Chapter 4Mature

After we'd finished in the arena we went to the 'chill out zone'. It was full of beanbags and ugly orange sofas. The room reminded me of the action of vomiting. It was most unpleasant. Chianti was sat in there alone. She told us she'd sent Rioj to bed with one the old irish guy. I hoped he'd be nice to him. She was looking pretty pooped too, so she went to bed as well. Apparently due to travel time and everything she'd been up for 21 hours straight. I sent her to bed without even thinking about it. 

Chauffer, Nturan and I sat and talked for a while, until eventually Chauffer left too and it was just me and Nturan sat on the sofa. My legs had somehow worked themselves up to be draped over his. It became uncomfortably close so I moved them and sat up straight. 

There were a lot of people on this ship. 30 ish that I knew of. Sure, they'd all been nice so far, but I was so used to people hating me and the stress of that hadn't gone away. The stress of trying to impress people, to be rejected for being myself, for trying to find someone to fall in love with because that's what people do, the stress of being completely pure until 2 days ago, the stress of all of it hadn't gone away simply because I'd met a few nice people on this trip. And so the stress leaked out. It fell in little red droplets onto Nturan's leg. I didn't notice for a second, and neither did he. Then he did. 

"Oh my gods, Kira, are you crying?" He fell to the floor in front of me, his big, worried eyes staring into mine. I closed mine and squeezed out more tears. I shook my head. I didn't need comforting. I needed to be strong. I needed to be strong. Crying was weak. I had to fight it. I'd fought it enough times before on my own, I could do it again.

Nturan went and sat next to me again, rubbing my back with his big, warm hand rhythmically. It was comforting. I closed my eyes, cried and rocked back and forth. The attack was shorter than usual. The comforting hand had helped. I was so grateful there was noone else in the room, they were all either asleep or in the library. 

My breath was still ragged and difficult so I had to concentrate on it. Nturan asked me what was wrong. I couldn't talk much. 

"People." I said. He nodded and pulled me towards his chest. It scared me and I hit him. In the face. He swore. I jumped off the sofa away from him.

"What the hell, Kira?" 

"I'm sorry." I whispered. Nturan calmed down a little. 

"Okay. Okay, so you don't like to be touched all that much. And you don't like people, or they make you upset or something. What do you want me to do?" 

It was a genuine question. What did I want from him? What could he do for me? I didn't know. I just decided to curl up on the vile orange floor. He sighed and sat cross-legged next to me. He very lightly brushed my shoulder. I didn't flinch, so he stroked me as though I were a little frightened cat. I closed my eyes against my knees. I think I slept. 

* * *

When I woke up I was still wound up pretty tightly into a fetal position. Nturan lay sprawled out behind me. I checked my phone, which had fallen out my pocket. It was 6:47am and I had a text. I sat up and read it. It was Fabros. He said:

F: Good Morning Sunshine ;) xx

Golly, that's a bit forward. It was sent 2 hours ago. I guess his time-zone was different. 

Good morning yourself :P

I sent back. I wasn't good with the whole putting kisses at the ends of texts sort of thing. They were just too much effort. 

I looked up to see Nturan still sprawled face-down on the carpet, one hand up by his face and the other palm up by his waist. He looked rediculous. His brown shaggy hair was all over his face and falling in his eyes. I hoped he wouldn't remember last night, but of course he would.

I shook him. 

"Nturan?" I whispered. He groaned and squdged himself around on the floor. "Nturan?" 

He pushed himself up, arm muscles cracking as he did so. He looked with one eye open at me and smiled. 

"Hey, Kira." His voice sounded unbeleivably sexy. I don't know why but boy-tired voices, especially american boy-tired voices are unbelievably sexy. Even Nturan's. 

"You didn't have to stay with me." I said quietly. It seemed rude to speak loudly, it was so tranquille. 

"I didn't want you to wake up in the middle of the night and be alone." He said. 

I smiled. 

"That's really sweet."

He leant against a hideous sofa. "D'you wanna talk about last night?"


"Alrighty then. Damn that floor was hard to sleep on. Thor!" He stretched out his back and yawned and I swear every muscle and bone clicked. It was a horrendous cocophony of dischordent snaps. It was awful, 

He saw my grimace and smiled. "Breakfast?" He held out his hand. 

"Nom." I said and took it. 

We walked along the hall. Apparently they started serving breakfast at 6:30, unless there was dire reason to start it earlier. We went and got the usual eggs and bacon and whatever, only this time I took a bowl of one of those rediculously unhealthy chocolate cereals as well. My muscles ached from the day before and I wanted some comfort food. The cooks didn't seem to actually exist; food just tended to appear from nowhere. 

Nturan and I ate in an amiable silence. I knew what he wanted to talk about, I didn't want to talk about it, and he wasn't one to push things and he didn't seem annoyed. After all, I had only just met him. So we were in silence, but we were happy about it. Karen came in and announced that we'd be at the station at 7pm, so everyone had to be in their seats at 5. We'd been very lucky with the angle of our launch.

After we'd finished, at around 7:20am, I went to the library and read a book by John Major. It was probably the dullest thing my eyes had ever skimmed. Not surprising, seeing as it came from the man who ran away from the circus to be an accountant, rather than the other way round. The reading was interspersed with a conversation with Fabros, which went like this:

F: How are you?

K: Fine, you?

F: Really great now I'm talking to you ;) Chup to?

K: Nothing much, orbiting the earth at high speed. 

F: What? 

K: Dw. What are you up to?

F: On my way to Pakistan, then Saudi Arabia. Very dull. 

F: Chatting to you makes it better tho :)

K: Haha thanks :D 

It went on a bit awkwardly until I asked him about flying, then he was off, telling me everything. It was far duller to read when there was no cute accent alongside it. Chauffer walked in and I texted that I had to go.

F: Stay gorgeous honey :) xx

He seemed keen. I realised I wasn't too interested, but it was nice anyway. Nice to know not everyone was like the twats I'd spent the first 17 years of my life alongside. He'd been the first guy to show me that. 

Chauffer and I chatted for a while, then I went and had a shower. When I came out the dorm, with new makeup and fresh clothes I felt like an entirely different person. Until Mbali rounded the corner. 

The breath was knocked out of me and I felt powerless. I'm sure there was no visible outside effect; I even kept walking, but I remember how I couldn't stop him. How I wasn't in control of my own body. How my body was his now. I felt dirty again, even after he'd passed me. 

I shook myself off and went to grab lunch. I spent the afternoon lounging around in the computer room, then took a couple of hours of excersize and simulated gunfire. I got the high score. Narinten, one of the indian men spent the next hour trying to beat my score while I repeatedly wrestled Chauffer to the ground. 

We were called to out seats. I took my bag out of the dorm and put it back in the bin at the front, but kept my phone in my pocket. 2 hours is an awfully long time for Fabros to wait for a response, I've found. He's terribly impatient. He sent me 14 texts asking where I was while I was in the shower, and I was only in there 10 minutes. 

Anyway, I sat next to Nturan again, Chauffer next to him, but this time there was another seat between me and the window. A girl roughly my age sat in it. She was the one from eygypt. She had very long dark hair, coffee-colour skin and veyr beatiful geometric jewellery on. She had a long, rounded nose, but she wasn't wearing a head-scarf like she had been when I saw her before. It felt a bit too personal to ask her why. I introduced myself.

"Nancy." She answered with a shy smile. She had a very sweet smile, and a very sweet voice. Nancy was quite an unusual name though. I don't think I'd ever met a Nancy in real life before; only in books.

We started chatting about whatever. Turns out that she likes all the same music as me and she loves singing. She told me voluntarily that she'd stopped wearing her head-scarf because she thought the beauty of space that she'd seen and how she'd entered into it disproved any higher power, which was what the scarf had represented. It had shown her submission to Gods, and she didn't want to be submissive anymore. Fair enough for her, but I would've thought the beauty of space would've only intensified belief in a divine being. But I understood where she was coming from. 

We had a pretty instant connection.  felt comfortable with her, and I think she did with me. I hoped we'd become good friends; she was a sweet girl. 16 years old. 

And in the time we'd been talking, we'd arrived.

The End

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