“So h-h-ere’s how my boss operates and here’s what happens if you decided to say yes to the job: Tomorrow or the next day, whichever day works for you, I take you to Fell City- D-don’t worry you’ll be c-c-completely safe! -and you s-s-sing for my boss-his name is Grillby. Nice and very professional guy by the way and if he likes you and your a-a-act you get the j-job. If he doesn’t, he’ll pay you for y-your time and I’ll take you back home. What do y-you s-say?”
Frisk leaned back in her chair and stared at Jim. Ever since she hooked her arm around his, the guy was literally a big mess of nerves which surprised Frisk.
She would have thought a guy this handsome with the brightest blue eyes she had ever seen and a dazzling white smile that could melt any girl’s heart in a second wouldn’t be nervous about having a late lunch at a family style restaurant with a girl like her, but then again, as Frisk was taught by her parents, you simply couldn’t judge somebody based on their looks.
And if she was being quite honest with herself, there was something pretty charming about Jim’s embarrassed and socially awkward quirks, but for Frisk the most captivating thing about him were the clothes he was wearing.
He wore brown working pants with a pair of ripped suspenders holding them up, a dusty white button-up shirt with little brown grease stains and his blonde hair was a little unkempt.
Needless to say, he didn’t look like anybody special or important, but what made his clothing so impressive to Frisk was the fact this guy seemed to share her own father’s fashion sense.
Frisk recalled when her father and her mom were still alive, the old man had a number of “good” clothing, but he never wore any of them unless he was taking Frisk’s mom out to dinner or attending Frisk’s chorus performances at the school, but aside from those recollections, almost every memory Frisk had of her father was him coming home with dirty clothes and a big smile on his face.
Happy to be home after a hard day of work.
She wondered if Jim worked just as hard as her father did. Maybe she’d ask him about what exactly his job was and how he got hired by a monster to find singers for said monster’s bar, but that was a conversation for later. At the moment she needed to focus on this potentially worthwhile job opportunity.
Frisk planned on answering Jim’s question by asking him a slew of her own questions regarding his monster boss’ expectations when it came to musicians and safety issues concerning the monster city. She also wanted to ask if this job was just a one time gig or something more permanent and how much she might make if his boss did choose her.
Frisk began to ask her first question, but immediately closed her mouth when Mrs. Vel, the head waitress and the restaurant owner’s wife, came around to their table for what seemed like the eightieth time.
The first time was to get their order. The second time was to bring them their drinks. The third time was to bring them their food. Every other time Mrs. Vel came to their table was solely to eavesdrop on Frisk’s conversation with the “handsome young stranger” as she called him when Frisk and him first entered the restaurant.
“Ya need anything else, handsome? Refills? Dessert?” Mrs. Vel asked sweetly and nodded her head politely when Jim quietly declined.
Then Frisk watched as Mrs. Vel’s sweet smile turned into a lewd smirk as she turned towards her. Frisk blushed as the elderly woman winked knowingly at her, thankful that Jim couldn’t see the interaction between herself and the restaurant owner’s wife.
“What about you, Frisky? Ya need anything pumpkin? A refill on your soda? Some dessert? A little romantic music-”
“I’m fine, Mrs. Vel!” Frisk nearly shouted, making Jim jump and causing a few of the customers closest to them to turn around to look at her. Most of those people Frisk recognized as her neighbors: they had their own lewd and knowing smirks on their faces.
Fantastic , Frisk thought and tried to peek over Mrs. Vel’s head to see Jim’s expression. She mentally sighed in relief. He looked confused but didn’t seem to understand why so many people were flashing them both those smiles.
Truthfully, it wouldn’t have been so annoying and embarrassing to Frisk if Mrs. Vel and most of the other patrons in the dining room weren’t being so obvious about their intense interest with Jim, but then again she understood why.
Ever since she moved into the apartment complex, Frisk was one hundred percent certain her friends and neighbors never saw her alone with a member of the opposite sex. They saw her in groups settings. They saw her hanging out with band members she had befriended during her gigs, but they never saw her by herself with a male.
Mrs. Vel’s smirk widened as Frisk glared up at her.
“Thanks,” Frisk mumbled before she coughed a little nervously. “And can you tell Mr. Vel-”
The smirk vanished from the elder lady’s face as she rolled her eyes.
“No, I’m not gonna tell him you’re sorry for snapping at him. I already told him twice and I ain’t telling him a third time, so stop apologizing. I don’t even know why you’re apologizing anyhow. I never apologize to him and I live with him.”
Frisk let out a chuckle as Mrs. Vel gave her a mean smile and looked at Jim, who looked amused at the older lady’s joke.
“Take it from my husband sweetums, don’t get married. You might end up with somebody like me.”
A few patrons who had been listening in started to laugh as Mrs. Vel walked away. Frisk almost covered her face, silently swearing out her beloved friends. If they were gonna listen in they could, at the very least, pretend to mind their own business.
But actually seeing how much attention she was getting did raise a concern Frisk hadn’t thought about till now. Frowning, she looked around the dining room once the laughter died down and when she was sure everybody was “minding” their own business she began talking again.
“We’ve been lucky so far, but from now on maybe we should talk in whispers,” Frisk suggested softly and subtly gestured to the patrons with a jerk of her head.
Jim raised an eyebrow innocently. Frisk sighed and tried not to roll her eyes. She leaned in closer to Jim and inwardly winced knowing how intimate this movement might look to prying eyes.
“Look please don’t take this the wrong way Jim, but most of these people are my friends and if they hear that I might be entering Fell City, they will not approve. Not because they are racist or anything, but…” Frisk grimance and tried to find the right words. “I...urgh...did you ever hear any horror stories about Fell City when you were a kid? That’s the type of information these people have based on that CIty.”
After receiving the dumbest and most baffling stare Frisk had ever seen on another human’s face, she was relieved to see understanding flood Jim’s beautiful blue eyes and he nodded. He chuckled nervously and shot her a guilty and more confident smile.
“Yeah, but hasn’t every human in this city heard of those stories?” He laughed. “I remember being on the playground during school and hearing all sorts of nightmare creating stories about the city that was crawling with huge bloodthirsty monsters.”
Frisk smirked and nodded. The things you heard on the playground when you were a kid...
She remembered being nine and standing with her friends as they all crowded around an older kid, staring at him wide-eyed as he went into such unnecessary gory details about how some poor unfortunate human that was dumb enough to enter Fell city was violently murdered by gangs of monsters. Those stories always had Frisk and her friends traumatized when they got back to class.
Of course when she told her parents those same stories, they quickly corrected her, reminding Frisk that just because somebody looks different or scary doesn’t mean they want to hurt her. Frisk remembered nodding her head, knowing they were right, but that still hadn’t stopped her from being completely terrified at the idea that a monster city was so close to her own city or deter her from continuing to hear those wild tales with her friends.
Now all those friends that once accompanied her to school and played hopscotch with her and listened to her sing were all dead. DEAD AND GONE.
Frisk felt a surge of pain hit her heart as the faces of all her friends flashed into her mind. She focused on Jim’s handsome face instead and gave him a goofy smile.
“Yeah, no kidding Jim. I had a few nightmares myself as a kid after I heard those tales. And did you notice they all started out the same way? Some human would enter the city either because they were dared to or they desperately needed a job or they wanted to steal something valuable-”
Jim have another wheezy laugh. “And they were brutally stomped out by some monster with sharp claws, a huge body and big teeth. And then they’d have their SOUL taken out as a sort of trophy for the monster. Can’t believe-”
“Never heard that bit about their SOULS being taken out. You must have had a better storyteller as a kid than I did,” Frisk joked, but suddenly felt a shiver of unpleasantness run down her spine.
She was glad that little tidbit detail never made it in the stories she heard as a child. Now that would have been terrorizing. Hell, the image to her right now made her a little uncomfortable. Which made her feel guilty as all hell too.
Jim shrugged. “Yeah every storyteller has to put their own spin on urban legends I suppose, but I can tell you all that is complete nonsense. Ya see, I was the guy who was desperate for money three years ago and through the good old grapevine, I heard that a monster was looking for a human that could get him human booze for his bar.”
Frisk felt her mouth drop.
“And you went to another city?! You went solely based on a rumor? You know how unreliable information like that is, right?”
And almost instantly she felt bad about her fearful and ignorant reaction. Obviously monsters couldn’t be all that bad (or be like that grinning bastard Sans) if Jim were still alive, but going to a new city, monster or not, without a connection was DANGEROUS! At least in your own city you knew who ran things and you knew how to act. You enter another don’s city and even step out of line by insulting the wrong person or doing something that might be viewed as remotely offensive to a high ranking criminal you were DEAD!
That’s why the countryside was where Frisk needed to be at. With all those pretty flowers with people who didn’t want or need guns and violence was a rare thing.
Jim’s face became a little bitter and sad. Frisk mentally punched herself, blushing for her stupidly and decided to stare at her empty plate as opposed to him.
“Three years ago my wife left me and my then two year old daughter because I was laid off from my construction job. No one in this Godsaken city was hiring. I was about to be evicted from my apartment. I needed to support my daughter. I was desperate and so I entered Fell when I heard the rumor.”
Oh, you’re a single daddy huh? Frisk thought and wondered if his daughter had his bright blue eyes. She waited for him to continue finally looking back at him.
His bitter face was replaced with a more amused smile.
“You know what I learned when I entered Fell City? All those stories were told by big fat liars. Not only wasn’t I attacked but I came to the realization that monsters were more...pleased, amused and interested by me being a human than angered. It was only after I finished answering ton of embarrassing questions about my human body and human culture that two crazy-looking bunny monsters directed me to Grillby Sulfuric.”
Frisk blinked in shock and when Jim’s word sank in she began to smile.
“No way. That really happened to you?” Frisk asked, starting to chuckle. She covered her mouth with her hands, trying to maintain her laughter.
“Disappointed they won’t eat you as soon as they see you, Frisk?” Jim asked with a grin.
Frisk snorted causing a few heads to turn. She didn’t mind the attention so much now. This was too funny! He was kidding right? All those stories that caused her vivid nightmares and sleepless nights weren’t even a little bit true?
Not that she wanted them to be true, but she couldn’t believe how stupid, pathetic and off the wall all those stories about a race had been! But then again weren’t all stereotypes about different races stupid and ignorant?
Who knew Monsters were more interested in how a human dick works than eating one!
The prevented thought caused set of insane giggling to erupt from her mouth. Frisk briefly wondered if Jim regretted offering her the job now but when she looked back he was chuckling himself.
“Yeah well, there are still parts of Fell City that are quite dangerous to enter...no place is perfect after all, so that’s why I’ll be accompanying you to Grillby personally...if you choose to accept that is.”
Knowing she needed to be serious now, Frisk calmed her chuckles down.
The job seemed promising enough. And another human was vouching for how safe it was and that was something. And when it all came down to it, Frisk had Jim’s problem. She was desperate.
She had no job, she barely had any money and despite the fact that Sans blatantly told her he had “accidently” paid all her bills-
Frisk felt a hint of a blush cover her cheeks over that act - as much as she hated to admit it -was pretty romantic the more she thought about.
...Well, it WOULD have been romantic if the guy who did it hadn’t assaulted her in a public bathroom, threatened her loved ones with the possibility of death and kept touching her...either with those boney hands or with that red smoke shit. That damn...magic spell thing he felt the need to constantly do to her. Making her body too heavy to move.
But then there was that last time...that blissful warmth...feeling complete...
Frisk felt her blush increase as her body unintentionally stirred pleasurably at the memory before she shook her head violently, once again wondering how crazy she looked to Jim.
When it was all said and done, she couldn’t rely on Sans to keep his word. And after they had their date this weekend, what if that wasn’t good enough for him? And on the very rare chance she did end up sleeping with him, (Frisk cringed at the idea) what if that wasn’t good enough for him either?
What about after having sex with him, he just tells her something like “thanks for the fucking, had better by the way and make sure you pay up in a week doll-face.”
The odds of that actually happening seemed too realistic and the idea that he was “just a desperate good guy” was becoming more laughable by the minute. The asshole smashed her head into a wall during their first meeting! Twice!
He said it would be a “fun” gamble to be with him, but just going on that date without anything else to rely on but his mercy and kindness was way too big of a gamble for Frisk and her people too. She couldn’t rely on a guy whose favorite word was “maybe”.
She needed a backup plan...another way to make money...just in case that date didn’t go in her favor.
“Your boss’ name is Grillby?”
Jim nodded. “Yep. Grillby Sulfuric, but don’t call him Mr. Sulfuric. He may be the best businessman around but he hates being formal, ya know?”
Frisk nodded her head. Her mother was the same way. She wasn’t a business lady by any means, but Frisk did remember how much her mom’s face would scrunch up when somebody called her Mrs. Determ.
“So I choose either tomorrow or the next day to enter Fell City and perform for Grillby. He’ll let me know if I got the job and then if I got it he’ll…”Frisk trailed off and looked at Jim expectantly to finish.
Once again the stupid look greeted her before he got the message.
“OH! So um...well...I suppose he’ll tell you the nights he needs ya to perform and you two go from there...Jeez, I don’t really know much about the details of the job per say, I’m just the guy who gets his booze. All he told me was to tell the person I viewed as talented that the job pays well and is a long-term thing. And pretty secure too. Grillby ain’t gonna fire any talented human performers that’s for sure. Anything that is remotely human in Fell City draws a crowd.”
Jim paused and took a deep breath, giving Frisk a nervous and apologetic look.
“If you do get the job you’ll have to be...okay with monsters staring at you like you're some kind of exhibit in the zoo or something.”
Okay with that? Frisk thought and had to stop herself from rolling her eyes at his stupid remark. Clearly Jim had never been on stage before because if he had he would know that being stared at by large groups of people was part of being a performer. If you couldn’t handle being ogled by a crowd, you didn’t need to be on stage.
However, instead of voicing this thought Frisk smiled and nodded her head.
“Yeah I think I’m okay with that-”
“And Grillby wants the human he hires to talk to the monsters after they’re done performing. He sort of want them to hang around the bar and engage in conversations with patrons who might want to talk to you.”
That’s a new one , Frisk thought, not really sure what to think about that requirement. Usually her human bosses wanted her just to sing and get the hell off the stage and out of their bars when she was done.
“Why does he want me to talk-”
Jim shrugged helplessly cutting her off. “Honestly, I couldn’t tell ya Frisk. I think it has to do with the fact that one of his regulars is not only a wealthy radio personality, but also a popular monster singer who has an obsession with humans and-”
“Letting him talk to me might encourage this influential monster to boast about Grillby’s Bar on the radio?” Frisk finished.
“That’s my theory, but I could be wrong. So what do you say? You want to be the first human to perform in Fell City?” Jim asked allowing a small encouraging smile to slip on his lips.
Frisk nodded her head slowly. She needed this job.
“Alright. I need to run some errands tomorrow, so how about the day after?”
Jim’s smile widened. “Great! You still got that flyer I gave you?”
Frisk handed him the purple piece of paper. She watched as Jim turned it around, pulled a pen out of his breast pocket and began writing down something. Frisk leaned closer to him and squinted, trying to read what he was writing upside down. It looked like he scribbling down a street address.
“Since you don’t want your friends to know where you’re going, take the two-thirty P.M. streetcar and come to this address to meet me. I’ll take you to Fell City after we meet up.”
After he finished writing out the time and address, he handed the paper to Frisk, who tucked it into her purse.
“This will be great. Hey! You’ll even meet my daughter. She always does enjoy visiting the monster city and I can’t say “no” to her. You don’t mind do you?”
“Not at all. I love kids.”
“Great...great…” he declared, his voice getting lower.
She watched as he started to blush and jerk and tug at one of his suspenders.
“So I was w-wondering, how about after y-your audition, you and me go out to dinner.”
Now it was her turn to blush.
“Like a date?”
Jim nodded, his face red, but Frisk saw something like hope and eagerness flash in his eyes. He looked just like an adorable puppy and by all accounts was definitely the best looking guy who had ever asked her out...if she excluded her highschool sweetheart Derek, and Jim was the first guy in a long time to…
...to not smell like gun smoke and booze.
He was friendly he was shy and if he was telling the truth he was a single dad trying to support his kid. That showed love and dedication. The same traits Frisk’s mother and father had. And he had been nothing but sweet and respectful to her from minute one even when she had been rude and mean to him.
How rare is that? And just now...how he asked her out...
It had been a long time since a guy asked her out in a such a kind and pleasant way. And she was tempted to say “yes.”
She wanted to say yes . Because he was a nice guy and she knew if it didn’t work out, there would be no repercussion for a rejection.
Sighing, Frisk gave him a sad smile knowing she had to reject him before she even gave him a chance.
“I kind of agreed to go out with somebody, it’s nothing serious, but I think the best way to describe it as a “trial-run” date and it wouldn’t be fair to you or to...him if I said “yes” to you and went out with him during the weekend. You understand, right?”
Seeing Jim’s face shatter hurt her badly, but to his credit he nodded his head and gave her a shaky smile.
“Yeah I understand, Frisk. But...um...I gotta get going, but um...you got the address, and I’ll see you in two days right?”
Frisk could only nod, feeling even worse as Jim quickly stood up.
No he wasn’t going to ruin this too!
“You’re a really nice guy Jim. And when this trial-run date is over with this guy, I’d like to get to know you better...if you still want to go out that is.” she offered quickly, hoping that would be enough to keep him interested.
He paused in his movements, that tiny little smile coming back.
Frisk nodded, her heart beating happily. “Absolutely!”
After she got home, Frisk sat on the floor of her messy room and leaned her head against the bed frame as she recounted what was left of her savings.
She winced, fighting the urge to cry.
“Damn it,” she whined and threw the money down on the ground in anger, covering her hands with her face.
It was even less than what she thought she had.
The job wasn’t a sure thing. Jim said she needed to audition for the job and so until Grillby said she was hired, she couldn’t count that as part of her back up money in case Sans didn’t keep his word.
But she knew how she could get a lot of money and fast.
Sighing, feeling a great amount of pain hit her chest, she stood up and lifted her thin and worn-out mattress off the bed frame. Her most valuable possession greeted her.
Lying between the mattress and the bed frame was a thick silver necklace with a big red ruby heart charm attached to it. The silver necklace was something her father bought her when she was a teenager, but the ruby heart charm was old. It was older than Frisk’s mother or her mother’s mother or her mother’s mother’s grandmother. It had been in the family for years, but despite the age, it looked eerily brand new. It had no cracks or chips in it and still felt as smooth as ever.
She knew she could get a lot for this piece at the pawn shop, but the thought of pawning it physically hurt Frisk. If she had one thing that truly reminded her of her mother it was this charm. But…
Frisk blinked her tears back as she ran her thumbs over the smooth warm surface of the red stone.
All I’m doing to pawning it , Frisk thought and ignored the stray tears that fell down her cheek The guy at the pawn shop always gives people three weeks to claim their items before he puts them on the shelves for sale. I just need more backup money. After my audition and my date with Sans, if things go well, I’ll still have time to get it back.
Before Frisk could even call herself out on how stupidly unrealistically optimistic that plan was, a loud and powerful knock on the door tore her out of her misery.
They knocked again. This time Frisk could detect impatience in whoever was knocking.
“Coming!” she called out, quickly gathering her money and her ruby necklace and throwing them on the bed frame. She gritted her teeth when the impatient asshole knocked again.
Give me a second, you jerk , Frisk thought annoyed as she covered her valuables with the mattress.
She quickly rushed out her bedroom and opened the door, causing Papyrus to stumble forward as his fist hit air instead of her door.
He was holding a bag of groceries in one arm. Frisk blinked up at the tall skeleton as he regained his balance and fixed his suit, huffing with annoyance.
“Papyrus? What are you...um...what do I owe the pleasure of having you here?” Frisk asked. It wasn’t too hard to force a smile on her face this time.
That promise about fixing the playground was still fresh in her mind and as long as Papyrus kept that promise, he was more than okay in her book.
After composing himself, Papyrus gave Frisk a smug sharp tooth-grin, the single red light in his left socket glowing brightly.
“I BET YOU ARE WONDERING HOW I FOUND YOUR APARTMENT. AM I RIGHT, TINY HUMAN?”
Frisk smirked slyly at him. “I would if it were anybody else, but I’ve learned to never underestimate you, Papyrus.”
Please tell me how you did it. And please don’t say Sans told you where I live. I don’t think I can sleep knowing that man knows where I live.
The skeleton’s smile got bigger. “NYEH HEH HEH! YOU ARE ONE OF THE FEW WHO UNDERSTANDS GREATNESS WHEN THEY SEE IT!”
Frisk shrugged, trying not to let her anxiety show. “Yep, but just to let me in on your great mind works, how did you know?”
Papyrus scoffed smugly. “IT WAS EASY! I JUST KNOCKED ON EVERY DOOR UNTIL YOU CAME OUT!”
Frisk tried to keep a straight face.
Wonder how the neighbors took that...and at least he didn’t say “Sans told me”.
“Well Papyrus, you found me how can I help-”
Without waiting for her to finish, Papyrus walked past Frisk into her apartment. Frisk stared after him in disbelief for a few moments before she chased after him after closing and locking the door behind her.
She followed him in the kitchen.
“ I AM COOKING A HUMAN MEAL FOR MY BROTHERS TONIGHT AND TO MAKE IT A LEGITIMATE HUMAN MEAL I NEED TO USE AN ACTUAL HUMAN STOVE. I KNEW YOU WOULDN’T MIND IF I USED YOURS.”
Still in disbelief, Frisk watched as Papyrus placed the grocery bag on her kitchen table.
Needless to say this was unexpected, and truth be told, Frisk really couldn’t handle any more surprises or unexpected incidents. She already reached her quota for the entire week. She just wanted to sleep this terrible day away.
“Um...Papyrus, I don’t think...um...my house is not really in top condition to receive visitors-”
Papyrus nodded, looking at the pile of dirty dishes in her sink. Even though she had used the dirty house excuse in the hopes of shooing him away, Frisk couldn’t help but feel embarrassed about the state she allowed her place to fall into.
“I’VE NOTICED, BUT DO NOT WORRY! I WILL NOT JUDGE YOU NOR WILL THAT KEEP ME FROM COOKING!”
She watched as he began opening her cabinets and pulling out a few pots and pans.
“YOU ARE LUCKY, TINY HUMAN! YOU GET TO WATCH THE GREAT PAPYRUS COOK! VERY FEW ARE PRIVILEGED TO SEE THAT!”
“Look, I’m a little tired-”
“COME CLOSER. YOU WON’T SEE ANY OF MY GREATNESS IF YOU STAND THAT FAR AWAY!”
Frisk sighed and moved closer, accepting the fact that she had lost for the millionth time today.