After the show that night, I don't go backstage with everyone else. It's hard enough keeping my mind off getting high without watching everyone else doing it. Instead I tell the roadie guy to go to a bar and leave me to clear up. I move everything by hand, instead of cheating and using my telekinesis, just because it takes longer and keeps my mind occupied for half an hour. After that, I go back to the bus.
I wander upstairs to where Alice is sleeping, curled up on her side under the covers. With a quiet sigh, I sit down on the edge of the bed next to hers, watching her sleeping. Her face is all peaceful and cute and I can't help but wonder why the hell her dad decided to abandon her. I think about it for a while, wondering how she feels about it and the like, ‘cause my dad left when I was just a little bit younger than she is now, and at that age you don't really understand. I couldn't figure out for ages if it was my fault or not.
I'm tempted to find her dad and make him take her back. Only the kid's actually been a pretty good influence on me. I've gotten kind of attached.
As I'm thinking about going and finding her dad and beating some sense into the guy - I mean, really, does he seriously want to miss out on such a cute little kid growing up? - I hear the bus doors open and someone else walks in.
"Luca?" I hear Gemme calling quietly, trying not to wake Alice up.
"Shh," I whisper in her mind as Alice stirs slightly.
"Why're you here?" She whispers back. I blink and pull my gaze away from Alice's face. Getting up, I go down the stairs as quietly as I can.
"I just... didn't wanna get wasted. I'm s'posed to be trying to get better, aren't I?" I murmur, steering Gemme down towards the sofa at the end of the bus. That and being with Alice keeps me calm. Because I know what it's like to be that age around a guy who can't control his temper.
"Yeah, yeah. You're right." She nods and I sit down, "I'm proud of you." I smile and tap the seat next to me.
"Thanks," I mutter, managing to keep the need in the back of my head. She smiles too, sitting beside me.
"Anything I can do to take your mind off it? Besides actually going into your mind." I hold back a shudder as I remember how uncomfortable her mind prodding was.
"I dunno... I was thinking, before you got here, about Alice's dad. I mean, it's not like I don't know how it feels to be abandoned by your dad. I was just wondering if there was some way he would have her back," I sigh and push a hand through my hair.
"There could be, but, he's done it before. I really wish there was. That's what I was arguing to him about, but he wouldn't have any of it."
"Yeah, it's just I've really gotten to like the kid. She doesn't deserve to grow up questioning herself, wondering if it was something she did."
"She doesn't, she blames me." Oh yeah.
"Well you don't deserve that either. I dunno..." I trail off. Probably the only person that would really regret it if she went would be me, since she gives me a real reason to keep calm. I mean, Gemme does, I know that, but... I dunno. It's confusing. I guess I can just relate to the kid more? Whatever.
"I'll live with it, Luca. But if you think you could persuade Alex, then you go ahead. I personally think she should be with her father too," Gemme says and I rest my head back on the back of the sofa, slumping into it some more.
"I think I'd miss her if she went now," I laugh slightly.
"You made me soft before, but she's making me even softer," I laugh again. It is kinda stupid. C'mon, me getting attached to a five year old.
"Sorry," she mutters and I turn my head to look at her.
"What're you saying sorry for?" I ask.
"For making you soft, you obviously don't like it." oh, you totally got the wrong end of the stick there, Gemme. I put an arm around her and kiss her gently.
"No, no. It's not a bad thing, I guess. It's just strange."
"Well it's not like you're soft to everyone, just me and... now Alice." Well sure. You don't sound too happy, Gemme. What's wrong with me being nice to you guys?
"What's up?" I ask with a slight frown at her tone of voice.
"Nothing," she mutters. See, this is what happens when I actually talk about what's on my mind. When she asked how to take my mind off it, I should have said sex and left it at that.
"Sure? You're being all quiet."
"Fine, positive," she insists and the frown doesn't lift. I don't think you could be any less convincing, to be honest, Gemme, but I don't wanna make you tell me, and end up in a fight over it. So I change the topic.
"Mmm... I found Damien's diary earlier. He moans at me for not talking about how I feel and then he keeps quiet about his own feelings," I pause awkwardly, hardly able to believe what's about to come out of my mouth, "only, I still don't know what's on his mind, ‘cause I couldn't read what he'd written..." cringe, "can't read, can I?" I try to smile, but it probably looks more like I just swallowed a bee.
"I could read it for you. If you want," she offers and I have to wash down that bee with my pride.
"No... I was kinda hoping that offer was still open. Of you teaching me how to read better, that is." I want the ground to open up and eat me. Again.
"Of course it is," she nods and I smile shakily.
"I'm not sure what's more embarrassing right now... being most wanted celebrity or finally admitting I can't really read," I mumble, trying to sink into the seat some more.