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Blood is thicker than water

The two men wrestled on the floor. They were fighting over the damnedest thing: a woman.

How had they come to this? How had Alistair reduced himself to this?

He stopped, fist raised to the sky. He was on top of Nestor, and as he looked down at his own brother, he saw that Nestor’s face was bloodied by cut lips and running nose. Alistair was aghast at what he had done, but when he looked into Nestor’s eyes, he saw the rage and indignation within, and knew that the fight was not yet over.

Alistair brought his fist down on Nestor’s face before his brother could recover. Nestor’s head turned to the side and he lay limp, unconscious. Alistair climbed off his brother, sat on the floor and ruffled his hair. A damn woman, he thought, a goddamn woman!

Roxanna had come into their lives like a typhoon, and just like a typhoon she had wrecked them, leaving only jealousy and rage behind.

Nestor groaned and opened his eyes. He looked up, dazed, and met his brother’s gaze,

“Who the hell taught you to punch like that?”

His speech was slurred and Alistair wondered if he had done some real damage.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me, we’re too old to be fighting.”

Nestor sat up and looked his brother up and down, woozily noticing the black eye and the scratches on Alistair’s face.

The man was right, and Nestor hated that. Alistair was always right. Alistair was always right and he was always good. Alistair was the geek, the nerd, the learned one, the smart one. The one who was going places. Nestor was the athletic one, the dumb one, the one whose only chance at life was through sports. He only had a span of ten years to make something of himself, while Alistair, with his books and his brains had his whole life ahead of him.

“Yeah,” Nestor wiped his bloody nose with the back of his hand, “but where did that come from?”

“I don’t know,” Alistair looked at his brother.

He truly didn’t know. He had not thought himself strong enough to do that. Nestor was the one with the physical strength. The handsome one, the popular one, the one everybody loved. Nestor had always been the one all the girls wanted to date, while Alistair had always been the one all the girls sneered at.

When Roxanna had let Alistair believe he had a chance with her, he was over the moon. He had spent days romancing her, sending her flowers, buying her gifts and she had reciprocated in every way. She had kissed him, held his hand, let him put his arm around her waist, and finally, she had let him make love to her. It had been the best night of Alistair’s life, and it had soured the next afternoon, when he had come home and found them in bed together. Surprise had quickly turned into rage, and rage had evolved into violence.

Alistair closed his eyes as the memory of Nestor and Roxanna clouded his mind and sent his judgement out the window. The anger built up and he felt himself floating as he lunged at his brother again. Nestor had regained his bearings and easily dodged his brother.

Alistair landed with a painful thud, arms outstretched, still gunning for Nestor. His face burned as he hit the carpet. It wasn’t the only thing that burned. His pride burned and the indignation and humiliation scalded deep inside.

For one moment Alistair had beat his brother, the great athlete who was going places. The one who would hold the family’s name way up high among the stars, the one who would soon be a ‘Golden Olympian’.

For one instant, Alistair had been on top, the ace, the number one, king of the hill, and Nestor had had to take the punches, to bend over and scream”Uncle!”. For once, Nestor had waded in the miserable pool of weakness that Alistair had swam in all his life.

All that was over when Nestor easily rolled aside.

“Take it easy, Ali, I’m not gonna hurt you.”

Nestor had Alistair’s arm behind his back in a wrestler’s hold.

“I saw her first,”Alistair grunted,”I had her first, she was mine first.”

“Is that what this is about? She came on to me, I wasn’t about to say no; but if you want her, and she wants you, then be my guest. She ain’t worth it, you know.”

And then the anger subsided just as quickly as it had come. Reason prevailed, and Alistair thought clearly as his body relaxed. It was true, Nestor was right, she wasn’t worth it. What kind of woman would sleep with two brothers? And it all came back to him; her smiles, the way she tilted her head just so, touched her neck just so, giggled, walked, spoke, flirted. She had acted the same way with Nestor too.

Alistair realized that he’d noticed it all along but had chosen to ignore it. He had felt himself wanted, elated, sought after and had wanted to believe it was true. He’d wanted to believe that a beautiful, sensual woman had wanted to be with him, and not with Nestor.

“Nes, why did she do this?”

“Who knows, Ali” Nestor shrugged,”sex, maybe?”

”That doesn’t bother you?”

”Sex? No, it doesn’t bother me; but believe me if I’d known how you felt I wouldn’t have slept with her. You’re my brother, and no woman is gonna make me forget that. I love you even though I hate you.”

“I love you even though I hate you too, Nes.”

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