Warm the Heart

The Lodging House was mostly empty. Mush wasnít really sure how this had happened. No, that wasnít true; he knew exactly how it had happened. There was a big party being held for all of the newsboys, and most everyone had gone.

Well, not everyone. Racetrack had gone to Brooklyn, and David was spending the night with the Jacobs family celebrating whatever it was they celebrated.

And Blink was in the lodging house with him as well.

The two of them had gotten back to the lodging house far too late to make it to the party, but celebrations or not, they had to sell their papes.

And it was cold. There really wasnít any way to warm up the lodging house, and it wasnít worth it for Kloppman to really try when there were only two people there. Mush was fairly sure that it would get at least a little bit warmer later, when everyone else returned. Just all of them being in the room together would make it warmer. At least Mush hoped so.

In the meantime, all he and Blink could do was stay huddled up under as many blankets as they could find (which wasnít very many, unfortunately) and try not to freeze.

At least they had managed to come up with the money to pay for the Lodging House tonight. It had been a close thing. Both of them had had trouble selling.

Mush sighed. "Hey, Blink," he said. "You cold?"

"íCourse Iím cold, Mush," Blink said, rolling his eyes. "Itís freezing in here, after all."

Mush nodded. "You think," he said hesitantly, "that maybe if we stay closer together, we can warm up some?" He wasnít really sure how Blink would take that suggestion. In fact, he was just hoping that Blink would think it was just a smart idea to keep warm, and not realize that outside of the fact that yes, it would help them keep warm, it was also something that Mush would really enjoy.

"Sounds fair," Blink said, and moved from his bed to Mushís, wrapping the blanket he had around them both.

They sat there for a while, barely touching, even if they were sitting so close together that there was any space between them.

And Mush was having trouble breathing. He and Blink were always touching, so it seemed almost odd that now things were suddenly awkward between them. He knew it was because of how he had been acting strangely around Blink, but he didnít want anything to get in the way of their friendship. Especially when he didnít think that Blink would ever feel the same about him.

Hesitantly, he laid his head on Blinkís shoulder and wrapped the blanket closer around them. Blink responded by wrapping an arm around Mushís waist, and the two of them just lay there, holding each other, and trying desperately to stay warm.

It wasnít much, and it wasnít all that Mush wanted, but he was there with Blink, and just knowing that would keep Mush warm all night.