need touchups ):

Pete Dunne x Reader

Pairing: Pete Dunne x Reader

A/N: This wasn’t requested or anything but I think Pete is a real hottie and I thought of this so here it is. Not gonna write the accent, you guys can imagine it. Hope you like it!

Word Count: 2,210 (I’m sorry, I just loved writing this)

Originally posted by pinknights

Pete Dunne was an asshole. A temperamental, angry, downright unstoppable bruiserweight asshole with a motivation that was sometimes terrifying. He was rough around the edges, strong, tough, manly. An intimidating figure to say the least. Maybe that’s why no one but Trent and Tyler ever really talked to him. Maybe it was why he didn’t talk to anyone either.

And then there was you.

And before you, Pete had never known anyone like you.

You were small, happy, kind, sweet. Always smiling, always willing to lend an ear when anyone needed to talk. He hadn’t met you before that night when they’d had a match in London, and since he hadn’t slept at all the night before, Tyler had told Pete that he desperately needed to put on some makeup, and Pete would be damned before he put the shit on himself.

So, when he was sure everyone else had already been done, and then another 20 minutes for good measure, Pete trudged towards the makeup rooms, praying to whoever the fuck was listening that no one would see the big bad bruiser getting his manly makeup done.

But, luckily for him, like always, the makeup artists had high tailed themselves out, something that made him sneer. Each night as soon as the roster was done, the hair and makeup squadron literally disappeared, heading to their homes or the bars, out to have their own lives.

But, when he stepped across the threshold of the empty makeup room, he found that it wasn’t so empty.

A girl sat on the stool next to a vanity, holding what looked to be a stage jacket, and sewing it. She was singing to herself, something about good guys hiding away, and he examined her, not saying anything.

She was short. Much shorter than him, definitely not over 5’3”. She looked to be of average weight, and her (h/l) (h/c) hair was hanging over her face, not letting him see much of her face.

She had one leg crossed over the other, the jacket resting on top, and he noticed the long-sleeved T-shirt with a bear on it, and he couldn’t help but smile at the fact she was wearing his merch.

She was still singing to herself, and when she picked up the jacket to apparently examine it, she nearly fell off the stool when she saw him.

“Jesus Christ!” She gasped, catching herself next to the stool and standing. He cocked his head, hearing her obvious American accent, and he pushed himself off the doorframe and into the room a few steps.

The girl was gathering her composure, her cheeks flaming red with embarrassment.

She set the jacket on the stool and brushed her yoga pants off, finally looking at him.

“Whatcha need? Don’t think I’ve ever seen the Pete Dunne in the makeup room.”

Anyone else, Pete would’ve broken their jaw, man or woman, but this girl, he smiled.

Her voice reminded him of a harp. The twang in her voice made him want to hear more. She had (e/c) eyes. He liked them.

“Yeah, yeah,” He said, allowing himself to smirk at her, and the smile she gave him back made his chest feel warm.

What the hell? Why wasn’t he being an asshole? What was wrong with him?

“I’m guessing you want me to cover up the bags under your eyes?”

He nodded, “Tyler said it’s pretty bad.”

She nodded, “He didn’t lie. Come sit down over here, I’ll have you all fixed up in no time. You want your hair done too?”

Before Pete could sneer and make a nasty comment, he heard his own voice, “Do you think it needs done? I didn’t look at it before I left the hotel.”

She shook her head, “Personally I think your hair always looks great, so no, I don’t think so.”

He smiled, “Thanks.”

She clicked the lights of the vanity on, making Pete blink, but he quickly turned his head to focus on the girl again, “You new, love?”

Love? What the fuck was wrong with him?

She blushed, “Yeah, is it that easy to tell?”

He shrugged, “Most of them just leave once they’re done doing the makeup for everybody. Usually leave the rookies here in case anyone needs touchups.”

She smiled softly, “Well, I stay here because I choose to, honestly. I don’t know how they can all leave, I love to watch the matches. But, since I volunteer to stay here, I kinda get elected to do touchups as well.”

He cocked an eyebrow at her as she started to dig through her makeup case, “Isn’t that a lotta work to do by yourself?”

She nodded, “Yeah, but you know what they say. If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

“So you like it?”

“Oh yeah,” He could see her eyes light up as she started to apply makeup to his cheeks, “It’s wonderful to be here doing all these amazing people’s makeup for the whole world to see on TV, isn’t it amazing?” She gushed, and he almost smiled, almost.

He shrugged, “It’s a crazy ride.”

She nodded, “I’ll say.”

“What were you sewing?” He asked, looking over at the jacket.

“Oh, just one of my jackets, I-“ She stopped for a second, but before he could look at her, she caught herself, “Fell. Fell in the parking lot.”

He had a feeling she wasn’t telling the truth, but being as he’d only just met her, he understood why she wouldn’t be being totally honest with him. Especially since he was so intimidating.

“I’m a big fan,” she mumbled, breaking the silence, and he nodded, looking at her to smirk.

“Thank you love, glad you like me.”

He saw her blush, and allowed himself to smile toothlessly as she finished him.

“Well,” She said, putting the makeup down, “You’re all done, if you’d like to sneak out of the room again.”

He stood, brushing himself off and looking at himself in the mirror before looking back at her, “Thank you….I’m so sorry love I didn’t get your name,” he said, almost sheepishly.

Sheepish? Get yourself together Pete, Jesus Christ.

She beamed up at him, “(Y/N),”

He quirked his eyebrow, “(Y/N) from America, the makeup artist who Pete Dunne allowed to come near him.”

She giggled, “Yeah, I guess I am aren’t I.”

He nodded, “Hey, (Y/N), mind if I take your number?”

She beamed and blushed a little, “Of course, here ya go,”

And then, in all her American glory, she plucked a red lipstick from the box, wrote her number on his arm, and then plopped the makeup back in the box, and disappeared out of the makeup room, and Pete was left looking at his inner arm, wondering what it was about this girl who made him smile instead of wanting to kill her. 

The months went on, and Pete Dunne grew more and more close to the American baby doll he liked to think of as the Beauty to his beast. He learned more about her each night they were together. He came to see her after the makeup was done, and he went to see her after every match. He offered her rides back to her home most nights, but she always refused, taking cabs.

The months grew colder, but Pete’s heart was doing a complete 180 from what the temperature was doing outside.

He was falling for this sweet little American, and he knew it. He was sighing to himself one night, walking down the hallway towards her makeup room like always. He found himself smiling, looking forward to seeing her. She would most likely be sewing his jacket for him, singing some American rock song to herself and she would grin when she saw him, waving and her eyes would twinkle like they always did. And he would walk over to her makeup chair and sit down to talk to her about anything and everything.

He pushed the makeup room door open, but she wasn’t where he expected her to be. Not where she normally was. Instead, she was in her chair, the lights of her vanity turned on. She was facing the mirror, doing her makeup, and he knew something was wrong.

(Y/N) never wore makeup, despite the irony of it.

He didn’t move, not wanting to alert her of his presence, and he squinted, looking closer. It was nearly unnoticeable, but he could see it. He noticed everything about you, he prided himself on it.

She had a black eye.

“What the fuck is that?!” He exclaimed, making her whirl around, and he could see her gulp. She dropped the makeup and brush she was holding as Pete stalked towards her.

He grabbed her chin, gently but firmly, making her look up at him, but she didn’t meet his eyes.

He sneered, pissed, “Take it off. Take it all off. I want to see it.”

She gulped, and he released her, looking at her expectantly as she slowly pulled out a makeup remover and slowly, almost robotically removed all her makeup.

It seemed like it took ages, and Pete just stood there, arms crossed fuming.

He knew she had a boyfriend, but god forbid Pete find her scumbag boyfriend now, the devil wouldn’t hurt him as bad as Pete would.

She stood in front of him now, wiped clean, and he looked at her.

“Clothes too.”

She froze, looking at him in terror, but he still glared.

She relented, slowly, painfully slowly pulling off her shirt to stand before him in a sports bra.

He dropped his arms, and started to look at her, starting at her waist and going up from there.

Her ribs were horribly bruised, and there were older ones on her back. Her arms had fingerprints old and new. He moved up to her neck, where a handprint was, and her black eye was swollen.


He met her eyes, “What.” He bit out, mentally punching himself for snarling when she flinched.

“You…You’re shaking…”

“Of course I’m fucking shaking (Y/N) why the fuck wouldn’t I be!?” He snarled, his arms throwing outwards, but he froze when she dropped to her knees, protecting her head.

How had he never noticed before? The way she jerked when he touched her, the way she always seemed terrified when he was angry.

Pete stood for a moment, taking it all in, before he sunk to his knees too.

He pulled her into him gently, trying not to hurt her as she sobbed into her hands, “I-I-I’m so sorry Pete I’m so sorry…I never meant for this to happen he just…I’m so s-so scared please don’t yell.”

Pete felt his heart actually break a little bit, as he squeezed her harder, she wrapped her arms around his neck sobbing into his chest, and he kissed the top of her head.

“(Y/N), Love, listen to me.”

She sniffled, “Y-y-yeah?”

“Listen, Baby, you’re gonna come stay with me, okay? That’s what’s gonna happen. You’re gonna let me drive you to that fucking scum bag’s apartment, and I am going to go inside and get as much of your shit as I can get, and we will go back to my house, okay?”


“Don’t be daft, (Y/N). You will never, and I mean never ever see that fucking disgusting human being again, do you understand me?”

“Y-Y-Yes Pete I understand…wh-why are you doing this for m-m-me though?”

Pete gripped her chin gently, making her look up at him, but only for a second because her eyes shut again when he pressed his lips to hers.

His lips were soft but firm and gentle but she could feel him holding himself back. She ran her hands down his huge biceps before snaking around his waist and he tangled his hands in her hair, sighing into the kiss. She tasted like strawberries and butterscotch and home, and he couldn’t get enough of it. She smelled like she always did, butterscotch and pumpkin.

“God,” He whispered between kisses when they kept taking breaths, “You,” Kiss, “Are,” Kiss, “So,” Kiss, “Perfect.”

She whimpered into the kiss, pressing her body against his, and he splayed one hand on the small of her back, and rested the other against her cheek, kissing and kissing and kissing. She was his drug. If he wasn’t hooked before, he was now.

Finally, though it wasn’t enough, they parted, and panting, Pete rested his forehead against hers, “I love you, (Y/N), I love you. I’ve loved you since you did my makeup all those months again. I love you. Let me take care of you, please. Let me be better than he was. Let me be yours.”

“Oh Pete,” she murmured, kissing him again, “I’ve been waiting for you to say that for so long…please rescue me. I love you.”

And Pete kissed her again, and his heart felt warm inside.

Maybe he wasn’t such an asshole after all.

stop the car

standalone; NC-17; fluff and smut; Scully/Reyes; post-Improbable; Monica and Scully have a girl’s night. 

A/N: happy Valentine’s Day! I’m gonna try and get the last part up to love you but you’re green but here’s something else. This is more romantic than I’d care to be but they’re too cute


“Why not go a little wild with it? Hot pink,” suggests Monica. Her brush strokes are focused and precise, because she will not screw this up, even though she kind of sucks at it.

“Agent Reyes,” Scully warns.

“Or maybe a pretty powder blue.” Her tongue pokes out at the corner of her mouth as she lifts Scully’s right hand to inspect her work. “ Or a sexy Camaro red.”

“Too distracting while I’m carving up the dead.” Scully pulls her hand back and hums appreciatively. “You colored inside the lines.”

“Gross.” They both laugh and Monica recaps the tan polish sitting between them.

It’s a Friday night and William is improbably, blessedly asleep in the nursery. They’d gone through Monica’s bottle of wine and pulled a little something from Scully’s stash before Monica had offered to help her with a much-needed touchup.

“No time to get a manicure with my class schedule,” Scully had explained, holding her hands out gratefully.

This thing where they dress up in their comfiest pajamas and talk about stuff they never really paid any mind to in real life, like Bureau gossip and celebrity crushes, has been going on a little bit, and neither of them knows just how much the other needs it. Scully cannot remember the last time she had another woman as a friend, and had never had one quite so much like herself, unmarried and ambitious and a little turned on whenever she gets to take her gun out. Monica knows she’s never had a friend like Scully, so radiant and mind-numbingly intelligent it rubs off on her in small and large ways, inspires her to be a better agent, a better person.

And so began a new weekly routine, a droplet of normalcy in a drought of the truly bizarre.

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What Did I Say?

Pairing - Lin x reader

Word Count - 2244

Prompt -  2. Leslie or Lin pllllllease/”Hey, hey. Calm down. They can’t hurt you now.” 

Requested by @itsgarbagecannotgarbagecannot

Warnings - Anxiety

A/N - As soon as I got this prompt, I knew what ‘they’ could be. Not a person or an animal, but negative thoughts. Consider this another cathartic work.

Tags - @serkewen12, @futureauthor45, @small-stars, @mysterywriter36, @daveedish, @getupoffathathang, @iluvnialljameshoran, @felix–feliciss, @ruth-hamilton-delrio, @a-random-girl-with-a-random-blog, @darling-danger, @hamilton-gaygod, @crazypurplebananas (ask to be tagged in future fics)

You’d come a long way since you’d first been diagnosed with anxiety. At first, you’d been the victim of your mind, almost every worry causing you to fall into the pits of your mental illness. Your worries were illogical, but you couldn’t control them. You’d tried the positive thinking. You’d tried meditation and affirmations and read every self-help book on the market, but none of it had worked. So, at the urging of your boyfriend Lin, you’d gone into therapy.

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idk if anyones uploaded something like this already but,

karkat dave and jade on their picnic: now transparent!

its probably not the best but i just wanted to get it uploaded :p

i’ll take a better look at it later and make touchups where needed

free to use! no credit necessary!

EDIT: alrighty did a few touchups!! hopefully it looks better now!!

Holy shit. So I just got the “Heathers” liquid to matte lipstick from Anastasia Beverly Hills and omfg I am so in love I never want to take it off. I had my doubts about it looking like the bottom photo (bottom photo not mine, check the water mark) but for real it’s perfect. So freaking pigmented and just the exact shade of red I love. I’m very picky about red lipstick. It’s always either too pink or too orange. It’s similar to the “Vamp” color by Anastasia that I have, but without the maroon/brown undertones. The shade goes on exactly like the bottom photo and I’m obsessed. 😍😍😍😍💋

Anastasia Beverly Hills is a cruelty free company and they have some of the best liquid to matte lipsticks I have ever tried. All liquid to matte lipsticks are drying because it needs to really cling onto your lips and dry out to have a matte finish obviously but this brand is one of the least drying liquid lipsticks. Waaaaay more comfortable feeling than Kat Von D brand or LA splash, in my opinion. The staying power is lovely. I have 3 shades so far, and they all stay throughout my entire 9 hour work shift, with only needing 1 touchup after eating.

But this color in particular when I tried it on made me go “wow are you freaking kidding me” 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

also I should be a hand model haha

➸ hair stylist/make up artist and actor/model AU

Clint sighed, the brush twirling carelessly between his fingers. Most of the time he liked his job, he really did. Being the makeup artist on sets of actors and models, making them gorgeous enough to be worshiped, flirting casually with some of the biggest names in society, definitely had its perks.

Today, though… Today was the special kind of hell that made him question if the others had been a hallucination. He’d been hired out for a men’s fashion magazine shoot. Men were even more particular about their makeup, because unlike women who were going for a certain look or effect, men wanted all the benefits of makeup without actually looking like they were wearing any at all. Today there had been a steady stream of haughty men who had either not spoken a word to him, or done so only to tell him what a terrible job he was doing.

And the very last model he was supposed to work on before he could get paid, pack up, and go home, was late.

Of course.

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So I completely loved the ridiculousness that was Jupiter Ascending and the amazing space fashion! So naturally I had to try my hand at making some of my own.

$70 and 3 hours later, I have a general approximation of Kalique Abrasax’s costume from this scene! Super excited about how this is looking - its sitting weirdly on the dress form in the front (because dress forms are not human shaped!) But the drape of the fabric is exactly what I wanted. Needs a few touchups and then onto the accessories! 


New ink!  Fire Across the Galaxy and A New Dawn inspired Star Wars Rebels tattoos.

The one on the left (with the Alliance symbol) is today’s and the one on the right (with the Jedi symbol) is the one I got in July.  (Also, yeah, I wore the same shirt both times.  I think those are the only two occasions I have actually worn this shirt, ha.)

You Again, Chapter 4!

Meryl scanned her eyes about the set as she quietly cut through the backstage area. Her makeup artist, Lydia, had decided that Meryl’s makeup wasn’t completely finished after all, even though she was due to go on stage in approximately 20 minutes.

Of course, Meryl had only been alerted of this now, meaning she had to rush to look presentable as well as make it on stage in time.

Her restless eyes landed upon the row of illuminated mirrors and makeup artists and she scurried over, stage-whispering “Lydia, I’m here!”

Her makeup artist heard her and rushed over, ducking to clear an archway designed for Derek and Shawn’s routine, her wizened eyes examining Meryl’s costume.

“Nice dress,” she decided after a moment, “I can tell it’ll go well with this eyeshadow. Remind me to compliment Marjory on the costume choice later.”

Meryl gave a thumbs up to indicate that she’d heard, and Lydia set to work at once.

Meryl fluttered her eyes shut as the brush danced across her eyelids, painting them a certain shade of fuchsia Lydia had assured would complement her dress. While she was getting ‘redone,’ she tried to calm herself down—to slow her heartbeat, take deeper breaths, stop her restless legs from their constant bouncing—which was all to no avail.

Only when she heard the rushing of footsteps by her side did she realize she was about to have company.

“What the hell, Meryl? I thought you finished with your makeup hours ago,” Val’s disembodied voice reached her ears.

Meryl felt the makeup brush pause it’s work on her right eyelid.

She tried to imagine the stormy look Lydia must have been giving Val at that moment.

“Meryl is a work of art, is she not? She radiates beauty and kindness in everything she does, correct, Valentin?”

Val hesitantly regarded Lydia’s clipped tone, eventually settling on a mumbled “Uh, definitely not everything she does.”

Well, then.

Meryl would have been hurt by his ill-concealed dig but she simply didn’t have the time to care.

Sure, it was upsetting to think that they could have worked things out before they’d discovered production’s drama-inducing plans for them, but Meryl didn’t have the time to mourn a lost relationship.

Maybe later when their routine had ended and they’d either stay or be eliminated…but not now.

“Which is why,” Lydia continued on, her forceful tone showing no indication of whether or not she’d heard Val, “she needed this touchup to help show her off like the absolute gem she is. She is going to go out there looking like a visual masterpiece—I can only pray that your choreography will help further enhance that image.”

Lydia pulled the brush away from Meryl’s eyelids, finally finished applying the shadow. Meryl blinked, prying her eyes open carefully to ensure the mascara and shadow would stay intact.

“You got it, L,” Val quipped.

He immediately shoved his hand into Meryl’s and yanked her along with him, blatantly ignoring Lydia’s yelled warning to be ‘careful with the masterpiece.’

“We have zero time left. We have to take our places now,” Val whispered to her as they ran, their footsteps pounding against the tiled flooring.

“Sorry,” she muttered back, “you know how she gets with her job—but in her defense, she does make us all look ‘camera ready.’”

“I don’t care. We’re going to be late,” was his response.

Val glared at her as they reached the edge of the platinum-hued curtains that separated them from the audience, motioning for her to quiet down with his free hand.

Apparently, the duo had run so fast, they still had a few minutes until Erin called them out onto the main stage.

They took the time to stand in silence, both lost in their nerves. Val was bouncing up and down on his heels whilst Meryl was preoccupied with other…orders of business.

Meryl peeked her eyes out from behind the curtain to view the crowd, jerking her head back when she accidentally laid eyes on the judges table. Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God.

“You nervous or something, ace?” Val’s voice snapped her out of her reverie.

Just beyond that velveteen curtain, the prying eyes of the public, hundreds of cameras, and a panel of judges (that she would not think about because holy shit he was there, and it would be the first time she saw him in years. And oh my God, how could she have possibly signed up for this thing at all? Maybe Fedor was right; maybe she could still back out of it now. But maybe she shouldn’t—she’s already in costume, and it’s a very nice costume, after all, and her makeup took forever—so she’ll do this one dance with Val and then they’ll probably get eliminated. They’ll probably be going home tonight anyway just because Maks hates her and oh my God, Maks is there. Maks is outside. Maks is literally within 500 feet of her. Maks is right freaking there. Maks. Maks. Maks. Wait, stop that Meryl,) awaited them.

Meryl looked away, muttered an unconvincing “no.”

Val squeezed her hand for a brief second before dropping it.

“Don’t worry; I drilled the routine into your head pretty damn well. You could do it in your sleep if you tried. Meryl, you got this.”

Um, was he just being nice to get into character or…?

She voiced her inquiry to him, genuinely perplexed.

Although his face was shrouded in shadows, she was certain she could see the corners of his lips quirk up in an amused half-smile.

“You should know by now that I’m a terrible actor. Before you go all puppy-dog-hopeful on me, though, I’m not saying I consider us friends. Or friendly. Or anything like that—but I am saying that you’re talented, Merychka. I have faith that you can handle this.”

(Did he just use his old nickname for her? It’s been ages since she heard that particular string of syllables weaved together…)

Meryl was temporarily stunned into silence. When she found the ability to speak again, it was a confused, “Did you just—”

“It slipped out.” Val shot back before she could finish her question, clearing his throat.

“So…that little speech wasn’t friendly, then? It sounded that way to me,” she rose her eyebrows.

It was Val’s turn to utter an awkward laugh. “Trust me, you and I are far from singing Cumbauya around an open fire pit together.”

“Oh, of course not,” she shook her head in mock seriousness, “Cumbauya’s outdated anyway. We’ll have to sing something more current.”

Val was shaking his head but Meryl could see the defeated smile on his face, even amidst the dark. Since he seemed to be at a loss for any further words, she took the opportunity to speak up.

“Alright, let’s go out there and show the world how showmantic we can be!”

Val let out a long-suffering groan at her idiotic pun and before they knew it, the curtain was whisked back.

Erin Andrews was standing before them, flashlight in hand, motioning for them to follow her out to the main stage.

“Go on,” she urged with a brilliant smile. She shoved Meryl’s lower back so that she was forced to walk into pure darkness.

“What the—” she started, but Erin was quick to explain.

“They’ve been doing this the whole night. No one knows exactly who is partnered with who and, well, the darkness? It really amps up the dramatic effect. Don’t worry, though, everyone’s still in the room. Just watch.” She paused, then clicked off her flashlight.

“Are you all ready to find out who the last pairing of the night is?” Erin’s voice boomed through her handheld microphone.

Ear-shattering roars from a crowd that neither Meryl nor Erin could see.

Alarm bells were triggered immediately in Meryl’s mind.

In that terrifying moment, she only had one thought.

One recurring phrase that brought her up against a different kind of danger than she’d ever expected from the show.

Depth perception depth perception depth perception depth perception oh my God depth perception.

She never liked to talk about her depth perception problems; hell, she hadn’t even told Maks back when they were partners. (He’d had to find it out from some interviewer all those years ago.)

She’d never felt like it held her back from doing anything, or limited her in any way at all.

Not until now.

Because navigating through unfamiliar paths was difficult, but doing so in pitch-black darkness was almost impossible.

She was essentially helpless—forced to rely on Valentin the Bitter to guide her through the inky blackness.

Meryl immediately pulled Val out from behind the silver curtain by his hand, dragging him quickly through the pitch black skybox.

She heard Val’s sharp intake of breath as he realized that the lights were out. He must have remembered Meryl’s vision problems because the first words that escaped his lips were, “Oh shit, Meryl.”

She took a deep breath. “It’s fine. Just—I’m putting my life in your hands here. Do not let me down.”

Despite Meryl’s damn-near emotional breakdown, Erin was but a whirl of floral perfume and positive energy. “Break a leg!”

Then, after a pause, she added, “But not literally. Seriously, guys, don’t die trying to walk down the stairs. Make sure you hold onto the railing.” She briefly clicked on her tiny flashlight to guide Meryl and Val to the top of the staircase.

“‘Hold onto the railing.’ Okay, Mama,” Val quietly mocked her.

A split second later, Meryl heard a muted yelp of pain from Val. “You just hit me!”

“I’ll hurt you worse than the stairs ever could if you continue that attitude with me, Chmerkovskiy,” Erin said, only half-teasing.

Meryl let out a strained chuckle.

“Now go, you two!” Erin cheered.

“You heard her. Go,” Meryl repeated, her voice wavering. (And she hated herself for it.)

The duo slowly descended the staircase together, gripping the bannister the entire way down. Once they’d successfully navigated onto the main stage, they cautiously moved to their assigned spots on stage.

You’re okay.

You’re safe.

You are okay. Perfect. Now you can readopt your ‘girl power men-called-Chmerkovskiy-can-kiss-my-ass’ attitude.

A mechanical whirring sounded overhead and the pair of dancers angled their heads up to see if they could make out any of what was causing the sudden racket.

A giant flatscreen descended from a space in the ceiling—oh, right. Video package first.

She shot Val’s silhouette a wide-eyed look that she wasn’t sure he could detect.

“I hope I have a good partner this season. You know, someone who I can really work well and become passionate with. It’d be awesome to get a woman who can inspire me, but who can also keep up with my choreography…so basically I need myself in female form.” Val’s disembodied voice joked from speakers set up throughout the ballroom.

The visual on screen faded from a pitch black shot to a still of the studio door. The camera panned to an expectant Valentin’s face, then, his hands clasped tightly together as if in prayer, covering his mouth.

Meryl’s voiceover came through suddenly. “I really hope Val’s going to be okay with me being his partner this season. I think we’d make a great pair,” she giggled.

The audience broke out into thunderous shrieks as they realized just who Val was partnered with. Emphatic choruses of, ‘Oh my God,’ ‘I knew it,’ ‘No way,’ and ‘hell yeah,’ assaulted her eardrums.

The visual on screen now slid to the front door again. The wooden door creaked open slowly at first—then Meryl’s tiny body threw it aside, knocking it forcefully against the wall. “Surprise!” She shouted, jumping into the air.

The roaring crowd did not get quieter at all.

The camera immediately returned to Val’s ecstatic face for a moment before zooming out to capture his sprint to her. He twirled Meryl around in his arms as she laughed. “Hello, Meryl Davis,” he was still smiling as he gently set her on her feet. She returned his bright smile with a happy “Well hello, Valentin Chmerkovskiy.”

The previous screams dissolved into endless shushing as the audience members scrambled to understand the dialogue in the video.

The screen cut to footage of them choreographing the routine. He was practicing intricate footwork with her one moment, then guiding her into a sharp dip the next. All the while, her voice declared, “To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have done this whole thing if I hadn’t gotten Val. He’s always been so sweet to me, even when we’re being business-y. He’s the best.”

Val whipped her back up and dipped her once more, lower this time. Cue his enthused voiceover: “We have jive this week and I’m pumped. It’s no secret that I’m the ‘jive guy’ of the show—AND on top of that I have a partner who’s good at everything! I really lucked out with Meryl. She’s the best person I could have gotten.”

A shot of him hugging her tiny frame protectively against his chest. He pressed a quick kiss to the top of her head. She looked up and smiled at his display of affection.

“You good, ace?” He muttered into her hair.

“Never better,” she poked his cheek with her index finger

The camera slowly zoomed out on the two of them as they engaged in a full-on poking war.

Cue the DWTS Logo.

Meryl had just began running through her arsenal of facial expressions in an attempt to find one for the routine when the accented voice boomed, “Dancing the jive: Meryl Davis and her partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy.”

The lighting rose up suddenly and without warning.

Bright beams of illumination swirled around them in a vast display of colors and patterns.

Meryl sauntered over to Val as the opening chords of their song (‘Popular Song’ by Mika) thrummed out of the speakers and vibrated through the polished dancefloor.


Meryl was gasping for breath by the time their routine had ended. She held her end pose for a few moments longer than necessary, reveling in the feel of it all (and taking a moment to cast a quick wink to Charlie, who was clapping along with Tanith in the front row—once Meryl had called and informed him of her situation, he hadn’t been one hundred percent supportive, but he and Tanith still flew out to see her on her big night).

Val broke out of his pose and pulled her against him, the sweaty duo both heaving for air.

“Thank you for before,” She whispered between her desperate gasps for breath.

“Of course, Ace. You were flawless,” he assured, pressing a kiss to her temple.

“Personally, I agree,” Tom Bergeron muttered as he smiled at the two of them, “but let’s see what our judges have to say.”

He swept a hand over to the judges’ table, suddenly back in T.V. mode.

“Carrie Ann, we’ll start with you.”

Meryl cast an eager glance towards Carrie Ann.

The judge had her left hand clasped over her mouth, her right hand furiously wiping away nonexistent tears. “Sorry,” she called out, “I’m just not used to those kinds of performances happening on the first night. It was perfect! I have to say, it’s beyond great to have Miss Meryl Davis back.”

The audience cheered along with her as she gave the partners an emphatic thumbs up.

Bruno stood up from his chair, slamming his hands on the judging table. “Such a flawless jazz! Passion radiated out of every single move you two executed. You were an absolutely thrilling combination to watch. Fantastic. Marvelous!”

All eyes went to the third judge. The room quieted down so drastically that Tom cracked a lame joke about anesthesia being laced in the water.

Meryl studiously trained her eyes to focus on a speck on the dance floor instead of looking at the one man she wanted to avoid even glancing at.

It was inevitable, perhaps, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t fight it as much as she could.

“I think you two did a great job,” his coarse voice rang out into the silent room. Meryl’s heart clenched painfully at the very sound of his voice.

“Uh, very nice dancing, very nice footwork. Definitely a job well done.”

There was an awkward pause but once it became clear that he wasn’t going to say anything else, Tom encouraged the couple to head up to the skybox to receive their scores.

Meryl could feel his eyes on her retreating figure as she climbed the stairs.

At the top of the stairway, Erin greeted them both with a huge hug. “That was, as Bruno said, flawless! How did you manage to execute a routine like that in your first week?” Her voice was incredulous.

“We just work well together,” Val spoke before Meryl could, his lips colliding with her temple in a prolonged kiss.

“We definitely do,” she helpfully supplied, nuzzling her head against the crook of where his neck met his chest.

You want a showmance, ABC? You’ll get one.

“This is absolutely adorable! Now let’s see those scores,” Erin chirped.

Cue the male English accent.

“Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inaba…”

Carrie Ann flashed a smile at was almost as sparkling as the paddle she was holding.


Val high-fived Meryl, shouted out a thank you to a giddy Carrie Ann.

“Bruno Tonioli…

Bruno flipped his paddle up in the air at once.


Meryl and Val cheered accordingly, blowing twin kisses to Bruno.

Now for the moment of truth.

“Maksim Chmerkovskiy…”

Uh, very nice footwork. Very nice dancing. Definitely a job well done.

It was time to see if he really could be the fair judge everyone was so eager to make him out to be.

Maks rose his paddle up slowly, almost reluctantly.

Oh my God.


Val let out a loud whoop and the next thing Meryl knew, she was flying. She stretched out her arms as if they were wings; in that moment she was a mess of shocked laughter and unruly hair. Val had her lifted in the air, crowing something that sounded like ‘that’s how it’s done.’

“Meryl and Val got three 9s for a total of 27 out of 30—but they’ll also need your votes to carry them on towards next week, America, so make sure you pick up your phones and dial!”

Meryl was on top of the world.

The second shock of the night for Meryl was finding out they were safe.

It had been between her/Val (who had been officially dubbed #TeamChmeryl) and Melissa Rycroft/Tony.

And their names were called.

In the brief seconds after Tom announced she was safe, Meryl’s mood immediately switched from dread to elation. It hit her full swing, nearly knocking her over with their sheer force. She could feel the sweet waves of relief coursing through her every nerve, thought, impulse, and she loved it.

She had to admit, she still a bit sad for Tony and Melissa (they two of them were always sweethearts to her) but even more than that—she felt surprised.

Surprised that she actually managed to survive week one.

Surprised that she still had some dancing spirit left in her.

Surprised that she actually wanted to stay in this competition.

She kept all of these thoughts to herself as she clutched at Melissa’s shoulder blades in a tearful goodbye hug.

The third—and easily the worst—surprise of the night came to her in a strange way.

Knock, knock.

She flicked her hair off of her shoulders, reading glasses falling to the bridge of her nose as she blinked up at the door in confusion.

She hadn’t been expecting anyone. Charlie and Tanith had left hours ago, and she had already engaged in her daily chat with Dinah.

She glanced through her peephole to see an empty hallway.

Wait, what the hell?

She opened the pristinely white hotel door and glanced down the hallway in both directions.

Nothing, aside from a set of old vending machines which probably hadn’t been utilized in ages.

She had just begun shuffling back inside the recesses of her room when she heard the distinct sound of paper ripping.

Startled, she glanced downward. She pulled back a onesie-clad foot back to reveal a tiny envelope.

She plucked it from the ground carefully, eyeing it as though it was a ticking bomb.

The envelope was a little crushed from the sheer weight of her foot, but nevertheless, still remained in tact.

And it was addressed to her.

~~~~~~~~ Don’t worry if things between Meryl and Maks seem a little too calm at the moment… I’m just getting started. ;)