Rate: for now G, if it changes I'll let you know ;)
Disclaimer: Written with love not for money
Summary: Guy meets guy and, well, you know how it goes....
Just remember: This is an AU, so the usual applies; Things can/will be different. Don't like it? Don't read it.
"This is good." Scotty manages to mumble between 2 bites. Kevin smiles. He knows that Café 429 serves the best hamburgers in California and that the salad is fresh and deliciously seasoned. "I've never been here before. Wish I had." Scotty wipes his mouth clean with the napkin. "Because this is really good."
"Glad to hear you appreciate my choice. I love to come here." It's also his uncle's restaurant, but he sees no reason to mention this. "Dessert?"
"I'm good." Scotty says, just as a waitress walks by with a large chocolate dessert that looks extremely delicious. Scotty watches it go by and he's obviously interested.
"That is the Chocolate Heart-stopper, eat at your own peril. The owner, Saul Holden, had first thought of a more exotic name, but then his sister joked about it being a heart-stopper and he decided to make it less exotic and closer to the truth." Kevin explains with a grin.
"We could share one. They are huge." Kevin grins, always ready for a half of his uncle's deadly dessert. Scotty looks a bit flustered, not sure what to answer. "I'm the one buying, so ... what do you care? Take it! Share one with me."
Kevin gently teases and, after a necessary moment of hesitation - because Scotty doesn't want to appear to be too greedy after all - Scotty accepts.
Kevin calls the elevator by using a code and not long after that the elevator takes Kevin and Scotty to Kevin's apartment.
"I have to warn you, the place is rather Spartan at the moment, but the guest-room can be slept in." Kevin says as they exit the elevator at the 11th floor of the building where Kevin lives. It’s a penthouse...
At this point Scotty feels he could sleep on the floor if he had to, he's too tired and too stuffed with food to care. He has no idea what to expect when Kevin opens the door, but 'Spartan' is a very good description. The room is huge, but there's almost no furniture.
There are countless boxes stacked in the corner though and Scotty quickly understands that Kevin is in the process of moving.
"Moving in or out?" He asks.
"In." Kevin answers.
The next thing that Scotty sees upon entering the penthouse further, is the spectacular view over the city.
“Wow.” He says and he’s clearly in awe.
“It still takes me breath away... Each and every time.” Kevin agrees.
"With a view like that I’d never leave the place...” Scotty gushes. Kevin laughs.
“Well, you’d better. This place is quite expensive. If I don’t get off my butt and go to work, I can’t afford this beautiful place with the beautiful view.” Kevin points out with a killer-logic.
“I’ll get myself an apartment like this one day.” Scotty sighs and Kevin looks at him. There’s something about the determination on the young man’s face that makes him believe that Scotty could maybe even succeed at making his promise stand.
“As a cleaner?” Kevin asks, managing to keep sarcasm out of his voice. Scotty turns to him. The mesmerised look changes to a sad one.
“One has to have a dream, right?”
“What is your dream?” Kevin now asks.
“I don’t know. Don’t have one anymore. Not at the moment.” Scotty replies with a sad look on his face. “I wanted to learn something. This cleaning job was just so I could save up some money... But I never managed to save enough and now my dreams are totally out of reach.” Scotty answers, but then he shrugs, no longer wishing to talk about lost dreams.
Slowly the rest of the penthouse comes more into focus with Scotty. It’s very open plan. The kitchen looks good from a distance. And there’s a huge couch. A large flat-screen television on the wall opposite the couch. A small glass table. It sticks out that it’s not in proportion with the couch. And there are boxes. Stacks and stacks of boxes.
There’s a large open bookcase that serves as a room-divider and behind it Scotty can see the outlines of a study, but the room isn’t lit, so he can’t see any details. The apartment is rather ... empty. He had somehow expected Kevin to live with more luxury around him.
“The place is rather empty..” Kevin explains, as if he had read Scotty’s mind. “My ex has kept most of the furniture. I didn’t care much for his choices anyway, but it does mean that the place feels a bit too big for what’s in it. I still have to go shopping for new furniture, but I lack the courage to do so. Plus, I only got the key to this place early this month.
Most of what is here right now were given to me by other family members. That glass table for instance, was something my mom still had in her garage. The room-divider comes out of my older brother’s house and the couch was something my younger brother still had in his shed from his bachelor-days....
I bought this place on a whim and more out revenge than out of interest. When we broke up I wanted a place that would be my own. I wanted to show my ex that I could live very well without him. But now that everything is finally settled, I’m not so sure anymore.
The place is great and beautiful. And I know I'm lucky that I got it, but I’m tempted to sell it and find another place. I want something that suits me. And lovely as this place and the view and privacy is... it's not really me." Kevin tries to explain.
Scotty reckons it must be a luxury problem. If he could afford a place like this he'd never leave.
"Anyway, this is the guest-room...” Kevin opens the door to a reasonably-sized room that has a double bed. “Don’t look at the mess. Most of the time it’s more of a storage-room...
I hadn’t counted on anyone sleeping here tonight. If I had known, I would have cleaned up somewhat, but maybe we can do that tomorrow.”
“You want me to sleep here?” Scotty’s voice is soft and Kevin turns to him.
“Unless you prefer to sleep in your car?” He answers with a gentle smile. Scotty shakes his head.
“I just thought that... I don’t know what I thought...” He stammers. It doesn’t take that much for Kevin to read between the lines.
“You thought I was going to take advantage of the ‘everything’ you offered for my silence?" He asks teasingly. He can see a blush rise on Scotty's face. "I’m sorry for my behaviour at the office... My only excuse is that I was scared at first, then I got angry...
My office means a lot to me. It momentarily felt like some form of burglary to me. I was tempted to report you to your boss... But, having gone through a recent separation myself, I can understand how you feel that you’re drowning and you couldn’t see a way out, because there’s so much in your head..
I had the good luck that my family took charge and that they are very level-headed... well, sometimes, anyway... It was a great safety-net to fall back on, but if you don’t have that....” He shrugs, not able to quite feel how Scotty might have felt.
"Does this mean that you won’t report me?” Scotty asks, just to be sure.
“That’s right. I suggest that we sit down tomorrow-morning and see what we can do. Maybe I can help you. I don’t know you all that well, but ... in my line of work I meet a lot of people and I’m usually very good at judging who’s telling me the truth and who’s trying to feed me some bullshit story. And I think you’ve been honest to me.
So, try and get some sleep. If there’s anything you need, ask me. And... we’ll talk some more in the morning... Okay?” Scotty nods his head, unable to get a word out. He’s too relieved that Kevin is willing to let his action go unpunished and he’s glad that the lawyer, known for being a shark, isn’t abusing his position.
"So, is this bed good enough for you?" Kevin asks teasingly.
"Does this come with a map to get from one side to the other?" Scotty immediately answers, feeling less intimidated now, and Kevin laughs out loud. It is a nice sound.
"I'll give you a quick tour of the kitchen. In case you wake up before I do and want to eat or get some coffee." Kevin shows him the kitchen. He opens some of the cupboards to show Scotty where the coffee, tea, sugar and bread can be found.
The fridge already has some food in it as well, which, so Kevin tells Scotty, he can also eat if he feels hungry in the middle of the night and Scotty feels a bit overwhelmed and too tired to really take in all the details, but he believes that he will still remember everything tomorrow-morning and he'll figure it out then.
"I don't want to be a bad host, but it's been a long day for me and tomorrow will be a as well. And I want to go to bed early and catch some sleep. I don't mind if you want to stay up and watch some television or..."
"No, thanks. It's been a long day for me as well and I want nothing more than just go to bed and sleep as well." Scotty says gently. "I'm already grateful that you've invited me like this... I'm..." He wants to say more, but he has no words. "... grateful." It's the only word he ultimately decide on.
With a knowing smile Kevin pours two drinks and gives one to Scotty. Scotty takes the scotch. He's usually not much of a drinker, but after the week he's had, he feels like he could use one.
"To endings and new beginnings..." Kevin says. "I think this goes for you as well as for me. Each in his own way."
"To endings.. And new beginnings..." Scotty agrees. Yes, it's true. He has to start all over again.
They both drink their scotch in silence. The lights are dimmed. The mood is quiet, but comfortable. They both have their own thoughts, but neither has the will to talk. Not until Kevin puts his empty glass on the table.
"I'm off to bed. Have a good night. If you're cold, I've put an extra blanket on the bed."
"Thank you." Scotty nods, placing his glass next to Kevin's on the small table. Kevin goes to his own bedroom and Scotty closes the door of the guestroom behind himself. Alone at last. Again he's surprised by how big the bed is, but at the same time it's wonderful to have such space. He lies down, puts the extra blanket over himself.
After the rather bad nights of sleeping on Kevin's not-too-comfortable couch he longs for a good night sleep. He turns off the lights. For a moment his worries come back. What will happen next? What would Mr Walker want in return? How much trouble will he be in? What will happen to him after tonight? Why does he trust Kevin? Wouldn’t it be better to run?
But a part of him knows that ‘running away’ will only make the problem worse. Because then Kevin will definitely think him a coward, report him to his boss and everything will be over for sure. And he's not a coward. Whatever tomorrow will bring him, he will face it head on.
As if that decision banishes the bad feelings he had inside him, Scotty can finally relax. He feels cocooned in warmth. The mattress seems to adjust to his body, it's like he's floating on air. He closes his eyes. Heaviness takes over and he sinks deeper and deeper into his sleep.
When Scotty wakes up, he’s at first disorientated. There’s very little light in the room and it’s very quiet. For a moment he has no idea where he is and then it comes back to him. Right. He's homeless, but Mr Walker - Kevin - has offered him to stay with him for one night. Undecidedly he stares at the ceiling.
How late is it? How will Kevin react today? Will he think differently today? Would he have changed his mind? What if he would lose his job after all? Then there would be nothing left. He takes a deep breath and pushes the blanket aside. He dresses himself slowly, trying to avoid the inevitable.
As much as he'd like to hide in here longer, there’s no longer any reason to not get out of the room. When he opens the door, he finds the living-room bathing in pleasant sunlight. A look at the clock tells him it’s nearly eleven in the morning. The smell of hot toast and coffee makes him hungry.
“Hey, sleepy-head. Glad to see you're awake. I thought I’d let you catch some sleep, but it was getting so late, that I was just contemplating whether I should wake you up or not.” Kevin smiles.
“Can’t remember the last time I slept this long.” Scotty answers.
Kevin motions him to follow him as he goes to the kitchen and Scotty follows him. Kevin walks around, bare-foot (lovely toes, Scotty’s mind registers). He’s dressed in jeans and t-shirt, which is a huge difference from the expensive suits that Scotty usually sees Kevin in. Dressed so casually, Kevin looks younger and more athletic too.
“Toast? Coffee?” Kevin asks.
“Please.” Scotty answers, feeling a bit embarrassed about the situation. He feels out of place and, yet, Kevin isn’t unkind to him at all.
“I’ve been giving this some thought....” Kevin slowly starts. He can see the grip on Scotty's coffee-mug become tighter. Scotty seems to mentally prepare himself for bad news. “I’m here all alone. The spare room isn't used. I wouldn’t mind if you’d stay a bit longer.”
“I don’t know what to say...”
“I think that ‘yes, I’d like that’ would be a good start.”
“Yes, I’d like that...” Scotty echoes with a smile. "I still have 2 or 3 friends I couldn't get a hold of before. I could try them once again. I don't want to inconvenience you any further than I already have. And I need to have to get my car fixed... How do I get back to the office from here?"
"Answer to problem number 2 is: I'm working on that one. So it depends if I can get your car fixed or not. And if necessary I'll take you back myself. As for issue number 1.. You're not an inconvenience. You can stay here for a few weeks. Didn't you mention something about having a place soon? Something from a friend? Or his family?"
"Yes. A friend of mine will continue his study in San Francisco and I can stay in his room at his parents' house from the 3rd of January on. But they have their entire family over for Christmas and New Year's, so I can't go there sooner than the 3rd. The problem is that indeed a lot of my friends have already gone to their family or already have people stay at their place for the holidays..."
"So, would staying with me for two or three weeks be a problem?"
"Well, no... but what about you and your family?"
"They will have their Christmas at Grandpa's lodge, in the mountains, as they do every year... Skiing, building snowmen, having fun. But it will be without me this year. I don't intend to go there."
For a moment he hesitates and though he sees the question on Scotty's face, Scotty doesn't ask anything, so Kevin volunteers:
"My husband and I got divorced last week. He left me four months ago... it took a while to get everything organized...."
"His picture was still on your desk though?" Scotty carefully ventures.
"Not anymore. It's gone now. New year, empty frame."
"I see. And you're not with your family because...?" The question pops out of Scotty's mouth before he can realize that it's an inappropriate question.
"My family is the sweetest, but I can't handle their kindness right now. I felt embarrassed enough for not being able to hold my relationship together. I first want to lick my wounds on my own, deal with my pride and my emotions and the fact that it's really, really over, before I face them." Kevin's shoulders sink and he continues:
"You know, I had this silly idea that, ... perhaps it was all just a phase.. a mid-life crises or something.. and that once he was done playing with his boy-toy... he'd come back to me... But he won't. And I no longer want him to. I'm done. And now the rest of my family is oh so sorry for me.
That's why I'm just not willing to be with them and be confronted with their sympathy and hear over and over again how sorry they are for me... Or, worse, have my mom go find a 'better guy' for me. She and I have totally different tastes when it comes to men." Kevin dismisses the thought and Scotty can't help but laugh.
"Very well then, misery likes company apparently. We can be miserable together... Or perhaps just have fun and focus on starting anew and be more positive." Scotty adds. He's not the kind of guy who can remain depressed all the time. "Need some help with the cleaning up in the meantime?"
"Oh, you don't have to. You don't owe me anything."
"Well, if I'm here and I'm here to stay for two weeks, might as well get some work done, no?" Scotty smiles, ready to do something in return for the lawyer's kindness. "Unless you'd rather leave everything as it is, because you want to move again anyway?"
"No, I want to unpack. I keep flip-flopping on the idea of leaving again. I bought this house because I love the view and the space, but coming home alone at night, I feel disconnected and like I don't want to be here. It doesn't feel like 'home'. It's just a beautiful but empty shell.
But then I took a look at that view and I think I want to stay... Maybe if the boxes would be unpacked and I have my own books, music and knick-knacks in place, I'd feel more at home here. I just seem to lack the energy to even unpack one box, let alone deal with the rest of them. I don't know. I guess, I still have to figure out what I want."
"Well, the best way start is by picking up the first box and open it, the others will follow." Scotty states the obvious and Kevin has to recognize the truth in his words.
"Okay, if you really want to help me, I'd love your help." Kevin answers and Scotty signals him to show where to start.
END OF CHAPTER TWO