I didn't know if I liked that she was worried about me. I guess it made it real that I had someone that cared about what happened to me. I know, I know - 'how could you not like that?' right? Well, it meant I had to look after myself, else I'd be the one responsible for her being upset. If you haven't noticed already, being the one responsible for upsetting her is not something I want to do. I knew this feeling pretty well; I was always the one looking after Rayn and protecting him, kind of like a big brother, I guess. It took a while to get used to him, but once I was past his oddities, I wanted nothing more than to keep him happy. And if I was the one that upset him, I'd feel guilty for days. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I think of Sophia as a little sister or anything, it's just that... protectiveness, I s'pose. Wanting to make sure she's happy.
I'd never had it with anyone else, though. I felt nothing for others when I hurt them.
Until Sophia, anyway.
But there was also a growing attachment to this kid, Joe. That was more like a little sibling to look after. I didn't feel the need to keep him happy, but there was still the urge to look after him and get him through this stupid fucking mess. I wanted to look after them both until the world got sorted out.
After a couple of minutes, I let go of her, hoping she had calmed down a bit.
"I need to go and find him," I murmured. She looked into my eyes; I held her gaze, hoping she'd just realise I'd be fine. It didn't matter that I was hurt, I'd be able to get myself out. Unless I'm ill, I see no reason I'd be slowing down for anything. My arm hardly stopped me when Scott was trying to punch the living shit out of me. How was I supposed to convince her? How was I supposed to just ignore the fact that Joe was on his own in the biggest swarm of walkers I'd ever seen? She clearly couldn't.
"Please," she sniffed, "please Luca just stay here."
"He's a kid. He's had a shit life too, y'know? I can't let him go out there on his own to die like this after the crap he's been through," I sort of remembered half way through saying it, that Joe might not have wanted to tell anyone other than me what had happened to him, but it was too late and my mouth just kept going anyway. And it wasn't just that, either. "I owe it to him," I said before Sophia could think of another argument against me.
"I'll tell you when I get back, how's that? I'll answer some more of your questions when I come back with Joe." She opened and closed her mouth a few times, but I think she'd run out of ways to try and persuade me to stay. "If Scott upsets you in any way just because I'm gone for a while, I will personally make him into a zombie TV dinner," I told her, pulling on my boxers and pants. I couldn't find a shirt to put on, but I did find a leather jacket that was a bit too big for me, abandoned in a locker. Buttoning it up, I tried to ignore Sophia chewing off her lip silently, her eyes on me in worry. I definitely preferred it when she had something else in her eyes. Lust was probably my favourite.
I kissed her a little possessively when I had finished strapping all my usual weapons to myself. I couldn't help it. The idea of leaving her with Scott was almost as bad as thinking of her in that warehouse. I didn't trust him not to try something in the hopes that I'd be too busy being eaten to ever find out.
I felt her eyes on me all the way out of the alley, but I was more concerned with walking in the right direction. The last thing I needed was to get lost.
There were so many zombies milling around, it was impossible to not get noticed. I just hoped I was moving fast enough that they would lose interest in me once I was out of sight. I'd have been happier if I'd been in good enough shape to move by roof where the buildings were close together. Sure I could bolt up a fire escape if I needed to, but I couldn't jump from one building to the next if I needed to. I could hear plenty of mauled and rotted vocal cords trying to shout at me and raise the alarm that there was something still alive in the vicinity, but most of them were thankfully too far gone to be able to make much noise.
I vaulted over a couple of walls and fences to take a short cut, doing my best not to fuck up my arm. Every movement made the stitches tug. Very slowly, I could feel the bandages getting damp from blood. I hadn't checked if Scott had done any real damage to it, but I hadn't wanted to worry Sophia with it more than she already was, especially given that I'd been trying to make her let me go after Joe.
I found him inside the shopping centre when I got there. He was inside a HMV store, looking at the DVD racks.
"Joe, what're you doing?" my voice made him jump about a mile in the air. Apparently he hadn't heard me coming.