"No, but it doesn't sound like you're going to let up."
She let out a different sigh, a sigh of relief. "No, I'm not. You're stuck with me, as I said. I'm not going to leave you."
“Yay,” he muttered dully.
“I’m not that bad!” She protested.
"Hey!" She growled. "You really like hurting me huh?"
"You're very forgetful, aren't you?"
"No. I'm just trying not to think about it."
"You're doing a better job of it than me, then."
"No offence, but he didn't mean as much to me. Of course it's going to be harder for you."
"Of course he didn't mean anything to you; he was just another face in a mirror box until you learned his name,"
"Yeah, that sounds cold when you say it to me. Sorry."
"It's a fact. I know that. I can even say it and know its true," Jamie rambled as he stood up. "I'm just gonna check every one's left."
She nodded following him, she felt like a stalker at times. "Well, I'll always be here if you need another shoulder to cry on or something like that.”
"I'll be fine. I just need to... get used to it," he said, walking into the men's changing room.
She nodded waiting courteously outside until he came out again.
Inside the changing room, after a quick check around, he found himself sinking onto the bench in the middle of the communal area, putting his head in his hands. His mind was blank, and the hole Sam had left was aching more than it had before he had followed Lilly to the bloodbox. Outside Lilly tapped her foot impatiently, rolling her eyes. But still Jamie did not move; Lilly snapped. “Oh come on, how long does it take?" She mumbled, taking a step into the room cautiously.
Jamie was staring absently at the floor when Lilly came in, the final moments of Sam's life playing in his mind's eye. He hardly noticed her standing in the doorway. She looked down on him, "it won't do you good to reflect like that." She murmured, noticing the way he was sat, the way he didn't move when she walked close to him.
Her words seemed muted as he looked up. "We all make mistakes," he murmured, seemingly to himself. "But why are the mistakes tied to the bloodbox so life shatteringly disastrous?" At Lilly's questioning look, he carried on: "When I let him go to that god awful place for the first time, when I gave in as he nagged to train to compete, when he stuck his head around the corner and his trainer told him exactly to not do that... Why?"
"The bloodbox is like war, in a box." She shrugged, sitting beside him. "Every day you could make a mistake, not look twice when you cross the road and die. You may even do nothing and you could still die. The blood box just speeds up that process." She sighed, putting one arm around his shoulders.
"But I let these things happen... I..." the anger he had felt earlier towards Lilly was beginning to turn inwards, and he didn't seem able to stop that, either.
"You can't control everyone, it was his choice; you couldn’t stop him from going." She turned him round to face her with the arm she placed on his shoulder.
"He was my little brother... I was supposed to protect him from stuff like that."
"If you said no, he would have gone behind your back and you would have been told by someone else." She placed her hands on his shoulders, gazing into his brown, melancholy eyes.
“I know,” he mumbled but didn’t meet her gaze. She moved one of her hands to his cheek, moving it so he looked at her; but she said nothing. Reluctantly his eyes met hers and she smiled warmly and softly. “I’m sorry.” She whispered. "You said," she nodded softly before kissing his cheek. "I mean it, that’s why." She replied, her voice still not rising to above a whisper.
He pulled away from her as her lips brushed his rough skin, "yeah." She took her hands away, brushing a piece of hair behind her ear. She felt like she wanted to say something, but she wasn't sure what. "I should uh... I should just check the rest of the place," he muttered after a moment. "I can't be bothered to deal with anyone complaining they got locked in because half an hour isn't long enough to get out."
She nodded, this time not following him. "Yeah...I'll meet you at the exit." He nodded too and got up slowly, his movements showing his fatigue. "I'm sorry about that." She mumbled, walking to the door first.
"What are you sorry for now?" he asked wearily, trailing after her out of the changing room
"That, in there," she skimmed, trying not to go into specifics. She laughed slightly and nodded, moving back toward the entrance/exit doors.
He wandered slowly back towards Lilly, a little in shock that he was actually going to be taking her back to his. Less than an hour ago, he had been ready to kill her, and now she was staying the night? He shook his head and ushered her out, locking the doors behind them. "You okay? You seem more absent than usual."
“Urgh,” he replied, walking down the street beside her.
"Is this, too soon? Would you like me to go?"
Jamie thought about this in silence, until they got to his house; he unlocked the door and turned to her. “You can do what you like, stay or go. I’m too tired to argue.” He let out a deep sigh, leaving the door open behind him. She shrugged, “I’ll leave you to it then.” She closed his door softly and walked from his house. Jamie watched her go for a minute through the window before he opened it and called for her. “What?” She sighed, dropping her head tiredly as she turned to him.
He shook his head. "You're right, I can't be alone. Come back?"
“If you want me to.” He simply nodded in reply.
She smiled weakly; turning to walk back she opened the door."I am forever in your debt and yet it is the least I could do."
"I'll set up the sofa bed for you..." he muttered, disappearing into the living room.
“Jamie I could not sleep here. It would be taking too much.” She shook her head softly.
"It's not exactly comfy, though," he continued, not listening as he unfolded the mattress.
"Jamie... I couldn't possibly..." She began while stopped and thought for a moment, wondering what duvet to give her. "You can have my duvet. Sam's probably needs washing," he said after a moment, turning and walking to the stairs.
She shook her head again in disbelief. “Are you not listening to me, or just ignoring me?” She called up to him.
"What's the difference?" he replied, reappearing at the top of the stairs with a duvet in his arms.
"Well, you could have just not heard me, or heard me and decided to acknowledge it." She sighed, placing her hands on her hips. "But now I have your attention. I couldn't possibly stay here!"
"I could not take such hospitality. I shall stay with you until you sleep, but no more."
He brought the duvet down anyway. "Then I'll sleep down here. At least then I can fall to sleep watching TV or something," he shrugged.
She nodded. "Okay. I'll be gone by morning though, don't worry."
He swallowed uncomfortably as he made up the sofa bed, before sitting on the edge of it, looking up at her. "You'd leave me to wake up alone?"
She looked down at him, wondering what to say, she wouldn't if he didn't want her to, but she felt like she shouldn't stay. "You... you don't want to?"
"I don't know. I don't know what mood I'll be in when I wake up."
"Then..." She sighed, sitting down in front of the sofa, leaning her back on it. "I shall stay; for you."
"Thanks," he whispered. Grabbing the remote from the coffee table, Jamie turned the TV on, picking a random channel. He went to get himself a drink. "Do you want anything?"
"No thank you." She lied.
"Sure?" he asked, running the tap for a glass of water.
"Yep. Positive." She smiled reassuringly; she didn’t want to take any more from him. His brother was enough; she thought. He wandered back to the living room with his water, setting it down on the coffee table beside the remote. Without hesitating, or excusing himself, he pulled off his shirt and dumped it on the floor under the bed, leaving him in only the jogging trousers. She looked at him for a moment, before he took his top off then looked away as soon as he did. "Oh umm... comfy?" She stuttered.
"C'mon, you've seen worse than a topless guy going to bed." he yawned as he climbed under the covers. A frown creased his forehead for a moment as he turned on his side, as he dug the keys out of his pocket. Dropping them to the floor with the white shirt, he nodded. "I am now."
"I suppose, in gore yes. But other than Markus a topless guy is a first." She laughed awkwardly.
He arched an eyebrow at her. "You'll find working at the gym uncomfortable for a while, then," he smiled tiredly, his eyes closing. "If you want to work there, that is," he added.
"Oh, great," she mumbled. "Well, I'll think about it. Sleep well." She smiled before rolling her eyes as she heard him begin to snore. After a while she folded her arms across her chest, unable to sleep; the images of Sam’s death replaying a thousand times in her head. “How can he bear to be like this toward me after what I did?”