where did the slob that is apparently the new me come from

2010: IN TOBY’S OWN WORDS….

TOBY ON TOBY

“I’m not naturally competitive. I wasn’t great at sport at school. I don’t understand the idea of going up against someone and trying to annihilate them. It’s just not me. I am very ambitious for myself, though.”

“Illness is like a shadow.  My mother had cancer a while back.  She is of that generation that won’t burden other people with worry.  On one level it was extremely admirable but on another it made me anxious because I wasn’t sure I was getting the whole story.  I’ve lost my father and my stepfather and several friends to illness so you think, ‘oh God here we go again’.  Thankfully she’s in the clear and fingers crossed will remain so.”

“I haven’t been hospitalised for 20 years.  On that occasion it was self inflicted.  I lost my temper after an argument with a girlfriend and punched a door.  I thought it was hollow, but it was solid.  I broke knuckles and fingers and had to have pins inserted.”

“I was bullied at school.  I had red hair and freckles, so it was inevitable.  I moved schools a fair bit as well and I became very adept at fitting in.  I made friends easily.  Everyone gets the piss taken out of them in some way at school  You learn to roll with it.”

“I don’t understand therapy.  If people could learn to be more objective about themselves it would be of huge benefit.  If you can detach yourself and think hard you can alter your behaviour.  Too often we employ someone to do it for us.  Clearly there are some people who need help desperately, but for most why not try and work out what the issue is?”

“Lying awake worrying is awful and like most of Britain it’s money worries that are usually responsible.  Half of the country is writhing around wondering how to pay the mortgage and its draining.  That the only time I reach for pills - herbal or chemical sedatives I don’t care as long as I can knock myself out.”

“My wife swears by manuka honey.  If I’m coming down with something she reaches for a pot.  Apparently it has strong antibiotic properties.”  

“I like to run with nothing in my head but if I need a boost it has to be heavy with lots of power chords.”

“I can’t live without sugar.  Since I stopped drinking I have developed a sweet tooth.  Before Id only have savoury things, now I love cakes and sweets.”

Source: ‘The inside track’,  Mike Pattenden.

“Yes, there was.  The first time I thought I might have something; might be able to express myself this way was in a school poetry competition. All the other kids were just reading out the longest and most complicated poems they knew. I chose “Dulce et Decorum Est” and, rather than recite it, I just instinctively performed it. I didn’t understand exactly what it was about, but I felt it. The teachers seemed almost shocked and I won the competition. They made me do it again the next day.’ 

Source: ‘The Seriously Handsome Toby Stephens’, Spectator,  Mary Wakefield

"I think we all as human beings go through periods of disillusionment with life, with humanity”

“I suppose I would like to be remembered as a decent human being who represented humanity truthfully. In a nutshell!” 

“Death’s an abstracted idea until a certain point where it begins to become more focused and more real and more concrete. I think the older you get, certainly in our civilisation here, the more people you experience dying. It’s just the way it is. And so it makes it much more real.” 

Source: ‘The Big Interview: Toby Stephens’, Official London Theatre, 

"I blub all the time, in the most weird situations – not in the ones that should make me cry. Music makes me very emotional. I think I cried yesterday, in fact." 

Source: ‘This Much I Know, Toby Stephens’, Guardian, July 2010

"Well, I turned 40 recently and I can understand how the confidence of one’s youth disappears. There’s a Talking Heads song called ‘Once in a Lifetime’ that has the line: ‘Where is my beautiful car?’ It communicates a lot of those feelings. Luckily, I spent my 40th birthday at a lovely dinner with very good friends – no dramas!" 

Source: ‘Keeping It Real’, Lucillehowe.com, 2010

"I wish I could do something else, I really do, but this is the only thing I’ve ever been any good at." 

Source: ‘Of Course I’d Act with My Mother’, London Times, 2010

My wife did it once [googled his name] and it freaked us out so much that I don’t any more.  I have a friend who does it a lot and he’s just constantly being upset.  Ignorance is total bliss.  I like going around pretending everybody loves me.”

Source: ‘A Big Ask’, Gabriel Tate 

“I’m pathetic and I’ll cry anywhere, any time.  Its the cause of great embarrassment.”

“Most afraid of not working.”

“My big hatred is littering so I would impose an one the spot punishment and make litterers wear a sign saying I am a lazy slob.”

Last listened to:

“Brian Eno’s ‘Plateaux of Mirror’, which I put on when I’ve drunk too much coffee.  Its very mellow.”

Save from a fire: 

“My heavily pregnant wife Anna-Louise and my two kids.”

Most like wearing:

“My double breasted navy coat from Tin House in Norfolk.”

“I’m in Norfolk at the moment and we’re staying in an old lighthouse.  I recently took my wife to Paris for a romantic break and we spent last Christmas in Venice, which is so atmospheric when the sea mists are rolling in.”

“I was recently in a lift with a mother and her daughter and they were complimenting me on my work.  Just before we got out they said, ‘And what’s your wife Helen doing’.  They thought I was Damian Lewis who is married to Helen McCrory.  In the end I went along with it and just said ‘She’s very busy at the moment’”.

“Got arrested in LA for stealing bubble gum when I was about six.”

Source: ‘My London’ : Toby Stephens, Hannah Nathanson, 

“I try to avoid travelling with my children.  They’re at that age when it’s a nightmare.  My wife and I are good at creating time away - even if its just a weekend - we have to for our own sanity.  Venice is our favourite destination.  We spent our honeymoon at the Hotel Cipriani.”

“I am obsessed with really good colognes and scents.  I like to smell nice after a long flight.  I love anything by Comme des Garcons.”

“I don’t have a huge skin regime but I do like Aesop facial oil, because its natural.  The older you get the rougher you look so you need to take care of yourself.”

“Running is great because you can do it anywhere.  So I always pack my new balance trainers.  The only place I didn’t manage a run was India - everyone thinks your insane.” 

“My wife gave me a Bell and Ross watch for my 40th birthday.  I’m never without it.  It’s made by the same company that creates dials for French fighter jets.” 

“On a flight I catch up on my reading.  It’s mainly fiction - I loved the ‘Line of Beauty’ by Alan Hollinghurst but I’m very selective.”

Source: BA In flight magazine

"If I ever read that actors know what they’re doing, they are either immensely successful movie stars or they are just lying.”

Source: Western Mail

“I absolutely support the Standard’s campaign [Dispossessed Fund]. I live in Tower Hamlets, which is one of the poorest boroughs in London, and it is also very near Hackney, where there is knife and gun crime. Anything that remedies it, or seeks to remedy it, is a good thing.

“I’ve never been in court. My father-in-law is a criminal barrister and I’ve been to watch him once but that’s the only experience of it so it was fascinating to act in front of the great and the good of the legal profession.”

Source: Evening Standard

TOBY ON LONDON:

“Home is East London near Spitalfields.  Earliest memory is being taken for walks by my nanny in Battersea Park and looking up at the huge blue gas towers and smelling the malt from the brewery that used to be there.”

“Walk as much as possible to avoid the Tube which is terrible and overpriced.”

“I go to John Sa doe in Chelsea for books because it’s like something out of a Dickens novel with its little corridors.  Folk, in the Old Truman Brewery, for unusual but well made shirts.  A lovely perfumery in Belgravia called Les Senteurs for unique colognes and perfumes that don’t take your head off.  St John Bread and Wine for Eccles cakes and brownies.  I like to browse the records in Rough Trade East.”

“Galvin La Chapelle, off Bishopsgate.  During the week its filled with obnoxious bankers, but its lovely and quiet at the weekend.”

“Triple shot lattes in small cups from Nude Espresson on Hanbury Street E1”

“Cheshire Street off Brick Lane.  I go window shopping there with my son and we stand outside the toy shop and fantasise over which mechanical robot wed like to take home.”

Most romantic place:

“Two temple place by the Inns of Court.  Its where we had our wedding reception.”

Best kept secret:

“Bunhill Fields Cemetery, off Old Street,where William Blake is buried.  Its an oasis of peace.”

Little known fact:

“My neighbour, the historian Dan Cruickshank told me that the Shakespearean actor Richard Burbage is buried in a vault in a church on Shoreditch Hight Street.”

Source: ‘’My London : Toby Stephens, Hannah Nathanson, 

TOBY ON HIS FAMILY

“At the moment, I’m working and she’s working and we have 2 children so it’s complicated but often one of us isn’t working.”

“My parents didn’t actively discourage me, but that was a different time.  If my children showed an interest I’d push them towards university so they’d have a back-up.  Acting is overpopulated now and everything is precarious.”  

Source: ‘Acting the part’

“I don’t live life in the public eye.   That’s why I’ll never act with my mother.  I’d maybe do a film, but not a play, because much as I’d love to work with Mum - she’s an amazing actress - it would become about something other than acting and I find all that a bit naff.”

“I didn’t really know her at drama school.  I mean, she’s six foot one with curly hair so you couldn’t exactly miss her, but I had my head up my own arse then.  I only cared about what I was cast in, whether I’d get an agent and so on.”

“There are worse things, and it forced me to watch my mother as a performer and understand that she is two people, the mother I know in a domestic situation and the one who does what I do now, who is somebody else.  Any child who goes into a parent’s workplace has to realise that.”

Source: ‘Toby or not Toby’, Metropolitan Magazine, Eurostar

On take his son Eli to the Old Vic Theatre where Stephens was playing in ‘The Real Thing’:

“He was totally mystified. He thinks work is digging holes.“ 

"I was obsessed by the fact that she was dressed up in odd outfits, kissing some strange man. It was embarrassing, very disconcerting.”

“It’s not very healthy, as I’m sure my mother would testify." 

"I would hate to feel that I had some sort of innate right to belong. My parents’ world, that old school hierarchy, has gone. Everyone’s all mixed up now, and, because of that, theatre is finally exciting again. People want to see something real. As an actor, you take your humanity and you put it on stage. You make people look at themselves and say, 'Thank God I’m not alone.’" 

"Sir Laurence Olivier was sweet to me, but later he was struggling and couldn’t remember who anybody was. He had been close to my mother and my father, then got fed up with them both. He was frightened of people coming up behind him or stealing his limelight. He saw both my parents as a threat." 

"We occasionally visited the Oliviers on a Sunday. There’d be loads of people there. I was always so terrified, I would just clam up. I wasn’t swanning around being precocious, I was hunkering in the corner. People would have thought, 'Who’s the spotty kid with the red hair?’ I wasn’t doing myself any favours." 

"People talk about my family as if it were a dynasty. But it was never like something out of a Noel Coward play, with everyone going, 'Oh, dahling!’ and serving up theatrical anecdotes for breakfast." 

"I don’t worry about not being as good as them. All I can aspire to do is to have the same incredible drive as my mother, never sitting back on great reviews, always seeking to improve. All people tell me about my father is how amazing he was in things they saw, but that’s not a pressure. It’s lovely never to hear anyone say a bad word about him.”

"I told him it was fine for an older, more sophisticated actor, but in our production Coriolanus had to be a young man. He did accept it in the end, after a bit of harrumphing." 

Source: ‘Home and Dry’, London Times, July 2010

"Now I have children I live the most domestic mundane life." 

"I sort of dread them doing it. I guess my parents must have been the same about me; there’s no guarantee you’re going to be any good at it or that the industry is going to be kind to you. My instinct is to protect them and say, do something else. But then if that’s what they want to do I’m not going to stop them.” 

"Naff. She really is amazing. I’m so immensely proud of her as an actress, she is extraordinary. Also what I love is that I have two separate lives. I have my professional life and I have my personal life and I really like that separation.” 

"My brother only took a stage name because there was a male stripper in Holland who was a member of Equity who had the name Chris Stephens, so he was forced into choosing another name. No, I didn’t. I certainly didn’t want to hide away from it.” 

"When we found out about it, it was … I mean obviously you immediately go 'oh my God, that could mean, you know …’ Luckily it wasn’t, she is in the clear. But obviously you go, that death is one of the possibilities and she must have gone through that process as well.”

Source: ‘The Big Interview: Toby Stephens’, Official London Theatre, 

"I’ve learnt an enormous amount from my children. Mostly that my agenda isn’t the most important thing in the world. For a while I was trying to squeeze them into my life. And it was such torment! It makes you realise how selfish you are." 

"The smallest audience I’ve ever performed to is my three-year-old son on the way to nursery. I’ll be babbling to myself in the car and he’ll suddenly say: 'Daddy, are you running lines again?’" 

"I didn’t know my blood father that well, but my parents taught me that what I do is a job. It’s a craft, something you have to work at. My mother taught me that you never deliver a perfect performance. I’m constantly tweaking and fiddling with roles.”

Source: ‘This Much I Know’, Toby Stephens, Guardian, July 2010

"It’s not something you’d do lightly. It would be a … situation. I’d love to learn from her. I also would be very seriously intimidated. I wouldn’t flatter myself that it would be enough, but if that’s what got her back on the stage, I’d do it in an instant." 

I’d be going, 'Why is she talking like that, why is she dressed up, who is she kissing?’ Looking back I am as amazed by her as everybody else. She had the most incredible, rarefied time of it on stage.” 

"It was terrifying for all of us. Your foundations go.” 

“I was completely lost. Having lost two fathers I kept saying: 'Oh God, please, not yet, just a little more time.’" 

"I was very lucky. Beverley was my mother’s sweetheart from an earlier time and a wonderful father in ways that Robert, bless him, just could not be.” 

"Robert was very ill, it’s no secret, with alcohol. I watched him die in the most … the most gradual … I mean it was not an easy process. But his legacy is sometimes incredibly reductive. Actors come up to me going: 'God, your father could drink.’ And I say – 'I am aware. Yet you neglect to say that he did things nobody else can do with Shakespeare.’ He was extraordinary. He was many things, and he influenced me enormously." 

Source: ‘Of Course I’d Act with My Mother’, London Times, 

"Having kids certainly means you can’t obsess about your career the way you used to, which I think is healthy. But inevitably, when you become a father, you reference your own past. What makes me really sad is that neither Eli nor Tallulah will have an experience of their grandfather. And a lot of what I know about Robert is apocryphal, because I was four when he left and I didn’t see him for a long time. And inevitably, people are very reductive about him: 'Oh, he was a great actor but he liked a drink!’ Whenever I have any dealings with my son, I am aware that he walked away from us. I look at my situation and know I couldn’t even dream of doing that. But those were choices that Robert made in a context I can’t know. I’m incredibly lucky: I’m in a different place to where he was. I’m a different person.”

"To look at my mother with an objective eye and see how incredible it is what she does. Because purely selfishly I’d like to see her in something new, and also because I know it makes her happy." 

Source: ‘It’ll Be Weird to Be Here with My Family History,’ Evening Standard

 "No, not really, I wasn’t an extrovert. My brother did try to put on plays, but I didn’t like the limelight. He’d be the director, and he’d try to get me to perform, but I’d be paralysed with stage fright and refuse to come on." 

Source: ‘The Seriously Handsome Toby Stephens’, Spectator, 

"My parents would read almost anything – from trashy novels to highbrow ones. But I tend to be a bit of a snob, so I don’t do anything too trashy." 

Source: ‘My Life in Books, Toby Stephens’, Easy Living, 

"My mother’s an amazing role model. Having famous parents can put a lot of pressure on kids, but she taught me that, underneath it all, it’s just a job, a way of earning a crust, and it’s not about fame and notoriety, it’s about craft and practice." 

"I was waiting for a plane in Johannesburg, and a Scots woman came up to me and asked if my mum was all right. She was a stranger, but she felt this empathy with her because she’s moved people – it’s not a showbiz thing, it’s a deeper connection than that." 

"I was only three or four at the time, so I didn’t know what was going on. But looking back, they were hailed as the new Olivier and Leigh, and it must have been so hard for them in that goldfish bowl. I’m just relieved that I don’t have to live that way.”

Source: ‘In a Taxi with…Toby Stephens’, Daily Mail, 

I would probably get something to eat.  Screw the National Gallery and all that!  I get so little time because of the kids that I love those moments when you can just have breakfast, read the paper….”

Source: ‘A big Ask’

TOBY ON HIS CAREER & THEATRE

“Filming is rotten for your health. If you’re on set all day, you’re not going to get home at 9pm and go for a jog. When I go home I try and clean up and be a bit fascistic about my diet for a couple of weeks. Lose the pounds, go to the gym.”

“I hate hanging around. The big joke as an actor is you’re “resting between parts”. It’s not funny if you’re an out-of-work actor. You want to work and I love work.  Each job is a little pod in itself and very fulfilling, then you move on to another one which is completely different.”

Source: ‘Inside Track’

"I went through periods of wanting to be a doctor or a pilot, but I was too thick to become any of them." 

“Seaford College was full of farmer’s children. You didn’t really go round saying you wanted to be an actor." 

"Anyway, if they made a film of ‘Jane Eyre’, they’d want Russell Crowe, not me.”

"I enjoy that moment when I come off stage and don’t go for a drink. The drinking after a show is about trying to keep something alive that is gone. Actually, I love the fact that it has gone.”

Source: ‘Home and Dry’, London Times, July 2010

“I’m totally cool with it. I chose this profession. I think I entered into it naively, thinking it wasn’t going to be a preoccupation, but inevitably it is because they are in it and my mother is very much evident in this industry and I can’t hide from it. Turning up to interviews and saying 'yeah you know what, I’m not talking about my parents’ it makes it into some sort of issue like I’m embarrassed about it or ashamed. I’m not, I’m immensely proud of iit.” 

"It was basically the only thing I could do. It was also the way I, strangely, could express myself, through other people’s writing. Giving voice to these characters, making these characters into human beings that are believable, that was what I was fascinated in doing and I still am; I love doing it.” 

"There’s a lot of theatre I really like at the moment, and there’s a lot that I don’t like. If you don’t like that kind of theatre, take responsibility rather than just moan about it.”

"Performing at the Donmar allowed me to develop as an actor. I think before working at the Donmar I was a different type of actor and I think what happened to me when I worked at the Donmar was revelatory really. Because there you can’t hide, the audience is on top of you. I think a lot of actors hide behind various smokescreens of affectation and there you can’t. The difficult thing is letting go of it, and the Donmar is the perfect venue to do that.” 

Source: ‘The Big Interview: Toby Stephens’, Official London Theatre,

"Most actors do stuff they’re not proud of to pay the bills – and the good thing is that they do the best they can on it. You know: I’m going to polish this turd and I’m going to make it as shiny as I possibly can." 

"It’s not out of choice that I play so many historical characters. After 'Pride & Prejudice’ happened, anyone who looked or spoke in a certain way was shunted into doing that sort of stuff.” 

“Actors don’t listen to each other. You’re so obsessed with what you’re saying or doing that the other person could be talking in Swahili and you wouldn’t know.”  

Source: ‘This Much I Know, Toby Stephens’, Guardian, July 2010

“I don’t want to do the same thing over and over again,”

Source: Leicester Mercury

“Every job you go on is with a new character, a new group of people and a new script, which is wonderful.  You create these relationships and then move on.  But it’s also the worst thing because you never low what’s round the corner.  Very insecure, but extremely exciting.”

“I auditioned for Neil LaBute, and the casting director said, ‘Neil has a problem with British people playing American parts, so can you pretend that you’re American?’  So I spent this sleepless night thinking: where the fuck do I come from?  So I made-up this story about coming from Pittsburgh where my family made shoes or something.  I worked with Neil later on, and he told me that he’d known all along because he’d seen me in a play.  So there was this ridiculous double-bluff going on.  But it taught me a great lesson.”

Source: ‘A Big Ask’

"I’m not nearly that titanically brilliant off-script.  What I love about acting is that it allows you to articulate things you couldn’t readily say in normal life. In Coriolanus, I could be this eternally confrontational character, for instance. I’m not saying it’s therapy. It’s a strange, instinctive understanding of human behaviour that can be quite manipulative.”

Source: ‘Talking to…Toby Stephens’, London Times, April 2010

"We all want to stop the voices in our heads, don’t we, the ones that criticise and question us? Well, when you get a perfect moment on stage, the voices in your head are silenced, which is what we all want really, isn’t it?" 

"The reason I do it, the heart of it all, is that every so often, during some rare performances on stage, there’s a moment when you lose yourself completely. It’s amazing. The audience feel it too — well, it’s their focus that takes you there. And those moments are sublime. I can’t explain it very well, but it’s as if everything suddenly comes together and you’re able to pour yourself completely into the part as if it’s a vessel. It’s a very strange thing to do, but it’s…well, it’s my function, it’s what I love, it’s what I do." 

"It’s amazing. The audience feel it too - well it’s their focus that takes you there. And those moments are sublime. I can’t explain it very well, but it’s as if everything comes together and you’re able to pour yourself completely into the part as if it’s a vessel. It’s a very strange thing to do, but it’s…well, it’s my function, it’s what I love, it’s what I love, it’s what I do.”

Source: ‘The Seriously Handsome Toby Stephens’, Spectator,

“Theatre does not pay well, and sometimes I think, 'God, forget art, I just want to earn enough money not to lie awake at nights going 'shit’ all the time’. But I keep telling myself I am happy, and I don’t think super successful Hollywood types are. They end up living a monstrous, monomaniacal life.” 

“Great daredevil act that you’ll get too constipated with terror to do anything." 

"I mean these people trying to sell you 3-D TVs. Imagine it: sitting, eating your TV dinner with your f***ing 3-D glasses on. What insanity are we talking? ‘Avatar’ says quite literally nothing to me. Theatre is experiencing a really exciting, energetic time now, because it’s so satisfying to see real human beings in front of you and not some 3-D virtual sh**.”

"Yes and no. A lot of theatre felt quite tired then. It had this atmosphere of being a bit fusty, musty and middle class. My mother started in revue, a child of vaudeville, and was taken on by Olivier. When she came in it was all Noël Coward, everybody smoking cigarettes and isn’t it marvellous darling. The National and the Old Vic shook things up with these experimental productions — people like Ingmar Bergman, Franco Zeffirelli, Bill Gaskill and a 24-year-old Peter Hall opening ‘Waiting for Godot’. Extraordinary times.” 

"I love what I do. I absolutely love being here." 

Source: ‘Of Course I’d Act with My Mother’, London Times, 2010

"A lot of people see going to the theatre like rocking up at the cinema, and it’s not. They have mobile phones they leave on, they arrive late and want to get a drink in too. But at least people are coming to see us." 

"The theatre is much more challenging than film, where casting is really unimaginative. Filming is tedious … it’s a grind. You have to maintain focus all day in case you’re suddenly called to set, so it’s not like you can switch off. In the theatre your day begins at about 4pm, which is a bit difficult when you’ve got kids. Then, it’s about being in the moment and remembering everything you’ve rehearsed." 

Source: ‘Keeping It Real’, Lucillehowe.com, 2010

"There’s a twinge of course, but it’s in my pocket more than anything – a job like that would pay the mortgage or the school fees. No, I’d like to keep it at the 'I’ve seen you in something, not sure what’ level. Having a life and being grounded is really important to me. In this business, especially for guys, you can become so obsessed with where you’re at and where you think you should be that you get angry and screwed-up, and forget to value what you have.”

"I guess theatre’s my creative engine. Television doesn’t really stimulate me in the same way, plus there’s such a circus surrounding all of that – what premieres or parties you’re seen at, what magazines you can bag the cover of. I feel I can’t live up to any of that. I get embarrassed by myself. I can’t actually watch ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. I’m hiding behind the sofa; I can’t cope with people humiliating themselves in that way. And that’s what the exposure of myself feels like to me." 

"In this business you can become so obsessed with where you think you should be that you forget to value what you have”

Source: ‘In a Taxi with…Toby Stephens’, Daily Mail, 2010

“That’s the difference between stage and film, or rather TV, given that we don’t have much of a film industry in Britain, or at least one I’m involved in. On TV a lot of stuff isn’t well written. You spend a lot of time trying to polish a turd. Whereas in theatre you usually don’t have to expend all that energy selling the thing, because the writing is superior." 

Source: ‘It’ll Be Weird to Be Here with My Family History’, Evening Standard

I’m not nearly that titanically brilliant off-script.  What I love about acting is that it allows you to articulate things you couldn’t readily say in normal life.  In 'Coriolanus’ I could be this eternally confrontational character, for instance.  I’m not saying it’s therapy.  It’s a strange instinctive understanding of human behaviour that can be quite manipulatively.”  

“Try as I might, I seem unable to get out of theatre.  I’ve never played the Old Vic before.  I was literally a baby when my parents were here under Olivier, but that’s part of the reason I’m hoping we pull it off.  I hope we do the theatre proud because it’s a magical building, and when you see that right product and the hairs on the back of your neck go up it’s an incredible feeling.  You can’t get it anywhere else.  It’s irreducible.”

Source: Lucy Powell talking to Toby Stephens

“That’s what acting is, playing different parts”

“I want to be on stage, serve a play well, try to replicate human behaviour.  Theatre is a learning process.  It’s about trying to fool people into believing they’re watching a real situation, a real person.  Film is more about personalities, which is also difficult but different.  You don’t ask Jack Nicholson to be anything other than Jack Nicholson.”

Source: ‘Toby or not Toby’, Metropolitan Magazine, Eurostar

“What I find bizarre is that the theatre is always there for me.  20 years ago I thought people were moving away from that.  If someone has said that to me ten years ago, that it would the be the bedrock for me, I would have laughed at them because I thought it was on the way out - but ironically people arc coming back to that.”

Source: ‘Acting the part’

TOBY ON THE IAN CHARLESON AWARD

"At the risk of sounding crass, the best thing about this prize is the cash. As a young actor - or certainly as a young stage actor, which is what this prize rewards - you’re not earning much, so a cheque for £5,000 really does make a huge difference. I remember that, beforehand, I had been getting quite desperate: after winning, I subsisted on it for quite a while.”

TOBY ON HOLLYWOOD

“The strangest thing about Hollywood is that you actually have to lie! When someone asks what you’ve been doing, you can’t just say, 'Well, I’ve been dossing around for six months.’ You have to say, 'I’ve been making this really interesting little movie.’ The whole town is run by producers who are just in it for the money. And they make bad movies because they don’t want to risk anything. They won’t risk losing money so they end up making boring films. The whole thing is a fiction, I mean the whole town! It shouldn’t even be there, it’s built on a desert!" 

"Trying to crack Hollywood nearly killed me. It’s such a strange world full of phony people. You have to pretend to be really hot shit all the time. You’re constantly in this weird state where the end of the rainbow keeps receding. There’s success all around you — fancy cars, posters of big-budget movies — but you can’t get at it. And you learn the language of false hope. It means that when people say, 'You’re in the mix for this one,’ that actually translates as: 'You’ve got no chance.’”

Source: ‘The Seriously Handsome Toby Stephens’, Spectator, July 2010

There was a time when I thought, yeah I want to go out to LA and do a big TV series or get into movies, but now I’ve got kids and Im a homebody, I like bing in London.  But don’t hold me to that, because if I was offered something….:”

Source:’Cop duo wont let crime get in the way’

TOBY ON JAMES BOND

“Every schoolboy’s secret longing! You can’t turn down the chance to be in a Bond movie, can you? And I do love playing baddies, they’re more…interesting." 

Source: ‘The Seriously Handsome Toby Stephens’, Spectator, July 2010

“Too unlikely to take seriously — a baddie and Bond? I think not." 

“Exceedingly silly but great fun; the movie industry has so little imagination. I’d just end up replicating the same English cad. So I backed away from it.” 

Source: ‘Of Course I’d Act with My Mother’, London Times, 2010

“A bit of an aberration”

Source: Daily Mail

“It was a blast, like a strange holiday, and then I went back to my normal life.”

Source: ‘Cop duo wont let crime get in the way’

TOBY ON HERO’S

"If I was to meet Lou Reed or Bob Dylan, I would be totally helpless. Writers and musicians make me feel completely starstruck. Once I did a read-through in front of Ted Hughes and mauled his text so much I could see him twitching.” 

Source: ‘This Much I Know - Toby Stephens’, Guardian, July 2010

“Brilliant musicians or songwriters.  Someone like Miles Davis or Bob Dylan.  I’d probably come away hating them - never meet your heroes.”

Source: ‘A Big Ask’

TOBY ON BOOKS

“I absolutely loved ‘Wolf Hall’. I’m intrigued by Henry VIII. He was an utter selfish shit, but you can see why everyone wanted to be around him – people were magnetised. I’m fascinated by those kinds of characters." 

Source: ‘This Much I Know - Toby Stephens’, Guardian, July 2010

"My reading has ground to a halt of late, because we have two small children and I’m so tired I can’t focus on anything past seven o'clock in the evening. But, recently, I was filming in South Africa, which afforded me time to read. I gobbled this up; it totally grabbed me. Mantel is brilliant at being able to give real texture to the past; you feel you’re there; that you understand these people. It was a present, together with one of her earlier novels, ‘A Place of Greater Safety’, about the French Revolution, which could not be more apposite, as after ‘The Real Thing’, I’m doing ‘Danton’s Death’, the play, at the National Theatre. So it’s become slightly 'set text,’ but I am managing to fit it in between changing nappies.

American Pastoral’ by Philip Roth 

“It’s not a big book, but it’s huge in its themes, and I think it’s my favourite Roth. I’ve read all of his novels, and I find him hit or miss, but when he hits, he really hits home. I think this articulates everything Roth had been trying to say about his sense of identity, his Jewishness, the American Dream and how it goes so wrong for the protagonist: it’s utterly tragic and compelling. It’s one of the greatest modern American novels. I couldn’t put it down, and when I did, I felt it had moved me on somewhere beyond where I was before.” 

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ by Hunter S. Thompson

“This came to me in my twenties, out of the blue, and knocked me sideways. I remember reading it on trains and thinking other passengers must think me insane as I was laughing so much. I love Thompson’s visceral, funny writing style and how it really captures a time in history. I was evangelical about this book for a while and kept insisting people read it." 

“'Moby Dick’ is a big guy’s book. It’s like the Old Testament in scope, but there’s a simplicity to the plot, and the irrevocable, tragic path that this man is on- his monomania is a very male thing. I found it totally compelling - aside from the very, very boring bit in the middle, about what the whales look like! Skip that, because this is an amazing read and has at its heart a very human tale. You know it’s an old classic, but when you’re in the midst of it, it feels present, fresh, and so real.”  

Tom Jones’ by Henry Fielding 

“My stepfather told me I should read this because it’s wonderful, and I remember thinking, 'But it’s such an old book.’ I was just blown away by the humour - it’s hilarious - and its sauciness and bawdiness. I read it in my teenage years, when I was becoming obsessed by sex and women, so it was perfect because it’s so hand-on-hip and has such thigh-slapping gusto. It is a satire, there is a Hogarthian element to it, but it has this jovial goodness of spirit that is so engaging. It has a lust for life in all its glory; it says, 'This is life - and it’s wonderful.’ I love it still.”  

‘The Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Graham

“This is one of those books that become part of you. Ratty, Toad, and Mole became so entrenched in my imagination that, no matter how many times I see it on stage or an animation, it never fulfills how I perceive them in my mind. It changes the way I saw rivers and big old country houses. It’s so much of its time, and there’s this innocence to it, which I love, this idyll of a past England; in later life we can be cynical about it, but in childhood, it’s so lovely to believe in it.”  

Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll

“I was five when this was read to me, but it wasn’t until I was 11 that I came to love it - when I claimed it for myself. It’s so wonderfully imaginative and weird. I long to read it to my children, but I have to hold myself back. I think it’s important to pass on your literary heritage, but if they don’t like it, that’s fine - getting on with a book is a chemical thing. The number of times I’ve tried to read Dickens…I just can’t get on with him. I’m really keen for them to read it for themselves. It might be great for me to do these finely wrought performances, but they might not enjoy them as much as I do!" 

“A sense of humanity. All the great plays and novels remind us who we are, and that we’re not alone. As an audience or reader, I respond to art that makes me say, 'You know how I feel. You’ve revealed to me what I already know in my heart of hearts.’ And I want to give that to the audience." 

Source: ‘My Life in Books, Toby Stephens’, Easy Living, June 2010

“Christopher Hitchen’s autobiograhy, ‘Hitch-22’ .  I’m fascinated by him - I admire him but I’m not sure that I like him.”

Source: ‘A Big ask’

TOBY ON DRINKING

"It was awful, there was no excuse for it. I had to buy her [Dame Diana Rigg] flowers and crawl down to her dressing room, literally on my hands and knees. It was the beginning of knowing I couldn’t go on like that. I had this sense of my father not having achieved what he might have done because of drinking, and I didn’t want it for me. I didn’t want it for him, either." 

"I look at actors now and they’re all totally ripped - the young guys in my cast are all incredibly fit. It’s so tough to get on in this job. People have to look after themselves and be sharp. You can’t turn up half-cut to do a performance.”  

“All that romantic, living-on-the-edge stuff is a load of crap. People talk about Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole - imagine how much better they would have been if they hadn’t had a bottle of vodka." 

Source: ‘Home and Dry’, London Times, July 2010

"A big drinker ever since I started. I had given up for a year, but when Robert died I stupidly thought: 'Sod it, I might as well.’ I can’t have just one. It’s a chemical thing. It’s such agony to stop I’d rather not start. It’s hard enough in this profession without sabotaging yourself. There’s this stupid romantic notion about it, but I guarantee, drinking does not make good acting.” 

Source: ‘Of Course I’d Act with My Mother’, London Times, 2010

“Raises its head in the most banal situations. But I don’t obsess about it like I used to. It’s a choice not to drink. I know I don’t want to go down that route again. I’ve got too much to lose." 

Source: ‘It’ll Be Weird to Be Here with My Family History’, Evening Standard,

“In the old days I used to stay agents in a restaurant ordering bottles of wine and brandy but because I couldn’t do that any more it was all a bit functional.  I’d eat and say, right bill please, so my wife, who drinks like a normal person was constantly getting indigestion.  I was very jumpy, it’s a wonder she stuck around.”

Source: ‘Toby or not Toby’, Metropolitan Magazine, Eurostar

“I used to be of the type who takes a vice to the hilt.  I was a heavy drinker.  It got to the point of being very scary.  It was mainly drink but also anything that was going, one thing leads to another and so on.  I was quite robust then fortunately but there was a point where my liver blew up and I knew I had to do something about it.”  

“Im very dogged, I do something totally or I don’t.  When I gave up booze it was intensely hard for a few weeks and tough for a year, but I’d made up my mind.”

“I haven’t drunk for ten years now.  Once I make a decision its like flicking a switch.” 

“My only vice now is coffee.  Lots of it.  I’d rather do that than anything else.  Every morning I go to a local cafe that does a mean espresso and I drink triple shots often two back to back.  They think it’s hilarious there.  My wife has suffused I cut down because I can get a bit jumpy.”

“It can be a bummer not opening a bottle of wine.  I don’t have that stress reliever choice that most people reach for.  Exercise is good, unleashing all those endorphins.  You have to have something.”

Source: ‘The inside track’

Captain Britain Joining The MCU. Give Me Fucking Strength - Quill’s Scribbles

You know there are some points in my life where a person or a movie studio does something so stupid and moronic that my only response is… what the fuck are you doing?

DC, what the fuck are you doing?

Marvel, what the fuck are you doing?

Kevin Feige… what the fuck are you doing?!

Yes, apparently Marvel Studios are considering putting Captain Britain into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Something I’m sure every comic book fan in the land has been crying out for. Now I’m sure you’re wondering what I, a British person, may think of this. Do I feel patriotic? Proud that such a ‘beloved’ British icon is going to be part of the MCU?

Yeah, I can’t say I’m excited about the prospect and the reason is because… um… how do I put this?… Captain Britain is quite possibly the dumbest thing to ever come out of Marvel (and I’m including Howard The Duck).

Captain Britain was created by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe to be the British equivalent of Captain America. But whereas Captain America took off and became a relatively integral part of the American comics industry, Captain Britain never had quite the same impact with us Brits. In fact in contrast with Captain America, he’s actually a very obscure character. While he does have his fans (very few fans), most people have either never heard of him or, like me, can’t stand the fucking sight of him, finding the character to be more patronising than patriotic.

There’s a number of reasons why Captain Britain never took off, but first let’s quickly sum up his backstory. Brian Braddock (smirk) was born into an aristocratic family in Essex and educated at Fettes College In Edinburgh. Because his family were no longer rich enough to fraternise with their academic peers, Brian was a quiet and lonely child because he was too proud to fraternise with the lower classes (and I’m sure we in the lower classes were eternally grateful for that, you stuck up git). After his parents, Sir James and Lady Elizabeth (oh I do beg your pardon) die in a laboratory accident, Brian gets a job at a nuclear facility at Darkmoor. When this facility is attacked by a terrorist, Brian gets on his motorcycle (a motorcycle? Oh come now! Surely that’s far too lower class for him. Shouldn’t he be riding a horse and cart? Pip, pip! Tally ho chaps! We’ll give the ruffians what for!) and goes looking for help only to then crash and get seriously injured (you had one job! That’s you off the Queen’s Christmas card list). He is then saved by Merlyn (yes, that Merlin) and is offered the chance to become Captain Britain. He’s asked to choose between the Amulet of Right (pffft) and the Sword of Might (tee hee). Brian chooses the amulet and he transforms into the champion of Great Britain, fighting for Queen and country and all that is pre-shrunk and cottony… Oh no, wait. That’s from Captain Underpants. Have you ever read Captain Underpants? It’s a brilliant series of books. Very funny. Did you know that DreamWorks are doing a movie adaptation? I’m very excited! :D

Now you may have noticed that I wasn’t really taking this seriously. And really, how could I? It sounds more like a parody of Captain America. But no. Apparently we’re supposed to be taking this very seriously. So come on. Let’s be serious about this for a moment. No! Stop sniggering! Control yourselves, please! This could very well be the next big thing in the MCU.

Originally posted by yourreactiongifs

As I said, there are many reasons why Captain Britain never really took off. The most glaring example being how stereotypical it is. He comes from an aristocratic family. He went to a boarding school. It’s incredibly painful. He’s one step away from spending Sunday afternoons playing croquet in the grounds and sipping tea in the gazebo before retiring to his four poster bedroom where his butler will give him a glass of port as a nightcap and remind him to get up early in the morning so he won’t be late for a spot of fox hunting with the chaps from Grantham House. I mean Jesus Christ!

Another big reason why Captain Britain doesn’t work is because we don’t really have the same relationship to our flag and our country as the Americans do. Oh sure we can be patriotic on occasion, such as on remembrance days or royal events, but America takes it to a whole other level. Americans love their country. They love their flag. They’re proud to be Americans. To the point where they even have laws dictating how you should take care of your flag. You can actually get punished for not cleaning your flag properly. In some states it’s illegal to wash your flag in a washing machine because it’s disrespectful. That’s insane! Like… it’s just a piece of cloth! Calm down! Brits, generally speaking, don’t have that kind of relationship. In fact kind of the opposite. We often mock our country and view it with a certain amount of disdain. The only people who feel truly patriotic about Britain are the royalists and other such nutters. People who passionately believe that Britain is the best country in the world, who love the Royal family and harken back to the UK’s glorious yesteryears (which never actually existed). While both Captain America and Captain Britain are both equally dumb ideas, I can see why Americans would be drawn to Captain America. An American patriot who stands for American ideals and wears the American flag across his chest with pride. Captain Britain on the other hand, with his Union Jack and his Amulet of Right, is more likely to produce snorts of laughter from us Brits.

But I’ll say one thing for Captain America. It may be a stupid idea and he may talk as though he has the Declaration of Independence shoved firmly up his arse, but at least he doesn’t act all high and mighty or try to lord it over everyone else. No. He fights for the common man and that’s largely because he was a common man himself. A wimpy kid off the streets of Brooklyn determined to become a soldier and fight the Nazis, wanting to protect his country from injustice. His inner strength, good will and patriotism is what made him a prime candidate for the Vita-Ray experiment and he represents an aspirational figure that kids can look up to. Captain Britain is precisely not that. In fact he represents what the majority of Brits actually hate. An overly privileged, upper class prick who has great power bestowed onto him despite the fact that he’s done very little to actually deserve it.

And that’s by far the biggest problem with Captain Britain. As a character, he just doesn’t appeal to us Brits. He’s above us and he sees himself as above us. We don’t want to see that. If we wanted to see that, we’d just watch BBC Parliament. Let me give you an idea of the kind of characters we in the UK love:

Derek Trotter, more commonly known as Del Boy, was the main protagonist of the hugely successful sitcom Only Fools & Horses and is arguably one of the most beloved characters in British culture today. A market trader and con man who sells hooky gear on the streets of Peckham and often gets into trouble due to his get rich quick schemes. 

Dave Lister, a vending machine repair man from the sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf. This lager drinking, curry loving slob ends up becoming the last surviving member of the human race and a Godlike figure to a new race of people that evolved from his pet cat. As the series progressed, he helped his robot Kryten break his programming and become fully independent, and it’s this that helps him to grow and mature to become the space hero he is now in the current series.

Victor Meldrew, from the sitcom One Foot In The Grave. A middle aged man forced into early retirement and having to find ways to pass the time, be it through peculiar hobbies or shouting at the weird events happening around him, much to the dismay of his wife Margaret.

Basil Fawlty, from the beloved sitcom Fawlty Towers, has become one of the most iconic characters in British culture. A traditionalist, right wing hotelier desperately seeking to raise his social status and to become successful, but is forced to work with people he absolutely despises, including his incompetent Spanish waiter Manuel.

Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet) is the main character of the sitcom Keeping Up Appearances. Housewife to her eternally suffering husband Richard, she’s a pompous snob desperately seeking to maintain the illusion that she’s wealthier and more socially important than she actually is. However her attempts to climb the social ladder are often ruined by her working class sisters or her senile father.

And finally, just to bring this back into the realm of comic books there’s:

John Constantine. The chain smoking, working class magician from Liverpool who fights dark supernatural forces on a regular basis and frequently has to make morally dubious choices, often resulting in the deaths of his friends and loved ones.

Now what do all of these characters have in common? They’re all underdogs. Working class. Losers. Idiots. Failures. Those are the types of characters we’re drawn to as a culture. The reason why I included so many sitcom characters is because I feel they perfectly demonstrate the difference between British and American culture. America is brimming with idealism and aspiration. The idea that anyone can become greater than their humble origins, and this is reflected in their culture. In most American movies and TV shows and comic books, the main character is often smarter, wittier, tougher and/or funnier than the audience, representing someone they can aspire to be like. Here in Britain, where our rigid class system is permanently ingrained into us at an early age, we mostly accept the fact we’re likely going to stay where we’re at for the rest of our lives and so our media reflects that by giving us characters that are in similar situations to us. The reason we identify with the likes of Constantine and Lister and Del Boy is because they operate on our level and share our problems and worries. They’re one of us. When Basil Fawlty and Hyacinth Bucket arrogantly disregard their working class roots and try to raise their social status, it’s funny when they fail because serve them right for looking down on us. But when Del Boy eventually becomes a millionaire at the end, we’re legitimately happy for him because we like the character, we want to see him succeed and we’re glad he managed to succeed without compromising who he is. And that’s why Captain Britain will never be accepted by us. He is above us and has power over us and we don’t like that. People with power and authority are to be mocked and shamed, not to be celebrated or aspired to be like.

The idea that Kevin Feige is even considering putting Captain Britain into the MCU for me proves what I’ve been saying about Marvel all along. That they don’t care about creating a coherent or entertaining universe, that they’re adding characters and storylines just for the sake of adding characters and storylines, and that Kevin Feige clearly doesn’t have the slightest fucking idea of what he’s doing. If he did, he honestly wouldn’t think Captain Britain would be a profitable or worthwhile project to pursue. I also feel extremely annoyed by all of this. Remember when Feige said we were definitely going to see an LGBT+ superhero appear in the MCU at some point in the next ten years? Or just recently when he said we were totes going to see Miles Morales’ Spider-Man show up in the MCU at some point in the future? All of these vague half-promises constantly pushed back to make way for more ‘important’ projects like an Ant-Man sequel, an Inhumans TV series or Captain fucking Britain.

Regardless of what your thoughts are on the state of the MCU right now, I think we can all agree that when you get to the stage when you’re seriously considering Captain Britain as a legitimately good idea… maybe it’s time to take a break and reevaluate just what the fuck it is you’re actually doing.

I've Got a Bad Case of Lovin' You (Kyungjeong one-shot)

Title: I’ve Got a Bad Case of Lovin’ You
Rating: T (language and implied sexual situations)
Pairing: Kyungil/Yijeong
Length: 1,800+
Notes: Um…. Hi.

~°~

Kyungil furrowed his brows and shifted in bed with an irritated moan, keeping his eyes shut against the light streaming in through the window. It sounded as if someone was waging a war in his bedroom, a war complete with spaceships and laser guns or whatever the hell that damnable zapping sound was. He moaned again and turned on his side, pulling the sheets over his head. It was loud and annoying and for some reason everything seemed louder and more annoying than usual. His squeezed his eyes tightly closed and realized that his head was throbbing, his body was aching, and he couldn’t breathe properly through his nose.

“Gotcha, sucker!”

At the voice, Kyungil slowly opened his eyes underneath his sheet-tent and after listening to another series of animatronic beeping noises, he sneezed. Then he groaned loudly, because it felt as if his head had just exploded.

“Kyungil-hyung?” The noises stopped and he took a deep breath, reveling in the silence despite his throbbing head. The sheets were pulled down and Kyungil growled softly, trying to shield his eyes from the sun, which was obviously an evil that was bent on blinding his already aching eyes.

“What?” he grumbled, attempting to burrow into his pillow. He felt a hand pressing his shoulder down so he couldn’t hide his face and then another one pushing his bangs aside to rest on his forehead. He was still for a minute since the hand was cool and soft and felt quite nice.

“You’re not as warm as before. I’m a better doctor than I thought!” Kyungil certainly felt much too warm yet at the same time too chilly. Finally he cracked his eyes open and focused blearily on none other than Jang Yijeong. Of course. Who else had the balls to be making such a racket in his room? Definitely not Jaeho since he scared the life out of the boy the last time he as much as dared step a foot inside Kyungil’s sacred dwelling.

“What are you doing here?” Kyungil asked grouchily, still foggy with sleep. Yijeong took his hand away and leaned down for a moment before straightening with an armful of the fluffy comforter that Kyungil must have kicked off sometime in his fitful sleep.

“You don’t remember last night?” Yijeong walked over to Kyungil’s chair and dropped the downy mass into it. Kyungil frowned. Chairs were for sitting, not for discarded bedding, especially bedding that could be to hide underneath from the satanic sunlight.

“No.”

“Really? Well, in that case, here’s what happened: we went clubbing then you got drunk off your ass and went onstage. Embarrassed yourself by singing some really bad karaoke and then we ended up back here and we had some really kinky sex which involved some rope, handcuffs, and a whip.”

Kyungil paused for a minute, processing what he had heard, a good amount of that didn’t seem right at all. “Uh… yeah,” Yijeong said, nodding quickly at himself before continuing on. “I figured you wouldn’t be too happy waking up tied to the bedposts, so I untied you when you passed out.” The older of the two stared at him, deadpanned. Yijeong was a terrible liar.

“Uh-huh. That’s real cute, Yijeong. Now stop bullshitting me and tell me what really happened.” Yijeong wasn’t even old enough to go into a club. Kyungil wasn’t one for clubs anymore, whenever his friends would invite him, he’d tend to turn them down more often than naught. Yijeong plopped down on the floor with a grin and picked up his video game controller—so that’s what was making that horrid noise—before continuing. “We went to dinner since everyone else was out, you got drunk off your ass and then took a walk afterwards, and of course it rained right in the middle, but we didn’t care so we got wet. You said something about kissing in the rain being horribly romantic.”

“I did not,” Kyungil objected. “I’d never say something stupid like that.”

“Did so.” Yijeong whined. Kyungil scoffed in return. “Well, then, it was your fault—you probably made me drink too much.”

Yijeong giggled into his hand, “Alcohol seems to bring out the true you,” the younger says with a cute smile. Kyungil sat up and promptly sneezed before he could get his retort out. He rubbed his nose and scowled, then sneezed again. He said something in a half-mumble, half-moan as he pulled the sheets up and slipped back down in his bed, giving Yijeong the evil eye.

“You got me sick,” he complained, then gestured with a finger. “Why’d you bring that crap in here?”

Yijeong spluttered. “You’re calling my PS4 crap?”

“It’s noisy. Have you no respect for the ill?”

“You know, I think I liked you better last night when you were all drunk and cute and stuck on kissing in the rain.”

“I’m sick and I have a hangover,” Kyungil lamented. “And you’re an idiot.”

“Sihyoung-hyung says hangovers aren’t so bad, just drink some more alcohol and you’ll be fine.”

“That would be something that asshole would say.” Kyungil buried himself under the covers, sniffing pathetically and cursing his stuffy nose. He half-expected his good-for-nothing boyfriend to resume playing his mindless video games, but instead he felt a hand poking at the sheets. Kyungil lowered them slightly and peered out, his face set in a frown.

“Is widdle Kyung-illie feeling sicky-wicky?” Yijeong asked innocently in baby talk. He was kneeling at the bedside and all Kyungil could see was his head staring at him with enormous coppery eyes. If it wasn’t for him not being at the top of his game and his terrible weakness for Yijeong’s puppy-dog eyes he would have punched the younger boy in his stupid cute baby face.

“Why aren’t you sick?” he asked crabbily.

“I have something called an immune system. It works really well when you don’t lock yourself in the dance studio at all hours of the day and night and try to live off coffee,” he scolded lightly, then his eyes lit up. “I know! I’ll make you soup.”

“Oh, please don’t,” Kyungil moaned, picturing the kitchen in flames, he assumed by how quiet it was outside of his room that no one was around to supervise Yijeong’s cooking. The younger had already trotted off, oblivious to Kyungil’s severe apprehension.

The dancer heard him rummaging through the pots and pans and apparently picking the heaviest one he could find, for it landed on the stove with a huge bang. Kyungil pondered pulling the sheets over his head again and simply attempting sleep in a blissfully ignorant state, but knowing that Yijeong was about to cook made it impossible to do that, since only visions of the dorm in flames is all he could think about when closing his eyes. So Kyungil dragged himself out of bed and trudged toward the kitchen.

“What are you doing up? You’re supposed to get plenty of rest,” Yijeong admonished, tearing through the cabinets in search of noodles. Kyungil made a face. “Stop it, you’re making a mess.” He would end up being the one to clean it up later since he lived with a bunch of children and slobs, since Dokyun took one for the team and cleaned the bathroom this week.

“I haven’t started yet, hyung.” Yijeong spoke as if he were speaking to a slow child. “If I could just find where you keep the noodles… and those little bullion cubes…”

“Don’t try to cook,” Kyungil sighed. “Who knows how long it would take the company to find us a new place to live.” Yijeong turned the wounded kitten look to him, “I can cook!” His lower lip was trembling and Kyungil knew it was just for show, it was all an act…. One that he always fell for. So he just sighed and said, “Okay, but how about you try when my head doesn’t feel like someone sat on it?”

Yijeong’s features immediately brightened but he paused for a moment, eyeing the older boy, taking in the wretched look on his face. “Well…” Yijeong comes close and put his arms around the older boy and promptly snuggles his face into the crook of his shoulder. “You need me more than you need soup.”

Kyungil was about to say something kind of bullshit he knew would make Yijeong happy but he was cut off by being dragged further into the kitchen. Yijeong pushed himself up on his tip-toes, flung open a cabinet and groped around inside for a bit, ignoring Kyungil’s questions of ‘what the fuck are you doing?’.

“This stuff really works,” he said, holding up a bottle of blue liquid. Kyungil stared. “I haven’t taken liquid medicine since I was six. ” Yijeong pouted at those words up he unscrewed the top of the bottle anyways, “You’re going to take this!” He wandered over to the cutlery drawer and pulled out a tablespoon. He poured the thick bright colored liquid onto the spoon, then made airplane noises as he flew it around the dancer’s face. Kyungil made sure to give him his scariest glare when it finally reached his mouth, even though his glares only really work on Jaeho. He opened his mouth reluctantly and took the medicine, then proceeded to gag and hack up a lung in a gross sounding cough.

“Oh hell no! That’s fucking disgusting!” Yijeong looked at him blankly, “It’s medicine, what’d you expect?” Yijeong started to pour another dose, “One more~” But when he looks up Kyungil had made a mad dash out of the kitchen like the devil was after him. Yijeong shouted after him, dropping the spoon into the sink and making quickly after the other boy. “You only have half of what you need to get better!” He yells as he trails after Kyungil. The dancer was about to go to the bathroom and stick a finger down his throat to rid himself of the vile medicine he had just taken, but Yijeong ambushed him. The younger pulls him away from the bathroom, ignoring the sound glare Kyungil throws his way. He can only smile back the older boy for his antics, pink lips curling into a grin and eyes turning into cute crescents, Kyungil’s glare fades quickly at Yijeong’s bright smile. “You’re so crazy when you’re sick,” The younger laughs.

“I only get crazy when you give me horrible concoctions and claim they’ll make me better!” Kyungil shot back, then stopped when Yijeong brought his face close and gave him a kiss on the tip of his nose then promptly sweeps back in to give a gentle kiss on the lips. Kyungil’s eyes slid shut and hands immediately find Yijeong’s small waist, his annoyance dissipated for the most part. He tilts his head, going in a bit deeper and Yijeong’s opens up willingly, Kyungil takes the opportunity to slid his tongue. The leader’s hands tightened around Yijeong’s waist as they kissed as he leaned down, moving further into the kiss. He was already feeling lightheaded due to his wretched fever-hangover and when they finally broke apart, it took a moment for Yijeong’s face to come into focus.

“Ugh,” Yijeong said unappreciatively, grimacing dramatically. “That medicine does taste terrible.”

“Suffer more,” Kyungil said, pulling him back and capturing his lips again.

cuppyren  asked:

uuuuuhhhh if you still want a prompt .... since I have to go to work my graveyard shift soon ... what about Kylo and Hux working graveyard together and after weeks of pining finally give in? That's really all I think about at work

Ahhh, poor thing! Hope your shift is good and goes by fast! (And if you’re curious, my hometown has a late-night donut shop and it seemed like the perfect setting for this prompt, lol.)


This was the perfect job for Hux while he was a full-time student–he’d go to class in the afternoon, then head straight to the late night donut shop, then sleep from one in the morning until he had to get up and do it again. It doesn’t pay tons or anything, but it’s steady money that he doesn’t have to ask his father for, it’s close enough to walk to, and he gets free donuts whenever he wants. 

And it doesn’t hurt that one of his coworkers is really, really good-looking. Spending hours together in the tiny shop, into the night, they’ve gotten to know each other pretty well–their favorite movies and shows, their pet peeves and what makes them laugh even though it’s not actually that funny. Secretly Hux would like to get to know him better. But Ren has never made a move in that direction, so, well, maybe it won’t. He doesn’t want to make things weird at work, anyway. 

Ren clocks in at eight and they wait for customers. And wait. It’s weirdly dead tonight–usually college students are lining up for them, especially after they’re finished at the bars and want some drunk food. The more indulgent, Hux has found, the more likely a slurring freshman with a fake ID will order it. Chocolate cake donuts glazed with raspberry icing and chocolate chips and coconut flakes, that kind of thing. Sometimes if it’s really slow, they’ll experiment with making up their own flavors.

“So get this,” Ren says, as they wait for someone to come in. He’s eating a chocolate-frosted donut, and there’s a smear of icing on his lip. “I got offered another job today.”

“You did? Where?”

“At the science center. Teaching kids science things and doing like, science themed magic tricks. My physics professor works there and they’re hiring and apparently he thought I’d be a perfect fit.”

“Did you take it? Please tell me you took it.” Hux doesn’t want Ren to stop working there–far from it–but he’s also genuinely happy for him.

“Oh, definitely. Making two dollars more an hour, too.”

“When do you start?”

“End of the month. I’ve got to call and put in my two weeks tomorrow.”

It’s only now that sadness is really starting to tinge Hux’s heart, realizing that they’ll only have two more weeks together. “Oh, man. Well, good for you. That’s, uh. That’s a really good opportunity.”

“Just what I said.” Ren cranes his neck as a car passes by slowly, but then it pulls into the gas station next door instead. “For lots of things.”

“Mmhm?”

Ren smears the little dab of icing off his lip with his thumb and licks it. “I mean, for one thing. I always thought it was like, weird, to date your coworkers?” His voice is going way, way up at the end of this very sudden statement, like it’s a question he is absolutely not sure of the answer to. “Because, you know. It’s not professional. And it can make things awkward? But. I guess soon we won’t be coworkers.”

Hux is just standing there at the register, unmoving, feeling his heart about pound out of his chest. He swallows, hoping to be able to say something, and Ren continues, a little too fast. “And like, if that’s not your bag, at least it only is gonna be awkward for two more weeks, you know?”

“That. That is, actually my bag,” Hux says, feeling both idiotic and relieved for saying it. “I didn’t–I didn’t know you thought that.”

“Well, like I said, I didn’t want to be unprofessional? And you’re so smart and methodical and I’m like, kind of a slob. So I wasn’t sure if–”

Hux has never in his life done anything like this, has always been too self-conscious, but whatever. He’s too happy to care. He pulls Ren by his apron and lands a kiss on him so fast and hard they nearly bump teeth, but Ren just laughs.

“So I guess I don’t need to be unsure.”

“I had a crush on you from pretty much the moment you got hired.”

“What? Shut the fuck up. You’re joking.”

“I’m not. Are you going to come back and get free donuts from me once you start your new job?”

“How about I come get you instead?”

It’s so cheesy and Hux just doesn’t care. He’s standing in this tiny hot little shop in an apron under headachey fluorescent light, but he’s standing with someone who wants him back, and he couldn’t be happier. 

Inaudible

*I don’t know this is to be honest but I got inspired?*

Inspired by this

It’s absolutely bull. They were lying. Maybe they got the wrong person or they made a mistake. But it’s not true.

You’re going deaf, it will begin slowly and by 6 months, your hearing will be gone.

It was bullshit.

Your mother sobbed into your father’s jacket and you just sat on the bed, balling up your fist. You screamed as loud as you possibly could, still able to hear the very crack in your pitch.

“See, I heard it. I heard my own scream. I’m not losing my hearing, you bastard. You bastards that sit all day and random tell people how long they’re going to live as if you’re all god. You’re human like the rest of us, don’t even fucking tell me that bullshit.”

“Miss, please calm down.”

“I’m sick of everyone just giving me fucking excuses. I’m not going deaf.”

“Baby, please. He’s just doing his job.”

“I’m out of here.”

“Y/N!” You walked out, glad you weren’t wearing a hospital gown and ran out. You weren’t losing your hearing, the doctor is just trying to make more money out of your parents.

“Y/N!” You kept running, not caring where you went until you bumped into someone.

“Woah, watch where you.. Are you crying?”

“I’m not crying.”

“Well, it’s not raining, you’re not sweating and your eyes are glossy. I think this all points to crying.”

“I’m sorry, can you leave me alone?”

“Now, my mother raised me well. I can’t leave a damsel in distress, especially when there are tears streaming down her cheeks.”

“I said I’m sorry, alright.” He was persistent, not letting you out of his sight as he continued to follow you. You tried to hide but, he seemed to know all the tricks in the books.

“You know, bad things happen in alleys like this. Especially to very cute girls like yourself.”

“Why are you following me?”

“Because you’re still crying.”

“Can’t you just leave me alone, you fucking creep?”

“My, my. I never thought I could hear curse words from someone so delicate and petite.” You kneeled him, rewarded with that wonderful groan of pain and ran away from him. He was handsome, although that was cancelled out by his stalking nature and you didn’t want to see him again.

You got to your friend’s place, the ones your parents didn’t know about and knocked on the door.

“Hey.. Woah, you cried? What did the doctors say?”

“Some bullshit about me losing my hearing.”

“What, you’re going deaf? You can still hear me, right?”

“You’re a dick, Jaehyun, you know that?”

“Be real, the doctors are money hungry but what if it’s not bullshit?”

“Then, Seohyun isn’t a bitch.”

“Wow, that’s excessive.” You laughed, Seohyun was a girl that tried to be rivals with you since she has a huge crush on Jaehyun. You’ve tried going out with him before, seeing as you two were always mistaken as a couple but it was too strange for the both of you.

“I know. But there was this creep following me today. I bumped into him, apologized and kept following me until I hurt his little friend.”

“Brutal. He didn’t touch you or anything? Was he wearing a trench coat?”

“No. I just got a really bad vibe from him. Hope I don’t see him again.”

“Me too.”

“There’s a party tonight, wanna come?”

“Will the 2b’s be there?”

“Yes, there’s booze and boys. But no hooking up. You don’t know how awkward it is picking you up the next day, one guy tried to kiss me. Not that I mind because who can resist me but I’m into women.”

“You’re really cocky.”

“I own one, I’m not one.”

“Gross.”

“You secretly love me.”

“I openly hate you.” You opened his fridge, grabbing an apple and sitting on the counter. He lit a cigarette, he uses it to calm his nerves but you disliked the smell.

“Jae.”

“I’m sorry but I’m nervous. Apparently this new guy is going to be there and he’s hosting the party at this new frat house.”

“You didn’t tell me it was another frat party.”

“But their house is a mansion. Rumours are going around that these kids are heirs. I wouldn’t pass the opportunity to meet them but I’m nervous.”

“Trust me, if they’re frat boys, they’ll be like every other frat boy.”

“I don’t know how many frat boys are filthy rich.”

“They’ll like you, Jae.”

“As long as you don’t hump and dump like you always do.”

“I like the term ‘one night stand’ better.”

“Whatever you say, sweetheart.”


“Why do chicks take so long?”

“I wish I was a dude, I could show up in sweatpants and nobody would call me a slob.”

“Are you done yet?”

“How do I look?” You wore a dress, the top half black with a pink wrapping skirt and high heeled boots. You added simple accessories along with the dress and you just let your hair alone.

“You mind showing me how to take that off?”

“Why can’t you be normal and say ‘You look good’ or ‘You look like a goddess’?”

“Nice-”

“I’ll take it.”

“-ass.” You hit him with your clutch as he laughed until he stopped laughing. He grabbed his keys from the table and you followed him to his car.

“You know, you’re not broke either.”

“This is from hard work and dedication.”

“What, it was hard work to beg and dedication to continuously beg?”

“You’re really negative. Do you belittle the men you sleep with?”

“If you can’t do it right, I’ll do it myself.”

“Wow.” He just drove to the house, larger than you imagined in your head. The driveway was red cobblestone against large white steps that lead to the door engraved with golden vines.

“Maybe I should take one to bed with me.”

“Gold digger.”

“Guess what, I just found gold.” You walked in to see what you expected. The house was booming on the inside, the strong smell of booze and weed filled the room. The furniture was expensive and grandeur, but turned ugly with the couple dry humping each other on it.

“Shit.”

“What?”

“I need some booze.”

“Yes~!” You found the keg situated in the den, chilling beside the fireplace and you clinked your red cup with his.

“Cheers.” After a while, your cup never seemed empty no matter how much you drank, it was always full.

“Shit, is that Y/N?”

“Of course it is, look at the perfect body. She makes so hard.”

“I could jack off to the sight of her in just underwear.”

“Shut up, horny dogs! Fuck, talking so fucking loud you’ll wake up the dead.” Jae bumped their heads and laughed, he was drunk as you were but you weren’t as disruptive as him.

“Well, hello there.” You had a few criteria, one he has to be tall and handsome, two he has to be packing, three you both have to drunk enough to forget each other’s names in the morning and four, no strings attached after it happens.

And he fits all the criteria. You walked over to him, poking his arm until he looked at you.

“It’s you again.”

“What do you mean it’s me? Have we met before?”

“Not formally but your knees and my balls have.”

“You’re the dude from this afternoon.”

“Glad you remembered me, damsel in distress.

~Admin Blake

Trial by Fire #32

Chapter 32:  Arson

  • The crime of willfully burning one’s own or another’s property.

summary: When a series of fires unsettles the city of Magnolia, Detective Lucy Heartfilia unwittingly reignites a war between old rivals. But when she finds herself drawn to one of her suspects, the lines between right and wrong begin to blur.

A/N: This is it guys. THE FINAL CHAPTER. THIS IS THE OFFICIAL END. However, there is still the epilogue written by myself, @snogfairy AND @toxineena. That’s right. All three of us. (Even though it was mostly those two since I was at WERK)

I will say this was an incredible experience to write and plan this with these two. They made the writing process so much fun, and I can’t wait to sob with them again as we write out the sequel!

OH AND HOLY SHIT GUYS. WE HAD FAN ART. WE HAD BEAUTIFUL FAN ART BY @spoopy-pringloo WHICH YOU CAN FIND HERE

Rating: M No NSFW in this chapter

read: part I | part II | part III | part IV | part V | part VI | part VII | part VIII | part IX | part X | part XI | part XII | part XIII | part XIV | part XV | part XVI | part XVII | part XVIII | part XVIIII | part XX | part XXI | part XXII | part XXIII | part XXIV | part XXV | part XXVI | part XXVII | part XXVIII | part XXVIIII | part XXX | part XXXI | on ff.net | all parts


1…

It was time to go home.  Or rather, it was time for Lucy to relocate to her new insurance-issued home where she would be staying for the next few months. She would be living there while she searched for a new place. An investigation on the fire would be launched and more than likely last a few months. Natsu wasn’t concerned by the insurance details, assuring her that even while most cases did not cover arson, hers was a special case.

The slash across his right shoulder stung where the stitches held his skin together. His left side itched where his old scar had been stitched back together. Natsu was going to need a new tattoo for his opposite shoulder, that was for sure.

He was thinking something new.

Maybe a fairy, or something stylized like one.

After all, he owed the ‘fairies’ his life.

He nearly groaned as he remembered Erza’s gentle ribbing over how he had called her a fairy for nearly fifteen minutes straight after inhaling too much smoke. He rubbed his fingers over the gauze covering the stitches, the desire to scratch it off nearly overwhelming.

Keep reading

Life Next Door; Chapter 3~Painted

I hope you all enjoy this chapter. Thank you all for the feedback and comments. I see them and I know I don’t always respond, but I appreciate all of them! Please let me know what you think of this chapter! Love to you all! ~Brooke

—————-

She wasn’t really that bold. Hell, she didn’t put herself out there too much either. Not when she was with Vinny, not when she was ice skating with Charlie. To be honest, she was really just a quiet girl. A quiet girl who played it safe and followed the rules. Even when it came to doing simple chores. In her mind, there was no need to be extra or spontaneous. There was a reason things were organized a certain way. No need to change it.

That way of thinking was how she ended up organizing her new apartment. At the top of her list: painting. In retrospect, she should’ve agreed to her mother coming to New York and helping her. But she didn’t want help. She wanted to prove to her mom, but mostly herself, that she handle being away from her home, from everything she’s ever known.

Glancing around the apartment, she mentally began a list. Kitchen: plain white. Living room: Tope-ish gray. Bedroom: Blue.

‘We’ll keep things practical,’ she thought, shuffling to the living room where her jacket was hanging. As she slipped it on and stuffed a hand into her pocket, she felt a piece of paper. Pulling out the folded piece of paper, Meryl examined it, trying to think of what it possibly could be. The front read “Meryl,” but unable to recognize the handwriting, she gave up and unfolded the paper.

Meryl,

I wanted to give you my number the night we first met, but I didn’t want to come off as a crazy person. And when we went to the coffee shop, I couldn’t think of a smooth way to ask you for yours. So when you got up to go to use the restroom when we were having coffee, I slipped this piece of paper into your jacket. Hope you don’t mind.

Maks

PS. I’ve already forgotten what your voice sounds like, so if I were you, I’d call me. You know, so you don’t have to feel guilty about not reminding me of what your beautiful voice sounds like. ;)

An instant smile rose to her face as she finished reading the note. She suddenly got nervous. Should she call him? What would she say? Does he really want to be called?

After a good five minutes of contemplating how she would start the conversation, a burst of confidence sparked through her.  Sitting down at the breakfast bar, she slowly dialed his number, taking a nervous breath.

“Hello,” a deep voice answered, making her heart speed up.

“Hey Maks, it’s Meryl. I got your note,” she trailed off.

“Meryl!” his voice perked up. “I was hoping I would hear from you! How are you?”

“I’m good,” she replied nervously, toying with her hair. “I uh, I was wondering if you wanted to accompany to the hardware store. I need to buy some paint and I’m not sure where a home depot or any hardware store is around here.”

In the house next door, Maks’ jaw dropped open. His head was spinning. Would he go to the hardware store? He’d go cliff diving with her if she had asked him. Suddenly, Meryl cleared her throat, waiting for an answer.

“Of course I’ll go!” Maks responded quickly. “Can I pick you up in half an hour?”

She began thinking of everything she would need to do in the next thirty minutes. “Sounds perfect! I’ll see you then!” She began to draw the phone away from her ear to hang up but heard a shout from the speaker.
“Wait!”

Meryl drew the phone back to her ear. “Yea Maks?”

Voice softening, Maks said, “I’m just really glad that you called me. I was afraid you weren’t going to, or wasn’t going to see the note. That would’ve killed me if I hadn’t heard back from you. So thank you.”

Meryl felt herself melting into a puddle of mush from Maks’ confession. “I’m glad you called too. Because I forgot your beautiful voice as well.” And with that, she hung up the phone only to dash into her bedroom and stuff her face into a pillow squealing with delight.

—————-

Back in the apartment next door, Maks paced around nervously in the living room. Val and Alex shared an amused glance.

“Maks, would you relax? She called you! It wasn’t like you called her not knowing if she was even the slightest bit into you. She has to somewhat like you or she wouldn’t have called,” Val spoke up.

Alex nodded in agreement. “She’s definitely into you. She probably thinks you’re some awesome city guy who can protect her in the city.”

Maks smiled at Alex’s remark. That would be lovely, to be her protector in the big, bad city. He had always wanted someone to protect, to make a woman feel safe with him. But was Meryl this woman? he wondered. He stripped off his shirt, tossing it on the arm of the chair and motioned for the boys to follow him.

“What should I wear?” he questioned.

Val and Alex began laughing, tears streaming down Val’s face. “What are we? Fashion experts? You’re going to a hardware store, not a Broadway show,” Val laughed.

“Well, I don’t want to look like a slob,” Maks replied frustrated. “You two are no help. Thanks for nothing.” Turning his back to them, he opened the drawer, rummaging through his multiple t-shirts. He pulled out one that read, “Pardon my hustle” and slipped it over his head.  He walked up to the mirror on the wall, examining himself, sticking out his chest to appear even buffer. Scoffing at himself, he retreated to the living room to join Alex and Val in watching tv.

The next twenty minutes seemed to drag on endlessly. He was nervous he would make a fool of himself and he seriously needed to relax. All it is, is a trip to the hardware store, nothing more, he chided himself. Glancing at the clock for the twentieth time, he realized it read 10:55. Time to go.

“Wish me luck,” he called to Val and Alex, unlocking the door. He stepped onto the doorstep that both of the entrances shared and lightly knocked on the door. Five seconds later, Meryl swung the door open, grinning. She took in his appearance, admiring his perfectly sculpted body.

“Ready?” He asked, smiling.

She laughed, stepping onto the doorstep and shutting the door. “I could use some coffee if you don’t mind,” she said playfully.

He nodded eagerly, “Of course we can grab coffee.” They turned a corner, spotting the Moon Doggie sign flickering from afar. “And will you be having a skinny peppermint mocha?” She looked up, staring at him, surprise apparently evident.
“What? You don’t think I would remember what you had yesterday?”

Meryl was speechless. In all the years of dating a span of guys, Vinny included, as far as Meryl was concerned, none of them ever remembered small details. To Meryl, it was always the little things that mattered most. Her heart skipped a beat at the fact that Maks cared enough to remember something so simple.

“I just never was used to guys remembering the small things,” she muttered. Either Maks didn’t hear her, or he chose not to press her about whatever she meant. Instead, he gracefully opened the door, beckoning her into the coffee shop.

After getting their fix, they continued on their walk. The walk, for the most part, was quiet. There was something to be said about the fact that neither of them felt the need to load up on talking and filling up silence. It was a comfortable silence, something again that Meryl was not used to. How strange it was, to be so comfortable around someone, whom she barely knew. Why did she feel so at ease with him? There was such calmness, being around Maks, that Meryl found so refreshing.

Maks interrupted her thoughts. “So, you’ve never been to the home depot around here? Is that why you asked me to join you? To show you where it is?”

“Weelllll, I saw it once before but I couldn’t remember how to get there. And I figured, you’re a big city guy, so maybe you could show me where to go,” she said slyly.

“Oh so you needed me huh?”

“I also needed a big strong man to help me carry my paint buckets back to my apartment,” she winked.

 “Flattery will get you no where miss Meryl,” he said deadpanned, holding the door open for her.

She stepped in, warming up to the heated building and turned to him, raising an eyebrow. “Common, let’s go find some paint.”

They walked deeper into the store, Meryl rattling off a bunch of colors she had envisioned for the rooms. They turned into the paint aisle, overcome with all the paint. Maks immediately ignored her, grabbing a bright red can of paint, and held it up to show her. “This is what you should paint the kitchen.”

She shook her head. “Maks! I have it all planned out. The kitchen is going to be plain white. Make it simple and adultish.”

“But Meryl,” Maks argued. “That isn’t original. You have to have some color in your home or it won’t be homey. Live a little. You need to be funner. Decorating an apartment should be fun!”

She flinched a bit, hearing Maks say she needed to be funner. She’s an adult, there’s no need to be “fun” or a bit “childish.” She believed her apartment should be a clean slate. Fresh and adult like. After all, that’s all she knew.

“Meryl, no offense, but didn’t you tell me you moved to New York to reinvent yourself? Have a clean slate. Don’t be the same adult who followed the rules and did things normal people would do. Here is your chance to do something outside the box. Paint your apartment with happy colors, it wont kill you.”

Maks’ words stuck like glue and almost impulsively, she grabbed the can out of his hand and put it in the cart. “I’m going to turn more spontaneous if I keep hanging out with you, won’t I?” she glared at him, trying to hide her smile.

“Yes, yes you will. Anyone who hangs out with me is bound to develop a silly, carefree side. And I can tell you have one. We just need to dig a little bit deeper.”

Meryl, not wanted to look up at Maks, stared at another can of paint. Again, he managed to make her speechless. What guy would say that? Clearly, she had been spending all her time in the wrong places looking for the perfect guy. All she needed to do was come to New York City.

After discussing with Maks several possible colors for the rest of her house, she loaded up the cart and headed towards the cashier, with Maks pushing the cart at his insistence.

“Meryl?” a voice called loudly.

She whipped her head around looking for the voice as Maks came to a stop, looking around as well. A girl dressed in a home depot uniform, smiled walking towards her. “Hey! I didn’t expect to see you back so soon? Did you come back for more furniture stuff? And did you like the desk I recommended to you a few days ago?”

Busted. Meryl froze, looking at Maks, praying he didn’t hear. Too late. She looked up at him, only to see him smirking. “Uh, no Millie, I just needed some paint for my apartment,” she motioned towards Maks and the cart.

“Oh is that your boyfriend?” Millie asked innocently.

“Er, no he’s my neighbor….”

Completely oblivious, Millie nodded. “Cool! Well, I gotta go back to work, great seeing you again Meryl. Bye Maks!” she waved, walking away.

Meryl’s face burned, unable to make eye contact with Maks. Silently he observed her. He thought she was adorable, all flustered and whatnot. They proceeded to the check out and walked out the door, each holding two cans of paint.

“So,” he began teasingly, a smirk forming on his face. “You knew how to get there huh?”

“Well… I mean, I couldn’t totally remember…” Meryl trailed off, stealing a glance at Maks’ face. She shook her head, groaning. “You weren’t supposed to know I knew how to get here. You ruined it!”

He bumped her hip gently. “I’m glad you invited me though. I didn’t have anything to do anyway and it would have drove me crazy if you hadn’t called or texted me.”

She blushed, thankful they arrived back home. Unlocking her door, she motioned him to follow her. A million things were going through her mind. He was happy that she called him! Did that mean he liked her? And did she like him? She stole a look at him in his jeans. Would she be able to stay fiends with someone who looked so hot in jeans that it made her want to rip them off him? Did she really just think that? She stole another look at him bending down to straighten up a mess. Yes, yes she did just think that.

Deciding to be brave and take a leap of faith, Meryl leaned against the counter, turning towards him. “Since you said that you had nothing to do today, do you want to help me paint?”

He looked at her, speechless. He really hadn’t expected that she would even ask him to hang out. But then again, she lied and said she needed him to show her how to get to a store, just so she could use it as an excuse to hang out with him. A smile grew upon his face. “I’d love to help. But let me change quickly.” Lifting a finger to motion one sec, he dashed out the door into his own home. 

Meryl busied herself setting the rooms to be painted. And again, her mind was racing with thoughts. The biggest, where did she get that insane amount of courage to ask him to stay with her and paint? Who knows, but thank goodness she did ask him, she reasoned. A knock on the door interrupted her thoughts as Maks sauntered back into her home.
“We can start in my bedroom if that’s okay with you,” she offered. Nodding, he grabbed a yellow can of paint, only to receive a raised eyebrow from Meryl. “Really Maks? Yellow in a bedroom?”

“Be adventurous, miss Meryl,” he replied, grabbing several paint brushes. She led him to her bedroom, silently praying she hadn’t left any bras or underwear laying around. With a sigh of relief, she turned to Maks.

“Okay, should we do a certain pattern? Or should we do half white, half yellow? Or we could paint–”

“Meryl,” Maks interrupted, “just go with what feels right. Don’t always over think it.” She nodded, picking up a paintbrush. An hour and a half later, they finished and decided to move to another room.

“Let’s do my office,” she suggested. “And you’ll be happy to hear that I have absolutely no plans for that room.” Maks smiled, a devilish look appearing in his eyes. “Now, I suppose we could try…” Meryl was rambling again, but he tuned her out, admiring her petite frame. She was tiny, but not too tiny. Her assets were perfect and she definitely knew how to enhance everything she was blessed with. Her hair was like a princess’s hair, as far as Maks was concerned. And he thought he liked her, but did she really? Or was he just imagining it?

“Maks. Maks. Earth to Maks!” Meryl said, nudging him slightly. “So what do you think of those ideas?”

Deciding within a split second, knowing it could go either very well or horrible, he took a chance. Dunking his paintbrush into the red paint, he splattered it against the wall only to end up with a red splattered mark. Meryl’s eyes bugged out, shocked at what he did. Her instinct was to freak out, but the playful, yet intense look stopped her.

“Hey!” she laughed, grabbing a paintbrush and dumbing it into the purple paint, imitating Maks’ actions towards the wall. He grinned and theatrically made sounds of relief. Laughter bounded against the walls as she splattered more paint. Meryl bent over to open another can of paint and without much thought, he splattered the back of her legs, and her upper back. She shot up, whipping her head around.

“Maks!” she shrieked, shoving a paintbrush on his face. What began as innocent painting turned into an all out paint war, as paint flew back and forth in the room. He grabbed her wrists so he could weasel the paintbrush out of her hands and a shock of electricity zipped through their bodies. Pushing her up against a wall, her laugher became mute as instinct began to take over.

“You’re so beautiful,” he murmured, cupping her face with his hands. They seemed stuck in time, as they stared intently at each other. She leaned on her tip toes, gently holding his shoulders as they leaned in towards each other. Lips mere millimeters away, they locked eyes as Maks ran his fingers through her hair.

A sudden bang on her front door tore them out of the moment, as he stepped back reluctantly. She could feel her face flushing, noticing Maks’ flushed face as well as she hesitantly headed towards the door, motioning Maks to follow. Peeking through the peephole, she laughed suddenly.

“Its your crew,” she teased Maks playfully. He groaned, falling onto her couch, covering his eyes. He got back up, walking towards a grinning Val and Alex. After much grumbling, he walked back to her.

“So…” she felt a little awkward on how to pick up on their conversation. Taking the lead, he walked up to her, gently sweeping her hair behind her ear.

“How about I call you tomorrow?” he proposed.

Meryl became shy all of the sudden, smiling timidly. “I’d like that.” Pressing his lips against her head to give her a quick kiss, he inhaled her scent, breathing it in like it was oxygen that he needed to survive with. She rewarded him with a smile that made her eyes twinkle and crinkle, as she let him out of her house. Closing the door, she slid down to the floor, sighing contently.

Maybe this was what her new life would be all about.