Summary: Fashion designer, or rather fashion student, Dan Howell has just moved to NYC and meets Phil Lester, an aspiring advertising major. Success seems like an easy task but will Dan’s ambition and trips to the other side of the world interrupt his life too much?
Author’s Notes: o wow i meant for this fic to be 20k at the most. hah. this is my first pbb and i just have to say this has been an amazing experience. just a big shoutout to my beta, Dawn, who has been so lovely and supportive. also all my love to @danschode who has been checking up on my fic since the beginning and pressed me to keep going even if i thought i didn’t want to. this fic really has taken up a majority of my year and i’m so incredibly proud of it and i just hope you all enjoy <3
What is the most low effort recipe you can recommend to me? I used to love cooking but I'm chronically ill and can't put in the energy I used to, so I struggle to have a hearty meal without eating the same frozen stuff every day... I don't really eat meat (mainly because I find it requires more work than meat free foods) and I'm not allergic or intolerant to any ingredients I know of.
Fish in a bag with lime juice and cilantro. Steak, seared lightly on high heat (search my hashtags for “steak”)
Pot roasts are simple. You throw the meat in a crock pot with some liquid and whole vegetables and return five hours later.
Baking food is also fast and simple. You can take two boneless skinless chicken breasts, salt them, put them on a baking sheet, scatter vegetables around them (I like beans or broccoli) and bake at 400, removing the veggies after 20 minutes.
A decent cooked fish is rather simple. You just pat it dry, salt, put in a hot pan skin side down. If you want, you can add white wine and seasonings, ladle the liquid over the fish as it cooks. Don’t flip. Remove.
My advice is to buy a food processor. Then you can make salsas and sauces or just chop vegetables in a few seconds and all you have to do is toss the thing in a dishwasher or since it.and have a really good non stick pan.
Experinences w/ ADHD by your resident inattentive type
I realized I hated – no, despised – school when I was in third grade. I had already been marked by all my teachers as either lazy or stupid by the middle of that winter, but I had yet to acknowledge the general awfulness of the situation. At the time, I still saw the world through the distorting lense of an oblivious, optimistic nine year old. That changed the day that my homeroom teacher, Ms. Burke, became frustrated with me handing in crumpled pieces of paper from the bottom of my backpack. She marched over to my cubby, unzipped my lime green, rolling bag, and dumped its contents onto the floor. I tried to repress the tears as she barked, “You need to keep your backpack more organized. Clean this up.” I stared down at the pile of unfiled paper, pink Legos, Ticonderoga pencils, and unidentifiable gray powder. I squatted down towards it, letting my tears fall upon the already overflowing mess.
My classmates, who were disgusted by what they had seen, stopped talking to me after that. I felt like an alien, a distractible puppy in a world of sensible cats. My teachers, of course, were cat people, so they continued to punish me, doubting both my dedication and intelligence. I was a bit indignant; I was trying hard, and – for a time – I thought I was smart. Despite my distractibility in the classroom and the fact that I couldn’t add single digit numbers, I was able to read books far above my grade level and had taught myself basic programming language. Still, in the scheme of things, the ability to get a mark other than “needs improvement” on a report card seemed far more impressive to me than anything I had ever done.
My sixth grade geography teacher, Mr. M, was the strikingly intelligent and well-spoken principal of the school. He intimidated me at first, but I began to feel excited at the prospect of going to his class each day, wanting more than anything to learn. On my report card, he described me as a bright, strong student, words that I had never before heard in combination with my name. For once, I felt like there was a chance that I might succeed.
That spring, my friend, Sidney, bragged to me that she had been accepted to CTY, explaining that it was an academic camp that admitted students based on their standardized test scores. Boosted by Mr. M’s confidence in me, I decided that if she got into the program then so could I. When I approached my parents about the camp, they agreed to let me try out. About a month later, I received a letter from CTY informing me that I received their award of high honors and was admitted to the program. I returned to school feeling more self confident than ever.
My confidence, however, was short lived. A few weeks into seventh grade, my advisor and history teacher, Mr. O told me to stay after class. “I need to call your parents,” he informed me. “Your science teacher is complaining that you laugh too much in class and take everything as a joke. Your math teacher tells me that you never pay attention in class. Your French teacher says that you never appear to be listening when she speaks, but always know the answer when she calls on you. You always talk to other students during class during Latin. You are one of the best students in my class, but it seems that it is the only one you are trying in.”
I felt so horrified that I couldn’t swallow for the rest of the day. I told Sidney what had happened, and she said, “You might have ADHD.”
When I got home that night, I googled the symptoms. “Forgetful, misses details, difficulty focusing on one thing, unorganized, seems not to listen when spoken to,” I read. That’s so me, I thought.
My mom, on the other hand, did not think that was me at all. “Are you kidding me?” she rolled her eyes. “You don’t have ADHD. Those kids really can’t sit still. I have seen you spend the entire day reading Harry Potter. Of course, it is hard for you to focus on things you’re not interested in.”
“I don’t think you have ADHD,” my dad agreed with her.
I was nothing if not persistent, so by the time I went for my annual check up in June, my dad agreed to ask the pediatrician about how I could get tested.
“Educational testing is expensive,” she informed us, “so I wouldn’t do that unless you really think you have it. I can give you some forms to hand in to your teachers. They can evaluate you, then we can diagnose you if you have it.”
The next September, I handed the forms into the administrative assistant at my school, Ms. Blackman. The leaves turned red and orange, then fell off trees as September turned into October, then November, then December. Winter break neared, and I would be moving to California in a few weeks. Finally, I asked Ms. Herlein, the academic resource coordinator, what had happened to my forms. “Your teachers have them,” she snapped angrily at me. “We will return them to you when they’re done.” They never gave them to me or my pediatrician.
My closest friend in California, Mia, had ADHD, dysgraphia, and dyslexia. She was a member of SAFE (student advisors for education), which aimed to “educate, mentor, and support students, parents, and teachers regarding the challenges and strengths of learning disabled (LD) and ADHD students.” Convinced that I had ADHD, she brought me to a few meetings. The members of SAFE discussed ways to change the educational system to make it more LD friendly. At the time, I felt awkward because I didn’t know if I had an LD. If I could rewind time, I would share what I know now: that teachers should recommend students for testing, respect accommodations, and listen when a student comes for help.
The next fall, I moved to DC and started at a new high school. Since I did well on the placement test and in my eighth grade science class, I was recommended for Honors Biology. I got a 56% on the first test, so I asked my mom to get me a tutor. She agreed and asked the teacher, Mrs. C, if she had any recommendations at Back to School Night. “No,” Mrs. C responded, “students in this class don’t need tutors. Lauren belongs here, she will be fine.” Unfortunately, she was wrong, and my performance in the class only went downhill from there. Guiltily, Mrs. C agreed to meet with me every day in order to help me review the material we learned in class. She was able to help me raise my grade to an 80%, but my confidence was severely depleted.
That summer, we moved back to Baltimore, and I started at another school the next fall. It was an easy transition socially, and I quickly fit in with my classmates, who invited me to parties, sleepovers, and hangouts almost immediately after meeting me. However, although there was decidedly less work at my new school, I still felt hopeless. My worst class was Ecology, which everyone else claimed to be an easy A. The first quarter, I got a 70% in that class. I’m glad I like partying so much, I thought bitterly, because that’s all the college I’m getting into will be good for. I complained to my friend Maria about my poor performance, and she responded, “What do you expect? You never pay attention. It’s your own fault for not trying.” Her comment made me feel sick to my stomach, and I started spending much of my free time in the library after that, wanting to prove that I could succeed.
The time spent studying, however, did not seem to help. Near the end of the year, math became particularly challenging for me, as I still struggled with adding and multiplying. Furthermore, I always felt especially distracted in that class. I tried to listen to my teacher, Mr. F, but somehow - driven by some subconscious force that I was unaware of - I always found myself talking to whatever student sat next to me. I began to get C’s on all my tests, so I met with Mr. F after class to ask for help. After getting one test back, I apologized to him, wanting him to know that I really did care about his class. “I know, Lauren,” he said. “Your focus just isn’t always there. Just work hard, we’ll get those grades back where they should be.” I thanked him and quickly ran out of his classroom, trying to hide the tears. As soon as I reached the hallway, I started to bawl.
That night, I told my mom that I wanted to be tested for ADHD again. “I don’t think you have it,” she said, “but if you think you do, then let’s get you tested.” She emailed my dad that night, and - although he was still skeptical as well - he agreed to set it up.
HP, a thin, Asian woman with distinct cheekbones, was a psychologist who would determine what learning disabilities I had (if any). She administered the WISC, an IQ test with problems ranging from adding basic numbers to completing high level math, assembling blocks in patterns to defining the relationship between two words, naming all the foods you can think of in two minutes to remembering pictures and words. The test was a grueling, five hour long process. After we were finished, Dr. P gave me forms for my teachers to fill out about my behavior in the classroom. That night, when I got home, I kept thinking, what if nothing’s wrong? What if this is how I’m supposed to feel? I tried to push the thoughts from my mind, but I couldn’t wait to meet with her in two weeks.
The same night, convinced that the bottle read detergent, I put soap in the dishwasher. I had already done it twice before. My mom tiredly came to my room, telling me to clean up the kitchen full of bubbles. “I’m sorry,” I cringed. “It was an accident.”
“No, Lauren,” she sighed. “You were just being careless.” She then proceeded to explain the difference between making a mistake and being careless. Mistakes are hiccups of fate, things you never could have predicted. Carelessness, on the other hand, is synonymous with negligence. She was right, I could have prevented it … or at least, someone else could have. I felt incompetent and disgusted with myself.
When we returned to Dr. P’s office, she explained the WISC results, “The test has four sections: verbal, nonverbal, working memory, and processing speed. Lauren scored highly in both the nonverbal and verbal section and exceptionally in the working memory section. Her processing speed, however, was very low - only in the 20th percentile. She’s been compensating for this with her high scores in the other areas. Even with the low processing speed, her IQ is 117, which means she is bright. Still, she just processes things more slowly than other people. For example, Lauren, what’s 3 x 4?”
“See how she needed a second to answer the question even though she already knew the answer?” Dr. P asked my mom. “It’s just that second that makes the difference.”
“What’s 5 x 4?” my mom tried me.
“20,” Dr. P interrupted. “See what I mean? We would be able to answer that just off the top of our heads, but she needs a bit longer”.
“So what does that mean?” my mom asked her. “Does she have ADHD?”
“Considering her scores and the forms filled out by her teachers,” Dr. P responded, “I would be inclined to make a diagnosis. I will be writing up an official report with accommodation recommendations, but right now I will go over some options as for what you can do to help her. One option is tutoring and counseling, which means that someone would teach her strategies for dealing with some of the issues that come up with ADHD. The other is medication”.
“I don’t want her medicated,” my mom decided.
That day, on the car ride home, I started crying. Would things be different for me if I had known this years ago? I wondered bitterly.
For the next few weeks, I continually begged my mom to put me on medication. Each time I brought it up, she told me it was not an option. Finally, some time in early-October, I got a text message from my mom, saying that she had spoken to a nurse who put her son on medication. “You can try medication,” she told me later that night. “But if it doesn’t go well, then we’re taking you off of it”.
Even though my mom had agreed to let me try medication, the problem of getting an appointment with a child psychiatrist, which are in high demand, remained. Finally, after two weeks, my mom managed to schedule an appointment with BK. When I met her, she told me, “There are non-stimulant medication options, but they take awhile to build up in your system. You’ve waited long enough already, I don’t want you to have to wait one more day”.
That night, she sent me home with a prescription for Concerta (extended release Ritalin). The pill has a colorful coating (cream at 18mg, gray at 27mg, white at 36 mg, red-brown at 54mg) of fast-acting medicine. This layer dissolves within an hour of being exposed to a wet environment (the gastrointestinal tract). That exposes a semi-permeable membrane, which slowly - over the course of 7 or 8 hours - allows water to enter the core of the pill. The liquid displaces the drug, thus releasing it into the system.
I always hear people talking about the awful side effects of Ritalin, but I don’t really feel that different. The first few times I took it, I felt sick to my stomach, and it still makes me feel less hungry. I do not, however, feel antisocial or aggressive, and I certainly have not slipped into psychosis. Yet, it is not a solution to every problem either. My processing speed is still slow, I’m still a bit careless, and I continue to have impulsive moments. It does, however, make a difference. I can choose what I want to focus on. I can think more clearly. I can succeed, but I still feel the effects of my learning disability.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting in my science teacher’s classroom, finishing up a test when another student asked, “Do you have ADHD?”
“I don’t particularly believe in ADHD,” he responded slowly and deliberately. Ugh, I thought, he doesn’t understand. There are so many more levels - the processing speed, the uphill battle, the pain - that he just doesn’t understand. I felt like I was going to throw up knives, but I just sat there quietly and tried to focus.
Today was hell, first my last customer called me a bitch and left without tipping. That’s what I get for being a waitress in Gotham, to make money out here, you gotta be evil and I simply can’t hurt anyone, so I deal with assholes to pay my rent. Finally crashing down onto my bed, staring up at the ceiling.
“I need someone to hangout with”
Looking over at my passed out cat , I decided to get up and go somewhere. Walking out the door in my yoga pants and crop top with my big black coat, I walked to the liquor store buying myself a bottle of tequila. Walking outside the cold wind blew past me, making my legs shake. Walking down a bit I saw I was on Grundy St. So I went to see if ed was still awake. Knocking on his studio door, I could hear muffled voices. Sounded like they were arguing, the door slid open with ed popping his face out.
“hey sorry am I intruding?”
“no, never its just 2 am.”
“bad day, wanna help me make it better?”
Holding up the bottle of tequila shaking it , ed’s face looked like he was about to say no.
“I mean if you don’t wanna , ill leave.”
“only if you can answer this.”
’‘often mixed with lemon in a refreshing cold drink. You don’t eat them ever, unless your drinking this drink, what am I?”
“limes, and yes I have some.”
Ed smiled moving so I could come in, slipping past him, I could see the green lights from the billboard lighting up his kitchen.
“green suits you ed.”
He smiled, his cheeks getting red. Ed was my first friend when I moved to Gotham as a kid, we were at elementary school and a boy was kicking dirt at ed for telling riddles, running up I boot kicked the boy in the groin making him never hit puberty. Edward and I have been friends ever since, I remember the first time I called him ed, he blushed saying that “ he liked It when I called him a nickname.” sitting down on ed’s bed, crossing my legs throwing him the bag of limes.
“you cut, ill pour.”
Ed sliced the limes and I poured two shots, we clicked out glasses taking the shots back.
“what made you think to come here y/n?”
“ you always make me smile ed, I needed that.”
“what happened to your boyfriend Derek.”
Ed’s lip curled while he spoke his name.
“wells turns out I was girlfriend number 3”
Ed poured the next shots, we went a few more without speaking. Finally ed turned to me smiling.
'i’m a form of exercise, where you have fun, some people get paid to do it, some do it for fun, what am I?“
I had to think about this one, the tequila making me a bit loopy.
’'oh oh dancing.”
Ed grabbed my hand spinning me around and landing into his chest. Picking at a remote, ed turned on the stereo where the song like im gonna lose you started to play. Ed spun me around his room, helping me keep in step with him.
“how are you able to do this drinking ed?”
“luck I guess.”
Pulling me to his chest I could hear him hum along to the song.
'i’m gonna hold you like im saying goodbye , I’m gonna love you like im gonna lose you.“
The song ended and ed, looked down at me, the tension getting greater. I could see the panic in ed’s eyes start to approach when he shouted.
Running over to his kitchen his grabbed the bottle pouring four more shots.
“yea, I figured why not.”
A nervous smile spread across his face.
“one , two.”
We took them down bam, bam. Ed sat down on his bed laying back covering his face with his arm. Walking over I sat by his side.
“a terrible feeling, sometimes thought to be paranoid, but all it is, is care, mothers do it the most, but none more than me, what am I?”
Ed lifted his arm up, so I could see his eye.
He sat up, placing his hand on my knee.
’'why did you chose Derek?”
“what does that have to do with anything ed?”
“ I don’t know ed, in his arms I felt safe. Like Gotham wasn’t outside that door.”
Ed shifted in his seat.
“we need to lighten the mood.”
Ed grabbed my bottle, that still had a good 6 shots each in it. Lifting it too his lips, he took two big gulps. Passing it to me, I copied right behind him. Next thing I know ed and I have his music blasting and are sitting on his bed going back and forth with riddles.
“worshied once, but no belittled, some are feral and some are royal?”
Thinking I shouted the answer.
“CATS, my turn.”
“said to be myth, but bodies have been found, you will never find this creature on ground?”
“a giant squid, please y/n challenge me.”
This went on for a few moments back and forth of riddles and mad libs.
“I got one more for you y/n.”
“never been said, most likely never should, felt it since grade school and adulthood, the pain is beared to show they care. Tear after tear, they never did part, all because of a feeling from the heart.”
I was stumped, maybe it was the booze but I was about to guss when banging came from the door. Ed got up answering the banging when I could hear a man start yelling at him.
“what the fuck nygma, why is your shit so loud, not like your banging a chick right.”
I hated when people treated him like he was a little bitch, walking over I swooshed my hair around and pulled my top down just a little so it looks like he interrupted. Walking over I dropped my arms around ed, resting my cheek on his shoulder swaying my butt side to side.
“eddy come back to bed.”
Ed’s face went bright red, glancing back from the neighbor to me. The neighbors looking more confused than embarrassed seemed to have no shame.
“who are you and how much?”
“fuck off .”
I glanced up at ed, I had never heard him be so hard with his words
“the fuck you say nygma?”
“I told you to fuck off, now are you done or is there something else you wanna bark about?”
With that he slammed the door, walking over to the bathroom he slammed the door shut. I walked over tapping the bottle against the door.
“4 more shots eddy.”
He came out of the bathroom, still red in the face but not from anger. Sitting down we took a few more swings killing the bottle.
’t-t-tttt tell me eddy , whhhere did that fuck off come fffrom?“
’'The other voice …shhhhh”
We were laying on his floor looking up at the ceiling watching the green light flicker.
“oh oh oh eddy, I know your riddle.”
“yes, its love.”
He didn’t say anything just sat propped up on his elbow, staring at me.
“you are so beautiful, you know what let’s call Derek and tell him to fuck off.”
He got this excited look on his face, running for my phone. Trying to steal my phone back he dialed Derek, jumping on the bed I heard Derek answer.
“hello y/n? , listen I’m sorry.”
“im sorry this isnt y/n.”
“who is this?”
Snatching my phone from his hand, I hung up quickly.
“what the hell?’
He just smiled at me, he fell back onto his bed patting the area next to him.
’'lay with me y/n”
Walking over I laid next to him, reaching over I took off his glasses and placed them on my face.
“look eddy ”
Giving my best dork smile, I could see his smile, the brightest smile I have ever seen. He stared at me for a moment. His hand came up to my face brushing my hair away from my neck. His face looked so gentle, like the eddy I have known for so long, no matter how evil Gotham was, eddy always stayed good. giving him back his glasses, he placed them on the table, his hand never leaving my chin. Looking up at him as he smiled over me, made me never want to be sober again. Ed leaned down pulling my chin up with his hand. His lips landed on mine, his kiss gentle like he wasn’t sure. Once I kissed back, he put more into it. Deepening the kiss, his hand never leaving the side of my face. Once we broke for air, he kissed my forehead before pulling the pillows down to us.
“stay the night, I don’t want you to leave.”
I snuggled closer giving him my answer. Looking up I gave him one last kiss before slipping off into sleep. Waking up to ed making coffee. He was mumbling to himself.
'what if she doesn’t remember, then let it go, tell her.“
Without saying a word, I walked over.
’'good morning ed.”
Ed jumped startled by my voice.
I kissed him before he could even finish, his arms wrapped around my waist.
Dehydrating limes is a simple way to preserve their flavor! I found myself with an excess of firm limes that were not ideal for juicing, so I preserved them by cutting the limes into thin slices using a sharp knife. Then I lined them up on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil. I popped them in the oven at 170 degrees, for an afternoon (mine took about 4 hours), checking on them occasionally. You will know when they are done when they turn a caramel color and are dry to the touch. Dehydrating is a perfect activity for a rainy afternoon and makes your house smell amazing!
Store your limes in jar or bag in a cool dark place and use in cooking, cocktails, or tea. They also make pretty garlands or potpourri.
For some inexplicable reason, I decided to walk the six miles home from Central London yesterday along the riverside. By the time I was two miles away, legs seizing up (I am very unfit) there was only one thing I wanted when I got home - a large glass of freshly made sweet lime. If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying this on a visit to India, I strongly urge you to make it next time you pass a bag of limes at the supermarket. It’s the most refreshing drink you can think of, which is probably why it’s so popular in India, and like lassi, you can have it sweet or salted (though you’d put a good pinch of salt in the sweet version too). My grandmother makes an excellent version of this, which I’ve adapted to the recipe below.
Don’t be put off by the sugar free label at the top of this post - I dislike artificial sweeteners intensely, but am a complete convert to xylitol after cooking with it on a shoot for Daisy Lowe last year. Xylitol is natural birch sugar, and very good for your teeth - who knew? And best of all, you’d never know it wasn’t real sugar from the taste of it, which is more than you can say for aspartame based products. So if you want to guzzle litres of this without fear for your teeth, or are making it for a diabetic friend, do get hold of the xylitol, which is readily available from Sainsbury’s, otherwise just substitute sugar.
Start off by juicing 7 limes over a sieve into a measuring jug - you should have about 160ml. Weigh out 100g xylitol (or sugar) into a saucepan along with the zest of one lime, and add enough water to just cover the xylitol. Stir the mixture on a low heat for about 4 minutes, until the crystals have dissolved completely into a syrup. Let the syrup cool down a bit, then pour almost all of it into the lime juice, along with ½ pint cold water and a large pinch of salt. Give it a good stir, and add more salt and syrup to taste. Chill and serve over ice. You will want more than one glass….
“…what about one where Meryl is pregnant and in labor but Maks is away on a promotional trip.” Anon
Man y’all are baby crazy lately! Don’t drink the water! lol. I decided I would have treat you to another baby fic especially with the amount in my ask! This could be considered the follow up to “Like Us” as well! I hope y’all enjoy! Love you! Always- J.