Let It Go; A Tale of Envy

I have a lot more characters than there are classic ‘deadly sins,’ so I’ve decided to do a second round of these and let some of my less often appearing characters get a shot. First up is Kail!

. . .

Kail answered his phone before it had a chance to get through the first ring. He rarely checked his caller ID anymore; it was almost always someone calling from the hospital and he wasn’t going to put off answering that kind of call.

“Hello?”

“Kevin told me you were thinking about selling the house.”

Kail’s breath froze in his throat. His heart skipped a beat. His fingers tightened on the small, rectangular device in his hand. He resisted the urge to tear it away from his ear and check the caller ID. It was too late now.

“Domerin…” he breathed the name as if it were a sacred blessing, unable to stop himself. He closed his eyes for a moment, drew a ragged breath and willed his composure to return. “I didn’t expect to hear from you.”

“I’m not stupid enough to call from my phone.” There was something about the way he said it which suggested he knew exactly what Kail was thinking. Maybe he did. “I just wanted to let you know that you don’t have to be tied to that place because my name is on the deed. I’ll sign away my ownership. You can even keep all the money from the sale.”

A sudden lump rose in Kail’s throat and he struggled to swallow against it as his eyes darted around his tiny domain. From the small portion of the bedroom loft he used as his office, he could see most of the house. The cozy queen-sized bed with the sophisticated patterned sheets that Domerin would have hated. The large living room, set around the old-fashioned fireplace with the modern mantle updates, decorated with art he had brought back from conferences. Art Domerin would have hated. The granite countertops and dark-stained wooden cupboards in the massive kitchen he so rarely used. Actually, he doubted Domerin would have cared much what he had done with that portion of the house, since he wouldn’t have used it much either.

But even if it bore no resemblance to the house when they had shared it, it still held his presence in every nook and cranny. The night they had passed out in sleeping bags on the floor, too exhausted from the effort of moving everything to bother assembling their bed. And he had woken with his ear pressed to Domerin’s chest, the steady pounding reassuring him that they had finally found their place, together. The time they decided to try making homemade pizzas, from scratch, dough and all, and Domerin had tossed them almost perfectly, except that they had been too large for the cookie sheets. The tiny wine stain on the rug in the living room caused when Domerin made Kail laugh so hard he spit red wine all over himself. A stain so faded now that no one else would ever have been able to spot it.

For all that he had changed it to suit him and his needs, Domerin’s spirit was still here and it was the only real reason Kail stayed.

“And what if I’ve decided not to sell it after all?”

“Then I’ll still sign over my half. That way the house will be yours. There’s no reason to be shackled by some unfinished portion of our past.”

But what if those shackles are exactly what I want? That small thread of hope that you might one day come back and we can be us again. How could you take that away from me?

He bit his tongue rather than speak the words. Domerin wasn’t the kind of person who would call and test him. Then again, he knew where that kind of talk got him; nowhere and fast. “Is that the only reason you called?” he asked instead. “If you really want to sign away the house, you don’t need my permission.”

“True. But I thought it might be cruel if you got the news via mail notification. I’m not a heartless bastard just because I stopped loving you.”

Kail’s heart did a little flip-flop while his stomach tied itself in knots. He couldn’t believe that Domerin would ever really stop loving him. It must be something he was trying to convince himself of. Or, perhaps, it was only his anger and frustration talking. Domerin certainly did know how to bite when he was angry. But why now? He hadn’t done anything. He had been good, behaved himself, kept his tongue.

“I appreciate that,” his voice was barely more than a whisper, “but I think it’s a tad cruel calling to tell me you don’t love me anymore.”

“I guess leaving didn’t state it as explicitly as I hoped. I’m sorry it took so long to make it clear.”

“Is this it, then? You call me from some random phone number so I can’t ever contact you again and tell me that you’re severing our last connection? Keeping this house has never been about the money. I always knew you’d give it up if I asked. It’s about you, Domerin. Everything in my life has always been about you.”

There was silence on the line for a long moment and Kail feared Domerin would simply hang up. But steady puffs of breath reassured him the other man intended to answer, he simply hadn’t found the words yet. Kail wondered if Sesha was sitting with him. Or perhaps they were both there, Kevin on one side and Sesha on the other, waiting to cross their competition off the list. He wondered fleetingly if Domerin was using one of their phones, but that was probably too close to home for him to risk.

Sooner or later one of the others would have to give Domerin up. Sooner or later, he would choose one over the other, and then they would know his pain. The pain of being scorned by the only man really worth the effort.

He fought to keep his breathing steady and the sting in his eyes from becoming real tears. He didn’t want Domerin to know how upset he really was, for fear that would drive him away again. He couldn’t have exhausted all his options. There had to be some way left to reach him.

“You know that old saying?” Domerin asked at last, his tone thoughtful. “If you love something, let it go.”

Kail felt as if something inside him had snapped. “Doesn’t it end with, ‘if it loves you, it’ll return’?”

“Yeah. But you have to let it go first, Kail. That’s the point. You can’t keep clinging to it, squeezing the life out of it, begging it not to leave. You have to open your arms, open your hands and let it spread its wings unencumbered.”

His cheeks were damp. The battle was lost and he knew it. But he didn’t want to let go. He was terrified of the emptiness that lay on the other side of loosening his grip. “If I let go, how long do I have to wait for you to come back?”

“It might not happen. That’s the risk you take when you let go. That’s the whole point. You’re supposed to care about the people you love more than you care about your own happiness.”

“What about your new boyfriends?” Kail couldn’t quite keep the bitterness out of his voice when he said it. “Have you said the same to them?”

“Let me go, Kail. It’s long past time.”

There was a soft click and a low, incessant beeping indicated that Domerin had hung up without giving him a chance to respond. With a snarl, Kail closed his fist around his phone, drew his hand back and released it with all his might. He didn’t see where his phone collided with the wall, though he heard the smash and crack of broken electronics. No doubt he’d find a dent in the wall of the living room in the morning, and a spray of plastic surrounding the remains of the device.

He didn’t care. This couldn’t be the end. He wasn’t willing to yield to two inferior consorts. Wasn’t it telling enough that neither of them were enough to satisfy Domerin on their own?

He sighed and turned back to his computer. First things first; he was going to need a new phone.

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