I had been trying to figure out what to say for over an hour but had come up with nothing better than that. We had been walking for a while until we had eventually moved to walk in this way with Ghoul and I up in front and Jet and Kobra behind us. I guessed they could both tell we needed to talk and leaving us behind, carefully making conversation they had dropped back slowly, leaving us in silence awkwardly walking along. After the first few miles, Kobra’s face had become hard and it was obvious he was struggling. Without a word, Jet had slung Kobra’s arm over his neck and taken some of his weight. Kobra looked on the verge of arguing but I squeezed his shoulder, making him turn to me and gave him a look which made him roll his eyes but after that he accepted the help. Now it was just me and Ghoul and when the quiet had grown almost unbearable, I had settled on what I was going to say. Only now I had said it did I realise how feeble it really was. I looked up to catch Ghoul’s eyes but found they were already on me, a sparkle in them as he watched me, making me feel a little uncomfortable.
“No, it’s okay, really! Keep it!”
“I’ll give it back to you later then! It’s not fair for you to get cold because of me. I packed my other clothes…”
He rose his eyebrows at me saying I would give his jacket back to him later, in a sort of ‘Oh, you think?’ way before he looked down at his shoes, causing me to look away too. I didn’t know what to say next so had decided to drift away into my thoughts so as to avoid saying something embarrassing, when he spoke up, causing me to jump and my attention to be focused back on him.
“Hey, about last night,” my eyes were immediately on him, trying to pick up any sign of regret or disgust on his features but he stayed looking relatively natural, maybe purposefully but successfully so that I couldn’t pick up any emotions from him. “I-“
“Hey, Poison! Come give Jet a break!” Kobra shouted over to us, causing a stab of annoyance to hit me, immediately followed by guilt.
I stopped walking, hoping Ghoul would too but he stayed marching on, his eyesight focusing forwards. I watched him walk away for a second, carefully pulling my eyes away from his perfect looking arse to turn towards Jet and Kobra. Jet picked up Kobra’s arm with ease and manoeuvred it onto my shoulder. He was light and I knew instantly that ‘giving Jet a break’ had just been a ploy so that I would have to talk to him. And I knew exactly what he wanted to talk about. He waited until Jet had ran ahead to Ghoul before speaking.
“So…How are you, honey?”
I looked up at him to see a hint of a smile there but the discomfort of walking seemed to be enough to stop a full smile spreading on his lips.
He just rolled his eyes at me.
“Ghoul! He called you honey! You know before…This morning.”
“Oh really…I didn’t notice!” I lied badly, causing him to sigh at me for being an idiot.
I had been going over the phrase in my head and had eventually drawn the conclusion that it meant nothing. Or did it?
“Do you think he likes you?” he asked, carefully avoiding the question he probably wanted to ask; did I like him?
“What? Because he called me honey?”
“Well, he’s never called me that. Or Jet, for that matter!”
So that’s what they had been talking about!
“Does it have to be everyone’s business?!”
I hadn’t realised how sharp what I had said had been until I had spoken. I looked anxiously at Kobra to see his response but he just looked forward, carefully keeping pace with me. I was scared it would get uncomfortable; it had never been awkward between me and my brother before and I hated to think anything to do with Ghoul could change that.
“It’s everyone’s business, Poison,” he spoke quietly, seeming to make an effort to keep his voice equal, “Because we are all stuck together. If something happened…If you and Ghoul did get together, it’ll be great. I’d be happy for you. Really, I would!”
He gave my arm a squeeze and smiled at me, a sad understanding smile. He could tell how much I liked him, I had never felt this way about someone before and wanted to tell him that, but couldn’t find the words without sounding seriously whipped! Though I guess I was…
“But you have to think about if something went wrong! If it did … I’m not saying it would! But if it did… Then we are stuck together and you wouldn’t be able to just end it like any other relationship! You would have to see him every day and me and Jet would feel the brunt of any bad feelings too. I’m sorry if I’m sounding selfish-“
“You’re not! No, I get it, I understand…” He could never completely understand the way I felt about Ghoul, there was no way of telling him in words how Ghoul made me feel but did I want anything with Ghoul to hurt my brother, to upset him and hurt him more than he was from this stupid fucking food poisoning, that was my fault in the first place?! Of course not, no matter how much I fell in love with Ghoul, I loved my brother and he came first. I couldn’t think of anything to say to him so settled with a ruffle of his messy hair and a tender kiss on his forehead. He didn’t try and shake me away, instead placing his head on my chest while we walked. I realised Ghoul was watching us, turned slightly to look from where he stood in front with Jet. I smiled at him and he smiled broadly back at me, moving his hair out of his face with one stroke from his hand and I had to look away as I felt my face grow hot. God, why do you hate me? If this is love, then I’m not sure if I want to feel like this! One more look at Ghoul made these thoughts drift away, he smiled at me once more before turning to Jet.
“I love you,” he muttered it into my chest, making me sigh happily and look fondly down at Kobra from his position at my shoulder. He tilted his head back to look at me and I saw such love in his eyes that I gushed with sudden devotion for him and beamed at him.
“I love you too!”
We walked like this for a while before Kobra moved to walk normally again, his neck probably strained from the effort to keep his head from drooping. The silence was nice now, it felt normal for the first time in ages. We could have just been two brothers out for a nice walk in the sunshine on a lazy afternoon, if not for the desert surroundings and for the fact I’m pretty sure Kobra was about to keel over in exhaustion at any moment.
“Things sure change, huh?”
I nodded at this. Life had taken a change for the worse but I believed we and the rest of the rebels were adapting well to it, making the best out of a fucker of a situation. It had been hard but here with Kobra, life suddenly seemed okay. I was okay, for now.
“Hey, Ghoul! Come over here a second!”
Kobra’s voice interrupted my thoughts and Ghoul turned around and started walking towards us.
“What are y-“
“I’m going tell him what I told you.”
“Kobra, you don’t even know if he feels the same as I do!” I whispered furiously at him, Ghoul was getting dangerously close now.
“Oh course he does!” Kobra smiled at me, making no attempt to be quiet, despite the fact Ghoul was now within hearing distance.
I had just enough time to tuck a strand of hair behind my ear and wipe a trail of sweat from my forehead before Ghoul came up to us, looking so composed and calm, like he had been in this situation a hundred times before. I carefully pulled Kobra off me and readjusted him on Ghoul. Ghoul smiled at me, his dimples making me want to sigh and possibly even, wait, fling myself at him? I realised I was staring and while Ghoul didn’t seem to mind, I looked away nervously. I realised my arm was still on Ghoul’s and coughed slightly, looking at my feet.
Kobra gave me a shooing gesture and I nodded quickly, showing I understood.
“Right, yeah! Good luck!” I spoke, winking at Ghoul before turning away.
I heard Kobra give an irritated tut at my childishness but Ghoul stayed silent. I hoped he was watching my arse as I walked away. Thinking about Ghoul, I didn’t notice as a rock loomed into my path and tripped clumsily over it just keeping my balance. I blushed red and heard Ghoul snort behind me, making me walk quicker to catch up with Jet. At least I now knew he had been watching me walk away! Jet smiled at me, his grin wide as he spotted me.
“Hey! What did Kobra want?”
“Oh, nothing really!”
Jet seemed bummed at his lack of gossip but I didn’t really care and looked causally, or I hoped it looked casual, behind me at Kobra and Ghoul. Kobra talked quickly and Ghoul nodded every now and then, at one point giggling, his cute dimples showing again on his face. He looked up and caught my eyes, seeming unable to pull away in that second and I turned away first aware Jet was talking to me. I could feel Ghoul’s eyes on me as I walked.