Here a doodle of Seras ft the babs 😁✨
Here a doodle of Seras ft the babs 😁✨
here's my jatp luca au pitch. alex is luca, willie is alberto, luke is giulia. that's. that's my entire pitch so far
Y/N: I’m sad…
Thomas: What’s wrong??
Damiano: Who do you want us to kill?!
Victoria: Say it and their body will NEVER be found!!
Y/N: ….. I just burnt my toast but JESUS I don’t know if I should feel worried or protected.
Carlos. Jack Jack
Viva Las Vegas, Pt. 11 - De Orfeo Records
Summary: Sunset Cure AU, Willex, is there a chance?, 2.8k
@trevor-wilson-covington is the bestie who makes these lovely edits, we stan supportive friends
WARNINGS: death mention
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10
Reggie and Carlos were running around in the middle of taking down equipment after their latest gig. Luke shook his head as he wrapped cords over his arm and placed them in a storage box. Alex, however, was nervously trying not to get run into as he carried various pieces of his drum set out and handed them to Bobby in the back of the van. He could forgive Reggie not really helping out since he was taking responsibility for the kid, but also hadn’t anticipated that their energies combined would put him more on edge.
As he went inside to grab the last piece of his set, he found that Reggie had taken his flannel and tied it around his neck like a cape, with Carlos wearing his leather jacket in a similar fashion. They approached Bobby, who immediately joined their game and they pretended to battle each other. By the time Alex had finished getting his whole set in the van, they were playing out a dramatic victory over defeating Bobby.
“Guys, this is great, but we really should finish packing up,” Alex said, although he was smiling from the entertainment.
“I guess you’re the next bad guy we fight,” Carlos said in a mock-deep voice.
“We can schedule it later, Robin,” Alex teased.
“Oh, no, he’s Batman,” Reggie corrected. “I’m Robin!” He put his fists on his hips in a proud superhero pose.
A big SHHHHHH came from Luke and they all looked over at him to see what was up. He was far off by the venue office, holding a phone to his ear and writing onto a notepad. His eyes were wide with excitement, and his energy was only held back by the other hand tapping against the paper. The boys watched as his smile grew bigger and he said goodbye, barely putting the phone back in place properly.
“YEEESS!!” he cried, raising his fists into the air in celebration. They all came running toward him to see what had happened.
“Boys, we’ve got good news!” Luke told them. Looking on in anticipation, Alex gripped his fanny pack tightly. “One of the record execs that came tonight is offering for us to sign onto their label and put out some songs! He even heard our demo!”
Everyone celebrated, jumping up and down and high-fiving each other. Reggie let Carlos climb onto him in a piggyback and they both yelled triumphantly. Luke pulled Alex into a bro hug, then Bobby. Alex held his arms up and placed his hands on top of his head, unable to believe what had just happened. Euphoria filled his head like helium and he went to double-high-five Carlos, who was still perched on Reggie’s back.
“So what else did they say?” Bobby asked, still smiling.
Luke had to shake off some more excitement before he could explain the rest.
“Ahhh, so he said we could meet in a few days to discuss business and contracts and such, let us get a look at the studio and stuff. I got all his contact information and he’s totally excited to get us on. We’re moving on up boys!”
The celebration continued, and their renewed energy caused the rest of the take-down to go by much faster. They were still riding the high as they drove home. Alex listened to Luke talk about which songs they would want to record first and where they would land on the charts. He remembered that feeling he had back at the Pearl during their sound check. Doing that? For real and not just dreaming and hoping about it? They hadn’t made it just yet, but this was a change he could be excited for.
Reggie had been staying with Carlos, which the rest of the boys figured was a good excuse to not stay home. As Bobby pulled up to the house, he and Luke began climbing out of the van. Carlos and Reggie were already inside.
“Uh, guys?” Alex said, still in the back of the van. They all turned back to him. “What are you doing?”
“Oh,” Luke gestured like oh-silly-me. “We all decided to stay here for the night. It’s just a nice change from the garage and Julie’s aunt has lots of leftovers that need to be eaten so…”
“So...I’m grounded,” Alex reminded, raising his eyebrows. His parents hadn’t been happy about him sneaking out to the pier the other night.
“Screw your old man, Alex,” Bobby said.
“Yeah, he can eat my shorts if he tries to do anything about it,” Luke added.
Alex took a moment to think. Disobeying wasn’t going to do anything for or against him at this point - he kept anything truly important to him out of his parents’ reach and since he’d gotten the punching bag he could actually contend with their tempers. They couldn’t punish him in a way that mattered.
“Yeah, you’ve got a point,” he said finally, following them into the house.
They found Reggie and Carlos already raiding the kitchen.
“Alex, you’re staying too?” Reggie said when he saw them enter.
“Yes!” Carlos cried, pumping his fist. “You get to make popcorn. Tonight, the Empire Strikes Back!”
“Oh yeah, baby!” Reggie responded as the rest of the boys began following orders from Carlos. Alex wasn’t crazy about Star Wars, but eh….young Mark Hamill was hot so he didn’t mind too much. He was sure most of them would fall asleep during the movie anyway.
A couple hours later it turned out he was right. Carlos was slumped on the floor leaning back against the chair Luke was sitting in, hand still in the bowl of popcorn. Luke was leaning on his hand, breathing soundly. Alex had watched earlier as Bobby’s head flopped onto Reggie’s shoulder and the flustered look that had overcome Reggie’s face, and it was too good not to smile at. Once the VCR began automatically rewinding the movie, Alex shut off the TV.
He stared at the ceiling as he pulled the handle on the La-Z-Boy he was in and reclined into a somewhat comfortable position. Even now, weeks later after meeting for only a day, the first thing he wished he could do was tell Willie the news about the record label. He probably would have been just as ecstatic as the rest of them, if not more. Victoria would be back soon and hopefully have some news. He guessed it didn’t matter if he’d been right about the missing kid, but maybe just knowing if she got to talk with Willie would be enough.
The memory of soft brown eyes still rose in his mind. He’d been doing his best to keep that moment cemented in his brain because he’d noticed it helped him sleep. It was funny because he’d done the same thing with the guys, but staring into Willie’s eyes had been an entirely different experience. Alex wished he had the proper words to describe it, but the best he could do was marvel. Willie was clearly unaware of the strength he held, and it made Alex want to bring that out with his entire being. If he ever did get the chance, that would be something worth looking forward to.
Victoria didn’t arrive until the afternoon the next day. Since Alex felt that she had gone because of him, he made everyone else clean her house as well as they could. No traces of food on the floor, no messy beds, and the kitchen was cleaner than when they had found it. As she came back into the house, she put a hand over her heart.
“Wow!” she exclaimed. “I should take trips like this more often if you boys are this good!”
“Yes, tía, please, please, please let them babysit me again! Pleeeeaaassee!” Carlos begged with his hands pressed together.
“Ay, sobrino, no me quieres?” she shook her head.
“No, I do!” Carlos tried to recover. “But they’re fun!”
As if to make a point, Reggie rubbed a hand on Carlos’ head.
“It’s okay little dude, we’ll be back.”
Victoria pulled her wallet out of her purse.
“Well, you boys took very good care of him and I promised I would pay you, so here you go.” She handed each of them a generous amount of cash. Luke, Reggie and Bobby all whooped as they thanked her and headed to the van. Alex held back with anticipation. Victoria looked at him seriously.
“There was no connection,” she told him before he asked. “His guardian explained everything to me, and there was nothing else to go on. I wanted to know because I thought I could solve an old case, but I had to let it go.”
“Well, did you get to talk to him?” Alex tried not to sound too urgent.
“You mean Willie? No, I never saw him. After talking with his guardian I didn’t need to.”
Bowing his head, Alex made himself swallow his other questions. She had at least tried.
“Thank you,” he said. “I’m sorry if it was inconvenient.”
“I chose to go, don’t worry about it,” she assured.
Nodding and saying thanks one more time, Alex hurried out after the rest of his friends.
A few days later, the boys slammed the doors of the van shut as they looked up at the building before them. It was so plain and simple on the outside; they never would’ve guessed there was a studio there. It was likely they had driven past it many times on the way to a gig. Pushing through the door, they all looked at the logo in neon lights on the wall: De Orfeo Records.
Collectively, the boys took in awed breaths at the reality of where they were standing. This was too good to believe. Alex took in the scene, trying to imagine this being a place he came to regularly. Could he ever get used to it, or get over the sheer excitement of just being there? Luke patted him on the back, desperately trying to contain himself. They wandered through the halls a little bit until they came to a room where the door was sitting open.
“Oh, boys!” A man called as they almost walked past it. “In here!”
As they all shuffled in, the man shook their hands and pointed them to a couch where they could sit. Alex nervously stuffed his hands in the pockets of his jacket as he took a seat. The man across from them was dressed surprisingly casually, if not with obvious expensive taste. He still had sunglasses on, but their yellow tint was clearly not for actual UV protection.
“Nice to meet all of you,” he was saying. “My name is Alan, I’m one of the producers here at De Orfeo. Which one of you did I talk to on the phone?”
Luke raised his hand.
“That was me,” he said, already gushing with excitement. “How’d you hear about us, anyway?”
Alan didn’t answer, but instead looked up at the doorway as someone else came in.
“Hello boys!” Caleb Covington entered, his charismatic smile spread wide across his face. “So nice to see you again.”
Alex’s heart rate immediately sped up and he clenched his hands inside his pockets. How could it be? He thought his last chance to reach out to Willie was gone and seeing Caleb brought back everything he hadn’t been able to ask Julie’s aunt. All the guys were happy to recognize him.
“I won’t be staying for the negotiations,” Caleb said. “but I wanted to properly introduce myself as the owner of this label. I want to assure you boys the best experience as newcomers in the industry. Let any nerves that still linger walk right out the door.” His eyes landed on Alex for a moment, and it felt purposeful. “Take it away, Alan.”
Listening to the producer’s pitch was difficult to focus on now, and Alex had to fight hard against his brain latching onto the new hopes that had arisen. He was thankful that when paperwork came out, Bobby was mindful enough to have them read through it. It was taking too long, though, and Alex was already wishing he had his drumsticks in hand to help pass the time. Reggie had so many questions, and Luke had trouble understanding numerous words - at least that kept Alex occupied because he could be helpful in that. A good hour had passed going over all the information.
“This looks great!” Luke said finally. “How are we feelin’ boys?”
Each of them nodded and looked around at each other, confirming that they all agreed on every settlement. Luke grabbed a pen and pulled his copy of the contract toward him, pausing momentarily to drink in what was happening. Then he signed his name in giant letters. Alex, Bobby, and Reggie followed suit, and Alex could feel a weird tingle rush through his hand as he made the final flourish with his pen. They were all in now.
As the band began celebrating, Caleb knocked on the doorframe.
“If it’s alright with you boys, I wanted to speak with Alex privately for a moment,” Caleb said, gesturing for Alex to follow him outside the room.
His curiosity was at the point of overflowing, and he went out trying to control his trembling hands. Maybe Caleb had talked to Willie after all. This could be his way to bridge that gap and he wouldn’t have to live off of just memories.
Everyone else was still going nuts over getting the contracts signed back in the room. Standing in the lobby, Caleb was looking at him seriously, maybe even pitifully. It quickly drained the exhilaration in Alex’s chest.
“I can tell you’ve been wanting to ask me some questions,” he began. “But before you do, I thought it was best to inform you of some important details first.”
Alex looked up at him with his hands back in his pockets and gulped. Why was his heartbeat suddenly so loud? He knew Caleb couldn’t actually hear it, but it still embarrassed him. His mouth began to go dry.
Caleb furrowed his brow, as if what he was about to say wasn’t easy to get out. He bowed his head and took a breath before looking at Alex again.
“Willie,” he started. Then he paused. “Is dead.”
The trembling in Alex’s hands stopped.
He stared at Caleb, as if he could pull off the serious expression and find a joking smile underneath. It was a few moments before he remembered to breathe in, and blinking seemed to cut that moment into two as if the first one wasn’t real.
“No, no, that can’t - ” he heard the words spill out of his mouth. Why was his body so tense and ready to defend itself? His cheeks felt hot.
“I know the news is hard,” Caleb interrupted, placing a hand on Alex’s shoulder. “I can hardly bear it myself. There was an electrical fire. He didn’t make it out.”
Alex could only shake his head. Caleb’s expression wasn’t changing and for some reason it was the most infuriating sight. He could punch that face and make him bleed if he really wanted to. The adrenaline was already rushing to his fist.
“There has to be a mistake,” he said, chuckling darkly.
“There is no mistake,” Caleb told him firmly.
How was the man so calm? How could he say those words out loud and not immediately crumble to the earth? How could he have worn such a large smile earlier?
“I know you two weren’t friends for long, but he made it clear you were important to him.”
The words came through as if from a tiny speaker. They’d only gotten one day and it wasn’t enough. Willie couldn’t go like that, he simply couldn’t - not when Alex needed to know if they could’ve ever had something real. He still wanted to know so many things about him and look into those brown eyes and soften the hard edges on them. He needed to -
He was crying. On his hands and knees, trying to get the dark shadow that had grown inside his chest to come out. It made him choke. Caleb had apparently left him alone, unable to console him, and he felt hands on his back and shoulders as he fought to properly breathe. Luke was knelt down before him, mouth hanging open in want of words but not able to form any. Bobby was gripping his hand and supporting him as he and Reggie pulled him up onto his feet.
“We need to get him in the van,” one of them was saying.
Any movement from there was not his own. All three boys were trying their hardest to help the tallest member of their band out of the building. Everything was numb - like a machine that had broken down after being run too hard.
The brown eyes faded into darkness, murky and thick. There was no air in his lungs to scream into that dark, no tie-dye, no rolling of wheels on the sidewalk, no ‘ribbit’, no more wondering and hoping.
Dead quiet. That was all.
Holly Willock as Jemima, Tyler Lotzof as Victoria, and Anina Pletscher as Cassandra (Asia tour, 2021)
Nobody asked but I wanna cast my moots as JATP characters anway:
Julie - @tired-eyes-cold-as-ice you just have the biggest heart ❤ you're a sweetie
Luke - @gaylebcovington this is because of your songs, which I love btw
Alex - @alexspinkhoodie Owen would be rooting for you
Reggie - @reggie-with-eyeliner bc you're my bestie with all the goofy shenanigans
Willie - @willexxmercer boom, you have now acquired Booboo Stewart's gender
Flynn - @angelofarts you have amazing vibes, which honestly makes this a great fit
Carrie - @theonlyprincessoftheworld I know you're incredibly nice, but you could play mean and slay it I think
Ray - @reggiescountrymusic couldn't imagine a better person for this
Carlos - @rainbow-laced-converse 😊😊 the fondness I have for this casting, you need to know
Victoria - @theobligatedklutz you work so hard, you deserve recognition
Trevor - @trevor-wilson-covington if I didn't I would be making a mistake
Bobby - @paint-splatt you're the good and amazing Bobby who deserves everything in my heart
Nick - @lukeslostsleeves "Nick's a sweetheart!" That line is about you
Caleb - @freeshawarmas you know what this is for. I can't be pickled for ever.
Viva Las Vegas, Pt. 10 - Clean This Up
Summary: Sunset Curve Alive AU, Willex, who is he really?, 2.9k
@trevor-wilson-covington is the bestie who makes these lovely edits, we stan supportive friends
WARNINGS: abuse, mild violence
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9
Alex had said to check the diner, so Victoria opted to have dinner there and asked to see the owner. She was aware of the vigilante-style work she was doing, but with everything else going on in her life, this couldn’t possibly hurt any worse. Folding her hands, she breathed calmly as she peeked at the menu. It was important not to act as authoritative as she usually did, she reminded herself. A portly man with short gray hair and a mustache came over and took the seat across from her.
“Hi there,” the man said, shaking Victoria’s hand. “What can I do for you?”
“Hi, I’m Victoria Molina,” she introduced herself. “I was actually trying to find someone and I was told you could help me.”
The man raised his eyebrows in surprise.
“Oh, alright. Who are you looking for?”
“I’m looking for a young man of about seventeen, he goes by Willie? I was told he works here. I just have some questions for him. Would he happen to be in at all today?”
“We don’t have anyone named Willie here anymore,” the man told her. “I actually just bought this establishment along with the hotel about two weeks ago and a few of the staff followed the previous owner to a different business. You might want to talk to him instead.”
“Oh,” Victoria sat back in slight disappointment. “I take it you’re not Caleb Covington?”
“No, he’s the guy I bought it from. I’m Frank Wolfe. I can give you his contact information, though.”
Nodding, she smiled politely.
“I would appreciate that. Sorry I had to come bother you, though.”
“Not at all,” he said. “I apologize that I can’t be any more useful. If you like, I can take your order.”
“Oh, thank you. I’ll actually have the carne asada.”
“Perfect,” he smiled as he took her menu away. “I’ll have that information for you in just a minute, too.”
Taking a gulp of water, Victoria sighed. It certainly felt just like any regular case. The fact the business had recently changed hands made her want to be suspicious, but she fought to remain level-headed. It was enough that she was going off the word of a teenage boy and an old poster. If it was a dud, if this trip led nowhere, she would buy Carlos a gift and head home safe and sound.
After finishing her meal, she returned to her hotel room and pulled out the business card Frank Wolfe had given her. Something about the dark purple design and the old-fashioned lettering he’d chosen made her feel like Caleb Covington was at least a little pretentious, if not flashy about his business. Picking up the phone and dialing the number, she held her breath waiting for an answer.
“Caleb Covington, who may I be speaking to?” a baritone voice chimed on the other end. The touch of sing-song in his tone was unexpected.
“Hi, my name is Victoria,” she introduced herself for the second time that night. “I was told you were the guardian of a young man named Willie?”
“Are you with social services?” he asked.
She furrowed her brow. “I’m sorry?”
“I usually only get a call when we have a hearing scheduled, but our last one was just a couple months ago.” His tone had gone from happy to serious at such a jarring speed it took Victoria a moment to process his words.
“No,” she said finally. “No, I’m not with them. I didn’t mean to confuse you. I’m actually reaching out on a personal favor. See another young man I know says they met a while back.”
“Oh, is it the band that came through a few weeks ago?” Caleb immediately picked the cheer back up.
“Yes, I’m glad you remember,” she responded, surprised.
“How are those boys doing?”
“Oh, they’re just fine. I think they’re gonna be a success.”
“Good to hear it,” he said. “Listen, no harm done. I own a swanky little club just in the south of town. I would be delighted if you gave me a visit, and I’d be happy to chat.”
“Sounds great, thank you,” Victoria smiled, unable to believe how easy that felt. “I can stop by tomorrow evening.”
“Wonderful. If it isn’t too much, I’ll make you a reservation.”
“Well, I can’t say no to such generosity!” It had been a long time since Victoria had gone on a night out. This was a much needed vacation, and if it killed two birds with one stone, all the better. She said goodbye and decided since she was practically getting everything she needed at the club, the rest of the day would be spent treating herself for once.
Willie skateboarded up the driveway and only just remembered Caleb’s rule about the pool in time to hop off before pulling off his helmet and going around the back. He took the back route into the house and dropped a number of grocery bags on the counter. One of these days he would age out of the foster system and not spend the morning being Caleb’s errand boy, but for now he just laid Caleb’s credit card on the table and went outside toward his shed.
Opening the door, he saw Caleb standing in the middle of the room, looking around at all of his drawings. Paper covered most of the walls now. Faces with no names to them, locations with no map to their destination - only snippets of a past life. Willie couldn’t stop drawing them. There still weren’t many memories returning to him, but any detail was an important one. He hadn’t drawn this much in ages, since before he found Sheldon. The backwards dream had become a recurring one by now, and there was still very little that he understood about it. Still, he had so many scenes made out of it that he could almost recreate the dream in a very rough animation.
“Hi C-Caleb,” Willie stammered. This never happened. It made him immediately nervous.
“What a collection, William,” Caleb said, not exactly sounding like an awed patron in a museum. “I mean, the sheer volume of work that went into these is absolutely mind-blowing.”
A small pebble of pride rose in Willie’s chest.
“Really?.... Um, thank you.” He couldn’t suppress his smile.
Caleb held up a hand and looked down at his well-manicured nails, and then back up.
“I just don’t understand why I look so hostile in this one,” he said, pointing to the picture in question. “And that one. And all of these in this corner.” His gaze returned to Willie with unprecedented menace.
Willie immediately shrank away, his mouth gaping open.
“Well...I..they’re from a dream.”
“A dream?” Caleb repeated, not liking what he was hearing.
“Yeah, I think it was a memory.”
Willie watched the man straighten his posture, a calculating expression on his face.
“Are these all memories?” Caleb asked after a tense moment, casting his eyes about the room.
“I think so,” Willie said hesitantly.
Caleb lifted a hand and grabbed the bottom of one. It was the first one WIllie had done of his dad sitting inside the truck and smiling at him.
“Hm,” was all that he said for a second.
And then he tore it in half.
Willie made toward the picture in alarm, feeling a part of him inside being torn just the same, but was stopped as Caleb held a hand out.
“Ah ah,” he said. “What have I told you about becoming your own person regardless of the past?” He took a handful of another drawing and ripped that one too.
Ignoring what Caleb said, Willie lunged forward to try stopping him anyway. Caleb was faster, grabbing his shirt and tossing him backward into the wall. He couldn’t help but begin crying.
“But these are my memories, why would you - ” he sputtered, lost for words.
“Because, William,” Caleb continued loudly, pulling as many as he could off the wall and shredding them into smaller pieces. “Your history? The one full of loss and being shuffled here and there? That is all that awaits you. You know it’s the truth; that’s how you ended up here. I offer you the opportunity to become a new person, and I can’t allow you to spoil yourself with reminders. And besides, those little friends you not-so-secretly made a few weeks ago have started snooping around in my business, and I can’t have that.”
He didn’t even pick anything up, he just left paper strewn all over the floor and walked all over it. As he made for the last wall, Willie made one more attempt to overpower him. He leapt onto Caleb’s shoulders and tried to pull him back with all his weight. A fist landed in his eye and he slacked his grip. Caleb wrestled him onto the bed and held him down, a crazed look in his eye that Willie swore he’d never seen no matter how familiar it felt.
“I don’t understand, what do they have to do with it? Why can’t I have friends?”
“I’m doing this for your own good,” Caleb hissed at him. “You” - he reached up and touched the scar on Willie’s head with his finger - “You got a reboot and you know how many people are lucky enough for that? You should thank me. Unfortunately, you can’t have friends when they send someone asking me questions about that little past of yours. That’s just asking for trouble.”
All Willie could do was hold his eye and lay back as Caleb tore up the last of the drawings. Once he finished, Caleb patted himself off and made his way out the door.
“Clean this up,” he told Willie. “And don’t bother doing any more art.”
As the door shut behind him, Willie scrambled onto the floor to search for just one of the drawings. Shuffling through smudged pieces of paper, he saw a few tears drop onto his ruined work. Eventually, he held the picture of his father in two pieces in his hands. Sobbing, he tried to hold them together evenly, but Caleb’s work had made that hard to do. His only hope was to try drawing it again, but he was already terrified of what Caleb’s reaction to that would be if his first one had been this.
A piece of another drawing caught Willie’s eye from underneath. He recognized Caleb’s snarling face from the dream and was surprised at how well it captured what he’d just witnessed. His mind went back to the way he knew the look in Caleb’s eyes. Suddenly, the awful realization dawned on him: he finally understood the dream.
Victoria walked into the club that evening, glad she had taken the time to look and feel fresh. This place was clearly up to snuff and then some. A live band played with dancers scattered throughout, all in bright, sparkly, feathery getup. A tall man with neatly styled dark hair was mesmerizing the crowd as he sang, keeping the energy high. As she was led to a table, Victoria simply sat and watched, greatly impressed with the talent.
Once the man’s solo finished, he bowed, gestured at the band to play on without him, and exited the stage. To Victoria’s surprise, he took the seat directly across from her.
“Ms. Victoria, you look so lovely, how are we this evening?” he asked with a charming smile. “I’m Caleb Covington.”
“Are you kidding me?” she started. “That was you up there? You’re a man of many talents; I’m already dazzled.”
“Oh, well, I hope that remains a constant while you’re here,” he said. "But you came to ask me about some other things, what were they?”
“Yes, I had some questions about Willie.”
Willie sat outside the bodega, unwilling to move for a while. He felt like everything inside of him was empty, as if Caleb had possessed claws and dug everything out until he was left hollow. The many ideas that had risen in his mind in the past few hours were all too much, all at once. If he dared, was he sure he could handle everything that might come his way? Every time he’d heard that ridiculous speech about starting over, becoming his own, yada-yada, he hadn’t considered any of the options he was now contemplating.
He’d already done some things. Already bought some things. Now he got up to collect Sheldon and held him tightly as he nodded to Escobar, who saluted him back. The man had said he didn’t want a dramatic thank you. Stuffing the items he purchased in his bag, he kept a hold of Sheldon as he skated off into the darkness.
“So, you see, Willie isn’t missing. He was abandoned,” Caleb was saying to Victoria. “Poor thing has struggled to adjust. I’ve dealt with some handfuls in the past, but I really have been doing the most for him, and he’s been with me for more than three years. I think it’s really sweet of those boys to raise a concern, and I hate to be a dead end, but that’s the truth of it.”
Victoria sat, nodding in acceptance.
“That makes a lot of sense, Mr. Covington, thank you for providing that for me.”
“Oh, call me Caleb. We’re all friends in here.”
“Okay, then, Caleb,” she corrected. “What got you into foster care?”
He put a hand over his heart and a fond look came over him.
“The youth are just full of so much magic, and I hate to see that their parents have chosen to lay it to waste. I’m the one who takes some of the tougher cases so I can bring out the best in them. You see that young man over there, Dante?” Caleb pointed at one of the dancers. “Classic rebel when he was young. You wouldn’t even know, he’s turned into such a gentleman. There’s a few more here and there in the club. I call them my graduates.”
“Well, I will tell you,” Victoria said. “When I first talked to you on the phone I wasn’t expecting you to be so generous. But now I can see that it’s just how you are.”
Caleb shot her a playful smile.
“Victoria, no need to butter me up. I do have some tight business practices to keep up.”
Fluid poured over every inch of the shed. Willie had made sure it was more than enough to get things going. He’d made sure to get the essentials: food for himself and Sheldon, a few changes of clothes, and a stash of money he’d taken from the safe in Caleb’s bedroom. The man shouldn’t have given him the combination in the first place.
Stepping out of the shed he looked at it one last time. What a sad, lousy existence. Living to perform for this man who shut him up inside this little thing and he had actually called it home? The further he was into his plan, the bolder he began to feel. He remembered when he had missed getting into the Pearl and that feeling of wrongness that had made him so frustrated. This feeling he had right now? It was so right. It was so right it drowned out anything scary about this whole idea.
He looked back at where he had put Sheldon on a small leash and tied him along the fence around Caleb’s backyard. It was definitely a safe distance. Then Willie pulled a box of matches out of his pocket, lit one, and looked at the flame for a minute. He held it just over the threshold of the doorway so it would land inside. It was so weak, like he had been ever since his accident. But he knew it was going to become so powerful, and he desperately hoped that he could retain some of that power for himself.
“Clean this up, Caleb,” he said, and he let his fingers go.
Victoria had stayed just a little longer to enjoy more food and music before standing up and heading toward the door. Caleb saw her on her way out and made her stop for a moment.
“It’s been a lovely night, and I’m grateful for everything you told me,” she said to him.
“Well I’m glad you took the opportunity to see what I have here,” he replied. “If you’re ever in the city again, please stop by. We’re always partying and putting on the best show.”
“Oh, I most certainly will,” she said, smiling as she made her way outside.
Someone tapped on Caleb’s shoulder from behind. Wordlessly, he turned to see who it was and why it was important.
“Sir,” one of his servers said. “You have a phone call. It’s the fire department.”
“What?” Caleb spat as he went to pick it up.
Willie sped along on his board the best that he could with Sheldon in his arms. He carefully made it down the ramp onto the freeway, controlling his speed as well as he could. He could picture Caleb now, just getting back to his home, eyes wide as he came upon the blaze. It was a very strange feeling, but right now Willie chose to focus on his newfound freedom. The cost wasn’t the matter right now. Freedom was all that was going to take him and his cat as far as they could go. The destination for now was Los Angeles.
Viva Las Vegas, Pt. 9 - A Case
Summary: Sunset Curve Alive AU, Willex, is it a lead?, 2k
@trevor-wilson-covington is the bestie who makes these lovely edits, we stan supportive friends
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8
Late the next morning, the guys stood with Julie’s family at the airport. Alex couldn’t believe that weeks of jamming together, writing music together, goofing around while Ray was filming, and dinners cooked by Julie’s aunt Victoria had all passed so quickly.
“It’s only another two months,” Julie was muttering to Luke, her eyes looking up into his with a special gentleness. Her hands gripped the top handle of her backpack with white knuckles.
“You’re gonna kill it out there,” Luke encouraged. The softness he applied was so different from what Alex usually saw, and he wasn’t looking forward to how miserable Luke was about to get in her absence. A painful thought told him it was probably similar to how he was at the moment, no matter how much he wanted to deny it. Having someone else reflect that wasn’t as nice as he thought it would be.
“Okay, kiddos, let’s get a photo!” Julie’s aunt was saying, shepherding them all together.
“Your mother asked me to take more pictures, so I’m taking all the pictures I can, sobrina,” Victoria came back.
“Tía,” Julie protested, rolling her eyes but smiling anyway.
Getting in formation, Alex positioned himself in the back by default, resting his arms on the shoulders of his bandmates while Julie, Flynn, and Carlos huddled together in front. After being uncomfortably squished into Reggie for a few seconds, he got blinded momentarily with the flash and was pretty sure he’d blinked. Then again, he was sure Bobby had been giving Reggie bunny ears, Luke was off balance, and Carlos had pulled a face, so it was likely that Flynn and Julie were the only ones who looked good in the photo.
“Ay, dios,” Victoria said afterward. “Your mamá is at least going to laugh a lot when she sees these.”
“I don’t know about the rest of y’all,” Flynn said, flipping her braids over her shoulder. “But I look amazing.”
Everyone chuckled and Ray picked up his carry-on.
“Alright, one last hug for everyone and then we’ve gotta board,” he said, pulling Carlos into his side. “You be good for your tía, alright?”
“Promise!” Carlos nodded with his typical grin.
Julie was already squished by Flynn and all the guys at once.
“Okay, before I get hugged to death,” she teased. They all let go of her. “I’ll miss you guys.”
“We’ll keep in touch, though, right?” Luke asked, his eyes wells of hope.
Julie looked up at him and smiled demurely.
“If you had a phone I could reach you with, then of course,” she told him.
“Yeah,” Luke muttered, pulling a Sharpie out of his back pocket. Alex smirked at seeing him be so prepared. Luke grabbed Julie’s hand and scribbled out a number, both chuckling lightly the whole time at how over the top he was being. “There, you’ve got my number.”
“Great,” Julie said with mixed awkwardness and amusement. “I’ll try not to wash my hands before I give you a call.” With that, she shouldered her bag and waved at them before joining Ray on the plane.
Bobby wrapped an arm around Luke’s shoulders and pivoted him so they could walk out of the terminal. Flynn and Victoria followed behind them while Carlos began running ahead of the boys.
“Don’t go too far, Carlos,” Victoria warned. “We don’t want to lose you.”
“You could still find me if you wanted!” he taunted, even though he made sure he remained in sight.
“He’s right,” Flynn smirked.
“Doesn’t matter,” Victoria said. “I’m taking a break while my sister needs support.”
Alex’s interest piqued at what he overheard.
“Wait, what do you mean?” he asked, pulling back from the rest of the group.
“I mean I’m putting my job on hold to help take care of my sister,” Victoria said, slightly confused at his question.
“Yeah, but what was your job?” he insisted, trying not to sound too intense about it.
“Oh,” she laughed. “I was on a team of investigators. We worked on missing person cases, mostly. But I’m taking a sabbatical.”
A mesh of things rushed into Alex’s mind and he wasn’t sure if he dared say them out loud. He had that strange feeling again, like he’d had when he first met Willie in the diner. That exhilaration.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Of course,” Victoria told him casually. “If you’re wondering about Luke, his case is through a completely different department, and I can’t do anything for or against him.”
“No, it isn’t,” he started. “What if there was evidence of a really old case? What would it take to pick it back up?”
She blinked at him.
“Well, if it’s a strong enough lead, then it would be worth looking into,” she said. “Why, do you think you know something?”
“No,” he said finally. “Well, it’s probably nothing, just a funny coincidence.”
Reggie’s words from last night echoed: sometimes a kid is just a random kid. Other arguments surfaced. There hadn’t been anything to tip him off that Willie had gone missing as a kid, it was just a poster with the same first name. Why did he get so excited about it? He gripped the strap on his fanny pack.
Victoria looked at him with mild concern.
“Okay,” she said. “Like what?”
Looking at the guys, Carlos, and Flynn in the distance, Alex breathed in nervously.
“I actually saw a poster for someone, and usually I don’t pay attention, but it matched the description of someone that I met a few weeks ago.”
“You mean, when you were in Las Vegas?”
“I would have to see the whole case, and reopening old ones takes a little more work. But if you truly think you know something, Alex, this is a very serious matter and I would need as much information as you could give.” She looked at him firmly.
Alex was caught on all the thoughts swirling in his mind as they entered the parking garage. He felt himself begin shaking. Maybe he was jumping the gun?
“Well, like you said, you’re taking a sabbatical. And I’m still thinking it’s a coincidence, so, I’d hate to take your focus away from Rose.”
Victoria smiled politely, although her eyes didn’t reflect it.
“Well, I appreciate that,” she told him as she made towards where Carlos and Flynn were already waiting at her car. “If you change your mind, just let me know.”
A car horn from somewhere else was heard and Alex saw the guys all waving at him to join them in the van. Taking in a deep breath, he nodded to Victoria and ran over to join his bandmates.
“Dude, what are you doing talking to Julie’s aunt?” Luke wondered.
“Nothing,” Alex responded. “She just has a cool job and I wanted to know about it.”
“You know who else has a cool job, Alex?” Luke asked. “We do. We have the coolest job. Don’t get distracted.”
Alex buckled himself in as Bobby pulled out of the garage.
“I’m not, I swear!”
Reggie just patted him on the back with his goofy smile. Alex rolled his eyes, knowing the guys meant well. He could feel that all of them were trying to be normal around him, so he couldn’t blame them for their efforts. He knew he hadn’t been as easy to deal with lately. It wasn’t anything major, but something had gotten him acting more closed off from them, and he was balancing letting the guys be aware of it and trying not to burden them with it at the same time. Maybe that’s why he wanted to connect Willie to the missing kid. It probably had made him think he could get closure after everything that had happened on the trip. He didn’t want to accept the saying ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.’
He couldn’t focus on that now, though. They had a few small gigs lined up and needed to get practicing. Opening for Julie had broadened their fanbase a little and things were going to change. Alex already didn’t handle change well. If he remained focused on something else, it was only going to make matters worse.
Later that night, they were just wrapping up practice in the garage. Bobby had popped a string on his guitar and ran into the house to grab a replacement.
“Alex, you were killing it, man!” Reggie was saying.
“Nah, I was just keeping it steady,” Alex shrugged.
“Seriously!” Reggie insisted. “You’re like the Energizer bunny! You know, always in pink, keeps us going, banging the drums - ”
“You should never make that comparison again,” Alex said, holding a hand up. “But alright, I was smoking, I’ll admit it.”
“Yeah,” Luke joined in. “Keep playing like that and you’ll be the next Neil Peart.”
Bobby reentered the garage.
“Hey, Alex,” he said. “You’ve got a phone call.”
All the guys, including Alex, looked confused.
“Okay...guess I’ll go get that,” he said, heading into Bobby’s house.
Finding the phone attached to the wall outside the kitchen, Alex picked up the receiver.
“Alex, it’s Victoria, Julie’s aunt,” he heard on the other line.
“Hi,” he answered, even more confused than before. “How did you know I would be here?”
“The number your friend gave my niece. She said that’s where you kids like to practice. I guess I called at the right time!”
He simply nodded in response, even though she couldn’t see it.
“Anyway, I wanted to know more about this person you saw.”
“Oh, okay.” He tried to remember as many details as he could while he gave them to her. He was pretty sure he could even remember the address for the hotel. Victoria just said ‘mmhmm’ in between everything, like she was writing it all down. It got Alex sort of excited, even though he remained bewildered that she was asking him for all of this information.
“Okay,” Victoria sighed after a few minutes. “I need to ask a favor of you boys.”
“Yeah, anything,” Alex said.
“Look after Carlos for a couple days? I can pay each of you.”
“Uh,” he blinked in surprise. “Yeah, cool, we can do that.”
“Perfect! And Alex, muchas gracias.”
“It’s nothing,” he said, glad to recognize at least one phrase in Spanish. “Thanks for calling.”
“No problem, kiddo. Ba-bye.” She hung up before him.
Alex slowly put the receiver back in place as he stood there processing. What had he just involved himself in? Julie’s aunt hadn’t exactly explained why she suddenly wanted to know everything about Willie. As he went back into the garage, he tried to calm his nerves.
“Well, who was it?” Luke asked as they all sat around waiting.
“Julie’s aunt,” Alex told them. “She wants us to watch Carlos for a couple of days.”
“Aw, yeah!” Reggie exclaimed, pumping his fists excitedly.
“Why didn’t she just tell me, then?” Bobby wondered.
“Because she wanted to finish the conversation that you guys so rudely interrupted before,” Alex said, only half-joking.
Luke and Bobby shared a puzzled look, but let it slide.
“Did you tell her we have a gig in a couple days?” Luke asked.
Alex’s eyes widened.
“Oh, no, I forgot,” he said.
“He can just be our VIP,” Reggie stated, clearly unbothered about it.
“That works,” Alex said, gesturing to Reggie.
A cold realization hit him and he clenched his fist. He’d forgotten to mention more than their gig to Victoria: he also hadn’t told her about Willie’s amnesia.
Victoria looked down at the picture in her hand. It was familiar, since she had worked on that case when it first opened. One of the few that had gone unsolved in her department for a long time. She sincerely hoped she wasn’t about to make a mistake.
“So, where are you going?” Carlos asked as he chewed a mouthful of fries. They were sitting beside the wall of posters on the pier.
“I’m just checking on something,” she said vaguely. “If you want, I can bring back something for you.”
“A million dollars?”
She chuckled. “Unfortunately, I don’t think so.”
“Are you gonna be solving a case?” he queried.
Looking at the picture again, Victoria sighed and gave him a sympathetic smile. She knew he would want to help.
“I’m not sure, bendición,” she said. “But maybe.”
Checking the address she had written down and the map once again, Victoria stepped out of her car and into the hotel lobby. No one was at the front desk, so she rang the bell on the counter. A young man with dark curly hair appeared.
“Welcome to the Desert Oasis, how can I assist you?” he said cooly, and she recognized his Brazilian accent.
“Hi, I made a call this morning for a reservation? For a Victoria Mo- ”
“Ah, yes, I remember your call,” he interrupted. He looked up the room in his records and pulled out a key. “Your room will be on the second floor and then all the way down the hall to your right. Have a wonderful stay.”
“Thank you,” she said, taking the key, grabbing her one bag and heading up as fast as she could.
Hermana mía, por favor me perdones, she prayed silently in the elevator. If she was going to solve one case while she was supposed to be on sabbatical, it would be this one. She remembered searching high and low for this boy eight years ago and the devastation then. Rose would surely understand this, right? Victoria knew that if their positions were swapped, Rose wouldn’t be able to help doing something similar to help the people around her. It was just a family trait, she figured.
Getting situated inside the room, she pulled out the poster she’d pulled off the wall from the pier at Santa Monica and laid it on the table. Alex had called him Willie. She hoped they were the same.
Victoria: Will you at least try to stay out of trouble today?
The boys properly meet Victoria and immediately start calling her Tia coz they all see her as their aunt and she finds it really sweet coz now she has three new nephews to dote on
also catch me thinking about how victoria’s family got into such financial trouble and just how tragic do i want to make this.
cause it could just be over time there was poor financial management.
or maybe victoria had a brother who squandered the family fortune and met an unfortunate end.
or maybe there was a beautiful musician in the family that stole the family jewels and gold before running away and disappearing and so now the everglots have made certain that their daughter never gets such passionate notions.