Juanito Placido: A Short Story

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There was nothing attractive about Juanito Pelaez, he had once thought. But now, as the man himself lay beside him, his arm wrapped around his waist, Placido began to understand why quite a number of females were absolutely taken with him. The moonlight streaming through the window caught on his messy, rumpled hair; on his long, thick eyelashes that rested on his cheekbones; on his shoulder, on his neck, illuminating the spots of purple and red and pink on his pale skin; on the thin sheen of sweat on his forehead. With his eyes closed, Juanito looked like an angel, the usual spark of mischief hidden behind a façade of peace and tranquility. Placido caught himself lightly tracing the curves and edges on his face: the corners of his eyes that…show more content…
He still is. Placido had given him the power to affect his emotions when he told him he loved him too; he gave him the power to break him in more ways than one. He always knew it was risky, but he jumped off the edge.

For a moment, he flew.

But now, he was crashing; the ground coming up to his face quicker than he 'd anticipated, seconds away from shattering his body and his bones and his heart--

That night was the last time he saw Juanito. That night was the last night he would ever see him sleep; the last night he would ever hold him in his arms.

The last night he would be his.

Placido stands concealed in the dark; clenching his fists as he remembers that night, his body hidden by a pillar decorated with purple sashes. His bandaged fist still trembled and throbbed from the punch he had thrown at the wall a week ago in his apartment; it cracked and Placido couldn 't be assed to clean up the blood that smeared the pristine white paint. It hurt, but nothing could possibly hurt worse than receiving the invitation that brought about his broken fingers. It broke, but what shattered him was seeing Juanito standing in front of the altar, holding Paulita Gomez 's hands in his--the way he had held his own--about to be joined in holy
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"Do you, Juanito Pelaez, take Paulita Gomez as your lawfully wedded wife?"

The answer does not come instantaneously--Placido watches in disbelief as Juanito lifts his head to search the crowd, as though he was looking for a sign not to say yes, as though he was looking for him.

With a start, Placido realizes that must be why he had sent the invitation: it wasn 't a goodbye like he had thought, it was a plea to come and rescue him from a fate he didn 't want. If Juanito had seen him, would he have run away? If he had attended the wedding like he should have, in a barong and slacks and a forced smile plastered on his face instead of a scowl and sheer anger, would Juanito choose him?

Placido grits his teeth and shakes his head--it wouldn 't have made a difference. This is real life, not a fairytale, and Juanito sure as hell isn 't a prince. Resentment rears its ugly head in Placido 's gut; it rams into the fury in his chest and burns in the embers of his pain. If he wasn 't brave enough to tell him he was getting married; he couldn 't be brave enough to do what Placido imagined he would do.

"I--"

Juanito tears his face away from his guests, turning to
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