Disclaimer: I own nothing of In the Heights, except my original characters. The rest belongs to the respected owner. 'Nuff said.

Italics are flashbacks and song lyrics

A/N: I saw In the Heights for the first time last night – I LOVED IT! I decided to try my hand at an In the Heights story. This is my 50th story - I deleted Shelter Dogs, but I hope to post it again, after I edit it.

Summary: AU: A girl from Usnavi's past shows up at the store one day. I don't want to give away too much. U/OC. Three or four chapter story. Rated T for language. My 50th story.

Genre: Romance/None

Rating: T


CHAPTER ONE
(chapter title – When You're Home)

Usnavi sighed as he counted the sodas in the refrigerator. It had been a week since Abeula Claudia had passed away and he was taking it very hard.

"Hey." Sonny's voice greeted his ears. Usnavi didn't look up from counting. He heard Sonny approach him and put a hand on his shoulder, making Usnavi jump.

"Sonny, where were you?" Usnavi inquired, turning away from the refrigerator. Sonny could see the tears in Usnavi's eyes and held his cousin close, letting him know everything was all right.

"I was visiting Abeula's grave." Sonny answered as the cousins pulled out of the hug. Usnavi suddenly shoved his cousin out of the way. A girl outside the store had caught his eye. Usnavi exited the store and walked up to the girl.

The girl had black hair that was pulled into a braid that flowed past her shoulders and stopped at the small of her back. She had large chocolate-brown eyes hidden behind silver-framed glasses. She wore a bright purple t-shirt and jean Capri's. White sunglasses were perched on top of her head. She also looked to be the same age as Usnavi, maybe a little younger.

"Excuse me, but do I know you?" Usnavi asked the girl.

"I don't think so." The girl replied, her voice sounding like a thousand angels.

"Usnavi my name is." Usnavi stumbled over his words, making the girl giggle.

"I'm Rosalina, but everyone calls me Rose." The girl – Rose – replied.

"It's very nice to meet you, Rose. Coffee?" Usnavi asked, leading Rose into the shop. As soon as Sonny saw her, his jaw dropped and he walked over to Rose and hugged her. Rose smiled and hugged him back. Usnavi had a very confused expression on his face.

"Sonny, you know this girl?" Usnavi inquired, still a little confused.

"Yeah, she's your-" Sonny was about to say something when Rose shot Sonny a death glare. "Never mind."

That night, Usnavi and Rose were alone at the store. Sonny had gone home early with flu-like symptoms.

"So…" Usnavi started.

"So…" Rose chimed in.

"Where are you from?"

"Dominican Republic. You?"

"Same."

"Do your parents run the store, too?"

"Actually, my parents died when I was eight-years-old."

"Oh, I'm sorry. My parents died when I was ten."

"Sorry for your loss." Usnavi told her, reaching out to take her hand, which Rose drew back.

"I'm sorry – I don't like to be touched – my dad abused me when I was a kid."

Usnavi felt his stomach drop – he hated hearing about animals or people being abused.

"Rose, I'm so sorry – did you get any help?"

"My mom was a nurse, so she helped me when my dad hit me. Please, Usnavi, I don't like to talk about it." Rose said, feeling tears in her eyes. Usnavi found the keys to the shop and locked the door before heading to Abeula's for the night. He had moved in to Abeula's four days after she passed, which was hard for Usnavi.

"Make yourself at home." Usnavi told Rose, going to the bathroom to take a shower before going to bed. After he got out of his shower, he went to check on Rose. She was lying in Abeula's bed, curled in a ball. Usnavi could hear soft sobbing and saw her body shake slightly.

Usnavi carefully walked over to Rose and sat next to her. He then wrapped an arm around her shoulders, which startled Rose. Usnavi ended up getting an elbow to the nose.

"Ow!" Usnavi called out, rushing to the bathroom. His nose was bleeding just a little bit. When he got back to Abeula's bedroom, he saw Rose, sitting up in bed, her hair all around her. She had a frightened look on her face.

"Rose? Are you okay?" Usnavi asked. Rose just nodded.

"I'll be across the hall if you need me." Usnavi told her. Rose nodded again. Usnavi smiled and exited the room. He walked across the hall and collapsed onto his bed, completely exhausted.