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#my date was i believe the only one on the weekend
reflectionsofneptune · a year ago
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little things about the Venus Signs
abstract dreamy things I associate with the Venus Signs in Astrology.
Aries Venus
Risk. Risks you take because you know that something exciting is on the edge of it. A good time. Fire and desire, a flammable combination you can’t help but be drawn too. Dependability. Someone who has your back. Moments to remember. Legs dangling off a balcony because when the wind moves, you’re filled with freedom and empowerment. Less thoughts. More actions. Weekends away, just because. Kisses in public, just because. Laughter. Belly laughs which’ll have you crying. Experiences to remember. Eye contact. Daring you to look away. A look that just does something to you. Promises something more.
Taurus Venus
Stability. Stability in something we’ve nurtured and are proud to share together. Routine. Loyalty. You know where you stand. An unsaid declaration to show up, in the good times and the ugly. Someone you can count on. Delicious food. Shared. Eating in bed. Fingertips that mould to every curve of your body and incite a strong feeling in your core. Physical senses heightened. Your favourite scent. Tender, routine moments of care. A love that is a grounding force when life gets a bit too much. Gifts with you in mind. That heady feeling of pleasure. Can’t get enough. Don’t want to. Feenin’. Sharing what I have, with you.
Gemini Venus
Lightness. Love is light-hearted but sentimental. Akin to cold champagne, bubbles in your tummy and warmth in your head. Laughter. Lots of it. Hanging out with other people but my body language and eye contact is on you. Late night conversations with you. Pushing your buttons because I can, but my intentions are pure. Can you deal? A willingness to delve into the deeper emotions of life. Being charmed. Flirting back and forth. Lip biting. Feigning forgetting important dates to surprise you later and show that I pay attention. Smiling till your face hurts. It’s hard to be sad when I’m around you. A desire to know what you’re thinking. 
Cancer Venus
Coming home. My door is open and every meeting feels like the first time all over again. A love that follows you everywhere. Cleanses you. Breakfast in bed. A sensitive spot touched on your back. Just. Like. That. Emotions. Emotions on overdrive. Are these mine or yours? Emotional highs. Highs that sweep you up into the heavens where everything is fluffy and soft. Feels like you’re treading warm water, soft ripples glimmer in the moonlight. Devotion. Whatever you want, I can take care of it. Being fed. And then devoured whole by the intensity. It’s all you can feel. Sink or swim, I’m right there with you.
Leo Venus
Loyalty. I vow to ride things out for you. With you. Anything for my equal. Nothing but the best. Tender moments where eyes are locked and the inner spirit is visible, for a moment. Taking pictures in iconic places. Compliments. Affirming how good you look. Back rubs. Head rubs. Hand on my heart, I swear this feels too good to be true. Playfulness. Teasing. I wanna see what you’re about. Show me how I light you up so I know i’m not the only one feeling this way. Wearing my heart on my sleeve. Nights spent enjoying each other’s company. Messing around, just because. Letting you in because you recognise the inner child within me.
Virgo Venus
Little things. The things you overlook I cover. There’s little I wouldn’t do for you. I got you. Practical gifts. Soft nagging. Simple things done together. Grocery shopping. Your favourite treat in your bag because today is a big day and I believe in you. A connection that surpasses the body but is rooted within the spirit. Acceptance of all your flaws. Loving you even more for it. A mental connection that just flows. Dry jokes. You get me. Subtle touches. Gratitude. Feelings that run deep. Putting in work because I value this connection. Showing a different side of me when I’m with you.
Libra Venus
Balance. Sweet words. An even sweeter smile, with eyes crinkling. Matching our steps when we’re together because I like being in a groove with you. Sharing a milkshake with two straws. A fairytale romance where only true love is promised. Holding hands. Thinking of you. A sense of peace together. Taking turns splitting the bill because this right here is based on give and take. Tucking that stray hair behind your ear. Looking at you pains me a little. Yin and Yang. But in a good way. Nothing is perfect, but this right here, is real close.
Scorpio Venus
Bare. That’s how it feels. Seeing beneath the physical body but wanting more. Surrounded by people but consumed by your presence. Heat. A look. A smirk. Intense feelings. Intense feelings that you can either face head or back away, either way you’ll feel it. No sharing. But no prisoners, either. Ride or die. You’re guaranteed not to be the same after. Say goodbye to the old you. Secrets shared. Each day brings us closer and I’m fast getting used to it. Flying off the edge because something greater needs to be explored. Shadow emotions not shrinking away from the light but opening up to be perceived. Deep healing. An even deeper connection. 
Sagittarius Venus
Exploration. Exploration of your mind. A raucous kind of love. Play fighting. An acceptance of you and how I come together. Falling a lil bit deeper each time you express whats on your mind. Freedom. Introducing each other to new things. Living life on the wild side. Travelling together, you and I and two backpacks. Anything feels possible when I’m with you. Remembering how to dream. Questionable decisions that feel oh so good in the end. Having faith. In a higher power, in a higher calling. In you.
Capricorn Venus
A quiet declaration of love that doesn’t need outside confirmation. You know what it is. Weekends away in the countryside. Showing up for you. Playing house. Love is made a priority. Lunch dates. Settling down in the evening just us. Brushing our teeth together and sneaking glances in the mirror. An earthy kind of love. Feeling grounded, together. Helping you take the burden off of your shoulders. You can lean on me. Dinner and drinks. Privacy. Living our best life together. Taking things slow but an end goal is in place. Doing things for long-term results. Thinking of a future where you feature. 
Aquarius Venus
Acceptance. A connection that questions everything you knew before. Shaking your world up. How open are you to the unpredictable? I wanna find out. Making a fool out of ourselves because its 1AM and we’re up. Watching the sun come up. Netflix and chill. A series we watch together, just us. It’s our thing. Listening to your dreams but getting distracted by the pure passion emanating from your eyes. Finding humour in awkward situations. Shining eyes. Things we share together. Moments of time apart that we share which doesn’t feel impending of something bad, but more of a comforting reminder that what we have is something to come back to. Trust. Sending you this meme because I saw this and thought of you.
Pisces Venus
Unconditional. A connection that doesn’t exist on a 3D level. Love that filters through into your dream world. What separates us? Not much. Fantasies materialising. Taking place on a soul level. Dreamy eyes. Looking at you just because. Looking at you when you’re not looking. Talking to you but then losing track because you look so damn good. Tracing the curves of your face. Holding hands with thumbs circling that fleshy part where the thumb meets the index. Losing myself in you. Sharing things together that can’t be explained. We don’t want too. 
| little thoughts about mercury placements
| little thoughts about mars placements
| little thoughts about saturn placements
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gukyi · 2 years ago
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moonlight melody (i.) | jjk
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summary: when your loving best friend playfully pranks you one too many times, you decide that revenge is best served hot, over a period of thirty days, and with a little extra help from the best violinist you know (sorry jimin). 
or, the one where during your month-long vacation in italy with your youth orchestra, you realize that vengeance is sweet but fake dating jungkook is sweeter.
{fake dating!au, university orchestra!au, vacation!au}
pairing: jungkook x female reader word count: 26k (sorry mobile users) genre: fluff, future angst warnings: shitty pranks and outdated meme references. college antics. heavy amounts of tourist culture. slow burn so slow that molasses moves faster. seokjin deadass plays bassoon.  a/n: yeah well. here it is. it’s been over a month since i posted and it’s because i wrote this nonsense. second part coming next weekend. brace yourselves. if nothing else, listen to euphoria by bts and moonlight melody by red velvet while you read this. i’m sorry mobile users. this was supposed to be a full 50k oneshot so be grateful i’ve divided it. i will not be the cause of tumblr mobile’s death. not today, at least. big thanks to @gukvenchy for dealing with my shit as i wrote this. love u. edit (4.16.20): the very wonderful @jtrbluv​ made this incredible playlist for this fic and i can’t recommend listening to it enough!!!!! please put this on while you read <3
part one | part two (finale)
“Jung Hoseok, you’re an asshole.”
The top of Hoseok’s head tilts back out of the frame of the screen as he cackles, the sound crackly from the poor Internet connection in his room and the muffled speaker of your phone. He seems to relish in your displeasure, a true sign of friendship.
You’re going to murder him one day, you swear.
“I’m never letting you into my room unsupervised ever again,” you hiss into the phone, a brutal reminder than you really need to stop putting all your faith into your best friend because it’s bitten you back more than enough times.
“You said that last time,” Hoseok tells you pointedly, making you groan.
“Yeah, but last time you just plastic-wrapped my doorway and made me trip. This time you fucking taped photos of your ugly sunburnt face from middle school all over my posters and my picture frames. Very poorly, might I add,” you say with a frown.
“I personally think it made Brendon Urie a lot more attractive,” Hoseok defends himself, making you gasp in shock. How dare he. You can’t believe he would taint the sight of your treasured posters and memories with his terrible face. You already see enough of him on the daily, no need to exacerbate it.
“Just shut up and pack,” you tell him gruffly, refusing to be taunted like this any longer. Hoseok laughs at your blatant attempt to change the topic to something a little less embarrassing, but relents, half-knowing that him being on call with you is also so you can hop on his ass about procrastinating his packing for the trip. “I’ll get you back one day.”
Hoseok seems to mutter something in the background that sounds suspiciously like “Sure, Jan.”
You hear some shuffling, which you can only assume is Hoseok pulling everything out of his dressers to figure out what to bring with him.
“How many suitcases are you taking?” Hoseok asks, smart enough to know that you’re not nearly as terrible as he is when it comes to putting off responsibilities. You’re bad at it, sure, but he’s by far the more procrastination-prone of the two of you.
“I’ve got one that I’m gonna check, a carry on, and then my backpack which I will attempt to stuff under the seat on the plane,” you list, like a dad of four preparing for some sort of hitchhiking trip across the country. You know that you’ll be lugging around all of your belongings in the various major cities in Italy—not to mention the cello you’ll have to cart around as well—but that’s what you get for being a serial overpacker and also going for an entire month. Sometimes you just have to make sacrifices that come in the form of having no free hands.
“Is the checked stuff free?” You can barely make out Hoseok’s question over the sound of something falling onto his hardwood floor, likely a book. Hoseok has a million books shoved onto his bookshelf, crammed into every nook and cranny, yet he spends all of his time on his terrible PC from five years ago making rap beats and writing bad lyrics. You wonder how he even has the time to do all of that on top of his viola, which is probably his second favorite possession, after aforementioned computer.
“If it’s not, then I’m going to send a strongly-worded letter to United Airlines letting them know that I was severely displeased with their service,” you tell him pointedly. Anything that costs money is absolutely disgusting and only functions as a perfect display of the capitalistic society that you’ve been raised in.
Hoseok chuckles. “The day you take matters into your own hands and initiate something instead of hiding behind your fears is the day I turn in something on time.”
You blink, accosted. You can’t believe Hoseok would drop such an explosive truth bomb on what is supposed to be a light-hearted FaceTime call to shout at him for pranking you and so he can pack before your flight, which just so happens to conveniently be at five the next morning. “There was no need for such a personal attack on my life, health, and wellbeing.”
“You know it’s the truth, Y/N,” Hoseok seems to berate you. “You never face things head on. You always skirt around your problems.”
You have half a mind to hang up so Hoseok can stop being your counselor.
“One of these days you’re gonna have to face something by yourself and you won’t know what to do, so I’m just gonna tell you this right now: it’s better to regret doing something than to regret not doing it at all.”
“Are you quite finished attacking me?” You ask, almost scoffing, as if you can’t even believe that Hoseok would throw such cutting and terrifying truths at you when you’re drowsy from lack of sleep and also a little peeved at the face that you have to go to bed with over two dozen cutouts of his face staring back at you. “I didn’t ask for counseling today.”
Warmly, Hoseok laughs slightly. “Truth hurts, sometimes, Y/N.”
“You should write some soft ass rap instead of hurling these preachy words at me,” you suggest, though you can’t imagine how Hoseok’s heavy bass beats would go well with some nonsense about carpe diem.
“Maybe I will,” Hoseok says, considering your idea. “Hey, dude! Look at this!”
“What?” You ask, Hoseok’s shout catching your attention. You know it’s nothing urgent—he probably just wants to show you a stupid Instagram post or his dog tearing through last year’s school binders. You know, the usual.
“Listen to this Buzzfeed quiz,” Hoseok says, taking a severely unnecessary break in his packing to get distracted by the California-based website. You can’t really blame him—many a time have you marathoned Buzzfeed Unsolved rather that complete your work—but you are in a bit of a bind considering the fact that you have a flight at five in the morning tomorrow and it’s currently eleven the night before. The early morning plane was the cheapest (and only) option but you have to be at the airport at 2AM, which is less than pleasant.
“You know we have to be at the airport in less than three hours, right?” You remind him. Hoseok probably couldn’t care less.
“But you gotta listen to this,” Hoseok insists before continuing. You roll your eyes. Your phone screen provides a brilliant view of the top of Hoseok’s head, cutting it off at the bottom of his eyes. “What Kind of Rainbow-Colored Instagram Food Are You?”
“Three hours, Hoseok!” You shout. You wonder how many rainbow-colored foods there are out there in the world.
“No, I gotta take this!”
Hoseok proceeds to rattle off the various questions and choices until he receives his answer: rainbow doughnuts. He seems pleased with his answer, and while you’re inclined to hang up on him so you can get at least a bit of shut-eye before you have to get on a nine hour flight, you know that if you disappear Hoseok will never finish packing. Ever. He will show up at the airport with a half-filled backpack with his computer and a single sock hanging out of it.
So, for the sake of his productivity, you stay on the line. You sacrifice so much for your friendship with Hoseok. So much.
“Are you packing?” You interrupt him, already knowing that he’s gone down a hole of Buzzfeed quizzes. You can tell by the way he’s fallen silent, a rare occurrence in the world Jung Hoseok, who never seems to stop making noise, whether it be with his viola, his fingers, or his mouth.
“Uh…” Hoseok responds belatedly, confirming your suspicions.
“You know that if you don’t pack no one in our group is gonna pick up the slack to help you,” you inform him pointedly, as if you know this for a fact. You can’t even remember who’s in your group to begin with. “Speaking of which, who’s in our group, again?”
“First of all, I am the reason Taehyung even shows up to band practice half of the time, so he owes me anyway. Also, fuck you,” Hoseok says in return, making you laugh. “Secondly, our group is Taehyung, Namjoon, Seokjin, Yoongi, Jimin, you, me, and Jungkook,” he rattles off, counting on his fingers. “That’s eight people, right?”
“You mean to tell me you signed me up for a group with all of your rowdy, disorganized, loud friends?” You ask, shocked. How could he do you like this? Not that you’re surprised or anything, since you did let him write your name down for you during sign-ups, complaining that you were riding the crimson wave and didn’t feel like doing it yourself. Hoseok, ever the loyal best friend, signed you up with him.
You sigh. You knew that sending Hoseok to write your name down wherever he pleased—as long as it was next to his—would probably be a bad idea. It’s not that Hoseok’s friends suck, or are dicks, or cause you immense grief, but they are his friends. And Hoseok is Hoseok. And one time you had spotted them in a full on sword fight with snare drumsticks in the band room after school, shrieking and shouting and everything in between. You’re pretty sure you saw Jimin jab one into Taehyung’s eye.
And, by the transitive property from your eighth grade geometry class, because Hoseok’s friends with them, so are you.
“You love me and my friends,” Hoseok says into the phone, pout audible despite only the top tuft of his maroon hair being visible on the fuzzy screen.
“Both of those are debatable,” you remind him, “especially considering the shit you just pulled all over my goddamn bedroom.”
“You’re not even gonna be in your bedroom for the next month, it’s not a big deal,” Hoseok points out, as if you aren’t already well aware that you’re going to Italy. It’s not the fact that Hoseok vandalized all of your fan memorabilia with his disgusting middle school face, it’s the fact that you let him prank you again. He’s been getting you with his harmless yet bothersome pranks for years now, and you just let him despite your insistence that you’ll get him back. It’s almost as if he knows you’ll never actually retaliate, so he just keeps going.
One day, you swear. One day.
“When we come back and I am jumpscared by your fucking face on my Brendon Urie poster, expect a furious phone call,” you say as a warning, already foreseeing yourself getting scared out of your wits when you return from your vacation.
Hoseok laughs, and you can only hope he’s doing so while he’s packing, otherwise this FaceTime call will have been for almost naught. True best friends find their power in the suffering of each other, and you and Hoseok are no exception.
“Are we even allowed to have eight people in a group?” You ask, the thought coming back to you suddenly. “It seems like a lot.”
Not to mention the fact that Hoseok and his friends are often the subject of Bang’s—the director—fond but displeased side-eyes during practice. Hoseok’s friends are fantastic players—especially Jungkook, who is on track to get first chair for violin next year despite only just finishing freshman year—but they are less-than-fantastic at being mature and well-behaved young adults in university.
The only possible exception to that would be Jungkook, but that’s only because he seems to spend all of his waking moments practicing his instrument and has garnered something of a reputation for being what you’ve heard other girls affectionately call a cold-hearted bitch. But he gets along well with Taehyung, Jimin, and Seokjin, who regularly vandalize the whiteboard in the practice room with poorly-drawn meme recreations in various marker colors, so you suppose he can’t be too heartless if he finds amusement in that one time that Taehyung spent three hours writing the beginning of the entire Bee Movie script on the whiteboard in tiny handwriting.
“That was the limit, so yes, we’re allowed. Are we advised to have eight people in a group? Debatable,” Hoseok tells you.
“I bet you my left pinky toe Bang’s gonna have a stress headache for this entire vacation because of you guys,” you say, rubbing at your eyes to rid yourself of the sleep that’s beginning to overcome you.
“Hey, you’re included in this ‘you guys’ now,” Hoseok says. “You’re officially one of us.”
“Great,” you deadpan.
“Should I pack my denim shorts?” Hoseok asks, and you are, unsurprisingly, a little shocked that the purpose of this FaceTime call—help Hoseok pack—wasn’t lost after all.
“Absolutely not. Those things are horrendous,” you tell him, vivid memories of the tight fabric barely making it past mid-thigh.
“What!” Hoseok shouts, appalled. “I love those things.”
You frown. “Just because they still fit you even though you got them in eighth grade doesn’t mean you should wear them.”
Hoseok frowns and packs them anyway, something you know is going to cause you intense grief and secondhand embarrassment for when he prances around Florence in those things, which leave very little to the imagination. And the call continues like this, for the most part, until you fall asleep somewhere past midnight and Hoseok’s voice echoes in your headphones at one in the morning, telling you to “wake the fuck up” because “we’re going to Italy, baby!”
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You meet your orchestra at the terminal at two in the morning, severely sleep-deprived and having probably forgotten something at home that you’ll only realize once you’re in your hotel room. They’re all loitering around inside, by the vast expanses of check-in desks for the different airlines. Everyone seems about as tired and unhappy to be here as you are, even though the destination is much more important than the journey. The fifty member orchestra probably makes up the majority of the current airport population. In this room, at least. You’re quite a sight to behold, really, surrounded by your instruments and your suitcases and your sleepy, pajama-clad selves.
“Y/N! Over here!”
Hoseok’s voice rings out throughout the building, and you wonder how someone could be so excited despite not receiving any sleep whatsoever in preparation for this flight. He waves you over and you join up with him and the rest of the gang. You’re impressed that all of them are here. The probability of Namjoon being late is 110%, ad he’s standing right by Jungkook, telling him something and making the other laugh.
“‘Sup, Y/N,” Seokjin greets with a head nod your way, one you return. At this exact moment, your sandal slips right off of your foot and you nearly crash into the case by his feet, grabbing onto the nearest wrist for support before you fall flat on the marble. Unfortunately, that wrist happens to be Jungkook’s.
You meet eyes for a split second before immediately releasing your grasp, his skin red from where you held it. Jungkook is almost too tired to react to your sudden movements, thank God, but he still seems to be a bit taken aback by your actions, freezing up slightly at the contact. You feel like melting into a puddle of goo on the floor and slithering away, like that kid from Sky High.
“My precious Bessy!” Seokjin shrieks shrilly, rushing down to clutch the case.
Taehyung crinkles his nose in disgust. “You named your bassoon Bessy?”
Seokjin looks appalled. “Yes? Do you not name your instruments?”
Taehyung merely blinks. “No. I’m not a heathen.”
“You okay, Y/N?” Hoseok asks, coming up from behind you to check on you, like a true best friend. Even though you’re physically unscathed, your mortal embarrassment levels have shot up to peak heights. Not that you’ve never spoken to Jungkook before and have just made the world’s shittiest first impression, but seldom do your paths cross and you’re pretty sure he just knows you as “Hoseok’s best friend”, a title you will be rescinding the next time he dares prank you. He seems to brush off the whole interaction quite easily, which is a little soothing to your damaged dignity.
“I’m fine, Hobi, thanks,” you assure him, dusting yourself off and avoiding Jungkook’s gaze at all costs. What a great way to start off your trip.
Bang comes around and hands out plane tickets, giving a warning look to Jimin and Taehyung to not cause any funny business during the flight. One look at the both of them tells you that the only funny business will be sneaking photos of the other sleeping before conking out himself. You’re all deadbeat tired.
“Where are you sitting?” Hoseok asks loudly, peering over at your ticket. “Okay, you’re 15G. I’m 16H. Hey! Jungkook’s 15H! You guys are sitting next to each other!”
Hoseok seems to be the only one infinitely excited about the seating arrangement. Daringly, you take a quick look at Jungkook and offer something of an apologetic, “guess it’s you and me, huh?” smile. He sends you one back, but that seems to be the extent of his desire to interact with you. Not that you didn’t expect him to be distant and withdrawn, especially because you really only know each other as a result of the transitive friendship property, but you are withholding any judgement of his personality until after you get to know him a little better because “cold-hearted bitch” seems only a tad inaccurate.
“If you wanna switch seats, I won’t mind,” Jungkook comes up to tell you, motioning to Namjoon and Hoseok, who are animatedly speaking about their in-flight habits since they’re seated together. He is arguably incredibly neutral about your seating arrangement.
You shake your head, not wanting to intrude or barge in and demand you exchange seats with Namjoon. You see Hoseok enough. Perhaps it’s time for a bit of a change in scenery. “No, it’s alright. I mean, unless you don’t wanna sit next to me, or something. I get it.”
Jungkook shrugs nonchalantly in the cool kind of way, the kind of way that the lead male love interest in a John Hughes movie would. Only, instead of doing drugs, Jungkook does orchestra. Shaking his head, he says, “Nah. You’re fine.”
The conversation ends there. Taehyung barges in to tell Jungkook something, pulling him away from where the two of you were awkwardly loitering around the entrance of the airport. Your gaze floats around the pristine building, empty save for your obnoxious orchestra group and the poor, unfortunate souls stuck working the night shift. As you look around, you pretend you don’t notice the way Taehyung whispers in Jungkook’s ear very conspicuously, making slight motions towards you. Very subtle.
It feels as though something shifts beside you, and you turn to find Hoseok standing next to your bag, looking a bit lost.
His eyes are wide as he says, “I think I forgot my toothbrush.”
Only Hoseok.
Soon enough, your bags squeak against the clean marble of the airport as you make your way as a collective herd towards security after having checked your suitcases and received your boarding passes. All of your instruments have FRAGILE stickers plastered all over the cases—God forbid you get to Italy and your cello is smashed—as they march down the conveyor belt, waiting to be gently laid into the airplane. Hopefully. You can only imagine the horror of Seokjin’s reaction if his Bessy was damaged in any way, shape, or form. Not the most ideal way to start out a month-long vacation in Italy.
Hoseok keeps your mind occupied—and drinks all of your accidentally-full water bottle in the line for security (to the chants from the rest of the group of “Chug! Chug! Chug!”), much to your concern because he is very much going to wet himself later—as you wade through the obligatory airport process. Even though it’s two in the morning and nobody else is outrageous enough to book a flight that would require them to be here at such an ungodly hour, there are fifty of you to get through the single security line and guard at once. Which is a lot, especially considering you’re a group of noisy teenagers who don’t know what the shit you’re doing. You can only hope you are not too accosted as you have to stand in the security machine, arms raised as they make sure there are no batteries in your pockets.
“Jungkook,” you say softly, spotting the outline of a computer in his backpack. “Don’t forget to take your laptop out.”
He looks a bit shocked at the sound of you speaking his name, but your words register. You wonder if you will ever have an interaction with him that does not involve at least one of you being mildly caught off guard. “Oh, right. Thanks.”
Once you’re all through security, gathered together in another huddle at the end of the line,  where the uncomfortable metal benches meant for tugging your shoes back on are, Bang tells you your gate and tells you to be there fifteen minutes before boarding time. And then he leaves you be, sends you off into the wild like butterflies being freed from their cage in a fourth grade classroom after the students are finished being taught about metamorphosis. You already know Bang wants as little to do with the orchestra he is supposedly chaperoning as he can get.
In your little squad, someone’s stomach grumbles.
“Dude, what the fuck, it’s nearly three in the morning,” Taehyung says to Jimin, who looks as guilty as ever.
“Listen! I didn’t eat dinner. I’m starving,” Jimin cries defensively.
“I could go for a coffee,” Yoongi adds in unnecessarily. You think a caffeinated beverage at three in the morning when you are about to get on a nine hour flight sounds like the worst idea in the entire world.
“Bitch, we’re not having coffee now,” Taehyung tells him, rejecting his suggestion immediately.
“Bitch,” Yoongi responds.
Hoseok’s currently fiddling with the eight-year-old keychain on your backpack, one of a toilet whose lid opens and closes. Namjoon butts in, seemingly reeling everyone in. “Let’s just walk, and if we see somewhere that looks not-super-shitty we can grab stuff there.”
“Aren’t they feeding us breakfast on the plane?” Jimin asks.
“Do you really want to eat shitty plane breakfast?” Seokjin replies with a question of his own, a particularly disgusted expression on his face. You’re getting absolutely nowhere, and even Namjoon, Bass 1 player, can’t reel everyone together. Jimin seems to object Seokjin’s question and immediately launches into something about “being broke” and “free food is better than expensive food”.
“We should just go,” Namjoon says, a little louder this time. You see Bang walk by with his undereye bags and his actual bags, and he sends an apologetic look to Namjoon, who seems to have unintentionally assumed the position of leader for your herd. Understandably so, because Jimin and Seokjin stop bickering and start walking, which is an improvement if you’ve ever heard one. Even though it’s late (early?), everyone seems to be fairly animated, still riding out the high of almost being in Italy.
You make your way through the terminal, suitcases rolling along the smooth floor, passing by all of the other poor, poor souls who are forced to come to the airport at this ridiculous hour along with you. You wouldn’t be surprised if most of them are supposed to be on your flight. They deserve a preemptive apology for the orchestra’s existence.
“Hey, look! An Au Bon Pain,” Taehyung cries out, pointing to the yellow walls and golden sign above the open doorway. The store is empty and the lady at the register looks like she’s asleep.
“I’m in pain,” Namjoon grumbles. Relatable.
Jimin and Seokjin storm into the store, eyeing the breakfast foods despite the time of day. Yoongi heads to the counter to order some coffee, with Hoseok behind him, advising him to get something sans caffeine for the sake of his sleep schedule. Yoongi tells Hoseok to mind his business because neither of them ever get any sleep anyway. Namjoon and Taehyung stare at the sandwiches and make jokes about avocado toast, which they then order, so they can kiss their wishes for semi-permanent housing goodbye. You are an intellectual, to say the least, and after Hoseok downed your water bottle you are in desperate need of a new one for the flight.
The water bottles in the barely-cold freezer stare back at you as you inspect them, trying to figure out which brands of water you will be judged for and which ones you will not (does Fiji make you seem like a pretentious asshole?), when you feel the presence of someone next to you.
It’s Jungkook, but he makes no move to talk with you, converse with you in any way as he gazes down into the freezer. You feel like a thick cloud of awkward silence settles between your bodies, fogging up your brain, but that’s definitely just in your head because Jungkook is in and out of the vicinity in a flash, reaching down to grab a fruit salad in a cup and a bottle of Aquafina. You try not to watch as he leaves, heading over to the checkout counter, where Taehyung and his half-eaten avocado toast are waiting. Quickly, before you get judged for loitering around the freezer without having picked anything for too long, you grab the same bottle and head towards Hoseok, hoping that he has grabbed the five croissants you expect him to pick up. People who buy five croissants with the intention of eating all of them typically have eyes bigger than their stomachs, but Hoseok genuinely will consume every single bite, down to the last crumb. You can only pray that he saves some for you.
Sure enough, as you arrive at the cash registers where the rest of your little (big) group waits, Hoseok’s got a bag that’s practically overflowing with croissants. At the exact same time you come up to next to him, he spots a hefty double chocolate muffin and impulsively adds it to his purchase, like the insatiable behemoth he is.
“Do you think this’ll be enough for the flight?” Hoseok asks, like he’s skeptical about the amount of food he’s currently holding in comparison to the duration of the plane ride. You’re disappointed, but not surprised.
“I think that’ll be enough for the next week,” you tell him in response. “As long as you let me snatch one, it’ll probably fine.”
“Would you even be my best friend if you didn’t mooch off of food that I paid for by my own hand?”
“First of all, you owe me like, seven croissants after your prank on me, so start counting,” you say defensively, reaching over to tweak his ear playfully.
After chowing down, you all make your way to the gate to camp out until your flight, a decision made entirely by Namjoon who, despite his track record of never being on time, knows that you as a group should probably be punctual when getting on a plane and going to Europe. Jimin spots a pole with four outlets for charging various devices so that way they can be at 100% instead of 96%. How dare you board a plane missing that crucial 4%. Jimin settles in against the pole and plugs in his phone and his Nintendo Switch, hogging two of the outlets absolutely mercilessly. Namjoon sits down beside him and charges his laptop, which Taehyung, Hoseok, and Yoongi then proceed to use as a bank for their own phone-charging needs.
The benches at the gate are the nice ones, thank God, meaning there are no angry metal armrests separating each seat and preventing you from receiving a hearty rest with your body parallel to the floor. You claim four of the seats for yourself, using your backpack as a pillow, and stretching out until your feet are dangling over the end of the last seat. You could use a bit (a lot) of sleep. Hoseok settles down on the floor by your head, leaning against the chair.
“Y/N, listen to this song I composed last week. Yoongi really liked it,” he says, except it’s not a choice because he’s already stuffing his earphone into your ear.
“I can’t believe you would let Yoongi listen to it before me,” you say, mock offended as you shift your body so that your listening position is more comfortable. “I’m your best friend.” Hoseok, ever since he started producing music, has always come to you with his first drafts and demo versions, asking you to give it a listen and provide him with your honest thoughts. Though, you can’t really blame him for not letting you give it a first listen, because this last week has been hectic (for good reason) and he and Yoongi are more into music composition than you are.
The song begins, heavy bass drum beats echoing in your eardrums before the rest of the synth comes in, slightly fuzzy because Hoseok buys the cheapest of everything except his viola. And then you hear his voice come in, thick and slightly indiscernible rap spewing out from the earphones with lyrics that are only mildly questionable. But it’s a good song—probably his best—and if you heard that on the radio you wouldn’t change the station.
By the time the song is finished, however, you take one look around you to find the rest of the group fast asleep or close to it, each stretched out around your little area. Namjoon and Jimin are sleeping with their heads resting on each other, Hoseok’s got his head barely centimeters away from yours, and everyone else is stretched out on the seats. Now is as good a time as any to sleep, yourself.
Bang comes around five minutes before boarding, when everyone on this flight that isn’t part of a youth orchestra is lining up at the gate, ready and desperate to get on the plane. He wakes you up by hitting your backpacks until you open your eyes and alert everyone else. Your vision is still blurry from the goop in your eyes but you pull yourself off the seat and gather your belongings. Slowly, group by group at five o’clock on the dot, you board the plane, aching to just Be In Rome already.
Jungkook’s got the window seat, so you let him shuffle into the row first after you’ve both flung your bags up into the overhead compartment. The seats are tiny and squish together with little leg room, but at least it’s just the two of you in this row, no middle man to suffer between your bodies. Next to you, Yoongi and Seokjin are bickering about who wants to be in the middle and who wants to be on the aisle in this two-four-two seat layout.
You turn to Jungkook to make some dumb witty comment about Seokjin and Yoongi always bickering but instead find both of Jungkook’s headphones in as he stares out the tiny airplane window, watching as the different colored lights flash outside like a traffic light at a busy intersection. Headphones in is the universal sign for “Please Don’t Interact With Me”, and you think that if you listen hard enough, you can hear the sound of a rock song coming from his headphones over the sweet, sweet sound of Seokjin’s shrill voice.
Leaning back in resignation, you reach through the seats in front of you to tap Hoseok’s shoulder, bored. He whips his head around, already knowing it’s you.
“Hanging in there, tiger?” You ask Hoseok.
Your best friend winces. “I’m about to fucking piss myself.”
“Ever the charmer, Hobi,” you say fondly. “You know you didn’t need to drink my whole water bottle.”
Hoseok looks accosted at the mere thought of it. “I wasn’t going to let you waste all of it! There are bees that are dying because plants aren’t getting enough water. Are you willing to be a part of the bee-killing epidemic?”
“I really don’t think that bees are dying because plants aren’t getting hydrated.”
“All I can hear is ‘I want to be a part of the bee-killing epidemic’,” Hoseok says, making his voice all high-pitched to mirror yours, as if you sound anything like Hoseok after inhaling a helium balloon.
You give him a hearty smack on the shoulder, just for good measure. He laughs at your violence, chuckling to himself as he whips out his computer to do some last-minute composing before the kind flight attendant comes by to tell him to put his tray table up and shut off his laptop.
Out of all the various means of transportation, airplanes, strangely enough, are pretty far up your list. Not that you have enough Frequent Flyer Miles to even get you from New York to Florida, but on the few times you have been on a plane, you find it quite enjoyable. A lot of people severely dislike flying, but you see it as quite cathartic, a time for self-reflection and peace and cramped toilets. The whole process excites you because it means that you are just that much closer to reaching your destination. Also, no matter how childish it may seem, the way that the cars and buildings below you shrink as you rise higher and higher is mesmerizing.
You lean forward slightly to peer out the window, past Jungkook’s body as he taps his fingers on his armrest to the beat of whatever late 2000’s rock song is blasting into his eardrums, hoping to catch a glimpse of the lights outside through the glare of the fluorescents in the cabin. It doesn’t look nearly as beautiful as it would from far away, but you suppose that’s kind of how it all works. Things are always much prettier when you aren’t looking up close, obvious to the rips at the edges, the cracks right through the paint.
Just as you’re settling back into your seat, ready to take the well-deserved rest you need during this flight, the overhead speaker crackles and you hear the soothing (and sort of indiscernible) sound of “Good morning, ladies and gentleman”, though you highly doubt five AM after a sleepless night could be considered morning, even if the social construct of time says otherwise.
Like every other sleep-deprived individual on the flight, you sort of tune out the sound of the flight attendant’s voice, even as the video to tell you about cabin safety pops up on the tiny TV screen in front of you. Next to you, Jungkook doesn’t even have his eyes open, but you can tell he’s not sleeping from the way his whole body seems to move to the rhythm of the song he’s listening to.
After about five minutes, the flight attendants dim the fluorescent lights, your eyeballs relishing in the much-needed darkness. And soon, the plane is moving, rolling along the tarmac as it makes its way to the runway, ready for takeoff. This is probably your favorite part of the whole plane-riding experience, and in your excitement to get a peek out of the window as the plane revs up the engine, you jostle Jungkook from his facade of slumber.
He takes a single earbud out. “You okay?”
“Yeah,” you say enthusiastically (well, as enthusiastic as you can be in your current state), hoping you aren’t intruding too much on his personal bubble by leaning over to stare out the window. Though, you suppose his bubble is already decently small since the two of you are in Economy seating in a two-four-two seat layout on a plane. “Sorry, didn’t mean to wake you.”
“I was already awake,” he says casually, like he doesn’t care for his own words. “What’s going on?”
“Plane’s taking off.”
“You into that?” He asks, a single eyebrow raised. His fingers are still clenching onto his earbud, as if he’s making to put it back into his ear at any moment now.
“Yeah, I like watching the… lights,” you say, it only just registering how childish you sound.
Jungkook nods. “That’s cool.”
You expect that to be the end of the conversation, but then—
“Move over. I wanna see.”
And so you scoot to the side a bit, all up in Jungkook’s precious leg room and practically on the floor of the cabin at this point as the two of you peer out the window, watching as the plane speeds up and up and up before you feel that first second of weightlessness. It’s nowhere near as exciting when the plane first takes off, still only able to the see the expanse of the airport for the beginning, but then suddenly the airport gets smaller and the skyline gets brighter.
This is your favorite part. This, the hazy orange and yellow lights as they flash in the distance, so close yet so far away. This, the night sky all lit up and you’ve got the best seats in the house. The sun is on the verge of the horizon, ready to begin another day, and yet the night continues on, desperate for those last few moments before the hustle and bustle begins. This, where the sky begins to fade gently from navy to cerulean, this is your favorite part.
After the show is over, after you’ve certainly invaded enough of Jungkook’s physical privacy by staring out the window, hoping to catch the last spots of skyline before you soar above the clouds, you move back to your own seat. Now’s as good a time as any to catch up on all of the Z’s you’ve been perpetually missing for the last five years of your life.
You lean down in front of you, grabbing your backpack so you can fish through the pockets for your headphones, ready to tuck in to the sweet, sweet sounds of Destiny’s Child and Backstreet Boys. They are nowhere to be found.
“Christ,” you mutter to yourself, hoping Jungkook can’t hear you. He seems to have forgotten to put his other headphone in, even though he continues to gaze out the window.
You hope you’re not being too disruptive as you shuffle through the many pockets in your backpack, going through one after another on the hunt for your headphones. If you weren’t in such a cramped space, you’d probably dump the entire thing out on the floor in front of you. Your headphones are perhaps your most valuable possession, just because there is so much music that you have to listen to, that you want to listen to.
Hating that you’re disturbing him, you turn to him. “Jungkook, you wouldn’t have seen some white Apple headphones around, would you?”
Jungkook shakes his head.
In front of you, Hoseok snorts.
It takes all of your willpower not to shout out his name in frustration, loud enough for the people way up in First Class to hear your cries.
“Jung Hoseok!”
Hoseok bursts into a fit of giggles, and you already know that it’s him who’s the headphone thief, laughing to himself in front of you with your headphones somewhere in his possession. You know it’s a harmless prank and you’re not really angry with him, but he always does this to you and you can just bet you’ve lost five years off of your life from all of the grief he’s given you.
“Goddamnit, you’re such a piece of shit,” you hiss to him between the seats. “How could you do me like this?”
“I’m surprised you didn’t notice earlier,” Hoseok comments. “You seem to have a pretty good eye for these types of things,” he says as he hands back your headphones, crumpled up in what looks to be a nasty knot. You’re going to enjoy undoing this.
“When the fuck did you even take them?” You ask.
“After we got out of security,” Hoseok says as if it’s an achievement. You hate him so much, it’s a wonder how the two of you are best friends.
“You’re a demon.”
“I’m a demon who loves you.”
You frown, no response on the tip of your tongue for that one. Hoseok laughs to himself again at your silence, and you roll your eyes as you lean back in your seat, bracing yourself for the knot in your lap.
“Found ‘em?” Jungkook asks, not even attempting to hide the fact that he was definitely listening into your conversation.
“Evidently, yeah,” you say, slowly beginning to unravel the knot. “He’s always stealing my stuff like this.”
“Thought you guys were friends,” Jungkook points out.
“We are, he’s just a little shit. And a massive prankster,” you say, sighing to yourself. You shake your head, somewhat exasperated, somewhat fond, as you recall all of the tricks and jokes he’s pulled on you. “Just a few days ago he vandalized my bedroom by putting pictures of his face all over my picture frames.”
Jungkook doesn’t even try to hide his laughter at the mention of Hoseok’s latest shenanigan, and you can’t even blame him for hit. Hoseok got you good, that’s for sure. “Don’t you ever try and get him back?”
You sigh. “I want to,” you say dejectedly. “I’m just terrible at it. I’m an awful prankster but a fantastic prankee, apparently. He’s always telling me I need to step my game up. As if I had any of this so-called game to begin with.”
“Well,” Jungkook says haughtily, a glint in his eye that tells that he’s definitely just thought of something. “I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve. What do you say I… help you out?”
You furrow your brows. “What does that mean?” You don’t know if you’re liking the sound of where this is going. A few tricks up Jungkook’s sleeve could mean anything from the classic Whoopee cushion to something far more nefarious and possibly illegal.
“Just… hear me out,” Jungkook pleads, leaning in close to you so Hoseok can’t hear your plan. Not that he would, anyway, since he’s got his headphones in now and is currently headbanging to what is likely unintelligible rap.
“I don’t like the sound of this, Jungkook,” you say, tentative at best and skeptical at worst. “You could say anything from like… a piece of fake shit on the floor to smashing a copy of his viola in front of him—”
“Let’s fake date.”
“What?”
Perhaps the tone of your voice gives off a harsher reaction that you’d like. Granted, right off the bat, the idea seems ludicrous. Especially when you look at the person who the words belong to. But even though the mere suggestion of what you believe to be a fake relationship, of all things, elicited a strong response from you, it is not one of outright rejection. More, you’re puzzled. Absolutely bewildered as to why, of all the potential pranks out there in the world (both legal and illegal), Jungkook goes straight for the fake relationship one.
“Listen,” Jungkook sputters, hoping to explain himself. You’re speechless, gasping for words like a fish out of water, but much like said fish, even if you move your mouth, nothing is going to come to you. “I’m actually a genius. This is a great idea, alright?”
You try your hardest not to scoff, since you’re pretty sure just hacking into Hoseok’s phone and making the word “the” autocorrect to an excerpt from Fifty Shades of Grey could accomplish the same goal. “If you can explain to me how this is actually not going to turn into an absolute crapshoot, I am all ears.”
“Okay, think about it,” Jungkook says, turning his entire body towards you so he can gesticulate more clearly. He’s not even using convincing hand signals, he’s just moving his appendages to the rhythm of his sentences. “Hoseok’s been pranking you for what, like a year?”
“More than that,” you interrupt. You don’t exactly know when the practical jokes became a constant in your long-lasting friendship, but they have certainly been around for a while. “At least three years.”
Jungkook pauses his entire argument just to cry out softly, “you’ve gone three years and you haven’t pranked him back once?”
“Don’t shame me,” you tell him, frowning to yourself.
Jungkook rolls his eyes. “Anyway, just think about it. Hoseok’s been pranking you for over three years and you’ve never gotten him back, so what better way to do it then trick him into thinking you’re in a blossoming relationship with yours truly and then crush his dreams when we fake-break up?”
You squint your eyes. It seems like a foolproof plan, when Jungkook puts it that way, even if there are a few provisos you are almost certain that you’re missing. The fine print has been laid out in front of you, somewhere, but you stopped having 20/20 vision when you were nine.
Realistically, you probably wouldn’t be able to prank Hoseok back in any other sort of way without giving him a heart attack or a hearty laugh. After being your best friend for nearly all your life, he reads you like a fucking board book, so something simpler and more direct just wouldn’t be as effective. You’d put a Whoopee cushion on his chair and when he’d sit down, all he’d do is laugh. He’d catch you in the act. And if you even dared to dip your toes into the realm of pranks that cause severe stress, then you’d have that guilt weighing your conscience down for God knows how long afterwards.
And objectively, fake dating doesn’t seem like the worst scenario. You trick Hoseok into thinking you’re dating Jungkook (of all people) and he believes you because at this point, he kind of just wants you to find any semblance of love you can and in his desperation, will latch onto any sign he can. Then, after a month or so, you break up and it’s loud and disruptive and Hoseok is heartbroken, until you reveal it was all a big joke anyway. Harmless and simple.
“There’s gotta be a catch to this,” you declare, gears in your brain turning as they try to weed out any stipulations you may have missed. “What’s in it for you?”
“What do you mean?” Jungkook asks.
“Well, I’m kind of unbearable, so you’re not just gonna up and fake date me out of the goodness of your own heart,” you reason. There’s absolutely no way that Jungkook is going to do this unless he gets something out of it. “What’s in it for you?”
“How dare you think I wouldn’t willingly spend my time doing this generous thing for you,” Jungkook says, mock offended as he places a hand over his chest, appalled. “I’m insulted.”
You frown, lips stretching into a straight line in indifference. You tap your foot on the carpeted floor, waiting for his real response.
“Alright, Taehyung’s been begging me to start dating somebody for the past year and I would appreciate it if he was off my back about it,” Jungkook concedes, revealing his true motives to you.
“So your best method to resolve this issue is to fake date someone instead of just asking Taehyung to chill out for a while?”
“We’re talking about the same Kim Taehyung, right?” Jungkook asks. “The one that asked Bang every single day last year what he thinks about the Backstreet Boys’ album Backstreet’s Back? Are we talking about him?”
Jungkook’s got a point. Taehyung’s a fantastic bass player but he can definitely be a pain in the ass sometimes, in a good way. You would call him something of a tasteful nuisance. He’s not annoying to the point where it’s disruptive and makes everyone else in the orchestra hate him. Even so, it’s understandable that Taehyung is unsurprisingly relentless when it comes to Jungkook’s apparently nonexistent love life, so you suppose that you could do him a solid and help out. He’s helping you, isn’t he?
“Touché.” You nod.
“So, what do you say? We fake date for a couple weeks, and then we can stage a really messy breakup, and go back to normal. Boom,” Jungkook says, gesticulating as though he’s laying it all out in front of you, perfectly transparent.
“A couple weeks, alright?” You say with both of your eyebrows raised, not wanting to commit to this for more than you absolutely must. “Until the end of the trip?”
Jungkook nods in agreement. You’re grateful he doesn’t seem to want to string out the fake relationship any longer than necessary either.
“Should we write a contract?” You ask, furrowing your brows as you try to figure out if guidelines are a sort of necessity in this type of situation. A binding agreement seems like a step in the right direction, even if it is a bit… rigid. “Is that what people do? Write contracts?”
Jungkook chuckles to himself, laughing at your bewilderment. “Yeah, in movies.”
“We should have some guidelines for this thing!” You exclaim defensively. You like being prepared for certain situations should they ever arise. Jungkook’s friends with Taehyung and Namjoon, who regularly forget their orchestra music, so he’s probably very impartial to such pedestrian concepts as rules and regulations.
Jungkook sighs, shaking his head albeit quite fondly, like he doesn’t seem to mind your insistence. “I can’t believe my fake girlfriend is a fine print freak.”
“Ah!” You stop him, pointer finger up in the air to make a point. “I haven’t formally agreed to anything yet. I request a contract.”
Jungkook heaves out a breath, rolling his eyes as his lips curve up into a smirk. “Alright, if it helps you sleep at night, then we can write a contract. Just for you.”
You smile, happy he’s complying. The smile wipes itself off of your face when Jungkook pulls out a napkin that he grabbed from the Au Bon Pain from his bag and shuffles through a side pocket for a pen, unfolding the flimsy piece of fabric in front of him on the tray table.
“What are you doing?”
Jungkook looks puzzled. “Writing the contract?”
“On that?”
“Napkins agreements are binding, alright? We’ll be the Napkin Lovers.”
“Please never say that again,” you request politely, making him chuckle again.
“Alright,” he says, nearly bringing his pen to the paper (or whatever material the napkin is made out of), “first order of business?”
“This relationship and contract is officially nullified at the end of our trip to Italy,” you instruct, Jungkook writing down your order word for word. The blue ink of his pen bleeds through the napkin, and you can only hope he won’t be staining the plastic of the tray table underneath it. “What else?”
“Nobody else can know about this agreement until we reveal the prank in its entirety,” Jungkook suggests, writing it down as you nod in assent.
“What else?” You ask, scrunching your nose up as you try to come up with any other possible stipulations. You can’t really think of anything concerning the legality of the whole situation, especially because this could hardly be considered an act of law in the first place despite the contract being written at this very moment.
“Well, we’ll need to outline our relationship,” Jungkook says. “Gotta act like a real couple, you know?” He leans back in his seat, slouching slightly against the cushioning as he taps the pen against the tray table. He’s still got a single headphone in, but you can barely hear his music anymore.
You cross your arms in front of you. “And what exactly would acting like a real couple entail?”
“I mean, we gotta come up with a good backstory. And hold hands and publicly display our affection for one another. Spend a lot of time together. Disgust the fuck out of our friends because we can’t let this golden opportunity go to waste. Kiss, too, I guess.” Jungkook lists off, making your head spin.
“Kissing?” You forgot that part of the fake dating aspect of this agreement would be the fake dating. It appears that it had slipped your mind briefly.
Jungkook nods, entirely serious. “Yeah, I mean. We’re dating. Or, fake dating, I guess. We’re going to have to make it believable. If you’re not cool with it, though, that’s fine. I won’t pressure you or anything.”
Jungkook’s right, though. You know that when you walk off this plane as a sudden couple (assuming you agree to this absolutely ludicrous idea, which, knowing you, you probably will) you will be bombarded with questions from your friends, from Hoseok, all demanding to know how and when and why. And you know that if you and Jungkook don’t have a concrete explanation to back up your claim, the entire enactment will fall right through your fingertips. And if you and Jungkook don’t keep up this act perfectly, they’ll see right through you. Especially Hoseok.
“No, you’re right,” you concede. “We’re gonna have to pull some major Oscar-worthy performances to get everyone else to believe it. I guess we’ll have to kiss sometime.” Admittedly—though you’d never admit this out loud even in a life or death situation—Jungkook’s definitely one of the nicest looking men you’ve had the pleasure of laying your eyes on. So kissing him probably won’t be that bad. You hope.
“Alright, kissing is a-go. Cool. We still need a backstory, though,” Jungkook notes.
“How about you confessed your affection to me on this flight and surprise! It was reciprocated and now we’re dating,” you suggest, this seeming to be the most realistic and simple reasoning for your sudden change in relationship status. It’s not far off from the truth, either, even if there are a couple of blurred lines. You don’t need some extravagant story about how Jungkook has secretly been drawing you in some secret sketchbook and sometime during this flight, all the pages came flying out in front of you, only to reveal your own face staring back at you as Jungkook frantically gathers up his artwork while trying to explain himself. You just need something believable. “How’s that?”
“Uh, I confessed?” He asks for clarification. You nod. Is that a bit of pink in his cheeks? “Alright then, I guess I confessed and now we’re giving the dating thing a shot.”
“Boom. Foolproof,” you say, mimicking the same way Jungkook spoke to you when he was proposing this thing in its entirety. The thought of the other things Jungkook mentioned, things like public displays of affection, rear their ugly head in your brain but you push them aside, deciding that you’ll just burn those bridges when you get to them like you do with everything else.
“What else do we need?” Jungkook asks, looking down at the napkin. The blue ink has stained right through the fabric, but luckily you can just smear it off the tray table. No biggie.
“How about for the last point, just write that details concerning the relationship have been verbally discussed and mutually agreed upon?” You suggest. Jungkook copies you word-for-word, and soon he’s drawing two lines at the very bottom for you and him to sign, a mildly binding agreement on a damn bakery napkin.
Jungkook scrawls his signature, trying his hardest not to tear the napkin open. Smiling, he turns to you proudly, like a five-year-old finished coloring in a page in a coloring book, handing the pen over for you to sign. He’s got something of a sneaky grin on his face, eyebrows raised towards you as if you say if you’re down, I’m down. “So, it’s official?”
You take the pen from his hand confidently, leaning over his tray table to sign your own name, handwriting messy and practically illegible at this point. “It’s official.”
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Your flight gets in at nighttime. You can spot the last of the sun’s rays through the airplane window, watching as the sky fades from a hazy blue to a deep navy, specks of violet amongst the stars. Admittedly, poor timing for a flight, but you don’t think anybody in the orchestra will care considering the fact that 100% of them didn’t get enough sleep anyway. The Rome airport is all lit up when you arrive, lights decorating the building and guiding the plane. Surrounding it, you can barely make out the buildings. The bustling city of Rome is a hearty thirty minutes away from its airport.
As all good orchestra nerds do, the first thing you do when you gather your belongings at baggage claim is check for damage. God forbid your cello is dented, or worse, broken.
“Good news everybody, Bessy’s fine,” Seokjin shouts out to nobody in particular, though you can assume it’s to your group.
Jimin grumbles. “No one cares, dude.”
“I am the best bassoonist in this orchestra, so let me know who you’re going to listen to when there’s no bassoon to cue you in,” Seokjin says, looking as affronted as always.
“The tenors, because they always have the same part as you anyway,” Taehyung jokes, earning some chuckles of laughter sprinkled throughout the rest of the group. Seokjin, if it’s even physically possible, becomes more offended.
“Is your cello good?” Jungkook asks, coming up to you with his violin thrown over his shoulder as you inspect your instrument for any damage. You put in a hell of a lot of plastic bags in your case to act as padding, and now they are scattered on the marbled Rome airport floor, burying your feet beneath you. To yourself, you wonder if the only reason Jungkook’s coming over to you is because the two of you are putting on an elaborate, month-long two-person show meant to deceive all of your friends.
“We won’t really find out until I start playing, right?” You say, shrugging to yourself. Visibly, your cello seems unscathed, but its future performance is to be determined. Scattered throughout the airport, everyone else seems to be checking the physical state of their own instruments, but instead of inspecting his, Jungkook’s got his violin swung over his shoulder as he leans down to help you stuff the plastic bags back into your case. “I don’t need your help, Jeon.”
“Just trying to be a good fake boyfriend,” Jungkook mutters snarkily, grabbing bags by the handful and stuffing them into your case, a strange sense of rough gentleness to his actions. He makes sure that the plastic bags are packed in tightly, leaving no room for error in your case before he stands up as you close the latches. He offers a hand to pull you up, which you accept because you know that if you don’t you’ll never hear the end of how terrible of a fake girlfriend you are, when he pulls you in and places a wet, slobbery kiss on your cheek.
Even though it barely lasts a millisecond, harmless really, you nearly gasp aloud but keep your noises to yourself, though that doesn’t stop the blood from rushing to your head as you give Jungkook a shocked push, like you can’t believe he really just dove right in, no warning given. It seems to do the trick for Jungkook, who chuckles to himself as he takes in your reaction, smiling as he watches a hybrid of a pout and a frown etch itself on your face.
Your mouth drops open, about to tell him off for the nonsense he just pulled in front of literally every single one of your friends (even if you didn’t exactly mind it, per se), when Jung Hoseok swings by with the most frightened smile you have ever seen on his face in your fourteen years of knowing him. He looks absolutely terrified, even as he blinks and awkwardly grins your way.
“Y/N, can we talk?” He asks quickly, blinking rapidly. “Privately?”
“Sounds like my cue to leave,” Jungkook says, nodding to both you and Hoseok. Shrugging his shoulders, he shifts around the violin on his left shoulder and the backpack on his right before making to leave, probably to go talk to Taehyung (who is making the most obvious gestures to catch Jungkook’s attention in the entire world). “Save a seat for me on the bus, okay, Thumper?”
If the kiss caught you off guard then the newfound pet name seems to send you for a whirl, with you scrunching up your nose in both shock and confusion once more even as Jungkook trots off happily, having successfully pestered you enough.
“Okay,” Hoseok says, closing his eyes tightly for a quick second. “Do my eyes and ears deceive me or did I just see Jeon Jungkook give you a kiss on your cheek and call you Thumper?”
As much as you want to deny it, you can’t help but say, “no, your senses seem to be perfectly in order.”
“Okay,” Hoseok says, nodding distantly. “Um. Alright.” He seems to be debating how to respond, like he was just presented with two checks each with the same exact amount and asked which once he’d prefer. “Uh… what the fuck?”
All you can do is smile guiltily as Hoseok’s brain processes all of this brand new information he’s receiving.
“Since when were you and Jungkook a thing? Did I miss something? How did this even happen? Last time you had a real conversation with him you were cursing me out for stealing your headphones! When the ever-loving fuck did you suddenly become all couple-y?”
You chuckle awkwardly, unsure on how to respond. “Uh, I don’t know, I mean I’ve always thought that he was kind of cute.”
“Admiring someone’s physical appearance is not the same as said someone kissing you on the cheek and calling you Thumper,” Hoseok deadpans. “I am going to need a seven-page essay complete with a full thesis, MLA formatting, and a works cited page as to what happened on that plane ride that suddenly turned the two of you into a fucking Disney movie.”
“I don’t know!” You exclaim defensively, your knee-jerk reaction to whenever you don’t know how to answer a question. “We just… clicked on the plane, I guess. He confessed and I thought that we should give the dating thing a try.”
Hoseok looks very unconvinced, but his skeptical nature is likely due to the shock factor that probably hasn’t sunk in yet. Very seldom do you ever come to him with news that you are suddenly romantically involved with someone. Your last relationship was for a week in high school. Neither you nor Hoseok would call you someone that seeks out romantic affection, nor someone who draws it to them. At least, until now.
“He’s cute, you know?” You say, peering over Hoseok’s shoulder to see Jungkook shaking his head and staring down at his sneakers as Taehyung speaks animatedly to him. You know your vision’s just been getting worse and worse since you started playing cello, but you swear you can make out the faintest shade of coral on his cheeks. “I mean. I think he’s pretty cute.”
“God, you guys are already fucking disgusting,” Hoseok says, mouth curling into a frown as he scrunches up his little button nose. “I already miss single-You.”
Guiltily, you think to yourself, you won’t have to wait too long.
“As long as you guys keep the PDA to a minimum in front of me, your humbled and supportive best friend, then I’ll be down for whatever you want to do. No making out in front of famous art, though.”
As if you were even considering that in the first place. Though, knowing Jungkook, he probably gets off to the idea of kissing someone in front of the Birth of Venus at the Uffizi.
“You are taking this surprisingly well,” you point out. Aside from Hoseok’s initial outburst, he seems very zen about this whole thing, especially considering the fact that you haven’t engaged in anything that involves even a sliver of romance for the several years. You definitely thought he’d have a more prolonged reaction.
“I’ve learned not to question you anymore,” Hoseok says sagely, like it’s some valuable piece of advice given to him by a troll under a bridge that he’s going to hold on until he’s in a casket, pass onto his children and grandchildren.
“What’s that supposed to mean!” You cry out in indignance, but Hoseok doesn’t get around to responding to you—not that he would give you the satisfaction of an answer anyway—because Bang’s voice echoes loud and clear throughout the baggage claim area as he attempts to wrangle up the sleep-deprived orchestra he’s meant to be chaperoning.
You join up with the rest of your group after Bang instructs the lot of you that “From now on you are with your group anytime you are not with the rest of the orchestra or your hotel,” sending a side-eye to Jimin and Taehyung, who have a knack for straying from the marked path. Jungkook immediately comes up beside you, wrapping a heavy arm around the back of your neck and resting it on your shoulder, pulling you in for a squished side hug. Because apparently that is what boyfriends do to their girlfriends. From across your accidentally-formed ellipse, Hoseok catches your eye and winks.
Namjoon is the last one to make it to your group, looking sufficiently beat down.
“You found it!” Jimin exclaims.
Namjoon sighs, having already had enough of Italy’s shit despite only being here for barely an hour. “Turns out my suitcase wasn’t even lost, it just accidentally got moved to a different baggage carousel.”
“Did your five years of American public high school Spanish help?” Yoongi asks.
Namjoon shrugs. He doesn’t seem to want to do anything except close his eyes. “I think the lady at the information desk understood me to an extent. It was just a lot of random gesticulating and finger pointing,” Namjoon explains. He sounds so monotonous it’s almost painful for you to listen to. “I just want to go to the hotel and sleep for the next month.”
He earns a chorus of agreement for that comment.
Bang takes this exhaustion as a good sign to start moving out, tracking down the bus meant to take you to city center, where your hotel waits patiently for forty-eight young adults and two chaperones-slash-band directors to crash on its beds.
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Bright and early, you awake at six the next morning. From what you can remember, you immediately conked out in the bed once arriving, not even taking the time to unpack. A mistake, because even through your blurry morning vision, it seems that the three other girls in your room have done that already, leaving you little space.
Soyeon’s busy shuffling around, taking out last minute items, already dressed in a flowy yellow maxi dress and a straw hat.
“Y/N!” She exclaims softly when she sees you, so as not to wake the other girls. “Did you just wake up?”
You grumble into your sheets.
“Cool. We left three hangers in the closet for you and the top drawer of the dresser under the television. There is like… an inch of space left on the bathroom counter because Minnie thinks it’s a good idea to wear makeup in the middle of July in Italy. But she’ll figure out that if she don’t have outrageously impeccable setting skills, it’ll melt right off,” Soyeon blabs on, having always been quite talkative. You admire her ability to be so… awake, even at six in the morning. Despite you having received a hearty eight hour snooze fest, you still feel deadbeat tired. Soyeon probably slept for at least eight hours before the flight like an individual who has their life together. Can’t relate.
“What are we doing today?” You mumble out, your pillow already calling you to return even as you go and use the bathroom before anyone else can snatch it away from you.
“Eating breakfast and meeting in the lobby at nine. Bang is giving us the day to ourselves so that way we get accustomed to the city,” Soyeon explains, switching the hotel kettle on to make herself a cup of tea. You know, as much as you can get accustomed to an enormous city like Rome in a single day. But you have a whole week and a half here before you go to Venice, so you suppose that that’s enough time. “We’re getting breakfast downstairs at eight, so you’re welcome to join us if you’d like.”
“No thanks,” you say, having the sneakiest feeling that one of the people in your group may or may not knock down your door in only a few minutes, demanding you accompany them instead. Perhaps to go get some expensive Italian coffee. Just a hunch, though. Soyeon shrugs, very neutral about your decision no matter which way it goes. She’s a nice person, though. She’s the designated mom friend. You’re glad you’re rooming with her. “I think I have plans.”
And (unsurprisingly so) at a very unwelcoming 7:30 in the morning, your entire room seems to shake with the knocks on your door, a heavy fist pounding onto the wood. The disruption rouses Yuqi from her sleep in her shared bed with Soyeon, groggily sitting up with her frizzy hair pointing in every direction. Soyeon tosses Yuqi’s glasses to her from where she stands by the television and they smack her dead in the nose as you walk over to the door, already knowing who waits on the other side.
“Ready to go, Y/N?” Hoseok asks excitedly when you pull open the door to reveal his smiling face.
“Dude, you didn’t even ask me if I wanted to go, what makes you think I’m ready?” You ask pointedly, even though you were definitely expecting this and planned accordingly. Not that you’re looking red carpet ready, or anything, but you look… presentable.
“Well, you’re dressed, and your breath doesn’t smell, so that counts as ready to me,” Hoseok says, making you wonder what his morning routine must be when you’re not around to supervise him like his mother. “Come on, Taehyung spotted some fancy coffee place down the street that we absolutely must spend our money on or so help me God.”
Hoseok doesn’t really offer you much of a say in the matter. Before he ends up tugging you out of your room without a breath mint and your shoes, you quickly grab your wallet and slide on some sneakers, not even bothering to tighten the laces. Bidding goodbye to the girls, two of which are barely awake, you allow yourself to be dragged out into the cramped and crooked hotel hallway, feeling around in your wallet in the hopes that a mint lifesaver will be in there, somewhere.
What does catch you by surprise is the presence of six other boys, hidden from your view from inside your hotel room but very much visible now that you’re outside of it. Taehyung and Namjoon are talking animatedly about the supernatural, Taehyung wildly reciting some tripped-out dream he had last night where a ghost had manifested itself out of their dinky hotel closet, Namjoon slipping in reminders here and there that ghosts aren’t real. And while the rest of them seem to just be waiting for Hoseok to wrangle you up so you can all get a move on, the moment you step outside, Jungkook is by your side, wrapping an arm around your waist so his hand can rest on your hip.
“Waiting for me?” You ask cheekily, an eyebrow raised.
“Don’t get ahead of yourself, we’re waiting for the coffee,” Jungkook tells you off, making you pout.
Yoongi pipes up. “Jungkook reminded everyone that we had to drop by your room before we left.”
“Yeah,” Hoseok scoffs, offended. “As if I was going to forget about my best friend.”
You turn to look at Jungkook, smiling as he glances down to meet your eyes, pulling you tighter. Like he’s staking some sort of invisible claim over you, not in an objectifying way but in more of a Remember? It’s you and me now, right? kind of way. “You didn’t forget about me?”
Jungkook shrugs happily as Hoseok starts walking, heading towards the elevators so the lot of you don’t continue to noisily loiter outside everyone’s hotel rooms at seven-thirty in the morning. “Just doing my duties.”
Conversation continues like this the entire way out of the hotel and down the street, mindless blabber with hands on your backpacks and pouches and pockets because Soyeon had warned you of pickpockets in Rome. Taehyung spots the gold lining on the windows of the coffee shop before he actually spots the coffee shop and its name. It’s tucked away on a corner between the main road and the side street that your hotel sits on,
“I don’t even like coffee,” Jungkook admits into your ear as you shuffle inside, greeting the workers in Italian with thick American accents and nods of hello. The only person who seems to have gained an understanding on how to sound relatively non-tourist-y is Namjoon, whose prior Spanish knowledge is helping him get down the whole language thing. “Taehyung makes fun of me for not being a stereotypical college kid but I think it tastes like ass.”
You grin to yourself, laughing as Jungkook continues to mutter to you while everyone else loudly picks their drinks. “Hey, some people like the taste of ass. Don’t discriminate.”
He proceeds to tug on your ear. “As if you would know!”
You and Jungkook settle for some hot chocolate that looks more like Hershey’s chocolate syrup with how thick and rich it is, taking turns sipping and then wincing from the pure sweetness because you don’t think drinking straight syrup is how hot chocolate is supposed to go. Yoongi orders two espressos and downs them the second he gets them like the barbarian he is. Everyone else settles for lattes or cappuccinos because they’re tasteful individuals or hippies (Seokjin—tasteful individual, Namjoon—hippie). Hoseok gets a croissant, as if he hasn’t had enough of those in the past forty-eight hours. The cafe is surprisingly empty, most of the other customers electing to pop in and grab a quick drink before heading out to the rest of their day, leaving a majority of the tables free for use. The lot of you settle down at a short square coffee table, surrounded by six quirky chairs of various designs and colors and a big couch.
“I feel like I could sleep for a million years and it wouldn’t be enough,” Jimin declares right after finishing the one thing that will give him a boost of energy.
“That is my eternal and forever mood,” Yoongi tells him.
“Dude, you just chugged two whole ass espressos without even batting an eye,” Seokjin points out.
“I think I might buy a third, to be honest,” Yoongi says with a shrug, causing half the people in the group to scrunch up their noses in what is a mixture of awe and disgust. You wonder how Yoongi can do something like that when a tall frappuccino from Starbucks is enough to send you into a bit of a tizzy. You’re just a lightweight, that’s all.
“You have the caffeine consumption capacity of like, two people and a Red Bull,” Taehyung points out.
“Speaking of two people…” Hoseok says with a single sip of his green tea, turning to you and Jungkook with an eyebrow raised. The two of you are leaning back in the soft pink couch cushions, the only ones who’ve laid their claim to it, each taking turns sipping your chocolate syrup of a hot beverage. Hoseok catches the both of you off guard, and you nearly sputter out your drink all over your wrist if it weren’t for your fast reflexes downing what’s left in your mouth, a deer caught in the headlights.
“Do you have something to say to me, Hoseok?” You challenge your best friend, who only returns your rebuttal with a pointed look.
“I think it’s more something that you guys have to say to us,” Hoseok emphasize, alerting everyone around you to direct their attention towards the two of you. Jungkook looks like a five-year-old who just got caught stealing a candy bar from a CVS.
“Are you guys keeping tea from us?” Jimin immediately interrogates, scooting his chair closer so he doesn’t miss any of the juicy details. “Did something happen between the two of you?”
“Nothing bad…” you say, trailing off hesitantly as you turn to face Jungkook, who seems much less worried than he did two seconds ago. Like a light bulb just went off in his brain, one that you can’t seem to point out.
He sends you a foreboding wink, one that makes you feel even less secure about the whole situation, and before you can interrupt he declares, straightforward and simple, “We’re dating.”
It’s like the two of you just told all of your friends that you were pregnant with triplets. Jimin’s mouth goes slack as it drops open, foam from his latte collected at the corner of his lips in shock. Seokjin is genuinely on the verge of a spittake, but manages to grab one of the napkins on the table and sputters into his hand. Everyone else has less dramatic reactions, even as Hoseok grins to himself, causing you to mouth “Fuck you” his way.
“Isn’t that right, Thumper?” Jungkook asks, pulling you in even closer. Thank God you aren’t holding onto your drink, or you’d probably spill it all over yourself as he jostles you around on the couch cushions, smushing the side of your head into his own.
“Thumper?” Jimin asks in shock. “That’s it. It’s over. You two are officially the cutest and most disgusting thing I’ve ever witnessed. I want to throw up but I also don’t want to stop watching.”
“Since when were you guys an item?” Seokjin asks, squinting his eyes like he can’t believe the pairing in front of him. You’d probably be a little offended if you couldn’t see where he was coming from.
“The flight here,” Jungkook says naturally, a lie that flows off of the tip of his tongue, disguised as the truth. “We sat next to each other and just… clicked, I guess.”
Taehyung smiles to himself knowingly, looking at Jungkook with something of a glint in his eye. “Who confessed first?”
Jungkook’s cheeks heat up, a floral red flush decorating his skin. “Me,” he says softly.
“Never pegged you for such a spontaneous romantic, Jeon,” Hoseok comments loudly, slurping up his latte very disrespectfully. The lady at the counter sends him a poisonous glare.
“Don’t be too surprised,” Taehyung says wisely, a statement that has you only the slightest bit wary. Taehyung seems to be taking news of you dating awfully well—though you assume he already know that you and Jungkook are together, if the way he was motioning for Jungkook to come and talk to him after he kissed you in the airport is any help—but he’s developed something of a cryptic speech, like he knows something you don’t. What could it possibly be? He certainly doesn’t know that the entire arrangement you and Jungkook have agreed upon is fake. He’s probably just happy Jungkook managed to start dating someone.
Unfortunately, that someone had to be you. Well, fake someone.
The fine print is useless at this point, honestly. There aren’t any tricks, any catches, any surprises. Nothing that’s going to pop out and scare you. The only thing that should even slightly concern you is whatever wrath Hoseok is going to unleash on you in the form of a revenge prank when he finds out that you and Jungkook are frauds.
“I just wanna know how you managed to rope in my romantic enigma of a best friend,” Hoseok says, reaching over to give you a punch in the shoulder. “She’s about as affectionate as an Arizonian cactus.”
You frown, taking personal offense to Hoseok’s statement despite that nagging voice in the back of your head that tells you it’s true.
“I don’t know,” Jungkook says, shrugging, pinching your cheek the way grandmothers who haven’t seen you in fifteen years but still send you a hundred dollars on your birthday each year do. It makes you pout even more as Jungkook’s fingers assault your cheek. “She’s just too cute to resist.”
You smack away his hand, fingers coming up to caress the spot where Jungkook’s surprisingly sharp nails came in contact with the delicate skin of your left cheek. “I beg to differ.”
“You’re my girlfriend, appreciate my verbal and physical displays of my undying affection towards you,” Jungkook orders somewhat sassily, making you roll your eyes.
Seokjin sighs as he drinks in the sight of you, taking another sip of his coffee as he meets eyes with Namjoon, who looks just as pained as always. “This vacation isn’t going to go by fast enough.”
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Namjoon, taking charge as the unofficial official leader—he seems to be the only person that anybody in the group will actually 1) listen to and 2) take mildly seriously—makes the executive decision that none of you are going anywhere near any of the major tourist sites in Rome unless it is midnight or you are with one of the tour groups that Bang has arranged throughout this trip, for the sake of not wasting time or getting robbed. Two things that happen much more than you’d like them to but hey, when in Rome.
Instead, with your day off, someone suggests that you parade around the more expensive areas of the city, luxury stores and seven Euro gelato shops lining the streets. It seems outlandish, going around a place like Rome and, rather than admiring the beauty of the city, marching into high end stores and pretending to be flamboyant and rich tourists, but, strangely enough, it’s outrageously enjoyable. There’s something exhilarating about posing as millionaires, kids with their father’s credit card and expensive tastes.
Nothing quite like pretending to be something you’re not.
In the heat of the afternoon, when the sun beats down upon its helpless victims in the shadeless city center, you find yourselves in a Dior store. It seems like everyone else in the vicinity has had the same idea—cramming into a luxury store to escape the heat and relish in the expensive, cool air, but even still, you can’t help but look around.
Close together like a bunch of grapes, you wander around the store, nobody daring enough to reach out and even touch one of the clothing items for fear of soiling it with your peasant hands. The security guards have definitely noticed the lot of you, and are keeping close watch on your hands and fingers, but you know that none of you even dare to breath on the costly articles before you, let alone try and steal them.
“Y/N,” Jungkook calls out your name somewhere across the store slightly. “Come over here.”
Against your better judgement you listen to him, joining him as he gazes at a rack of clothing, specifically a long, lacy pink dress. It’s one of those rare items in high-end stores that aren’t absurdly ugly. Rather, it’s quite a tasteful piece, transparent and soft in all the right places. It also probably costs more than your entire tuition for the upcoming year, FAFSA form included.
“Wow, oh damn,” you comment aloud, only marginally floored by the sight in front of you. “It’s gorgeous.”
“I don’t know, I think it’s a bit tacky,” Jungkook says judgmentally, as if he’s some sort of experienced fashion critic or just one of those people on YouTube that react to New York Fashion Week shows like it’s their job.
“You dare badmouth Christian Dior himself and the next thing that’s going to happen to you is one of those big men are going to knock you out and escort you off the premises, in that order,” you tell him pointedly, eyebrows flicking over to the men in suits who are still watching you through their sunglasses.
“Psh,” Jungkook says cockily, sizing them up like a bully about to take a poor middle schooler’s lunch money. “I have great upper body strength.”
“From what, holding your two pound violin up?”
Jungkook gasps, accosted.
“I’ll have you know—”
“Yeah, yeah, save it,” you say, shrugging him off. “Is this dress all you wanted to show me? Because I’ve gotten a good look at it and all it’s doing is reminding me about how my bank account currently has enough money for a single Costco churro and that’s it.”
“Try it on.”
“Excuse me?” You say, his request about as outlandish as that vaguely familiar time when he suggested that the two of you fake date each other as part of an elaborate prank.
“I’m serious, Y/N. Live vicariously through a rich Korean tourist for once,” Jungkook says, long arm reaching out to grab the dress off the rack.
“What the fuck, are you crazy?” You hiss, yanking his arm away before he can grab hold of the hanger. “Jeon, I probably couldn’t afford that dress even if I sold both of my kidneys on the black market. Both of them!”
“Who’s selling their kidneys?” Hoseok asks, catching your exclamation at precisely the wrong time.
“Jungkook wants me to try on this behemoth of a dress like it’s something that is even remotely within the price range of a soon-to-be junior in college,” you say accusingly, tattling on Jungkook like a pair of five-year-olds on the playground. Jungkook then proceeds to grin, motioning towards the dress like an usher.
“Aw, I think you should!” Hoseok says encouragingly, the exact opposite thing you want him to say right now. “It’ll be fun!”
“Are you kidding me?”
“Seriously! I mean, it’s gorgeous and you’ll probably never get to wear something like that again. Why not?” Hoseok reasons.
“Bold of you to assume I’m not going to be a millionaire in ten years,” you comment, mostly to yourself.
Hoseok rolls his eyes, expecting some sort of snide remark from you like that. “Fine. You’ll probably never get to wear something like that in the near future. You should go for it!”
Jungkook looks like a puppy begging for a treat. Now that he’s got Hoseok on his side, it’s only a matter of time before he inevitably wears you down. You knew you shouldn’t have agreed to this contract.
“When in Rome, hey, Thumper?” Jungkook asks, and that appears to be the last straw because one of the legitimate store clerks (and not the burly security guards) comes over and asks if you need any assistance, to which Jungkook responds, “Could she try on this dress? Just for a minute.”
And suddenly you find yourself whisked off, up some fancy transparent stairs that send your head spinning as the store clerk dotes on you, makes sure that you’re as comfortable as you can be as a prospective customer. You feel a little bad knowing that you’re going to try on this dress and then waltz out of the store without having spent a single penny, knowing you’re wasting her time.
She even stays to help you change into the dress, clearly possessing much more knowledge of the garment than you ever will. Slowly, you slip into the fabric, feeling the satin and the silk against your coarse, dry skin, the juxtaposition alarming and a little terrifying. You hope you aren’t perspiring too much out of fear that you’ll stain the dress with your sweat, and repeatedly throughout the process you tell her that you definitely don’t feel worthy to wear such an expensive item, but she shushes you each time.
After lots of shuffling and squirming around, you worm your way underneath the fabric until it rests atop your skin like a spattering of snow on a cold winter’s night. The material itself feels heavenly, not itchy or uncomfortable in any way, although the actual sizing of the dress is a different story. It’s tight on you, around your waist and your arms and your shoulders, but a small price to pay as long as you don’t damage the fabric in any way, shape, or form.
Nervously and mildly uncomfortable, you step out of the dressing room to all of the boys waiting for your arrival, something that comes as quite a shock to you considering five of them weren’t even there for the original convincing of you to put the offending garment on in the first place. You’re pretty sure that the security guards think you just have seven sugar daddies, at this point.
“Wow!” Hoseok immediately exclaims, beginning a round of applause at the sight of you. “See, told you you wouldn’t regret it!”
“I want this off of my body as soon as possible,” you deadpan.
“You look great, Y/N,” Namjoon says from the back, his head peeking over Yoongi’s, who is on his phone and not paying any attention whatsoever. “Jungkook picked the dress well.”
“It’s supremely tight and I want it off of my body,” you repeat, smiling stiffly.
Taehyung gives Jungkook a nudge with his elbow, jabbing it into his torso and breaking him out of his dreamlike state, eyes unfocused yet staring straight at you.
“Wow, I mean,” Jungkook says like he’s breathless, with the same lilt as an unprepared student called on for popcorn reading in class, one that isn’t even on the right page let alone the right paragraph. “You look great. Seriously. Like a million bucks, you know?”
“That may or may not be because I am wearing something that is the monetary equivalent of a million American dollars,” you explain calmly. You’re surprised that Jungkook seems so speechless, though you’re chalking his reaction up to the whole act, especially since you’re in front of all of the friends that you’re meant to be deceiving.
“I’m just… you really do look amazing, Y/N,” Jungkook says, the rest of his words slipping from his mind. “Like pure gold.”
“Cool,” you say emotionlessly, nodding as you slowly shuffle around, trying your hardest not to let the dress catch on anything. “This was a mildly fun experience. I would very much like to get back into my ten dollar shorts now, though.”
And so ends your luxury store escapades with you gently removing the dress from your body with the help of the same sales associate, who assures you over and over again that you did not ruin the garment with your peasant hands and that if you will not be purchasing it, then you owe absolutely no money. You’re dubious at best at her promises, but you’d rather dash out of the store now that for them to find some accidental stain and make you pay up.
Something that still plagues the dusty attic corners of your brain is Jungkook’s reaction, even as the group of you bicker about where you’re going to eat dinner. Was his speechless, starstruck reaction really all for show? Or could there be that slight chance that he actually meant what he felt. As if he was so shocked that you would come out of that dressing room looking somewhat decent in a Dior dress, of all things. But as you walk, Jungkook takes your hand in his and you know that this really is all for pretend, especially when he leans down to whisper in your ear and tells you what a great job you’re doing.
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Curfew isn’t until ten o’clock tonight, meaning that the group of you still have a couple of hours to burn, even if your feet are tired and aching and heavy and you’ve sweat out the 70% water that makes up your body. It seems that the nightlife has slowed the energies down, the lot of you much less like wild jungle animals and more like domesticated cats. Namjoon and Yoongi are humming along to one of the orchestra songs as you stroll down the streets, watching as the tourist attractions along the busiest roads come to a close, brand name stores shutting their lights off for the night.
Now that the sun is gone, the entire city seems to be calming down, the tourists retreating back to their hotels and the locals finally coming out to enjoy themselves, away from the hustle and bustle of such a destination location. This is when the true nightlife of Italy thrives, residents sitting in outdoor trattorias and drinking wine as they casually converse with each other, street lamps barely illuminating their figures.
And it’s nights like these (as if you’ve been in Italy for more than this, your first night) that you seem to stumble upon the nicest of surprises.
One of which is a small string quartet playing on a road off Trevi Fountain, attracting any late night passersby. They don’t have a case or a cup or a hat out in front of them, meaning that they’re just playing for fun, for other people’s entertainment, for their own. It seems to be a mix of iHeart Radio’s Top 50 and some Disney classics, a nice blend that Taehyung surely envies considering your own orchestra which, God forbid, sticks to some more traditional music like Bach. Some families have stopped to listen, young children and toddlers bobbing their heads to the beat of Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?, a very appropriate song considering the time and place.
Slowly, your group slows down as you stroll, before coming to a complete halt in front of the quartet, simply admiring their teamwork and their playing skills. The quartet notices your arrival but doesn’t change anything, simply sends you a peaceful smile as they continue playing, moving onto some Top 50 song you only recognize from hearing its distant sound from the speakers of your local mall back home.
Taehyung, ever the extroverted, daring, carefree individual, takes it upon himself to join the toddlers and children standing up close to the quartet, breaking out into a dance that has the kids, the parents, the quartet, and also Seokjin laughing to themselves. He’s always been so outgoing, so cheerful, even in a slowly-winding down evening in a foreign country. And one by one, as the song plays on, he slowly ropes each and every member of your group into dancing with him, even going so far as to lasso Yoongi into the circle from the crowd. It’s a sizeable crowd, now, too, likely thanks to Taehyung’s enthusiasm, even as you watch from the sidelines, the last one standing still.
The quartet closes up their song to a chorus of applause from the audience, which has grown significantly from when you first arrived. You’re the only one who hasn’t joined in on the fun yet, not that you’re complaining since you’ve never been quite as daring as the rest of them, always preferring to stick to the side, a wallflower.
But then the quartet begins to play Beauty and the Beast from the movie of the same name and it is with a small gasp that you find yourself being dragged into the dance circle by none other than your fake boyfriend, who’s got his hand interlocked with yours as he pulls you in close, begins twirling you around like a high school slow dance. It catches you off guard, makes your breath hitch in your throat, but Jungkook doesn’t stop, continues swinging you around to the slow melody of the song.
It actually makes a smile etch itself onto your face, the whole scenario too fun for you to be frowning through. When will you ever get to dance to Disney songs in the moonlight on a street in Rome?
Your shared dance with Jungkook prompts the rest of the group to partner up themselves, twirling each other around elaborately, making absolute fucking fools of yourselves, but you don’t think you would have it any other way. Even as Taehyung sends Jimin for a dip and nearly bangs his head on his knee, making you and Jungkook laugh from where you stand a couple of steps away, swaying back and forth to the rhythm, his hands around your waist and your hands around his neck, fluttering through the soft hair at his nape.
It’s too peaceful, too fun, too deceiving, that you almost forget about the deal for a split second as Jungkook spins you around, making you giggle in delight. The toddlers have stopped dancing and started watching, staring in awe as Jungkook pretends like he knows what he’s doing when it comes to ballroom dancing, moving you to all the wrong places and causing you to bubble up with laughter, warm grin on your face. But you’re reminded not to fall for such flimsy tricks, such glimmers of false hope, even as the song ends and Jungkook brings you close, plants a much softer, gentler kiss on your cheek than the one he attacked you with at the airport. It makes your heart beat something fierce, even if you know it’s meaningless.
“I think I’m ready to call it a night and conk out at the hotel,” Jimin says, a little unsure as to how to break the ice after watching you and Jungkook share something much more intimate than a terrible slow dance. “How about you guys?”
He earns a chorus of agreement, and the two of you start heading back towards your hotel, Namjoon having memorized the way home already, when you feel a small tug on your t-shirt.
It’s one of the young children, can’t be older than four or five, who was watching you, a young girl with bright green eyes that catch even in the hazy street light.
“Excuse me?” She asks in a perfect American accent, another daughter on vacation with her family. “Are you the princess?”
“I’m sorry?” You ask, leaning down to bring yourself to her eye level.
“Are you the princess?” She repeats softly, shyly. “If he’s your prince, then aren’t you the princess?” She motions her little head up to Jungkook, who has paused in his tracks to wait for you, watching as you speak with the young girl. You turn to look at him yourself, and watch as his lips curve up into a warm little smile, one that only grows bigger as he kneels down beside you.
“I don’t know, what do you think, Jungkook?” You ask curiously, turning to him. “You my prince?”
“Only if you’re my princess,” Jungkook says with a wink, making you toss your eyeballs back into your head at how especially greasy he’s being. The little girl seems satisfied with your answers, thanking you for your time before toddling off to her parents, who send you appreciative and apologetic smiles as they head in the opposite direction. You and Jungkook get up off the ground, moving to catch up to your friends, who haven’t even noticed your disappearance. His fingers interlock with yours, and he gives your hand a tight squeeze. “Did you hear that, Thumper?” He asks. “You’re the princess, and I’m your prince.”
When in Rome.
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It’s easy to forget that you’re not just in Italy for vacation. Easy to lose yourself in the famed attractions and gelaterias, the countless clothing stores and crowded coffee shops. Easy to pass off a place like this like it’s nothing less than the best, purely self-indulgent holiday. But you’re an orchestra, first and foremost, and is there any better place than Italy itself to play songs from people like Vivaldi and Verdi?
Not to brag, but your college’s orchestra is one of the best in the nation, so it doesn’t take much effort for Bang to secure himself an elite practice stage with fancy sound systems and hi-tech doodads in order to enhance your playing experience. You’re here because you’re talented students, and you’re here to perform for others, for judges and passersby and audiences. After all, you didn’t lug your cello halfway across the world just for fun.
“Dude, I keep forgetting that we’re here because we have to perform and shit,” Taehyung tells Jimin as he’s setting up his bass in the rehearsal room behind the stage, where you’ll be practicing for a whopping crowd of the two music directors that accompanied you on this trip.
“That’s because you are genuinely and inherently clueless about everything,” Jimin informs him, like it’s a fact he can read in one of his five hundred dollar textbooks. “I’m both impressed and surprised that you even remembered your bass.”
“It takes up half of my fucking room, how could I forget?” Taehyung mumbles. “If I played flute like Yoongi, it would be a different story.”
Jimin laughs. “You’ve probably fucking sit on it, or something.”
“Keep my name out of your mouth and my flute away from your asscheeks, Taehyung!” Yoongi shouts from across the way. Taehyung tosses a chunk of rosin his way, but it hits another one of the flutes, who glares at him before returning to her duties.
Hoseok comes up to you, viola and bow in hand, as you’re scrambling to organize your music. What the hell is your freshman year scales sheet doing in here?
“One of these days Taehyung is going to get tossed into the Tiber river and we’re just gonna act like we didn’t know who did it even though we’re all gonna know it’s Yoongi,” Hoseok tells you.
“Yoongi’s too smart to do that. He’d probably hire a hitman,” you say in return.
You and Hoseok look each other dead in the eyes and, at the same time, say, “Seokjin.”
“Come on, everyone, I can’t be waiting around here all day for you guys,” Bang shouts into the room, alerting the few stragglers such as yourselves who are still setting up. “There’s a gelateria with 150 flavors calling my name and I’d rather not be stuck here with a bunch of horny teenagers!”
Hoseok hits your arm in excitement, rather painfully, might you add. “Shit! We gotta go there after this!”
“And risk seeing Bang out in the wild?” You ask in horror. Nothing is worse than seeing teachers and professors outside of educational settings. It’s like seeing the Lucky Charms guy walking down the street.
“Worth it,” Hoseok says, and you suppose you can’t argue with that, especially when a gelateria with 150 flavors is on the line. You’ll never get a chance like this again.
Eventually, you make your way out onto the main stage, illuminated by at least five dozen lights that beat down on you with the fire of a thousand and one suns. You settle down in your respective seats, arranging your music so you can have some relatively painless transitions between page turns and song switches. Jungkook sits directly across from you on the other end of the U, fine-tuning his violin due to the temperature change between the rehearsal room and the stage because literally everything can fuck with the intonation of an instrument. Even though he’s just tuning, everything Jungkook seems to do is flawless yet natural, perfectly precise but coming to him instinctively, without worry. Must be why he’s almost guaranteed first chair next year, because he eats, sleeps, and breathes his music, his violin. It’s a part of him, melded into his heart and his bones and his blood.
Jungkook, while he’s fiddling with his G-string, catches you not-so-subtly staring at him, your eyes focused on his figure even as you pretend to busy your hands with your music. You freeze up when you’re noticed, hoping you can maybe get out of this situation with just an awkward smile, but then he winks, just for effect.
It makes you roll your eyes, but you move your lips to mouth something to him. Wanna come with us to get gelato after this? Not that he wouldn’t be invited, but you figure you’d just get the message out know.
He responds. What?
Again. Wanna come with us to get gelato after this?
Jungkook leans closer, squints his eyes in the hopes that maybe he’ll understand you better if his vision is more concentrated. What?
You roll your eyes. Maybe you should just fucking risk talking to him and then get your ass verbally whooped by Bang. You’re getting nowhere. Gelato? After?
Jungkook seems to nod but the finger gun he shoots your way tells you that he’s finally understood what you were attempting to communicate with him. You’re barely ten feet apart but both of you have terrible eyesight from years and years of staring up close at sheet music and ruining your vision. The curse of an orchestra student. Don’t trust anybody who plays an instrument and doesn’t have flawed eyesight. They’re either robots, aliens, or liars.
Bang walks out about a second after, sending a glare to Seokjin and Jimin, who are definitely doing something stupid back in the third row. Bang wishes he could do that thing that normal teachers do where they change seats if students are being disruptive, but he can’t, and so he suffers. Seokjin and Jimin can’t sit anywhere except the seats they’re in now, which is, conveniently, right next to each other, and because they’re in the third row back every single time Bang stops conducting they’re doing something foolish because they can and they won’t get called out for it. You envy their ability to be shitheads without any consequences. In the first row, you’re done for.
“Stabat,” Bang orders for the few people in the orchestra (like Taehyung) who didn’t already know the concert order. You can hear him fumbling for the correct music behind you as Namjoon holds the rest of his music steady, two peas in a pod.
Jungkook brings his violin up to his chin, bow at the ready as Bang holds his hands out, ready to begin. He catches you looking—not staring—at him again and winks like the greasemaster he is.
With the flick of Bang’s wand, the orchestra launches off.
Jungkook is the kind of talented individual that everybody else strives to be. Or, at least, everybody else in the orchestra. You will happily give him that, because he really doesn’t deserve anything except the highest praises concerning his violin. Even if he’s going to get it next year, he doesn’t need to be first chair to be the best. He already is. By a long shot, really. Practices dutifully and performs beautifully. And it’s moments like these—moments when the cellos cut out and allow you such brief seconds of watching him, taking in every swipe of his bow and press of the pads of his fingers. Allow you such a brief sight of his bliss. Jungkook looks like he’s in another place when he plays, even if his eyes are open. Looks like the world around him has faded into nothing but background noise and all that matters is the music in front of him, the back and forth of his bow, the crisp sound that echoes out from his violin. You have seen other people play violin. But you have not seen other people play violin like Jungkook does. And that, you admire.
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“Dude, this is the place!” Hoseok says loudly, pointing to the gelateria down the street with a line out the door and a sign above it with the number 150 written in big gold fancy letters. A couple of people walking by send him a mildly disgusted look, typical tourists disrupting people’s daily lives by being obnoxious. Hoseok is obnoxious wherever he goes, foreign countries are absolutely no exception.
“Dude, the line is halfway down the street!” Jimin points out as if it wasn’t obvious enough. “Is this really worth it?”
“First of all, if you don’t want to see over one hundred flavors of gelato, that sounds like a you problem,” Hoseok says. “Secondly, don’t you think the line out onto the street perhaps… implies something about its popularity as a famed gelateria?”
Jimin frowns. “It’s a line out onto the street.”
Hoseok sighs, stomping up to the end and joining it, leading the rest of your group of scragglers with nowhere better to go and nothing better to do. That’s the thing with being in places like Rome—you don’t really have a choice with what you’re doing. It’s not like you can march off and decide on something else last-minute. Do or die.
Not that any of you seem to be particularly disappointed. It’s about as steamy as the inside of a hot water bottle, and you can feel your t-shirt sticking to your lower back where a pool of sweat gathers. You worry that Hoseok is going to start sweating red beads of perspiration at his hairline from his hair dye job. It’s happened before, when he went blue. The rest of the group doesn’t seem to be faring any better. Yoongi was the only one smart enough to remember one of those tiny handheld electric fans, which he’s got turned on to the highest power. Taehyung and Seokjin are trying to weasel their way into his personal bubble to get a whiff of the cool air, which Yoongi is very clearly against, as the body heat only makes it worse. Even standing in this line is enough to have you sweating buckets, no physical exertion required.
“This gelato better be worth it,” Jungkook mutters to nobody in particular. He’d probably be holding your hand if the touch didn’t add onto his already insurmountably high body temperature, but you’re not complaining. You need both of your hands to aggressively fan the warm air into your face at a faster pace in the hopes of cooling you down.
“I hear you,” Namjoon agrees.
“This is what it’s going to be like for the rest of the trip, so get used to it,” you say. “A lot of the places here don’t have over air-conditioned buildings like back home.” Italy’s greatest fault.
“I’m missing the cold section of fresh produce at Costco. I took it for granted,” Taehyung says, fanning himself with his enormous hand. You catch a bit of the wind he creates, but most of it is directed towards your strangely-sweat-soaken right ear. At least one part of your body might get a little dry.
One by one, you squeeze into the tiny little gelato store. Well, as tiny as a place with 150 flavors can be. It’s a very elongated shop, a shape reminiscent of all of the times in elementary school when your teachers would tell you to fold your 8 x 11 into a hot dog rather than a hamburger. Everyone seems to be packing into the store on a day like this, desperate for even just a little whiff of the cold air that keeps the gelato frozen in place.
You don’t like picking between two options when given the choice, let alone the 150 flavors you’re presented with when you step foot inside. Every single one is about as enticing as the ones beside it, and it makes you want to get a tiny little spoonful of each one to make up your small cone, just so you can get a taste of it all. A jelly bean jar of gelato. Hoseok looks to be on the verge of ordering one of those six euro cups just so he can get seven flavors, and it takes you, Namjoon, and Jimin to convince him out of it and save his money for the other fifteen dozen gelato places you will be visiting throughout your time in Italy. There’s a flavor called Vivaldi that Hoseok has to be physically dragged away from, not without a taste test first.
Eventually, after what feels like an hour of just staring at the flavors, inspecting each one and attempting to translate the Italian on the cards into English, you all get your orders and sit on a staircase you find a block away, hoping to eat it all up before the sun melts it away.
Even though you convinced Hoseok not to get seven flavors, he still crammed three onto that cone of his, and already they are beginning to melt into one another, the purple mixing with the rich chocolate and the white. He’s licking from the bottom up and getting more of the gelato around his mouth rather than in it.
“What the fuck did you even order, Hobi?” You ask in horror, watching as he quickly catches a piece about to fall in his mouth.
“Lavender, nocciola—which I think means hazelnut, and white chocolate,” Hoseok says before quickly licking the entire perimeter of the scoop. “Want some?” He offers up his cone, holding it out in front of you as it drips on the cement steps.
“No thanks,” you decline politely, and also for your own safety. It probably just tastes like one big mush at this point, anyway. Besides, as much as you love your best friend, his tongue has touched the surface area of the entire cone and its contents, and you’d just rather not. One time when the two of you were fourteen, you had slept in the same bed and Hoseok had inadvertently woken up with morning wood, much to his mortification and your awkwardness. You swore that after that, you’d stop sharing so many things.
“At least let me try yours,” Hoseok says before leaning over with his mouth open to try and snatch some from your cone. You immediately wrench your body out of the way, holding your cone out of his proximity, refusing to let the probably-delicious-yet-mildly-unappealing mixture of flavors on his tongue taint your blackberry gelato.
“No way, stick to your own melty cone,” you say, frowning slightly. Hoseok pouts but doesn’t take it personally. He knows he’s always been a messy eater when it comes to specifically frozen desserts in cones.
Jungkook nudges your side, catching a stray drip down the side of his cone with his tongue. “Thumper, you gonna let me have some?”
You’re on the verge of saying no because you paid for your gelato and you’re going to eat as much of it as you physically can before it melts into a puddle onto the cement, but he gives you another slight shove with raised eyebrows as if to say, don’t forget that we’re supposed to be dating, don’t forget that we’re supposed to be in love, and you relent.
“Fine,” you say with a sigh, taking the little transparent lime green spoon they stuck into your gelato and scooping some off for him to eat. Turning your body to face him, you hold out the spoon for him to take, hoping the gesture is up to his romantic par.
Instead (which, quite frankly, you definitely should have seen coming), Jungkook leans his entire torso over and without any warning whatsoever, latches his lips onto your slowly-eroding gelato and slurps. And all you can do, really, is sit back and let him, because the damage has been done and you are the fool who walked right into it.
Jungkook shifts back to his own cone when he’s finished, a satisfied grin on his face to juxtapose the horrified and disgusted expression on your own. He’s got a bit of the gelato dripping down his chin, a soft berry mark left behind. “Thanks, Thumper.”
Hoseok looks outraged. “Oh, what, suddenly you start dating someone and then they get to have your goddamn gelato? Over your best friend of fourteen years? I see how it is,” he says sassily.
“What can I say, Hoseok?” Jungkook says, a little too overconfident—though that seems to be one of his default tones. “I’m a catch.” Jungkook then proceeds to lean down from where he sits on the step above you, planting yet another sloppy kiss onto your forehead. It catches you less by surprise than him brutally attacking your gelato cone, but the foreign sensation still makes you jump slightly before your body keels into his touch, just a little.
“Huh, would you look at that,” Yoongi deadpans, looking down into the gelato cup he finished five minutes ago as if he still had more to consume. “My appetite has suddenly vanished.”
You turn to glare at your fake boyfriend, who sends a guilty grin your way.
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In true tourist fashion, one of the days in the latter half of your stay in Rome is spent following various tour guides around the various wonders of the city. The higher-ups for your trip, whoever they may be because they are most certainly not Bang, had organized them beforehand and included them in the hefty cost of the holiday as a means for Avoiding crowds! Skipping lines! Learning more!
And so, dragged out of bed at a rude seven in the morning, you are standing before the Colosseum, which would probably be very majestic if it weren’t for the surplus of construction vehicles and scaffolding lining the perimeter of the monument. You know that the renovations are necessary for the maintenance of such a historic site, and you know that they won’t ruin your experience or make it any less pleasant, but you’re trying to take a photo of Namjoon for his artsy Instagram page and you have no idea how to position yourself so that you can avoid the metal in the background other than moving to a different location entirely.
“You’re gonna have to crop it,” you tell Namjoon as you hand him his phone back. “To like… just your face, or something.”
“I’ll just ask Jungkook, next time,” Namjoon says warily, too scared to look through your shots. Is he implying that you are somehow an inferior photographer? How dare he. “He takes nice photos.”
As if to further prove your point, Namjoon motions to him. Jungkook’s got a fully-fledged Sony in his hands, snapping pictures of the Colosseum from the ledge you’re standing on, candid photos of Jimin and Seokjin giving Taehyung noogies and jumping on his back like the hooligans they are. Jungkook turns slightly and spots you, watching him with a strange sort of fondness lacing your features, like the sight of Jungkook taking photographs is wholesome, comforting. Yet another thing to add onto the list of things he’s good at. Without warning, he’s pulling his camera up to his eye and snapping a picture before you can stop him, tell him you look disgusting because you’re sweating buckets and you got a measly five hours of sleep last night. It’s too late, the click goes off and Jungkook lowers his camera with a grin.
“Delete that!” You shout, rushing over to him. “Oh God, I probably look awful.”
Jungkook shakes his head, taking a quick glance down at the camera in front of him. “No way, you look fine. Seriously.”
“This was not part of our agreement,” you hiss at him, grabby hands going for his camera.
He wrenches it out of reach of your grasp with a pout, pink lips forming a little flower on his face. “So? What if I want to remember this?”
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The Colosseum probably looked a lot more epic two thousand years ago. Admittedly, not something you should be thinking while walking through one of the oldest monuments in the world, but the statement is true regardless. Two thousand years ago there were not hoards of tourists wearing brightly colored clothing and fisherman hats with big black cameras, not fifty tour groups with neon flags marching around, not chains and rails and a beating, relentless sun. Well, there was probably the sun.
It’s gorgeous, nonetheless, but the crowds and the sun make the experience certainly a little less ideal than it could be say you were richer, or woke up earlier, or simply just had your life together. Still, you enjoy listening to the tour guide telling you about the history of the Colosseum, because you’re a nerd. It comes as a package deal with being an orchestra student.
“This place is sick,” Hoseok says, mouth dropping open at the sight of the labyrinth that sits where the arena floor once was. And he’s right. It leaves you awestruck, to say the least, to be standing on the same ground, in the same building as people two thousand years ago did. The Colosseum is cool. The history is cooler.
At some point, while you’re wading around the crowds of all of the other tourists, the tour guide begins to speak about the history of the gladiators that fought in such an arena, their enslavement despite their massive fame. And though Jungkook has spent the entire tour thus far straying from the group so that he can take photos of the view, the architecture, and his friends, he manages to catch up for this part so he can listen in.
“Oof, imagine being a gladiator,” Namjoon comments, likely horrified by the thought. Namjoon’s always been more of a lover not a fighter, someone that spends half of his day pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose because they’re too big for his nose and always sliding down.
“That would be so cool!” Jimin cries. As you’re walking around the inside of the Colosseum, he whips out his umbrella, squashed together into a nice compact little device about the length of his hand, and starts jabbing it into Taehyung’s side, shouting out random war cries as he pretends to stake Taehyung like a chicken skewer. Taehyung is only mildly caught off guard before he pretends to chop off Jimin’s head clean from his neck with the side of his flattened hand. The entire scene is very reminiscent of that time you went to grab Hoseok’s viola out of the orchestra room and found them having a sword fight with the snare drum sticks. “Surrender or die, heathen!”
“Never!” Taehyung cries before they start going at it again. Luckily, Bang’s up at the front of the group, talking with a couple of the clarinetists, so he’s ignorant to the shenanigans happening in the back. Nobody in your group makes any effort to stop either of the boys, knowing fully well that the heat will tire them out sooner rather than later. “Take that!”
Jungkook leans down to whisper in your ear as you bear witness to the entire show. “If I just start mashing the camera button, what is the probability that one of these pictures will be worth plastering all over the orchestra room when we get back?”
“One hundred percent,” you say intellectually.
“Alright.” Jungkook brings his camera up to his eye and starts clicking as Jimin forgoes his umbrella and resorts to his bare fists, rubbing off whatever sunscreen hasn’t melted from Taehyung’s sweaty body. After another couple of minutes the two of them surrender to each other, the action causing the last bit of water in their systems to evaporate into the muggy, heated air.
“Would you ever want to be a gladiator?” You ask him, curious. Jungkook doesn’t seem like the type to want to do that sort of thing, even if, and you’ll admit this to yourself at the very least, he would probably look superb decked out in gladiator gear. That much you will accept.
“For the fame, probably for a hot second before getting totally murked,” Jungkook says, chuckling to himself. “I was a gladiator for Halloween when I was five. Big tough guy, really good with the ladies.”
You nod. “I’m sure. You must have had them all over you,” you say jokingly. “What were you for Halloween this past year?”
“Beethoven.”
“Upgrade,” you tell him, and he immediately agrees because you are music nerds who do nothing except nerd out over music. Maybe next Halloween you can convince him to try out another gladiator costume for Taehyung’s annual Halloween Bash, just for self-indulgent purposes.
“Nobody knew who I was,” Jungkook says, sighing as he reminisces on the occasion.
You frown. “You’re just not hanging out with the right people.”
Jungkook concedes. Anybody who can’t pick out a Beethoven Halloween costume from a mile away isn’t worth spending time with. No tears, just tea.
After three hours of parading around in the heat, the tour comes to an end in the surrounding ruins of the Colosseum. Despite it not being the main attraction, there is still a plethora of tourists walking around, suffering from this brutal and relentless sun just like everyone else. And even though your feet are sore and your bodies are sweaty, you can’t say you regret the experience. Just the side effects of being on vacation.
“Jungkook, take a photo of us!” Taehyung shouts, standing on one of the marble ruins. He’s got both of his arms wrapped around Jimin and Yoongi, the two of them squinting in the direction of the sun.
The call of his name distracts Jungkook from where he’s telling you of the time he accidentally fell out of his own bedroom window while trying to pull jeans that were too tight onto his legs when he was in high school. Jungkook turns around, camera already in hand to heed his friends’ request. Neither Jimin nor Yoongi look too pleased to still be trapped in the heat, but they put on their game faces for Taehyung’s sake and Jungkook snaps a photo of them and their gummy, toothy smiles.
Before you can stop him, he turns to you spontaneously, camera still held up to his face. You barely have enough time to whip out your signature peace sign in front of your face before the camera shutter clicks.
“How do I look?” You ask, trotting over to peer over his shoulder as he scrolls through his recently-taken pictures. “Do I look pretty?”
Jungkook nods, looking down at his camera. On the screen is the photo he just took of you, one that’s a bit shadowed because the sun is behind you, but you’re winking and grinning stupidly with your damn peace sign in front of your eye anyway. “Always, Thumper,” he says. “Always.”
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The arrangement is this: in exchange for a month in Italy with complimentary tour groups, decent lodging, and the fact that you get to stay in Italy for a month, you have to sacrifice a couple of your nights and perform on stage for an audience. And so it is.
Not that you’re complaining, really. You’ve been performing on stage ever since you were five and you had to play Hot Cross Buns for all of the loving parents in the audience of your elementary school, and it doesn’t really feel like anything’s changed. Being on stage is second nature to you now, almost as natural as playing the cello itself. Every part of performing is something you enjoy, a place where you flourish. Having the audience entranced as you make beautiful music, your bow moving softly against the strings of your cello, listening to the rest of the orchestra join together in one great song of the heart, of the mind. Performances, bringing people joy, is your favorite part of playing the cello.
Your least favorite part of playing the cello is the footwear.
You have so conveniently forgotten your black flats at home for this very vacation, only bringing a pair of four-inch heels that you can’t even remember why you packed in the first place. The image in your head of you pulling them out of your closet, looking at them, and then deciding to stuff them into your suitcase has just completely slipped from your memory. And here you are now, stuck with the Satan of footwear for the next four hours as you march around with a cello on your back.
Soyeon had offered to let you borrow her extra pair of flats—who’s prepared enough to bring two pairs of black flats on a trip to Italy?—but one look down at her feet tells you that they are probably half the size of your own, so you don’t think you’ll escape your inevitable foot pain even if you do take her up on her offer.
The thing about heels is that they are fine for the first thirty minutes. For the first thirty minutes you are walking around your hotel room, staring at the way your legs look in the mirror from the way your calf muscles are working, feeling yourself and your added height. And then the thirty minutes are up, and the strain on your feet kicks in, and you can’t walk a single step without wincing slightly, and all you can do is look forward to when you can take the damn shoes off.
You’re twenty-five minutes into the night.
Europe wasn’t built for Hilton-size hotels. You can’t just knock down five-hundred-year-old building to place a Sheraton in the middle of a busy city for revenue. And so, a lot of the hotels are refurbished old buildings, winding hallways and staircases upon staircases. And that is why it takes you about eight years for you to get from Point A (your room) to Point B (the lobby, where you’re meeting the rest of your friends to walk to the performance venue together), especially when you are accompanied by an instrument.
But it’s not so much the cello that’s causing your grief (though it certainly isn’t alleviating it, either), but more the shoes you’re wearing that were certainly not made for walkin’. You have enough of a difficult time with heels walking on a hardwood floor, let alone stairs covered in a dark carpet, one that has each ledge blending in with the next.
Admittedly, you know your instrument woes aren’t the most severe. You could be the tuba player, or Taehyung and Namjoon. But then again, Taehyung and Namjoon don’t choose to walk around in heels. So, who’s the real loser?
(Spoiler alert: it’s you.)
You’ve made it about halfway with your cello, resting safely on your back like one giant backpack, when you spot a certain fake boyfriend walking down the hallway perpendicular to the one you’re currently in. Jungkook spots you through the open archway and immediately makes his way towards you, light on his feet without any heels or a large instrument to weigh him down. That violin in his hand weighs practically nothing.
“Hey, need any help?” He asks, jogging up to you. He’s cleaned up incredibly well for someone who’s been sweating his way through three shirts per day for the past several days. Even in his school-mandated orchestra tuxedo, he looks clean, sharp. Dare you say, dapper. Black and white are some of the only hues in his wardrobe, you’ve noticed, but they work wonders on him. Though you don’t doubt that any of the other colors of the rainbow would look any worse, if you’re being honest.
“I’m fine,” you tell him, a little less than fine, but that has more to do with your feet than the instrument on your back. “I’ve been carrying around a cello since it was twice my size.”
“Hasn’t it always been twice your size?” Jungkook jokes, making you sneer his way as he accompanies you towards the elevator. “I kid, I kid. You’ve grown into it.”
“You say that as if you knew me when I was in second grade,” you tell him pointedly, spotting the elevator and pressing the down button.
“I wish,” Jungkook says. “You were probably so adorable. What happened?” For extra emphasis, he squeezes one of your cheeks. You can only hope your foundation hasn’t rubbed off onto his fingers.
“Excuse me!” You cry defensively. “I take personal offense to that. I’ve always been adorable.” You pretend to flip your hair just to make a point, causing Jungkook to laugh to himself. “I just got a little taller.”
“Yeah, I’ll say,” Jungkook notes. “What’s with the heels?”
“I forgot my flats at home,” you say, sighing to yourself for the umpteenth time since you turned your suitcase inside out in your hotel room, searching for them. To no avail, of course. “So now I’m stuck wearing these heels for all of our performances. Congrats, I played myself.”
“Aw, that sucks, Thumper,” Jungkook says, pouting as if he empathizes with your struggle. The elevator doors open to reveal the rest of your gang sans Namjoon—who is chronically tardy to every event under the sun—waiting in the lobby so the lot of you can stroll down the streets of Rome together, the venue merely a brisk fifteen minute walk away. “If worst comes to worst, I’ll carry you around.”
You don’t have a chance to respond before Taehyung interrupts the both of you with a shout of, “Here are the two lovebirds!” Jungkook quickly grabs hold of your hand with his free one before anybody notices the distance between the two of you, even if you’re laughing as you leave the confines of the elevator. Every time he does, the warmth of his touch becomes less and less foreign.
“Are we just waiting on Namjoon?” You ask as you come up to Hoseok, who’s fiddling with the buttons on the cuffs of his sleeves. Without a single word, you grab his wrist and do up the buttons for him, knowing how much he struggles with getting his finger all the way around.
“Yeah, but Taehyung texted him since they’re rooming together,” Hoseok tells you.
“Fucker misplaced his bow tie,” Taehyung says with a shake of his head.
“Of course he did,” Yoongi mutters to himself.
“We’re gonna have to dip in like, five minutes,” Seokjin informs everyone, checking his phone for the time before stuffing it roughly into the pocket of his slacks. Seokjin doesn’t have a case on his phone because he’s a heathen who likes to live life on the edge, and you know it’s only a matter of time before he misses his pocket completely and the glass shatters on the floor. “Bang’s gonna have our heads on silver platters if we’re late for this. Tell Joon to hurry his ass up.”
“He’s trying his best, leave him alone,” you say, a Namjoon-sympathizer. Even if he possesses the most leadership qualities out of all of you combined, he’s a bit of a chaotic kind of guy. Chaos just seems to be a common theme with your friends, really.
Namjoon appears two minutes later with a crooked tie tie and a heaving chest, very clearly out of breath from having run through the winding hallways of the hotel. At least he’s got his bow tie.
“You look a right mess, Joon,” Jimin says as the lot of you are making your way towards the venue, Namjoon’s cheeks still bright pink from his run. Jimin, ever the multitasker, pulls a college tour guide and begins to move backwards, leaning over to fix Namjoon’s bow tie and walking down on the uneven cobblestone street effortlessly.
“I hate this because I can’t look behind me because Y/N and Jungkook are being all romantic and disgusting and I can’t look in front of me because Jimin is deadass fixing Namjoon’s bow tie for him like a married couple,” Seokjin declares. Yoongi hums in agreement.
“Don’t hate, appreciate,” Jimin preaches cheesily, tweaking Namjoon’s bow tie until it’s perfectly even. He blows an obnoxious kiss the man’s way, just to make Seokjin dry heave onto the cobblestone at the sight. Namjoon catches the kiss with a closed fist and a wink. And they say you and Jungkook are gross and romantic.
There truly is nothing more romantic than strolling through the streets of Rome, the evening light just dark enough for the street lamps to illuminate the cobblestone pathways, with your hand interlocked with your fake boyfriend’s as you listen to your mutual rambunctious friends belt out Take On Me by a-ha in the most dissonant voices possible as you make your way to a music venue fifteen minutes away. The worst part is that they aren’t even getting the fucking lyrics correct, either. Seokjin, Hoseok, and Taehyung have the entire song memorized down to the eighth notes of the instrumental, and Namjoon, Jimin, and Yoongi are just singing “take on me” over and over, clashing with the rest of the lyrics even if they’re correct approximately 30% of the time. You’re orchestra kids, not choir kids.
To the shock and surprise of absolutely nobody, you and Jungkook end up straying behind the rest of your friends, even if only by a couple steps. Taehyung walks with a fast pace (it’s those damn long limbs) and the rest of the group just seems to adjust their stride to match his own. Jungkook doesn’t seem to mind the distance, however, relishing in the slight disassociation from your shared chaotic wreck of a friend group. The probability that he’s just glad to not have Taehyung belting out September by Earth, Wind, and Fire in his ear is very likely.
“Damn, I should have brought my camera with me,” Jungkook swears when he realizes.
“Why?” You ask casually, conversation flowing between the two of you naturally, effortlessly.
“Because even though things are pretty during the daytime, everything seems to sparkle more at night,” Jungkook says like it’s nothing, like he didn’t just reveal the end-all-be-all of photography secrets to you. Like this didn’t just turn into a fucking rom-com script.
It’s then that you finally come to notice the hand interlocked with your own. Jungkook’s palms are only marginally sweaty from the combination of the body heat and the Italian humidity, but the back of his hand is nothing but smooth, soft skin. There’s two types of hand-holding out there in the romantic (and fake-romantic) world, the one where your fingers are clasped together side by side and only your palms and thumbs cross over each other, and the one where your fingers are intertwined at the seams.
Jungkook’s default has always seemed to be the latter, you realize.
“Hey, Jungkook,” you say softly, even though you make no movement to leave his grasp. “You know we don’t have to hold hands all the time, right? They won’t be able to tell.”
Jungkook looks straight ahead and continues to walk, slowing his pace ever so slightly so the two of you will trail even further behind, though not by too much. It’s at your words that he seems to tighten his grip. “I know.”
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When you were four years old, the one and only thing you wanted to be when you grew up was an artist. And as a four year old, every adult around you fostered your love for the arts, softening the blow of “you’ll probably need a backup career choice if you really want to pursue that art thing” with kind words and encouragements, showing you pictures from children’s books and posters to spur your inspiration.
What every adult didn’t know is that you had a book on none other than Michelangelo himself, even if you couldn’t pronounce his name. And your mother had gotten you a big coloring poster of the Sistine Chapel, all of the necessary parts blurred and redone for the sake of the children, and you had spent a whole summer working on it, coloring everyone’s skin this magenta-orange and the bright blue sky a dark navy. What can you say, you were a bit of a pop artist. Andy Warhol would be shaking in his grave.
And as you stand in front of the entrance to the Vatican City, you wonder if four-year-old you ever thought that you would end up here, about to lay your eyes on what is arguably the most revered work of Italian Renaissance art. Wonder if four-year-old you thought you’d turn into a professional cellist rather than an artist, thought you’d end up fake dating someone for a month just to prank the best friend you didn’t have yet.
Sometimes plans change.
“Dude, if they don’t have AC in the museum I think I’m just going to melt into a puddle on the marble floor,” Taehyung says as your orchestra group waits outside the walls that surround the Vatican, the relentless sun beating down with no respite to offer you. It’s decently early in the morning but already you can feel yourself soaking right through your t-shirt, the sweat pooling in a very unflattering place at the curve of your lower back. You can only imagine the sensation of Jungkook placing his hand there for romantic effect and jerking it away when it comes back damp.
“Don’t hold your breath,” Seokjin grumbles to himself, fanning his face.
“Why couldn’t we have taken this damn trip in the middle of December,” Hoseok asks out loud with a sigh, wholly exasperated. He’s fanning himself with his baseball cap, but you can see that the sweat has caused several little pimples to pop up by his hairline. Only Italy.
“Because college is a thing,” Namjoon adds on very unhelpfully.
“I don’t believe in college,” Hoseok, a college student, says. “Sounds fake but okay.”
“Your student loans say otherwise,” you call out from a few feet away, where you’ve been slightly separated by the crowd. You can hear someone—probably Taehyung—oooooh from where they’re standing, because nothing says college culture like making fun of your own exponentially growing and insurmountable pile of debt that’s just stacking up in your bank account.
Hoseok, for lack of a better word, hisses in retaliation to your comment, like a cat being disturbed from a nap by a stranger.
“Can’t believe we showed up at like… eight in the morning and there’s already a crowd,” Jungkook says to himself. “I didn’t wake up at six AM just for this.”
“But at least you get to see my beautiful face,” you tell him optimistically, leaning into his personal bubble and grinning. You’re not sure if your face is dewy from your highlighter, the sweat, or the oil. There is a very high chance that it is all three.
Jungkook opens his mouth to respond, say something witty, or perhaps just plant a nice kiss on your lips (whichever may come to you today) when Bang’s booming voice interrupts both of your thought processes, announcing that your group will be going inside of the Vatican now and that all of you need to gather together so he can’t be held liable if one of you get lost. Classic Bang.
They distribute the little audio sets out to everyone in the group, the lime green of the headphones and the bright coral of the device clashing terribly with Jungkook’s white t-shirt and denim jeans. The colors look awfully out of place next to his body, but you don’t have time to dwell on it before you’re already moving on your way, going up the stairs and escalators towards the entrance to the museum. The crowds are already sizeable even this early in the morning, so you’re aching to get a move on before the herds of Asian tour groups run you over.
Jimin and Taehyung spend the entire time ignoring the tour guide and pretending their headsets are walkie-talkies and that they’re currently spies sent to infiltrate a mission to steal the artwork inside, whispering random code numbers to each other and referring to each other as agents. Jungkook spends the entire time wasting his professional camera battery and filming them, and you can only pray that at the end of this vacation he makes a compilation movie of all of the dumbass things that the group of you did on this trip. Because you would pay very good money to see that.
The two of them aren’t the only ones who aren’t paying attention to the tour guide. You know you should be, because you’re probably missing out on a lot of the history concerning the Vatican and its associated buildings, but the view from where you stand on this outdoor lobby is gorgeous, the sight of St. Peter’s Basilica peeking through the tall trees like a knight standing, ready for battle. The morning sun as it beats down upon you, leaving the slightest bits of shade here and there. The fountains with their perfectly clean, refreshing drinking water. Your friends, laughing their damn asses off because one of them is doing something ridiculous, and Jungkook, who seems just about as in awe as you.
“Can you believe we’re here?” He asks to nobody in particular, though you feel like it’s directed towards you. “I mean, really here. I nearly double-majored in Art History, you know.”
You didn’t.
There are a lot of things you don’t know about the man you’re fake dating.
You suppose that’s just another one of those stipulations you’ve forgotten about.
“I know,” you say, nodding. “It’s gorgeous.”
“It’s more than just gorgeous, Thumper,” Jungkook says, snapping picture after picture of the view, an unforgettable sight. “It’s breathtaking. I feel like I’ve just entered another world. One with a lot of Asian tourists in bucket hats.”
The latter comment makes you burst into giggles, earning a couple glares from the people around you who are actually genuinely trying to listen in to the commentary supplied by the tour guide. Jungkook is talking about the groups of rich old people who march around these places with fluorescent bucket hats and those white dad sneakers, but he is also talking about Jimin, who is wearing the exact same thing. The worst part about it is that Jimin definitely thinks it’s trendy.
“Wow, call him out, I guess,” you say jokingly as you shuffle through the crowds, headed straight towards the museum that will lead you to the Sistine Chapel. Jungkook shoots you a finger gun accompanied by a wink.
Admittedly, the beauty of the museum is overshadowed by the anticipation for the main event, but you know you’re not the only one who’s aching to get through the museum and move on. Even if Jungkook doesn’t say anything, just holds your hand in one hand and his camera in the other, it’s clear he’s moving along the museum in such a way that minimizes the time it takes to get to the Chapel itself. He’d probably—no, definitely—deny it if you told him that.
One of the rooms right before the Chapel is filled with archaic maps of each section of Italy, back when it was divided into states. The drawings stretch down the length of the entire hallway, their titles in a faded calligraphy. Your tour guide speaks of them as a whole, like they are one big piece of art rather than twenty little ones, but you know better than that. Museums do that a lot, grouping pieces together in a room and then treating them as one, and it never really occurs to you that you are standing in a room full of beauty until you are standing in a room full of beauty and it occurs to you.
“Where do you think we are?” Taehyung asks, gazing at a map of Florence and its surrounding area.
You open your mouth to say something, but Jungkook beats you to the punch. “Taehyung said he got a C in world geography in high school.” A very unsurprising revelation. “Isn’t that weird, though?”
“What’s weird?”
Jungkook gives something of a half-sigh, like he’s just thinking about something, deep in thought as he gazes up at a random map, one of a place you can’t identify. The tour guide in your ear says that the group is slowly approaching the entrance to the Sistine Chapel, but you and Jungkook are rooted to the ground.
“That for so many people, not even that long ago, this was their entire world?” Jungkook elaborates thoughtfully. “They never knew anything beyond what this map showed them. The extent of their travel was where only their feet could take them.”
You hum, trying to sound as intellectual as you can without opening your mouth. Jungkook’s got a mind the size of the moon and a heart made of gold.
“And we’re here, in Italy, after travelling across an entire ocean and a good portion of a continent to get here in half of a day. And the world that we know is so much bigger than the world that they knew, even if the Earth hasn’t changed,” Jungkook muses softly. He sounds like an artist. He sounds like he belongs here. “Your world is only as big as you can make it.”
You scoff to yourself. “You say that as if it’s a bad thing,” you tell him. “Sometimes there’s a whole world to explore without ever leaving home.”
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There is not much to say about the Sistine Chapel because everything has already been said. You open a textbook or an art book or even a Wikipedia page and somebody is waxing poetic on the sheer and utter beauty of it, its flawless architecture and immaculate design. There is not much to say about it because you don’t need to say anything to know that it’s absolutely stunning, perfect in every way that something can be perfect. There is not much to say about it because the world has already said enough and you have, for the longest time, believed it.
There is not much to say about the Sistine Chapel but there is so much to look at.
It’s striking, really, the size of the canvas that Michelangelo had to work with. He had so much space and knew what to do with every millimeter of it. Plotted out every inch, no space left untouched. All artists tell stories with their words, whether it be through music, writing, or visual arts, but Michelangelo has crafted a novel without writing down a single sentence.
Your neck hurts from craning it so much, your body spinning around in circles so you can admire every bit of the ceiling that you can. Your legs are sore from all of that walking and there’s a strain in your neck from its awkward position and more and more people are filing into the room and less and less people are filing out so the overall temperature is rising, but this is worth it. Above everything else, this is what you are here for.
“Can you believe we are laying our eyes upon one of the most famous pieces of art of all time?” Hoseok whispers in your ear as he comes up to you. It still hasn’t sunken in yet for you, that you’re standing here. Bearing witness to history at its finest.
“It’s…” You say, brain scanning for the right word but it doesn’t feel like there is one. How do you describe perfection?
“I know,” Hoseok says. He doesn’t need anything from you to know how you’re feeling, because he feels the exact same. Even if neither of you got into the whole visual arts scene, it doesn’t take a Master’s degree to appreciate a wonder such as this.
Time passes too slowly and too quickly all at once. People and people walk by you as you stand rooted to the ground, staring up and forward to soak in the sight in front of you, eyes unable to pick a spot to admire, gaze darting back and forth. But then suddenly, Namjoon is walking by you and Hoseok and whispering into your ears that the tour guide says it’s time to go, that your time is up and you need to move on, and you feel as though you haven’t looked at it enough.
Relenting, you and Hoseok turn to meet them at the back of the room, where everyone waits, when Hosek turns his head for a brief second before giving you a nudge. You look to him with furrowed eyebrows until he nods his head towards Jungkook, who hasn’t moved from his place since you arrived. He’s staring straight up at the ceiling and his pink lips are parted in awe ever so slightly, starstruck. He doesn’t seem to have noticed that your group is moving on at all.
“Go get your man,” Hoseok says, his voice a mix of fondness and exasperation. He leaves to meet up with everyone else, forcing you to drag Jungkook out of the Sistine Chapel all by your lonesome.
You almost don’t want to, really. You feel incredibly guilty interrupting him. Jungkook looks up at the ceiling like he is staring at the stars on a clear night, no clouds, no city noise blocking his view. Like he is trying to count each and every speck, ingrain it on the inside of his eyelids and tattoo it into his memory, onto his heart. Jungkook looks alive when he plays the violin, brushes the strings with his bow and listens to the music he is creating, but he looks at peace here.
“Hey,” you say softly, coming up beside him. You pay very little attention to the way your hand automatically reaches out for his own, the touch slowly becoming instinctive, commonplace. Jungkook jumps slightly at your arrival, but his expression softens when he sees you.
“Isn’t it wondrous?” He asks. He doesn’t need to elaborate.
“You must feel right at home, here,” you supply. You don’t know if you have the heart to tell him that it’s time to leave, move on not just from this room but also this city. Venice awaits you.
“I was going to study this,” Jungkook says. “This man, his work, it was going to become my life. I was going to take classes on this very piece. And now we’re here.”
“We’re here,” you agree, musing to yourself.
“I don’t know what else to say.”
“You don’t need to say anything.”
It’s because you’re selfish. You’re selfish and guilt-ridden, and you simply cannot bring yourself to tell Jungkook that his time is up, that he will have to put an end to this once-in-a-lifetime sight. You’re selfish and you just want thirty more seconds of this place, this room, this art, this boy, to yourself. Here, you feel weightless.
“They want us to go,” you tell him quietly, grabbing onto his hand just a little tighter. Jungkook looks only a little sad. You know he’s hiding the rest of it.
“Already?”
Parting is bittersweet sorrow.
“You said it yourself,” you say, slowly making your way towards the exist. It’s strange. It feels like you’re leaving Rome as a whole. “There’s a whole other world out there.”
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⇒ part one | part two (finale)
⇒ hmu with feedback or just talk to me here!
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brianc521 · 2 years ago
Text
For the Love of Books
13k+ words of CEO/Bookworm
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It’s been a rough week. A long, dark, rough week. With not being able to afford the electric bill, all that was left for you to do was shut down for the week. If you can’t read in the dark, then how were you supposed to buy books in the dark?
While it wasn’t making you money you also weren’t losing any either, that was the double edged sword you were fighting with. You hated it, as the owner of the families bookstore, being closed for a week was not what you wanted. Especially since you were the first family member who has had to do so.
Your Pa left the store to you when he passed away four years ago. It was his Mama’s before him, she left it to him much the same as he left it to you. It was a shock to the family when The Will read out that it was yours, and yours solely until the day you decided to bring in someone else.
It created a pretty big rift in the family, your Mom and Aunt believing that it should have been theirs, but to be honest, you weren’t shocked. It had been a discussion your Pa had with you before he made the decision. He wanted to make sure that you actually wanted the store, and that you could handle the backlash of you receiving it.
Cornered Pages was only your entire childhood. While you’re Mom claimed she loved the store, you would live there if you could. With a single Mom, working at a diner during the day and the local bar at night, left you to growing up with your Pa since he watched you while your Mom worked. He raised you off chapters and new arrivals. Your weekends were book signings and cutting bookmarks.
So having to close for a week was not only disappointing to yourself and your Pa’s legend, it also automatically made you the families disappointment because you couldn’t keep the doors open.
“I want to seriously talk about it,” Shawn shrugs as he sits across from you at the dining room table.
Shawn Mendes, 21 year old multimillionaire of his very own Mendes Printing. Also sort of known as your boyfriend of 2 years.
**flashback**
You were freaking out, literally pacing the bathroom as you whispered yelled at Lauren.
Lauren had been dating Connor since high school, but since he started his new job he had started hanging out with some new people. One of his closest friends was Shawn, and when Lauren met Shawn she set you two up almost immediately.
But now, here you are, dressed in your khaki work shorts, a cute purple tank top and your tan sandals. His schedule was so tight for making a date that you literally had to leave straight from work to the restaurant. You felt about 1000 times under dressed when Shawn picked you up in slacks and a light blue button up shirt.
“Lauren you could have warned a gal that you were setting her up with a fucking multimillionaire.” You hissed, neck vein popping in your frustration.
“I didn’t know! I swear to you, when I met him he was in a Harry Potter shirt and was bragging to Connor about how he’d been able to watch the whole series in a weekend. He was speaking in Potter quotes and all I could see was you and him getting married. I didn’t fucking know!”
“I literally look so stupid right now. He’s in fucking slacks and has cuff links? While I’m in khakis and my hairs in a cute but messy bun. The valet alone was more than I would ever be able to afford for dinner.”
“Oh god.” She groaned.
“I fucking said ‘Literally Pizza Hut would’ve impressed me,’ and he snorted.”
“Snorted?”
“Laughed at me, found me amusing, literally a lowlife compared to him.”
“What did he do to become a multimillionaire?”
“He started his own printing company when he was 18 years old. Graduated high school and started working the next day. He’s the big office building on the corner of Main and Baseline.”
“Oh shit,” She gasps. “So he’s rich rich. Homegirl lock him up.”
“Um no, it’s time to run.”
“Don’t overthink it, he’s a sweetheart I swear. He was really interested when I talked to him.”
“I have to go, he’s gonna think I died or something.”
“You’re so dramat-” You hang up on her and start to rush out the door so you can escape this nightmare you’re living.
This man was literally so far out of your league that you thought these leagues were only in the movies. He will want nothing to do with you, ever.
You whip the door open, taking a deep breath and look up to rush out but stop short when Shawn stands up from his relaxed position against the wall.
“Um,” You gape.
“Okay,” He clears his throat. “I did this wrong,” He cringes. “I was really trying to impress you. I haven’t been on a date since I was in high school. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable. I was just really trying to impress you and I realize I went a little too far. How bad would it be if I asked if we could start over? My place? We can order pizza and talk and be well, normal?”
You giggled, because he couldn’t stop fidgeting his hands, and glancing at you and then back at his shoes. He was so nervous, and you could see it in his features that he was scared he scared you off.
“Shawn? Just because Lauren set us up doesn’t mean we have to do this. If you don’t want to go out with me you don’t have to. It’s okay, I understand.”
“No! Are you kidding?” He asks appalled. “I’ve been so excited and nervous, and my life motto is nerves mean you care. I guess I’m just, I’m not the best at dating because I’ve never really dated. But I do, I do want to go out with you, I just want you to be comfortable.”
“I want you to be comfortable too.” You grin. “I hear you like Harry Potter?”
His eyes go wide and he nods dumbly.
“I have the series on DVD,”
“Blu Ray,” He points to himself. “And a flat screen.”
“Your place it is.”
**
“I don’t know Shawn,” You sigh, slumping back in your seat at the kitchen table, check book on the table in front of you.
“Baby, if I bought the store you’d never have to have a month like you just had. You’d never have to close for the week just to save, that’s not how a business runs.”
You were trying to be calm, and hear him out. But you really didn’t want Shawn buying the company.
“And with the money I can put into it, we can really look into more marketing. Maybe revamp the place, add a little coffee shop, demo the whole place and start over. We can start doing online sales, and boosting revenue that way. Baby I think we can do so much with it-”
“No,” You stop him, “No.”
Shawn’s stopped, shocked at your firm answer. “Why?”
“I just don’t want you buying my company,”
“Baby, but think about how much we could do-”
“No!”
All you can see in your head is that note you have stashed in your file cabinet from your Pa. The one that explicitly says that it was yours until you were ready to share with someone. You could share with Shawn, but you didn’t want to have to. You felt like you just got the place and you don’t want to give it up yet.
“I don’t understand why you don’-”
“Because it’s mine!” You snap. “It’s mine!”
Shawn’s pulling back, but letting you snap.
“It’s mine, and I know I’m not the best owner, we aren’t making much money and I can barely keep the doors open, but it’s mine. And if you buy it then it’s yours, and not mine, and I can’t-” You shake your head. “I know I’m the disappointment of the family right now, because yes, I might have to close the shop soon-”
“Baby,” He stops you, taking your hands and kissing them. “I’m trying to give you a way where you won’t have to close.” He whispers. “You’re not a disappointment by the way, the markets shit, no one’s really making money.” He shrugs. “And I know it’s yours, and if I bought the bookstore, it’d still be yours, 100%”
“No it wouldn’t because you would own it.”
“Okay, so let's compromise, let’s make a deal, let’s talk it out.” He grabs his notepad and a fountain pen. “What if we partnered, you’d have half and I’d have half? That way it's still yours but I can help,”
“I don’t-”
“Let me finish.” He writes some things down. “I’ve been looking into it, and this is what I think you could make if you at least, did the online thing,” He passes you a note with an absurd amount. The bookstore has never made money like that. “And this,” He pulls the paper back, “Is what you could make by adding the cafe.”
“Shawn.” You gasp at the amount he’s scribbled.
“It’d be a study place, in this college town. It’d be a writing place, just down the street from a publishing house. And there are so many opportunities we could have with the publishing house alone. We could work out a contract to say that we’d sponsor their new authors for a certain amount, we’d be helping them and ourselves.”
“You’ve really thought this through.”
“Yes I have, because I love you, and the bookstore, and I don’t ever want to see you have to close the doors. I want to help, and finally, I know how.”
You smile, looking down at the other ideas he has listed on his notepad.
“Can you just think about it. Let’s have a meeting, I want this to be serious. I’ll do some more homework, and you do some too. I want you to think up and draw up everything you’ve ever wanted to do at the store. Everything okay?” He waits for a nod from you, “We’ll have a meeting and discuss what we’ve both thought up and then come to a conclusion.”
“Okay.” You whisper, nodding at him.
“Yeah?”
“Yeah.” You look up at him as he stands and walks around the table to you.
“Okay, I’ll have my people call your people about the details.”
“You mean having Jackie call me in the morning at the store so she can tell me that you’re free Friday at 9:30 to 10:45?” You smirk up at him.
He rolls his eyes, “Yes, Jackie will be in touch. Better?”
You giggle, nodding as he leans down for a kiss. “Where are you going?”
“Home? I’ve got a meeting real early.” He grabs his jacket, slipping it around his shoulders.
You pout at him, giving him your puppy dog eyes. “Stay?”
He chuckles, “Don’t give me those eyes, I can’t say no to those eyes.”
“Then don’t?”
“I have to, seriously I have to be up at like 4, and I don’t want to disrupt you. It’s your first day back at the shop and you need to be rested. I love you, and I’ll stay over tomorrow okay? Maybe I’ll stop by the shop at lunch if I have enough time?”
“Okay.” You sigh, deflating back in your seat.
“I love you.” He steps back closer, leaning down for a kiss.
“Mhm.” You hum, turning your face to the side so he kisses your cheek.
“Miss,” He grabs your chin softly, turning it back towards him, “You got something to say to me?”
“I love you too I guess.”
“You guess?”
“I think I’d know if you were staying the night.”
He laughs, kissing your lips softly sucking your bottom lip, pulling a moan from the back of your throat.
“Now you really can’t leave.”
“See you tomorrow.” He grins, grabbing his phone and keys, blowing you a kiss as he walks out your door.
**
You laughed to yourself when you saw Jackie’s line number run across your cell.
“Hello Jackie.” You answered.
“Morning,” She cheerfully responded. “Okay, so, care to explain why I’m scheduling a meeting for you and Shawn? And not like a date or something, like an actual meeting? Here? At the office?”
“Has he said anything?”
“No he never talks about his meetings. I’m lucky if I get a ‘Mornin’.” She imitates Shawn.
“Please tell me you’re joking.”
“Yeah,” She laughs. “Well except for the meetings part. He really doesn’t talk about them, which is fine. It’s his business, I just schedule the meetings.”
“Well if he hasn’t said anything then I don’t think I should, but I’ll talk to him about it. He knows we’re friends, so if it’s not like confidential then I’ll let you know.”
“Alright fine,” She sighs. “He’s open, um you know, actually. When are you free?”
“Well, I just opened again this week.” You look around the store. “And I really don’t want to have to close just to go to the office for a meeting, but if I have too I will.”
“Tell me when you want the meeting, I’ll work it in his schedule. He can work around you this time around.”
You grin, mentally making a note to send her some flowers soon. “Well I usually close at 6 week nights, but I know he tries to be out of the office at 5.”
“Wednesday night at 6:30 good for you?” She asks, you can hear her typing away at her keyboard.
“Um, yeah, we’ll have to push our date back,” You giggle. “But I think this is an acceptable situation.
“Alrighty then, it’s been inputted into his calendar. Would you like me to input anything else in while I have you?”
“Yeah can you check that major birthdays and anniversaries are in there.”
“I know for a fact they are, he personally has input those. May 3rd is labeled with your name and a heart, just so you know.”
You blush, looking down at your counter, picking at the edge.
“It’s gonna be three years right?”
“Yeah.”
“He better go all out.”
“He could literally just come home with no work, and actually stay and I would be over the moon.”
“Oop, here he comes, wanna speak to him?”
“Um if he isn’t busy I guess.” You murmur.
“Alright, you’re gonna be on line 1, he’ll be with you in a moment.” Jackie says, “Meeting at Wednesday at 6:30, have a nice day!”
Before you can even respond the line clicks and you hear a husky, “Hello Beautiful.”
“Hi Handsome.”
“How’s your morning?”
You look around the store, books stocked full but empty of customers. “Slow.” You sigh, pulling your stool closer to the counter and taking a seat.
“It’s still early, got the whole day ahead of you.”
You love his ability to pick you up whenever you need it. He brought the positive to your life and always had you looking at the glass half full.
“Are you gonna be able to stop by for lunch?”
You hear him sigh, and clicking onto his computer. “No, I don’t think so Baby. Jackie penciled in this new intern? I guess it’s time for an eval, and it was my only open slot this…” He trails off, the clicking becoming louder. “Wednesday? But we have a date.” He speaks up.
“I know, but-”
“I made the reservations for 6:30.”
“Can you push them back? Or we can always have a dinner meeting I guess. Or you know what, tell Jackie to just put me in where it’s convenient for you, she tried to go by what was for me but I knew we should have gone off your sche-”
“I’ll push the reservations.” He hums.
You shut up quick, waiting a beat before suggesting, “Or we could just cancel them and go home with take out and watch The Act?”
Shawn hums again, and you can just imagine him scratching his chin as he swivels in his chair. “Or we could do that. I like that, let’s do that.”
You smile, “Okay! Since you aren’t coming to see me today can you at least come over tonight?”
“Told you last night I’d stay over.”
“I just didn’t know if that changed.”
He sighs, “I know I had to cancel the last time, and the time before, but that’s not gonna happen. I promise okay?”
“Okay.”
“I have a meeting Honey, I’ll see you tonight.”
“Okay.”
“I love you, sell some books!”
“I love you!”
The line goes dead and you sag in your stool. This was going to be a long day.
Maybe if you had more appeal to the store, like if you could see it better, or like if the sales that you had going on were noticeable from the window.
You slide your notebook over, grabbing your pen, titling the new page; ‘Meeting Ideas’.
**
You were rushing around the store trying to clean up the last bit that needed to be done before you rushed out the door. You got a little lost in building a new display for the Divergent section you had. You made some faction signs and little displays for them and before you knew it, it was time to close and your art project was all over.
You are just locking the door when your phone rings in your purse. Hands full, and keys dangling from your fingers you answer, slipping your phone between your shoulder and ear.
“Hello?”
“Hey Gorgeous,” Shawn’s voice flows through.
You sigh, knowing what this call was gonna be, cursing yourself for believing his promise this morning.
“Hey,” You sigh, unlocking your car but leaning against it for the bad news. “Not coming over?”
You hear a gasp from his end, and then him clearing his throat. “Um, I was calling to see if you wanted to make dinner or go out?”
“Oh!”
“Did you really think I was calling to cancel?” He whispers.
“Studies go to show-”
“Okay Bookworm, well let me show the studies that I am coming over, without any work, and I’ll be staying the whole night.”
You giggle at his defense game. “Okay, okay I’m sorry.”
“Dinner? Am I picking something up? Am I making you something? Are we meeting somewhere?”
“Can you just pick something up? I literally had the longest day, and I just wanna snuggle.”
“Okay, so a plate; orange chicken, teriyaki chicken, and fried rice with cream cheese ran goons?”
“I fucking love you.”
He chuckles, “I love you too Honey, I’ll see you at home with your food and a medium Coke.”
“You literally are perfect.”
“Goodbye,” He calls, laughing as you sigh.
**
The TV played softly as background noise to your cuddle session. It wasn’t often that you felt like you had time with Shawn like this. He rarely promised time without work, and you took advantage when he did.
The last few times he’s promised that he’d be yours for the night he’s gotten called in, or never even made it out of the office long enough to feed himself. You’re slowly started to become accustomed to being stood up, half the time you barely even get ready knowing that the dreaded text is bound to come through.
You shift a little against his chest, cuddling closer and humming as you look up. But you pull back a bit when you notice that his face is illuminated by his phone, and his free hand is typing away at his email, letters flying across the screen at a rapid pace going to prove how much he is on his phone.
You sigh, and roll your eyes discreetly as you pull away from him. He notices you leaving quickly, the arm that’s wrapped around you curling tighter so you can’t get away.
“What are you doing?” He mumbles dropping a kiss to the top of your head, eyes never once leaving his phone.
“You said no work.”
“I know, but I have to read this.” He answers, pointing with his chin to the device in his hand.
“It can’t wait till morning? It’s the first night we’ve had together in almost two weeks.” You sit up, turning to look at him.
He glances at you and then back at his phone as it buzzes with four new emails. You slump, blinking at him tiredly.
“Babe it’s just a few emails, and we’re watching a movie we’ve already seen. I’m not missing anything.”
You shake your head at his reasoning, as if spending time with you wasn’t even on his radar at all, he’s not missing anything new so what’s the harm?
“Fine.” You sigh, sitting back against the couch.
He clicks his phone off with a huff, “Don’t be like that.”
“I’m gonna get ready for bed.” You say as he starts to turn towards you. You stand from the couch quickly, walking off to your bedroom to start your routine before he can suck you in with his puppy eyes.
He joins you in the bathroom a few minutes later, after he’s locked up your place and turned the lights off.
“You’re so beautiful.” He murmurs into your shoulder as he hugs you from behind, watching you take your makeup off. You give him a glare in return to his comment, letting him know that trying to sweet talk you isn’t gonna help. “Don’t be mad, it was just one email.”
You scoff, “It’s not just one email, we both know that you’ll stay up to answer the rest and draft up even more.”
“I wait until you’re asleep though.” He points out.
“That’s not my point.” You whisper, tired of having the same conversation every night.
“You say that every time and then never elaborate what your actual point is, so can we get to that part already?”
“My point or question I guess is if I’ll ever come first?” You shrug, looking up at him.
His heart just about breaks when he sees your bottom lip quiver. He never ever wanted to make you feel like the work comes before you, it’s just so much is weighing on his shoulders right now, and it’s become easy for him to just know that you’re there even when he’s not and he’s taken that for granted.
“You do come first.”
“I don’t,” You shake your head, “We can’t even watch a movie with you checking work.”
He watches you turn and walk out of the bathroom, crawling into bed. You let out a deep shuddering breath as you relax with your back facing the side he usually lays on.
Biting his lip he flips the light off, following you to bed.
“Might as well go get yourself set up at the dining room table, or just go ahead and sneak out to go back to your place now. No point in staying.”
His eyes snap to you, his chest tightening, guilt panging as he realizes just how much you know what he does while you’re in bed. He didn’t think you knew about the night that he needed to be in his office to get something done, so he made your place look like he had left early in the morning and not at 11:47 pm.
He curses himself at what he’s done to make you feel this way.
“No Baby,” He slips under the covers, arms wrapping around you and pulling you flush against his chest. “I’m right here.”
He lets the sound of your deep breathing and scent of your mint and rosemary shampoo soothe him into the most peaceful sleep he’s had in a long time. He finally allows his overactive brain to slow for a minute, and for his body to relax against yours.
That night, he dreams of his forever with you.
**
Shawn was already in the conference room when you arrived at the office, Jackie meeting you at the door offering to take your jacket and a beverage of your liking.
You decline, to both, pointing to where you thought Shawn was, smiling at the confirmation nod she gives you in return.
You walk down the hall, holding your notebook of homework and ideas. You knock, slowly entering the room and smiling at Shawn, who’s head whips up from his papers.
“Hey!” He greets, standing up to welcome you in. He leans in for a quick hug, pecking your lips as he pulls away. “I’m professional I promise, but you’re my girl and deserve a hug and a kiss hello.”
You giggle, shaking your head at his antics. He pulls your chair out, the one next to his, and helps scoot you in after you’ve taken your seat.
“Okay, well let’s jump right into business.” He starts, flipping through his pages of notes as you do the same. “What to do you have there?” He points to your notebook.
“My notes?”
He chuckles, “I know they’re your notes, but what are the notes?”
“Oh,” You clear your throat, “Um well, these would be my terms and conditions.” You slide your notebook over, letting him read through it.
It’s impressive, how much thought you’ve put into every single detail.
In the end it’s decided that Shawn will invest with a 15% stake, and with his connections and his company itself now partnering with yours it’s well more of a deal for you than for him.
Next steps are to get the balls rolling with what your plans are. A website that allows your customers to order online, a cafe, and a whole store remodel. It was scary, especially because you really don’t want a whole lot to change, but it’s what needs to happen to be successful.
“Pizza or pasta?” Shawn asks as he starts to pack his briefcase up.
You stare at your notes, and the copy of the contract you both just signed. It’s like your frozen. This amazing guy was investing in your company, out of the love from his heart. This literally does nothing for him but give you the room to grow.
“Hey?” He sits back down, hand landing on your thigh. “Are you having second thoughts?”
You look at him with watery eyes.
“Baby if you’re having second thoughts then rip up the contract, we’ll-”
You quickly press your lips to his, shutting him and his anxious mind up for a moment.
“Not having second thoughts, just needing to take a moment to let this all settle in.”
“Okay,” He nods, pulling on your hand to have you stand up so he can hold you.
“I’m not gonna disappoint him anymore.” You whisper into his chest.
“Who?”
“Pa.”
Shawn sighs, kissing the top of your head, “You never disappointed him. I promise you that.”
**
“Hey Babe!” Shawn’s voice floats through the phone.
“Hey Honey.” You answer, clicking him to speaker as you box up some more books to prepare for demo day.
“So I’ve been looking into the perspective of revenue, and it might be time to start looking into some help.”
“Help?”
“Like some other workers.” He clarifies.
“Oh! I am, I have plans to meet with Lauren about the cafe this week.”
“That’s great Baby, but I’m meaning with you at the shop, not in the cafe.”
“Oh um, I don’t kn-”
“I emailed you the spreadsheet of the projected sales, take a look at it and let me know what you think okay? Just think about it? I have a meeting I needed to be in like 5 minutes ago,” He chuckles, “CEO duties. But I wanted to bring this to your attention. Anyway, I love you, I’ll see you for dinner.” He makes a dramatic kissing sound into the speaker and then hangs up before you can even think of responding.
**
The sledgehammer was a lot heavier than you were expecting now that you’re standing in front of a bare wall with a bunch of workers and your boyfriend staring at you.
You take a deep breath, take a step back, and let your years of softball takeover and swing for the fences. The wall splinters under the pressure and breaks, leaving a big hole in it’s trace.
“You did it!” Shawn cheers, running over to take the dangerous object away from you before you or anyone else got hurt.
“Holy shit, it’s real now.” You laugh as the rest of the crew then starts knocking the wall down. “That was so fun, holy shit!”
“It was really hot too.” Shawn smirks, wiggling his eyebrows at you.
“Oh my god, go away.” You push at his chest lightly.
“Hold up!” One of the workers calls, stopping everyone from there work and pulling something from the wall.
“Is something wrong?” Shawn asks, tucking you behind him.
“I found this,” He hands Shawn the note.
Shawn opens the note, coughing when the dust and debris flies around him.
“Oh Babe.” He sighs, turning to show you.
You gasp at the handwriting alone, yanking the note from Shawn’s hands and holding it close to your chest. The watery tears in your eyes as you look up at Shawn have him almost melting to the ground and vowing to protect you from everything.
“I’m gonna go-” You jerk your thumb over your shoulder to the door, indicating that you wanted privacy while reading this note.
Shawn nodded in understanding, turning to have everyone get back to work and talk some more with the contractor about the plumbing.
He really wanted to give you some time, really wanted to respect that you needed it. But damn it you were almost crying when you walked out the door, and staring at you from the window he can tell that you are crying now.
“Fuck it,” He mutters, stepping outside.
He slides up behind you, arms wrapping around your waist, chin resting on your shoulder.
“Are you okay?” He whispers into your ear.
“Yeah.” You nod, wiping your cheek. “Yeah, I needed this.” You unfold the letter so he can see.
It’s about time, this place needs the updates! I knew you had dreams for this place Pumpkin! Love Pa.
“Wait, he wrote that for you!” Shawn gasps softly. “How old were you when he redid the place?”
“I was three when he broke down the barrier wall and put in the new one,” You whimper.
“He knew all along this would be your legacy.” Shawn squeezes you closer.
“I was really struggling today with this decision, because I didn’t know if he would approve or not. But this was exactly what I needed to know I made the right choice.”
“Yeah?” Shawn asks.
“Yeah, you were the right choice. Pa would have loved you.” You turn and kiss his shoulder.
“You think?”
“I know he would have. Pa was particularly protective. You seem to have that same nature.” You grin. “I can just hear what he would say about you, and to you.”
“What would he say?”
“Well he’d sit me down and go, ‘that’s a good boy you got there, he treats you right and respects you. But if you got any troubles or doubts you let your Pa know, he’ll take care of it.’ Even though your friendship would be so tight he would side with you instead of me.” You giggle.
Shawn smiles, kissing your neck before sighing. “I wish I could have met him.”
“Can I ask you something?” You turn to face him now.
“Anything.”
“Would you like to?”
“Like to what?” Shawn’s brows furrow.
“Like to meet him?” You ask again. “Would you like to go to his grave with me?”
Shawn’s smile literally touches, ear to ear, and he squeals a little as he picks you up and spins you around.
“I’d love to.”
**
Lauren has been your best friend since you both started working at the local girls clothing store in high school. She’s a few years older than you and really was the person who showed you the love of running a store. She got you into the management aspect of the job and taught you everything you know.
She’s a big reason as to why you were so comfortable and willing to take over the bookstore for Pa when he passed away.
When you both left the clothing store she went off to become an assistant manager at Lou’s Coffee House just outside of town. She then went on to meet Connor there, and the story goes on to how she set you up with Shawn.
“So I have some news!” You squeal as Lauren sets her coffee mug down in front of her.
You’re out to breakfast for your weekly meetup at your usual diner.
“Are you pregnant?” She asks.
“No!”
“Engaged?” 
“Oh my god, no.”
“Okay then…?”
“So I’m remodeling the store.” You grin as her eyes go wide. “And I bought the toy shop next door.”
“Whoa!” She shares your excitement but then comes back to reality. “Wait, weren’t you like just closed for a week because you couldn’t afford the electric bill?”
“So about that, I, I um, I might have gone through with Shawn’s investment plan.”
“Finally.” She sighs.
“We worked through the details, sat down and had a meeting and everything.”
“Sounds very Fifty Shades here.”
“Oh my god shut up,” You blush and shake your head, no realizing that it kind of did.
“Okay,” She laughs. “So why buy the toy shop?”
“How much do you like your job?”
“Working as an assistant manager? Where I can’t make my own decisions? Where I have to get them okay’d first? It sucks, but it’s a job.”
“Wanna manage your own cafe?” You ask with a big smile.
“Excuse me?”
“I bought the toy shop to knock the dividing wall down and add a cafe.”
You’ve never seen her eyes so wide. “You’re joking?”
“And I bought it so you could run it.”
“You’re joking?!?” Her voice is starting to rise.
“Is that a yes?”
“Why me?”
“Because you’re you? You’re the best Lo, let’s be honest with ourselves.”
“I’d be in charge? Can do my own ideas?”
“Well Shawn and I have drawn up some ground rules since it’s mainly his name on it, but yeah there’s no one we’d want or trust more.”
**
Days got tough, times get hard, and people grow tired. It’s life, it’s what happens. Today was one of those days for you.
While finding Pa’s note helped, and the excitement of starting a new was distracting, you still struggled with the result that has come of you owning the shop.
It was hard to admit you needed help, and it was harder to receive it from Shawn. It was terrifying to give up some of the reign to him as well. So with his newest idea, comes your patience lost.
“You don’t get to do this.” You shake your head, putting the plates away in the cabinet and slamming the cabinet door shut in your frustration.
“You’re gonna need the help.”
“I don’t need help!”
“I’m not saying you can’t do it. I’m not saying that. I’m saying that at least one other person is going to make it easier for you. You’re gonna run yourself into the ground doing it by yourself.”
“We’ve agreed on cafe staff.” You cross your arms.
“Yes we have, but we’re not talking about the cafe. We’re talking about the shop. One other person, that’s all I’m saying. One more set of hands with you behind the counter. You’re gonna want it, gonna need it.”
“It’s my store Shawn, I can do it! This part of it is all I have left!”
“I’m not taking that away!” He raises his voice to your level. “I’m trying to give you some help here!”
“This!” You turn back to the sink. “This is why I didn’t want to do this! I knew this is how it’d turn out. You’d be Mr. Mendes, Mr. Know-it-All, and tell me how to run the store. My store!” You toss the dish towel on the counter, turning back to him. “Guess what Shawn, you’re not there. You never have been, you never will be. You don’t care enough to be there, and because of that you’re not allowed to care about who is.”
His condo is silent as your words settle. He blinks at you, face blank of an expression and your heavy breaths slow as you watch him turn and walk away from you.
“Shawn?”
He doesn’t answer, he just picks up his keys from the corner counter and walks right out the front door, leaving the slam of it to echo in your head.
**
He didn’t come home, he knew he should have and that he’d given you both enough time to cool down. But he didn’t come home.
Instead he hid away in the safezone that has become his office, his second home. He was too wired to go back and go to bed, but he was too drained to keep driving around all night, so he ended up here, checking emails and stewing over your words.
You were right, he never did spend any time with you at the store. And it wasn’t in his schedule to start doing so after the remodel. The store was so important to you, and it was so minimalistic to him that he couldn’t see how much it would mean to actually stop and enjoy the space with you.
He’s been fighting his own battle all night with how guilty and shitty he feels for walking through the doors of Cornered Pages and changing everything, flipping your whole world on its side, without actually thinking about how this truly is affecting you deep inside.
It was close to 5:30 am when he dozed off. Chin in his hand, elbow propped up on his desk. The sun had just started to rise, and he could hear Jackie out at her desk.
But it was 8:45 am when you stormed in. The banging of his office door against the wall startling him awake. His jump knocking over the framed photograph of you and him from your last anniversary.
He looks around quickly, looking for what woke him in such a way, but everything stops when his eyes land on you. Your hair was unkempt, you wore his old Harvard hoodie and some grey sweats. Eyes rimmed red with tears.
“Baby?” He cleared his throat, blinking a few times to wake himself up. “What’s wrong?”
“I need you, to come home.” Your voice shakes as you speak.
“What happened? What’s wrong?” He keeps asking, afraid something bad happened.
“Come home.” Your bottom lip quivers as he stands to come to you.
“What’s wrong? Baby what happened?”
“You didn’t come home!”
He wraps you up in his arms, kissing the top of your messy hair and breathing you in.
“You don’t just get to not come home Shawn.”
“Okay, okay.” He nods, feeling you start to relax. “Let’s go home.”
“You don’t get to not come home.” You repeat, some panic still coursing through you.
“You’re okay, I’m right here. Let’s go home.”
“I thought you were leaving, you can’t not come home.”
Your words are like a knife through his heart, he can’t handle the thought of you sitting in his home thinking he wasn’t ever gonna come back to you.
“Never, I’m never leaving you. I won’t do it again, I promise. Take me home.”
Jackie watches with concerned eyes as you both stagger out of his office, Shawn mumbling to cancel his meetings, that he needed a personal day. She didn’t ask questions, she just nodded and bidded you both safe travels back home.
Once seated in the car to go home the only thing you say is “You don’t just get to not come home.”
**
This is it, months of work, weeks of stress, days of insecurities, hours of arguing, and minutes of excitement has lead to this.
The shop was finally complete, and today was the reopening. You were nervous, the new keys sit in your hand as Shawn, Aaliyah who’s been hired to work in the shop with you, and Lauren your best friend who’s gonna manage the Cafe stand beside you as you unlock the door.
Shawn grins, pulling the new outdoor easel sign out from the entrance of the store and positioning it right out front showing that it was a ‘Grand Re-Opening!’.
“Li, can you count the register? Do you remember how I showed you?”
“Can you just watch to make sure I do it right? I think I remember, but I don’t want to mess it up.” She nervously giggles, walking with you to the counter to count the register to properly open the store.
Shawn and Lauren open up the cafe entrance, and you can see Shawn bouncing on his toes as he watches you and Aaliyah through the glass walls that divide the store from the cafe.
“Got it?” You turn to her with a smile, she nods proudly closing the register and slipping the receipt into the little accordion file you keep in a compartment under the drawer.
“Yep!”
“Perfect, now I think your brother wants to be the first dollar we earn from the cafe, so let’s go join him before we get to work.” You giggle leading her to the cafe.
“There you are! Get it taken care of?” He asks looking at Aaliyah, eyes sparkling with excitement.
“Yep! I did it all by myself and everything.” Her sarcasm drips heavily as she answers.
“Okay, what can I buy you for a celebratory drink?”
“Okay, so I have a medium black coffee for Shawn, a medium white chocolate mocha blended for Liyah, and a iced peppermint mocha, large, for the lovely owner.” Lauren sets three cups down, knowing everyone’s order before any of you have to tell her.
“And a iced vanilla cold brew, medium, added to his tab.” You give her a look eyeing her drink behind her on the counter.
“I was gonna-”
“Nope add it to his tab, I think he can handle it.” You pat Shawn’s shoulder, grinning when he nods, swipes his card and leaves a hefty tip.
“We just had our first sale!” Lauren cheers when his charge goes through.
You laugh at her excitement and lean into Shawn’s side, sighing as you let the day sink it. He leans down to kiss the top of your head and thread his fingers through yours.
It’s so weird to see him on a Monday, jeans and white t shirt instead of his slacks and a button down. He’s taken the day off to be here for the store launch, and work with you guys on the floor.
“Okay!” He claps his hands together. “Let’s get to work! What’s first?”
**
This is the slowest it’s been all day, there’s been a line practically out the door, and you’re thanking your lucky stars that Shawn wanted to be here today to help. He’s been helping people find books, or the right aisles for certain genres, he’s greeted every person that walks in the door, and talks up the cafe for those who don’t have a drink already.
You and Aaliyah are practically trapped behind the counter, not having a chance to even look to the other, that’s how many people are in line.
You’re ringing up Mrs. Cooper, gift wrapping a few books for her grand kids birthdays. “Caleb is just going to love that Harry Potter box set you had. His mother said he’s been looking for that since Christmas, and Katie has been non stop talking about that new Julie Cross book.”
“We just got that book in this morning, it came with my new shipment.” You nod, tying a ribbon around the box set. “I can’t wait to read it, the Juniper Falls series is one of my favorites.”
“Katie will be so excited.” Mrs. Cooper smiles, handing you the bills to pay for the books. You smile as you ring her up.
“Mrs. Cooper would you like to sign up for a our new rewards program? All you have to do is put in an email or phone number and we’ll track your points that way, with every dollar you earn a point. Every 100 points you get a free book or drink on us.”
“I’d love to, I’m gonna be in enough to make it worth my while.”
“Perfect!” You smile, clicking over to the page to sign her up. “While I get you signed up I’ll have Shawn take your things to your car.”
“Oh thank you Honey.” She smiles, watching you wave Shawn over.
“Hey Gorgeous,” He grins, kissing the side of your head and looking at the screen. “Need help with something?”
“Yeah can you carry Mrs. Coopers books to her car? I’m gonna get her signed up for the rewards program real quick.”
You watch Shawn’s eyes drift from you to the counter where two bags of books sit in front of Mrs. Cooper and her walker.
“Of course, where are you parked?” He asks taking the bags with a big smile.
“Right up front in the handicap parking Son, my husbands in the car waiting.”
“Perfect, I’ll be right back.” Shawn nods, winking at you before he walks away.
You get Mrs. Cooper signed up, ring up a few more people to finish off the line, and then look around at the mostly empty store to see how it looks after that rush.
It’s not too bad, but you notice it needs serious recovery and some filling of shelves. When you turn to start talking to Aaliyah to notice that she’s not standing at her spot behind the counter, but coming out of the back storage room with a cart of books, asking a few people if they’re finding everything okay.
You smile, knowing that Aaliyah was a perfect fit for your store, and everyone was loving her.
You take this quick chance to run over to the cafe and check in with Lauren, and see how she’s doing. The cafe is bustling with people, every table is full and all the chairs in the little nook are occupied with reading teens.
“Hey!” You cheer as you walk behind the counter to talk with Lauren.
She pats Becca, her extra set of hands, on the shoulder to let her know that she’s coming to talk to you.
“Hey Bigshot.”
You roll your eyes at the name, Lauren’s been calling you that since you told her about the remodel and asked her to be the cafe’s lead manager.
“How’s it going over here?” You ask, leaning against the wall, getting a glimpse of Shawn over her shoulder.
He’s talking to a group of men in suits, and you assume they must be his work colleagues.
“It’s going really good, Becca and I are working really well around each other. She’s so sweet and amazing that I’ve practically had her at register all day because she’s selling treats and the cafe card like crazy.”
“Oh yay! I’m so glad!” You nod, smiling at Lauren and then letting your eyes travel back to Shawn. “Do you know those guys?” You ask her, nodding to the guys who just made Shawn’s smile drop to a frown in less than a second.
“Oh I don’t know, they ordered a few minutes ago, kept whispering to each other and laughing as they looked around.” She shrugs, “Seems like Shawn knows them.”
“Yeah will you give me a second?” You ask, walking past her and over to Shawn. “Hey,” You lay a hand on his back, standing beside him as all three of the guys look down to you.
“Hey,” Shawn mumbles, letting his arm uncross from in front of his chest and wrap around you. “This is Tate, Blake and Zach.” He points to each of the guys.
“You must be the famous girlfriend?” Blake says with a teasing smile.
You squint at him as you try to figure out their game here, “Yeah, and you are?”
The boys look to Shawn in shock, “Um, we work at Mendes Printing.” Zach answers.
“They’re in charge of the orders and deliveries.” Shawn says looking to you.
“So, this place is, is something huh?” Tate acknowledges. “You must be so happy to have someone like Shawn who can just dump some change to those in need.”
Shawn stands up straight, jaw clamped shut. You watch as Blake and Zach snicker, looking at each other like they’re the funniest guys in the world.
“I’m lucky to have a supportive boyfriend who believes in my dreams and will help me accomplish them.” You fire back. “And you’re lucky to have such a wonderful man as a boss, who lets you take a break at what?” You pick up Shawn’s wrist to read his watch, “At 2:37 pm.”
All three boys deadpan as you give them a small smile. “We’re on our way to a meeting.” They stammer out.
“Well I’m so glad you are willing to be late to a meeting just to see our new cafe, did you sign up for the new cafe card? With every 10 purchases you get the 11th free. You can sign up while you wait for the drinks you’ve ordered.”
Shawn squeezes your hip, grinning as he kisses the top of your head.
“We’ve got to be headed back to the store, but it was nice to meet you, can’t wait to hear your stellar reviews of the drinks. Lauren’s the best barista in town.”
Shawn steers you away from the boys, smirking into your hair as he holds you close. “They didn’t mean any harm.”
“They practically said that you’re my sugar daddy and bought me my own store.”
“And we both know that isn’t true, you barely let me buy you dinner.”
“You deserved to be spoiled too, so no I’m not about to let you pay for everything just because you can. I can too.”
“I love you, you know that right?”
“I love you too.” You look up at him with a pout. His smile and blushing cheeks has you biting your lip, trying to stay professional in your business. “I really wanna kiss you.” You mumble as you turn away to help Aaliyah fill shelves.
“Oof the things I wanna do to you to celebrate the success of your store? Just wait until we get home Miss. CEO.” Shawn pinches your ass before walking away, tossing a wink your way as your jaw drops.
**
A week into the relaunch and things finally seem to settle back into the normal you’re used too. Wednesdays are always your slowest days, and while it’s not always good for business you take advantage of the free time to get some remerching done.
That’s what you’re up to this morning. You had a dream last night about what the store would look like if you redesigned the front wall and added some of the new signs Shawn’s company just dropped off the other day.
That’s why books are stacked in piles around the front of the store and shelves and knife brackets are scattered in empty spaces as you try plan out how you want it to look like. You’ve counted up 17 notches and slide a knife bracket in place, repeating on the next section. You use your right foot to help hoist the shelf up high enough to set on top of the brackets, but right as you go to lift the door opens, bell startling you and you drop the shelf.
The loud clang and yelp from you is enough to catch Mrs. Cooper’s attention as she walks into the store, eyes wide as she notices you hunched over in pain.
“Oh, Honey are you okay?” She tries to get to you as fast as she can, but with the piles you’ve set down for the time being her walker can’t get to you.
“I’m okay,” You wave her off, trying to play it cool as your foot throbs. “How are you this morning?” You clench your jaw, fisting your jeans to help hold off your scream of pain.
“Dear are you sure you’re okay? You dropped that shelf right on your foot. Where’s that boy who was here the last time I was in, he should be helping. Lord knows he’s got those muscles for a reason.”
“He’s actually just an investor, and well my boyfriend, but he’s got his own company to work for. That was just a one time thing, him working here.” You correct her.
“Is there anyone else here?”
“Not yet, but I’m okay I promise.” You stand up straight, hiding your pain behind a fake smile, to prove you’re alright and don’t need help.
“If you say so, I’m just in to get another one of those Juny Pond books or whatever that series was.”
“Juniper Falls?” You smile, trying to hide your limp as you make your way to your Young Adult sports section. “Which one are you looking for?”
Mrs. Cooper starts to tell you all about how Katie, her granddaughter fell in love with the new book she got her at the re opening, and how she wants more. You soon figure out that Katie has read all three books from the series so you go on to suggest the baseball book that Julie Cross has published that is just as good, and if not your favorite.
But as you talk with Mrs. Cooper Lauren comes in a little early, quickly notices that bare wall and everything a little disorganized up front. When she finds you two she immediately can tell something is wrong with you, and that you’re very uncomfortable.
Usually you’ll talk all day with Mrs. Cooper, but you seem to hurry her a little today and you’re limping in just the slightest bit. The second Mrs. Cooper is out the door to her husband you drop to the floor, letting out a long “owww”
“What happened Doll?” She asks, crouching beside you.
“I was rebuilding the front wall, all in my head and in my zone. The second I lifted the shelf to put it up Mrs. Cooper walked and the bell went off scaring the bejesus out of me and I dropped the damn thing on my foot.”
“Well you’re walking on it so it’s not broken.”
You slip your shoe and sock off, cringing at the deep purple and blue bruise that’s starting to form across your foot, the swelling already starting.
“Just severely bruised.” Lauren sighs.
“Will you help me finish the wall before you open the cafe? I promise to stay off it as much as I can but I can’t leave the front of the store like that.”
She agrees to help but makes you sit on the step stool while you tell her what to do and where to put things. In the end the wall looks really cool and the customers you have coming in after it’s built have nothing but compliments for it.
“Hey!” Aaliyah calls as she clocks in from the back.
“Hey Hon!” You smile as she comes out with a cheery smile, stopping when she spies you on the stool, you rarely sit.
“What’s up?”
“So, don’t tell your brother, but I got hurt today.”
“What? Are you okay?”
“I’m fine but, I might have dropped a shelf on my foot.”
“Oh my god,”
“She’s gonna sugar coat it but she can barely put pressure on her foot, so while I’m in the cafe make sure she’s being good and staying off it and icing it. Also because she’s limited to her chair she’s finally finished up the online order website and gotten all the merchandise in the website so that can launch soon!” Lauren interrupts you.
“Hey! I was gonna tell her that!” You glare at Lauren.
“Sorry, I got excited.”
“Why can’t I tell Shawn, he should know.” Aaliyah looks at you.
“He will.” You nod. “But I want to tell him later, he’ll freak out and blah blah blah.”
Aaliyah nods slowly, and you can see in her eyes, just like her brother, that she’s gonna do the exact thing you asked her not to do. So you mentally make a note that Shawn will be here in the next 15 minutes.
** 10 Minutes Later **
“Jackie, cancel it.” You hear Shawn say as the bell goes off indicating he’s just walked in the door.
“Sorry,” Aaliyah sighs when you look up at her. “He’d kill me if he knew I knew and didn’t say something.”
“It’s okay,” You smile at her. “I know I said I wanted to tell him later, but I’m glad he’s here. So thank you.”
“Emergency.” He hums as he looks around frantically for you, stopping when he sees you seated behind the counter. “Okay I will, thanks Jackie.” With that he hangs up the phone, walking right behind the counter and taking your face into his hands, eyes inspecting yours. “Which foot?”
“Right.”
“Level?”
“8.” You answer softly.
“Reason why you didn’t call?” He raises an eyebrow.
“I wanted to push through?”
“Try again.” He hums, crouching down to take your shoe off so he can see.
“I didn’t want to bother you,” You slump, telling the truth. “I promise I’m okay.”
“And what were you doing?” He asks as he softly caresses your foot, being careful not to touch too rough.
“I was building the front wall.”
He looks up at you, blinks, then turns his head to look at the wall noticing that what you’ve done is actually much cooler and seems to be attracting a lot of attention from bystanders outside.
“How’d you drop it?”
“The bell scared me when Mrs. Cooper walked in and I dropped it.” Your bottom lip pushes out at how lame your story is.
He shakes his head, letting a breath out as he tries not to laugh a little. “You kill me, you know that? How hard would it have been to wait to do that with Liyah here, or Lauren, or me?”
“You?” Your eyebrows scrunch.
“If you would have called I would have come to help.”
“But-”
“We talked about this,” He shakes his head, “We’re in this together right? You chose me to be apart of this with you? Then let me be apart of it. I know I can’t be here everyday, but I can be here to help if you need me to be. Building walls, or new displays that involve heavy lifting is something I can be here for. You just have to tell me.”
You nod, letting his fingers twine with yours on your thighs.
“Okay, next time I’ll call.”
“Thank you, that’s all I’m asking for.” He looks back down at your foot and bites his lip. “Level 8?”
You nod, showing off that you can wiggle your toes a bit but that’s about it.
“Can I take you home?” He whispers, hands sliding to the back of your calves, rubbing little circles with his thumbs.
“Can we stay till close? It’s just a two more hours? You can help me with inventory for the website launch.”
“Of course,” He smiles, jumping up to pull the other stool closer to sit with you and work on the website.
**
Shawn sets you down on the bed, convinced that you shouldn’t be putting any weight on your foot. He happily took on the roll of your right hand man, carrying your everywhere, bringing you things, spoiling you in many kisses.
“So,” He says, digging through his drawer to find you a shirt to wear. “I had a phone meeting with Horan Publishing today.” He smiles as he pulls out his Eddie Vedder, his favorite to see you in.
“Oh?” You hum as you take the shirt from his hands.
“Yeah, he wanted to discuss maybe partnering with us.” Shawn grunts as he starts to change his own clothes.
“With us?” You deadpan, looking up at him.
Shawn looks over his shoulder at the sound of your question, stopping his actions to turn and look at you.
“Yeah.”
“Us? I’m-”
“He publishes books,” Shawn grins, “We sell books.”
You nod dumbly, still confused that someone wants to partner.
“He was wondering if we might be interested in sponsoring a few of his new authors, maybe give them a shelf or two, the room to do a signing.”
“He wants to do that with us?”
“Yes,” Shawn laughs at your skepticism, “He’s an old friend but said he’s noticing the rapid success of your store and thought that maybe if he partnered with us the younger audience that your store draws might help kickstart a fanbase.”
You just blink at him.
“I’ll go over all the paperwork he sent over, but I think it’s a good deal, he’d be sponsoring us much the same we’d do for him.”
“If you think it’s a good deal then fucking do it, I trust you more than my own opinions here.”
Shawn grins, shaking his head, crawling towards you on the bed to plant a steamy kiss to your lips. “You’re so fucking cute,” He murmurs against your lips.
**
A month later your store is filled with a line out the door and wrapped around the building for the first book signing you’ll sponsor.
Niall is here, planted firmly in the cafe corner, laptop open, charger plugged into the wall to make sure he’s not gonna crash as he works through the signing.
Shawn’s here to support, ready to help in anyway he can. But the more you watch from a distance behind the counter the more you’re wishing he wasn’t here.
He’s getting quite close to the author.
She’s gorgeous, long brown hair, brown sparkly eyes, perfect eyebrows and cheekbones. She is an incredible author, and honestly you’ve become a big fan after reading the first copies of a few of her books that Niall sent over last week. But the more she’s making eyes at Shawn, touching his arm, and laughing at everything he has to say has her leaving a sour taste in your mouth.
But slowly your becoming hurt with the way he’s not pushing her off, and how he keeps stepping just a little closer.
You take a deep breath, turning to look at Aaliyah and seeing that she’s struggling a little with keeping up with the line of book hungry teens.
You decide that you don’t have time to stand and watch your perfect boyfriend flirt with the perfect girl in front of him, you’ve got work to do. So, you roll up your sleeves slip behind Aaliyah to get to the other register and start ringing up the next customer.
The store is crazy destroyed by the time you closed. Aaliyah was feeling stressed and little under the weather when you locked the doors to start the closing process, so you sent her home promising that you could handle it on your own.
Shawn had tried to kiss you goodbye, after walking Hailee, the author, to her car and giving her a big hug before she got in. You turned your head so he had to kiss your cheek, and then stalked off to start cleaning before he had the chance to ask what was up.
He leaves hesitantly, guiding Aaliyah through the door to take her home, but watches you from the windows, noticing the deep frown on your face and the way your shoulders are slumped as you start to count the registers.
“Was she like that all day?” He asks his sister, pointing at you once they’re both seated in the car.
“What?” Aaliyah looks up, and the sees what he’s pointing at. “Oh, um, she was fine this morning, really excited. But like as the day went on it was like something was constantly bugging her and bringing her mood down. I tried to talk to her about it but she just kept saying ‘I’ve got work to do, no time to waste on dumb things’.”
Shawn’s brows furrow and he watches you for a minute before driving away to drop Aaliyah off.
By the time he makes it back to help and pick you up his poor thumb nail is practically non existent, he wants to know what’s wrong and got you feeling down.
He knocks at the door, peaking through the window so you can see him to let him in. You turn and look over your shoulder with wide eyes and then they soften a bit when you recognize him.
You scramble for your keys and unlock the door, “What are you doing here?”
His eyes narrow on you in confusion, “I’m here to help, and take you back home?”
“Oh,” You look back at the cafe where Lauren was cleaning up. You had told her about Shawn and Hailee and how they had acted all day, and she offered to give you a ride home since you rode in with Shawn. “Lauren was gonna drive me.”
Shawn looks over your shoulder to Lauren, catching her glare, his heart beat picking up a bit.
“But I thought you were staying over?”
“I think I’m just gonna go back to mine, I’m really tired and just wanna sleep.”
“And what did you think you’d being doing at mine? Going to Vegas and staying up all night. I’m tired too, I just wanna go to bed with you.” He lowers his voice and reaching for your hand, but gasping a bit when you don’t let him hold it. “What’s wrong?”
You sigh, shaking your head as your turn to fix the front table display.
“Hey.” He grabs your wrist, turning to you back to him. “Talk to me, what’s wrong?”
“It’s stupid.”
He eyes you, knowing that you need some time before you really start to talk to him about what’s going on in your head. So he nods, “Well I’m here when you’re ready okay? I saw you got a few shipments in the back? Can I help move and unbox them for you?”
“Sure.” You shrug, going back to your work and trying to not let his cute little puppy look break you down.
So for the next hour, after Lauren leaves once you tell her that you can handle Shawn, it’s just the two of you. Shawn’s back and forth from the back to the front bringing out more books. But every time you go to start cleaning something else there’s a random book sitting in front of you.
The first time it’s ‘Beautiful Boss’ by Christina Lauren, and you look around confused why a romance novel would be in the Syfy section.
The second time it’s ‘P.S. I Still Love You.’ by Jenny Han, and you roll your eyes since it’s a Young Adult in the Cooking shelf.
The third time is after you’ve corrected Shawn on how he set something up, and you were a little harsh with how you told him. You giggle a little when you see ‘Disarm’ with a sticky note under the title that says ‘Please, I’m still learning.’
You look at him while he’s focusing on getting the sign just right, small pout on your lips at how hard he’s trying for you.
The final time you notice a book it’s ‘Lucky in Love’ with another sticky note that says ‘with you!!’.
You sigh, smiling as you look up at him. He’s watching you over a bookshelf, his height allowing him to spy.
“Stop being cute when I’m mad at you.” You whine, making him grin and rush around the shelf to you.
“Why are you mad?” He asks softly, setting the books he was holding down.
“I don’t know, why don’t you go ask Hailee.”
His eyes go wide and he sighs, “Oh Honey.”
“Don’t ‘Honey’ me, you seemed more interested in what she had to say than me.”
“That’s not true.”
“You know what,” You sigh, knowing that you sound ridiculous, “I think I’m just gonna go over to Lauren’s.”
“No, you’re not.” Shawn blocks your path to the counter.
“I’m not in the mood to fight.”
His eyes bug a little, “I didn’t realize we were fighting.”
“Shawn,” You sigh, looking up at him with hurt eyes.
“Baby,” He whines, wrapping his arms around you. “What’s really the matter?”
You take a deep breathe, “The real matter is that I’m scared.”
“Of what?”
“I’m scared that one of these days you’re gonna meet someone like Hailee, who’s got her life figured out and is perfect and looks perfect, and you’re gonna realize that you need to be with someone like that and not someone like me. That you want someone who can challenge you, and be up to the standards that you live. Someone who isn’t prone to failing and needing you to bail her out of her life.”
Shawn’s heart drops when he hears you speak this way. He was absolutely in love with you, and he couldn’t stand the fact that you felt like he was bailing you out.
“Hey,” He tilts your chin up since your looking at his chest to avoid eye contact. “Listen to me okay?”
“Sure,” You sigh.
“No hey,” He dips his chin so you have to look him in the eye. “I’m in love with you. I’m in love with your passion, and opinions. I’m in love with the way your brain works, and the way you fight for what you want. I’m in love with the way that you don’t know what you want your life to be, because we’re fucking 21 years old, we shouldn’t have to know what our lives are. You think you don’t challenge me? You piss me off and frustrate me all the time because you make me think of things in a different way, you have different ideas to everything. And while I think one way you think another, and you’re always right. Always, so I love that side of you too, because it challenges me. Also, I really don’t care what you say, but you are perfect. You are my definition of perfect.”
“Shawn,” You whimper, looking up at him with tearful eyes.
“So no, you won’t be staying at Lauren’s because I’ve planned a late dinner and a romantic bubble bath to celebrate the first signing.”
You gape at him as he pulls you closer. Nuzzling into your neck, nosing right behind your ear.
“And we’re not allowed to just not come home, remember?”
**
Shawn wonders out of his room and down the hall to find you standing at his kitchen counter making coffee with a book in your hand. He can’t help himself but to stare for a moment. There you stand with your hair in messy bun, and his favorite nighty of yours hugging you tightly.
The tattoo on your hip teases him as you reach up onto your toes for your mug, but your eyes never leave your book, too entranced in the story to look away.
The fresh hickey on your neck flashes at him when he starts to move closer, taunting him to add more. He presses himself right behind you, reaching up for you to get your mug down.
“I love how you wear this when we fight,” He hums into your neck, planting a little wet kiss to your new purple temporary tattoo.
“It’s your favorite.” You whisper back. “And I’m sorry for insinuating the things I did.”
“Stop,” He hushes you, turning you so you’re facing him. “We did the apologies already.” He lifts you up onto the counter. “Had the make up sex.” He grins. “We’re good to go.”
“So you’re not in the mood for more make up sex?” You ask with a sly grin.
“How about some ‘you’re in my favorite negligee and I’m really in love with you’ sex?” He hoists you up, biting his lip as you wrap your legs around his waist, hands digging into his curls.
“That sounds so fucking perfect.” You moan as he sucks another bruise to your neck.
**
This time when he wakes up alone in bed he finds you in the little makeshift nook he made for you. The chair in the corner of his office big and comfy and you sink right into it.
“I’m gonna get you a house with a room line with shelves and a comfy spot for you to read in.” He sighs, flopping next to you on your chair, well it’s more of a loveseat, hand rested on your bare thigh, riding up his Sting t shirt you’re now wearing.
“Can your desk still be in the room with me? So you’re not too far away?”
“You can literally have anything you want.” He hums, taking your book from your hand, folding the corner on your page and setting it on the ground so he can lean you back and lay on you.
“Just you,” You whisper, leaning forward to kiss his nose. “Just want you.”
“Mmm, you have me.” He nods. “So let me spoil you.”
“You do.”
“So you’ll let me buy us a home? With a library ready to be filled with your favorite stories?”
“Are you asking me to move in with you?”
“We practically already live together Babe, it’s just a juggle between your place and mine.”
“So why can’t we just move into here, the condo?”
He sighs, dropping his head to your chest and groaning, “Because the house I bought has a room lined with shelves, enough room for your chair or a couch, or both, whatever you want.”
“Shawn?” “So can I give you the key now?”
“Does it have room for your desk?” You ask softly.
“Babe my office is conjoined to your library by french doors. You really think I can be away from you?”
“Really?” You let a small smile light up your features.
“And it’s got a kitchen island like you always talk about, and a room that can be made into a nursery at some point. The backyard is huge, plenty of room to build a treehouse.”
“You bought us a home?”
“I bought you a home.” He nods.
“Baby!” You sob, throwing your arms around his neck and pulling him into you. “You bought us a home!”
**
It’s early this Sunday morning, you and Shawn are walking around like the sleep deprived zombies you are.
This week has consisted of packing up your place, packing his place, moving to the new house in the neighborhood that’s exactly halfway from the store and the office, and unpacking.
Shawn through a little fit when you asked him to come with you this morning to the store to be there for the bookfair delivery, and to help you set it up for tomorrow. After you explained that you were a little nervous about how early the delivery was, and how the guy treated you the last time no one was convincing Shawn that he wasn’t going.
The back storage room is jam packed with boxes upon boxes, and displays for days.
The store was sponsoring the local elementary schools Book Fair, which is bringing in money for you and the attention from all the parents and teachers in tow.
You were standing in your new Young Adult section for the time being, replacing the John Green and making sure to have tons in backstock as well when Shawn came running by.
“Babe!”
“Yeah Honey,” You look up at his excited features.
“Check out the new printing.” He eyes the book he’s outstretched to you, ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’.
You’re a little confused because this copy looks pretty worn, the spine bent, pages creases, corners folded. “Okay?” You cautiously take the book, noticing it feels a little lighter than you were expecting. You flip open the cover and gasp at what you see.
There in the middle of all the pages, Shawn’s gone out and cut a square out of the middle of the book and placed a ring box inside.
“Oh wait,” He snaps, getting you to look up at him. “That’s my copy that I made after the night I met you and you told me that if someone ever proposed to you like this that you’d say yes times a million.” He grins as he sees the tears in your eyes.
He reaches inside and plucks the box from the book, dropping to his knee in front of you and popping the box open, revealing your dream ring. It’s a simple silver ring, cut to look like rope that meets in the middle to look like a knot.
“Shawn,” You gasp.
“Let me give you your happily ever after, the next part to your everlasting series, and the greatest epilogue to the best story ever. Baby will you marry me?”
**
It was finally the day, with the store and life changing between you and Shawn, you lost track of time since you’d asked him.
But today marks five years without Pa, and it was your tradition to have a picnic with him.
You sit between Shawn’s legs, back against his chest, head rested back on his shoulder as you trace the quote you had engraved on Pa’s tombstone.
‘Create your own happily ever after’.
Shawn kisses your neck as his hand sneaks around to rest on your small baby bump, hand just about as big as the bump itself.
“I did it Pa,” You whisper, smiling as you cuddle closer to Shawn, fiddling with your ring he’s wearing. “I made my own happily ever after.”
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princesslily · 3 months ago
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Your mindset is a reflection of what you are used to
I read something from another blog which talked about how they personally think some blogs are fake because they can't fathom how someone can be in school, be in a sorority, work, travel, date and do so many other all together.
That was the inspiration for this post ✨😌
Your mindset is a reflection of what you are used to.
You think someone can't handle a certain amount of things or don't see it as realistic because it isn't something that you are used to seeing or have attempted yourself.
Please note I do not know these people and this is not an attack in any form, but I'm just sharing a thought which certain posts triggered within me
I remember I used to have a mindset similar to this, I didn't believe people could actually multi task through their studies, work, social life, self care etc
I always thought there needed to be a sacrifice of some sort for one thing to prosper
E.g
You wanna engage in self care = no hobbies
You wanna get straight A's = no socialising
It was pretty messed up of me tbh 😂 but that was my mindset
I later opened my mind when I came into high school and I was around different people where I met my best friend, I'll call her Regina
Regina would wake up at 5, go for a run with her mother, have a family breakfast, come to school, learn, do sport, lead a club, go home, attend an extended family and friends dinner, do her homework and repeat. On weekends she would travel across half the country to relax, go get her eyebrows waxed with her mom, have extra lessons with her tutor, go out with me and go party.
I was so confused on how she lived like that and how she was still an exemplary student. We had completely different mindsets and I found that so fascinating.
I grew up with the be a doctor or die, caring for your looks is for whores, everyone before yourself, finish all the food on your plate mindset so it was so odd viewing how Regina lived. I didn't think that was possible, that was my mindset then.
After spending years with her my mindset began to change. This also ties into the quote,
"you become who you spend your time with"
I soon became open to the idea of productivity such like Regina.
I started waking up at 5 to do yoga and see the sun rise, shit that I thought only happened in movies. I started doing competitive tennis, leading in my club of interest, working, studying for atleast an hour a day, being social, accepting invitations to places, investing in myself and self care. Life was suddenly so fun. It was also the time when I discovered fasting as well cause I was to busy and active to eat out of boredom. It gave my life so much more meaning than what I had been pre exposed to think. Changing the way I perceived my existence was so freeing. This also included a lot of deprogramming of my masculine and defensive traits!
Being a sedentary couch potato with honours was no way to live😂
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That's all I have for now, 😂
💗
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marxuderz · 3 years ago
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Remus Fancies Her
Remus’ first crush drabble
You’d come in late to his divination class and the seat next to him is the only one open.
He can’t believe that he’s never seen you before
“Hi”
“Hi” You’d smile wide at him
When class end he asks what class your going to next
“Transfiguration”
“Me too, I’ll walk with you.”
Youre so much shorter than he is and he thinks it’s absolutely adorable
He sits next to you in Transfig.
The Marauders exchange glances behind the two of you.
“Moony? Are you gonna come sit with us.”
He ignores them the best he can cause he wants to sit with you
“I think they’re asking you to go sit with them.”
He give the boys a crude hand gesture as he slips into the chair next to peter
He doesn’t pay attention in class and focuses on the back of your head
He nearly jumps back up to the seat next to you when you run your hand through your hair
When class is dismissed the marauders drag him out before he could wait for you
“Ohh Remi!”
James is laughing hard
“Shut up.” Remus smiles and puts a hand through his hair
They make fun of him for the rest of the day
Remus continues to roll his eyes
James has asked Lily out an uncountable of times and she still hates his guts
And he already got you to laugh a few times
The next day he brings extra chocolate and offers you some
You smile and thank him and he dies a little inside
You make his palms clammy and heat come up to his cheeks
You make him disgusted with himself  
When the winter months come he brings an extra sweater for you
The divination classroom gets wicked cold
When you put his sweater on is when he knows he ask to ask you out
Even just once
Start simple
“You wanna come to hogsmeade with me and my friends.”
“Yeah sure.” You smile from your ocean of fabric
The weekend was great
You all went to Honeydukes where he insisted he buy you chocolate
In the booths for lunch he made sure you sit next to you
He always made sure to be next to you
You started to take notice
Then he started to notice you would scoot in closer to him
He takes a leap and puts his arm around your waist
Your temple presses into his shoulder
He’s at peace
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captainrogerss · 3 years ago
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Do Me a Favor (Part 1)
Summary:  AU! Bucky Barnes and you are neighbors and close friends. As a huge favor, Bucky asks you to pretend to be his girlfriend for a relative’s wedding and you agree.
Word Count: 3,650
A/N: WOW. I can’t believe I haven’t reposted this one earlier. Here you guys go ^^
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“Y/N,” Bucky barged into your apartment, hair a messy bird’s nest and chest heaving. He bent at the waist, hand on his knees while trying to get his breathing back to normal. “Y-Y/N, I need a big favor from you.”
“Oh, my God, Buck,” you sighed, closing your laptop. You were in the middle of writing and the words were coming to you quite easily. Having him interrupt your flow didn’t exactly put you in the greatest of moods.
“M-My mom just called and—” he inhaled sharply, his breathing erratic.
“Jesus, you’re still out of breath?” you chuckled. “Damn, you gotta lay off on the beers and nachos, Buck.”
“I ran up the stairs,” he glared at you. “But I digress. Look, my cousin is getting married and I would love it if you could pretend to be my girlfriend and come with me to the wedding,” he smiled widely before pouting, clasping his hands together. “Please, Y/N?”
He looked ridiculous, batting his eyelashes at you and you snorted. “You’re seriously asking me this?”
“Be my savior, please.”
“It’s your family, though. Why would you even need to impress them?”
“Because he’s marrying the girl I used to date in high school,” he said, walking over to the couch and slumping down next to you. Heaping his arm on his forehead, Bucky groaned dramatically. “And I dumped her because I moved into the city and wanted to make it big, only for things not go my way.”
“So, you want me to lie for you?” you drawled out. “I mean, what’s so bad about being a mechanic and living in a loft with your best friend?”
“The fact that I’m thirty, Y/N,” he said, rolling his eyes.
“Look, is Steve going? Is he taking anyone?” You tried not to let your affections show too much. You had been crushing on Bucky’s best friend for a while now, hoping to make an impression on him, only to become close friends with Bucky instead.
“Yeah, he met this girl like two weeks ago. Things are going pretty serious,” Bucky replied. You felt your heart sink and a knot form in your throat. “He also got invited since all of us went to high school together. So, he’s going to take her.”
“Oh,” you muttered, biting the inside of your cheek.
“Yeah,” Bucky paused before turning to you with big, pleading eyes. “So, you up to being my girlfriend for the weekend?”
“No.” You reached for your laptop and began to open it.
“Come on!” Bucky stomped his foot on the ground and tousled his hair in frustration. “I really need to make a good impression. Y/N, I promise I will make it fun for you.”
“Bucky, no,” you whined.
“Doll,” his voice dropped and you scoffed through your nostrils, rolling your eyes. This was the voice he always used when trying to pick up girls. It would usually work on them, but never with you. You had known Bucky for almost six years and his moves had always failed when it came to you. He had stopped trying to sleep with you after his third try and became your closest friend.
“No,” you grumbled, entering the password into your laptop. Bucky suddenly grabbed it from you and slammed it closed. “Hey!” you bellowed, pointing an accusatory finger at him.
“Y/N, I’m begging you,” Bucky pouted, holding your computer over his head and far from your reach.
You moaned theatrically. “God, fine, fine. I’ll do it, just give me back my computer.”
Bucky beamed at your answer. “Great!” He got on his feet, dropping the laptop on your lap. “Okay, we leave tomorrow morning.”
“What?”
“Short notice wedding, everything was done quickly.”
“Bucky, I don’t even have a dress to go with,” you protested, wrinkling your nose in clear disapproval. You really wanted to kick him, wipe that victorious smile off his face.
“We can go shopping when we’re back in my hometown tomorrow,” he suggested. “Just get packing, I’ll be here to pick you up tomorrow at 7 a.m. on the dot.”
Not waiting for you to respond, Bucky dashed out of your apartment, slamming the door closed behind him. You regretted saying yes.
Just as he had promised, Bucky was charging into your place by 6:55 the following morning. His voice roared as he called out for you and you mumbled expletives his way, glaring at him as you dragged your suitcase behind yourself. You had packed basically everything that you could find, not really knowing what to expect. Weddings weren’t exactly frequent occasions in your life and you hardly knew how to dress for them.
Bucky grinned as he met your eyes, walking over to you. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” he wrapped his arms around you and squeezed tightly, kissing your cheek repeatedly.
“Yeah, yeah,” you grumbled, making a playfully disgusted face at all of his kisses. “You owe me.
“VIP tickets to your favorite band’s concert?” he suggested, taking the handle of your luggage from you.
“Yes!” you said, voice lacing with excitement. “But I’ll determine the cost of this weekend after it’s over. So, prepare yourself.”
“Perfect,” he said, motioning towards the hallway. “Now let’s go. Steve and Peggy are waiting downstairs in the car.”
“Peggy?” your mouth ran dry.
“Yeah, Steve’s new girlfriend. I told you about her.” Bucky answered before scoffing. “He’s smitten. It’s actually disgusting.”
“I bet,” you played the hurt off by laughing along with Bucky, following him into the elevator.
Walking out of your building, you spat out the hair that had made it into your mouth from the gusts of wind blowing. Fall was quickly replacing the summer heat and you were glad that the sun wasn’t as harsh as it was a little over a week ago.
Bucky pointed to the car parked at the curb and you made your way over to it, getting into the passenger’s seat. After placing your suitcase into the trunk with the rest of the luggage, Bucky climbed into the driver’s side.
“Hey, Y/N,” you turned your head and met Steve’s eyes.
“Hey, Steve. How’s it going?” you smiled, turning your upper body to look at Steve and his new girlfriend.
“Oh, Peggy, this is Y/N, our neighbor and Bucky’s best friend. Y/N, this is Peggy, my girlfriend.”
“Hi, nice to meet you,” you said politely, shaking Peggy’s hand.
“Likewise,” Peggy said, smiling sweetly.
Looking at her, you realized why Steve was so enamored with her. She was beautiful, resembling a porcelain doll and had this confident aura about her. You couldn’t get yourself to swallow the knot in your throat at seeing Steve looking at her with such loving eyes. Quickly sitting back into your seat, facing straight ahead of you, you focused on the road as Bucky pulled out into the street.
“Choose the music,” said Bucky, pointing at the radio.
“I’m liking this already,” you sneered, playfully waggling your eyebrows. Bucky chuckled, shaking his head affectionately at you. You shared a smile with him before you put on your favorite playlist and closed your eyes.
You could hear the giggling coming from the backseat and cringed. But before you could think of raising the volume, an equally-disgusted Bucky reached for the knob and turned it up until music blasted from the speakers, drowning the flirtations going on.
Four hours and a few rest stops later, Bucky and Steve were heaving out the suitcases from the trunk. Peggy grinned at Steve, looping an arm through his and walking with him to the house Bucky had just pulled up to. You avoided looking at them and squinted your eyes towards the Victorian home in front of you.
“So, this is where you grew up, huh?” you followed Bucky across the front lawn.
“Yeah,” he replied, smiling fondly. “This is where it all happened for me. I broke my arm swinging myself on that right there,” he nudged his chin towards his right hand side.
You giggled. “No way.” There was a great oak that encompassed much of the front yard.
“A few friends dared me to.”
“And you’re never one to back out on a dare,” you clicked your tongue, remembering all those visits to the emergency room after Bucky had gone a little too far with the challenges presented to him.
Bucky pulled up right before the front door, inhaling deeply and looking down at you. “Okay, ready?”
You nodded, unsure but knowing that there wouldn’t be a better time. And you couldn’t exactly back out of this one.
“Okay, let’s do this,” said Bucky, holding out his arm for you to hold. You accepted it and couldn’t help from your fingers squeezing his bicep.
The door swung open to reveal a woman of small stature with a sweet smile. “Oh, my—” She raised her arms in the air before wrapping them around Bucky’s neck, yanking him out of your hold. “Oh, dear, look at you! You’re so handsome.”
“Good morning, mom,” Bucky smiled, pecking her cheek. “How are you?”
“I’m just so excited to have you here!” she exclaimed. “And you brought Steve. Oh, must I say, that Peggy girl is something. I’m so happy he found someone.”
She paused her talking as her eyes met yours and her expression brightened up.
“And who might this be?”
“Oh, mom, this is Y/N, my girlfriend. Y/N, this is my mom, Winifred,” he remarked, moving away from his moth to wrap an arm around your waist. You automatically stiffened in his hold and Bucky squeezed tighter. His fingers dug into your skin and you gritted your teeth, wanting to stomp on his foot.
“Y/N, welcome to our home,” she said with a tender smile. She took you into her embrace and you smiled softly, returning the gesture. “This is just splendid! My sons and their girlfriends. We’re going to have such a lovely time!”
You giggled at her enthusiasm, finding yourself looking forward to spending time with her. “I can’t wait, Mrs. Barnes.”
“Oh, dear, call me Winnie,” she tutted, prompting a grin from you. “Very well, kids, come on,” she squeezed your shoulders after pulling away, turning towards Bucky. “Take her stuff up to your room. Now, honey, I know that you kids do a lot these days, so I won’t pretend to be strict and have you sleep in a different room.”
“Oh, God, mom,” Bucky groaned.
“Hey,” she slapped the back of his head and you couldn’t hold in the snort, quickly covering your mouth and apologizing. Winnie turned to you with a smile. “It’s okay, sweetie. Bucky here hasn’t learned his manners.”
“Mom.”
“Now, why don’t you take Y/N up to your room, dear? Get washed up and dinner will be ready in an hour.”
Bucky nodded, smiling at his mom and giving her a kiss. “Okay.”
You smiled as you followed Bucky up the stairs, enjoying how carefree and silly he was around his mom. This was a side of him you barely saw, even when you were quite close to Bucky.
You let Bucky guide you across the corridor and stopped at a whitewashed, wooden door with his name carved into it. You raised your eyebrows and accepted his invitation to walk in first, eyes darting everywhere as you took in Bucky’s childhood bedroom.
“You were an avid Transformers fan,” you remarked. Optimus Prime glared down at you from one of the posters plastered on the wall.
“They were great, okay?” said Bucky, rolling his eyes. You laughed.
A few minutes passed in silence as you unpacked, Bucky offering two of his drawers for your clothes and a space in his closet. There was a knock on the door before Steve burst in with Peggy, the both of them smiling at each other before turning to Bucky and you.
“Are you two up for a few board games?” Steve asked. “For old times’ sake, Buck.”
Steve nudged at Bucky, smirk on his lips.
“Sure,” Bucky nodded, turning to you. “What do you say, Y/N?” he glanced at you.
“Alright,” you smiled, closing the clothes’ drawer. Getting on your feet, you walked with Bucky as you both followed Steve and Peggy out into the hallways. Sighing to yourself, you gnawed on your bottom lip. This was going to be a long weekend.
Steve was in the middle of taunting Bucky for beating him when Winnie clapped her hands, calling out from the kitchen. “Dinner’s ready!”
Steve got on his feet and held his hand out for Peggy. With a smile, she slipped her fingers through his and the two of them made their way together giggling between themselves.
“Want to hold hands, too, doll?” Bucky nudged your side, waggling his eyebrows.
“Shut up, Bucky,” you grumbled, quickly getting up on your feet.
“I’m just kidding, Y/N,” he laughed, wrapping an arm around your waist. “But helps if we practice.”
You wrinkled your nose, making a tiny noise of disgust. “Stop being so weird,” you said, shoving his arm away. Bucky was making to pout when you arrived to the dining room and his nose picked up on the smell of the food.
“It smells delicious, mom,” Bucky complimented, smacking his lips together exaggeratingly.
“Thank you, baby,” said Winnie, blowing Bucky a kiss.
“Yes, Winnie,” Steve called from where he was sitting with Peggy. “Everything looks great.”
Winnie blew Steve a kiss as well before insisting Bucky and you sit together. She was ecstatic about having her boys and their girlfriends under one roof.
“George said he’ll be here in a few minutes, but you four must be starving. So, just dig in!” She motioned towards the meal she had set out.
“Are you sure, momma?” inquired Bucky. “We can wait for dad.”
“It’s okay, dear,” she smiled, taking her chin in his hand and kissing his cheek. “My Bucky, always so considerate of others.”
You raised a brow, impressed at this tender, sweet side of Bucky. Usually, the man was somewhat selfish. He lived to please himself. This was a completely different side to him. He noticed you looking at him and avoided your eyes, staring at his lap and clearing his throat.
“Okay, um, let’s eat,” he said. Without waiting for anyone’s response, Bucky grabbed the mashed potatoes and began to serve himself.
“Bucky,” said Winnie in a disapproving tone. “You should serve your girlfriend first; don’t you think? Where are those manners I taught you?”
Bucky gave her a puzzled glance before realizing his mistake as she stared at him with a tight-lipped smile.
“Oh! I’m sorry, doll,” Bucky turned to you with a wide grin. “Want some mashed potatoes?”
You shot him a sarcastic sneer and grabbed the bowl from his hands. “I’ll serve myself, thank you.” Bucky shot you a mocking face.
“Girlfriend?” Steve interjected. “Since when have you two been… dating?”
Bucky and you simultaneously froze before you relaxed, glaring at Bucky. You shoved his shoulder. “I can’t believe you haven’t told Steve! Wow, Buck. Have you forgotten how long we’ve been dating already? It’s only been a week, for Christ’s sake.”
Bucky made to wince. “Sorry, doll.” He rubbed at the sore spot you had left behind. Your eyes gleamed with victory as he pouted.
“How come you didn’t correct me when I introduced you as Bucky’s friend to Peggy in the car?” asked Steve, tilting his head. You tried not to let the gesture get to you. He looked incredibly adorable when he did that. You felt Bucky kick your ankle and looked away from Steve.
“Steve, Y/N was just being polite,” Bucky answered for you. “Plus, we haven’t been very opened about our relationship. It’s still on the down low. I’m waiting to introduce her to everyone this weekend.”
Steve looked at you with a sheepish smile. “Sorry. Didn’t occur to me.”
“It’s okay,” you said, smiling reassuringly.
“Well, we have a full house, huh?” a deep voice boomed from behind you, startling you.
“You’re home,” Winnie exclaimed, throwing her arms around the neck of a tall, built man. He smiled widely, his beard barely being able to conceal the glowing smile as he met eyes with his wife. They kissed before the man pulled away and glanced at Bucky.
“Aren’t you going to say hi to your old man, Buck?” he hollered. He laughed heartily as Bucky sprung up from his seat, shouting exaggerated greeting as he embraced his father. You looked on with a smile before Bucky turned towards you.
“Dad, this is Y/N, my girlfriend,” said Bucky, taking your hand and pulling you up to your feet. “Y/N, this is my dad, George Barnes.”
“Hello, Mr. Barnes,” you said with a polite smile. “It’s very nice to meet you.”
“Likewise, dear,” he said with a smile, shaking your hand briefly.
After you were introduced, it was Steve’s turn to introduce Peggy before everyone took their places around the table. Dinner went by quietly before Winnie looked up at you and Peggy.
“What are you girls going to wear to the wedding?” she asked.
You looked up from your plate, ready to answer honestly. You had nothing and needed to go shopping.
“I bought a lilac-colored evening gown,” Peggy answered with her smooth, British accent. Gosh, she was perfect and you knew that no matter how envious you were, you couldn’t bring yourself to hate her. “Is that okay?”
“Yes, that’s perfect,” Winnie said with a smile. “I was going to tell you two that the wedding was going to be held indoors and in the evening, so wearing an evening gown is preferred.”
Peggy smiled, nodding her head. Steve was looking her, love etched on his face and you inwardly cringed, looking away from them.
“Y/N, what are you going to be wearing?” Winnie inquired as she turned her gentle glance to you.
“Actually, I need to go shopping for a dress,” you answered sincerely before turning to glare at Bucky. “My boyfriend here, he neglected to inform me of our plans until last night. I packed in a hurry and have no evening gown.”
“Oh, we’ll go shopping today, then,” Winnie remarked excitedly.
You grinned at her, appreciating how sweet and enthusiastic she was. “Thank you.”
The rest of the meal passed by quickly as everyone focused on finishing their food. Once everyone had helped cleaning things up, you followed Bucky upstairs and back into his room.
He was ready to collapse on the bed when you beat him to it. You spread your arms and legs wide opened, taking up all of the space so Bucky would be unable to lie down with you.
“Oh, come on!” Bucky exclaimed, disgruntled look on his face.
“This is for not telling me that I had to bring an evening gown,” you said, sticking your tongue out at him.
“I didn’t know it was going to be a formal affair, Y/N.”
“It’s okay,” you grinned, grabbing one of the pillows and nuzzling into it. After eating, you were feeling quite sleepy and your eyes began to droop. “We’ll just go shopping after I take my nap.”
“You mean, after we take our nap together,” Bucky pointed out. He nudged your side with his knee. “Come on, Y/N, scoot. My bed is big enough for the both of us.”
You scoffed, looking mighty offended. “Absolutely not! I am a lady, James Buchanan Barnes. I do not bed those who don’t hold my heart.”
Bucky scoffed and rolled his eyes. However, you could still see the corner of his lips quirk up in a small grin. “Y/N.”
Before you could react, Bucky lunged at you, his hands going to your sides and tickling mercilessly. You burst out laughing, desperately kicking at him to try to get him to stop. You bent in on yourself, trying to roll into a ball to avoid his tickling, but Bucky was persistent. His peals were loud and unrestrained as he continued his teasing, taking advantage of the space you had freed to climb into bed with you.
“Bucky! Bucky, stop!” you said between your laughs.
Bucky chuckled and raised his arms in surrender. “Fine, fine. Truce.”
“What truce? You’re already in the damn bed,” you snorted, punching his shoulder.
Bucky and you looked at each other with wide smiles, chests heaving from what had just occurred a few seconds ago.
“Get out of the bed, Buck,” you said between breaths.
Bucky shook his head. “I’m too comfortable.”
You whined, pressing your hands to his shoulders and pushing him, attempting to making him slide off the bed. Bucky shook his head, stiffening his body and making it next to impossible for you to move him. You huffed and continued to try to kick him out, but your attempts were futile. Finally, Bucky decided to stop you by wrapping his arms around your frame and pulling you close.
“Let’s just sleep, Y/N,” he mumbled, forcing your head to rest against his chest. “I’m sleepy after eating all that food.”
“Bucky!” you complained, your nose pressed against his chest as he tightened his hold on you. He mumbled incoherently, nuzzling your hair and you found yourself giving up, letting him stay in bed with you. Bucky had won this round. But you promised yourself that next time, you wouldn’t be so lenient.
As the two of you began to relax, there was a scream right outside the door before a loud thud. You recognized Steve’s panicked voice and Bucky perked up at the sound.
Simultaneously sitting up on the bed together, Bucky and you shared concerned looks before clambering off the mattress.
“What’s going on?” Bucky asked, swinging the door opened to investigate what had just happened.
In front of the guest room that Peggy and Steve were sharing was Peggy on the floor, looking close to tears as she reached for her ankle.
Part 2
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nxah-czerny · 2 years ago
Could you do uhhhhhh pynch were no one really believes Adam when he talks about his bf in college
i don’t know how this happened but i accidentally hit post before even writing anything oops 
everyone thinks adam is just a huge player because he’s always talking about some new boy he’s dating now
all of adam’s classmates/roommate/friends/whatever kinda worry about him because every time he talks about some new boy he talks about him like he’s in love with him right after breaking up with the last one
there was the rich, asshole boy who street races and just seems like a general dick
there was the one who was the teen dad but it sounds like he really loves his daughter. adam clearly loves her, too. too bad that one didn’t work out
there’s the gay farmer who sounds very pleasant
also the weird irish one who plays the bagpipes and has, just, the weirdest taste in music ever
the last one they hear about before figuring out the truth is the good catholic boy who goes to church every sunday with his brothers 
every time a ‘new boy’ is mentioned, no one ever asks what happened to the last one because it isn’t their business
but they talk about it with each other because adam just doesn’t seem like a player?? 
so one day adam’s roommate has a couple people over and they’re the same people who hear about all of adam’s boyfriends 
adam walks into the room after class and everyone says hello to him and then his phone rings
he says a few things into the phone before hanging up and turning to everyone else
“sorry,” he says. “that was my boyfriend”
everyone kinda perks up because they’re always interested to hear who adam is dating this time or if it’s the same person as the last time
it’s only been a few days since he started dating the catholic boy, though, so they don’t think he’d move on that fast
“his car broke down a couple days ago and he had to buy a new one...”
he finishes explaining the phone call, but it’s pretty clear this isn’t the catholic boy 
no one usually says anything but he’s never moved on this fast
“what happened to your catholic boyfriend?” someone asks 
adam looks at him, clearly not following along
“what?” 
“your catholic boyfriend. hadn’t you only been dating him for a couple of days?” 
adam keeps staring at him, even more confused
“what???” 
no one knows what to say because adam clearly has no idea what they’re talking about
“i mean, we don’t care,” his roommate finally says “we just notice that you go through boyfriends pretty quickly. it’s hard to keep track sometimes”
adam is completely dumbfounded.
he has no idea what to say.
so he starts laughing
when he stops he says, “i have only had one boyfriend in my life and we started dating months before i moved here” 
everyone is confused
that makes no sense
“but what about all the guys you’ve talked about? the farmer, and the street racer, and  the catholic one??” 
adam is laughing even harder
it takes him a while to calm down before he explains that that is the exact same person 
no one believes him 
everything he’s said about him makes him sound like many different people
there’s no way that’s the same person
over the next couple weeks, whenever adam talks about his boyfriend, he clarifies that it is the same person every time
no one is convinced, even when adam shows them pictures of his boyfriend
one day, a couple weeks after, adam announces his boyfriend is coming to visit for the weekend
finally, after months of mystery, adam walks into the room on a friday with his boyfriend trailing behind him
he does not look like a farmer, does not look like a good catholic boy, does not look like a dad, he does not look rich 
he does look like an asshole who street races
he’s tall and sharp
sharp cheekbones, sharp blue eyes, sharp stare
tattoos snake up around his shoulders and neck. he’s wearing a black muscle shirt, ripped black jeans, and leather bracelets around his wrist
nothing about him looks like a good fit for adam, but adam is reaching behind, holding onto his hand as he pulls him into the room
“hey,” adam says clearly very happy, “this is my boyfriend, ronan” 
he introduces ronan to everybody in the room and ronan acknowledges them all with a polite nod
adam looks at ronan “they didn’t believe you existed”
ronan raises an eyebrow, and that gesture somehow makes him look a lot threatening. or maybe it’s just the way he’s staring at adam
he looks at them all and grins
it’s not a mean or threatening smile, but it’s very off putting
“don’t worry,” he says “most people would agree that i shouldn’t” 
adam smiles, too. he is clearly is aware of something they are not 
they leave shortly after
everyone is less sure of adam’s boyfriend’s existence after meeting him than they were before
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dulcesiabits · 8 months ago
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nothing beautiful stays.
summary: Childe and Lumine spend an afternoon together as he grapples with his conflicting feelings for her.
notes: lumine/childe, light angst, pining, 1473 words
a/n: buries my head in my hands... all i do is write self indulgent fic instead of doing homework
It was hard sometimes to know what, exactly, Childe felt towards Lumine.
Sometimes, he dreamed of a simple life with her. What if he wasn’t part of the Fatui, and she wasn’t a stranger from some place farther than he could imagine? If they had been two ordinary people, if they didn’t have unseen scars they nursed within their hearts, if they never knew what the weight of a weapon felt like, they might have fallen in love.
Childe could have had an ordinary job at the bank, where his greatest concerns would be an indifferent boss and entitled customers. He could have had a place of his own, a little apartment that he loved, even if he complained about the neighbors and the rent. But none of that would be important as long as Childe finally had a place to call home. There would be no need to look over his shoulder at every noise and shifting shadow, waiting for an enemy or jealous rival to stab him in the back.
Maybe he and Lumine could be two ordinary people, who met in the streets by chance, and felt a spark, so they decided to meet each other again. Childe rather liked the idea of destiny pulling them together; he had always been more fond of fairytales than he should have had.
If that was the case, he would not have to calculate every touch, fearing what one moment of longing would cost him in the future. He could hold hands with Lumine in the streets, tuck loose strands of hair behind her ear. He could invite her over to his home and cook for her, teasingly offering to feed her by hand. They could go on dates on the weekend, and not worry about gods or the Fatui, because those were problems for other people.  
Most times, Childe laughed at himself and his pathetic fantasies. People like him would only ever find salvation on the battlefield. The ordinary pleasure of a simple life was lost to him. Instead, he wondered what Lumine’s blade would feel like pressed to his throat, threatening to bite into his skin. What would it be like to see her splatter his blood over the pavement?
Childe would love Lumine even then. The heat of battle made her all the more beautiful, and there was no one else whose blade he would rather have drawn his blood. Besides, they were both warriors, and he understood why she did the things she did. They both had things they needed to protect, things they believed in that they couldn’t throw away, even for someone they loved. 
No matter how much he dreamed of a different life, it could never change the truth of their situation. Childe was an enemy, and he was not allowed to want her. All his dreams were indulgences he could only afford as long as they didn’t distract him from his goals.
It might have been better to distance himself from her. Whenever Childe looked at her, he felt as if he was teetering on the edge of a precipice. One mistake, and he would fall. Still, that didn’t stop him from seeking Lumine out whenever he had free time. He wanted to bask in the warmth of her smile before she would no longer look his way. 
Today was no exception. Bored, he found his thoughts wandering towards Lumine, and decided to entertain his desire to see her. It was easy for him to find her, and his search took him to the afternoon rush of the market in Liyue. Lumine was meandering around, examining random stalls, seemingly without a care in the world. 
“Hey, princess,” Childe said, melting out of the crowd to easily fall in step with her. 
“Childe,” Lumine said, startled. “What’re you doing here?”
“I came here to see you,” he said, winking.
She sighed at his words. “I’m not doing anything interesting right now.” He heard everything she didn’t voice: I’m not doing anything you need to report back to the Fatui about.
Childe shrugged. “That’s okay. I’m bored. Hey, if you’re hungry, I could make you something to eat.”
“You can cook?” Lumine asked. 
“I’m a man of many talents. You’d be surprised what I could do, princess.”
Childe walked closer to her as the crowd swelled. If he wanted to, he could hold her hand under the pretense that they might be separated. But as the sea of people pushed at them, the inches between their hands might as well have been miles.
A single misstep would send him tumbling. He could never forget that.
Then, something soft slipped into his palm, and Lumine laced their fingers together, pulling him closer. Away from the ledge, away from the rush of people. “It’s crowded,” she said, avoiding his eyes. “You should be more careful.”
Childe squeezed her slender, calloused fingers back. How was it possible for someone to be so warm? Was there a way to bottle this feeling, so he could carry it with him to the coldest corners of Snezhnaya? “I’m not a kid. I promise I won’t run off without at least telling you.”
“Really? It’s nice you care enough to tell me,” Lumine joked. “You seem like you would be a troublesome kid.”
He wondered whenever he took up any space in Lumine’s heart. “I was a very cute kid, just so you know.”
“Oh, I bet.”
Hey, where’s Paimon?” Childe queried. He didn’t miss her too much. She always yelled at him when he flirted too much or looked at Lumine for longer than she deemed appropriate.
“She’s sleeping right now. I was just taking a walk to clear my thoughts.”
“Care to share them?”
Lumine hesitated for a second. “I was thinking of my home.”
It was a strange idea, to miss your own home. “Your home?” 
“Yes. No matter where or how far I travel, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to go home again, even for a short visit.”
“I’d like to see your home some day,” Childe murmured. He imagined the place that Lumine was from must have been full of sunshine
She turned to look at him, and he could see the blue of the sky reflected in her eyes. It was so blue it hurt, but he couldn’t turn away. “It’d be nice if I could take you there.”
“Then if you ever go back, don’t forget to take me along.”
They reached the end of the street, and the sea opened up below them, boats bobbing on its surface, a shimmering mirror of blue that stretched slow, inviting waves to beckon them closer. They stood, watching the sun refract diamonds across the water. The sea breeze left the taste of salt in his mouth. Lumine’s hand fit perfectly into his own, like it had always belonged there.
One day, the hand that was holding his would be wrapped around a sword that was pointed at his throat. 
As if sensing his thoughts, Lumine dropped his hand. “It’s less crowded now,” she said. 
Childe wondered what she would do if he reached for her hand again, pulled it close, told her to never let go. Even if it was just for a moment, he wanted to be selfish, more selfish than he had any right to be. 
He gave her an easy smile, instead. “And here I was starting to think you were falling for me.”
“You wish,” Lumine responded, but it was a half-hearted taunt.
How much longer did he have with her? At some point, Paimon would wake up and rush out, upset that Lumine had left her behind. One of her friends would need her attention and she would rush off. There would be some trouble, something urgent that couldn’t be resolved without her, and Lumine would leave him behind. Even worse, the Fatui would contact him, and he would be the one who would have to go.
Maybe if they were just an ordinary pair of people, like in all his foolish daydreams, they could hold hands without needing to find any excuse to do so. Childe wouldn’t be afraid to say he loved her, and Lumine wouldn’t be afraid of getting too close to him.
But they couldn’t be anyone other than a Fatui Harbinger and a traveler. It was enough that Lumine still wanted to stay by his side. 
It was always a when, not an if, with them. When would Childe betray her? When would she have to fight him? When would their difference agendas clash so much that conflict was inevitable?
For now, all Childe could do was clench his hand into a fist as he walked his narrow road, hoping he could convince some of the warmth from Lumine’s touch to stay, even once he fell.
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waitimcomingtoo · a year ago
whenever you have time could you please do a quick little thing about peter loving his girls butt? like not in a weird way just like appreciating her jatt, telling her her butt looks good in her jeans and stuff and it makes her happy bc it’s like the only part of her body she likes (i really be our here self projecting i’m so sorry lol) have a good day sunshine love ur work💛
Can’t believe I actually wrote this, but anything for my lovely followers 💛
Anaconda
Pairing: Peter Parker x Reader
Masterlist
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Peter Parker respects women
Peter Parker also respects a jatt when he sees one
Peter wasn’t creepy about it, but he made sure you knew how much he loved your butt
His hand was FOREVER in the back pocket of your jeans
He made lots of comments
lots and lots of comments
“Is it me, or is it THICC in here?”
“Look, babe! It’s a tonka truck! You have one of those!”
“I thought Y/n drove a jeep?” Ned would ask
“I didn’t mean her car.”
Lots and lots and lots of comments
“Those jeans and your ass should win collaboration of the year.”
“I wish we could go on a date to the beach.”
“Why can’t we?” You’d ask
“You’d float.”
That one always ended up in Peter getting shoved off the bed
“Guys, isn’t is crazy how Y/n walks into a room and her butt walks in ten minutes later?”
“Peter Benjamin Parker.” You’d snap.
“I’m kidding, I’m kidding.” He’d defend. “It’s twenty minutes later.”
“Damn, girl. You got a bright future behind you.”
“Wait, if it’s no ones birthday, why does Y/n have so much cake?”
He was a perfect gentleman in public
But when you were home, he didn’t know the meaning of the word
Lots a smacks when you walked by
“I love you.” He’d mumble as he kissed your cheek. “And your butt.”
He always knew how to cheer you up too
“I can’t belive I still failed the test after I studied all weekend. I’m so dumb.” You cried into his shoulder.
“Baby, the only dumb you are is dumb thick.” Peter would say seriously just to get a laugh out of you
(It always worked)
He also likes to sing to you
“Wait, this my favorite song!” Peter would crank the radio up all the way. “THERES JUST ONE THING THATS KILLING ME.”
“Peter I cant hear myself think.” You’d try to lower the volume.
“HOW’D YOU FIT THAT IN THEM JEANS.” He sang. “CAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THAT BIG FAT BUTT.”
Peter would point at you until you rolled your eyes and sang alone
“Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.” You’d mutter and he would cheer
You’d often groan and roll your eyes at Peters comments
That didn’t mean you didn’t love them
Even you had to admit, he wasn’t wrong
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hecate-hollow · a year ago
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Maridami Transfer
A fic for @abrx2002​
Dunno if this is what you were looking for, but enjoy. 
Damian is transferring into the Paris class and he’s giving a single warning to anyone who thinks they can continue to target his beloved in his presence. 
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Lila was having a good day, special emphasis on was. She’d been on her way to meet up with Alya for a late lunch when she noticed Marinette sitting outside a little café with a boy. It wasn’t anyone Lila recognized because, if it had been, they would have known better than to be around Marinette. Who wants to be around a bully after all?
The guy in question didn’t look like a nice guy. Dressed in all black and a leather jacket, with dark skin and black hair? He looked a bit like a biker, she figured, not that it was important. What was important was that he was with Marinette, and Marinette wasn’t supposed to be with anyone. So, she snapped a picture and sent it to Alya playing up a story about how she was worried about Marinette and how she couldn’t believe she would get with someone so dangerous looking in an attempt to make Adrien jealous. The reported bought it hook line and sinker, and all Lila had to do was wait until school arrived the next day.
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Marinette was both nervous and excited for Monday morning. She hated school because everybody seemed to hate her no matter what she did. It was isolating and she found herself in the art room most of her free time because students not in the art program weren’t supposed to be in there (not that it ever stopped them). Still, Marinette hopped it would be more bearable now. There was a new exchange student transferring into her class, and Marinette knew for fact he wouldn’t fall for Lila and her blatant lies.
Of course, that didn’t stop them from trying.
Marinette had been asked to show the new student around before class began, later dropping him off at the principal’s office so a few more things could be finalized, which she did. She left him with the principal and made her way to class. People usually ignored her when she walked in, but not today.
“Girl, I can’t believe you would stoop so low!” Alya called, shoving her phone too close to Marinette's face for her to be able to see anything. She took a step back and scanned the photo in front of her. It was a grainy shot of Marinette at the café she’d gone to for a date over the weekend. It was clear she was the girl sitting there, but the guy she was with was questionable at best.
“I didn’t realize you had taken to stalking me now, Alya.” That sent the teen reeling.
“It’s not stalking! Lila saw you on her way over to my place. I can’t believe you would cheat on Adrian like this?”
“I’m sorry, what?” Adrien in question was sitting in the back of the room doing his best to ignore everything and everyone.
“Oh please. We all know you two have been secretly dating. How else do you explain the way you both sneak off together all the time?”
“I’m sorry, what?” He repeated, trying not to laugh when he caught Marinette’s exasperated look. They definitely weren’t dating. They were close friends, sure, and they spent a lot of time together outside of class for a plethora of reasons, one being superheroing, and another being the fact that they were some the only people in class not under Lila’s spell, but they weren’t dating. Adrien didn’t have a death wish. He knew who Marinette was dating, and he would be a dead man if the guy ever learned he’d even thought about making a move on his beloved.
“I’m not dating Adrien,” Marinette assured them.
“Oh, so you’re just making the rounds then?” Lila suggested. “That would explain so much. I heard a rumor from a few guys on campus—”
“I would suggest you stop talking now.” Lila felt a chill go down her class. Actually, the whole class did. Standing in the doorway was—
“Holy shit? Is that the guy from the photo?” Alya whispered, trying to compare the two.
“Oh, Damian, I didn’t think you’re meeting with the principal would be done already.”
“We just had a few scheduling things to alter, it didn’t take long, and I remembered how to get back to the classroom, so I decided to come back and find you early.”
“Okay, but why?” Alya asked. “You’re literally one of the most attractive people I’ve ever seen, why would you want to meet up with Marinette of all people. She’s a bully and a liar.” Damian did not look impressed. He raised a single brow in the reporter’s direction before his eyes drifted around the room.
“Agreste,” he greeted noticing the model.
“Long time no see, Damian.” That was the most the two interacted before everyone’s attention returned to Alya.
“Angel, is this the girl who’s been spreading rumors about you?”
“Yes and no, it’s mostly Lila and Alya. The others just don’t…I dunno. They don’t fact check, just buy into it.”
“So, you’re stuck in a class of idiots.”
“I wouldn’t call them idiots.”
“I was being nice.”
“Excuse me? I don’t understand who you think you are to call us idiots.”
“A smarter individual? I mean? Mari’s told me all about the Italians little reign of terror. I’m surprised Marinette’s parents didn’t transfer her out of this pathetic excuse of a school already. Lord knows there are better schools she could easily get into.”
“If you don’t like the school, why are you here?”
“Because I like Marinette.” He kissed her cheek. “Wherever she is I want to be there as well.”
“So, you’d rather be around a bully than someone nicer like Lila? I guess that’s a match made in heaven then since both of you seem to get off on looking down on the rest of us?” Damian laughed. It was more of a quiet huff, but Marinette had heard it before and knew what was coming.
“The fact that you think Marinette is a bully is laughable. More importantly, the fact that you can’t tell you’re a bully is even more laughable.” The comment was directed at Alya and Lila because those two had been the main perpetrators of this entire ordeal. Lila took that moment to spring her usual tears, trying to gain the sympathy vote, but Damian ignored her and continued. “I’ve been compiling evidence. Marinette saved all the messages you sent her before she changed her number, those fake accounts you made to trash her design site with bad reviews? Yeah, we traced those to the IP addresses, and low and behold guess who we discovered they belonged to. We have security footage of physical assault on campus grounds, and there’s an entire slander campaign running on the Ladyblog against Marinette which is not quite legal.” Damian threw his arm around Marinette and pulled her protectively against him. “I figured I would give you a warning and a chance to stop before I release the flood gates.”
“You want to sue us?” Alya screeched while Lila simply paled at his revelation. “What gives you the right?”
“Well, considering I intend to marry my beloved sometime in the future, I’ve decided to take it upon myself to go ahead and do what I can to protect her now.”
“Wait, Damian, what is this about marriage?” Marinette stared at him, but Damian only shrugged.
“I’m not proposing now. I won’t for a few years, but when I do, you’re not going to see it coming, Angel. I love you.”
“I know but—”
“No buts. I love you and—” his glare returned to the two teens who’d been leading this conversation, “If I learn you haven’t stopped harassing my beloved, I will bring down the might of the entire Wayne Enterprises Law team on you, and I promise, you will have no future after they are done.”
“You shouldn’t threaten your new classmates, Damian.”
“I just wanted to make sure we are all at an understanding,” He smiled. “By the way, I’m your new classmate. My name is Damian Wayne, I transferred her from Gotham Academy, and there are three people in this room who I’m willing to talk to casually. You know who you are, if you have to guess if it might be you, the answer is no. And I meant every word I just said. Harass my beloved again and I will end you in court. Cease and desist notes have already been sent to your families as of today, so I’m sure they’ll like to have a few words with you as well.” He gave them a chilling smile and headed towards the back of the classroom where Nino and Adrien were already sitting.
“Should have known better than to think you wouldn’t make some kind of dramatic entrance,” Nino huffed, barely looking up from his tablet. “Good to see you again though.”
“How’s the music going?”
“Better now. Thank’s for your help with getting me in contact with some celebrities. They let me shadow them over the summer, it was an awesome time.”
“And my father’s letting me look after more of the business aspects of the company after spending the summer with Tim and Bruce,” Adrien added. “Feel like having the chaos kids in one place again is going to be a bad time for everyone who’s not us.”
“But it will be a good time for us,” Marinette teased, pushing Damian into the seat. “Welcome to Paris, Damian.”
“Thank you, Angel. There’s nowhere else I would rather be right now.”
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zukonostalgia · 11 months ago
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zukka modern au, but this time it’s missed connections
Sokka is still stewing in his personal humiliation, hours later. he’s half a bottle of bad barefoot wine in, and Suki is there egging him on. “do it, do it, do it, how else are you ever going to find loverboy again?”
“I don’t know, maybe by going to the grocery story again?” he whines
“yeah, but what kind of guarantee is that? maybe he normally goes to trader joe’s!”
and Sokka grabs a pillow from the couch and screams directly into it. but he can’t help but think she’s right. they had a connection. so he pulls his laptop off the coffee table, and goes to craigslist
and goes to missed connections
i rammed my cart into you at the south street whole foods, he writes in the title. can we go on a date?
Suki goads him into it, so it’s only fair that she has to proofread it for him.
you were wearing a hideous a hideous pinstripe shirt. i was in the cheese section, making a sharp turn for the olive bar, and i didn’t even see you. i crashed my cart directly into your side, and your hand basket tumbled ass over teakettle, just like you did. i helped you pick up your cornichons and tortilla chips. our eyes met. yours were beautiful. i’d love to take you out for coffee. same time next week?
and Suki posts it on his behalf, not giving him the time to wail about it all over again. “I get it, Sokka. he was super cute and has good taste in pickles. who knows, maybe he’ll be looking too.”
meanwhile Zuko is back in his own apartment, sipping on a gin and tonic. not that Sokka would have ever known this, but Zuko curates a dorky missed connections tumblr blog. he just likes reading about strange people’s strange exploits, you know?
it’s mostly combing through long lists of spammy bot pick up ads, but every now and again you find a real gem in all the shit. it’s mostly gross and hilarious, but sometimes strangely sweet. it’s about the exhilarating voyeurism of viewing someone else’s life. Zuko vibes with that.
and when he sees this one--in his city nonetheless--he almost chokes to death on his drink. when he’s done coughing, he looks again. because this feels pretty familiar.
maybe it’s the gin and tonic? Zuko has a pretty heavy pour. but no, this is too specific.
it’s definitely him. this guy had barreled into him with a cart. he was cute, with his hair pulled up and in a muscle tank. he looked like a frat bro, but he was really apologetic and he had picked up Zuko’s spilled cornichons
he wants to reply
Zuko opens up the email reply option.
Hi, he writes. I believe you bowled me over in front of the olive bar today. Your cart was full of Annie’s mac and cheese and what looked like four cartons of blueberries. (Are you making smoothies or something?) 
You were wearing a tank top and had a tattoo on your right bicep. I’ll be at Whole Foods next Saturday; I usually go around 10 AM. We can get coffee after we get our groceries. Try not to get anything frozen, I’d hate for it to melt.
he sends it. and immediately regrets it. and then doesn’t. he needs another g&t. but either way--if the cute guy from the grocery store shows up, he has a date
meanwhile, halfway across the city, Sokka is screaming so loudly not even a couch pillow can muffle it. Suki pats his back while he hyperventilates. fuck does he have a cute date lined up for next weekend. he’s looking forward to it.
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hurricanejjareau · a year ago
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Two Can Play: Aaron Hotchner Imagine (Female!Reader)
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*GIF isn’t mine; credits to the owner!*
Summary: In which you believe Hotch is seeing Beth, and you and Hotch both end up with jealous and petty feelings towards the other.
(A/N): So this was originally a request over on my old blog, but it was from an anon so I can’t tag them now that I’ve moved it! But this was one of my first requests and I really love how it turned out. My friend and I had so much fun coming up with ideas for this too😂
Warnings: None
Word Count: 3.6K
—————
The sound of Hotch’s laughter filled my ears as we walked down the streets of DC on the way back to my apartment. We’d gone out for coffee after we got home from work. He’d gone home to check on Jack briefly before he picked me up and we walked to a cafe a few blocks away.
We’d been laughing at some dumb joke I’d made, but there was a lot of satisfaction in making him laugh. He was a man of few smiles and little laughter, and it was a nice feeling to hear and see him happy.
Hotch and I had been seeing each other outside of work for nearly a month now, just enjoying each other’s company. Since he was just getting to the point of possibly dating again after losing Haley, and he was my boss, we hadn’t wanted to put a label on anything.
I frowned as the front door of my small townhouse came into view. The walk had passed by faster than I would have liked.
“This is me.” I said quietly, even though he knew.
“This is you.” He said. There was a moment of silent, both of us looking at each other with smiles that clearly said we didn’t want to part yet.
“I really like spending time with you.” I said after a moment in a burst of bravery. Even with the confidence, I felt a blush come into my cheeks and ears.
Hotch smiled. “I really like spending time with you too.”
I let out a breathy laugh, looking down the ground briefly before looking back into his warm brown eyes. He took that as his cue to step forward and give me a hug. His hug was warm in the damp night air of spring, and his cologne enveloped me in a feeling of comfort.
“Night Aaron.” I said as we pulled away.
“Goodnight Y/n.” And with that he was gone. I had a small smile on my face as I unlocked my door and went inside.
I wasn’t hungry since the cafe we went to has the best little pastries, so I showered and then set out some clothes for the run JJ and I were going to go on before work tomorrow.
———
After a good night’s sleep, I found myself in a pair of leggings, an old t-shirt and sneakers running through the park. I was doing my best to keep up with JJ, but despite my best efforts I was always a few feet behind her.
She laughed at my lag as we stopped to take a breather.
“I had no idea you could run like that Jareau.” I said as I held my hands to my knees, trying to catch my breath before taking a large sip of my water.
She grinned. “That’s all Morgan. He’s intense as a trainer but he’s been a big help.”
“Maybe I should get him to train me.” I said, although we both knew I was kidding. I wasn’t a big health-nut; I only did enough to pass the Bureau’s fitness tests and not collapse in the field.
We started running again, preparing to make the loop back to where we had parked when I saw a familiar figure from the corner of my eye. I could see Aaron, in a black t-shirt and black shorts. The sweat glistened on his forehead as he was laughing and talking to someone, a woman I had never seen before.
As I tried to establish who she was, I nearly ran into JJ. In the abruptness of my stop, I nearly fell over. She turned in time to steady me.
“I see you caught up.” She said with a laugh. She followed my line of sight to see our unit chief.
“It’s Hotch.” She said. “Who’s here with?”
“I don’t know.” I said.
“I guess he’s training for the triathlon. I’m pretty sure it’s next weekend. She’s probably helping him.” JJ said. I knew that was probably true, since I remembered a conversation we had had a couple weeks before about the topic:
“Did I tell you I’m gonna compete in the FBI triathlon?” He asked me as he took a sip of his coffee.
I tilted my head, the information being new to me. “No! When did you decide to do that?”
“A few months ago. I figured it would give me something productive to do. I’m not sure if I can make it through it though, the swimming has been killing me.”
“I’d really like to be there.” I said.
“What, to see me collapse at the finish line?” He asked with a smirk.
“I want that.” I said with a serious look on my face. “I really do.”
We had a good laugh at that thought.
“I don’t know.” I said, coming back to reality. But our suspicions were confirmed when the two took of running together a few moments later.
JJ looked at her watch. “We better get going. We don’t wanna be late.”
I nodded and we took off again. I wondered who she was, but I didn’t think much of it. This time I actually got ahead of her a few times, a satisfying feeling really.
We drove to Quantico in JJ’s car since she had picked me up this morning. We changed once we got there, and I was thankful there had been enough of a chill we hadn’t sweat too badly. I touched up my hair with a bit of dry shampoo added some mascara and lipstick.
Hotch came in shortly after JJ and I did, and he had clearly changed from his running attire. He was back in normal suit. He gave me a small discreet smile, which I returned as he climbed the short set of stairs to his office.
The lack of a case led to our conversations to take a turn towards each other’s personal lives, which mostly meant speculation about Rossi and Hotch’s love lives. Since Rossi had joined our conversation, that meant we were talking about Hotch. It had been hard to bite my tongue recently, but I genuinely didn’t think the others had caught on.
“Has anyone else noticed a difference in Hotch recently?” Emily asked.
“How so?” Morgan asked.
“I have.” Rossi said. “He seems a lot happier.”
I could barely hide my smile at that. I looked into Hotch’s office window out of the corner of my eye. Any inkling of a smile I had left my face as I saw texting someone, a small smile on his face. I wondered who it was, I thought he’d only been seeing me. I turned away sadly as the conversation thankfully turned to weekend plans.
That night, Rossi decided to treat everyone to dinner. Since it was last minute, we went to a favorite restaurant instead of Rossi’s house. I kept my distance from Hotch, sitting at the other end of the table next to Morgan and across from Emily.
We’d all been laughing and joking for a moment when Hotch’s phone rang. He looked at it, a smile smile gracing his lips.
“I’ve gotta take this.” He said getting up.
Before he got to far, I heard him say “Hey Beth.”
Beth.
“Who’s Beth?” Garcia asked, her interest clearly peaked.
“What?” Morgan asked, having not been paying attention.
“She called Hotch just now.” I said, discreetly nodding my head in the direction of the quiet corner he was taking the call.
“I don’t know of a Beth.” Reid said.
“Is it someone from Jack’s school?” JJ asked.
“No, his greeting was too informal for that.” I said, the profiler kicking in a bit. “He called her by her first name only. No Ms. or Mrs. in front either.”
“Rossi?” Morgan asked, knowing there was a good chance the older man knew.
He shrugged. “No clue.”
We all frowned, thinking up possibilities until Hotch ended his call. JJ discreetly cleared her throat to notify the rest of us as he took his seat again. My heart ached at the remnants of a smile were on his face.
I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous, even if we hadn’t put a label on anything. We haven’t discussed making things official; we haven’t even discussed if we were exclusive, as juvenile as that sounds. And yet, I couldn’t help but feel a little lied to at the fact it seemed like Aaron was seeing another woman.
———
“I’m taking finished case files to Hotch. Anyone have any they want me to take?” I said as I stood up. Psychopaths had apparently decided to make it easy on us this week. We’d had a quick case up in Baltimore, before coming back home in time for the weekend.
Emily and Morgan handed me a few files while the rest shook their heads. I packed the small stack up the stairs to knock on his doors.
“Come in.”
I opened the door and stepped in, immediately being met by his eyes. His face softened as he saw me.
“I’ve got finished files.” I said. “They’re mine, Emily’s, and Morgan’s.”
“Great.” He said as he took them. I nodded and began to walkout.
“Y/n.” He said, getting my attention. “Would you like to go out to dinner tonight? I know it’s not often we’re home on the weekends and I thought we could take advantage of it.”
I almost said yes, until his phone call from the restaurant came back to me. I quickly made up an excuse.
“Um, I’ve already got plans. Sorry.” I said. “Rain check?”
If I hadn’t known better, I would’ve thought his face fell.
“Oh.” He said. He even sounded surprised. “Yeah. That’s fine.”
I noticed something as I left his office. He’d asked me out to a restaurant. Any other time we’d seen each other we’d gone for coffee. One time when it was an oddly hot day for this time of year we got ice cream. Dinner seemed to be taking a next step. I wondered if I was overreacting; he had seemed genuine. But I wouldn’t do go out with him while he was possibly talking to someone else. I wouldn’t kid myself and put myself through that.
As I sat back down at my desk, I had an idea. I didn’t know if it would work, but I had to try.
“Hey Morgan.” I said, turning in my chair to face him. He looked up. “Would you be willing to train me?”
He seemed surprised, but nodded. “Sure. What for?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know, hand-to-hand maybe?”
He nodded. “Cool. Meet you at the Bureau gym Monday after work?”
I smiled and nodded. “Sounds great.”
“Morgan, teach her how to run while you’re at it.” Jennifer said teasingly. I shot her a glare.
———
“There you go! That’s it!” Morgan said as I was finally beginning to hit the foam pads strapped to his hands with a consistent rhythm. This was the third night this week we’d met up in the FBI’s boxing gym, working on sparring as a starting point.
“You’re getting it! Good job babygirl!” He said as he took them off to give me a high five. I took a deep breath as I returned it, then pushed some sweaty hair that had fallen out of my ponytail from my face.
I could see movement behind the glass window of the boxing gym. Hotch was outside, watching from the corner of his eyes. I’d been hoping this would happen, but it did surprise me slightly.
“It’s Hotch.” Morgan said, giving him a wave. I just smiled back as Hotch waved. “Guess he’s so doing some last minute training for triathlon Saturday.”
“Yeah.” I agreed.
“I’m Surprised he’s not with Beth.” I said under my breath, but unfortunately not quiet enough that it went unnoticed by Morgan. A Cheshire Cat grin grew into his face as I internally groaned, realizing what was coming.
“Ohhh.” He said. “So that’s what this is about.”
“Yes.” I said caving, knowing there was no use. “Ok? Yes, that’s what this is about.”
“Somebody’s jealous.” Morgan singsonged. I shot him a glare, but we both knew he was right.
“Well, I’ll just tell you.” He said. “He’d be stupid to pick her over you.”
I smiled, unsure if the heat I could feel in my cheek was from the workout or a blush. “Thanks Derek.”
———
HOTCH’S POV
I sat in one of the leather chairs in Dave’s office as we had one of regular talks. They happened frequently after hours when the others had gone home, and more often then I’d care to admit as of lately they had been about one person.
“Did I do something wrong?” I asked, referring to the fact Y/n had suddenly said no to going out with me. “I’ve only ever had to flirt with Haley before, and that was in high school. Am I that out of practice?”
Rossi chuckled. “I don’t know Aaron.”
“And now she’s training with Derek. I don’t know if it means anything but I think it might.”
“You’re jealous.” Dave said with a grin.
“Maybe a little.” I said sheepishly after a moment, knowing there was no way I could hide that fact with my pride.
I had barely finished the statement when a look of realization seemed to cross his face. “I think I may know what’s wrong.”
“What is it?” I asked, desperate for an answer.
“Who’s Beth?”
I frowned, wondering how Dave knew about her. “She’s a woman I met in the park. She’s helping me train for the triathlon.”
“Y/n seems to think you have a thing for her. Especially after dinner the other night. She was profiling you while you were one the phone just based on how you answered, and we both know she’s one of the best here about not profiling us.”
I mentally face palmed. Of course.
“I thought that was her I saw in the park a few days ago, running with JJ.”
Then it hit me: if she knew the girl was with in the park was training me, she did know they were the same person-Beth.
“She’s jealous.” I said as the pieces clicked.
Rossi smiled and nodded. “And now, she’s being petty so you’ll notice.”
“Well,” I said with a smile. “Two can play at that game.”
———
YOUR POV
We were surrounded by dozens of cheering spectators waving little American flags as we waited for Hotch to cross the finish line at any moment. Derek had Jack up on his shoulders so he could see as Spencer cheered with a lot of enthusiasm. I was taking enjoyment in watching JJ, Emily, and Garcia struggle through their hangovers, begging everyone to quiet down while wearing massive sunglasses. I had been the designated driver, so I was fine.
“‘A couple hours.’” Spencer said, quoting JJ’s words from the jet ride home. “A couple hours! You guys didn’t come home until sunrise!”
“Why are you yelling?” JJ asked.
“Make him stop.” Emily deadpanned. I snickered.
“Hey Jack.” Morgan said you to the boy who looked down. “Earmuffs for a second.”
He obliged, holding his hands to cover his ears from what Morgan was about to ask. “What did you guys drink last night?!”
“The Green Fairy.” Garcia said, the followed with “You’re FBI. Can you make the whole crowd stop cheering?”
I laughed some more as I was having way too much fun with this.
Spencer looked down at his watch, its face on the inside of his wrist. “By my estimate, Hotch should be finishing any minute now.”
“Do you see him Uncle Dave?” Jack asked Rossi.
“I think I do kiddo!” Dave replied, and we all craned our heads over the barricade excitedly, waiting for Hotch to cross the finish line. I’d still been giving him the cold shoulder these past few days, but I was excited to see him finish.
“Right there! There he is!” Rossi pointed as we all began to cheer and make general fools of ourselves, all for our boss. Jack waved his sign wildly.
“There he is! Come on!” Morgan yelled.
“You got it Hotch!” I yelled.
“Almost there!”
His dark fair clung to his forehead, drenched in water and sweat. He smiled as he saw and heard us cheering. It only got louder and more obnoxious as Hotch triumphantly crossed the finish line.
“Come on Jack.” Morgan said, as we all ran over to the finish line. “Let’s go see your dad!”
Hotch made an immediate b-line for the table of water bottles as Derek took Jack down off his shoulders, letting him run to his dad. He thanked the volunteer as she handed him his medal.
“You did!” Jack said as he got to Hotch.
“I did it buddy! I did it! Can you believe it?!” He said. I couldn’t help but smile as I could see how proud not only Jack was of his dad, but how proud Aaron was of himself. I couldn’t help but feel proud too.
“Did you see my sign?” Jack asked.
“I did!” Hotch said, taking the medal off his neck and handing it to Jack. “This is for you.”
Jack happily put on the gold medallion with a white ribbon as his dad turned to the rest of us. He saw me and smiled, wrapping me gingerly in a sweaty hug which I reciprocated the best I could.
“Look at you.” Rossi said proudly. “How do you feel?”
“I think I’m gonna live.” He said confidently, trying to keep his sentences short as his lungs recovered.
“Dang.” I said. “I was really looking forward to seeing you collapse right about now.”
He rolled his eyes at my remark, a reference to one of our earlier conversations, before smiling.
“Pretty impressive.” Emily said. “We had money on the swim killing you.”
Hotch looked at me in mock offense. “I practiced, thank you.”
I shrugged with a grin.
“And it paid off.” Morgan said. “Good job.”
“Thank you.” He replied, still trying to catch his breath.
“You guys wanna get something to eat?” Spencer asked. We all agreed.
“Oh yes.” Emily said.
“Something greasy, please.” JJ agreed.
“I’m always down for a good burger.” I said. As we began to leave, we heard a voice call out behind us.
“Hotchner!”
We all turned to see a woman waving, and a smile broke onto Hotch’s face. “Beth!”
Beth. So this was her. I had to admit she was pretty, with wavy brown hair and matching brown eyes. She look oddly familiar. Hotch waved her over and pulled me aside, looking at me.
“There’s someone I’d like you to meet.” My heart broke as he led me over to her.
“Beth, this is Y/n, the girl I was telling you about.” He told her about me? “Y/n this is Beth. She helped me train for the triathlon.”
My face fell and became pale. I felt real stupid right about now. Aaron watched with an almost smug grin as I composed myself and held out a hand to her.
“Hi!” I said. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“You too! I’ve heard many good things.” I smiled.
“You did good with him!” I said, looking up at Hotch. “We all thought it would kill him.”
She laughed. “Well, he was a good sport.”
I looked awkwardly at Aaron for a moment before Beth spoke up again. “Well, I better get back to the museum. Congratulations Aaron, and it was nice to finally meet you Y/n!”
“You too!” I said as she left.
“Thank you.” Hotch said as she left. They waved at each other as we watched her walk away.
I refused to look him in the eye as he turned towards me. I finally broke, and slowly turned to meet his look.
“I guess I was kind of an idiot then, huh?”
He shrugged, trying to maintain a straight face. “Yeah...maybe.”
The straight faces didn’t last long, and we both started laughing.
“Oh come on!” He said. “You really thought I was interested in Beth?!”
“I didn’t know!” I said, still laughing. “We never really put a label on this so I didn’t know.”
As our laughter subsided, he looked into my eyes with a genuine look in his own.
“I’m sorry.” He said. “I probably should’ve been a little more upfront.”
“Yeah.” I said, mirroring his earlier words. “Maybe.”
“I’m really proud of you.” I said with a smile. “And if tonight works, maybe we could take that rain check from last week and have dinner?”
He smiled. “I’d like that. I’d really like that.”
Despite all the sweat, I couldn’t help what happened next. I pushed myself up on my toes and leaned my face close to his. Aaron began to lean down and our lips met in a short, sweet kiss. His hands was on my waist while one of mine cupped his cheek.
Once we broke away, we felt the stares of the team as we sheepishly walked over to them.
“I knew there was a reason she was jealous at dinner!” Garcia said, and I blushed.
“So, I take we don’t need to have anymore hand-to-hand combat lessons anymore?” Morgan asked with a smirk.
“Yeah we do!” I said, and he looked surprised.
“I was just starting to get good! I’ve gotta keep up with him somehow.” I said, nodding towards Aaron. “And we all know running is not it for me.”
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aatticsaltt · a year ago
ive been a sucker for dad peter and grandpa tony fics lately, maybe a drabble about that please?
i’m always down for grandpa tony. 100000%
Tony couldn’t believe how time had flown.
Morgan was in high school, which Tony couldn’t begin to explain how terrifying that was. Every day she came home talking about a new technique they’d learned about in art class, splattered from head to toe in paint, but eyes shining with excitement as she talked about her passion. She’d graduate in a year, and head off to Bard College to pursue a degree in painting.
Where she got her artistic talent, Tony would never know, but he’d encourage her to do whatever she most loved. If that was painting, he’d give her every last penny to paint her next masterpiece.
(Of his totally unbiased opinion, every one of her paintings was a masterpiece.)
Peter was graduated thrice over, first from high school, then with a bachelors degree, and now a master’s, too. He was half-way through his Ph.D. in biochemistry, and Tony couldn’t be prouder of his oldest kid. Two years ago, he’d reluctantly handed his baby off to Michelle Parker, nee Jones, and a year and six months later, they gave him his first grandchild.
Benjamin Anthony Parker.
Tony couldn’t begin to describe how hard he cried when Peter (grown-up but still Tony’s baby boy, with a scruffy five o’clock shadow and tired eyes from eighteen hours of labor that he sat with MJ every second through) handed him Ben’s birth certificate and saw his first name in Peter’s looping handwriting scrawled across the page. Pepper had to take him out of the hospital room to calm him down, because his hysterical sobs had upset Ben.
Which only made Tony cry more, and yeah, it was a whole cyclical baby cried, grandpa cried, everyone cried. It’s over, they’ve moved past it.
Even if Peter still won’t let him live it down, six months and three days later.
Today, the little Parker family was driving up to the lake house to visit for the week. Earlier that morning, Tony had left their apartment after spending the weekend with them. On Saturday, MJ had a conference she was speaking at, and Peter had some graduate seminars to attend, so Tony had readily volunteered to watch his grandbaby.
Watching Ben for a day turned into a three-day extravaganza, letting Peter and MJ go on a much needed date night while Tony got to bask in baby snuggles again.
That does not mean he was any less excited to see Ben again as Peter pulled the car to a stop at the end of the drive, next to Morgan’s (Tony still couldn’t believe she was driving, now) Audi. MJ waved as she climbed out of the car before stooping to pull Ben out of his car-seat.
Peter came up the porch steps at a light jog. Tony’s arms were already open before his son reached him, forever ready to keep his precious child bundled up in his arms for just a little longer. It was never enough, but he savored every second he got.
“Hey, dad,” Peter said as he pulled back from the hug. “Been a while.”
The smile on Peter’s face was older than Tony wished it was. This precious kid had seen too much; they both had. Years had weathered them, body and soul, and while Tony wished he could still shield Peter from all the pain and hurt, he knew it was no longer his job to be the wall standing between his son and the darker sides of the world.
Peter Parker had known that darkness long before they ever met.
“Half a day,” Tony mused. “Practically an eternity. Now where’s my grandson?”
“Dying to see his grandpa,” MJ said. She was rising up the steps, Ben laid out across her arm on his belly, her hand right under his chin. “As usual.”
Tony reached out to scoop up Ben when MJ shifted the baby around to pass him over. Ben’s whole face lit up when he spotted Tony, reaching up at him with chubby, flailing arms and letting out Tony’s favorite, high-pitched squeal.
“Hello to you, too, little one,” he crooned. “Did you miss me?”
Ben gurgled and tucked his face into Tony’s chest. Inside his chest, Tony’s heart threatened to burst with the sheer love pounding through his body. There would never be enough words, enough love in the world, to encapsulate how much he felt for his family. How much love he’d given, and had yet to give.
“I swear he likes you more than us,” Peter said fondly. Tony found a familiar look on Peter’s face, one he’s sure he’s worn many a time and had yet to still wear, as Peter watched his son mumble and blow bubbles all over Tony’s clean shirt. 
“Of course he does, I’m wonderful,” Tony said haughtily. “You two hungry? Pepper made lasagna, homemade, so it’s got vegetables from the garden.”
“I could eat,” Peter said.
MJ smiled fondly and looped their fingers together. Peter turned to press a kiss on her forehead, barely standing taller than her since he’d passed his final growth spurt. MJ usually wore heels, simply to spite him, and it never ceased to amuse Tony.
“You could always eat,” she said. “You’d eat us out of our salary, if you could.”
“Thankfully, I won’t let that happen,” Tony said. “Nor will it ever when Peter takes over Stark Industries.”
Peter rolled his eyes. Tony decided to ignore this blatant disrespect and invite them inside. Morgan was helping her mother set the table, but she quickly dropped the task in favor of tackling her brother. Ben laughed hysterically at the two of them, and MJ shook her head, tired of her husband and his sister, and went to help Pepper finish setting the table.
The lasagna tasted better than it ever had before. Tony liked to think it was because he was surrounded by his family again, and he hoped, for that one moment, this joy could last forever.
Tag List:
@keep-a-bucket-full-of-stars @riseuplikeglitterandgold @just-the-daydreamer @roaringgay @serendipity--goddess @tony-wheres-my-supersuit @baloobird @spider-beep @swagfictonreadingnerd @tcny-stcrks @josywbu @zuusiee (Let me know if you want to be added or removed! Also sorry for spamming y’all these past few days lmao.)
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suhkusa · 11 months ago
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why
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pairing ; akaashi x f!reader
genre ;  angst, tiny bit of fluff
warnings ; cheating, lying, breakups, broken promises
wc ; 1,328
a/n ; reupload cuz i accidentally uploaded it last night, this was pretty good imo and it made my eyes water. trying to fix the smut im gonna post sometime this weekend - rae
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you and akaashi have been dating ever since your 2nd year of high school. you guys did everything together. from eating lunch together to going to your favorite cafe on the weekends. so why has he been so busy lately?
-----
the night was cold. you had woken up to the middle of the night due to you knocking the covers off of yourself. you and akaashi usually turn off all of the lights before you went to sleep. but there was still a bit of light. while you reached for the covers you looked over to the other side to find where the dim light was coming from. a phone screen.
 you sat up as quietly as possible to glance over at your supposed sleeping boyfriend. he was on his phone. it seemed like he was texting someone. you weren’t able to seem who or what the messages said. you laid back down turning the opposite way of akaashi. he was probably just texting his family. couldn’t be bokuto or any of his friends, they are never awake at 3am on a weekday. that’s what you made yourself believe.
this wasn’t the last time he began to act strange.
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you felt the distance between you two begin to grow. you didn’t want to admit to yourself that your once beautiful relationship was now falling apart. you trusted akaashi with your whole heart. he would never cheat on you. he was your first love, as you were his. you were highschool sweethearts. 
he told you he would never break your heart. why would he even cheat? what reasons were there? exactly, he wouldn’t. he loves you. he loves you
you ignored anything that would give you bad thoughts, wanting this relationship to work out. 
well, you tried to ignore the signs.
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he began coming home late. it’s just for his job. stop overreacting. you were always the only one in bed for most of the night. him coming home smelling like a different cologne than the cologne he usually used.
when he would come home during the day, it would usually be nothing more than a “hey” before going into his office. you didn’t mind.
sometimes he would come home with a bruise on his neck. dang, why is he always hurting himself at work?
you knew he wasn’t that clumsy. who the hell gets bruises on the neck by getting hurt? apparently akaashi.
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one night you went drinking with your friends. you hadn’t told akaashi, assuming he would be late home like he was most of the time. your friends had walked you in your drunken state to your door. waving them off before fumbling with your keys until you found the right one. unlocking your door and stepping in, closing it behind you.
luck seemed to be on your side. 
you looked up to see akaashi. akaashi? his arms crossed, a stern look. you rubbed your eyes as you began to sober up.
“hey,” he said, his voice filling the quiet room.
“hi akaashi, what are you doing here?” you asked.
“what am i doing here? i live here. why are you getting here so late?” he uncrossed his arm before taking a few steps closer.
“oh sorry… i went drinking…” you were utterly confused. why are you mad? oh… maybe he doesn’t know that i know he comes home late… or that he bought makeup to cover his “bruises”. still. hypocrite. hypocrite. hypocrite.
“y/n, are you sure? you’re not lying are you?” he asked, with a worried look on his face. 
“l-lying?” you fought back the tears that threatened to fall. “what about you?” you had enough. “you come late almost every night,” it hurts. “you come home with unknown bruises, don’t think i didn’t notice,”
his eyes were wide. your eyes wet. tears finally falling down freely. your face was relaxed. your eyebrows were normal and your lips relaxed as well. tears ruining your makeup.
he lunged himself at you, embracing you. sobs began to come out of your mouth. 
“you are misunderstanding. i don’t know what bruises you’re talking about but.. i’ve been coming home late because i have been working overtime to earn more money,” he explained.
i must be delusional.
you spent that night in his embrace. catching up with each other, laughing, rewatching your favorite movie. the distance had finally been closed.
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you were so excited to hear your boss dismiss you from work early. you grabbed your keys and rushed home. you and akaashi had planned a date for tonight. you had time to relax with him before having to get ready. life has finally begun to look good for you.
you parked your car and got out. you walked towards your house, pep in your step. before you reached the door, it had unlocked.
to your surprise, it was a woman. she had messy brown hair, and sweats. she also had bruises… “bruises”.. that look fairly familiar. she glanced at you before closing the door and walking away. 
huh?
you took your keys and unlocked the door. standing at the doorway. you were met with a shirtless akaashi. he hadn’t turned around to see who it was but he had heard the door open.
“miki is that you? how did you get in? did you forg-” his words stopped when he looked back at the door.
he saw you. you were there. your eyes looked watery. your arms had dropped to the side.
“y-y/n..” he stuttered before taking two steps towards you.
“why?” you said.
“w-what?... it’s not what you think… she’s just a co-worker i promise…”
“what is that on your neck?” you responded, straight faced.
his eyes widened. hand moving covering his bruised neck.
“i’m sorry… i-i didn’t mean to… you were becoming so distant…” he was now about 2 feet away from you.
“i’ll change, i promise…” he pleaded, now he was on his knees, as if he was begging for forgiveness. well he was.
“why?” your face had changed. it wasn’t a poker face. you were genuinely crying.
“i still love you! you love me too right?” he asked, a hopeful smile on his face. he reached a hand out towards you.
you flinched. you almost went back. not again. you rushed towards you and akaashi’s bedroom locking the door behind you. you got your biggest luggage and packed all the essentials needed. you heard akaashi sobbing and hitting the door softly. 
you closed the luggage and opened the door. 
“y/n! what.. hey- what are you doing??” he asked when he saw your luggage.
still not having heard the answer you wanted, you asked once again.
“why?” 
“what? why do you-” 
before he could finish his sentence you walked past him. you dropped your house key on the floor, you then continued to walk out the door. akaashi standing at the doorway, eyes red from crying.
you got in your car and left. you didn’t know where you were going to go. but while driving the question popped up in your head. the one question you wanted to be answered.
“why do people make promises they can’t keep”
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“akaashi?” you asked, blushing.
“yes y/n,” he responded.
“i love you so much.” you said before grabbing his hand.
“i love you too,” he kissed your forehead.
“please don’t break my heart, akaashi,”
“i promise i won’t. i’d never lie or hurt you,”
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© all writings belongs to suhkusa 2020. do not repost or change.
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moonstruckbucky · a year ago
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Come Over (5/7)
Summary: You’re new to New York City. Fresh out of post-grad and wanting a change of pace, and this change comes in more ways than one.
Pairing: Bucky Barnes x fem!Reader. Neighbor AU.
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Warnings for Chapter: There’s some fluff and a quick look into Bucky’s head.
Notes: We’re getting into the thick of it here, folks. There’s only two more parts after this and I can’t even believe it. Feedback is always appreciated! Enjoy x
P.S. - I almost forgot the goddamn Read More again.
Series Masterlist //  Main Masterlist 
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The rest of October passes by in a chilly blur and in surprising quiet. It’s because, you learn, that Sharon is away again for work. You can’t help but notice the change in Bucky; he smiles more, doesn’t appear to walk on eggshells with anything, and you’re back to your regular coffee dates. You know it should set off alarm bells in your head that he’s so closed off when she’s around, but then you realize Bucky probably doesn’t have a lot of friends due to Sharon’s obvious insecurities and probable control issues. So you ignore it, allow yourself to feel bad that the only time Bucky can be himself is when she’s away.
The tension from the month before is gone, and so you choose not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Bucky’s apologized again and again for obviously upsetting you by being loud, and you find no choice but to accept each one when he looks at you with those goddamn eyes.
It’s during one of your weekend coffee dates that Bucky opens up a little bit more. About himself, his relationship, how Sharon went from being an amazing woman when they first started dating to now, where he barely recognizes her most days. 
“Her jealousy is out of control,” he sighs, shaking his head. He looks off to the window in your kitchen, lost in his head as if he’s trying to pinpoint the exact moment his relationship took a nosedive. Unthinking, you reach across the table and lay your hand on his and his eyes snap to first you and then your joined hands.
“Have you talked to her? See if you can find out why she’s started being like this? There has to be a reason…”
You can see the minute Bucky gets defensive; his jaw locks and he sits up, yanks his hand out from under yours. “I haven’t cheated, if that’s what you’re insinuating.”
You hold your hands up innocently. “I wasn’t insinuating anything, Bucky. I was just asking. Sometimes these kinds of issues are deep-seated and stay dormant for a while before coming out. When did you start noticing her jealousy spiking?”
He blows out a breath and shakes his head, his long hair hanging in his face. You have to clench your fist to resist reaching out and brushing it aside. Bucky leans forward on your small table, chin resting on his hands as he thinks. His eyes light up in realization and he seems almost bashful now. Your curiosity piques.
“A-About the time you moved in,” he admits quietly, and then hurries to add, “I-I-I mean, there were other, smaller instances, I guess. But it was just, you know, her arm around my waist or some sudden PDA. Nothing huge. But, god don’t take this the wrong way, but when I told her you’d moved in, it’s like some kind of flip was switched. We ended up fighting about it.”
“I...I heard,” you mutter, twirling your coffee mug. Bucky looks horrified and you hurry to placate him. “I couldn’t hear specifics. Just...just your raised voice, that’s all.”
Groaning, he slides a hand down his face. “Some neighbor I am, huh?”
You smile sadly and shake your head. “Bucky, you’re a great neighbor. People argue. It’s fine.”
He meets your eyes, gratitude shimmering within the blue depths, and his gaze holds you there. Heart beating erratically in your chest, you realize this is a moment. It’s magnetic, the pull between you, and it takes an exorbitant amount of effort to break the stare and shatter the tension. Bucky shifts in his seat and focuses on his coffee cup.
“More coffee?” you ask because you need to fill the silence with something. At his nod, you scoot back from the table and refill both mugs. Take your seat and try to bring back some lightness to the room. “So Thanksgiving is coming up. You and Sharon have any fun plans?”
He scoffs bitterly as he stirs his coffee. Body rigid and an eye roll barely suppressed. “She’s away for work so, I’m on my own.”
“For Thanksgiving? That’s unacceptable. You should come spend it with my family. Clint will be there, and maybe Sam. I’m sure they’d love to have you.”
The invitation is out before you can really think too much on it. It feels natural, asking him to join you. Feels too natural if you let yourself think on it, but you don’t. It’s out there between you and you watch Bucky for his reaction.
He’s surprised. But he wants to say yes, you can see it on his face, but he shakes his head. “I couldn’t intrude on your family like that.”
It saddens your heart to think Bucky would be intruding. For people who aren’t really that close, you’ve shared a lot of personal baggage between you, and the thought of Bucky spending a holiday meant to be spent with family alone hardens your resolve. You won’t accept ‘no’, can’t. Not when Sharon doesn’t seem to care about being home with him.
“You won’t be.” You’re sure of this. Clint loves Bucky, and you’re damn sure the rest of your family will too. “You’re coming with me. No ifs, ands, or buts. Got it?”
Bucky thinks better of arguing with you. Sighs and nods his head like an obedient child but with a quick smile that says he’s grateful for the invitation. The two of you settle back into your chairs, the air between you both light but with a lurking tension that bubbles just beneath the surface.
The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are hectic, manic, whatever word that describes ultimate bedlam you prefer. Stark Industries is closing on a new deal to allow for human trials of a new “super-suit” Tony has dubbed it, and it’s crucial that all ducks are in their designated rows to minimize liability risks. It’s a tornado of paperwork, phone calls with lawyers and insurance companies, emails back and forth with the physicists assigned to the project.
It’s a mess, and it leaves you haggard, exhausted, and more than a little cranky. You’ve accidentally snapped at Wanda more times than you can count, and if you hadn’t been paying attention, Tony might’ve been at the end of one of your fits as well. Fortunately, you’d just managed to catch yourself after he’d reminded you—again—about the write-up due to the project managers before the holiday.
It’s late the Tuesday before the holiday when you return home—nearly eight o’clock, and you’re about ready to collapse. You feel drunk on exhaustion as you stagger down the hall barefoot, your stupid heels hanging over your index finger. Eyelids heavy, like two lead weights are weighing them down, you stifle a yawn in your elbow. One of your heels goes clattering to the floor.
“Fuck,” you hiss, groaning long and loud as you bend over to retrieve it and your back protests the movement. You don’t realize you’re in front of Bucky’s door until it opens, and your neighbor, in all his pajama-clad muscled glory, frowns down at you.
“Y/N? What the hell happened to you?”
You sigh and close your eyes, lean your head against your knee. “Thanks, Buck. You really know how to make a girl feel special.”
He rolls his eyes before stooping to wrap a hand around your arm. Gently he helps you to your feet, and you can’t help it when you stagger just slightly into his body.
“Whoa, easy there,” he coos, steadying you. His body is unnaturally warm where it presses up against yours and for a second, you let yourself bask in the heat. A moth to a flame. Wings scorched, but you’ll gladly burn.
“Sorry,” you sigh after a few moments, shaking your head, “it’s been a busy past couple of weeks and I’m about ready to collapse.”
“C’mon, gimme your keys. Let’s get you inside.”
He slides your keychain from your hand, opens your door, leads you in. You whine at the sight of your couch, but before you can faceplant into the cushions, Bucky’s steering you away.
“B-But,” you stutter on a whine, reaching out dramatically, childishly, for the piece of furniture.
“Mm, nuh-uh. First, comfy clothes. Then I’m making you something to eat. And then you’re going to bed.”
“Bucky.” You’re still whining, but you’re far too tired to care. Bucky sits you down on your bed, lunges forward when you tip backward in an attempt to climb under your duvet. He keeps you upright, and you pout. “Bucky.”
“Patience. Which drawer is your pajama drawer?” He sighs when he glances over his shoulder, sees you curling up in your blankets in your work attire. Averts his eyes when your skirt rides halfway up your thighs.
“Third from the top,” is your sleepy, mumbled reply paired with a half-assed lift of your arm. The drawer slides open then shut, and you grunt as fabric hits you in the face.
“Get changed and meet me in the kitchen.”
“You’re awful bossy,” you snark as you sit up, but he’s gone, and you can already hear him banging around in the kitchen.
When you’re finished, you step out of your room to see Bucky bent over the stove with a box of pasta in his hand. He dumps the entire contents of the box into the pot, stirs, and then glances up when you appear in his line of vision. He smiles softly. 
“You look exhausted.”
“Yeah,” you sigh as you sit at the island, dig your hands into your eyes as if to ward off said exhaustion. “We’re ready to move onto trials with one of the suits and Tony’s been running me ragged but fortunately he gave me tomorrow off because of the holiday Thursday so…”
“Good. You should rest a lot tomorrow.”
“You’re still coming Thursday, right?” you ask tentatively. You’re trying not to come across too eager, but Bucky’s sly little grin tells you you kind of failed.
“Of course. It’s definitely better than spending it alone.” There’s a bitter undertone in his voice, but he’s moving on before you can press on it.
You eat in the living room; Bucky throws on some true crime documentary that only holds your attention for about ten minutes. Between the comfy clothes, the blanket you’re under, and the warmth of the food in your belly, you’re out like a light, head cocked uncomfortably against the arm of the couch.
Bucky glances over, does a double take and smiles softly. Mouth open, eyelids fluttering. It shouldn’t make his heart race, yet he thinks it might give out with how fast it’s beating, how his chest vibrates with its beat. He gently grabs the nearly-empty bowl from your limp fingers, which curl up and into the blanket, tucking it under your chin as you roll over and shove your face into the back cushion of your couch.
It’s endearing, despite the deep circles Bucky can see even in the dimmed lighting in the room. Setting both bowls on the coffee table, he wipes his hands on his sweatpants; he’s nervous, has never been this close, much less in such a vulnerable situation. Your warm against him as he scoops you up; his conscience would never let him rest if he’d left you to sleep on the couch. He feels his heartbeat stutter when you curl into him like you’d curled into your blanket, nose buried against his chest. He hopes the rapid thudthudthud of his heart doesn’t wake you, prays you stay oblivious to the way you’re making him feel. Your nightshirt slides up and his fingers touch your bare skin. It’s like setting fire to flint—a spark, and then all-consuming flame as it slithers and writhes up his arm and into his belly, his chest. He knows his cheeks are a thousand shades of red; he’s never had such a visceral reaction to touch before, even when he’d met Sharon and still knew who she was. 
He side-steps into your room, avoids bonking your head or your dangling feet against the frame. Blankets pulled back, your soft and pliant body laid underneath. A soft sigh that slides between your parted lips, a content smile as you roll onto your belly, tug your second pillow to your chest, a visible deflate. Bucky’s immobile, feet planted so firmly into your floor he wonders if he’d grown roots there. He knows he should leave, knows he’s a creep for remaining unmoving, but he can’t look away from you.
Your eyelids still flutter, your mind lost in some dream that he’s yearning to hear about. How did he fall so deeply?
Like dragging lead through water, he begins to walk from your room, freezes when your lips mumble out something that sounds oddly like Bucky. He swallows around the lump in his throat, the rising guilt in his belly that burns like acid. He leaves the door open a crack, cleans your empty bowls, and leaves because he can’t bare the gnawing in his gut, the want, the longing, the absolute need for you to destroy him.
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Chapter Six
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thatshithurted8 · 2 years ago
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When You Grow Up
Summary: Frat!Tom! leaves reader after he finds out she’s pregnant with his baby.
Prompt: “Walk out that door and we’re through.” “I’m pregnant.” 
Length: 1,389
Requested by: @babebenhardy
A/N happy Canada Day to the Canadians!!
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When you first met Tom you never expected him to make such an impact on your life. You two started off as friends, but then you both started to have feelings for each other. When you first discovered these feelings you were scared shitless. You knew Tom’s tendencies of being a player and always hooking up with at least one girl every weekend. Your fears disappeared when Tom actually admitted his feelings to you first. 
However, there is always a catch with the infamous Tom Holland. He didn’t like labels, he believed that they ruined things, so you guys never had the official title of boyfriend and girlfriend. 
At first this worried you. After all, girls throw themselves at him like he was some sort of God, but you trusted Tom and you knew he wouldn’t do anything to hurt you. Or so you thought. 
Despite,being hit on basically every day Tom only had eyes for one person and that was you. He loved you unconditionally even at times when it doesn’t seem like it. 
As of right now you were sitting on the living room couch in your apartment that you shared with a girl in some of your college classes. You sat up late on this cold Friday night waiting for Tom to swing by after a party. This was your guys’ routine basically every weekend. 
The party scene wasn’t really your thing and Tom understood that so he’d always make sure to see you before or after a party to spend some quality time with you. On the rare occasion you will tag along with him and his best mate, Harrison. 
It was one o’clock when you finally heard a knock on your front door. You quickly get up, making sure to hide the present you have for Tom before looking through the peephole of the wooden door and opening it to reveal Tom. 
“Hey baby.” He says smiling while looking you up and down, causing you to blush. Even though you two have basically been dating for a year and a half he still made your heart skip a beat.
“You’re early?” You say more of a question as you open the door wider for him to walk inside. 
He slips off his shoes before speaking, “Well you said you had a surprise for me and the curiosity was killing me.” 
“Okay go sit down on the couch and I’ll go get it.” You say before walking into the kitchen to grab Tom a glass of water and bread. When you walk into the living room Tom is settled on the opposite side of the couch you were sitting on before he came over. 
“Here.” You say placing the food and drink on the coffee table. “Thank you baby.” He says looking up at you and pulling you down by your hands for a quick kiss. 
“Are you ready for the surprise?” You ask walking over to the gift. 
Tom takes a big gulp of water while holding one finger up signifying he needed a minute. “Hell yea!” He says after setting the now half empty glass on the table in front of him. 
You smile and grab the plastic bag that held the gift for Tom. You place it on his lap then sit down beside him with a giant smile on your face. You were filled with nerves with what the future might hold, but you were also excited at the fact that you and Tom are creating a family. 
As Tom removes the tissue paper from the bag you watch with a smile on your face that is from ear to ear. The first thing Tom pulls out of the bag is a baby’s onesie that read ‘When I grow up I want to be just like my daddy!’ 
Tom’s eyebrows instantly furrow together as he reads the small article of clothing. “What does this mean?” He asks with a change of tone in his voice, which only caused your nerves to increase. 
“There’s more stuff in the bag.” You say, still smiling even though you have a bad feeling about this. 
The second and last thing Tom takes out of the bag is a clearblue pregnancy test. Tom being a male had no idea what it was and opened the cap. He was about to smell it when you quickly stopped him. 
“Tom it’s not a magic marker read it!” You encourage him as you giggle. 
He flips it over and says, “Pregnant? Why does it say pregnant?” He asks looking at you extremely confused. 
You smile and let out a deep breath. “I’m pregnant.” 
“What?” Tom asks as his face falls along with the items in his hands. 
Your smile instantly vanishes from your face. “What do you mean what? Tom, I’m pregnant, we’re going to have a baby!” 
Tom quickly stands up and starts pacing leaving you to sit in your spot on the couch as you watch him walk around. You could tell he was trying to gather his thoughts, but this wasn’t the reaction you expected. 
“Well? What do you think?” 
“That we’re way too fucking young to have a child.” He blurts out while looking at you. 
“W-what?” You stutter. 
“Y/N, baby, we’re too young to have a child we’re still in school. Bloody hell.” 
“So you don’t want this baby?” You ask as tears well up in your eyes. 
“I’d love to have kids with you Y/N I really would, but we still have our whole lives ahead of us, hell we don’t even have a plan for after school set in stone yet. There’s no way we can have a baby right now let alone raise it.” 
“Well like it or not we are because this baby is currently growing inside of me.” 
“You can’t be serious?” Tom asks walking over to you and sitting on his knees on the floor in front of you. “The only logical option we have right now is to abort it or put it up for adoption.” He says looking into your eyes and that’s when the first tear fell. 
“Tom I’m having this baby.” You say as your voice cracks. 
“What part of us being too young do you not understand?” 
“If you don’t want this baby then fucking leave I’ll be a single mom for all I care!” You yell at the brunette in front of you. 
“Come on baby be practical, there’s no way you can raise this child on your own.” 
“Watch me.” You say looking Tom in the eyes with a glare so strong he flinches. He slowly rises to his feet and walks over to the front door slipping on his shoes. You couldn’t believe this was happening. 
“Are you sure this is what you want? I still want you Y/N, but I don’t want a baby.” 
“Then maybe you should’ve thought about that before impregnating me!” You yell so loud that your voice becomes raspy. 
“It takes two people to make a baby.” He says softly to you from across the room. 
“And it’s going to take one person to raise it, now get the fuck out!” 
Tom places his hand on the doorknob and twists it open, opening the door a sliver. Before he opens the door fully he turns back to look at you and his heart drops at the sight. You skin was blotchy as tears fell from your now red eyes. 
“If I walk out of this door we’re through you know that right?” He asks raising an eyebrow. 
“We were done when you told me to abort this baby! Get out of my fucking house!” You yell as tears fall from your eyes, water blurring your vision. 
With that being said Tom sighs and walks out of your apartment, closing the door gently behind him. He stands on the other side of the door instantly regretting what he did. In a fit of rage you scream and throw his glass of water at the door he just walked out of, causing him to jump on the other side. 
As you curl into a ball on the couch and cry yourself to sleep, you hope and pray that your unborn child doesn’t grow up to be like their father at all, despite what the small onesie says. 
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holland-ish · 3 years ago
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Prologue Part 1 Part 2
Summary: Hey I loved your fratboy tom blurb but I’m sadistic and was wondering if you could do a blurb with a spin like say the really reason he dated you was for a bet/dare and you find out.
Word Count: 2,404
Here’s the third part of this series that I’m working on with @hollandroos and @cosmetologynerd ,enjoy!
“So, you and Holland, huh?” Your friend speaks, her voice hiding something other than excitement. Possibly concern. You had been walking to your dorms, discussing classes and what you were doing in the weekend when she’d bought up the boy you could barely get your mind off of.
Your face immediately turns a light shade of red and you couldn’t help the words that fell from your mouth sounded shaky, stumbling them out a little too quickly. “I mean, we’ve been studying together for a few weeks now. He needed someone to help him with his English paper and I just happened to be in the library at the time.”
“I’ve heard rumours about the two of you heading up to his room at that party a couple nights ago” She pried. There were reasons you hadn’t given her too many details about Tom, reasons involving her pestering.
“We didn’t do anything.” You didn’t lie, well, not really. “Harrison came in before we could do anything too serious.” You try to hide your face in your books, shielding your eyes from your friend's disappointed glances.
“We always said we wouldn’t get involved with boys like them, Y/N.  Boys like Tom-, they only want one thing” A part of you knew she was right, but the other part was head over heels for the boy with chocolate brown eyes and toffee curls. You sighed.
“He’s not like that!” You couldn’t stop yourself from defending Tom against his reputation. “Tom’s nice. I think he might actually care about me. He’s really flirty but he doesn’t pressure me or anything. He respects me.”
She sighed and looked at you, doubt written all over her face. “I can’t even count the number of girls who have fallen for his tricks on both my hands.”
You were starting to get annoyed with her by this point, fully believing every word she’d heard about Tom without getting to know him like you had. You knew on some level that she was right. Tom had probably told these same lies, had those same conversations, made them feel this way- but you didn’t listen to that voice. No, he had been like that. In the past. But he was different now, you saw it in the way he looked at you, the nervous way he’d fluttered his lips over yours, the way he smiled at you. He was your Tommy. He wasn’t Tom Holland the playboy. Not with you.
“You don’t know him like I do,” you whispered to your friend. She nodded slightly, seeing that you were clearly head over heels for this idiot and it was then and there that she promised to be there for you if- no, when he played you.
“I’m just saying, keep an eye out when it comes to him.” You nod, feeling your insides swimming with guilt and regret due to talking about the boy that’d given you so much happiness and showed you so much affection in the last few weeks. He’d made you feel wanted, beautiful, and most importantly, desired.
“If it worries you that much then it’ll make you happy to hear that after today we should be finished with his paper. He probably won’t even want to see me again,” the words held your deepest fears, all of your doubts about what you knew in Tom. You hoped you were wrong.
She nods her head, your dorms coming into view. “I just don’t want to see you getting hurt over this boy.”
“Trust me, I’ll be fine,” You shrugged, though you did have a few doubts. You were filled with anxiousness just at the thought of him doing something to upset you. He wouldn’t hurt you, right?
Still, as much as you thought you believed that Tom wouldn’t do anything to hurt you on purpose, there was still an underlying layer of doubt that was muffled out by the way he charmed you.
Tom was at your dorm before you arrived back, his bag slung over his shoulder, typing away furiously on his phone. The sight of him waiting for you in front of his door made you smile and tuck a strand of hair behind your ear. Maybe you were turning into a lovesick kitten.
He saw your first, immediately flicking his phone off and trying to ignore the messages Harrison had been sending him, seemingly all afternoon.
Haz: Dude, are you seriously with her right now? You’re whipped.
Haz I’m starting to think you may win this bet
Haz: Party this Friday @ the frat across from ours
Haz: I invited the girls from the sorority, I found the perfect one for you.
Haz: I can’t wait to see Y/N’s face when you tell her this was all a bet.
Tom did feel guilty, in fact, he felt disgraceful, because he was going to be liable for everything you felt when eventually, you found out about the bet. He would admit it in a second, he was a bad person. Though anyone else would disagree. It wasn’t him himself, it was his actions, his inability to give into peer pressure. There was nobody else to be held accountable for the pain he was worried that he would put you through. Just him; just Tom.
As much as Tom hated that he had let himself reach this point; that he had let himself stoop so low as to knowingly shatter an unsuspecting and innocent heart, he convinced himself that there was no way out of this without making an ass of himself in front of his friends. So be it, he thought, if he had to do this to get through university with a reputable image.
“Hey there, Holland. Ready to finish that paper of yours?” You gave your friend a small wave and in return, she flicked you a wink, stepping into her dorm opposite yours.
Tom looked up quickly, stuffing his phone into his back pocket, smiling as he looked at you. His stomach was filled with dread of the hopefully late future. “Ready as I’ll ever be, I guess.”
“That’s it! Paper complete, I can assure you that’s a solid A,” You smiled, placing your pens back in their holder though on the inside you were bummed that your last session with Tom was over, the chances that he’d want to see you again were thin.
“I can’t thank you enough for this,” He smiled genuinely for a moment before a cheeky grin took over his features. “You know, I didn’t actually need help with this paper. I would’ve been happy with a C but I just-, I had to get closer to you.”
You coughed awkwardly, continuing to fiddle with a pen. His words made your heart flutter as you stared at the completed paper, his handwriting messily scribbled over the work as well as the small, coin-sized heart he’d doodled on your hand when he’d got bored still sat in all its glory. You were trying not to look into his eyes knowing that if you did, you’d melt in an instant. The tiny details were enough to make a smile break out on your face and your heart swim with joy but your friend's words still sat in the very back of your mind.
Ignoring the way that your stomach seemed to do somersaults inside your body, you flicked through the work you had created to distract yourself from overthinking about what Tom had just said. This was all so unrealistic in its own sense but it wasn’t as if you were complaining.
You weren’t in love yet, but you were surely in over your feet in possibly the best way possible. “I mean-, you told me the other night but I thought you were kidding. You could’ve just talked to me, Tommy.”
“But with my reputation, would you have let me in?” You put your head down, chewing on your bottom lip. “Exactly.” He nods, feeling slightly disappointed. Tom places his hand under your chin, gently forcing you to look back at him. You saw genuinity in his eyes, he wasn’t smirking or teasing you and that made your heart grow possibly the size of a balloon because goddammit, maybe you changed the player.
“You’re not who everyone says you are and I’m glad I got to see the real you. The Tom that doesn’t get wasted every night despite coming to lectures looking slightly hungover every day.” You let a giggle pass your lips. “The you that actually likes theatre but refuses to let anyone else know, or the you that carried my books back to my dorm yesterday not because I asked you too, but because you wanted to.”
He felt heat rush to his face at your words and his stomach twisted uncomfortably for a moment, guilt flashing through his mind once again. But you were right; you did know the real him. You knew he loved theatre, you knew he wasn’t always focused on the next pretty girl who flashed him a grin, you knew his quirks; like he knew yours. “S-so. I was wondering… Now that my papers finished and all- how about that dinner?” He said the words with a slight stutter, his ever so confident act fading away for a moment.
You couldn’t possibly be hearing him right. You were half convinced he’d walk out that door as soon as you finished his paper, but was he really- did he just- “T-tommy, did you just ask me out on a date?”
He smiled, his true genuine smile and you felt yourself smile back at him. “I did.”
For a second Tom swore you were going to say no, kick him out of the dorm and never associate yourself with him again. This was the first time, possibly ever, that Tom Holland was afraid of being turned down.
“Yes. I’d love to go to dinner with you.”
A smile split across Tom’s face, his insides fluttering nervously as butterflies erupted in his stomach at your answer. You said yes. He’d been so sure, convinced himself that you would say no… But you were smiling just as large as he was, both excited and both just as nervous.
He wrapped his arms around you, hugging you tightly, laughing his head off. “Great!” His smile was infectious and you couldn’t help but laugh along with him as your insides fluttered happily. He asked you on a date. Tom Holland asked you out on a date! He placed a kiss on your temple before heading towards the door. “I’ll be by around eight to pick you up, yeah?”
“Okay,” you smiled nervously at him, a blush creeping onto your cheeks as you placed your fingers on the temple Tom’s lips had graced only seconds before. “See you then, Tommy.”
As eight o’clock rolled around, the reality of your situation hit you. You were going on a date with Tom Freaking Holland. You could only imagine the types of dates he’d been on before and you’d hoped your favourite black dress held up to par. You nervously played with your hair, questioning the style over and over, touching up your makeup even though there was nothing to fix, just hoping he would be impressed.
What you didn’t know, was that the infamous playboy was equally as nervous. He’d paced around his room one too many times, and tousled his curls so much he was sure he looked crazy. He looked at his copy of Romeo and Juliet lying on his desk, pages bookmarked with his lines, and he smiled to himself as he remembered your words the last time you were with him here. It suits you. He shook himself and walked out of his room, his confidence growing with every second as he walked to your dorm with a slight skip in his step, purposely dodging his frat buddies.
A few called after him, “Where ya off to, Holland?” or “Ya hit that yet?” but Tom ignored them, his ears heating up at their words. He knew they were all in on the bet, but he didn’t count on them flustering him this much. He shook himself to calm down before knocking on your door, dancing on his toes waiting for you to answer.
When you opened the door, his eyes widened and he swore then and there that he was in over his head. You looked gorgeous. Yes, he always thought you looked gorgeous but right now, in that black dress, your hair in that updo and your makeup done lightly, not at all overdone, he almost melted.
His breath caught in the back of his throat, his palms felt clammy and he could’ve sworn his heart skipped a beat as he took you in. “Y-you look stunning, darling.”
Your cheeks heated up and you dropped your gaze from him as you responded softly, “Thank you, you look nice as well.” The two of you were absolutely smitten for each other. If only you knew just how much he truly cared for you.  “Where are we heading?”
Tom held out his arm allowing you to loop your arm through it and he smiled, “It’s a surprise.”
You laughed nervously, following him along the campus pathway, chatting lightly, noticing that the few people you passed on campus gave you strange looks. You could understand why; you were the booky English major nobody, arm in arm with the hottest boy on campus. “People are staring at you,” you whispered, feeling embarrassed as Tom let you up the steps of the theatre on campus.
“Trust me, darling, they’re all staring at you.” He placed a small kiss on your temple before opening the doors to the stage room and allowed you to enter first. What greeted your eyes was the stage set of Romeo and Juliet, along with a checkered picnic blanket and a woven basket stuffed with all kinds of foods. Candles littered their way around the stage, and two wine glasses sat at the front of the stage.
“Oh, Tommy,” you whispered, walking down to the stage, looking back at him with a large grin plastered on your face. “It’s s beautiful.”
He smiled to himself, glad he had asked his mother for an idea on how to woo a girl. “What do ya say, sweetheart, a glass of wine to celebrate finishing my paper?”
Tagging: @hereiamhereigo @wtfholland @saracastickid @leni-lion-luke-larb-logic @cutehollands @joetasker @whileinparis @lionheo04 @tmrhollandkay
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xiaosmoon · 16 days ago
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the boys as your roommate in college
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parings: xiao, childe, & albedo x gn!reader
warnings/content: mostly fluff, mentions of injury (cuts & bruises)
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-> xiao
being roommates with xiao was interesting to say the least. when you first met him, he literally never talked to you unless he had to.
if you didn't know any better, you could've swore you were living with a ghost. the only greetings you would exchange were good mornings and good nights
after two months of this nonsense, you decided enough was enough. when you came back from your long day of classes, you confidently approached xiao's door with your chest puffed and head held high. you knock firmly, trying to hold onto your faltering confidence.
"come in." the response was muffled through the door. you slowly unlock and push it open, peaking your head in first. the room was very dark. the curtains were closed and not a single light was on. well, except the blaring bright screen of xiao's monitor that was very focused on. you assumed he was gaming; it's all he ever does.
his eyes remained focus on his gaming, paying no mind to you. "um xiao, are you busy? i can come back later." you were just about to peep your head back out before xiao stopped you. "i'm not busy. what's up?" his attention still not on you.
you inhale deeply, walking into his room and closing the door behind you. here goes nothing. "i- uh, well. here's the thing; i really hate how we never talk even though we live under the same roof! i know nothing about you, your interests, your personal life, literally nothing! and i really wanna talk to you because you seem like a cool person but you're really giving me the impression you hate me." that came out a lot faster than intended.
xiao's cheeks were flaming. he removed his headset and paused his game, turning around in his chair so he was face to face with you. "um, i'm sorry." he softly confessed, avoiding your gaze. "i don't really get along with people. but we can be friends, or uh at least try. sorry for being a douche."
you were satisfied with his response. after that day, you invited xiao out to lunch all the time to study. you guys even began having weekly movie nights!
you soon found out that xiao actually has a twitch account with two hundred thousand subscribers. he invited you to join his stream onetime and his fans went absolutely insane.
comments like "are they your s/o???" "omg who's that xiao, they're so hot wtf??" "y'all have to be dating" flooded in and xiao couldn't hide his blushing. he couldn't deny the comments assumptions, he ended up developing a little crush on you.
but he wouldn't confess anytime soon, afraid of messing up the amazing relationship you two shared. (or really because he doesn't know how to confess)
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-> childe
you were surprised this boy wasn't in a frat when you first met him. spoiler alert: he was.
when you had asked him why he wasn't living in the frat house, all he said was "the boys are too rowdy. i prefer my personal space."
you found that very hard to believe. he was out partying every weekend and had at least two girls on his side at all times.
"come on, come to the party with me! you never go." he pouted, bending over to rest his elbows on the kitchen counter with his  irresistible face resting on his palms. "for the hundredth time ajax, i don't feel like spending my lovely friday night surrounded by sweaty bodies & puking college students." you placed a lid on the pot of pasta you were cooking.
"ugh you're a party pooper." he dramatically groans & comes around to where your finished garlic bread was. "besides, it's not like you have anything else planned!" he says taking a big bite of the bread.
"well excuse you," you snatched the bread out of his hand, leaving you with a very sad childe. "i have a date with edward cullen!" "you've seen twilight a million times." "your point being?"
one night, childe didn't come home. you had assumed he was at another one of his hook ups or he had just crashed at scaramouche's. but the next morning, you saw childe sprawled across your couch with the nastiest cuts and bruises you have ever seen. there was an open first aid kit on the coffee table showing that he at least attempted to clean himself up.
"you idiot." you whispered to yourself. you shook him awake gently, not knowing what other injuries this dumbass might have. he stirred and let out a groan, "5 more minutes, promise."
you were not having it. "ajax you better wake your ass up right now or so help me god i will throw a vase at you." he sat up so quick you flinched a bit. your eyes scan his shirtless body, evaluating all of the injures. without thinking, you begin to trace the bruise on his right shoulder.
"what happened to you? and more importantly why didn't you wake me up?" you mumble, still fixated on the bruise. childe's cheeks heated up at the skin to skin contact. he never blushes. "uhm i didn't wanna bother you? waking you is basically asking for death." he teased lightly. you snap your gaze up to his. "ajax, i'm literally a pre-med student. what else is hurting?"
childe explained how he got into a physical fight because someone was insulting you. he of course wasn't having it, so he beat the other guy to a pulp. the guy wasn't as good of a fighter as childe was of course, but he managed to get a few hits in. after that day, you looked at childe in a new light. he protected your name and got hurt in the process; something that meant a lot to you.
slowly, childe started changing too. no more random hookups, no more partying every weekend (he even joined you on your rom-com movie nights), and no more recklessness. he realized that he wanted to be a better person for you. a better possible love interest for you. and before he knew it, he had fallen hopelessly in love with you.
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-> albedo
being roommates with albedo was a surprise waiting for you everyday. his room was practically a science lab. at random times in the middle of the night, you'll occasionally hear a big bang from his room. this night, it was particularly very loud. rushing over in your sleepwear, you'd slam his room door open to see a puff of dark grey smoke coating the room.
you pull your shirt up over your nose and attempt to swat the smoke away with your hand. "cough cough, albedo? are you okay- cough." you could barely make out his figure in the thick smoke, but continue to walk towards him. before you could take another step, albedo bolts towards you, grabbing your wrist. he runs out of the room, dragging you with him. once you're out to safety, he shuts the door behind him.
"y/n! are you alright, let me see your eyes. can you breath fine?" he grabs you by the shoulders and brings your body very close to his. the lack of space between you is enough to make you forget everything. "i- um, i'm- i'm fine albedo. what happened? what was that?" you managed to speak. once he's sure you're alright, he pulls away a bit and loosens the grip on your shoulders. he looks at his bedroom door, "an experiment went wrong. i wasn't expecting the outcome to go wrong so horribly." he returns his eyes back to you with an apologetic smile. "i don't think it's safe for us to sleep here tonight."
after that incident, you and albedo both agreed that no more experiments should be tested in the dorm. (the RA may or may not have also banned him from it) you did feel bad for albedo, so you offered to assist him at the college laboratory on your free time. you were a biology major so it worked perfectly.
you guys had long nights full of laughter and fun in the lab. most nights security had to kick you guys out because you lost track of time.
overtime, albedo was sure that he developed romantic feelings for you. he's never felt this way about anyone before. he wants to confess, he truly does, but he just doesn't know how to go about it.
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astronomyparkers · 3 years ago
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The Upside of Falling Down {VI}
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Warnings: Language
Pairing: University!Peter Parker x reader
Word count: 2.2k
A/N: Wow, two updates in one month???? Unheard of!!! But it’s here y’all!!!!!! And I have a bit more news for you. Originally, this was going to be the last part of TUoFD. However, when I was writing it, I felt like the events I wanted to take place and the pace of it would fit better if it were split into two parts. And since Skyline was seven parts, and I love having things be even and formatted the same....there will be a part vii to TUoFD!!!! I’m not quote sure when it’ll be up, since reading break finishes this weekend, but I’ll do my best!!! I love you all so much for sticking with this story.  You’re my everything, and you have my whole heart.
{masterlist}
“…was able to stop the attackers before they could fire any more shots at the event.” The news caster’s voice on the TV in the student lounge glanced back down at her notes before continuing. “Although there were police already at the attack when it began, witnesses say that it was Spider-Man’s heroics that prevented there from being any fatalities, and limited the number of injured to less than ten. Both gunman are in police custody, but the NYPD has yet to release a statement about the involvement of the masked hero.  Now, our next story—”
You glanced around the student lounge, making sure it was completely empty before you flipped off the television.  With a sigh, you tossed the remote onto the couch next to you and rubbed your eyes.
Although it had been a month since you and Peter had stopped talking completely, you couldn’t stop keeping up with his crime fighting adventures.  After spending a month and a half trying to help him keep his secret and spending every moment of your day with him, going cold turkey with absolutely no contact was killing you.  It would be killing you even if you hadn’t slept together.  It would be killing you even if you hadn’t developed feelings for him.
But you had. And it made everything a million times worse.
There was no good morning text waiting for you when you woke up.  Peter didn’t greet you outside your dorm with coffee that had way too much cream and sugar (which was how he knew you liked it) and useless facts about different types of bacteria.  He didn’t walk you to your classes or sit next to you in lectures or compare notes in the library on your breaks.  He didn’t scribble illegible questions on cue cards to help you study for biology, and he didn’t give you the tiny smile that was basically just the corner of his mouth lifting up the smallest bit when you got the answer right. He didn’t give you anything.
Peter was actively avoiding you.  Before your last conversation, he had already stopped coming to your study group, and only saw you once a day to keep up the charade that you two were dating.  But now, he didn’t even try to pretend.  He went back to sitting on the opposite side of the lecture hall.  He didn’t say hi to you if you passed each other on campus.  He wouldn’t even look at you.
In some ways, you understood.  And in some ways, you hated him for it.
When you had confessed your feelings, Peter had confessed that he was in love with you. But he said it because he didn’t believe you were telling the truth. You had done such a great job of convincing yourself that you didn’t have feelings for Peter, that you had convinced him, too. In the month that had passed since you last spoke, you had felt every emotion under the sun.  You cycled through hurt and anger and sadness like you cycled through the days of the week.  Now, though, all you felt was emptiness.
You missed him.
 “Well, this is just sad.”
You turned your head to see Sadie walking into the student lounge, her suitcase in hand. With a sigh, she sat down next to you and pulled your legs onto her lap.
“Shouldn’t you have left for the airport already?  Your flight leaves in a couple hours.” You fiddled with your fingers as you tried to keep your face neutral.  You didn’t want Sadie to know that you were thinking about Peter again.
“I’ll be fine. I wanted to check on you one last time before I go.” Sadie rubbed your leg and smiled at you. “Are you sure you don’t want to come home with me for Christmas break?  My mom would love to meet you.  And I have lots of single cousins.  Only half of them are over thirty.”
You smiled back at her as you shook your head. “Thanks, Sadie, but no.  I’ve never had Christmas in New York before; it should be fun.”
“Normally, I’d agree with you, but Christmas in New York is only fun when you’re with friends and family.  Not when you’re all alone in a dorm.” Sadie rolled her eyes. “Didn’t you see Home Alone 2? It was way worse than the first one! You don’t want to be Home Alone 2, Y/N.”
“Well, seeing as how I’m not eleven, and I don’t have two escaped convicts after me, I think I’m safe.”
Sadie groaned. “You know what I mean.  Why didn’t you want to go home for Christmas?”
You gave her a look. “I told you, Sadie.  The flight to Seattle is over six hours long, it’s snowy and cold—”
“It’s snowy and cold here, too.”
“—and I want to be alone.  Being alone isn’t that bad.”
“Being alone? No.  But being lonely…” Sadie tilted her head to the side. “That’s pretty terrible.”
You looked away from her. “I guess it’s a good thing I’m not lonely, then.”
“Oh, cut the bullshit, Y/N.” Sadie rolled her eyes again and waited until you looked back at her before continuing. “I know you.  Ever since Peter broke up with you—”
“It was a mutual decision—”
“—ever since then, you’ve been moping.  I know you’re sad.  You’re allowed to be sad.  But you’re not allowed to spend Christmas holed up in your dorm around your tiny plant with one decoration on it like it’s the goddamn Charlie Brown Christmas tree, and tell me everything’s okay!”
You blew out a short gust of air. “Wow.  How long have you been holding that in for?”
Sadie cracked a smile. “Two weeks.  I’ve been trying to give you space.”
“Listen, Sadie, I’m fine.  I promise.  Cross my heart.” You reached out and grabbed your friend’s hand to squeeze it tight. “I’d tell you if I wasn’t.”
“I know, I just—”
“—Worry about me. But you don’t need to.” You smiled and pulled your hand away. “However, you do need to worry about missing your flight. I don’t want your mother to hate me before she even meets me.”
Sadie pushed your legs off of her lap and stood up. “Fine.  Now give me a hug before I go.”
You stood up and hugged her tight, burying your face in her neck. “I put your gift in your suitcase last night.  Don’t open it before Christmas.”
“And I’ve hidden your gift somewhere in your dorm.  Don’t find it before Christmas.”
You laughed and squeezed her one last time before pulling away. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” Sadie pressed a kiss to your cheek before she grabbed her suitcase and began walking out of the student lounge.
“Have fun in Iowa!” You called after her.
She replied without even turning around. “You know I won’t!”
You watched Sadie leave before you sat back down on the couch, your smile dropping from your face. Truthfully, you weren’t all that excited to stay on campus alone for Christmas.  But you weren’t in a very Christmas-like mood, and you knew that going back home or going to Iowa with Sadie would only bring down everyone around you.  It was better to be alone in your emotions, you decided.  Maybe by the time the New Year rolled around, you would feel a bit better.
 Your days passed uneventfully as the countdown to Christmas got smaller and smaller.  By the time December twenty-third rolled around, there were only a handful of people left on campus.  Snow was falling heavily every moment of the day, and walking around the courtyards of Columbia felt like walking through another world. It was silent and secluded, every sound muffled by the blanket of snow, every footprint you left gone in a matter of minutes.
Despite telling Sadie that you were staying to experience New York at Christmas, you had yet to venture off campus into the bustling city.  But it was the day before Christmas Eve, and you figured that you had to go eventually so you wouldn’t have to lie to her.  
Bundled in your warmest clothes, the knit scarf your mother mailed you a week earlier (“New York is freezing, Y/N!  I see it all over the news, and you insist on walking everywhere—”), and your snow boots, you set off into the city to see the tree at Rockefeller Center.  Last year, you hadn’t gotten the chance to go see it before you flew home for the holidays; this year was the perfect opportunity.
Although it was cold, you didn’t mind walking to Rockefeller.  It had been a while since you had been out in the city, and you had forgotten how much you loved it.  Once you reached the Center, flooded with families and people of all ages, the feeling of affection only grew.  Despite the chill of the snow, you felt a warmth growing inside you as you watched the children skate beneath the glow of the tree.  Even after you left Rockefeller Center a half hour later, that warmth still burned inside you, and the glow of the tree still illuminated your mind.  
And it stayed like that until you ran into Peter on your way back to Columbia.
As in, literally ran into him.  The snow began to fall heavier and heavier, and the sidewalks were full of people trying to get home before a blizzard started.  In the rush of people, you stumbled and slammed into the person in front of you who had been walking the other way.
“Sorry, I—”
“No, no, it’s—Y/N?”
Your eyes widened as you registered the voice you were hearing.  Looking up from the ground, you saw a bundled up and slightly disheveled Peter, his hands full of shopping bags, his expression mimicking yours.
“Oh—h-hi.” You took a deep breath and forced a smile. “How…how are you?”
“I’m…what are you doing here?  Why didn’t you go home for Christmas?” Peter adjusted his grip on his bags.  Despite his curious tone, his eyes were having trouble meeting yours.
And yours were doing the same.
“I-I’d never had Christmas in New York before.  It seemed…fun.”
“Did Sadie stay behind too?”
You shook your head. “No, she went back to Iowa.  She left last week.”
“Oh…” Peter drifted off awkwardly as conversation stalled. “That’s—”
“Peter!” A middle aged woman broke through the crowd and laid a hand on Peter’s shoulder. “I thought I lost you!  Keep up, slow poke.” She smiled affectionately at him before looking over at you. “Who’s this?”
“Um, May, this is my…” Peter cleared his throat. “This is Y/N.  Y/N, this is my Aunt May.”
“Hi.” You gave a small smile and wave, and May did the same.
“It’s so nice to finally meet you!” She squeezed Peter’s shoulder. “Peter’s told me so much—”
“May, Jesus,” Peter closed his eyes and sighed. “You can’t just—”
“No, it’s okay. Listen, I, um,” You bit your lip and wrapped your scarf around yourself tighter, eager to get away from the awkward encounter. “I’d better go.  It’s getting dark and I still have a few blocks to go before Columbia—”
“Wait, you’re not staying with friends?” Peter’s brow furrowed in confusion. “You’re on campus by yourself?”
“Yes?”
“That’s where you’re spending Christmas?” A look of concern came over May’s face.
You nodded quickly. “Yeah, it’s nice and quiet and—”
“And lonely! You can’t be alone on Christmas!” May said. “You should come for Christmas at our apartment.”
Your eyes widened and you began to shake your head frantically. “Oh, no, I couldn’t—”
“Yes, you could! We do a little Christmas Eve get together with a few of Peter’s friends, and then a nice Christmas dinner.  I’d love to add another!”
“May,” Peter’s jaw was locked tight. “She doesn’t want to—”
“Hush.” May gave Peter a stern look. “No one should be alone during the holidays.  What do you say, sweetheart?  Come over around 6:30 tomorrow?”
“Um, okay.” You smiled nervously at May and avoided eye contact with Peter. “I’ll...I’ll be there.”
“Wonderful!” May gave you a big smile. “Peter will text you the address!  And don’t worry about bringing anything.  Just come over and we’ll take care of everything.”
“T-thanks, I—”
“May, come on, we should let Y/N get back to her dorm before the snow gets worse.” Peter glanced at you quickly before turning towards his aunt.
“Alright, Y/N, we’ll see you tomorrow!”
“Yeah.  It was nice meeting you, May.  Peter,” You waited until the boy had turned around to face you again. “It was…good seeing you again.”
Peter nodded, his mouth set in a firm line. “You too.”
Before either of you could say another word, you turned around and began heading back to your dorm.  Although you desperately wanted to, you stopped yourself from turning around until you felt Peter’s burning gaze leave your back.  When you did finally glance back, he was gone.
{part vii}
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mademoisellehypergamy · 10 months ago
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I’m going to hurt a few feelings with this post, but it has to be said: Some of us will marry hypergamously. Some of you will not. End of discussion.
I believe every woman should be hypergamous, and should marry hypergamously. However, the harsh reality is: the odds are not favorable. 
This is due to a combination of many factors, including:
- The fact that most men nowadays are feminine, low value, and lazy. - The “feminism” movement tricked women/society to go ‘50/50′, and encourages working women like mules while raising children single-handedly. -Women in the hypergamous community not truly being hypergamous.
In regards to my last point:
50% of you are just  pick-mes in disguise that’ll revert back to your true form for some good d***. 35% of you ladies aren’t leveled up mentally enough for this life, and just want fast money. 10% of you ladies may date hypergamously, but fail to ever solidify marriage.
That leaves about 5% of the hypergamous community. The exception. The 5% that will succeed in securing a hypergamous marriage. You may wonder what you have to do to be part of that exception, but some of you aren’t even in the 10%-- the women who are dating hypergamously! 
How do you ladies expect to be in a hypergamous marriage if you’re not even dating hypergamously? Do you think the marriage will just appear out of thin air??? Make it make sense!
Today’s lesson is on how to improve your odds in hypergamy. Every one of you has the potential, but if you do not maximize it, you are will just waste time on your journey and get left behind.
💎  Hypergamy is a Numbers Game.  You will hear me state this quite frequently, but this is something I wish I had noted earlier. Ladies, men are brutal. They will be talking to 10 different women and propose to the 11th that they met this morning. If you do not have a roster of 3 or more men, you have to fix this ASAP! You cannot put your life on pause for one man. If you think being loyal to one man will get you the ring, you are greatly mistaken and foolish. The more men on your roster, the better you increase your odds. Do not be exclusive to only one man until you are engaged, or better yet, MARRIED. You are single until married. If your roster has no men at all, your homework for this upcoming week is to build. your. roster. 
💎 Be a Rarity  You cannot look like every other Instagram baddie out there. You have to stand out. Cultivate a look and personality that cannot be easily found. Radiate sensuality and exoticism. Your look and personality should be tantalizing. 
💎 Shut the F*** Up! I made a whole post regarding this, but some of you still won’t get it, so here’s a reminder: shut up, b****. Do not tell people you only date hypergamously. Do not show your POTs  off on your Instagram. Do not tell your childhood best friend about him. Keep your mouth SHUT. You do not know who is a snake in disguise, so stay silent and focused on your goals. Success breeds jealously, and your ‘friends’ will start hating for no reason, even though THEY chose to shack up with a dusty! I’m telling you ladies, people will SABOTAGE your happiness just because they’re miserable! You cannot bring everyone with you on this journey. You have to choose wisely, ladies. Don’t bring shady friends. Don’t bring abusive family members. This isn’t a weekend vacation where you overpack enough clothes for 2 weeks. Pack lightly. 
💎 3 Strikes, You’re Out. Do not give these men chances. They have a maximum of 3 dates to impress me before they’re out. I know others may argue to give men ‘more time’, but I say don’t bother. If a man has not impressed you in 3 dates, I promise you honey, it ain’t happening.  Also, if a man is already acting up before the first date, save yourself the headache and BLOCK HIM.
💎 Go On 1 Date a Week You can study all you want, but if you are not applying these tips, what’s the point?  You have to get out there and apply them in real life. You have to date. The longer you delay this stage, the longer it will take you to complete your hypergamous journey.
💎 Master Seduction Be hot. Then cold. Give him all your attention. Then disappear. Speak words of honey. Fill him with sensual experiences. Delay sexual intimacy, prolong the chase. Seduction is a game, and you should always be in control.
💎 Location Matters Remember ladies: you wouldn’t find a Birkin bag at a Walmart.
💎 Determine Your Value. Now Maximize It. *This topic will have its own post in the future because its quite extensive.* I often stress the importance of us ladies being “high value”. Being high value is not just a mental mindset, it’s a combination of your physical, mental, emotional, and individual character. Factors such as your age, appearance, race, weight, sexuality, personality, education, and upbringing ALL influence it. So yes, you can mentally be high value, but if everything else does not match, it will lower your value. To determine your value, make a list of your desirable attributes (ex. being beautiful, educated, slim). Then note your undesirable attributes (ex. youth/inexperience, bad teeth). Now balance out your attributes, by adding a positive attribute for each negative one and developing this new attribute. Here is an example to help you ladies out: A 21 year old young woman is dating a wealthy 40 year old man. She has a high sexual value because she’s young, fresh, and beautiful.  But this sexual value, automatically lowers her as a high value woman because youth is also associated with many negative traits (naive, being a gold-digger, not being serious/only good for a “good time”).  To balance these attributes and increase her high value expression, she cancels out the negatives. She does this by enrolling at a university (she is now seen as studious and educated), starting her own online shop (ambitious, an entrepreneur), or being heavily involved in philanthropy (altruistic, compassionate, and caring). In the eyes of men, these positive attributes overshadows the negative ones, making her even more desirable!
Stay focused ladies. Make sure to make the most of this upcoming week.
💎  Follow me on IG for more! @mademoisellehypergamy​
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