He didn't look like he'd spent the last three nights sleeping on top of the parking garage. And the parking spaces held no signs of such occupation, all the same there was no other place he could have slept. Leaning over the edge he looked down at the small patch of grass many stories below till a slender white roll of paper about the size of a pencil caught his eye. Knowing it might be something he was desperately craving he picked up the cigarette examined it's length and noted the thin gold rings circling it, it's nearly full length, it's unstained filter. Finally he decided that three days was too long and whatever may be unhealthy about it was less of a hazard then leaving it be. A small pocketknife neatly trimmed the filter in half. He was interrupted just before the bit of litter found a new purpose, by a voice behind him, "Wouldn't you rather have one of these?"
The red haired owner of the voice walked over to the edge, noting the salty air invading his nostrils as the wind rushed past the strangely depraved man, and offered him a fresh bit of cinnamon scented paper. He conceded looking at his friend blankly, "What are you doing here, Sam?" his voice didn't betray any emotion and spoke only of exhaustion. He turned back to the grass hundreds of feet below him, without waiting for a response, as if trying to hide a weight that was settling on his shoulders. Lightning flashed, giving his tired outline a tragic look his skin seemed iridescent for that second.
Sam shrugged before looking over as well, "Everyone is worried about you, Will." Will completely ignored his friend and sat on the wall letting smoke drift from his mouth down towards the grass. Sam promptly joined him, "Have you talked to the old roommates yet?" Thunder crashed, allowing Will a nice long drag. Three days ago his apartment burned down and the landlord blamed him; he assumed his roommates would too. Now there was nothing left, just a pile of ash.
"Nah, I like being alive," Will's smile would have been convincing if it weren't focused on the ground a hundred yards below.
Sam's eyebrow's lifted, "Could have fooled me." Lightning lit odd shapes twisting in the smoke high over the grass for a millisecond.
"What? I am still going to work. Staying health-" he sneezed, "thyish. Sleeping up here is perfectly safe." Will assured his friend, feeling a gust of wind gently tugging at hi shirt as if encouraging him to get down.
Sam just looked at him for a minute while thunder made conversation difficult, "Maybe, if you’re in a car."
"My car is safer?" Will asked raising an eyebrow. His car was currently in a junkyard because three days ago it blew up and nearly killed him. The accident probably would have killed if he’d been properly buckled up, it seriously injured one if his three roommates who’s been in the car at the time.
"Maybe not your car, but most would be."
The man answered with a puff of cinnamon smoke over the grass, as the thunder boomed overhead. A single raindrop landed directly on Will's head. "You don't have to sleep up here, my couch is open."
"Can't afford my share-"
Sam cut him off, "forget money, you can't afford to stay up here." Rain began falling faster. "You'll get sick, and then what? How are you going to pay for a doctor?" Sam stared defiantly unwilling to let a friend throw his life away.
Ignoring the icy water raising goose bumps on his skin, Will shrugged, "I'd skip the doctor and get over it." Before letting the soothing rolled paper leave a trail of cinnamon smoke to the grass below, Will took one last pull nearly burning his fingers.
"A luxury I don't need." Will came to that decision after his first night on the roof, there was no point during that day that felt would be right for eating. Besides he felt that other things were more demanding of his time and money.
That sent Sam into panic, this particular friend worked in a very physically demanding environment, "They don't need the money that bad. When was the last time you ate?"
"It doesn't matter." Sam's eyebrows rose again.
"Fine, then I won't leave till you do." That drew a deep sigh from Will.
"If I said over a week will you leave me alone?" Will asked sneezing. Ten days ago his mother died leaving him no living relatives. To honor her memory he fasted for a week.
"No-" Sam was cut off by the sound of light bells. Sam glanced at the phone and decided to answer it, "Hello... yeah... he seems to be. Blames himself for what happened... I know. What happened last week?... really... yeah. Just a sec." The rain poured down washing most of the traction from the cement surface Will was standing on when Sam looked over at him again. "Will." In that instance Will's foot slipped toward the edge and he fell back toward the wall. Sam was at his side before he hit the ground, ready to reach over the edge, but instead Sam fell back into the parking space, bruising an elbow while catching Will’s weight like so much rainwater. "You ok?" Sam looked Will in the eye while getting up and leaving Will slumped against the wall.
"Yeah, sorry, didn't mean to scare you. You?" His eyes closed as if to shield his friend from something.
"I’m fine. It's alright, just be more careful. Want to talk to Allen?"
"Not really. Do I have choice?"
"Nope." Sam handed the phone down to him before disappearing down a stairwell.
"Hey Allen." Will felt the wet fabric of his t-shirt cling to his back as it tensed, fearing what Allen would demand.
"Hi Will. Are you ok?"
Will ignored Allen’s question and responded with what he’d been planning on telling Allen for the past week, "Look I'll get the money to you as soon as I can." What little color was left in Will's face had drained away.
"That isn't important right now, Mr. Overland can wait. Are you ok?" Allen repeated, hoping it would get through this time.
"He flat out attacked me." Will sneezed.
"Hold on, I know. He'd been drinking that night, and you were the first person he saw."
"Sounds like I got off lucky, then,” Will commented, knowing how violent their landlord had gotten at the recent Halloween party. “Is Jim still alive?"
"Jim's is hanging on."
"You ok?" Will sneezed.
"Hold on. I'm fine. So is Terry. He's at his parents and I'm with mine. You going to stay with Sam?"
"I don't know." No one knew what caused the fire, but he still felt responsible. He was in the building when it started and ran out when he heard the alarms. Ever since then, he’d been wishing he had searched for the cause and put it out, instead of running like a coward.
"Where were you last week?"
"The funeral." His mom had been in the hospital with cancer for a long time, and the medical bills had claimed her house and all her other worldly possession a long time ago.
"Oh yeah. How'd that go?"
"Left me with a bunch of debt," Will sneezed.
"Hold on. Ow. Don't worry about the apartment thing. We can probably get all those charges withdrawn."
"That'd make this a bit more manageable. I think I need to go soon." Will wasn't sure how much longer his eyes would stay open when he felt the cold cement wall shivering through the thin fabric of his soaked t-shirt.
"Get some rest then."
At that moment he looked to see Sam walking towards him, and handed the phone over before collapsing against the cement wall. “Allen you still there?” Sam asked shielding Will and hiding from the worsening rain and sleet behind a shiny black umbrella. After receiving an answer the phone found a comfortable spot between ear and shoulder as Sam slipped an arm around Will before heading back down the stairwell.