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

Dirty Laundry

Request I picked up from @wwe-smutfics: Anon: QUOTE SERIES: Johnny Gargano. The two of you are relatively new roommates with the quote “I DIDN’T MEAN TO WALK IN ON YOU NAKED AGAIN! YOU REALLY NEED TO LEARN TO LOCK YOUR DOOR!“

Summary: Life wasn’t perfect. Most people weren’t perfect. My ability to spot trustworthy people wasn’t perfect. But Johnny Gargano? Oh yeah, he was perfect in every sense. Except his issue with locking doors and leaving his dirty clothes in the hallway. Ambiguous gender reader character.

Warnings: Admiring of a butt [Johnny’s], swearing, theft, skeevy ex, seeing the roommate without clothes on, and Raini’s usual potty mouth.

Rating: High PG-13?

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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.