Not everything she touched was hard to swallow.
Theo remembers touching Nell and Luke quite often before the move. Her lips would brush against Nell's forehead and no matter the season, she felt fireworks on a summer night, a playful breeze... and stars. So many stars. Nell was a ball of energy, making the hairs on Theo's arms stand up with excitement. It was mesmerizing at times, Theo reckoned, like staring into a sparkler for too long.
Nell tasted like sweet corn but with a short bitter after taste. Theo supposed that was the inevitable growth, the cracks in the innocence. She might have been wrong.
Luke, on the other hand, was milder. He wasn't as brave as Nell but he was the source of Nell's courage, of her boldness. Luke was her confidence.
As a toddler, whenever Theo would play with his hair absently, she had a hard time explaining what she felt. Later, she would describe it as "the calm before the storm".
At times, Theo got dizzy when she touched him, her thoughts blurring together. It wasn't necessarily unpleasant at first but as Luke grew, he'd give her headaches if she touched him for too long.
In any way, whenever Nell and Luke played together, not a care in the world, Theo felt a strong warmth inside her, a sort of peace that was addicting. She loved them so much, even if she wasn't outspoken about it. She understood why she was so fierce about protecting them. She was just trying to preserve that captivating innocence you can't ever find again once you grow up.
If Theo thought about it, ignorance was truly bliss.