I don't really want to leave Gemme there on her own, but I figure if Alex really is intent on getting Alice back, then he'll go for the bus and try to get her by force.
And we've let that happen one too many times already.
Hesitating, I turn back.
"Gemme," I call as I walk towards the door.
"Umm, I was thinking maybe you should come back to the bus with me. I don't want that Alex guy to try anything stupid." I say, rubbing the back of my neck as I stand in the doorway.
"Okay," she shrugs and gets up. As we walk back, there's something nagging in the back of my mind, and I can't quite put my finger on what. It annoys me all the way into the bus and up the stairs as I change into my joggers and lay down on the bed closest to Alice. Gemme follows me, sitting on the edge of the same bed.
Suddenly, I realize what's bugging me.
"Why didn't you answer that question earlier?" I ask quietly, keeping my voice low so I don't wake Alice up. She shrugs. Brilliant answer there, Gemme. "No, c'mon. What gives? I thought..." well I dunno what I thought, but I'm beginning to wonder if I'd pushed my doubts away too quickly.
"I don't work with words, I work with pictures, Luca. What I feel for you... can't exactly put it into words. I can only show you really." I'm not sure if I'm entirely convinced, but I just shrug and pull that Harry Potter book out from under my pillow and try to remember what page I was on. I can't remember. Like page six or something. I get annoyed too quickly.
I'll say this about reading; it cannot beat drugs, not one, tiny, bit. If it weren't for the fact Alice might need me again, I probably wouldn't be here, I'd be with the others getting high.
Having said that, that might have been an even worse idea. Think I'm cruel when I'm sober? You should see me when I'm high.
"Sorry," Gemme mutters and I look up from the book.
"Not being able to give you the answer you want."
"Oh. S'ok." I look back at the page. I can't remember where I was. When I find my place again I frown at it like I've just found something disgusting on the page. "What's that word?" I ask, pointing to it.
"Respectable," she tells me and my lips make an ‘O' as I get it. Just as I'm getting into it again, there's a bang on the doors downstairs. Since we got back, the bodyguard/driver dude fucked off to get some sleep. It doesn't need to be said out loud to be obvious that I'm more dangerous than him anyways.
I throw my book to the floor and go downstairs. It's Alex. Of course it is. I just shake my head slightly and turn right back round, going back up the stairs.
"We need to give Alice the choice!" He shouts after me and I turn back around laughing slightly.
"She already chose, man. You abandoned her, don't pretend otherwise." She's asleep anyways. You can't do that to a kid.
"MAKE HER CHOOSE!" he begs and I shake my head.
"You can't do that to her. Beg all you fucking want, I'm not letting you fuck with her head anymore."
"Like you did to Gemme? You know what you did to her!?" You're trying to make me snap, aren't you? I open the door and step outside, pushing him away from the bus.
"If Gemme hadn't fucked someone else behind my back, it wouldn't have happened, so let's not go nosing around in something that's nothing to do with you, hmm?" I say, my tone half threatening, half falsely light.
"Huh, it was my business when she was crying on my shoulder!" I grit my teeth and fold my arms across my chest to stop myself hitting him.
"I thought we were talking about Alice, not Gemme," I growl slightly, "you're not having her back, so stop pissing me off and go back to wherever it was you were skulking away to when you left her behind."
"I will get her back! I will!"
"Why? You don't love her. Just let her be happy with me and Gemme."
"Heh, no one can be happy with you."
"Never heard Alice complaining." I retort. It's true. She never bloody complains about me, and I somehow get the feeling that even I make a better dad than him.
"She's five! Wait till she grows up. Plus, I know who you are. I doubt she knows the true you."
"Wonderful. So you know I take drugs and have a tendency to snap. What difference does that make?" Worried about that getting out? Umm. No.
"Great atmosphere for a kid, right? What happens when you start beating her?"
"I don't take drugs around her, Alex, I'm not that stupid. As for beating her? That ain't gonna happen. I know all too well what growing up like that feels like." I'll tell you anything if you just fuck off.
"Yet you still beat your girlfriends, how strange. You must really know how to treat a woman. Fine dining and flowers? Or... staying in with drugs and beating them into the hospital?"
"I don't hit Gemme." I snap.
"You have before."