“ Ai Ae?”
“ I - I think Tutor is angry with me.” Pete looked like he rethinked his statement and started again. ” No, I mean I think he’s disappointed in me.”
“ What do you mean?”
“ I think he’s disappointed, because I’m so weak and rely on you so much.”
“ Hey, our relationship doesn’t concern him, does it?”
“ Well no, but I’ve been thinking back and he always looks so irritated if I ask your opinion on simple stuff. And I don’t want to irritate him, he’s my twin brother and I just got him back.” Pete fell silent again, but Ae could see he was only thinking over his next words, so he kept patiently waiting. “ I don’t want to irritate him, but I need your opinions, your reassurance, I need to know I’m pleasing you. I need it even more than knowing I please Tutor.”
“ Pete, baby, you know you don’t have to try and please anyone. You please me by simply existing and being you.”
“ I know, I know. I know it in my head, but it’s not easy to feel it in my heart.”
“ You’ll get there, baby, I promise. And I’m with you, no matter what.”
“ I just don’t believe Tutor would understand. He’s so strong and independent.”
“ I think you should talk to him. Maybe tell him a bit about your issues. Tell him you’re working on it. How would that feel?” Ae petted gently Pete’s soft hair and gazed lovingly into his eyes.
“ I - I think it would make me feel relieved. If… if he can’t love me like this... it’s… it’s his problem, not mine.” Pete stumbled over the bold words and looked both panicky and proud.
“ That’s my baby.” Ae whispered affectionately and kissed Pete fully on the lips.
Tutor felt his heart clenching tightly and uncomfortably. For almost half an hour he’s listened to his twin struggle with his words, like he was trying to rush them out before he lost his nerves. Very early on Pete had lost his fight against tears and was now talking through them. Pete told about Trump and how Ae had helped him get over the damage Trump had made without Pete’s knowing. Tutor had a feeling that Pete left a lot unsaid, but he was starting to get the picture. He felt both sad and angry and a little bit at a loss. How was he supposed to help his brother to recover from an abusive relationship?
“ I don’t want to make you upset or a- angry or anything, but y-you see I need Ae. I need his support. He’s helping me. I… I’ve gotten so much better, you must believe me. When I met Ae, I couldn’t even tell him what I wanted to eat for lunch. I was completely hopeless. Maybe I still look hopeless and weak to you but…”
“ Pete, shh, Pete, please take a breath. I don’t think you are weak or hopeless.” Tutor tentatively wrapped his arms around Pete, who burst into sobs.
“ I thought you hated me, because I’m still so weak.”
“ Of course not. You are my brother. I didn’t understand you and I thought Ae was just taking advantage of your kindness and gentle nature. But I think I’m starting to understand now.”
“ Please give Ae a chance. I know he’s a bit rough around the edges, but he’s the best for me. He really is.” Pete pleaded. His eyes were red and swollen but they shone brightly when Pete said Ae’s name.
“ For you, Bumble, Bee would do almost anything.” Tutor whispered. “ And maybe giving that little guard dog of yours a chance won’t be a hard task after all, I can see you really love him.”
“ Ae is not my guard dog.” Pete laughed and clipped playfully Tutor around the ears. “ And who cares if he’s shorter than me? Ae is fierce and sexy.” Pete giggled.
“ Spare me the details.” Tutor laughed.
“ Okay, okay. You don’t have to spare me the details of you and P’Fighter though.” Pete smirked teasingly.
“ Don’t be dirty! You should be my sweet and innocent Bumble.”
“ Only if you promise to always be my Bee.” Pete smiled and buried his face against Tutor’s shirt.
“ Always.” Tutor whispered. And for the first time in years Pete felt like everything would be well and he echoed his brother’s whisper.