Remember in Episode 4 when Mike is trying to convince Lucas and Dustin that Eleven really contacted Will? Remember how he says “He spoke last night. Words! He was singing that weird song he loves.”
Well, this got me thinking: Mike Wheeler never really paid much attention to music until El came into his life. It’s El who teaches him about the beauty of music—
When her eyes sparkle and hands shake just a little bit as she hands Mike his very first mixtape; one that she made (almost) entirely by herself (Jonathan helped a little).
When he catches her humming an unfamiliar tune while she’s practicing her writing at the Wheeler’s kitchen table.
When she nestles close to his chest as they share their first dance at the Snow Ball (for a long time, something he didn’t think would ever actually happen) and whispers that she likes this particular song.
When he’s falling asleep before her during one of their nightly phone calls (a rare occurrence) and she sings him the chorus of Queen’s You’re My Best Friend.
When she practically leaps into his arms and delicately kisses his cheek after she unwraps a David Bowie record—a just because present that he had saved his allowance for weeks to buy.
When they pool the money the earn from their first jobs (Mike works at the video store; El tidies the police station on weekends) to buy a guitar and, together, teach themselves how to play (again, Jonathan helps a little).
(AMI! -hugs- Since we both know I unashamedly love juice boxes to an inhuman degree, this one was very fun for me ^w^ 💗💗)
Mike and Eleven don’t have their “official first date” until a few years down the road from their first kiss, but if you asked El many years later, she’d have to disagree, pointing out one particular summer night that she remembered every detail of as perfectly as if it was the other day and knew was, though unofficial, their first date. Hawkins summer of ‘85, in particular. A fiercely hot day that would into a gently warm night, one where the air envelops you like a soft blanket and the stars seems to shine a little bit brighter in celebration of the liveliness of the season. Lucas was gone for a few days on a family vacation, Will was spending the week at an arts camp, and Dustin was at a family reunion a few hours away. Eleven and Mike spent the whole day together and, in an effort to include Holly in their summer activities, put together an entire pretend Olympic games that they played throughout the day: who can pick up the most marbles out of the faded blue kiddie pool with only their toes, whose Eggo waffle cooks the fastest on the blisteringly hot concrete, who can blow the biggest bubbles, who can drink a juice box fast enough without the straw. Their “closing ceremonies” before Holly went to bed consisted of Mike releasing a jar of fireflies he had caught a little earlier as the “doves” and the distribution of different flavors of Eggos as the “medals.” Hopper let El stay over at the Wheeler’s that night (the whole summer thus far had been like playing musical chairs with whose house would hold the next sleepover), so she changed into her fuzzy dinosaur pants and Star Wars t-shirt quickly while Mike picked out his pajamas and, tugging a blanket out from inside the fort in the basement, went to lay it out on the dry grass in the backyard to sit and look up at the stars. Lost in the sea of vastness that is the night sky, El almost didn’t notice that Mike still hadn’t joined her in the backyard….. She was pulled from her thoughts suddenly when the back door creaked open loudly, whipping around quickly in a way that made her curly hair bounce a little bit. There, with an award-winning dorky and cheesy grin on his face, stood Mike Wheeler, balancing plates, juice boxes, and wine glasses for two on his palms with more precision that a trained acrobat. El giggled as he proudly made his way over to the soft patch of blanket. Mike set one plate in front of her—half a grilled cheese sandwich paired with a strawberry Eggo—and one for himself, before tearing open the flaps of the juice boxes to pour the contents into his mom’s fancy wine glasses. He tried to keep a straight face throughout it, but Eleven doubled over laughing at his gesture, as he explained with a smirk, “Athletes deserve only the highest of honor and sophistication, Miss El!” With stars in their eyes and warmth in their hearts, Mike and Eleven almost unconsciously interlaced their fingers and clinked their wine glasses of juice together underneath the gentle glow of the moonlight
Mike and Eleven sitting in a booth near the back of the diner on the main street of Hawkins on a little “date” even if Mike refuses to call it that. They’re both drinking their milkshakes and sharing a basket of fries when Troy and James walk into the diner and spot El’s shaggy hair immediately. They both just freeze before Troy shouts the length of the diner “you’re so embarrassed by the freak that you have to sit in the back of the diner?” Mike, in a moment of courageous stupidity gets up, red in the face from anger, fists balled, walks over to Troy. He gets right in his face before kneeing him in the groin. “You ever call her a freak again, you’ll have me to answer to.” Mike makes his way back over to El and Mike asks her “I hope our date wasn’t ruined.”