A tale of broken hearts and passion ignited, featuring Spider Jerusalem and Cassidy Vetinari and Gilbert Jacquet.
Text of Rekindling the Flame
1. Valentines Day Showcase 2009Rekindling the Flameby DrSupremeNerdA tale of broken hearts and passion ignited, featuring Spider Jerusalem Vetinari, Cassidy Vetinari, and Gilbert Jacquet.
2. A shaft of sunlight fell across Cassidys face, rousing him from his slumber. For a moment, he considered merely rolling overand getting more shuteye.
3. It occurred to him that Spider Jerusalem, his brother and roommate, wouldnt be happy if he stayed in bed, so, with anaudible groan, he tossed back the blanket and stood.
4. Cass made his way downstairs, fighting the urge to yawn, looking at the stairs through bleary, half-lidded eyes. He realizedthat he had no idea what time it was. His stomach, however, convinced him that it was time for food.
5. "Finally up, huh?" Spider said, his voice muffled by the fridge."Whats for breakfast?" Cass asked."Lunch," Spider replied."Brunch?""Maybe if we had eggs. Or sausage. Or bread.""What do we have?"Spider shrugged. "Condiments?" The bottles of ketchup and mustard rattled as he closed the refrigerator.
6. "We seem to have a case of bachelor-fridge-itis," Cass said, glancing around at the empty kitchen. There wasnt even a bowlof fruit on the table, and he was well aware that the canisters normally containing coffee, sugar, and flour actually held loosechange, a hidden roll of toilet paper that Spider didnt think Cass knew about, and menus and coupons from the various food-delivery restaurants they frequently used to supply them with meals. "You want I should order pizza?"
7. "Why dont you go out for lunch?" Spider asked. "Its still pretty early. I know its the weekend, but you should be able to get atable somewhere without too much trouble.""Or I could just go over to the phone and call Pizza Pappiano. I mean, then I dont even have to get dressed.""Yeah..." said Spider, his voice trailing off. "Thats sort of why I suggested going out for food."
8. "What are you talking about?" asked Cass. There was a sinking feeling in his gut as his brain fast-forwarded through the nextfew minutes and found nothing good on the road ahead."Youve barely left the house since you moved in here with me," Spider said. "Dont get me wrong, Id rather see Cass-the-hermit than Cass-with-Jake, but youve gotta rejoin the world sometime. Look, just put on some pants and a shirt and go havea burger." Spider Jerusalem knew that he had to push his brother eventually. As much as he wished Cass would pushhimself, hed had to admit that Cass couldnt do it on his own. He hoped Cassidy would forgive him."I cant," said Cass."So, what? Youre just gonna go back upstairs and hole up in your room some more?""Maybe.""Cass, you left your door open when you took a shower last night, and I got a whiff. Your room smells like stale feet. Youreleaving the house today if I have to drag you to the sidewalk and lock the door behind you."
9. "I cant," said Cass. For him, it was the beginning and the end of the argument, but he saw that it wasnt enough for hisbrother. "You dont get it! What... What if...""What? What are you so worried about?""What if I run into Jake?" There. It was out. The thing Cassidy currently feared the most. It was the thought of encounteringhis ex that banished all thoughts of food from his mind.
10. Spider sighed. Cass may have left Jake, but remnants of the toxic, doomed relationship clung to him like leeches, drainingaway his vitality. "So what if you do run into him? You walked away, Cass. You realized what he is, and who he is, and youleft. If you see him, just walk away again."
11. "Its not that easy!" Cass insisted. "We were together for ages! Jake was the first guy who ever made me feel like I wasspecial. He was the first guy who ever told me he loved me! And, yeah, okay, now I realize that he didnt love me, not really,but I believed it for a long time. Besides, whether he loved me or not, I loved him. Part of me still does. Part of me wants tothink that if I go back, hell be different and he wont hurt me again, and that things could be like they used to be. It wasnt allbad. When it was good, it was really good. Sometimes, he made me feel like I always wanted to feel. I know it was a lie, but Iliked living it."
12. "He was horrible for you!" Spider said, raising his voice as his legendary temper flared. "He treated you like crap! There areinvertebrates too good for him! You can do a million times better than that jerk!""I miss him," Cass said quietly. "I know what he did to me, I know what I was to him, I know that if I went back nothing wouldchange, and I know that he didnt even care about me, but I still miss him. I wake up alone and I remember when I didnt andI want that again, and hed take me back if I asked. If he promised to kiss me like he used to, Id move into his place in aheartbeat. I know its stupid, but its the truth."
13. "That is stupid," said Spider. "Dont you even care how badly he hurt you?""Of course I care. But if I see him, Im gonna remember what I felt for him, and I wont care about what he did. I dont wannago back to him, and I dont want him to be able to hurt me again, but I dont think Im strong enough to keep away if theopportunity presents itself."
14. "Thats why youve been hiding out in your room for a month?"Cassidy nodded. "I thought it would be easier but its not."Spider knew that Casss life hadnt been a walk in the park, but he hadnt known how damaged his big brother had been byJake. "Why didnt you say anything?"
15. "Not really a whole lot you can do here," Cass said with a shrug. "This is kind of a me thing.""I still think you should go out for lunch," Spider said. "Get out and meet some people.""Isnt that how I got in trouble in the first place? Meeting someone?""No one said you had to meet someone in a groping sense. Just talk to new people. If you see Jake, call me and Ill talk youdown off the ledge. But you have to get out, Cass. You cant shut yourself away forever."
16. "Youre not going to let me off the hook for this, are you?" Cass asked. His chest tightened at the thought of going out andtrying to socialize."Nope," Spider said with a grin. "Now put some real clothes on and get your butt out that door."
17. Cassidy headed back to his room. He knew Spider was right, but that didnt mean he had to like it. Normally, Cass was a "T-shirt and jeans" kind of guy, but today, he felt like he needed something more. Even as he pulled clothes out of the armoire,he realized that the tailored blazer and leather pants were armor of a sort. The fabric might not have been able to keep theworld at bay and protect him from everything life had to throw at him, but he wasnt in the frame of mind to pass up even asmall boost to his confidence.Retying his ponytail, he gave himself one last look in the mirror before heading out to a small local restaurant where he couldget lunch and encounter people who werent Spider Jerusalem or the delivery guys.
18. Cass walked through the restaurants door. Hed only been there a few times with Spider, right after the breakup, before hedcome to the conclusion that his bedroom was safer than the outside world, but he thought that things looked differentsomehow.
19. Hearts, and not drapery panels, dangled from the curtain rods.
20. The salt and pepper shakers that typically sat in the middle of the tables had been replaced by candles and roses.
21. The clientele seemed better-dressed than normal, wearing sport coats and dresses instead of blue jeans and polo shirts.
22. Even the foliage was not immune: the small potted shrubs had been carved into heart-shaped topiaries.
23. Cass tried to think of when hed left Jake. It had been after the start of the new year; he could recall the New Years partytheyd attended, where the champagne had flowed freely, and at the stroke of midnight, the traditional kiss had been followedby a slightly slurred rendition of "Auld Lang Syne."Hed ended things with Jake not long after that, and taken refuge with Spider Jerusalem, who had been only too