tried to explain. “I…”
But she interrupted. “Goddamn it,” she swore, pouring more antiseptic over the wound. It burned so badly I thought I would pass out, and if it was anyone but Blush, I probably would have screamed out loud. My mind was floating in blackness, little motes popping up occasionally in my vision. But it was the dizziness that threatened to do me in as she applied some sort of ointment over the gaping hole in my arm.
Blush wrapped my arm back up with fresh gauze. Once the wound was covered, I felt better, but my arm ached badly, throbbing with every pulse of my heart.
“Lie down,” she ordered, and I gratefully leaned back into the soft pillow. It was silent for a moment, and I closed my eyes, just wanting to go back to sleep.
But Blush had other ideas. Words she had apparently kept locked up seemed to make a jail break at that precise moment. “You know, Garment is Dove’s brother?”
Her word chased images of Dove and Garment and Falcon into my mind. I had noticed similarities about them all before but nobody had ever told me that Garment and Dove were related. I let out a hot puff of air. I should have figured it out from what she had said before.
I opened my eyes, meeting hers. “No…but I did noticed they both wave their hands the same way…just like Falcon.”
I thought for a minute. How could his name be Garment if he was Dove’s sister? Their family crest was birds, one of the original high born crests, even older than my family’s.
“Why isn’t he named after a bird?”
Blush laughed again, only this time it held a mean streak in it. “The Administration was going to Exile him, you know, for being gay.”
I sat up quickly, my head swimming. “Gods, no!”
I thought about it for a moment. In Province A, everybody was heterosexual. It was mandated. I had never even known of anyone being gay, had never thought about it other than the mean comments the boys always made about Instructor 74. I had never stopped to think about homosexuality other than knowing it to be a transgression in the Provinces, one of the many ridiculous mandates we had to follow.
“Yep,” Blush continued. “Dove changed his name, and he set himself up in business here.” She smiled kindly at me, maybe for the first time. “I was a mess, after losing the baby. He took me in. And Sergio.”
She continued without even coming up for air. “Garment’s one of the kindest people I know. We put up a front, you know.” She tossed her head boyishly again. “People think we’re marriage partners. We even went through with the ceremony.” She smiled shyly at me. “I’d do anything for him. But we aren’t real marriage partners…if you know what I mean.” She grinned. “Just good friends.”
“Wow.” I couldn’t think of anything else to say. Then the old Blush returned for a visit, glaring sharply at me. She puffed up, almost visibly. “I would kill anyone who endangered him. Or Sergio.”
I stared her down. “You don’t have to worry about me,” I spit back at her. “I’m in more trouble than either of you.” I fell back against the couch, my head splitting into chunks and my arm roaring with sharp, hot slices of pain.
Blush did the oddest thing then. She tenderly reached her hand to my forehead, placing it there like a mother would, like my own mother had when I was a littlie. Before Snow and Ice were born. Before…when she wasn’t so bad.
Blush’s words were brusque as her eyes carved through me, a laser beam of greenish brown mixed with a dose of worry that was unmistakable, even for Blush. “Shit, kid, you’re on fire,” she exhaled.
Blush stormed out of the back room and I leaned back onto the couch wondering how long I would be able to stay with Garment. Probably not too long. I was nauseous again, and I felt cold and clammy. I started shivering, so I searched for a blanket
Charlotte Brontë & Sierra Cartwright