Ben was sat in the kitchen with a laptop. As I walked in, he looked up and looked straight back at the screen. "Oh, err... hey, Gemme." he mumbled.
"Hey." I grinned, "Why is there no bread?" I moaned.
"Because Cancer made toast with it," he laughed, "I'll go get some more, if you want."
"No, it's fine." I mumbled, grabbing the cereal and a bowl and filling it. "Would you like me to create a vision so you don't see me naked?"
"If you want, the views nice, but I have to remind myself I love you as my sister, not because you're good in bed."
"Oh, sorry," I laughed, tucking into the cereal, creating a vision of me in underwear. "There, compromise."
He smiled and glanced up at me. "I booked my first flight, by the way. I'll be out from under your feet by the end of the week."
“Don’t say that as if you’re a nuisance here.” I growled staring up from my bowl of cereal; I then put it down to one side, looking at him. “You’re not under my feet.”
"Okay then," he smiled, "I'll be fucking pandas by the end of the week. Better?"
"Don't be so mean!" he scowled
"What do you mean? I'll be mean if I want to. I do feel sorry for the pandas, just the thought..."
"Okay, okay. I'll go hug them instead."
"Why would you want to hug a panda?"
"They're so fluffy!" he said brightly.
"What have you done with Ben?”
He laughed. "I'm joking, I'm joking. I'm more likely to bitch-slap them for not fucking to save their own species, stupid animals."
"Oh because we all need to screw each other to save the human race." I laughed, shaking my head. "I'd hug you, but I don't want to tease."
"Too many humans and not enough pandas. It's a funny old world, eh?" he smiled, getting up and wrapping me in his arms.
I laughed. "Yeah, unfortunately I won't be contributing to our population though."
"Huh well if you're planning on staying with Cancer that's probably not such a bad thing. Not unless you want kids running around with temperamental split personalities."
"Yeah, especially since we're gonna outlive them."
"How did we get onto you and Cancer having kids anyways? Ugh, that's a disturbing thought. Cancer having kids, I mean."
"You on about the population." I laughed.
He laughed too, "oh yeah."
I squeezed him back tightly, my head on his shoulder. "I don't want you to go."
"I know, but... it's for the best, really. I'll leave you guys to do your own thing, but I'll always be on the end of the phone if you need me, unless I'm in the middle of fucking a panda, obviously."
I laughed weakly. "I don't want you on the other end of a phone. I want you here." I sobbed, trying to muffle them in his shoulder.
"How’s about if I come back for birthdays and Christmas?"
"NO! I want you here, I don't want to stop you doing what you want in life... but I want you here."
"Shh," he whispered, rubbing his hand up and down my back comfortingly, "I'm not going forever. I'll only be gone a year, tops."
I shook my head, tightening my hug on him, "no..." I mumbled.
"Hey if I come back for birthdays, mine included, I'll only be gone a month."
"I just don't feel right, I feel as if, if you go now something bad is gonna happen."
"Like what? What could possibly go wrong with me gone? If anything, things have been fucked up while I'm here."
"I mean you. Something's going to happen to you."
"What, you mean the panda might beat me off with some bamboo?"
I shook my head, I was seriously worried, I didn't know what was going to happen, but I knew something was. I pulled away from him, placing my bowl in the sink and filling it with water.
"Well what do you want me to do? Cancel my flight and all the hotel bookings?"
"Yes!" I growled, ending up smashing the bowl instead as I slammed it down. Crap, I closed my eyes and sighed, my hand resting on the edge of the sink. "No, I'm sorry, just go."
He looked at me in surprise. "Christ, I'll cancel them if it matters that much," he muttered, turning back to his laptop.
"What's going on down here?" Luca called, thudding down the stairs.
"No, it's okay, go Ben."
"No, I’ll cancel them, look. I'll go next week," he said, sitting down. Luca walked in and leant on the door frame.
"What, am I talking to a pair of brick walls here?" he asked, looking between Ben and me.
"Ben, go, honestly. It's just me being crazy."
"No, no, maybe you're right, maybe I'll get attacked by ninjas on the way to the airport." Ben muttered, clicking on something. The laptop slammed closed, trapping Ben's fingers on the mouse pad. "Ow!"
"You'll get attacked by me in a minute if you can't even be bothered to say 'hello'!" Luca growled as Ben tried to open the laptop again, but Luca was holding it closed from the doorway.
"Hello," Ben snarled back, not looking up.
"Better," Luca muttered, releasing the laptop. I snarled, picking up the pieces of china and putting them in the bin.
"So what do you want me to do, Gemme?" Ben asked, trying to stay calm.
"I'm not gonna do that." He said, looking up at me as I tried to ignore Luca's mind bubbling irritably that he was being totally ignored.
"Luca, I'll tell you later, I'll need your help anyway." I sighed, not wanting him to explode, then I turned to Ben, "Well try." I mumbled, walking past him and Luca.
Ben sighed and put his head on the table with a thump. "I'm going next week!" he called after me.
"Help with what?" Luca asked, talking over Ben. I waved away Ben's answer and continued to walk upstairs. "Help with what?" Luca repeated, following me.
"Just then, I had this weird feeling bus through me, my head, as if something bad was going to happen if he left. I'm not sure what though." I paused, pulling on my trousers and a blouse, giving up on the idea of painting today.
"And that's what you guys were arguing about?"
"Yeah, I told him not to go. I pleaded with him not to go. That feeling it was so real..."
"Well it sounds like he listened," he shrugged.
"But still... I still think something is gonna happen, but I don't want to stop him from going."
"He'll be fine. He's Benny. He's always fine, and he knows me." He half smiled.
"No..." I muttered as the feeling tingled through me again.
"He listened to you, though," he sighed, flopping back onto the bed, "and you do know Benny doesn't care if he dies, as long as he dies laughing, or having fun, right? You're lucky he listened at all."
"NO! I won't let him die!" The thought of him dying at all unnerved the hell out of me and I sat down on our bed beside him.
"Well go with him then, wrap him in a cotton wool blanket and keep him safe from the bogey man. Christ, what do you think is gonna happen to the guy?"
I held my head, shaking it slightly. "Screw you Luca." The feeling just grew worse, images began to form and I took a deep intake of breath. Ben, walking down the street with a woman... the woman sleeps with him, then like a black widow... kills him. Well that that is bloody scary.
He got up and put his shirt on, opening the window. "I'm going to go and get some more smokes. I'll come back when you've stopped being ridiculous," he muttered, sitting on the ledge, swinging his legs out of the window.
"Ridiculous? Ben's gonna die!" I splutter, crap.
"Of course he's gonna die. Every one apart from us dies." He shrugged, now standing on the other side of the window, holding himself in the air.
"No, a woman kills him, but now I know that I can warn him!" I mused,
Luca bit back a laugh. "You'll never keep him away from women. He'll learn another language if it means he can get laid."
I narrowed my eyes. "Okay, well you just go, because I don't need you talking to me like this." With a smile and a mock salute, he dropped out of sight.
"Twat!" I growled running back downstairs. "Ben, stay away from a woman in a purple kimono!" God, I sound like a dodgy prophet.
"Half of the Japanese population then. Shame."
"No, she had a tattoo of a butterfly on her left hand, she carries a blue parasol." I mumbled and then sighed.
He nodded and smiled. "I'll look out for her, and avoid her at all costs," he said, putting an arm out for a hug, "thank you."
"But you don't even know why..." I mumbled, wondering why he didn't think I was crazy. Even I thought I was being crazy.
"No, but you said something bad would happen and now you're telling me to avoid some woman in a purple kimono with a blue parasol and a butterfly tattoo. You might sound like a crack pot fortune teller, but your tone of voice tells me otherwise," he said, still smiling.
"Yeah," I murmured, walking toward him.
“Although you are gonna have to write that detail down for me, because I can guarantee I’ll forget."
"You better not; I don't want you to die."
"Oh so she is gonna kill me? Well, that puts a whole new perspective on remembering what she's wearing."
"You won't die smiling, I'll tell you that." I snarled, but then I rested my head on his chest. "Sorry, I'm raining on your parade."
"I'm always smiling. I'll die smiling just to spite her." he paused. "Or I'll stay alive to spite her. That one works better."
"Yes. Yes you will, because you are not dying on me yet. No, not yet. I won't let you. You can't no. No. NO!" I shook my head furiously.
He hugged me tightly, "Shh, calm down," he murmured. "No one's gonna kill me, not now, not ever, 'kay?"
"Yeah, you're right, okay. Yeah, okay."
He kissed the top of my head in a comforting way, before pulling back and smiling at me. "Either way, you have me for the rest of this week and the next. So chin up and let me see ya smile, yeah?"
I smiled weakly but it soon dropped. "Sorry."
"And then I'll be back three weeks later for my twenty second birthday," he smiled, "birthdays are completely pointless now I'm over the legal drinking age, but I'll still come back and see you."
"Okay." I mumbled my head still hung.
He sighed and pulled me back into a hug. After a couple of moments, Luca walked back in, slamming the front door and going back upstairs without a word to either of us. "You guys fell out again already?" Ben asked incredulously.
"He said you would die... that as long as you died laughing you didn't care... I don't want you to die." I mumbled.
"Well... I'm not immortal. And he's right, as long as I go down laughing, I don't really care. I mean, I don't want to die till I’ve done everything I wanted to, but y'know... Either way, I'm not gonna let this purple kimono bitch kill me, okay?"
My nose twitched irritably but I nodded, "right, of course."
“What? What have I done now?"
"What is it with you two and your bloody death wishes?"
"I don't have a death wish. I just want to enjoy my life, and if it gets cut short, then fine, as long as I enjoyed it."
"When I didn't know about my immortality I was terrified of death..." I still am, a little.
“Why? There's nothing to be afraid of. The only thing to be afraid of is looking back and realizing you did fuck all with your life."
"That's the point, what if there is nothing? What if all you have achieved in life is for nothing, all in vain, what if there is no heaven or hell and what if there is nothing but darkness?"
"Who cares? It might be pointless to live, but it's even more pointless to waste your life being boring and staying safe and living in a tower block office, wishing you was somewhere else."
"Yeah but..." I sighed, shaking my head. "I should go check on Luca."
"Shouldn't live your life running around after others, either, just because you're immortal, doesn't mean you can't have some selfish time." he smiled, letting go of me anyway.
I looked down to the floor, stopping in my tracks, "if I didn't live for him." I whispered, not turning round to look at him. "No one would." He said nothing and I carried on up the stairs.