T.W.: This chapter mentions a case of Depression, Mobbing (Workplace Harassment) and Suicide.
Benxamin didn't miss the opportunity to meet Marcel again in the case of the teacher who died at the school where the events occurred. In this strange world of particular coincidences, the 33-year-old redhead man worked as a colleague of the deceased, but was never considered a suspect in the death - it was clear.
The one who stopped living was emotionally lost, in debt and some of the teachers had a tendency to use him as a tiny and devalued being. The students were not the most determined to learn, one of them had physically assaulted him - in complicity with other guys. The young daredevil ended up expelled but the depression was stronger. The man made the radical decision to take his own life, for being a victim of this and other events. Marcel didn't know him very well; he had been working there for less than a year.
It really was a miracle that poor Marcel had managed to pull through when he was barely over the limo accident. He got fed up with every unfortunate situation and in order to continue his life from scratch, he decided to go unnoticed by society for the next thirteen years. He quit his job as a driver and became a security guard for much of the 1990s. Without any major setbacks, he was able to finish his studies as a sports coach. His resume was tarnished by that extreme situation in which Benxa almost died. Finding out that the person hurt wasn't Victor but the one he once hated for an unjustified reason made him feel as bad as if he had been the twin he admired.
It was almost obvious that the freckles set them apart; he was just as embarrassed. Marcel never visited Benxamin directly in the room where he was hospitalized, but he DID go every day to sit in the waiting room or stand by a window next to said room. He was in the habit of listening to Stella's conversations with the doctors, or at least trying to, because there was a chance that Benxamin wouldn't make a full recovery and would have sequelae.
He even attended Mira's funeral, but didn't let Lester or his father see him. He wanted to tell Mrs. Haydar that he was grateful for caring about him, to tell Lester that he was so sorry for bullying him at school, to apologize to the twins, to his parents, to his sisters, to his victims. He didn't feel the courage to do it; he was merely a witness to the actions of others. He needed a push.
His half-sister Elsa, and the only one with whom he communicated frequently, called him at home or sometimes at work as if she were his mother to ask him about his existence. Marcel never allowed her to support him financially. The woman - being a single mother -, had too many responsibilities to worry about her thirty-something younger brother.
Marcel didn't want to be seen as a social outcast, resentful of life or whatever he was labeled. He had gotten used to being alone, he didn't have a partner - he never had. He wasn't like Lester, but he didn't become celibate either. After the disaster caused by the limousine, he decided to get away from Ernest and especially from Tamara, generating in him an unbridled fear of driving again.
Getting a job was his only priority, being a security guard was the only option available to him, but working as a sports trainer, his goal. For a moment he thought about going back to what he once abandoned, using his handsome man image and impressive catalog body to attract and earn easy money. He tried once by posting photos of himself, but getting that attention made him feel insecure; he couldn't bear it. It wasn't his life. He tried to love himself in another way - he wanted to be happy.
One day, in his humble apartment located in a gothic-looking building in an unfriendly neighborhood for tourists and strangers, his old telephone that was located in the kitchen rang. It was Benxamin - before the accident, Marcel had given him his number. The telephone line was still working after more than a decade. He felt his body tremble, but at the same time he expressed enormous happiness upon hearing his voice.
“I guess you know who you're talking to,” the twin assumed.
“Yes, Benxamin. How are you?” Marcel answered.
“Can I talk to you in person? Is it possible we can meet tomorrow? I invite you to lunch.”
Those questions were strange. Marcel didn't know what to tell him, that is, Benxamin was once his victim and… did he want to invite him to lunch? Was it a threat? Or did he want to retaliate against him?
“Well, yeah. That's fine by me.”
“Good! I'll see you at noon.”
Marcel was so anxious that when he wrote down the directions Benxa gave him to get to the meeting place, the letters and numbers looked like scribbles that he had trouble understanding after hours and hours of reading the address.
The next day, at the appointed time, Marcel in his best outfit - which consisted of a plaid shirt with jeans -, was sitting in a fancy high-ceilinged restaurant, with beautiful Victorian art paintings and flowers decorating the place. Embarrassed, submissive, and totally different from the violent "boy". Benxamin, for his part, looked sophisticated, in an expensive jacket that could be worth two months of Victor's salary. He walked up to him, shook his hand, sat down next to Marcel, and asked a waiter for a glass of water.
“How have you been, dear?” the twin asked.
“Fine and... ” but before finishing his sentence he was interrupted by Benxa.
“I invited some friends if you don't mind.”
“No, not at all,” he said nervous.
Marcel was an attractive man, but he didn't want people to admire him for his beauty, but for his good deeds. His insecurities were evidently demonstrated in his hunched posture.
“I think you are cool,” manifested Benxa.
The man didn't understand. “Huh? What do you mean? Don't make fun of me.”
“I don't know the details of everything you've been going through, but I know you've gotten through it alone. And... I know you were in the hospital and you visited me when I was in my recovery process. Stella told me that she noticed a redheaded boy sitting near my room every day. Do you think she didn't notice? Do you think I was going to ignore this? I'm Benxa after all.”
Marcel thought he was accusing him of being a stalker, but that was never his intention. His low self-esteem made him think that.
“I'm sorry,… ” as he tried to argue his actions, two men holding hands approached them.
“Marcel?!” said Lester.
Victor stepped to the side, giving him an equally surprised look. “You?... Hey, bro.”
“Did you invite Marcel to have lunch with us, Benxa?” Lester asked again with a big smile.
Marcel turned pale. “Shit! The three of them are going to face me for what I did to them,” he thought innocently. Benxamin - seeing his reaction -, did not hesitate to give him the glass of water. The man drank it in one gulp.
“Les… Lester... It's been a while,” affirmed the redhead.
“Your mother told my parents that after the Benxamin's accident, you were admitted to a hospital for an anxiety attack. My dad and I look for you for weeks. Your sister got really scared when you left home after that. We were very worried about you. I don't know how Benxa did it, but we are glad to see you again. I want to thank you and also apologize to you,” the professor expressed.
Marcel looked at Lester as if he was crazy,
“A-are you apologizing to me? But,... I almost killed Benxa!”
“Aww, you called me Benxa. That's so sweet of you, dear,” Benxamin said.
“Dear?” Marcel blushed; Victor brought his chair closer,
“I wanted to look for you after I got out of prison. I have to tell you, you're a hard guy to find. Just like me.”
“What the f*ck do you mean? I'll never be like you, loser. I just wanted to get away from all of you,” Marcel said, taking Victor's sarcasm to heart.
“We look alike because we avoid causing problems and we don't say what's wrong with us. That's what I mean,” Victor replied.
“Thank you Benxa for inviting us. I'm so happy to see Marcel. I can't believe the four of us are together. We should celebrate,” Lester smiled.
“Yep!” Victor said.
“Yep, sure!” Benxamin sneered.
The four men toasted and settled down to lunch. After several hours of friendly chat, Lester stepped away from the twins for a moment to talk to Marcel in a small hallway next to the restroom.
“I'm going to repeat what I told you a while ago. I apologize, I mean what happened during the... you know. I saw you so upset, I only thought of Benxamin and it's as if I had forgotten about you.”
“You were 17; you were with Ben all this time, Les. I-I was afraid, I couldn't stop all this from happening. I wasn't helpful at all.”
Skeptical, Lester questioned the concept of the word "helpful" in Marcel's sentence.
“What?! But why do you think you weren't helpful?” the confused man asked. “You are not an object, you helped him!”
“I don't think so, but thanks, I guess.”
The professor frowned, Marcel was putting himself down for no reason,
“I can tell you nice words and that everything will be fine, when it is not true. I can't flatter you all the time because that depends on you. But all I can say now is that if it wasn't for you, Benxamin wouldn't be making fun of us. Thank you for not abandoning him.”
“That's cheesy, Les. Don't be so talkative, anyone would have done it. Who do you think you are?” Marcel said in disbelief.
“It could be a friend. Believe it or not, and well, neither do I.”
“You're not, I don't know anything about you. I don't even know if you live with your father, let alone had a f*cking idea that you were Victor's boyfriend.”
“About my dad, he died a few months ago.”
“Oh man!... You see what I'm trying to tell you. I'm so sorry, Lester,” he said as if he had expressed something offensive. “It was not my intention.”
“It's okay. I was going to tell you anyway,” the professor asserted without looking away. “Please don't think that way about yourself.”
“Look, I bullied you when you were a kid. If you want to be my friend, you're... you're too nice a person. I apologize for what I did to you.”
“There's no need for us to talk about this.”
“I did, I wanted to tell you and those two,” Marcel stated, looking down at Lester's feet.
“Well, I… I was very afraid of you, but the last time I talked to you, I really felt that there were no more reasons to think that way. As I told you that time, I forgive your attitude, not your actions. You're not that Marcel, so it's a thing of the past,” Lester suggested as he leaned against the wall. “Let's put this aside, shall we? It's really great to see you again and I'm not saying it to make you feel better; I'm saying it for myself too.”
The twins in the distance heard the words of the redhead. Victor came closer; he didn't hug him like that time at school, but he leaned on his shoulder,
“This is embarrassing, Vic. Shit!” Marcel said.
“Don't hesitate, Mar. Or do you want me to call you Marcel?” Victor expressed with a mischievous laugh.
“Are you like that with Lester? I'm going to invite myself to your wedding,” Marcel affirmed following the game.
“Wedding?” Lester inquired confused.
“I'm that and more, man. And I guess we don't have a choice. Just behave.”
Benxa was not a specialist in this type of affect. He waited for his friends to finish their childish arguments to tell Marcel something else.
On the way to the bus station, Benxamin and Marcel said goodbye to the couple by taking several slow steps as if they didn't want their meeting to end. They passed near an amusement park; the young Dautt stopped and Marcel looked at him in confusion.
“Do you still hate me?” asked Benxamin. “Because I never did; someone like me hurt you without knowing it. You wasted time with me and my brother.”
“I did it, I can't deny it, *sshole. I hated you because I wanted to be like you. I blamed you and Vic for my parents' decisions. Did you know that I started to like your brother after I tried to take my own life? I think that's how it was, then I understood that what I felt for him would not lead to anything more than a simple attraction. But that no longer matters, he has another person and I'm happy for him.”
“Well, I went further and told Lester that I liked him and now... he's with Victor and about having a relationship, I think I'd rather stay single. I love my space. The last partner I had was very pretentious, I'm supposed to be the EGOCENTRIC ONE! I don't like guys who think they're intellectuals.”
“Uh-huh,” Marcel expressed without having the slightest idea of what Benxamin was trying to say.
“But do you currently like someone?”
“Nah,... I don't feel that desire,” the man sighed.
“I see,” Benxa stated without intruding on matters that were not his concern.
A bus approached the station. Marcel extended his hand to say goodbye to him, looked at him carefully before leaving and when he was about to say "call me", the twin interrupted him,
I will leave a link with a much more precise explanation of what Mobbing is, a term that is also used to refer to bullying.
Marcel has accomplished a lot on his own, but has isolated himself from society to the point of feeling insecure and taking everything personally. Benxamin invites him to lunch along with Lester and Victor. The four, finally reunited, are honest with each other. But before parting ways, Benxamin asks the young Witsel a troubling question.
The next chapter is scheduled for the 6th of September.
Thank you so much for continuing to read every new update, guys. I am very grateful to you.
Marcel had difficult childhood and it’s impressive how far he come on his own but we can really see consequences of his isolated lifestyle he is quite jumpy and almost paranoid when talking with others. I’m not surprised he wanted to be by Benxa side without anyone noticing. I agree he is not the same Marcel from the past, he really grew as a person and he is really sorry for what he has done. I really hope he and Benxa can stay close ❤️❤️❤️ Beautiful artwork as always 😍😍😍
In a serendipitous twist of fate, Lester Haydar and Victor Dautt cross paths once again, thirteen years after a fateful encounter. Childhood friends turned estranged adults, their unexpected reunion sparks a torrent of emotions, reigniting a dormant connection they never truly forgot.
As their bond deepens, a tantalizing question hangs in the air. Will they forge a shared future? Will they dare to give their relationship the official seal it deserves?
Yet, amidst the tender moments of love and longing, their idyllic fantasy faces a crucible of tests. Forces beyond their control conspire to intrude upon their lives, threatening to shatter their delicate world of happiness and desire.
Join Lester and Victor on an unforgettable journey where passion and adversity intertwine, and discover if their love has the strength to withstand the challenges that lie ahead. In this captivating tale of love rekindled, secrets revealed, and hearts laid bare, prepare to be enthralled by a story that will leave you yearning for more.
A new chapter every 10/11 days.
Description made by Lucky Foot. Thank you so much.