After a while the screaming and the crying stopped and I heard the door slam downstairs. What have I done? Scott was dead. Luca had just killed him. And why? Because I’d just asked him to.
I sat back against the wall, watching Joe continue taking inventory of the things collected. He’d done well, all long lasting foods. Some wash stuff. Lots of medical supplies. I heard a tap run from downstairs and my mind went back to what had happened outside, what had Luca done to him? There was so much screaming. I dropped my head into my hands trying to shake it out of my brain. He felt nothing when he did what he did, I closed my eyes and began building back up a fresh wall to block it all out again.
I vaguely registered the door opening next to me as Luca walked in, I felt the heat from his body as he slid down the wall next to me. I gently rested my head on his shoulder attempting to seek comfort in his presence. He was quiet for a while before eventually saying something. “are you ok?”
I thought for a while, pushing back everything. All the bad thoughts before finally, “yeah, I’m ok. I’ll be ok,” I felt it, I could live with this. In a world where everything was falling to pieces I needed this, just to accept this, to accept that this had to happen.
“How’s Joe?,” I looked up at Joe, who was currently across the other side of the room, chewing on a cereal bar that he’d picked up. I smiled slightly, pretending that we were a little family, Me, Luca and his little brother Joe.
“Seems pretty proud of himself,” I smiled again, he deserved to be, “he didn’t bother asking about...” There was no need to finish it, we both knew what I was thinking. I just chewed my lip while Luca nodded slightly, his mind elsewhere, probably outside. I just cuddled closer allowing him to think for a while.
“are you ok?” I asked, begging to get concerned about his distance.
“I’m good,” He somehow managed to smile.
“are you sure?” I looked up at him, I didn’t understand how he could be so ok with all this. That was when I noticed his eyes, his pupils too dilated for the light in the room.
He nodded confidently “yeah,” He glanced down at me. He knew how stubborn I was when it came to this kind of thing, “just worried that you and Joe might....” he hesitated slightly, looking worried, “might not want to talk to me after,”
I dropped the concern about his eyes for now, more concerned about what he thought I was going to do. I kissed him gently, trying to show him that I was still there for him. “Firstly, I asked you to do it. Secondly, why would I want to break up what little we have? I love you Luca, and Joe’s like.... I dunno, an adopted son or something. We have a chance at a family and I am not letting that go.”
“I thought of him more as a baby bro,” a small smile lifted the corners of his mouth as he looked over at the skinny little frame, turning over what looked like a CD or DVD case in his hands.
I smiled too, glancing over at him, before I went back to face Luca. “Either way, we’re a family now, and we have to pull together. I’m not saying what you did wasn’t scary ,” I hesitated, seeing the worry and sadness cloud his face, “but it had to be done. And no matter what I still love you,” I tried to reassure him. But I could still see that what I’d said had upset him.
“scary,” He frowned a bit.
I looked away, hating that I’d upset him. But I had to tell him the truth, I knew he’d enjoyed hurting Scott and I didn’t know how I felt about that really. “you didn’t even hesitate,”
“he hurt you,”
I nodded. I knew that Scott had, had no reservations about what he’d don’t to me, but it still scared me that Luca could do something like that so easily. “I know. But you enjoyed dragging it out didn’t you? I couldn’t help but show the fear in my face, knowing that what he’d done didn’t even effect him really and not wanting to get him angry.
He could see my fear written plainly in my face. “I’m not going to hurt you,”
I looked up at him, I could see that he cared about me, he may still not trust me but he cared. “I know you wouldn’t. But the morphine I gave you.... You’ve relapsed haven’t you?”
“what makes you say that?” he said, uncertainly.
“your eyes. Your pupils are more dilated,” I slid his sleeve up his arm gently to show the fresh track marks from the needle and sighed.
“It’s for the pain,” he said sharply
I chewed my lip again, I didn’t believe him.
I could see that, It was like he could just read my emotions like a book. “I’m not lying on the floor passed out from an overdose am I? I’ll be okay,”
“no but you’re not exactly completely with it are you? I can’t have us moving around with you all doped up,” I sighed again, I didn’t want to do this, but I knew I would have to.
“I’m not doped up,” he insisted.
“Then why don’t you leave the morphine with me and I’ll give it to you when you need it?”
He hesitated. I could see him working through, trying to find an excuse to get out of it.
I sat and waited, holding my hand out waiting for them.
“I’m fine, I’m in control of it,” He continued to insist.
“Then you won’t mind me looking after them,” I pushed. He just continued to find ways out of it, realising that that wasn’t going to work. “Luca, give me the morphine,” I said finally, giving up on trying to reason with him.
“No,” I could see in his eyes that I wasn’t going to get anywhere with this.
It annoyed me that he wouldn’t work with me on this. “fine. I’m tired. I need to go lie down.” I went over to the sofa that Luca and I had used, lying down and pulling the sofa throw over me, curling up in a ball. If I was honest I just wanted him to come and curl up with me and cuddle me. Instead he first went over to Joe to check on him, then he came and sat in front of me on the floor.
“Luca, I need you,” I gave up on being angry. I needed him to hold me and keep back the nightmares.
“you have me,” he sounded confused. He didn’t understand me anymore.
“No here, next to me,”
He moved up on to the sofa, a bit unsure and hesitant. I cuddled up to him, pulling his arms round me. He responded easily, holding me close. I buried my face in his chest taking comfort in his warmth and him being close, he gently stroked my hair but I could tell that he still wasn’t sure what to do.
“I’m sorry Luca. I’m just worried about you,”
“yeah,” He took a second to try and work out what to say, “I just... you can’t expect a heroin addict to be perfectly fine using morphine,”
I nodded, I panicked when I’d given him the drugs but all I wanted was to save him “I know but I didn’t know what else to do.”
I felt him hug me tighter, I knew he was worried about me. “I was scared I was going to lose you,” I said, remembering what it was like to see him collapsed on the road.
“you’re not gonna lose me,” he said fiercely.
“I’m just scared the morphine will cloud your mind and you might get hurt,”
“I was sober when I got bitten. And when that dick ripped my arm open,” I pointed out.
“I know,” I sighed, reluctant to agree with him, “I’m just scared,”
“We’ll be ok. We need to get out of this town. There’s so many of them here, but there must be a town with not so many,”
I nodded, feeling tiredness settle down on me. “let me sleep first?” I half yawned.
He nodded gently. And I cuddled close again, closing my eyes. “I love you Luca,”
I felt his lips press against my head again and I vaguely registered that he still didn’t say it back before sleep overtook me and I tensed up, preparing for the nightmares.