Title: THE BODYGUARD
Chapter: 63: Ta'arof
Warnings: Language, Death, Crime
Chapter Overview: Link
About the Story: After the death of their parents, Taylor and Zac went their own way in life. Taylor became a superstar and never thought his chosen profession would bring danger into his life. Blade (Zac) buried the past and lived his life contently in the dark and dirty world as a pimp. Unexpected circumstances bring them together after almost a decade apart. How will they overcome the shadows of the past and move forward?
Special thanks: to itztigress3 for the great help! ♡
Authors Notes: Update Chapter 63! Chapter 64 will be posted at the end of December 2015
previous Chapter 62
I was standing in the master bedroom helping Natalie’s parents, brother, and Skye to pack her clothing. In all honestly, I had mixed feelings to give her clothes away that soon. Because of the estranged marriage we've been lived in for almost two years, a part of me didn't feel connected with her belongings anymore, no matter how much I wished it wouldn't be that way. I didn't intend to sound heartless, but outside of my estranged wife's bubble we've been living in wasn't so bad after all. It had been a cold and loveless life for both of us for nearly two years.
Natalie apparently didn't see it like that though, because she lied to me about her pregnancy. I assumed her reason was that she hoped we could find a way to reconnect... To think about her and the way she died made me feel very sad and guilty. I haven't been a good husband to her because I was often away from home. My music carreer had consumed me so much that I realized too late how much our marriage life had suffered of it until one day we were grown apart. She hadn't deserved to feel lonely. My intense interest in and sexual attraction to others of the same gender had surely contributed to that as well.
A divorce seemed to be the only way to get rid of the chains that made both of us unhappy...
A new period of my life was about to begin, but only if I didn't get killed as well...
If Natalie wouldn't have been murdered I would have found out sooner or later that she wasn't pregnant and probably I would have felt cheated. Just like she would have felt cheated once she would have found that I kept my homosexuality a secret. For sure she would have confronted me about that subject and expected an explanation from me about how the two of us could lead a happy and fulfilled marriage with me being gay.
We both lied to each other for different reasons and if we would have known earlier about it, I guessed it would have increased mine and her wish to get a divorce even more. Me because of the torn feeling to save my married life and my desire to live out my sexuality and Natalie because she would have known that I wouldn't have been able to make her happy.
Natalie's death left some unsolved miracles and mysteries. Somehow, I had to find a way to get over it even though I couldn't say if her and my heart would ever be able to find peace without finding out the truth.
Did Twink Twink kill her or was it an accident that she fell down the stairs? Was he to blame for her death even if he didn't intend to kill her or was I just making him to the scapegoat because I wasn't at home at that time?
A few days ago to become a father seemed to be the key to solve all of our marriage problems. Now, I realize how naive and wrong it was to think that way...
The purpose of having a child should never be seen that way. It needs more than becoming a parent to fix marriage problems. I knew that all of us carried guilt for what we have done, Natalie, Twink Twink and me. But now that my wife was dead and I cam to known that our daughter Hope Alexandria never existed, I didn't see a sense anymore in pondering about what we could have done better and if our marriage could have been saved at all.
She had such a cruel ending which she didn't deserve and it didn't feel right to me to fill my memory of her with bad thoughts. I wanted to keep the happy times we had in my heart and cherish them because I knew that she would never come back anymore. I hoped that she was now at a better place and I know that a part of me will always love her for the happy moments we had together.
I tried to realize that the news that she wasn't pregnant was actually good news because at least there was no innocent child who got murdered...
There was still a feeling of indecision and helplessness inside of me because of the lack of progress in the search for Twink Twink. The urge to do something to find him was there but it was accompanied with fear and doubts if it was right. I've always been a peaceful spirit who didn't consider revenge as a good thing. Maybe it was better to forget... yet it was to expect that Twink Twink wouldn't make it easy for me. I was still in the dark because I wanted to do something, but I had to be very careful about each step. Would I have the courage to face my creepy stalker alone? I knew that I needed some help and support. Any unthoughtful action could be fatal.
Maybe Natalie's parents request to get her clothes was a little precipitous, but I didn't say no because I didn't have use for them and I thought that maybe it would be a little easier for me to not keep her stuff and have it around me all the time to get constantly reminded of her and her death... The only things I kept from her were her diaries, a photo album, my wedding ring and a few small souvenirs we had given to each other over the years.
I envied Zachary in some ways because he wasn't such a headache like I am, the positive kind of envy. Decisions seemed always be so easy for him. It was like there was one voice in his head which always told him what was the right thing to do and nothing and no one could influence him because he was hundred percent convinced what he did was the right thing even if the whole world disagreed. It gave him a character strength which not many people have. It has always been against Zac's principles to run away from anything in life. I know now that it was his unquestioning and determined acting that had mistakenly let me believe he wouldn't need any support and encouragement. He probably thought that I didn't care about his feelings because instead of showing understanding and appreciation, I had only seen the bad sides in Zac's actions, made him feel unaccepted and undesirable, even though it actually was my behavior which was cruel and ashaming and selfish towards him. It's my fault that Zac now feels estranged of me even more than before we even met.
In all honesty, I was more than relieved when the awkward meeting was over and Pam, James and Matthew left. During the whole time I was clearing out Natalie's wardrobe and packed her clothes in cartons which they had brought I couldn't really concentrate on any conversation with them. I was glad that Skye was there and chatted with them about the funeral preperations. He had chosen an asthetic overall image of white roses, floral wreaths decorated with fleurs-de-lis, Natalie's corpse clothing, coffin accessoires and white candles.
My mind kept bringing up images of the introduction with Zachary and their reactions. It had hurt me that they were so unsympathetic towards us even though Zac was my only family beside them.
That's why I decided to withdraw into another room to have a little peace and quiet once they were gone after I asked Skye if he'd be so kind to pack a suitcase for me with enough clothes for a journey of an indefinite time. I knew that I couldn't live in this house any longer, at least not at this time where I wasn't safe. I told Skye that I needed to talk with him and that he could come to my computer office room once he was finished with packing my clothes, knowing that would occupy him for a while.
Because at first, I needed some time alone to think things over and ease my mind so I left Skye in the bedroom alone to pack what I'd asked and I went to my office. The room was designed and furnished by me like nearly every room in the house. Zac and I always have had creative hobbies, mine was a predilection for architecture and interior designs.
I let out a relieved sigh after I shut the door because it was the first time I was alone in two days. My nerves were overburdened since I lost my wife and the feelings of guilt and overtaking responsibilities for everything seemed to be too heavy to carry all by myself. Natalie's death and the fact that a Stalker was anywhere out there and following me was scary and had thrown me off the track.
I walked behind the desk and laid my shoulder bag in front of me on the table after sitting down. Somewhere among all the things I carried around was a red book; it was my diary. My hands stroked over the leather binding before I took it out of the bag. I already made some plans about my escape in my mind, but things had developed differently than I expected. It was necessary to reflect some things and to think of a new plan. Silently I sat there, holding the book in my hands.
I finally had to find a new order of my life because in the last three days, I wasn't myself. There was that dark cloud hanging above my head since Natalie was murdered and I had no clue how to get rid of it. I've been all at the sea and mistakenly thought that Zac's presence made things even worse and me lose myself even more.
But I had realized that it was actually the complete contrary. Zac was the one who helped me not to lose my footing; he kept my feet on the ground. He never gave me the feeling that I couldn't be honest with him or that I had to hide behind a mask no matter how my moods were. I had forgotten how important it is to have someone like that in my life. Yeah, my younger brother was telling me what I should and shouldn't do but I knew that he never meant it bad. He was just concerned that I would lose myself. It's an easy life when you've got that kind of guidance.
And instead of being thankful for his help, I acted like I was punished for our past. I didn't know why I did that. When we were together I thought I would know the reasons, but the more time passed the more I realized that my reasons were just excuses from not facing the reality.
There's so much hate in this world and I don't want to be hated. No one wants to be hated and get laughed at. But the whole time I hadn't realized or didn't want to see that my hurting and condescending behaviour towards Zachary was always at his expense. Zac had tried to talk about with me so many times, yet I always pushed him away and treated him like it's his fault that I felt ashamed of him. I couldn't even express how cruel and sadistic that was and how much Zac must have felt hurt and ignored by me all the time. I hadn't even deserved his care and protection, yet he stayed by my side, kept the promise he gave Santiago and helped me to get better. It was ashaming to realize that Zac was a much better brother than I was even though he never tried or considered himself as someone better than me. Zac never tried to impress me in any way just like I had done with my cultivated manners. He never made me feel like he couldn't accept me and took something away from me. While he helped and protected me, all I had done was to lie and hurt him.
My vanity and my worries of getting hate and laughter had made me blind about what I was really doing to Zac. Instead of sticking to him I carelessly traumatized my own brother because of my egoism and my fear. I had lost myself in a sea of depression because I couldn't see a way to move on from Natalie's death. I know that nothing of that was an excuse for my despicable behavior though. Instead of being happy that I finally was reconnected with my brother after nine long years of being apart and being grateful that I still had a blood relative, my mind was only focussed on myself and how other people perceived me. Zachary had experienced so much sorrow, unfairness and depression that I couldn't even imagine how he handled and endured all those ugly, degrading situations.
I’ve cheated my brother out of normal live. My twenty-five year old brother had a stronger sense of responsibility than I had and I made use of it to not having to deal with hard and rough stuff like he always had in his position. I didn't want to accept that pronoucing obscenities and pull rough stuff was sometimes inevitable in his job and caused even more problems because of my lack of insight. I couldn't blame him that he often talked to me like I was his little brother. All he wanted was that I finally overtake responsibility and stick to him.
I sighed, opened my diary and flipped through the pages until I found the envelope I had put between the pages. I had written a letter for Zac when I was waiting in his car when he went back into Santiago's bar to help him. It was a goodbye letter in which I wanted to explain him everything and tell him why I ran away back then.
I took the pages out of the envelope and began to read what I had written hours ago.
So far I hadn't told Zac about this letter because actually I planned to leave it somewhere once I had a chance to escape to save him. But in the meantime things had changed for me and I can finally see things clear. At the time when I wrote the letter seemed the plan to get rid of Zachary the right decision.
Now, the letter sounded to me like another excuse for my pride and cowardice. Because it was exactly what it was and I knew for sure that Zac would also see it that way. He hadn't deserved to get told the truth in this coward way. No matter how beautiful and poetic the letter was written, it was not what he had deserved! My goodbye letter was full of lies. Leaving Zachary doesn't mean I want the best for him, it only means I want the best for myself. Wanting the best for Zachary means to fight for him and not to leave him for any price.
I didn't really know what to do with the letter anymore. It was useless and would only gain Zac's disappointment. I tore up the pages and tossed them into the garbage where they belonged. Then I put my diary back in my bag, hoping some thinking over things would help me to find some inner peace.
I had to admit I felt really ashamed of how the meeting with Natalie's family went. The awkward moment of the introduction with Zachary was still occupying my thoughts. Natalie's family, Skye and me, we were all sitting there with appropriate dressed mourning clothes. I know that it was a hard time for them currently like it was for me as well, but I wished their reactions about Zac and me would have been different.
There was no need to blame us for their pain. James had shown no understanding at all for our situation even though he didn't even know Zachary and he had no clue about all the things Zac had done for me until today. Pam and Matthew weren't better either, she spit her tea over the couch and Matthew was laughing about me.
Why did they judge us before they even knew how it must be like for us?
I began to see the cruelty of the situation how worse it must have been for Zachary. He was there and he protected me. He gave me the biggest present anyone can give to another person; his life. It must have felt like we all spitted on him like he wasn't worth anything because all of us were guilty of judging him. No one had eyes for the great deed my little brother did for me and I was the worst person of all because I had done the same since the beginning, so who was I to blame them?
The worst thing were his blank stares, as if he had become so used to that kind of respectless treatment towards him that it didn't even affect him anymore. During the whole meeting he has been unusually quiet and withdrawn. Unfortunately, I didn't sense that something was wrong with him before I stood up and went upstairs with Nat's family. Zachary didn't follow us. As I looked at him one last time before I went upstairs, there was a look in his eyes that was marked by the sadness of a broken heart. I guessed he didn't show it earlier because of the presence of Natalie's family even though they didn't even made him feel welcome. Still, he was considerate towards me because he knew how important that Meeting was. It was as if he had given up on everything, the empty, glazed look in his eyes was like he didn't even exist anymore. He just sat there in silence like a sad, forlorn dog with his long straggly hair. His silence was worse than his anger. The constant isolation had made him invisible to protect himself. It was inhuman to make him feel that way. No one deserves to be treated like a burden. Zac helped me to get better and suffered for it on top of that. What had I done to him?
I felt so ashamed of myself for what I did. Not that kind of shame that I had felt because of Zac's protection. A different kind of shame. It was guilt. And with that a feeling of shame, I also felt anger building up on me because I didn't use the time to make up to him. I wanted to do something for Zac but I realized that I couldn't do anything for him if I didn't keep him.
Blade and Bandito had risked their lives for me. The feeling was all very new to me. I never knew I'd have friends like that. It touched my sensitive heart how caring and protective he was of me. Everything I did and said to Zac must have been Ta'arof for him. That is a Persian term which is used as a form of politeness, something that you say to another person but you don't really mean it. Ta'arof can easily cause misunderstandings and that's probably also the reason why Zac and I were arguing so much...
Honestly, I was wondering about how Pam's, James' and Matthew's reaction would have been if I had introduced Zachary to them as my older brother. Something tells me that their reaction would have been different. I don't think their reactions would have been that dramatic like they had been. Maybe they would have even praised Zac for his job. But just because he was my younger brother and not my older brother, they reacted like it was the worst, strange and inappropriate thing they have ever heard. I had to admit that Natalie's family's reaction hurt me as much as it hurt Zac because if anyone made fun of one of us, both of us felt hurt. That's what makes us brothers.
I began to see the differences of my and Zac's life even more clear since I became a little insight of his life. Our twisted roles actually helped me to understand him better.
How would they have reacted if I had lied to them and told them that Zachary is actually my older brother? I assumed Matthew wouldn't have mocked me and Zac would have got the kind of respect and recognition which he actually deserved.
But I know that Zac wouldn't have liked me to lie. He rather lived with the consequences. His brutal honesty reminded me of Kurt Cobain's personality in some ways. He would rather be hated for who he is than loved for whom he is not and Zac was exactly the same in that case. I know that he cannot live without honesty and that makes his life much harder than many other people lives but it also made him real and authentic. To me he always found ways to be honest with me without being disrepectful. Honesty is often misunderstood as respectlessness, but actually lying is more respectless. It's easy to appear confident when you have a group of people around you who all agrees to your lies and shows you acceptance to feel vindicated with your opinion. But you always risk to be disliked and to stand alone if you say the truth right out like Zachary does. I could understand now why he had developed that 'Fuck you' attitude to not steadily get hurt and feel disappointed by other people. He was tired of pretending to be someone else for the sake of friendships.
To me was Zac like a Cowboy from a Western movie who was fighting for justice and I loved that about him.
When I thought of him, Santiago and Bandito I felt so grateful. Compared to the awkward meeting with Skye, Andrew and Natalie's family was the visit in Santiago's bar so very different. When Zac, Bandito and I visited his saloon for lunch I was welcomed warmheartedly and friendly. No one judged and laughed at me because I was my little brother's client. The man who was there for my younger brother for the past nine years had invited me for lunch and even gave me pepper spray without demanding anything in return.
There was no one who showed no understanding, laughed at me or spit a drink out because of something odd I had said. Compared to my visit in Santiago's bar with him, the meeting with Natalie's family must have been nothing but cruel and nasty for him.
My brother was right, it's the judgments and envy which make characters ugly. No life's worth more than any other, no little brother worth less than any big brother!
I hadn't eaten anything for three days, that's why I had felt so weak and Santiago, Zac and Bandito helped me to feel more comfortable even though I could sense that it was weird for them when I taught Zachary table manners. Still, no one said a word about it. They hadn't judged me like Nat's family and Santiago had even praised me and forced Zac to thank me for hurting him on top of that because he wanted to help me to make me feel more comfortable.
I felt nauseas to think of that... What the hell was I thinking???
At the beginning of Zac's and mine relationship I thought of him as a primitive animal with vulgar and ordinary manners. I didn't want to realize that our age difference didn't matter. I forgot the most important thing what really mattered; that we were together.
I can feel now that it's actually my life which is nasty and ugly because of the judgmental and the prejudiced attitude I had towards Zac. I had become one of those superficial, prejudiced people I never want to become and that's what makes me feel guilty and ashamed the most. I thought that showing Zac well behaved manners would make him looking up to me and now I felt that he's actually the one I can look up to. He was the only one who was brave enough to speak up and bring honesty, respect, loyalty, responsibility, and realism in my life. And he got nothing back than condescending and judging rejection...
I never wanted to be one of those persons who realize a mistake when it's too late. Actually I'm known for being a good listener and being insightful and tactful, but I hadn't opened my eyes to see what was going on around me and did nothing else but wallow in self pity about my situation. Only because of Zachary and Bandito I was still alive. I felt terribly sorry about what I said about Bandito, how gross it was that he licked the pool of blood away from the floor. I know now that it must have been like another arsekick for both of them after the ministration and comfort they gave me. I was appalled by myself for what I have done to them. And right now, I didn't even know if I'd ever see Bandito again. I was so grateful for their love, comfort and kindness. I didn't want to lose them. They both gave me the comfort and care that I needed in my darkest hours.
There were so many moments I had simply ignored. I had seen in Zac's eyes that he wanted to go into the game center instead of shopping for clothes with me this morning, but I had ignored it. He didn't even have the time to play with his X Box that I bought him. When we went into his hotel last night I was scared that he wanted to hurt me and I felt grossed out to sleep in a brothel. I hadn't even thought about how it must have been for him that I looked at him like he was from a primeval forest. I had never asked him why he was making sniffling noises so often and why he was going crazy if he didn't get some sugar. I had never asked him how he felt that I felt ashamed of him and wanted to get rid of him even though I was the one who agreed to hire him and now I wasn't standing up for my decision.
When Zachary saved me out of the crowd outside the barber's shop I had considered it as the most embarrassing experience of my life that he saved my life. The whole time I put myself into the victim role without seeing what he did for me and how ugly and hurting my superficial behavior must have been for him. I had apologized to him for my tears, unthinking that my apologies made it even worse and must have make him feel like he wasn't worthy enough to see them. I was worried that he boosted his ego in his job, but who was I to decide about how confident he was allowed to be? Instead of being grateful for what I had, was all I did to act like an arrogant, spoiled diva.
I felt like a complete idiot and the worst brother in history. I know now that it wasn't thankfulness in Zachary's eyes when I laid my arm around him. How could I even believe it was thankfulness? Thankfulness after what I've done to him? There was nothing but sadness and brokenness in his eyes and apparently I thought it would be that easy to solve things with him without even thinking and caring about the mistakes I made. Instead of making him feel home I made him feel like an outcast and unwelcome intruder. I traumatized him because of my pride and doubts, unthinking of the fact that there was nothing left when we were seperated again. I turned something into a process and a difficult decision which actually shouldn't be a decision and a process at all in a family and let my younger brother's heart bleed and break for a second time. Instead of supporting him I made his brutal life even harder. Certainly, he now thought of me as the most ignorant and arrogant asshole he had ever met.
All I cared about was my life and my feelings.
The voice of reason had betrayed me.
Slideshow video inspiration video with Zac pics for this Chapter
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