“Yeah,” I murmured dazedly. “Are you kidding? That was… amazing.”
“I can’t believe I just did that…” He shook his head and rolled over onto his back.
“No, Jack, that was…” I didn’t even have the words for what it was. Using all my strength, I rolled over and buried my head in his chest. Hesitantly, he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close to him.
“That was bad. Right now, it feels really, really worth it, but that was definitely bad,” he whispered hoarsely. For the first time, his heart beat loudly and quickly. Not as fast or as loud as mine, but something much closer to human.
“No. No. I just hate that it’s over. I’ve never felt like that before.”
“Neither have I,” he said. “What are we gonna do?”
“I’m going to fall asleep…” I felt weaker than I ever had before in my life. “And you’re gonna stay with me. Being this close to you still feels too far away. I don’t think I could handle it if you were any farther.”
He moved and I felt the blanket on top of me. He had covered me up, and he rolled over so he lay on his side, facing me. I buried my face in his chest, and he wrapped his arms around me. It was like being in a cocoon, and I drifted off to sleep.
The afterglow was more of an aftermath.
I was blissfully unconscious, more so than I had ever been before, and Jack got out of bed before I even stirred. The bed was empty underneath my arm, and when I nuzzled closer to him, all I found was the softness of the pillow.
Heavy exhaustion hung on me, like I slept underneath a wet blanket, but I could faintly hear movement in the room and I just wanted Jack in bed with me.
The light was still on, so I blinked until my eyes started to adjust. I tried to lift my head, but that required far too much strength. Using all my effort, I managed to roll onto my back.
Jack paced, but when he saw me waking up, he stood at the end of the bed and just watched me. His arms were folded over his chest, and his eyes looked moist.
“This is why Peter tried to send you away,” he whispered to himself and swallowed hard.
“What?” My voice barely came out, and it took everything I had to muster that. “Jack? What are you doing? Come back to bed…” I patted the empty spot next to me, hoping to entice him back in.
“I can’t get back in bed with you!” Jack insisted fiercely. “I shouldn’t even be in the same room with you. I obviously can’t be around you anymore.”
“No, Jack.” Fear energized me a bit more, and I struggled to sit up. My mind was covered in a thick fog, and I still felt the way his heart beat with mine. “Jack, just please. Can’t we sleep? And we’ll talk about this later. But you can’t… just… not be around me.”
“We need to talk to Ezra. I think I may have just killed you.”
“I’m clearly not dead, Jack,” I shook my head, not understanding what he meant.
“Maybe there’s still time. Maybe we can do something.” He wasn’t looking at me anymore. His mind was working overtime, trying to think of some way out of this. “You’ve got to get up. We have to go now.”
“But I am so tired!” I whined and fell backwards on the bed. I didn’t have the strength to argue anymore. He was saying things that were potentially very serious, but my eyes were already closing.
“Alice!” Jack shouted, and it startled me enough where my eyes opened up again. “You have to get up!”
“No!” I rolled over and buried my face in the pillow. “You have to come back to bed! That’s what we’ll do. Compromise.”
“That’s not a compromise at all,” he sighed. The bed shifted as he sat down next to me, and hesitantly, he touched my back. “Alice. Come on. You have to do this. We have to talk to him. Maybe there’s something he can do. Your neck hasn’t completely healed yet.”
“I don’t care! I am so tired, Jack! I’ve never been this tired in my entire life!” I was shouting, or at least trying to, but if Jack hadn’t had better hearing, he wouldn’t have been able to hear me.
“You just lost about two pints of blood, and you only had seven to begin with, so your body’s weak right now. Which is also why we need to get up, so I can make sure that you’re okay.” He shook me, and I tried to pull away from him, not that I got very far. “Alice. Get up.”
After that, he was done arguing. Part of his insistence came from how nervous my current state made him, and he wanted Mae and Ezra to check me out to make sure I wasn’t about to keel over. He stood up, and gently but firmly, he pulled me out of bed.
“I’m not wearing any clothes,” I said in my tired whine. I was still in the robe, but that didn’t constitute as clothes. Standing up made me dizzy, but he held me in place until I stopped swaying.
“I’ll get you clothes. But you have to stay standing up. You need to try waking up a little bit.” He was holding me steady, and cautiously he let me go. When I didn’t collapse backwards, he hurried to get me something to wear.
“I don’t understand why this can’t wait until I’ve had more sleep. What time is it?” I yawned.
“Um, it’s a little after nine in the morning,” Jack answered as he rummaged through his closet. He came out a second later, carrying a tee shirt and drawstring sweats. “Here.”
“How are you so alert? Milo was like… out after he bit Jane.” I shivered at the thought of it and took the clothes from him.
“He’s still young. It affects him a lot harder than it does me,” he said absently. “Put on the clothes.”
“I don’t want to.”
I tried sitting down, but he grabbed my arm to stop me. I just stood there then, fighting to keep my eyes open. Obviously, since standing and opening my eyes were a chore, I wasn’t really up to getting dressed, so Jack took it upon himself. Later on, I’d be incredibly embarrassed, but at the time, I was just grateful that I didn’t have to do it myself.
He pushed off the robe and pulled the shirt over my head. I tried to help get my arms through the sleeves of the tee shirt, but I got tangled up. He let me sit down to put on my pants, but I ended up lying down. In the ten seconds it took him to get my pants on and pull me into standing up, I had fallen asleep.
“Alice,” Jack said, trying to get me to stand again, but I wasn’t having any of it.