I want him, but I can't have him.
I watch the Striaton brother with cool, wavy hair that matches a blue ocean wave escort a meal to two teenage girls who giggle as they're being served. They've specifically chosen for him to bring them their lunch and they couldn't be happier as he speaks to them in his quiet and polite voice. They can't help but squeal in delight as he turns and walks back toward the kitchen to pick up a pair of parfaits for the next table.
It's hard not to look at him while we work, but sometimes I can't help myself. I am jealous by the attention those girls receive during the day, but I always remember that at night, I get him all to myself. Well, in a way. I can't have him, but he's not around anyone else for me to get jealous over.
Time passes by and the day eventually ends. Cilan, Cress and I clean up the restaurant together and set everything up for tomorrow. Cilan is the one who helps the other chefs in the kitchen clean up, leaving Cress and I alone in the dining room.
We're cleaning different tables, but I ignore my duty and walk up to him.
"Chili," he knows where this is going. I do this almost everyday.
"Chili, I'm sorry," he says in a sullen tone, which pierces right through me. It hurts to hear, but I can't help but keep trying.
"Chili, we have to finish these tables," he turns away to wash another table.
I stand in disappointment. We have this conversation every night, if you can even call that a conversation. We mostly just speak one another's name until he says that he's sorry and then we move on.
For some reason, I get the feeling that as many times as I ask, maybe one day the response will be different. I just have to hope.
It's the only thing that keeps me going most days.
Without warning, that one day finally came.
After our usual conversation of him rejecting me, we finish up cleaning the dining room when Cilan walks in.
"Well, I'm pretty beat," Cilan yawns. "I think I'm gonna head off to bed early."
"Okay," Cress says. "Good night, Cilan."
"'Night," I say monotonous. Cilan waves to us before retreating to his room.
I grab the washrag off of the table and was getting ready to pick up the bucket when I felt arms wrap around me from behind. I gasp and instantly realize there is only one other person in the room with me.
It takes me a moment to speak because I can't comprehend what's going on. "C-Cress…"
"Chili, I can't take it anymore…" he mumbles into my neck. His breath is warm and soft and my whole body is tingling. "I want you…"
Nothing else has to be said. I grab his hand without looking at him and we disappear into my room.
Our secret relationship continues on for quite some time.
Cilan doesn't suspect a thing while Cress and I make out in the next room. We try to be silent, but we just can't help ourselves sometimes.
I never thought that I could ever truly have him, in my arms, so close to me. It's taboo for us to be together. We are brothers, after all. If anyone found out, I'm sure our reputation, our restaurant, our Gym…everything would fall to shambles. So we must keep quiet about it.
Cress has his doubts. It's the reason why it took him so long to speak up. But I tell him that I love him and he repeats the phrase to me, so everything should be okay.
But I forget sometimes that we have another brother. And we are not alone in the restaurant or the Gym…
Cilan walks in on us one day.
He was so disturbed, he didn't come out of his room the next day. We had to ask for help from Fennel and Hilda to keep the restaurant open that day, which eventually brought in more male customers. Within time, Fennel became our new permanent server on the weekends.
But for that day, Fennel and Hilda keep asking Cress and I about what's wrong with Cilan. We decide to tell them that Cilan is really sick and they buy it.
That night, we visit Cilan to talk to him about Cress and I's relationship. He doesn't want to talk, but we walk in anyway.
Cilan is crying on his bed. He is hurt. He doesn't understand how the two of us could possibly be doing the things he caught us doing.
"You guys are brothers!" he tells us, which we obviously already know. "It's not right!"
"Cilan, we love each other in a way that we ourselves can't explain," Cress says. "And this relationship formed because of it. We don't care that we're brothers."
"You don't care?" Cilan asks in a very hurt tone. "Do you care that I'm your brother?"
"Of course we do!" I yell. "We care about you, Cilan! Why would you even ask that?"
"If you don't care about the fact that you're brothers, then how am I supposed to feel?" Cilan says, holding his head in confusion and frustration. "This is…wrong! I'm not opposed to two guys or two girls liking each other, but…i-incest just doesn't work with me. And within my own family? My only family?"
Cress and I turn to look at each other. What do we say to him? I love Cress with all of my heart, but I love Cilan, too, as my brother. They always say to choose family over relationships, but what do you do when your family and your relationship are the same thing?
I stare at Cress, who looks distraught. I glance at Cilan, who looks hurt. It's time to make a decision. I can't pick one brother over the other. So what do I do?
"I'm sorry, guys…" Cilan frowns, sounding disappointed. With who, I wasn't sure. "I don't mean to feel so disgusted with you guys. It's just…I don't know… I can't look at you guys the same…"
Cress sits down next to Cilan and tries to hug him, but Cilan flinches. "Cilan, we didn't mean to hurt you."
"I just feel like if you two are so close…I'll be left alone. It's always been just the three of us together. But this…" Cilan tries to wipe his tears, but he continues to cry. "I can't handle this. I don't want to be alone…"
Cilan's right. We promised years ago when we were left abandoned by our parents that we would always stick together and would never let anything tear us apart. It's understandable that Cilan would feel that Cress and I wouldn't love him as much as we loved each other.
Cress looks at me with saddened eyes, the same ones I gave him every day that I tried to pursue a relationship with him. With those eyes, I know what needs to be done.
"Cilan…" I begin to speak.
Cilan walks over to a table full of girls and happily serves them their meals. The girls are delighted to be served by him and giggle amongst themselves. Cilan looks about as excited as they are.
It has been a week since our talk with Cilan. Ever since the three of us spoke, he has returned to his usual perky but nervous self. Cress and I are happy for him, but…
Our relationship has ended. There's no way we can pursue a relationship together, even in secret, with Cilan around. We know that it's not right to even try; we love Cilan as our brother too much to ever hurt him or make him feel lonely again.
But this hurts us both. Sure we are brothers so we'll never be apart, but we want more. We'll always want more as long as we love each other.
But family comes first. Cilan is our priority. He is our brother.
Just like Cress and I are.