They were always close. Like, really, really close. As in, I almost never saw them apart. And, yeah, I mean all four of them. I know that you're thinking of pairs that are never apart, but that's not what I'm talking about. I mean, someone once asked if they were all together, like together together, but Kendall just ignored it and asked if anyone had any real questions. Kendall, my big brother. Now, I love him, I really do, but sometimes that boy needs to get a clue. Because, for a sixteen-year-old, he sure doesn't know much; whereas I, Katie, know exactly what I'm talking about. Ten years old and I still know more than him. I mean, honestly, how stupid can you be? How long before it gets through to you? That they, all three of them, love you…because, yeah, they do. I'm not sure how much. Okay, I know exactly how much, for each of them. With Carlos, it's just, like, a bromance. I mean, sure, they love each other, but it only goes friendship deep…if you catch my drift. With Logan, it's more of an adoration. Like, he looks up to him and wishes he were like him, but he wouldn't, you know, date him or anything. And the three of them have girlfriends, so it's not like they're gay or anything.
But, James, this is where I start to feel bad, because their friendship will never be enough. Never. It's not even funny how in love with him he is. Not funny at all. Because Kendall gave him a purpose, and he doesn't even know…or care. Now, I know that sounds really stupid and sappy, but it's true. He used to cut, used to starve, used to kill himself, and then he met Kendall and it was like: BAM! He suddenly had a reason to leave his skin together, to keep eating, to stay alive. And Kendall doesn't see the way he looks at him, thinks it's just another adoring look, because why shouldn't it be? He doesn't hear James' sobs late at night or, if he does, doesn't bother asking what the matter is. Or maybe he did, and couldn't get an answer. There's only so much persistence a person can muster.
And, Kendall, I see the way he looks at them. They're his best friends, so perfect and amazing, and he'd do anything for them, but it's not the gut-wrenching love that has James tied to him. It's Carlos' bromance and Logan's adoration. No, gut-wrenching love is saved for his girlfriend. Actually, not even, because he left her. I pray to God that someday he'll see it and set James free, shatter his heart so bad that James won't be able to come back and hurt himself by looking at Kendall and seeing only friendship when he looks at him. Because that's all he's doing. Cutting, starvation, Kendall. They're all in the same category, really. Pain inflicted on himself, willfully.
"Katie?" I hear a weak voice call out to me. Ah, James.
"Yes?" I answer, flipping on my side lamp.
"Can you…would you…can I come in?" he asks, his voice shaking.
"Of course," I reply, because how can I say no to that voice? How could Kendall, if only James bothered to ask? And just like that, he's in my room. On my bed. His wrists are red with blood and I think, for a moment, that he's cut too deep. He notices, of course, through his tear-filled eyes, and tries to wrap the gauze around his wrist. No, he hasn't cut too deep; he just cut a little deeper than he should have, but nowhere near a danger zone. I grab the gauze and wrap it as he winces in pain. "Why?" I question, the only word needed. He shakes his head. "It hurts," I say, it's not a question.
"Not as much as my heart," he answers. And, just like that, I know. I know he gets it. That he's finally realized. Kendall's not coming around…not now, not ever. And, Kendall's may be my brother, but I seriously consider killing him. Because, just looking at James – at his thin, frail figure, huge tears brimming his eyes and rushing silently down his cheeks, his skinny arm wrapped in the gauze, hiding his cuts and visible scars, nothing compared to the emotional ones that Kendall's given him – is enough to want to kill anyone who hurt him. And there's nothing for me to say, nothing at all, because what can I say? I don't understand what he's going through and I'm sorry doesn't sound right. I lift up my covers.
"Come on," I tell him, motioning for him to climb in with me. He doesn't ask questions, doesn't need to, because he knows I know. He climbs in, and it's not like it matters, since I'm ten and he looks at me like a little sister – I might as well be. And just like that, he's in my bed and I'm caressing his hair comfortingly. "This is it, right?" I ask, and I don't explain, because he understands.
"No more," he promises. I look at him, that's not good enough. "And I'll keep eating," he swears. I glare at him some more. "I'll eat enough," he finishes, sighing. "You're too smart for your own good," he teases, but his heart isn't really in it. I turn away from him and he wraps his arms around my waist, grabbing onto me for comfort. "Thank you," he whispers, his voice soft and still shaking. I don't answer, but assume he understands as he buries his head in my hair.
When I wake up, he's gone. And, when I go out to eat breakfast, he's at the table, eating a plain piece of toast. I clear my throat, giving him a look. He jumps, obviously surprised, and guiltily puts some butter on his bread. That's when Kendall walks in. He smiles at James, but James just jumps up and runs out. Kendall shoots me a quizzical look. "It hurts," I offer as an explanation, running out after James. Maybe someday, my brother will understand…just how much it hurts.