“That sounds like something a guy says after he cheats on you,” I pointed out dryly.
“I suppose it does,” she smiled. “But it’s the truth. Your feelings on this are slightly misleading. Your only experience is with Peter, and you’re bonded. When you love each other, it’s intimate and intense. But just eating, that’s nothing really.”
“Uh huh,” I said skeptically.
“Let me put it this way: Ezra bites other people,” Mae said. “And on occasion, so do I. This doesn’t bother me, and it doesn’t bother him when I do it. If he let someone bite him, that would bother me. That would be tantamount to cheating.”
“I think I understand.”
What I had felt with Peter had been because we were already bonded and I was victim. If anyone bit me, I’d feel similarly, but if I bit someone else, I’d feel good, but without all the emotional connection.
“When you’re a vampire, you’ll understand,” she assured me, but that only touched on another raw nerve. Realizing this, she smiled and brushed past it. “Anyway, let’s get you dressed.”
“I know you love jeans, but I’m thinking a skirt, definitely.” Milo hopped off the bed so he could inspect the clothes.
I just agreed with everything they said as Mae and Milo sifted through the clothes. Milo spoke animatedly about everything. Being a vampire sat very well with him. I had never seen him so comfortable in his own skin before. Jack’s tutelage must’ve been helping, because it was an improvement from even a few days ago.
Mae did my makeup, since that was one area that Milo had never been any help with. He left to finish getting ready while she styled my hair and assured me that I would have fun. I asked why she wasn’t going, and she just shrugged and said she was too old for it.
When she finished, she paraded me out into the kitchen to show the boys. Jack leaned on the island, looking rather handsome. He traded in his shorts uniform for dark washed denim and a fitted shirt.
As soon as he saw me, he grinned happily and let out a long whistle, making Matilda bark.
“Look at you.” Jack stood up straight and looked me over. His eyes lingered at the hem of my skirt, and I squirmed. “I might like that skirt even more than I like those little short things you were wearing this morning.”
“Jack,” Mae said disapprovingly.
“You’re the one that dressed her up,” Jack pointed out.
“Just be good,” Mae warned him.
“I’m always good,” he muttered.
“You do look really good,” Milo said.
“So do you,” I told him. He’d changed his shirt, and he did something infinitesimal to his hair, but he did look good.
“I want you kids to have fun, but you need to be careful,” Mae said gravely. “And I’m talking to you, Jack. You need to keep your eyes on both of them. Milo’s really young, and Alice is… well, you need to watch them both.”
“I know,” Jack rolled eyes. “I got it when we had this conversation twenty times this morning.” He started edging towards the door, and I followed.
“Stay close to Jack, and don’t go anywhere with anyone, okay?” Mae said, looking at me directly. “And just remember. Vampires are like men. They only think about one thing.”
“So vampire men really only think about one thing?” Milo asked with a deviant glint in his eye.
“You only think about one thing?” I teased, looking up at Jack.
“I’m thinking about one thing right now.” His tone was joking, but he looked at me seriously. He felt dangerously close to me, and my pulse quickened.
“Jack!” Mae snapped.
“Being good!” Jack turned away from me.
“You better be,” she said. “I’m trusting you. They’re both in your care, and I expect them to come back in the exact same condition they are now. Is that clear?”
“It’s been clear all day.” Jack walked backwards to the door, so he could mount his escape while still looking at her, and Milo and I trailed right after him. “You know, I’m middle aged, Mae. You think you’d start trusting me by now.”
“I would if you acted your age for a change!” Mae called after him, but he was already slipping into the garage.
I waved at her before I left, and she pursed her lips and hugged herself. She already regretted her decision to let us go.
I didn’t feel that nervous. After all, I was with two vampires that would kill anyone that tried to mess with me. What was the worst that could happen?
- 13 -
We parked by First Avenue, but it wasn’t until we got out of the car that I realized that it was the same parking garage where’d I first met Jack. He said he’d just gotten done eating when he ran into me, and then saved my life from some ridiculous hooligans.
It was so weird to think that if I hadn’t stumbled into the garage that night, my entire life would’ve turned out different.
“You coming?” Jack asked, looking at me curiously. He and Milo had taken a couple steps ahead of me, but I stood just outside the car.
“Yeah,” I nodded, and slowly followed them.
People littered the sidewalk, doing similar things as us. Summer was ending, and girls were getting the short skirts and halter tops out of their system. The Minneapolis skyline towered over us, and the music from clubs and voices of people echoed off the buildings.
I looked down the street at the brightly lit marquees announcing clubs and restaurants and plays, and I wondered what there would be outside marking the vampire club.
“What’s this place called anyway?” I asked.
“It doesn’t really have a name,” Jack said. “It’s like an underground thing.”
“Well, what do people call it? Like, the ones that don’t know it’s a vampire club? Or even the ones that do?” I asked.
People were probably within hearing distance, but I didn’t lower my voice or hide the term “vampire.” They were drunk or on cell-phones or too embroiled in their own drama to notice me. Most of them only gave a fleeting glance at Jack and Milo.
“I don’t know,” Jack shrugged. “I think they call it V or something.”
“That’s not very creative,” I scowled.
“Yeah, I thought it’d be something sexier,” Milo agreed.
“It’s an underground vampire club,” Jack scoffed. “It doesn’t need a ‘creative’ name to entice people.”