tape of mixes

Side A, Lin-Manuel Miranda x Reader

Prompt: Loosely based off of ‘Love is a Mix Tape’ by Rob Sheffield which I read forever ago and vaguely remember.

Words: 1,122

Author’s Note: Fun fact, I picked this book long before Lin went on that rant about making mix tapes on Twitter. Do I know that boy, or do I know that boy? This prompt made me sad but the deadline made me push through! Thank you time constraint for forcing me to write angst!

Warnings: Character death due to disease. Cursing. Mild spoilers for thes book.

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Start with a hype track, something to get the juices flowing and the hearts bumping.

Eminem was the way to go - he knew your guilty pleasures well. The fact that you hadn’t stumbled across an Eminem track since early high school was not lost on him. Nostalgia was on his side. He added Lose Yourself to the playlist, knowing you could recite it from memory after all these years.

Even more hype. This is the build up, keep building! This is the pregame to the Superbowl and you were the starting quarterback.

Beyonce had to make a guest appearance, what was a mix tape without her on it? Nothing. Run the World it was.

Time to show them what you’re made of. Love is taking its first steps into the room. Keep it upbeat, keep it real.

He giggled at the Jonas Brothers track, not being able to help himself. Usually he tried to appear a bit more collected and pristine than a boy band. Jonas Brothers was the exception.  

Lay it all out there. Shove the love in their face and hope for the best. No subtlety here, subtlety can go fuck itself.

He heavy-handedly clicked on a Deathcab For Cutie tune, quite effectively telling subtlety to fuck itself.

Genre switch, flex your music muscles like a 300-pound weight lifter.

A mix tape crafted by Lin would be incomplete without a show tune. He was almost cheeky enough to throw in one of his own - a Nina/Benny duet or an Eliza number, crooning about love at first sight. He settled on West Side Story.

Rinse and repeat until fully satisfied.

He shuffled through his extensive iTunes playlist for a few hours, reminiscing with old forgotten gems before narrowing down his choices. He spent at least twenty minutes going back and forth on a handful of Selena songs. Dreaming of You seemed just too on the nose. He still picked it.

The closer. The big guy. Throw the ball in their court and ask them to play. A classic or a new song, doesn’t matter. Make things perfectly clear.

Semisonic’s Singing In My Sleep finished off the mix. Lin saved the Spotify playlist and copied and pasted the link into an e-mail to you.

He sent it knowing it would never be opened, but he felt a little lighter.

It was the fifteenth mix tape he had pieced together since it happened, and he knew it wouldn’t be the last. He would spend a lifetime searching for the perfect combination of twelve songs that would make you giggle and cry and come back.

You just had to meet as things were getting started. Newly graduated with a degree under your belt, you were looking for literally anything other than love.

He approached you because you seemed happy and bubbly and he wanted in on that action. With a single glance and a shared ‘Oh, I love this song!’ as that Smiths’ song played in the nearly empty bar, you were hooked.

A dance was in order, and you were both happy to participate in the packed bar. Bodies pressed closer than you would normally permit at first meeting, but it didn’t feel like you were pushed. You felt like you were pulled.

A dance turned into two, which turned into discarded shoes and a much emptier bar as the night winded down. Friends and coworkers bid goodbyes and all that was left was a straight faced Lin as he passionately sang every word to an R. Kelly track you listened to years ago.

Every day was a plethora of old and new songs. It always started upbeat and energized. Mostly because he was a frantic person who was always on the move but rarely ventured out of his own neighborhood. You had to coax him out of the apartment - a promise of his favorite take out (Is it really takeout if we have to sit and eat at the restaurant?) and a new mix.

He could never say no to one of your mixes. They always promised to be fun and insane and so uniquely you. Nobody in the history of time had put those songs together like you did and he needed to protect that with all he had.

As the track switched from Alicia Keys to A Tribe Called Quest, he knew that he had to make his apartment your apartment.

And suddenly a world that seemed so impossible and dull was filled with cheesy music and your giggles as he poorly sang along to whatever top twenty tune you sneaked in. 

He made a secret mix tape for the funeral. He didn’t show anyone - mostly out of sheer necessity to keep this one thing for the two of you. He had been poked and prodded for answers about how he felt and if he was eating and if he would make it.

He felt like shit and no, he hadn’t touched a real meal in two weeks, and he really didn’t see himself making it another minute without you there.

The funeral mix, which consisted of acoustic covers that made him cry - if he was being quite honest, everything made him cry - and a picture stolen from your Facebook, appropriately taken the day before you met. 

He almost wished he hadn’t had a hard day in class that day, the entire English department calling for a well deserved night out. Still, he knew that wouldn’t stop the diagnosis. At least the world handed him a good few years before the inevitable.

You loved each other long before either of you mattered to anyone else. Before he was putting on a show six nights a week and before you turned your spontaneous mix tapes into a music career.

He was never able to listen to a particular song without hearing your squeal of recognition, begging him for a dance and him happily obliging. It was years before he was able to push your voice out whenever he wrote, a chastising voice echoing back at him: ‘We get it, Lin. You listen to rap. Not everything has to be a Jay-Z reference, though.’

He always kept the lyric, though, knowing you would groan and try to hide your smile. You told him how much you loved his writing often enough for it to be ingrained in his brain

Eventually, the mix tapes stopped as his free time suddenly became non existent. Every offer under the sun was at his feet and he picked up whatever he could juggle. Whenever things became overwhelming, though, he would revert back to his one comfort.

@Lin_Manuel: Goodnight, world! Here’s a mix for you and everything you’ve lost. Get ready to gain some dope tracks.

here’s what the ratty shoebox under dean’s bed contains:

  • an old leather wallet with the initials “j.h.w” embossed on the front.
  • two tattered notebooks with ripped covers and loose pages full of scribbles about monsters, lyrics from songs, messy doodles, and phone numbers from truckstop diner waitresses.
  • a handful of photographs featuring a few familiar faces that are still painful to look at.
  • a dog-eared slaughterhouse five, a coverless grapes of wrath, and a relatively intact hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy.
  • some stray bullets.
  • some jewellery.
  • five mix tapes with handwritten titles in faded pen such as “tunes for ass-kicking” and “songs to get laid to.”

Brooks Shane Salzwedel aka Brooks Salzwedel  (American, b. 1978, Long Beach, CA, USA, based Los Angeles) - 1: Pink Mountain, 2013 Graphite, Tape, Colored Pencils, Watercolors  2: LA 6th St, 2015 Graphite, Colored Pencils, Ink  3: Blue Bones, 2013 Mixed Media  4: Gay Speckled Mountain, 2016 Graphite, Colored Pencils, Ink  5: Bones Of The Mountain, 2013 Graphite, Tape, Colored Pencils, Spray Paint on Mylar, Resin on Panel  6: Unknown Title, 2013 Mixed Media