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The Miles Between Us by Cycy Smith
SUMMARY: Inspired by a poem by Mark Haddon called 'Gemini'
As he walked into the room Harry almost felt as though there should have been a drum roll. Although that of course would have been inappropriate; it was, after all, his mother's funeral. Every eye in the living room turned to him and within moments he was surrounded by people, each anxious to shake his hand and mutter some words of sycophantic condolence. Even his older sister appeared in awe of him, blushing as he kissed her cheek, and shyly introducing the small boy who nervously clutched her hand.
‘Harry, it's been so long. This is my son, Edward. He can't have been more than a few months old when you last saw him.'
‘Oh yes?' Harry said vaguely, not even sure it was worth the effort of pretending interest.
‘Well it has been three years...of course we understand how busy you've been. It can't be easy, working as hard as you do. I think it's amazing, what you've achieved.' Harry smiled thinly and nodded his head, unable to repress a slight feeling of amusement that his sister seemed almost overwhelmed at talking to the younger brother she had once dismissed as a waste of her time. In fact most of the people in this room had once considered him beneath their attention, and now look at them, all over him as though he was royalty. Not that he wasn't used to it; any room he walked into now was full of people sucking up to him, waiting on his every pleasure. One of the minor annoyances of being rich and successful, though most of the people he encountered were better at hiding their fawning than these he had grown up with. He continued to smile politely as he greeted various elderly aunts and uncles and shook hands with cousins barely concealing the envious look in their eyes. Many of them were older than he was but he had been a millionaire by the age of twenty-five and they knew they never would be. He was beginning to regret accepting his sister's offer to stay the night at her house when he suddenly felt someone watching him. Looking up he was surprised to meet the only pair of eyes in the room that did not seem full of admiration. They belonged to a slim, dark haired young man who lounged in the doorway to the kitchen with an empty glass in his hand. The moment Harry's eyes met his he gave a quick nod and turned away into the kitchen. Excusing himself from the gaggle of admirers surrounding him Harry followed.
He stepped into the kitchen and pulled the door closed behind him. After the crowded living room the room felt blessedly empty and peaceful. The young man he had followed was at one of the counters with his back to Harry, pouring vodka into two glasses. Harry looked at him warily.
‘Alex' he said.
‘Harry' the man replied, turning around with a glass in each hand. They studied each other in silence for a few minutes, taking in the changes of the recent years. Harry's hair had begun to thin slightly, and he had gained weight, although it was in muscle rather than fat. Alex on the other hand was still as slim as he had been at eighteen, and his dark hair still fell around his face in an untidy tangle.