I sigh, I can’t do this, I need to go home. Screw the art show. I headed straight back to the hotel and grab my stuff before taking the plane home. I spent the half hour journey staring out of the window, thinking about why I had to screw everything up, he didn’t care about me anymore.
When I got back to the house it was full of life, as always. In between paintings I run an inn for travellers and I have one permanent resident. Also, Cosmo loves the inn idea. Most people that come through buy him things; he lives such a spoilt life. But I got in, unlocked the door... Alex wasn’t in, I told him not to leave the house without switching the TV off! I growled wordlessly and switched off the TV before heading upstairs to unpack. I began mumbling myself about how untidy the house was, when a knock at the door interrupted me. Eugh, I bet this is Alex forgetting his key. I thumped down the stairs and opened the door... “BENNY!”
"Gemme!" He laughed, oh God it was so, so good to see him.
"Oh, you're back, you're back!" I squealed, throwing myself at him.
"Of course I'm back, I said I would be, didn't I?"
"I didn't realise your birthday was so far away."
"I know, I'm sorry."
"Don't be, you're back but... I don't have a present for you."
"That's okay. I wasn't expecting anything. I'm a bit beyond presents these days anyways."
"Nonsense!" I grinned, "I'll have to give you something." I squeezed him tighter and smiled. "Oh, I missed you!"
"Really, you don't have to get me anything."
"Absolute nonsense." I smiled. "You will get something; I'll just have to think of what." I took a moment, "wait, so how old are you?" I ushered him inside, closing the door behind him, I nudged Cosmo off the sofa and offered him a seat.
"You're getting old."
"No I'm not."
"Yes you are."
"I'm only like five years older than you. That's nothing."
"Oh yeah? Well I thought you were old the first time, you're old now." I smirked, sticking my tongue out at him.
He laughed. "If you say so, I'm not old till I'm pushing forty and getting fat, 'kay?”
"You're old now." I giggled, kissing his cheek. "You look old, you whine like you're old and you move like you're old."
"Alright, alright, we can't all be immortal, now, can we?" I froze, glancing down at him, a frown on my face. Yeah, immortal, forever doomed to see Luca, forever doomed to see those I love die...
I looked from him to the floor. "That was a low, blow."
"And you were calling me an old man," he muttered, hugging me.
I sat on his lap, hugging him back. "I didn't mean it. You know I didn't."
"And I didn't mean what I said. Smile for me?" he asked.
I managed a weak smile. "It's true though, I'll always be immortal and forever cursed to see Luca."
"You don't have to see him if you don't want to," he shrugged, "Doesn't look like he's been around for a while, though," he mumbled.
"Two months, he became famous, "Killing the Phoenix," his band. I told you he was better off without me."
"Really? I didn't really believe it when you told me that..." he trailed off, unsure what to say. Instead he just squeezed me gently.
"I told you so." I mumbled, curling up into a ball on his lap. "Don't leave me again, please."
"You can come to Africa with me if you want, I guess. I don't think I'm ready to hang around in South Carolina for a while yet."
"Oh... I'll stay, I have a business to run after all, but you can't be leaving straight away surely?" I murmured I just couldn’t leave this place in Alex’s hands; it would turn into a pig sty.
"No, I'll hang around for a week or so, but I grew up in this godforsaken state, and I got bored of it. Travelling Asia was amazing, despite what happened in Japan. Coming back to SC just feels... I dunno. It's good to see you again, but I'm not so keen on being back in America just yet," he laughed slightly.
"Yeah, I know. I'm sorry... But, I'll make staying here worth your while. I promise." I smiled.
"Are you sure you can't come with me? You can use the laptop and keep on top of your business from there?"
"I wish I could but Alex would destroy this place."
"Mmm, he helps me run the inn when I’m off at art shows."
"You don't sound like you're doing too badly yourself, to be honest."
"Hmm, my art's been horrible ever since Luca left, I’ve gone back to painting trees."
"Trees are good too?" he smiled weakly.
"I'm better at portraits." I smiled back.
"Find someone else to paint then?"
"No one inspired me like he did." I sighed, “You’ve been sat in the ashes for too long, Gemme.” “Anyway, how was China?"
"It was good. I saw lots of pandas. I didn't get to even hug one though," he pouted.
"Oh well, I’ll have to do."
"You more than make up for the lack of panda hugs," he smiled.
"Mmm," I smiled, kissing him softly, "Happy birthday."
"Thank you," he smiled.
"If I wasn't such a psycho, would you want me?"
"I think you know the answer to that one, Gemme,"
I kissed him a little deeper. "I thought so."
"But do you want me?"
"If you weren't so old," I smirked.
"Ah, but according to you, I am," he laughed.
"Well, you're only 4 years older than me. I'm 19, I just, don't grow old..." I grinned, kissing him again. "I do, want you."
He pulled back, putting a finger on my lips, looking me in the eye seriously as he spoke, "are you sure?"
I looked into his eyes and nodded, "yeah." I whispered behind his finger and he pulled me in for another kiss and I happily kissed him back. My arms snaking back round his neck, “perhaps I could take a little break to Africa.” Ben has my heart, Ben has my heart, Ben has my heart...