The gruff male voice speaks, “I said, ‘Kiss me you’re beautiful / These are truly the last days,’“ into echoes of guitar notes and swelling acoustic drones. These are the sounds of a culture in decline – not the fictional apocalypse that comes with one explosive blow, but the slow decay of humanity we witness every day. And Godspeed react with a deeply sorrowful sound. Their long instrumental tracks ebb and flow, expand and contract with guitars, bowed strings, hypnotic percussion and other classical, rock and jazz instruments. They exist as a large group of musicians (about nine) who tend toward anonymity, collective creation and improvisation. Their records’ liner notes give little information about them and they keep their public presence to an unassuming minimum; their music is a well meaning. Ever-present throughout their recordings are poetic monologues and tapes of man-on-the-street cynical rants about politics and cultural oppression. In lieu of vocals, these passionate speeches and interviews are not didactic, but they create a texture of struggle – a match for their tense, wandering orchestrations.
“Kiss me you’re beautiful / These are truly the last days” had been used in Godspeed You Black Emporor’s first song.
East Hastings is their second song that takes a more surreal approach to the post apocalyptic theme.
East Hastings, to me, is more terrifying to listen to than the other tracks in their debut album, F#a#infinity.
super fluffy riarkle + 22 for your writing prompt thingies 😊
“I’ve seen the way you look at me when you think I don’t notice.”
Ok, so I’m suffering from a bit of post-fic-deletion rage at the moment. Just FYI, in case this seems more angsty than fluffy. And this took a damn long time, I’m so sorry.
This is rated T (ish), I’d let children read it. Not mine, but children.
It was quiet outside of Topanga’s, aside from the sounds of birds chirping and a few traffic sounds. It sounded like New York, as quiet as it would ever be. The sun was shining, and since none of his friends were there yet, he’d opted to do his work outside.
The limit of f(x) as x approaches infinity is L and - “Farkle?” He looked up from the problem he was working out and saw her standing behind him. She looked confused. “What are you working on?”
He smiled, understanding her confusion. “Calculus homework. Limits. Do you want to learn?”
She laid a hand on his shoulder and sat down next to him, picking up the notebook as she did. “Farkle, we’re not even supposed to be learning trig yet. Whose homework are you doing?”
Farkle gave her a crooked smile, hoping she’d buy his lie. “A senior wanted help in Calculus and when I offered to see what I could do, he bet me 20 bucks that I couldn’t get higher than an 80%.”
Riley giggled, probably laughing at him, but he didn’t really mind. He still loved that sound. “Farkle, you don’t need any money.” She cocked her head to the side. “Why are you really doing this?”
He sighed and set his pen down. “It was some senior bully.” Her eyebrows shot up and she opened her mouth to protest, but he spoke before she could. “Not my bully, he wasn’t bullying me. He was picking on a couple of freshmen and I got him to stop by offering to do his calc homework.”
Her face softened. “Farkle -”
He held up his hand. “It’s fine, it’s not even hard. I googled one thing and found all of the information I needed.” Riley blinked at him, not saying anything, just looking at him.
Faster than he could process, she slid closer and threw her arms around his neck. “Why are you so wonderful?”
He blushed and wrapped an arm around her waist. “I’m just a decent human being.”
Riley buried her face in his shoulder and he tried not to grin too much at that. “Shhh, you’re wonderful.”
He breathed in deep and caught the scent of her shampoo. It smelled like vanilla and something else. Riley hadn’t let go of him yet - not that that was a problem. “We’ll agree to disagree.”
She pulled back and gave him a look of mock-outrage and horror. “We will not!”
He grinned. Flirting with her was his favorite thing in the world. Somehow she came off teasing, and yet all he felt from her was warmth and caring. Farkle tipped her chin up and brought his face closer. “Don’t you want me to finish this homework so that a freshman can live to geek another day?”
Riley blushed furiously at that and unwound her arms from his neck. “Oh, I um… yeah.” Farkle loved the way she looked when she blushed. It started at the base of her neck and slid up her face until she looked like - a very cute - tomato.
He was about to say more when they heard laughter coming down the steps. They both looked up but he and Riley had very different gut reactions to their appearance. While Farkle wrapped an arm around her, Riley scooted a little bit away from him. Maya and Lucas were walking down the steps hand in hand.
Riley plastered a smile to her face, but it didn’t reach her eyes. He smiled up at his friends, but immediately went back to his concern for Riley.
They walked up to the table and smiled, not noticing Riley’s distress. Maya’s face was filled with a kind of joy that was new for her, but wonderful. “Hey guys, what’s up?”
Riley piped up, a bit too cheerfully, “Farkle’s teaching me calculus.”
“Farkle,” Lucas cut in, “Where did you learn calculus?” He could see Riley looking at Lucas strangely, but he couldn’t quite read her expression without tuning out the others.
He wanted to laugh at the puzzled look on his best - male - friend’s face. Farkle turned to Lucas with a deadpan smirk. “Didn’t you hear? I was born knowing it. That’s why I’ve never been in a math class with any of you.”
There was a giggle from behind him and when he looked, he saw Riley covering her mouth. Maya raised an eyebrow at him, playing along. “I thought you were a real boy?”
She hadn’t bantered this much with him in a long time… or ever. Apparently, Lucas was actually a good influence on her. “You can fake a birth certificate.”
Maya rolled her eyes and huffed at him. “Whatever. We’re going to go inside if either of you two want to join us.” She turned to Lucas. “You sir owe me the ten dollars you won when we saw his birth certificate.” They both slipped inside without another word, and he heard Riley sigh.
“Riles, what’s up?” First and foremost, he was concerned about her and her feelings, but he felt a little bit crestfallen. Over the past few months, it seemed like Riley might have been growing closer to her - maybe even starting to like him.
He put all of that aside when he saw the miserable look on her face. “It’s still him? You’re still hung up on…”
She shook her head, but still wouldn’t meet his eyes. “Well, no. It’s more complicated than that.” Riley took a deep breath. “I think - I think I’m still hung up, but not on him. On the potential that I thought we had.” She finally lifted her head up to look at him. He tried to hold her gaze, but she broke away to gather his things. “We should probably go inside.”
Before she could lead them inside, he stopped her. “Riles, Why were you looking at him like that? I know you said you don’t have those feelings for him anymore, but -”
She cut him off. “I’m happy for them, but I feel jealous. Not of him, just what they have. Do you know what I mean?” When he frowned, she kept going. He loved that about her, the way she babbled. It was the only time he could read her face without trying. “He’s not - He’s not what I want anymore.”
She was between him and the wall, and he started walking closer, with her mirroring him. Soon she was all but cornered and he was about a foot away. “What do you want, Riley?”
He kept eye contact with her but was now so close that she had to look up to meet his eyes. Riley was blushing, but her voice was colored with a firm conviction. “I want what’s right for me. The person that’s right for me.”
When it seemed like she wasn’t going to give any ground, Farkle backed up slightly and ran a hand through his hair. “Riley, how does it feel to be in like with two people at once?”
Riley sighed and closed her eyes. “It’s hard. I mean, between Lucas and -” She cut herself off and opened her eyes, looking up at him in shock over what she’d said. She frowned a bit and looked up at him with big, Disney princess eyes. “It helps you see your priorities. It lets you see the things you weren’t looking for.”
He swallowed thickly, liking where it was going, but not quite sure it was real. The moment was filled with tension, and he tried to fill the silence. “What did you learn, Riles?”
Riley tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I’ve seen the way you look at me when you think I don’t notice.” Farkle stood there blinking at her, without saying a word. She laid a hand on his cheek and tilted her head at him in the way she always had. “More importantly, I noticed the way I looked at you.”
Riley leaned up on her toes to kiss him and he froze. He wasn’t ready for that, but he had always been quick to catch on. Farkle wrapped his arms around her, one hand resting on the small of her back, the other snaking its way up into her hair. He felt rather than heard a whimper from her when he pulled her closer.
She gave as good as she got - better in his opinion. He hadn’t been paying much attention to anything other than her lips and her soft curves until he felt a tug on his hair. He pulled back and groaned at the feeling. As it turned out, Riley was an excellent teacher, or she knew more about him than he thought.
When he pulled away, she grew impatient and pulled his lips back to hers, capturing his bottom lip between her teeth. It hurt, but in a good way. “Riley, do I want to know how you learned that?”
She laughed and pecked his lips. “You’re the first one I’ve tried that on if it helps.”
Farkle smirked and began kissing his way over to her ear, finding a spot that made her purr. The sound went straight to his ego and he kept at it.
Riley and Farkle would have gone further, but they were interrupted by a tap on his shoulder. They sprung apart to find Topanga Matthews giving them a calm yet terrifying look. Her arms were crossed and she had an eyebrow raised but other than that, there wasn’t any disapproval in her gaze.
Topanga smiled and put a hand on her daughter’s shoulder. “I understand the allure of young love - and as your mother, I approve - but this is my storefront. Children are present.”
Riley’s eyes widened and a blush crawled up her face. “Mom, we weren’t doing anything that bad!” She looked frantically at Farkle, who could only just smother his grin.
By then, Maya had seen the commotion outside and was standing there watching. “Frankly, I’m not sure I’d want children around when you’re just looking at each other.” None of them had noticed her entrance, and Farkle was now suffering from his second heart attack in five minutes. “Maybe find another spot?”
Farkle ran a hand through his hair and stuttered out a response despite his racing heart. “Oh, I um - yeah, I guess that’s smart.”
Topanga spoke up and they all turned back to her. “On another note - as your mother - I’d find somewhere that your father won’t find you, just in case. I’d rather be present for the freakout that ensues, not just invited to the funeral.”
The two awkward teenagers nodded their heads furiously - neither of them were looking forward to that moment. Topanga patted Farkle on the shoulder and gave him a sympathetic smile before making her way back into the bakery.
Maya put herself between the two of them - a feat in and of itself - in order to inform Riley that they’d be talking soon and that Farkle would need to schedule an appointment for the “Riley Matthews’ Partner’s Liability Waiver”. Once she’d done her due diligence, she left them alone and went back to her boyfriend.
Riley and Farkle shared an awkward laugh that broke the tension surrounding them, glad that there - probably - wouldn’t be any more external intervention that day.
They gathered up their things in silence before Farkle took her hand and spoke. “Do you want to find somewhere that’s Cory-Matthews-Proof?”
She grinned and laced their fingers together. “Don’t mind if I do. I think I know just the place.”
On a blanket in Central Park, a couple was lying there, stargazing. Riley and Farkle had been together for some time, but they still felt new, at least to him.
They spent a lot of time in silence, just enjoying the other’s company. They spent most of their nights watching the stars - maybe kissing some. She knew all of the constellations, but when it was very quiet, she would invent their own and give them stories.
He’d often asked her why she preferred the stars - even when it was cold - to the planetarium on his roof. He knew the answer, though. It was the same reason he’d rather see her in person than in a picture. Why talking on the phone would always be preferable to a text message. It was why he loved her. She was the most real thing in his world, and no science would ever explain that.
On this particular night, they were wrapped up in a blanket and drinking hot chocolate. Riley’s head was resting on his chest, and she was barely even looking at the stars. “When did you know how you felt about me, Farkle?”
He chuckled, knowing that she’d been waiting to ask that. “In recent history? About a day before I plucked up the courage to break up with Isadora.” He hadn’t broken up with her for Riley, he wasn’t that callous. He’d broken up with Smackle for Smackle. She deserved more than someone who felt stronger feelings for someone else.
She picked up her head to get a good look at him. “How did you know?”
He thought about it for a minute because there were a million things that he could have said, and all of them would have been true. “Well, I knew that I couldn’t lose you, but I wanted more than I was getting.”
She bit her lip. “I think you might have spoiled me. I never expected to feel this way.”
He smiled and leaned up to kiss her on the temple. “That’s what you get for dating a Minkus, Riles.”
He’d never stop spoiling her. If there was one thing he knew for certain, it was that he was going to marry this girl some day.
Everyone who terrifies you is sixty-five percent water.
And everyone you love is made of stardust, and I know sometimes
you cannot breathe deeply, and
the night sky is no home, and
you have cried yourself to sleep enough times
that you are down to your last two percent, but
nothing is infinite,
not even loss.
You are made of the sea and the stars, and one day
you are going to find yourself again.