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et moi, envoutée de ténèbres — micah.

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TEDDY.:
Love was close to hate when it came to a bond between two brothers. Oftentimes, it was difficult to tell one from another when brothers were as close as two people could be. After all, they both came from the very same womb, grew up in the very same home, looked up to the very same people. Even if in character they were two worlds apart, they were the same. That was why it hurt Theodore as much as it did to see that grudge-bearing resentment in Micah’s eyes, that unfamiliar look of betrayal whenever the brothers met each other’s gazes. It felt as if a part of Teddy had turned against himself with trepidation.

Papa had been a sore subject for the two brothers for most of their lives. In fact, there had only been a fleeting spate of instances in Teddy’s youth where his relationship between his parents was one to marvel at until Papa found himself increasingly invested in a new, frightening shadow of a lover. One which nobody could see or anticipate, yet it lingered in the darkness over their ramshackle family home all the same. His ambition of grandiosity had reached new dangerous heights that had left him with a decision he so easily took; success over a functioning family life. What hurt more than having no father was a father who would pay him no attention in favour of his work life — to earn a fraction of Papa’s time, Teddy would have to bend over backwards for him.

Micah had always been far less willing.

This had been a reality that had laid dormant in their youth whilst Micah focused on taking on Papa’s role as Teddy’s primary caregiver following Mama’s untimely passing. But over years this once unnoticed realisation erupted into fruition the moment the catalyst had returned to test the brothers’ seemingly unwavering relationship. Papa’s arrival had ignited a fraternal hostility which appeared so unassuming and quiet but, to Teddy, felt so loud. Never had the brothers been so cold towards one another until they disagreed fiercely about what to do with Papa. Teddy wanted him to stay — he was desperate to repair their fractured relationship — whilst Micah would be pleased to never see his father’s shrunken face again.

The brothers both loved each other, but they’d keep an eye on each other.

There were plenty of other eyes on them too. People began to whisper about how the well-esteemed Knope brothers had landed in hot water following the arrival of Giovanni Knope. Teddy wondered how long he could stay afloat this way without his brother’s guidance; after all, Micah had always been by his side until their recent divide, and this was clearly unfamiliar territory for the younger of the two. And maybe Teddy was bitter that Micah seemed so full of gall towards Teddy when Teddy was just doing what any person should do for their family. Whilst Papa barely acted like it, he was still their father and so Teddy would treat him with such respect. He would go to the ends of the world for him if it meant he could finally receive the praise that he had waited nearly three decades for.

And so he’d go into things blindly at Giovanni’s request because maybe his boldness would surely be enough to impress Papa. ❝ So, Micah… ❞ Teddy introduced his proposition with a vaguely confident hum. If he was being entirely truthful to himself, Teddy would admit that he was scared as hell because he knew Micah would not react well to this. In fact, Teddy would not have even brought up this proposal in the first place if it wasn’t for the fact that Micah deserved to be made aware of any changes Teddy wished to make in their empire. Teddy leaned against the balustrade of the upstairs lobby, outside of the hotel conference room and hallway to nearby suites. It had initially been his intention to make full use of the conference room, but the formality of it left a bitter taste in his mouth.

Instead, he cracked his knuckles as he stalled for a moment until eventually straightening up to look towards his older brother. ❝ I’m letting Papa be in charge of our tobacco sales. He knows what he’s doing and — well — I think it’s time for him to be a part of da family again. ❞ With the smallest of sneers, Teddy sent Micah a small shrug before he pointed out matter-of-factly, ❝ He’s different now, ya know? He just wants to be there for us, for Jules, for the boys. Ya just need to give the old man a chance. ❞ Teddy was too afraid to acknowledge that Micah may have been right all along, and so he’d push his version of reality until it eventually became true. Maybe a part of Teddy knew that Papa would only tear him apart until there was nothing left but grief and anguish in his heart. But, he’d rather pretend than ever side with Micah’s version of events.

Sometimes his own ignorance was bliss.

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