I put my other arm around her again, hugging her firmly as she begs me to make it stop. She slowly leans into my chest, but she doesn't raise her arms around me, instead dropping them to her side. I don't mind that. It hurts a whole lot less than her saying the best moments of my life were lies.
"I didn't mean to hurt you, Gemme. I didn't mean for those memories to hurt you," I half whisper into her hair.
"They just seem so distant." Yeah well of course they would to you. You don't remember them at all. I don't really know what to say, so I just keep hugging her, holding her close and hoping she doesn't lose control of her power. The first memory of the beach is still in my mind, and I find myself watching it over again as I hold her. "It's just me and you."
"Hmm?" I snap out of my thoughts at her voice.
"Everyone else will eventually die and it'll be just me and you." I blink, realizing what she means. See, she's always been so afraid of everyone she knows dying and her living on. It's never bothered me before, because the only person I have any real attachment to is Gemme. And neither of us can die. So why would it bother me? Only now I have Alice too. I never really considered it before. How can you explain to someone who sees you as their dad that you're stuck at eighteen forever?
"Yeah... Us and the other eleven zodiacs." We're not totally alone, but I guess eternity with people who're just gonna die on you and those guys isn't gonna be so much fun.
"Oh, who cares about them?"
"I don't, but you should at least care about the fact that one of them is your brother," I mutter.
"Oh yeah, my brother. I forgot."
"I s'pose I should probably call him and tell him what happened... never know, he might even be able to help." Why didn't I think of that before?
"Don't really want to let go of you though," I manage a weak smile, even though I know she can't see it.
"I don't want you to either," she tells me. So I don't. She just curled herself up as much as she could in my arms. "Can you, can you show me more memories?"
"Sure," I mutter. I dunno what to show her. Half of it's fighting, half of it's amazing. And then there's the drugs. And the part where I'm about as nice as her dad. And all the rest of it. I don't really need to list it all. I sit down on the crash barrier behind me, pulling her onto my lap and holding her there. I close my eyes and show her the first time I met her, my memory of walking through the school after those anti-zodiac creeps and then finding that she's already pretty much dealt with them.
She smiles, "you didn't care much for me then. What happened?"
"I didn't care about anyone back then. Not even Rayn. There's just something about you that strips me down and makes me feel."
"Then, I'm your greatest weakness."
"Some people say that being able to feel is actually a strength," I murmur.
"Indeed it is, but sometimes... lying and protecting yourself can be the better option."
"I can still do that. You're the only person that ever gets to see the real me," I shrug slightly.
"And I'll treasure it." I smile and show her a few memories of how horrified I was every time she hugged or kissed me, right up until the one where I was about to run away and she tried to stop me at the train station, when I told her all I wanted was to be alone. The first time, that is.
"I was that scared of opening up," I laugh slightly. "And you thought it was your fault."
"I was rather stubborn, wasn't I? But, you couldn't understand. You couldn't understand why I loved you."
"Of course I couldn't. I'm about as flawed as it's possible to be, I had no idea how anyone would find it in them to care about me." I sigh. I'm gonna have to tell her about those flaws, aren't I? I'm not sure the new Gemme will still want to know me after I tell her though. I'm scared, of course I am. I'm scared she'll walk away from me and never come back, just like in my dream in the car.
"A diamond in the rough I think. Because lately, you've been so caring to me. If I hadn't loved you before, I think I'd have fallen in love all over again." A very, very rough diamond. I can't help the small smile, though.
"Good to know," I murmur, "if that still stands after you learn about my faults, I will be very, very impressed. I know you didn't care all that much about them before - at least, you said you didn't - but you don't remember anything about it, so I dunno. I dunno what you'll think of me this time around."
"Well, just try me." I swallow nervously and nod slightly. I figure I should do one thing at a time, so I show her my drug addictions first, the way I used to live, in a drug den, the way they were the only things that mattered to me. The way they've caused so many fights between us. That time when she suggested we go get me a new guitar and I couldn't even make it to the shop without the cravings taking over.
"Oh... but, it's not really you. That's just a lifestyle choice... it could change." She shrugs. If it was that easy, I'd have managed to change by now. "Although..."
"You did try to rape me."
"Huh?" I frown, trying to remember a time when anything I've done has come even close to rape. And then... "oh. On the bus. I was high. I was used to the girl just doing what I wanted." I mutter.
"Yeah, I know you were high. But, rape seems a little bit too familiar to me. Makes me feel just like the word Phoenix does."
"Yeah... there've been a couple of other times that weren't me. Some guy who decided he wanted to screw you while I still thought of you as a friend, and Benny. You forgave Benny, though. And I dealt with the other guy."
"Oh... this Benny character again? What did I think of him?"
"You thought of him as... well I dunno. You fucked him a few times and then decided you loved him more as a brother. It confused me," I shrug. Can you blame me for being confused about that?
"I screwed him? What happened? Did we break up? Where is he now?"
"You were never together. He's in Africa at the moment. Been a life dream of his to travel the world since he was a kid."
"Oh..." she murmurs, "Luca. Can we get back to Newberry now? I don't want you to let go of me but... I really want to find myself again."
"Yeah, sure. You can sit in the back with me if you want. I'm sure Alice won't mind sitting in the front." We stand up and I slip my arm around her waist as we begin our walk back to the car.
"I'm sure Alice would rather sit beside you."
"I can always sit in the middle, I guess."
"I'll just sit in the front. Alice... it'll be awkward."
"Why would it be awkward? If you want me to hold you then that's what I'll do," I shrug.
"She's calling me her mother. I don't even know her."
"She's a good kid. If I sit between you will it still bother you that much?"
"I...I'll just sit in the front." When the car comes back into sight, Rayn's sitting on the bonnet with Alice, watching cars pass and laughing at people's expressions as they talk or sing along to their music.
"Okay, well..." I trail off, hesitantly kissing her for a moment, pulling away before she can react badly again.