“So, what? Pretty soon you’re gonna be a millionaire?” I bit off the last chunk of Popsicle, even though my gums didn’t necessarily appreciate the cold.
“Alice, I hate to break it to you, but I already kind of am.” Milo looked rather sheepish as he put away the last of the groceries in the fridge, and then turned to face me.
“Well, they’re super rich or whatever, but you just live with them,” I said.
“Yeah, but…” He shifted, fearing the worst from my reaction. “I’m like part of the family now. So, Ezra set up credit cards and an expense account for me the other day, and Ezra’s working on documents to legally change my name to Milo Townsend.
“Once that’s through, I’m going to get a driver’s license, but it’s going to say that I’m 18, since I can pass for it now and it’ll be easier to get things done that way.”
“Nah ah,” I gaped at him. “You have an expense account?”
“Yeah, I mean, it’s just easier that way. So I can buy my own things.” He shrugged, then added, “And groceries for you too. I’m spreading it around.”
“But…” My face crinkled. “But that’s their money. Don’t you feel bad about taking it?”
“Not really,” Milo admitted. “I didn’t really feel bad about taking Mom’s money. As soon as I’m able to, and as soon as they’ll let me, I’m gonna start working. I’ll pull my own share. I’m kind of a kid right now, and they just adopted me.”
“They are adopting you, aren’t they?” It hit me in a weird way that Milo wasn’t really my brother anymore. He was, and he always would be, but at the same time, he wasn’t. “Milo Townsend?”
“Yeah, it sounds weird, right?” He wrinkled his nose, and I felt a little better knowing it was strange for him too.
“Whose last name is that anyway?” I chewed on the wooden Popsicle stick and tried to seem casual about Milo’s news.
“I think its Ezra’s. Jack’s is really Hobbs, and Mae’s is Everly, but I don’t really know what Peter’s was.” He leaned back against the refrigerator, watching me swing my feet and chew on the stick. “They don’t really talk much about Peter.”
“That’s not surprising.” The wood splintered so I tossed the stick in the garbage can and looked over at him. “What do they say about him?”
“Mae told me about you guys being bonded and about how Peter nearly killed you before.” A shudder ran over him at that. “Why didn’t you tell me about that?”
“How could I?” I asked. “You weren’t supposed to know they were vampires. It’d be pretty weird to just say, oh yeah, Peter tried to drink all my blood.”
“How could you not tell me all this stuff?” Milo looked hurt and offended. “Jack told me you were going to turn last spring, but you changed your mind because of me. And I appreciate that, I really do, but you almost did! And you wouldn’t have told me about it? You were trying to make the biggest decision of your life, and you didn’t mention anything to me.”
“I couldn’t tell you anything,” I sighed. “They told me not to, and I raised the same argument. How would it be better for me to just disappear instead of telling you something. And they said it would be too hard for you to live a normal life while knowing that they exist.”
“But you could’ve made up something,” Milo shook his head. “You could’ve just told me about the whole triangle thing with Peter and Jack, and said you were thinking about running away with one of them. That was close to the truth.”
“I don’t know. I didn’t think of it, I guess,” I sighed. “Look, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you anything. But at least I can talk to you about it now, right?”
“On the subject of which,” Milo grinned and titled his head. “What’s this I hear about you kissing Jack last night?”
“Word travels fast.” I avoided his eyes and what they insinuated.
“Come on. There’s like four people in that house. You’re the only word there,” he laughed, shaking his head. “What else would we really talk about?”
Looking down at my feet made me realize how badly the dark purple nail polish was chipping on my toes. In order to reach it better, I pulled my knee to my chest and started scraping at the nail polish with my fingers.
“That’s really hygienic.” Milo nodded to my foot being on the counter, and I stuck my tongue out at him.
“What do you care? You don’t eat here anymore.” I smiled, almost sadly. “Hell, you don’t even eat anymore. Or get sick. I don’t think this is really an issue for you.”
“You’re avoiding the major issue.” He pulled out a kitchen chair and sat down, then tapped the empty spot next to him. “Come on. Have a seat, and tell me all the juicy details.”
“There isn’t anything juicy to tell!” I groaned and stayed where I was.
“You kissed Jack! There’s got to be something to tell!”
“Are you even cool with talking about this?” I looked up at him, studying his face for any jealous aggression that might be brewing underneath.
“Yeah, I’m so over that.” He leaned back and rolled his eyes, then shook his head. “Okay, I’m not like completely over him per se, but I’m not crazy jealous anymore. Remember at the club? I didn’t freak out then, and he was all over you most of the night.”
“He was not all over me,” I said, but my cheeks burned crimson. “He protected me a lot, and so he had to touch me. But it wasn’t like we were making out or anything.”
“No, that was for later.” Milo winked at me.
“It wasn’t like that!”
“Alice, everyone gets it. You and Jack are seriously into each other. What exactly do you think you’re hiding from me? And more importantly, why do you think you need to hide it from me?” Milo asked me directly, and I squirmed a bit.
“I don’t know.” I kept my arms wrapped around my leg and rested my head against my knee. “I guess I’m just not used to talking about any of this stuff. And I can’t really explain it, but I feel weird talking about it because of Peter.”
“Peter? He’s not even here. What does he have to do with anything?” Milo’s brown eyes were filled with confusion.