As soon as he hopped in the driver’s seat, he fumbled with the stereo until “Mexican Radio” came on. Milo wrinkled his nose, but he hadn’t grown up in the eighties the way Jack had.
When we pulled up in front of the brownstone where Milo and I lived, Milo thanked Jack again before getting out. I stayed behind, wanting a minute alone to talk to him. I reached between the seats and turned down the radio.
“Thanks for taking him out like that. I know he really appreciated it.”
“Anytime.” Jack smiled at me, but there was something droopy about it. Vampires didn’t burst into flames, but they were nocturnal. The sun tired them out.
“You should probably get going.” I unbuckled my seatbelt and started sliding to get out of the car. “So, I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Nah, I can’t. I’m going on that business trip with Ezra,” he reminded me. “But I should be back in two days. We aren’t doing much more than signing some papers.”
In the past few months, Jack had stepped up and started helping Ezra with the family business. They owned a few companies overseas and had lots of stock holdings. Every now and then, Ezra left for a few days to work on something, and Jack finally decided that he should do it. Also, he’d rolled his car, and Ezra demanded that he work for his money to pay for the next one.
“Oh. Right. Well… call me when you get back.”
“I always do,” Jack grinned, and I got out of the car.
- 2 -
Summer nights were too short. Vampires spent more time indoors in the summer, but heat didn’t agree with them anyway.
Jack lived in beautiful house on the lake. It’d be a rather conventional square house if not for the balconies and the turret that connected the house to the garage. As many times as I had been here, it never really stopped being intimidating.
We spent a great deal of the summer in the backyard, either lounging on the stone patio or swimming in the lake or taking out the Jet-Ski’s. Milo and I spent so much time on the water that Mae bought us several swimsuits to keep at the house.
I changed into my suit, keeping the towel wrapped around me when I came out of the bathroom, and Milo had already changed into his swim trunks. He sat at island in the kitchen, munching on some grapes, and helping Mae.
Mae had been the eldest when she turned, at twenty-eight. Her skin was flawless white porcelain, and her caramel waves of hair had been pulled into a loose bun. Wearing only her bathing suit and an apron, her warm eyes danced as Milo talked to her.
As a vampire, she didn’t eat, and since Milo was an excellent cook, he became her sous chef, helping her prepare all the meals she made for our benefit. I would’ve protested all the extra work and expense Mae put into it, but it was obvious that she relished this sorta thing.
“Where’s Ezra?” I asked, walking over to the island and stealing a grape. Mae was making some kind of fruit dip with cream cheese and yogurt, and slicing up apples, pears, and strawberries.
“He’s taking a nap,” Mae informed me in her warm, British accent. “He’s a little jet lagged from the trip.”
Like the other two boys, Ezra was incredibly attractive. His eyes were deep mahogany and infinitely warm. His skin was the same tanned color as Jack and Peter’s, and his sandy hair had soft blond streaks through it. The most powerful thing about Ezra was his voice. It was low and resonated through everything. He had a faded accent that came from being born in England, but he hadn’t lived in Europe in over two-hundred years.
Through the glass French doors off the dining room, I saw Jack rollicking about with his Great Pyrenees, Matilda. The deck lights revealed the taut muscles of his chest and back as he rolled around with her. The stones of the patio should’ve left him battered and bruised, but he’d have nothing to show from it.
“Alice, do you wanna try it?” Mae asked, pulling my gaze away from Jack. She held out an apple slice covered in dip, but I shook my head.
“I’m getting pretty chilly. I think I’m gonna head outside.”
“I’ll be out in a minute,” Milo said through the mouthful of the fruit he’d sampled.
“Okay,” I nodded and headed out the French doors into the night.
Jack ventured off the patio in his pursuit of Matilda, but I saw easily in the light of the full moon. It was much warmer outside than it had been in the house, but I kept the towel wrapped around me. I walked down the patio onto the small lawn that separated the house from the lake.
Matilda caught sight of me and bounded towards me. She’d knock me over, since she was used to vampires who could handle her lunging at them, but Jack overtook her and playfully tackled her. Then he stood up, brushing the grass from his swim trunks, and grinned at me.
“Are you gonna go swimming with the towel too?” Jack teased.
“Maybe.” I pulled the towel more tightly around me, and he laughed.
Matilda sniffed me heartily before concluding that it was only me, and then sauntered off, wagging her tail slowly behind her.
A mischievous glint caught Jack’s eye, and after spending a summer getting thrown in the lake, I knew exactly what it meant. Dropping my towel, I turned and ran towards the dock. He trailed a few steps behind me, even though he could easily sprint past me. The sport was in the chase for him.
I almost made it to the edge of the dock when I felt his strong arms looping around my waist. I squealed and let him twirl me around once before he released me, sending me soaring into the air and landing in the lake with a loud splash.
Jack took a running jump and leaped out, flying over me and splashing way out in the lake. He howled excitedly, as if he hadn’t made that same jump a million times.
“Jack!” Mae leaned out the French doors and shouted out at him. “You’ve got to keep it down so the neighbors don’t call the police again.” It was after midnight on a Wednesday, and the neighbors weren’t big fans of the noise.
“Yeah, Alice,” Jack said.
“Oh, whatever,” I rolled my eyes. “As if I’m even half as loud as you are.”
Jack laughed, taking long strokes out farther into the black water. He swam slow circles around me, but I was content to float on my back, staring up at the full moon and the stars shining.
I had never really had the courage to swim too far from the shore when the water was so dark. I always had these horrible visions of being eaten by some unseen monster coming up from the depths of the lake.
Milo joined us in the lake a bit later. Mae stayed inside to continue chopping fruit. She always went overboard trying to feed us. We were just two people, but she cooked like we were an army. It only made it more obvious when they didn’t eat anything, but Milo had only made a few comments about it.