Styles is quickly finding his footing, going from boy-band ensemble player to rock star in a pop world, even if he waited well into the set to get his full Jagger on.
With the classic-rock-steeped solo debut he released three months ago, Harry Styles claimed rights to making the dad-rock album of the year. At least in theory, anyway. That potential audience of older dudes who share his newly revealed affection for 1970s Americana and ‘90s Brit-rock may still not have gotten the memo that they’d probably like his self-titled album even better than One Direction fans. They’re certainly not the types to have signed up in advance for Ticketmaster’s “Verified Fan” program so they could sell out his fall tour within seconds.
And so it came to be that Styles performed at L.A.’s Greek Theatre Wednesday night for an audience that was (by conservative estimates) 97 percent female, 95 percent 17-to-25, and 120 percent ear-piercingly shrieky. Narrowcasting doesn’t get any louder, so he can probably live with putting off the demographic expansion just a little longer.
The Greek is the second of 13 “intimate” venues he’s playing at this month and next — Radio City Music Hall being a similarly cozy stopover Sept. 28 — before ramping up to arenas like the Forum and Madison Square Garden next summer. (Also already all sold out months ago; sorry, again, we’re sure, late-blooming dude fans.) He already did a gig some time ago at the Troubadour, so he’s smart enough to know that it looks better to look like you’re working your way up, even if your natural habitat before going solo was stadiums, and could well be again before a world tour finds its final leg.
The more modest touring start may not all be for appearance’s sake, though. Styles may also know that reinventing his performing style as a lone frontman is something that won’t be completely mastered in a gig or two. At the Greek, you could sense Styles still sussing out exactly how to make the transition from boy-band ensemble player to rock star — not that, being the most debonair twentysomething in the western hemisphere, he’s ever going to let you see him sweat it.
He’s well on his way to having it down. There’s a lot of savvy to the way Styles has structured his relatively brisk 80-minute set. As the show began with some of the new album’s least ostentatious numbers, like “Ever Since New York” and the acoustically inclined “Two Ghosts,” Styles was nearly board-stiff as a frontman. You might have thought: Is this his rockist way of doing atonement for all those years of two-dimensional 1D video frolic? Even a revival of One Direction’s “Stockholm Syndrome” early in the set had him playing it reserved.
But when the glam-rockiness of “Only Angel” kicked in just shy of the halfway point, Styles traded in the Tim Buckley part of his neo-retro persona to start getting his Jagger on a little more, even giving the girls a frisky wag of the tongue. In a show that’s still this short, it was smart to start with a slow folkie burn and work up to a cocksure crescendo.
“Thank you for coming to see me when I’ve only got 10 songs,” he told the crowd late in the show, perhaps to diminish expectations that it would end with an epic reprise of One Direction’s greatest hits. He did expand the set list to 14 by throwing in not just “Stockholm Syndrome” but 1D’s “What Makes You Beautiful,” made far less cloying than its original smash incarnation by its transformation into a legitimate guitar-rocker. A revival of the song he co-wrote for Ariana Grande a few years back, “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart,” also lent the show some familiarity. Although Styles is known to have rehearsed a lot of covers, the only one he’s busting out at present is an encore of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.” (Mick Fleetwood was in attendance, going unrecognized at length in the concession area as hundreds of young women passed by on their way to the epic merch line.)
Styles tends toward a poker face, but that does lend extra volubility to the mere breakout of an unexpected grin, as when he reacted with good humor to a microphone repeatedly going floppy during the Ariana Grande number. Even in the more grandstanding, hard-rocking numbers late in the show, there’s still a slight sense of reserve in his physicality, at times. But holding back a little may be a good instinct to have when you’re so iconic that the slightest twitch or unexpected vocal trill gets the kind of roar that’s usually only afforded a football touchdown. He’s still gaging exactly how to work the audience, in this new mode, and you’d be silly to bet against him getting it wrong.
There were few actual dads in the audience, since Styles’ One Direction fan base has aged up to the point where not many of them need chaperoning. But the ones who did get pressed into service may have had some of the most satisfied smiles of all: Getting to fulfill a teenager’s wishes and personally relive the Britpop glory years of Bowie through Blur definitely counts as killing two birds with one stone.
Special props are also due to whoever designed Styles’ very stylin’ turquoise flower-print suit, which looked like it might have refashioned from the greatest 1970s couch ever made. He’s a man who knows how to bring revivalist sexy back in all sorts of ways.
Was looking at houses to get an idea of what’s available in the area and had to share this gem
pretty nice exterior note the double garage
woah, some interesting interior decorating but nice room, looks spacious
is the kitchen carpeted? I’ve looked at this a lot and honestly can’t tell
pretty chill as far as bedrooms go and by far the most normal room in the house
bathroom looks ok
I know this has been super normal outside the 1960s/70s interior design but stick with me
big long room with glaring pink carpet. that’s not a mirror on the “back wall” like I thought at first, this room just goes. where one the house is this, I thought to myself
my lord, that’s a garage door. they converted their garage and remodeled but KEPT THE DOOR to open to the outside from their sitting/entertainment room
that’s not all, let’s check out the basement
good lord. just take a moment to take it all in. decor again not updated since 1970 (this house was originally built in 1969). the teddy bears on the couch. that weird game in the foreground which I’ve never seen before. sombreros on the walls the FULLY stocked bar. like so fully stocked…
and just to top it all off, the room that utterly horrified me,
Title: My Favorite Person
Pairing: Connor Murphy x Reader
Fandom: Dear Evan Hansen
Requested: by the lovely @rinzix
Summary: College!Friends with benefits | You’re thankful to have a friend like Connor, for more reasons than one, but you’re fun may soon be coming to an end, and Connor isn’t feeling like himself
Warnings: mentions of sex | Connor has a potty mouth | mentions of mental health relapses and recovery | brief allusions to domestic violence | first person reader
A/N: This was such a wonderful, fun prompt and it reeaallly got away from me, so I apologize in advance. Essentially, the summary is I will probably never let Connor Murphy be happy. As always, it’s really rushed and I didn’t proof read. Enjoy?
It never starts the way I expect it to.
Don’t get me wrong–I’m not complaining. It just doesn’t work out the way it does in the movies, ya know? I’ve never gotten a text at eleven pm asking me to sneak across the campus to his conviently empty dorm room, never received anything remotely similar to a booty call. It started on accident, like everything else Connor Murphy does. He doesn’t understand the sort of pull he has on people.
Connor Murphy was an absolute octopus, first off. I woke up early–much earlier than he ever would–underneath a pile of pale, lithe limbs that seemed to tangle around me in a number of places. I was sticky–definitely sweaty from sleeping too close to Connor, who apparently fell asleep on top of me like some kind of animal, but I also felt an uncomfortable squish between my thighs that reminded me of the drastic turn of events that happened last night.
To be perfectly clear, this wasn’t the first time we had done this. The first time had been planned–an accidental mishap that had spiraled out of control, beginning with texts (“Hey, would you mind to model for a piece I’m working on? I can’t find any decent reference poses online.”) and ended with some not so appropriate banter (“Are we sexting? Is this sexting? I mean I’m horny but like it’s gotta be smoother than this, right? Shit, do you have nudes??) that had snowballed into an agreement: we could fool around, platonically, because being in college and being ridiculously horny all the time and balancing a decent relationship was one thing too many.
Still, our first few times had been planned: I’d come over for pizza when Connor’s roommate was out, we’d play video games and watch a movie, and, at some point, Connor would lean over with little to no warning and kiss me much too roughly, taking me off guard–it usually either dissolved into a fit of giggles or ended up with me on my back staring up at the smooth column of his throat, watching his pale adams apple dip briefly as he groaned into my hair.
The sun was up, shining obnoxiously through Connor’s too thin quilted curtains, filtering across our tangled bodies. My shirt was still on, thankfully–I had no idea when his roommate would be back–but Connor was entirely nude (save for a pair of tie-dye tube socks, I can’t believe I slept with him while he was wearing that), sprawled on top of me, all pale skin and angles. From here, I could see the knobs of his spine pressing against the thin, pale skin of his back where my hand rested. One of his hands was fisted tightly in the fabric of my shirt, just over my stomach, and the other was dangling off the edge of the bed, his thin wrist almost comically looking as if it would snap.
The smell of him was overwhelming, of course, it always was. I could still taste him if I ran my tongue across the backs of my teeth. I’d need a long shower to scrub away the smell if I wanted to think coherently today–Connor was definitely my favorite person, the only real friend I’d made at school so far, but the very smell of him was going to make my brain short circuit.
We needed to have a discussion, needed to stop doing this every time we hang out. A limit. I sighed, remembering. We were going to have to have a talk anyway.
Reaching up gingerly, I ran my fingers against the knots on his back, tracing the triangles of his scapula and cupping the back of neck to run my fingers through the curls. His hair needed washed, badly, but I didn’t mind, just continued to soothe, feeling him sigh in his sleep against my neck. I grinned, feeling his nose press more firmly against the juncture of my neck and shoulder.
“Why are you awake?” He slurred, lips wet where they brushed my skin. His limbs went taunt, stretching before rolling over off of me, his arms slinging against his eyes.
“Ugh, can you cover up?” I groaned, sitting up and pulling a blanket to pool in my lap, trying to look anywhere but Connor. “It’s daylight now, it’s too vivid.”
He just chuckled, running his hands to scrub at his face in an attempt to wake up, pushing tangled curls out of his eyes, grinning at me. “Sorry, geez. Didn’t hear you complaining last night.” Nonetheless, he yanked the blanket over his lap, rolling over to look at me with a smirk.
“How’d you sleep?” He asked, tapping my forehead with his thumb, before leaning over to kiss me there. He didn’t move away, just hovered over me on an elbow, and surrounded by his scent left me vaguely dizzy. I’d miss it when I left here, I knew.
I scrunched my nose, letting him know that the affection was unnecessary, but he kept leaning over, pressing another kiss to my temple.
“I don’t remember,” I sighed honestly. “You kinda kept me up till two am.”
“What time is it now?”
“Christ, sorry,” he laughed, sitting up immediately and pushing his hair back. “Guess I tired you out, huh?”
“Don’t get cocky. We were talking until twelve thirty, you only last half an hour, bucko,” I said, crawling quickly out of the bed and tugging on my panties.
“Ouch! Didn’t hear you complaining,” he chuckled, pulling his hair back into a ponytail holder. He was planning to let me shower first, then.
“Yeah, yeah,” I muttered, and I could tell that was the end of the discussion. We had a habit of skirting the topic during the daylight hours–if we talked about it, then we thought about it, and if we thought about it, then–well, you get the picture. “I’m gonna shower.”
By the time I’m out, my hair combed in wet strands sticking to the back of my neck and dressed in a clear pair of panties and one of Connor’s bigger shirts, Connor is sprawled on the bed, fully dressed, staring at a worn copy of T.S. Eliot poems, the green cloth binding fraying between his lithe fingers. The steam from the shower followed me in the room, making it look like a hazy 1970s Polaroid, accompanied by the warm light trying desperately to filter into the room through Connor’s quilted curtains.
He’s brushed his hair, I noticed, and there’s a lingering scent of cologne in an attempt to mask the smell of him–of us, if I’m being entirely honest–without showering. I nearly snorted aloud when I saw what he was wearing.
“That’s my shirt, you know,” I choked out between laughter, unable to believe that Connor fucking Murphy is wearing my tie dye crop top with a pair of ratty grey sweatpants. It was big on him, with a little pink embroidered heart stitched messily over the chest. The sweatpants rode high on his square hips, so all I could see was the slope of his ribs into the flat plain of his stomach, his belly button barely peaking out over the elastic waistband of his boxers, which rode a little higher than the sweats.
He looked up from the book, grinning lethargically, letting me know he was still barely awake. I probably should’ve let him sleep longer, but I needed to leave soon, and I wanted to tell him goodbye.
“I know,” he sighed lazily. “You left it here last time. It’s really soft.”
I bit back my smile, crossing the room to sit beside him. “Fair enough,” I conceded, tucking back a piece of hair that was beginning to slip from his ponytail.
“You’re wearing my shirt,” he pointed out, pouting his bottom lip.
“I forgot to bring a clean one,” I lied.
“You know you have extras here,” he said, suddenly frowning and returning to his book. I paused, unsure what had caused the sudden mood shift, and wanted to be careful moving forward in the conversation. “I mean, you can always borrow mine, I don’t care or anything–”
“You don’t want anyone to see me wearing it, I get it, I’ll switch back before I leave,” I said reassuringly, scooting away half an inch to give him space. It was easy to overload Connor–it wasn’t his fault, I really did understand. Sometimes social interaction was too much, especially when I’d spent almost twenty four hours with him, and we’d been so intimate.
“Fuck, I don’t care about that,” he hissed, flipping the pages of his book much too rapidly to be actually reading them. “Do you care about that?”
The second statement was shorter, softer, almost as if he didn’t want me to hear. It made me nervous–Connor had been doing better, a lot better. Throwing himself into school, into art, made him better. He wasn’t recovered–it was hard to tell if he ever would be, and I’d only ever seen a few of his episodes, but any form of relapse that I couldn’t help him control was unwanted.
“Of course I don’t care, Con,” I said softly, reaching up to soothe his hair softly, feeling him stiffen and relax beneath my fingertips. “Jeez, we’re in college. I couldn’t care less what people think.”
He nodded, eyes creased before closing, his lips pressed together in a frown. “Right, right, you’re right, sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry,” I muttered, feeling nervous. He certainly wasn’t in any mood to hear my news. Something was on his mind. “You good?”
“Huh? Yeah! Great, don’t sweat it!” He some how managed to morph his deer in the headlights expression into one of enthusiasm. It was more than concerning, and I hadn’t noticed when he’d developed the ability to swallow back his feelings. I didn’t know why he felt like he needed to. “What’s the plan for today, kiddo? There’s a Clark Gable marathon on TCM tonight, I know you like that black and white crap.”
Shit. I swallowed thickly, realizing I needed to tell him, and now. I was hoping it would wait until at least after we had food in us, or at least until Connor was awake enough to reign in his emotions and think with a level head.
“When’s your roommate getting back?” I asked instead, scratching at the back of my neck and not meeting his gaze. I felt him squint angrily at me, aware of my avoidance. “Don’t want him to walk in on anything unseemly,” I laughed.
Connor was still watching me, I felt it, with a pinched, calculated expression. “We don’t have to fool around tonight,” he said softly. “We can just hang.”
His voice was that soft, melancholy tone again that made my heart constrict. He wasn’t feeling good, I realized. He clearly thought that I was upset with him–I wasn’t, but I realized with a jolt that my news certainly wasn’t going to help his sudden self conscious streak.
I shifted on the bed again, feeling his eyes on me as I delayed, and I could practically see his inner turmoil. I should stay here with him. He wasn’t doing well. But, I’d promised….
“Um,” I mumbled, pushing back my wet hair with my hand. “About that. I, uh, have plans for tonight.”
His eyebrows took a quick hike into his hairline, his slate eyes wide, before he horrified me by neutralizing his expression again before I could read him properly–he gave me a small smile, one that didn’t reach his eyes.
“Oh,” he said hoarsely. “That’s chill. You could’ve just told me that.”
I smiled gratefully back at him, reaching out to rest my hand on his knee. “You’re sure?” I asked softly, tracing a pattern out on the grey cotton knee of the sweatpants. He swatted my hand away, and I felt a sudden dip in my stomach. He was upset.
“Yes, geez,” he grumbled. “I am perfectly capable to spend a day without you, you know. I probably need to check in with my folks, anyway.”
“You’re sure?” I asked again, leaning back, a bit more skeptical. Connor saying he wanted to check in with his parents was the boldest lie I’d heard in a long time.
“Yes, Christ, shut it,” he hissed, flopping onto his back, the crop top riding comically up on his stomach, and, without thinking, I leaned forward quickly to press a wet kiss to the cluster of freckles on his ribcage, earning a loud swear from Connor, followed by a slew of giggles, his thin hands pushing at my hair to pull me away from his ticklish sides.
“Stop it! Stop! Christ–st–” he sat up abruptly and tangled his hands into my hair, yanking me down against him, his bare chest trapped between us, soft against my palms.
What had started as a gentle joke, just a silly peck, escalated as it tended to. It was slow–Connor’s laughter dying quickly in his chest, his breath hitching in the back of his throat instead. I opened my eyes to glance down at him, his eyes closed, his eyelashes flickering against his cheeks. I pulled back, just for a moment, amazed to find his lips parted, head tilted back, obvious that he expected me to move my lips to neck. I just chuckled, pressing a soft kiss to the cleft of his chin.
“Not this morning, Con,” I whispered, kissing behind his ear.
“Just kissing,” he whispered, letting out a shuddering breath into my hair. Eyes still closed, his hands tightened in my shirt in an attempt to keep me against him.
“You know it won’t stop there,” I laughed. He pouted beneath me.
“But–I’m not wearing a bra. I’m all ready to fool around!” Connor snorted, hands digging harshly into my sides as he laughed.
I smothered my laugh against his jugular, fighting to control my breathing, before pushing myself up against Connor’s chest.
“Not now,” I sighed sadly, giving him a closed mouth kiss against his lips, watching his eyes fade as he chased me for another kiss.
“Okay,” he sighed. “Sorry, my fault.” Throwing a hand over his eyes, he groaned, tangling his fingers in his pretty, pulled back hair.
“Don’t be sorry,” I mumbled.
“Later,” he smiled against his fist, slate eyes staring up at the ceiling with amusement. “Later. Christ, no one told me my libido would get a second wind after fourteen.”
“You’ve always got your hand,” I reminded with a chuckle, rising from the bed to stretch. Distance, I needed distance to think. He wrinkled his nose in disdain.
“Yeah, no thanks, not the same.”
There was a beat of silence, where I caught Connor watching me from the bed, before turning away with a pinched expression. It triggered an oddly sick feeling in my stomach–I shouldn’t feel guilty. I shouldn’t. This was just fun, Connor was just my friend, nothing more.
“So, uh,” he coughed. “What was your plan for tonight?”
I stiffened, turning around to sit on the edge of the bed with my back to him, beginning to braid my hair. The bed dipped suddenly, and Connor’s leg was flush with mine, the other folded behind my back, and Connor’s fingers wove into my wet hair, beginning to plait it silently.
“I have a date.”
His hands stilled, just briefly, and I felt myself relax when his fingers began again. He hadn’t taken a single breath.
“Who with?” Cold. Uninterested. I growled low in my throat.
“Not sure. Some guy my mom set me up with–they’re pissed I don’t have a boyfriend, you know,” I reminded, and Connor just grunted in affirmation.
“You have no idea who he is?” Connor groaned in disgust.
I shrugged. “He goes to school here–I think his name is Jared? He’s a business major. My mom is very impressed.”
Now, Connor really paused, his fingers abandoning the braid to snap his hands down into his lap.
“You know him?” I asked.
“Jared Kleinman?” Connor hissed, not looking at me.
“I think?” I said skeptically, unsure what about this kid had Connor in such a state.
“He’s an ass,” Connor growled. “An absolute asshole, bully, short-stack, scum bag, and you can’t go out with him. You can’t go out with that jerk off, trust me, okay? As your friend, I forbid you.”
I’d been taking everything Connor said seriously up to that point–it took a lot to make Connor that verbose, let alone that enraged–he’d been working on getting better, he really had–but his final statement made my eyes snap open, throwing my body off the bed.
“You forbid me?” I hissed, spinning with a wicked laugh. “I’m not your girlfriend, Connor. You can’t stop me from doing shit, okay?”
His eyes widened–in shock or shame, I wasn’t sure–sliding back up onto the bed. “I didn’t mean, fuck, I’m just trying to look out for you, okay? He’s bad news. He was–fuck, he was such an ass in highschool, okay?”
“And people can’t change, right?” I laughed crudely, watching the muscle twitch in his jaw. I’d pressed a button. Good. His eyebrows furrowed down over his glare, and I saw his hands clench and unclench in his lap. He’d caught my eyes flickering to them, and immediately looked helpless, wiping them on his jeans.
“I’m not having a fit,” he promised. “I’m not gonna hit you, I fucking swear to–”
“I know,” I lied, softening my posture and looking away from him. “I know, Con. You’re not gonna hurt me again.”
Truth be told, he might. Relapse was easy–I knew, I’d seen it in teaspoon sized doses, whether be him throwing me against the door with too much force or be it a fist coming to connect on the wall behind my head after I gave a particular nasty comment. Connor had never hit me, not hard, but he almost had, and he’d said a few nasty things, broken some things of mine.
We were friends because I trusted him, because I didn’t want to leave him just because this felt hard. But I wouldn’t let Connor talk to me like that again, I’d promised myself. It meant a time out–no sex, no talking, not until he could calmly apologize and talk through what he was feeling.
“I’m sorry,” he sighed, scrubbing his hands over his eyes–he’d forgotten to paint his nails this week, I noticed, but his wrist had flowering patches of indigo and lavender peppered along his arm like blooming bruises–they were just left over from his last art class Friday. He really needed a shower, I realized.
“Don’t be sorry,” I said again, leaning against the bathroom’s doorjamb in lieu of joining him on the bed. If I sat on the bed, I’d want to touch him, and as much as he deserved reassurance, he didn’t need the positive reinforcement. He had to learn I was a finite fixture. “That Jared kid–he said something to you, right? In school. You didn’t like each other.”
Connor laughed mirthlessly, filling my stomach with lead. “Yeah, you could say that. He’s one of those weasely kids, ya know? With just shitty underhanded comments they get out of Mad magazine. Gets under your skin.”
It was too easy to picture, embarrassingly so, I thought, watching Connor now with his eyes downcast and his mouth pursed, I could still see him, just a year ago, and some punk kid whose comment landed on its mark. He probably sent Connor into fits.
I tried too hard not to picture Connor those nights, crying disgustingly in the shower, banging his head too hard against the tile, replaying over and over in his head what that little shit had said to him.
I didn’t want to go out with him. I hadn’t wanted to to begin with. But, I had to. I’d promised.
“I’m really sorry, Con,” I sighed softly, thunking my head against the doorjamb in punishment. “I’m sorry you had to go through that.”
“Don’t be,” he laughed bitterly again. “’S over now.” He held his arms open, silently asking me to come back down to him, just to make up. “Just because you’re sucking his cock now–”
He froze, eyes bugging out of his head, staring at something on the ceiling I couldn’t make out from here. My stomach churned uneasily, and the tips of my ears got uncomfortably warm. Connor sat up slowly, bracing himself on his arms, staring at the wall with a horrified expression. He was vaguely green around the collar of my shirt.
“You wanna stop. That’s why you told me. You wanna stop.”
I swallowed thickly. “Con–”
“Christ, kid! What happened to relationships and sex and school are too much? We said–”
“It’s out of my hands!” I gasped, Connor’s glare finally snapping to mine, melting me into the floor. “I don’t want to go out with him–you know my mom expects me to–”
“Fuck, I know, you’re parents want you to be a fucking baby factory with a rich husband, I know, okay?” He groaned, shoving his hands into his hair and dislodging the ponytail holder, his dark hair cascading around his shoulders, his whole expression pinched.
I flinched, shutting my eyes, wishing desperately to be somewhere else. He didn’t mean it, he was angry–it didn’t mean it didn’t hurt.
“It’s just to appease my mom,” I sighed quietly, disgusted to realize how wet and broken my voice sounded. “Just to say I have a boyfriend, to keep her out of my hair. Otherwise she’d be down here every week, and I’d never be able to see you–”
“What if I pretended to be your boyfriend?” He said suddenly, making my gaze snap to his, despite my discomfort. He was staring seriously at me, and I felt sick to realize he was sincere.
“Trust me, Con, you don’t wanna do that.”
To subject him to that kind of scrutiny would be unfair. Connor was my favorite person in the world right now, and, despite coming from a good family, my mother would be less than thrilled to hear I was involved with an art major with a juvenile record.
He snorted. “I know I’m no Jared–”
“Don’t,” I glared. “Don’t. I’m sorry, but yeah, we can’t have sex for awhile, okay?”
“Fuck,” he hissed.
I felt sick–like crying. “I’m sorry if that ruins our friendship for you. I thought you might be able to tolerate spending time with me when I’m not getting you off.”
Connor’s horrified expression let me know he hadn’t actually thought of that, but it didn’t mean he hadn’t known.
“Hey,” he said softly, rolling off the bed to stand, his hands out stretched as if he was scared to spook me. “Hey, that’s not–hey, don’t cry.”
“No,” he growled, coming forward to wrap his arms around me, still wearing that stupid crop top, pressing his face into my neck. “Fuck, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that,” he murmured, his lips brushing my jaw. “You come first, you always come first. I’d rather have you than sex, you know that, right?”
His fingers scraped under my shirt to press against my skin, pulling me tighter to him, his fingertips tripping with friction.
“I know,” I sighed, going limp against him and wrapping my arms around his neck–it felt nice just to be close. “I’m sorry.”
He pulled back, reaching up to cup my face, his fingertips burning where they thumbed my cheeks, wiping away the stray tears. He stared down at me so intently, and I realized he was still scared.
“Before your lame ass date, you wanna get some take out?” He asked with a crooked grin, leaning in to kiss my forehead quickly.
“Fine, but you have to change,” I giggled, pulling away despite his protests to grab my purse from his desk.
“I refuse to change–this color looks too good on me.”
“I can’t believe you’re gonna wear one of my shirts on your date with that wank,” Connor groaned, watching me button up one of his shirts over my chest, shaking his head. “He’s gonna try to cop a feel–it’s like he’s grabbing my boob, kid. That’s the worst violation of all.”
I rolled my eyes, brushing my hair back from my forehead. “First off, they’re still my boobs, but I promise I’ll bring the shirt back in mint condition. I doubt I’ll be kissing him tonight.”
Connor grinned around a mouthful of rice–he was cute like that, I realized, cheeks full and eyes crinkled with a smile. His mood had flipped swiftly, thank goodness, despite the fact it had started to pour outside, the sky pitch black despite the fact it was still early in the afternoon.
“Maybe he’ll buy you something nice,” Connor grinned. “I’m sure he’s loaded. If he brings a friend, make sure you hit on him.”
I snorted, but pulled on my slightly dirty skinny jeans anyway. “If he brings his friend on a date, I’m walking out and taking you home for thanksgiving.”
Connor grinned again. “God, that’d be rich.”
Thunder pounded through the room, making Connor’s hair products shake on his desk, causing me to jump back onto the bed to be near Connor.
“Don’t tell me you’re scared,” he teased softly, glancing out the window to see the downpour. “Christ, maybe you should stay in tonight. Last thing you need is to be trapped in some shitty French restaurant with mademoiselle rat face.”
“You’re hilarious,” I said bitterly, watching the leaves paste themselves to the window pane. “But, maybe I should reschedule. That’s not a shitty thing to do, right? It looks awful out there.”
“Nah,” Connor said around another mouthful. “Plus, if you do, we can have one last hoorah–okay, you’re right, sorry.”
I just grinned, hitting him lightly upside the head. “You can finish up in the shower, pretty boy.”
He frowned. “Fine.”
I pursed my lips, glaring out into the storm again. “I should call Jared ask him to reschedule,” I sighed again, feeling only vaguely guilty. I mean, what were the odds Jared even wanted to go on this date? Our parents set us up, for goodness’ sake.
I wondered briefly if Connor had worn this shirt in highschool, if Jared would recognize it.
“I highly recommend standing him up,” Connor said chipperly. “Allow me to hand you your phone–”
Connor froze, still half stretched across the bed, staring at my phone on the nightstand.
“Oh my God.”
“What?” I asked, concerned. “Is everything okay?”
“Oh my God,” Connor said again, this time dissolving into a fit of giggles, yanking my phone off the charger and throwing it on the bed. “I can’t believe this!”
“Connor, if you don’t tell me–”
“He stood you up!”
“What?” I screeched, fumbling for my phone, surprised to see a few missed texts on my home screen.
Srry 4 the short notice, do you think we coukd meet some other time? Don’t wanna get caught in the strom
“He can’t even spell,” I muttered in disgust, throwing my phone onto Connor’s bare stomach that shook with laughter.
“This is hilarious, oh my God. It’s so sad, you look so cute and everything! You were gonna put on mascara for that asshole!”
“I’m gonna dump this soy sauce on your shirt, Murphy.”
“Sorry, sorry, geez!”
He put down his plastic fork, reaching across the mattress to stroke his hand across my bare arm. For a minute, I thought he might ask me how I felt, but instead just asked, “Are you up for a round of Battlefront?”
I grinned, beginning to undo pearline buttons of Connor’s nice navy shirt. “I’m gonna kick your ass.”
He grinned, eyes crinkling at the corners and his lips cracking with the force of his smile. “I look forward to it.”
Immaculate 1970 GTO currently loved by and owned by a former GM engineer. This car is cloaked in Sierra Yellow and has a Sandalwood interior. He neglected to say which of the four available engine options is in the car tho. There were three flavors of the 400 at 350-370 horsepower and one 455 at 360 horsepower. But she does have a TH-400 automatic and a 3:23 rearend. The interior looks like the car is still on the showroom floor.
i DID manage to write something on all my flights, but it’s quite rough. hope you enjoy! As always, catch this along with my other one-shots on AO3 in Mean Peach Mojito.
“Uh, babe? What’s in this big-ass red box?”
Alex looks over at her girlfriend who is currently waist-deep in their storage unit. All she can see of Maggie is the back of her thighs and her ass – she’s nearly spread-eagled on top of some of their more sturdy boxes to be able to reach what’s in the big red box in the back.
“Oh, uh, don’t worry about that box.” Alex hopes she sounds nonchalant, but her voice comes out high and strained.
And, obviously, Maggie notices. She notices that Alex is embarrassed and, like any good girlfriend, she seizes the opportunity.
She pulls herself back up and turns to face Alex. “Babe, what’s in it?” She’s got a shit-eating grin on her face which only grows as Alex fidgets and mumbles something inaudible that definitely has the words “Kara” and “stupid” in it.
“What was that, babe?” Maggie’s eyes are twinkling now, and she’s dimpling, and Alex hates how much she loves her.
Alex crosses her arms over her chest and tries to resist. “It’s nothing,” she says, trying to will her voice back to a normal register. “Just some of Kara’s old crap.”
But Maggie isn’t a decorated detective for nothing. She knows Alex is lying, but she can also tell that whatever is in this box has crossed over from funny-embarrassing to anxious-embarrassing, and she changes tactics immediately. She clambers over another couple boxes so she can stand right next to Alex, reaching out and rubbing her arm with one hand.
“Babe, it’s okay,” she says, and her voice is soft and tender now. “You don’t have to tell me what’s in it. I was just messing with you. But, really, it’s fine for you to have secrets. You don’t have to show me everything.”
“No, I – no, it’s not a secret.” Alex rolls her eyes at herself. She’s such a drama queen sometimes, and she really doesn’t mean to be. She just isn’t used to someone who isn’t Kara watching her all the time – someone who actually cares about the nuances of her emotions. “It’s just embarrassing, but it’s not, like, bad.”
Alex shakes her head. “No, not DEO-related.”
And Maggie just gives it a beat of silence. She tilts her head, just the way Alex likes, and smiles softly, dimpling just the way Alex likes, and holds Alex’s elbow, rubbing her thumb up and down Alex’s skin just the way she likes. If Alex doesn’t say anything else, she’ll drop it, and will leave the mystery of the big-ass red box unsolved.
But she has a sneaking suspicion that Alex – who is a pretty great liar when she really needs to be, and who has a propensity for wanting to show Maggie everything about herself, is going to say something. Maggie’s pretty sure that Alex wants her to know what’s in the box, and just doesn’t know how to say it.
So Maggie waits, with the tilt and the dimple and the soothing thumb.
And Alex fidgets, and then sighs heavily, and then blushes as she says, “It’s our dress-up box.”
Maggie had been steeling herself not to react, no matter what Alex said, but she can’t help it. Her eyebrows fly up and her jaw sags a little. She hasn’t heard those words in that sequence since she was a little kid.
Alex nods a little – her face is still pink and she’s clearly a little embarrassed but not afraid or anxious or upset. “Yeah, me and Kara’s. From when we were kids.”
And Maggie doesn’t mention that Kara didn’t show up until Alex was a teenager, and that most kids out-grown their dress-up boxes by the middle of elementary school. She just nods in understanding.
Alex hasn’t kept a lot of stuff from her life. This storage unit is mostly books and Maggie’s old furniture. Alex has just a couple of boxes from her childhood, and has functionally nothing from between college and when she’d met Maggie in the way of mementos or knick-knacks or sentimental belongings.
This big-ass red box – this dress-up box – is clearly something special. It’s the one big thing she’s made sure to keep as she’s moved from apartment to apartment, from city to city. She keeps it here, not in Eliza’s garage or anywhere else back in Midvale. She keeps it here, in her storage unit, with her baby blanket and her dad’s telescope and all of the books she used to read out loud to Kara.
It’s clearly incredibly important to her. And if Maggie met someone in bar that she didn’t really care about who mentioned still having their childhood dress-up box, that they used into their late teens, Maggie would give them so much shit for it. Or if, for example, Winn still had his, he’d never hear the end of it from her.
But Alex? Her sweet, tender, soft, loving girlfriend, with the huge heart and the huge wall between herself and everyone else? Her wonderful girl who would make a blanket fort just to snuggle her sister in a second, but would use her bare hands to murder anyone who looked at her sideways?
Maggie wouldn’t dream of making fun of her for something that obviously means so much, that she’s kept so close.
“Wanna take it back with us?” Maggie asks, hoping she sounds casual. “Might be fun for you and Kara to look through it together, if it’s been a while.”
And Alex equivocates a little, and makes dismissive little sounds, and rolls her eyes. Like it’s embarrassing. Like she hadn’t ever considered something so lame.
But her eyes are wide and little soft, and she, finally, after looking at Maggie and finding only love and trust and support, nods.
So Maggie carefully makes her way into the back corner of the unit and Alex charts a parallel course along the other wall, so they both end up on opposite sides of the big-ass red box. They heft it up together – it’s not too heavy, but it’s just too big for either of them to carry on their own, and they start the slow and awkward process of maneuvering it out to the car.
After dropping it twice, and Alex having to rescue Maggie from another box that nearly swallows her whole (and treating her trauma with a light make out session), they finally emerge with it. They pop it in the backseat of the car and, for the rest of the time they’re arranging the unit, Alex keeps darting her eyes over her shoulder, back to the big-ass red dress-up box.
From an astral plane designed to look like a frozen 1970s bachelor pad to co-star Bill Irwin’s interpretive reenactment of fight scenes, it was almost as if “Legion” creator Noah Hawley was daring audiences to see how many GIFs they could create for each episode of his FX series. One of the first instances to make audiences sit up happened in the first episode of this surreal series: A Bollywood-style dance number inside a mental hospital to illustrate the sparks flying between Dan Stevens’ David Haller, a character diagnosed with schizophrenia, and his love, Rachel Keller’s Syd Barrett.
“The show is based around the idea that we’re going to give you this objective feeling of what it’s like to be David, and what else does falling in love feel like other than a Bollywood dance routine, really?,” says Hawley, who both wrote and directed the episode. “It started out as something small and then it turned into an entire day of production.”
Hawley had intended for the scene to be at the beginning of the episode when David and Syd meet, but it ended up as a dream sequence. That’s where Kimble came in. “Sometimes you film things and you don’t know where you’re going to use them and I’ve learned to sort of trust that feeling — that I know when I’m in the editing room, I’m going to want this,” Hawley says.
Vanessa Young Choreographer Young worked on the dance routine for this scene, as well as another showstopper featuring co-star Aubrey Plaza that aired later in the season. “We choreographed the whole thing to a real Bollywood song and I ended up using a Serge Gainsbourg song, which added to the surreal-ness of it,” Hawley says, adding that the final music “has a Bollywood feel, but is not what you would expect.”
Young put together five or six routines and they spent a Saturday rehearsing the shots so Hawley “had a real plan for how to film the dance part of it — not that I’d ever filmed dance before.”
It always helps to have people who are comfortable with movement and a sense that they might be moving differently than “ ‘normal people.’”
Carol Case Costume Designer The dancers needed wardrobes that would allow them to move freely, and, as Hawley points out, “the good thing about their hospital costumes, to begin with, is they’re psychiatric patients so their costumes are already pretty loose.”
Michael Wylie Production Designer “We spent a lot of time designing this hospital and what it looked like and it was important to me that this not be a depressing place to be. You’re asking a lot of a TV audience to volunteer to go to a psychiatric institution after a long day of work.”
Throughout the show, the space Wylie designed has “certain heightened elements,” like a pill-capsule-shaped light that glows when it’s meds time or the TVs on the walls that spotlight ’40s dance movies.
Dan Stevens Star “Dan had food poisoning. He was a trooper and he worked all day and he looked terrible and felt terrible. But every time we counted down to one [to begin rolling], the big smile came on his face and he did the dance routine perfectly. That whole day he was green and, if you go back and watch it, there’s a lot of spinning that happens in the dancing. …
Hawley says there were “probably two or three more shots that I wanted to get. But at the point at which the AD came to tell me that Dan had finally thrown up, I called it a day.”