to the soft music the band was playing, he couldn鈥檛 help but notice people watching them. She must have noticed too because she buried her face against his chest. Smiling, he tightened his arms around her.聽
She sighed in contentment.聽
鈥淭his just feels right,鈥 he murmured. 鈥淒oes it feel right to you, Izzy?鈥
She nodded against his chest.聽
鈥淵eah, Jack. It does.鈥 Her voice cracked a little.聽
鈥淵ou alright, Sugar? Never called me that before.鈥
鈥淣ever better, Captain. It just seemed to fit the moment better. It is your name.鈥
He smiled again, breathing in her scent and feeling her warmth in his arms. It was like he was home for the first time after being away for years. She felt like home.聽
They were silent for the rest of the dance, parting only after the music completely stopped.聽
Walking hand in hand back up to the library booths, he could have shouted in joy. His heart was full. He knew he was in love with her, he just didn鈥檛 want to scare her by saying so.聽
He鈥檇 wait. He had all the time in the world.聽
Pam and Tony were just closing up the bake sale table, Maryanne and Annie were counting the money, while the guys were gathering the containers with the raffle tickets in them. Putting all the money and prizes in Tony鈥檚 truck, they all walked down to the bandstand while he drove it down the backside of Main Street.聽
Izzy joined Mrs. Tanner and the other booth leaders that had raffles to announce on the stage. Sy joined his friends in the crowd, his eyes never leaving her as she stood on the stage. She looked like she wanted to melt into the floor, but was trying her hardest to appear confident.聽
He couldn鈥檛 wait to be alone with her later. Even if nothing happened. He just wanted to spend uninterrupted time with her.
馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕聽
鈥淟adies and Gentlemen, welcome, welcome, welcome to the 95th annual Fall Festival! What a great day it was! Much warmer than last year when Mayor Hill lost a toe.鈥 She gestured to the older man sitting on the end of the stage, who waved to the swell of applause.聽
鈥淟et鈥檚 get these raffles going so we can move on to the main event! Our esteemed librarian, Ms. Payne, if you would please!鈥
Oh right. I completely forgot about that. I forgot to find out what I agreed to. What the fuck did I agree to?
Maryanne and Pam brought up the ticket containers with their corresponding prizes. I held the containers so Mrs. Tanner could reach in and pull out the tickets. After each one, the crowd clapped and cheered as the winners came up to the front to gather their winnings.聽
鈥淭he big ticket item!鈥 Mrs. Tanner announced as the PlayStation came up on the table. 鈥淚鈥檓 sure all you kiddies were hoping for this one!鈥
She pulled out the ticket and read the name.聽
鈥淥h for crying out loud. Mikey?鈥 she called. 鈥淎ren鈥檛 you a little old for these games?鈥
鈥淔ree pie and a PlayStation!鈥 Mikey whooped as he jumped on the stage to grab his prize.聽
He stood between Mrs. Tanner and I, holding his game in one hand, he wrapped his arm around my shoulder with the other, smiling for the newspaper photographer.聽
鈥淚 won the pie eating contest, too!鈥 Mikey told him happily as they both exited the stage.聽
I followed them down, joining Sy and the others as we watched the rest of the raffle winners be announced. Maryanne and Joe鈥檚 boys attacked Mikey asking if they could come over and play with his videogame.聽
鈥淭hey can have it,鈥 Annie said, pulling it out of his hands and giving it to the awestruck boys. 鈥淚 saw your grades Michael. You won鈥檛 have time for games, you鈥檒l be studying.鈥
Mikey groaned, looking to his brother for support, but only got Steve holding up his hands like he wasn鈥檛 getting involved.聽
聽The rest of the raffles finished off, and Mrs. Tanner once again took center stage.聽
鈥淎lright folks! The moment we鈥檝e all been waiting for! For the first time in over twenty years, the Date Auction is back! All proceeds go to the library repair fund.鈥
What the fuck did this bitch just say?
鈥淭he what?鈥 I gasped, looking at Maryanne, who sank behind her husband鈥檚 massive form. 鈥淢aryanne, what the fuck did she just say?鈥
Oh. You鈥檙e dead. You鈥檙e all dead.聽
鈥淭hat鈥檚 right! And it鈥檚 cash only! No checks, no credit! Ok, before we begin, Mr. Hill would like me to state a few obvious things due to legality reasons. By winning a date, you are getting two hours of the participants time. This is no way a promise of anything untoward, and the contestant may terminate the date at any time. It鈥檚 all in good fun, people, let鈥檚 not make it weird. Without further ado, let's get this party started!鈥澛
I鈥檓 going to be sick. Oh my god. No one is going to bid. Maybe a pity bid. A dollar twenty five. Oh my god.聽
She called up one of the local firemen, much to the single ladies glee, and the bidding started hot and heavy really quick.聽
鈥淥ne hundred and eighty five dollars! Going once, going twice! One hundred and eighty five dollars for firefighter Paulson!鈥澛
A young woman bounced up and down, handing Maryanne the money. She was joined by the fireman who grabbed her and dipped her back, kissing her deeply.聽聽
鈥淗er fianc茅,鈥 laughed Annie, looking at my horrified face.聽
Next she called the man that owned the hardware store, and he brought in over two hundred dollars. The man that owned the butcher shop came up next and the bidding started.聽
To my surprise, Cindy jumped on the first bid. The mayor鈥檚 secretary countered her every bid.聽
鈥淭wo hundred and seventy five dollars!鈥 the woman called, smirking as Cindy dug around in her wallet looking for hidden cash.聽
I pulled out a hundred I kept tucked in my wallet for emergencies and handed it to her quickly.
鈥淭wo hundred and seventy five, going once鈥 going twice鈥︹ Mrs. Tanner called, looking quite pleased at the stir her auction was causing.聽聽
鈥淭hree hundred and seventy dollars!鈥 Cindy yelled.聽
It was now the secretary鈥檚 turn to dig in her wallet.聽
鈥淭hree hundred and seventy dollars! Oh my! Going once! Going twice! Three hundred and seventy dollars for Daniel Moss!鈥 she cried.聽
鈥淥h my god, I鈥檒l pay you back鈥 what the fuck did I just do鈥︹ Cindy had a stupid grin on her face as Daniel made his way down the stage to her.聽
鈥淐indy鈥 you could have just asked me out and saved the money,鈥 he laughed.聽
鈥淚鈥 ah鈥 it鈥檚 for the library....鈥 She let out a nervous giggle as Daniel offered her his arm and walked away with her towards Earls.聽
鈥淪he鈥檚 been in love with him since middle school,鈥 Rebecca murmured, smiling. 鈥淭hey were neighbors growing up.鈥
鈥淥k girls, get your wallets ready. Last up for the men folk, Captain Jack Syverson!鈥 Mrs. Tanner called.聽
I looked next to me to realize he was gone, now standing on the stage. My heart sank. He was looking at me, and gave me a little wink.聽
Oh god. I have to bid for him. In front of all these people. What if鈥.
All thoughts flew from my head as the bidding started.聽
鈥淔ifty dollars!鈥 yelled Louise, Mrs. Tanner鈥檚 friend from yoga class. I looked at her in shock.聽
鈥淲hat? I鈥檝e got a sink in the basement that needs to be looked at!鈥 she laughed.聽
There was a counter offer of seventy five almost immediately. I looked around to see who had called the number.聽
鈥淥ne hundred dollars!鈥 I yelled, realizing who it was.聽
Amber looked daggers at me from in front of the band stand.
鈥淥ne twenty five!鈥 she called.聽
鈥淥ne fifty!鈥
鈥淥ne seventy five!鈥 she barked.
鈥淭wo fifty!鈥 I yelled, hoping by bringing it up so high she would back off.聽
鈥淭wo seventy five!鈥
鈥淭hree hundred,鈥 I called, digging in my wallet.聽
鈥淭hree twenty five!鈥 She sounded triumphant, seeing me scramble.聽
鈥淭hree hundred and twenty鈥 eight,鈥 I called, praying that she didn鈥檛 have anymore.聽
I knew by the nasty smile on her face that I had lost. The crowd was silent, watching the two of us battle it out.聽
鈥淭hree hundred and twenty nine,鈥 she said.聽
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I鈥檓 not going to punch her. I want to. Fuck. Do not cry. God fucking damn it Izzy, don鈥檛 you dare cry.聽
鈥淭hree hundred and twenty nine鈥 going once, going twice鈥 Three hundred and twenty nine dollars for two hours of Captain Syverson鈥檚 attention,鈥 Mrs. Tanner said, sounding as if she had tasted something unpleasant.聽
Maryanne collected the money from Amber, who gave me a look over her shoulder. I looked away from her to Sy, who was pressing his lips together in annoyance.聽
At least he doesn鈥檛 look happy about it.聽
He came down from the stage, heading towards me when Amber stepped in front of him. He said something short to her and stepped around her, coming to a stop in front of me.聽
鈥淭hat shouldn鈥檛 have happened, Sugar. I knew I shouldn鈥檛 have agreed to it. I鈥檒l tell her I won鈥檛 go,鈥 he said quickly.聽
鈥淣o, it鈥檚 fine, Sy. It鈥檚 all in good fun, right?鈥 I said, proud of myself that I sounded so calm when I really wanted to curl up and disappear.聽
鈥淵ou alright, Sugar? I promise, I鈥檒l take her to Earls, buy her a burger and listen to her yap for two hours and then me and you can meet up and do something else after.鈥
No. I want to cry. DO NOT CRY ISOBEL.聽
鈥淚t鈥檚 fine, Sy,鈥 I said.聽
鈥淚 don鈥檛 want you to think-鈥 He was cut off by Mrs. Tanner calling my name.聽
鈥淟adies and Gentlemen! New girl in town, librarian Izzy Payne!鈥 She gestured for me to join her on the stage, but I froze.聽
What if no one bids? What if Sy doesn't bid?聽
鈥淚zzy, you need to get up there.鈥 Maryanne came over and grabbed my arm, leading me to the steps, smiling at all the people looking. 鈥淕o on, it will be fine, I promise! Nothing to worry about, just light-hearted fun!鈥
Shaky legs carried me up the stairs to stand next to Mrs. Tanner. She held the microphone down by her leg and whispered to me.
鈥淚t鈥檚 alright dear, don鈥檛 worry. You鈥檙e the most eligible bachelorette in town! They鈥檙e going to be fighting over you.鈥
I鈥檓 going to vomit.聽
I gave her what I hoped was a winning smile, but felt like it looked like I had a stomach ache.聽
鈥淪hall we start the bidding, gentlemen?鈥 Mrs. Tanner crooned.聽
鈥淭hirty dollars!鈥 Mikey called from the front row.聽
鈥淭hat鈥檚 my change from earlier!鈥 Steve yelled at him.聽
鈥淔orty!鈥 called someone else.聽
鈥淪eventy five!鈥
鈥淥ne fifty,鈥 Sy boomed.聽
鈥淭wo hundred,鈥 called a man from the back.聽
I narrowed my eyes, trying to see him.聽
No. No. No. No. No. It can鈥檛 be. It鈥檚 just my mind playing tricks.
鈥淭hree hundred,鈥 Sy called, not taking his eyes off me.聽
鈥淔our hundred!鈥 called the man in the back, stepping forward.聽
My soul left my body.聽
Pete. Oh, I鈥檓 going to vomit. I鈥檓 really going to vomit in front of the whole town.聽
鈥淔ive hundred!鈥 Sy yelled.聽
Please Sy. Please. Don鈥檛 let him win.聽
He was watching me, noticing the change in my countenance. He turned to look at the other man, just as he counter bid.聽
鈥淪ix hundred dollars!鈥
鈥淪even!鈥 Sy barked.聽
鈥淓ight hundred.鈥 Pete almost sounded bored.聽
Oh god. He always carries so much cash on him. He thinks it impresses people when they see his roll. I can鈥檛. I can鈥檛 do this. Oh my god, can I run? I鈥檒l have to leave town forever if I do, it will be so embarrassing...
I watched as Joey, David, Steven, and even Mikey, emptied their pockets and handed Sy their money.聽
鈥淥ne thousand ... 鈥 He flipped through the cash, 鈥渢wo hundred and sixty one dollars!鈥 Sy called.聽
鈥淥ne thousand three hundred dollars!鈥 Pete yelled.聽
NO. no. no. no. no. no. Fuck. I think I鈥檓 going to pass out.聽
鈥淭wo thousand, seven hundred ninety five dollars and twenty five cents.鈥 John Syverson stepped up to the stage holding his cash box from his booth.聽
John. I love you.聽
鈥淥h my. Oh, Mr. Syverson, how very generous鈥 Going once, going twice鈥 鈥 Mrs. Tanner looked at Pete who shook his head. 鈥淭wo thousand, seven hundred ninety five dollars and twenty five cents, to Mr. John Syverson, senior.鈥
Everyone was silent, watching me.聽
I started to walk off the stage, stopping to lean down to talk to John. I touched his cheek.聽
鈥淭hank you. I will pay you back that money, but. Thank you,鈥 I whispered.聽
He winked at me.聽
Then I ran. I ran all the way to the library, not stopping until I reached my car in the parking lot. I leaned against the side of it, trying to catch my breath. My side ached, I was fighting tears, and finally lost my battle when I realized that my keys were in my coat pocket, and my coat was in Tony鈥檚 truck which was still down behind the bandstand.聽
鈥淔uuuuck!鈥 I cried, sinking against my car.聽
I鈥檒l just hide out here until it clears out.聽
Fuck. Why.
Turning to face the man who ruined my life with more rage in my body than I鈥檇 realized I鈥檇 had, it took everything I had not to strike the man.聽
鈥淗ow dare you come here, Pete.鈥 My voice trembled.聽
鈥淎w, Fizzy Baby. Don鈥檛 be like that. You know I love you. I had no choice, baby, my hands were tied!鈥
My skin crawled at the pet name he had for me.聽
鈥淵ou didn鈥檛 love me, Pete. You only love yourself,鈥 I muttered.聽
鈥淚 came all the way out here to see you and what do I find? You, being auctioned off like some piece of meat! I can鈥檛 even tell you how shocked I was鈥 yet I have to say, I was a little turned on by it. Two hours of your uninterrupted attention鈥 think of the possibilities.鈥
He stepped towards me, crowding my personal space. I backed up as far as I could, bumping into my car.
I suddenly became very aware that we were alone in the library parking lot with everyone else in town three blocks away.聽
Oh. No. This is not good. 聽
鈥淐learly you missed Mrs. Tanner鈥檚 announcement in the beginning, friend,鈥 came a low drawl from the shadows near the building. 鈥淣othing is guaranteed. Not even the lady鈥檚 time.鈥
鈥淚s this what you鈥檙e doing these days, Isobel? Slumming with the locals?鈥 Pete looked dismissively in Sy鈥檚 direction.聽
Stepping into the light, Sy looked like a demon stepping out of the gateway to hell. Pete was a smart man. He looked terrified.聽
鈥淵ou alright over here, Sugar?鈥 he asked me as he walked closer.聽
Oh thank god. Yes, I鈥檓 ok now.聽
鈥淵eah, I鈥檓 fine, Sy. Pete was just leaving.鈥
Sy stood next to me, a little closer to Pete than me, his arms crossed, staring at Pete.聽
鈥淧ete, huh?鈥 He looked over his shoulder at me.聽
I nodded.聽
Sy turned and considered the man for a second. Then he punched him in the stomach so hard Pete鈥檚 feet left the ground. Pete let out a cry like a wounded puppy. Gripping his shirt, Sy punched him once more in the face and was advancing on him to keep going, and by the look on his face he would have killed him if I hadn鈥檛 gotten in between them.聽
鈥淪y! No! What the fuck!鈥 I pushed him away from Pete.聽
鈥淵ou鈥檙e fucking lucky I didn鈥檛 come across your sorry ass alone,鈥 Sy said, backing away.聽
Pete was groaning on the ground, holding his eye.聽
鈥淕et out of here Sy. Now,鈥 I said to him.聽
I didn鈥檛 want him to get in trouble. I wouldn鈥檛 put it past Pete to press charges.聽
鈥淏ut Sugar, this is the guy that ruined your life! He threw you away like yesterday鈥檚 trash!鈥 Sy looked at me, incredulous.聽
It鈥檚 because I am trash. Thanks for reminding me, Captain.聽
鈥淚鈥檓 well aware of that!鈥 I yelled at him. 鈥淕o. I need to deal with this and I can鈥檛 do that with you here.鈥
Looking wounded, he turned to go, but thought better of it and took a step towards Pete, who scuttled away from the imposing Captain.聽
鈥淚f you ever show your face in this town again, prepare to be pig food, you piece of shit.鈥 He spat, then giving me a burning look, he turned on his heel and walked off into the night.聽
Oh, Sy. No. Please don鈥檛 hate me. No. Please.聽
鈥淛esus Christ, Isobel! Who are these people you鈥檙e getting involved with!鈥 He held his hand out for me to help him up. 鈥淚sobel?鈥
鈥淚zzy! Izzy are you ok honey?鈥 Maryanne called, running towards me, followed by Joe and the rest of them.聽
They all stopped at the edge of the lot, seeing the man on the ground. I held my hand up to them, signaling that I was ok.聽
鈥淲hy are you here, Pete? Why are you really here?鈥 I said quietly, shaking with anger.聽
鈥淚 was in the big city nearby at the college, and I thought I鈥檇 look you up to see how you鈥檙e doing in your new position. I鈥檝e missed you terribly, Fizzy Baby. I was hoping we could talk things out. It鈥檚 over with me and Felicity. She left me.鈥澛
One very small, miniscule part of me that had hidden deep in the lowest recesses of my mind felt a little jolt at his words. That little part was promptly stomped on by the entire rest of my being.聽
鈥淵ou dare to come here? To come to my home? To think that I would ever want anything to do with you? You ruined my fucking life, Pete! You destroyed everything that I worked for because you couldn鈥檛 just be honest with me. Hate is not a word I like, you know that. I don鈥檛 hate you. No. No, it鈥檚 much worse than that. Much deeper. I fucking despise you,鈥 I growled at him.聽
He flinched at my words.聽
Do not fucking cry, Izzy. Get through this. Get home. Then you can cry.聽
鈥淐ouldn鈥檛 you just leave it alone? Leave me to my banishment? This is my home now. You had to come here and ruin whatever I had going for me here, too? Get up, you poor excuse for a man. GET UP!鈥 I yelled at him.聽
He stood, looking warily over my shoulder. I glanced back to find that Joe, Steve, David, and Mikey were all standing behind me, looks of murder on their faces. I shook my head no, signaling for them to stay put. Turning back to Pete, I took a step forward.聽
鈥淚 don鈥檛 want to ever hear from you again, do you understand me Pete? I want you to pretend I am dead. Because that鈥檚 what I am to you. A ghost. I don鈥檛 exist. Now go. Leave and never, ever think of me again.鈥 I started to turn away, but he spoke.聽
鈥淏ut Isobel, baby! We can be together agai-鈥 I didn鈥檛 let him finish.聽
My fist connected with his jaw sending him flying back onto the pavement, passed out cold.聽
馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕 馃崕
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@worshipping-skarsgard @fangirl199812 @myloveforhenrycavill聽 @sofiebstar @daddys-littlewhitegirl @memoriesat30 @daydreamerinadazedworld @endofalldays01 @sugarpenchant @as3garotas @nothingbettertosay81 @shy-violet-soul @palaiasaurus64 @moonlacebeam @justbehindmyself @purplelove75 @kaunis-sielu @mylani3110 @osugahunnyicedtea @seriouslygoodlookinggents @ashesofblackroses @toomanyfandomsshreya @scaryashmonster聽 @sarabeth72 @littletime67 @wolfsmom1聽 @pedeka @craftynidan聽 @tinchentitri聽 @archy3001 @sweetsigyn聽 @theblackthrone聽 @ladyoftheteaandblood聽 @sf0206聽 @mortaltrouble 聽 @the-celtic-swan @marantha @psiphidragon @jebra1999聽 @tinaferraldo @nuggsmumwriting @honeybournehippy @devilbat @libbymouse @happiness-in-the-dark @craftynidan聽 @cavillsharman @wayward-gypsy @wheretheriversrunintothesea聽 @mrmiyagislittletrees @deathbyukmen @mandapanda8 @outpouringpassion @itmighthavebeenintentional @mrsshiddleston @actionnerdgamerlove @hows-my-hair @lunedelorient @diehades @radkesgirl83聽 @bbkenna @sarcastic-coffeedrinker @jessiecavill @foxyjwls007 @missemrose @our-chaoticwhispers @its--fandom--darling @ronalduswanson @tryingtoliveonmywishes @whatbecameofsubtlety @sweetlybigdragonn -it still didn鈥檛 work :(聽@introvertedmouse
聽For some reason these ones aren't linking 馃し鈥嶁檧锔弍lease let me know if i鈥檓 a dumbass and have it spelled wrong. That鈥檚 the problem a lot of times.聽
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dramatic-dolphin2 months ago
My favorite takes about Gil-Galad's parentage so far, ranked from least to most absurd:
Orodreth's son, Finduilas's brother (a solid take, the most easily explainable one)
Actually Finduilas, who somehow didn't die
Lalwen's son, who Fingon claimed as his own
Son of a F毛anorian, who Fingon is passing off as his own and everyone just lets it slide because they need an heir
Related to the last one, everyone thinks Fingon is doing a terrible job of hiding that he's the son of a F毛anorian, but actually he's doing a great job of hiding that Gil-Galad isn't even related to anyone in the royal family
Actually Elur茅d
Some rando who deliberately conned his way into kingship, but he's good at it and no one else wanted the job anyway
Some rando who accidentally conned his way into kingship and doesn't know how to get out of it
Someone who got hypnotized by a dragon into believing he's the rightful king, and no one -including the dragon - thought he'd do such a good job at it
Finrod had a Science Idea, and now he's the son of Finrod and Fingon and Maedhros too
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intermundiaa month ago
What are fanfic tropes that you like to write the most? What are the ones you don't see yourself ever writing?
I don鈥檛 know if it鈥檚 a trope exactly, but I鈥檓 obsessed with writing the first time they cross the line, you know? Like I鈥檓 fixated on the moment that they break and their desire and love triumphs over all the things that hold them apart. The reason I like obikin so much is that there are so many reasons they can鈥檛 be together, but they love each other so much that it breaks all those barriers. I鈥檓 less interested in writing established relationship things because it鈥檚 the conflict that I adore.
Honestly the only thing I can鈥檛 imagine writing are my squicks (pregnancy, alien biology, exhibitionism, noncon, etc). Like if you鈥檇 asked me last year, I would have said oh I would never write fluffy modern AU stuff, but then I did write My Ananke lol so really everything else is on the table.
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sohotthateveryonedied10 months ago
I made a Batfamily-centric DC timeline that covers Pre-52, New-52, and Rebirth content in one slideshow, so here it is! Feel free to use this as a resource for fanfic/fanart references, sources for comic issues, or if you just want to read me narrating the DC universe with way too many puns and memes
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lucifer-is-a-bag-of-dicks5 months ago
what the fuck I just found this in my drafts I literally wrote this years ago, like a very significant number of years ago this is old shit
and apparently I just saved it and forgot about it??? anyway I polished it up and now it is here, I have no context and I barely even remember writing it, enjoy!
my apologies for the long post I still can't figure out how to do read mores in the app
edit: some lovely people have unformed me how to use readmores, thank you ~
Jack was starting to wonder perhaps if he'd done something wrong.
It wasn't uncommon for him to accidentally say or do something to upset his wife or daughter, although usually when such an event occurred Maddie would glare at him to express her displeasure, and Jazz would always take the opportunity to tell him in exact detail what he'd done wrong and how to make it up to them (something he was honestly very grateful for).
It must have been something pretty bad this time, because both women wouldn't even look him in the eye.
Jack first twigged that something was off that morning during breakfast, when he sat in the empty chair by Jazz's side and gave his usual greeting, "Hey Jazzypants!"
She ignored his presence completely, steely eyes glued to the wall opposite her, they were puffy and red and Jack wondered perhaps if she'd been crying.
It had been a long time since her problems were easily pushed aside by her father's warm hugs and jovial attitude,聽he had stopped being able to handle a crying Jazz after she'd turned twelve and countered his attempts at humour by insisting that he 'stop trivialising her distress', whatever THAT meant.
Nevertheless, warm hugs and gentle jokes were the only method he knew and so he wrapped a comforting arm around her thin shoulders, noting that she continued to sit still as a rock, not even glancing his way as he tried to coax a smile out of her.
Jazz didn't say a word as she pushed herself away from her unfinished breakfast and left the room.
It was when he walked down to the lab intending to ask Maddie about Jazz that Jack started to suspect he may have been the one responsible, as it became apparent that the two had seemed to coordinate their punishment for whatever transgression he'd made.
"Hey Mads!" his voice boomed over the noise of his wife's current project. He strained to see through the bright light of her blow torch at the large gun-like weapon on the table. Jack whistled in appreciation is he took in the size of what he assumed was some kind of rocket launcher. "So what are we calling this one? Ooh! How about, The Fenton Spectre 'Sploder!"
Maddie's goggles made it difficult to see what expression adorned her face, but her tensed shoulders and the shaky grip on the blow torch told him that she was most certainly upset about something.
"Mads? Are you alright?" his voice quivered slightly as he took a few steps closer, seeing his wife this tense tightened a coil within his chest. Suspecting that he may be responsible added an extra weight to his stomach that he knew wasn't cause by the breakfast he'd skipped.
The light from the blow torch snapped off and Jack had to blink the bright spots it left behind from his vision, trying to peer through the blotches to find any indication that Maddie was going to acknowledge his presence. It seemed as though she'd looked his way for a moment but before his eyes could clear enough to meet hers she'd looked away again.
Jack watched, puzzled as his wife raised a hand to cover her mouth and catch the sob that ripped its way from her throat, she hadn't succeeded as the sound echoed across the lab and tore its way straight through Jack's heart, causing his eyes to sting and his throat to close up.
He reached a hand out to touch her shoulder, intent on giving her some form of comfort. He'd barely brushed it with his finger tips before Maddie stormed right past him up to the stairs, Jack had to quickly stumble backwards to avoid being trampled.
He couldn't imagine what he possibly could have done to elicit such a response from the woman he loved, but he knew for sure that he must have done something聽terrible for her to not seek him out for comfort like she did any other time she was upset. He just wished he could remember what.
Jack's shoulders slumped under the dim light of the glowing jars of ectoplasm lining the various counter-tops, he dry-swallowed a few times, trying to push down his confusion and distress before following his wife's light footsteps up the stairwell.
He found her in the kitchen, leaning against a counter with her goggles slung around her neck and her wild red hair loose around her head, abundant with the kinks and tangles Jack usually watched her brush out of it every morning.
"Mads?" Jack said, voice rough and quiet, "Look I... if I did something wrong I-" Jack's apology froze in his throat as Jazz poked her head through the kitchen door, eyes once again glancing right over Jack and instead locking onto her mother.
Neither woman shared a word as Jazz crossed the room and wrapped her arms around Maddie, who desperately grabbed at her daughter in return, burying her face in long red hair as violent sobs wracked her whole body.
Jack, at a loss of what else to do, wrapped his own arms around his girls. Nestling his chin on his daughters hair, he expected the annoyed scoff that Jazz usually gave him for his 'chin noogies', but it never came. Neither Fenton woman pushed him away though, so Jack considered it progress.
Finally, after an age of rocking and sobbing, Maddie's muffled words escaped through strands of Jazz's hair.
"Where is he? W-where'd he go, where'd he go?"
A deep chill coursed through Jack's veins, Danny? Had something happened to Danny?聽Jack pulled away, a million questions thrumming through his mind.
What happened? Was he missing? Was he hurt? Had he run away, been kidnapped, been kill- no. Jack shook his head violently, running a hand through the shorts strands of his thick hair. No he couldn't be. He couldn't be he couldn't be.
Jack's mouth was on the verge of catching up to his brain, multiple questions bubbled at his lips when he heard a voice echo down the stairs.
Jack took a steadying breath and grasped at the counter for support, relief flooding his body as his son rounded the corner and came into view. Danny was fine, Danny was safe. He had been fretting over absolutely nothing.
Then Danny's eyes locked into his.
A number of emotions flickered across his son's face, the first being a brief moment of sheer relief and delight, but it didn't last. Soon, too soon, Danny's dark brows pulled together and his lips curled sourly in confusion before a new expression swept it away. It was one Jack had never seen before.
He felt as though the air had been sucked out of the room, an icy chill prickled up his arms as the sudden wave of absolute horror overtook Danny's face. Jack couldn't tell if his son was about to break down crying or scream.
And then it was over. The tension in Jack's limbs released as Danny's face flattened into an unnaturally blank expression, he dropped his gaze and continued his way over to Maddie and Jazz. Once again it was like Jack wasn't even there.
Danny placed a hand on his mother's shoulder. "Maybe you should do another lap around town, you might find something today." he spoke softly into her frazzled hair.
Jazz looked at Danny strangely, her brother sent her back a glance that must have held some meaning because she then gripped Maddie tightly around the shoulders and led her straight out of the house, and suddenly Jack recalled that he still didn't know who it was that had gone missing.
"So... is anyone gonna tell me what's going on?" the jovial tone Jack meant to use came out flat and strained, Danny didn't look even remotely amused.
"I think you should sit down." Danny said quietly. He was no longer meeting Jack's eyes as he pulled out a chair for himself and one for his father.
Jack took the offered seat and prepared himself for the worst, obviously someone dear to Maddie and the kids had gone missing, Jack ran a list of all the people they knew, preparing himself for the worst, it was obvious Danny did not want to tell him what had happened. Perhaps whoever was missing was someone that Jack in particular had been close to? Was that the reason behind the horrified look on Danny's face? Because he'd realised he was going to have to be the one to tell him?
Something in Jack's gut told him he was on the wrong track, but try as he might he just couldn't imagine what else it could possibly be.
Jack kept his eyes on his son as the boy's thin torso straightened up in his chair and his icy blue stare bored into Jack's. Danny took a deep breath, then took several more, eventually he seemed almost ready to speak, Jack didn't rush him.
"Dad... you're dead."
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Bleeding butterflies - OT7 vampire au
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This was supposed to be written one way but then it became softer than what I originally planned.... oh well. Fluff and angst below
鈥淪weetheart don鈥檛 stray too far,鈥 Hobi mumbles into your hair as you pull away from him to find a bathroom.
A hand grabs yours as you stand, 鈥渟hall we come with you?鈥 There鈥檚 a serious expression on Yoongi鈥檚 face filled with concern that makes you roll your eyes with a smile.
鈥淚鈥檒l be fine Yoongi,鈥 you reassure him but he doesn鈥檛 look convinced.
鈥淵ou know what to do if you need us sweetheart,鈥 Jin says.
鈥淵ell for you, I know,鈥 you say. 鈥淕uys I鈥檓 just going to the bathroom, stop over worrying.鈥
Yoongi kisses the hand he holds and lets it go, 鈥淚t鈥檚 you precious, we can鈥檛 help but worry.鈥
You shake your head at their concern but smile, love spreading across your chest at the yearning gazes on you. You hated they thought you were so fragile but in their world you couldn鈥檛 deny that you were compared to them.
The lights are dim in the club, you were all out tonight because Jimin wanted to drink and dance for his birthday. It was 11pm and you wanted to be in bed, but watching Taehyung and Jimin on the dance floor amongst other bodies, enjoying themselves, made the loss of sleep worth it.
Jimin spotted you, gazes finding each other as if spotlights were on you both, the blood bond worked like that sometimes. He smirks, tongue gliding over his lips without breaking eye contact as he moves his body with lust, no one could move their hips like Jimin and he knew it.
You ignore the blush building in your cheeks at his stare and look away, walking towards the back of the building where the bathrooms are located. There are swarms of bodies around you, Friday night proved to be the busiest, slurs of sounds surrounded you but you couldn鈥檛 make out a single word, a thousand scents invaded your senses. You couldn鈥檛 understand how they could always find you no matter how chaotic the background, your beating heart was the only sound they bothered to tune into, they were addicted to the way you smell, so sweet like the blood in your veins, mouthwatering, tempting, a fruit they would never allow to be forbidden from taste.
鈥淛ust a bite,鈥 the words you鈥檝e heard so many times from 7 men was now uttered by a foreign voice that stood out amongst the crowd. You spot it鈥檚 owner hunched by the entrance of the restroom, clutching his throat in pain as his red eyes begged you for blood.
鈥淚鈥檓 so hungry please,鈥 his voice is hoarse as he speaks and you can see the amount of pain he鈥檚 in. Against your better judgement you approached him in worry. 鈥淚 could smell you from a mile away, I鈥檓 dying I haven鈥檛 fed in so long.鈥
The boys had explained it to you before, your blood was different, it was a gift for supernatural beings, a beacon of life in a very bleak world.
鈥淛ust a drop,鈥 he begins to cry, shaking violently as he succumbs to the pain he鈥檚 under. 鈥淚 want to live.鈥
Immortality came with a price, there was balance of life in the universe, to live you must take the essence of life away, maintain the scales of energy. Thus the cost, blood was used in all supernatural practices to remain young and alive; witches in their brews, werewolves in their sacrifices to the moon, for vampires, blood was the fountain of youth.
You knew this dishevelled man could not help but seek you out, of course he knew who you were, you were claimed by the princes of his world and still out of desperation he risked a torturous death to live. You understood why, he was going to die either way, he had nothing left to lose.
鈥淚 don鈥檛 want to kill anyone, please just a drop,鈥 he reaches out to you but does not touch you without your consent, you can feel the anguish overcoming his senses, the instinct to survive and yet he was holding back from tearing you alive. It reminded you too much of the first time you allowed Jungkook to drink from you, back when you hated the 7 men, when you refused to bow to the rules of their world, and the resemblance makes you weak.
There came the dilemma, if he drank from another human his venom would turn them into a vampire, or he鈥檇 drink them dry. You were immune to their venom, every immortal kind knew of you, you were called different things in each clan鈥檚 prophecies but the general gist was the same. The blood moon, the blood candle, the blood fruit, the blood stone, the many names that you learnt of when you met the bangtan coven, and tried to run.
So many names for a mere human being, but the blood your heart held was blessed, no clan or coven knew how, the stories were inconclusive but the fact remained, a drop of your blood was equal to buckets of blood from a thousand lives, a drop of your blood could cure any illness that plagued the supernaturals, increase strength and abilities tenfold, there were no limits and no one knew the extent of what it could do.
Bangtan found you first, and when all was revealed you thought they wanted you for themselves, but it took time to realise their intentions in capturing you was to protect you from the other covens who would treat you like a blood mule, constantly milking your blood for their own gain. They wanted to give you a choice, there was a war over who got to control you and bangtan won you over and won the battle to your relief.
To prove themselves to you they didn鈥檛 touch an ounce of your blood, refused to drink even when you were temptation in a glass, it was only when they were on deaths door you begged them to give in and they let themselves. You remembered the pain they were in so vividly, you could see it reflected in this man鈥檚 eyes and it made you nod without realising. You would never refuse them, you couldn鈥檛 refuse this man, his doe eyes reminded you too much of the youngest of the princes.
His hands grab your arm, pulling you close, 鈥渇orgive me please.鈥
You focus on the darkness as you closed your eyes, the deep beat of the music that resonated in your veins with your heart rate that increased as you felt his breath on your neck. It felt so wrong to have anyone else touch you like this, panic and discomfort made themselves home in your limbs not that this stranger cared or could tell. You try not to think about the reaction of the boys when they find out, how angry they were going to be.
You wonder why he hasn鈥檛 taken a bite yet, why he鈥檚 torturing you both with this pause. You open you eyes and meet red eyes filled with fury and you both are frozen in fear.
鈥淪tep away from her,鈥 the growl in Namjoon鈥檚 voice made you shudder in terror. The grip on you didn鈥檛 relent despite the command. Jungkook stands ready to attack at any given second, breathing heavily as he holds himself back.
鈥淪ire, I can explain,鈥 the hoarse voice next to you begs.
鈥淟et her go. Now.鈥 Jungkook鈥檚 ferocity is seen like a fire on his face, your usual soft prince could tear someone鈥檚 head off without blinking and his eyes did not leave the pair of you.
鈥淛oon,鈥 you try to plead but you don鈥檛 know what to say.
鈥淒on鈥檛 say a word,鈥 he warns, glare turned directly to you rather than the scene in front of him, and it makes you cower where you stand.
鈥淵ou鈥檒l kill me if I let her go,鈥 the grip on you tightens, as he gets closer to you so that if they made a move against him he could compensate by hurting you.
鈥淵ou鈥檙e dead either way, but if you hurt her I鈥檒l make it painful,鈥 Jungkook promises with a dangerous dark look in his eyes.
鈥淒on鈥檛 let me go,鈥 you say to him, defying the men in front of you who鈥檚 eyebrows raise with surprise and they do not look impressed. 鈥淣ot until they promise me they won鈥檛 hurt you...鈥
Namjoon bites his cheeks in anger as his nose flares and jaw clenches. Jungkook looks like a bull ready to charge.
鈥淏utterfly?鈥 Jimin joins you from the crowd with a solemn expression. You could see the doubt in their eyes for a moment that your heart was somewhere else.
鈥淗e鈥檚 hungry and dying, he just needs a drop,鈥 you try and reason but it makes Jimin look at you in displeasure.
鈥淎bsolutely not,鈥 Taehyung鈥檚 low growl makes its arrival with the others and the crowd begins to notice the gathering despite the low lights and loud bass.
鈥淵our people are suffocating and dying because of the restrictions you鈥檝e placed,鈥 the previous desperation turns into guttural anger. 鈥淵ou鈥檝e forbidden us from drinking from humans, the blood banks are running dry and yet you hoard the blood fruit selfishly without sparing us a drop.鈥
His hand travels to your throat and you suck a breath in before he presses. The pressure is harsh, not enough to break your wind pipe but enough to stop air flowing. Namjoon holds Jungkook back as he takes a step towards you both. Yoongi has his hands on Jimin and Taehyung as they move forward in panic.
鈥淚f you won鈥檛 share why should you have her?鈥 He goads them with a death wish, you can feel the room begin to spin, the men you loved begin to fade. 鈥淚f you won鈥檛 use her blood for our gain then what鈥檚 the point of her? Why did we fight in a war and lose our loved ones and lives for this?鈥
He squeezes harder with each word and you can the drumming of your heart beat in your ears as you struggle against him.
鈥淚 lost the love of my life because of you,鈥 he says and the world turns black.
It hurts, your throat is dry and on fire, your limbs are heavy. The world is still dark before you realise your eyes are still closed against the light. There鈥檚 a pounding in your head as you regain awareness, asking yourself what happened, forgetting what occurred.
鈥淪weetheart,鈥 it鈥檚 Jin鈥檚 voice that rouses you to rise to the surface of consciousness and break through. You open your eyes to the sight of him pressing his lips against your hand as he held it. 鈥淚 told you to yell,鈥 he scolds softly.
You try to speak but it burns causing you to wince and his lips are firmer against your hand at the sound.
鈥淒on鈥檛 try and speak Angel,鈥 Taehyung leans against the door frame solemnly, he doesn鈥檛 take his eyes off the bruise on your neck.
You wanted to ask how much trouble you鈥檙e in, you look at Jin pathetically and he can read your thoughts, call it the blood bond.
鈥淒on鈥檛 worry about it now, just rest my love,鈥 one hand still holds onto yours as the other strokes your hair back as comfortingly as he can. Your eyes go to meet the younger prince and you wonder why he鈥檚 so far away. The pain in your body is minimal compared to the ache in your chest when he looks away from you and leaves.
You whimper as he takes his steps and Jin is the one hushing you. He kisses the tears that are escaping from your eyes to the pillow. You want to ask him where the others are, you want to know if they鈥檒l forgive you.
鈥淚t鈥檒l be alright my love,鈥 he tries to reassure you. 鈥淲e thought we lost you, they just need time.鈥
It鈥檚 hard to catch your breath through the pain and tears. You notice the IV drip in your other arm, how long were you out for? How did they get you out of that man鈥檚 clutches? How angry were they at you?
You let go of Jin鈥檚 hand to clutch onto his shirt with all your strength and pull him closer. You beg him with your eyes to not leave. He sighs before lying down properly next to you, trying his best to soothe the ache away, but he knew you wouldn鈥檛 rest until you saw the others. He hates playing dirty with you, he knows he鈥檚 not allowed to do this against your wishes but he could hear the gears turning in your head and smell the anxiety you were building in yourself. You鈥檒l forgive him eventually.
He grabs your chin to make sure your eyes are level with his, 鈥渞elax,鈥 he commands and through compulsion he can feel it take effect. 鈥淪leep.鈥
You鈥檙e alone when you come round the second time, the room鈥檚 dark, the light from the full moon illuminates enough of your surroundings through the glass wall.
鈥淛-oon?鈥 Your voice comes out broken and croaked, the single word uttered felt like your throat was being crushed again, but you didn鈥檛 want to be alone. 鈥淣a-amjoon?鈥
You try not to sob but you can鈥檛 help it, the anxiety was back tenfold and you needed one of them here with you. You called the head of the Royal house of Bangtan because the others would follow. He would be the only one who could reassure you it would be okay, he was the decision maker, he was the one to lead them. Nothing the others could say would calm you until you spoke to Namjoon.
He moves too fast for you to see when he enters, but you feel the gust of movement before he takes a seat on the edge of the bed next to you. His gaze is stoic as he looks down at your figure. You can鈥檛 help but latch onto his hand to keep him close to you.
鈥淚鈥檓 sorry,鈥 you鈥檝e nearly lost your voice with how hard it is to get sound out, but he hears you fine.
He sighs as he looks away but doesn鈥檛 remove his hand from your hold, instead he holds it so he can rub his thumb in circles on the back of yours. He looks up at the moon and doesn鈥檛 say a word.
You don鈥檛 know how much time passes but you both don鈥檛 make a sound, you know this silence means he鈥檚 still processing whatever emotions the altercation caused but when he heard your call for him he couldn鈥檛 ignore it. You pulled at his dead heart, you caused it to feel the ghost of beating, it was yours, he couldn鈥檛 deny you. It felt like dying all over again when they heard your windpipe breaking, when your eyes glossed over as if life escaped them and your body was an empty shell where your soul had left. That moment he鈥檇 never forget, it replayed in his mind a thousand times, torturing him with what if it was too late, what if they didn鈥檛 save you? He tries to remind himself they did get to you in time, but then he wonders, what if next time he鈥檚 not so lucky? Thus the distance hes created between you both, the others following suit. You鈥檙e so fragile, maybe if they kept you at arms length it wouldn鈥檛 hurt so much but it was too late for that, you were theirs.
鈥淛oon,鈥 his jaw clenches at how weak you sound, looking down at his lap as his thumb stops its soothing on your skin. You think he鈥檚 about to cry when he finally looks at you.
鈥淟ight of my life,鈥 his low voice rumbles. 鈥淭hat was the most idiotic thing you鈥檝e ever done.鈥
You flinch at his words, at his tone, at the glistening of his eyes in the moonlight.
鈥淲e nearly lost you Y/n,鈥 he sucks in a breath harshly, his body starting to shake from fury and despair. Namjoon doesn鈥檛 cry, this is the closest you鈥檝e seen him to it. 鈥淲hy did you do something so stupid?鈥
鈥淗e was desperate,鈥 you manage to croak out, the strangers words coming back to you like a bad dream.
Namjoon scoffs at you, 鈥測ou鈥檙e too good my love, so good it鈥檒l get you killed one day.鈥
The look he gives you is one of great weight, you understand it, you do. If the shoe was on the other foot you know you鈥檇 react the same, but it wasn鈥檛. This was your blood, your life, and you鈥檇 make human naive mistakes through out it, but this wasn鈥檛 one of them, not in your mind.
鈥淗e was right Joonie,鈥 the stern look he gives you intensifies as you speak. 鈥淵our people are suffering, and they鈥檇 only need a dr-鈥
鈥淵/n stop talking,鈥 he removes his hand from yours and stands, not wanting to hear it.
鈥淏ut why?鈥 The pain in your throat increases with each word but you don鈥檛 relent. 鈥淭hey fought for us Joon, because we fell in love, and we鈥檙e repaying them by starving them.鈥
鈥淣o.鈥 Hes adamant, but so are you. For now you let it drop and ask something else that plagued your thoughts.
鈥淒id you kill him?鈥
He could see the pleading in your eyes, and you prayed they hadn鈥檛 even though you know there was no possible way he could be alive. His death was on you, whether directly or not, he was in that state because of you.
鈥淚t wasn鈥檛 your fault, he knew what he was getting into,鈥 he tried to reassure you, but you kept quiet. There was no point in arguing with him, you already accepted the truth.
鈥淏utterfly please,鈥 Jimin whined exasperated as you turned your face away from him and the spoonful of soup stubbornly. 鈥淛ust have a little.鈥
He was on his last tether with your attitude, and you knew you were seconds away from his more stricter side coming through. You could be the biggest brat when you wanted to but Jimin was an excellent brat tamer. Today you鈥檇 win, you cemented yourself to your knees, you were not budging no matter what.
鈥淲hy aren鈥檛 you eating precious?鈥 Yoongi sat on your other side, while Hobi sat on the foot of the bed so one of them would be in your eye line. You couldn鈥檛 possibly deny all of them.
You crossed your arms childishly, 鈥渢ell Namjoon to agree first and then I鈥檒l eat.鈥
鈥淪weetheart,鈥 Hobi sighs as he buries his face in his hands, trying to be patient. 鈥淲e can鈥檛 tell him to agree if we don鈥檛 either.鈥
鈥淚t鈥檚 my blood,鈥 you say stubbornly.
鈥淚t鈥檚 our kingdom,鈥 Jimin bites back, the glare in his gaze growing. 鈥淓at the damn soup or I鈥檒l feed it to you through a tube.鈥
His stern expression was serious about his threat, by hook or by crook you were having that soup. He could be stubborn too.
鈥淏ut it鈥檚 safer to use my blood,鈥 you try to reason. 鈥淭here鈥檒l be less human and vampire deaths due to hunger or desperation, there鈥檒l be no need for the blood banks or at least less demand.鈥
鈥淣o,鈥 Jimin repeats his leaders words in the same tone, there鈥檚 no room for argument, it would fall onto deaf ears.
鈥淏ut why?鈥 He can hear the oncoming storm of tears in your voice as your tried to hold it together through your frustration.
鈥淔or us precious, the blood bond is like a wedding ring, we鈥檙e in it for life and life is forever,鈥 Yoongi tries to explain.
鈥淚 don鈥檛 understand,鈥 Jimin shoved the spoonful of soup into your mouth as you finish talking, a victorious smirk on his face as you swallow but give him evil eyes.
鈥淵ou don鈥檛 cheat on your husband because someone else doesn鈥檛 have a wife,鈥 Hobi deadpans. 鈥淲e know it鈥檚 not fair but sweetheart you don鈥檛 have to worry we鈥檝e got this under control.鈥
鈥淏ut he was starving Hobi,鈥 you argued back. 鈥淗e didn鈥檛 have to die because of something so stupid as a blood claim!鈥
鈥淧recious stop your throats going to get worse,鈥 Yoongi turns your face to his with both hands caressing your cheeks. 鈥淧recious do you have any idea how many supernatural beings want to steal you away from us, some are our own kind, we don鈥檛 know who to trust and we refuse to trust anyone when it comes to you. What if you form a blood bond with someone else? What if they use that to their advantage?鈥
鈥淪top being so naive Y/n,鈥 Jimin cuts in. 鈥淗e had an agenda, whether he was dying or not, he didn鈥檛 innocently follow your scent because he was starving.鈥
鈥淪weetheart, we鈥檝e never let the blood banks run dry, there is more than enough supply we鈥檝e made sure of it,鈥 Hobi chimes in.
鈥淏ut he sai-鈥
鈥淗e was lying butterfly,鈥 Jimin looks at you through dark eyes. 鈥淭hat鈥檚 why we killed him.鈥
鈥淔ine,鈥 you sniffle, blinking fast to stop your eyes watering. Jimin frowns, he couldn鈥檛 understand why this made you so upset. Yoongi tuts at how you bottom lip is trembling as you look down at your lap, he kisses your hair, lingering there as close as he can, inhaling your scent that smells like petrichor when you鈥檙e sad.
鈥淪weetheart, you understand why we had to, don鈥檛 you?鈥 Hobi says carefully, knowing your tears were on the edge of falling down your cheeks.
鈥淗e said he lost his love because of us,鈥 you sobbed, Jimin puts down the bowl of soup to hold you as you cried. 鈥淎nd I just think if I lost any of you how broken I would be, and we caused that pain in him.鈥
鈥淭hat doesn鈥檛 make his actions right butterfly,鈥 Jimin rests his head on your shoulder, trying to soothe the guilt away. 鈥淗e tried to get his revenge by wanting to take you from us, if the roles were reversed what would you do?鈥
You thought about it, imagined any one of them in danger like you were.
鈥淚鈥檇 kill them...鈥 you admit. 鈥淏ut how many people lost their lives and loves because of us Minnie?鈥
Jimin sighs at how vulnerable you sound, how distraught that other people suffered because of love. He raises his head off your shoulder to make sure you could see how sincere he was when he said,
鈥淲e don鈥檛 care, if it鈥檚 a question of you or them, we鈥檒l always choose you.鈥
You haven鈥檛 seen Taehyung and Jungkook for a week, you roamed the estate hoping to run into them but to no avail. They were avoiding you and it broke your heart, the others noticed but asked you to give it time. They were in a dark place in their minds, the shock of what happened sinking in so far that they couldn鈥檛 comprehend you were okay. Plus they were still angry, at all of it, you being reckless, the man getting so close to you when they were around, how close they were to losing you.
You found out they were the ones to save you, Taehyung unlocked the ability to slow down time when he tasted your blood, Jungkook could do the opposite with himself, he was the fastest of them all. The others didn鈥檛 tell you how distraught they were when they held your dying body in their arms. How they could still hear the echos of Taehyung screaming your name as he cried, the sound would haunt them for a lifetime. Jungkook had gone into a state of catatonic shock, he had barely spoken to any of them or left his room unless to escape when he heard you coming.
A week turns into a month, and you tried to hide the tears that came with missing them from the others, but they could smell it. You felt awful that you were neglecting the rest of them with your state of sadness but without them all it felt incomplete.
The 5 remaining princes decided to test the waters by leaving the three of you alone in the estate, something about checking the blood banks and clan numbers as an excuse. They鈥檇 been gone an hour and still nothing, not a pin drop could be heard in the house. You sigh deeply, wondering how long in your short life you were going to have to wait before they spoke to you again. You didn鈥檛 let yourself think of the possibility that they may decide never.
A dark cloud starting looming over your head, despite the openness of the mansion you were beginning to feel suffocated. Maybe you should just go for a walk, clear your head, call an old friend see if they wanted to meet for coffee. Anything to get you away from your thoughts.
The sound of the hanger banging against the wall of the walk in wardrobe was harsh against the quiet when you removed your coat from it. You wonder if you should call out into the void of silence and let them know you were going out, but decide against it at how silly it would feel. All that could be heard was the loud click of the bolts as you unlocked the front door. The creak as you opened it. The slam as a hand forced it shut.
You could feel the body behind you, the silence finally being filled by heavy angry breathing. You look at the hand that鈥檚 still firmly placed on the door, refusing to budge. Jungkook didn鈥檛 want to see you, he spent the last month pretending you didn鈥檛 exist and everything was fine, but the fear you awoke in him when he heard the unlocking of the door broke his reverie. There you stood in front of him like nothing happened, he could pretend it was a bad dream but the nightmares he had behind closed eyes in the wake of consciousness never left.
He starts shaking, the despair and anger overtaking him and the sound of his cries shatters your heart. He closes his eyes to tries and control himself, he finally lets go of the door when he feels you wrap your arms around him and smother your head against his chest. He doesn鈥檛 allow himself to open his eyes, terrified this is the dream and the reality was you were dead. He鈥檚 missed you, the empty cavity of his chest finally filling with you against him. He lets himself feel you, arms coming to hold you tight as he wails, he doesn鈥檛 think he can let go, he doesn鈥檛 ever want to.
You don鈥檛 need him to say anything, you don鈥檛 want him to.
鈥淭aehyung you have to speak to her,鈥 Namjoon scolds the second youngest of their coven. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e hurting her and yourself.鈥
The defiant prince sits stoically ignoring his Hyung, he already knows this.
鈥淭ae, she鈥檚 okay, if you鈥檙e upset or angry with her, it won鈥檛 be fixed unless you talk to her,鈥 Namjoon sighs at the end of his lecture.
鈥淚 can鈥檛 get the bruises on her skin out of my head,鈥 he replies gravely. 鈥淥ur venom won鈥檛 turn her, she鈥檚 going to die one day, and there鈥檚 nothing we can do about it.鈥
Namjoon thinks in all his years undead, Taehyung has never looked more soulless.
鈥淭here鈥檚 no hope, I鈥檝e spent the last month experimenting on humans with my gift, seeing if I could slow down metabolic time, but they die, each and every one of them. We鈥檝e got seconds of our existence with her left.鈥
It was like watching a corpse talk, dead behind the eyes, all hope gone, not even misery had a place in Taehyung mind, just cruel reality.
鈥淪he feels incomplete without you,鈥 Namjoon tries to reach into his younger brothers soul and ignite it back to life. 鈥淪hes got decades left if we鈥檙e lucky, do you really want her to spend it without you? Do you want her to die and then realise you can鈥檛 spend another moment with her, regretting all the years you could have...鈥
Namjoon holds your hand the entire walk to Taehyung鈥檚 room, the others are lingering with their ears tuned in with anticipation and worry. You couldn鈥檛 calm your thumping heart if your tried, it wanted to run towards him despite the anxiety and fear.
You鈥檙e met with the shell of the man who鈥檚 aura was brighter than the sun. He sits in his bed and doesn鈥檛 acknowledge you鈥檝e walked through the door.
鈥淭ae?鈥 You whisper. He shuts his eyes at the sound like it was torture, he wonders if you鈥檒l haunt him like this when you鈥檙e dead. He doesn鈥檛 breathe, he doesn鈥檛 want the consequences of your smell, he knows it鈥檒l hit him like a truck. He鈥檚 been so careful to wean himself off you, he doesn鈥檛 want to fall back in.
鈥淭ae bear?鈥 You try again and it鈥檚 as if someone鈥檚 stabbed him in the chest.
You climb onto the bed, onto his lap as you straddle him, the urge to just be close to him and hold him overtaking you. Like a reflex his body has long forgotten he takes a breath, the scent of sweetness and sadness concocting together making his head spin, his arms go around your waist, his palms rest on your back as he finally looks up at you. The bruises are gone, no trace of them is left. He could never forget how beautiful you are, the most beautiful wonder hes ever come across in all his centuries 鈥榓live鈥.
His Angel, come to save him from his grey existence. You both hold each other as if you鈥檙e not close enough. For now he would forget death, for now he wanted to be happy, and with you in his arms, he knew he could be.
I鈥檒l find a way, he thinks to himself, he鈥檇 fight the universe before he let you go. For now, let me be with her.
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