You had one job. Get the In-ears to Shawn’s dressing room and don’t lose them. One job…and you fucked it up. Somehow, someway, you lost his fucking in-ears. He was due to be on stage in half an hour and you lost the most key thing to his performance.
Sweating bullets was an understatement. You were sweating out your damn life force because if you didn’t find those then your job was going to be out the door. The best job you ever had was going to be just a blip in your life and you’d be forever known as that girl who delayed Shawn Mendes’ Madison Square Garden concert.
You turn his dressing room inside out trying to find them. You turn the craft services cart inside out. Fuck, you check the bathrooms for them. They are gone. You’re petrified to tell anyone just yet. You pray to every god you know the name of that there are back ups that are already synced.
As you finally accept defeat, walking your shameful stupid ass to the soundcheck coordinator to admit your mistake, you see them. They’re not on a table or something. No. They’re hanging around Shawn’s fucking neck.
“Shawn!” you shout and he turns to look at you, a smile spreading across his face.
“Yes? What’s the matter?” He is smiling…a bit too much. You narrow your eyes as he folds his arms and looks you over. “You look sweatier then me when I get off stage.”
“You fucker…” you mumble and he makes a ‘come again’ motion with his hand behind his ear. “You fucker! You took them off the amp when Mike handed them to me to take to your dressing room, didn’t you?!”
The shit eating grin on Shawn’s face gives him away immediately. “I would never do that. I mean…wouldn’t that just ruin your whole day? Wouldn’t you be in such a panic knowing you could ruin the biggest show of my career?”
You shove him and he laughs, loud and almost hyena like. He was such a shit. “You knew it’d fuck me up! You’re the worst Shawn Mendes!”
“Nah! I just like to make you sweat,” he says and ruffles your hair. “Though I think maybe there are better ways I could do that.”
You raise your eyebrows at his suggestive words but your comeback is cut short because he’s being called away. He just winks and heads for the double doors to the stage.
Astroneer AU where Gavin has a massive crush on Ryan but doesn't have the courage to come up to him. Not until they're chosen for a terraforming project and cohabitation is on the list of requirements. Cue awkward Gavin trying to reign his emotions around the man he's been pining after for years and clueless Ryan wondering what his deal is? He doesn't clue in until Gavin gives him a plant specimen he thought Ryan would enjoy looking at and dashing out of the room with a red face.
(It’s been a while since you sent this but I was feeling a bit of freewood and so I came back and wrote this! Hope its good – over a month later… oops. Unedited.)
Ryan wasn’t quite sure how to deal with this little botanist. The mission was simple - they’d live in quiet little barracks in a base on the newly discovered planet and work on setting up the terraforming towers until the land was lush and green and ready for habitation. Or at least until the process was started, at any rate.
The barracks were a bit too full for his tastes, really, but what was he going to do? He had chosen the bed at the end, away from everyone else. His belongings fit nicely into the chest at the end of the bed - five casual outfits and a dress outfit, in case they entertained a traveling captain from the Star Brigade as they passed by one one mission or another. He was the acting Lieutenant, after all, despite that not meaning much with a bunch of scientists.
Really, the mission hadn’t gone badly for the first few months, he reflected as he lay back against the covers of his little cot and jotted in his notebook. The one strange blip in a life basically run by tedious repetition was the botanist assigned to their crew. A greener recruit he had never seen. This was his first mission and the sandy-haired man kept popping his head into everyone’s business. He broke the first cardinal rule and talked to everyone. No one had peace or space.
Rightfully, Ryan should be annoyed. The man should learn to leave well enough alone. To shove a cork in his mouth and stay quiet. To tend his plants. But he talked to his plants in his little greenhouse as much as anyone else in the base. Sang to them.
…he had a pretty singing voice.
Ryan had taken to keeping an eye on him. Whenever he was the botanist’s target, he acted snide and dismissive, but kept catching the little one’s eyes on him anyways. It took biting the inside of his cheek to stop him from blushing. He had never been studied before, not really. No one had ever found him approachable enough to try.
Closing his notebook and laying it on his chest, Ryan stared at the metal rafters above him in their sleeping area and tried to consider what life would be like for him once this mission was over. When he was back on the ship. Back among his experiments and his silence, his own room. The sound of breathing forever just his own.
What had once seemed so comforting now just seemed lonely.
He was just about to turn over and get an early night before the younger ones - including the idiot botanist - came back from the mess hall a bit too inebriated on wine or whatever bootleg booze they had managed to smuggle onto this mission when there was the sound of someone clearing their throat.
Jumping, Ryan turned back over and found himself face to face with his little botanist. The man had pink cheeks and ears and was holding something behind his back. “…. uhm. Hi.”
Ryan swallowed. “Hello. Can I help you?” How exasperated could he sound? Probably more so. He was curious about this man, despite himself. And the other looked genuinely distressed. “Shouldn’t you be in the mess hall with the others?”
The other’s jaw clenched - endearing. Ryan tried not to think too much about it. “Shouldn’t you?” he shot back, and then flushed and looked at the floor. “I was … uhm. With my plants. You haven’t come to look at my plants.”
Ryan raised an eyebrow and swung up to a sitting position. “Was I supposed to come look at your plants? I’m not a botanist.”
The little man frowned. “…all the others have.”
Sigh. “I’m sorry if I gave offense. Is there anything else you wanted?” Ryan couldn’t help himself from trying to glance around the man’s skinny body to see whatever he was holding behind his back.
The man followed his gaze and turned a bit pink again. “…you didn’t come see my plants, but I noticed you. You seem sad. Or -” His voice pitched higher. “Or not sad, really, but … bored? I guess? I dunno. I just… I grew this.”
He pulled out a small black lily in a pot. It seemed to struggle towards the light with a dogged persistance. “….I grew it using soil and seeds from this world. It’s native here, instead of what we brought. I know you like that sort of thing. Native stuff, planet history. I – it reminded me of you.”
He shoved it forward towards Ryan as if afraid the other would smack it out of his hands.
Ryan blinked down at the small lily. It was black and tinged with green and purple. It had an odd form of beauty. “I… “
“I should be going!” the man cut him off with a squeak. He shuffled his feet, a darker red, and then turned and fled the room, leaving Ryan holding his plant. “Thank you…” he murmured as the little botanist ran off, seemingly embarrassed.
A bit of pink touched his cheek and he gently set the lily down on his nightstand. Huh. Maybe he would have to go check out the plants after all.
I think I liked you better when you didn’t have a knife in your hand, Peaches...
Chapter 41 - A bedtime story
When Blake finds herself sold out to the Saviours by her abusive fiancé, she realises that she’s certainly not on her own anymore and finds an unlikely friend in Negan. And Negan does NOT like men who beat their girlfriends, one tiny bit…
[Blake gives Mia a bath before bed, and lucky for her, Negan is on hand with the warm milk too… contains-FLUFF/ DADDY NEGAN]
Chapter 41 - A bedtime story
Blake sat on the edge of the bathtub staring down the toddler who was currently splashing around in an inch or two of warm water, giggling and babbling to herself.
The caramel-blonde woman was absolutely enamoured. She knew that.
But Blake still knew that all this, it was only for tonight. Then tomorrow the Saviours would go out again and look for Mia’s family.
For having a family…having children in this world…..well, it was a pipe dream…something she knew would never come true. Not for her…
Blake had miscarried twice.
Once, a long time ago, just a few months after she had met David….
Back then, it had been a stupid mistake, and the pregnancy hadn’t lasted long. The doctor’s had said it was just how things went sometimes. And that had been that. Just a blip on her life…but nothing that she wouldn’t get through.
But her second time was about three years into her relationship…when many of her friends around her were falling pregnant themselves…having kids….having the perfect little families.
Blake had wanted that too…and it had happened by accident…surprising both her and David….
But she had been happy…excited…yearning for this kind of life…
But Blake had been just coming up to her second trimester when it had happened again…..…..blood……a panicked rush to the hospital…and then…
If someone asked if you were looking for ‘something serious’ right now, you might shrug and say, ‘maybe a new drama to binge-watch.’ But if they asked you again, late at night, when your world is quiet and your brain is not, you’d say, I am.
Like Plath’s beating heart, I am, I am, I am, I am.
And you think the universe knows — not only because you’ve been single for five years, but because your fierce independence has become such an important and obvious part of your identity, your persona, your interactions, your habits — both online and off, it’s hard to imagine a life otherwise.
Boy, does the universe know.
But these thoughts that keep you up at night don’t match your actions, nor have they ever, really. It’s dating behavior you’ve exhibited without question for most of your adult life, simply in avoidance of swiftly sinking into something potentially painful. (‘A relationship,’ if you will.) This isn’t news to those who know you and your fascinating and forthcoming interactions with men. Dating apps, of course, have encouraged this dismissive behavior by making it easy to not take dating, or the people on them, seriously. Tinder and Bumble and Happn and Hinge and OKCupid — you have a collection of rejected Santa reindeer names on your phone, each one teeming with even more men than the last. Without a doubt, it is the ultimate challenge to translate a culture of constant swiping and first dates and ‘onto the next one’ and ‘boy, bye’ into standing still, investing, devoting time, energy and emotions into one person. And with so many options, why would you? Sometimes it’s easier just to ride out the plateau, to wrap yourself in the comfort of possibility instead.
Frankly, dating it is truly a comical activity. Larry David said it best: “A date is an experience you have with another person that makes you appreciate being alone.” It is supposed to be a means to an end, but it is, by far, a means to endless fodder. You have written thousands of words about the unbelievable texts, pick-up lines, dates and hookups you’ve had over the years because documenting these encounters makes something so tedious so enjoyable — to have a new story to tell is the ultimate reward. The end result, if not love, is always content. If it doesn’t work out, at least you have a priceless anecdote about some poor sap who didn’t live up to your expectations – or worse, he’s got the story. Choosing to take dating lightly means you don’t worry about texts you never received, you don’t overanalyze every interaction you had at the table, and, quite simply, you don’t get hurt.
There’s an obvious downside to that.
Listen. You can continue to sneak ‘I think I’m ready for a relationship’ into blog posts and daydreams and whispered wine-soaked sentences, but those words don’t matter until you walk into a bar on a first date with a clear head and a rebranded ego. As someone who has a tendency to pair dates with other after-work activities — because why dedicate an entire evening to someone you don’t know? — you often roll up several cocktails in, which makes you (in your own head) fun, flirty, feisty, ready for anything this man may throw your way, good or bad. In other words, you are not always your best self when you meet a new fella for the first time, especially when you’re on the defense, ready to go into battle, if necessary.
Recently, you went on a second date with a man you and your friends called ‘The Ginge from Hinge’ (which was an endearing name for another cute, tall, red-bearded dude from a dating app). He was also a full-time manny, and therefore, that’s what you saved him as in your phone. A few minutes into your second meet-up, in the back corner of a bar, he asked you randomly and ever-so-curiously if you actually knew his name. How dare you think I wouldn’t know that on a second date! But the reality was — you didn’t. You had no fucking clue. You had given this man so many nicknames, you forgot to make sure you knew his real one. Sure, it was rude and careless (albeit an easy mistake), but who could take you seriously? Remember the guy’s name, for god’s sake.
Last week, you were also texting with a man you met on Bumble, and after a work happy hour, you suggested you meet for a drink. It was 11PM on a Tuesday. His response: “Just come over to my apartment instead.” A total stranger! Wanted you in his apartment! Late at night! You watch too much Dateline to fall for that, so you said, “Just so you know, I’m looking for something really serious.” To which he replied, “Inviting me out for last-minute drinks at 11PM doesn’t exactly fit that logic.”
He is not wrong.
With the theme of ‘something serious’ CLEARLY leading your summer, you came home from a party a few weeks ago and changed your Tinder bio to read: “Just quickly — I’m looking for something ridiculously lovely and unbelievable.” Just so the boys got the message loud and clear. (It was neither of those things.)
Then you woke up and deleted it.
If you want something, anything — you have always worked hard to make it happen, because that’s just the kind of go-getter gal you are. But this is one thing you have clearly failed to work for, perhaps because the alternative — living your best single lady life always — has sustained you for so long. And also because ‘working for’ a relationship always seemed like a scam. Shouldn’t those things happen effortlessly? When you’re not looking? When you’re starring in another one of your fantasy rom-coms?
…the single lady asked rhetorically.
You’re too smart to think you can keep telling the world you want something more, something meaningful, something ‘unbelievable,’ then make no effort to take these dates and these men seriously. A serious date can still be funny, you know?
Yesterday, you received a text from a guy you dated three years ago. He asked if you wanted to get together soon, and you didn’t really have an answer. You had gone on two dates, both of which you showed up to in relatively poor form. He was a nice guy with a good smile, and he had potential, but apparently, that didn’t matter. Your mentality was: Who cares if it doesn’t go well ? ‘Onto the next one.’ Swipe, swipe, swipe. Boy, byeeeeee.
Before you responded to his three-years-later text, you decided to Google him, just to see what he’s been up to. He’s a writer, which drew you in to him initially, so you were absolutely mind-fucked when you opened his portfolio to find he had written a story about you last April, two years after you went out.
The title of the piece was a witty line from your dating app bio, and the main picture was a blonde woman drinking a cocktail, with a man drowning in it.
Yep. There you are.
You won’t link to the story, because honestly, it was a blip in a past life. Or maybe it’s a page out of your current shitty playbook. Either way, it was a cringeworthy read. And after writing about so many men in your lifetime, it was a taste of your own medicine — a pill that triggered a variety of aches instead of any relief. He essentially recounted your two dates, where you were, in essence, a tipsy asshole, someone who melts men down into their cocktail and swallows them whole. Historically, if you can’t immediately tell someone is interested, your wall, without hesitation, rises and rises and rises until no one could possibly get in, making the question as to whether or not he likes you completely irrelevant. Your sweet and charming side goes home, your gratuitous, brassy sass stays. You shut it all down – or he does. And you move on.
Until they write about you, of course.
But this is why you write, too. And why you don’t blame him for telling his story – or for looking for a follow-up three years later. You write to overshare, to overanalyze, to overreact, to overcome, to overstate, to go over and over and over the details. And to get over it. And you use it to climb out of whatever dark bar you’ve been sitting in, with a heavy pour and a heavy heart, and to grab a seat near the window, in the light, where the best parts of you can seriously shine.
“Oops!? What do you mean, ‘OOPS’!?” Mari squeeled out as her auburn haired friend wore the biggest shit eating grin possible while holding the bluenette’s phone high above the other.
five minutes prior to that screech, Alya had convinced her best friend Mari to swap phones with her for a few minutes after the to-be-fashionista lost a bet. The stipulation had been that Alya couldn’t confess Mari’s undying love for a certain model friend, to said certain model friend. Alya had agreed, but since when did she let a little rule like that stop her?
So there they were, five minutes later, when Mari asked if Alya had kept her promise. Naturally when she replied with ‘Oops’ the bluenette panicked. Mari wrestling her phone from her best friend’s hand, only to see the worstmessage in the history of messages, addressed to one Adrien Agreste. “Dear Adrien, I was wondering if you would by chance be available this weekend to go and see Moana with me. I heard it was a rather good movie and would absolutely love it if you could attend with me so we might get to know each other a little better. I already asked Alya and Nino about going, but They said they were busy and couldn’t attend.
With love and best wishes, Marinette Dupain-Cheng. “
There was a split second of hope that if Adrien messaged Nino, it would blow Alya’s plan, but the next message sent was to nino, with the line “Hey Nino, it’s Alya. I’m on Mari’s phone, just set her up on a date with sunshine child. If he asks, you’re busy this weekend. and BTW, your busy this weekend with me, so hope you got some aspirin.”
“ALYA WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!” Mari screeched with the furry of the banshee queen at her soon-to-be ex-bestfriend.
“Oh calm down! It’s not the end of the world!” But Alya’s words never reached her. The bluenette was too busy pacing back and forth as she mumbled plans under her breath. “m-maybe he hasn’t seen it yet… i could steal his phone, delete the message, and no one will ever knoooOOOOOOOH NONONO” Her plans died in a horrible fire as a new message blipped to life on her phone.
“Dear Mari, I’d love too! If you don’t mind, i’ll cover the expenses so you don’t need to be so worried about it. I’m glad to actually have a chance to talk to you without the stuttering and all that.
See you at 4 o’clock,
It’s a date,
“Mari? Mari? Earth to Mari? Girl are you-”
so ya, i didn’t like the one i did last night, so i redid the answer, hope it’s better then before xD
Send me one sentence and i’ll write a story in 5 sentences (or more. Probably more cause i cant control how much i write.)
Derek’s mom told him that love is beautiful, with one of those same smiles that everyone got when they talked about Peter’s wife. That sort of past-tense sad reserved for loss that’s worth bringing up again.
Because love is beautiful.
He believes it, that’s the problem. He sees it in her eyes when she plays, mixed up in petty anger and dusky browns. He sees it in the way she leans towards him when they talk, and the way his chest opens up when she’s near by. Derek thinks, This is beautiful.
But, it’s not. Because his mom said—she said love is beautiful—and Paige is vomiting black on to the dirt floor, writhing in pain, babbling out promises and pleas no teenager should ever have to speak. No one should have to ask for help to die, it shouldn’t be this hard. It shouldn’t be this ugly.
He breaks her, and it breaks him.
Love is ugly.
He believes that for months. Long months of time that crawl by with the ever present memory of black, acrid love in the back of his mind. Derek learns to avoid touching people, learns to filter the guilt-induced hallucinations from reality.
He wakes up to inky black in his bed. Not real. Not real. Not real.
The girl touching his arm after the basketball game has black hair—too much like his sisters, yuck—but nothing more. Nothing Paige.
There’s a young boy watching him from the woods. He doesn’t feel real enough for Derek to acknowledge him.
Life goes on like this for a year, and it’s fine. He knows people can survive without love, he’s watched his uncle happily survive for this long.
Until someone sneaks in. No, Kate pushes her way into his life with groping hands, secrets, and little promises that sound more like demands for love and sex and so many good things. She’ll make him feel good, make him strong, make him love her.
Derek doesn’t love her, love is a black mess spewed into the dirt. Love is a dead girl under a tree.
But he takes everything else she offers, because he’s never lived as easily as Peter has, and he’s young. He needs attention, feckless affection with no consequences. Meaningless feel-good. No one will get hurt.
The boy from the woods is back, staring at him across busy police station. Derek’s too fucked up to care if he’s real or not. The next time he looks up, there’s a KitKat on the floor in front of him, and the boy is gone.
Love is a dead girl under a tree.
Love is a home turned tomb.
Love is a lie told to his last family member.
Laura comforts him in their loss, and Derek loves her too much to tell her the truth. They’ve run away from the blackened wood and burning flesh to a city that smells just as bad. It’s not home.
Their first night there is spent in a one room apartment, no electricity, and one mattress on the floor that they collapse into, both of them sobbing so hard Derek fears his heart will finally rip free of his chest.
It doesn’t, he survives.
Derek’s sister tells him that she needs to go back to Beacon Hills with one of those same smiles that she got when they talked about their family. She tells him she wants to visit Peter, to see how he’s doing. It’s a lie, but Derek lets her go.
Because love is beautiful.
He’s there, again. In the woods. He knows it’s him, even years later. Scents don’t change much, unless you lose everything that makes you you. Which is why his immovable uncle Peter smells like something different, something more dangerous than the man he once knew. The boy, however, is the same.
KitKats and a sad smile from the woods.
Derek makes him leave before he thinks too much about events leading up to those memories.
The problem is, they’re persistent. These damn teenagers are everywhere, stepping into his business, getting bit by the rabid alpha, doing stupid, stupid things. A lot of it, in the name of love. Friendship. Family.
Love is a dead girl under a tree, Derek tells himself.
Love is a tomb turned home.
Love is a lie that killed his sister.
He finds himself thinking the words at night, while wounds heal and the dust settles. Peter, Scott, Argents, Alphas. Fight, kill. protect, promises. Screaming and arguing, throwing barbs.
KitKats on the doorstep of his tomb-home.
Stiles remembers. Stiles, somehow, sneaks in. And this time, it’s actual sneaking. He moves into Derek’s life like a thundercloud. A low, warning rumble as it moves across the sky, a crackle here or there to let you know what you’re getting into.
Stiles is a spark in a bleak world.
Love is a mistake, ill-informed choices taken out of a dead girl’s hands.
Love is memorial, no, a memory.
Love is the lie his sister used to save his life.
He finds Jen.
She’s a blip in his life, the seconds between one extreme and another. Toxic wasteland meet ice age.
It still hurts, but she’s a blip.
Love never even comes into it.
When he finds Stiles in the dirt, screaming, he knows this is it. He’s invested, he’s given away parts of himself again, he’s believing again.
So when Stiles—skinny, defenseless Stiles—brings a plague of murderous amusement to Beacon Hills, he’s already decided what to do.
And he does everything he can to bring Stiles back from wherever he went. Somewhere in the black, under the roots, is that spark.
It takes some time, but with no hesitation, they drag Stiles, kicking and screaming, back to reality.
And it’s not perfect, that’s not how life works. It’s as messy as black rejection spilling into the dirt. It’s as trembling and fragile as the burnt-out-shell of a home in the woods. It’s as many twists and turns as a well told lie to protect someone you love.
But it’s too late for Derek, and it’s too late for Stiles.
Because Derek will do anything to save that stupid kid frowning at him through the trees. He’ll kill everyone before he hurts that confused boy who leaves KitKats for crying murderers. He’ll die for guy who will die for him, because love is…
I was rewatching 7x17 and you know what I love? Cas is this millenia old being that has seen so much but when he gets his memories of this eternal life back, they all focus on Dean and what happened after he met him. And people still say it ain't true love.
I KNOW RIGHT.
I could not believe it when I first saw this. Like…. this is such a romantic portrayal of his resurrection and their whole relationship and how Dean is literally a blip in his life, yet, it is all he focuses on to come back to himself… I just… how is this NOT romantic.
After they just had Dean find him with a wife and be all upset about it. In the same episode that we get the handing back the trench coat (which was supposed to be even more romantic than it was), Meg literally calling Cas Dean’s boyfriend and the forgiveness angst of it all….
IT LITERALLY MAKES ME THINK WHAT EVEN IS THIS SHOW SOMETIMES.
My life is pretty amazing right now. If I wasn’t so depressed, I’d be able to have friends that I’m able to support and love and then it’d be perfect. So things are fine, and it would be really stupid to complain but. God I wish my brain were ok. We’re so close
God, our faces look young. Mark, your goof-smile, teeth overlapping your bottom lip, belying how incredibly smart you were—how tinged with genius, and yet unhinged.
Your eyes, not looking into the camera, but down and to the left. Watching the floor. Were you planning your untimely exit, even then?
Your arm is around Christine. Ah, Chris. You’re staring right at the camera and there’s no fixing your red-eyes. You’re looking at the guy taking the picture, my then-boyfriend.
Patrick. Your now-husband. Looking at my easy grin, looking forward to the after-grad party at Jim’s house, not realizing Pat had already fallen, and you had fallen back, with him. My eyes can’t see the
energy between you. How could they? How could any of us see what would happen next? Chris, your arm around me, my pink graduation dress, gladiator sandals, my eyes a happy mixture of box-wine in a flask and the promise
of a back-seat dry-hump with Pat later in the evening. My eyes and smile time-stamped at 6:43 p.m., May 3rd, 1987—our moment, thinking back at the confusion in my eyes Mark must have seen, the tremble in my lips at the party
when Mark told me, goof, gone from his smile, that you and Pat had left the party together. No good-bye. Then me, fucked up on pot and shots, fucking Matt Wells in the back of his karmann ghia,
and what a fucking trick that is, if you know anything about those cars, to feel better. To not think of Pat’s promises to you, instead of me. You wrote in my yearbook,
I don’t ever want to hurt you. I read that, and thought it a testament to our friendship. How could I know it was a preemptive mea culpa, a “sorry, not sorry,”
even back then. Pat didn’t write in it. Was that a show of dignity, or cowardice? I smile into the camera, but my eyes are green, not red. It’s funny, Chris, the import I placed for so long, on your red-eyed image, after graduation night.
As if the camera pronounced you “demoness” for me, while my tear-stained cheeks stared at our group for weeks after, smiling, hats still on, tassels on the right side of adulthood at last. And then you, Ted.
Teddy. Your arm around me. Your eyes didn’t have green or red. Brown eyes, soulful, your smile subdued. Yours didn’t look left and down like Mark’s did. But both of you were gone by 1990.
Both of you had forgotten our promise to stay friends forever. Forever friends, a promise as sacred as I do, but only as hallowed as the hearts that vow. Mouths lie, hearts don’t, and they don’t always know what the other has planned, do they?
We can’t be friends forever when you’re dead, Ted. Mark. You broke your word. Fuck you both, for leaving me to watch the cans tied to Pat and Chris’s getaway car as they started their new lives, law school, together, Oregon.
Fuck you both for leaving me alone, and Teddy, fuck you for not telling me you loved me when you had the chance. Fuck you, Chris, for telling me you did at all.
But that was ages ago, wasn’t it? Pat is my Facebook friend, now, how many years later? Too lazy to do the fucking math. Thirty years, Yeah. Something. Chris, you aren’t. And that actually feels pretty honest.
I have that photo in with a bunch of other promises, sacred vows, in our senior yearbook with the “keep in touches” and “have a great summers.” And the message from you, Teddy, telling me to “stay cool and cute.”
I didn’t do either, Ted. I became jaded and sucked at promises, too. Three marriages later. Maybe I’ll get this one right. And I sucked at finding my way in the world I wondered, still wonder,
time and again, the way you and Mark chose, and why. Well, I guess you found something you didn’t like, maybe, and that’s why you just stopped looking.
I guess we never promised to call when we wanted to blow our brains out, huh, Ted? Never promised to “keep in touch” with a fatal necktie around our necks, did we, Mark?
God I loved you both. I fucking miss you. And fuck you. And fuck me, too.
I close the yearbook, and indulge. I look Pat up on Facebook. I look at pictures of Chris and wish she’d gotten fat. (She didn’t. She hasn’t. She isn’t.) Then I remember how I told my kids that high school
is no big deal. Trust me, I’d said, it’s a tiny blip on the screen of Life. And it won’t matter one day, all the high school shit. Not even friends who you thought were “forever.”
I told them that, and I tell myself that, too. I tell myself that, and so many
Last year, Kevin Parker released Currents, his third album under the Tame Impala moniker. It was the moment where he moved beyond the dense psych-rock of Innerspeaker and Lonerism and embraced a shimmering, humid mix of dance and pop and rock. In our cover story about the making of the album, he described its lead single/mission statement, “Let It Happen,” as initiating “this kind of grand transition of someone.” That was an apt description in general for the version of Tame Impala that would develop after Currents came out. Aside from the stylistic departures, Currents also laid the groundwork for Parker capitalizing on the Lonerism festival jams “Elephant” and “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” to attain a different level of clout than any of us would’ve reasonably expected earlier on in Tame Impala’s existence.
This year, the music world had such an overflow of excellent, invigorating work, major surprise releases, and tragic, surprising deaths that the significant releases of 2015 can already feel like ancient history. That wasn’t the case with Currents. Tame Impala was on the festival circuit playing these songs all year, now sitting at that second- or third-tier headliner status. Some of these songs had become part of the atmosphere — by the time I heard “Let It Happen” repeatedly blaring from the outdoor speaker of an Italian restaurant in Reykjavik this November, I was already used to encountering that, or “The Less I Know The Better,” or “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” in all manner of public spaces. They’d garnered some degree of ubiquity, even if Tame Impala still isn’t a household pop name. The buzz behindCurrents proved legitimate: There wasn’t a new Tame Impala album this year, and yet Parker and his music seemed ever-present. It was a year where the man who once could’ve remained an insular space-rocker from the distant edge of Australia fully entered the mainstream.
There was that Snapchat commercial featuring “The Less I Know The Better,” following on the heels of a 2015 Apple Watch commercial that had also used the song. That in of itself isn’t new for Tame Impala — “Elephant” found prominence partially due to its appearance in a spot for the Blackberry Z10. And this century is littered with examples of indie artists licensing a song to an Apple or car commercial; sometimes it’s one step in an upwards career trajectory, sometimes it’s just a random blip in an artist’s life. For Parker, it’s surprisingly proved to be the former, signaling the wider proliferation of Tame Impala.
It’s expected for Wayne Coyne to love Tame Impala. Less so for, say, John Mayer to Instagram the cover of Currents and write, “Best record of the past two or three years. Proven many times over in my mind.” (He then compared it to “Radiohead 1996″ and, amusingly, “Coldplay 2003,” before concluding with “Phoenix 2008.”) Mayer wasn’t the only pop star enamored with Tame Impala. Rihanna recorded a very, very faithful cover of Currents closer “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” for Anti — the biggest stylistic departure was renaming it “Same Ol’ Mistakes” — and just as it served as a crucial conclusion to the emotional journey of Currents, it too became an important linchpin in Rihanna’s most personal album. (Meanwhile, Tame Impala’s original also appeared in a teaser for Atlanta, one of the best and most popular new TV shows of the year.)
Elsewhere, you had the Brit-rock doofiness of Last Shadow Puppets’ special Tame Impala song at the 2016 iteration of Poland’s Open’er Festival. Alex Turner — a rock artist with the stature of a pop star compared to many of his contemporaries working in the idiom — sang aseemingly improvised paean to the upcoming headliners, offering up gems like “There’s a storm brewing/ In the form of Tame Impala” before proclaiming, “Kevin Parker controls the weather system.” (Not an unfair statement about much of Tame Impala’s music, if we’re being honest.)
Shout-outs and licensing are one thing, but the bigger deal, and the bigger left-turn, is how Parker has started to have a direct interaction with the pop world. Rihanna covering a band that sounds like the evolution of a ’70s stoner-rock dream is a start, an opening salvo. Then you have Yasiin Bey (FKA Mos Def) previewing a Tame Impala collaboration for one of his final pre-retirement albums. Then you have an honest-to-God collaboration between Parker and Lady Gaga on “Perfect Illusion,” the lead single from her new album Joanne. The video features Parker in the maelstrom dance sequences, drumming as Gaga pulls back his head by the hair.
There was some precedent for this, but it seemed like an outlier at the time. On Mark Ronson’s 2015 album Uptown Special — the one with “Uptown Funk!,” which also seems like ancient history after 2016 — the British producer enlisted Parker for three tracks. Two of them, “Summer Breaking” and “Leaving Los Feliz,” were plays on late ’70s lite-funk and yacht-rock that fit into the album’s overall hybridized retro aesthetic. The best of them was “Daffodils,” a psych-funk track possessing an irresistible, unhurried swagger. Like “Let It Happen,” this is another piece of Parker’s 2015 output that still lingers. At least in my experience, it’s one of those songs you just seem to hear in random places, without any given logic — that subtle ubiquity a song can have without having been a major hit like, say, “Uptown Funk!” Released earlier in 2015, Uptown Special offered a prelude to the disco-fied Tame Impala we were about to meet on Currents. It’s also what eventually lead to “Perfect Illusion”; Ronson’s the guy who got Parker involved with Gaga.
Parker’s new endeavors are part of a general movement we’ve seen in recent times, with indie-rockers alighting from their niche to try their hand at a bigger canvas. There were little grey areas, like Ariel Rechtshaid straddling the pop and alternative worlds with his 2013 trilogy of albums by HAIM, Sky Ferreira, and Vampire Weekend. Fast-forward a bit, and that’s blossomed into Rostam departing Vampire Weekend to pursue pop music full-time, and Ezra Koenig, James Blake, Jack White, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Father John Misty, and Animal Collective all, somehow, being tied to Lemonade. The latter might’ve been a bit of an extreme reaction — more “Let’s avoid another ‘Blurred Lines’ lawsuit” than “Look at all the inspiration we took from the indie world” — but it still marks a moment where indie artists’ names are mingling with the biggest stars on the planet. Like Parker, after all, Josh Tillman is actually contributing songwriting to these albums – he helped with “Hold Up” on Lemonade, and “Sinner’s Prayer” and “Come To Mama” on Joanne, right there alongside “Perfect Illusion.”
What’s notable about this is that, once upon a time, rock stars and singer-songwriters could’ve been major pop forces on their own. Once upon a time, they would’ve been the more critically respected artists, and their choosing to work with a pop artist could’ve legitimated the latter. Now, it’s something like the other way around. An artist like Tame Impala, for as unlikely a rise as they’ve had on their own, are still not going to totally crack the mainstream on their own. But here’s another path: Make your spaced-out synth-drenched coke-rock comedown album, then work with some pop stars, and a career of some notoriety comes into focus.
It’s specifically notable with Parker, because Tame Impala seemed destined to be the band always playing the late-night tents at Bonnaroo. They might’ve been beloved, they might’ve had a cult following. They might’ve been very successful for their sphere, and they might’ve kept churning out woozy ear-candy like Lonerism. And that would’ve been great! But there’s something potentially more interesting on the horizon for Parker now. In a recent interview, he talked of Tame Impala taking a bit of a hiatus. “What comes next is very much a blank canvas,” he said, “but a blank canvas in a good way — I’ve got all the paint!” He’s also spoken about further collaborations he wouldn’t name. Even after Uptown Special and Currents, this is a surprise: the idea of a Tame Impala recognized by pop stars, and Parker as an in-demand co-writer. Who knows whether that’s the path Parker will follow, or what might come of it. But given the creative bounty he’s already reaped from the unexpected detours in his career, the idea of a future version of Parker known for guesting on rap songs or taking a pop single further out into the unknown is just as exciting as hearing him let loose a mind-warping solo as the sun sets over a festival crowd.
Dipper still couldn’t get over finding Maddie abandoned on the side of the road like she was nothing more than garbage. If she hadn’t been pulling on their bond like she had, too young to know what she was doing, just wanting somebody to make things better…
She was still just so very tiny, he could almost hold her in one hand. Not that he would, of course. No, he wasn’t going to take a single chance with his Mizar, so fresh and new and already with one near death experience to her latest name, to chance anything with her.
Well, he had taken one chance, introducing her to Toby. But, well…Bill’s soul had gotten on well with Mabel’s in its last incarnation. It wasn’t that he worried about how Toby would take suddenly having a little sister, or how much more openly affectionate he was towards her and worried about how Toby would take it, of course not.
That was just…it was silly.
A problem was starting to arise, though, and Dipper still wasn’t quite sure how to handle it.
I absolutely adore your writing! I am hoping for a conversation between Blip and Mike (maybe right after Ginny gets hurt, and they are waiting for results) in which Mike just says, "I didn't want to leave. I just was afraid, that if I stayed I would have ruined her. And the team. I love her so goddamn much, Blip." Or something like that. Truth be told, I love the conversations between Mike and Blip so much... so if you want to write it, I would love it and eat it up!
Blip and Mike (Blike, if you will) are my brotp. I need an episode with them on a random roadtrip because that would be gold. Maybe they drive from San Diego to Arizona to surprise Ginny in rehab or something. I need their relationship to be repaired ASAP in season 2.
Blip stares at the floor, deliberately not looking at Mike as they sit
outside Ginny’s room while she showers. It’s a strange moment, being silent
with someone he’s been talking to almost nonstop since they met. After Evelyn,
Mike is his closest friend, but there they say, not a word between them.
Mike quietly admits, “I didn’t want to leave.”
Blip snorts. “And yet you waived your no-trade clause. That’s one of those
contradiction things, isn’t it?”
Mike doesn’t smile because Blip’s not trying to be funny. He sits in
silence, takes his lumps because he earned them. “I was just…afraid.”
“Bullshit” the center fielder spits, finally turning to look at his
companion. “You were being selfish.”
“I was,” Mike concedes if only because admitting to his selfishness is just
something he does. He’s not even sure if he actually is selfish or if he’s just
accepted it because it became his second name when he was with Rachel. “But it
wasn’t about the ring. That was bullshit. We– Baker– Ginny and I– If I had
stayed, knowing what I know, I would have ruined her career.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Blip blinks at his best friend. There
was something peculiar about Mike and Ginny’s relationship—even beyond the usual
pitcher-catcher thing—but he’s written it off as unresolved sexual tension.
Looking at Mike’s crestfallen expression, he realizes he’s been incredibly obtuse.
“I would have ruined her. Her career. Her whole damn life, Blip! I couldn’t…
I can’t stop thinking about her. I…love her.” He pauses and his eyes fall to
the floor because it’s the first time he’s articulated that thought to even
himself. “I love her so fucking much. But she’s got her whole life ahead of
her. She’s gonna make history for fuck’s sake! And she deserves it because she
works her ass off for it. So I left—and I did it in the shittiest way I could
so she’d be angry and forget me because she deserves better than some almost 40
has been who let his feelings get in the way of what’s good for her.”
Mike launches himself out of his chair and rushes the opposite wall, punches
it hard enough to make Blip flinch. “She’s here because of me! Because I love her so much that all I want is for her to smile
so I told them what she would have wanted instead of what I knew was right! I knew
she was done but she knew I was done and she fought for me so I tried to do it
back and look what I did to her.”
Blip glances at Ginny’s door because he’s not sure how thick the walls are
then gingerly rises out of his chair and approaches Mike. He envelopes his
friend in a hug that Mike immediately throws off but Blip doesn’t back down, goes
for it again. This time Mike takes it and Blip feels him exhale and sag under
the weight of his grief and guilt. Blip pats his back then pulls back to look
at him. “Don’t run from her again. People have been leaving her whole life and
she shrugs it off, but it cuts deep. And stop selling yourself short. You’re
the best man I know—after me, anyway—”
Mike laughs a little and Blip goes on, “She deserves a man like you, and you
deserve a girl like her because she loves you too. It’s all over her face. You
leaving damn near broke her heart. So don’t fuck around and lose this, Mike. As
someone who has a life outside the game, baseball isn’t even close to being
everything. Having Ev and the boys—having something warm and real to come home
to—that’s everything. Get it and hold on.”
Mike nods at his shoes then looks up at his friend and smiles, “Good old
Blip finally cracks a grin, punches his friend in the chest. “I can’t
believe you made me hug your weepy ass.”
Mike laughs as they take their seats. “Fuck you, Sanders.”