Remembering Scars

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Chapter 10

“You know who I haven’t seen in, like, three days?” Wolfgang asked, elbows propped against the table and chin in his hands, eyes stuck on Gil, who sat across from him, flipping through a magazine.

“Who?” Jaimie asked from beside Wolf.

“Sebby,” Wolf noted the little twitch Gil gave, but he didn’t look up, so Wolf sat back, stretching his arms up, “Anyone else worried?”

“Oh, did I not tell you?” both Wolf and Jaimie looked over at the doorway to the kitchen, where Peter was standing, a sheepish smile on his face, “He said he was going to stay with a friend for a few days. Sorry, I should have mentioned it.”

“Yea, you should have,” Wolf folded his arms, pouting, “Why do you know everything?”

“I’m the oldest,” Peter said simply, walking over and taking a seat beside Gil, across from Jaimie, “But yes, he called me yesterday before Pops and Rita took Kitty to the hospital to see Chris and said he’d be staying over at a friend’s house.”

“Ah, yes, the ellusive best friend I’ve heard about,” Wolf nodded, pinching his chin, “When are we going to meet this mystery companion?”

Peter laughed softly, “He likes his privacy.”

“You’ve met him though!” Wolf whined, and Jaimie giggled from beside him as Peter shrugged, “Tell us his name at least.”

“Um, try to make a guess,” Peter suggested, and Wolf folded his arms, humming.

“David.”

“No.”

“Uh, Craig. What letter does it start with?”

“Depends what name you’re using,” Peter said, and Wolf threw his hands up.

“Well thanks for that hint!”

“Can you tell us anything?” Jaimie asked, and Peter shrugged, staring at his folded hands.

“He’s older than Seb,” he explained, “He lives alone, and he has a job.”

“Older, huh?” Wolf wiggled his eyebrows, and Peter laughed, but Gil twitched again, grinding his teeth, which had Wolf leaning against the table, eyes on Gil as he spoke to Peter, “How close of friends are they?”

Obviously sensing what Wolf was doing, Peter rolled his eyes, “I probably shouldn’t say.”

Wolf turned his gaze to Peter, eyes wide, “What’s that mean?” he asked, suddenly interested.

Peter just smiled at him, “Well... ah, I really shouldn’t say.”

“Oh no, no, you mentioned something, now I wanna know. Are they, like, not just friends? Why did Seb never mention anything?!” Wolf was holding his hands out, looking put out, “I had such high hopes! Jaimie and I make wedding plans all the time! Now he’s gone and got himself someone else?!”

Peter was laughing loudly now, only stopping when he started to cough, lifting a hand to his mouth and shaking his head, “You’re over reacting, it’s nothing like that, they’re just friends,” he sat back, a hand on his chest and anuneasy smile on his face, “Honestly, Wolf.”

“Hey, I didn’t know,” Wolf pouted, his chin sitting on the table as he leaned against it, “When’s he coming home?”

Peter shrugged, “He’ll call.”

“Are you supposed to be up right now?” Jaimie asked, and Peter put a finger to his lips.

“Don’t tell Jake.”

Gil tried his best to block them out, pretending to be as fascinated as he could with the latest Kardashian news, but it was hard. He didn’t care about any of what was in the magazine, he was just trying to act like he didn’t care, but it was hard when Wolf wouldn’t shut up!

In any case, who the hell was this supposed friend of Sebastian’s and why had he never heard of him before? Gil always assumed Seb was a loner. He was always good with people... or he used to be, but he never seemed interested in extending his reach beyond his family, so the knowledge that someone not related to him, some stranger, had managed to weed his stupid way into Seb’s life had Gil on edge. His baby brother really had changed.

Was it... because of him? That’s what Seb had said.

You happened to me. You’re the reason for fucking EVERYTHING Gil! I have tried so fucking hard to make it stop, but you’re always there! You make it worse!

It really was his fault, and he didn’t even give Sebastian a chance to explain himself. After the kiss, Gil had become so scared, so inconsolable, he didn’t even realize Seb had left til he noticed how cold he was, looking up to see he was alone. He’d slipped into a horrid anxiety attack, and Sebastian had just... left him there.

But it wasn’t his fault... it was Gil’s... everything was his fault, which meant it was up to him to fix it. He had to find his little brother. He had to talk to him. He needed to know what the hell he’d been thinking, kissing him like that, why he’d done it. It-it wasn’t like Gil hated him for it! He’d just been taken by surprise! He loved his baby brother, he wanted to understand! He wanted to help him somehow, console him, he wanted to make it better like he used to, but he couldn’t do that if he didn’t know what the hell was wrong.

The only thing he knew for a fact was that he himself was the root to all of Sebastian’s problems. He just didn’t understand why, and that kiss just complicated things more! Ever since Andrea had shown up, reminding Gil of his traumatic childhood, he’d been detereorating mentally. During that time, Sebastian was also suffering, but Gil was so stuck in his selfish issues that he never noticed it.

One moment Sebby was his bouncing, lovable, pink haired baby brother, and the next... he was grown up, the innocence had faded, his hair changed, his body changed, he was taller than Gil, stronger, he had muscles like Jacob, and the lethal stare of a hunted beast. Gil wanted to cry...

He closed the magazine and stood up, rubbing his eyes and stepping away from the table, “I’m tired,” he muttered, leaving the kitchen and hiking up the stairs, pausing in front of his door.

Instead of entering, he turned around and instead walked into Sebastian’s room, shutting the door quietly before looking around. Even his room was different. Cleaner than it used to be, there were no posters, no toys or knick knacks. The blinds were closed, the lights were off, they were probably never even used.

Gil stepped further into the room, stopping as he looked around and walking over to the bed, sitting down and picking up the single framed photo on the bedside table. He clicked on the lamp there so he could see the picture, smiling at it. It was a family photo, taken a while ago, when Gil still had green hair and Sebastian still had pink.

Ben was in the back, with Peter standing in front of him, one arm around Gil and the other around Wolf. Sebastian was standing in front of them all, pressed up against Peter, and both Gil and Wolf had their arms around him. He looked so small and... happy, with his head tilted against Gil’s shoulder, his arms raised to wrap around Wolf and Gil.

A clear drop of liquid fell onto the glass, and Gil raised a hand to wipe at his eyes before setting the picture down and lying on the bed, curling up against the pillows and wrapping his arms under them, stopping when his fingers hit something hard hidden beneath the fluffy pillows. He sat up and practically threw the pillows aside, stopping when he saw the leather journal he’d gotten Sebastian a few years back.

At least it wasn’t a knife...

Gil picked the book up and set it on his lap, contemplating how wrong it was to readsomeone’s diary before flipping it open and sitting back against the head board. The first entry started with “Gil bought me a diary...,” and went on to talk about how dumb diaries are, but he would keep it cuz his brother got it for him. It managed to make Gil smile a bit, but the furtehr in he got, the entries changed from cute pre teen ranting to horrid nightmares and identity confusion.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Whenever I have a dream, it’s either a nightmare or about Gil, sometimes both, and I end up waking up tangled in the sheets and sweating buckets. I’m really worried about him. Ever since the whole thing with that stupid woman, Gil has looked so lost and afraid. I want to help him somehow, but I’m supposed to be the innocent one. It’s getting harder to act the part...

I wonder what they would say if they knew what I did that day to get the stupid bitch to back off? Maybe send me to therapy. I had to do something though, I wasn’t gonna stand there watching her beat my brother’s! Especially Gil... he doesn’t need that. He doesn’t deserve that at all. He should only be happy, not afraid like he was when she showed up.

What I did to myself then was nothing compared to what they had been through their entire childhood. What’s a silly little cut that healed in a week compared to dozens of scars that would stay a lifetime? Or... constantly failing health? All three of them have sacrificed to protect me... cutting myself with a knife and blaming it on that woman to land her in jail was the least I could do...

Gil slapped a hand over his mouth as a tiny cry of disbelief flew from it. He remembered that day at the hospital. Their mother, Andrea Walker had shown up. Poor Ben couldn’t do a thing with his handicap, he couldn’t move fast enough to defend his adopted sons, and Peter was on the floor bleeding from the mouth within seconds of trying to defend his younger siblings. For a while Gil was mad at Jacob for just sitting there like a dumb ass, but he didn’t do anything wrong, he was protecting Peter, just like he always did.

In the end Gil and Wolf were both down, Gil remembered blacking out for a little, coming to only when he heard Sebastian screaming. He remembered looking up and seeing Andrea holding a knife with spots of blood staining the silver blade, and Sebastian was curled up on the ground at her feet. The cut across his chest had been shallow, and healed without scarring, but... had he really done it to himself?

Andrea had looked so stunned, granted, but Sebastian had been thirteen! There was no way Gil’s cute little innocent baby brother did that to himself! He didn’t even like knives, why would he carry one around with him?!

Gil swallowed and looked back down at the page, feeling over the words ...I’m supposed to be the innocent one. It’s getting harder to act the part..., before turning the page and reading the next entry.

He’s getting worse, Gil is I mean. I don’t think Wolfy or Peter notice the little changes, but it’s hard for me not to notice when he’s all I think about. His hair is messier, like he doesn’t care about his appearance anymore, and he’s started wearing the same clothes all the time, like he sleeps in them. Itry to be subtle with my worry like he’s subtle with whatever is hurting him. I casually mention shower night, like I used to when I was younger, and usually it gets him to shower and change clothes and take care of himself, but the whole thing with dinner and eating is a lot tougher.

I never see him eat with us anymore. When I mention it, innocently like I’m supposed to, he just gives me that smile and says he ate already. Liar. He never leaves his room, and unless there’s a four course buffet hidden in his closet that I don’t know about, he hasn’t eaten. He tries to hide it from me, cuz I’m the cute innocent one, but if being cute and innocent means I’m not alloud to understand and protect him, then I’m done being the baby.

Peter knows what’s wrong, I know he does. Whenever I ask, he gets this sad look in his eyes. It has to do with that woman, I know it does. Whatever she did to Gil, it traumatized him, and I swear if she wasn’t already in prison I’d snap her neck for hurting my brother’s like she did.

Gil had to stop again, wiping at the tears filling his eyes. He couldn’t believe it. Theentire time he was falling back to the past, fading, the entire time and Sebastian was the one to notice. He wanted to kick himself. It really was his fault Sebastian changed, lost his innocence. He used to have such a bright outlook on life, but he must have felt guilty for the fact his brothers had been through so much in order to make sure he was never touched.

He felt guilty, so he stopped being innocent and instead became tainted by the realities of the horrid world around him. That was the one thing Gil never wanted to happen, and it did. He wanted Sebastian to stay innocent, retain that beautiful childlike wonder, but he... he changed. He grew up, he matured, he wasn’t a baby anymore, and it was a hard cold fact that Gil had been ignoring for a while now.

He shook his head and wiped at his eyes again so his vision was clear enough to read.

Today was strange. I was walking home from the store, minding my own business, but I heard someone yelling, crying, so I couldn’t stop myself from going to investigate. Maybe because I have this weird inner need to be a hero, I don’t know why, but ignoring the possibility that someone could be getting mutilated and murdered, I followed the voices till I was in an alley way between this business building and a side store.

There were three guys there. Two of them were super burly, like pops, but they were young, maybe college age, and they were dressed in all of the stupid trends you could think of. Letter jackets, those dumb blind sun glasses you can’t even see out of, and those douche bag hats, but they were backwards. So stupid.

What wasn’t stupid was the poor kid they were harassing. He was a lot smaller than them, with piercings and the craziest colored hair I’ve ever seen, which is saying something considering I dyed my hair pink for most of my life. His lip was bleeding as he was screaming like a wounded cat, flailing his arms trying to push these two ass holes away from him, but I don’t think he was strong, because they didn’t even budge when his fists hit them.

They were laughing at him, pulling at his clothes, calling him a slut. I got mad, I dropped the groceries I’d picked up, and I ran at them. Which was really stupid, cuz they were huge. It surprised me when one punch had the first one sprawling out with a busted nose and chipped teeth. So surprised that I stopped dead and looked at my fist like wow, did I do that? Evidently I did, cuz the skin on my knuckles was torn open.

The second douchey college guy grabbed me and swung a fist, but I caught it before it hit me. No, I’m serious, I really did catch the guy’s fist, and it was easy! It felt like a fly, so I swatted it away and knocked him out just as easily as I did the first guy. The entire time I probably had a really stupid look on my face, like Napolean Dynamite taking on a football team.

When they were slummped over each other not moving I kind of just stood there staring at them before remembering what I was doing, then looked over to see the poor kid from before was gaping at me like I was the mesiah. I couldn’t just leave him there, so I offered to walk him home.

He’s a weird guy. It turns out he’s older than me, dropped out of school a while back, and was working at this bar, Pandora’s Pride, as a stripper. Sorry, “dancer”, when I called him a stripper he busted my lip. Hurt like hell. I like him though, his name is Avery. It’s... weird. For most of my life I’ve avoided people outside my family, but this guy is different. He’s not like most people, he’s honest, he’s blunt to an almost insulting level, and spending an hour with him, I think I understand why those two thugs tried to attack him.

He treats me honestly, like I’m older than I actually am. Or maybe it’s how most people my age are treated, I don’t really know, my brother’s are always babying me. When I told Avery that, he laughed in my face, and I kind of wanted to punch him, but I think if I did then I’d be in a trash can somewhere. He’ll definitely take some getting used to, but... well, it might be time to start making some friends.

Friends, huh? So this Avery person was the one Peter mentioned. The one Sebastian was with at the moment. And he was a stripper?! What was Sebastian doing hanging around someone like that?! If he’d been there, Gil would be losing his mind lecturing him, but he was alone in Seb’s room with just his journal, so he just turned the page to keep reading.

So Avery brought me to his work, that bar Pandora’s Pride. I didn’t know what it was until I got there, but now I understand why the name has the word Pride in it. The place was rainbow central, I have never seen that many men making out with other men. Most sixteen year olds would be so psyched to be taken to a strip club, right? Personally I didn’t like it.

I’m not saying it wasn’t a cool place, cuz it was! The food there was actually pretty good. I almost got to drink, but Avery laughed at me and tossed the cocktail on my face before I could take a sip, saying I was way too young for alcohol. Yea, okay, too young for alcohol, not too young for a strip club, sounds legit.

Well, the people there weren’t half bad. The ones who weren’t drunk, that is. The girls didn’t look trashy, or like they were trying too hard, and the guys were wearing some pretty nice suits, like they were businessmen or something. Avery confirmed that theory. Evidently Pandora’s Pride was big with the super rich people who liked keeping a low profile. I swear if Obama showed up wanting to fuck a guy, no one would bat an eye. I think I saw some doctor’s from the hospital there too, and a few cops from the precinct where Jacob works.

Anyway, they were decent, and the owner of the place was nice enough. His name’s Ceasar August. I’m not kidding, that’s really his name, I saw his driver’s liscence. He was okay, he offered me a job, but Avery didn’t like that idea at all, so instead he just gave me this shiny monograhmed VIP card so I could come and go whenever I want.

Yea, give the sixteen year old a VIP pass to a strip club, that’s totally legal.

I don’t think I’ll go there alone though, not without Avery. I mean, it’s an okay place, but not really somewhere I’d hang out while working on my algebra homework.

That’s what Pandora’s Pride was?! A strip club?! And Sebastian went there at fucking sixteen?! Gil didn’t know who this Avery guy was, but so far he really didn’t like him! He couldn’t believe someone older would be so irresponsible! Sebastian was just a baby, and the stupid stripper brought him to where the babies were made!

A strip club! Gil was getting angrier by the minute, grinding his teeth as he turned the next page. Well, at least he knew what that strange card was for. A VIP pass into a strip club. Maybe he should burn it...

They gave me a nickname today, Ceaser and the dancers did. Avery was working today when he brought me in, so I sat with Ceaser while he danced. He’s a pretty chill guy. Married, aparantly, but I don’t know if he tied the knot with a guy or a girl, and he didn’t tell me. He just gave me this grin that said haha, guess kid. I guess it doesn’t mind, it just surprised me is all.

Anyway, while we were talking about the political reach the German empire had during WWII (he was helping me with my homework) some idiot drunk was inching closer and closer to the stage. I only noticed him when he got the foot of it, with this disgusting look on his face as he watched Avery dance.

I thought nothing of it till he reached out to Ave when he got close to the edge of the stage. I think my vision turned red for a while there, because when I came to I was leaning over him and he was unconscious with a broken nose and missing four or five teeth, and my knuckles were scraped up again. It was really quiet, so I looked up to see literally every eye was on me.

So I said oops, and Avery started laughing like a god damn lunatic, which had everyone else laughing too. Back in the dressing room later, Avery was still laughing, cleaning my ruined knuckles with this expensive alcohol from the whiskey rack, and Ceaser called me a vampire. It caught on really fast, so now everyone calls me Vampire because I beat that guy to a bloody pulp.

It’s stupid, but I guess I don’t mind. The guy deserved it.

Gil reached into his pocket and pulled out the pretty credit card VIP pass, feeling over the raised name at the bottom corner. Vampire. That explained a bit more, but was Sebastian really that violent?

He winced, remembering when he stabbed glass through Camilla’s hand.

Yea, he really was that violent. Or... maybe protective was a better word. He attacked that drunk guy to protect Avery, he attacked Camilla to protect Gil... he wasn’t sure what to think of that.

The next few entries were about Avery, Pandora’s Pride, realizing he was attracted to guys, Avery slowly explaining the whole gay-bisexual concept in order to somehow help Sebastian understand himself and his emotions. That’s when Gil’s name started coming up a lot...

I think I understand it now, the tightness in my chest whenever I see him, the reason I keep trying to avoid him. I tried to make it stop, I really did, but nothing worked. Avery let me try alcohol to see if it would help, but he locked us both in his apartment so I didn’t do anything stupid that could land me in jail. Didn’t work. The alcohol I mean, not the jail thing.

I don’t remember most of what happened when I was wasted, but Avery said I got worse, I kept mumbling, crying pathetically. He said it was good, I’m not an angry drunk, I’m an emotional drunk, but that didn’t make me feel better. Alcohol might hav let me forget him for a little, but the feelings didn’t go away.

So... I slept with Ave. It was weird, and it didn’t work either. If anything it made me feel guilty, like I’d betrayed myself. Alcohol, pointless sex, nothing worked. No matter what I did I still thought of him, my chest still got uncomfortably tight to the point of dropping me to my knees and sobbing.

I get it now, I understand. I am helplessly, madly, pathetically in love with my older brother.

And I hate myself for it.

There’s nothing wrong with being gay, being sexually attracted to other men, but being romantically and sexually attracted to your own brother who is also a guy? There’s definitely something wrong with that. I’m disgusting. I hate these uncontrollable emotions.

I want to hold him so badly, and kiss him, and sleep beside him, and just have the knowledge that he loves me like I love him, but it’s not gonna happen. I’m not gonna hold his hand, or hug him, or do anything like it. I have to stop the emotions, I have to stay away from him so I don’t hurt him.

That’s what I told Avery, and he called me a dumb ass. Not surprised, I am a dumb ass. I’m a dumb ass for letting myself fall so hard for him. I’m disgusting for having dreams about him in such horribly vulgar positions. It makes me sick. But... at the same time, I want those dreams to happen in reality. I want to make him say the things he does in my dreams. I want him to scream my name.

I want him to love me back.

But I know he never will, so I have to try to stop the dreams, the emotions, any way I can. I’ve tried a lot of stuff too. Alcohol, sex, I tried to get some drugs to see if that would help, but before I could do anything with them, Avery found me and had a shit fit before flushing it. I cause him so much trouble, I don’t deserve him as my friend.

When I told him that he punched me in the face.

Friendship.

It’s hard to accept, the fact these emotions aren’t just going to go away. I’ve conceded to the fact all I can do is stand aside, avoid him, but try to protect him at the same time lik I really want to. I want to hold him and make sure he knows he’s safe, that I would never let anyone hurt him, that he can cry if he needs to and that it’s alright if he wants to be happy, but... I can’t.

So instead I fight with him, I alienate myself, avoid him at all costs. I still do my best to look after him, just not face to face like I used to. Like I want to. If I have to turn into a shadow to protect him, I’ll do it. If I have to lose every ounce of innocence I’ve ever had to protect him, I’ll do it. If I have to kill... I’ll do it without question.

Because I love him so much, so much that I’m willing to give up everything just for him. Including our bond as brothers. As long as he’s safe, I’m okay being alone, not being his brother. Being near him with the way I am is too painful, so all I can do is pull away from him. Pathetic, isn’t it? I love him so much, which is why I stay away from him... as long as he’s safe...

Some of the letters and words were smudged due to dried tear stains, no doubt from when Sebastian wrote the entry, likely sobbing with how many dry stains and smudged pen there was. Gil’s hands were trembling as he turned the page, his breath catching in his throat as he tried to breathe. There were a dozen entries like that, talking about how much Seb hated himself, simply because he couldn’t control the fact he was in love with his brother...

In love with Gil...

Then he came to the last entry, and Gil’s eyes began to burn as he read it.

Jaimie tried to commit suicide once. I never understood it, the fact he was willing to end his own life, his existence, simply because of his trauma. I think I get it now, though.

Peter knows about me... how I feel about Gil. So does Jacob, and Wolf, and Jaimie. Even Ben, Rita, Kitty, and Cameron... they all fucking know that I’m in love with him, and they all keep saying the same thing.

Tell him.

Why? So he can look at me in disgust? So he can hate me as much as I hate myself? I can’t do it. I can’t tell him, I’m too afraid of what his reaction might be. I hate myself enough already, if he... knew, and if he hated me for it, then that would be it. I’d give up.

I understand how Jaimie felt know, how painful it must have been, how desperate he must have felt to try and end himself. Cuz now I feel that same emptiness.

For a while, the pointless sex helped, the alcohol helped, but I’ve become so desensityzed from it that I feel nothing, and it hurts so much. Although... maybe it’s a good thing. If I can’t feel anything at all, then there’s nothing to stop me from looking after him. As long as he never finds out.

I may not be able to feel pleasure, or happiness, or anything like that, but I can still feel pain... emotional pain... and if he finds out, he’ll hate me, and if he hates me...

The entry ended there, and Gil burst out into horrid sobbing that he fought to keep quiet. He didn’t want Wolf or Peter coming in to find him reading Sebastian’s private journal with teary eyes and a snotty nose. He closed the journal and slid it back under the pillows before dropping his face into his hands, his body trembling as he cried.

He understood now why Sebastian became withdrawn, quiet, why he avoided him. It was because he didn’t want to lose control and hurt Gil somehow. But Gil pushed him, so Sebastian broke. Kissed him. And his worst nightmares came true when Gil looked at him like he was a monster.

He wiped at his eyes and looked at the VIP card, turning it over and staring at the address a long tim before clenching his teeth and standing up, stuffing into into his back pocket and starting towards the door, stopping only once to stare back at the family photo on Sebastian’s bedside table. Then he left the room, and the house, without anyone noticing him, and started to run.

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