Chapter Twenty Three
Gabe kept Jordan at home for three days before letting him go back to school. His brother complained loudly about his enforced house arrest. Gabe was often assaulted by pillows, blankets and DVD cases on his trips to and from Jordan's room, delivering food, drinks and books.
"I want to go!" Jordan shouted as Gabe made his way back down the stairs after delivering another bowl of soup. Bailey smirked as Gabe entered the kitchen.
"You know, most teenagers would be thrilled at the idea of three days in bed, being waited on hand and foot." Bailed laughed, and hugged Gabe tightly. "Are you almost done packing?"
"Yep. Just a few more clothes, and I'll be ready to go tomorrow." Bailey smiled happily. "I can't wait, to be honest. I can paint the entire place, and buy my own furniture… It'll be great."
"I'd come and help you if I could, but I'm taking Jordan and Phoebe camping in a couple of days." Bailey rolled his eyes and smirked.
"Have fun." He said dryly. "Sleeping on twigs and waking up at three in the morning, freezing your bollocks off." Gabe laughed. He leant over and pecked Bailey's cheek.
"I'll miss you." He said softly.
"Me too." A soft moan from the doorway made them both look up.
"You two are so lovey-dovey, it's disgusting, you know that?" Jordan grunted.
"What are you doing out of bed?" Gabe demanded.
"I got bored of books and the same view from the window. I'm going to watch some TV." He pulled his blanket more firmly around his shoulders, his gaze daring Gabe to send him back upstairs.
"Well, I guess that's put shot to our plan of making out on the sofa for an hour." Gabe said to Bailey. Jordan made a soft gagging sound and quickly departed, leaving Gabe and Bailey giggling in the kitchen.
"You're cruel to him." Bailey laughed.
"I know. But the expression on his face is always priceless!" Still chuckling, Gabe saw a look on Bailey's face. "What's the matter?" He asked softly. Bailey smiled at him.
"If I were to tell you I love you, would you say I'm A, being stupid, B, rushing things, or C, telling you the truth?"
"I think… a mixture of all three." Gabe said softly, unsure of what to say.
"Well… I think it's C." Bailey said quietly. Gabe stared at him for a moment, blushing furiously, before he cleared his throat. "You don't have to say it back." Bailey said quickly. "I just thought-"
"No-one's ever said that to me before." Gabe interrupted him without thinking. Bailey hesitated, before he moved over to embrace Gabriel.
"Not even… your mum?"
"Not even my mum." A moment later, Gabe burst into tears. Bailey hugged him tighter, hesitant of what to do. "It's alright." He said after a pause. "You don't have to say it back, you know." Gabe hiccoughed softly. He stroked Bailey's back slowly.
"I think I might… At some point." He whispered. Bailey drew back with a smile.
"Well, might is better than a slap in the face with a kipper." Gabe laughed. Bailey drew away from him and dried his tears gently, before leaning down to kiss Gabe.
"Thank you for saying it." Gabriel said quietly. Bailey stroked his hair. Gabe drew back with a sigh. "I should finish packing the twins bags."
"Can I help with anything?"
"Erm… Could you get some of the camping stuff from the cellar and hang it on the washing line? It's not been used for years, and it smells a little." Bailey nodded, and disappeared down the cellar steps. Gabe went into the twin's room and finished packing clothes for their four day trip. He also packed two disposable cameras for them, each, and a little spending money.
After doing that, he booted the old, slow computer in the corner of the living room and started searching for things that he, Phoebe and Jordan could do on their camping trip. By the time Phoebe and the twins got home, he had an entire list of things they could do, a good campsite where they could stay, and had devised a budget for each of them. Bailey had hung the tent and groundsheet, the sleeping bags and some old pillows on the washing line to air over the weekend.
"Hey, Pheebs. Your bag for this weekend is beside the door. Our bus is at ten o'clock on Monday, so make sure you tell Tanya's mum you need to be Leave her house at nine, okay."
"Alright, Gabe." She rolled her eyes. "I'm thirteen, you know. I can cope."
"I know. I'm just saying." Gabe put his hands up in surrender. "Have a good time." He handed her her rucksack, pecked her cheek and let her out the front door. "Hey, Jord, you want some dinner?" Gabe called through to the living room.
"Only if you stop calling me 'Jord'." Jordan replied. He came into the kitchen a moment later, wearing a thick jumper and huddled in a blanket.
"Still cold?" Bailey asked. Jordan nodded shortly. Gabe went over and hugged him, rubbing his back briskly to warm him a little, before sitting him down at the table.
"We've got soup again tonight. That should warm you up a bit." He fetched Jordan a bowl of warmed chicken and leek soup. Jordan wolfed it hungrily, and his shivering gradually abated. After dinner, he obediently went back upstairs to bed at Gabriel's insistence.