The Notebook Ch.1
Title: The Notebook
Character: Lin X Reader
Prompt: When the reader runs into Lin in the airport, (literally “runs” into him), an accidental notebook swap occurs in the confusion, and they go home with each other’s work.
Word Count: 2,859 (wowie)
A/N: wow it’s been a while. Two things; 1, this is literally a dream I had. 2, I blame @secretschuylersister for wearing off on me enough to write this.
The blinding lights and bustling streets of New York only seem like background noise to you at this point in your life. You’ve lived here since you graduated college, and it hasn’t been as bad as you’d originally thought. Sure, the towering skyscrapers and ceaseless shouting or honking outside of your apartment was much different than the silent cricket chirps outside of your family’s home back in Missouri, but it was a much needed change.
In fact, living in New York has changed your life completely. You were still the same kiddo from the small country town back home, aspiring to do great things. You still said “y'all”. You still lived off of sweet tea. You still had all of your little traits you’d gained from growing up there. But once you hit New York? “Culture Shock” was really the only way to describe it.
It seemed like you were never alone in the “City that Never Sleeps”. The streets were never empty, the lights glaring from the billboards outside of your window were your new night stars, and you always saw something new everyday. It’s was probably one of the best places for you to be with your dream job; writing. A new thing seen on the side of the street fueled a new song lyric, a new poem, a new story, and new something. You were constantly jotting stuff down in your favorite black notebook, usually adding to your current project; a musical.
“Hey, Y/N, do you want me to go get you something before you leave for the airport?” Your roommate’s voice inquires from the opposite side of the dining room table, her head resting in her hand defeatedly from her work. You don’t even bother to peal your eyes away from your page, frantically scribbling down yet another lyric for one of your main characters. “Nah, I’ll probably just grab something quick on the way to the airport. Thanks though, Ky.” She raises an eyebrow at you, obviously doubting that you will. “Uh huh. Like all of those other times that you’ve said that you’ll get something to eat on the way out, and proceed to not go out, continue to write in that stupid notebook of yours, and stay up until I wake up the next morning?”
“Okay okay, you’ve got me there.” You breathe, allowing for her to pull the black leather bound pages away from you. “But what can I say, Ky? I’m basically a writing machine, I just can’t help it. There’s too many ideas locked up inside of my mind to not write them all down. I wanna share them with the world!”
“You can keep writing about those silly little characters you’ve got after you eat something, Y/N. There’s my leftovers in the fridge I’ll let you have if you eat them right now.” Kylie offers, gesturing to the stainless steel door behind her. “Yeah yeah, okay. No need to blackmail me here.” You retort, rolling your eyes and nudging her aside. Slipping your hand around the cool handle, you yank the door open and pull out the white styrofoam box, ready to devour it in order to keep writing. “You never talk to me about anything besides your stupid musical now, Y/N. I wanna talk about other stuff.” Kylie huffs, flopping into the wooden chair across from yours at the table.
“That came out of nowhere.” You chuckle, settling back into your spot, this time eating instead of writing. “I know, but I feel like you’ve just been kinda distant lately. I don’t think you’ve actually talked to me about your life for at least a month-oh my god you’ve never talked to me about your love life. Tell me. Now.” Kylie gushes, her eyes widening at the thought of not knowing. “I’ve never talked about it because it’s non-existent.” You joke through a mouthful of a quesadilla. “When was your last relationship?” She questions, her eyebrows furrowing slightly with concern. You simply shrug. “Last kiss?” “Never had one.” “Last time you were in love?!” “Does the kid I hated in 1st grade count?”
“Oh my god, why have you never told me that you’re helpless?!” Kylie cries, flailing her hands around frantically. “I didn’t realize that my love life was a big deal to you?” You snort, suddenly reconsidering if you should’ve just lied to her and said you had a boyfriend. Wow, that actually did make you sound really lonely. Nice going. “Um, hello?! Being in love is one of the-no, IS the best feeling in the world?!”
“Love is a choice, not really an emotion, KyKy.” You correct, gently pointing your fork at her in correction. Or at least, that’s what you’ve always known it as. Throughout high school, you saw relationship after relationship go strong for a solid three months, and then crash and burn because the “feeling just wasn’t there” and they’d already moved on to a new lover. You never understood how people could just hook up because of “a feeling”, and then not try to fix it if they thought it was that important. It’s always seemed like it should be an effort from both parties, not just “run with this instinct”. That and everyone in your school were a bunch of idiots.
“Wow. Okay I need to take you out with me sometime, you’re going to get a boyfriend to call your own.” Kylie breathes, making it sound like it’s going to be a hassle. “Hey! I’m perfectly lovable, thank you very much.” You snap, narrowing your eyes at her. “Oh are you now, little Miss No-Love-Life?” She throws back just as quickly. “By the sounds of it, you really aren’t.”
“Well it’s not just that nobody’s ever had a crush on me, I can name off a couple. It’s a matter of them not sharing the same ideals and such as me.” “Oh, please do go on. I’m curious of what these ideals could possibly be.” Kylie teases, leaning into her hands playfully.
“Simple. None of them have ever understood my love for writing, how I need to throw my thoughts onto paper, how I want too make something out of thin air.” There were a couple of people from high school you can remember having a bit of a thing for you, but at the same time you can remember how you cast them away way too quickly when you got to know them. In retrospect, you were probably kinda cruel to them, but you’ve always stood by what you learned from growing up. Your stubbornness wasn’t about to give in on the one thing that you’ve always loved.
“Oh, so you want someone who’s just as insane as you about writing, so that you two can die together because you forgot about your needs for survival? Got it.” Kylie laughs, still in disbelief that guys had crushes on you. “Whatever, Ky. Just give me my notebook back already, I’ve gotta get going.” You fume, shoving the empty takeout box at her from across the table. “Okay, geez. Didn’t know you were such a crabby person when you’re away from your paper.” She sighs, handing back your notebook. “Most people would get upset if you held their child hostage.”
“Wow, you really are obsessed with that thing, aren’t you?”
“Goodbyeeeee Kylie.” You draw out, wrapping your hand around the handle of your luggage, and tossing your backpack over your shoulder as you head for the front door. “Waitwaitwaitwait.” She fumbles, racing towards you. She wraps her thin arms around you, embracing you tightly. “Stay safe, Y/N. And find yourself a boyfriend while you’re at it.” You roll your eyes jokingly and hug back, the resentment from moments ago melting away.
“Okay, now get going you lug. I want the apartment to myself for as long as I can get.” Kylie finishes, gently pushing you out the door and into the complex’s hallway. “Whatever. I’ll see you in two weeks, you snot.” You call back, rolling your bag towards the elevator.
Tucking an earbud into your ear, you bury your phone into your pocket and pull you pencil out from behind your other ear, already jotting some more stuff down about your main characters and their backgrounds. Maybe have them meet at a party? No, that’s too High School Musical-y. Maybe in the park? Meh, cliché. What about if they just run into each other somewhere-literally run into each other? That’s a good one, adds to the comedic effect. Would their best friends push them back together? Is there going to be a huge fight, or will there be a tragedy for one of them that makes the super withdrawn? Why not both? Will one of them die in the end? Will one of them leave and fall for someone else? Will there be a happily ever after-ew no. Happy endings always happen by happenstance, and it’s just not logical. That doesn’t happen in the real world. No happy endings.
Thoughts continue to flood through your mind and onto the paper as you hit the outside of your apartment building and whistle for a taxi, hoping that one stops within the next five minutes. Luckily, the first one manages to see you and pulls over, letting you climb in the back. The driver’s gruff voice calls to you, “Where ya headed?”. “JFK.” You quickly respond, scratching something out on another page just to rewrite the idea. “Ya don’t sound like yer from ‘round here, little lady. You headed back home or sometin’?” He asks curiously, his voice rather warm and inviting, like your favorite uncle or something.
“Is it that easy to tell?” You laugh, forcing yourself away from your journal for a little bit to keep a conversation with him. “Trust me, lil’ lady, I’ve had ma fair share of outta-towners in this her’ girl. Ya sound kinda southern, but not really. Midwest maybe?” He guesses, tilting his dark sunglasses down to look at you from his rearview mirror. “You’re good.” You nod, smiling at his correct answer. “That’s what I thought.” He smirks, pushing his sunglasses back up the bridge of his nose. “Anytin’ in particular yar’ leavin’ for?”
“Nothing more than returning home for a couple of weeks at this point. Maybe busting with some old friends, who knows.” You answer distantly, the thoughts of what could happen at home overcoming you for a moment. There’s so many people you haven’t seen in what feels like forever. And you haven’t seen your dog in ages, either. “Simple 'nuff. Wish I could go back home fer’ a lil’ bit, ya know? Get ta visit with ma Nana again, see how she’s been doin’.”
“How long has it been since you’ve gone home?” You question, taking in his features as you do so. A bit larger, receding hairline pretty evident, dark sideburns, and an impressive beard to match. They all seem to fit his voice perfectly. “Uh, let’s see her’. Probably when I graduated, so… Eleven ye-nah, that’s too short. Probably somewhere closer ta fifteen or so, s'uppose.” He draws out, scratching his curly beard. “Fifteen years?!” You instinctively blurt out, instantly regretting it. “Ya, I’ve been stuck up her’ in da Big Apple fer’ a long while now, ya know? I just haven’t really given myself a chance ta get outta her’. Glad ya can, doh. Helps lift ma spirits a bit, seein’ ya off.”
“Speakin’ a which, her’ ya are, lil’ lady! The famous plane port of da Big Apple!” He presents, parking the cab along the curb next to the front entrance. You blink a bit, taking in the sudden appearance of the airport and its towering parts. “Oh wow. We got here fast. How much do I owe you?” You start pulling your wallet out of your backpack, but a gentle, calloused hand sets itself on your shoulder. Slightly confused, you turn towards the front seat, only to be greeted by the same smiling face as before.
“No charge fer’ ya, lil’ lady. It’s been a bit since I’ve had a good ol’ conversation with someone, ya know? Ever'one her’ is always in a rush and snappy, wantin’ ta get somewhere quick. Thank ya for given ma a good laugh today.”
You don’t know how to respond. Your mouth has opened to try and deter him, but nothing comes out, which only makes his grin wider and more toothy. “Now get a move on, lil’ lady. Don’t want ya ta be a missin’ dat flight of ya’s cuz’ I’m bein’ nice.”
Flabbergasted, you slowly climb out of the backseat and onto the sidewalk, bag and notebook in hand, and watch the dandelion yellow taxi pull away, leaving a thin cloud of exhaust in its wake. You glance down at your watch, the minute hand hovering over the 6 is all the indication you need to start booking it to your gate.
Weaving between as many people as you can while still jotting stuff down about that taxi driver in your notebook, you hurry across the airport, trying to multitask and catch your plane all in due time. It’s not as hard as you thought it would be, considering everyone was clearing a path for you as you plowed towards them.
Well, except one person.
Your notebook goes clambering to the glossy tile floor as you topple to the ground, your backpack slipping off of your shoulder and your luggage rolling out of reach. Your back crashes against the hard ground, and your lungs collapse in on themselves for a moment on impact. Thank god you had the wind knocked out of you for a second, because if you hadn’t, you probably would’ve said something utterly embarrassing about the rather cute guy on top of you, his face inches from yours.
“Oh shi- I’m so sorry! Here lemme-uh-…” He fumbles, trying to push himself off of you as quickly as possible without making it more awkward. He manages it, (somehow), and offers you a hand, which you take, a bit dazed from the impact still. Wow, he’s stronger than he looks. “Uhhh…” He sounds off, awkwardly brushing some invisible dust off of your clothes. “Sorry about that. I get kinda caught up in my head sometimes.”
“No, it’s fine, I do too. I should’ve looked where I was going in the first place.” You apologize, leaning down to pick up your notebook. “Oh, let me get that for you.” He instantly states, snatching it up in his hands. “Huh, this one looks like the one I have.” He chuckles slightly, patting his pocket for a second before going into a panic. “Wait, where is my notebook?” He stammers out, spinning around to look for it.
“Oh, is this it?” You ask, picking up an identical notebook to yours next to your slightly rolled away luggage. His face immediately softens at the sight of it, his eyes almost brightening. “Wow, we really are a mess, huh?” He laughs nervously, swapping notebooks with you.
A single best of silence passes between the two of you, before your watch beeps at you. You glance down to it to see that your flight leaves in five minutes, and panic washes over you. “Sorry Lin, but I don’t wanna miss my plane. Nice talking to you!” You shout over your shoulder as you take off in a dead sprint for your exit, which is now within sight.
Frantically waving down the flight attendant like in the movie Home Alone, she graciously reopens the door to the plane for you, and you quickly take to your seat, pushing your carry on into whatever overhead space you can find.
The seatbelt light flickers on overhead, and you try to settle into place. Luckily, not many people are on the flight to St. Louis, so you have the row to yourself. The flight attendants flow into the isle to do their normal routine of safety, but you tune them out and set your notebook on your lap, digging out a pencil from your backpack, ready to write again. That taxi driver really gave you a new idea for a character that helps advance the plot of your musical.
Flipping open to a random page, you skim over everything, trying to find the right area to start again. Let’s see, Laurens and Hamilton have a thing for each other, Angelica has a thing for Hamilton, Jefferson is a magenta ass-wait. Since when did you have a Laurens? Or a Hamilton? Or an Angelica? Or a Jefferson? When did they all develop a thing for each other? This handwriting doesn’t look like yours, it’s too nice for scribbles.
You thumb through the other pages, becoming more and more frantic as you see the same penmanship sprawling across the other yellowing pages. Where did all of your work go?! When did it get replaced with this- this- what do you even call this?!
Then it hits you. The clumsy yet cute man that tackled you. The awkwardness of the encounter. The panic over notebooks.
Lin has your notebook.
And you have his.
Please give me feedback on this story, because I’ve been away so long!