Rating: G to NC-17
Disclaimer: B&S is not mine
Summary: AU – A 36-year old lawyer wants to go home, a 25-year drifter wants to escape his
Edited: I just realized that it should be a 5-part story, not a 4-part story. But that's as far as I go. :)
“Seriously, Kevin, you had to this here?” Chad Barry asks from behind his bar.
“I was a fool to put something like this on the internet in the first place. What was I thinking?” Kevin Walker shakes his head. In a silly, drunken, stupid mood he had put up an advertisement.
“Gay man. Traveling back from Chicago to Los Angeles searches for company on the long trip home. Nothing serious. Just casual sex wanted.”
“And some people actually responded?” Chad asks in disbelief.
“Yes. I’ve deleted the ones I considered psychos to begin with and the few of them who wanted to take all sorts of toys with them. I’m not that into bondage, SM and such stuff.” Kevin shivers. “Yet, there were a few interesting results… I’ve asked them to meet me here….”
“Yes, at my motel and restaurant ? Why?”
“You are my last stop in Chicago. Then I'm gone.... Chad, so what am I doing? Or thinking? I don’t know… Maybe this was stupid. But I’ve been coming here for years. We’ve been friends for years… I guess…. I feel safe here…” Kevin answers. The smile on Chad’s face softens.
“You’re one of my best friends. And I hate that you want to go back to Los Angeles.” Chad says with a sad look on his face.
“I know.” Kevin says, his fingers caress Chad’s hand on the bar. “I have to get out of here. There are just too many memories…”
“He died a year ago.. Can’t you… I don’t know… put it behind you somehow? Move on with your life?”
“No. I tried. It’s just… We worked for the same company, now his office is taken by someone else. Our friends have moved on, but somehow I can’t. People ask me how I feel, but I don’t feel anything. I’m numb. I’m always at work or on the road, because the house is empty without him…. My life is empty without him…. Chicago is empty without him.”
“You two were so much in love…” Chad says.
“I miss him. Every single day. I need a change of scenery. A change of life. I’m 36 years old. I can still start over… My family is in LA. I still have friends there. My old boss said he wanted to hire me back as a lawyer in the company… Though something tells me that it helps that dad and he always play golf together…”
“Lucky you. At least, you’re getting out of this place.” Chad sighs. “I can’t do it.”
“I wish I could take you with me.”
“It’s my dad’s bar. I cannot leave. He needs me here.”
“I know the feeling.” Kevin smiles. The door opens and a young man enters, he waves at Chad, smiles at Kevin and immediately leaves for the kitchen.
“Who is that?” Kevin asks, raising an eyebrow in question and Chad leans a little closer to Kevin, so no one can hear him.
“His name is Scotty Wandell. Young drifter. Wanted to leave Chicago as well. Had issues with his family. You know the drill. Gay kid comes out. Parents not very accepting. It took him a long time apparently to gather the nerves to tell his parents, they kicked him out as a result.
He wanted to leave in his car… That is his Ranchero parked outside… but the car broke down. Now he needs money for spare-parts and he works here as a waiter.”
“Let me guess. You pay him more than average, no?”
“I’m not going to take advantage from his misfortune.” Chad says.
“You’re such a sucker for a sad story.” Kevin teases gently.
“Yes, I admit it. I even cry when watching ‘The little house on the prairie’.” Chad answers.
“Who doesn’t?” Kevin shrugs and Chad laughs. “Here comes my first date… I think… Two coffee. Over there.” He orders.
“This must be his eight cup of coffee. Is he using this bar as an office?” Scotty asks Chad, as he puts his tray on the bar. He nods in the direction of where Kevin is seated.
“Nah.” Chad shows Scotty the little ad that Kevin had posted. Scotty reads it and looks up.
“Seriously?” He asks Chad. “Why would you place an ad like that?”
“Because you lost partner of 18 years a year earlier and you’re still not over it? Because you got drunk on your own, remembering the day he died and …. Thought in a drunken mood that an ad like this would be hilarious?” Chad answers.
“I’m sorry. You know him well?”
“He’s a great guy. His partner got diagnosed with an illness 8 years ago. Kevin never left his side…” He places a picture on his bar. “That’s Kevin with John.”
“That is his partner?” Scotty asks. The man on the picture is much older than Kevin.
“I know what you think. John was nearly 30 years older than Kevin and he was a friend of my father’s. He was nearing his fifties and he had stopped believing that he would ever find ‘love with a capital L’ … He went to LA for a case, met Kevin, and within a few days Kevin, only 18-19 years old at the time, moved in with him.
My dad and I thought John was crazy… Kevin was just a kid, like me, at the time… But … it worked out amazingly well. Kevin was the light of John’s life. He came to mean everything to John. And John to Kevin. They were inseparable. Never saw one without the other. A love to envy…”
“Kevin was a very lucky man then.” Scotty sighs. “So, why… casual sex?” Chad opens his mouth, then closes it again. He’s suddenly reluctant to say something. Catching Chad’s hesitation, Scotty quickly adds. “… I’m sorry. I suppose it’s private…” Chad wonders if he should tell Scotty or not, then decides to confide in him.
“I’m not sure, but I believe that John’s illness made that he could no longer… you know..” Chad emphasizes the last two words. Scotty nods. It’s may be more info that he needs to have. He looks over his shoulder to the table where Kevin has an animated conversation, and decides to forget about the story.
“Chad? Do you have a room for tonight? I think I’d prefer to stay here, rather than move on.” Kevin looks at the dark clouds that have gradually filled the sky.
“Yeah, sure. Take room 3. It’s empty. Kev? … Are you really going to LA tomorrow?”
“Yes. I’ve handed in the keys to our… my .. place and left the building. Why?”
“So, tonight’s the last time we’ll see each other in a long time?”
“Yes. I’m afraid so.”
“I’ll have Scotty make you a meal.”
“He can cook?” Kevin wonders, checking the young man, who easily laughs with one of the customers.
Kevin had found Scotty’s little coffee-interruptions quite enjoyable and now that Kevin pays closer attention to him he notices a certain grace and ease in the way Scotty moves about Chad’s little diner. He’s easy on the eyes, has a friendly smile, sounds polite and he keeps an eye on the customers to provide them with what they need, without being too intrusive.
“You should keep him.” Kevin says, turning back to Chad.
“No. I couldn’t. I think he needs to move on. Just like you, it’s time for him to spread his wings and get out. Just wish I could help him.” Kevin knows how much Chad wants to leave as well, but can’t, due to his father owning the small diner and needing Chad.
“I’d love a good meal.” Kevin nods and he takes the keys to room 3. He hears Chad order Scotty to help Kevin with his bags. Kevin wants to say that he doesn’t need help, but Scotty is already outside, so Kevin trudges out the door too. “I don’t really need that much help. Most of my belongings are already on route to LA.”
“Doesn’t matter. I could use a bit of fresh air. It’s suffocating inside. With the rain approaching and all.” Scotty shrugs off Kevin’s apology.
“Yes, isn’t it?” Kevin smiles. “Is that your car? It’s a beauty.”
“I try looking after it as best as I can. Can’t really afford another.” Scotty answers.
There’s a frown on concern on his face and Kevin starts to see why Chad wants Scotty to move on. The longing to travel and to get out of the place he’s in, it is so clearly written on his face, in his eyes and in his attitude that Kevin can almost touch it.
“…And right now…” Scotty suddenly adds. “…my Ranchero is the only home I have.”
The thunder crashes down on the place and Kevin could swear that his cup is moving over the table at the sound. A look at the clock tells him it’s nearly two in the morning. He looks past his curtains into the night. The lightning lights up the ground and Kevin sees Scotty’s Ranchero standing outside, all alone.
He can see the shape of a head against the window and he sighs. This kid really wants to make life difficult for himself or what? Chad had offered him a room, but Scotty had simply honestly stated that he couldn’t afford one and preferred to keep his money to get out of town as fast as he could.
Kevin rubs his arms. The warmth of the day has been taken over by the chill of the rain and though tomorrow will be another hot day, right now, he feels chilled to the bone. He puts on his shirt and short and opens the door. There’s a porch in front of all the rooms, so he can watch the rain fall down, without getting soaking wet.
Lightning makes the place seem as bright as a sunny day once more and Kevin notices movement in the Ranchero. Then darkness takes over again. Kevin feels indecisive. He should go back in and try to get some sleep. Tomorrow will be a long day, with a long drive up ahead.
This time the lightning is high in the clouds, but it illuminates a vast amount of space and Kevin sees the curtain of rain coming closer with even darker clouds above it. It looks nearly like a black hole. His body comes into action and he finds himself running over to the Ranchero, where he taps on the window.
A startled Scotty opens his eyes. He opens the window a little bit.
“You need to get out of this car. I get that you have pride and all, but this is ridiculous!”
“All rooms are booked. Chad couldn’t put me up, if he wanted.” Scotty answers. “He himself is sleeping on the couch to accommodate that family that came in very late last night.”
“I have two single beds in my room. Take one of them…” He sees the hesitation on Scotty’s face. “Come on… I’d sleep a lot better knowing that you’re not stuck here in the rain.” Kevin persuades Scotty. He can see Scotty look around in his car.
“Alright.” Scotty then says. Kevin nods with a satisfied grin.
“Do you have any bags?” Kevin asks.
“In the trunk.”
“Let’s go get them.” The storm moves slowly, but the wind is picking up and they know the bulk of the rain isn’t far away.
Scotty puts everything he can find of value in a bag and locks the Ranchero. With Kevin beside him, he opens the trunk. They both carry what they can and run back to the porch. Kevin lets Scotty into his room.
“Do we have everything?” Kevin asks.
Scotty quickly counts and checks his bags.
“Aside from my sleeping bag, which is still in the car, yes, I think we have it all.” Four weekend bags and some items in another bag. That seems to be all Scotty has. There’s a certain sadness to that, Kevin realizes.
“Thank you.” He hears Scotty say and he looks up at the young man, who looks a bit lost. “It was getting really chilly in the car. It was a bit frightening too. I don’t like lightning much.”
“Who does?” Kevin hands him a towel to dry off.
Scotty is glad with the warm bed and the possibility to stretch his legs properly, but he can’t sleep, due to the loudness of the thunderstorm that seems to only slowly move on. The entire building shakes and shivers as the next crash comes down and the silence that follows in almost eerie.
It takes a few seconds to realize that the silence is only overwhelming because the air-conditioning is suddenly silent. Scotty opens his eyes and sits up.
“I think the power is gone.” Kevin says.
“Think so too… Maybe Chad will need help.” Scotty wonders.
Lighting brightens up the room, followed by another enormous crashing sound, followed by a wall of noise and the sound of shattering glass and creaking iron.
“What on Earth…?” Scotty jumps out of bed and Kevin is right behind him. Other guests have come out of their rooms as well.
Opening up the door, the continuous lightning in the sky reveals a battle-zone on the little parking lot where the pole carrying the sign-board has been stricken by lightning and has fallen. The Ranchero, parked not too far away from it, is completely crushed by the weight of the pole.
“Oh, my god, Scotty!” Chad, who just exits his motel as well, looks in horror at the mangled remains of the car, not knowing that Scotty has already left the car. “Scotty!”
“Chad! I’m here.” Scotty calls out and Chad is visibly relieved to see Scotty alive and well. He places a spontaneous kiss on both cheeks of the flabbergasted Scotty.
“Are you okay?” Chad’s father asks. Scotty nods. “Already everyone, no panic. Generators will be up in a few minutes…” Chad’s father announces calmly. “Everyone please go back to your rooms and wait. It will be alright…” People return to their rooms and Kevin closes the door behind Scotty, who sits down on the bed.
The generator seems to take un. The airco softly turns on again and Kevin switches on one of the lights on the nightstand to see a devastated Scotty.
“What do I do now?” Scotty wonders out loud. “I have nothing left… Just these four bags and a bit of money.”
“We’ll see in the morning. We’re tired and shocked and worn out and … you need some sleep, Scotty.”
“How?” Scotty asks as the thunder makes the whole place shiver on its foundation. Kevin reaches out for his bag.
“I usually don’t do this, but … here, have one of these. They are sleeping-pills I got after I lost my partner. I … could hardly sleep way back then… These pills will knock you off your socks within a few minutes and work for a few hours. I don’t like using them, but you look like you could use one. You need some rest.” Kevin insists, clearly not very happy with the solution.
Scotty doesn’t feel too sure about this, but the idea of a few hours of oblivion starts to sound good to him. He takes one of the pills and Kevin hands him a glass of water. Scotty lies down on his back and Kevin pulls up the sheets high around Scotty.
“It will be alright.” Kevin says and it’s the last thing Scotty remembers.
END OF CHAPTER ONE