“Well, good thing you got smashed tonight so you could figure it all out!”
“You couldn’t even return a text message today!” I yelled. “And when I called, you couldn’t wait to get off the phone! I’ve barely talked to you lately! And you just…” Biting my lip, I didn’t even finish the thought.
“I couldn’t stay on the phone with you! I shouldn’t even have answered the phone in the first place. Things almost got really out of control because I didn’t want to hurt your feelings, and now you’re mad at me because that wasn’t good enough for you?” He shook his head.
“It was a five second phone call! What could’ve gotten so out of control?” I asked skeptically.
“Milo?” I looked at him, waiting for him elaborate, but he didn’t. “What? Did he… I don’t know. I can’t even think of anything he could’ve been doing that would be out of control.”
“I was teaching him to eat.”
“What?” The air went out of my lungs, and a nauseous feeling crept up inside of me. “I thought… I thought he was eating.”
“Out of bags,” he said quietly. “But… he needs to learn how to do it with live… people.”
“Why?” I asked. “Why does he have to know?”
“Because there isn’t always bags, and because it happens, and because when he does it I want to make sure he doesn’t kill somebody.” Saying it made him uncomfortable, but he sounded more angry than he did embarrassed. “As it was, he could’ve killed her tonight. He was going crazy while I was on the phone with you, and I had to stop and show him how so he didn’t break her neck.”
“You had to show him how?” My mouth went dry and I gripped onto the car to keep my hands from shaking. “You bit a girl tonight?”
“I am a vampire, Alice,” Jack sounded weary, but he wouldn’t look me in the eye.
I remembered how amazing and intense it felt when Peter drank my blood, and how crazed and delirious Jack got just over the taste of it. For vampires, drinking blood from a person was far more intimate than sex. Tonight, Jack had been that intimate with someone else, and it made me sick to my stomach.
“Pull over!” I screamed. The combination of Jack’s confession and the vodka were not mixing well, and I felt like I was going to throw up at any second.
“Pull over now!”
He pulled sharply onto the grass next to the highway. I opened the car door and swung my legs out. As soon as my bare feet hit the grass, I started to feel better, and the cool night blew against me.
I kept swallowing until I felt like I was okay, then sat back up. I left the door open and my feet in the grass, though, just to be on the safe side.
“Are you okay?” Jack had completely softened from earlier, and he reached out to touch me, but I pulled away.
“I’ll be fine. I just need a minute.”
Closing my eyes, I did my best not to think about Jack biting another girl. To feel that close with somebody, it was impossible to describe. When Peter drank my blood, his heartbeat was my heartbeat. Knowing that Jack was capable of feeling that with anyone else, when he hadn’t even felt that with me…
“I know why you’re upset and I don’t blame you.” His voice was low and apologetic. “But Milo has to learn. He’s still so volatile. In all honesty, I should’ve waited, and if I had, I probably wouldn’t have had to physically demonstrate.
“But I didn’t want to wait,” he said. “I want to get through all of this as quickly as possible, so he can be independent, and you can turn. I did this so you could hurry up and come live with us.”
“I’m not going to turn,” I said, and my words came out harsher than I meant.
“I talked to Ezra the other day.” I finally opened my eyes and glanced over at him, and his blue eyes swam with confusion and pain. “He said that I still have to hold off for a couple years. It’s not safe or healthy for Milo. I don’t think you can rush through this, no matter how hard you try.”
“But…” He stared off at nothing, digesting it all.
“Maybe this is all a sign,” I said thickly when he didn’t speak. “I don’t mean just tonight. Everything with Milo and Peter. It’s like everything in the universe is saying that this won’t work for me.”
“Two years really isn’t that long,” Jack said quickly.
“Jack! You know that’s not the only thing!” I leaned my head back on the seat.
“Alice…” He breathed deeply. When he spoke, his voice was barely a whisper. “When I called, it was because something felt off. I knew something was going on with you. And by the time I got to the exit, I knew exactly where you were at. I could feel you, scared and alone. I can’t just turn that off. You can’t just throw this away.”
“What am I supposed to do?” I asked.
He looked at me desperately, and a longing radiated from him. The alcohol was either wearing off or he was overpowering it. A panicked need overtook him because he thought he was losing me.
I leaned over and pressed my lips against his, and he gave into it. He wrapped his arms around me, pulling me as close to him as he could without hurting me, and his mouth worked ferociously against mine. He tasted amazing, and his skin burned hot.
We’d only been kissing for a few seconds when abruptly, he stopped, and pushed me back from him. Gently but firmly, he held me at arm’s length and struggled to catch his breath.
“Alice, that’s way too dangerous,” he panted.
“You’re really not helping the case, you know?” I pulled away from his arms and slunk down in the seat.
“The only reason I have any restraint is because I just ate,” Jack said, leaning back. “Otherwise, that could’ve been very bad.”
“Thanks for reminding me about that,” I grimaced.
“You can’t really talk. At least what I did, I did because it’s how I survive and it was to help your little brother. You just did that… for fun. And you can’t use being drunk as an excuse because you wore a purple thong. That was premeditated.”
“It was not! I wore the panties cause I wanted to feel fun and dangerous!”
“You’re dangerous alright,” Jack muttered.