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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Black Panther: A spoiler free review

I saw Black Panther last night and I was caught like an antelope in headlights. The movie itself is a gorgeous representation of African folklore, culture and the people of Africa. From the music to the costumes and the details on set, Black Panther offers an amazing look at the lives of warriors, princesses and of course a good king. 

The characters are memorable and well dimensioned. Even the villain of this story is not what he seems to be. Of course the special effects are great, the plot is well crafted and the women are represented as strong and resourceful characters. 

What I loved most about the film though were the mythical elements interwoven in the story that tie to African fairytales and mythology. 

The goddess Bast is mentioned, but the journey T’challa makes throughout the film echoes the spiritual path of great warrior tales in legends. 

The focus on the importance of ancestors and carrying the role of those who came before is an important plot point and it is one of my favorite scenes in the film. 

The country of Wakanda carries traditional customs and characteristics of historic African tribes. The introduction to African shamanism plays a role in the film that follows T’challa’s character growth and ties tradition to modern day culture. 

I don't want to spoil the film, and I want to make sure that I discuss this film with the respect it deserves. But I will say this:

The film deserves all the recognition it has and more, and the representation of an entire culture is a story worth telling. 

Five out of five claws. 

Before I wrote this review, I watched this video to better understand the customs and traditions represented in the film:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Taking a Shot: A Riarkle Fanfiction


Riarkle prompt please. Farkle decides to try out for lacrosse and Riley goes to his practice and cheers him on even though he's not that good.

"What are we doing here?" Maya asked. 

Riley pulled her friend toward the bench. 

Riley took a seat in the stadium, watching the boys on the field. Lacrosse, an interesting sport, and one that she knew Farkle had been curious about. 

"I'm not watching this," Maya said. 

"Come on Maya, Farkle was there for my cheerleading tryouts." 

"Yeah, I don't think I could ever forget that. Did you really take the coach's doughnut?"  

Riley laughed. 

"Yeah, that was a fun day," Riley said as Maya looked at her. 

"Maybe it was fun for you," Maya said, crossing her arms. 

"It was, and today Farkle needs our support," Riley told the restless blonde. 

"But he didn't tell us about this," Maya said, finally sitting down. 

"I know," Riley replied, folding her hands in her lap, "That's why we're here." 

Maya looked at Riley, and Riley raised a brow. 

"How many times is Farkle there for us?" she asked her. 

"Well there was that time freshman year," Maya said. 

Riley sighed. 

"Well, I'm here for Farkle, and you should be too. Didn't you say he's always been there for us?" Riley asked, looking pointedly at Maya.  

"Yeah, okay. You're right," Maya said with a sigh. 

The game began, and Riley spotted Farkle wearing a number ten jersey, holding a lacrosse stick and looking nervous. 

"Yeah, he's dead meat," Maya said. 

"Maya!" Riley scolded, "Is that anyway to support someone?" 

Maya shrugged. 

"I said the same thing about you, Riles," Maya told her, "when you tried out for cheerleading." 

As the game began, Riley watched the players take their positions. She spotted Farkle immediately and when the whistle blew, she held her breath. 

From what Riley read, Lacrosse could be a dangerous sport. As she watched Farkle, she thought about the probability of injury. 

Suddenly, the ball landed right in front of him. 

"Go, Farkle!" Riley shouted. It might have been a mistake.

Farkle looked at her, his eyes wide, and then he saw the ball in front of him. He scooped it up in the lacrosse stick and made his way toward the other players. 

As a player from the other team tackled Farkle, Riley winced. He had lost the ball. 

As Farkle stood up, Riley smiled. He was okay. 

The whistle blew as the other team scored a goal, and Riley sighed. 

"Maybe you shouldn't have cheered so loud," Maya told her. 

"Why?" Riley asked.

Maya sighed. 

"You really don't know, do you, Riles?" 

Riley just looked at her. When Maya didn't say anything, she turned away to face the field again. 

She could tell Farkle was nervous, because his leg was shaking. 

"Well, now's a good time then," Riley said, "Before they blow the whistle." 

She took a deep breath, then stood up in the stands. 

She remembered the cheer from halloween, years ago. 

"Farkle! Farkle! Gonna Sparkle!" She cheered. 

Maya groaned. 

But Riley watched Farkle. His leg stopped shaking, and he smiled. 

"Huh," Maya said, "How did you know that would work?" She asked Riley. 

"Because he's Farkle," Riley said. 

The whistle blew, and the game started again. 

Riley watched as Farkle moved a lot smoother on the field.

"Riles," Maya said, "he's doing better." 

"Of course he is," Riley said. 

They watched the game, and when the ball landed in front of Farkle again, he scooped it up without hesitation, and ran. 

Riley's heart raced as Farkle made his way toward the goal. The other team chasing after him. 

When he stood in front of the goalie, Riley tensed. 

"Take the shot!" Riley shouted, and Maya smiled. 

Farkle shot the ball in the net, and Riley clapped and cheered. 

She looked over at Maya who was smiling. 

"I never thought I'd see the day," Maya said, "Farkle. An athlete." 

"Maya," Riley said with a laugh, "Don't you remember eighth grade?" 

"Barely," Maya said. 

"Nothing's impossible if you take a shot," Riley told her. 

"And Farkle just did," Maya said. 

"Yeah," Riley replied, "he did." 

Riley ran toward Farkle when the game was over. He averted her gaze until she gently lifted his chin. 

"Farkle?" Riley asked, "What's wrong?" 

"We lost, Riley!" Farkle said, his frustration echoing in his tone. 

"I know," Riley replied. 

"So, why are you smiling?" he asked. 

"Because you scored a goal, Farkle," Riley said. 

"Yeah, I did, but we didn't win," Farkle said. "I might not make the team." 

Riley sighed. She knew that Farkle was too hard on himself. 

"Farkle," Riley said, "answer honestly. Did you ever think you'd score a goal today?" 

"No," Farkle said. 

"But you did. Do you know why?" 

"I don't know." 

"Because you took a shot, Farkle. You tried. You learned." 

"But we didn't win." 

"That doesn't matter," Riley said. 

"Yeah I know," Farkle replied, "It doesn't matter to you, but it will to the coach." 

"I'm sure the coach will say something, but you should be proud. You just did something that you thought was impossible." 

Farkle stared at her for a moment. Her brown eyes shown in admiration. 

"You're right," Farkle said with a grin, "I did." 

"Yeah, that was pretty cool, Farkle," Maya said. 

"Thanks guys. That means a lot." 

"I knew you could do it," Riley said, tilting her head. 

"Why?" Farkle asked. 

"Because, you're Farkle," Riley said. 

"But we lost because I'm not strong," Farkle said, "I probably didn't make the team." 

Riley shook her head. 

"Whether you make the team or not, you are strong, Farkle. Do you know why?" 

Farkle just stared at her. 

"Why?" Farkle asked, his eyes searching hers. 

"Because you tried," Riley said. 

"But that's not strength, Riley." 

"It is," Riley told him, "just not the usual kind. One that is often overlooked." 

"Are you just saying that?" Farkle asked. 

"No, I'm not," Riley said, " Farkle, once you focus on a goal, you never give up. That kind of strength is not something you see every day." 

"I guess that's true," Farkle said, "but I still have one question." 

Riley's brows furrowed. 

"How did you guys know I was here?"

"Riley figured it out," Maya said with a smile. 

"But I didn't tell anyone," Farkle told them, "I didn't want you to see me lose." 

"You didn't have to tell us, Farkle," Riley said. 

"Riley wanted to be there for you," Maya said. 

"Just like you've been there for me," Riley told him, "I hope you're not upset."

"I'm not upset, Riley," Farkle said, "but I am confused." 

"Do you remember what happened when I tried out for cheerleading?" Riley asked. 

Farkle winced. 

"I don't think I'll forget it," he answered truthfully. 

"You guys were there for me, even though I failed over and over again." 

"But you tried, again and again," Farkle said with a smile. 

"No matter how hard we tried to convince you to stop," Maya said. 

"That's right. I'm stubborn that way," Riley said. 

"So, I guess Riley wanted to return the favor," Maya said, "But she wasn't surprised when you scored a goal." 

"You weren't?" Farkle asked. 

Riley shook her head and smiled. 

"Why?" He asked her. 

"Because, I knew you would do your best," Riley said. "I'm proud of you, Farkle."

Farkle smiled, and Riley hugged him. 

"Thanks, Riley." Farkle told her. 

"Anytime," Riley replied. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Beauty and the Beast 2017: A Movie Review

Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite fairytale. Of all the stories I read, this one appeared to be as close to a real representation of love as a fairytale could be. Two outcasts, trapped in worlds that don't accept who they are, find comfort and solace in eachother through the relationship they build over time. 
As a live action adaption of the 1991 beloved animated classic, the story, music and casting did this movie justice. 
There were a few complaints that I heard of before I saw the film: 
Emma Watson's singing
The animation of the Beast
Belle's ballgown etc.
Emma Watson didn't have a strong singing voice, but I liked how pure it sounded. The animation of the Beast could have been better, but I didn't mind. As for the ballgown, I loved that when Belle twirled, it looked like a rose blooming. 
(Fun fact: Emma Watson requested a light and airy dress that was easy to move in. This emphasized the importance of freedom to Belle's story.) 
I guess if I were to complain about one thing, it would be the fact that Belle didn't walk "with her nose stuck in a book" during the village scene.
For me, the film was more than I could ever ask for in a remake. 
We witness the history of the characters, and we learn and grow with them. The songs that were added to the film give it an extra dimension that builds the world of the story. 
We learn why the Beast was so beastly in the first place, and we see what Gaston hides behind his vain mask.   
One of my favorite additions to the story was the fact that Belle (Beauty) asks her father for a rose as a keepsake from his journey. This is true to the original fairy tale and also influences Beauty to take her father's place. 
 All the original songs are there, including the best version of "Gaston" I have ever seen. But the addition of the Beast's ballad, "Evermore" will break your heart if you have one. The melody "Home" from the broadway musical is also used in a few important moments and an element of travel was woven throughout the imagery and the theme of the narrative. 
Without giving away spoilers, I give this film five out of five enchanted roses. 
Nothing will ever replace the original, but I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful tribute to a tale as old as time. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Poetry: A Riarkle Fanfiction

"Riles?" Maya asked. 
Riley stood, staring at a crumpled up piece of paper under Farkle's desk. She hadn't meant to pick it up, but she had heard Farkle scribbling furiously as her father went on and on about the history of Valentines Day. 
She wasn't with Lucas anymore, and Maya and Lucas had begun a relationship. It was an easier transition for Riley than she expected, and she was happy for both of her friends. It was Farkle she was worried about. Once he and Smackle broke up, a month ago, she knew Farkle hadn't been the same. 
It was hard not to notice his fidgeting while they were in class. She sat next to him after all, but his behavior in class was even more strange lately. He had scribbled and scribbled all during class, and her father hadn't even called on him once to answer a question. 
When the bell rang, Farkle hurried out the door, and a piece of paper fell from the desk. 
Riley waited until the class had cleared out before she bent down to pick up the crumbled piece of paper. 
It reminded her of a day, not too long ago when her father had encouraged them to write something impossible on a piece of paper, and then crumple it up and take a shot at throwing the very idea that it was impossible away. 
It was a day that she would never forget. She wanted a Cory and Topanga story. Farkle had wanted to be an athlete, but what did Farkle want now?
Her heart pounded as she slowly opened the paper. She stood and smoothed the wrinkles out across his desk. 
It was a poem. She read it quietly: 
 "Every day I look and see 
A beautiful girl who sits next to me
This girl will always have my heart
Because she is pretty... 
and very smart." 

The last two lines were scribbled out, but she noticed her name at the end
"Riley Matthews" 
Farkle loved her? 
She jumped. 
"Oh, Maya, sorry. I was, distracted." 
"By this?" Maya asked. She snatched the page out of Riley's hand with a grin, but when she read the words, her grin faded. 
"Farkle wrote this?" Maya asked. 
Riley nodded. 
"And it looks like it's about you..." Maya said. 
"But that's just not possible." Riley said, shaking her head. "Because he loved Smackle." 
 Maya looked at her. 
"It's very possible Riley. In fact, it makes a lot of sense." 
"No it doesn't," Riley said. 
"It does," Maya says, "Because I've seen the way he looks at you. Even Lucas mentioned it the other day." 
"That's crazy!" Riley said.
"What's crazy about it?" Maya asked, folding her arms and arching a brow.
"Well, Farkle and I, we've been friends for a long time. And he promised, when we met him. He loves us both the same." 
"Yet my name isn't in this poem," Maya said pointedly. 
Riley sighed. 
"That's not the point," Riley told her. 
"Okay then," Maya asked, "What is the point?" 
"The point is he can't know I found this." 
"Well, it is Valentine's Day," Maya said with a smirk. 
"You don't think-" Riley said. 
"I do think this is related to Valentine's Day," Maya said, "Why wouldn't it be? Anyway, that's not the point. The point is, how do you feel about Farkle, Riley?"
Riley blushed. But no words came out of her mouth. How did she feel about him? It was difficult to grasp. 
She cared for him, a lot. She knew that. From the moment she saw him hiding in the janitor's closet to the time she learned the truth about Farkle's ancestry, Riley could barely control her heart when she was around him. She just knew when he needed her. And she would be there. 
When Riley was upset, Farkle just knew, and he would be there, climbing through the bay window for a long talk about... everything. There was something there. Was it love? 
"I'm going to the library for a while," Riley told Maya, "I'll catch up with you later." 
Maya nodded. 
"Try not to think too much about it, Riles," Maya said. 
"I'll try," Riley said, "I just want to be alone for now." 
"Okay," Maya said. 
She handed Riley the poem and started to walk away. 
"Maya!" Riley said. 
Maya turned to face her. 
"Please don't tell Farkle, about any of this," 
"I won't," Maya said. "This is something for you two to figure out," 
Riley nodded. 
"You remember Science class?" Maya asked, "When you two passed and we all failed?" 
"Yeah," Riley said, her heart pounding. 
"I think it happened for a reason," Maya said, "Just something to keep in mind." 
Riley nodded. 
As Maya walked out, Riley grabbed her back pack and stuffed the paper inside it. She headed toward the library, her mind reeling with questions. 
How long? How was it possible? Had Farkle learned to understand love? Why was she so afraid? Was he afraid too? 
She set her bag down and pulled out a blank notebook. 
How did she feel about Farkle? How would she know her own heart? 
She pulled out a pen, opened the notebook to a blank sheet, and wrote Farkle's name on the top of the paper. 
"Farkle Minkus" 
What did that name mean to her? The words felt heavy as she wrote them. They had history. From the moment Farkle saved her life, when they were young, to the day he discovered he might have Autism. She would never forget his words, "Please don't let me not understand love." 
His words echoed in her mind. When she had first heard such a thing, it confused her. Hadn't Farkle always claimed to love her and Maya? He was the sweetest boy she had ever known, the most kind and caring guy she knew. She remembered the slight pang in her chest when Farkle and Smackle shared a hug at the Bay Window. Farkle had told Riley that she would love again, and Riley had thought that was true, but the truth turned out to be something more strange and confusing. She had never stopped loving Farkle. 
 She thought back to the argument they had on New Years. Farkle knew that Riley was covering up her own feelings. How? But her feelings weren't what Farkle claimed them to be. She could never reveal that, not when Farkle had appeared to be happy with Smackle. 
So she loved Farkle, but was she in love with him? 
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. 
She could never hurt Farkle, she had told him that, after their play of Romeo and Juliet, which became something else; Romeo and Juliet and Farkle. 
She had cheered him on. She would always cheer him on. She still did. 
She opened her eyes, and thought of the poem. 
"This girl will always have my heart" 
Hadn't Farkle told her, several times that he would always be there for her? Hadn't he claimed that he truly would take her side no matter what she was fighting for? 
She thought back to the science experiment that only she and Farkle understood, because they were able to work together, despite their different views. 
They worked well together. They always had. 
Riley sighed. What if she wrote back? Maybe by writing her own poem, she could understand just exactly what Farkle meant to her. 
How did Farkle's poem start again?
"Every day I look and see" 
What did she see? What was Farkle Minkus to Riley Matthews? 
She started to write: 
"Every day I seem to find 
A special boy in the back of my mind." 
She thought about him a lot. More than she ever thought about anyone in her life. Farkle was special to her. She had known that, even when he wasn't able to see it himself. 
Farkle had said always. Always. Was that how she felt too? 
Yes. Riley cared for him, and she would always be there for him. 
"This boy will always have my heart." 
It was true. She had never stopped caring for Farkle, and even when he made her mad, she never wanted anything bad to happen to him. 
"Because he is sweet and very smart." 
Both were true. Farkle was there when she needed him, and he was a genius. 
"When he takes over the world," He still wanted to, after he learned who he was. 
"I'll stand by him, as his girl." 
She put the pen down and read the words she had just written. Each word was true, and as she stared at that truth, her mind and heart spoke. Head and heart. Sense and Sensibility. Her mind and her heart agreed. It was Farkle. It had always been Farkle. 
She couldn't deny that anymore. 
She looked up. There was Farkle, books of poetry in his hands. 
She closed the notebook. 
"Farkle? What are you doing here?" 
Farkle laughed. 
"Well, it's Valentines Day. I thought I'd practice writing poetry." He said. 
Riley knew her cheeks were flushing. If he found that poem, she was done for. 
"I didn't know you were interested in poetry," Riley said as Farkle set the books down and joined her at the study table. 
"Well, I want to tell someone how I feel, and according to history and literature, the best way is writing a poem." 
Riley nodded. 
"I was working on a poem too," Riley said. 
"You were?" Farkle asked. 
"Yes," she said, smiling at him. 
"Who's it for?" 
Riley's heart pounded, but she opened the notebook and turned it to face him. 
"Maybe you can figure it out," Riley said, "Because I need to know what you think of it." 
Farkle's eyes went wide as he read her words. 
"Riley," he said, "This sounds like-" 
Riley blushed as she handed him the crumpled piece of paper. 
"I'd like to know what you wrote here," she said, pointing at the dark scribbles over the last two lines. 
"Riley," Farkle said, "Where did you find this?" 
"It was under your desk," Riley said. 
Farkle's eyes met hers. 
"Riley are you serious?" Farkle asked, "Because if this is a trick," 
"It's not," Riley said. "What did you think of my poem?" 
Farkle blushed. 
"Your poem was very... nice, Riley. I never knew you, uh, well," 
"I'm glad you liked it, Farkle," Riley said, "I'd like to know the ending of your poem." 
She handed him the pen, and pointed at the page. 
"Would you mind writing it down?" She asked. 
"I will," Farkle said, "But it's not Shakespeare." 
Riley laughed. 
"It doesn't need to be," she said. 
The library was quiet as Farkle wrote the poem down. Riley could hear the scratch of the pen on the page. 
When Farkle put the pen down, his eyes met hers, and he slid the notebook back across the table. 
"I wrote this poem in seventh grade," Farkle told her. "I was trying to change it, but honestly,  it's still true." 
Riley smiled. 
"My poem is also true, Farkle. It's always been true," Riley said. 
Farkle smiled, and Riley blushed.  
Farkle stood up. 
"Come with me," he said. 
Riley stood. Their hands were still linked over the table. Farkle guided her across the way, so they wouldn't have to let go. Riley didn't want to let go. 
As she walked past the corner of the table, Farkle lead her to a bookshelf. 
"Poetry," Riley read out loud. 
"I found one you might like," Farkle said softly, brushing his fingertips across the book spines. 
He pulled out a red book as Riley stepped closer, her shoulder touching his. 
"Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav," she read out loud. 
As Farkle held the book in one hand, Riley opened it with her other hand. 
He stopped at a short poem, but the title made Riley smile.
"Always," she read. 
"You were you," Farkle read, "And I was I."
"We were two," Riley read, "before our time."
"I was yours before I knew," Farkle said, "And you have always been mine too."
Riley smiled as they closed the book, and she met Farkle's gaze. 
Her eyes dropped to his lips, and she heard his intake of breath.
Farkle closed his eyes as Riley kissed him. It was a soft kiss, simple and meaningful like the words they had read on the page. She tasted like strawberries and the subtle scent of roses overwhelmed him. 
When she pulled away, Farkle opened his eyes and smiled. 
"I like poetry," he said, cupping her cheek.
"Me too," Riley replied. 
Farkle's eyes asked a question that Riley answered with a nod. 
He kissed her, and both got lost in the moment. 
When they pulled away, Farkle smiled. 
"Happy Valentines Day, Riley," he said, red tinting his cheeks. 
Riley gave him a quick peck on the lips. 
"Happy Valentines Day, Farkle," she said.  


Friday, January 27, 2017

Not Fine: A Riarkle Fanfiction


"Stop lying. You're not fine. I know you're not." 

Riley woke to a rainy day. Her new window overlooked a busy street in London where people walked by with umbrellas of every color she could imagine. 
It wasn't a school day, so she didn't feel compelled to get up, exactly, but she knew that her parents would worry if she didn't show at breakfast. 
Her father, Cory Matthews was making scrambled eggs, while her mother, Topanga Matthews typed away on her laptop at the table. Her brother Auggie texted Ava on his tablet while the sound of rain echoed in the kitchen. The tapping mimicked the pattering of raindrops. 
As the principal of the high school down the street, Riley's father wore his new title proudly.  And, as head of the London office for her law firm, her mother was always busy doing extra work, even on weekends. 
Riley poured a glass of orange juice and checked her phone. No new messages. It had been a few days since she heard from Maya, who was focused on her studies and had hinted that she was trying to be nicer to Lucas. Her video chat with Farkle the other night was mostly a conversation about Smackle and the new science fair that the school would hold in a few weeks. Lucas emailed occasionally, asking about Riley's new school and whether she was happy. 
They all asked if she was happy, all the time. 
"Riley, are you alright?" Her father asked. 
Riley looked up from her phone. 
"Yeah, dad. I'm fine." 
"Well I made the McScrambleface special," her father said, "but the price is a smile." 
Riley took a deep breath. She knew what face she would use. It was almost second nature." 
"There it is!" Her father said, "That's my girl." He set down the plate in front of her. 
"Don't forget the toast," Topanga said. She passed a plate to Riley, "And the special jam from the tea shop down the street. You'll love it." 
Riley nodded, chose a slice of bread and sighed. 
"Would you stop smiling?" - 
"I'm not smiling, Maya. This is my upset face."  
As she finished breakfast, her phone rang. 
"I'll be back," she said, barely glancing at her parents. 
She rushed back to the phone, and found Farkle's number, not Maya's on the screen. 
"Hey Farkle," Riley said, "Is everything okay?" 
"I'm fine," Farkle said, "What about you?" 
Riley paused. There was a weird tone in Farkle's voice, one she hadn't heard in a while. He sounded... angry. 
"Of course I'm fine, Farkle" Riley said, "I told you that last night." 
"I saw your face, remember?" Farkle said. 
"Yeah, that's why it's a video chat," Riley said, trying to lighten the mood. 
Riley took a deep breath. 
"Yes, Farkle?"
"Stop lying. You're not fine. I know you're not." 
His words were knives. Each word dug deeper in her heart. Each word revealed the painful truth that she didn't want to face. The reality she tried to run from. 
"Okay, Farkle," Riley said. 
"How do you really feel?" Farkle asked. 
"What?" Riley asked as a tear rolled down her face. 
"Tell the truth," Farkle said. 
The sound of the rain got louder as Riley closed her eyes, letting all the emotions she pushed back fall like rain drops from her eye lashes.
She knew Farkle was waiting for an answer. 
"Farkle," she said, "It's your birthday today. Maya and I were going to call you, together to chat like old times. I don't want you seeing me like this, hearing my voice shake." 
He stayed silent. 
Riley walked toward her window, watching the tops of umbrellas move across the road, the people barely visible beneath them. One red umbrella caught her eye. It moved slower than the rest, and it went back and forth, as if the owner was pacing. 
"Okay," Riley said, "I'm not okay, Farkle. I haven't been okay since we got here. I mean London isn't all bad, but it's not all good either. It's not the same without my friends. Without you." 
The umbrella stopped. One black umbrella nearly ran into it. The red one moved slowly out of the way of the people on the sidewalk, and it stopped next to a tree out of the walkway. 
Farkle remained silent. He knew her well. He knew she had more to say. 
"I know I'm supposed to start over, and that my parents wanted to take this opportunity. I know I need to support their decision, whatever they decide, but I can't pretend this was what I wanted. It's selfish, I know it is. It's also irresponsible, and lazy. I mean I have tried to make friends, and I've tried to be the happy Riley that everyone wants, but it's more difficult now than it's ever been before. I can't help feeling like it was the wrong decision." 
"Why?" Farkle asked, softly. 
"Because, Uncle Eric told us that day to listen to the heart. I'm not sure we did," Riley told him.  
"What does your heart say?" Farkle asked. 
Riley blinked.
"My heart is sad Farkle, very sad. Very lonely. So lonely that my mind can't distract it. I don't feel like I belong here at all." 
As soon as the words escaped her, Riley knew she would never be able to take them back. She wouldn't be able to deny it anymore. 
"I know you're sad, Riley," Farkle said, "Can you do me a favor?" 
"Of course!" Riley said, "It's your birthday." 
"Go outside, in front of your flat." 
"But it's raining," Riley said. 
"I know," Farkle said. 
The phone clicked and Riley looked at the screen. 
Farkle had hung up. 
She looked at the red umbrella, still stagnant, next to the tree. 
She wiped her eyes, grabbed her jacket and walked out of her room. 
"Where are you going?" Topanga asked. 
"Just a walk," Riley said. 
"Okay honey, just take an umbrella." 
Riley nodded and walked to the coat hangar and umbrella box near the door. 
She grabbed the black one, closest to the doorway. The rain was falling harder now, as she opened the door. She didn't even know what she was looking for, a sign from the universe maybe? Possibly a letter in the mail. What she didn't expect, was Farkle Minkus, standing under a red umbrella, waiting underneath a tree. 
She looked left and right, then ran. He stood, waiting as she rushed toward him. 
"Farkle!" She shouted. 
He turned toward her, and she saw tears in his eyes. 
"Farkle? What's wrong?" 
Riley dropped the black umbrella on the ground next to them. Her hand slowly cupped his cheek. A tear trailed across her fingertips. 
"Riley," Farkle said. 
His blue eyes focused on her, and she felt his pain. 
More tears fell, and Riley found her own running down her cheek. 
Farkle wiped a tear away with his thumb. And Riley stood still, shocked at the tenderness of his touch. 
"Farkle," she said, "Please tell me, what's wrong?" 
"Don't you know, Riley?" Farkle asked. 
Riley waited, her thumb stroking a tear from his cheek. 
"You're gone! You left," Farkle said, "I never wanted you to leave." 
"I never wanted to leave, Farkle. But I had to go with my family. It was my mother's choice, not mine." 
"But you're not okay!" Farkle said, "And I'm not okay! I wish I had never learned about Belgium 1831." 
Riley stepped forward and her hand slipped from his cheek. She wrapped her arms around him. 
"I'm here Farkle. I'm here, and I'll always be here for you. No matter where I am." 
As the rain fell, pattering on the red umbrella, Farkle slowly wrapped his arms around her, and the umbrella was pressed between them.
"Riley, I don't want you to stay here. You deserve to be happy." 
"You deserve happiness too, Farkle," Riley said, "aren't you excited about the science project that you've been working on, with Smackle?" 
The silence that followed was strange. 
Riley moved to look at him, but Farkle held her tightly. 
"Farkle?" She asked. 
"I'm not with Smackle anymore," Farkle said. 
"I'm so sorry, Farkle," Riley told him, she rubbed his back. 
Farkle pulled away from her, his eyes searching hers. 
"Do you mean that?" he asked her. 
"Yes. You were trying to understand love," Riley said, "And I pushed you. I know I did. I'm sorry Farkle. I just wanted you to be happy." 
"I know you did, Riley," Farkle said, "That's what I learned. That's what brought me here." 
"What do you mean?" Riley asked him. 
"You know what I mean," Farkle said. 
"But I'm here, in London. And I could have a boyfriend you don't know about," Riley said, looking away. 
"Do you?" Farkle asked, "answer honestly." 
Riley slowly looked up at him. 
"No," Riley said, "I don't," 
"That's good to hear," Farkle said. She felt his sigh of relief as he pulled her toward him. 
"Farkle," Riley said, "What do you want for your birthday?" 
"I want you to be happy," Farkle said. 
Riley pulled away from him. 
"I'll be happy, when you're happy," she said. 
"Okay," Farkle told her, "Then, may I kiss you?" 
Riley sucked in a breath. That was not the answer she expected. 
She thought of the last kiss she had shared with Farkle, all chin. 
Her first kiss, according to Maya. Was it? She certainly remembered that moment more than the quick peck she gave Lucas on the subway. It was a feeling she denied for fear that her feelings were not returned. That Farkle would only ever see her as the sun to Maya's night. Always loving her and Maya the same, equally. 
"Riley?" Farkle's eyes pleaded for an answer. She blushed. 
"Yes, Farkle," she said, "but I'm sorry that I'm a mess." 
She hadn't put on makeup, not expecting to go anywhere or do anything but chat on the phone. Riley dreaded to think what she looked like, but if Farkle wanted a kiss, and if that would make him happy. 
He stared at her still, as the thoughts ran through her head. 
"Do you mean that?" Farkle asked. 
"That I'm a mess?" Riley said with a nervous laugh, "Yes, I mean that." 
"No. You're not a mess Riley. Do you mean that I can kiss you?" Farkle asked. 
"Of course Farkle," Riley said, tilting her head at him, "Why would I lie to you?" 
The red umbrella fell to the ground, and the rain fell all around them. 
Farkle stepped forward and Riley closed her eyes. His lips were warm, while the cold rain fell in droplets that hit the top of her head, her cheek and her hands. Her arms moved as her hands grasped Farkle's shoulders. 
They moved together, and Riley forgot where she was, and what was going on around them. The emotions bloomed in her chest. The kiss was a message. In it, Riley understood just how much Farkle had missed her. 
The kiss was gentle at first, and then it grew more passionate. Farkle needed her. She felt that, and she was amazed to discover that she needed him too. She kissed back, locking her arms around his neck. She held on, otherwise she risked falling into the whirlpool of emotion they both created. 
When Farkle pulled away, they were both breathing hard, overwhelmed by the moment. 
Farkle pressed her to his chest, and she let the tears fall freely, her body shook with sobs. 
"Riley, I love you. I want you to be happy," Farkle said, "That's what love is. That's the bigger picture that I missed. I've always loved you Riley." 
"I love you too, Farkle," Riley said, "I miss you. It scares me how much I miss you. It's not the same, any of it. It just feels so wrong, Farkle. Being here, hiding how I feel. But this." 
Riley hugged him tightly. 
"This feels right. It's always felt right, Farkle." 
"Riley, we'll figure this out," Farkle said. "But you're coming to visit this summer in the mean time." 
"Okay," Riley said, "Hey, now that you're here, what do you want to do for your birthday?" 
"I want to spend time with you," Farkle said. 
Riley smiled. 
"You have me all day," she said, "And I bet my parents will let you sleep over, in the living room." 
"Um, about that," Farkle said, "I called your dad last week, and Maya. So, they already know." 
Riley laughed. 
"You really are a genius," she said. 
She took his hand and laced his fingers with hers. 
"Well, then," Riley said, "I think you'll love the museum here, and we have to go downtown and see the sights." 
"Okay," Farkle said, "I'm here for the weekend. We have until Monday." 
"Even better," Riley said, "I can't wait to show you Big Ben, and the Eye and we have to go to a phone booth." 
Farkle laughed. 
"Before we do any of that," Farkle said, "Can I have one more kiss?" 
Without hesitation, Riley put her arms around him and kissed him gently, the rain was still falling, and they were soaked to the shoulders, but neither of them cared. 
"Thank you," Farkle said. 
"Anything else, Farkle?" Riley asked. 
He kissed her again, and she giggled when they pulled away. 
"I missed that laugh," Farkle said. 
"I missed something too," Riley said. 
"Yeah?" Farkle asked. 
Riley waited. 
"Here?" Farkle asked. 
Riley nodded. 
Farkle blushed. 
"Okay, but only for you," he said. 
She smiled. 
He took a deep breath, and then looked at her. 
"HAAAAH" he said. 
Her grin was all the answer he needed. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Prince For Ms. Matthews: A Riarkle Fanfiction


Riley accidentally tells her fifth grade class that she’s in love with Farkle. However she doesn’t give names, but her class won’t stop asking questions about the guy she likes. And unfortunately Farkle is scheduled to come that day to talk to her class.

"Ms. Matthews?" 
Riley looked up from the quiz she was grading. 
A young girl with her blonde hair in a braid stared at her.
The class had been quiet during their reading time, and she knew that a guest speaker would be there to talk with them soon. Principal Harper hadn't said who the speaker was, but Riley liked to think she was prepared for anything.  
"Yes, Ashley?" she asked. 
It was Riley's idea to give the class reading time early. That way, they would be calm enough to respect the guest speaker. 
"I have a question," Ashley said, holding a book in her hand. 
Riley smiled at her. 
"What's your question?" she asked. 
"Why aren't you married?" Ashley asked. 
Riley blushed, but she also knew how blunt children could be. At times, it was almost endearing. There was something about how the truth always came out when children spoke. 
"Well," Riley said, "You know that book you're reading?" 
Riley pointed to the bright green chapter book in the girl's hands. A princess in a bright pink dress stared at a green frog, sitting on top of a well. 
Ashley nodded. 
"You remember how the princess has to kiss a frog to turn him back?" 
Ashley nodded again. 
"So far, I have found a lot of frogs, but no princes," Riley told her. 
Ashley laughed. 
A boy with red hair, Billy, looked up from his book. 
"My mom says you have to kiss all the frogs until you find a prince," Billy said. 
Riley shook her head. 
"That's not a good idea," she said, "Because then you'll just have a pile of frogs around you! Who wants that?" 
The class laughed. 
"So what would a prince be like to you?" Ashley asked her. 
Riley felt a pang in her chest. She had once dreamed of finding a hero, but he wasn't what she thought he was. And by the time she noticed that her prince had been there all along, it was too late.
Still, as the class looked at her, waiting for an explanation, Riley found that she couldn't lie. 
"Well," Riley said, placing her red pen on the desk- "to me a prince would be kind, smart and loving." 
"But what would he look like?" Ashley asked. 
Riley sighed. There would be no way around this. You could never satisfy a young, curious mind. 
 "He would be tall, with brown hair and blue eyes." 
"What would he wear?" 
Riley smiled. 
"Orange," she said, "My prince would wear orange, and he would be from Mars." 
"That's not possible!" Billy said, "How could he be from Mars?" 
"My mom told me that all men are from there," A raven haired girl, Vivian replied, putting her chapter book down. 
"Is he an alien?" Another boy with blonde hair, Steven asked. 
Riley smiled at the sci-fi book he had in his hands.
By now the whole class had given up on their stories, and they were far more interested in hers. 
She looked at the clock. When would the presentation start? Riley had not planned to speak of her love life in front of the entire class, and she couldn't even bear to think of what would happen if the principal heard this conversation. 
"What would his name be?" Vivian asked
A knock came on the door. 
Riley sighed in relief. She was saved. 
Principal Harper walked in. 
"Are you ready Ms. Matthews?" she said. 
"Ready, Principal Harper," Riley said with a smile. She was more than ready at that point. Any more questions, and she would have been as red as the apple on her desk.   
"Ms. Matthews," Principal Harper said. "Our guest speaker is here, and he's ready." 
"Great," Riley said, hoping the Prince topic would die quickly. 
"He'll need to use the projector," Principal Harper said, "Were you able to get it fixed?" 
"Oh," Riley said, blushing. She had been so distracted with the class conversation, that she had forgotten. 
"It should work," Riley said. 
She got a stepping stool and placed it directly below the projector. As a class, they used it rarely, since Riley enjoyed teaching with chalk like her father did. 
They used it so little in fact, that Riley had hung their solar system project right next to it. Vibrant styrofoam planets brushed against her as she turned the projector on. 
"Maybe you should move that," Principal Harper said.  
Riley laughed. 
"Okay. You don't have to wait for me though, it's rude to keep a guest speaker waiting." 
"If you're sure," Harper told her, but Riley didn't reply. She was very focused on pulling the hangar from one of the ceiling tiles next to the projector. 
The door opened and Riley heard the class clap and cheer.
"It's a prince!" Vivian shouted. 
Riley blushed. Apparently the topic wasn't over. 
"Is she alright?" A male voice asked. The voice seemed familiar to her somehow.
Riley was too embarrassed to turn around, and the stubborn ceiling tile didn't want to budge. 
"She's fine," Principal Harper said, "She just wanted to move that display for you." 
"Well, I can help," the male voice said. 
Riley's heart skipped a beat. She heard footsteps behind her. 
"That's okay," Riley said, "I've almost got it." 
She tugged on the hangar, and it finally broke free, but she lost her balance and her foot slipped on the stepping stool. 
She would have fallen, were it not for the strong arms that caught her. 
"Are you alright?" The now very familiar voice asked. 
Riley slowly opened her eyes, and she was stunned to see bright blue eyes staring at her underneath creased eyebrows and short brown hair. She blinked and noticed the NASA name tag on his shoulder.
She was in the arms of Farkle Minkus. 
The planets brushed against them as Riley realized she was still holding the planet display above her head. Pluto tickled her nose as Farkle brushed Mars aside. 
"Riley?" he asked. 
"Farkle?" Riley asked. 
They stayed there, just staring, until Principal Harper cleared her throat. 
"Ms. Matthews found her prince!" Ashley said. 
"Prince?" Farkle asked. 
Riley blushed and steadied herself, she pushed away from him. 
"I'm sorry about that," Riley said, "We don't use the projector very much." 
"Are you alright?" Farkle asked. 
"Yes. Thank you, for catching me," Riley said with a blush. 
"He's wearing orange," Billy said. 
Billy was right. Farkle stood there, briefcase in hand, wearing a black suit with an orange buttoned shirt. 
"Are you from Mars?" Steven asked. 
Farkle laughed.
"No," he told the boy, "but I plan to go there someday. Are you guys ready to learn about space?" 
The class cheered. 
Riley put the stepping stool away and walked toward the corner of the blackboard. 
Farkle set his bag down on her desk, along with his laptop. 
Riley couldn't help but smile. Of course he would have the latest technology. 
As Farkle opened the laptop, he turned to Riley, 
"Do you mind if I..." he said, picking up her nametag. 
"One second," Riley said. 
She took the name tag, and found a black marker. 
She flipped it over and wrote "Farkle" in big letters. 
When she set it down on the desk, away from the computer, Farkle smiled at her. 
"Thanks," he said. 
Riley smiled back. 
"Do you need anything?" Riley asked him. 
"Could you close the blinds?" Farkle said, "For this to work, it needs to be dark." 
Riley nodded and closed the blinds. Harper placed a piece of construction paper over the window on the door. 
"Perfect," Farkle said. 
Riley heard a click, and then the stars and the planets surrounded her.
The children gasped. 
"Welcome to the universe," Farkle said, "We are just one speck in a thing called space. Who knows the name of the planets? 
The kids raised their hands. 
"How about you?" he asked Vivian. "What planet do you want to see up close?" 
"Mars!" She said, "That's where Ms. Matthews' prince is." 
Farkle glanced at Riley. 
"It's a long story," Riley told him. 
"Mars it is, then," Farkle said. 
The stars zoomed in to a 3D map of Mars. 
"It's beautiful!" Riley said, before she could stop herself. 
"Thank you," Farkle said, "My team and I worked very hard on it." 
"What's on Mars?" Steven asked, "Are there aliens?" 
"Well, there might be," Farkle said with a wink. "You never know." 
Riley watched him. Was he joking? Farkle had never been one to believe in things without proof.
"I think Ms. Matthews's prince lives at the very top," Ashley said. 
Riley's cheeks burned. She was grateful for the darkness in the room. Farkle's eyes caught hers   again.
"I think I need to hear this story," he said. 
"You really don't," Riley replied with a nervous laugh.
"He'll be orange!" Steven said. 
Farkle's brows furrowed again as he looked at Riley. 
"Why orange?" He asked. 
Riley laughed. 
"It's a silly story," she said, "Didn't you want to show us Mars?" 
Farkle pressed a button, zooming in on what appeared to be a lake placed in a crater. 
"This is the Holden crater," Farkle said, "It's about a hundred forty kilometers wide. We believe it contains water, because a layer of it actually contains some type of clay." 
"Martians must live under it to survive," Steven said, very seriously. 
Riley smiled at him. 
"Maybe so," Farkle said. 
As Farkle showed the class different landmarks and places on Mars, Riley couldn't help noticing how his eyes shone with excitement. Science still fascinated him. 
"Maybe we'll go there!" Billy said. 
"Ms. Matthews wants to go to Mars!" Stephen said. 
Farkle looked over at Riley. With the projection of Mars and the darkness surrounding her, Riley couldn't read his expression. 
"Does she?" Farkle asked softly. 
The room got quiet, as if everyone anticipated how important Riley's answer would be. 
Farkle clicked a button, and Mars zoomed out again, a round red planet hovering above his head. 
"Do you want to go to Mars, Riley?" Farkle asked. 
She felt all eyes on her as Farkle stood up. 
Principal Harper clicked the lights on, and Riley finally saw Farkle's expression. 
His eyes were focused on her, eyebrows raised, and his lips were slightly parted.
She watched him take a step toward her. 
"I've always wanted to go to Mars, Farkle," Riley said. 
The bell rang, and the class hurried out the door excitedly.  Principal Harper, Farkle and Riley stayed where they were. 
"Farkle," Principal Harper said, "I'll have Riley escort you to the teacher's lounge for recess. Riley, I'll watch your class." 
As Principal Harper walked out of the classroom, and the door closed, Riley and Farkle continued to stare at each other, not moving. 
Finally, Riley broke the gaze, moving to open one of the blinds on the window behind her. 
"Riley," Farkle said. 
"Yes, Farkle?" Riley replied, facing the window. 
"How long have you wanted to go to Mars?" 
His question hung in the air between them, and she heard him step toward her. Her heart pounded as she replied. 
"I don't know," Riley said, "A very long time, longer than I can remember." 
"Riley," Farkle asked, "Why didn't you tell me?" 
"Because you were trying to understand love. I didn't want to get in your way." 
Farkle took another step toward her. She quickly walked to the other window and opened the blinds. 
"You wouldn't have been in my way," Farkle said. 
Riley looked around the room. She was running out of options to distract herself. She found the solar system display and walked toward it. 
"Riley," Farkle said. 
She stopped. 
Farkle walked toward the desk, picked up the display and found one small planet tied to the string furthest from the sun. It was painted bright orange. 
"What about Pluto?" He asked, "Do you still believe in it?" 
"Well, it hasn't been considered to be a planet again." 
"But you still have it, don't you?" Farkle asked. 
Riley slowly met his eyes. 
Farkle took the bright orange styrofoam ball and placed it in Riley's hand. 
"Do you still believe in Pluto, Riley?" he asked, "or did you stop believing in things?" 
Riley searched his eyes for an explanation. She thought back to the day she, Farkle, Maya and Lucas each placed a trinket in a time capsule. How had Farkle remembered what she said? After all those years?
"Do you believe in things, Farkle?" Riley asked, "Things that science can't explain?" 
Farkle placed his hand over hers and he stepped forward. 
"I do now," he said. 
Farkle gently pulled Riley over to her desk. 
Without explanation, he let go of her hand, shut the blinds for both windows, clicked the projector on and turned off the lights. 
As Farkle walked over to Riley, the stars surrounded them, and they watched one small planet grow closer and closer until Riley recognized its appearance. 
"Pluto will always be a planet to me," Farkle said.
Riley watched him, her heart racing.
She stepped toward him and he pulled her into a hug. As they stood there, Riley pulled back to look at Farkle again. 
"I didn't know you were speaking to the class today," Riley said, "Do you think it's a coincidence?" 
"I don't believe in coincidences anymore," Farkle told her, his gaze drawn to her lips. 
Riley leaned forward and Farkle kissed her gently, the universe surrounding them. 
When they broke apart, Riley saw a small red dot in the distance above Farkle's shoulder. 
"I guess I found my prince after all," Riley told him with a smile, "The kids are going to love this story."  

Last picture in aesthetic created by girlmeetsparkleyfarkley: