"When did you miss me?" he asked incredulously, "when was I away long enough to be missed?"
"When you were away today. I tried to paint, but without my muse, it was horrible."
"You had Benny. I know you like him. Is that what you weren't telling me? That you like him? I'm not that dumb."
"I don't, no. Nigh does."
"Oh yeah, you and your kooky split personality." He sighed.
"Damn it, I know, it's tearing me apart. That's why I paid for him to go on a round the world trip."
"Cancer! You're letting all the fucking heat out. Get your ass in here or fuck off already!" Izzy yelled from inside the apartment. Luca looks behind him and then back at me, undecided.
"Go, if you want to. I'll see you at home." I sighed, turning off down the street again.
"Sorry," his mental voice whispered as I heard the door shut.
"It's good to know I'm loved." I sighed again, I don't believe it. I came second best to her and her drugs. He was silent and after a moment, I knocked on the door again. There was another long silence before Luca finally answered the door with a questioning look as he saw me standing there. "I wanted to know what the hype was about." I grinned, "That and I can't do anything without my Muse, I can disappear if you'd have me rather."
"Hype?" he asked, confused for a moment as he stood back to let me in.
“Why everyone loves drugs,” I explained, walking past him.
"It doesn't affect your mind, you wouldn't get it," he muttered, closing the door and lingering a moment in the hallway with me.
"Doesn't mean I can't see into other people’s minds." He sighed and mumbled an “okay”. “Plus I missed our dear Izzy.”
“Oh, I’m sure she missed you, too,” he rolled his eyes and walked off to the living room where Izzy was heating a spoon that was giving off an acrid smell.
“Hey, Izzy,” I said, following Luca into the room. Luca settled on the floor opposite Izzy, a coffee table between them. Only the items on the table were a far cry from coffee mugs.
“Hey... It’s Gemme, right?” she replied, looking up at me for a second, before returning her gaze to the spoon.
“Yeah. I knocked this time,” I smiled. Izzy picked up an empty needle and set the spoon on the table, glancing at me again.
"I heard. I still made Cancer get the door." She smiled, filling up the syringe as she spoke.
"Hmm." I sighed, settling down on a wall opposite the couch. "Are you joining her Luca?" Luca smiled for a brief second. The expression on his face as he watched the drug going into the syringe was almost sickening to see; it was like he was in some kind of a trance already and he hadn’t even taken anything yet.
"Joining her?” His lips twitched upwards in another momentary smile, “That one's mine."
"You want one, Gemme?" Izzy asked, handing over the syringe to Luca.
"Uhm... no, I have brain problems. Drugs don't affect me."
"Uh... right," she smiled uncertainly. "So you're just gonna sit there and watch him get high?" she asked, sitting back, not looking as Luca dug the needle into his arm. I didn’t want to look, but I saw the grin on his face as he pumped the liquid into him.
"Yep. I have nothing else but Luca, it hurts me to watch him like this but I guess it makes him happy..." At least, the stupid smile on his face as he slumped backwards onto the floor and the rush of calming bliss and the sensation of floating uncontrollably would give the impression that it made him happy... We both watched for a moment as he giggled quietly, apparently at nothing. Izzy looked away from him first. "He's trying, at least. He doesn't want to stay like this anymore," she murmured, half smiling as she glanced back at me.
"I guess. So, how'd you get into this business?" I asked, looking for something else to say, to break the awkward tension in the room, and to try to block out Luca’s gurgling nonsense from on the floor.
"Bad choices. I wasn't exactly top of the class, but I wasn't dumb, either. Just got in with the wrong people I guess. Makes money though. Whoever said crime don't pay was stupid."
"Indeed, it doesn't pay for them though." I pointed to the random junkies scattered around the room.
"That's their choice. They want it; I'll sell it to them. If they take it here, I'll take care of them, but other than that, they're on their own." she shrugged. "So how'd you end up with Cancer?"
"Heh, honestly I don't know. We met at school. Dunno how the hell we got this far though. We're like polar opposites."
"You don't seem like the kinda girl that would put up with someone like him. I mean... I've heard things. Dunno if they're all true, but..." she glanced over at him, "I don't find them hard to believe, sadly." I wondered what things she had heard. What kind of reputation had Luca given himself?
“Go on...” I muttered.
"People have said he killed his last girl 'cause he thought she was cheating on him or something. Broke her neck, I think," she shrugged.
"Well, he hasn't done anything to me yet and I've been less than loyal. Heck, he may say otherwise but I don't deserve him."
"So he did kill her? Doesn't that like, worry you?" she asked, her eyes wide.
"I never said he did, I dunno if he did, he hasn't mentioned it. But yeah, it does. Just a little. But I don't think he would ever do that to me,” I lied.
"Huh. I've never understood why people stay in relationships with people they know are likely to fly off the handle and beat them up. I mean, they're probably beasts in bed, but other than that, it doesn't seem worth it to me," she laughed slightly.
"Because Luca's so much more than that." I let my gaze wander to him for a minute, before looking back at Izzy. "Per chance have you ever heard of me before?" She shook her head slowly.
“No... Should I have?”
"Dunno, I don't know what interests you."
"People who take drugs interest me. Fast cars and the chance to escape from this shithole of a town are pretty high up there too."
"Then no, unless you know your rich families and are an art critic."
"I know one rich family. The one up on the hill in the mansion type place? I can never remember their name, but their spoilt son sometimes comes here and tries to get away with ripping me off for a few spliffs."
"Ha, no. We're from England originally then moved to Cameron. Lyniati, sounds like something from the Da Vinci code, I know."
"England? Then why the hell are you in Newberry? What was wrong with London? Believe me; I'd rather have sucky English weather over living in what might as well be a desert."
"Too many bad memories. And we lived in Bath." I laughed. "Dunno, I wanted to move to New York, but I'm not a big fan of cities anymore."
"Fair enough. I won't pry," she smiled, though of course the curiosity was in her eyes. Luca's mind by this point was completely blank. There was a serene smile on his lips, though his chest was barely rising and falling with his breaths.
"Damn, I hate seeing him like this." I crawled beside him, resting my head on his shoulder. "You must have a heart of stone to work in this business."
"It was hard at first, but... you see it so many times, have more people die in your living room than you care to remember..." she trailed off, watching as Luca stirred slightly.
"After all the people I’ve seen die, I still haven't got used to it." I mumbled, lifting my head to look at Luca. His eye lids fluttered slightly, feeling the weight of my head lifting off his shoulder, and his mind flickered for a second with a half formed image of my smile before going blank again.
I smiled before resting my head back on his shoulder, "I love him..." I mumbled absently.
"I reckon he must love you a hell of a lot," Izzy muttered almost enviously, "I don't know him very well, and even if I totally disregard all I've heard of him, I don't think he would try to give up drugs for just anyone."
"Humph, yet I nearly threw it all away." I cursed, wrapping my arms around him.
"What's goin' on?" Luca slurred quietly as my arms tightened around him. He wriggled, coughing.
"Nothing much." I muttered, releasing him and moving back, giving him space.
His eyes opened and he coughed again, rolling on his side. "He's coming down already?" Izzy seemed surprised.
"He must have a strong mind hmm?" I wondered, looking at him, controlling his thoughts carefully so the drugs didn't affect him too badly.
"Strong body, too," she noted with a half smile. "Not just 'cause he works out. I meant that he's been taking drugs for years and he's only seventeen. It's a good thing he isn't, but he should be dead by now," she said.
"I know. Now he's rather infamous."
"Gemme?" Luca mumbled, his tone like a lost child's, higher pitched than normal and searching.
"Yeah, I'm here." I whispered.