Yellow Pages swallowed pride
It was as startling as if someone had just shot him. Out of the blue, no warning, no indication that there was anyone nearby who would want to. And there was the sniper, waving from a window, the scope glinting ominously. Seen, acknowledged, still dangerous.

It was for the best, then, that he'd taken his break up to the cold roof of the theater. It gave him space away from anyone else. Best that he'd not seen it with a hammer in hand or up in the rafters. Here, his feet were on solid ground and he could gasp through the way incredible panic twisted a few ribs and fight it off with grit teeth and furious shakes of his head. Knees of his jeans wet from snow, hands cold.

That was not a name he had ever expected to cross his phone again. It had been... god... what? A year? He'd left him unblocked because at first he hadn't had intention of cutting him off. And then, just... things with Sokol had just... his mind reeled, regret forming--not for not reaching out sooner, but not for making it clearer. That. They weren't doing this. Iago could not do this. He didn't want to do this.

Once upon a time, he had woefully, tearfully promised to do what he had to, abashed and ashamed at what a dumb fuck he'd been. But that had been an idea overturned. Instead. No contact. None. Cut him out, the others will handle him.

Iago realized, only now, how much he'd been using that--how much he had come to accept it as a fact of the universe. What once had been an agreement was now... what he wanted. And for months and months of absolute silence between them, it had seemed to become immutable. As much as it had become a constant reality that he simply would never see his family ever again. Did it suck? Sure. But it was a choice he'd made, it was a decision that was easier, cleaner, happier. But a whole second time Mateo was coming along to try and wheedle his way back in. Things had been bad, Iago. Can't you see your poor brother, having a hard time? Shouldn't you talk to him even though you had every intention of never, ever giving into such dangerous temptation?

No. Not this time. He'd been suckered by his familial feelings once and it had shaken him repeatedly. He didn't get anything out of this other than some sort of nostalgia that was... well, not fake. It wasn't... pretend. But it was so far removed from who he was now, who he wanted to be. Curiosity could get the better of him, he could wonder about his siblings, their children, his parents, but in the end the people he wanted were... here. The person he wanted. The life he wanted. He could not trade it for little flints of long-buried treasure. He wasn't the person who had buried it anymore.

Pity for Mateo was not his to chew over at night or in his daydream moments. Mateo had Lora. Lora would... figure it out. Iago was pretty sure. Very much, he trusted her to that, maybe more than she trusted herself. He still felt he should have just left his brother to the hyena. Never gone out. Never let Mateo bully him into confessing, into giving things up, into engaging in a dangerous fight where there were no winners. One of the worst nights of his life, and he'd had a few.

And so he sat here, cold but not thinking about that feeling, staring at a scant... few sentences. Pointed, like teeth in his arm, trying to drag him back into those moments, blood running hot. And it made him... so angry. Like how... dare he just. Come back in here like it hadn't been a whole year. Couched in such nice language. Please and thank you, I hope you're well.

They weren't brothers. Brothers cared a lot more often than this. This was on both of them but Iago was prepared to accept what he'd done.

He thought, very hard, for too long, about sending back "no". He could have. It would have been pointed and unmistakable. But he didn't want to fucking engage, didn't want to give even the barest opening of that door again. It was shut. Mateo was welcome to knock but Iago was well within his rights to not open.

So he deleted it outright. Easier to pretend it had never happened. That he didn't need to think about this. Mateo wasn't his brother, his progeny, or even a lion in his mind. Mateo was someone who was a ghost. A memory. A phantom of a time so haunting that it could strike a physical blow when it came back to his mind, but nothing more. A limb he'd already cut off. Close your eyes, dumb fuck, and just... run.

Though perhaps not literally.

Blocking the number made him feel sick. Horror at himself, maybe. Or just the strange, sticky anger at being expected to do things he hadn't signed up for. He would not be pinned down by something, someone he had not chosen. It grated at the very core of him.

Mateo didn't need him. Iago had nothing to offer anyway. His estranged brother was perfectly capable of fucking up on his own.

And that, as far as he was concerned, was that.

Messages In This Thread
swallowed pride - by Mateo Mora-Padron - 01-13-2021, 04:07 PM
RE: swallowed pride - by Iago Mora-Padron - 01-13-2021, 06:55 PM
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