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The Aftermath

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Marco knew that something was wrong as soon as he came home from work. Everything was way too quiet. His eyes immediately searched for Rodolpho, but the living room was empty. He caught Beatrice on her way out of the kitchen. "Beatrice, have you seen my brother?" He asked, and was startled by how empty and sad she looked. She let out a heavy sigh, and Marco felt his heartbeat speed up. "Beatrice, where is Rodolpho." He said, softer this time, and more urgent.

She seemed to realize how scared he was getting, and tried to smile, grabbing him by the shoulders (or at least as high on his arms as she could reach) with a gentle sort of motherly affection. "I think he's with Katie. I'll find him for you. You put up your coat. And take off your boots in the house, young man, or you'll be tracking mud all over the place."

He gave her a curious look, but nodded and sat to take his boots off, and it wasn't long before Rodolpho appeared in the doorway. He was scarily pale, and Marco was on his feet in an instant. "Rodolpho." His brother looked up at the sound of his name, and his eyes were glassy with unshed tears. Marco's hands moved to Rodolpho's neck, holding his face in his hands like he'd done a thousand times before. "Hey. What's happened? What's wrong?" His voice was so soft that it was nearly a whisper.

Rodolpho shook his head, and Marco was at a loss. He used a hand on his brother's shoulder to guide him to sit, and knelt in front of him. "Rodolpho, talk to me. Tell me what it is." He murmured.

Rodolpho swallowed hard, looking like he might be sick. "Eddie...he saw Catherine and me and was enraged and he..." His brow furrowed in complete lack of comprehension. "He kissed her. Like a lover."

Marco sat back on his heels, flabbergasted. He looked like he was about to question it, but Rodolpho interrupted him. "And then he...he kissed me. And I tried to fight him, Marco, I did, I didn't want him to--"

He was starting to get hysterical and cut himself off, swallowing a sob. Marco was so angry that he felt sick, but he stifled it instead, his chest aching at the thought that his brother could ever blame himself for what that monster had done to him. He put a hand on Rodolpho's knee, his little brother looking up at him with a face burning with shame. "I didn't--"

"I know, Rodolpho." He interrupted, trying to keep as calm as he could. His voice quieted to the same one he'd used when his brother had been afraid of a monster under the bed when they'd been children and the same one he used now to calm his own children when they woke up crying from their own nightmares. "I know."