its his birthday
Moral of the Story. Chapter Four.
Summary: Marrying too young out of highschool leads to a naive and failed marriage. Now 10 years later, word comes that the divorce was never actually completed. Bucky and Y/N have to come back together after all this time to settle what wasn’t all those years back. Passive attitudes, miscommunicated endings, and reminiscing of old loves and lives all comes back for the two.
Pairing: Bucky x Y/N
Bucky groaned as the alarm blared throughout the room. Rolling over to his side, he threw his head into the pillow. That didn’t stop the beeping like he had hoped, so with a groan he pushed up, smacking the red numbers that screamed at him. He rolled back onto his back and blinked up at the bare ceiling.
Today was the day…
Y/N couldn’t seem to sleep at all, so she woke up early at 6:30 jumping into the shower. Having the extra time, she took it to have a nice long soak in the hot water. The schedule of the day running through her mind.
The chance of them running into each other was practically at 100%. They had a time frame of 9-10 to get in and sign what they needed. Mr. Murdock said something along the lines that it would take about 30-45 minutes to get everything finalized and copied.
So yeah… Within an hour frame of needed 30-45 minutes of signing shit and getting multiple copies made, meant Bucky and her would most likely be sitting next to the other as it was done.
She let out a tired and irritated moan as she finally decided to turn off the water. She had it running for so long, her hands were prunes and the water was becoming lukewarm. The world was telling her to suck it up and move on with the day.
The car ride there was dreadful. Every stop light just elongated the inevitable meeting. Every turn brought him closer to the terrifying reunion.
He was running early to begin with, but after hitting traffic from a wreck, he was now running just a few minutes behind. So weaving through the people who didn’t understand New York traffic was his specialty in showing up in time.
She stopped at the coffee shop by her house before really heading to the attorneys office. The car ride to the place was easy and smooth on her end. From coming from the outskirts of Brooklyn, the inner city traffic was avoided for the most part. So she was there early. She even had a second to sit in her car and drink the latte she had bought. Something about Brooklyn latte’s was 10x better than anything California had.
Maybe it had something to do with the fact they actually had cold weather to pair the hot drink with, whereas where she now lived, the lowest low in temperatures was 70 degrees.
Getting there with just 3 minutes to spare, Bucky rushed out of the car and walked with a hint of speed to the door that read Nelson and Murdock Law Firm.
No sign of Y/N yet, but as he walked in, he heard a shout from the street that caused him to turn as soon as he walked in. He didn’t have a second to register what the shout was about as he took two steps in and ran straight into someone’s back.
“Whoa!” he said, using his hands to brace himself on the mystery person's shoulders, and the other person making the same exclamation. “Oh God, I’m so sor-”
Before he could finish the apology, the women turned showing the face of his matured high-school-sweetheart.
“Oh,” he let out in a breathy turn. He could tell just from past experience with her, she had a snarky comment on her tongue at the run in, but upon seeing him, the words died on her lips. “Hey.”
She looked great. Like, really great after all these years. Not that she wasn’t a beautiful gal to begin with, but you never know how someone’s going to age. However, she looked almost the same.
Sure, she had aged some, but just like a nice bottle of the finest wine in all the vineyards of California. Maybe that was her secret given her new home.
Her Y/H/C hair was styled in loose curls. It was voluminous with a healthy shine to it. She had on an off white, canvas dress that cinched at the waist with buttons going down it. And she had a layered gold necklace going down her chest where the buttons were undone. She looked both professional yet casual at the same time.
Bucky realized he had been staring when she awkwardly looked around her trying to not pay attention to his analyzing eyes.
“Hey,” she said, letting out a deep breath.
She didn’t miss how good he looked either. Even in those facebook pictures that she had found the night before, the ones she found him just as attractive, they didn’t do the real man justice. His hair was just as long as the most recent picture his mother had posted, and he looked more muscular than she ever remembered. The scrubs didn't do his build justice.
He was wearing a navy blue v-neck tight fitting t-shirt. A brown leather jacket that looked as though it was tailored specifically for him and him alone. And lastly, he had on a pair of jeans that of course, fit in him all the right places.
There was a very awkward silence as they stood there not knowing what else to say. Neither now looking at the other, but instead looking at every little inanimate object item in the office.
After what felt like eons of the most tense silence to exist, Bucky was about to speak up again, but was cut off from another person running in late.
“Oh, gosh. I’m so sorry guys,” the voice sighed, out of breath from what they presumed was running to get there on time. “Foggy was supposed to pick me up and we were going to ride together, but he got food poisoning last night, so I had to take the train last minute.”
The man had dark brown hair, a nice suit, and a pair of sunglasses on even though it was overcast today and the sun was barely peeking through the heavy clouds.
“Foggy?” Y/N asked with a tilt of her head.
Bucky turned back looking at her with the same question on his mind, but watching the small action of confusion brought him back 10 years. God, it had been so long he had almost forgotten the little mannerisms she had that he found adorable. And damn her for still having that adorable action.
“Oh, right. Franklin Nelson. My co-attorney,” he nodded. “We’ve been friends since we were in college. Friends call him Foggy.”
“Oh, I see,” Y/N nodded with a kind smile.
“Anyway, I won’t bore you with my morning chaos. I’m sure you two are ready to get this over with and go on about your day,” he smiled, and pulled a walking stick out from around him as he closed the door. One that neither had realized he had been holding until now. “You two much be James and Y/N. It’s nice to meet you, I’m Matthew Murdock.
“It’s nice to meet you Matthew,” Y/N replied sweetly.
“Yes, thank you for helping us out,” Bucky nodded, placing his hands nervously in his pockets.
“It’s my pleasure. I’m so sorry about everything that you guys are having to fix,” he said apologetically. But I’m sure you guys want to go about your day, so please, right this way,” he motioned to the door that was across from them.
Bucky and Y/N both shared an impressed look on their faces as they watched him maneuver through the office gracefully.
They followed close behind him and once they were seated in the chairs in front of the desk, Bucky began to fidget in his spot. Sure the office had been redone and really didn’t look much like it had all those years ago, but the layout was the same. And all it was doing to him was bringing back memories he hated trudging back to the surface.
He subtly looked over at Y/N and saw her sitting in perfect posture watching Matthew as if if she were to look at him and only him, then she wouldn’t have to face Bucky.
Why did he expect anything less? Of course she hated him just as much as she had all those years. She was probably dreading this meeting just as much as him. That small speck of hope that maybe they could be somewhat normal and civil upon meeting again after all this time, completely faded at that point.
“Ok, this really shouldn’t take all that much time since Foggy and I went ahead and wrote up all the things that needed signed and double checked. So we should be able to breeze through all this,” Matthew nodded, bringing up a thick file that looked as though it had tabs on the side organizing them.
Y/N looked over wondering just how he knew the difference between documents and noticed on each tab, there were bariel markings along them.
“If you don’t mind me asking, out of all places to live, why New York? It’s got to be hard getting around such a crazy busy city given.. ” Bucky asked, but didn’t finish not sure how to word it. Y/N snapped her head in his direction and smacked his arm. “Ow!” Bucky jumped, sending her raised eyebrows. “What the hell?”
“I’m assuming you’re asking because of this,” Matthew laughed casually as he pointed to his glasses. “Don’t worry. You would be surprised just how often I get asked that.”
“Yeah, it was just a question,” Bucky pouted toward Y/N while rubbing his assaulted arm. The two falling back into their old behaviors rather fast.
“I wasn’t always blind. I mean I have been for a good chunk of my life, but I’ve lived in New York my whole life as well,” Matthew went on to explain as he moved papers around. “If anything it would be harder for me to get around if I moved any place else. I know this place like the back of my hand.”
“That’s impressive,” Bucky nodded, getting comfortable in his seat.
“Eh, it’s either learn or get bumped around the sidewalk of a place full of people who don’t give a second glance to anyone who’s in their way,” Matthew shrugged. “Oh, I need to go grab something before we start.”
He maneuvered through the room leaving the door open as he went across the office. Tension filled the air as they were left alone for a second time in the past 5 minutes.
Y/N was sitting straight forward, her eyes wandering here and there around the meeting room, but careful not to go over to Bucky’s side of the room. He looked down seeing her hands were fiddling in her lap. She was tapping her thumbs together while his leg bounced up and down.
Bucky had opened his mouth to start to say something, but even he wasn’t sure what was about to come out. Lucky for him, Matthew came back in and went back to his seat.
“Sorry about that. I thought I had it all, but needed to get some pens and one last paper I left on the printer last night.”
“You’re fine,” Y/N said professionally, but kindly. “I have one quick question, if you don’t mind.” Matthew nodded her on with a soft smile. “What exactly happened to Hammer after all this chaos was discovered?”
“Oh, yes. He, uh, he will not be an issue to anyone else to put it lightly. His license was revoked and terminated and he is currently on trial for money laundering and malpractice,” he answered.
“Serves him right,” Bucky mumbled, and instead of getting a smack to the arm, Y/N nodded in agreement.
“Ok, if you two are ready, let’s begin,” Matthew smiled before grabbing the first set of papers.
The two straightened in their seats and the process began.
After a few minutes of just signing, Matthew started to make notes of updated information for the two.
“Ok, Mrs. Barnes, sorry, Y/N,” he corrected quickly. “What is your line of profession at the moment?”
“I work at Horizon Labs in L.A. It’s a company a friend and I from college started up. I’m a Sustainable-Conscious Financial Advisor for a lot of smaller businesses as well as some bigger ones we recently just became partners with,” she answered.
“Horizon Labs, huh?” Matthew said with an impressed look. Bucky turned to look at her as she lightly blushed. “I think I listened to a podcast about them. You guys help companies use recycled goods and find energy efficient technology, right?”
“We just redirect them to people who can help them get those resources. It’s practically just connecting the companies that would work great together in helping the environment,” she nodded humbly.
“That’s amazing,” Matthew smiled. “We need more people and companies like that.”
He made note of that on a computer. “I’m assuming with all that, you have to be a little too busy for a second job, right? I don’t need to make note of another?”
“Uh, actually,” she added, Bucky’s already focused eyes on her quirked at her response. “I just invested in a Woman’s shelter with another friend of mine. I haven’t really got to do much with it, but it is a second job as of lately.”
“Wait? Nat?” Bucky caught on.
“Uh, yeah,” she nodded almost shyly. Probably the second time out of this whole meeting that she actually made eye contact with him. “My company works with them in getting some of the resources and items they need for the shelter. I talked with Nat and I invested into it some to help with some with their financial advisements.”
“Wow, th-that’s,” Bucky faltered. “That sounds like you,” he said with a breathy laugh thinking about how maybe she really hadn’t changed all these years. That being one of the ‘reasons’ they had broken it off, how people change and all. But that’s a story for another time.
Y/N didn’t show a response to his words, but she did take them in.
“So you run a woman’s home and you run a well-off business that promotes eco-friendly resources for the environment?”
“Well, I don’t run the woman’s home. That’s all my friends doing. I just help where help is asked if I can,” she answered once again humbly. No sense of egotistical pride hinted in her explanations or answers.
“That’s extremely impressive Y/N,” Matthew gushed some, and Bucky noticed the smallest form of attraction come off the lawyer. He straightened at that. “I’ll make a note of it. And you Mr. Barnes. What is your occupation?”
Bucky relaxed his shoulders and focused back at the issue at hand. Trying to not get jealous of something that wasn’t even his to be jealous of.
“I’m one of the head occupational therapist at Stark Theracorp,” he answered. Now it was Y/N’s turn to look at him intrigued. “I run the geriatric occupational therapy floor and manage our equipment and employees. ”
“Two very impressive people in the work field from what I’m getting,” Matthew chuckled some as he made the notes. “Now, if you don’t mind, I have to ask about income from the both of you for the record. If you want to write it on a paper and hand it to me you can or if you are comfortable saying it outloud that works too. Either way, I’ll have Foggy add it in later to the finalized papers.”
“Wait, so we aren’t finalizing it today?” Y/N asked, somewhat shocked.
“Did Foggy not tell you?” Matthew asked. “I thought he reached out to you before this meeting.”
“I don’t believe so,” Y/N shook her head.
“Well, the reason this one is so quick is because I just need a few signatures and updated notes on you two. After that, I’ll make the altercations for the official papers and I’ll send those to you both on their own to get the final signature. You can either bring them to me here, fax them, or have them sent via mail after you signed off on them.”
“Oh, I see,” Y/N nodded. The look of defeat in her posture and facial expressions.
It hurt Bucky a little seeing her reaction to it. Did she really want to get away from him that bad? Was he that much of a nuisance in her life? I mean, yeah, they were supposed to be divorced 9 years ago, but he didn’t want it then and it still hurt seeing just how much she wanted it now.
“That’s not an issue is it? I’m terribly sorry for the inconvenience,” Matthew apologized.
“No, no. It’s ok,” she said in reassurance to him. But she let out an almost bitter laugh before she spoke again. “We’ve been married for the past 9 years apparently. What’s a few more days?”
“I guess that’s true,” Matthew laughed with her.
Bucky rolled his eyes discreetly. He really hated how she was reacting with all this. It wasn’t surprising, but doesn’t mean it hurts any less seeing how badly she wanted out of the situation.
“Mr. Barnes, are you ok with that?”
“I’ll survive a few more days, I guess,” he returned just as bitterly as Y/N. The two looked at each other one more time, but this time, anger and annoyance was clear on both of their faces.
If you would like to be tagged in this series, please send an ask! It keeps things more organized for me. If you comment, I most likely will not add because I loose them:)
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WHAT WAS IN BÜŞRA'S SUITCASE?
Just a list with explanations since I can't do graphics for shit
Büşra was lucky, her carry on bag survived and so did her checked bag (that was in the cargo hold). With this being only her second trip overseas (her first being Türkiye to the US), she did pack a lot.
3 stuffed animals and 1 baby blanket
Kathleen and Stephen had put Büşra in charge of packing Zoe, Lacey, and Chloe's stuffed animals, as well as Wesley's baby blanket (he hadn't "graduated" to a stuffed animal as his comfort item yet). She guesses that was a smart decision, given how things turned out. Zoe's stuffed animal is a pink stuffed rabbit (reference picture), Lacey's is a grey stuffed elephant (reference picture), and Chloe's is a brown and white stuffed giraffe (reference picture). Wesley's baby blanket is white, with multi-colored balloons scattered around (reference picture).
2 bottles of sun screen (different SPF levels), 1 bottle of Aloe Vera gel, 1 sun hat, and 1 pair of sunglasses
Büşra was going to Australia! And while she does get a bit darker in the sun, she is relatively lighter skinned and does burn. Plus, the kids were pale. Sun screen was very much a necessary thing to pack. She specifically packed one bottle of Coppertone SPF 50 sun screen lotion (reference picture) and a Coppertone SPF 4 sun screen lotion (reference picture). She also made sure to grab a bottle of Aloe Vera gel from the drug store (reference photo) in case someone (herself or someone else) did get burnt. She only packed one bottle though, counting on the fact that she could always run into another store in Sydney if they somehow ran out. She's regretting the decision to only pack one now that she's on a deserted, tropical island.
Additionally, she had brought a sun hat and sunglasses to keep her protected from the sun as well. It was, after all, summer in the Southern Hemisphere and hence summer in Australia. A reference photo for her sun hat and a reference photo for her sunglasses.
Dresses, skirts, cardigans, and more patterned
Büşra's style mostly consists of patterned dresses, mostly long and to the floor, or skirts with a shirt that can give the same effect. She does enjoy herself the mini skirt and crop top at times, but as long as they fit the same style.
The family was planning to spend two full weeks (so 14 days) in Australia, and she packed enough clothes to make outfits for each day. The outfits she packed are reflected on her Pinterest Board, count fourteen of them (do not count the below reference photo for her outfit from the plane) as that should be how many I am using as refs.
Additionally, here is the reference photo for what she was wearing on the plane/wearing at the time of the crash.
Five Magic Tree House books and two YA fiction books
The kids love The Magic Tree House, and Büşra had them pick out five to bring with on the trip and she would pack them (secretly, as Kathleen and Stephen didn't want the children reading much on their vacation, so that the kids could truly enjoy it). They picked Tonight on the Titanic, Vacation Under the Volcano, Mummies in the Morning, Dinosaurs Before Dark, and Pirates Past Noon.
Büşra also packed herself two YA fiction books that she was planning to read: The Perks of Being a Wallflower and A Walk to Remember.
1 toothbrush, 1 bottle of toothpaste, 1 hairbrush, 1 shampoo, 1 conditioner, 1 bottle of body soap
Basically, Büşra needed the basics to live! I don't have reference photos for these, but use your imagination!
1 fleece tie blanket
Yes, Büşra and the Hall family were going to be staying at an extremely nice hotel, with definitely nice sheets and blankets, but she had recently bought a yellow and white fleece tie blanket at a little shop in San Francisco and loved the feel of it! And she wanted to bring it with her! She had actually had it on her lap during the flight, and it was something she grabbed as she escorted the kids and herself out of the plane. Here is a reference photo.
2 bags of halal gummy bears and 2 bags of halal turkey pepperoni slices
Büşra was sure that Sydney had a Muslim population, being that it is the largest city in Australia, but she didn't know how quickly she could find a halal shop and halal snacks. So she bought 2 bags of halal gummy bears and 2 bags of turkey pepperoni slices, both of which are her favorite snacks, and put them in her bag.
1 box of kleenexes, 1 bottle of Benadryl, and 1 box of surgical masks
Büşra wasn't sure that she absolutely needed these, but when she flew from Türkiye to the US she got an absolutely terrible cold afterwards. She wanted to be careful to ensure she wouldn't be sick again. She'd heard from others that they would wear surgical masks, bought from the drug store, when flying and it helped them not get sick, so she had bought a box (reference photo for the kind of mask), worn one on the plane, and planned to keep the rest in her carry-on bag (so that she had another to wear on the flight back). In case it didn't work, she also brought a box of kleenexes (reference photo) and a bottle of Benadryl (reference photo).
2 boxes of bandaids and 2 bottles of Neosporin
With four young children, and three adults, you could never be too careful, and Büşra knew that. So, in case something happened, she brought 2 boxes of bandaids and 2 bottles of Neosporin with her.
1 CD player, 5 CDs (from different artists), and 1 pair of headphones
Büşra does also love music (as do the kids), so she brought her brand new CD player with her (reference photo). The CDs included 3 albums that Büşra loved: Fly by The Chicks, Californication by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Millennium by the Backstreet Boys. The fourth CD was one for the kids, and they picked Tarzan: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack.
1 Holy Qur'an
Büşra is a practicing Sunni Muslim, and would not travel without a copy of the Holy Qur'an. She has certain verses memorized, enough that she could pray without it, but as much as she would love to be, she is not a hafiz. Therefore, she brings one with her for that reason, and to feel closer to Allah SWT and have protection while traveling and on vacation.
Ms. Spooky, may you spare some HC for the terrible trio (YES, I have named stu, Billy, and us that. What about it???) for us? 🙇🙇🙇
Abso fucking lutely!! I'm just going with this story since a total hc of everyone for all 3 installments feels too broad.
Headcanon's for the Trio for Terrible Trilogy Specifically:
GPS just came out for cars in 01 when this series took place and your Honda definitely didn't have it so you all rely on MapQuest printed out or a good old fashioned map.
Billy is an excellent map reader. If you get lost, give him the map and he will find whatever beaten down road he can to get you all on the right track.
Stu is a landmark guy. Landmarks and directions like 'straight, left, right' sort of thing. Maps are too all over the place for him while Billy's brain cannot remember directions without a visual aid to show him wtf you're talking about. If you lose the map then rely on Stu. "Nope, wrong way." "How do you get that?" "Because it was left, right, left, then that giant rock over there near the road so you made a wrong turn because we should have passed that rock by now."
Stu is a bottomless pit. He has a oral fixation where he has to chew on something and is prone to bored binge eating if you let him. Get that boy snacks and cinnamon gum or he's freaking grumpy enough to rival Billy the whole trip.
Stu was brought up from money and was expected to pursue business like his Dad but always was a "I don't have a dream job who the fuck wants to work?" sort of guy (Same). That's why he's okay with swindling, job hoping or pursuing such a risky job as acting bc he could care less about a career even if he wasn't on the run. Billy on the otherhand was more than willing to have a career as a lawyer to make his Dad proud until this happened.
Your anxious about all of this. Even without the murder, you've been alone isolating for roughly 3 years now just to be thrown into a bustling Hollywood set. (Seriously I relate bc my social skills sucked pre pandemic and now after quarantine; talking to ppl in public feels like pulling teeth oml)
You updated your wardrobe as you got older because you liked how you looked at the party at Windsor. You just didn't have much opportunity to wear leather pants or a lace camisole off your property until now.
Randy went through severe depression when he woke up from his coma and had to have assistance walking the first few months. You and his family comforted him and tried to be there for him but he was still majorly depressed at how his life turned out. He started working out to make it easier along with physical therapy and kept it up as a lifestyle change from then on.
Randy and you went on casual dates here and there after Randy recovered. He rejected it at first thinking you were only doing it out of pity. Both of you soon tried to consider going steady but realized you were better off as friends. It brought you both closer though in a platonic way.
You still wear Sidney's locket when you can.
Dewey and Gale dated and it was hard on Dewey with how much you both dislike one another. He tried to purposely push you two together but gave up when Gale made a remark and it turned into a huge argument there after. Dewey partially blames Gale's hostility towards you, someone he views as a little sister, as part of the reasoning of their break up.
You all argue over the radio. Billy is strictly rock, grunge and heavy metal music (He does like some country and pop but if you found out he'd have to kill you) Stu likes punk rock, nu metal and pop punk but he can just as well jam to rnb, hip hop or pop. He's not nearly as much of a music snob as Billy tries to be.
Billy definitely likes the dark hair on Stu but won't admit it and Stu likes the leather trench coat Billy wore but...Yeah. They're stubborn assholes.
You have ONE pair of sunglasses in your console you all fight over. You remind them the driver gets first dibs and everyone else has to suck it up. (Stu bought some cartoonish dollar tree sunglasses Billy refuses to wear)
Stu has seen all the Stabs, you refuse for obvious reasons and Billy only saw the first one and turned it off when he saw how they portrayed his defeat at the climax. He bitches about the awful wig they gave his actor
Billy is secretly super stoked to see where all his favorite Horror movies took place and how they were made no matter how much he acts like he's not interested. Him and Randy are more alike than they both want to admit as far as interest go.
Doing the Shopping- Re-Animator
@dilfsisko @bashircore this is the 5 + 1 grocery store thing!!
Herbert did not like going to the grocery store. Apparently, it was unfortunate he had to eat at all. Thankfully, he now had a boyfriend who could do it for him, and Dan was more than happy to get away from the damned lab for a while.
Sometimes he purposefully took too long. Examining each product and making long conversation with anyone who would listen.
As he went along, he was looking for which register worker he would most like to talk to. He settled on a woman with dark brown skin, what looked like a tool belt under her store-issued vest, and a nametag that read ‘Amaya’.
“Good afternoon,” he gave a small greeting. “How are you?”
“Can’t complain.” Amaya shrugged.
“I couldn’t tell you the last time I left the house.”
“Ohh yeah. My um, partner-“ there was a snap of relief in Dan’s chest as he saw her excited reaction. “He doesn’t like doing the shopping. So I get stuck with it.”
“My girlfriend.” She put extra emphasis on the word. “Is the same way.”
“Well, my guy, Herb,” Dan continued, smiling widely with relief, as she rung up his canned peaches. “Well. He’s very passionate about his… work. He gets this look in his eye, real bright-like.”
“He sounds like quite the guy.”
“Oh he is, barely sleeps though.” He chuckled. “Oh um, I’ve got a coupon for that.”
She took it. “So what’s he do?”
“Hm?” He looked up as he put his grocery bags back in his cart.
“Your boyfriend. You said he’s passionate about his work. What is it?”
“Oh! He’s a doctor, kinda.” Dan smiled before leaving.
“Peaches again?” Amaya raised an eyebrow at Dan’s cart, which had a good twelve cans of peaches.
“Herbert’s been getting really into peaches.”
“Sounds um… obsessive.”
Dan laughed. “Oh yeah. He certainly can be. He’s in his lab right now, has been for awhile. He’s hell bent on his ‘experiments’. That’s how we met, actually.”
“Oh, you’re a doctor too?”
“Yeah, kinda.” Dan shrugged. “How’s Shauna?”
“She’s good. Just got a job at a sunglasses kiosk in Boston.”
“Pretty long drive.”
“Yeah. I guess it is.” She finished scanning the peaches. “Wait what does ‘kinda’ mean? Are you not a doctor?”
“You do not want to know, Amaya.”
“Alright,” she chuckled. “No further questions.”
Over the next few weeks, Dan went grocery shopping five times. Each time, Dan and Amaya grew ever closer. They always had new gossip for each other, about their partners or not. Dan talked about his books and his med school experience, Amaya talked about her job and law school applications. It was a great relationship.
“What’s the situation, Daniel?” She smiled. “Oh, no peaches today!”
“I got tired of them. We’re doing soup now. More variety there. Herb slept in his glasses last night.”
“Just bent a bit. They’re all crooked now, it’s adorable.” Dan got out his wallet. “He slept at his desk over his notes.”
“Do you want me to help bring those out to your car?”
Amaya grabbed a few bags. “So how was that book?”
“Hm?” Dan looked over at her.
“Oh, first time you came in. You bought a book called ‘The Saint’s Perversion’ from the newsstand.”
“Oh, didn’t finish it. It was erotica.”
Chortling, Amaya’s face scrunched up. “Did you expect it not to be?? It’s called ‘The Saint’s Perversion’, dude!”
He opened the trunk. A small green glint caught Amaya’s eye as she placed the bags in the car. Investigating slightly further, she noticed it was a syringe full of something glowing and green. “Hey, what is tha—“
Dan slammed the trunk closed. “Nothing! I gotta get back, good talking to you!”
“Alright! Tell Herb I said hi.”
“Tell Shauna the same!”
Dan was unusually quiet in the checkout line, save for the small, angry murmurs to himself.
“So,” Amaya spoke up. “How’s Herbert?”
He gave a harsh laugh. “Busy as ever. Spending every day in that damn lab cooking up his…” he stopped before he could say ‘monstrosities’.
“I’m guessing you’re not on great terms?”
“No, we’re fighting. Again.”
“We fight more often than not these days.” He sighed, practically slamming his gallon of milk down on the counter. “He’s always working or yelling at something. The sex is… basically nonexistent. No, no, completely nonexistent. He’s too busy working. I’m too busy helping him! I told him today that I’m done with his sick power games and that I can either be his lab partner or his romantic one.”
“Why are you still with him?”
“I…” he paused. “I don’t know.”
Dan came in the next day, nothing but a pack of batteries in his hand. “Amaya!”
She leaned over her register. “You seem chipper. Get over your fight?”
“Sorta.” Dan smiled and looked down, bouncing on his heels. “You asked me yesterday why I’m still with him.”
“I did indeed.” She rested her chin on her palm. “I sense you’re going somewhere with this.”
“Well, I can agree that he’s a difficult person. Difficult to work with, difficult to talk to, difficult to love… sometimes.” Dan’s face softened and he wrung his hands together. “But sometimes… it’ll be late at night, I’ll be staring at the ceiling, and he’ll have been working for… forty eight hours straight. And he’ll crawl under the sheets and curl into my side.”
“He doesn’t really sleep. Ever. So it’s more for my benefit than his. But he does get bored easily, and he does this cute little thing where he traces circles on my chest. Or- or I’ll ask him a question about his work and he’ll just light up. Or when there’s an accident in the lab and the first thing he’ll do is make sure I’m okay. He cares about me, and… I think the world would be a worse place without him.”
Lightly smacking Dan’s shoulder, Amaya let out a small laugh. “Dan!! That was so cute!”
“Why are you telling me?!” Her voice was a squeak at this point. “Why aren’t you saying this stuff to your boyfriend?”
“I’m going to!”
“Did you really need the batteries?”
“Maybe not exactly…”
Amaya snorted. “Dude.”
“I wanted to make sure it was okay!!”
“It’s more than okay.” She squeezed his shoulder. “You should bring him around sometime.”
“If I can get him out of the house.”
Something was strange about the next store visit. A man was on Dan’s arm, a shorter man with big glasses and dark brown hair. Scowling, his arms crossed, he looked like he did not want to be there.
“Hey,” Amaya nudged her coworker. “Be, do you mind taking my register? I’m gonna make some rounds.”
She nodded. “You got fifteen minutes, I get out at four today.”
“I’ll be right back!” Amaya hurried off, waving at her. “Promise!”
She jogged up behind Dan. “Hey you two.”
“So, you must be the famous Herbert, then.” Amaya stuck out her hand to shake.
He did not take it. “Unfortunately, not yet. You may be confusing me with a different, more famous Herbert.”
“No, I just mean that Dan talks about you a lot. You and your work?”
“The work?” The man glared at him. “What have you—“
“Nothing specific, dearest.”
“You know I loathe when you call me that.” The blush on his cheeks betrayed his statement.
‘This is Herbert?’ Amaya thought to herself.
“Amaya, you aren’t at the register today?”
“Nah, I’m a ‘can I help you?’ right now.”
As they were talking, the man started drawing small, impatient circles on Dan’s bicep. Definitely Herbert.
“How’s the work been going?”
Herbert perked up, eyes brightening. “Fantastically. Our specimens have been responding excellently to the— um, the prototype.”
“I see what you meant, Dan. He is passionate.”
“This work is important.” Herbert frowned.
“I bet. Anyway, anything I can help you guys with?”
Dan shook his head.
“Well I’ll leave you lovebirds alone. Nice to meet you, Herb, I see why Dan likes you so much.”
Dan gave a small, breathy chuckle. “Well, tell Shauna I said hi.”
“Will do!” She waved at them as she jogged back to her register.
So that was Herbert.
𝖥𝗋𝗈𝗆 𝖬𝗒 𝖬𝗈𝗈𝗇 𝗍𝗈 𝖸𝗈𝗎𝗋𝗌 | 𝖪𝗂𝗆 𝖲𝗎𝗇𝗐𝗈𝗈
PAIRING: kim sunwoo x fem reader
GENRE: fluff, humor, angst, hotel del luna! au, head manager! sunwoo, hotel owner! reader
NOTES: mentions of ghosts, murders, heavily hotel del luna inspired
↳ "What if my greatest pain was not being able to stay by your side?"
update: part two !
You slump back in your chair, drained. You spent the whole day filing taxes and guest requests. Looking outside, you realize it was still bright out, the sun filtering through the window. You didn't particularly care for it. Craving for a drink, you requested a staff member. They bow before politely asking, “What is it, Boss y/l/n?” You tap your freshly painted nails on your chin before ordering a bottle of champagne and a shrimp cocktail. That would put you in a good mood.
Imagining the taste of the bubbly concoction, you let out a content sigh before looking at the next case file. -A loose spirit, but this one was tricky. Liked to scare victims with their greatest fear or loss. You make a note in your head to warn the manager.
You’re interrupted by one of the maids wheeling in your order. Squealing in delight, you dismiss her with a wave. You easily pop open the bottle of luxurious champagne, indulging in the sound of the fizz. Pouring a glass, you hear a familiar voice echoing, getting closer. Your face automatically darkens.
“Miss y/l/n, what are you doing?” You scowl, raising the glass to your ruby lips. After taking a sip, you let out a satisfied exhale. Slowly turning to face the person who was the bane of your existence, you let out a small tch! “I was enjoying myself before you interrupted, Kim Sunwoo.” He automatically frowns in disapproval. “It’s Manager Kim, you know. You’re the one who hired me for the job. Actually, more like forced me.” You roll your eyes, muttering, “against my will...”
Sunwoo claps his hands. “So, what kind of ghost are we seeing today?” You gulp the rest of the drink down. “Wandering spirit. But I warn you, this one’s a little feisty.”
He looks at you curiously, “What is it this time? Revenge, lost lover?” You sigh again, standing up and stopping in front of Sunwoo. Leaning in, you whisper into his ear, “They'll show you what causes you your greatest pain. I’ll tell you now, I'd be careful. It would be the fastest record for a new manager if you don’t watch out... ” Stepping back, you notice him shiver. You walk to the doors, grabbing your latest purse that you bought behind his back. "Don't forget the keys to my new Ferrari, I want to take it for a test drive!"
Once you arrive at the abandoned church, you shut the car door close, lowering your thirty-five thousand dollar sunglasses to get a better look at the place. Sunwoo stands next to you, taking it all in. He turns to you. “Should I go first? Or?” His face seems relaxed, but you know him well enough to tell that he’s scared. “No,” you reply, curt. “I’ll go.”
You push the doors open with a bang, eyes scanning over the old place. It was dusty, cold, dark. Sunwoo follows in after you, voice echoing, “What kind of place was this?” You examine a rotten bench, dust floating in the air as you hum softly. “Old church. Used to be very popular until the rumors of a ghost spread and it was abandoned.”
Sunwoo walks down the path before turning around to you so his back was facing the altar. “Do you think-“ but you don’t pay attention to the rest of his sentence as you zero in on who’s behind him. Specifically, what. It was the spirit you were looking for. To anyone else, it would be a horrifying, monstrous demon girl, but to you, it’s just an annoyance. She stares at Sunwoo’s back, a chilling smirk appearing on her face. You glance back at him as you see her change into a horrifying picture in the corner of your eyes.
Sunwoo’s staring at you, confused at what you’re looking at and beginning to turn his head. You immediately call out his name, desperate. He can’t look at the image behind him. You effectively get his attention, his attention moving back to you again. He’s saying something, but you ignore it and rush forward.
Wrapping your arms around him, you place a hand behind his head, keeping it from turning. His arms instinctively hover above your waist. “Y/n- what-“ but you tighten your grip on him. “Whatever you do, do not turn around,” you softly murmur into his ear.
Your eyes are still focused on the spirit, the monstrous image. You think it's Sunwoo’s parents. Murdered, brutally. Their bodies floating midair and the look of pure terror present on their faces. You had no idea if this was what actually happened or not, but you keep your grip on him tight.
You remember the words said years ago. Sunwoo’s parents were gone from a young age. That’s what your former manager and Sunwoo’s grandfather told you. It was only him and his grandparents from a young age. You would never admit it, but you always held a soft spot in your locked away heart (if you even still had one) for the former Manager Kim. So when he asked, no-begged, for you to take his grandson as your next manager when he was old enough, you had to accept. You warned him about the repercussions, but he only let out a small smile and assured you Sunwoo was strong and especially stubborn enough.
"That boy will take care of you well." You scoff, twirling a piece of your hair. "And how old did you say he was?" Manager Kim only smiles. "Of no matter, the age. After all, it is just a number. You would know that best, wouldn't you, Miss y/l/n?" You turn your head aside, suddenly staring at a painting of interest. He continues. "I think you two will get along quite fine." Your eyes flick back to him. "But he has a soft heart, so I beg you to be a little less harsh on him. He's already lost so much from a young age.."
The words echo in your head. That’s why you couldn’t let Sunwoo turn around. You didn’t know the details -it was a sensitive topic- but you were sure this might break him. You feel him shaking. “Is it the spirit?” he asks quietly. “Yes,” you reply, “Don’t you dare look.” You feel him bury his face in your neck as you focus your attention on the spirit, mouthing commands and chants.
She hisses a horrible screeching sound before you’re finally able to control her, and the image collapses, something dropping on the ground. You carefully loosen your grip, leaning back to look at Sunwoo.
You don’t know what it is, maybe the vulnerable expression on his face that makes you want to protect him forever or the way his dark eyes bore into yours, but you slowly lean in, softly placing your lips on his forehead between his styled hair. Sunwoo blinks, staring at you with a dazed expression. You're not sure how long you look at him until you come to your senses. It's a moment before you step back, walking over to pick up the tiny keychain that fell.
When you turn around to Sunwoo, he clears his throat. “Well.. I guess we’re done here,” Your eyes follow him walking to the exit, knowing he’s slightly shaken.
It’s in the car, when he asks, “Can I know, what it was?” “Nope,” you reply as you examine the keychain. He frowns, turning on the engine. “But-“ “Unless you want to be sent to a mental hospital and never work for me again, then no. But that would’ve actually been pretty nice for me..” you say, pouting slightly.
Sunwoo looks at you, annoyed. “Hey! But, how come the spirit didn’t show you your greatest fear or anything ?” You scoff. “Cause you’re just a weak human who has emotions, and I’m a dead person who doesn’t feel things, idiot.” He turns to look at you, indignant. “What do you mean you don't feel things? Doesn't this make you feel something?” He suddenly leans in, face less than an inch away from yours. You freeze. You catch his eyes glancing down at your lips. Why does it suddenly feel so hot?
You immediately snap out of it, smacking his chest. "Ah, idiot! Just drive, just drive!" you yell angrily, trying to hide the fact that you were flustered. He immediately laughs, a grin appearing on his face as he turns the car on. The two of you continue to bicker as Sunwoo drives on.
You two were in your office later that night, organizing a giant stack of papers you neglected. You told Sunwoo to go home and get sleep since he was still a human and needed the rest, but he firmly insisted on helping you, stating, “I know you’re gonna just give up after five minutes and leave it messier than before.”
It’s silent. The only thing heard was the sound of papers shuffling. You’re examining a document, Was this really 50 years ago? when Sunwoo calls your name.
You look up. “What?” you demand. He puts some papers down, before sitting on your plush, fancy couch, and looking at you. You can't read the expression on his face. “What’ll happen when I die? Or even, you move on to the afterlife?”
You stare at him. Why was he suddenly asking if he already knew the answer? Clearing your throat, you move to sit beside him. “Well, I’ll have to get a new manager. Life continues. And... if I leave, you’ll return back to your normal life, like all other humans.” Sunwoo fiddles with his tie, and you notice. He never liked wearing ties, but you forced him to for the job. “That’s it?” he says, “you’ll just get a new manager?”
You frown. What’s going on with him? Sunwoo was mischievous, witty, stubborn. So why was he acting so fidgety and shy? “Yeah, why? That’s how it is.” You pause, adding, “Unless I go first. But who knows when fate will relieve me of my duty.”
Sunwoo mumbles something you can’t hear. You move closer to him. “Hmm??” He clears his throat before saying softly, “So you won’t ever think of me when I’m gone? Remember me?” Your eyes widen. Huh? His ears are red, and he isn't looking you in the eye. “I-I mean, I know one day I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone..." You interrupt him, turning his body so he's facing you. "Sunwoo, what's going on? Why are you suddenly saying this? Was it because of what happened earlier?" You look deep into his eyes as if you'll find an answer in there.
He swallows, looking down at your feet. Hesitating, he finally speaks. "What if my greatest pain was not being able to stay by your side?"
Your body stills, heart skipping a beat. Slowly turning to face him, you realize how close the two of you are. “You.. you shouldn't worry about losing me. But if I ever make you feel that way, find the moon.” Sunwoo furrows his eyebrows, speaking softly. “Why the moon?”
You look out the window, staring at the moon outside which was partly covered by clouds. His eyes follow yours to the sky. “Even if my moon is in a different world from yours, even if my moon is a thousand years away from yours, it’s always there.” You turn to him once more.
“Just like how I'll always be there too.”
Becoming Mrs. Wayne [The Dark Knight] Five
Pairing: Christian Bale!Bruce Wayne x OC
Summary: Demetria Gallagher knew her cozy life would change the second she became engaged to Bruce Wayne. But what she doesn’t know is she’s getting more than what she agreed to. (I am trash at summaries.)
Warning: Sight panic attack, mentions of anxiety and panic attacks
Taglist: dragonballluver , disgraceful-marvel-trash, barikawho (Let me know if you want to be tagged in this!)
It was around 2 AM when Demetria found herself once again outside on the balcony. She leaned over the railing, looking out at the view before. The sounds of sirens filled her ears as she eyed the bright lights of the city.
Bruce had managed to calm her down about what happened at the orphanage. Demetria apologized profusely to Sister Mary, who told her she’d done nothing wrong and in fact, appreciated what she’d done and was rather impressed.
Demetria sighed as she leaned up, her hands over the railing. It wasn’t until she heard tires squeal followed by a crash of metal that she looked down. While she was far up, she still had a decent view of the street.
She leaned forward to see a car smashed into a pole. A male figure wearing what appeared to be a purple trench coat exited the car, looking around, before throwing a lit match into the car, setting the car on fire.
Before Demetria could react, she felt herself be pulled back. She went to scream when a hand covered her mouth from behind. She began kicking, squirming, and attempting to scream despite it sounding muffled.
She then felt herself be turned around, coming face-to-face with Batman. She stopped screaming as he took his hand off her mouth.
“The fuck is wrong with you?!” she cried.
“I told you to stay inside,” he growled.
She rolled her eyes. “Jesus Christ. I’m not in any danger, ok?”
“How do you know that?”
“Well I haven’t received any death threats yet.”
“Doesn’t mean you aren’t in any danger.”
She blinked. “And what kind of danger am I in then.”
“You’re a public figure with ties to other public figures.”
“I’m not really a public figure.”
“You’re engaged to a billionaire and your best friend is the DA.”
She chuckled and threw her hands up. “You got me there.”
“Does he keep you safe?”
She tilted her head. “Who?”
She opened her mouth to respond, when her lips curved into a grin.
“You know it’s actually pretty scary to have a bunch of people taking photos of you all at once, following your every move. Makes you feel like an animal in a zoo enclosure or something. Everytime they get too close or scream questions at me, my throat closes up and my heart is racing and there’s this sharp pain and it’s unbearable. It’s like I’m drowning. But when he-Bruce-holds my hand...well, it’s not a total fixer, but it really helps.” Her face softens. “I don’t think he knows that.”
“That you have panic attacks?”
“No, he knows that. He just hasn’t seen them. He knows when I get anxious, but not when I have a panic attack.”
She turned around when she noticed off in the distance, a light with a bat symbol cast on a grey cloud.
“So that’s how they get your attention,” she remarked, her eyes still on the bat symbol. “You see that signal and you go out?”
“Where’s the signal coming from?”
She scoffed, looking over her shoulder at him. “You could be a little more specific.”
“It’s not important where it’s coming from.”
“Does Batman not work alone?”
“You ask a lot of questions.”
She shrugged. “Just curious.” She glanced over at the bat symbol before tucking a strand of hair behind her hair. “You know...there are some people who are grateful for what you're doing, right?”
She nodded, a wide smile swept across her lips. “Like me.”
“Good to know.”
With that, he jumped off the building, Demetria watching him as he made his way down.
“You’re welcome!” she called down to him.
The next morning, the sound of her cellphone ringing awoke her from her sleep. She groaned, wondering who the hell would dare interrupt her slumber. She felt a heavy presence over her, looking over to find Bruce’s head curled up right behind her and his arm swung over her body. He was still fast asleep, thankfully.
She gently moved his arm and grabbed her phone, answering it without bothering to look at the caller ID.
“Hey girl, it’s Alicia.”
Alicia was a reporter at GCN and one of the very few friends Demetria had there. She had been the one to overhear about the photographer who was outside ready to photograph Demetria leaving and helped her escape the building without being seen.
“Hey, what’s going on?” Demetria yawned.
“I’m sorry to wake you, but I wanted to give you a heads up that ‘Gotham Times’ is working on a piece about you.”
She shot up. “What do you mean?”
“They’re doing a whole article on you, about your life, you know, the works.”
Demetria’s heart sunk to her stomach, eyes bugling open. This had to be a nightmare, had to be. Her body tightened, hoping maybe she’d wake up but was unsuccessful.
“Oh my fucking god,” she whispered.
“What’s going on?” Bruce asked, his voice groggy and barely awake.
Demetria put her hand on his arm, mouthing “one second.”
“They have a reporter in the newsroom trying to get a few people to talk. So far only Walter and James have talked to them. They tried to get me and Molly to talk, I guess because someone had told them we were friends, but both of us said ‘no comment’.”
A tiny wave of relief crashed over her. “You’re both saints. I owe you both a big one.”
“Don’t worry about it. Just call your brother and mom and give them a heads up.”
“Will do. Thanks again.”
She hung up and buried her hands in her face. “Jesus fucking Christ.”
“Babe, what’s going on?” Bruce asked putting his hand on her shoulder.
“That was a friend from GCN. She says ‘Gotham Times’ is doing a piece on me and is asking people there about me.” She shook her head. “I’ve gotta warn Mom and Henry.”
Bruce watched as Demetria got up from the bed and made another call. Guilt weighed over him as he watched her talk into the phone. He never meant to drag her into this limelight. He’d tried desperately to keep her private, to keep them private. He was fine with being in the spotlight and he’d been ok with being photographed with women in because, frankly, they lasted barely a week.
With Demetria, she could be hunted and gunned down just like his parents. He refused to let that happen.
“I left messages for both of them,” she said hanging up her phone.
She set her phone back on the nightstand and let out an exasperated groan as she crawled back into bed. She scooted in closer to Bruce as he collected her into his arms. His warmth was enough to keep her at bay, but she couldn’t deny the pain in chest and the millions of thoughts running amok in her mind.
“Why can’t they leave me alone?” she exhaled.
“I know, sweetheart,” Bruce mumbled, his lips pressed against her temple.
“I just want to write a press release that simply says ‘Fuck off’.”
“I endorse that.”
“But if I do that then they’ll run with it and suddenly it’s ‘Oh Mrs. Wayne has mouth on her!’”
“A pretty mouth that I get to do this to.” His lips pressed against hers, cradling her face with his hands. When she pulled back, she rested her forehead on his.
“What did I do to deserve you?” she asked, her voice barely above a whisper.
“I ask myself the same thing.” His fingers ran through her hair. “How can I make this easier for you?”
Her heart warmed at his words. She knew he had a lot of power and that one simple request from her could make this all go away...at least temporarily. The press would hound her even more if Bruce were to step in and help, claiming she relies on him to do everything for her.
She let out deep sigh, resting her forehead against his. “Just...just be you. Just love me. That’s all you can do.”
His eyebrows furrowed. “Are you sure that’s it? You know I am more than willing-.”
“That’s all. Just be here.”
She pecked his lips and removed the duvet cover from her body. “I have to meet Rachel for lunch but I’m going to Harvey’s office beforehand.”
She felt him grab her hand. Her eyes turned to find him smirking at her. “Hmmm, why don’t you stay here in bed with me?”
“Don’t tempt me, Wayne.”
Demetria had heard about the wig shop from Molly, who bought a wig for her mom after her mom had to shave her hair due to chemotherapy treatments a few months ago.
The store had head mannequins surrounding the entire area with different color wigs in different styles. Her eyes scanned the store as she lifted the sunglasses from her eyes, placing them on top of her head. The wig had to be realistic looking, but one that wouldn’t draw attention.
She was looking at a honey blonde bob with thick bangs when a voice broke the silence.
“Can I help you find anything?”
Demetria jumped, looking over to see a blonde saleswoman smiling at her.
“I’m just looking,” Demetria answered.
Demetria and the saleswoman stared at each other, a silent understanding between them. The saleswoman nodded and held up a finger. “One moment.”
She went toward the back of the store, Demetria watching her every move. The saleswoman reached on one of the shelves and grabbed an auburn colored long bob with bangs. She then brought it over, presenting it to Demetria.
“The auburn would suit you well,” she said before turning away. “It compliments you without drawing attention.”￼
She handed it to Demetria and then reached over the counter to grab a wig cap. “May I?”
Demetria nodded, using the hair tie on her wrist to pull her hair back into a low bun. The saleswoman adjusted the cap on Demetria’s head before gently placing the wig on top. After a few minor adjustments, the saleswoman handed Demetria a wig to take a look.
“What do you think?” the saleswoman asked, crossing her arms against her chest, leaning back onto the counter.
Demetria marveled quietly. The saleswoman was right - it suited her enough without drawing attention.
“I’ll take it.”
Demetria wore the wig walking out of the store and for the first time in a really long time, she felt like everyone else. A weight lifted off her shoulders as she walked on the crowd Gotham streets with a big smile on her face.
As she made her way inside Harvey’s office, she realized she’d need ID to get through security to get to the elevators.Even though they all knew her, and she was given clearance to come and go as she pleased thanks to Harvey, she still needed to show ID as a formality. She cursed under breath when she remembered the bathroom that was nearby. She reached into her purse and put her sunglasses over her eyes.
She walked in, making eye contact with Hank, the old security guard.
“Do you mind if I use the bathroom?” she asked, making her voice higher than normal. “I really have to go.”
He gave her a kind smile and gestured toward the bathroom. She hurried inside and went into a stall. Closing the door, she threw off the wig and cap, throwing them inside her purse. She grabbed the tie, sliding it off her hair and onto her wrist. She shook her hair, smoothing it out with her fingers. Taking off her trench coat, she threw her purse over her shoulder and trench coat over her arms and made her way out of the bathroom.
She approached Hank smiling.
“Hi Hank, how are you?” she greeted him.
His face lit up. “Demetria! Good to see you! I didn’t see you walk in earlier, but you know, people come and go in here so fast so it’s hard to tell, especially with my old brain. Doesn’t work as well as it used to.”
“Oh, you’re fine! I followed a crowd and quickly had to use the bathroom.”
“I assume you’re here to see Harvey?”
“You’ve guessed correctly. Let me grab my-.”
“Not necessary. You go right ahead now.”
She pouted. “Are you sure?”
He waved his hand. “You're fine. You go along now. Oh, and congratulations on the...you know.”
She smiled. “Thanks, Hank. You take care now!”
“You do the same!”
She made her way into the elevators, pressing the top floor. The doors closed and she sighed, waiting for them to open again.
When they did, she was surprised to see there was barely anyone around. Normally, people would be walking around everywhere.
She went up to Harvey’s assistant, Grace. Grace’s eyes smiled.
“Demetria, great to see you!” she greeted.
“Good to see you as well! How is everything?”
“Oh you know, the usual! How are you? How’s...you know?”
Demetria leaned down to show Grace the engagement ring. Grace took her hand gingerly, letting out a gasp as she admired it.
“Look at that,” she marveled. “It’s gorgeous! Oh, congratulations hun!”
“Thank you so much! It’s just so-.”
“I thought I heard your voice out here.”
She looked up to find Harvey poking his head out the door. Demetria smiled, thanking Grace one last time before walking into Harvey’s office.
“So...what brings you into my office?” Harvey asked, taking a seat at his desk.
She eyed the photo frame on his bookshelf of the two of them at their college graduation. She rembered the day clearly - the two of them grabbing breakfast at the local diner before going to the auditorium. Their mother snapped the photo, having bought both of them flowers.
She walked over to the bookshelf and picked it up.
“Aww, look at us,” she pouted. “We were babies.”
“Hungover babies,” he corrected.
“Your idea,” he reminded her. “I told you to stop after the sixth vodka shot.”
“We still made it on time to the ceremony.”
“No thanks to me. Now are you going to tell me why you’re here?”
She set the photo frame back and sat on the edge of his desk.
“I went to the orphanage yesterday-.”
“So I saw.”
She tilted her head when Harvey pulled out the newspaper that had a photo of Bruce holding her back as she yelled at the camera. The headline read “Future Mrs. Wayne LASHES Out!”
Her stomach dropped, mouth wide open. “That son of a bitch,” she seethed. She threw down the paper and began pacing the office. Her blood boiled as anger succumbed her body.
“It’s not that bad,” Harvey reasoned. “The orphanage actually released a statement defending you. It’s in the article.”
“I had a great time at the orphanage,” Demetria spoke up. “I got a tour, I got to meet the kids - the kids! Harvey, the kids are awesome. They’re kind and cool and I even got to play basketball with them!”
Harvey stared at her, unsure of where she was going.
“I was doing great until that-that fucking asshole started taking photos!”
“That’s what they do, Demetria. That’s their job.”
“Alicia called me this morning to tell me ‘Gotham Times’ is doing a piece on me. They called people I worked with.”
“Did they call your mother and brother yet?”
“I don’t know. I left them a message but they haven’t called me back.”
“Well for the record, they did call me.”
Her face froze. “What did you say?”
“I said I wouldn’t comment on our friendship without your permission.”
She threw her hands up. “Why can’t they leave me alone?!”
“Because I’m getting married to someone?”
“You’re marrying Bruce Wayne, one of the richest men in-.”
“Why does that matter?! Why should that deprive me of living my life in peace?” She reached into her purse and pulled out the wig, showing it to Harvey. “I have to wear a wig just so I can walk around and feel like a normal human being again.”
Harvey let out a chuckle. “Demetria, you’re not serious.”
“I want to be able to go wherever I want.”
“What about credit cards? Debit cards? Id?”
“I don’t buy alcohol and pay with cash.”
“What about the pharmacy?”
She snapped her fingers. “Fuck! I didn’t think of that.”
“Here’s a question for you, why are you so up in arms about all this when you of all people know there’s nothing you can do to stop it?”
“Because I don’t want people or Bruce to see who I really am!”
Harvey’s face softened.
“If the reporters dig any further, they’re gonna find out about the mistakes I’ve made and about....it.”
“My anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve had them in public places before, remember?”
“Why does that matter?”
She threw her hands up. “Are you fucking kidding me right now, Harvey? Why does that matter? It matters because if people find out that I’m a thirty-something woman who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, they’re going to eat me alive. They’re going to see that I’m worth nothing. They’re going to say ‘she’s crazy’ and that I’m joke and I’m scared Bruce is going to see it too and he’s going to--.”
Her throat started closing, chest tightening.
“I am a difficult person,” she continued, her breath hitching. “You know that better than anyone else. I have always been difficult with...with the depression...anxiety...with everything. And because of that, I have managed to screw up my life multiple times and ruin so many relationships.I’ve tried to change it. I’ve worked on it with God knows how many therapists and I can’t change it. So when the one guy - who is so far out of my league - who loves me as much as I love him and who goes to hell and back just to be with me, I don’t want...I can’t mess this up...”
“Hey, hey, hey,” Harvey hushed her as he hugged her. “You’re not gonna mess this up. He loves you for all that you are and-.”
“He’s never seen me have one.”
Harvey pulled back. “What do you mean?”
“Bruce has never seen me have a panic attack. He’s only heard me.” She sighed. “The one night he stayed over my place, I was woken up by gunshots from outside. I started getting...you know...and I ran into bathroom. I took medicine and practiced my breathing and I was shaking and crying...and I heard him knock on the door and I told him to stay out there. I didn’t want him to see it. He tried to reason with me, but I told him I couldn’t.”
She ran a hand through her hair. “I don't know what I’m getting myself into and it scares the shit out of me.”
Harvey placed a reassuring hand on her back. “I know it does, Dem. But I’m telling you, as someone who has to deal with this everyday, at a certain point you’ve got to learn that you’re a public figure now and that you’re up for grabs by the media. Some days they’ll be nice and other days they’ll rip you into pieces. You are a human being, you’re not perfect and no one is expecting you to be. Not even Bruce.”
Demetria nodded, acknowledging Harvey’s point. She was human and Bruce never asked her to be anything other than herself. Still, she wasn’t completely relaxed about the issue with the press, but it seemed best to drop it.
Demetria turned to see Rachel enter the office with a big smile. Both Demetria and Harvey smiled, both relieved to see her.
“Sorry, was I interrupting something?” she asked.
“No, I was just telling Demetria that she’s human and that the press are nothing to be concerned about,” Harvey responded.
Rachel nodded knowingly. “They called me too. Then again, they call me anytime they do a piece on Bruce or the Wayne family in general.”
“Well here’s hoping they don't find out about the drunk karaoke Harvey and I did in college,” Demetria remarked, smirking at Harvey.
“Drunk karaoke?” Rachel inquired, interested.
“You guys should probably get going,” Harvey brushed it off.
“No I want to hear more about drunk karaoke!” Rachel pleaded.
“We’ll talk about in the taxi ride to the store,” Demetria assured.
“No you won’t,” Harvey called out.
“It was ‘Black Balloon’ by Goo Goo Dolls,” Demetria told her.
Rachel’s eyes widened in delight. “Goo Goo Dolls?!”
“Leave now, please,” Harvey demanded, annoyed.
Inside the luxury department store, Demetria stayed close to Rachel as the two eyed the gowns.
“Exactly what the hell am I supposed to wear?” Demetria asked, her eyes scanning the dresses.
“Considering Bruce is throwing it, you’re going to want to wear a gown,” Rachel remarked. “But I’m sure you could show up in sweatpants and a shirt and he would still show you off proudly.”
Demetria eyed her. “If you’re serious, I might consider it.” She shook her head. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about dressing up but...I don’t know. I feel like there’s an expectation for me or some quota I have to fill for these people to take me seriously and I hate that.”
Rachel laughed. “I wouldn’t worry about that. Bruce hates the people he’s inviting.”
“Which doesn’t make sense to me! I mean, why waste your time pretending?”
Rachel pulled her lips back. “Listen, I didn’t mean to...but I kind of eavesdropped on yours and Harvey’s conversation and...” She turned to Demetria. “I’ve known Bruce my entire life. I’ve seen him with every kind of woman and have had the unfortunate pleasure of having to meet them. But I see the way he is with you. I know it’s cliché to say, but it’s true. You bring out the Bruce I’ve always known and loved. I know how happy you make him and how much you mean to him.” She paused. “Don’t worry about the media or everyone trying to pick it apart. Take control of the narrative. Show and tell them what you want. Just don’t let it eat you alive.”
Demetria smiled, her heart swelling. She wrapped her arms around Rachel, much to Rachel’s surprise.
“Thank you,” she whispered. “I needed to hear that.”
And in her mind, an idea began to unravel.
title: softbound; (modern royalty au)
pairings: bookshop owner!allen ma x princess!reader
genre: fluff, some angst
word count: 4.3k (p.1)
navigation: teaser; p.1; p.2; epilogue;
masterlist | request here! | how to request |
story playlist; (pls this is cute)
a/n: first part of my fic exchange with @cravicton
the one-seater sofa you were nestled in was threadbare and faded, but its old charm was what made it the perfect finishing piece to your little nook.
it sat between two wooden shelves, the excellent fit making it look like it's been specially made to be placed in that very corner of the downtown bookshop. the seat dipped down significantly after hours and hours spent carrying weight as people momentarily escaped from their mundane days and glided through one fictional world into another where they could live some other life apart from the one they had in this modern 21st-century town.
it was probably fate telling you to savor life’s simpler pleasures, having found the bookshop in one of your low-profile tours of the kingdom—one of your responsibilities as a ruler in training. you’ve been coming here ever since to no one but your assistant’s knowledge.
in the three years that passed, you couldn't remember if you have seen the seemingly insignificant yet inviting piece of furniture you were sitting on ever look new or if there was anybody in your town who has used it as much as you have.
what you did know was that every time you came to get lost in reading, a new trinket prepared by the bookshop's only owner, allen, would always be waiting on top of it. a book with a marked page, illustrations that reminded him of you, or simple items that made you smile were always accompanied by a mug of dark cocoa placed on top of a nearby shelf with a neat coaster. and don't forget the little note signed with a tiny, almost reluctantly-drawn, heart.
tonight, it was a newly-bought knitted blanket the color of lush forests in autumn. you wrapped it around yourself the moment you sat down and you noticed that it smelled like old books and oat-scented candles. "because it's almost your favorite season," the note said.
“how's my best customer enjoying their favorite spot tonight?” allen's face appeared peeking through a small space between the books to your right. he smiled, eyes and all, seeing you cradled in the knitted blanket with a book propped up with your knees, his warm mug in your hand.
allen was doing his nightly rounds, making sure new book arrivals were well stacked and sorted before he called it a day and went home. seeing you still immersed in reading a few minutes before the shop's closing time was not a new sight to him. in fact, it was how he finished many of his more enjoyable workdays.
"you know, if you treat every customer like this, they might end up falling for you." you took a sip of the dark cocoa and raised an eyebrow at him, ignoring the question. "with hot cocoa like this every time they're here? i'm surprised people aren't lining up outside."
allen didn't stop smiling and raised an eyebrow back to tease you, "so that means you're enjoying it?" he asked, making his way around the shelves and towards your sofa, plopping himself down on one of its arms.
the answer to his question was apparent with the relaxed way you were sitting, but you answered him anyway. "yes, allen. as always. thank you." you looked up at him, smiling sincerely and noticing how his warm stare didn’t falter.
"i like this one." he tapped the spine of the book you were holding, the white palace, by tom lee. allen always liked discussing books you’ve both read, going over details you yourself would have missed. he looked at you, taking the softbound item in his hand. “princess…”
you kept yourself from choking on your drink. for the past three years, a set of unusual circumstances led to allen still being clueless that you, his bookshop’s most avid patron, were indeed a crowned princess.
did he finally hear about who you were? you really wanted to be the one to tell him and you were planning to do it soon, but he must’ve found the timing impeccable, seeing you read a novel about royalty then and there.
you braced yourself for the questions, gathering up remnants of an unfinished explanation that you wanted to save for later.
“….princess mary, was that her name? the main character?” you inwardly sighed in relief and nodded. maybe not. but soon.“how are you liking it so far?”
"i think it's quite exaggerated, the way they described the king and queen's private life. you know, they have an ordinary side to them, too. more than you would think.” you replied.
"mmhmm." he nodded thoughtfully like he always does when you expressed your opinion, like he was doing his best to grasp your perspective. “fiction has that tendency. and what are the chances of the princess getting married to a commoner?”
you shrugged and patted the small space beside you on the one-seater. what are the chances of the princess getting married to a commoner? you turned the question over and over in your head.
"i already closed up the entrance, but we can stay for another hour again if you want? wouldn't be the first time," allen said, accepting your silent offer and laughing at how both of you fit snuggly on the sofa, his chest pressed against your shoulder and his arms draped behind you.
"how about just another five minutes? i actually have to go earlier today. work." you offered him a sip from the mug to which he obliged, putting his hands over yours as he sipped up the warm drink. "but this is just too comfortable to pass up." you finished.
after a few lovely minutes, you helped allen close the bookshop. both of you walked side by side, taking the small path to the main road. the space between you two was almost nonexistent as the cold fall evening made you seek for each other’s warmth, however slight.
you loved this, the comfortable silence he always gave you when you were about to part. he wasn’t too keen about asking you questions and was contented with listening only to what you wanted to share. he never asked, for instance, why you always refused to let him bring you home. instead, he told you almost a hundred times to be careful on the way.
"i'm glad you enjoyed your nook today.” he faced you and you smiled at his words, giving him an intuitive peck on the cheek to which he scrunched his nose in delight. i enjoyed it too much, you thought. sometimes, being there made you forget that you were in line to rule an entire kingdom. you wanted to say this but decided against it. next time. i promise. “be careful on the way back, okay?”
you nodded at him to go ahead. he never ever failed to look back at you at least thrice while walking away.
tonight, you counted four.
finally, he turned a corner and you sighed.
"your highness." a car stopped in front of you not even a minute after, its front windows rolling down to reveal your assistant. you remember specifically asking him not to open the car door for you when he drops you off and picks you up a block away from the bookshop, things he still remembers to do until now.
you opened the door and sat yourself down on the backseat. "thanks, serim."
upon getting in, you knew serim was ready to update you about any developments on your current dealings, the most pertinent one being the donor’s ball, the first-ever palace event your parents, the king and queen, were letting you host on your own.
“there are some catering concerns that need to be finalized and i was told the guestlist for the donor’s ball is ready for you, your highness. when would you want to view it?”
“tonight is fine. it would be great if it was brought to the drawing-room when we arrive.”
“i’ll have it arranged. and a slot needs filling. one of the donors said they were withdrawing the donations for the children’s home, your highness,” serim reported, an undertone of annoyance just barely showing through at the said withdrawal.
“is it kim’s pages inc.?” you leaned your head on the window of the car and saw serim nod. “that’s fine. we have two weeks. that should be enough to find a replacement. let’s have a message sent to similar companies in town.”
“right away, your highness.”
you made a mental list of your commitments for the rest of the week, knowing you’d have no free time to have another one of your nights at the bookshop with allen for a few days. but this was your reality and you weren’t complaining. you were bringing people the help they needed. telling allen would have to wait.
"oh, and serim?” you leaned forward to peak at his face through the rearview mirror.
"yes, your highness?”
“remember when i told you not to call me ‘your highness’?”
“yes….your highness.” he shifted in his seat, holding back a snort.
"you don't have to call me that when we're alone. we're practically siblings and it feels weird. just casually, okay? and take those sunglasses off, it’s evening.” you patted his shoulder playfully from the backseat, all the walls of professionalism crumbling down with your high-pitched laughter.
"alright, y/n." he laughed and cleared his throat, loosening up at your signal.
serim, the only person inside the palace you could freely confide in when you were growing up, became your assistant at your request. his family has worked for the palace for years and no one could do the job better than him. ”since we're acting like actual buddies now, how's that bookshop owner doing? you told him already?” he asked, pulling up to the front gates of your residence which opened automatically at the sight of your vehicle.
"i will. soon.”
your decision to not appear on television, or any platform for that matter, even while you were accomplishing work for public service was something your family never questioned. in fact, they supported it, knowing what scrutiny could do to a young woman still finding her character.
that said, allen not knowing that you were a member of the royal family was not a big surprise, as you were less of a household face than the rest of the monarchy. you deliberately avoided media and the public eye with the help of your dedicated staff, but this didn't mean you dodged your responsibilities. you were busy as can be, meeting partners in private meetings, arranging food and basic support for local shelters, and making sure the palace helpers were well-compensated.
allen’s bookshop was your breath of relief after a long day. in fact, the morning after spending hours at your small second home always made you feel like you were living a double life—from the worn-down sofa and aged bookshelves to the grand halls and luxurious decorative pieces of the palace.
“honey, i heard you were working until 2 am last night. you should really be getting rest. you know how busy we’ll all be on the day of the ball.” the queen greeted you with a frown as you approached the breakfast table set under a small gazebo in the middle of the palace garden. you sat down and were faced with a complete breakfast setup of the best eggs, toast, fruit, and all kinds of beverages, ready for you like they always were in the mornings.
“good morning, darling.” the king greeted you after taking a sip of coffee. he eyed your mother, urging her to greet you good morning before the rest of her concerned reminders. “have some breakfast. you’ll need it with the way you’re bustling nowadays.”
“yes, father. and don’t worry, mother, we just had some unexpected things to iron out,” you assured your parents. with you taking care of the event for the first time ever, you knew they just wanted things to go smoothly.
the donor's ball was hosted every fall. its main purpose was to gather potential partners that will support the charities under the royal family’s care. it did mean going out and being seen more than you would like, but it was the perfect opportunity to bring more to your constituents. you couldn't pass up the additional support for your advocacies.
but to add to that, your parents seemed to think the donor’s ball had another purpose.
“the kangs are on the guestlist. i heard they were bringing their heir, minhee,” your mother shared, trying to sound nonchalant, but you knew exactly what she was hinting at. “right?” she nudged your father who almost choked on his buttered roll.
“right. jungmo is coming too. remember him? your horseback riding partner?” your father asked.
“when i was 12? yes, father. i remember. and for the nth time…” you smiled at both of them patiently. “i’m marrying neither minhee nor jungmo.”
the king and queen merely looked at each other. their attempts to push you to meet potential grooms in the donor’s ball were now out of the picture.
“it’s alright, i got it, thank you.” you smiled at the palace helper and took the pot of tea from her hands, pouring your own cup.
“then who will it be, y/n? you know we always let you do what you think is best for you, but we only had one request: good in-laws.” the king asked, still sounding gentle as ever despite his hard exterior and the ever-so-pressing question.
“you get a choice, dear.” your mother smiled at you over the breakfast table. “you can find someone to marry yourself or you can entrust the task to me.”
“i’m on it.” you said almost inaudibly before taking a bite of your breakfast.
“come again?” your parents were all ears now. never hearing anything about the state of your heart was the norm for them, so you suddenly saying that you were ‘on it’ was quite the surprise.
you figured that if you were going to tell allen who you really were and how you really felt about him soon, your parents might as well know before they did anything funny, like set you up with kang minhee for example. minhee was great, but he was not allen.
“what if i want to marry the owner of that small bookstore?” you asked more confidently than before. they were silenced for a few seconds, again exchanging looks, but later on, they merely shrugged like they realized just who they were talking to. by now, they would have gotten used to how unpredictable their only child could be.
“then they had better pass their background checks. oh, and of course, we will have to interview them.” your mother explained. “—and don’t worry, i’ll tell your father not to scare them away.” she added after seeing that you were about to protest. to this, your father simply rolled his eyes, making the palace helpers giggle behind you. they always loved witnessing the rather casual exchanges you had with your parents.
“alright.” you smiled, grateful that you three reached an understanding. you were anxious, yes. how is he going to take this? but you were also visibly giddy. you had too many butterflies in your stomach to worry about anything else. the technicalities would have to be taken care of some other time. “you’re going to love him.”
your parents smiled at you purely, “we can’t wait to meet him.”
“if you treat every customer like this, they might end up falling for you.” allen shook his head, chuckling by himself inside his humble studio apartment. he was cooking up a simple lunch when he remembered what you told him the day before. unconsciously, he caught himself hoping that it was a masked confession. allen knew it was a reach, trying to deduce how you felt just from those words, but seeing how close you two have become—the lingering gazes, warm hugs, and pecks on the cheek—he hoped he had a chance to have his feelings reciprocated openly. it’s probably time to clear out where both of you stood. it’s been 3 years after all.
the first time you ever stepped inside the bookshop, allen thought you were terribly overdressed. it was just at the break of spring and summer. you entered the shop alone and almost unnoticed, with allen’s back turned and you making the door chimes sound softer than they usually do. he actually only realized you were inside the shop when he saw you perusing the aisle containing contemporary mystery novels. with the beige sundress and huge sunglasses that you wore, one wouldn’t assume that you were from that town.
“hi, uhm, are you a tourist?” allen asked, ready to offer his help if you said yes. however, he was not looking directly at you but at the book you had in your hands. it was one of the novels in his shop he was not very fond of due to its unnecessary wordiness and lack of research.
“uhm, no. but i am new to this shop. they have a good selection, huh?” you paused and chuckled at the expression on allen’s face. “don’t worry, i’m not fond of his writing, either.”
“huh?” with a confused expression, he looked up at your face for the first time.
“i noticed you were squinting at it,” you said, raising the book up to eye level.
“ah, i’m sorry.” a bashful laugh sounded throughout the bookshop. allen looked like he could be your age but he carried himself like a young child meeting someone for the first time. “but you have to admit, his book covers feel very satisfying.”
“that’s the only reason why i was holding it. to feel it.” you laughed along with him and noticed that he was carrying a stack of at least 10 books. you removed your sunglasses to have a closer look at the titles. “you’re buying all of that?”
“no, no. i— uh, own the shop, actually. just reorganizing.” he said shyly, not used to introducing himself to a customer because everyone in the neighborhood who came to buy from him already knew this fact.
“oh! and here i was asking you about your own selections! lovely shop, by the way, sir…?”
“allen. just allen.” he held out his hand. when he asked for your name with complete curiosity and with no trace of recognition on his face, you knew that this was going to be a new and interesting place to be. from then on, his bookshop was the only place outside the palace to witness your unquenchable thirst for reading.
with every visit, your relationship with allen bloomed from awkward exchanges of greetings and smiles to a routine of long-winded discussions—ranging from the sweet and the natural to the borderline debate-like—a welcome sign that you have grown comfortable in each other’s presence. aside from the fact that he still did not know a single thing about your family background, both of you could say that you’ve come to know each other well, even up to the smallest habits and preferences.
allen could not remember when he realized that he always missed you terribly on the days you wouldn’t come. he did not know when he started to want to hold you while you had your nose up in a book. he also couldn’t tell at what point in time in the past three years his heart started beating faster at every soft tinkling sound of the door chime, always wishing it was you who entered when he turned and looked.
although he was not sure exactly when he fell for you, he’s more than certain that he wanted to be able to spend time with you and maybe have a future with you outside of the confines of his store.
“if you treat every customer like this, they might end up falling for you.” the next time you came, he was going to tell you that he’s never done special gestures like that for any other customer. his heart simply becomes happy making you smile and he’ll be glad to continue doing so for as long as you let him.
allen smiled by himself again, thinking about the mug of hot cocoa and heartfelt confession he was going to give you when you come back.
it’s been a few days since you last got the chance to take a break from your endless meetings. the two weeks leading up to the ball clouded your mind with nothing but work, work, and work. the one free night you had before the ball was tomorrow and you would usually be feeling excited at the thought of seeing allen and being cradled by pages of fiction in your spot between the shelves. but with the case at hand, all you could do was worry. the excitement upon telling your parents about him was now replaced with a rabbit hole of concern.
“i can hear your heart racing through the phone lines, y/n…” your best friend said through the phone call. staying in your room cooped up with your thoughts just wasn’t going to do it. you needed someone who was not on edge to put you in the right mindset for tomorrow and no one could do it better than your childhood best friend, who just so happened to be the young prince of a neighboring kingdom.
“i know, hyeongjun. be the prince that you are and give me your thoughts, please.” you leaned your back on one of the pillars of your balcony, staring out at the wide expanse of your town and the few flickering lights in the distance. you wondered if allen was closing up his shop right this very moment.
“before that… tell me. why do you like this allen?” hyeongjun asked. as you knew he wasn’t one to judge based on status or occupation, you obliged.
“well…” you started to fill him in right from the very beginning. your eyes were still looking out at the town, but your mind was replaying your typical visits to the shop like a movie reel.
you told hyeongjun about how your heart would do somersaults seeing allen sitting on the front desk, looking dashing even in just a simple sweater; about how his eyes would light up when he turned and saw you enter the shop; how he would look down and have a tint of red on his cheeks, catching himself in the middle of a rant when you listened to his stories with a loving gaze and undivided attention.
you smiled dreamily as you continued to narrate how you found the very first note allen left for you. it was placed on top of a stack of aged books at the shelf you frequented. the note said: “y/n. because i noticed you seemed to love horror fiction. these are some of my favorites. tell me what you think about them? :)” you looked over at the front desk, meeting his eyes which were already looking in your direction. you gave him a thumbs up, earning an excited smile from him.
before you left the bookshop that day, you noticed a bunch of crumpled post-it notes inside the bin beside the front door, some of them with longer messages, some with scribbled out hearts and more smiley faces. you chuckled, imagining how flustered he must’ve been while deciding what to write before finally settling for the simpler message instead.
you jumpily described your surprise at how, several months after you first met, allen dared to hold your hand and pull you between the wooden shelves to show you the seat he set up just for you; how he would smile when you told him his shop brought you comfort; how the hours spent with him are the longest you could go without being served or addressed as a noble, but as a beloved friend and maybe even more.
“and his mind… he knows more things than i could possibly know. he’s smart. but he still listens to me like everything i say is brand new to him. he’s no prince, but he’s left me more to think about than any other prince i’ve met. no offense, hyeongjun. you know i love you.”
“none taken.” hyeongjun breathed out, taking in everything you said. “just now, it sounded like you were reading me a fairytale. y/n, i know you’re already a real princess, but you saying such things makes me think you’re a princess out of actual fantasy.”
“hyeongjun…” you whined, not understanding where he was going with this.
“okay, look. i don’t think it was for the fear of him treating you differently that you still have not told him about your background,” he rationalized. hyeongjun has always been a bubbly friend, but you could rely on him to be wise and objective when you needed it the most. “it was the comfort that he brought you after a long day. maybe it was the way he treated you like an equal that kept you contented with what he knows about you at this point in time.”
you stayed silent and felt the waves of worry ebbing away because of how accurately he described your situation.
“my point is, y/n, if he was everything you described him to be, he would understand why you took this long to tell him. don’t get ahead of yourself, okay?” hyeongjun asked. “but if he reacts negatively, i can always send some of my personal guards to talk it out with him and—“
“i’m kidding! i just wanted to make you laugh,” he said giggling. you shook your head and laughed along with him, feeling yourself gaining more will to face the next day. the sigh you had now was one of partial relief
“thank you… i mean it.” you told him. “see you at the ball?”
“it’s your first donor’s ball. i wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Unfinished Business: Part 1
Trigger Warnings: Angst, Swearing, Slight mentions of past Abuse, Drugs.
Characters: Thomas Shelby x Reader
+ random character/group I made up (Romboldi & The Black Hats)
Word Count: 3,084 omfg I really did the most but I just kinda ran with it.
Summary: Y/N’s current occupation requires her to encounter Thomas Shelby, a man she thought was in her past for good, but as fate would have it, she has to face him once again, because no one can forget a Shelby.
Requested by: @msbzowy
Summary of request: “...Thomas lost any contact with the reader and one time while on a business deal he meets her because they’re both involved in the business. They would be fighting a lot but eventually something happens between them and the old feelings come back? You can make it sweet or steamy. No specific deal in mind, just like the general idea! Thank you in advance!”
A/N: This was requested as a oneshot but I had so many great ideas for it based off this awesome request, so I figured I’d turn it into a 2 or 3 part fic possibly. Let me know if that’s something you’d want to read. :)
Part 1 | Part 2
Y/n walked down the wooden staircase after receiving a phone call, one hand gliding down the rail, and the other holding her suitcase. Her nerves consuming her as she ran down the hall and out the door of her house in New York. The spring air filling her lungs as she quickly walked to the edge of the street, attempting to hail a cab. As she waved her hand out, she smiled as she saw one stop and handed him some cash for his efforts. She wasn’t much for pointless conversation, especially now. She was on her way to one of the biggest meetings of her career, a career she had found herself in only 2 years prior. It was a job most people wouldn’t want, but it paid well, and since she fled Small Heath, she needed the income and the protection.
Small Heath was a series of bittersweet memories. Seeing her friends at the tailor shops, walking down the dark cobblestone streets, and becoming particularly close to a man named Thomas Shelby. After the war, he got heavily involved in the business, dealing with rival gangs, going after commissioners, committing arson, murder, dealing with bets at the tracks, and breaking hearts most of all. In the matter of heartbreaks, y/n was his first true victim.
As the cab rolled down the city streets, she glanced out the window, remembering all that she left behind.
Tensions in the blinders were running high at the time of her departure from the company, back when they had a business meeting with a rival group, the Black Hats from New York. The blinders wanted to transport weapons and ammo for a cheaper price because of recent financial troubles, but they weren’t having it and the Black Hats declined, but not without blowing up one of Tommy’s supply areas. This smuggling shit was risky business to say the least, as these were being smuggled along with drugs.....snow to be exact. The little blue bottles were like gold, taking away the pain of the day while giving you the energy to go on to the next, sucking you in like a rip-tide at sea until you were consumed by the need for more. She had been all too familiarized with it because Tommy struck a deal with a huge supply of it before she left. He didn’t use it often, but Arthur was a different story.
It came as a shock to her, as she had been dating Tommy for a year before everything came crashing down. She was confronted by him at a family meeting saying that she needed to leave, that she had no place there despite her skills. She was a great shot and was helpful on many occasions, but to have her there would pose a risk they weren’t willing to take after they bombed him. So, in true Tommy fashion, he gave her some money, bought her a boarding pass, and sent her on her way to New York to start a new life, his cold eyes staring as he watched her board the ship, emotionless.
This only fueled her need to get back at him, to show him what he had lost, while also proving to herself that she didn’t need him as much as he needed her. She could make a name for herself, even if that meant working for the enemy.
Pulling up to the brick building, she realized she was now in the belly of the beast, the Black Hats home-turf. She was never seen with the Shelby’s when they visited him in Small Heath, as she was always doing secretary work at Tommy’s place, or perched high on rooftops, aiming at the men below who had came to charlies yard for their meetings. She was always out of sight regarding those men, but now here she was, working for them. She came to them seeking any position, lying about where she came from, supplying them with her forged papers, and even hiding her accent. For as big as this gang was, they weren’t the brightest, as they accepted her in with little apprehension.
She earned a good living for herself though, quickly becoming their main contract killer. She would travel the country and take out the people on their hit list, and in return they’d provide her with housing and a guard that would check in every so often.
As she walked in through the heavy double doors, she nodded to one of the guards who let her through into the leader, Mr. Romboldi’s office. He smiled as she came in, fiddling with his golden ring around his finger.
“Ah there she is...little miss Quick Shot. Nice of you to join us.” He said using her nickname she’d earned among her peers. She could hit a target from various angles and distances without much help and came to like the name she made for herself. Y/n soon nodded and stood at attention like the others, ready for the days orders.
“We have some unfinished business in Small Heath, as I’m sure you’re all aware. It’s been a while since we’ve been overseas, and we’re going to send someone tomorrow to discuss our deal once more as they’ve had recent success in a certain business venture that I’m sure we’d appreciate here.” He said with a serious look in his eyes.
“What venture?” One of the men asked.
“Gin. Buying stocks in it, selling bottles, transporting cross-country, we Americans love our gin and Mr. Shelby has a new supply. He tried to low-ball us last time with the ammo, the guns, and the snow, but I’m going to send him an offer he can’t refuse this time.” He said smirking.
“What offer is that?” Y/n asked, putting on her fake accent.
“You.” He said looking at her. Y/n’s heart sank, as she looked at him and nodded. She never wanted to see him again after he booted her out like she meant nothing to him, even if it was to save-face for him and the company and for her safety.
“You’re going to get him to supply us the gin and get him to pay us full price for our efforts with this am I clear?” He asked.
“Yes sir.” y/n said.
“If you fail, we’ll be meeting again under very different circumstances.” He said, an evil smile playing at his lips.
She’s known him long enough to know that he meant he’d kill her or Tommy, and as much as she hated the man who broke her heart, she still loved him at the same time, and she couldn’t let him or his family die over a silly business deal.
As soon as she was dismissed, she grabbed her suitcase and headed off to the boating docks, buying a ticket and boarding the ship. She knew her boss didn’t care when she left, as long as she got there sometime that week. And besides, she was too anxious to wait around for tomorrow, knowing this was time sensitive.
After the grueling ride aboard the ship, she went into London after going through the necessary checks. She used her alias and made her best impression, and then went on to Small Heath as assigned. When she got out of the car, she smirked as her red heels hit the black soil covered streets. Walking by a shop, she saw a women’s tailor and decided to stop in, buying a well made pant suit. It fit well and was a nice gray color with pinstripe detailing. Looking around further, she decided on a gold pocket watch, and nice hat to match, and then went on her way after buying it all.
Walking down the street, she saw the Garrison, causing all the memories she had with Tommy and the rest of the blinders to start coming back. They were like brothers to her and despite her bitterness, she still loved them, as they were not particularly happy in seeing her go, as that was solely Tommy’s decision.
Y/n shook the thoughts from her head, and waited outside the shop, leaning her back against the coal-black wall. While lighting a cigarette and taking a drag from it, she looked off into the distance seeing a man in a peaked cap riding a dark horse, much different than the white one she saw two years ago. As he pulled up near Shelby Company Ltd. He stopped in his tracks as y/n took another drag of her cigarette, looking at her pocket watch.
“Nice horse Tommy. You’re right on time.” She said relishing in the fact that she could use her normal accent. Her sunglasses and new brimmed hat helped in disguising her face.
“Thank you miss....Who are you?” He asked his eyes burning a hole through her shaded lenses. She smirked and took them and the hat off, revealing her face.
“Y/n...” He said, his eyes growing wide. He immediately took her inside and to his office, shutting the door behind him.
“What on earth are ya fucking doing here?” He asked.
“That’s not a nice greeting for someone you haven’t seen in two years Tom. But given what happened I didn’t expect anything nice from you anyways. I’m here on business.” She said, walking past him to put her cigarette out. He watched as she walked towards him, her arms folded over her well-fitting suit, standing in front of him.
“What business is that?” He asked.
“Oh you know, just a little...mafia business back in New York. Nothing too big... except that you’ve pissed off my boss. And now I’m sent here to try to make a deal.” She said making herself at home in one of his leather armchairs. He raised an eyebrow and sat on the edge of his desk near her.
“What deal? Who are you working for y/n?” He asked.
“The Black Hats. Mr Romboldi to be exact...ring a bell yet? The son of a bitch who took me in after you booted me out without a goodbye? Yeah, him. He still remembers your little low-ball offer for the guns, the ammo, and-” She chuckled as she remembered the drugs. “-the fucking snow.” She said giving him daggers.
He looked down, y/n could see the gears turning in his head.
“I told you to leave and not go anywhere near them y/n. Why the hell are ya working for em aye?” He asked angrily.
“You and I both know I couldn’t just sit around twiddling my thumbs and making pies for someone I never loved all day. I wasn’t going to be some house wife to some old bastard while I could’ve been out shooting and working a meaningful job. I wasn’t going to let myself rot.” She said, her own voice raising.
“You didn’t have to choose this life though. You could’ve left this behind like I wanted you to.” He said lighting a cigarette.
Y/n chuckled. “I remember what you told me one time, when I first started getting involved in Peaky business. You said and I quote, ‘you can change what you do, but you can’t change what you want.’ And you know what Tommy? I wanted this life, I wanted you, I wanted to make a name for myself, I wanted the thrill of this job because I often feel nothing. But I’ve only gotten half of that.” She said getting up, pacing around the room as he watched.
“What did you not get y/n?” He asked too focused on the mafia issue at hand to realize she mentioned him.
“You, you fucking idiot! But you threw me out, no goodbyes, no letters, nothing.” She said, her eyes filling up with tears.
“Y/n...that was two years ago. I was trying to protect you.” He said noticing the tears running down her face.
“I had a job. I had a life here. I’m not expecting you to ever want me back but god damn it I’d like an apology. Hell, you didn’t protect me from shit.” She said, thinking about some of the things she had to do to get through to some people for her boss. She shuddered at the thought.
He looked hurt, seeing her like that, and despite it being two years since that day, he still loved her all the same, he was just terrible at showing it. He never thought he’d see her again, and in that moment he decided he wasn’t going to let her go again.
She wiped her eyes as she felt him walk up behind her, she tensed up, not knowing what would happen next. He put his hand on her shoulder lightly, and she turned around to face him, her eyes still bright and hopeful after all that had happened. He loved her, and after she left, he mentally beat himself up over it every day. He turned to snow for a while, along with his opium, but what he truly needed was y/n. Fearing she may be too angry to every take him back, he hesitated as he brushed the tears from her cheek and kissed her.
Instead of slapping him or walking out, she deepened the kiss, which surprised Tommy, as he pulled her as close has he could, not wanting to let her go. When they parted, lightly gasping for air, he smiled slightly and so did she.
“I-I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry y/n.” He said stepping back from her.
She looked at him as she processed what happened, she never expected to fall right back into his arms after all she went through, but here she was, being sucked in by his ocean blue eyes once again.
She straightened her blazer out and pushed a stray hair out of her face.
“Why did you kiss me Thomas?” Y/n asked taking another cigarette out of her pocket and lighting it.
Thomas thought for a moment, trying to pick his words less recklessly this time around.
“When I forced you out, I stayed up every night beating myself up. I’ll never get those nights back, but those nights made me realize something y/n.” He said.
“If you’re going to break my heart again just say it already.” She said tapping her heel impatiently.
“I love you...y/n.” He said looking at her, studying her as she moved anxiously. He loved the way she looked, the way she carried herself, the way she wasn’t afraid to call him out. But he was terrified for the first time in his life that the woman he loved wouldn't return those very words back to him.
She looked down, exhaling a cloud of smoke. “I came here not only because of an order Tom...but because deep down despite my hate for what you did, I knew why you did it. And even though two fucking years have passed, I still haven’t been able to get you out of my head. So, I guess what the fuck I’m trying to say is that I love you too, you bastard.” She said looking up at him a light smile playing at her lips.
He smiled and walked over to her and took her hand in his, kissing it lightly.
“I promise to never do something so foolish again y/n. I swear on me fucking life...so am I forgiven?” He asked.
She took his words into consideration and nodded, bringing his lips to hers. Breaking away, she walked around the room slowly, remembering all of their fun times in here after-hours.
“So, about Mr. Romboldi, y/n how serious is this?” He asked.
“Well, he said that you’ll have to pay them full price for their services. He wants your gin. He sent me to persuade you to pay him for distribution and sales in the states......and It’s not easy Tommy, smuggling things.... especially alcohol back to the states........I hate him and his men believe me, but they risk their lives getting that kind of stuff so I think you should consider paying a full price.” She said.
“And if I don’t?” He asked.
Y/n sighed. “I was also sent here because he knew you couldn’t refuse an offer if it came from a pretty woman. Now, he may have been right on that part, but he doesn’t know that I’ve been working under an alias for him, and he doesn’t know I know you. They think my name is Y/N Anderson, from Virginia. And so if you don’t take this offer, they’re going to find out, and then Mr. Romboldi and his men are gonna waltz in here and kill you, me, and everyone you care about because they’ve already been wronged once, and they don’t like being wronged a second time.” She said sternly, taking another drag from her cigarette.
He sighed and ran his hands over his head, his face growing angry.
“What is it Tommy?” Y/n asked, noticing his behavior.
“After all this time, I thought maybe I’d be done for a moment y/n. With this whole empire of a business. But I think that moment will never come...before I stupidly forced you away, I had everything. I had this going great, and at night I could sleep. But now, when I do sleep, I dream. And in my dream, someone wants my crown.” He said with a sad look to his eyes. Y/n came over to him and hugged him gently, feeling him relax at her touch.
“Well, I’m here now. And the only way you’re going to get a break and get to keep your crown is if you help me fucking take care of this Thomas.” She said.
He sighed and took a moment to think.
“Alright...in that case...you’re going to call him from a payphone tomorrow. You’re going to say I accept his offer now that we have the fucking funds to do so, and you’re going to tell him we can meet in a weeks time. We’ll meet in charlies yard again.” He said.
“So we have a deal then?” She asked grinning, still embracing him.
“We have a deal.” He said.
“So now that I’m here...where shall I stay?” She asked.
“Well, first I’m going to re-introduce you to the family which I’m sure they’ll love. Then, I’ll be taking you to my place.” He said.
“And why is that?” She asked a mischievous smile playing at her lips.
“Because we have some unfinished business.” He said, before pecking her lips and ushering y/n out the door and into the family meeting room.
Pairing: president!Steve Rogers x actress!OFC
Summary: Twenty years after the events of 1963, Tony Stark gives an interview for the first time about his incredibly famous wife and her affair with President Rogers.
Warnings: Angst? Vague foreshadowing?
PROLOGUE TO MY SERIES: MR. PRESIDENT.
Rain-swollen clouds drifted high above the skyscrapers, blowing and shifting, teasing patches of blue sky every once and awhile before hiding it again, with the sun trying futilely to burn it all away. She would have hated today. Well, not hated since she didn't believe in hate, but intensely disliked. She survived in the sun, basked in it. A California girl through and through. Today, she would've been curled up in a chair, a blanket hiding her lower half, reading some book she'd swiped from her section of his library. The weather would have pointed her in the direction of Virginia Woolf or Oscar Wilde. The day was warm but the amp spring wind was chilly. As soft as the outer skin of a peach. At the first break of the rain, she would have gone out to sit on the terrace only to be chased back in moments later– returned sulky as a child, slightly damp. He visualized her in the doorway, pouting. In his mind, she looked like a ghost, cast in a hazy, whitish aura by the light rain that pattered the panes of the library window; a contrast against the lurid orange glow of the fire that burned in front of him; the smell of fall against the damp, cold feel of–
Tony tilted his head away from the window, two fingers under his chin, and looked at the woman sitting beside him in an adjoining tall, wing-back oxblood leather chair. A stranger, an outsider. A reporter from The New York Bulletin, Karen Page gazed expectantly at him, looking for answers. Truth be told, he didn't know if he was willing to tell them to her... or the public for that matter.
"I drifted off. What did you ask me, Ms. Page?"
"Just a preliminary question, if you don't mind," she glanced down at her notepad that rested on her thigh. "My editor was wondering if you'd be willing to tell me if your daughter will be taking over for you as CEO of Stark Industries? There's a rumor going around that she will."
"A rumor based on what exactly?"
Karen looked up. "She's your only child."
“That I know of,” he japed.
She smiled at that. “The wires picked it up from a–” checking her notes– “’close source’.”
Tony couldn’t help but smirk, albeit weakly. “A close source is the journalistic way of saying assumption."
“No comment then, I guess?”
Tony sighed. “Off the record,” he shifted in his seat, wincing slightly, “my answer is yes. She will.” Better to give her something now, in case nothing comes later, he thought. The reporter was growing frustrated with him, he knew. Did she expect him to pour out the story without a little bit of a nudge? "Look, I'm used to the press being... not amicable to myself or my wife. To my family."
“You summoned me here, sir.”
“I did,” he replied. “Only because I want to do this on my terms. Not yours." There was a pause. "I'm sure you did your research before coming, but what all do you know?"
“What the public knows about it all which is barely anything. All I've found is fabrications and rumors from close sources, but, as you noted, that's assumptions mostly. The truth is too obscure even to be visible at this point," she clicked her pen. "Why haven't you talked about this before?"
“Didn’t feel the need to.”
“You feel the need to now then?”
Tony laughed. "My sixty-six birthday is coming up, Ms. Page. My time is waning and everyone, at this age, has unfinished business they need to take care of. This is mine–” he gestured between himself and her– “It just so happened that you decided to write about all this, about her. I read a few of your past articles and decided that you're genuine about what you're writing. Plus, if you are going to give her story and about what happened, you might as well get the truth about it all."
"From a close source?"
Another laugh. "If you want to put it that way."
Karen’s gaze drifted to the mantel above the fireplace where an array of awards sat; three Oscar statuettes, golden exterior shining brilliantly, at the foreground. In the background, six Golden Globes, two BAFTAs, a few lesser awards. Above them, a stunning, iconic portrait of his wife done by Andy Warhol.
Stark’s art collection was, without a doubt, impressive, lined the walls of his penthouse in SoHo as a reminder that the modern era hadn't entirely escaped him. The space was a time capsule of the golden years of Hollywood; enormous by New York standards and outdated yet still retained a sense of upper class chic with monochrome interior and splashes of tan and bits of color here and there. Barnett Newman’s Stations of the Cross: Fifth Station and Now II were on display in the entry hall and Jackson Pollock’s No. 5, 1948 in the living room, but his office was different. Darker colors. More austere which was strange considering the Warhol Pop Art silkscreen was on display in here. She’d been shocked to see it. A few years ago Sotheby’s had hosted a highly publicized auction of Warhol’s paintings and among the lot had been the artist’s series on Stark’s wife including the famed Icon Diptych (fifty images of Stark’s wife based on a publicity photo from her Oscar winning film, Marionette) and the less renowned Starlet, her favorite of the lot.
The press, of course, as her husband, published that Stark was to buy the series of his wife but nothing had come from the rumor until Sotheby's released a statement that the whole lot of the artist's work had been purchased by a single anonymous buyer for a historic, record-breaking 700 million. Days later, the MoMA stated Icon Diptych was theirs on permanent loan from the buyer and a new member of their “MODERN FAME” exhibition but the outcome of Starlet along with the other ten works of the series turned into a mystery with no evidence of who had bought them.
Well, until ten minutes ago.
When the Icon Diptych was placed in the MoMA, it had turned into one of the most visited pieces of art in the world and was even dubbed by a reporter as the "western Mona Lisa." Fifty images of the actress split into two– the twenty-five images on the left side vibrantly colored with five layers of underpaint (yellow, pink, white, aqua, and orange), unified by a final layer of black paint. The twenty-five images on the right, however, were done on silver underpaint and as the images moved farther to the right, each row faded more and more. Starlet, on the other hand, was the best of both worlds: nine white, black, and pink silkscreen images. The four pink images were of her smiling while the five other black and white images had her looking less than happy. Sad, tearful, haunting even. Images taken at the worst moments of her life. The nine images were supposed to represent the juxtapose of on and off-screen; the closeted version of stardom.
Karen clicked her pen and looked back at Stark: withered, aged by time, worn by life. Although he didn’t look great, he didn’t look like the hermit the media made him out to be. Not skinny or unkempt; no long fingernails or wiry beard. His dark hair was almost all silver now, and a paper-thin hand was clasped around an elaborate golden cane that rested against the arm of his chair. His plain-gold wedding ring hung loosely on a finger that used to clasp it cozily. Lilac tinted sunglasses hid his eyes as he stared at her. No one (the press and public) had seen him in months, not since he left the White House after consulting President Reagan about the Strategic Defense Initiative; photos from that day showed him getting into a black car, looking gaunt, and when he returned to New York a few hours later, the media was waiting for him at the airport, snapping pictures of him giving his ever-so charming grin, throwing a peace sign before getting into another black car. A week after this, major American news published that Stark died peacefully at his SoHo penthouse. This wasn’t taken seriously albeit since the press had published similar stories so many times the public referred to his penthouse as “The Tomb.”
While this hadn't been true, it sparked something in Karen. An article on the extraordinary lives of Tony Stark and his famed, iconic wife. She was still in the research phase of things when, the other day, she got a call. Tony Stark wanted to be interviewed for the piece. How he heard about it, she didn't know. No one but her and her editor knew about it. Ellison, her editor, told her that it was a prank caller. “He wants to do an interview? The Tony Stark?” was his reaction before he broke out into laughter. “That had to have been some punk-kid pulling a joke. No way, Karen. Everyone’s been trying to get him for an interview since 1963.” It hadn’t been until Stark himself called and spoke to Ellison, with her as his specific choice of interviewer, that he’d taken it all seriously. “Do good and you’ll be the next Theodore H. White, but be fucking careful and do not spook him away.”
That had been two hours ago.
Suddenly, Tony cleared his throat and said: “We have to respect his children.”
“Ms. Page, in my family, what my wife did is not a secret. My daughter, she knows. His children however... I don't think they really know the whole truth of it. Peggy made me promise that none of this would see the light of day while she was alive but now that...”
His voice trailed off. She understood perfectly what he was trying to say: that he didn’t want to hurt Peggy and the President’s children possibly by divulging the story. Guilt, she thought, was the expression on his face. Peggy Carter had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease five years ago and passed away peacefully in her sleep less than seven months ago. Karen frowned sadly. “I understand,” she said, agreeably enough. “I’ll try my best."
"Not try. Do." His eyes looked fixedly at her. "Are you married?"
Tony waved a hand at her– the wedding ring on his finger twinkling momentarily in the firelight. "You're young, kid. A long time ago, I didn't think I was the marrying type– and maybe that's not your thing but back when I was your age it was strange if a man didn't have a family. I'm not too big headed to be able to admit that I was a playboy. The wayward son, my father used to call me. Never dreamt of settling down with anyone until her. Cliché, but that's the truth of the matter."
"What was your first impression of her?"
He gave a fond smile. "That she was endlessly fascinating."
Tony seemed not to have heard that. "Are you planning on writing about President Rogers?"
The question felt like a trap. "He's part of her story."
There was a long period of silence before he said: "My wife loved me, I know that, but even all these years later, he's the man who lives with her constantly. Do you understand? We were married. There were vows. We committed to forever together, but now forever includes him."
It almost seemed as though he was talking to himself. Like a message was hidden for her behind his words. "I'm not following–"
"Would you like the fairy tale or the truth?"
Karen didn't know what to say. "I try to give my readers the truth."
"However that's not what they want," he replied curtly. "The truth isn't as glamorous as the fairy tale they've spun in their minds. For them, my wife is either a princess or a homewrecker, but he's forever the prince that touched divinity for such a brief period yet preferred my wife over it."
"And what do you think she is?"
"I can't see it from their third person perspective, Ms. Page. She's just my wife." He looked over at the Starlet painting above the fireplace. "She's a woman who got entangled in the greatest love story of the modern ages." His voice had lost all it’s emotion; stoic, long-since pained. She saw that he had started twisting his wedding ring with his other hand. She suddenly felt sympathetic.
"How would you like to begin?"
"The only way it can." He looked back over at her, slowly removing his tinted sunglasses, his deep brown eyes blank, exhausted, and deeply sighed. "In this room on May 19th, 1962..."
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Betrayal at its Finest III (mob!Tom)
(a/n) I’m sorry this is a bit late, the next parts will be probably even more late so this is an apology in advance.
I would also like to thank everyone for the support on this story <3 including the amazing @worldoftom for the proofreading and editing, especially since this chapter was a real struggle for me <3
word count: 5,970
warnings through out the series: (mentions of) smut, violence, drugs, alcohol, guns, general mob stuff right?
Chapter Three: New Cherry Lipstick
The meeting with Harrison was on a Wednesday. You were called in for your first day at work the next Monday. Just like that day two weeks ago, you walked down the street. It was raining again. Of course, it was. Why would the earth let you catch a break if you could just as well jump around, avoiding puddles, in a tight pencil skirt and uncomfortable heels?
The iron gate was just as heavy and loud as the first time. This time, however, you didn't meet anyone in front of the door. Though, for a second you felt that feeling again, the same one as in the park. You felt like you were being watched again. Quickly turning around, you expected someone to be standing behind you, but there was no one there. It was when you looked at the windows, however, that it seemed as if you saw one of the heavy curtains move as someone walked away. You quickly shook that thought out of your mind. It was probably just a trick of the light.
You let yourself in and hung up your wet coat and umbrella on the hangers. It was still not clear if you were allowed to do that, but it felt appropriate. The rain, as unpleasant as it was, did help you appreciate the warmth inside since the temperature in the building was set to undeniably hot. It was actually like walking into a pillow… or more like… the pillow was thrown at your face. Very intense.
You were told to meet Mr Holland in his office, so that was where you were headed. Down the hall, up the round staircase, following the path of artworks which were worth more than you would probably ever be. Then came the next hallway, even hotter than downstairs, and a problem. You could not remember which door was his office. Was it left or right? One thing you knew for sure is that, in this place, you couldn't really just barge in through any door you wanted. Who knew what was going on behind these doors. With one move of the handle, you could be witnessing something that might undoubtedly get you killed. That would be something - dead on the first day of the job.
Right as a little bit of panic started to kick in, you heard a whoosh over the carpet, making you turn around.
"Good morning, miss y/l/n/," Tom said with a small smile. You had to admit, he looked handsome. It was irrefutable, he always did. In his dark grey suit that fit to the most modest crease. His shoes were still shiny. You could assume that they were specially bought for the inside of the building. His hair was styled to perfection but not overdone.
"Good morning, Mr Holland." You nodded your head slightly down with a smile imitating his. He stepped aside, letting you pass through the doorway.
"Please, come in." He showed you the way and you, just like last time, followed.
"I would like to thank you again, sir, for the opportunity. It really means a lot to me," you said as you sat down in that same chair.
"The pleasure is all mine, truly. I have to admit that you were one of, if not the best, applicant for the job. To not give you the job would be an offence." He explained as he, too, sat down. It surprised you that listening to his words made you blush. You knew you were great but being recognised in it... It just hit differently.
"On that note, let me explain-" his tone changed. There was no more boyish charm to be detected in his voice. You knew you were sitting opposite one of the most dangerous men in the world. It was quite exciting. "We run a tight ship around here. Everything we do should be done as best and as smoothly as possible. We do not appreciate slip-ups."
"I understand, sir." You nodded, reading the cold certainty in his eyes. It made you uneasy, but you focused on breathing lightly to keep that at bay for now.
"We believe that Holland Enterprise is just like a machine and that trust is the essential part that makes it work so well. It would be a shame for someone to break this machine."
"I understand, sir," you repeated. Next followed a second of you and him looking into each other's eyes. You remembered to breathe calmly and not tense up. You were so close. Almost in. Just one more lie and you'd be in.
"Good, I thought someone as smart as you would." His shoulders suddenly slacked and he leaned back in his large office chair. You followed suit in your seat with a nervous smile. As if on cue, the door behind you opened, and your pal Harrison walked in. He didn't step inside; however, he just stood in the doorway with his arms behind his back. If only he'd had sunglasses on, he would be looking like a sexy bodyguard.
"You already met Mr Osterfield," Holland stood up so you assumed you should do the same. "If you follow him, he will show you to your new office."
"Thank you, sir." You made your way to Harrison and greeted him with a smile and nod. He walked off silently, and you just followed. The hallway that you were in continued for many more doors, all identically black. You counted them. 5… 6… 7. The eighth on the left was where Harrison finally stopped. He opened it to reveal an office. It actually did not hold much difference from the one you had previously been in except for the fact that it was a bit smaller. For the rest, the furniture and setup was the same.
"Well, here you are." Harrison let you inside. "On the desk, you will find your new phone, use it for business only… or emergencies, no personal calls. Next, there should be a com. If someone in the office will need your assistance, you'll hear it there. Mr Holland is on line four." As Harrison explained that, you wondered who was on the first three.
"If you got any questions-"
"I do actually have one," you turned around to look at him. He smiled.
"Then you should find Harry, I was going to say, but yes?"
"Can I redecorate?" You smiled, and he did, as well.
"Do whatever you want."
"Great," you said as you made your way to the grand chair behind the desk. "Another question, will you still follow me around, or was that a one-time thing?"
Harrison chuckled. "I don't plan on it… unless some trouble should come up."
"Of course, of course," you mumbled. Harrison was already getting ready to leave, but you chimed in once more. "One more thing!"
"Who is this Harry, then?"
Harry turned out to be Harry Holland. Younger brother of the boss-man. He was "the guy that knows a guy". You understood why he was the one who you were supposed to ask all the questions to, since he knew everything about everyone almost anywhere. Not to mention, he was sneaky, that most of the time, the people he knew didn't even know Harry existed.
And of course, like his brother, Harry was very good looking. Considering your pal Harrison too, maybe it was a requirement for a successful mob gang…
But looks aren't forever, that much knows everyone and you would make sure of it. If you had to punch their pretty white teeth out yourself, it's just what you would have to do. They could afford a new pair anyway. They could bear so much shit. That was the annoying part of it all. They had all the money in the world… and that came on the side of the fortune. The fortune they were making by stealing business from your friends and everyone else in the city. The Hollands ran a business empire and they were, without a doubt, great at it. So why did they have to meddle in with the mob life? Nobody knew for sure. Maybe someone got bored of the stock market and decided that narcotics and firearms were more interesting… and who could blame them? It is much more fun.
This fact brought in an entirely new challenge in itself to the plan. Since you had taken a job at Holland Enterprise, you would need time to get close to the family. To properly get into their business.
There was a lot you had to do, but you had to stop thinking about it. It wasn't what mattered now. Obviously, it was a problem, but it was another problem besides the bigger problem. There were, in fact, so many problems that you couldn't really keep track of them even if you tried.
Now, you had to sit.
Just like Harrison told you, there was a phone on your desk. It looked better than any phone you had before. The screen was still shiny and in one piece. No corners were nicked from dozens of drops to the ground. There was no lock on it, so you quickly turned it on and checked the contacts. There were no names, just numbers. Well, that's not annoying at all. Were you expected to memorise them? That wasn't really your thing. You were proud of yourself for being able to remember your own number at a bar when a guy asked you for it and but it didn’t go much further than that.
Also on the desk was the communicator. It really looked like a stationary phone with the receiver ripped out. You could even see the hole on the side of it where the cord should have been, covered in some plaster. Was it a strategy to keep things cheap? Or a memory from the person whose job you took over? You would never know.
Then there were some more things on the desk, a computer screen with a keyboard, a penholder with a few writing utensils in it, nothing out of the ordinary. What caught your eye was the sheet of paper that was lying face down in front of you, so you quickly picked it up. The words were typed in a small font, not even covering half the page. It was a list.
Refile documents (ask H)
H? Harry? Whoever wrote this, really could have been a bit more specific.
Pick up suits.
Walk with Tessa.
And like that the list went on…
You assumed that Tessa was a dog. This was practically a chore list of things to do. Pretty simple and straightforward tasks you could expect from an assistant job. Some of them had little dates scribbled next to them. Feeling they were the deadlines, you thought the rest could take a few days or were things that had to be done several times.
After reading the list a few more times, you looked into the drawers of the desk. The top ones on either side were empty. Then, the middle drawer on the right contained nothing but a hardcover notebook. Almost like a journal. It looked pretty. The cover was made out of black pleather, on it the logo of Holland Enterprise engraved in silver: A geometric spider with what you assumed was an H in the middle of it. You flipped through it. Empty. So it must be for you. The pages itself also had Holland Enterprise stamped on them. Custom paper. Fancy.
Your scavenging was interrupted when there was a knock on the door, making you look up.
"Come in," you said. Your voice was surprisingly stable. As the door opened, you felt the urge to fix a strand of hair that was hanging loosely. In the morning, you had chosen to go with a little more of a casual hairstyle, but now it suddenly didn't feel right anymore.
The door opened and in walked Tom. You didn't expect it to be him, so he was met with a bit of a wide-eyed expression from you. He smiled.
"How's the office?" He walked up to the desk. You were about to stand up, but he was already ahead of you, sitting down in the chair opposite yours. It was like a strange role reversal from five minutes ago. Suddenly you were the big boss in the large chair. You liked it. So, the smile you gave him was very genuine.
"It's wonderful. Though I would like to make a few adjustments... if that's alright," you added on quickly. Yes, Harrison said it was alright, but you still felt better asking him about it. You had to be careful around here. It was the plan to stay around as long as possible. You would be useless if they kicked you out after a day.
"Do whatever you please," he said. The smile on his soft lips looked so kind. He spoke so sophisticated, so sure of himself. Even the most straightforward phrases. They were, in a strange way, perfect.
"I came in because I realised we forgot to bring you one more thing." You watched him unbutton his suit jacket and feel around in his inside pocket. Out he pulled a platinum card.
"Here you go." He placed it on the table and pushed it with two fingers your way. You had to remember to close your mouth. Gently you picked it up. In your hand you held, most likely, more money than you had ever had in your entire life. And it was given to you just like that…
"This is for all the expenses you are most likely to make on the job. Of course, personal payments can be made too." His voice was somewhat tainted with a hint of amusement.
"Oh, no. I wouldn't dare, sir- I mean, it's company money."
"Believe me, we have plenty of that around here." He got up again. "And I strongly believe that the well-being of the employees is a good investment in itself. Please, treat yourself."
You were actually speechless. Was Holland really allowing you to spend this money on yourself? A part of you was really fucking thrilled, but the other… was fuming at how easily he could waste money. It was bizarre, to say the least.
But hey, he told you to treat yourself, so why the fuck not.
Tom left your office without another word, but you didn't really care much. You were still looking at the little piece of plastic in your hand, tapping your nails over it. Ideas of what you could get were forming in your head, but you couldn't be too rash. You had a job to do. In a sense, even more than one.
Now that you had officially been welcomed into the team, got your own office and supplies, you weren't sure what you were supposed to do. Glancing back at the list, you saw the current date next to "Pick up order at White Diamond".
White Diamond, you recognised that name. It was a luxurious store downtown. Of course, what else could it be when it was named that.
With your new phone and credit card in hand, you headed out of the building. It was still strange to walk through the hallways. They were so empty. It had no corporate feel to it, more like... like it was one of their 10 mansions that they just decided to turn into an office.
As you kept walking to the exit, past all those closed doors, you wondered how many people were in the building with you. You knew that at least Harrison was somewhere around, and Tom was in his office... but there were so many rooms, so many corridors. What were they hiding? You needed to find out.
It was at the middle of the staircase that you heard a strange noise. If you had not been used to it being around Chippy's so often, you would not have been able to recognise it immediately. Gunshots.
The fear in you started to rise as the sound reverberated through the walls. It was astounding how easy it seemed for a business family to hear a shooting early in the morning without a commotion populating the hallways. There wasn't even a single cry of panic in the background, or a yelp of surprise. Was this really this normal for them?
This, for sure, triggered your curiosity. It was always something that got you into trouble. It didn't matter if this time it could get you killed, you wanted to know what was going on.
So, you followed the bellowing echoes of the shots. You went down the stairs, but instead of going straight, you turned left. Really, how did they not get lost around here? All the corridors and doors looked precisely the same... But the shots got louder so knew you were going the right way.
Then you saw it. One door was open. Just the tiniest bit, but it was enough to carry the loud blast through the empty hallways.
Inside you saw Harrison. He had taken off his jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his shirt. You watched as he stretched out his arm, held the gun in front of him and... BANG BANG, shot twice.
You couldn't see what he was shooting at, but from what you could see, the room was empty. It was nothing but concrete walls and flooring. Next to Harrison stood a little table, on it boxes of various ammunition.
"You know, you're not that great of a spy yourself, y/l/n," Harrison said as he reloaded his gun. He hadn't even glanced in your direction. Since your presence had been made known, you stepped inside. This place was much colder than the rest of the building. This was explained as soon as you walked in... since it wasn't much of a room, to begin with. More like an entrance to the large garden behind the house. A whole wall was missing. You looked ahead to see the grass and the cloudy grey sky above a glass ceiling. Some metres away from where Harrison was standing, in the direction he had just been shooting at, were two targets. Both already filled with several gunshot holes.
"Hobby?" you asked as you walked up to him. You looked at the guns that were on the table. There was nothing that caught your eye in particular.
"More like a... mandatory self-defence course." He laughed. "Not that I don't enjoy it."
"Mandatory, you say?" You traced your fingers over a pistol mindlessly. "Why is it so necessary?"
The question seemed to be making Harrison a bit flustered.
"Not that it's necessary... but you never know when you might need it."
"Do I need it?" you asked bluntly, stepping away from the table up to him.
"Maybe, eventually." He saw the way you raised your eyebrow. "If you manage to stick around long enough for a promotion."
You started wondering what kind of promotion needed gun training. Still, you wanted to keep your calm and not show too much intention of prying.
"I sure plan on it."
"Then I will be happy to teach you." He smiled... except the smile didn't reach his eyes. You watched as he unloaded the gun with a simple click. You weren't sure what it was, but something made your knees feel a bit weak, so you decided to look around. Anywhere but at his hands.
"I can't help but feel a bit dumb here, I am a bit new to the whole Fortune 500 thing, does every business have a shooting range?" you clearly joked.
"Well, to start off, you wouldn't believe the things we got around here, and well... there is no business out there like ours," Harrison spoke nonchalantly. You nodded along. The amount of absolute bullshit that was coming out of these people's mouths around here was actually fascinating. Still, you listened as if you cared.
"Not that I need to tell you that," he said with a hint of amusement.
"What do you mean?" You raised an eyebrow.
"Well, I think you know exactly what kind of place this is."
"I do?" you kept questioning him... and you could tell he didn't like it. Still, it was fun, and he kept his cool. Although, the conversation had a tension in it, like a rubber band that was about to snap.
"C'mon, no one would be standing here so calmly after having heard and seen me shoot a Glock in the greenhouse. Not to mention, it was my job to find out everything I could about you. You must know that what we handle with, or at least how it can be risky."
You didn't like where this conversation was going. Not at all. You looked Harrison in the eyes. In the bright artificial light, they were even more striking.
"Honestly, as long as I don't get into trouble and get paid enough, I don't care what is going on here," you stated. Harrison laughed under his breath. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing. I wasn't so sure about you at first, but now- you got a good attitude, might actually fit right at home here."
"Thanks..." You weren't sure how to react to that. Next followed a moment of silence. Neither of you spoke or looked at each other. It was a bit numbing, to say the least.
Then you remembered you had actually been planning on going somewhere before Harrison had caught your attention. He didn't ask where you were going, but before you left the room, he called out: "Want me to drive you?"
No, not really.
"Sure," you said. You waited in the doorway. Harrison unrolled his sleeves, grabbed his jacket, put the gun in the secret holster he had hanging in the lining... really, how long could a person take. Yet, you kept your proper attitude up.
Finally ready, Harrison led the way to an entirely new part of the building. You paid as much attention as you could to the directions. Not only to remember your way out of this place, but you had promised Chippy a full report. You could tell it was going to be exhausting to try and explain all of this.
Harrison was apparently leading you up to the garage. Just like the makeshift shooting range you had just left, this was also just concrete on concrete. A row of 4 identical shiny black cars was parked in the middle.
Four matching keys were hanging next to the door. Harrison grabbed one of them and walked to the car nearest to you. You followed.
"Where are we going?" he finally asked. You told him the name of the store. For some reason, he smiled to himself. You, however, didn't question it. You already had had too long of a conversation with him. It was bad enough that he was following you everywhere.
The White Diamond was located on the other side of the city. This meant it was a long drive you and Harrison had to take, especially with the heavy traffic that was filling the streets. The first ten minutes of the ride, neither of you said a word. Harrison focused on the road while you directed your eyes on him. You kept your eyes on him without a real intention. When he glanced at you, you didn't look away. There was no reason to hide it.
"I have to say, Harrison," you finally broke the silence, "you have been confusing me a little bit."
"Oh, have I now?" The idea of that clearly made him smile as he made a turn.
"Definitely. I mean, everything about this job is out of the ordinary, but I just can't place you in it. What is it that you do?"
"I can do anything, darling."
"Good to know, but it's just that... you must have a position in this business, don't you?"
"You can call me, in a way, the right-hand man of Mr Holland. I do the dirty jobs he asks me to do." He spoke with a distant tone, as if he had the answer there, prepared, for a long time.
"Ah, so you're an assistant too."
"Call it what you want, but know that when you leave, I'll still be here." He shot you a dirty look. He had one hand on the wheel, and as he held it, his knuckles were slowly turning paler.
"I can tell that you don't like me."
"It's only been a lunch and a day, so don't get me wrong. I think I like you, but you confuse me too, y/l/n. I'm sure you know that our ways are quite unconventional and they have scared more than a few employees off, yet you... you don't even seem to be questioning them. We both know it was my job to figure out if you were safe for our company and believe me, I am not done looking, because I can feel there is something more to you. I just can..." and with that, you had arrived in the parking lot of the boutique.
As you were stepping out, you realised you had just spent an entire car ride with the first, and possibly largest, problem you might have to encounter on your job. Harrison was already suspicious of you, and it hadn't been a day. You had to work on yourself. Being good at the game wasn't everything if the others didn't play fair. It was never your thing, but you could play dirty too...
The store was bustling with customers. From the point of entrance, you could perceive the type of people that walked around. The type to have too much money to spend. What the fuck were you doing here?
Actually... What were you doing here? All you knew was that you had to pick up an order... but where? What even was it? This was becoming a nightmare.
"You have no idea what you're doing, do you?" Harrison whispered on your side. You looked over and sent him a look of zero appreciation. There goes your bonding experience. Or maybe it was the opposite. You had slowly been building up an enemy in him, getting it out there, making the problem known.
With no response coming from you, Harrison rolled his eyes.
"Just go to the counter, let me know when you're ready," and just like that, he left. Disappeared into the crowd. While making your way over to the said counter, you had caught a quick glance of him chatting up a lady. He seemed very in his element.
You walked in the direction Harrison had pointed at and, indeed, there was a counter. A girl around your age was standing behind it, visibly bored. She was looking at her long red nails as you walked up to her.
"Hi," you said.
"How can I help you," she said monotonously. You wouldn't have been surprised if it were her parents that owned the place and made her work there.
"I'm here to pick up something for... Holland?" With those words, it was as if a switch had flipped. The girl stood up straight as a pencil and looked directly at you.
"Oh, right. Yes, just- please, give me a second, ma'am," she flustered out before running off to the place where they kept the whatever-it-was you were here for. By her reaction alone, you were sure that the Hollands (or at least Tom) were regulars here.
She soon came back with a small velvet box. It was just a bit too big to have your fingers around it in a grip. The girl opened the case, and there was a shiny, silver watch inside. Was this really what you came here for?
Was this really what your life had become? Going out doing errands for your enemy while basically being tailgated by his little buddy? You were really questioning this entire operation. You agreed to it, thinking it would be exciting, but... if you had to spend the next half a year going around stores shopping for expensive watches... could you really do it?
"Yup, that's it," Harrison said from behind you, completely out of nowhere. In that quick second, you didn't know whether to scream or punch him below the belt. He was uncomfortably close to you, so with a push of the shoulder, you made sure you had some distance. Without looking at him, you asked:
"Wasn't I supposed to be handling this, Osterfield?"
"You didn't even know why you were here. Someone had to make sure we're getting what we came for."
Even without looking at him, you could feel the cold stare he was giving the poor girl behind the counter. There was definitely some tension there. A warning. It made you wonder what happened.
Something about her, made you think the girl should have been shaking, but her hands were steady as she wrapped the watch back up. You took out your pretty and shiny new business credit card, but then your eye caught something. It was a small stack of packages next to the counter. 12 or so, identical black boxes. The name of the brand was written on it in silver letters. Yet, you couldn't accurately read it because whatever material was used for it, was reflecting in the lights of the store. To show off the product, even more, a sample form was standing next to the little box pyramid. It was a classic red lipstick. Just the perfect hint of sweetness mixed with seduction.
"Get it already," Harrison grabbed a box. You thought you had only glanced at it, but maybe it took you a bit longer. Or maybe, he saw you look at it more than once. Either case, he wanted to move on and get out. Of course, that wouldn't happen. Not if it was up to you.
"What? No, I can't. I don't have-"
"Money?" Harrison scoffed and just pushed the credit card towards the girl. You, already feeling embarrassed by him enough, didn't want to fight, so you just let it happen. You thanked her, slightly bitter, and walked away with everything in a small black bag.
You didn't speak to Harrison until you were by the car. The parking lot seemed relatively empty, so you felt comfortable continuing your conversation.
"You know, at first, I thought your little attitude was cute, but now, you should really watch it," he said as he opened the door on his side. You mirrored him. Neither of you stepped inside.
"I'm sorry I don't feel like being walked over. Seriously, what is your problem? I've known you for a day. All I did was get a job and ask you about guns-" Suddenly you could hear footsteps behind you. Both of you turned in the direction to see a man walking by with a few shopping bags. Now more hushed, you continued: "-that you were shooting. Since when is that a crime? What have I done wrong?"
"I'm sure there is plenty of that, but I don't think you want to get into that on the parking lot." And with that, he got into the car. With a slight groan, you got in too. This was going to be a long ride.
Harrison gave you a bare 3 seconds to buckle up before he drove off.
"You didn't do shit wrong, and that's what I don't like," he said, which threw you off quite a bit. "I don't trust people who don't have anything on them."
"I used to shoplift chapsticks when I was 12. Is that good enough for you?"
He chuckled, but only for a brief moment. For that same amount of time, he made you think of Chippy. He held the stirring wheel the same way, and he always confused the fuck out of you too.
"It will do for now," he spoke calmly. Not in the way you would want him to talk to you during this conversation. It was, to put it merely, off-putting.
That also ended the discussion entirely. Neither of you spoke for the rest of the drive back to the office. As you reached more busy streets again, Harrison had to drive slower. You found this to be the perfect opportunity to open up the mirror above the passenger's seat and test out your new lipstick.
As much as Harrison annoyed you, and how weird it might have felt to buy it off of company money, you were glad you did. The shade fit your lips perfectly. Extra bonus was that by being too occupied with that, you had reached the office in no time. You stepped out as quickly as you could and practically ran up to Tom's office and knocked on his door.
"Mr Holland?" you said with a sweet melody covering your voice, "I got your order from White Diamond."
"Great. Thank you, y/n," he said. You walked up to his desk and put the small box in front of him. He didn't show much expression, just a vague hint of a smile in the corner of his mouth poked through. You watched him open the packaging and take the watch in his hands. For such a small and relatively fragile object, it looked really heavy.
"What do you think?" He moved his arm around, showing off all the angles. The sun shining through the large windows behind him made the silver of the watch shine even more.
"It's uhm..." Ugly. Pretentious. Tasteless. "It looks... expensive."
"Yeah, that's what I thought too. A bit too much if you ask me." He took it off again, shaking his wrist. "And fucking heavy as well." He sat back down, putting the watch in a lacklustre way back into the box. "I had a better one, but it unfortunately got damaged to no repair. I guess I'll have to keep looking."
You nodded along with his words. A part of you got a bit mad. You just went out and got that stupid, overpriced, piece of metal junk just for him to throw it out? Fucking-
"Do you know someone who might like it?"
"What?" You shook your head, thinking you might have misheard him during your mental anger management session.
"I know it's a bit much," Tom laughed, "but it would be a pity not to make use of it. Here, take it."
He looked at you with a kind smile as you thanked him and took the box back. His eyes lingered on you. More precisely, your lips. You didn't say anything of it though.
He appeared... so natural. It seemed to keep happening to you that there were these moments, glimpses, that made him look like a typical guy. Just a bloke who you would see in a bookstore or a bar. In those tiny moments, you forgot what he actually was, even what you were supposed to do. Not wanting to be there anymore, you excused yourself.
"Of course, I'm sure you have many more important things to be doing than standing around."
And with that send-off, you walked out of the office. To no surprise, Harrison was outside. It almost felt like he was out there waiting for you. He was leaning against the wall, one hand in his pocket.
"Did he like the lipstick?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
And without saying another word, he walked away again. You kept your eyes on him as he disappeared in the hallway. Leaving you all alone and confused. You had no idea what was going on or what he meant, and you didn’t like it one bit. It made your skin prickle with apprehension.
What was Harrison up to?
To be continued...
> Thank you so much for reading!! Please comment or reblog. I would love to hear what you thought of the story :) (and I promise there will be more Tom in the upcoming parts heh)
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Summer To Remember: Part One
Hello! So the first couple of chapters are going to be a bit slow. This is an Xavier love story but it’s also going to focus on the betrayal of your mother and be super angsty. I want the reader (you) to feel like you’ve been teleported into the season ! I plan on writing a lot of chapters so there will be loads of Xavier love later on !
Originally posted to my Wattpad which you can check out here
Warnings: Mentions of death, injury, blood, American Horror Story stuff
It had been about nine years since my father passed. They had never found his killer and his case was all but forgotten. My mother not wasting a second on using up what money he left us in his will to turn Camp Redwood into a brand new camp. .
My confusion was apparent. Why would you want to go back to the place that you experienced one of the worst traumas of your life? Not to mention the worst massacre of the decade.
She said it was a sign of hope. That she wanted to make this camp into something good. Turn the massacre grounds into something rejuvenating. A sign that bad times can rise into the good ones.
I rolled my eyes as I walked around the grounds. It did look much better than it did when she first bought it. It was condemned and littered with graffiti. Not to mention the blood that still stained the inside of the cabin walls. But now, it looked like a fully functioning camp.
She called me, begging me to be a counselor. And after turning her down five or six times I eventually gave in to her desperation. She said she had only found one other person and was relying on him to bring his other friends in.
I made my way over to the main cabin, my mothers. I knocked carefully on the door. I was a bit nervous. Ever since I was eighteen I moved out and distanced myself from her, only seeing her a handful of times through out the years. After my Dad died her grip on me tightened and she became unbearable at times. Forcing her religion and trying to deter me from the person I really wanted to be. But now, I've grown. I've became who I wanted to and I'm not exactly sure how shes going to react.
I took a deep breathe as the door opened. My Mom throwing the door open and unexpectedly wrapping her arms around me and pulling me into a tight hug. I paused before hesitantly hugging her back. "Y/n!! I'm so glad that you made it." She pulled back, squeezing my arms, "And I thank Jesus himself for guiding you safely."
I had to force myself not to roll my eyes and instead made a smile spread across my lips.
"Let me show you around," She linked arms with me and we started strolling through the camp. First we arrived at the 'Girls Cabin'. She explained that this is where I would be staying, to look after the other girl councilors that show up if there even was any. I had strict instructions to keep them in line and watch over them. As if. I planned to have a good summer, not babysit potential friends and be a total drag.
As we walked around more she explained her goals for the camp, her hopes of what the children will feel when they arrive, how she hopes that the media will also gain from the light that emits from this camp. I started toning her out when she started going on a rant about the Lord and Jesus and yada yada.
We passed the dock, the showers, the boys cabin and then we made our way over to the dining hall where the only other person I saw except from ourselves (so far) was. I dropped my Mom's arms and immediately ran over, embracing the woman into a hug.
"Jesus Christ," She muttered through the cigarette hanging out her lips, "I almost dropped all this shit." She side eyed me, "Y/N !" She said excitedly, turning around and giving me a proper hug. She quickly took the cigarette and put it out. "It's been so long," She mumbled.
Bertie was the only other constant in my life. As a child she would babysit me from time to time, always doing my Mom favors. She insisted that they were friends but I honestly think it was because she felt bad for her. Bertie was the chef back when my Mom was a councilor.
She was my favorite person to be around, constantly telling me all these crazy stories about what she'd get into as a kid and even gave me my first Ozzy cassette. She was one of the things that inspired me to get away from my mothers grasp and be my own person.
"I didn't know you'd be here!" She exclaimed.
"Me neither, honestly." I mumbled. She laughed heartily and patted my back.
Mom cleared her throat and crossed her hands, looking over at the two of us, "Y/n I know how much you love Bertie but I still have some other things to show you. And there's still another person you have to meet."
Bertie gave me a knowing look and patted my back, ushering me to go with her. I smiled lightly as I made my way back over to my mother.
We continued our tour, finally ending at the nurses cabin. "Please tell me we have a nurse."
She laughed lightly, "Of course silly!" She opened the door and we stepped in.
The woman had her back towards us, sorting things on her desk and getting settled. "Rita," My Mom said as the woman turned around, "This is Y/n, my daughter." Rita smiled over at me as she extended her hand, I grabbed it firmly and shook.
"Nice to meet you." I said. "Likewise." We dropped our hands and she leaned against the desk, crossing her arms. "So are you the only councilor?" I opened my mouth to speak but before I could my mother did for me, "No, there's at least one more on the way. He said he'd try to convince his friends but who knows." She laughed forcefully. "He should be here any minute."
Rita looked over at me, and I shrugged. Both of us having the same thought of "We'll see about that." My fear of no one coming growing by the minute. While it was true my mother was intolerable at times and just genuinely not the greatest person to be around, she still was my mom and I didn't want her dreams to be crushed.
"Y/n, come help me with the wood."
I gave her a salute as I followed her out, turning to bid Rita farewell.
We were out there for what felt like centuries. Taking turns chopping wood and throwing it into the cart that she had placed. "Sweetie," She said as I threw the last bits that would fit inside. "There's another cart inside that shed over there, can you get it and wheel it over?" I nodded as I trudged my way over.
I opened the door shed and snatched the cart, pushing it out across the dirt path. When I finally made it back over there, a van had pulled up. I squinted as I looked over, bringing the cart to a halt next to the other one.
Mom raised the axe up in the air and brought it piercing down onto the block of wood. It was perfectly cut in half. It startled me how precise her cut was, how much force she packed inside her seemingly innocent facade. She turned around and fixed her hair, making her way over to the new people. I followed a little behind, crossing my arms and eyeing them as they made their way out.
"Welcome to Camp Redwood, I'm Margaret Booth. I'm the owner." She placed her hands neatly inside each other as she greeted them then casually motioned over to me, "This is my daughter, Y/n Booth." I gave a little wave as all eyes turned to me momentarily.
I didn't expect them to all be so attractive. I looked down the array of people, my eyes stopping on one in specific. He had blonde tipped hair with dark roots, his eyes covered by some sunglasses. He was dressed fashionably and had an earring dangling from one ear. He definitely had my attention. And I had his. Our eyes met for only mere seconds as he dropped his shades to check me out, pushing them up once our eyes disconnected.
"Boss lady chopping her own wood, choice." Another fashionable blonde praised, I looked over at her admiring her attire and her overall beauty. I had a good feeling we'd get along well.
My mom clapped her hands, " Well we all have to wear multiple hats here. We're short staffed and the kids will arrive in two days. There's much work to be done."
"Are we the only councilors?" Another man chimed in, he was overly muscular and pretty much the poster child for weight lifting. He looked around nervously, clearly disappointed by the lack of other people.
"You guys and me," I put my hands on my hips, "I honestly thought it was just going to be me," I laughed lightly.
Mom sent me a scowl as she looked back over to the others, "Yes well, the Olympics opened up thousands of jobs so my selection is very limited." She looked back over to me silently telling me to stop as I rolled my eyes.
They eventually landed again on the boy I was eyeing earlier, it was short lived when a voice came frantically out of the back of the van. "Is there a medic or a nurse here?!" Mom frantically made her way over there, with me and the hot blonde male on her heels.
When we made it there was a man laying down in the backseat, bloodied and bruised. "What happened to him?" She asked.
The girl sitting beside him opened her mouth, about to speak but before she could the blonde spoke for her, "He was on the side of the road. He was already messed up." He leaned casually against his van, ripping his sunglasses off coolly in the process.
"Okay well let's get him to the infirmary." She stated as she walked away.
I hopped in the van and made my way around the table, "What're you doing?" the blonde asked. I couldn't help but look at him like he was dumb, "I'm helping him."
I grabbed a hold of the man and started trying to maneuver him out of the van. "We can do it." The two other guys had just arrived and each grabbed an end, carrying the man out. I stepped aside and let them.
The blonde female came up to me, "Rad, another woman who does whatever she wants." She smiled at me, "I like you already."
As we all made our way over to the infirmary I learned everyone's names. She was Montana. The hot blonde was Xavier, the girl in the back of the van was Brooke, Ray was the other one who helped, and Chet was the over muscled tool.
As they carried him into the infirmary and set him on the cot, Rita got to work immediately starting to clean his wounds and bandage him up. We all stood around watching her work.
Xavier tapped his foot anxiously all the while.
"You say you found him in the middle of the road?" She asked curiously, taking her stethoscope out of her ears and casually resting it around her neck.
"On the side of the road," Xavier corrected, "He was pretty out of it, saying weird things, not making much sense." He looked over to the unconscious man as he spoke.
I furrowed my brows as they spoke. The man looked to be about two decades behind us, dressed in older clothing.
Rita sighed, "He's severely dehydrated. "He probably went for a hike and got lost," She started walking out of the room, "Couldn't find his way back, panicked, people don't realize how deep these woods are." She started grabbing more supplies from the cabinet. "Hikers get lost in them and end up dead of hypothermia or just disappear all together." She started setting up his I.V "He's lucky you found him."
"Is he gonna die?" Ray chimed in.
Rita smirked, "Not on my watch."
"Why don't we give our nurse a little break, come on, I'll show you all a tour of the camp." My Mother's voice chimed in.
I rolled my eyes, "Here we go again," I thought. "Round two."
Xavier and I stood up at the same time. He bumped into me almost knocking me over in the process. His hands quickly grabbed my arms as he steadied me, pulling me close. "I'm so sorry, are you okay?"
I looked at the proximity of our bodies and smiled wickedly, "Never better." I moved in closer meeting his chest before pulling back and walking ahead of him, looking over my shoulder to see bewilderment written all over his face.
I laughed as I thought, "Maybe this second tour won't be so bad."
Stuff I keep remembering about the 2003 TMNT show:
1. In SAINW, Leo was never blind, he was just being a gothy dork with scars and sunglasses. But the fandom ran with it and the shared headcanon is rarely disputed. We just roll with it.
2. The Outbreak and Good Genes arc was originally written for Mikey before Laird decided it would be too easy for Don to find a cure, and the Donnie Angst quota needed to be filled anyway.
3. Sam almost voiced Mikey, until he and Wayne were found goofing around with each other's characters and they decided he should voice Donnie while Wayne would voice Mikey.
4. All the voice actors are amused by the fandom's weirdest kinks and theories, and ever since the rise of social media they know even more and it's really fun.
5. Raph sounding like a grown man from Brooklyn became an inside joke.
6. 2003 was not bought by Viacom, which owns Nick, which currently owns the franchise, which is why we never see 2003 via Nick. But, there were talks. Cartoon Network tried and failed, and it's too bad, because Adult Swim Ninja Turtles would have been amazing. The adult fans wanna eventually get back to those dark violent origins but we guess that's what fanfic is for. And IDW. Which is overseen by Eastman, while Laird still owns Mirage.
7. I'm still sworn to secrecy over what Kevin told my friends in a pub in 2005 during WonderCon. Not everything, just some things.
8. The fall of Geocities, the rise of Tumblr, and the onslaught of Strikethrough probably helped bring out the bullying, which for this fandom is still deeply puzzling for me. I'm old, I've Seen Things. There's no headcanon that surprises me. Yet death threats over fantastical nonhuman anthropomorphic mutated humanoid turtles doing literally anything in a fantasy setting, yes, that's too much and I will be over here reading 03 fanfics where the turtles are one hundred years old and still acting like adolescents, while folks over there yell at each other about how they can't be on the asexual spectrum. (In Mirage, they were asexual... in fact, Laird was very specific that the 2003 turtles didn't have relations with humans regardless of fandom theories, something the fandom likes to shrug off and be coy about).
Take A Giant Step - Chapter 2
Warnings: Fluff?, Hangovers, Language.
Pairings: Frankie Morales x f!O/C
Word Count: 2,063
Updated A/N: I have done a little bit of re-editing on this fic. So yes, you have read this before. But now it’s better.
A/N: Here is Chapter 2! If you would like to be tagged in upcoming chapters, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Please enjoy. <3
“Hi. Yeah, this is Frankie Morales. We met last night at Applebee’s and you gave me a ride home?”
“Oh! Hey. How are you doing this morning?”
“I’m fine. How are you? How’s your friend doing?”
“Oh, Jeff? He is probably super hungover, but he’ll live. Despite what he’ll tell everyone.”
Frankie gave a small chuckle over the phone.
“I didn’t know if Jeff was just being nice or if he was really wasted last night, but he mentioned that I could see your show sometime. He said you were the best person to call about this.”
“While he was feeling VERY good last night, he meant it. I would be more than happy to set up a ticket for you. We have performances at 8:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. On Sundays we have matinees at 2:00 PM. The show is running for the next two weeks.”
I walked over to my desk and opened up my laptop. As I was logging into our box office system, I asked him if there was a particular date that he was interested in seeing the show.
“Do you guys have a show this afternoon?”
“We do! Let me see if we have any seats available.” Of course we did. We always did for Sunday matinees. Especially now that spring was in full bloom. I couldn’t fault anyone for choosing a leisurely afternoon walk outdoors over being shut in a dark theater examining the absurdities of human nature for two hours. That afternoon’s box office report came up on my screen. We had only thirty tickets sold. Seating him would be no issue.
“Awesome - it looks like we have plenty of space. Our theater is on the smaller side, so there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. Would it be okay if I put you towards the middle. Or would you like to sit closer to or further back from the stage?”
“The middle sounds great. Thank you.”
“Are you going to need one or two seats?”
“It’s only me, so just one.”
“Coolio. What name do you want me to put your ticket under?”
“Francisco Morales, if you don’t mind. I prefer my full name on that sort of thing, but like being called Frankie in person.”
Hmmm. Francisco. He didn’t necessarily take me as a Francisco at first glance, but I could see it the more I thought about it. Such a quiet and strong name. From what I could tell though, he seemed to be more on the reserved and gentle side. I caught myself getting lost in thought and snapped back to reality.
“Okay. I have you set down for one seat this afternoon at 2:00 PM. We are located at 1564 Broad Street. There is plenty of off-street parking on the weekends, so that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. All you need to do is show up at least fifteen minutes before the show starts and then go to the box office. Just tell Laurie, the box office manager, your name and she will take care of you from there. Do you have any questions?”
“Um, will you or Jeff be there this afternoon?”
“I’m there for every show as I am stage managing this particular production. Jeff just shows up during pre-show to check in with folks, talk with patrons, and give a curtain speech. Once the show starts, he leaves.”
“If anything else comes up, don’t hesitate to call me?”
“I will. Thanks again.”
“My pleasure. I’ll see you later. Bye!”
I didn’t know much about Frankie at that moment. I knew that he had lost his job, liked Bud Lite, and was very polite. I also know that he was in the military and that he was kind enough to defend my shitty car’s honor the night before. However, my gut was telling me that I was really excited to see him again.
I was up in the tech booth doing my pre-show checks of the lights and soundboard when Jeff arrived. If there was ever a poster child for a hungover middle aged man, he was indeed it. His brown hair shot up in different directions. He had his Ray-Ban sunglasses on and was clutching what I could only hope was a cup of black coffee. He looked a mess, but at least he showed up and was ready to do what he needed to.
“Hi,” he croaked.
“Hey. How are you feeling, partner?”
“Like death. I am sure this is the one that is going to kill me.”
“You can’t die yet. We need to finish out the season. Then you can die.” He grumbled.
“Everything good on your end?”
“Yeah. The lights and sound are fine. The set hasn’t combusted and the actors are in relatively good spirits.”
“Segue - you are not going to believe who called me this morning.”
“Oh my god, if it is Amy, let her know that her goddamn check is in the mail. All that noise over a single staged -”
“No. Our friend Frankie from last night.”
“I thought this would happen. Frankie - you bought him a shot. We gave him a ride home. You offered him a comp ticket for the show. Gave him your business card with my phone number on it.” Jeff nodded knowingly.
“I think I remember now.”
“You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?”
“Not a fucking clue.”
I sighed. After explaining the previous evening’s adventure, Jeff’s hazy memory was somewhat jogged. I then went on to tell him that Frankie would be seeing the show that afternoon.
“Really? If you see him -”
“Yes, I will text you where he is sitting. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to check on the actors and open house.” I smiled and brought up the pre-show lights. Jeff told me to have a good show and then headed to the lobby to schmooze with patrons.
After I checked in with the actors and crew, I was ready to open the house. I sent Laurie a text letting her know that I was ready to let people in. Pulling up the QLab soundboard app on my phone, I tapped the play button to start the pre-show playlist.
I sauntered to one of my favorite spots in the theater - behind the curtains that masked the backstage. Watching patrons enter and find their seats from backstage was a bad habit that I’ve never been able to break. A small sense of excitement always jolted through me when I recognized people in our audience. That afternoon seemed to be filled with our older subscribers. I was happy to see them, but there was a specific patron I was scanning the room for. As fifteen minutes to curtain approached, I felt my stomach dip as I went and made my call. Maybe he wasn’t coming or maybe he got lost trying to find the theater. While my brain was entertaining several scenarios, my eyes caught the sight of a navy Standard Oil baseball cap.
Frankie had made it! I felt a smile stretch across my face. He was wearing an olive button down shirt and khaki pants. As he was finding his seat, I was able to notice things about him that I didn’t the night before. How could I have missed those broad shoulders, long legs, and soft tummy? Was the Applebee’s so dark last night that I couldn’t see them? Did I just not pay enough attention? Was I developing a silly little crush on this man?! I needed to find that answer out later. I had a job at hand that needed my complete focus. Taking in a deep breath, I collected myself and went on to make my ten minute call.
The show went well. It lacked the audience’s live energy, but it was fine for a Sunday matinee. I was preoccupied with helping my assistant reset the stage after the show. We did this after every performance as it made set up for the next one a tad easier. It was also a really good time to check in with her and see where she was in the process. My assistant, Alexis, was fantastic. I could not have asked for a better second-in-command. She was incredibly organized, funny, and always willing to help out no matter the task. We had just replaced the sofa on stage when I heard a soft, gruff voice call my name. I turned downstage to find Frankie looking up at me. He had a sheepish smile plastered on his face. I walked to the edge of the stage towards him.
“You made it! Thanks for coming out. Were you able to find us alright? Was parking okay? Did you enjoy the show?” It was like my brain switched over to dork mode and I couldn’t stop asking questions.
“I liked it. I’m not quite sure that I -”
C R A S H.
We both turned upstage to see Alexis sitting in a pile of wooden pieces that used to be the desk in our show. I rushed to her to make sure that she was not injured.
“Alexis! Are you okay? What happened,” I calmly asked.
“I noticed that the picture frame on that shelf was at a crooked angle. So I pushed the desk against the wall so I could stand on it and adjust the frame. I’m not hurt. I’m not too sure about the desk though… I’m sorry.”
“Desks are replaceable. You, however, are not. Don’t worry about this. I will take care of it.” I gave her a reassuring smile.
“I just wanted to help - “
“I know. I appreciate your initiative and willingness to do so. But next time, could you please use a ladder instead of a set piece? Please?”Alexis chuckled nervously and stood up. She tried to apologize again, but I went in and gave her a big hug. I made her promise that she was to go home, take some Advil, and keep me posted as to how she was feeling for the next few days. She thanked me and headed out.
Once Alexis had left, my attention returned to the desk. I was able to do small maintenance repairs, but that’s where my stagecraft abilities ended. There was no way I would be able to fix this. I was going to have to spend the next four days trying to find a new desk that matched the old one’s measurements and design. Of course this had to happen with only two weeks left in the run and with no scenic budget left.
I was so lost in brainstorming solutions, that I did not notice that Frankie had climbed onto the stage to inspect the damage. I pulled out my phone and began to text Jeff about the situation.
“I can fix this.” I looked up from my phone at Frankie. My face must have conveyed a look of disbelief and skepticism.
“It’ll take some elbow grease, but it is possible.”
“I need you to be one hundred percent honest with me. Are you positive that you can repair this? If not, I need to find a new desk ASAP.”
“I promise I can repair this. Woodworking is one of my hobbies and I’ve been doing it for years. If I am unable to fix this in time, I will personally buy and deliver you all a brand new desk.”
“I can’t really say no to that offer. Do you think you would be able to come in tomorrow?”
“Um, I don’t think I can do it tomorrow. I’ve got a meeting thing that I’ve got to go to.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to come off as pushy. Sometimes that happens and -” His coffee colored eyes met mine and he gave a smirk.
“No. You weren’t being pushy. You need a problem fixed and you’re just trying to make sure that it gets taken care of. I can come in Tuesday morning. Would that work? I can bring in my tools and materials.”
“Tuesday sounds wonderful. This is so awesome of you and thank you so much. We’ll get lunch that afternoon. My treat. I can also be around to be an extra set of hands if you need them.”
“A free meal and pleasant company? I don’t think I could turn that down even if I wanted to.”
TAGS: @larakasser @absurdthirst @yespolkadotkitty @fioccodineveautunnale @wickedfrsgrl