By: Chaos and Raven
"It's a great place. Like, not too bad of a neighborhood. Better than the fucking trailer park anyway."
"What's the catch?" Rabbit didn't even look up. He was on a roll.
Future shrugged. "It's small, only two bedrooms."
"That's not a catch." He tapped his pen impatiently against the table.
"I told you it's a good deal. Gets you away from your mom."
"You said your aunt owns it?"
"Like, great aunt twice removed."
"What the fuck ever."
He laughed. "She's got a few places, and she'll rent it real cheap since I'm family."
Rabbit scratched a few more words onto his crowded piece of paper. "I want to take Lily."
"What? Rabbit, man, you know that ain't going to happen."
"It will." He glared. "I not gonna leave her to be fucking raised in this hell hole."
Future shook his head sadly. "Your mom is not going to let you take Lily."
Rabbit shrugged and looked back at his paper. Right then, Lily was the most important thing in his life. He wasn't going anywhere without her. He heard Future sigh and shift around in his chair.
"You know it's fine with me. You'll come and check it out, right?" He stood, leaning over to embrace Rabbit in a one armed hug.
Rabbit nodded distractedly, already immersed in his song again. Just a few more weeks and he'd have enough saved to get time in the studio. He was getting so close. It wasn't like when Wink said he knew a guy who knew a guy. Or when they were all just kind of talking shit. This was real. It was going to happen.
His mom threw a fit when he brought up the idea of moving. He hadn't even said anything about Lily, just that Future had found a place for them to live. He expected it, really. It was like she couldn't be happy that he was finally getting his shit together because she wasn't.
Rabbit was pretty good at timing things so that he was on his way out when he brought up something that was sure to set her off. He slammed the door behind himself, more for effect than because he was angry.
They went to look at the little house Friday afternoon. Future had battles to host that night, but there was enough time to stop by. It wasn't an upscale neighborhood, but just about anything was better than 8 mile. Looking around, waiting for Future to unlock the door, Rabbit thought it was something of a ghetto suburbia. Some places had nicely groomed lawns; others were littered with garbage. Eclectic. He said it out loud and Future turned to look at him.
"It's something, anyway," he said with a smile.
"We gonna set up house for our children, David?" Rabbit asked in a raspy falsetto.
An indecipherable look crossed Future's face. "Fuck off, man."
"Hey, naw. I'm just giving you a hard time, dog."
"Fucker," Future said.
He shoved open the front door when it stuck a little. Inside was nicer than Rabbit had imagined with all Future's warnings. The carpet was pretty new, and the walls were clean and white.
"How the fuck are we supposed to be able to afford a place like this?" Rabbit asked. It was mostly rhetorical.
"Three hundred a month plus utilities."
Rabbit nodded, looking around. It was small, but that was the least of his worries. "Let's do it."
Future's face lit up. "No shit? Well, okay then."
"I gotta get Lily, though. I'm not fucking going anywhere without her."
Future's smile didn't fade, he just clapped Rabbit on the shoulder and smiled some more.
It took some careful consideration before Rabbit could bring up the idea of taking Lily with him when he moved. When he did, he listened to the token 'Jimmy, are you crazy' speech followed by the 'why don't my children love me' whine. He tried not to nod off.
Rabbit saw when she caved. He could tell the exact moment. It wasn't like his momma really cared. It would be easier for her if he took Lily. Less to pay for, less to worry about. It was sad, but that's the way things work when you're dirt poor. Everything's a fucking commodity.
Future helped him load up the car with their stuff. It wasn't much. The bag of clothes Rabbit had left over from his break up with Janeane. Another bag for Lily's stuff. Some assorted toys, a few blankets. It was kind of pathetic, really.
His mom stood just inside the screen. She'd hugged Lily already and was watching them pack the last of their things into the trunk. Rabbit walked up to the door and held out a sheet of paper.
"It's the address, for the, um, for the new place. We don't have a phone right now, but I can get it to you, y'know, when we get one."
She took the paper and he pulled her into an awkward hug. He didn't figure he'd be seeing her for a while and it seemed like the right thing to do. Even if it felt strange as hell to hug his mom in front of people. She wasn't a bad mother, not the way she could have been. But it was just. Odd.
Rabbit ended up sharing the master bedroom with Future. It took some getting used to because the last person he'd shared a room with was Janeane, and they had been fucking. He and Future were most definitely not.
So it was weird because they had to share a queen size bed and not touch. It was that or one of them sleep on the floor. Which, as Future pointed out, was more fucking stupid than sleeping in the same bed was gay. And it was weird the first time he walked out of the bathroom naked and Future was there, eyes wide, saying 'Fuck, Rabbit! Put some fucking clothes on!' because he forgot.
Sometimes, Future would do shit like that too. He'd sit on the edge of the bed in a towel. Just. Sitting. Rabbit would have to avert his eyes while grabbing his sweatshirt to avoid seeing the long, dark expanse of Future's thighs. He never said anything about it though.
"Hey Paul. How'd you know you were gay?"
Paul had one of his Newport menthols dangling gracefully from his manicured fingers, waiting for his perpetually late boyfriend. Fucking girlie cigarettes, Rabbit called them. If you were gonna fuck up your lungs, might as well do it with Marlboro Reds or something equally toxic.
He smiled, slow and easy. "You got questions, Jimmy?"
"Fuck you! No fucking way. I'm just fucking making conversation is all. Shit."
"Calm down kid. You're gonna bust an artery. I was kidding. Damn." Paul took a slow drag off his cigarette. "I just kind of knew. Girls weren't ever that appealing to me."
"It's tough, huh?"
"Fucking hardest shit in my life." He shrugged carelessly. "But this is me. Ain't no shame in that."
Rabbit nodded and filed it away. Paul was one brave mother fucker to be out in this part of the world. And maybe it was a little dumb to admit something like that when he didn't have to, but it was still brave. He waved good-bye as Paul climbed into a beat up Chevy truck and drove away.
Future was in the kitchen with Lily when he got back to the house. Their house. They were sitting at the table eating mac and cheese. And that, Rabbit thought, was pretty much the best thing since Christmas. Lily had been wary of Future at first, living in a strange place with a strange man, but they were bonding now.
"Did you two wise-crackers leave any food for me?"
Future looked up, grinning. "There is always food for you, Bunny Rabbit."
"Jimmy!" Lily squealed. She slid out from her chair and ran to him, wrapping her small arms around his legs.
"Hey, baby. How was your day?"
"Good. David and I read together. He can't sing as good as you, though."
Rabbit crouched down to give Lily a hug. He looked up at Future over her head. "Is that so? Well, I'm sure he has other talents to make up for it."
She nodded, wiggling free to get back to the table. "He made dinner."
"I guess that means you and I are gonna do the dishes. You wanna help me with that, baby?"
She nodded, already more interested in her food than the conversation.
"The guys want to have a party here," Future said softly. "Since we got our own place now."
"Absolutely fucking not!" He looked over at Lily, and lowered his voice. "No way, Future. This is a place for Lily to grow up away from that shit."
"I know man, I know that. That's what I told them. I just thought you might want the heads up in case they start to hassle you."
"Promise me that ain't gonna happen."
"It ain't gonna happen. I promise." Future shot him a wry grin. "I live here too, punk. I know what's what, you untrusting bitch."
The best thing about Future was he did know what's what. He knew when to push and when to back off. He might ignore it from time to time, but he sure as hell knew.
Sharing the big bed got really weird the first time Rabbit had a wet dream. Future shook him awake and he was too mortified to even apologize. Because they were right next to each other, one of Future's thighs wedged between Rabbit's. He scrambled off the bed and into the bathroom where he spent fifteen minutes staring at himself in the mirror. He couldn't remember the dream and he wasn't sure he wanted to.
They didn't talk about it after, but it colored things. When they hugged, when they made dinner together, when Rabbit woke up tangled in Future's legs. The bed should have fit them easy and it was suddenly too small.
Iz, Cheddar Bob, and Sol came over to check the place out. Two days before, Future and Rabbit bought a cheap couch at a garage sale. The couch was six inches shorter than Rabbit but was pretty comfortable anyway.
Iz dropped back when they were leaving. He took them both by the shoulder and grinned. "I just want you guys to know I'm cool with it."
Rabbit raised an eyebrow. "The fuck are you talking about, dog?"
"You guys bein' together. I wouldn't worry about the guys, you know? They're kind of blind to alternative lifestyles."
Future burst out laughing. "Oh man, you really had me going there for a while. Shit. Alternative lifestyles my big black ass. Get out of here."
They went back inside, Rabbit chasing Lily to the bathroom. He brushed his teeth beside her and helped her into her PJs. He got her into bed and turned out the light. He could hear Future cleaning up in the kitchen as he knelt next to her.
"Are we a family now, Jimmy?" She asked him softly.
His heart lurched. "Of course, baby. We'll always be family."
"And David, too?"
"David, too." He agreed. "Are you happy?"
Lily nodded. "I miss momma sometimes."
"Yeah. Me, too." He reached over and hugged her.
"Sing me a song?"
"Of course, baby."
He carefully pulled the door closed behind himself, stepping out into the bright hallway. Future was already in the bed when Rabbit stepped into their room. He had a book draped over his knees and was quite intent on whatever he was reading.
"So Lily asked me just now if you were family." He yanked his T-shirt over his head, throwing it in the general direction of the closet.
Future had a small smile on his face. "What'd you say?"
"Of course, man. Without you, we wouldn't even fucking be here." Rabbit slid into bed, leaning against the headboard. "It's just weird, though. I mean, I love my mom but we weren't a fucking family."
Future nodded, and they lapsed into silence. "You almost got shit together to go to the studio?" He asked finally.
"Yeah, next week or the one after. I talked to one of the guys there, and he said that the studio is open a lot. So. I shouldn't have a problem getting in."
Future grinned. "That's my B. Rabbit." He leaned over, bumping their shoulders together. "That shit that Iz was sayin', man, he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about."
"Nah, I guess not." Rabbit leaned over and pressed his lips against Future's softly. "Hit the fucking lights, huh?" he said in response to Future's stunned silence. "I'm fucking tired."