I'm only half asleep, when I start walking through my head, the way I always do when the bad dreams start. I can hear Rayn and Gemme talking, but I don't hear their words. I'm too busy trying to keep my mind clear to listen.
Those white walls I depend on for my sanity are crumbling, and old memories of Gemme are floating up, good and bad. Everything I can remember about her and an overwhelming sense of fear crashing through it all. What is she never remembers? What about the beach? Three trips to the beach, three brilliant memories. Three brilliant memories that only I will ever remember.
I remember the cherry blossom in Japan. The memory takes on the same hideously real feeling that the dream Gemme had of me letting go of her and walking off into the darkness. I mean, I know it was real at the time, but it feels like it's happening all over again. I've lost the Gemme that I fell in love with and I dunno if I'll ever get her back.
Next thing I know, I'm inside myself, my body paralyzed with the fear. My heart is racing, but there's nowhere for the extra blood to go, ‘cause I can't move. The smell of gas hits me and I hear the car door opening and slamming closed again. The other door opens and slams shut too and I'm just left in the car, asleep. I can't tell if Alice is awake yet or not. The worst thing is I can hear all this going on, but I can't wake up. All I see is Gemme running off into the cherry blossom. I can feel myself sweating, I can feel the rush of blood with each push from my heart and I can feel the heat from the sun building up in the car where we're not moving.
The stink of the gas is stinging my nose and it only seems to be making the fear worse. It just makes me think of buildings being burnt down; the calm before the storm, the gas before the fire.
Something hits me in the stomach and my eyes snap open. I tense and make a fist, ready to beat the shit out of whatever just hit me when I notice an energy drink on the seat next to me and a packet of smokes in my lap.
I calm my breathing and push myself up so I'm not slouching anymore.
"Urgh," I groan, rubbing a hand across my face. My palm is all sweaty though, so it doesn't really make a difference. There's the rustling of a bag and something else flies at me. I stop it in the air and glare at it before turning my scowl up at Rayn out of the window. Gemme gets back in the car without a word to either of us and Rayn grins at me.
"You're still alive then," he laughs, getting back in the car.
"Just about," I cough, my voice rough.
"So am I, but of course, I always will be. Won't I?" Gemme finally says and I glare at the back of Rayn's neck. If the guy's balls mattered to him, I'd castrate him.
I might still castrate him.
"What did you do, you idiot!" I growl at him, punching the back of his headrest. He turns around to look at me, rubbing the back of his head.
"Now is not the time to be giving the driver whiplash!" he tells me loudly, trying not to shout. And then Alice wakes up. Oh for fuck's sake.
"What's going on...?" Alice asks sleepily.
"Nothing, beautiful, Rayn told mommy something that daddy was waiting to tell her later, and daddy got a bit annoyed," I say, grabbing the short hairs on the back of his neck and twisting. He makes an ‘ow' face and whines slightly.
"How long were you going to wait, Luca?" Gemme asks in a dangerous voice as I let go of Rayn.
"Not long. It's not really something I can just casually leave out, is it? I'd have waited til you knew a bit more about being a zodiac though." We pull out of the gas station and start back down the road, Rayn's expression in the rear view is very, very sheepish.
"Well, I'm guessing there are 13 of us. Apparently I have mind reading powers and I can talk to animals. Also, I'm gonna outlive everyone I loved apart from you. " ... okay, so you know a fair bit. But:
"Yeah, but Gemme, you have a habit of destroying things with your power when you get upset."
"Your power can be destructive. I'm a healer and even that can get destructive sometimes."
"What have I destroyed before?"
"Your old house. You make people hear a horrible high pitched noise and as far as I know, I'm the only person that can listen to it and not have a migraine. And you kinda... make people's brains explode."
"That sounds horrible!"
"See why I wanted to wait?"
"Who have I killed?"
"I'm not telling you while we're driving." I say firmly and then realize just how fucking obvious I'm being. I bang my head against the back of Rayn's chair in frustration at myself, but Gemme's silent, working it out.
"You won't tell me about my parents." She pauses, and then keeps speaking really slowly. "You won't tell me who I killed. I'm not an idiot, Luca."
"You didn't kill your dad, though. You wanted to, and you made it look like you did." I tell her quietly. I don't think it'd be such a good idea if I told her that was the night I pretty much snapped. I wouldn't have killed my dad, even if he was/is a total dick. Gemme doesn't say anything more, but I can see her crying, even though she turns her head to try and hide it. Alice looks horrified.
"You killed your mommy?" she whispers, and I put a finger over her lips.
"Shh," I tell her, "it was an accident. Mommy never meant to hurt anyone."
"You're lying... how could I be so cruel, so evil and so cold?" Gemme asks, trying not to let her voice crack.
"Pull over, Rayn," I mutter and he doesn't wait for a lay-by, just stopping on the side of the road. I get out and open Gemme's door, crouching in front of her, so I'm looking up at her. I take one of her hands as I speak, "listen to me, Gemme, you're not cold or evil or anything else like that. What happened to your mom was an accident."
"You're lying! You're lying!" she cries and I'm trying desperately to come up with a way that she might believe me.
"I'm not lying. Have I lied to you so far? I didn't want to tell you because I didn't want you to freak out like this. You don't even remember who I am; I wanted to wait til you did, so you at least had someone you trust to hold onto when you found out."
"I don't know if you've been lying so far, I don't know!"
"C'mon Gemme, I'm the knight in shining armor, remember? Since when does your knight lie to you?"
"And I'm the phoenix, the healer that killed her mother!"
"Yeah, and I'm s'posed to be strong for both of us, and so far, I've done a pretty crap job of that one. Look, let's go for a walk, yeah? We can talk in private," where there's no one's heads you can explode.
"Fine." I stand back to let her out, but I don't let go of her hand.