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Call it One Drink Too Many, Call it Pride of a Man

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When Lorenzo told the tale of his drunken escapade that fateful night, he’d swear to his friends that it was never his intention to get as intoxicated as he did. Though to those who knew him well enough, each understood that there was only a half-truth to that statement and that indeed Lorenzo had loved the alcohol that evening perhaps even more than he’d loved Francesco (for the alcohol loosened his silver tongue just enough to get him to confess).

At the time, Lorenzo had no intention to drink as much as he did. In fact, the young Medici was adamantly against anything but two glasses of wine, for his talk of politics and banking went south when his mind was muddled by alcohol. Those faculties were best left to Giuliano after all, and Lorenzo would loath to upstage his brother in one of the few professions he was good at.

A glance across the table let him know that Giuliano had indeed thrown himself fully into the festivities, rocking back and forth and telling some story of one of his many boyish journeys. Beside him sat Sandro, sober and looking across the room anxiously, most likely dodging another Lord offering him residence at his fortress should he paint for them.

Lorenzo let his gaze drift to other spaces around the room, mentally checking off each of his family members--Bianca, Guglielmo, his mother, and Francesco.

He let his gaze linger on Francesco for longer than usual (and that said very, very much, as Lorenzo had usually made it a habit to stare at Francesco for very long periods of time). He stood in the corner of the room, hidden from the lights and shrouded in his usual shadow. Even as close to Lorenzo as he had allowed himself to become, he seemed to carry about an eternal shadow wherever he went. Though that wasn’t what had initially garnered his attention; it was the fact that Francesco was talking to someone. Rather intimately from what Lorenzo could see.

Then again, it could be a combination of the shadow and the glass that Lorenzo had unknowingly put to his lips, the aroma of alcohol working wonders on his already buzzed mind. Logically he knew it was most likely a client, Francesco was still a bank owner, and a quite successful one at that.  It would be foolish not to use this as an opportunity to garner support.

But Christ, if his gut didn’t lurch at the sight of the other man clasping Francesco on the shoulder. And God, Francesco laughed. Lorenzo couldn’t recall a time he’d made Francesco laugh like that. Even with their relationship on the mend, he’d restricted his joy to half hearted smiles and hushed laughs, as if he were afraid of what could happen to him should he laugh aloud. It was no doubt Jacobo’s doing, but Lorenzo would have supposed his uncle’s hold would have loosened by now. Then again, Lorenzo was fortunate enough to grow up in a loving household that encouraged joy. What effects Jacobo’s parenting had on Francesco, Lorenzo hadn’t fully understood, but he’d seen it enough in Guglielmo to know that neither brother had fully healed.

That said a laughing Francesco should make him happy. But it didn’t.

Because you were slow to do it, he thought to himself, his glass drowned, because for all Florence’s talk of your silver tongue and means of persuasion, you cannot get one laugh out of Francesco.

There was another glass at his lips, just as another client wriggled himself into the shadow. Francesco smiled with the grace of the moon, and fury unlike any other erupted in Lorenzo’s gut.

“Are you alright, Lorenzo?” at some point, Sandro had left Giuliano’s side and migrated towards the eldest Medici. He seemed more relieved than early, his commissioner likely having given up their pursuit.

“I’m fine,” Lorenzo managed bitterly, “Just fine.”

Though he was anything but, and yet another glass had found its way to his lips as he tried hard to ignore what was going on a few yards ahead of him. But he couldn’t.

He tried to push down the feeling of jealousy, tried to bury feelings. But as the alcohol continued to remove his inhibitions, he found old thoughts resurfacing.

 Be civil around Francesco, he doesn’t feel the same way about you, he’d told himself, you ended whatever you could have when his uncle took him away, and then it was even nothing more than a childhood crush.

Though his rationale all but failed when he looked back towards Francesco.

They are just making deals/But look at how close they were/Francesco is a businessman/They’re making him laugh/Just be happy for him/He never looks at you like that/You still have years of pain to work through with him/You’re going to lose him/Why can’t you make him laugh like that

This must have been what it felt like to have Jacobo Pazzi in the back of your mind, telling you one thing and then another in a span of two seconds.

Lorenzo stood in a swift motion, much to Sandro’s surprise. Though his concerns directed towards Lorenzo fell on deaf ears, as the Medici found himself migrating through the crowd and into the shadow. He ran on alcohol and adrenaline now.

“Lorenzo, what are…” Francesco’s question had died on his tongue as Lorenzo awkwardly positioned himself in between the younger Pazzi and his client.

“Mind taking your hands off?” He’d said--or said something of the sort (though Giuliano would tell him later on it was more vulgar than that).

Francesco had looked a mixture of offended, shocked, and…touched. He was no stranger to an intoxicated man, and Lorenzo was exhibiting all the tale-tale signs of one.

“Lorenzo, I think you need to sit down.” Said Francesco, uncharacteristically trying to defuse the situation, “you’ve had a bit too m--”

Lorenzo didn’t get to hear it and Francesco never got to finish, for one of the clients had made it appoint of letting Lorenzo know just how offended he was by the Medici’s implication and had proceeded to emphasize it with an incredibly hard shove. Lorenzo responded with his fist.

At some point, Giuliano joined in, Francesco tried to stop it, and Sandro, unfortunately, got dragged into the mix.


 

 

When he came to, he was in his bedroom. For only a moment, he woke in painless bliss and the welcomed numbness that usually came after a fight. Though the façade crumbled instantly, and Lorenzo found himself feeling as if his entire body had been dragged behind a horse carriage.

“You deserve worse than what you got, you know.” Beside him, sitting with a black eye of his own was Giuliano, “Francesco almost lost a great deal of support due to your impromptu proposal. But luckily he was able to clear up the misunderstanding by insisting you’d had too much to drink.”

Any pain left in his body disappeared with that.

“Proposal?” He remembered very little of that night, only the fighting and the darkness that followed. Any words or actions he’d done after that, he’d been completely aware of.

“Well there was the confession first, then the bit about Jacobo and something about ‘plunging you into an eternal shadow’, and then there was the proposal. Honestly, it was all very poetic and--”

“Giuliano please stop talking.” Lorenzo put one hand up to silence his brother, and let his head rest in the other.

“Sandro got a black eye. Mother won’t let me hear the end of that.” Giuliano ignored him.

Confession? Proposal? Lorenzo felt like dying.

“He was touched though, at least from what I could tell. He even helped carry your body back here.”

Now he felt like ascending to heaven. Francesco had patronized him, had probably picked him up out of pity, and Giuliano had interpreted it as him “being touched”.   

“I always knew you were fond of him, we all did. Just never thought you’d be stupid enough to say it in public”

“I was under the influence, badly under the influence,” Lorenzo defended himself, “I just saw those men around him, and I know they were most likely clients, but--”

“The alcohol?” Giuliano supplied.

“The alcohol.”

“Well, you can thank the alcohol, because everyone around either forget what happened, blamed your actions on the alcohol, or was too drunk to care themselves.”

“And Francesco?”

“He left after he made sure you weren’t going to die from too much alcohol.”

“I’ve got to find him.” Lorenzo stood, wincing as pain radiated through his body, “I need to apologize.”

“What? Afraid that he’ll be ‘plunged into a shadow’ without you being there to ‘light his path’?” Lorenzo’s face burned with shame, though he schooled his expression as he pulled a vest on over his face.

Part of him wanted to ask what Francesco had said in response to his confession and proposal, though knew well enough not to ask Giuliano. Regardless of what Francesco said, he’d never live it down.

Find out Francesco’s response in part two XD If I have a part two. I haven’t fallen