|Cristobal Rodriguez ♦ Coyote (coyoti) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-12-02 21:32:00
|Entry tags:||coyote, raven|
you better think of the consequence (but who are you?)
Who: Chris & June.
What: Chris goes running to another friend for some comfort.
Where: June's apartment.
When: Nov. 2, a few hours after this.
Reassured that the hallway was empty, Chris made a slow path toward the elevator, jabbing buttons to hurry his passage. One hand was carefully covering his nose, though the blood seemed to be drying; for a moment, he thought he should have taken some time to clean himself up, see to his own injury, before calling on someone else for help. But a smaller part of him—a meaner part—told him now was the best time to wheedle out the most sympathy possible. And it was that voice he listened to as he got into the elevator and carried himself up to June's floor, continuing his slow pace toward her door.
He rapped on it with his knuckles gently, as though afraid the wood might do him more harm. She was probably sleeping, given the previous night's events. Hell, she might not even be home, maybe finally having come to her senses and left. Chris started to feel a little desperate; he knocked again, this time more insistently.
June opened the door still in her pyjamas—which, in this still seasonable weather, consisted of a black tank top and a pair of boxer shorts riding low on her hips. She held a steaming cup of coffee in one hand; her other remained on the doorknob, her fingers wrapping more tightly around it the moment her gaze alighted upon her friend. She had worried for him following the party, of course. But she had lacked the experience with this building and its denizens to fully understand the repercussions of what Savoy had said, and following her unexpected transformation into a bird of all things, and her subsequent fight with a giant serpent, she had thought no more about Chris's involvement in the mess.
"Jesus fuck," she mumbled. Then, remembering herself, she waved Chris inside. "Sit down. You want coffee? Tea? Red Bull? 'Cause you're not leaving 'til you tell me how the fuck this happened, so settle in."
"Uh, coffee. Black." Chris stumbled a bit as he entered her apartment, making a beeline for the nearest surface he could sit on. His leg ached, and part of him wished he'd exchanged the brace for his cane, as embarrassing as that would have been. But the moment he was sitting, he sighed, tilting his head back to prevent further blood flow.
"So you're not... mad, at me?" He ventured, his eyes hesitantly turning in her direction as she puttered in her own space.
"Not yet." She padded off into the kitchen, where the subtle sounds of coffeepot, cup, and cabinet doors marked her every move. "Should I be?" She returned with a coffee mug in each hand—her own freshly topped off, of course— a tea towel over her shoulder, and a Ziploc bag of ice beneath her arm.
She moved to the floor in front of Chris. After dropping the bulk of her burdens unceremoniously to the little table in front of the couch, she handed him one coffee and blew softly over her own. "Everyone else seems mad enough. I figured I'd wait and hear your side." She tipped her chin toward his busted nose. "Obviously not everybody was feeling that patient, huh." He coughed a laugh, shaking his head.
She set her coffee aside and reached for the towel. Moving to her knees in front of the sofa, she set about carefully daubing the worst of the blood from around his nose. Chris held still, guilt still pooling deep in his gut. He stared up at the ceiling, and then down at June's familiar face, his eyes fringed by dark lashes, trying to weigh what to say, how to say it. He always had, with everyone. The right word in the right ear at the right time in the right place. It was exhausting.
"I was trying to find an out. From the gangs," he started, stuttering a little. The truth scared him as much as everything else did, in that moment. "He found me; I don't know how. Offered me a job, a place to live. Could still operate my own business, just had to keep it quiet. And then... I just had to tell him things. About the people living in the apartment complex." He winced, wondering if he should pause and give her a chance for commentary. But it was still all pouring out.
"I didn't think it was a big deal. I didn't know what the fuck he was planning, or what would happen. I still don't know why any of it happened, and I tried... I tried to steer people away. He... When I fucked up, he said he had enough dirt on me, things the authorities would be seriously interested in. I wouldn't last a day in prison, June, between my leg, and, and..." Being gay, he tried to say, the fear closing his throat.
"You would," she said, cutting him off. "But I don't think either of us would like what you'd turn into to do that."
Most of the crusted blood was gone now. A faint trickle of fresh blood tried to find its way down to his lip; June wiped this away with a bare fingertip. Chris winced, pain blossoming slightly at her touch. She wrapped the ice pack in the tea towel and pressed it to his nose; his hand came up to cup hers, holding the bag. A hand on his chest prodded him to lie back on the couch. He complied without complaint.
"OK. So you were snitching and playing drug kingpin of Newport Beach. Got it. You said you fucked up. What's that mean? What did you do that he thought you fucked up?"
"No, I wasn't... I was out of the drugs, as much as I could be. I was just doing real estate. Legitimate stuff." Chris was adamant about saying that, his voice raw. It turned him inside out, the things he'd done to other people.
"When I didn't tell him what he wanted to hear, or when he thought I lied. And I did, especially... I tried to not get involved with Daniel, but 'no' isn't really in his vocabulary. And he's too fucking good looking for his own good, and he can do this great thing with his—" Chris stopped himself, reeling in his emotions. June croaked a little laugh, but cut it off in short order. "But he found out about the gangs, and he forgave me. He still wanted to be with me, even though he'd... He almost got shot. And then Kal showed up, and things were just... It got too personal. I thought I could keep it simple, keep it clean, and I couldn't. So I tried to pull myself out of it, and..." Chris went quiet for a moment, turning this next bit of information over in his head.
"Kal and Daniel and this other girl, Brittany or something, went investigating, and Daniel got hurt. Broke his leg. The man—Savoy—who employed me wanted to know from me who was involved, and I could only give him her name. I said I didn't know who else, but I'd find out. I didn't want him to do anything to them." He swallowed. June had gone tense at BB's name, but she let him carry on. "He killed my dad, June, and he sent me the gun. He fucking pinned my own father's murder on me, do you get that? How the fuck was I supposed to tell anyone anything and not end up dead?!"
He was blunt; when all was said and done, he was worried about himself. Chris wasn't going to lie about some new altruistic vein that had appeared; in the end, he was just trying to keep himself alive. Even that, though, was false. If he died, who would take care of his mom? His abuela? Who would keep his abuelo's restaurant bills paid? He had people, family, counting on him, but it felt false to say he was doing it to keep them safe.
"Oh, necio…" June patted his leg as she rose from the floor. She sat down beside him on the couch, sliding an arm behind his shoulders to pull him close to her. "You really put your foot in it this time. But that doesn't mean you're stuck, OK?" Her fingers stroked his upper arm, a gentle caress to soften the sharp words that only grew sharper as she went on. "Your dad… you know how I feel about him. You're better off without him. The whole fucking world is. So what's next? Hm? What's Savoy got on you, and where would he keep it? The gun included."
"It's gone," Chris murmured. "The gun, anyway. Daniel... He helped me get rid of it." Another lie, another act of forgiveness Chris knew he hadn't deserved. Three strikes, you're out.
"I... I'm not sure where else Savoy would keep anything. I don't even know where his offices are, or if he lived on premises, or... God, he kept me in the dark just as much as anyone else." He pulled the bag off of his face for a moment, frowning.
"If you want to know who did this, though, that was Kal," he said, switching tack for a moment. "And before he goes telling you that I said some atrocious shit, I did, but I was drunk and I was mad, not that that excuses what I said.
"But they both—he and Daniel—came storming into my apartment, cornering me, blaming me for pretty much everything... Maybe that was his real idea with me, Savoy. To be his fucking fall boy."
"Probably," June admitted. "He'd have been stupid not to have one. Maybe more than one. I can't remember what exactly he said, but at the party it sounded to me like you weren't the only one working for him. So you may not be the only scapegoat, either." She chewed her lip as she considered this. Another beat, though, and she shook her head. "Whatever. That's somebody else's problem." She reached out and took Chris's hand, squeezing it tight. "We'll make this right, Chris. We'll give Kal some time to cool off. And once he does, I'll talk to him, and then we'll all talk and get this straightened out. But for right now… what do you need? What can I do? And finish your damn coffee."
He instantly lifted the cup to his lips, acting like his mother had just directed him to comply. Chris almost snort-laughed into the brew, but the warm liquid sliding down his throat made him feel a little more centered.
"He's never gonna forgive me," he mumbled. "And I have no idea... I think my nose is broken." He prodded it gently with his fingers, wincing as he did so, jerking the touch back almost instantly. "Should probably go to the hospital. Christ." He took another sip, putting the ice pack back on his face. He glanced sidelong at June.
"Thanks," he said. "I... I didn't handle any of that well. I don't know what I might've done if I didn't have anyone else in the building."
"Well you don't have to worry about that. You've got me, guapo, and there's nobody better." She reached for her own coffee, now perfectly cooled, and took a generous sip. "I'll drive you to the hospital when you're ready. You're going to be fine. And so will Kal. Whatever you said, he's a big boy and he'll get over it." Her eyes narrowed; her teeth worried at her lower lip. She was well aware she was treading on unfamiliar ground here. She risked it anyway, watching her friend and carefully gauging his response. "So will Daniel, I imagine."
He was halfway into the motion of taking another sip, his arm paused. Something warred over his face, emotions he was doing his best to keep in check. He set the coffee down, unwrapping the tea towel from around the ice pack to dab at his face.
"No," he said, sounding defeated. "Why should he ever trust me again? You and Kal, at least... You guys know me, you know what I'm like, you know how full of shit I am. I don't deserve either of you. I didn't fucking deserve Daniel, either, and I fucking screwed the pooch on that." He paused, eyes closing, schooling his face. For a long moment, he was silent.
"I told him I loved him, June. That wasn't a lie, but he's never going to believe me now." Chris swallowed, and started to wrap the ice pack back up, burying his face once more. It was lucky he had; by doing so, he missed June's unfeigned, unchecked look of shock.
"Then he's a fucking idiot," she said, once she composed herself, "and I'll tell him so. You've lied about a lot of shit in your day, but I don't think something like that…" She shook her head. She finished her coffee, knowing she would need far more than that small jolt of caffeine to begin to untangle this mess. But she set the now-empty mug beside his and sidled closer, her shoulder pressed flush to his own. "You deserve a lot more than you think you do, Chris. And this can be fixed. You're probably going to have to eat a lot of crow…" She snorted a laugh. "Wait, is that a pun for me, now? 'Cause I did not... ugh, you know what I mean."
Chris chuckled, the sound smothered from under the towel.
"I think you were... a raven, technically," he answered, feeling bolstered for a moment before guilt dragged him back down. "I... thanks, I think, for saying that, but I fucked this up. I did, I just..." A hand scraped at his pants, drawing small furrows to illustrate his frustration. "It's probably better to just let it go. Give everyone their space, or just, fucking go away like everyone probably wants me to." It was far too easy to give into the voices in the back of his head at that moment.
June leaned back just enough to properly rabbit-punch Chris in his upper arm. "Nope, no. You stop that bullshit right now. You admit you fucked up. That's good. Now don't fuck it up more by running away." She settled back in beside him, leaning her head on his shoulder. "It's easy to leave," she said, her voice softer now. "It's harder to stay and fix things. But it's the right thing to do and you know it." Her head tilted against him; dark eyes peered up at his still-obscured face. "So sack up, tramposo, and make this right."
Chris nodded, the movement small behind his ice pack. He pulled it away, settling it against his hand in his lap.
"Not even sure how to do that," he replied. "But I guess first things first. Hospital? If you're still willing to take me. I'll pay for drive through somewhere, or a sit down place for breakfast."
"Sit-down," she said. "I want Chinese breakfast. You're going to buy me so many steamed buns."
She rose and left for the kitchen before he had time to complain, taking both their coffee mugs with her. Then she was off to her bedroom in search of presentable clothes, singing noisily—and more than a little off-key—all the while.