“I know you’re just trying to politely get rid of me, but you’re right anyway.” Milo stood up, and he hesitated before he left. “Call me if you need anything. Okay?”
Once he left, I started crying, and I didn’t appreciate it. I didn’t like how it felt being alone in the apartment all the time, and I wished that I hadn’t asked him to leave. I didn’t want him to see me cry or know how upset I really was, but I don’t know why it mattered if he saw it. Milo saw everything.
My solution was going to bed. The only cure for being sad and tired was rest and time, and sleeping accomplished both of those. I woke up to my alarm the next day, and I blundered through another day at school. Jane glared at me in the halls, the teachers ignored me, and I slept in class when I had the chance.
After school, Milo texted to check on me, but I heard nothing from Jack, and my lack of invitation to their house continued. When I went to bed that night at 8:30, I tried to pretend that my life wasn’t so bad.
Unfortunately, I woke up the next morning feeling better. That doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but I was kind of hoping that I would just sleep through the rest of my life, and then maybe, I wouldn’t notice how much it sucked.
My body finally decided to respond to all the rest and pills I had been popping, and while I wasn’t exactly energetic, I felt more like a normal human being.
It was a Saturday, but I woke up at ten in the morning, which felt too early. With my recent almost-burst-of-energy, I decided to put it to good use. Blasting the radio, I went about the house, picking up the mess I had managed to leave even though I had been immobile.
I scrubbed the kitchen floors. I went over the tiles in the bathroom with an old toothbrush to get the mildew. I reorganized my CD collection. I even went into Milo’s room and tried to straighten up what was left of his things.
His things had started collecting dust, and there was something incredibly sad about that. It was the nail on the coffin of the life we had. My future was still up for grabs, but his fate was sealed. In most ways, I had come to terms with that, but with Jack currently freezing me out, the isolation of my life felt even more intense.
After the apartment looked cleaner than it ever had before, I had nothing else to do. I occupied myself for the better part of the day, but the sun began to set, and that’s when the loneliness started.
I had gotten used to spending my days alone, but the nights didn’t seem to get any easier. As of late, I had been able to fill them with sleep, but with that infernal fatigue finally gone, I had nothing to busy myself with on a Saturday night.
I put on some comfy pajamas and put on the Bat For Lashes album. Curling up in bed and reading a good book would be the perfect way to pass the evening, and it would help keep me from noticing how very slowly time passed.
I flopped back in bed and reached over onto my nightstand for Peter’s book, but my hand came up empty. The book wasn’t there.
- 25 -
I got out of bed and started rooting around for the book. It wasn’t on the floor around the nightstand, and since I had cleaned, there weren’t dirty clothes for it to hide under. I lay on my belly and squeezed under my bed, which was still pretty full of dust bunnies, but no book.
Milo’s ringtone interrupted my search, and the book was forgotten. On my knees, I scrambled to the nightstand and grabbed my phone. A text from Milo wasn’t as exciting as one from Jack, but maybe they were ending the embargo.
Jane keeps calling me. She’s drunk. Milo texted.
I’m sorry? I replied, unsure of what exactly he hoped I would do about it.
I can’t talk to her. I just make it worse. Milo responded, but that still didn’t explain what he expected me to do.
Then don’t talk to her. I messaged back.
Can you talk to her? She’s making weird threats.
Like what? My heart raced and fell at the same time. He wasn’t texting me to talk to me. I was supposed to clean up his mess, but strangely, that made me feel special.
Stuff about “exposing” us. I don’t know. Can you try reasoning with her? Milo texted.
I’ll see what I can do.
I sighed and ran my fingers through my hair, trying to get the dust bunnies from sticking. I climbed up off the floor and sat on my bed.
Texting would be out of the question. Jane was probably drunk and at a party or something, so her typing and reading skills would be sorely lacking. They always kinda were, but when mixed with alcohol, they were illegible.
My best bet would be to call her and try to distract her long enough for her to pass out or hook up with somebody. So it would probably take about five minutes.
“What the hell do you want?” Jane slurred into the phone. I could hear music playing in the background, and laughter and voices mixed with it.
“Nothing. I just wanted to talk.” I started shouting too, but I wasn’t sure if I needed too. It was loud on her end, not mine.
“Are you with those damn blood suckers? They sent you, didn’t they?” Her voice got an edge to it, a fuzzy one thanks to the alcohol, but it was clear that she was suspicious.
“They didn’t ‘send’ me anywhere. I’m at home, sitting in my room. I called to see what you were up to,” I said.
“Yeah, right.” Jane made some kinda hollow laugh that sounded more like a cackle. “Are you with Milo? You tell your brother that he can’t just leave me hanging like this. I’m an attractive girl, you know! I can’t wait around forever for him!”
“I don’t really know what you’re talking about, but I’ll be sure to pass along the message,” I sighed.
“Why doesn’t he want me, Alice?” Jane cried. In the background, I heard a guy yell something about wanting her, but she turned her head away from the phone and shouted, “Shut up, you stupid ass!” When she spoke into the phone again, she sobbed, “I just don’t understand what I have to do make him want me!”
“Jane, he’s gay. That’s a pretty big obstacle,” I told her as gently as I could.
“So what are you saying? Like a sex change?” She sniffled and thought about it for a second. “That’s expensive, but I think I could do that. Then he’d want me?”
“I think you should just forget about Milo,” I said. “It sounds like you’re at a party with a lot of other guys, and you can pretty much get any guy you want. There’s no reason for you to worry about Milo.”
“You think I don’t know that?” Jane snapped. “You don’t think I don’t know how hot I am? I do. But I can’t stop thinking about Milo! I can’t! You don’t know what this is like!”