[Previously…] [Next…] A/N: Usnavi is so turnt and Johan is seeing stars. (two more parts left!) Summary: Frank Sinatra, Fire escapes, late night chitchats over fine wine makes for a Johsnavi aesthetic WordCount: 3298 Taggies: @hell-yes-puns-and-ships
The hum of cars still passing through the darken streets filled the already unsettled air. There was always a sound, a passing car, a distant siren, a train rolling past, dog barking, one could go on and on listing off disturbances in the city. But from the comfortable post of a fire escape about three stories high there wasn’t a sound that touched the moment between the two men. All Johan could hear was the deep and steady breathing between gulps of wine coming from Usnavi. He watched as the Dominican man tipped the bottle into his mouth taking a third chug. He placed the bottle down between them and ran a hand down his mouth wiping his wine stained goatee. “Gotta love summer in the city.” The night was cooler, nice August night breeze felt good on Usnavi’s flushed cheeks. It made the drunk in him feel less drunk. The breeze anchored him down to a reality and kept his mind from spinning.
“It is quite nice…” Johan agreed, there was nothing in particular he cared for. Nothing he could pinpoint and say that was nice, but the moment felt nice. This felt…nice. He took the bottle and tilted his head back as well. After a long sip he sighed with gusto and pointed. “That a star?” He motioned to the white dot against the dark, opaque sky. It stood out so brilliantly like a certain someone’s laugh that suddenly filled the air.
“Nah, man, that’s a plane.” Usnavi stared at the same dot and watched it move by. His eyes glanced over just barely catching Johan’s disappointed frown. The way his lower lip jutted out…”My abuela Claudia…” He began speaking in a tender voice, eyes closed for a moment. Grief still stung when he spoke her name out loud. “She use to complain how you couldn’t see the stars here…one night she swore she saw some…” It was near impossible to see stars in the city but Claudia saw the beauty in so many things everyone took for granted. Usnavi believed she saw her stars that night.
“Did you see stars?” Johan’s frown curved up into a smile watching as Usnavi’s expressions changed so rapidly. Thanks to the wine no doubt.
“I saw hella stars when she told me she won the lotto that night” He smirked, “And gave me ⅓ of it.”
“Wow, really?” That was genuine surprise. Someone who won the lotto and got some money off it, why was Usnavi trapped at a corner store? “What happened to the money?”
“Well…” Usnavi ran a hand down the back of his neck. “Abuela passed away the next day…that afternoon actually… with her share of the money I did the good she would have wanted to do. Gave some to Benny to help him out while he looked for a job, to the Rosarios to help them while they got Nina back to school. Helped Daniella so she could co-sign Vanessa’s apartment, and Carla for the salon. Gave some to the Piragua man who passes by here and–”
“What’s…Pear-a-wah?” Johan tried to pronounce the words but they came out sounding like an alien language to Usnavi.
“Oh…Piragua (PEE-AR-GOO-WHA)” He repeated slower just for him, Johan absorbed the sound and mouthed it to himself. Usnavi turned away feeling the heat from the wine stain his cheeks…of course just the wine. “It’s shaved ice.”
“Oh that’s neat.”
“Yeah…gave everyone some money to help them out…even commissioned Sonny’s dumb boyfriend to paint some pieces for me…Everyone that abuela ever cared about…I know she’d want to help them even just a little.” Usnavi felt a hollow ache in his chest. Nothing he didn’t know how to manage.
Johan looked back up at the bleak sky. The plane had long crossed the sky and left not a single shred of light. “Your ab..abuela sounds really nice. I would have loved to meet her.”
“She would have loved you.” He answered immediately, no doubt about it. “She was a great judge of character. She would have loved you more than I…” His mouth suddenly felt try, he wanted to reach for the wine but he had to finish his sentence somehow. “Than I could even imagine.” Nice save by De La Vega.
His tall Californian friend didn’t seem to notice, much to Usnavi’s approval, and nodded. “So what about the other thirds of the money?”
“I put Sonny’s away in a savings account, hopefully he won’t do nothin’ stupid…he probably won’t. Sonny is a lot of things but he’s a good kid with a good head on his shoulders.” Usnavi couldn’t take any credit for that. Sonny was always a sweet kid who’s only real drive was to help his hood and more importantly the people in it. “Mine…I paid off the store debts, I own it now…” It felt good to own the store officially. “The rest I still got…sitting around… “ Though Benny might have been wry of Johan getting all this information about money…Usnavi didn’t feel an ounce of stress. He didn’t think Johan cared about the money.
Another moment of silence feel on them. “Sounds like you have everything figured out…” Which was more than Johan ever had his whole life.
“…well I spent my life making a list of goals and cross them off as they come along…sooner or later there won’t be anything left to cross out…I’m not looking forward for that.” Usnavi always thought he would be living his life according to his parents, work until he died. But after all that’s happened, all the changes he was afraid his list wasn’t long enough to keep him going. He was terrified of the unknown.
Both men went reaching for the bottle, looking away unsure what to say. Both had been internalizing their worries because neither wanted to ruin this moment. Their hands met at the neck of the bottle and with much delay, they turned, eyes on their brushing fingers. Johan slowly turned his hand, palm up, as if offering his hand to Usnavi. However, the action of his hand moving made the skittish Hispanic pull back fast.
[Previously…] [Next!] A/N: Drunk!Usnavi is my spirit animal. Summary: Usnavi is shitting bricks that Johan is coming over to meet his family&friends. ft. hints of Benina Sonny+Pete, and the gossip girls WordCount: 3991 Taggies: @hell-yes-puns-and-ships
Day of Sonny’s graduation party, a feat that everyone in the barrio wanted to partake in, Usnavi was in the kitchen. Sonny’s nose led him there, following the wafting aroma of sugary, cinnamon and vanilla. “Mm something smells good~ Que cocinas?” He made a beeline to the covered pot only to be met with the hot, swiftness of a wooden spoon slapping the back of his knuckles. “DAMN! That hurt!” He hissed, taking back his hand. He kissed the back of his knuckles, watching Usnavi move in front of the pot like a guard dog.
“Its arroz con leche” Usnavi smirked, watching Sonny’s eyes gleam with delight. “Abuela Claudia’s old recipe.”
“No way, Abuela gave you her famous recipe for her rice pudding?” Everyone in the barrio knew that Abuela Claudia (god rest her soul) had the best rice pudding recipe in all of Manhattan. She could have made thousands maybe millions if she patented it. But like most good things they were only meant to be shared with loved ones.
“Nah” Usnavi shook his head then tapped the side of his temple. “I use to stand around and watch her cook back when she babysat me. I got it all memorized.” Those were simpler days. Now everything was different, abuela had passed on, Sonny was looking at a four year school. Nina and Benny were newlyweds and new parents, Vanessa was living her life, and Pete even seemed to move out of the streets. And yet, Usnavi was still here. The money had been put into savings for both of them, Usnavi had some plans what to do with his money but as always he had trouble really making moves.
Meanwhile Sonny…was itching to finally touch his share of money. “So…I was wondering, since I’ve been making strides to a better future. I’m a lot more responsible and shit…you think I could get a few hundred?” He smiled a bit, Usnavi’s silence unnerved him a little. “Look you, said you’d hand over my share when you felt like I was ready to handle that cash. And I am.”
“No me diga…” Usnavi rolled his eyes keeping his eye on the pot. “And what do you plan to do with a couple hundred?”
“I’m bein’ serious!” Sonny’s voice took a desperate whine like tone. He was losing this battle before he could state his case. “I…wanna go out West.” Sonny’s pleads only elicited a hard, sarcastic laugh from Usnavi.
“He hasn’t even left yet and you’re planning on dropping money on him?” Usnavi placed the spoon down and turned to his younger cousin who was giving him all the stank eyes. “Pete isn’t a future, I want you to invest smart. Abuela Claudia put me in charge of her money, to be smart.”
“All you’ve done is let it sit in the bank, collecting dust.” Sonny narrowed his eyes. He jutted his chin out a little taking a harder stand against Usnavi’s tight hold on their small fortune.
“Its collecting interest, Sonny, you’re not touching that money. That’s your future.” As his older cousin, Usnavi was more than prepared to put Sonny down and remind him who was in charge. After all, Usnavi was Sonny’s only constant adult and role model.