A Path to the Heart

Stardew Val­ley in­spired a lit­tle fic ^.^ The il­lus­tra­tion is a screen­shot from the game :3

In­tro

It all start­ed a year ago, when I moved to my grand­fa­ther's home, Pel­i­can town, which is lo­cat­ed in Stardew Val­ley.

Back then I was 17 and pret­ty de­pressed be­cause of my part-time job at Jo­ja Cor­po­ra­tion, which was promis­ing to be­come my pri­ma­ry work place very soon. I had al­ready learned every­thing about the re­al­i­ties in my city and knew I was doomed to work at Jo­ja pret­ty much for the rest of my days... *sigh*

The sole thought of spend­ing my whole life like this was mak­ing me so de­pressed that I fi­nal­ly opened my grand­fa­ther's en­ve­lope, which I promised to on­ly open should a day like this ever come in my life. The stuff in­side in­clud­ed a mes­sage with di­rec­tions, some mon­ey and a lit­tle key to the house in a far away lit­tle town. Sud­den­ly I felt very de­ter­mined and dropped out of my for­mer life pret­ty much on the very same day...

1st of Spring, Year 1

The trip took around 16 hours but the bus was com­fy and I man­aged to oc­cu­py a cou­ple of ex­tra seats and fetch some sleep be­fore ar­riv­ing to Stardew Val­ley around 6:00 am next day.

It was the first Mon­day of Spring and the very thought of not hav­ing to ru­in yet an­oth­er day of my life work­ing at Jo­ja Cor­po­ra­tion was al­ready mak­ing me su­per hap­py!

The state of my new home, though... well, af­ter try­ing to move away some stones, branch­es and oth­er crap, I got quite tired be­fore it was even 10:00 in the morn­ing! The coun­try­side wasn't promis­ing me an easy life, though the tired­ness was pleas­ant... it wasn't the headache I used to get in the of­fice of Jo­ja at the end of most days, but was more like the sweet tired­ness af­ter work­ing out some mus­cle in the gym.

My body was lov­ing it al­ready but I fig­ured I need­ed to take breaks, so I de­cid­ed to walk around the town. I walked by the lo­cal ranch, it was very big and had some very cute cows that I watched for a while, al­ready look­ing for­ward to get­ting a cou­ple of my own one day... maybe?

Then I en­tered Pel­i­can town it­self, which is ac­tu­al­ly a vil­lage with like 6 or 7 hous­es, so I've no idea why they call it a town...

I lit­er­al­ly walked a few steps by the road when I sud­den­ly heard a guy's voice: "Heyyy, care­ful!" Right be­fore he bumped re­al­ly hard in­to me and we did a few rolls on the grass. We both got so ter­ri­fied of it that we end­ed up hug­ging and cling­ing to each oth­er be­fore we re­al­ized what we were do­ing!!

"I- I'm so sor­ry, er..." The guy's cheeks were flam­ing red and his wide open eyes told me he clear­ly didn't plan to di­rect his skate­board right my way, rather it was me who was the new, for­eign el­e­ment on his usu­al skat­ing route...

What beau­ti­ful eyes he had though! I en­joyed his make­up and his blond hair was al­so styl­ish­ly done with gel, all spiky and pret­ty at­trac­tive for a teen who was pret­ty much my age. He looked like a hot rock idol, or at least a young wannabe-star... It was so tempt­ing to say: "Hey don't wor­ry, you can lay on top of me all you want!" Of course I on­ly gig­gled like an id­iot in­stead... as al­ways.

5th of Spring, Year 1

Oth­er guys have al­ways been my source of pas­sion and de­pres­sion at the same time but af­ter liv­ing here for a few days I re­al­ized that Pel­i­can town could as well be a dream come true for some­one like me.

Af­ter Sam I met Se­bas­t­ian who was an­oth­er very charm­ing guy with a pret­ty hair­style, though he didn't bless me with a lot of talk and all I got was the im­pres­sion that I was both­er­ing him... But I still liked him a lot be­cause he looked dif­fer­ent, like a black hole slow­ly mov­ing through Pel­i­can town and at­tract­ing every­one's at­ten­tion with ir­re­sistible force...

Then the mus­cled Alex who sud­den­ly ex­cused him­self for work­ing out bare-chest­ed in front of me... I mean what, se­ri­ous­ly? Ei­ther he took me for a girl, which was very pos­si­ble with my looks, or...

I could feel some un­spo­ken... not even tol­er­ance but al­most com­plete open-mind­ed­ness in the air. It re­al­ly re­laxed me. Cer­tain­ly Pel­i­can town wasn't the type of a town where you could be once found tied to a hard­wood fence with the word "fag" writ­ten on your bare chest with a cop­ic mark­er, or some­thing worse be­cause most bul­lies can't af­ford cop­ic mark­ers... *sigh*

In any case, the sweet at­mos­phere in this town alone made me cry hap­py tears every night be­fore go­ing to bed...

18th of Spring, Year 1

Once, when try­ing to fish in the lo­cal riv­er, which is con­nect­ed to the ocean by the way, I pulled out some­thing that looked like an­oth­er piece of trash pa­per, just a page from a glossy mag­a­zine... Luck­i­ly, right be­fore toss­ing it away I got at­tract­ed by a some­what un­usu­al pic­ture in the mid­dle of it.

It was some dark-haired boy, pret­ty cute by the way but what was so un­usu­al was his en­tire pose. I mean I grew up in a pret­ty big city and know that con­tor­tion­ism is a thing, but even from what I could ex­pect to see done by the hu­man body, this one pose still looked per­fect­ly im­pos­si­ble! How can a per­son even stretch this far??

But I didn't feel re­pul­sion like that last time when one of my for­mer col­leagues jumped out of the win­dow at Jo­ja Cor­po­ra­tion. The pic­ture of this flex­i­ble teen boy looked noth­ing like an ac­ci­dent but more like a work of art done us­ing the hu­man body, though it was one ex­treme work of art tbh...

For a mo­ment I start­ed try­ing to imag­ine what it must be like to be him and be able to do this... Peo­ple who know him in per­son must have re­al­ly mixed feel­ings about his tal­ent, yet he man­aged to take it this far re­gard­less of what they say, and that alone was very ad­mirable...

19th of Spring, Year 1

Of course I didn't trash that piece but took it with me, next morn­ing I tried to find and or­der a copy of the mag the page was from, be­cause hon­est­ly this piece of pa­per was so dam­aged it al­most looked like a pre­his­toric ar­ti­fact! I prob­a­bly could bring it to our lo­cal mu­se­um's keep­er, Gun­ther, to see if he'd give me one of his sil­ly ex­pla­na­tions: "A mod­ern pho­to­graph de­pict­ing an un­usu­al range of mo­tion of the hu­man spine. Could be used to puz­zle one's mind on rainy days."

But jokes aside, I start­ed try­ing to find some text I could use as search terms on the in­ter­net to find this mag­a­zine. The ti­tle was "Yo­ga: A Path to the Heart". Pret­ty cheesy, I've al­ready learned about the so called spir­i­tu­al peo­ple who will tell you won­der­ful "truths" about your­self but in the end they on­ly need your mon­ey. I thought it was a yet an­oth­er ex­am­ple of this, about find­ing "the path to one's own heart" and stuff. Ei­ther way, these words were too gener­ic, I need­ed some bet­ter search terms, so I be­gan ac­tu­al­ly read­ing...

"Are you in love with some­one and try­ing to find a path to their heart? Why not use the art of flex­i­bil­i­ty to cap­ture their at­ten­tion! Just an hour and a half of the fol­low­ing ex­er­cis­es re­peat­ed dai­ly won't on­ly make your body health­i­er but will teach you some par­ty tricks that your cho­sen one will nev­er be able for­get! What they will see will be im­pos­si­ble to un­see and they will keep think­ing about you and your flex­i­ble body again and again, blush­ing hard­er and hard­er un­til one day the urge to hug and kiss you will be al­most ir­re­sistible!!"

Say what? I gulped and thought of Sam, my lo­cal crush from day one and my fa­vorite per­son to ad­mire. I cer­tain­ly wouldn't mind get­ting clos­er to him but I to­tal­ly couldn't guess if he was the type to en­joy some­thing like yo­ga or con­tor­tion­ism...

I knew he prac­ticed a lot with his elec­tric gui­tar, so at least he liked to "bend it" every once in a while... But jokes aside, I wasn't sure at all, but I was pret­ty sure that if peo­ple would start talk­ing about me as a "per­former"... well, that might ac­tu­al­ly make Sam in­ter­est­ed in me, huh? I al­ways felt he was avoid­ing me be­cause I wasn't cool enough, so be­ing able to do some­thing that can cap­ture the at­ten­tion of a whole crowd, it might as well be the most di­rect way to Sam's heart! But I went on read­ing...

"To get you start­ed, grab a pen and go to the near­est wall, lean your back against it and try to spread your legs as far apart as pos­si­ble, then get the pen un­der your crotch and draw a mark on the wall be­hind you. This is how low you can get... in a good way of course! Up­date it week­ly to watch your progress and mo­ti­vate your­self. Don't wor­ry about the wall­pa­per, it costs on­ly 100g to change! When you reach the floor, in­vest in­to a new wall­pa­per and a cou­ple of chairs and do the splits be­tween them un­til you reach the floor once more!"

Every frag­ment of this text made me gulp, won­der­ing if I can re­al­ly do all this or it's just some weird genre of fic­tion meant to tick­le your mind... just like most of spir­i­tu­al lit­er­a­ture. "When you reach the As­tral, turn to the left, then ask fur­ther di­rec­tions from your In­ner Self and pro­ceed to the Supreme Source. The way be­tween the fifth and sixth Chakra is long, so don't for­get to re­fu­el your Kar­ma." At least this ar­ti­cle didn't men­tion any video tapes or books I have to buy to "get there".

"But your most im­por­tant goal is to get the back­bend. No­body can re­sist erot­ic fan­tasies about some­one who can fold in half back­wards! Give your beloved a cou­ple of days to di­gest what they saw and then a cou­ple of winks next time you see them, and their heart is yours! The first phase of get­ting the back­bend re­quires some­thing sta­ble like a kitchen ta­ble or a door knob. Sim­ply bend back­wards and hold on it, this will give you the sup­port and a lot of con­trol over your stretch. It's al­so easy to mea­sure your progress, first try to bend back­wards un­til you can look at your own heels from be­hind. At first you might not be able to see your feet but still mark the fur­ther point you can see on the floor! Af­ter all floor­ings are al­so on­ly 100g to change, but make sure to mark the con­tours of your feet as well. Week by week, you will be able to look fur­ther and fur­ther, un­til the marks on the floor reach far be­tween the foot con­tours. But don't cheat and keep your legs straight! One day you'll be able to look right in front of you, with your head just be­tween your own thighs, which is your fi­nal goal to look for­ward to! Sim­ply demon­strate this trick at the par­ty and you'll be able to en­joy the blush on the cheeks of your beloved and their sil­ly smile every time your eyes meet from that point on! And the next time your eyes meet will be prob­a­bly in bed!"

I once again gulped, it all sound­ed like the con­tor­tion ver­sion of rock­et sci­ence, but uck­i­ly I was smart enough to fig­ure it out. I quick­ly went to find a pen and start­ed look­ing around to see which wall and floor frag­ment I should use for my mo­ti­va­tion­al marks.

19th of Spring, Year 2

A full year passed be­fore I was ready. I didn't skip a sin­gle day of ex­er­cis­es and tried to stay as healthy and mo­ti­vat­ed as I could to keep go­ing. I got my own cow and had a bot­tle of milk al­most every day be­cause it's good for the bones! :3

Al­so I be­came very good friends with Sam but still need­ed that spe­cial some­thing to break through... Sam liked me a lot but it was hard to tell if he had more ro­man­tic feel­ings... Be­sides he was pret­ty easy­go­ing with sev­er­al oth­er peo­ple... Once, his lit­tle broth­er Vin­cent told me he saw Sam lift­ing Pen­ny to help her climb in­to a tree at night. I need­ed to hur­ry...

I dou­bled my ef­forts dur­ing the last Win­ter and would nor­mal­ly spend up to four hours a day on im­prov­ing my back­bend and split. My splits were pret­ty good but my spine was still a step away (or how do you say it) from be­ing able to bend in half...

I was re­al­ly des­per­ate to com­plete my train­ing be­fore the Flower Dance fes­ti­val, I al­ready talked with may­or Lewis to add a spe­cial bonus to the fes­ti­val... my lit­tle spe­cial "bone­less" bonus :3

Of course I didn't tell the may­or what it was, my whole op­er­a­tion was su­per se­cret and I didn't share it with any­body ex­cept my cat Dud­ley... I pre­ferred to have a se­cret jok­er up my sleeve to max­i­mize the ef­fect! Wait, that sound­ed like I was cheat­ing... my ex­er­cis­es were every­thing but cheat­ing!!

21st of Spring, Year 2

On the last week­end be­fore the fes­ti­val it was rain­ing for two days in a row... what luck! As if the spir­its them­selves want­ed me to be able to stay at home and stretch all day long! I al­most tripled my ef­forts, stretch­ing for a full hour every three hours. And on Sun­day's af­ter­noon I fi­nal­ly reached my goal!!

Af­ter en­joy­ing the lit­tle Bendy Boy Achieve­ment pop­up, I spent the rest of the evening prac­tic­ing and pol­ish­ing my new abil­i­ty.

24th of Spring, Year 2

On the day of the fes­ti­val I got up at 6:00 am as usu­al, packed a bag of clothes that I spe­cial­ly or­dered for this very day, and ran straight to the bath­house.

Just as planned, I was the on­ly one there at this hour. There was some­thing spe­cial about this day, my body nev­er felt so good and so lim­ber, I al­most lost the track of time while warm­ing up and stretch­ing, when I re­al­ized the fes­ti­val is about to be­gin!

I quick­ly dried my skin... My body was so hot and so soft... If Sam could just hold me right now, he prob­a­bly wouldn't even need a spe­cial show, he could just eat me like a piece of his fa­vorite warm, yum­my piz­za...

On the oth­er hand, if he just fol­lowed a mo­men­tary pas­sion like that, he might as well re­gret it lat­er and even stop talk­ing to me. So yeah, it was def­i­nite­ly wis­er to let him de­vel­op the feel­ing by him­self and give him at least a cou­ple of days to think about every­thing...

I put on my spe­cial out­fit for the fes­ti­val: skin-tight beige leg­gings and a loose, me­dieval-style shirt with bag­gy sleeves. I rolled the shirt up, ex­pos­ing my whole mid­sec­tion, and tied a knot on my chest. A per­fect op­por­tu­ni­ty to fi­nal­ly show off my beau­ti­ful deep in­nie... Maybe Sam has a bel­ly fetish? Who knows, who knows...

Al­so, over the whole year liv­ing here I let my hair grow and now it was be­low the shoul­ders, usu­al­ly I'd wear a pony­tail but to­day I was go­ing to split it in two equal halves to wear a cou­ple of cute pig­tails.

I looked in­to the bath­house's mir­ror at this whole new set, then smiled to my­self, bent over back­wards, grabbed my own knees from be­hind and pulled my head right be­tween my own thighs, then looked in­to the mir­ror once more. The mag­a­zine was right, you can't just sim­ply un­see some­thing like this...

I made a cou­ple of steps on the spot to turn side­ways, then pulled as hard as I could to get my head fur­ther be­tween my thighs to look at the mir­ror again. It was like a dream to see my­self fold­ed in half back­wards like this but I didn't need a pinch to make sure it's re­al, be­cause hon­est­ly the stretch felt pret­ty in­tense on its own!

I wasn't be­ing nar­cis­sic, though, just mak­ing sure that every­thing looks the best way pos­si­ble be­fore the main show. My whole fu­ture with Sam de­pend­ed on how much I can turn his head with my looks and con­tor­tions to­day! I took the bag with my reg­u­lar set of clothes, and head­ed straight to the Cin­der­sap For­est where the fes­ti­val had al­ready be­gun.

"At­ten­tion every­one! Matthew is about to show us some­thing spe­cial to­day!" May­or Lewis an­nounced. Every­body cir­cled around me. Abi­gail, the shop­keep­er's daugh­ter, took out her flute, ready to play her fa­vorite tune that would fit so per­fect­ly to my act.

My heart was pound­ing like crazy but there was no way to step back! I breathed in and out slow­ly, nod­ded to Abi­gail and be­gan with the first pos­ture, fol­lowed by around ten more, all care­ful­ly chore­o­graphed and re­hearsed in my bed­room...

"Wow! That was im­pres­sive, Matthew!" May­or Lewis fi­nal­ly found the words to speak. Hon­est­ly I've nev­er heard him use the word "wow" so I fig­ured it meant some­thing. "The last time I saw a con­tor­tion­ist," he con­tin­ued, "was back when I was a lit­tle boy and a trav­el­ling cir­cus came to town. I even for­got how much I en­joyed it back then! Thank you for bring­ing back the good mem­o­ries."

He spoke in a loud­er voice to the crowd: "Every­one in Pel­i­can town is spe­cial in some way. Among us grown-ups we have a sci­en­tist, a black­smith, a car­pen­ter, a bar­tender, a doc­tor, a writer and many oth­ers. But what makes me spe­cial­ly hap­py is our younger gen­er­a­tion, they have all these very artis­tic hob­bies and pro­fes­sions, some of them we didn't even have back in my days... a flutist, a ris­ing rock star and even a fee... er, free-lance pro­gram­mer, I hope I'm say­ing it right. It's a plea­sure to know that Matthew is not an ex­cep­tion and it was good to learn about his se­cret tal­ent, which he would hope­ful­ly show us more of­ten from now on!"

Af­ter this ma­jor speech, the may­or let every­body sur­round me.

"This is so sen­sa­tion­al!" The lo­cal sculp­tor, Leah, was star­ing at me like I was an ex­hib­it from Gun­ther's mu­se­um. "I want to make a sculp­ture of one of these amaz­ing pos­es! Or maybe even two or three... I hope you won't mind be­ing my mod­el, Matthew?"

"That was beau­ti­ful, Matthew!" Abi­gail went and hug­gled me tight­ly. "When you asked me to play this melody, I had no idea it was go­ing to ac­com­pa­ny some­thing like this! Count on me when­ev­er you feel like per­form­ing in the fu­ture, okay?"

"Man, this is al­most too good for a small vil­lage like ours," even the afore­men­tioned free­lance pro­gram­mer, Se­bas­t­ian, ap­proached me, which was rare. "You could move to the big city with this... On the oth­er hand, you sort of ran away from the city, right? Ei­ther way, it looked good."

But my eyes were glued to Sam the whole time, he was stand­ing there with his eyes wide open, with­out even say­ing a word, just blush­ing and blink­ing. His whole ex­pres­sion looked like he saw a re­al rock star right in front of him but felt like a lit­tle boy, too ner­vous to even take an au­to­graph... And then I winked and smiled at him, which made his eyes even wider and his cheeks even red­der!

Af­ter the fes­ti­val it was al­ready 10:00 pm and I was ex­haust­ed like a pup­py, so I went straight to bed.

25th of Spring, Year 2

Next morn­ing I checked my mail­box to find a let­ter: "Matthew, can you come in front of my house af­ter dark? Sam."

I swear that was the longest day in my life! The sun just won't go down as fast as usu­al... but it was al­so the hap­pi­est night in the end!

9th of Sum­mer, Year 2

Me and Sam mar­ried two weeks af­ter­wards. So that pret­ty much con­cludes the sto­ry... To­day I have a lot of mag­a­zines about flex­i­bil­i­ty piled on my night­stand for dai­ly study, but that very spe­cial page from the be­gin­ning of my sto­ry is now hang­ing on the wall in a beau­ti­ful frame to re­mind of some­thing that got me both a hob­by and a hub­by! ;3

Thank you so much for read­ing~ <3

See al­so

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