A thank you to my fellow followers and friends, here and on the Dancetale blog! (We’ve receive over 800 followers!! Thank you!! Seriously. Thank you all.)
Ever since that anon asked me what dances the Underswap crew would dance, I had this idea where there would be this cool dance-off between Pap and Napstabot. I just had to do it!! This was supposed to be a drawing only, but it escalated huhuhu ;v; (youtube)
If you, like me, are drowning in dread right now…if you, like me, need a reason to feel hope or pride in America…if you, like me, want to watch a movie that would sincerely piss off the racist, sexist, imaginationless incoming administration: go see Hidden Figures. Go see it right now. Brilliant, incredible black women putting human beings in space is exactly what I think we all need right now.
What do guys get out of telling us shit like, “It’s okay, I know the game. I know you’re only being nice to me because I’m spending money.” “It’s okay, sweetheart. I know you’re just in it for the money,” in like, a reassuring fashion. I had a guy ask me as he was withdrawing money from the ATM for me, “Are you only being nice to me because I’m giving you money?” And when I told him I’m just a nice person he was all “Oh come on, I know the game, I know why you’re here.”
Warnings: I think there’s light cursing in there. Barely. Which is weird because I curse like a sailor.
Word Count: 3,206. (Yay, rambling.)
A/N: YOU GUYS ARE ALL SO FANTASTIC. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR KIND WORDS AND ALL THE LOVE. Tbh, I expected like, eight notes on the first one, but y'all exceeded my expectations. If I had the money, I would buy all of you puppies and kittens and chocolate and food and the works. Thank you so much!! I present to you an entire load of trash.
SIDE NOTE: Also again, thanks to @ourforgottenboleros for being my second pair of eyes and editing and proofreading. GO READ HER STUFF. I AM HER NUMBER ONE FAN. JOIN MY FANCLUB.
“I’m thinking bagels,” Lin suggested as you both journeyed south 165th Street. “Are you thinking bagels, Doc?”
“You read my mind,” you replied with a grin. “I’ve been dying for a bagel since yesterday morning. And please, Y/N works just fine.”
It was around 5:15 in the morning, the sun already piercing the night’s veil of darkness, cueing the pigeons to rise and harass the inhabitants of the Big Apple.
This definitely wasn’t what you’d anticipated. You were supposed to do one last round in the ER, make sure you’d discharged everyone, if not already admitted the more serious cases, then gone home to sleep for the mere five hours before it was time to start your life again back at the hospital. And what exactly were you doing now?
Completely disregarding your body’s desperation for sleep. Going for bagels. With a stranger.
No matter how much you wanted to reprimand yourself, it seemed as though part of you had already come up with logical excuses for your irresponsibility.
Disregarding your desperate need for rest? You function perfectly on three hours of sleep. You’ve trained for this. This is your life.
Going for bagels? You haven’t had a solid meal in about eighteen hours. The most you’ve had to eat was a cookie an attending doctor had offered you late yesterday morning.
With a stranger? He’s cute. That’s that. (Because Lord knows you have a handful of other reasons why it’s a good thing to go out with this guy, but let’s not even get you started.)
He nudged you with his elbow as you both made a left on Broadway, breaking you away from your internal interrogation between you and your conscience. “Penny for your thoughts?”
Not wanting to make him feel bad for not only keeping you an hour longer at the hospital but also cutting your time for sleep even shorter than it already is, you simply smiled at him, feigning confusion. “I’m just so hungry, I can’t decide what kind of bagel I wanna get. They all sound so good right now.”
“Well then, don’t let me tell you about what kind of spreads you can get too because that’ll just throw you for a loop.”
Both of you shared a quick laugh and you nudged him right back.
“Thanks for the invite,” you said. “I really appreciate it.”
“Hey, when she’s gorgeous, I can’t just let her slide.” Lin simply shrugged as if this was no revelation to either you. He turned his head to look at you and chuckled a little. “But in all seriousness, I didn’t want the conversation to end, so I took a shot and thankfully, you said yes, and here we are.”
“Well then, I’m glad you didn’t throw it away.”
“Not as glad as I am.”
The two of you walked the rest of the way in content silence, basking in each other’s presence like this was a daily ritual of yours. Your steps fell in sync with his, left foot, right foot, all the way down the busy sidewalk. When you reached the door of Mike’s Bagels, he held it open and gestured for you to enter the lively bagel joint.
He grabbed your hand and pulled you through the growing group of people crowding around the counter, giving you more of a view of the assortment of bagels.
“Onion, sesame, poppy seed, chocolate chip, cinnamon raisin, blueberry, spinach, spinach and cheese, just plain cheese…” He turned his head to look at you, searching for an answer.
You simply stood there looking down at where both of you connected, too distracted by the fact that he still hadn’t let go of your hand.
“There are a lot of choices,” he started. “But might I suggest the cinnamon raisin with strawberry cream cheese? Because that’s what I’m getting and that’s the best one, in my not-so-humble opinion.”
Finally managing to break your gaze away from both of your hands, you flashed him a quick smile.
“Then make it two,” you replied. “I trust your not-so-humble opinion.”
Lin brought you back over to the end of the line (crowd, really, because apparently no one knew about single file here,) and you both waited for your turn. Without a single word, he laced his fingers between yours, intertwining them with ease.
Lord, I’m gonna die by the time this is over, aren’t I? you thought.
“Have you been here before?” He asked you, bringing you back to reality from your internal monologue.
“No, but I walk past it every day. I typically go to Bagel Boss.”
“Looks like we’ve got a new place then.” The corners of his mouth curved upwards into the sweetest of grins, and it was nearly enough to melt you into a puddle of helplessness and glee.
We? What do you mean by ‘we’?
Just as you were about to question his word choice, you were silenced by the sound of the teenage boy clearing his throat from behind the counter in an attempt to capture your attention.
“Two cinnamon raisin bagels with strawberry cream cheese,” Lin ordered before turning to you. “Baby, do you want it toasted?”
You couldn’t do anything but nod with an incredulous look etched on your face.
“Both toasted, dude. Oh, and coffee. Two medium drips? Yeah, medium drips.”
Had he not let go of your hand to reach into his pocket for his wallet, you would’ve stood there for the rest of the day, dumbfounded and speechless.
But hey, Mama didn’t raise no freeloader, and regardless of whether this breakfast was a date or not, you weren’t about to let a stranger pay for your food. You quickly reached into your messenger bag and grabbed your wallet, immediately pulling out your debit card and handing it to the cashier.
“No!” Lin quickly interjected, pushing your hand away. “Please, let me take care of it, Y/N.”
“I can’t let you do that,” you answered with a shake of your head. Bringing your attention back to the poor confused kid behind the counter, you stretched your arm out further, encouraging him to take your card.
After a bit of a struggle, you heard grunt followed by a victory whoop coming from Lin, and next thing you knew, the kid shrugged.
“Sorry, ma’am, he just reached over swiped his card.” The cashier snickered a little as the receipt printed from the machine. He ripped it and handed it to Lin. “You guys are order number 58.”
Lin placed his right hand on the small of your back and ushered you down the long counter before finding your hand to hold again.
“How’d you that? Why’d you do that? I told you not to do that.”
Words were flying out of your mouth, and no matter how hard you tried, they just wouldn’t stop.
He motioned towards an empty booth at the very front of the already tiny, hole-in-the-wall shop, gently pulling you to it.
“Y/N, it wouldn’t be a proper date if I didn’t take care of the tab.” He replied with a laugh. “I told you, I got it.”
You slid into the booth and watched him follow suit with his Rico Suave moves. “But I told you not to–”
He cut you off quickly and patted your hand. “Shh, shh, it’s all over now.”
You tried your hardest to remain frustrated, but the tone of his voice, the warmth of his palm on yours, the sweetness in his eyes – you were melting.
And there you both were, practically front and center of the entire place, gazing into each other’s eyes. It was just as cliché as it sounded. Screw your already fucked up sleeping pattern, forget your dire need to satisfy your voracious appetite, never mind the fact that the man who just invited you out to breakfast on a whim was a complete stranger. Something about this, about him, felt normal.
Lin stood up to pick up your order from the end of the counter, leaving you with both countless thoughts racing through your mind and endless subconscious silence.
“Tada!” He proclaimed as he set the basket in front of you. “Shit, he forgot the cups for coffee. I’ll be back.” He began walking back to the cashier, but came back four steps later. “Cream and sugar?”
You looked up at him and simply smiled, nodding quickly before watching him walk backwards with a sly grin on his face to reciprocate your own.
The sweet aroma of the warm bagels before you made your head spin, and you suddenly remembered how desperately starving you were. Without missing a single beat, you dove in, practically devouring nearly a quarter of the entire thing in just a single bite. You were one with the bagel. There was no such thing as you and the bagel. It was you and you were it.
You were too focused on relishing the flavor of the cinnamon with the occasional raisin here and there, all intertwined with the creamy strawberry spread between both halves – you were in heaven.
And you would’ve remained in heaven until you’d consumed the entire bagel, but you were interrupted by the scent of coffee rising up, sending the synapses of your brain into near neurosis.
You saw two coffee cups stacked, one standing on top of the other’s lid. For a moment, you didn’t put two and two together and your lack of comprehension broke you away from your split-second of nirvana.
Lin picked up on your brief lapse of confusion and showed you his bandaged left hand, reminding you that the poor guy only had mobility of his free hand, and suddenly, you were hit with an pang of guilt because you knew damn well you should’ve gotten the coffees instead of allowing him to struggle.
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry, I should’ve helped you,” you started to apologize.
“I told you, it’s a date. Not to enforce gender norms, but this is what I do. So this is yours, two creams, two sugars,” he spoke as he handed you the top cup before taking a seat across from you.“I wasn’t sure how you took your coffee, so I went super generic.”
“Either you’re psychic or you’re just fantastic at assumptions,” you replied, graciously taking the cup in front of you and taking a quick sip of its contents. “Hmm, is this French Roast?”
Lin froze and grimaced. “I-I can switch it out for you if you don’t like it. I just didn’t know what–”
“I love French Roast. You really must be psychic.”
“Well, I mean…” he began coyly before breaking into a soft chuckle. “Columbian was out, and that was right next to it, so it was just chance. But hey, if you wanna believe I’m psychic, then I have no problem playing the part for you.”
You threw your head back in laughter and he joined you, his hearty laugh seemingly harmonizing with yours.
He took notice of your partially consumed bagel. “Good, right?”
“The best, honestly. I’ve eaten at Bagel Boss since I moved to the city, but this place has managed to open my eyes.”
“Wait ‘til I show you my version of NYC.” He brought his hand up in the air to mock the presentation of a billboard. “‘Lin’s New York City Tour.’ Restaurants, record shops, bookstores, I’ve got a list of all the hidden gems. Does that sound enticing to you?”
Your mouth full of yet another bite of the bagel, you gave him an affirming nod.
It did sound enticing. Despite the fact that you were born and raised in New York, you still weren’t too familiar with the city. You were accustomed to suburban living having grown up on Long Island. Sure, you and your family ventured into the city every now and then, but there was nothing Long Island didn’t have that you needed to leave it. And even though you’ve lived in the city for a solid eight years, you never really had the time to explore because of how much of your life you spent in a lab or at the hospital. The most you knew about your new surroundings was the fact that your workplace didn’t require you to take the subway and that your upstairs neighbor had two toddlers that enjoyed pretending their apartment was a jungle gym. Of course, you knew more than that, but the point was you never really had the time to familiarize yourself. To this day, this was a foreign place to you and the unfamiliarity of the city only made you wallow in loneliness more and more every second you shared with your own company.
“Alright, I already talked your ear off back at the ER, so I think it’s fair that you get a chance at revenge.”
After taking a long sip of your coffee, you shook your head with a smirk plastered across your face. “You didn’t talk my ear off, Lin. I told you I enjoyed the conversation.”
“Y/N,” he began to whisper, holding a hand to his cheek as he leaned forward. “That was your cue to tell me all about you.” He sat back in the booth, a sly grin growing quickly on his face.
“You could’ve just said it like that, you dork.”
Lin feigned offense, pressing his palm to his chest overdramatically. “Oh, my feelings!”
“I rest my case,” you giggled before finishing the last bite of your bagel. “I don’t really have an interesting story, especially compared to Hamilton.”
“Don’t be so modest, Y/N, you’re already interesting to me and I did all the talking earlier.” He reached across the table and took your hand in his. “And plus, I’m not on a date with the dead white dude on the ten-dollar bill. I’m here with you.”
Damn it, your cheeks were burning yet again, and at this rate, you were positive they were perpetually red. Of course, you had to play it cool though.
You simply rolled your eyes. “Such a charmer.”
“I’d beg to differ,” he teased sweetly. “So, what’s your origin story?”
It wasn’t a fantastic one.
Born in Queens, raised in Hicksville, attended private schools your entire childhood. Your parents divorced when you were thirteen, just three months after your one and only sister was born, leaving you to grow up faster than anticipated. With your father completely out of the picture, you suddenly found yourself being your mother’s rock, your sister’s keeper, and the glue that held the three of you together. High school went by quickly, not only because time suddenly flew, but you were lucky enough to graduate two years sooner than the usual student (despite having to juggle helping your mother parent your sister and homework from your countless AP classes), Pre-Med at Tufts, Allopathic Medical School at Cornell, internship at Columbia University Hospital, and you were currently completing your residency there.
“And now you’re all up to speed. The end.” You brought your cup up to your lips and took a drink, emptying out the remainder of its contents, not making too much of an already boring story.
“Now she’s a big shot with a gigantic needle and stitches.” Lin’s grin spread across his face from ear to ear. “Tell me more.”
“There’s not much more to tell,” you replied truthfully.
There really wasn’t anything else to tell.
“Sure there is,” he quipped.
You brought a hand up to your mouth to cover up a yawn as you shook your head.
“Okay, okay, let’s get you home, sleepyhead,” he said as he started to clean up.
“Told you my story was boring,” you half-joked, lending a hand in tidying up the table. “Even I was on the brink of sleep.”
“Now who’s a dork?”
He made a goofy face at you as you both slid out of the booth and stood up. With the two coffee cups your hand and the empty baskets in Lin’s, the two of you shuffled around the ever-growing crowd in the shop before approaching the trash bin.
And of course, like the sweetheart he was, he held the door open for you and escorted you out of Mike’s Bagels and back onto the sidewalk.
He wrapped an arm around your waist and pulled you close, and you did nothing in protest.
“Thanks for breakfast, Lin,” you murmured softly, your exhaustion reaching its peak. “I had a lot of fun.” In your periphery, you could see a faint smile growing into a toothy grin.
“You made it fun, so thank you.”
Dropping his arm, his hand found yours once more and this time, you had no problem letting your fingers intertwine with his.
“Wait, are we walking in the direction of your place or am I just leading you nowhere?” He asked suddenly, slowing his steps.
“No, we’re going in the right direction. I’m just on 156th Street,” you assured him.
“Good,” he replied with a squeeze of your hand.
Silence surrounded both of you, and the two of you simply enjoyed it, feeling perfectly content in each other’s company. You strolled past the building traffic along Broadway, amidst the other inhabitants of the city whisking by, in the middle of blaring horns and cursing drivers, there was still nothing more that made you feel more at ease than merely holding his hand.
In a matter of six minutes, you and Lin had journeyed all the way down to your apartment building.
“Well, this is me,” you told him as your footsteps came to a halt. “I really enjoyed your company today.”
His fingers still locked with yours, he turned to face you. “When can I see you again?”
Despite having spent just a few hours with him, you basically knew how to play his game.
“When did you want to see me again?” you asked devilishly.
He wasted no time with his reply.
Even though you thought you knew the answer, his response still caught you by surprise and you found yourself giggling like a goof.
You gave his hand a quick squeeze. “I’m a busy person, so I’m gonna have to check my schedule.” You let go of his hand so you could rummage through your bag for a scratch piece of paper and a pen before jotting down your number.
Taking his hand in yours, you pressed the paper in his palm. Your gaze was locked on his for a moment before you were transfixed by his lips.
He pressed his lips against yours, feeling him grin into it, and you couldn’t stop the corners of your mouth from tugging into a little smile of your own as you reciprocated with just as much tenderness and sweetness.
“Tomorrow,” you whispered against his lips when you pulled apart.
Letting go of his hand, you slowly started up the stairs, still grinning back at him.
Once you reached the door, you unlocked it and stepped inside, waving to him from the other side of the window.
“Tomorrow,” Lin repeated with the same goofy grin still spread across his face, watching you walk away until you were no longer in his line of vision. “Tomorrow.”
@americans who are young: 20% is the correct amount to tip your server or delivery person
i say this (and repeat it a lot. probably too much. sorry.) because i know a lot of younger people who are just starting to go places on their own do not know how much they should tip, and i know this because i have heard this dilemma come up sometimes w/ tables of teens i’ve waited on, cause they just don’t know.
i’m here 4 u teens of america: it’s 20%, unless ur waiter is an asshole (like not bad day asshole but Premium Asshole Asshole) or creepy, in which case it is 15%, dropping appropriately to 10% as their Assholery or Creepiness climbs.
just multiply what your bill is by two and drop the second digit. for example: i spend 15 bux, 15x2 = 30, drop the second digit and the appropriate 20% tip is 3 bux. or u spent 48 bux, thats like 96, that’s p close to 100 so just tip 10 bux to be Cool.
if you stay at the table for a long time, also compensate accordingly – servers usually have a limited number of tables that they are given responsibility for (so these five or six tables in the corner are my section, anyone who sits there is my table to take care of) and if you camp out for a long time that can cut into yr servers ability to Make doll4rs and/or Leave Work.
if you know that you’re gonna be catching up w/ an old friend for two hours, you can, honestly, just go “hey i’m planning on chatting w/ my friend for a while, but I know we’re taking up this table, and I’m going to tip extra for your time” and that’ll work out for everyone in the long run. people like to know you’re trying to be respectful of their time + effort. everyone is nice, everyone has a nice good time.