He waited for boat in the harbor. He knew what color it had been, even if he managed to miss the name of it in the first place, and sat on the post near it. Roy, who he’d abandoned in the hotel room appeared on his own with both their bags and sat by him on pile of boxes without uttering a word. They didn’t have to wait long before the old man appeared with thermos and after getting the fee for transport, he ushered them to release the ropes before ordering them aboard.
This time the old man was friendlier, but it was clear it was too early for any of them to keep up a normal conversation, so instead they received small stainless steel cups with coffee bitter like the coal drowned in seawater. It was hard to get it down, his stomach was in too many knots to think of the offering as something friendly, but he still managed to drink most of it before they got to Drasan. Roy had better luck with it and he guessed the teacher liked it that way.
It occurred to him half way there that Valerie might be greeting the boat to receive her mail and the sudden realization made him jump up from his seat and walk over to the railing. Roy watched him curiously, but decided then it wasn’t worth being yelled at this early and remained on his seat. It was too clear to his liking and he couldn’t pull his eyes away from the port waiting on the other end of the small see. He knew there was nothing he could see from this distance, yet he kept searching the coast line for familiar knee-high summer dress with cardigan that looked like a bright dot among all the greenery of the forest and grays the stones offered to the picture. Even the houses looked brighter from this distance.
There was nobody waiting in the port.
The site was just as alarming as if he’d actually met her.
“Who are you looking for?” Roy asked, joining him on the railing.
“Val.” He muttered before his mind registered what the question was.
Reed darted his eyes on the man next to him, frowning – didn’t he know, who the woman was next to Tomas?
“Postman.” He clarified, deciding he would not tell him if he didn’t figure it out himself.
The sun was already high and warming their backs as they reached the port, where they helped the captain unload his cargo before the boat backed away.
“You two seem to be on good terms?” Roy asked as they waved good bye to the old man.
“No, I haven’t got a clue, who that man is, but that’s how it is here it seems. They deal with each other and everybody here as if they’ve known them all their lives. You’d like it here.”
His eyes faltered on the seagull snapping at a crow. Did he? He’d enjoyed the silence the island offered, but had he liked it here that much?
He took his bag and saw the magazine pushed between the handles. The same one with engagement pictures. He started to walk down the small road leading to Tomas’ house without waiting Roy to follow. The closer they got, the more he sensed the anger surface again, clouding his vision with red. The magazine in his hand burned. He started walking faster when the house came in site. Roy was struggling now to keep up with the pace and had fallen several steps behind.
It was clear from where he stopped in front of it that there was nobody home. So he dropped his bag, kept the magazine and started back towards the village center.
“You son of a bitch!” He roared as he saw Tomas’ wide shoulders stand up from the seat behind the bushes at the Santana’s Cafe.
Tomas swirled around, sending the small chair flying, his eyes wide. He came around the bushes with raised hands, as if to stop the train wreck heading his way and he braised himself for a hit, digging his feet into the ground. It was no help, Reed had no intentions of stopping and he crashed into the man with force that made the older brother’s bones crack loudly as he hit the table behind him.
“How dare you do this?” He demanded, digging his fingers in Tomas’ collar. “You fucking bastard!”
“She doesn’t belong to you!” Tomas hissed back.
“I will not allow you to destroy her life for your enjoyment! You have no right to do this to her!”
“Do what?” Valery asked, confused.
“Did you tell her you’re already married?” He demanded, shaking him. “’Cause I just had a very long talk with your very unamused husband, you prick!”
The quiet “What?” coming next to them pulled Reed’s attention away and on the small woman sitting behind the same table Tomas had risen from. “You’re married?” Val demanded. Her voice cracked and pain seeped through the cracks. “Are you married?” She raised her voice.
“W-we are not married!” Tomas babbled, his eyes not leaving his brother.
Reed’s voice fell an octave as he pulled aside to show Tomas the man standing behind them. “Care to tell that to his face then?”
Before Tomas could get past a whimper, he turned his face back to him, only a second before it registered in his brain that Roy didn’t look scared at all! And Tomas looked rather amused as well.
Reed’s eyes locked on the woman now standing by them with devastated look. Her face and neck colored purple as her shoulders sank and her entire body began shaking violently. She frowned and blinked as her eyes filled with tears.
“Val?” His eyes widened. “Shit, she didn’t know?” He asked from Tomas as he ran after the retreating figure. “Val! Val!” He grabbed her hand, but she yanked it free.
“Get off!” She swung around, tears flowing freely down her red cheeks. She wouldn’t turn her eyes on him, but she stopped and for the first time he let a small thought pass his brain that perhaps she wasn’t so innocent in it either. Why else would she go with the public engagement while she knew of Roy? Had they planned this together?
“You’re in it too?”
Her eyes flickered up before she turned them away.
He couldn’t believe it. The innocent little girl he’d been trying to protect was in it the whole time!
“You left!” She accused, pulling his eyes on her. Her chin was raised higher and she looked straight at him. “What else did I have? Tomas said you’d come back if we posted the photos! And here you are!”
He turned around, but froze, nails digging in the fist, gasping for air as the pain made its way to his brain. Tomas and now Roy – it hurt, the extent he’d been played to. He heaved for air, when his lungs reminded him he was holding his breath and burnt through his chest with new wave of horror hitting him back. They had done it so carelessly, so easily that his brain had hard time wrapping itself around it.
“You think it only affects you? Half of me has been missing since then! It felt so good to have it back and when you left, it was gone. You left!”
His eyes turned on the couple now standing close to each other, Tomas hand over Roy’s shoulder as he smirked. “At least I got a taste of her!” he teased, swiping his finger over his swollen lips covered with blood.
Moment later Tomas pushed Roy away before he flew into the tables behind him, hands blocking a direct hit to his face while pulling up his leg to block the hit to his stomach.
Tomas tried to hit back, managed few before he saw a piece of board and sought out for anything to protect himself with. He felt a stick and grabbed it, pulling it up. Only to see flash of metal as it passed by his vision and realized he’d gotten a knife.
He let out a cry when he saw Reed’s left fist come towards his face, blood pressing through the fingers. He couldn’t block the hit to his jaw, but he could care less of it now when he saw the blood flowing faster. He tossed away the knife and tried to get hold of his hand.
Garret was first to come to pull Reed away from his brother. He didn’t know the other man, but he gathered he was one of the new tourists. Neither of the men reached to Reed’s shoulders, but they kept shouting him to stop. It wasn’t helping – he pushed through them, pulling them both with him while he tried to reach out and grab hold of Tomas. It took Roy joining them to stop him and after hitting the tourist on his right, Garret threw him over by hitting his leg out of balance. They both landed on top of him.
Roy left the other two to take care of Reed and headed over to check on him, but he brushed the man away.
“What the hell?” Garret muttered and yelled for ambulance. The woman on the door of the shop immediately went to do just that. Reed kept screaming them to let him go, locking his eyes on his brother and showering him with loads of profanities, but there was no way he could get up from under the men.
“Get me a towel!” Garret demanded. “Val!” He reached out for her and it was then that Tomas realized she was still there. There was nothing left of her blush and instead she was pale like the house nearest to her. She started for the cafe to gather the demanded items and ran past them both.
“I’m so sorry!” Tomas followed her figure with his eyes. “Val, I swear, I didn’t -”
She didn’t listen. She went straight to his brother as if he didn’t exist and blocked the blood with the towel while winching.
“Roy?” he turned to his lover and was pulled into a hug. He kissed his forehead and Tomas hid his eyes into his shoulder. “Oh god, what have I done?”