"Not anymore, Alex. Look, we've taken care of the child that you abandoned, and she's been pretty happy. And since she's been happy, I want to keep it that way. Having you come back and not only just appear out of the blue, but making her choose between us? That's not gonna make her happy." Whoever said I can't be reasonable? I'm being perfectly reasonable. I've not even so much as hit him.
"She has to be with her father and if you won't give her to me I'll take it to the courts."
"No, she has to be happy. And I'm quite happy to go fill out some adoption forms. Won't make much difference, she's already calling me her daddy."
"Bastard!" he yells at me, getting, if that's possible, even more angry at me.
"Technically, yes, I am," I spit at him and unfold my arms, the urge to hit him growing.
"Go on, cause me as much pain as you have with Gemme over the years." I've not even known her a full year. Get it right, man. "Alice'll only end up the same way!"
"No, she won't," I snarl, punching him square on his already broken nose, before turning around and going back into the bus, locking the doors behind me. He cried out in pain, yowling a lot like a cat in a fight. But he still wouldn't back down.
"She will and you know it!" he yells at me through the door. I stick my middle finger up at him and light a cigarette, walking back up the stairs. After that, he doesn't do anything and when I sit back on the bed, Gemme doesn't say anything.
"What's wrong with you tonight?" I ask irritably at her silence.
"I... I didn't mean to." She stutters and I look at her, not quite able to get the pissed off look off my face.
"Didn't mean to what?"
"I was upset and broken and... the memories just flooded out. I didn't mean to show him anything."
"Christ, Gemme, I don't care about that," I say, forcing my voice even. I do care. You had no fucking right to show him anything.
"Oh... I'm sorry." She mutters, edging away from me a little.
"Stop apologizing, I just said I don't care, didn't I?" I mutter, taking a long drag on my smoke. I care a lot. But please just fucking drop it.
"Sorry!" she whimpers and the desire to hit something isn't fading.
"Why?!" She cowers away from me, edging to the back of the bed she's sat on, as far away from me as she can get. Seeing this makes me want to stand up and grab the front of her shirt, pulling her up toward me as I demand to know why she's trying to get away from me. And that makes me want to cry. I throw my cigarette out of an open window and pull my knees to my chest, hiding my face on them. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, fighting the urge to cry or hit something.
After a couple of minutes both of these urges disappear and I look up again.
"Sorry, sorry," I mutter, "I didn't mean to snap, he just got under my skin..." he really got under my skin. Of course I know I'm a dick and a bastard and all the rest of it, but I guess knowing how bad I fucked Gemme up after I left got to me more than I thought it would.
"It's fine." She laughs, but there's a slight edge of hysteria to it. "I don't think you know how scary you can be." I push my hair back out of my face and look at Alice.
"I can't fuck it all up again," I mumble under my breath, "I'm not letting that bastard get her back." I can't let him get under my skin like that again either. For fuck's sake, all that shit he was going on about and it just made me want to hit her all over again. I can't, I can't do that anymore.
"He won't. I'm sure." I just nod, still looking at Alice's sleeping face. Slept through it all, bless her.
"I'm sorry, Gemme," I murmur, glancing at her again.
"Yeah," she says and I don't know what that's supposed to mean.
"No, really. I'm really sorry about what I did... everything," I sigh and look away again. I hate apologizing. I hate it most when I mean it.
"Yeah, I know."
"Forgive me for being a complete fuckface?" I ask, trying to smile.
"What's wrong?" I question again, but this time I actually mean it, rather than lashing out at her.
"Let's focus on keeping Alice safe, okay?" Well, I might be a guy, but I'm sure I can concentrate on keeping Alice safe as well as talking. I decide not to push it anymore though, instead singing Shining Knight in my head as I heal away my tiredness.