“Wake them up. Hit Milo if you have to. You guys need to get home,” Jack sighed. “If there are people out there after you, you can’t just sit in a car waiting for them to find you. Get Milo up and get home!”
“Okay,” I said. Looking at Milo’s sleeping face, and the trail of red-tinted drool coming out of his mouth, I figured that was easier said than done.
“The plane is about to start boarding. I’ll be home as soon as I can. You just get home, and stay put. Mae can take care of everything until I get there,” Jack said firmly. “And take Jane home.”
“What about all this stuff?” I asked. “The vampires and… and her being bit.”
“She’ll be tired when she wakes up but fine. And they’re not after her, okay? She’s safer without you. So just take her home, and you can call her tomorrow and tell her whatever the hell you want to tell her. Okay?”
“Okay,” I said “I’m gonna try and wake up Milo now.”
“Alright. Call me or Mae if you need anything. Or even 911. They’re better than nothing.” He sounded reluctant to get off the phone. “Alice? Just… take care of yourself, okay? Just run. Okay? Always run.”
I hung up the phone and went about trying to wake Milo up. I don’t think I’d ever seen him so deeply asleep before, not even when he was little. I reached over and shook him, but he swatted at me, like Jane did, but with more force.
“Milo?” I said loudly, and Jane moaned next to me. “Milo?”
“Wha…” Milo moved his head but didn’t open his eyes.
“Milo, you’ve got to get up!” I reached over and slapped his face.
“What?” Milo snapped his head up, glaring at me with startled, bloodshot eyes.
“You have to wake up and take us home. The sun’s gonna start coming up.” The tears on my cheeks were drying, but the more alert he got, the more he was able to register how distressed I was.
“Are you okay?” he asked me.
“Yes. We just have to go. And we have to take Jane home first,” I said.
He looked back at her, watching her breathe for a minute, then turned to me. He was fully awake now, his eyes bright with their usual Milo-ness, and they weren’t even bloodshot anymore. He was studying me to see my response to him.
“I freaked you out,” Milo said evenly, without letting on how that fact made him feel.
“Can we talk about it later? I just want to go home,” I said, and he nodded.
He sped out of the parking lot, and he raced across town to Jane’s apartment. She left her car downtown, but we thought it would be better to take her home.
When we got to her place, she was still completely passed out, but this wasn’t an unusual way for her to come home. Milo got up and helped her to the lobby, pretending like it was harder carrying around her deadweight than it actually was, and the doorman took her the rest of the way up.
Neither of us said anything the car ride home. I rested my head against the cold glass, noticing how cloud-covered the sky was as the sun started to rise. I thought about telling Milo about my phone call to Jack, but I didn’t want to talk about anything that happened.
We walked inside Jack’s house, and the instant Mae saw me, her eyes filled with worried tears. She rushed towards me, throwing her arms around me.
“Oh, love, it’s okay.” She stroked my hair as I sobbed into her shoulder. “Everything’s going to be okay. You’re safe, love.” She turned away from me just enough to address Milo, who followed me sheepishly into the house. “Are you alright?”
“I’ve been better,” he said.
“You’ll be okay, too, love.” She reached out to touch him gently.
“I need to go take a shower.” He pulled away from her touch and walked off.
“Let me have a look at you.” Mae held me out at arm’s length so she could look me over. She slowly turned me around, taking inventory of all my wounds. “We better get you cleaned up before Jack sees this, or he’s going to kill your brother.”
“It wasn’t Milo’s fault,” I said through my tears.
“No, I know that, love.” She wiped the tears from my face. “You’ll feel better when you get cleaned up.”
I nodded in agreement, since I was crying too hard to talk. She filled her Jacuzzi tub with lilac bubble bath, and I soaked inside for so long I almost fell asleep.
She stayed in with me for awhile and explained that Ezra had called her and told her everything. He and Jack should be back in a couple hours, but until then, I was perfectly safe and I should take the time to recuperate.
When I got out of the tub, I took a moment to admire the scratches I had sustained. Several nasty claw marks were on my back and my ankles. I had a large purplish bruise forming from when Milo grabbed my arm, but I couldn’t fault him for that. My whole body ached, though.
I pulled on clean panties and a plush robe. I dried my hair until it was damp, and I left the warmth of the bathroom for the cold of the rest of the house.
Mae was in the kitchen making me hot soup and tea, which she claimed could cure anything. She eventually confided in me that Milo had made the soup, but he retreated upstairs because he was too embarrassed to see me.
I sat at the kitchen island, dutifully eating the soup and drinking the tea. She watched me with a disturbing level of fascination, but I ignored it. Even though I wasn’t hungry, the heat of the food warmed me. The night felt agonizingly long and I looked forward to curling up and falling asleep.
I stood up to do that when Jack burst through the door. His hair was messy and not in a purposeful way. He wore brown drawstring sweats, a tan tee shirt, and a pin-striped blazer, an outfit that I didn’t entirely understand.
Just seeing him, the fear and relief in his soft blue eyes and the wonderful warmth that came off him, stopped everything else around me. He reached me within seconds, wrapping his arms around me and lifting me off the ground.
“Thank god you’re okay,” he murmured into my damp hair.
Almost reluctantly, he set me back on the ground. Holding my face in his hands, he searched my eyes, looking for any signs of trauma, and then looked me over as best as the robe would allow. He saw the cuts on my legs and the scrape on my knee, and his eyes hardened briefly, but he looked softly back at me.
“Are you okay?” he asked, pushing a wet strand of hair from my forehead.
“Yes,” I nodded. “I am. I’m just really glad you’re home.”