Summary: Modern AU. It's a Tuesday in February, two weeks after Valentine's Day, when they meet. It's right around the time that Leonardo promises himself that he'll never fall for another man, ever.
It's a Tuesday in February, two weeks after Valentine's Day, when they meet. It's right around the time that Leonardo promises himself that he'll never fall for another man, ever.
In all honesty the list of things wrong with Leonardo's life up to this point could probably be summed up in a small novel and would make an excellent Lifetime movie, but his major issue is that he is an artist and, by proxy, broke all of the time. His masters in art theory will look amazing on the mantlepiece someday and it certainly opens up a plethora of teaching jobs that he's looking forward to, but right now everything in his life is speculation and anticipation and 'I hope so's' and he has jack shit at the moment.
The lack of money in his life is a problem, but it is the cause of a larger problem, namely one Adam Wall.
When Leonardo moved to New York to get his masters he had brought very little with him – had owned very little to start – but had somehow found plenty of space to pack along his awful taste in men that has been following him around since high school. Because, honestly, Adam is a parasite.
It is the super sweet Edith, who lives down the hall and sometimes bakes delicious bread that she shares with him because they both live alone and food is their number one visitor, who introduced them nearly a year ago. She had listened to his plight about needing a male model for his class, about how he could not afford to spend money on one, and she had offered up an easy solution: her son had a friend, in the same art school, who did modeling and who would help him out for free as a favor to Edith.
The friend turned out to be Adam, who turned out to be exceptionally talented at what he did. Leonardo has used his own fair share of free models over the years, has used plenty of his friends for modeling projects, but Adam had been attractive and more than happy to hold position for hours at a time and, really, it is likely thanks to him that Leonardo passed that class.
Adam had also been naked, in his apartment, for a long period of time. Attractive and naked and really interested. Which, okay, Leonardo does know better than to get involved with his work, but it isn't as though he has ever had men lining up outside his door or anything and he's maybe dated five people in his life and he had been very, very lonely. Adam was charming, available, and already in the same social circles – it had seemed like a good match at the time.
He lived in the neighborhood and had no issues coming over to Leonardo's place at all hours of the day to laze about or watch obscure movies or humor Leonardo's newest design. Adam had also been an ass, because that is the sort of people Leonardo is inevitably drawn to. Mostly because assholes are in abundance and Leonardo's self esteem could probably be better.
They had dated on and off again for the longest six months of Leonardo's life and it had all ended via medium of text message two months prior, a mere two days before the showing of Hamlet that Leonardo had bought them tickets to see.
It was one of those things where it was probably the most trying week of Leonardo's life – first, being broken up with little more than a hastily typed 'sry theres sum1 else'; second, reevaluating all of his time lost to a guy who was, truly, not worth it at all; and, three, the subsequent derailing of mutual friendships and hang out spots that happens with all break ups.
"If I break his nose," his friend, Rosa, had told him over coffee a week ago, "he won't bother you again."
Rosa may have possibly been raised by wolves and she has all the social graces of a badger, but her heart is really in the right place. Leonardo doesn't have a plethora of friends looking out for him, or even interested in his drama, but, whether she was interested or not, Rosa always does seem to care in her own special kind of way.
Still though, violence is never the answer and fighting leaves such an awful taste in Leonardo's mouth. It would have never set right with him to know that his friend and his ex had gotten into a fight because of him.
"It wouldn't be a fight," Rosa had assured him. "It would be me breaking a spineless coward."
Either way, Leonardo wanted no part of it.
New York is a giant place though and, even if they do live in the same general neighborhood, Leonardo pacifies himself with the thought that it's very unlikely they'll just run into each other.
So, of course, it sort of feels like he's betrayed himself when he turns around from grabbing his soy chai latte, sketch book still tucked under his arm, and he spies his ex walk in the door of the cafe.
And Adam is a tool and a jerk and Leonardo truly does despise him for putting him through an emotional ringer and hanging him out to dry, but Adam is also hot and apparently six months without seeing him hasn't made him suddenly aggressively hideous.
There are a couple of really great options he has as far as courses of action are concerned. The first would be to hope that something really random and rare might happen – like, say, a meteor falling on the cafe and destroying them all. There's also a small chance that the whole place might just randomly catch on fire and they'll all be too worried about not burning alive that no one will even notice him fleeing for the safety of his studio.
The most likely option is to just wait it out, hope that Adam doesn't notice him, and then sneak out when he's absorbed in the giant menu of hot and cold drinks spread out on the far wall. In fact, he's probably staring at it at that exact moment, trying to figure out whether he wants to order his normal extra hot Americano (and Leonardo hates himself for remembering that) or not.
He looks over his shoulder, as quick as he possibly can, just to see if he's still there, but of course he is. Of course he spots Leonardo the moment he looks back. Of course. Life: 1, Leonardo: 0.
Leonardo is certainly capable of moving on. Which, really, he's been doing quite fine the past six months. Despite the random text message he'd received at two in the morning three days ago asking if he was still single and if he wanted to 'score 2nite.'
Honestly, Leonardo is not fucking stupid. He doesn't go crawling back to douchebags who dump him via text message like they're teenagers or something. He definitely doesn't go back to douchebags who don't want a real relationship with him but would still like a convenient bed-warmer on speed dial.
Leonardo refuses to be convenient.
Leonardo tells himself a hundred times to ignore him, not to turn back around, but he can hear his mother in his head reminding him of his manners, so he turns around and flashes a bright smile. Well, sort of bright, and sort of lopsided.
"Adam!" he clasps his hands together in front of his chest, as though he is completely surprised. "How have you been? I haven't seen you in forever!"
The problem is that it's a lot easier to ignore someone when they're a badly misspelled text message on a cell phone, miles away, rather than a fairly attractive man standing far too close in his personal space. Because when Adam is around and he's smiling like he's completely innocent, when he's actually thought about what to wear instead of just throwing on whatever is clean and he remembered to shave, he reminds Leonardo of the good parts instead of the bad.
Which is why it had been difficult to get over him in the first place. Which is why they'd gotten back together several times instead of Leonardo putting his foot down after the first.
And, okay, Leonardo had missed someone looking at him like he was something worth wanting. It's hard to remind himself that he'd found out long ago that all the smiles and the promises and the "good" times were all fake – that they hadn't really meant anything to Adam after all.
There's small talk and there's scarcely hidden flirting on Adam's part and all Leonardo wants is to drink his soy chai latte and finish his sketches.
It's all thin promises and words Leonardo has heard long, long before and it's not difficult to keep saying no. It is, however, incredibly difficult to get Adam to listen. Which, really, was one of the problems they'd had in the beginning.
So it starts with Leonardo running into his ex in his favorite coffee shop, but it ends with Leonardo meeting his proverbial prince charming on a white steed.
Because there is suddenly an arm slipping confidently around his shoulders, a warm body comfortably close to his own, and someone is pressing a kiss to the side of his head. He stares blankly ahead, at the sudden change in expressions on Adam's face.
"Mio amore!" the man exclaims, and if Leonardo's heart jumps around a little in his chest it could just be because he hasn't had lunch and he's hungry, but it's also probably has to do with the thick Italian accent and the devastatingly handsome man it's attached to. Who, incidentally, is quite attached to Leonardo. "I have been looking everywhere for you!"
Leonardo tries very hard not to stare, both out of manners and out of a desire to not seem as shallow as he currently feels, but the man clinging to him affectionately is really hot. "I-I'm sorry?"
The man flashes him a brilliant smile and then turns his head slowly, as though noticing Adam for the first time, and his smile falters, "Oh, is this a friend of yours, tesoro?"
Which, no. He's absolutely not. But Leonardo's mother is forever a vision in his head, smacking him with her wooden spoon and reminding him that he wasn't raised by wolves, so he forces another smile that is only half nervous and says, "Oh, yes, yes. This is Adam. Adam, I, uhh..."
"Ezio," the man offers, but doesn't extend a hand. "It is a pleasure, Adam. Will you join us for a coffee?"
"I was just leaving actually," Adam says then, perhaps a little too quickly. He looks a little confused, if not a little annoyed, but Ezio's attention is already back on Leonardo.
The heat radiating from Leonardo's face is probably sufficient enough to warm the room without resorting to central heating, and he's not even entirely sure what's happening in the world around him. It's actually incredibly difficult to focus on miniscule things like atmosphere when his handsome savior is staring at him like there's no one else in the room.
Leonardo does have a type. They're artists too – thin, malnourished, broke. They're sometimes students, but they're generally always assholes (not because they're artists, but because Leonardo attracts them like picnics attract ants) and they're always the worst thing for him.
So it's a little strange because this man – and he is definitely a man, not malnourished or tiny or resembling Adam in any way, although he could absolutely model for Leonardo anytime he wanted – doesn't fit into his 'type' at all. Leonardo doesn't even think he's ever dated an Italian, even when he spent two years in Venice with extended family, and now he's at a loss as to why.
"I do apologize," Ezio says, in a way that suggests he isn't at all, his voice low as he leans in closer, "but you did appear to need some assistance."
"Oh," Leonardo manages. "Please. Assist away."
The bright smile he's rewarded with may or may not be directly related to the weakness he suddenly feels in his knees.