“That’s not all I say.”
“So then what do you say?” Jack asked, watching me from the corner of his eyes.
“That you’re the most dashing, handsome stranger I’ve ever met,” I said with a dramatic Southern drawl and batted my eyes at him, making him laugh. “No, I don’t know. I try not to say anything about you.”
“Cause.” I shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s hard to talk about you.”
“How is it hard?”
“Well… what am I supposed to say about you?” I squirmed.
“You’re supposed to say whatever you want.”
“Things are a little too complicated for me to say what I want,” I said finally.
I didn’t know what I felt for Jack because I wouldn’t let myself think about it. To quantify it as something would put expectations and shatter things. I liked being around him and I missed him when he wasn’t there, and that was as far as I was willing to admit.
“Fair enough.” He ran a hand through his sandy hair.
He turned to me, looking like he might say more, but his phone rang in his pocket. Cursing under his breath, he pulled it from his pocket.
“Hello?” Jack answered his phone. “Yeah. Yeah…. I’m with her now…. Yeah… Yes… Okay… Yes…. I get it… I got it…. No. I’m fine….Yep… Okay…. Okay… Bye.” He sighed and then shoved his phone in his pocket.
“What was that about?” I asked.
“We’re going to my house.”
“What? Why? Who was that?” I tensed up at the thought of his house. It suddenly felt like so much drama.
“Milo.” He pursed his lips. “He wants to see you.”
“Does he really? Or is he just against the idea of us being alone together?”
“I’m a little offended actually.” I watched out the window at the changing scenery as Jack switched directions towards his house. “Peter never got this jealous over the time we spent together.”
“Yeah, well, Peter’s a total idiot,” Jack grumbled.
“Have you heard from him lately?” I asked offhandedly.
“Why are you asking about him?” Jack had very little tolerance for the sound of Peter’s name, but I wanted to know anyway.
“I was just wondering if anybody had heard from him,” I shrugged. “That’s all. I can be curious, can’t I?”
“I’d prefer it if you weren’t,” he admitted wearily. When I didn’t say anything for a little bit, he continued, “You took the book.”
“Ezra said I could.”
“Is everything to your satisfaction?” he asked icily.
“It’s a book, Jack!” I didn’t even want to dignify it with a response. “What do you think is going to happen? I’m going to run off with it and leave you in the love triangle with my brother? It wouldn’t even be a triangle anymore. It would just be an angle.”
“An oblique angle,” Jack said, and his bout of jealousy was quickly replaced with glee. “Ha! I told you I would work that in!”
“What are you talking about?” I didn’t understand what he was getting at, but he grinned foolishly, so I was swept up in it.
“Remember? That time I took you to the concert after we first met?” His eyes danced. “And you asked what my angle was, and I said isosceles, but really I should’ve said oblique. And I said that I’d remember it for next time, and I did!”
“Wow,” I laughed.
At least we arrived at his house on a happy note. As soon as we walked inside, Matilda ran to greet us, and Milo followed her.
Seeing him was still an adjustment, and I wondered how long it would take me to get used to him. He walked like he was about to trip over his own feet but would elegantly catch himself. He was like Bambi learning to walk –all stumbles and a graceful bound.
“Hey,” Milo sounded out of breath and his smile was too bright.
He brushed his hair from his forehead, and he was even wearing it different now. It had always been just a standard guy cut, but he went for a more popular style.
“How are you?” Milo fidgeted with his sleeve. He did a weird head bob, and he reminded me of Mike Meyers from Wayne’s World. Was this Milo’s interpretation of cool?
“Good,” I answered unsurely. “You’re looking really… good. I like your hair.”
“Thanks.” He touched it self-consciously and blushed. It was a glimpse of cute Milo that made me miss him again. “Mae did it.”
“She loves hair,” I said.
“Yeah,” Milo agreed absently.
He looked over to Jack and rubbed the back of his head, and that’s when it finally dawned on me. He wanted to impress Jack. He lacked the ability to mask his crush, and he had no clue what to do with himself.
Newly gay, newly vampire, and barely old enough to drive.
I felt like the biggest bitch in the world for being irritated with him. Sure, he messed up my non-relationship with Jack, but he was just a scared, confused kid. He was going through a whole huge thing that I couldn’t help him with at all, and I should be happy he had someone like Jack to show him around.
“You guys have a nice drive?” Milo looked at Jack, and his eyes were hoping that we didn’t have too nice of a drive.
“It was good,” Jack nodded.
He chewed the inside of his cheek, growing uncomfortable with the way Milo looked at him, but I think that was for my benefit. Ordinarily, I’m sure he would brush off Milo’s adoring gaze, but with me there, it felt… well, everything just felt really, really awkward.
“So, while you were gone I totally found that thing and I got to the next level,” Milo announced randomly, and it took me a second to realize he was talking about some kind of video game.
“Oh, yeah, really?” Jack looked impressed, which was a bit too much for Milo.
“Yeah!” Milo beamed. “Here, I’ll show you!”
With that, he reached out and took Jack’s hand to drag him off to the living room. The gesture was probably meant to be flirtatious in some way, but it only succeeded in making him look more like a little boy.
“I’m going to go check out the game,” Jack shot me an apologetic smile as Milo pulled him away.
Once they were gone, I took a deep breath. Things are weird, but Milo’s still Milo, Jack’s still Jack, and pretty soon we’ll have this all sorted out. Soon. That’s what I’ve gotta believe.