LPfiction

Category Linkin Park

Echo by PepsiCola

Prologue

A/N: A new story! I spent a lot of time on Chapter 4 of Breathe, and now I’m exhausted. So I decided to leave Chester and Mike alone for a little while (they should be happy, for the moment) and write another pairing that I adore: Brad/Rob. This story should be less angst and a little more comedy, but I can’t promise anything. No matter what I write, it always seems to end up being angst-ridden. *shrug*


So the story’s slightly AU. Rob and Brad have never met before; Joe and Mike are regular college students. Brad’s a slacker (no UCLA, sorry). I’m posting the first chapter as well. It would be great if you could leave me a review. Enjoy.


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Prologue


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The first time I laid eyes on Robert Bourdon, I was unimpressed. Yes, he’s tall; and yes, he has that dark-and-brooding air about him. He could be described as “intimidating” or “menacing” or “scary.”


Well, no. He isn’t scary.


Rob Bourdon is not scary. More like “crazed” and “completely unapproachable.”


Yes, Rob is completely unapproachable. From the moment we met, he hasn’t liked me at all. His contempt for me might stem from the fact that I live for everything that he believes is wrong. I snort crack, I smoke and I drink. I’m gay. Although I was born into the Jewish faith, I rebel against the confines of religion and refuse to acknowledge the presence of “God” in my life.


If you lived my life, you wouldn’t believe in God either.


Whatever the reason, Rob had decided that my soul would burn in the fiery pits of Hell before he’d even met me. Of course, that was all Mike’s fault. I never asked Mike to tell Rob Bourdon about my wild ways, but he did.


To this very day, I blame Mike for designating my poor soul to a lonely eternity in Hell.


It was a beautiful winter day, the day that Mike decided to drag me all the way across Los Angeles to meet Robert Bourdon, The Amazing Drummer from Santa Monica, CA.


“Be nice, Brad.” Mike’s stern words echoed through my mind, reverberating around inside my head for a good ten minutes after he’d said them. Even though he’s been my best friend since middle school, Mike is still convinced that I’m antisocial and utterly standoffish.


It’s not true. I just don’t like to trust people. I would rather keep my feelings to myself and avoid having them thrown back in my face.


Besides, Mike is always trusting people too easily, and I’m always there to pick up the pieces of his life after he’s been beaten and broken. It’s occurred more times than I could possibly hope to count.


Since the last time it happened, I’ve decided that people suck. They don’t deserve my trust. And they certainly aren’t worthy of Mike’s trust. For all of his dirty looks and unintelligible growls, Mike has never hurt anyone.


So forgive me for being a little standoffish.


“Brad, I mean it,” Mike said impatiently, pulling me out of my thoughts with an unexpected jerk. I looked over and found that he was studying me intently.


“I won’t do anything,” I answered irritably. “I know this is important, and I won’t fuck it up. So give it a rest already.”


He grumbled and turned away, but he left me alone for the rest of the bus ride. I turned to look out the window and Mike fell silent, keeping his eyes fixed on the chewed gum that was stuck to the back of the seat in front of us.


I really needed to smoke.


Automatically, I reached for the pocket of my jacket, but Mike grabbed my hand and effectively prevented me from reaching my cigarettes.


“Mike,” I whined.


“No smoking,” Mike said shortly, tightening his grip on my hand. “Cigarettes will kill you.”


I sighed and shot him a dirty look, thoroughly disgruntled by the knowledge that he was right, as usual. Still, there were worse habits I could have had. And maybe a death by cigarettes would be better than the shit that life insisted on giving me.


The bus came to a stop and Mike stood up, tightening his grip on my poor, abused hand and pulling me after him. As I was dragged down the aisle, I could only hope that this Rob Bourdon was worth it.


As soon as we’d left the bus and its stale aroma behind, I found myself standing next to Mike on a small residential street. It looked like a nice neighborhood, a place where you’d be happy to raise your kids. Clean houses and beautiful gardens.


“I’m jealous,” I said sardonically, glancing at Mike in an attempt to gauge his reaction to the quaint line of two-story houses that bordered the street on either side.


“If you’d get a fucking job, maybe we could afford a real house,” Mike replied, his tone just as sarcastic as mine had been.


I snorted and Mike heaved a sigh, turning his head to squint up at the dark house that loomed over us. I followed his gaze and found myself looking up at a house that was big, scary, and strangely familiar. Was this it? Was this where Rob Bourdon lived?


Apparently so. Mike finally released his death grip on my hand and started toward the driveway, his steps quick and confident. I, on the other hand, lagged behind.


I’ll admit it; I was afraid. The house gave me the heebie-jeebies.


“Mike,” I said weakly, but he had already reached the front door. Sighing resignedly, I hurried up the front steps and skidded to a stop just behind him, experiencing a sudden urge to turn around and run in the other direction. If I was fast enough, Mike might not be able to catch me…


“Stop it,” Mike said. “Don’t you dare run away.”


Goddammit.


“You know me too well,” I muttered, disappointed that Mike had managed to thwart my plans before I’d even had a chance to execute them properly.


“Unfortunately,” he said.


I was about to ask Mike what the hell he meant by that comment, but the front door swung open to reveal a tall, dark-haired man in faded jeans and a black sweatshirt.


He was barefoot.


Have I mentioned that I have an aversion to bare feet? I do. I honestly wish that people would wear their shoes every goddamn minute of every goddamn day. And sandals? No way.


“Mike,” the man—Rob, I assumed—said with a hint of a smile.


“Hey,” Mike said jovially. I knew that he was perfectly aware of the fact that Rob was without shoes, the smug bastard. “This is Brad.”


Rob cocked an eyebrow and studied me carefully. His lips pursed in a way that made him seem considerably more severe than he had two seconds before. I squirmed uncomfortably under his hard gaze, still acutely aware of the fact that he was barefoot.


Suddenly, I was incredibly grateful that Mike wore socks twenty-four/seven just to humor me.


“Hi Rob,” I finally managed.


He didn’t say anything, just continued to stare at me. And he looked disgusted. At that moment, the urge to smoke was so strong that I almost reached into my pocket to pull out the packet of cigarettes. But I didn’t. Mike would have slaughtered me.


“Come in,” Rob finally said, his eyes shifting away from me.


I followed Mike through the doorway, anxiously wondering if I would be forced to remove my shoes as well. You never know; some people are funny about wearing shoes in the house.


“Coffee?” Mike asked me.


I realized that I had stopped in the kitchen doorway. Rob had disappeared and Mike was crossing the kitchen to help himself to the pot of coffee that sat in the corner. Was it just me or was Mike entirely too comfortable in Rob’s house?


“Come here often?” I asked dryly.


“Fuck you,” Mike said evenly. “I’m allowed to have other friends.”


Scowling at the cup of coffee he pushed into my hands, I headed over to the kitchen table and slumped into one of the chairs. How many times did I have to say it?


“I’m not antisocial,” I announced indignantly.


“Going out, getting shitfaced and fucking random people does not constitute a social life.” Mike replaced the pot of coffee and grabbed his own cup, sitting down next to me. I grimaced at his words, silently admitting that he was right, and sipped my coffee.


“Hungry?” Rob asked, appearing in the doorway. “I could order a pizza, if you want.”


I shrugged and continued to sip my coffee. Mike glanced at me disapprovingly before turning to Rob and smiling a brilliantly toothy grin.


“Pizza sounds great,” he said.


As soon as Rob had disappeared from view—the man was still barefoot—I leaned toward Mike and shot him a pained look. He knew what I was thinking and, rolling his eyes dramatically, he turned away.


“Socks?” I asked hopefully.


“No,” Mike said testily. “Don’t push me, Brad.”


Heaving a sigh, I turned to look out the window. I was beginning to wish that I had never agreed to meet Rob Bourdon. He obviously didn’t like me, and I was starting to realize that I didn’t like him.


So maybe Mike was right.


Maybe I really am standoffish.

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