|I'll Be Your Shelter
Author: Bird in a Rented Mask PM
In New York, inviting a stranger in for the night can have consequences, both good and bad. A rather cliche but hopefully not too bad Roger/OC (please don't hurt me) story. T for swearing, drug use, violence, references to AIDS, you know, RENT stuff. For KissTheBoy7, who asked for it. Majority movie-verse, because that was all I had seen at the time of writing.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Roger D. & Mark C. - Chapters: 5 - Words: 10,655 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 6 - Updated: 01-12-13 - Published: 12-31-12 - id: 8858943
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 1- All Things Have Their End
30th January 1991
We said there was no day but today, didn't we?
Guess we forgot about tomorrow.
In a perfect world, we would have died together, after a long and happy relationship. I overestimated a little. Turns out you were a lot sicker than anyone would have guessed. No doctor in the world could have predicted how quickly the virus would have taken you. Your tomorrow has come, but for me it is still today.
God only knows when tomorrow will finally come.
Until then, I will always remember the night I lit your candle, and the evening I finally saw that light for what it was.
His first thought, looking at the letter he clutched in his hand was: is the kiss a bit too much? Could it be considered tacky? Insincere? He stared down at the piece of paper, deliberating for a minute, before balling it up and sending it sailing towards the bin to join its companions. How hard can it honestly be to write a letter to the girl you love? Well, when she's been dead a month, pretty hard, obviously. He sighed in frustration, briefly wondered whether to give the letter a sixth shot, and gave up. He sank down onto the sofa, head in his hands, feeling restless and wondering what the hell to do with himself. It suddenly struck him that he was sitting exactly where Mimi had the night she… Just think it, Roger. It's been too long since it happened to deny it or to try to sweep it under the rug. Think the words: Mimi is… No. He just couldn't get his mind around the concept. He stood with a sigh. From where he was positioned he could clearly see the bathtub through the bathroom door. That's where you found April. He pulled his hands through his hair, wanting to shut his brain up and not knowing how. This isn't natural. It can't be. Surely this long after someone you love leaves you, you should have come to terms with it, right? I shouldn't still be dwelling on it like this, should I? It was times like this that reminded him of a time long ago when he used to shoot himself up. For a second he almost found himself craving the blissful feeling of peace and oblivion that accompanied the use of heroin. But he had helped Mimi to stay clean, and it almost seemed an insult to her to start using again just because she had died. Got to get out of here. I just need some air. Air now, letter-writing later. With his thoughts put on hold for the time being, he left.
There's a lesson to be learned from all this, Abbi. Never get in a fight with a heroin dealer. More specifically, never get in a fight with a heroin dealer who's almost twice your size and who owns your apartment. She slowly opened her eyes. So far, painless. Good. Nothing felt broken, so she decided to sit up. A few aches and pains came to her attention, but nothing that screamed at her get to the ER, so she pulled herself into a standing position. Not such a good idea. Her head spun like a thrill ride and her legs felt as wobbly as a newborn giraffe's. You're lucky to be alive, stupid girl. She slumped against the wall, closing her eyes with a quiet moan. Fortunately the alleyway was deserted, so she could whimper and lick her wounds at leisure without fear of being seen. She started to do a little head-to-toe check. Face feels pretty much intact, oh, nope, there's some blood there. And, ow! Head bump. Okay, arms… bruised but not broken. Ditto ribcage. Legs: unsteady, but whole. Feet… huh. Bare. What the hell happened to my shoes? And my socks, where'd they go? The bastard had probably just dragged her from the apartment as she was, without giving her time to get ready for a night on the streets. Oh joy. This day just gets better and better. Barefoot, homeless, and… A large raindrop landed on the tip of her nose, and she sighed… And soon to be soaking wet. Exhausted beyond the point of endurance, she sank back to the floor just as the rain really started to pour. She rested her chin on her knees and closed her eyes. Ten minutes later, when she opened them again, she expected to see bare brick, possibly a faded, torn poster or two. Instead she found herself face to face with a man. She jolted back, startled by his sudden appearance. His dark, cool green eyes were fixed on her face with something close to concern.
"Hey," he whispered. Am I hallucinating, or is there really a Jon Bon Jovi wannabe standing right in front of me right now?
"Uh, hi," she said weakly, wondering if talking to a hallucination qualified as a sign of madness.
"Are you okay?" Oh, so he's a friendly product of my battered mind. That's interesting.
"I guess." She shrugged. "I'm alive, anyway."
"I saw what happened just now. You ought to be more careful." Friendly becomes…mildly irritating.
"I can handle myself, thanks." He nodded, raising one eyebrow like he didn't exactly believe her. She straightened up self-consciously under his scrutinising gaze.
"Yeah, that's easy enough to see. Have you seen your face?" She scoffed.
"You see a mirror anywhere around here?" she countered smartly. He nodded once.
"Touché." He drew back and stood up, then held out his hand to help her to her feet. She accepted, hauling herself upright and brushing down her clothes. Okay, so maybe he's not some kind of freaky trip after all. His hand was cold against hers, but his grip was comfortingly firm. He remained holding on long after she had balanced herself, she looked down pointedly and he dropped her hand like it was red hot. They stood in silence, eyeing each other awkwardly. Abbi swiped at the blood running from her nose with the back of her hand, caught his eye and blushed.
"Looks nasty," he commented. She shrugged again.
"I've had worse."
"Who was it?" What do you care, anyway?
"Just some guy. He's kinda meant to be my friend. Or so he says."
"I don't actually know. Pretty bad, considering I live with him." Why are we even having this conversation? It's not like you actually care what happened to me. She began backing off.
"Look, it was nice meeting you, whoever you are, but I'd better go." She turned sharply on her heel, but the sudden movement made her light-headed. She swayed a little where she stood, hoping that she wouldn't do something humiliating like pass out in front of him. Just as she felt herself start to fall, he caught her shoulders from behind, carefully steadying her. It was on the tip of her tongue to yell at him to let go of her and pull away, to back off, but she couldn't quite manage it. Against her will, utterly unbidden, she found herself relaxing into the warmth of his body. She sighed. It felt surprisingly nice to let her legs give out and have someone else there to make sure she didn't hit the floor.
"You probably need to get checked out, make sure you're not too badly hurt," he said, stripping off his leather jacket and folding it around her bare shoulders. She shrugged, thrown off guard by his gentlemanly concern.
"No, I'll be okay."
"Are you sure?" No. No I'm not sure at all. But I can't tell you that. She stood back up and nodded, but not before her face could betray her true feelings. He nodded again, as though she had spoken.
"Come with me. Come and get cleaned up." She was startled by the suddenness and sincerity of the offer.
"Uh…no. No, that's okay. Thanks anyway."
"Sure? My home's not far from here. Literally up the road. It won't take long, honest." She paused, biting her lip. Not every day you get an offer like that. And I bet his place has central heating. Better that than freezing to death out here. She looked at him and shrugged.
"Cool. You can actually walk, right? I'm not gonna have to drag you along the floor by your wrists or anything?" She smirked.
"I think I'll survive." He touched her shoulder and began to walk. She followed a few paces behind him, keeping quiet. Every so often he turned his head, as if to check that she was still there.
"I'm Roger, by the way," he said quietly.
"Just call me Abbi." He turned his head again and smiled. She smiled back, pulling his coat tighter around her as the wind blew.
(A/N: I've had this written for ages, but it took me a while to work up the courage to publish it. To the two/three readers of Angel's Grace, that has not been forgotten. I just have several chapters of this story in the pipeline. Any feedback would be lovely, but hate will be ignored and offenders blocked. Happy New Year, bitches!)