AN: Thanks to all of you kind folks who gave me feedback on my last story. It was really helpful and I appreciate you all taking the time out to encourage me. Big hugs and kisses to all of you.
This story is a bit longer and I'll be posting it in several parts. It takes place, before, during and after the movie. Still Dom/Letty, still all character stuff-I'm no good with the action. I have 2 and a half more scenes before I'm done but unfortunately they're in the middle of the story so I'll post as soon as I get it all polished and proofread. In the meantime, sorry for any formatting problems and typos--editing this thing has been particularly challenging. Rated T to start for some language stuff although it might get a little racier later on. Enjoy!
Growing Up Fast
He had gambled big and he had lost big. He still had a shitload of loot but what the hell did that get him really? He didn't have his businesses handed down to him from his late and very beloved father. Down here in Central America, he could no longer take solace in the familiar racing scene that he had dominated for so long. No more center of attention at the house parties, the envy of all the guys and the dream fuck of all the girls. He wasn't the big man on the block anymore.
But he hadn't completely lost it all.
Over the most materialistic of objectives, he had risked everything that was important to him. Poor Mia. She was being taken from everything she had ever known. She was consumed by heartbreak over Brian's betrayal of her, and her betrayal of the team. Leon, taking on responsibilities he never could have expected, and never wanted. But when their situation was fucked and no one else was going to save them, he stepped up and took care of them all. Vince was a lot more quiet now that he had seen his life and his freedom flash in front of his eyes, threatening to slip away from him. He's healing too from his wounds and from the fact that it was a narc and not his best friend, the person he was most loyal to, that had saved him. And then there was Jesse. Dead from his many gunshot wounds at the hand of the Trans and his own poor judgment. He had failed Jesse. There was no getting over that. Period.
Finally, there's Letty. His Letty, so loyal and strong for him even with a broken arm, three broken ribs and a punctured lung. But that wasn't quite true. They were strong for each other like always. And just like always, she was there to try to clean up his mess without him even having to ask. They were fugitives now. There was no going back. But at least they were together and together they were at their best. Even from the beginning...
9 Years Ago
It was undeniably summertime. The barbecue pit was getting a good workout and the days were hot as hell but in that good L.A. kind of way. Dom stepped out onto his back porch and took in all the people spread out across the lawn. There were a ton more inside and it hadn't even gotten dark yet. His parties always tended to draw everybody and their mom which was a pain to clean up but cool while it lasted. His dad was away on a trip for one of his races. Dom had wanted to go with him but his dad needed him to keep an eye on the garage. Normally, his aunt would be underfoot being a royal pain in his ass, but she was up in San Francisco visiting with friends. So that meant he and Mia had the house to themselves and the party was on.
He looked down the walkway and saw Mia chatting with some girl and her stupid boyfriend. Actually, Chris wasn't that bad but he had to give any guy that was with his little sister a hard time. They had been dating for about a 3 months and his 16 year old sister was in the most annoying state of puppy love imaginable.
Dom heard a loud noise coming from the den and when he turned around to see what was up, he caught a glimpse of Vince and Jesse bickering about something--probably about how crappy Vince's engine was these days. While V was as into cars as the rest of the team, he sure hated getting his hands dirty when it came to the maintenance. He and Jesse were always getting into it and it was usually a pretty funny thing to watch. No one would normally guess that a guy Jesse's size would be picking a fight with a power house like V. Jesse was so mild mannered that he usually went along with things but sometimes, he would go off on Vince with a vengeance to everyone else's entertainment.
Leon was over in the corner trying to charm some girl as always, he would look over at the two fighting to see if there needed to be an intervention. If there wasn't any blood on the carpet, he figured everything was ok. Leon was a real smooth one but definitely someone Dom had come to count on. He was solid and it was nice having him on the team even if he did drink too much and bring too many ho's through the house.
From where he was standing, he could also see Letty manning the pit and he found himself wondering how she was doing. She always did like to be helpful whether it was in the garage or at a Toretto party. It had been a while since she had anything remotely close to a family so it was her way of giving back to the people who had looked out for her over the last few years. She would never admit it but in her own way she was trying to give back to the family.
Mia's new relationship had been a hard transition for her and come to think of it, he hadn't seen her around the house as much as before. He saw her at the garage, of course, since she worked there but he supposed there wasn't a whole lot of room for the best friend when you're "in love." He scrunched his forehead up thinking about that. Letty's father was a nice enough guy but he was also one hell of a raging alcoholic. He usually left Letty alone but every now and then he would get out of hand and Letty would get caught in the crossfire. The Torettos were a refuge for her at those times. She was staying the weekend while their dad was out of town so that was a good sign.
He walked towards Letty and the grill thinking that he'd check and see if she needed him to take over. It was only fitting since he was kind of like a big brother to her anyway. She was standing there paying close attention to the food and fidgeting with her dog tags, as usual. He grinned thinking about how he had caught a glimpse of her in her nightclothes the previous evening. She had come down for a glass of water and he had just gotten in from kickin' it with some girl. She was at the counter downing her water when Dom walked into the kitchen. She hadn't heard him come in so he just stood at the doorway taking in her silhouetted figure.
She had on a pair of boxers with the waistband rolled up until it appeared as if she was only wearing the tiniest of shorts. She also had on a tiny tank top that barely covered her--with no bra on, of course. Her body was starting to fill out in all the right places--every single one. His eyes roamed over her pert breasts and firm ass stopping only to marvel at her trim waist and flat stomach. She was usually so covered up at the garage that he had no idea all this was going on underneath. His first thought was how he could not have known that she was blossoming right in front of his eyes and turning into one fine-ass woman.
But then he came back to his senses and realized that it was Letty he was thinking about. She was a 16 year old who had been part of his family for he couldn't even remember how many years. He shook himself out of these lusty thoughts and figured he'd better leave her to her grilling after all. With the direction his thoughts were going, he couldn't be trusted not to feel her up right then and there. Instead, he headed back into the house sparing her one last subconsciously longing glance.
Dom ran up to his room and grabbed some extra CD's for the party. He looked out the window and had to smile at how sweet things were. He had good friends, he was the most popular guy around and he had a good future working with his dad at the races. He watched as Vince and Jesse headed out to the backyard apparently having resolved whatever beef it was they were debating 10 seconds ago. Mia was coaxing her boyfriend into bringing stuff out for everyone to eat on and ever the dorky boyfriend, he complied without complaint. Completely whipped--it was so sad really.
Leon had abandoned his ho of the moment to give Letty a hand with the grill. Then he saw her turn around and yell something at Vince since the two of them were always messing with each other. They acted more like brother and sister than even him and Mia. He let his gaze linger on Letty a little longer imagining again what kind of woman she was turning into underneath all that attitude and tomboyish charm. For the second time, he tried to shake those thoughts from his mind and concentrate on the big picture. Letty was just a little girl and he had made a promise to leave her out of his string of victims.
His little team. His dad would get a kick out of that. He'd be sure to tell him about it when he got back. Until then, there was some grub to devour and some fun to be had. And who better to get the party started than the King of the Streets himself.
When Dom came back downstairs, he poked his head into the kitchen and saw Letty leaning over the counter getting ready to bring some more chicken and hot dogs out to the grill. Mia was leaning back against the counter next to Letty and munching on a carrot stick while chatting away. She was on some kind of stupid health kick lately and insisted on there being fresh veggies at the barbecue. They had argued about it at the grocery store but Mia had won out, as usual. Women! From what he could tell, she was trying to give Letty a hand with the food but Letty was having none of it.
"Letty you're already doing too much as it is. Let me at least give you a hand with the grill." That was his sister--always trying to look out for somebody.
Letty continued to shake her head vigorously as she organized the chicken on the plate. "Mia, you did everything else since you know that knucklehead brother of yours isn't going to lift a finger to help, even though it's his party and his friends eating up the food and messing up the house." They both laughed at the truth of that and even Dom grinned knowing that it was completely true.
Mia grabbed another carrot stick and crossed her arms in front of her. "Well the guys don't know it yet but their asses are on clean up duty. Dad's going to be home early tomorrow so I'm making myself pretty scarce tonight."
"Making yourself scarce with Chris?" Letty teased. "You better make sure Dom don't catch you. You know how nosey and overprotective he is."
"You're not going to tell him are you?" Mia panicked standing up straight and on alert.
Letty scowled at her. "Of course not!" Her scowl then turned to a sly grin. "Just make sure you don't get caught how I found you last week. What was THAT all about anyway?"
Mia turned about 5 shades of red and started backing out of the kitchen. "So you said you were okay with all this because I'm gonna head back out," she said pointing towards the backyard.
Letty just laughed as Mia made her getaway. "Real smooth Mi'" she yelled out the closing door.
Dom made a mental note to keep an eye on Mia and that little punk Chris.
However, his attention was focused back on Letty as he saw her smile fade and a look of intense sadness settle in as she cleaned up after herself. For some reason, it hurt him to see her looking that way. He was quick to attribute his reaction to "brotherly" affection, but he couldn't deny that he wanted to be the one to make all the pain he saw in her eyes go away. He decided that maybe it was time for him to make his appearance.
"Hey Letty, let me give you a hand," he said grabbing the plate of chicken before she could protest.
"I got it Dom," she replied clearly annoyed and grabbing at the plate of food. But if there was one thing Dom was good at, it was annoying her. At least she wasn't looking sad anymore.
"Hey," he shouted holding the plate away from her. "Settle down. Just come on out to the pit and stop your bitching." Letty glared at him, shooting daggers straight at his head but he just gave her a flirty little grin and headed for the grill. He heard her following him probably all shy and embarrassed given her little crush on him. It was cute.
He helped her baste the chicken for a while and then got distracted by one thing or another. Before he knew it, it was 9:00 and the remains of a successful barbecue were all around. Full and slightly drunk people were hanging out all over the place. There were all varieties of empty plates where the spread of food had been a while ago. Corn, salad, coleslaw, grilled everything from veggies and tofu dogs to chicken and burgers were all history. At least that would help him and the guys with cleanup.
In the middle of a heated conversation with a couple of guys about some modifications to his dad's car, Dom noticed that as promised, Mia was nowhere to be found. Shit, he was slipping. He got up to go look for her hoping that she hadn't succeeded in giving him the slip. He walked through the front of the house and made his way through the people lounging around or making an attempt to dance to the music that was playing. No Mia or her bonehead boyfriend though.
When he got to the kitchen, he saw Letty sitting on the now clean counter biting into a piece of chicken. She appeared to be deep in thought but she had that sad look on her face again. She hadn't noticed him come in and he crept up to her quietly so as not to startle her.
"Hey Lett," he called softly.
Letty jumped at the sound of his voice and her face again turned quickly into a scowl. Uh oh, she was pissed.
"What the hell are you doing sneaking up on people? God Dom, you're such an asshole."
"Hey, watch your mouth little girl." He had meant for it to be a joke since he was always laughing about what a dirty mouth she had. Apparently she was in no mood for fooling around.
"Fuck you. I'm not a little girl," she replied returning to her food.
"Where's Mia?" he asked. Her response was simply to shrug and take another bite of her chicken. He looked her up and down and crossed his arms. "Why are you eating again? Aren't you afraid of getting fat like Mia?" She shrugged again and shoveled a huge forkful of potato salad into her mouth. He actually knew better. Letty didn't care anything about all the girly stuff Mia was into. She ate what she wanted and wasn't particularly courteous about it. And he knew firsthand that her body was bangin' anyway. But he again scolded himself for thinking about her like that. It wasn't right.
He brushed off his errant thoughts and turned his attention back to Letty and the quickly disappearing contents of her plate. When she made no further effort to communicate he matched her scowl with one of his own. "What the fuck's your problem tonight?"
"You're in my face, that's my problem. Can't a girl eat in peace?" She swallowed down some more potato salad and continued to ignore him.
"What, is it your time of the month or something?" She glared at him with more venom, if that was even possible.
She dropped her fork and smiled sweetly at him in a way that warned him something particularly nasty was about to come out of her mouth. "Dom, why don't you go find some ho to fuck and leave me the hell alone. You're pretty good at that I hear," she snarled sarcastically.
Now he was pissed. She needed to watch who she talked to like that. He walked toward her meaning to give her a piece of his mind but the wind coming through the window momentarily distracted him. His attention was drawn to the calendar hanging by the door, its pages fluttering with the breeze.
August 2nd. Shit.
All the anger he had felt a minute ago fizzled and he just stood there and looked at Letty, sighing. Regret and guilt were etched across his features. Now he understood the sadness in her eyes and her eagerness to help out with everything today. He should have seen it before. She was trying to keep busy. He should have realized. How could he have forgotten?
He figured she wouldn't let him touch her so he settled on hopping onto the counter and sitting beside her.
They sat in silence for a few minutes before he spoke. "How are you doing, girl?" Letty shrugged again staring at the now empty plate and looking for something else to distract her. She looked away from him not daring to meet his concerned eyes. The breeze coming through the window blew her hair around slightly and Dom had to resist the strong temptation to reach out for her and tuck a few strands behind her ear.
"You can stop looking at me like that. I'm not gonna flip out or anything," she said softly, playing with her fork.
He ignored her and leaned forward, trying to pull her gaze to his. "Where's your dad Letty?" She shrugged for what seemed like the millionth time. He was getting tired of the shrugging. He wasn't going to let her shut down on him.
"Letty, you don't have to be so strong all the time. It's okay to rely on people sometimes." She snorted in response and kept her eyes averted.
"Is that right? You don't know what you're talking about Dom," she said in a weary voice. She paused and placed her plate in the sink beside her. "You didn't even remember."
"Maybe," he replied neutrally. "But I'm here right now. I'm thinking about it right now." His eyes had never left her face and he could tell that she was fighting a losing battle with her emotions. "Where's your dad Letty?" Dom asked again.
"Look, I don't know, alright!" Letty shouted and jumped off the counter. She headed for the back door without sparing him a glance. "Mia said you guys are on clean up. I know where YOUR dad is and he's gonna be home early tomorrow."
Dom tried to grab her arm to prevent her from leaving but she pulled away violently. "Don't do this Letty. Don't push me away. Not today."
"Whatever," Letty spat quietly choking back a sob. She took off out the back door running straight into Vince who had been headed back into the house.
"What the fuck Letty!" Vince shouted. For an instant, Letty looked up at Vince and Dom could see the tears forming in her eyes. It broke his heart to see it. But in a flash, it was gone and he watched helplessly as she ran out of the house and through the yard. He thought about going after her but Letty knew how to disappear when she wanted to. She had a lot of practice at it.
She had been right though. He should have remembered.
Vince having no idea at all what was going on except that Letty was pretty pissed at Dom, stared at him in confusion. "What's her problem?" he asked pointing in the direction Letty had run.
Dom stared into the darkness where she had disappeared for a little longer and then turned his attention back to Vince. "It's August 2nd," he replied quietly.
"So," Vince said still having no clue what he had walked into. "Whatever dog." He figured it didn't have anything to do with him so he hit Dom in the arm and dismissed the subject altogether. "It's Letty so I'm sure whatever you did, she'll be pissed for a few hours and then everything will be back to the normal shit." He grabbed a beer from the fridge and headed for the living room.
Dom simply turned around and walked towards the stairs to his room, shaking his head. He wondered what he was going to go. How was he going to make this up to Letty?