Fandom: White Collar
Characters: Neal, Mozzie, June (Gen)
Summary: Neal's plans take an abrupt turn for shore.
Author's Notes: For runthecon, and the prompt of "Rainy Sunday afternoon."
"Unbelievable." Neal sloshed up to the front door, water dripping from his once-fashionable bucket-hat.
Mozzie sneezed. "I don't control the weather, you know."
"Oh, I'm not mad at you, Moz. It's the meteorologists from the radio, the Times, and the web who should have seen that storm coming." Neal took off his deck shoes and poured them out before stepping into the front hallway.
Mozzie took similar measures, squeezing the water out of his shirt and the bottom of his pants, and then taking his shoes off and wringing out his socks. He followed Neal inside. "Would you mind lending me a towel?"
The two of them trudged upstairs. "I can do better," Neal said. "I think I might even have some spare clothes."
Neal gave Mozzie first dibs on the bathroom, and set up the espresso machine while he waited. Mozzie came out shortly, rubbing a towel over his head. "I suppose it could have been worse," Mozzie said. "We could have been farther out on the ocean when the rain started."
"Yeah." Neal handed him an espresso. "I wouldn't be surprised if Bertrand went back out again after he dropped us off. He sails every chance he can get."
"In the rain, though?" Mozzie said. "That would be so miserable."
Neal sighed. "I was really hoping this would work out. The last time I tried to go sailing, I nearly drowned."
"Maybe there's a lesson in all this."
"Oh, come on, Moz. Don't be fatalistic."
"Gee, you're testy when you're thwarted."
Neal topped his espresso with a dollop of whipped cream, and headed into the bathroom. "Aren't we all…"
Mozzie was poking around the bookshelves when Neal came back out. "Do you want to stick around?" Neal asked. "Or do you have somewhere else to be?"
"Are you kidding?" Mozzie said. "A tiny river flows right into my storage unit when it rains this hard. I've tried to move to a different one, but the manager's a stickler. Everything in the water's path is up on supports, so it stays dry, but… it's kind of dismal."
"I understand. Do you want to play chess, or maybe watch a movie?"
"How about a movie?" Mozzie said. "Have you got anything by Bergman?"
"Moz…" Neal groaned.
"What? He's a master."
"But on a day like today? Why not just die right here where we're standing?"
"Sarcasm does not become you," Mozzie said. "What do you have, then?"
"I'm not sure." Neal looked in the cupboard below the television set, where June's granddaughter kept her DVD collection. "Um, The Shining, The Notebook, Terms of Endearment—"
"I'll have you know, that one's even more depressing than Bergman," Mozzie put in.
"—Boyz N The Hood, Beaches…"
"God, Beaches. Kill me now."
"…Love Jones, Beverly Hills Cop, The Wiz…"
"Oh. Maybe one of those last two."
"Okay," Neal said. He put the movies next to the television set.
"You know what would really go great with this?" Mozzie asked. "Popcorn!"
Neal smiled. "I agree, but I don't have any."
"Maybe we could ask June? I know how to make it on the stove—we did it at the orphanage."
"That would be great. I wonder if she'd like to join us?"
There was a knock on the door. "Hello!" June called out.
Neal opened it. "June, we were just talking about you."
"I know," she said. "It's my only superpower. Though its use is rather limited, I'll admit. What are you boys up to on this wet Sunday afternoon?"
"We were wondering if you'd like to watch a movie with us," Neal said.
"And whether you had popcorn," Mozzie added. "We have espresso..."
June sat down on the sofa. "Ah, one of these? I recognize Cindy's taste in movies, though these two aren't bad."
"Beggars can't be choosers," Neal said. "Unless you have a better suggestion?"
June tapped her lips with her finger. "You know, I just might. For a day like this, I have the perfect choice right downstairs: Singin' In The Rain."
"Ooh, yes!" Mozzie said. "That's a much better idea."
Neal moved toward the door. "Would you like me to go get it?"
"No," June said. "I think we should all go downstairs and watch it in the rear quarters. We can light a fire and make popcorn, and get nice and cozy."
Neal smiled broadly, the day's earlier disappointments forgotten. "You always know the right thing to do," he said.
June laughed. "And don't you forget it."
"Should we bring anything?" Mozzie asked, as they got up and headed for the stairs.
"Thank you, dear, but I think we're fine." June took Neal's arm as they went down to the first floor. "You can move the divan for me, though, to clear some space in the center of the room."
"Oh," Mozzie said, "are you doing some redecorating?"
"No, no," June said. "This is for the movie. I don't know about you boys, but I fully plan on recreating the street-dancing scene with Gene Kelly. If you're going to join me, we'll need the extra floor space."
Neal caught Mozzie's eye over June's head. Mozzie looked exactly like Neal felt. "Byron was a very lucky man, June."
"And so was I," she said. She turned on the lights in the back room, and smiled sadly. "I surely do miss him."
"You two must have been something together," Neal said.
"Every hour of every day." June pulled the end table away from the sofa, and twinkled a smile at him. "And twice on Sundays."
"Did you want this here?" Neal asked, as he and Mozzie moved the sofa back a few feet.
"Perfect! Let's start the popcorn," June said. "Would anyone else like a little coffee and bourbon to warm them up? Though as I recall, that might have been how I lost the coffee table the last time I watched this movie."
"Why not?" Mozzie said. "Let's live a little."
"All right boys. Neal, you can start the fire while Mozzie helps me in the kitchen. Then we'll get this show on the road!"
The rain dashed itself against the windows as Neal arranged the logs in the fireplace, humming to himself.
He couldn't deny his love of fine food and clothes, and his affinity for expensive entertainment. But really, sometimes the best parts of life had less to do with careful plotting than with the unplanned things you improvised instead.