Note from the translator:
This is not a word for word translation. So there will be words missing, or words added when comparing with the original. I gave my best not to change the contents BUT. Sometimes I just had to. The thing is that Kyoux is playing a lot with form and tense, and that made it that bit more difficult to translate. I wanted to leave as much as possible as it is in the original so that the atmosphere and her writing style is reflected. And that might get English people confused sometimes, as it probably would be written differently if the correct English would be used. Of course you'll find mistakes in the text, so please instead of mocking my language skills, just sit back and enjoy a beautiful love story. I decided to try and translate it because I adore their story so much that it would be pity for others not to be able to read it. Especially since the artwork that goes with it is so beautiful. This piece took ...6h... hours to translate, so if you don't like the way it's done, please pay me some respect for the hours I've put into this and don't read. But I really hope you'll like it as much as I do.
07. The Blonde
She stopped in the doorway. She didn't enter the room.
And not because it was stinking of cigarettes.
It was his space.
A place in which there was space for one more person.
And it wasn't her.
She knew it the moment she saw his face so close to the other one. When she caught them together lying down looking into each other's eyes.
Maybe she even saw a bit of what used to be between them, back then?
She backed out...leaving them together, smiling to herself.
She didn't want to ruin the picture.
All pieces suddenly fell into place. It was so obvious. And she was almost certain, that tomorrow everything will be different. Simply warmer.
But she should've been aware that it's not possible to have everything going her way.
On the surface everything was as it used to be but when walking by, instead of warmth she felt a cold draft on the back of her neck and unspoken words hanging in the air.
She watched with sadness how Marcin's high held head dropped ever so slightly day by day.
And what his feeling were slowly taken over by mould.
Rotting from the inside.
He stopped controlling his emotions.
She ached for them.
Because she loves them both. Like brothers. A younger one and an older one.
She couldn't imagine her "now" without their bickering, without their teasing, without their caring for each other and her. All that in between seemingly bad sounding words.
She felt bad that they had fought yesterday.
Although she wasn't really surprised by the fact. As if she was waiting for the moment when Marcin would lose his cool. She was waiting for it all to pour over the edge, flooding, taking him down and shattering him in the process.
He was walking around the kitchen and simply yelled. Something about school, about Nivan picking on him, about what has been between them. Out of sequence, chaotic sentences.
And Nivan sat at the table leaning against the wall following him with his eyes in silence.
He was looking at him and taking all these words with a weird calm.
As if he didn't partake in this, as if it wasn't his fight. As if Marcin had a fight with himself.
He spotted her, sliding his stare from the shaking silhouette to her standing in the darkness of the corridor. She wanted to ask him if he actually was aware of what was happening. Why doesn't he do anything to stop this? It's obvious that Marcin...
But before she managed to say anything, Nivan shook his head slightly as if telling her not to say a word.
Her eyes flew wide.
She didn't understand anymore.
They heard the lock turn.
She jumped at the sound.
He was torn out of his reverie, noticing her just then. He looked at her.
But she already knew.
The Redhead entered. Not taking his jacket or his shoes off he looked at her and the peaked into Marcin's room.
- What's going on? Something happened? - he asked lifting his brow and creasing his nose: - Boy, it smells here.
- That's why I came, to tell him to let some air in that room - she said, smiling half-heartedly giving Marcin a knowing look. Seeing what the Redhead held in his hand, she changed the subject quickly: - Do I see right? Crisps?
- Oh, yeah. Here take it - without hesitation he passed her an opened packet. She smiled, delighted.
- You don't like crisps - said Marcin with a sour face. The Redhead bent over to take his shoes off.
- It's not like I don't like them, I'm just not the biggest fan of them. But today I signed up for taekwondo - he took of one shoe, showing his rainbow sock and starting to unlace the other one.
- Great news! - she said a bit surprised, munching on the crisps. She could say it with confidence she was a fan.
- And that's why you decided to celebrate it with... a bag of crisps? - the Blonde asked frowning.
- No... I mean... I signed up with my old instructor, an old friend of my grandfathers, who used to teach me. And that old prick somehow recognized me straight away and said that I'm an irresponsible creep, that I had big potential, which I blew. Bla bla bla, that I'm fat in no form what so ever and that I need to lose weight.
Firka tried to hold back a laugh, but she could do it only for so long, eventually bursting out loud. The Blonde couldn't hold it that long laughing even before she started. The Redhead with a "ha ha very funny" on his face left to hang his jacket.
- So what are the crisps all about then? - the Blonde asked impatiently frowning, still waiting to have the question answered. The Redhead leaned against the door jamb next to Firka.
- Because he's giving me a diet I've been on before. And it's horrible. I don't know why but last time I had this massive craving for this potato crap, I had it so bad for them that I was even dreaming about them. So I thought if I stuff myself with them now, then maybe I can avoid it.
They laughed out loud again and even Nivan smiled under his nose, the situation amusing even him.
- Nivan I for one... think you look great - she reached up on her tiptoes to give him a peck on the cheek that he offered to her smiling.
- Don't pay him any compliments, cause he still can change his mind and plop his ass in front of a computer again - he said, smiling a bit. In truth he liked the Redheads decision on taking up the course again.
- You should do something with yourself too, your ribs are about to break through your skin.
- No they're not. It's not my fault that my metabolism is so quick, and I'm not as lazy as you.
- When I look at you, I do prefer to be lazy - the Redhead smiled a cruel smile. Firka rolled her eyes at their antics, but still happy that things between them went back to "normal".
- OK I'll leave you two alone. Marcin has a lot to say to you - she said loud and clear, so that the Blonde wouldn't get the chance to continue with their bickering. After those words Marcin shut his mouth and looked away quickly.
She went back to her room, closing her door. She didn't like to intrude on their problems, but she felt that the Blonde needed a kick in the right direction. A kick after which there was no going back.
The Redhead was looking at his silhouette. Sitting on his mattress a bit lost, tired with himself.
The Blonde took a deep breath and looked at the Redhead.
- So, can we talk?
- Sure - the Redhead smiled gently. He didn't even pretend not to know what this was all about. Marcin was smoking and he didn't look good. And that spoke volumes. - But maybe somewhere else, because really, it stinks here to high heaven. Let's go to my room.
The Blonde shrugged and got up. He walked past the Redhead trying not to touch him, looking at the floor.
He sat down on the bed.
The Redhead closed the door. Pulled a futon and sat across from him, which happened to be lower than the bed itself. He had this distinct feeling that the Blonde needed to be "above" him right now.
- I wanted to say I'm sorry... - he said quickly as soon as the Redhead sat down. He was saying it keeping his head down, but still making eye contact - ...for yesterday and in general, for not being honest with you.
The Redhead lifted his brows without even noticing that he had thinking that the Blonde in fact is the most honest person he ever knew. Because although he wants to, he can't keep his emotions hidden.
- And generally... - the Blonde felt silent for a moment - ...and generally I don't know where to start - he laughed feeling so lost, he wasn't he sure he could ever feel more lost than he was feeling now.
The Redhead wanted to help him somehow, but he couldn't talk for him.
- So maybe start at the beginning. - he smiled thinking how stupid it sounded. But for Marcin it wasn't stupid at all, quite the opposite. He looked away to the left looking for his "beginning".
- Maybe... I'll start with that I... hmm. There are too many beginnings... but many of them are connected with you. For example that... kiss. My first. My first with a guy. With a friend - the Redhead frowned a bit. The Blonde caught sight of it and quickly added: - And it wasn't like it was terrible for me or anything.
- But you run away.
- Yes I run, true... because I didn't understand . My world back then wasn't that deep, you know? - The Blonde smiled sarcastically, deep in his soul he was laughing at himself. - I didn't think about who I was... You were always close...and it was enough for me. I always felt good beside you. Never gave a second thought if our cuddling was inappropriate, if our touching crossed the line beyond a normal friendship.
The Redhead burst out a disbelieving smirk.
- Marcin, I don't know if you remember that or not, but a few days before that fucking kiss you came only by rubbing yourself against me. And that didn't give you any clues? You felt free to do to me anything you liked but I couldn't do anything in return?
The Blonde looked at him with wide eyes, reminded of why it was so difficult to talk with the Redhead. He always found arguments that were not possible to undermine.
- It's not like that... I didn't think that it was unnatural or not normal.
- Because it is normal. So in your opinion that kiss was not normal?
The Redhead was looking at him with suppressed anger. He didn't want to be angry with him. He made the effort, but it just didn't work. And he didn't understand why.
- I was younger then, not as mature as you were, stupid even. I don't know, maybe that kiss scared me, because it came from you, and it made me realize that the line has been already crossed long ago.
The Blonde was confusing himself. He ceased to understand the old self a while back. Well the current him as well to be honest.
- OK, so let's assume, you were stupid. Almost nothing changed there, but back then you were stupider and you didn't fully comprehend what was happening. But please don't bullshit me that it took you so long to come to terms with it and that we actually lost contact because of it. Because that will make me loathe the fact that I was attracted to such a moron.
The Blonde caught the bit about "being attracted" straight away. As if it was stated in a bold font. He smiled to himself.
- I'm glad that this amuses you so much because it doesn't feel that way on my end - said the Redhead seeing the smile on the Blondes face and interpreting it all wrong.
- It's not like that - he replied quickly, with wide eyes - In fact that kiss wasn't that bad for me - the Blonde thought that his choice of words was really wrong on that one. He could say "I really liked that kiss, liked it so much I couldn't believe it myself". But well... - It took me a long while to understand these feelings, that I was only beginning to recognize them for a good thing that they were. But when it finally got to me, and when I wanted to tell you about it, you were already flirting with that guy from your aikido class and... It just pissed me off... - the last words rushed out of him and he was looking at the floor again. With a bit of a grudge in his voice, he massaged his hand with his fingers nervously.
The Redhead couldn't stop himself from a smile. He almost didn't remember that "aikido guy" at all.
- You were jealous? - he said still smiling.
- A bit - the Blonde wanted to say the whole truth but "I was fucking jealous beyond any reason", would sound ridiculous.
- And you couldn't tell me that, those ages ago? - the Redhead shook his head in disbelief. - Marcin you moron, If you'd have come to me back then, saying that you haven't talked to me because you felt jealous , then I was prepared to leave that stupid aikido. I would be happy, overjoyed - he drew his brows together at the Blonde - Why didn't you tell me, back then?
- I don't know...
He really didn't know anything anymore.
What the Redhead said made him happy and hurt at the same time.
He realized that he didn't take enough risks in his life. Because everything was always overwhelming him. He started to ponder, looking at the Redhead that, if he would tell him right now how he felt about him, if he still would be so "overjoyed"...
Definitely not. He probably thinks him a skinny snot. Raving madman.
Although he was a skinny snot back then too...
But the Redhead didn't have a boyfriend back then and he wasn't "like this"...
The Blonde drew his brows together thinking that he must be the only one that's not changing. Pathetic really.
They were both silent for a moment. The Redhead was staring a hole in the wall, and the Blonde looked like he has lost something on the floor instead.
- OK - said the Redhead after a prolonged silence, as if he ordered everything what they were discussing before in a neat line. - So when we met at the Uni, you wanted to talk to me because you were angry at me for the aikido guy? - the Redhead frowned, because he thought it was ridiculously stupid.
- No. Not because of that, although maybe a little.
- So what did you want to talk about then?
The Blonde gave him a look that was difficult to recognize. Not a sad one, but not a disappointed one as well and not filled with grudge or anger either.
He had this distinct felling he saw that face once before.
He didn't need much time, he remembered it now.
Rav had that look on him when the Redhead came back from wherever he has been. After sleeping with someone else few hours before returning home.
- Did I fuck someone you know? - the Redhead said it straight after the idea formed in his head and knew in that instant that he struck gold.
He struck a very painful place.
Marcin's eyes went wide and gave him a crooked smile hearing these words, feeling himself being on edge. He wasn't sure if he should cry or laugh. Because in fact the Redhead hit the spot right in the middle. The shot was so good, it couldn't be better.
- Yes - he said his voice taking a raspy tone, as if he couldn't squeeze the word past his throat.
The Redhead pulled his brows together and lifted himself so now he was half sitting half lying. He sat at the edge of the futon so he could get closer to him. He looked up at him.
He was curious. But he felt stupid at the same time as well.
- Whom did I do? - he asked. But the Blonde didn't respond so he added, trying to help him come out. Trying to say sorry.
- I didn't do it consciously, you know that don't you... - he said it as mildly as he could but straight away he knew he said something wrong. The Blondes face spoke volumes. He didn't look at him, just turned his head away, losing control over his facial muscles.
The Redhead stretched his hand toward him, and taking hold of his chin, he forced him to look him in the face.
- Who did I sleep with? - he repeated the question. Again no answer.
- Me. You slept with me...
The Redhed's head fell back abruptly as if he expected a hit with a fist, not believing what he heard.
- What? - he said a bit too sardonically. Taking it for a stupid joke.
That only hurt the Blonde.
- Nothing - he bit back, wiping away something wet from his face. The Redhead felt an unpleasant pang. - This doesn't make sense. Why do I tell you that anyway? - said the Blonde with glossy eyes, hiding his face in his hand, rubbing his temples with his fingers.
The Redhead sat paralyzed, analyzing his memories.
But nothing became clearer.
- OK, "nothing" tells me that you are not joking. I'm sorry for my reaction. And you tell me all that so we wouldn't have anymore situations like the one yesterday - the Redhead grabbed the hand that the Blonde as hiding in, wanting to see his face. But the Blonde fought him, waving angrily at him.
- Fuck me if I know what sits in that head of yours. So if you started then finish it, cause you're about to tick me off royally.
After a short back and forth with the Blondes hand, the Redhead finally won by grabbing his hand in both of his. As if with a touch of a magical wand the Blonde calmed down. His shoulders eased down, he himself looked at their linked hands and again wiped away something wet from his cheek.
He looked at the Redhead. He felt weak and indistinct.
He was repulsed by himself.
He felt repulsed by the fact that he was happy for every even smallest gesture made toward him.
And there was no turning back.
He didn't have the strength anymore.
- You slept with me after the party at Atlanta. Now, I know that you don't remember it, because you took a lot of pills back then - he wiped another tear away, it seemed like they fell of their own volition - But in the beginning I thought that you pretended not to remember, because after all happened you promised to call me. But you didn't. And me stupid... I was thrilled, thinking you would. Because I thought I repaired my mistake - the second, third, fourth, still he was wiping them away from his face - I naively thought that we could work things out. That you liked it too, I saw you did. You even told me you missed me - his throat went dry, and he felt a weird tingle in his chest. The Redhead squeezed his hand tightly. Silence.
- And I've been waiting... you don't even know how long I've been waiting - he held back his outburst, so that he wouldn't start crying even harder - And then when I didn't see you around at the Uni, I felt that massive anger... it felt as if it would rip me apart. I felt used. As if you took something from me and run away with it. I was wondering why this fucking karma is putting you in my path again.
The Blonde fell silent for a moment, trying to calm down. The Redhead looked at him with his brows drown, still holding his hand. He felt like the last moron.
Because he didn't remember anything. But knew it was very possible. Because he had a few situations that were frighteningly similar.
He hurts everybody around him. Consciously and unconsciously.
Great. Just fucking perfect.
- So why did you agree to live here? - the Redhead pushed it out pasts his constricted throat. The Blonde shrugged.
- What do I know... Probably I unconsciously wanted to be near you? You saw it for yourself... that I can't control myself when you are around.
The Redhead smiled a sad smile.
-That's why you broke up with Nathan? Because of me?
The Blonde only nodded, not looking at him anymore, trying to hold back the boiling emotions. The Redhead took a deep shuddering breath.
The talk was supposed to clear things out between them, but it still felt heavy.
- What am I supposed to do with you now...? - he said gently. He was sad, feeling even more lost that Marcin was at the moment.
He felt sorry for him.
He didn't want to play the ever knowing by telling him that he could solve this issue differently. That he could punch him in the face at the first opportunity and everything would be solved by now. It would make the Blonde feel better; it would be easier on him. But he probably already knew that.
- I don't know - Marcin smiled with resignation - will you give me a hug?
The Redhead sighed, smiling a little.
- I will, come here... - he pulled him gently into his arms. Hugged. The Blonde was trembling in his arms, raked by the spasms caused by the withheld emotions.
He wanted to stay like this for a moment only. Just one short moment.
Today was supposed to be the day without lies and secrets.
He wanted this to last forever.
- Can I sleep with you today?
The Redhead smiled, looking down at the red and wet eyes.
- You know you're abusing my weakness now?
- Yes. I do know that - The Blonde smiled back at him.
The Redhead made a production out of an exaggerated sigh. But he smiled. A little sad smile.
- You can, but you already used up your limit today.
- Yes, but that was today's limit.
- Don't you dare go all smart on me you dumb ass... - The Redhead leaned down and kissed him on the forehead. The Blonde closed his eyes, smiling. He was cooling down slowly - And stop bawling, because my heart is breaking. To cry over me... honestly - he shook his head still disbelieving the whole situation - You're a mad man.
- I know. But your mad man.
Shivers passed through the Redheads body.
- I told you already, you used up your limit today.
- Then take it off tomorrow's.
The Redhead smiled a little. And had a fleeting thought that...
- Marcin, but you know that I...
The Blonde knew. But in his arms everything was so unimportant. So trivial.
- I know... I'll wait.
The Redhead only rolled his eyes.
They sat like that for a while. In silence, not talking about all that anymore.
The Redhead wanted to know more, but he knew that it was taking toll on the Blonde. He was hoping he will be able to put all the pieces together on his own. That the scraps that he remembered from that party will somehow connect to a "dream" he might have had about this moron.
In fact he didn't know what to do about all that at the moment.
And it's not like he didn't suspect anything. He's not blind and not dumb either, although sometimes he does pretend because it's easier like that.
But all this was more intense than he thought it was back then.
He found the missing piece that fits all the weird situations that happened between them. And it all makes more sense now.
Marcin's anger wasn't the same anymore.
His outbursts, his attempt to kiss, his sleeping in his room. That he pretended not to know him.
Suddenly all that irritated him in the Blonde vanished.
His anger and teasing, giving him hard time, annoying and provoking, there was always a reason to it. It all made sense now.
He was holding in his arms the one person that didn't have to say that he felt for him something... deeper.
And he still knew it.
That was a first.