It was raining. Not the soft pattering kind that you could easily walk in and be unaffected by either. It was bucketing down, the drops falling heavily enough to leave a sting behind when they hit your skin, only for it to happen again almost instantly. Every now and then the sky would light up in a brilliant display of lightning, then moments later it would fall dark again, the ground shaking with the rumble of the thunder.
He had never liked storms while he was alive, he remembered fondly, his clothes hanging heavily from his wiry frame as the water beat down on him. It was such a paradox. People would look at him and they'd never know, but every time the storm clouds would begin to gather he would hide out in the basement, earphones pressed tightly to his ears, volume up loud as it went to drown out the noise.
He set down the portable stereo on the wet grass, sitting it inside a big blue garbage bag so it didn't get wet and shut off. He couldn't have that happening, at least not before the storm cleared. The bag, stereo inside sat nestled against the marble headstone, the patter of the raindrops falling on it a loud and rapid tattoo.
"Letty had the baby this afternoon," he told him, his voice barely audible over the rain and the music booming from the stereo. "She's called her Billie – after you."
When Letty had announced she was leaving the team, going her separate ways she'd been met with nothing but support from himself, but Dominic had hit the roof and being the little lap dog she was, Mia had taken his side as well. There had been ranting and raving, then Letty's quiet admission had brought it all to a grinding halt. 'I'm pregnant' she'd said, her back straight, head held high, 'and I'll not have my baby around people who don't give a shit about family. I wont have him or her near selfish bastards like you'.
Dominic had immediately gone off on a tirade about how she couldn't take his child away from him and she had laughed. He smiled. He couldn't remember the last time the king of the streets had been rendered speechless like he'd been when she had admitted that the child wasn't his. He'd been so arrogant as to think that just because he cheated on her, didn't mean she wouldn't do the same to him in return. But she had. She had and since then she'd told him that she never regretted a moment of it. She was still living in Echo Park, completely free and more in love with her man then she had ever seemed to be with Dom.
He snorted, hand absently turning up the volume when the lightning flashed overhead, thunder roaring.
"They're so happy together, man." He leant back against the headstone, looking at the solid black lettering out of the corner of his eye. "You remember what she was like with Dom, don't you? Always paranoid he was gunna cheat on her, never trusted him enough to talk to another woman, didn't smile much – well you should see her now." He shifted, cranking the volume a little higher, heavy guitars clashing with the thunders rumble. "She never stops smilin, man. They're so fucking happy that I feel ill around them sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I don't refuse them the right to be happy, but Jesus.."
He could still remember the day Letty had confided in him, telling him who the father of her baby was. He'd fallen down – literally. He'd been on a truck hoist listening to her talk to him from five feet below him on the floor and no sooner had the name come out of her mouth did he slip and go crashing to the floor. She'd fussed and fawned over him, but all he'd been able to do was lay there and stare at her, shocked. He was dumbfounded when he discovered the father's identity. They'd really given no indication whatsoever that there was something going on there.
Work roughened fingers slid over the wet grass, picking handfuls of it only to just drop it back to the ground. He was sure the caretaker loved him for destroying all the hard work he did to the cemetery grounds, but when you were sitting there at two in the morning in the middle of a severe thunderstorm just because your dead friend didn't like to be alone during them, he was sure that was the last of his problems.
"I forget sometimes," he started, "-how you used to sound when you laughed at something stupid we did, or that hoot of excitement when a new car came in to the shop." The thunder seemed to be dying down, longer intervals between the rumbling sound. "I might forget little things over the years, but I'll never forget you.'
"You were smart – so fucking smart, man, but you hid it so well. I know for sure that you'd have given Jesse a run for his money if Dom had given you the chance. If he'd believed in you as much as we did."
He smiled at the thought of Jesse. When he'd left him that afternoon he'd been sitting beside Letty's hospital bed with their daughter cradled in his arms, eyes not leaving her once the whole time he'd been there. Even while Letty slept, exhausted from giving birth, Jesse had sat with their newborn baby and chattered to her. Merely hours old and one would swear that there was no-one else in the world more important to him than his daughter. His time with Letty had matured him and he'd grown into a fine man – he would be a wonderful father, that much was obvious already. Billie had her father wrapped around every single one of her tiny little fingers and he was sure that Jesse had no complaints.
The rain started to ease off, the stinging downpour turning into a light mist that blanketed the graves around him. You could feel the change in the air as the storm began to clear and pass over the city and Leon found himself turning the volume down. He hadn't realised it was so loud – the rain seemed to have that dampening effect on it and muted it somewhat.
Wiping the cold water from his face, Leon turned around to look at the bold lettering on the white marble headstone, backing up on hands and knees.
William "Coyote" Vincent ~ Brother, Cousin, Best Friend and Son ~ May we never forget.
Looking up at the sky he spied the first hint of stars peeking through the thick, dark clouds overhead.
"She's over, V." Leon sighed, crawling forward to bump his forehead against the 'coyote' on the headstone. "I've gotta get home to the missus, you know she'll have my head if I'm not in by three." He smirked, recalling the time Vince had met his then girlfriend, Vanessa, who would become his wife just three short months after the failed heists. He'd insulted her, she'd kicked him in the nuts, then they'd gotten along like a house on fire. He didn't quite understand their friendship, but then again he wasn't sure he wanted to.
Severe storms had been forecast for the next five nights, so Leon gathered the now silent stereo up and pat the top of the cold headstone.
"Night, V." he murmured. "I'll see you tomorrow."