Lincoln Rosario was a cut character from In The Heights. He was supposed to be Nina's older brother. He is gay, and wants to right music for a living instead of run the taxi company. Kevin disapproved of both, and causing him to run away from home. Lin wrote a song for him - I'm out - which can be found on Lin's soundcloud. He can also be found in the workshop version of In The Heights.
I hope you enjoy!
It was a few days after Lincoln left that everything sunk in for Kevin Rosario.
Kevin lay on the hard, cheap couch that sat in the center of their dark living room. He lay, staring at the ceiling that he could faintly see in the morning light. If he looked hard enough, he could see stains from water leaks and cracks from age.
There was little else to distract him from the memories of a particular night that happened a few days ago.
"No son of mine is going to waste his life writing down useless music! You need a real job, or else you will end up starving on the street somewhere! No Rosario will live like that." He had shouted at the top of his lungs. He was standing in the doorway to Lincoln's room, yelling at the boy.
"Well then I guess I'm not a Rosario." Lincoln had shouted back defiantly, throwing clothes into a suitcase.
Kevin had just shook his head. "Is this about that gay thing you're trying?" Kevin's voice had gotten quieter, but lost none of the venom. Lincoln merely ignored him, pushing past him and grabbing his toothbrush from the bathroom.
Kevin sighed when Lincoln brushed past him again, "You can't pretend to like boys just to annoy your mother and me. Boys loving boys is not real. It's not nat-"
"I'm gay, dad!" Lincoln had screamed, turning on him, "I like other guys and I want to write music. If you can't accept either then that's fine." Kevin had raised his eyes, and Lincoln took a deep breath, "It's fine because I don't need you or this family to do either." He was zipping up the bag, moving past Kevin, who followed him into the living room.
Kevin could remember Nina sitting on the couch there, crying and begging Lincoln not to go.
Begging Kevin to not let him go.
Lincoln had given her a sad look, before opening the door, slinging his bag over his shoulder.
"Boys, this is enough!" Camila had shouted, breaking in between them when Kevin tried to move closer. To do what, Kevin still wasn't sure.
Lincoln said nothing, he just looked at each of them, closed his eyes, inhaled sharply, and walked out the door.
Kevin didn't let Camila go after him. He didn't see a point in it.
"He's bluffing. He'll be back before tomorrow." He assured her, before saying quieter, "And if he really is serious about all this then we don't need his kind near this family, giving our daughter ideas." Camila had looked at him, seemingly horrified.
"You care more about your reputation than this family!" She had yelled at him.
Nina hadn't taken a glance at either of them and ran to her room, locking the door. Her sobs could be heard through the poorly insulated walls, echoing around the house.
Camila looked at him, beyond furious. She screamed at him for what felt like hours.
He yelled back. He defended his every action, every word.
"I was wrong to say you're just as bad as your father." Camila said quietly after a long time, shaking her head at him. "You're worse than he ever was."
She then stalked off, slamming the door to their room. Her message was clear - don't expect to sleep in here for awhile.
He still wasn't. Lying on that dirty, old couch, he continued to stare at the ceiling.
What have I done?
He didn't like his son being gay. It was unnatural, in his mind.
He didn't like his son wanting to writing music. It was useless, in his mind.
He felt like his father. His father always shouted at him. Hit him. Told him how his head was up in the clouds and how he would never make it anywhere if he didn't become a farmer like him.
Was that not what he and Lincoln were doing?
"What does it matter that Lincoln likes boys? It's love. It's his love." Nina had told him and Camila that while the echoes of the door slamming shut could still be heard throughout the house."Why are you guys against that love?"
And Kevin, in his anger, yelled at her. Told her that she was being stupid.
Brilliant Nina, stupid? His words could not ever be further from the truth. She might be only fourteen, but she was already smarter than Kevin could ever be. He had never doubted her a day in his life. Why had he snapped at her then?
What had he done?
That was when he made the promise. He swore to himself that he would never make that mistake again. He would provide his family with everything they needed, regardless of it was money or if it was love.
He wouldn't be like his father.
He sighed, getting up quickly and getting dressed. He had more work to do.
He had to supply for Nina's future. He had to make it up to Camila.
He had failed the Rosario name.
Now, he had to fix his mistakes.
Hold Your Breath
Nina had cried that entire night. She slept only two hours.
For most of the night she just laid in the dark, curled in her bed, tightly gripping her pillow while making it wet with her tears. Her blankets were scattered across the room. She had thrown them in a fit of frustration.
"Stop being stupid, Nina!" Her father had yelled at her.
She wasn't stupid, she knew. She said the truth. Why couldn't they see?
Lincoln wasn't less of a person because he liked guys. She liked guys.
Yet to see them turn on Lincoln so quickly and so...definitely. One moment they were a happy family and then the next thing everyone was screaming and shouting and a whirlwind of things happened and Lincoln was gone, out of their lives. She thought he would be back. She had believed he would be back. If not for mami and papi then for her.
He wouldn't leave her alone here...would he?
No, no he couldn't. He wouldn't. She had to believe he was coming back. He had to.
He loved her, didn't he?
But then a day passed.
Lincoln didn't come back.
Her parents were still furious with each other, clear through silent glares. The tension was always sitting there, growing with each passing day.
Whenever she tried to compose herself, a friend of Lincoln would find her at lunch or in the hallways at their high school.
"Hey, is Lincoln okay? He's not answering my calls."
I wouldn't know. He's not answering mine either.
"He's fine. I'm sure he's just busy with songwriting. You know how he can be."
"You're Lincoln's sister, Nina, right? Where is he?"
If I knew I'd go there and hug him and tell him that I love him no matter what.
"Yeah, I'm his sister. He's just out for awhile. I'm not sure when he'll be back."
"¡Hola! ¿Adónde es Lincoln?"
Yo deseo yo conocí. Yo extraño lo.
"Hola. Lincoln es fuera de la ciudad. Es bien."
That was until Benny cornered her after school one day.
"Hey Nina, are you doing okay?" He asked her, concerned. He had his backpack hanging lazily over one shoulder.
She adjusted the strap of her own backpack nervously. "Yeah, I-I'm fine. I'm just a bit stressed with finals and all." She replied, taking a deep breath.
He tilted his head, looking at her carefully. "You know you can tell me anything, right? I'm not going to judge you or tell anyone. Yo prometí." He said with complete honesty showing on his face.
"It's yo prometo." She corrected gently, smiling kindly, before letting the smile drain off her face. "It's...Lincoln. I've been lying and telling everyone that he is just out of town but that's a lie. Some things happened and then everyone was screaming and then," She cut herself out of her rant to meet Benny's eyes. "He's gone Benny. He left. He was fighting with mami and papi and they are all yelling and he's packing and then he's out the door."
She then bit her lip, stopping the flow of words. Tears appeared in the corners of her eyes, causing her vision to blur.
She reached forward and hugged Benny. "I don't know what I'll do without him."
Benny tensed, but hesitantly relaxed, hugging her back gently. "It's okay Nina. You can let it out. You can let it out."
And she did. She let out a week of pent up emotion, that had grown the moment Lincoln shut the door and only flourished with the rising tension in her house.
The fear that her mother might leave her next.
The terror that she might be the next to get kicked out.
The uncertainty that came with a household that would be forever changed.
She let it all out.
She gave it all to Benny.
And he, patting her back and whispering reassurances in her ear, took it all away from her gladly.
"Thank you, Benny." She said, wiping the tears away and looking away from him as she let go. "It's been a hard week and it's nice to finally tell a friend what's happening."
"Anytime, Nina." Benny said, and she looked back at him. He smiled, "If you need anything, I'll be there." He then looked to the side, where Usnavi was standing underneath a tree, a radio in one hand. He waved at them when he saw them. "You can join us, if you want."
She smiled, but shook her head. "I should get home. I don't want my parents to worry." I don't want them to think I ran away too. "Thanks again, Benny."
"It was no problem, Nina!" He said, moving to go meet Usnavi.
She bit her lip, held her breath, and prayed to the sky that everything would be okay.
Count to Three
Camila was only staying for Nina.
If it had just been her and Kevin, she would have left him after he let Lincoln, their baby boy, walk out there door.
Sure, she didn't approve of how he liked boys. But that wasn't a reason in her mind to force him out of their family. It was just something she didn't understand. She also hadn't understood English for a few years, but that stop her?
She sighed as she cleaned the house. Why was Kevin always so terco?
It had been days, and it seemed like just now he was truly understanding the extent of his actions. How he had truly acted just like his hiju'eputa of a father.
So caught up in her frustration, Camila was barely focused on her dusting. She accidentally knocked a picture frame over, causing it to shatter on the ground.
Her eyes widened as she carefully picked it up, wiping the glass off of it. She turned it over, wondering what picture it was.
She froze when she saw it.
It was a family picture they had taken with a disposable camera Kevin had bought for her on their anniversary one year. It was a picture of a young Lincoln, sitting on Kevin's shoulders with the widest smile on his face. Nina was holding both Kevin's hand and Camila's, smiling shyly but genuinely.
Camila could remember asking Daniela to take the picture. It was of Lincoln's eighth birthday party. Kevin had bought them ice cream.
A sob caught in her throat.
"Mi chico músico." She whispered, rubbing her thumb over the picture. They all looked so happy, so perfect. They looked like the happiest family in the world, and that nothing could ever change that.
"We don't need to have a homosexual in this family, Camila! He's a deadbeat one at that. He doesn't want to work. He just expects me to hand everything to them. He has to face the real world someday." Kevin's shouts echoed within her. His voice was full of malice as he stood in front of the door. Blocking it from her reach. Blocking her son, their son, from her reach.
"That's our son you're talking about, Kevin." She screamed back, "Our baby boy! I don't care what happens, he's family. You cannot kick out family like that. Just because you don't agree with him doesn't make him suddenly not a Rosario." Family always was first. Camila, despite her best efforts, had never been able to find something that was more important in life than family.
"You heard him. He's not a Rosario anymore. He's not my son." Kevin had said firmly. Definitely.
She had looked at him in disgust. "Do you even hear yourself?" She had spat back."I was wrong to say you're just as bad as your father." Camila had said, her voice softer than before. She had shaken her head at him. "You're worse than he ever was."
She didn't take it back. Not at all.
It was the truth then, and it still was the truth now.
She sighed as she cleared up the glass, careful not to cut herself. She took the photo and placed it on Nina's pillow. The girl would need a reminder that their family could still be good, still love. She could see the fear and sadness in her eyes. She wished to hug her tightly, and tell her that Camila would never leave her, or that Nina would never have to leave like Lincoln had.
But then she'd think back to Kevin's rage and stubbornness, and found that she did not have the heart to say things to the girl that might be lies.
She buried her head in her hands, and counted to three to calm herself down. That was what her mother always did.
Uno, dos, tres.
Please, let Lincoln be okay. Let him find shelter, food, and friends.
Let him be happy. He needs it.
Let it out
Four years passed quickly for Lincoln.
Once he left the barrio, he headed to Manhattan. He walked for half an hour to get there.
That was where he met James.
The man was a barista in a café that Lincoln had stopped outside of that night. Lincoln had twenty dollars, but James refused to take a cent. Gave him a pastry and a coffee on the house. Told him to come back the next day.
Lincoln did. He had nothing else to do.
He slept on benches and under bridges for a few months, visiting the café where James worked every day. He became friends with all the employees there. There was James, William, and Veronica, the baristas. The cook was a kind woman named Marie, and their manager was Mr. Carver, a kind old man who had owned the café for forever.
Four months had passed when James discovered he was homeless, living off of the free pastries and coffees James and the others would give him, as well as what he would get from performing on the street.
He moved in with James a week after. They began to date two weeks after that.
Lincoln was given a job in the café by Mr. Carver, and even performed there once or twice a month.
He finally felt at peace.
So the four years passed by swiftly.
That was until July 15th came around.
It's Nina's eighteenth birthday. His mind unhelpfully supplied him.
"Lin?" James called, and Lincoln could hear his boyfriend's footsteps made its way to the bedroom. Lincoln groaned, burrowing deeper under the covers. He heard James open the door. "You have to get up, or you'll be late for work." Lincoln refused to move, "Are you okay?" James asked, his voice now full of concern when Lincoln didn't look at him.
Lincoln sighed, before sitting up. "I don't know what to do, amor." He admitted.
James sat down beside him, wrapping an arm around him. "What happened?" James asked. "If you're feeling sick, I can call Carver-"
"You know how I…" He swallowed the lump in his throat, "You know how I was kicked out?" He had told James what had happened when he had become friends with the boy. About his unsupportive parents, and his father willing to do anything to prevent the family name from being tainted.
"Yes?" James asked, his voice soothing and supportive.
"It's...it's my little sister Nina's birthday today. She's eighteen. When I saw her last she was only fourteen. Now...she's an adult James." He looked down, "I miss her."
James looked at him for a moment, before sighing, "Then get dressed." He said, standing up and taking out his cellphone.
"What?" Lincoln asked, confused.
"I said get dressed. I'll call Mr. Carver, tell him the situation. He'll be fine with giving us the day off. We can drive over to Washington Heights - she'd be out of school by now, right?"
"Yeah," Lincoln said, in a slight daze, "Wait, no. We can't go back. What about my parents?"
"Lincoln, you said it yourself - Nina will be eighteen. She's an adult. They can't stop her from seeing you." James met his gaze, "I know you, Lin. I can tell that this means a lot to you. I'm not going to be a shitty boyfriend and let you just go to work where you can spend the day regretting your decisions and then never see your family again. You said it yourself - your sister tried to defend you. If nothing else, she loves you."
Lincoln was in shock. "James, you don't have to do this for me." He said quietly, tears showing in his eyes.
James just looked at him lovingly. He reached out and wiped away a tear with his thumb, before placing a kiss there. "I do, because I love you. Now get dressed. I'll call Carver."
Lincoln got dressed and ate in record time. James sorted everything out with Mr. Carver, who wished him the best of luck. Lincoln's heart was pounding with anticipation, anxiety, excitement, and fear.
What would his parents say? What would Nina say? Was he making a huge mistake?
Did he care?
Not one bit.
They made good time, getting to the barrio in just about forty-five minutes, stopping for twenty minutes at a jewelry store where Lincoln purchased a necklace as a gift for had left at 10:15 (and their work started at 10:30, as it was a Saturday), so it was likely that people would be awake and around.
He was aware of James looking around in the passenger's seat. "There are so many flags," He whispered.
Lincoln, despite himself, smiled. "That's one thing that hasn't changed. Everyone is proud of where they came from." His eyes widened, and he pulled into a parking lot.
In front of him was Daniela's salon, and De La Vega's Bodega.
Usnavi. Sonny. Daniela. Carla.
"That's a bodega run by one of my sister's old friends, Usnavi" He explained to James, pointing to the bodega. "And that's a salon run by one of my old friends, Daniela."
"It looks like there are decorations in the salon," James pointed out, and Lincoln narrowed his eyes in confusion.
"But why would they have it here and not the dispatch?" He mused quietly, before his eyes widened as he saw people with drinks in the salon. "That's definitely Benny and Usnavi in there. And the bodega is closed, which means…"
"They are probably having the party there." James finished, before giving him an encouraging smile. "Come can do this. I'll be there with you - every step of the way. I promise."
Lincoln nodded, swallowing thickly. He clutched the purple box in one hand, while holding James's hand with his other for dear life.
He slowly made his way to the door and opened it. He stayed relatively unnoticed by the people inside, who were all chatting near the back too loudly. He made eye contact with Daniela, whose eyes widened in shock, before melding into a sly smile.
"Nina," She said loudly, and Lincoln followed her gaze to the girl in the center of it all. His breath caught in his throat. She was so old. She was grown up. Her black hair was much longer, and she had gotten much taller, and everything about her showed maturity.
Nina looked at Daniela curiously, who just nodded in Lincoln's direction.
Nina looked at Lincoln. Lincoln looked back.
Her eyes widened as she stood quickly, causing the chatter to quiet and all eyes to be on her.
"You...you're…" Tears were in her eyes, and when people followed her line of sight there were gasps. "Lincoln?" She breathed.
He managed to smile through the whirlwind of emotions he was feeling. "Feliz cumpleaños,"
She rushed forward, embracing him in a tight hug. He let go of James and hugged back with all of his might.
"I didn't...I never thought…" She sobbed, "I didn't think I'd see you again."
Tears escaped his own eyes, "I missed you, Nina. I missed you so much. I love you."
"I love you too, Lincoln. I never stopped loving you." She breathed, pushing back slightly so she could look him in the eyes. He kissed her softly on the forehead.
"I'm so sorry I had to leave you, Nina. I'm so sorry." He said, resting his chin on her head.
"Don't do it again," She said, burying her face in his shirt. "You can go wherever, do whatever, but don't disappear. Call me. Text me. Just don't disappear."
"I promise I won't, Nina. Never again," He swore softly, before looking at the other members of the party, spotting his mother and father quickly. He pressed his gift for her in her hands.
He gently let go of Nina as his father began to approach. He met him halfway, with them both stopping with a few meters left.
"Before you say anything," Lincoln started, his voice hard and definite. "I refuse to argue with you on Nina's birthday. I don't give a damn what you think about me or our relationship, or what you say. I'm not going to ruin this day for her."
His father just looked at him in surprise, before looking down. "Perdón," he said, his voice quiet.
Lincoln looked at him in surprise. He was sorry? "What?"
"I'm sorry, Lincoln. I'm sorry for everything I said. I'm sorry for not accepting you. I'm sorry for kicking you out." His father shook his head, before looking him in the eye, "I'm sorry for being a horrible father. I spent those four years reflecting on my mistakes, and I realize now…" He inhaled, held his breath for three beats, before letting it out. "I would be proud to call you my son, if you're willing to give me a second chance to be your father."
Lincoln's eyes widened, before he let out a breath. "I...I'd like that." He admitted.
His mother smiled, and James stepped forward to hold his hand. "This is James, my boyfriend," He said, introducing the boy.
James smiled, and Lincoln was surprised to not see his father's face curl up in disgust. "Welcome to the family, James."
"Thank you, sir." James said politely.
Nina grinned wider than she had in years, "Now, let's cut the cake!"
Lincoln breathed a sigh of relief.
He sang quietly, only loud enough for James to hear him, the lyrics to the first song he had ever written.
"Sigue andando el camino por toda su vida."
Mami - Mom
Papi - Dad
¡Hola! ¿Adónde es Lincoln? - Hi! Where is Lincoln?
Yo deseo yo conocí. Yo extraño lo. - I wish I knew. I miss him.
Hola. Lincoln es fuera de la ciudad. Es bien. - Hi. Lincoln is out of down. He's fine.
Yo prometo - I promise
Terco - Stubborn
Hiju'eputa - Son of a bitch
Mi chico músico - My little musician
Uno, dos, tres. - One, two, three.
Amor - Love
Feliz cumpleaños - Happy birthday
Perdón - I'm sorry
Sigue andando el camino por toda su vida. - Continue walking the way (path) of your life