Once released, Victor realized something important: his vocation for theater and the need to help others was another of his main motivations. But before putting all his ideas into practice, he called Stella to an old phone booth that was still working. Modern times were exterminating them. He really didn't feel able to talk to his aunt in person as was his original plan. She still lived in the old apartment complex where it started this story. But the Haydar family had moved a few years earlier, mainly for reasons related to Lester's college studies. Stella never lost contact with them. There were many changes, too many for Victor to take in all at once. However, this was revealed slowly by his aunt.
“How is Benxa?” he asked. Stella also visited him in prison - not as often as Tamara - but each time she did, she was his direct source on every event experienced by those he left behind. His aunt told him about Benxamin's accident; his recovery, and his move to independence.
She narrated details about the bullying suffered by the young man, as well as his graduation as a criminologist. Stella explained to him about Lester; the moment he was scammed and that he decided to leave the world of cinema aside to take a different path. She gave him as many details as if she were an open book; slowly addressing Victor's concerns. The life of his friends was completely alien; it was as if he were listening to the story of two young people who were never part of his reality. Thanks to her, he found out about Mira's death and James' particular behavior.
Victor expressly asked her not to tell his friends anything since he wanted to be the one to confess everything. He knew that being honest with Benxamin and especially Lester, they couldn't possibly understand his strange determination - but it was his duty.
“Benxamin bought an apartment. He's a investigator or something; he's doing really well at his new job. He doesn't say it, but I know he misses you and so do I. I thought Ernest wanted to help you.”
“I should have told you the truth. I don't know, it just happened.”
“When are you coming? I'll tell Benxamin. Do you have a place to stay?” asked her.
Victor had a hard time assimilating that she was his aunt, even so, he was glad that Stella was so affectionate. “I'm staying at a friend's house,” he said, but he still hadn't found a place to live. He just didn't want to be a burden to her.
Before ending the call, Stella sighed slightly with the intention of being honest.
“I'm sorry, Victor” she expressed. “This was my fault, always has been.”
He hated her as a child; once, a thousand times. But after his experiences - living that life full of ups and downs and finally feeling capable of continuing with his existence - he just wanted to make one thing clear to her,
“Thank you for taking care of Benxamin for me. See you soon.”
For a while he stayed in a shelter. He thought that when the time was right, he wanted to see Benxa and tell him that he was sorry. It took him time to get used to the small number of jobs available to a man of nearly 3 decades with a high school education and fresh out of prison. He worked as he could, without complaining, without shame or scruples. He understood the hard way, that his life of unfounded fear had to end.
When Victor was able to stabilize himself financially and rent a room, he enrolled in an acting academy. With everything he learned, he volunteered at the prison where he had been to help other inmates achieve something for themselves. Derek was still there; he was going to be free in no time - thanks to Ernest. This also motivated him to fight for Daniel, his desire to win the boy's affection was more intense than ever. He was a father but he had never had the opportunity to raise him, with the little he earned he kept as savings to give it to him as he had once done when he was a fraudulent seller.
In 2006, he got a job in a coffee shop near a university where, curiously, that reunion that he feared so much took place.
Lester Haydar was 30 years old, too young to take up the position of professor of engineering at St. Louis University - one of the most prestigious at the time - but too old to resume his dream of being a filmmaker. When his mother died and his father became an alcoholic, he took the safest route following his employer's recommendations.
He studied system engineering; a hot career that was to have a major impact on the most competitive jobs of the future. The movies became his hobby, but one of those that he liked to undertake on weekends with his senile father as the only spectator. He used the photographies and videos that he had collected over the years and with them created several home movies that he shared with James.
He was sitting with the 74-year-old man in the living room, in a small apartment on the seventh floor. He looked like a child wanting to share his tastes with his father.
“Look at mom, she looks so gorgeous,” Lester said while watching a video of Mira talking to him as a child.
But his father's reactions were unpredictable.
“I don't want to see that.”
James was no longer the kind and sweet man of years ago; the dementia made him violent and frantic. He told neighbors he had been "kidnapped" - pointing to his own son. He couldn't control his sphincters. It was hard for Lester to see his beloved father lost, unstable, and against him.
Lester fell into a deep depression; crying constantly but in his loneliness - in his moments with himself - like James did when he lost Mira. Although Victor was his first and elusive love, he tried to continue with his life seeking to have courtships with other men - but they were only brief relationships. Sometimes of a sexual nature as a way to satisfy his desires, and also to find a better way to stabilize his happiness.
Obtaining the opportunity to work at the university on his own merits helped him overcome, in part, the difficult life he had to share with his father. Lester was an expert developer of several popular programming languages in the early 2000s. He had worked as an engineer at a company that went bankrupt due to embezzlement and getting a job - whatever it was - was his top priority.
Accustomed to living like this, it was when one day he met the adult version of Victor, on a convulsed bus, heading to the university, hugging him in surprise so as not to fall. The man in faded clothes, agitated from running several meters without rest, with a strong smell of cigarettes, tall and robust. Once he uttered that name that made him sigh briefly in love when he was a teenager; he remembered his rejection and his hurtful words.
“It's been a while,” Lester said coldly.
Victor slightly tilted his face looking at Lester's facial expressions, noticing the change in his attitude. He knew it was inevitable.
Lester was stunned by his vague response. But he seized the opportunity and faced him with a different problem.
“Was it difficult for you to visit your brother in the hospital?”
Victor was silent for a moment, he kept looking at him on that bus full of passengers. Facing him so unexpectedly paralyzed him with monosyllables. He had a coherent speech of what he would have wanted to tell him but everything succumbed in front of him.
“Excuse me? Stella took care of him all these years. He didn't get out of bed until recently. Benxa has bad headaches. He managed to graduate and thanks to Marcus; he was able to to get a job but in everything else, he did it all on his own and you, you piece of idiot, you were never with him.”
Victor said nothing, but kept looking at him.
“I just… ” Lester hesitated, looking away, “… I saw you leave with Marcus when you told me you hated me. I insisted that he tell me what happened next, but that man along with dad insisted that... you went to live in another city or country or I don't know where you hid. That's a bit of an exaggeration, don't you think? But at least, I know you're alive, in front of me. Why did you lie to me? What did you get with that, huh? You know what, forget it.” He walked away from Victor without saying goodbye, getting off the bus 10 blocks before arriving at the university.
Victor immediately followed him. He knew he was late for work but he asked Lester a favor before losing sight of him.
“Can I see you tonight at the Japanese restaurant?” When he got closer to him, he began to limp.
Lester noticed his movements, remembered the shipwreck and that confession on the islet. “You think I'm an idiot, right? Get lost.”
“No, the idiot is me. You don't know how sorry I am, but I want to explain everything to you. Please,... ” Victor begged.
Lester wanted to hit him. He really felt that he could do it, but he wasn't that kind of person. He didn't want to show himself as a weakling. Saying the word "no" was his intention, however, contradictory words came out of his mouth.
“Yes, you piece of idiot. You better have something useful to tell me. At 6, you better not be late. I can't wait for you more than that."
Victor nodded; walked away from him, caught the next bus headed for a maximum security prison. That was not his original destination, but he had to make a stop there.
Yes, confirming I love this chapter 😭❣️❣️❣️. Daniel looks such an adorable young man! You did an amazing job in adding Victor's features to him. My heart!! 💙💙💙💙.
My poor Lester. He's going through so much 😭💙💙. My grandmother too, suffered from dementia. And although it's not even close to what Lester is going through, I can distinctly image the kind of loneliness 🫂.
I've been waiting for this moment, where the adults Victor and Lester would meet again and the first words they would exchange. I suspected Lester would go on a rampage and ramble about everything which he kind of did . However Victor was so very quiet it made me tear up. I wonder how Lester is going to react when he finds out why Victor had been absent all this time. How is he going to react to meeting Daniel? I know we're nearing the end, but I'm excited to see these boys reconnect and just be there for one another (they will always be boys to me!!)
Lovely, lovely chapter! I really can't wait for the next one 💙💙💙💙💙.
Thank you again for the recommendations! There are some creators I did not know, so I'll definitely check them out! 🙏💙💙💙.
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.