Summary: Your best friend since childhood Chen invites you camping, leaving out your crush Chanyeol would be coming along.
I do not own this GIF.
“Why would you not tell me Chen?!” I push him, making it clear I was pissed. He stumbles back a in a fit of laughter.
“I’m sorry okay? He decided to come last minute. It is not my fault you have such a huge crush on him!” He says a bit too loud for my liking. My eyes go wide and I shush him on the spot. What a loud mouth he is.
“Oh go ahead, tell the whole forest about the man I like!” I hiss, hitting him repeatedly on the shoulder. Little shit, he could have messaged me before he got to my house that Chanyeol was coming.
The car ride was so awkward for me. I had to sit on Chanyeol’s lap for the love of cake since there was no more room. It didn’t help that Chen kept looking at me from the corner of his eye with a smirk plastered on it. That just caused my cheeks to turn bright red and Chanyeol kept asking if I was okay.
“Stop it, if anything it will be you who will shout out the truth. I have kept this secret for 2 years! Why would I break it now?” He sasses me as he takes out all of our luggage from the trunk of the car. I make a face at him before leaving to check out the area we decided to stay at.
The campground was beautiful. We were high up in the mountains, away from all the city noise. The trees were tall and thin which happily brought in rays of sunshine through the branches, lighting up various parts of the grassy green ground. The air was fresh and seemed hypnotising with every breath you took. Peace was what consumed this place.
Little yellow and white flowers danced as the light wind blew them. I take out my phone and pull up the camera. I crouch down to the ground and get a close up of the pretty daisies.
“So pretty.” I awe as I quickly capture the small beautiful moment. A pair of big hands then pluck one of the cute little white daisies from the ground.
I look up and see a happy looking Chanyeol, smiling widely. I couldn’t help but let the blush on my face form.
“H-Hi.” I try to say, but my awkwardness of course ruins it. Did I really just stutter? Nice Y/N…nice.
Chanyeol then holds out his hand down to me. What? I stare at his hand confused, causing a chuckle to escape Chan’s lips.
“Come on get up. I want to do something.” He grabs my wrist and pulls me up from the ground. What is he going to do?
Chanyeol lets out a slight cough before signaling me to come closer with his hands. “But why-” I try to ask, but he pulls me to him. I let out a little scream from the sudden situation.
“This is why.” He explains, putting the delicate white flower into the right side of my hair. He takes back his hand a few seconds later examining my face.
“I thought it would, uh, look nice on you. It brings out your eyes…” He softly compliments me. A little streak of rose appears on his cheeks. I press my lips together for a quick second, not knowing what to say. If I try to say anything, I might just make it more awkward on my end.
“Hey Chanyeol! Come help me with this tent, yeah!?” Kyungsoo’s voice calls out for help from the main area we are going to be staying at for the night. Chanyeol turns his head before looking back at me.
“Well I better get going, you should try and see what Chen is up too. He might need some help with the food.” He recommends brightly before leaving to go help Kyungsoo, who seemed to be struggling with just one pole.
Making dinner for everybody with Chen was always something I did when I got the chance. It is one of my favorite things to do with him. His true self seems to come out a tad bit more. Today he seemed even more true.
“You seem happy.” Chen mentions as I turn the raw meat on the grill with ease. I don’t know what he means. What is he talking about? Chen points to the flower in my hair and I instantly knew what he was talking about.I hold my right hand up to my hair and try to hide the grin on my lips.
“I think he likes you.” He says wiggling his eyebrows. Not even!
“Chanyeol, liking me? No. Chen stop it before I start believing you.” I try to laugh off, but it was obvious how stoked I was. I could replay that moment forever.
“Y/N, just keep cooking okay. We don’t need another D.O incident.” He points out and I giggle at the thought of me actually ruining the meat. Everybody would be so mad at me. They would probably sacrifice me as a way to get more meat.
Dinner was all finished and I placed everything on the picnic bench. This was a lot of food for only 4 people. We practically had a buffet of choices. I wasn’t surprised though, when all the boys came to sit down the food seemed to disappear quickly.
“This is so good guys. The meat is delicious!” Chanyeol enthuses while stuffing more of it into his mouth. He is so messy. A little bit of sauce got onto the corner of his mouth and started to laugh. He looks so cute right now. I can barely contain the feels shooting through me.
“Oh Y/N made it. She is quite the cook.” Chen announces to the table and Kyungsoo complements me with his natural kind words. I then see the shocked face Chanyeol had and I looked around. Is there a bear or something?
“You made this! Wow, good job.Can you make this for me next time? Well, if you don’t mind.” Chanyeol gives me a toothy smile and I just nodded in agreement. Is my cooking that good? I barely know what I am doing when I cook half the time.
“Thanks.” I say, letting the favor sink into my heart.
I was done with my food and started looking around the set up a bit. I wonder where my tent is. I mentally count the tents and I nearly died.
“Um, Chen. Where is my tent?” My voice get higher from the worry pumping through my veins. Chen stops eating and looks at the campsite with me.
“Uh oh. I must have forgotten to take it out of the storage.” the food muffles his voice. An instant panic rushes through me. So am I sleeping on the cold ground tonight?!
“I can’t believe you forgot my tent Chen! You had one job!” I scold him and Chanyeol starts laughing at him. I hit Chen on the head and get up from my seat. If I didn’t move myself from the situation, his head will be propped up on a stick to be sacrificed to the tent God.
After I cooled down Chen comes up to me with a guilty smile.
“So, we figured out where you are going to sleep.” He says with his smile becoming more scared. What did this boy do?
“Okay tell me.” I wait patiently for the answer to be given. This has to be bad by the way he is looking at me.
“In Chanyeol’s tent! Yay!” He lamely cheers and my jaw drops to the floor. Is he serious?! Can I just jump into the fire and die?!
“No, no way Chen. You know I will make a fool out of myself!” I argue and Chen puts his hands on my shoulders. Here comes the lame plus to this.
“But guess what, you will have a whole side to yourself! Better than the small back of the car.” He explains and I was now mentally wishing I didn’t agree to this trip. Am I going to regret this?
a/n: I hope you liked this part. I am going to make this a 3 part scenario. Thank you for reading Lovely!
We don’t commit now. We don’t see the point. They’ve always said there are so many fish in the sea, but never before has that sea of fish been right at our fingertips on OkCupid, Tinder, Grindr, Dattch, take your pick. We can order up a human being in the same way we can order up pad thai on Seamless. We think intimacy lies in a perfectly-executed string of emoji. We think effort is a “good morning” text. We say romance is dead, because maybe it is, but maybe we just need to reinvent it. Maybe romance in our modern age is putting the phone down long enough to look in each other’s eyes at dinner. Maybe romance is deleting Tinder off your phone after an incredible first date with someone. Maybe romance is still there, we just don’t know what it looks like now.
When we choose—if we commit—we are still one eye wandering at the options. We want the beautiful cut of filet mignon, but we’re too busy eyeing the mediocre buffet, because choice. Because choice. Our choices are killing us. We think choice means something. We think opportunity is good. We think the more chances we have, the better. But, it makes everything watered-down. Never mind actually feeling satisfied, we don’t even understand what satisfaction looks like, sounds like, feels like. We’re one foot out the door, because outside that door is more, more, more. We don’t see who’s right in front of our eyes asking to be loved, because no one is asking to be loved. We long for something that we still want to believe exists. Yet, we are looking for the next thrill, the next jolt of excitement, the next instant gratification.
e soothe ourselves and distract ourselves and, if we can’t even face the demons inside our own brain, how can we be expected to stick something out, to love someone even when it’s not easy to love them? We bail. We leave. We see a limitless world in a way that no generation before us has seen. We can open up a new tab, look at pictures of Portugal, pull out a Visa, and book a plane ticket. We don’t do this, but we can. The point is that we know we can, even if we don’t have the resources to do so. There are always other tantalizing options. Open up Instagram and see the lives of others, the life we could have. See the places we’re not traveling to. See the lives we’re not living. See the people we’re not dating. We bombard ourselves with stimuli, input, input, input, and we wonder why we’re miserable. We wonder why we’re dissatisfied. We wonder why nothing lasts and everything feels a little hopeless. Because, we have no idea how to see our lives for what they are, instead of what they aren’t.
And, even if we find it. Say we find that person we love who loves us. Commitment. Intimacy. “I love you.” We do it. We find it. Then, quickly, we live it for others. We tell people we’re in a relationship on Facebook. We throw our pictures up on Instagram. We become a “we.” We make it seem shiny and perfect because what we choose to share is the highlight reel. We don’t share the 3am fights, the reddened eyes, the tear-stained bedsheets. We don’t write status updates about how their love for us shines a light on where we don’t love ourselves. We don’t tweet 140 characters of sadness when we’re having the kinds of conversations that can make or break the future of our love. This is not what we share. Shiny picture. Happy couple. Love is perfect.
Then, we see these other happy, shiny couples and we compare. We are The Emoji Generation. Choice Culture. The Comparison Generation. Measuring up. Good enough. The best. Never before have we had such an incredible cornucopia of markers for what it looks like to live the Best Life Possible. We input, input, input and soon find ourselves in despair. We’ll never be good enough, because what we’re trying to measure up to just does not fucking exist. These lives do not exist. These relationships do not exist. Yet, we can’t believe it. We see it with our own eyes. And, we want it. And, we will make ourselves miserable until we get it.
So, we break up. We break up because we’re not good enough, our lives aren’t good enough, our relationship isn’t good enough. We swipe, swipe, swipe, just a bit more on Tinder. We order someone up to our door just like a pizza. And, the cycle starts again. Emoji. “Good morning” text. Intimacy. Put down the phone. Couple selfie. Shiny, happy couple. Compare. Compare. Compare. The inevitable creeping in of latent, subtle dissatisfaction. The fights. “Something is wrong, but I don’t know what it is.” “This isn’t working.” “I need something more.” And, we break up. Another love lost. Another graveyard of shiny, happy couple selfies.
On to the next. Searching for the elusive more. The next fix. The next gratification. The next quick hit. Living our lives in 140 characters, 5 second snaps, frozen filtered images, four minute movies, attention here, attention there. More as an illusion. We worry about settling, all the while making ourselves suffer thinking that anything less than the shiny, happy filtered life we’ve been accustomed to is settling. What is settling? We don’t know, but we fucking don’t want it. If it’s not perfect, it’s settling. If it’s not glittery filtered love, settling. If it’s not Pinterest-worthy, settling.
We realize that this more we want is a lie. We want phone calls. We want to see a face we love absent of the blue dim of a phone screen. We want slowness. We want simplicity. We want a life that does not need the validation of likes, favorites, comments, upvotes. We may not know yet that we want this, but we do. We want connection, true connection. We want a love that builds, not a love that gets discarded for the next hit. We want to come home to people. We want to lay down our heads at the end of our lives and know we lived well, we lived the fuck out of our lives. This is what we want even if we don’t know it yet.
Yet, this is not how we date now. This is not how we love now.
Kurt, a successful stage actor, was married to a wealthy businessman who had subtly taken control over every aspect of his life. After Kurt’s husband pressured him into a life in the country, Blaine was hired to be his personal assistant/bodyguard.
Warnings for: violence, assault, injury, blood, infidelity, and minor character death.
It began like so many other fairy tale romances,
with eye contact made across a room at a party.
At first glance, Kurt knew his life was about change. Remy Tarantin was well known in Broadway
circles as both a wealthy patron and longstanding lover of the arts. Being gay in such company was by no means a
rarity, and Kurt was not surprised when eye contact led to Remy sliding a glass
of champagne into his hand. By the end
of the evening they were in possession of each other’s phone numbers.
It was easy to become smitten with Remy, despite
the fact that Kurt had no idea what he did for a living besides
“business” and confidently throwing money at whatever hobby or cause
struck his fancy. Remy was the monogamous
type, romantic to a fault, but also knew how to relax and have fun, which took
the stress out of the getting-to-know-you dating phase. His financial and social status were
constants throughout, but never ostentatious; he was simply a successful
business man who adored theater and was becoming invested in Kurt in more ways
They fell in love. The sex was fantastic. The networking opportunities were many. In only a few short years, Kurt went from the
chorus to leading roles. He learned to
ignore the accusations of nepotism, which were common—while it was true Remy
was helping to pave the way for him, it was his talent and ambition that
carried him along that path. He was not
going to allow jealous tittering to hinder the progress of his career.
We have a lot left to talk about in Episode 197. Most of it revolves around THE BIG THING, so it’ll be pretty straightforward, as far as my posts go. Here’s what I saw, here’s how I interpret it, here’s what it means for the characters.
This, though. This is different. There’s stuff going on in this moment that I don’t immediately understand. I’ve had to think about Hotaru’s defensive response on Nehellenia’s behalf. Galaxia, too, who goes from gloating to furious in just a few words. These are emotional responses, and the aren’t ones that I immediately understand.
WHICH OF COURSE MAKES THEM FASCINATING
I’m going to start with the bit that I think is probably the most direct thing we can pull out of this. “You deceived her by twisting her jealousy and malice!” Hotaru says of Nehellenia.
As always, I’m relying on a fan translation, so I’m aware that I’m speaking about the nuance of speech that I can’t personally verify. Still, there’s a lot of charged words used here, so I feel pretty confident that I’ll be exploring within the emotional bounds of the line, at least. WE WORK WITH WHAT WE HAVE
And what we have is so interesting. The more I think about this, the more interested I become. There’s SO MUCH in what Hotaru is saying here. She’s condemning Galaxia, branding her a lying manipulator (which Galaxia LOVES, and more on that shortly), but she isn’t absolving Nehellenia in the process. The jealousy and malice remain hers, and there’s nothing positive in either of those qualities. I love how Hotaru frames this in a way where everybody is held accountable.
This is a bit of a tangent, but I particularly like this as it would compare to Usagi (relevant especially, as I view Hotaru and Usagi as opposite sides of the same coin). Usagi forgave Nehellenia, and with that would, I think, come the desire to brush aside what she did. Not consciously, exactly. But I see Usagi with a (un)healthy dose of burying unpleasant things when she can. The battle against Nehellenia was painful and terrifying and pretty fucking traumatic. But it’s also done now, and so once Usagi found her feet again (or at least as best as she was able to get), she’d shove it all aside. Usagi, bless her, is not the world’s most reflective individual.
With all Galaxia’s done to Usagi right now, making her the reason for every ill in the universe makes perfect sense. If Usagi was hungry and found a vending machine that stole her money and gave her no chips, that would be Galaxia’s fault too.
Particularly interesting given her chosen team, Hotaru’s world isn’t that black and white. Nehellenia was evil and did some fucked up shit (so much more fucked up than that arc could contain), and Hotaru doesn’t forget or excuse any of that.
One more related point I wanted to touch on: I saw some suggest that Hotaru was projecting here due to Mistress Nine. Obviously everything is interpretation and theory, so none of us are more right than another. Personally, though, I disagree with that idea. I see Mistress Nine as an outside invader, not a facet of Hotaru. Hotaru was nothing more than a vessel, basically a human casserole dish to hold the ingredients and bake until done. For me then, particularly with her rebirth giving her distance between Hotaru 1.0′s emotions and experiences, Mistress Nine would hold no power over her.
So there’s all I think ISN’T going on, let’s get back to what I think is. This is so not where I expected this to end up, but I think Hotaru and Galaxia both get upset over the same detail, and it’s kind of beautiful.
Let’s break down what Galaxia says: “The Evil Queen’s thirst for revenge was so strong, she was more than willing to help me.” We’ve already established that Hotaru is totally on-board with Nehellenia doing bad shit, so she wouldn’t be objecting to “Evil Queen”, or the idea that revenge and all it implies was a huge motivator. That leaves us only one thing, and that’s Nehellenia and Galaxia’s connection.
What pisses Hotaru off, and what in turn pisses Galaxia off, is the idea that Nehellenia gleefully ran off to do evil FOR GALAXIA.
THIS IS SO INTERESTING TO ME
I’m going to come back to Hotaru, because I see two possibilities there. Galaxia’s much easier to figure out. That it also feeds a particular favourite theory of mine is a sweet delicious bonus.
Galaxia’s reaction, to me, is 1000% about her ego. During the liveblog I commented on how she’s SO EAGER to share her plan and solicit some kind of reaction from the Outers.
Leaning forward, gesturing at herself. Through egomaniacal posturing, dire threats, and literal murder, Galaxia’s been a study in vague indifference. She cares about this. She’s PROUD of this. She wants the Outers to be astonished, afraid, awed, and many other adjectives beginning with ‘a’. Galaxia goes on to talk about how Nehellenia was only too willing to help her. This is where it all gets ugly.
At first I dismissed Galaxia’s word choice as just standard villainese. Like “Oh, Sailor Moon, how kind of you to come to my party” shit, implying the hero had a vast buffet of choices and hand-selected this one per their very discerning preferences. After her reaction, though, I can’t hold to that. I think Galaxia wanted to believe that, whatever puny personal gratification aside, Nehellenia was doing this FOR GALAXIA.
AND WHY WOULD GALAXIA GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THAT
WHAT Nehellenia did should be the focus here. Galaxia should be totally fine with the idea of being a puppet master. Let Nehellenia’s reasons be her own. So long as Galaxia got the results she wanted (and she did), nothing else matters, right? Only we see a few seconds later that isn’t true. It was important to Galaxia that Nehellenia do this for her. It was important to Galaxia that EVERYONE ELSE believe Nehellenia did this for her.
I’ll talk about this more in a separate post coming later about Galaxia tempting Haruka and Michiru to her side. The relevant idea right now is that results aren’t the only thing that matter to Galaxia. She’s running around killing everyone for Star Seeds, but what’s underlying her actions is this need for companionship of a sort. Of devotion, I suppose would be better to say. Whether it comes from manipulation or selfishness or fear, Galaxia needs to have others pledged to her, and she needs that feeling of power over them. (The potential for the dynamics within Corporate Googlaxia are incredible.)
And she needs others to support and maintain that idea. Hotaru basically just says “Nehellenia didn’t HELP you, she was pretty fucked up and you just pointed her at us”, and Galaxia LOSES HER SHIT. She’s destroyed hundreds if not thousands of planets, has a body count in the COUNTLESS BILLIONS, has just stone cold slaughtered half the Senshi, and here’s a ten-year old getting huffy about word choice and Galaxia flips the fuck out.
Speaking, let’s swing back to Hotaru while we start to wrap this very long post up. As mentioned, there’s two things I see Hotaru taking issue with in Galaxia’s statement.
One is in calling Galaxia a lying liar who lies. I feel Hotaru would be less pissy right now if Galaxia had been up front and honest when striking her evil bargain with Nehellenia, and fuck me, that is such an adorable hill to die on.
Related is how, breaking everything else down, ultimately the one thing both Hotaru and Galaxia are upset about is the word “help”. AND IT’S SO NEEDLESSLY PETTY AND LITERAL. I kind of love that Hotaru gets stuck on that. Everything else Galaxia is saying, blah blah master plan killing people fine whatever GASP OH MY GOD SHE DID NOT HELP YOU YOU TRICKED HER. It feels like such a small and comparatively irrelevant thing a child WOULD focus on.
I love that. This can be said for most of the main cast, of course, but Hotaru is a painfully young child in painfully adult situations. She’s the avatar of death embodied in a third grader. To have her react like the child she actually is delights me. (Even as the reminder becomes that much sadder a few minutes from now.)
And it works so well reflected back on Galaxia, who finds this the gravest insult of all. It’s all so petty and ultimately meaningless, and I’m so delighted it affects them both the way it does.
Got a great night’s sleep and woke up starving. As I still don’t have my bearing here in Dubai and have no clue what’s close or even open, filling my belly at the lobby breakfast buffet seemed like the sensible thing to do this morning.
I started things off more locally…
I found the feta softer than I have come to expect, and the pickled vegetables were fantastic.
Smoked Persian Gulf hamour fish…
It was served with a fig paste, probably to balance the saltiness, but I thought it was fine on its own.
Hummus with manakish zataar…
For my second plate, I extended out to India and Egypt a bit…
Poha, a rice dish, mixed with coconut curry and chana masala with paratha…
A local lamb patty with grilled onion…
Foul medamas, which are beans with cumin…
The waiter kept asking me if I wanted pancakes or waffles, and I kept declining. However, after seeing my first two plates, he asked if I would maybe prefer an omelet made with more local ingredients, which sounded more my speed…
The chef made me this one with veal bacon, fresh green chilis, onions, sumac and shredded halloumi cheese…
The halloumi was warmed but didn’t really melt, which gave it a great texture. Simply wonderful with the sumac as well!
And my friend Sana Amanat has insisted I drink as much fresh juice as possible over here, so I ended my meal with a glass of cucumber juice, mango juice and a pandan sago…
Another meal that was an enjoyable and edible education!