“Joel, wake up Joel. We need to leave.”
I open one of my eyes and groan as the light hits it. Rolling over I pull the blankets tighter around me, fully intending on getting a few more hours of sleep in. only to have the blankets ripped away from my body as soon as I squeeze my eyes shut.
“C’mon Joely we’re at the hotel, you can sleep inside.” He’s climbed into my bunk and is resting his chin on my shoulder, lightly rubbing my stomach, and it’s making me hot.
I don’t bother saying anything, favoring instead just sitting up and nodding at him before gently pushing him out of my bunk.
He frowns at me and tells me he’ll wait outside since we’re “gonna be roomies tonight.” Great.
I rush getting dressed, not really caring what I look like, just throwing on some random pair of pants and a shirt that doesn’t smell too bad, putting on a hat so I don’t have to deal with my hair. I grab my bag making sure I have enough clothes since we’re gonna be here for a few days. I think.
Benji smiles at me as I step off the bus and I shiver at the sudden coldness. Where the hell are we anyway? Nebraska? He looks at me and obviously realizes that something’s wrong, opening his mouth to say something.
“Just don’t Benj. I’m fine.” He looks hurt for a second before speaking.
“I can’t just ignore it Joel. When you’re hurt I feel it too. You haven’t been yourself lately. I’m worried about you.” He’s always worried about me. If he was so worried about me he’d have realized why I’ve been this way, he’d realize it’s because of him. It’s always been him.
I spin around and glare at him. “I don’t need or want your help. I don’t need you to feel sorry for me and I don’t need you guilt trips. Leave me alone.”
After turning back around I quickly walk into the hotel, leaving him in the middle of the parking lot calling after me. Almost begging me to come back, to at least turn around. Only I don’t want him to see me crying.
It’s been three weeks and I haven’t spoken a word to Benji that wasn’t absolutely necessary, since that night at the hotel. He tried to talk to me in the hotel room but I blew up at him again and we both said some pretty hurtful things, although it wasn’t all aimed at each other.
I let slip some of the things that have been bothering me and I’m pretty sure he hates me now. I haven’t been in the same room with him long enough to really tell. It’s like he doesn’t want me to know how he’s feeling. Although I really can’t blame him, I was pretty hard on him and he was pretty shocked when I told him the truth.
”Joel, you can’t keep running from all of your problems, they’ll catch up with you eventually. I just…I don’t understand why you can’t talk to me anymore. We used to be so close.” He’s crying at this point, the tears running down his face as he sits on the bed, me standing across the room by the door.
“Yeah Benj, we used to be close. Then you had to change. Are you ashamed to be like me? Is that it Benj, you can’t stand to be near me? I just… I just want…” I pause biting my lip.
“What Joel? You know I’d do anything for you. You’re my whole life, my other half.” I snort and look away.
“Not if you knew the truth Benj. I’m sick and wrong and I… God I shouldn’t feel this way about you Benny but I can’t help it. I love you Benj.”
He stares at me for a second, his deep brown eyes wide and shocked, showing his confusion. He doesn’t say anything just stares at me until I shake my head, holding back tears.
“I understand if you hate me.” I turn around and walk out of the room, leaving him for the second time today.
We’ve been home for two days and I’ve barely seen him let alone spoke to him. I’ve been much too busy avoiding him, mainly by staying in my room. As a result I’ve only left to go to the bathroom and I haven’t eaten for two, no three days. I’m starting to realize that, as appealing as it sounds, I can’t starve myself to death. I know that as much as Benji hate me, he would be devastated if I died. Probably.
Throwing back the covers on my bed I mute the TV and stand up, stretching my arms above my head. My shoulder pops and my wifebeater rides up revealing the pasty flabbiness that is my stomach. I immediately pull it back down, self-conscious even when I’m the only one in the room.
Benji’s always had the nice body.
I mentally scold myself for that thought as I walk across the bare floor. I found that when you are stuck in one room for days on end, cleaning becomes fun, as lame as that sounds.
I reach for the doorknob but before my hand can even touch the surface there’s a knock at the door. I pause for a minute, not really sure if I want to talk to him, because I know it’s him. I can just tell, call it a twin thing but I’ve always been able to tell.
It might also be because he’s the only other person who lives here.
After another minute he knocks again, a slow tentative series of taps against the wood. Four to be exact, I count because it’s the only thing in my life right now, besides this constant feeling of self-hate, that’s familiar.
When we were little we used to have a secret knock for when dad got drunk. Just to let the other one know not to come out of our room. Then we’d sneak out later when dad had passed out, just to talk. It’s the same knock he’s using now.
I can hear him breathing softly on the other side but I don’t say anything. Instead I just drop quietly to my knees and sit down next to the door, my back up against the wood.
“Joely, will you please just talk to me?” He sounds so vulnerable and confused and it hurts me to hear his voice sounding like that. I did that to him. He’s falling apart and it’s my fault and I don’t know how to fix it.
“I’m sorry Benny. I’m sorry that you hate me, I’m sorry that I hurt you and I’m just… I’m so fucking sorry Benj. I don’t…” I stop and take a shaky breath, my lungs jerking, holding back pent up sobs. His body hits the other side of the door as he slides down it to sit on the floor opposite me and I wipe away my tears wondering why he’s even bothering.
“Joel, I just, I need to talk to you. I need to tell you something. Can you open the door?”
I can almost see him, his brown eyes filled with tears, his cheeks red and blotchy from crying, his dark hair messy and unkempt falling into his beautiful face.
“I’m sick Benj, and I don’t think you should be near me. I’ll just hurt you again.”
“Oh, Joel,” he sighs and I can see his eyes slip closed as he bites his lip, leaving deep impressions in the soft flesh. “Joel, I love you, nothing can change that. I miss you and I need to talk to you. Will you please open the door Joel, please? For me?”
I shake my head and lick my lips, catching some of the fallen tears. I don’t say anything to him, just mentally debate the situation.
He said he still loves me, said he needs to tell me something so why can’t I just let him in?
“Please Joel, I just want to talk to you. I wanna see your beautiful face. Please Joel, I’m begging you.” He’s pleading with me, begging me to open the door and I can tell he’s crying harder than before. I don’t want him to cry over me, I’m not worth that.
Reluctantly I stand up and put my hand on the doorknob turning it slowly and opening the door for him. He looks up at me with dark, blood shot eyes before jumping to his feet. I step back so he can come in and close the door behind us, trying not to stare at his ass.
We’re both sitting on my bed, him with his knees against his chest, his back against the wall near the foot of the end of the mattress. I’m leaning against the heavy wooden headboard, my legs stretched out I front of me and I’m hugging a pillow against my stomach. He doesn’t need to see the fat.
“You wanted to talk, so talk.” He looks up at me from where his eyes were previously trained to the carpet, a slightly worried, nervous look in his eyes. He nods quickly and bites down on his lip, thinking, probably on how to tell me off without sounding like as big an asshole as I am. You know, because he’s perfect, and if anyone could make yelling at a sick incest bastard like me sound like they were giving an acceptance speech at the academy awards, it would be him.
“Um, yeah, OK. Well I… I just,” he stops and takes a deep breath, licking his lips quickly and running a hand through his unruly hair. “Joel, I don’t know why you’d think that I’d hate you but…”
“Maybe it’s because I’m disgusting.” I cut him off, “I’m fucking in love with you and as much as I know it’s wrong and disgusting and fucking illegal, I don’t care. I’m in love with you that’s all that matters to me. What bothers me is that you’ll never feel the same way. It’s tearing me apart Benny and it shouldn’t. You’ve always been the better half. You’re supposed to find the perfect girl and get married, have kids, have the life I can only dream of. And it hurts me that I want you to give all that up, because I’m not worth that.”
My voice cracks and I can’t look at him. Let out a sob and wipe the tears away before continuing in a soft voice, barely above a whisper.
“I’m not worth it Benny I’m not.”
I keep my head down, chewing my tongue to keep from sobbing out loud, but I can’t keep the tears from falling. Squeezing my eyes shut I try to calm my breathing down, I hear him sigh and then the bed is sinking in where he’s crawling across it.
He sits down next to me, so close he’s almost sitting on my upper thigh. He pulls me towards him, pressing our cheeks together in a hug.
“Oh, Joel. I don’t know who told you you’re not worth it but they were wrong baby, they were. If it wasn’t for you I’d be nobody, you’re my other half. My soul mate.” He pulls back slightly and I finally look up at him as he smiles softly at me.
“I’ve always known it was you Joel, I just didn’t know how to tell you. I love you Joel, I’m in love with you. I want to be with you. If you still want me that is.”
I stare up at him and he looks so sincere. So… happy. He’s still smiling as I nod my head and he grabs me, hugging me to him so tightly I think I might pee myself if he doesn’t let go. But at the same time, I never want him to let me go. I want to him, to this feeling, forever.
“I love you Joely. So much.” He kisses my cheek lightly before loosening his stranglehold on me. He pulls back slightly before looking into my eyes, his own shining and so fucking bright. He leans back in and captures my lips in his own, just a light touch but it means so much.
We both smile against each other’s lips before kissing each other again, deeper and hungrier on both our parts.
And we’re in love.