Tuesday, 10 March 2009 - 2:56 pm


Tensions are running high in the group at the moment. I think this area is getting to us. Without even being here, without showing themselves, the Pride is getting to us. And I think I just made things worse.

Last night was intense. There was the fear and the waiting for something else to happen, for something – or someone – else to jump out of a cupboard and scare the crap out of us. But nothing happened; it was just us in a dark house that was emptier than our minds would believe. When I went to settle down for the night, Ben was wound tight too, and, well, I think ‘intense’ is a good word for it. We drove out the imaginary sounds in the darkness and we slept deeply afterwards.

This morning, it was already light when I woke. Ben was trying to slide out from under me; I’d fallen asleep pillowed on his chest, curled against his side. We don’t usually sleep like that; he’s always up first, before everyone else, and he’s not the sleep-hugging kind. He doesn’t like to disturb me when he slips away.

Today, he couldn’t help but wake me. I moved off him and there was something in the way he got up that pulled me more sharply awake. He seemed hurried; if we hadn’t been together for a while now, I’d think he was ashamed about last night.

I asked if he was all right, and he said he was in that way that doesn’t want to talk it. But I didn’t like it, didn’t like seeing him look that way, so I pushed it and asked him what was wrong. He got defensive and angry, and he snapped at me. Nothing is wrong, go back to sleep.


Of course, I didn’t realise what was going on until after he’d stomped off in the middle of my protests. Why is it that I don’t see the right pieces until after it would have been useful? I was confused, and sleep-fuddled, and a bit slow, but it’s no excuse. I was clumsy with him.

I didn’t understand why he turned his back to put his shirt on. I didn’t realise then that he’s always dressed by the time I get up in the morning and we’re only together in the dark. I’ve just grown so used to the burns on his chest that I don’t notice them any more, but they’re the only reason I can think of for him to act that way.

They’re not really scars yet; the burns are still healing. But they don’t look good; they’re vicious red marks across his chest that look like something chewed on him. They’ll fade eventually, but not completely; he’ll always have those scars, I think.

And it matters to him. I haven’t really said before, but Ben’s a good-looking guy. There hasn’t been a time when I felt like going on about stuff like this, but it’s not like I haven’t noticed. He’s the sort of fireman who ends up in calendars. He’s the sort of guy Bree would have gone after, just because he’s built in way that’s honey to a queen bee like her.

It’s not that he’s a vain guy – I’ve never got that from him. He doesn’t seek that kind of attention; I don’t get the feeling that he was one for chasing admiration and easy sex. That’s more Matt’s type, and even Thorpe puts himself forward more than Ben does. He’s content when he’s not in the limelight.

Now he’s been maimed. Permanently marred. I never thought about it like that before now. He’s not the kind to think that battlescars are cool and sexy, and he was hiding from me. I can’t think of any other way to put it; that’s what it felt like. Like he was ashamed. As if I hadn’t seen the marks a hundred times when they were fresh, bandaging them every morning to keep them clean.


I remember him glaring at the rain, now that I think about it. That time when we were stuck under an overhang in the burnt-out zone, on the way to Dillon’s house. He seemed to hate it so personally, so grudgingly, and not just for the people it took from him. Perhaps I should have guessed that there was something wrong then. He’s been a very forgiving guy with everything else.

Does he think that I’m put off by the scars? I’ve been hesitant around them, but only because I was trying not to hurt him. How long has he been thinking like this? How long has he been trying to hide them?

He has hardly spoken to me since this morning, keeping to himself. We can’t speak much when we’re on the move; we have to be quiet. I’ll have to try to talk to him later when we’re hidden away for the night. I have no idea what I’ll say to him. Should I just be blunt about it, or find another way to show him that it doesn’t matter to me? I don’t want to just ignore this; I can’t.

I just hope that I can avoid being clumsy with him again. I hope I can make this better. We all need what comfort we can get right now.