“Whatever.” I slammed the car door shut. “Just take me home.”
Neither of us spoke the rest of the way home, because that seemed like the safest bet. I was hurt, angry, and disappointed in both of us, and he felt pretty much the same. When he finally pulled up in front of my apartment, he sighed and turned to me.
“Look, Alice, I don’t want you to go home mad.”
“Neither do I,” I said. “So. Fix it.”
“Okay,” Jack laughed. “Since you can’t turn right away anyway, I can stop rushing Milo. That means that I can put less time into getting him ready, and I can make more time for you. You won’t feel so shut out.”
“Thank you.” I bit my lip and looked at him gratefully.
“I don’t know if this helps any, but I really, really wanna kiss you right now,” Jack said with a sad smile. “And yeah, I did wanna see your purple thong.”
“I don’t know how that helps,” I smiled. It stung a little, because I knew it couldn’t happen, but it made me feel better knowing that he still wanted it to.
“Yeah, I guess it doesn’t really.” He pushed a hair off my forehead, and he looked at me intently. When he breathed in deeply, his eyes went wistful. “Go. Before I give in.”
“Okay,” I nodded and opened the car door.
“I’ll call you. Tomorrow. I promise.”
Jack waited outside until I was safely in the apartment. When I went into my bedroom, I looked out the window, and he was still waiting outside. I watched him for a few minutes, but then he finally pulled away.
After sleeping fitfully, “Time Warp,” Jack’s ringtone, woke me up first thing in the afternoon. When I rolled over and picked up my phone, I found a text message that sent a nervous shiver through me.
Text me as soon as you get this. That was all it said.
- 12 -
I assumed the worst. Like Milo had gone on a rampage or Mae had developed vampire cancer or something.
What’s wrong? Is everything okay? I texted Jack.
Nothing. Everything’s great. I just wanted to get you here as soon as possible. Jack replied almost instantly.
Why? Did something happen? I texted back and sat up in bed.
The sun hadn’t fully set yet, and reddish light streamed in through a gap in my curtains. He was up early, at least for him. Something had to have woken him, and he wanted me over there. My mind raced, trying to figure out what it could be.
Peter. That had to be it. Peter had come back.
Jack still hadn’t replied, so I got out of bed and searched through my room for something to wear. I wanted to look good if Peter came back. Technically, he was my intended. Kinda. I think.
I really, really don’t understand vampire biology, and I didn’t really understand Peter either.
I had discarded three shirts on my floor when my phone started to ring. Not like text message but actual incoming call ringing, and my heart skipped a beat.
“Jack? What’s going on?” I demanded breathlessly when I picked up the phone.
“You’re totally freaking out right now,” he laughed. I was mid-heart attack by then, and he laughed.
“Why is that funny?” I asked, but hearing him laugh made my nerves settle down.
“You’re so paranoid!” Jack continued laughing. “Milo told me you would freak out if I just told you to text me without an explanation.” I heard Milo say something in the background, and Jack laughed harder. “Yeah, she is. I think she’s getting pissed now, though.”
“Good call,” I said.
“Sorry.” He suppressed his laughter. “We just had a big night of fun planned, and I wanted you to get over here so you can get ready.”
“A big night?”
“Yeah. We’re going out,” he said mischievously.
“Out?” I echoed.
The last time Jack and I had actually gone out anywhere, it was like a month ago. We went to Valley Fair, this amusement park in Shakopee. Even though we didn’t get there until almost ten, the park was pretty packed.
We hardly waited in line for anything. Everyone offered to let Jack go in front of them, and by association, me too.
That sounds awesome, but after this chick wearing only a bikini top and Daisy Dukes shorts tried to steal my seat next to him on the Wild Thing, I kind of freaked out and said I was never going in public with him again.
“Don’t sound so nervous. It’s not gonna be like Valley Fair. I promise,” he said.
“Okay?” I said, because that was the only thing I could really do.
“Awesome. So I’ll pick you up in like ten minutes.”
“No, wait! I’m still in my pajamas and everything!” I was just wearing girl boxers and a wife beater. I couldn’t imagine anywhere this would be a good look.
“Mae has some clothes for you. You’re getting ready here. Trust me,” Jack insisted wickedly. “It’s better this way.”
“What is going on?” I asked, baffled.
“Just be outside in ten minutes.”
“Jack!” I shouted, but he’d hung up. And if I wasn’t downstairs in eleven minutes, he’d probably come up and get me.
I ran a brush through my hair but it was still a ridiculous mess, so I pulled it back in a messy bun. I slipped on my flip-flops and ran downstairs, just in time to see Jack pulling up out front.
“You know, I don’t think you’ll even need Mae’s clothes,” Jack grinned and turned down the Beastie Boys when I got in the car. “You look smoking hot in that. I mean, are those even shorts? Or just slightly long underwear?”
“They’re pajamas!” I blushed and struggled to pull down the boxers so they covered my legs better.
“You slept over at my house lots of times, and you never wore those shorts.” He started driving and pretended like he was watching the road, but I could see him appraising me out of the corner of his eye.
“Your house is cold. I have to wear warm pajamas. My house is like ten million degrees. And I wanted to put on real clothes, but you didn’t give me enough time, so this is all your fault.”
“Hey, I am not complaining,” he laughed. “And I’m definitely turning the thermostat up the next time you stay over.”
“Oh will you stop looking at me like that!” I rolled my eyes at him. “You’ve seen me in a bikini before. Get over it! Its pajamas!”
“Sorry!” Jack smirked. “You’re right. You look nice is all.”