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#i wish i could name everyone but it would be long and also i would literally burst into tears if i named everyone but missed someone somehow
artificialqueens · a month ago
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Come Home to My Heart, Chapter 7 (Lemyanka) - Plastiquedoll
read on ao3 ✨| previous chapters
A/N: I don’t know if I can say this but this is one of my favorite chapters I’ve written and I’m so excited I can finally share it! it’s literally two people driving around but it matches the song I guess… I hope you enjoy it and thanks for reading it! <3
-7-
“So Lemon thinks I’m dating you.” Priyanka used the home phone to call her friend the day after their night out.
It was almost noon and Priyanka’s hangover had abandoned her body after drinking a gallon of water and taking a long -long- shower. She was walking around the house with the phone in one ear and a half-empty cup of coffee in the other. Her parents were at her sister’s place, having lunch with the kids so she had the house for herself –and when you’re hangover no matter how much you love kids you do want to be alone.
Denali burst into laughter. “Does she?” Her voice sounded distorted after singing all night.
“Well, thank you for being so considerate and laugh at the possibility of dating me. At least you didn’t do it on my face.”
“It’s not that… I’m sorry. You’re gorgeous for what matters.”
“You’re still laughing.”
“It’s your telephone connection. But wait, are you going to tell her the truth?”
“Eventually, if she asks again… Until then, would you mind if I play dumb with it?”
“Priyanka, oh my God… You’re so silly.”
“Okay, I’ll take that. But let me be potentially unrealistic for a moment here… she might be jealous of you.”
Denali gasped exaggeratedly.
“Quit making fun of me, you bitch.”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry… This is just so entertaining for me.”
“I’m sure it is.”
“But the night ended up well for you two, right? Progress… character development?”
“She was drunk and called me Sprinky before I pushed her into a taxi.”
“I love Sprinky! Aw, you guys, pet names already.”
“That hardly qualifies as a pet name but…”
“Tomayto, tomahto, same thing.”
It really was Denali the one who lived in a fantasy world.
“I gotta go. I need to pick some groceries from the supermarket.”
“Okay, bye Sprinky!”
Priyanka clicked her tongue. “Bye. Bitch.”
Her mother had given her a list of things to buy since she was staying in all day and she said her lazy ass needed to do something productive, -she didn’t say it like that but that was what Priyanka heard when she was still wasted on her bed.
She had taken her car to the supermarket that was in the center of the city since it was the biggest one around. On her way there, she noticed the engine coughing a little more than usual but she downplayed it when the noises stopped.
The day was sunny and hot, it warmed her skin and made it glow as she drove to the location. She had grabbed a pair of denim shorts that were on top of her suitcase –luckily, since she hadn’t unpacked yet- but she had to dig some more to find an ombré knitted white and blue crop top she had brought, then complimented the outfit with a pair of sandals and vintage round orange sunglasses. After brushing her hair a little, she was ready to go.
She got to the store, picked a shopping cart, and wandered through the aisles with her mother’s list in her hand. She occasionally lifted her feet and slid with the cart when no one was watching. Then she got distracted whereas she was goofing around and almost crashed it on the cereal aisle, fortunately, no one saw that.
Well, almost no one.
“Jesus Christ you’re going to kill someone with that.”
Priyanka stopped in her tracks when she recognized the voice right away.
Naturally, Lemon was there to see her making a fool of herself.
She was there, looking unimpressed as usual with a shopping basket on the floor next to her. Lemon was wearing a NYC t-shirt in pastel yellow, pink and blue, a pair of mom jeans, and white chunky sneakers that made her a bit taller. She also had a giant pair of white oval sunglasses with black glasses on -Priyanka only suspected the reason behind that fashion choice- she had her hair wet but tied into pigtails and lip gloss, lip gloss was never missing with her.
“Fancy meeting you here.” Priyanka mumbled.
“Can’t say the same,” she sighed. “are you following me or something?”
The brunette scoffed. “You wished…”
“Then move aside I’m trying to get the Froot Loops.”
Priyanka looked up and spotted the colorful cereal box above her head. “But the real question is can you get the Froot Loops?”
“Oh, fuck you.” She almost pushed Priyanka off the way but the other girl moved faster.
Lemon had to tiptoe and jump a little to reach for the box and Priyanka enjoyed every second of it.
“Don’t you have anything better to do?” Lemon was surely grumpy that day, it was the hangover speaking.
“Not really.” She grabbed a box of Cookie Crisp. “I was wondering if you made it home alright after the state you left.”
“I did… thanks for pushing me into a taxi.” There was some of sarcasm there, Priyanka detected.
“Anytime.”
Lemon started walking and Priyanka followed her with her cart, at that point to mess with her some more.
“You still have that sweet tooth for the chocolate chip cookies…” The blonde observed.
Priyanka looked at the cereal she had chosen without giving it much thought. “I guess I do… You still like anything colorful and sugary.”
“Some things never change.”
But other things changed too much.
After roaming a little, at some point, they split and when Priyanka collected the rest of the items on the list she waited in line to pay for her shop. She saw the blonde when she crossed the automatic door with her grocery bags.
Priyanka slid the credit card and then left as well. She loaded the bags on the trunk, then sat at the driver’s seat and inserted the keys to turn on the engine. She tried a couple of times without significant results, the engine coughed a little and then when she thought she had it, it died again.
“C’mon girl, don’t do this to me now… I bought ice cream bars.”
The sight of smoke wasn’t a lovely view, to say the least. When she lifted the engine cover, she discovered it was worse than what she expected.
“Shit… shit, shit, shit… this is bad.”
She pulled her flipping phone from her back pocket and called her father who calmed her down but couldn’t do much in the distance; he suggested a mechanic nearby that could take a look at it.
Priyanka was losing her mind. She sat at the curb and buried her face in her hands.
“Looks like you could use a ride.” Lemon’s voice made her look at the girl.
“Not now.” She blurted out. “I don’t have time for your snarky comments so please refrain from saying anything you’d think is clever.”
Lemon lifted her sunglasses. “I’m not trying to get on your nerves; I’m legit offering you a ride.” Priyanka didn’t seem convinced. “Think for a moment, your groceries are going to go bad with the heat and no air conditioner.”
“The ice cream bars…” She was on the verge of tears. “Fine. Yes, I need a ride, would you be so nice and help me out?”
“Come with me, my car is around the corner in front of the drugstore.”
“Buying some aspirins?”
“Cut the slack I’m trying to do a good deed here.”
“For a change.”
They carried the bags to Lemon’s car around the corner and Priyanka raised an eyebrow as soon as she saw her car.
As expected, from all people, Lemon would be the one driving a sunny yellow Volkswagen New Beetle. They put the groceries on the trunk yet again and the blonde took a seat in the driver’s position, Priyanka sat on the passenger seat.
“A yellow car?” She questioned.
Lemon buckled up. “My dad gave it to me.”
“Your daddy bought you a pretty car? For real?”
She adjusted the sunglasses back on. “He felt guilty after getting re-married and I accepted it as a peace offering. Is that so terrible?”
“Of course…”
Lemon started the engine and moved the vehicle toward the roundabout, heading for Priyanka’s house.
“You have to turn right in the next street.” Priyanka indicated.
“I think I know where your house is.” Lemon murmured as she took a different way.
“Yeah, you could get there faster this way but you’re about to enter to a one-way street… on the opposite side.”
“Shit.” Lemon maneuvered her way out with a U-turn.
“Does everyone in New York drive like this?”
Lemon blushed. “This is my third time driving in town.”
“Did you drive all the way from the Big Apple alone?”
She shook her head. “Rita visited me there and then we traveled together.”
“You two get along for what it seems…”
“It took some time and adjustment. That was supposed to be our bonding trip but I’m pretty sure she secretly holds a grudge since I convinced her mother of making the bridesmaids’ dresses pastel yellow for the wedding.”
Typical Lemon.
“But her mother is nice, she makes my dad happy so I can’t complain.”
“What about your mom? How is she?”
“Christina is alright. She got signed by an important architectural firm two years ago and has been working non-stop since then. She dated a few men but nothing too transcendental. She still listens to ABBA on a daily basis and sings every song in the repertoire deliberately loud enough to embarrass me in front of people but she’s happy. She’s on a cruise right now having the time of her life probably, that’s part of why I’m here.”
“Good for her, good for Christina.”
“That’s what I said. I thought this whole thing of my dad marrying someone else was going to trigger her somehow but she’s proven me wrong when getting over exes is about. Maybe it helped a little that the woman her ex married is older than her but who knows.”
Priyanka chuckled.
Lemon turned the radio on, Give Me All Your Luvin played through the speakers.
It was nice, to get to talk with Lemon like that, forgetting all the fights and unresolved problems they had for a moment. If Priyanka closed her eyes for an instant she could almost picture them both chatting in Lemon’s room with the music playing on the radio and the smell of wet nail polish in the air.
But then, when she opened her eyes, she got back to reality in a world where they had missed seven years of each other’s lives. There was a time where she could tell exactly what Lemon was thinking of but now it was a different story, the blonde was inscrutable and Priyanka couldn’t predict her reactions or guess the words that would come from her mouth. There were many things she didn’t know about Lemon now.
“Do you like Rihanna?” Priyanka asked when they stopped in front of a red light.
“What?” Lemon turned her head. “What kind of question is that?”
The brunette shrugged. “A thought I had.”
“Of course I like Rihanna, what kind of monster do you think I am?”
“One that doesn’t like Rihanna… perhaps.”
Lemon laughed at how ridiculous the conversation was. She had to continue driving when the light changed to green.
“Rihanna’s first album came out seven years ago and she didn’t get the recognition she deserved until a few years later…” Priyanka explained. “so I never got to know if you liked her music and I’m asking it now because there are two types of people in the world, the ones who have the taste and the ones that are monsters and dislike Rihanna’s music.”
“Okay, I’m telling you I love her. In fact, open the glove compartment.”
Priyanka looked at her.
“Go ahead, open it.” She commanded.
She did as the girl said and when the glove compartment was opened, a pile of CDs boxes where revealed inside. The first of them was a copy of Loud by Rihanna and the next one Good Girl Gone Bad.
“I couldn’t bring all of them but I have a few of them here and others at home.”
“Fair enough.” Priyanka checked the other albums underneath.
The little collection included Circus by Britney Spears, Teenage Dream by Katy Perry, Survivor by Destiny’s Child, Overexposed by Maroon 5, The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani and Fearless by Taylor Swift –that last one was Rita’s, she explained- Priyanka inspected the CDs until she found one last album that was in the bottom of the box, it was a worn out copy of Spice World by the Spice Girls, nothing more and nothing less.
“Hey, this is the album you gave me before moving to New York, remember?” A smile grew wide on her face before the memory.
Lemon blushed till the tip of her ears. “I do… that’s actually the copy I used to have in my room… the one we listened to on my radio.”
“Is it?” Priyanka looked at it with admiration. The colors were a bit pale and the box had several scratches, it was clear it has a few years on.
“Yeah… the CD doesn’t work anymore but I still got it there.”
Priyanka looked at the blonde who had her eyes fixed on the road and her hands closed around the steering wheel.
“Why did you keep it?”
“Sentimental value.” Her voice tone was almost inaudible. “I guess I’m not that cold heart monster you think I am, right?” She sounded somber.
“That’s not what I said… I-”
“We’re here.” She announced when she stopped in front of Priyanka’s house. “I’ll help you with the bags and then we can go get the mechanic for your car.”
She got down from the car leaving Priyanka with the words stuck on her throat once again.
It was becoming a pattern now, right when they started getting along again or when they had a decent conversation, Lemon shut the doors and closed all the windows before Priyanka had the chance to break through her walls.
“Your house hasn’t changed at all.” Lemon observed when they walked in with the groceries.
“Ah, yeah. My mom didn’t fall for the charms of the Property Brothers.”
“Do you have the hots for Drew or Jonathan?”
Priyanka cackled. “I stand behind my mother’s beliefs in this one.”
They put the bags on the countertop, Priyanka rushed to place ice cream on the freezer and other products on the fridge before they got spoiled. Lemon folded the paper bags in the meantime.
“Do you have some water?”
“Yeah, here.” Priyanka threw a water bottle at her and the girl caught it in the air.
She opened her purse and took two aspirins and chugged them down with a water sip.
Priyanka just watched her.
“What?” The blonde asked.
“I didn’t say anything.”
“I’m hangover, okay? Tequila is not my best friend… or vodka… neither of them.”
“That’s weird, judging by the way you drank yesterday you’d never guess.”
“Fuck off.” She drank some more water. “Now let’s go get the mechanic for that jalopy of yours.”
“Jalopy?” Priyanka gaped at her. “Excuse you, miss, but I paid that car with my blood, sweat and tears, and two part-time jobs.”
It was the car that was supposed to take her to New York, to Lemon.
“We should hurry then, I don’t know much about mechanics but the amount of smoke that engine released isn’t normal.”
“I know that.”
“Then, let’s go.” The aspirins probably were kicking in.
Before they left the house, Lemon stopped in front of the wall where Priyanka’s mother hung pictures of her and her siblings. In the past, there was a photo of the two of them in school but all over the years her mother probably had saved it just like Priyanka did with all the other Lemon memorabilia. The blonde cast an eye on a photo of the family’s matriarch with a group of children.
“Her grandchildren?”
“Yes, my nephews and nieces.”
“That’s cute… you’re an aunt now.” Priyanka recognized the softness behind her voice and it made her heart skip a beat.
They were back on the road again and Lemon followed the directions until they got to the mechanical workshop Priyanka’s father had suggested her to go. Priyanka explained the man in charge what had happened and then followed the girls with a tow truck.
Priyanka’s car was still where they had left it. It broke her heart to see it there in the streets completely abandoned.
The mechanic took his time to check the engine, he tried to make it work after adjusting some screws and move pieces Priyanka had never heard naming before. Lemon could’ve gone by that moment but she stayed with the brunette, she even shared her bubblegum with her when she noticed how stressed Priyanka was.
After thirty minutes, the man spoke with Priyanka. The diagnosis was not good and he explained that there wasn’t much for him to do. Priyanka felt the knot on her throat and the tears coming at any second. That was her car her baby… this couldn’t be the end of their adventures.
She was beyond surprised when she heard Lemon’s voice.
“But there must be something you can do about it.” She sounded assertive. “The chances are low but there are still chances, right?”
The man babbled some excuses about the car being old and even when it was in a good state; it was going to require some extra work.
“Then do the work.” The blonde continued. “That might look like a piece of junk for both of us but that’s her piece of junk and it means a lot to her so you will take it back to the workshop and do whatever you have to do to save it. Am I being clear enough?”
The man just nodded with wide eyes, maybe too scared to add anything else.
Priyanka was also speechless.
She watched the mechanic hooking her car to the tuck and then stared at Lemon.
“Thanks.” She blinked a couple of times. “That was amazing.”
“I’m sorry I called your car a jalopy.”
“She’s temperamental but it’s okay, I don’t think she heard you anyway.”
“I know you might think of me as this spoiled brat but don’t think I don’t understand what’s like to work hard to achieve something.”
“Thank you.”
“Now let’s go before that guy mistakes the junkyard for the workshop.”
“Hey!”
All was not lost.
That was what the mechanic had said once they left Priyanka’s car at the workshop. It was going to take a couple of days to have a better picture of the problem but maybe replacing some parts would make the difference.
Priyanka sighed of relief and almost hugged the man but then she saw the zeroes on the estimated budget for the repairs and decided to keep the hug for herself… she was more than thankful for having a job back in Toronto that would pay for the bills.
“Well, the good news is that she might live.” Priyanka announced when she got in the car with Lemon.
“There you have. He was just playing hard to get and I know about that.”
“Thank you, Lemon… for helping me so much today. You didn’t have to but still, you did.”
She started the engine. “You’ve done the same for me no questions asked.”
“Are you feeling better after the aspirins?”
“Yeah… I’m never drinking again I swear…”
“That’s a lie.”
“It is…”
“Do you even remember what you said? Last night?”
Lemon stopped in the red light. Her face was as pale as paper and she stared at Priyanka with big eyes, there was horror on them.
“What did I say?”
Priyanka started laughing.
“Priyanka, what did I say?”
The brunette ceased laughing. It was the first time Lemon called her by her name.
“You called me Sprinky and kept asking if Denali is my girlfriend.”
Lemon breathed again. “Thank God… it was just that…”
Priyanka was now puzzled. What else could she’d said?
“I remember that part, you never answered the question anyway.”
She sighed. “Denali is my friend. Just that… we’re friends. Are you happy now?”
Lemon kept driving, it became evening all of sudden.
“I don’t understand though, how did you get to the conclusion that we were dating? I mean, where did the idea come from?”
“Uhm… I’m friends with Kiara and Scarlett on Facebook…”
Traitors, both of them.
“Aha…”
“…and… well, sometimes a picture with you would appear… or pictures of you in nightclubs…”
“I’m so going to kill Scarlett. I told her not to post those…”
“I didn’t mean to assume anything but… I saw you and Denali together the other day and I thought… maybe…”
Priyanka took a deep breath.
“So you know… you know I like girls…”
She nodded.
“And are you okay with that?”
Lemon looked at her. “Why wouldn’t I? Of course I’m okay with that…”
There was a short silence between them, a part of Priyanka was relieved but she could feel her heart pounding.
“Don’t tell me that on top of you thinking that I dislike Rihanna you also consider myself to be homophobic or an ignorant asshole… that being the same thing.”
“I’m asking you.”
“Well, you’ll never have to question it again.” She sounded angry.
“I’m sorry… I take it back, you’re not a monster.”
Lemon’s face softened.
“It’s just… I think of Jan…”
Jan.
That name again, seven years after.
“Jan and her girlfriend Jackie are the one example of true love I have. My parents’ marriage didn’t work but Jan and Jackie… they are grossly in love, it’s disgusting and I love them so much.”
So Jan had a girlfriend… interesting.
“If they couldn’t be themselves and be together I would’ve lost all hope in love, to be honest.” She looked at Priyanka. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to but do your parents know?”
Lemon was probably one of the only people who knew Priyanka’s struggles with her family by first hand; they had spoken about it so many times before but never specifically on that topic.
“Yes.” She took a deep breath. “I told them a few years ago when my oldest brother was planning his wedding and they were trying to set me up with the son of their friends or something like that.” Priyanka tittered. “I told my mom first and she was more sympathetic, I had a long talk with her, lots of tears… then we hugged and she told me she loves me…”
Lemon did the unthinkable: she reached for her shoulder and gave it a little squeeze. It was a small gesture; it didn’t last longer than a few seconds –she was driving after all- but for some reason, it made Priyanka feel much better.
“My dad… it was a different story. It took him longer to accept it and I believe he’s still digesting it so we don’t talk much about it. It was easier when I moved to a new city… It’s not like I had to need to hide who I am but there I could start from zero and be one hundred percent myself since the first moment.”
“I’m happy for you.” She smiled. “I really am.”
With all the resentment and the bickering, Priyanka had forgotten that Lemon could be sweet, that she could be caring, that she could be her friend.
A friend.
“So your friend Jan, she’s your roommate, right?”
“Yeah, the same.
“Is it Janice, Janelle, Janet…?”
“I’m quite sure it’s just Jan but even after these years they probably don’t even know my real name so it could be anything at this point…”
“And she’s dating Jackie.” Just to make it clear.
“They have the corniest love story that involves love confessions in carriage rides in Central Park, roses and singing songs under the starry sky.”
Priyanka almost choked.
“Exactly.” Lemon giggled. “They are a constant reminder I’m single as hell.”
This time, Priyanka choked for real.
At that moment, Lemon stopped the car, they had arrived.
In the distance, Priyanka spotted her parents’ car arriving shortly after.
Priyanka’s mom got down from the car and got closer to the unfamiliar car parked in front of their house meanwhile her dad put the car in the garage.
“Priyanka and… Lemon? Is that you?”
“Hello Mrs. Suknanan, it’s been a while.” She opened the door of the car and hugged Priyanka’s mom.
“I haven’t seen you in ages… You look all grown-up.”
“Don’t lie to her like that, mom.” Priyanka walked to where the little reunion was taking place.
Lemon rolled her eyes.
Here we go again.
“Are you staying for dinner? We’d love you to stay. I insist… I’m sure Priyanka would love it too.” She elbowed her daughter.
Traitors, even the ones you’d never expect.
“She wants to know if you’re staying for dinner…”
Lemon pulled one of her pageant full teeth smiles. “I’d love to, Mrs. Suknanan but I promised my dad I’d be back by now. Maybe some other day.”
“You have to promise it to me or Priyanka is never going to bring you back.”
“Mom! Leave her alone.” Priyanka wanted to hide under a rock.
“Actually, I’m the one who brought her tonight so that shouldn’t be a problem.”
“I’ll wait for you to stop by next week, alright?”
“I’ll be here.”
Priyanka raised her hand. “Am I invited?”
“We’ll think about it.” Lemon grinned. “Mrs. Suknanan, always a pleasure to see you, please give Mr. Suknanan my regards.”
“I will, dear. Give your father my best wishes.”
“I surely will.”
Priyanka’s mom got into the house leaving them alone again.
“She’s so lovely… why didn’t you pick any of that?”
“Ha. Ha.” Priyanka exaggerated her fake laughter.
“As much as I know you enjoy having me as your driver, I have to leave now.”
“Thanks again for that. My car might live another day because of you.”
“I know.” Lemon seemed pleased.
“I’ll make it up to you… somehow.”
“I’ll think of something just wait for it.” She opened the door of her car and Priyanka closed it for her.
“See you around, Lemon.”
“I knew you were stalking me.” She started the engine.
Priyanka threw her head back and released a laugh. “In your dreams, doll.”
The brunette watched the sunny-side up vehicle getting away and then walked toward her house with a smile on her face she couldn’t erase.
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musingsofasecretromantic · 3 months ago
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February 2020
I met you on Tinder. I knew you were my ex’s little brother (said ex being from my 17th year on earth...hardly anything worth mentioning). We hit it off from the first message and you made me feel alive, instantly alive, which I hadn’t felt for a long time. 2 years to be specific. 
We met 4 weeks after we started talking. By talking, I mean incessantly messaging each other all hours of the day. I’d be woken with ‘Good morning Sweetheart’ messages daily and I liked that. During the first few weeks, I jolted your memory and revealed who I was. You already knew and didn’t seem to mind (this would pose a further issue further down the line).  Our first date wasn’t what I would call ground breaking, but it was nice. It was fun. It was carefree. You had told me beforehand that you suffered badly from anxiety and this often stopped you doing the things you wanted, and although we were both crippled with nerves pre date, this seemed to dissipate quickly. We went to a bar (you were driving so only had one beer, and I classically decided to get hammered). After we had chatted about a million topics, we went to the arcades to play some pool. Something started to feel a little off about you, so I suggested we go outside. You told me it was your anxiety. We smoked and things seemed to ease a little for you. We finished the night in The Bell and you drove me home. We kissed outside your car and I felt so overwhelmingly happy. The next day was a different story and I was in the worst mood. Concluding it was probably a hangover, I tried to shake it off, but I just felt like I could burst into tears at any second. I have since concluded this was fear, self doubt, whatever you want to call it. I had emotions for the first time in ages and this was an intimidating thought. 
You had work on the Saturday, but we arranged to hang out after and watch the sunset at the beach. This date never happened. You messaged me on the Friday night around midnight to tell me you were in the back of an ambulance. Nothing else. I woke up in such a panic and after calling all the hospitals pretending to be your girlfriend, I was informed you were at the NNUH. They couldn’t tell me anything except you were in their care. A few hours later you messaged me and told me you had basically had a mental breakdown. I was furious. Who just sends a message saying ‘I’m in the back of an ambulance’ and not follow that up? In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t been angry. I remember the day so clearly. It was chucking it down and I went into the city and bought myself an Urban Decay Palette to cheer myself up. I ignored my phone all day and when I got home I saw a message from you telling me you had been ‘detained’ at Hellesdon Hospital. You explained exactly what had happened on the Friday night and I jokingly said ‘As long as it’s not schizophrenia, you should be fixable’. Another thing I wish i’d never said, but you didn’t tell me all the symptoms you’d been living with since you were 16 year old, so I wasn’t to know.  I came to visit you in Hellesdon on the Monday after work (you still being the sweetest guy i’ve ever met, offering to pay my taxi fee and telling me you would get the nurses to clear the living area so we could watch a movie the next time I visited). We walked the grounds in the dark and looked at all of the abandoned buildings, which is where you told me your diagnosis and you were likely to be in for at least 6 weeks. 6 weeks. 6 weeks and I knew somehow we would make it work. I told you i’d work at Hellesdon one day, and I did it, it’s my current place of work.  We spoke all the time as if you weren’t banged up in a mental hospital, drugged up, terrified. You sent me pictures of your room, we spoke about the physical effects the meds were having on you, we spoke about the voices you heard, we even spoke about our future and the off grid treehouse we were going to live in with my copper balcony bath and roses round the door. You even drew me the floor plan for our treehouse. I still have it. Was I totally deluded in thinking this was going to work out? At this stage, no.  The communication wasn’t always easy. You had your good days and you had your bad, but I wanted to be there.  On the Sunday, I picked you up and we went to Eaton park, drank coffee and walked for hours until it started to rain. Then we got in the car (and me being a new driver was freaking out, you held my hand and told me you were proud of me), and we drove around, stopping at all the Costa’s we could until your curfew. We sat in my car outside your unit and had a cigarette, you started to shake violently and told me the voices were telling you to hurt me. You gave me a kiss and left. I was never frightened of you, but I also wasn’t prepared that this would be the last time I saw you. I gave you a postcard that day telling you I would always be there for you, and I always will be, but not at the expense of my own health. We arranged to meet a few more times, but your mood was deteriorating rapidly and the meetings never happened. One Saturday morning (we were in lockdown by this point), I went to Mundesley to blow the cobwebs away. The last few months had been a lot for me. I didn’t message you that morning and you freaked out. I made the decision I couldn’t continue talking to you. This decision rested on my mind for months. 
One day in the early June, I went to Happisburgh and I just sat in my car and cried. I messaged you apologising for abandoning you, and you thanked me for standing by you through a really difficult time. You had been discharged from Hellesdon due to the COVID pandemic, but you seemed happy. We caught up and continued to talk very occasionally over the next few days. On the Wednesday, you were more chatty than you had been earlier in the week. However, this was the night things changed. You told me you had been thinking of ending it for a few days. I sent you messages of support, and didn’t really know what to do. I messaged you the next day, just sending my well wishes, I heard nothing. I didn’t really think anything of it at the time, I just thought you were being quiet again. Friday morning- I was sitting at my desk at work (the job I had literally just quit with the hope of the Hellesdon job coming through), and I got a message from your absolute twat head of a brother saying ‘Have you been dating my brother because he’s currently in a coma and your name is on his screen’. There are somethings I’d like to address in this message....1. This wasn’t his emotions speaking. He never came to se his brother when he was in Hellesdon. 2. What a way to tell someone. 3. It felt accusational. I later found out everyone thought this coma was induced by a reaction of meds. I blocked your brother as a jerk reaction and my blood ran cold. I grabbed my manager and went outside silently for a cigarette, barely able to get words out of my mouth. I knew what this was, and it wasn’t a meds reaction. It was a meds overdose. Luckily, I knew your best friend as we went to college together, and his girlfriend rang me to explain the situation. I had to break it to her, I had to hear her voice break and send her the screenshot of the message you had sent me on the Wednesday night. I carried on with my work day as if nothing had happened. That night, I got home and I sobbed, and I didn’t really stop crying for a week. I thought I had killed you, I thought by me doing nothing that I had killed you. I started visualising the police coming to arrest me for involuntary manslaughter.  The week ahead of me was long and worrying. After 6 days of the hospital staff trying to wake you up, with many unsuccessful attempts, you were awake. Your best friends girlfriend kept me updated with every single tiny thing, from the group chat screenshots to pictures of you in hospital, to all of the meds you were on, the potential long term effects on your body. I was like a zombie, I was just surviving day to day. I was in the hairdressers when you finally messaged me saying we couldn’t talk anymore as I was your brothers ex. I knew this wasn’t you talking, but after what you’d just put your family through, I understood. And that was that. We matched on Tinder a few months ago, but we didn’t really speak. I sent you a long message explaining how I felt and blocked you out of my life. I felt sad, irrelevant and pushed away, but how were you to know at this point how invested i’d been for the past 6 days or how worried i’d been, or that I even knew you’d been unconscious with potential death as the outcome. You had a lot of questions to answer and a lot of assessments to go through and I rightfully so, wasn’t important at that point. There was noone there living through this with me, and your brother didn’t even want to be in the group chat RE your progress, so literally fuck him. I was going through it alone, I could tell my friends, but they didn’t know you, they couldn’t understand how I was feeling. I don’t know why I stuck by you. I don’t know why we went on one date, and when you were sectioned I didn’t just run away, but the point is that I didn’t, and I was never going to go anywhere. Forever with you didn’t even seem like a long time frame. 
But, I miss you. I miss you crazy amounts, because I think we both knew we were meant to be together. A really stupid part of my brain still thinks that! I will never allow you back into my life, but I miss you every single day. I miss you everytime I drive into Hellesdon, I miss you everytime I go to the beach, and I go to the same beach over and over. Why? Is it because it’s the closest? Is it because I hope I might see you? I don’t know. It’s not a feeling of ‘missing’ i’ve ever felt before, I literally feel like a piece of me is missing. I never allowed my heart to break over you, instead a part of my heart left me. It left me to be with you, and it will stay with you forever, because I loved you. I wish we could have done everything for the rest of time together, I wish we could build our treehouse and be happy. Regardless of everything, you are still the nicest, most thoughtful and selfless man I have ever met, and that shows a lot about someones character. You’re a good guy. I’m not sure you’ll ever be able to have a normal relationship, but if you do, I hope she makes you really happy. Truth be told, i’ve been looking for you in everyone ever since February 2020. You made me feel seen, wanted, loved, valued, and happy. I won’t ever forget that. I’m not sure this situation will ever resolve itself in my head, i’m not sure i’ll ever be over this fully and I don’t want to be. Being with you was such a rollercoaster, and we had such a tight bond even though we never even got intimate. I’d have walked over hot coals for you and i’d do absolutely anything to relive the time I had with you. 
I’m really glad you didn’t die, just gutted your life isn’t with me.  
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anotheronechicagobog · 6 months ago
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The Crackship Sails To Molly’s - Jay Halstead x Ethan Choi
written by @anotheronechicagobog​
A/N: Homophobia, the Catholic church, Catholic guilt, mention of canon-compliant violence, mention of two men having sex, it’s all pretty mild but I wanted to make sure it was all in the warnings, also I don’t like Doris and it shows
A/N 2: What do you guys think their ship name would be? Choistead? Haloi? 
A/N 3: If you have a problem with LGBTQ people please go fuck yourself
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They ran into each other at the last place they thought they would. Since Jay and Ethan had both been in the military, though in different factions, they figured they might run into each other at military events, they already had. But literally bumping into each other at an LGBTQ+ military personnel picnic? That shocked both of them. Ethan took notice of Jay’s pansexual flag pin and Jay looked at Ethan’s bisexual one. After the initial shock wore off, Ethan smiled, he was happy to know that he wasn’t alone in his social circle. Sure, Leslie Shay was a loud and proud lesbian, but they didn’t have anything in common and just made sure to say ‘hi’ whenever they ran into each other and buy each other nachos whenever they ran into each other at pride events (don’t ask, it just became their thing). Ethan went to give him a ‘dude hug’, as Leslie had dubbed them, when he noticed the fear etched onto Jay’s face. “Halstead, are you okay?” Honestly, he looked like he was about to burst into tears. “Jus- uhh” Jay hiccuped and Ethan was now justifiably worried. “Don’t tell Will.” And then Jay ran away from Ethan and the gentle arm he’d had on his shoulder like a bat out of hell. Jay could still feel the warmth of Ethan’s hand on his right shoulder as he drove away.
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Ethan didn’t tell Will. He didn’t give any indication that he knew something Will didn’t. He understood how important it was for him to keep quiet, but at the same time, it was so hard. Ethan wanted nothing more than to march up to the redhead and beat some sense into him. Will had obviously made to Jay that he wouldn’t be accepted if he came out. And he didn’t care, quite frankly. He had absolutely no sympathy for homophobes, he was done giving kindness and sympathy to people who wished that others wouldn’t exist because it deviated out of what they considered ‘normal’. So he’d gone back to being impassive and straight-faced. He pushed all of his feelings down because if he allowed himself to feel anything it would be complete and utter rage.
The next time he saw Jay was when he’d come into the ED to interview an assault victim. Apparently, there was a group of men catfishing and then assaulting LGBTQ+ men. Ethan’s heart ached just thinking about the case, all of the injured, betrayed victims. And Jay. Ethan didn’t want to know what was going through his mind, he probably viewed this as another reason not to come out.
The eye contact between them was brief, but Jay showed him vulnerability, and then thanks when Ethan gave him a sympathetic smile. Just trying to untangibley reach out and connect with his aching soul. And then suddenly it was gone, the grace that had bound the two of them temporarily, and Ethan had to watch with a sinking heart as Jay emotionally shrunk in on himself. “How’s our victim doing, Choi?”
“Not great, I’m afraid. He’ll live, but there’s going to be long lasting health problems for him.” 
“That’s terrible.”
“Yeah, it is.”
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Two days later, after the catfishing homophobes were caught, Ethan ran into Jay outside of Molly’s. His eyes were dark, broad shoulders were slumped, and he moved like his mind possessed all the strength his body just couldn’t muster. “Hey Choi- uh, Ethan?”
“Yeah?”
“Could we go somewhere to talk? Maybe get a drink?”
“Well, we are standing outside of a bar.”
“Somewhere that’s not packed to the seams with nosey people who know who I... Don’t want to hear what I want to talk... About. Y’know what? This was stupid-”
“How about Osso’s? Over on Folger street? It’s not a bar, but I’m starving and their booths have curtains.”
“Yeah, that sounds great, actually, thanks.”
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“I figured out that I was bi when I was fourteen. I was watching The Mummy for the first time and I couldn’t stop thinking about how hot Brendan Fraser was. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Rachel Weisz was hot too, but Brendan really got my attention. When the movie was over, uh, well let’s just say that my Catholic guilt took hold. My mom knew, I told her when I was seventeen, and she kept trying to set me up with her friends’ daughters. She didn’t care, just told me that she loved me and that there was nothing wrong with me, but that I shouldn’t tell my dad or Will. She didn’t sugarcoat anything, she took me to this secluded spot on the pier and told me about homophobia and how bad it was, not just morally, but that it ran rampant, and that my father and brother were two heavy believers in an institution who made it their mission to oppress as many people as possible. Looking back, I think my dad knew, don’t know how or if he actually does, it’s just more of a gut feeling. My brother is still incredibly Catholic, he’s become more accepting over time, but it’s clear that while he’s okay with strangers being LGBTQ+, he’s not okay with anyone he’s close to being anything other than straight. The, uh, my first time I was nineteen and it was during my rangers training, with one of my now best friends, who I dated during that time for a while. Everything kinda fell apart when we got discharged. Mouse or-”
“Greg Gerwitz. I remember him.”
“Yeah, we broke up after we were discharged. Well, he broke up with me. Neither of us were handling being back well but he was handling it worse. It hurt like he;;, I missed him so much. After I started in Intelligence I brought him in as a CI. I just wanted to know he was okay, be near him again. But he was not the same man I’d fallen in love with. He was an addict, had a record, a small one, but still. I broke my heart almost as much as our breakup did. A little later I got him a job as our tech guy. It was good having him around, especially cause he was coming back, y’know? He’d quit his habits, became a law-abiding citizen. It was great. Then, he asked me out, asked me to take him back, and I did. Without a second of hesitation. Being together again felt amazing, but then he got his record expunged, dumped me, again, and went back to the rangers. It completely tore me to pieces, I got time off and didn’t get out of bed for two weeks after he deployed. Uh, wow, sorry to unload all of that on you. And that was probably a lot of information you didn’t want to hear-”
“No, no, Jay. It’s actually nice to talk about this, even though I’m out and open, I don’t actually get the chance to talk about it all that much. I’d actually like to share if you don’t mind.”
“Not at all, go ahead.”
“I was twenty-one when I figured it out. I was on brief leave in the navy, just a couple of days without duties while we were docked in Puerto Rico. I got pretty drunk, a guy I was dancing near was pretty drunk too, he kissed me, I kissed him back, and one thing lead to another. When I got back to port the next day, my friends all asked where I’d gone off to. I told them I got laid. It didn’t really hit me until the following night when I was in my bunk, lying awake because I couldn’t forget the feeling of his lips, or the callouses on his hands, or... Other quite honestly filthy details I probably shouldn’t share in a public place. I couldn’t sleep properly for two weeks, I come from a traditional Korean family. All I could think about was how they’d react. What would they do if they found out? I found out when I was twenty-nine. My sister, Emily, had somehow found out, and when she burst through the door, drunk off her ass, at the first Thanksgiving I’d been able to attend in five years, she announced it to everyone when I tried to calm her down and get her up to bed. The look, on my parents’ faces, I couldn’t even look at my grandparents. I just said sorry and ran out. I crashed at a fling’s place for a week. I couldn’t bring myself to pick up the phone or to go see them. I felt like someone had put my chest through a trash compactor, I couldn’t stop crying. I had lost my entire family in less than ten seconds. You know that subtle, back of the mind dread you feel when you’re boarding a plane for your next deployment? Normally, you push it away, accept it’s a possibility but try not to think about it. I welcomed it. I hoped I’d get killed, that I wouldn’t make it home. But then... My grandparents were at my gate. Their faces just lit up and they welcomed me with open arms. They both hugged me and made me promise to come home, not to be a hero. They gave me hope. They loved and supported me, went toe-to-toe with the rest of my family for me. I’ll never be able to thank them enough.”
“They sound really great, I’m glad that you have them.”
“Yeah, me too.”
Suddenly the heavy curtain closing off their booth from the rest of the world was pushed to the side. “Gentlemen, your food is ready. Who ordered the grilled salmon?”
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Ethan and Jay had grown much closer, having bi-weekly dinners. Sometimes at Osso’s, sometimes at Bartoli's, sometimes at their own apartments. They’d become close, close friends. But because drama followed them around like a moth to a flame because it felt like they lived in an overly dramatic tv show sometimes, it couldn’t stay that way.
Jay started to watch Ethan when he licked his lips after he took a sip of a drink, when the muscles in his arms lengthened themselves when he reached for something, that twinkle he got in his eyes whenever he got cocky. Jay knew what was happening from the first moment he found himself looking at Ethan’s lips for more than a millisecond. He was falling in love. And all that he could do was loathe himself for boarding a vessel with impending doom.
Reasons I Can’t Fall In Love With Ethan
Will doesn’t know I’m bi 
Ethan works with Will
Ethan is in the reserves and Mouse left me to go back to a warzone, it would kill me if it happened a second time
His ex, April, is currently trying to get back together with him
April also works with Ethan and Will
Ethan doesn’t love me so I’d just be ruining our friendship
Jay looked down at his list and recited it in his head, over and over again. He needed to memorize it, live by it. If he didn’t his entire world, which he just finally found comfort in again, would crumble to the ground.
Jay didn’t distance himself from Ethan, his heart wouldn’t let him, but it got harder and harder to ignore his ever-growing feelings. But he couldn’t tell Ethan, he couldn’t be with Ethan, he knew that far too well. So the next time Ethan confided in Jay that April had made a move on him Jay did something incredibly, fabulously, thoroughly idiotic. “You should ask April out, man. I think that you guys would be great together.”
Yup. 
He actually did that.
Sigh.
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“Alright, who is she?”
“Excuse me?”
“Come on Jay, I’m your brother. I know you. The last time you looked like this and were drinking vodka, of all things, was when Erin left. You only drink vodka when you’re experiencing troubles of the heart.”
“I drank vodka when Mouse went back to the rangers.” 
“After he’d broken up with you to go back to the same warzone he’d almost died in.”
Jay choked on his drink and felt his heart plummet out of his body and onto the floor. Burning tears blurred his vision and Jay felt more afraid than he’d ever felt in his life. He’d been shot at, blown up, shot at again, taken hostage, tortured, and he never felt this scared, this small. “Jay? Oh my god, Jay are you okay? Breathe, man.” But he couldn’t. Why couldn’t he breathe? Why was his chest so tight? Why couldn’t he move? Suddenly he was yanked off of his couch and onto the floor, his head shoved between his bent knees. “Deep breaths, Jay. Just take slow deep breaths, in and out, just like me... Okay... Good, name five things you can feel, four things you can see, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.”
“Uh... floor, couch leg, carpet, coffee table... you... Um, I, uh, I see...”
“Four things you can see.”
“Jeans, scrubs, crumbs, Kim’s wine stain... Hear, u-uh, Netflix, heating system, the Needlers arguing again...”
“Your neighbours sure do fight a lot, but you’re doing great. Keep going. Two things you can smell.”
“... Pizza and your terrible cologne...”
“Ignoring that, one thing you can taste.”
“Your terrible cologne. Seriously, Will, your supposed to spritz it, not douse yourself in it.”
“Well you’re feeling better, but you’re still shaking. You feel a bit cold, get back on the couch I’m gonna grab you a blanket.” Will was right, he was still shaking, and he felt cold to the bone. His heart was pounding so hard it was terrifying and his chest was still tight... But he was feeling better. Panic attack. He’d gotten them before, along with anxiety attacks, night terrors, and paranoia. All connected to his PTSD. He’d just never had a panic attack about his sexuality before, only about the action he’d gotten overseas and in Chicago. When Will returned with a thick fluffy blanket he’d gotten from Kim for secret Santa, the same night she’d made that wine stain on his carpet, Jay was on the couch and gripping his knees tightly, trying to get a grip on himself. Will had also brought Jay’s first aid kit and was checking him over, after he’d been wrapped up like a traumatized child, and Jay released a shaky breath, unable to look his brother in the eye before speaking at the same volume as a mouse. “How long have you known?”
Will stopped what he was doing and regarded his brother. Jay was older and had always been Will’s hero growing up but right now... He just looked like he needed a hug. “I’ve known since you were nineteen. You brought Mouse back to visit with you while you guys had leave and when mom and dad had work and I had school, you guys had the place to yourselves. I realized when I was a couple of minutes away from the house that I’d forgotten my lunch, so I went back to get it. When I walked in you guys were making out on the couch. You were really... into each other, you didn’t even notice me. I was gonna bolt to the kitchen and back... But then you took off each other’s shirts and started reaching for belts so I bolted. I love you, Jay, and I don’t care who you have sex with, but I never want to actually see it.”
“Jeez, I’m sorry we must have traumatized you.”
“No you didn’t, I would’ve reacted the same way if I saw you with a girl... Which we both know is true cause you and Erin had a very bad habit of not closing your bedroom door.”
“Sorry about that... If you’ve known all this time, why have you never said anything? I mean you used to make these weird comments about being related to gay people, but...”
“I thought that you needed to be the one to tell me. It was your closet to exit, I thought it would’ve been rude to force it. And about those comments, I don’t know, it’s just you never told me. More and more time passed, and from the letters you were sending mom I could tell you and Mouse were still together but you never said anything. I was trying to give you hints that I don’t care, your sexuality doesn’t matter to me. I love you no matter what. The only reason that I brought up any of this now, forced you out of the closet... I’ve never seen you like this. It rivals when you came back. You are hurting and I want to be there for you, but I can’t if you won’t talk to me, if you won’t let me in.”
“But I’m sinning. You’ve always been more devout than me.”
Will scoffed. “Have you been reading the news? The Catholic church really can’t decide what’s right and wrong considering all they’ve done and covered up. Plus, did you really think I was going to make all my life choices based on the teachings given to me by men who forced us to wear plaid suit jackets for elementary and high school? Really, I can’t wear plaid anymore, I don’t understand how you can tolerate it, I swear I’ve got plaid PTSD.”
“Well, maybe it’s cause I actually have PTSD and there are far worse things to go through than having to wear plaid to school every day.”
“That was a bad comment, I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright... So you’re really okay that I’m bi?”
“As long as you're happy, I’m happy.”
“You have no idea how much it means to me to hear you say that and mean it.”
Jay was tearing up again, but this time they were happy tears. Will just wrapped his big brother in a hug and relished ina feeling of closeness that he hadn’t felt since they were kids.
“Okay, now seriously Jay, who’s giving your heart trouble?”
“I don’t know, Will...”
“As long as it’s not Connor Rhodes I don’t care.”
“Well...”
“Oh no-”
“Ha! Just kidding! Your face, seriously, what did that guy ever do to you?”
“We’re not talking about the man who thinks he’s smarter than me. C’mon, tell me who it is. Is it someone I work with?”
“It’s Ethan Choi...”
“You guys have been spending a lot of time together over the past year, so I can see that. And he’s pan, right? Yeah, I think that you guys would be cute together and I think he’s got a thing for you, honestly. Why don’t you ask him out?”
Jay fell back and groaned. “I told him to ask out April the next time she hits on him.”
Will just blinked and stared at his masochistic and self-sacrificing moron of an older brother. “Why would you say that?! You clearly like him! You idiot!”
“... I’m gonna need the vodka back if we’re gonna keep talking about this.”
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Jay felt like the weight he’d had on his shoulders was traded for another. He wasn’t worried about Will despising his existence anymore, but now he had to watch Ethan date April. And on top of all that, Will was always on his case about his miserably non-existent love life. So yeah, he wasn’t really enjoying his life at the moment. He was currently sitting up at the bar at Molly’s, avoiding ‘chexton’. He could hear April’s giggles and Doris squawking “you’re so perfect for each other!”, “I’m so glad you got back together!”, and “I call maid of honour!” over and over and over again. He knocked back the last of his beer when his phone buzzed.
Mouse: Hey Jay, I’m back on leave for a couple of days, just got off the plane. Want to meet up?
Jay: Sure, you up for a beer at Molly’s? I’m here right now.
Mouse: Actually I was thinking of a different kind of meet up. Your place? Just the two of us?
Jay: Sounds like a plan.
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Jay and Mouse spent the two days he was home screwing each others’ brains out. That really was the best way to put it. Their time together was hot, heavy, and passionate. They wouldn’t get back together, no, but there was a bond there that would always remain. They’d both had tension that needed to be released and release it they did. Jay dropped Mouse off at O’Hare early on the third day. “Hey, thanks for this weekend. It was nice, it was good to see you again, Jay.”
“Yeah, you too. Stay safe Greg.”
“It’s Greg now?”
“You’ll always be important to me. You were the first man I loved, but you’ve left me twice. I need to move on.”
“It sounds like you already have. I’m happy for you, you deserve nothing but happiness, Jay. But, uh, should you have just spent an entire weekend naked with me if you’re with someone?”
“He doesn’t love me back.”
“Is he straight?”
“No, but he’s pan and got a girlfriend.”
“I’m sorry Jay. For your situation and everything else.”
“I know. Stay safe.”
“I will.”
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Jay turned on his phone for the first time since he told Mouse to come over. He was met with an abundance of texts and missed calls. The texts were mostly from his colleagues, asking if he was going to be at Molly’s. A couple were from Will, asking if he wanted to get together to watch a game. The person who’d sent him the most texts and had made most of the missed calls was Ethan. Jay didn’t bother going through them all, he just sent his brother and Hailey quick text messages letting them know he was alive and would be at work on time, he’d just spent the weekend with a friend. He called Ethan as he made his way through the city. “Jay? Are you okay? Where have you been? I’ve been so worried, I called your brother and Hailey and none of them could tell me anything.”
“I was okay, I was at home the whole time.”
“But I went by your place, I knocked on your door, no one answered.”
“Oh, that was you? I thought it was Karen from down the hall. I was a little... Busy.”
“All weekend? Alone in your apartment? With no assigned case or old case that’s been bothering you?”
“Well, I wasn’t alone, actually.”
“What?”
“Yeah, Mouse was on leave for the weekend so he came over.”
“... You were alone with your ex-boyfriend for an entire weekend... Doing what?”
“Each other.”
“Damnit, Jay.”
“Eth-” And then Ethan hung up. Jay was confused and distressed, but he’d arrived at the district so his relationship with Ethan would have to wait. Well, friendship, not relationship.
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When Voight needed someone to go collect a statement from an accomplice at MED Jay’s reaction rivalled that of Katniss Everdeen. He was given a couple of odd looks, but he and Hailey made their way to the hospital, Hailey side-eying him the whole way. “Do you need to talk to Ethan?”
“Yeah, how did you know?”
“He hounded me for two days because you weren’t texting him back. He was really worried, Jay. What’s going on with you two? I mean, he was acting like...”
“Like what?”
“Like a worried boyfriend.”
“We’re not dating Hailey. Why would you think that?”
“Because you two look at each other the way Trudy and Mouch look at each other. Like you’ve hung the moon and the stars for each other. I don’t judge, Jay... You’re always really happy around him. I think you’d be good together.”
“He’s dating April.”
Hailey scoffed and rolled her eyes so hard her head rolled with them. “No, they’re not dating. She was acting like it, and Doris was yapping away about it on Friday at Molly’s, but Ethan was just quietly sitting there the whole night, he looked really uncomfortable honestly. A couple hours after you left he asked April if they could speak in private. It didn’t stay that way for long. Ethan had tried to tell her that he didn’t want to get back together and didn’t love her anymore, and she was upset, obviously. But it seemed like she understood. She hugged him and went to sit back at the nurses, but I guess she told them and Doris blew up, screamed at him, made a huge scene. April had to actually take her home. Ethan immediately came up to me and asked where you were.”
“Oh.”
“So you volunteered us to talk to him?”
“Yeah.”
“Good.”
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Hey Ethan.”
“Can we talk, Jay?”
“Yeah, I’d really like that.”
“The doctor’s lounge is free, we can talk in there.” They entered the darkened gray room together, both feeling the tension between them. It felt strange to just stand there, in the middle of the room, and Ethan wasn’t meeting his gaze. So Jay sat down, hoping that Ethan would follow his lead. He did. “I’m sorry that I worried you.”
“Don’t apologize, I should actually be apologizing to you. You didn’t owe me an explanation, we don’t have the kind of... Relationship that warrants you letting me know when you’re going to disappear for a weekend with your ex. We’re just- We’re just friends.” Jay was silent for several moments, trying to think of what to say. How to phrase what he was feeling. There didn’t seem to be an eloquent way to phrase it, so he decided to just jump in and hope he didn’t get hurt. “I don’t want to be friends with you Ethan. I want to be more than that, I love you. I understand if you don’t feel the same way, but- I’ve never felt this way about anyone. I’ve been trying to distract myself, with Mouse most recently, but it didn’t work. It doesn’t change that I really want to kiss and date and be loved by you. Will you go out on a date with me?”
“Yes, there is quite literally nothing else I’d rather do. How about tonight, because I don’t think I can wait any longer. And I love you too.”
“I know that the wall behind us is basically just a window but I really want to kiss you-” Thankfully Ethan didn’t care about that, and gave Jay a kiss so incredible, he saw stars.
... And missed Hailey and Will high-fiving behind him.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
After informing the accomplice that he was being arrested for armed robbery, obstruction of justice, and public urination, Jay and his partner left MED. Jay was so happy he was practically vibrating as he skipped out of the hospital. His, highly amused, partner got into the passenger side of his truck and thumped his shoulder. “See? I told you that he likes you.”
“How did you figure out I’m not straight, anyway? I’ve... Played that pretty close to the vest. I only told Will a week ago.”
“You know Nico’s Diner over in Greektown?”
“Yeah.”
“My family owns it. I started working there when I was nine, I think? I worked there through high school and college. And I go there once a month to catch up with my brothers. You used to go there all the time with this guy and you’d hold hands and kiss him quite a bit, so I figured you were more than friends. I recognized you when I walked onto that robbery scene a couple years ago.”
“So you knew, this entire time, that I was bisexual and you didn’t say anything to anyone? Why not?”
“It wasn’t my place to tell Jay, besides, I didn’t know that you were bisexual, just that you liked men. I just spoke up now because you were really hurting Jay, it was so obvious, and it was obvious that Ethan was hurting too. I really hope that you guys are happy together.”
“Thanks, me too.”
“Soooo... Where are you gonna take Ethan on your big date?”
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thinking1bee · 8 months ago
Text
Being There
Requested by Anonymous
Pairings: Lena Luthor x Reader
Tags: Grief and Fluff
You’re on the bus, on your way to your job and you watched the streets pass you by sullenly. They blurred together, an incohesive picture of incomprehensible colors. Nothing made sense and it was easier for you this way, where absolutely nothing made sense. You’re aware that there’s similarities between the bus and your life: it’s passing you by, the clock ticking rapidly, but you’re finding it hard to even care. Your life ended a long time ago…
You’ve worked at L-Corp for only a few days and with each passing day, showing up just to do your job was getting harder and harder. Living your life without her was getting harder and harder. Sometimes you questioned why you were here and why you were doing this. To you, it felt like going through the motions, just trying to move forward because your friends and family wouldn’t let you quit. They wouldn’t let you stop no matter how badly you wanted to. You decided that you needed a fresh start, so you packed your stuff and moved from your hometown to National City without giving it a second thought. Somehow you got a job at L-Corp working as an assistant for the infamous Lena Luthor. To be honest, you didn’t care about the job. You just wanted to feel okay and if it meant working to the point where you couldn’t feel anything anymore, so be it.
You get to the building and head straight for your desk. People were nice enough here. Even some would go out of their way to strike a conversation with you, but you couldn’t match their energy. All you could muster was a nod before you got to your desk and buried yourself in your work. You knew what people thought of you. You heard the whispers and rumors. Everyone thought you were a jerk and that you didn’t know the meaning of fun. You couldn’t even count how many times people would invite you out for drinks or dinner and your answer was always the same: no thank you. For someone who’s only been here for a couple of days, you sure made an impression.
You’re going through your emails when one in particular caught your eye. It was from Lena Luthor herself. Now you knew that on paper, you’re her assistant, but you’ve never met or interacted with her directly. You’d get an occasional email from her that was obviously sent to everyone that worked here but this was new. Your eyes skimmed over the contents of it and you sighed. She wanted to see you, even going out of her way to carve some time in her schedule just to make it happen.
Standing up, you closed your laptop and made your way over to her office doors where you knocked softly.
“Come in,” came her easy reply and you opened the door.
Lena motioned for you to close it, which you did, and you took the seat in front of her desk.  At first Lena didn’t say anything, she continued to flip through a folder that you just noticed. Her eyebrows are quirked in curiosity and you wonder what has her attention. She nibbled her lip before turning the folder around to face you. You eyed it and frowned. Everything inside was about you.
“Y/n do you want this job?” Lena asked you. It wasn’t meant to be a threat. She asked it with genuine curiosity, but her eyes were unreadable while she thread her fingers together. You pursed your lips. While it was true that you didn’t care for it, going home to be alone with your thoughts was out of the question.
“Yes,” you replied simply.
Lena pointed to several dates that were circled. You tried to compose yourself, but you knew what all those dates meant.
“One day you have a full-time job, a life ahead of you that’s full of opportunity, you graduated from college, then a week later you quit everything and move here for a job you are overqualified for. Why?”
You absolutely did not like being on the receiving end of what felt like an interrogation. You felt your hackles rise and the walls go higher than they ever have. Instead of answering, you ask a question of your own.
“Miss Luthor, am I in some sort of trouble?”
She paused, her teeth nibbling her lower lip as she assessed you. There was nothing malicious about the way she did it, but it still made you nervous. Why? You didn’t know. It was like she was trying to put together the pieces of your life but, they weren’t laid bare for her to work out in the first place.
“No Y/n,” she paused and then looked you straight in the eye as she continued.
“I’ve heard the rumors about you. Some I don’t wish to repeat. What people are saying about you is of no concern to me, but I do notice you. I see the way you carry yourself and I’m telling you this, honestly, that if you ever need to talk, my door is always open.”
You smiled but it’s not genuine. Even Lena could see that it wasn’t. But you made sure that the door to your past was closed and locked, and that not even you would be able to access it. You wanted nothing more to do with what happened. You only wanted to keep moving forward.
“Thank you, Miss Luthor, but I’m fine,” you say, forcing your voice and facial expressions to be overly cheerful. Lena only nodded but didn’t look completely convinced.
You excused yourself, telling her that you have more work to do, and leave Lena’s office without a glance back.
                                                          ***
Several days past without another conversation with Lena. You’d like to tell yourself that you were doing better, but that was a lie. Your nightmares returned with a force to be reckoned with and after another sleepless night, you told yourself that you would just work late. The slow deterioration of your physical appearance made people whisper about you. Some looks you received where one of disgust while others were one of pity. Your once kept hair was now in a messy bun. You showed up to work in wrinkled clothes and days old makeup. It was a bloody miracle that you were showing up to work at all. People would ask if you were okay and you smiled and lied through your teeth, anything to get them to leave you alone.
It was a particularly late night where you were at your desk on your computer. Lena asked you to go over some paperwork and make sure that the litigation lined out in it was correct. It was a simple enough task. So why couldn’t you focus? Your eyes swam with unshed tears as your brain forced you to remember memories of her. Candid memories of her etched into your brain forever of her smiles, her eyes. The way she’d light up when you said ‘I love you.’ The way she felt in your arms, like the perfect puzzle piece in your life.
You couldn’t stop yourself from pulling up old photos that were still saved on your phone, ones that you couldn’t bring yourself to delete. They were all photos of you two together, either in an embrace, or kissing, or the many adventures you always went with each other. You didn’t realize you were crying until it got harder to see your phone screen. You also didn’t realize that Lena was still in the building and standing directly behind you. She saw the pictures of you and her so she cleared her throat to announce her presence. You nearly jumped out of your skin and you hid your face from her. She didn’t need to see you like this.
“What was her name?” Lena asked softly. You sniffled loudly and tried to wipe your eyes, only in succeeding in making yourself look worse.
“Isabelle,” you murmured, smiling as you said her name. It was the first time you’ve said it since she died, and from there, it was like the dam burst. You found you couldn’t stop talking about her.
“She was my fiancée,” you said, not really in an attempt to explain to Lena, but just to reminisce about the love you shared with her.
“I met her in high school, and we were the the best of friends. We knew we were going to separate colleges, so we made a deal that if neither one of us found someone then we’d marry each other.”
From the corner of your eye, you see Lena smile fondly. She grabbed a chair from the adjacent desk and sat next to you, folding her hands into her lap to listen.
“Several years passed and we reconnected back at home. She asked me if I’d met anybody, I said no, and she literally dropped on one knee in the middle of McDonald’s. She had a ring and everything. I, on the other hand, completely forgot, so when it happened, I was shocked.”
Lena chuckled and you smiled as you remembered the workers and customers clapping for you and her when it happened.
“We did everything together. We travelled the world, adopted pets. Everyday was a new adventure with her.”
As you talked, you lost you smile. More tears came to your eyes and you released a shuddering breath. Lena tentatively placed a comforting hand on your back, her eyebrows furrowing in sympathy when she realized where your story was going.
“She died,” was all she said. It wasn’t a question but a simple statement.
You couldn’t even answer her, your tears falling freely now, and your vision was blurred. Lena engulfed you in a tight hug as you cried. There was a chunk missing from your heart and no matter what you did, no matter how much you worked, or how much you tried to not think about, that hole would never fill, and it would never go away. Isabelle was your first love. You didn’t even know that you could love that intensely. You’d move the world for her, you’d walk through hell for her. Hell, you use a gas station toilet for her. She’d unlocked a part of yourself you didn’t know existed and the moment she died, you felt that part wither and die away.
So, you cried. You cried for the future that you lost. You cried for the woman you could no longer hold. You cried until it felt like the world wasn’t suffocating you, until the tension in your shoulders bled out, and until it hurt slightly less. Lena didn’t say anything. All she did was comfort you as you cried, hugging you closer while rubbing your back. She was your solid support, an anchor to keep you from drifting away in your own grief. She somehow helped you more than your own family, and maybe it was because with Lena, it was a blank slate. It was easier for you to open up to strangers, and with her, it felt so natural.
You let her hold you. You didn’t realize how much you needed to be held until her arms first held your body. You were gross, with tears and literal snot running from your nose and when Lena pulled back to hand you a tissue, you giggled. She used her thumbs to wipe away your remaining tears.
“I know what it’s like to lose someone you loved. I lost my mother a long time ago and still to this day, I miss her so much. I won’t get easier, you’ll just get stronger at carrying that around.”
You nodded, needing to hear that. It felt like this would never get easier, and that every morning you’d wake up, would be and uphill battle.
You blew your nose giggling again more from embarrassment than anything else.
“I’m sorry you had to see that,” you whispered, your voice hoarse from crying, but Lena was already shaking her head.
“Don’t apologize. My door is always open to you and if you want, you can have my number.”
You’re surprised. Lena was very nice and sympathetic, more so than any other boss that you had. You wordlessly handed her your phone and she put her number into it. After everything, Lena offered you a brilliant smile.
“Usually when I cry like that, I have to hydrate. How about I take you out for dinner?”
You didn’t want to inconvenience her, and you were about to say just that when she raised her hand, stopping any protests that you had.
“It’s on me and I don’t mind. Seriously, let me treat you to dinner.”
Well when she put it like that, of course you had to agree. You gather your things and follow her out the building.
“Hey Lena, thanks for being there,” you said gratefully.
She turned around and smiled at you, ushering you within her car so you two could leave.
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dxrtyhands · a year ago
3 and 13 from the soft summer prompts!! perça stg babes
3. Sitting on the porch at night and 13. Watching the sunset
Listen i just want to apologize bc I’m writing these, barely re-reading them and also literally never have any stories it’s just me rambling for ages so like I apologize from the bottom of my heart, this is just my process. Ps I hope u meant percabeth bc it’s all I know to write...
The world was meant to end when Percy turned sixteen, but things started to look pretty bad a year earlier, on the day of his fifteenth birthday.
Camp Half-Blood was still recovering from the shock of an attack on Camp. They’d burned their shrouds and buried their dead, but there was still tension in the air. The Titan lord Kronos had returned, and demigods like themselves were fairly high up on his hit-list. It wasn’t ideal. Campers were on edge and patrols and defense systems had been kicked up a notch. Chiron, their camp director, had insisted on more training- more, more, more. By the time his birthday rolled around, Percy had grown pretty tired. He was looking forward to going home to his mom on the weekend.
 It wasn’t like Percy had expected anything. It was selfish to- especially when his friends had lost siblings and best friends. Then of course, he was seriously underestimating Annabeth Chase.
Nobody ever told Percy that it was her doing, but you didn’t need half a brain cell to solve that mystery. Somehow, she’d convinced Chiron that the Camp needed a pick-me-up and that celebrating a birthday would be the perfect way to start to heal. Percy had no doubt she’d flashed their mentor her large, innocent grey eyes and batted her lids and pouted her lips- Chiron had a certain weakness when it came to Annabeth, and she had never shied away from using it.
 It felt stupid to walk into the Big House to have all his friends jump out and scream, ‘Surprise!’, but Percy had seen the hopeful expression on Annabeth’s face, and had no choice but to play along. Silena Beauregard hugged him and proudly told him she’d been in charge of the decorations. Clarisse la Rue chucked him on the shoulder and given him a grudging smile, as if she was saying, So, you made it to fifteen. Not bad, punk. Travis Stoll returned Percy’s broken magical shield with a shrug and a ‘I played with it for a couple of days, but… it’s broken. Here, you can keep it.’ and Beckendorf gave him a couple of drachmas, in case Percy ever wanted to talk to him over the school year.
 Percy noticed how Annabeth was avoiding his eye, noticed how she managed to conveniently be distracted every time he tried to catch her. He tried to follow her, but either she was arguing with Connor Stoll about how long he spent in the shower, or someone would walk up to him and he’d have no choice but to fall into conversation with them.
 “… pretty cool, but I think that the pressure on the wrist is what really hurt you. Next time, I’d recommend-”
 On some level, Percy knew he should have been listening to Michael Yew. The guy was only trying to help improve his judo technique- but Percy caught sight of the familiar blonde head as she exited the building and he panicked.
 “Hey, Michael. Great talk. Sorry. I need to go- it’s uh… try the punch.” Percy said, patting Lee awkwardly on the shoulder and excusing himself.
 He jogged through the rest of the people at the party and burst out into the patio, looking around wildly for Annabeth, only to find her sitting on the railing, her back against one of the pillars. She looked over at him and Percy faltered. He’d spent the last few weeks desperate to talk to her, but here she was now, and all his words failed him.
 “Hey.” He said. That was a good start, right? Annabeth gave him a small smile. It didn’t reach her eyes.
“Hi.”
 Percy took it as an invitation to climb onto the railing beside her. He sat close enough that her t-shirt brushed lightly against his, but far enough that he wasn’t touching her. He swung his legs and looked over Half-Blood Hill. The sun was starting to set to their right, turning the sky a brilliant shade of pink. The rays fell against Annabeth’s back, giving her a bright, almost otherworldly halo and Percy was suddenly reminded of sitting in a limousine with Aphrodite.
 Annabeth raised one brow. “What’s up?” She asked. Percy didn’t mean to snort, and something behind Annabeth’s eyes hardened.
 “I wanted to say goodbye.” He told her. “You know, before I leave tomorrow.”
“Oh.” Annabeth said. Her shoulders drooped slightly. Percy had disappointed her.
 He wished there was something he could say- but he didn’t know how to without betraying all the secrets he’d managed to accumulate. He didn’t understand when things had changed so much between them. There had been a time he could tell her absolutely anything. Now their relationship had become precarious. Percy felt like he was playing the most intense, high-stakes game of Jenga with her, except here, one wrong move on either side and they’d both lose.
 “Yeah…” Percy said. He cleared his throat. “Hey, so…”
 So what? He thought. He wanted to congratulate her on completing her quest, but he couldn’t do that without bringing up Rachel or Luke. He thought about the line in her prophecy- lose a love to worse than death. There were many things about her that Percy couldn’t even begin to comprehend, but he understood one thing: Annabeth’s world was falling apart and there was absolutely nothing Percy could do except make it worse.
 “Thanks.” He decided. Annabeth looked confused. “For the party. I know this was your idea.”
“Everyone wanted to celebrate you.” Annabeth told him, but he didn’t miss the way her cheeks turned pink enough to match the sky. “Seeing that we were mourning you not too long ago.”
 She was the one who brought it up. That meant Percy could talk about it, right? He wanted so badly to tell her about Ogygia and Calypso and her curse. It felt so unfair- Annabeth would understand. She was kind enough to sympathize but also probably smart enough to find a way to help Calypso. He opened his mouth and then thought better of it. As if Annabeth needed more to think about.
 “I guess I owe you an apology for that.” Percy said sheepishly. Annabeth shrugged her shoulders.
“Just for how you lied to me.” She told him. “Let me help you hatch a plan the next time.”
“Sorry for lying.” Percy conceded. “And for dying.”
 Annabeth shook her head and stared straight down at their camp. Some parts of it had been completely destroyed, but most of it looked almost the same as it did the day she’d taken him around. The only difference was that it was completely deserted. Even with the loud chatter and music from the Big House, it felt wrong to see camp so empty.
 “You’re a hero.” Annabeth said. “A brave one, at that. I couldn’t hold it against you for sacrificing yourself for… anything.” She managed, but her voice was thick. Her lip quivered slightly. “But I’m really happy that you’re…” she faltered and swallowed. “I’m happy you’re here, Percy.”
Her words were heavy. Percy thought about how she looked when she almost burned his shroud, the red eyes and puffy cheeks. His heart suddenly felt like it was made of lead. He moved his hand until his fingers rested close enough to hers that he could feel her presence, still too afraid to touch her.
 “I’m happy to be here, too.” He said. He took a deep breath. He’d already spoken to Chiron, but it was only right that Annabeth heard it from him, too. “But I think I’m going to go home.”
“Is Sally coming over to pick you up?” Annabeth asked and Percy shook his head.
“No, Argus is dropping me off. But Annabeth-”
 He hadn’t realized that he’d been avoiding so much as saying her name for so long. It felt wrong. And the fact that it felt wrong at all felt even more wrong. Percy swallowed back his thoughts. His chest ached.
 “I’m not coming back. For a while.”
 Annabeth met his eye for a moment. Her expression didn’t change, but Percy could see the tension in her jaw and forehead as she struggled to keep up the façade. His heart raced and he waited for her to shove him off the railing and into the begonias. Or push him the other way and let him slam into the hard granite floor of the patio. He even braced himself to be yelled at. Annabeth needed someone and he was choosing to not be there for her. He wouldn’t have blamed her for being angry.
 Instead Annabeth did something worse. She nodded and averted her gaze, choosing instead to look at the sun setting slowly into the horizon behind her. She shifted her fingers- moved them onto her knee and away from Percy’s, and he could swear the world became just a little bit colder. He tried to look at her expression, but it was all he could do to focus on the tears that had started to well in her eyes.
 “It might be good for you.” She said finally, her voice strained. “The mortal… world.” She added carefully. “Less complicated.”
 She was right. Everything was complicated, and it was a big reason Percy wanted to take a break. He was one year away from deciding the fate of the world. He figured he was allowed to have some time to himself. If it was all the same anyway, why couldn’t he spend some time with his mom, maybe try out for the high school swim team?
 But it was more than that. Annabeth knew it too- it was why she was crying. With Luke and Rachel and Calypso- something had changed in their relationship. Percy couldn’t toe around it much longer and Annabeth, as much as she’d like it to not be true, was too fragile. Without her, Percy had nothing keeping him at camp. Still, he couldn’t pretend some part of him didn’t wish she’d asked him to stay, instead. Asked him to help her and be with her and support her. All she’d ever had to do was say the words and they both knew he’d be there.
 Annabeth didn’t say anymore and the world let out one final exhale. That was it, he realized. That was the end. He looked up at the sky and tried to blink back tears because gods, he really didn’t want this at all, but they’d both made up their minds. It hurt them both too much.
 “Is there anything I can do?” Percy asked.
“You can stay here.” Annabeth said. For one second, Percy’s spirits were lifted. “We can watch the sun set and then…”
 Percy was quiet for a while. The horizon had already swallowed up half the sun. He was losing precious time.
 “And then.” Percy said. It was both hopeful & miserable. Annabeth nodded and pushed her hand back out until her little finger pressed gently against his, setting his skin on fire.
 He looked at her face, tried to memorize every detail- but it hurt. He felt a physical ache when he noticed the freckles on her nose and the angle of her jaw. If this really was the last of their time together, he wanted to remember every part of her, even if it made his eyes sting. Nothing made sense to him.
 The world was meant to end when Percy turned sixteen. He sat there on the patio railing and watched the sun set and the moon rise and the sky change color, feeling an awful lot like it had already crashed down around him.
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