Brandon hadn't seen his father die.
He was glad.
He knew his father would have preferred not to be seen like that. It was much better for Brandon to remember him as the man he had always been. How he had been that morning. Strong, seemingly healthy and in a good mood over something.
Unlike the way his mom had gone out. No matter how hard Brandon tried to remember the beautiful things about her, like her smile or her long brown hair, they were always tainted by the look of the light leaving her eyes in the moments she passed on, while Brandon watched on helplessly.
No. He was glad he didn't have to see his father like that.
That's why he insisted the casket be closed at the funeral. It was the only part of the funeral he'd had control over. The rest had been arranged by his aunt who had flown in from Israel just to oversee the process and acquire Brandon. But things had gone so terribly wrong. He had never met the aunt until the day of the funeral, never even talked to her in fact. It was one of his father's co-workers who had known of her somehow and arranged for her to come. If it had been up to him, he would have told her to stay away. There was no way he was going to go live with her in some foreign desert country he'd only seen on the news a couple of times for a recent war. Not a chance in hell.
It didn't matter that he was all alone now. He could make it on his own. Only it didn't work out as he'd planned. He had decided that he would go down south, somewhere in the city where he could start fresh and everything was within walking distance.
His aunt had helped him in that manor; she had purchased a bus ticket for him and gave him enough money for food and maybe a cheap motel for a few nights. She had even put in a good word with an old acquaintance to get him a part-time job. He was thankful to his mysterious aunt for that.
Now, though, was that precarious time between his first paycheck and the last of his travel funds. He had enough cash to buy food but another motel room was out of the question. He had tried to go to a shelter but just passing by it, he had to fend off two junkie looking dudes who enjoyed calling him white racial slurs despite the fact that he wasn't really white.
Maybe the city had been a bad idea, but it was too late now. Besides there were bigger things to focus on, like finding a place to stay for the night. The street not being an option as the looming dark clouds indicated an oncoming storm. He had traveled back beyond the city area, closer to the beach, where the wealthier lot of Miami lived and played, hoping that among the skyscraper hotels and luxury condos he would be able to find a dark car garage or an empty lobby, just a spot he could pretend to be waiting on someone while the rains passed.
When the pre-rain fogs started he decided to cut through a couple of blocks by trespassing on what appeared to be an abandoned golf court, but halfway through it started to drip, and then drop, and then patter, and then pour. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted an old looking apartment building, it seemed highly out of place connected to the golf court and bordering the fancy high rises behind it; its short reach and nearly dilapidated appearance telling the story of its age and giving life to a tale of old meets new, its triadic attempt to hang on here at the frontlines of the hostile modern takeover of Deco. It was perfect, Brandon was without a doubt that a place like that didn't have any nosy/bored guards patrolling the open air halls. All he needed was an electrical room closet or an elevator. So, sprinting across the field diagonally he reached the overhang made up of the few stories above.
He breathed a sigh of relief and shook himself, wet dog style. The only good thing about rain in Florida was that it was always warm water, and while that humidity caused it to be annoyingly sticky it sure beat being cold and wet.
The sun was beginning to set beyond the city and the street lights slowly flickered on above him creating a soft intimate glow and it struck him just how tired he was. He set off down the hall, watching the doors on his right, listening in on the brief conversations radiating out past them. A television show, a bad one; a family arguing over what to have for dinner, reminding him that he was hungry; a couple having sex, here he walked by a little slower but moved on none the less. Until he reached the center of the building where the open part of the hallway tunneled to bridge each floor to the tower of the elevator.
Hopeful he turned, only to see that the elevator was tapped of in "caution" tape with a note from the landlord stating it would be back up in the morning, signed August 8th, two years ago. He pressed the button, just in case, and the grinding sound of doors opening reached his ears, but the doors didn't actually open. With that he realized you couldn't pay him to get on that elevator.
Maybe he could find a closet? He walked further into the hall which forked, on his left was more hallway that was lined with flat metal mailboxes, it looked promising. And on his right was an opening, where the setting sunlight slipped through, he assumed it lead to more apartments. But as he turned to follow the hall through he caught another sound. Water. Not rain, but splashing. And...laughter.
Curious, he faced back towards the sun and sought the cause. A few steps in and the hall gave way to a short alleyway, a flooded out concrete paved floor, set between two windowless walls that rose up the three or four stories of the complex and opened up to the sky, flecked with multicolored rain clouds, reflecting the setting sun. But all of this seemed to be centered around one man, who stood—no, who danced in the great puddles of the ally.
The tall, slim figure of the man was faced away from him, his face upturned to the weeping sky as he spun and jumped around, occasionally trying to grab droplets of rain and creating great splashes, with his bare feet, in the deep puddle of the alley.
Long moments went by as Brandon watched, what he wondered to be either a lunatic or a free spirit, playing. But finally the man stopped, as though he had felt Brandon's eyes on him, and turned to look directly at Brandon, tripping back and breathing heavy from his play.
They stared at each other for a moment. Brandon's mind a complete blank except for the calculations it absently made as he took in the man's features. He was of a similar age to Brandon, maybe a few years older. His hair was golden blonde, despite its wet state, and pale blue eyes priced through the grey of the alley. His otherwise sharp features were warmed by his winning smile. All in all, he was beautiful.
Brandon didn't know what to expect, from this beautiful strange man, he didn't really expect anything, actually. But still he simply couldn't look away.
At last the youth outstretched his hand, in clear invitation. "Would you like to join me?" came the accompaniment of his voice, accented and deep, like a cello incarnate.
Brandon immediately wanted to say "yes", but everyone knew most devils were beautiful for a reason, so he slowly shook his head, "I'm happy here, where it's dry, thanks."
The handsome blonde laughed lightly and tilted his head back to the sky once again, raising his arms up as he did so, "And yet, I am smiling and you look quite miserable." He looked back at him and stepped forward.
Brandon stepped back, untrusting of an assumedly crazy youth dancing in the rain. But the man continued to move forward, only slower, holding out both palms flat and open, as though trying to tempt a frightened animal. "My name is Mael." He pronounced slowly, "Dance with me in the rain and I will make you a king."
Brandon laughed outright, "Oh, so you are crazy. That explains it. Goodbye, 'Male'." He turned to go, amused for the moment but still in need of shelter.
"No. Mael. It is French." the blonde quickly corrected him. "It means 'prince'."
Brandon hesitated and his tongue rolled out the name before he turned back, "Mael…. You're French?" He blushed, knowing he had just revealed a small secret, but it couldn't be helped, he had always been captivated by all things French.
"Oui." Mael smiled.
"Come on," the young man offered again, "Or are you afraid you will get wet?" he questioned, daring to gently brush the others soaked hoodie.
"There's more than that to be afraid of," Brandon commented, almost to himself, "Then again, what could you do? Beat me, rob me? I've got maybe…ten bucks and a few shirts in this bag." he indicated as he shouldered off the red sack and let it fall into the ever growing pool at his feet.
"I promise to you that I am not after your shirts." The other said in turn, his smile fading slightly. Brandon shivered under the deep sweet tone.
The blonde youth reached out and took both of Brandon's hands. He moved them out into the center of the alley and wrapped his arms around Brandon's waist as Brandon rested his arms about Mael's neck and with no beat, other than the bleating sheer of the rain on the asphalt, to support a style of dance they settled on a slow turn.
The rain evolved, it seemed, from its rushed poor into a gentle patter and the pools about Brandon's feet were as warm as the body against him. He rested his head on Mael's shoulder strangely feeling more at ease then he had in a long time and he became fascinated by how the oil on the alleys ground mixed with the droplets of rain causing multi-colored ripples that would catch the eternally setting sun. It was like being high.
When the blonde rested his face into the crook of Brandon's neck the slight fluttering breaths sent shivers through his spine.
"Are you cold?" asked the husky voice, lips brushing his skin.
Brandon bit his lip and shook his head, certain his voice wouldn't hold for him to speak.
"I am." The lie was apparent, but with it he pulled back. He looked Brandon up and down, "Would it be rude to assume you do not have an apartment here?"
He wished he had asked a "yes" or "no" question, but looking into those impossibly blue eyes he cooled "N-no. I was sort'a hopping to crash in the elevator or something." He tilted his head towards the hall.
"It is not working." Mael replied, in his deep accent, "But I have got a heater at my place, if you are interested?"
Brandon wanted to point out that he wasn't the one who had said he was cold, but in truth, the question was "was he interested" and the answer was:
This started out as just a flash in my head, so I may keep it as a one shot…but I'm not sure, I think I'd like to see these two get down; what do you think? Please review and let me know.