Luca: reading = effort.Mature

The next day, the second Damien says he's going to the Wal-Mart to get food, I give him a long list of things I don't even want but I know will keep him busy long enough for me to look through his diary. He slaps his forehead and nods, wandering off in the direction of the shops.

I know I can't read all that well, but like I've said before I can just about get by, so, I grab his notebook from where I found it last time, hide it in the pocket on my hoodie and make my excuses. I walk out to the edge of the park where there's a small woodlandy bit. I climb one of the trees and hide myself up there before getting the notebook out, flicking to the last few pages. The last thing he wrote in there was last night after the game.

With a frown, I focus my mind on the words, but I still feel like I should get Alice to read it to me - she'd make more sense of it than me.

Mind you, I recognize most of the cussing, so maybe giving it to Alice would be a bad idea.

It's a messy entry. Some of them are really neat and some have pictures. This one is messy and all over the place. I guess we were all pretty drunk by the time we were done.

...had to make out with Cancer as a dare. He hated it... blah, blah, blah. He mentions a few of the other dares, like the one where he stripped Gemme. Loved the look on his face when I stripped Gemme. So... I squint at the next word. I can't work out what it is. I close my eyes and take a breath to calm myself down as I get frustrated at myself.

P-R-O-T-E-C-T-I-V-E. So protective. And he liked that? I mean... I could understand if Gemme liked it, but why Damien?

I had to fucking ask him what he thinks of Gemme, didn't I? I had to go an open my big fucking mouth. ‘I love you, more than I could ever put into words,' were his exact words to her. I mean, that's a good thing right? He actually cares about her, and that's a good thing, but...

That bit's scribbled out. In fact, the rest of the page is pretty much unreadable. Which is fine with me, I was getting a headache from concentrating anyways.

I rest my head back on the trunk of the tree and nearly fall off the branch as Gemme talks to me in my head, taking me by surprise.

"What're you doing?"

"Sitting in a tree, relaxing," I reply. Not strictly a lie.

"Why?"

"Why not?"

"Fine."

"What? Do you want me to come back to the bus?"

"Not if you're doing something else."

"No, I was just relaxing. I'll come back," I shrug, jumping out of the tree.

"Oh, okay." I wander back over to the bus and find her inside on the sofa at the back.

"Hey," I smile, taking off my hoodie with the book in the pocket again, dumping it on the stairs as I walk over to her.

"Hey."

"You okay?"

"Yeah, I just missed you. I wondered where you went."

"Oh, sorry," I sit down, giving her a quick kiss, "didn't mean to just fuck off."

"It's fine. It's not like I own you."

"Mmm. So uh... when can you teach me how to read better?" After spending nearly two hours trying to work out just a couple of paragraphs, I kinda figure that I should just get on with it and swallow my pride. Again. Urgh.

"Whenever you like."

"...Now?"

"Sure." Just don't make me read a stupid kiddy book. I might have to kill myself. I just look at her, half expectant, half awkward. You're the teacher now... so teach? "What do you already know, I mean, in terms of alphabet sounds?" She half-smiles, "you'll have to forgive me, I'm starting from the beginning."

"Most of them. I mean, I know enough to get by when I try. Like when you gave me that note a while ago after a gig... I sat and figured it out but it took me a while."

"So really, all you need to do is practice." She smiles. Yeah... I was practicing earlier and it still took me ages to read just a little bit. "I think I have a book in my bag." She gets up and goes to get it. A moment later she comes back with the book. She hands it to me and I look at the cover. It has a shit cartoon picture of a kid and an old fashioned train on it. The words Harry Potter are written in big letters at the top and I glance up at her. It's kiddy, I guess, but it's not so kiddy that it makes me want to kill myself.

I flick to the first page and stare at the page for a whole minute, put off by the length of each sentence at first. This is gonna be hard work, isn't it?

 

The End

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