“I think I do,” I muttered to myself.
“I don’t know what to do!” Jane cried. “I don’t think I can live without him! Really, Alice. I’m trying… and I just can’t do it!”
I had never heard her this upset about anything before, not even when she was drunk. Giving her a quick pep talk on the phone wasn’t working. This was much deeper than that.
“Jane, where are you at?”
“Why do you care?” she asked.
“Jane, just tell me where you are.” I got up off the bed and rummaged through my closet, looking for something that I could just throw on.
“I’m at Dan Kelly’s house,” she answered reluctantly. “I’ll be around if you can make it here.” Then she clicked off the phone.
Dan Kelly had dated Jane when we were fourteen, and he only lived a few blocks away from me, so I knew exactly where he lived.
I changed into a pair of jeans and purple top, and I ran a brush through my hair to detangle the dust from it. I tucked my phone into my pocked and darted out of the apartment.
An early morning rain had turned into a dense fog as night rolled in. The street lights cast eerily across the fog, making shadows visible in the air. A distinct chill made me wish I had a grabbed a sweater or a jacket, but if I walked quickly, I could stay warm anyway.
I heard the party before I saw it, but that wasn’t really unusual even when there wasn’t fog. Jane stood out in front of the house, smoking a cigarette with her cell phone pressed up to her ear. She babbled something about being the hottest thing sliced bread, so I assumed she was talking to Milo.
“Jane,” I said, walking across the lawn towards her. She shook her head and waved me away, but I kept going. “Jane, what are you doing?”
“Answer the damn phone!” Jane shrieked into her phone. “I know that you’re there!”
“Jane, its voicemail. He can’t hear you.”
“They sent you.” She flicked her phone shut. Mascara and eye-liner made streaks down her cheeks, and her bright red lip gloss had smeared across her face. “Just like I said.”
“Nobody sent me. You sounded horrible on the phone. I’m just worried about you.” I reached out to touch her, but she shied away from me and shook her head.
“I don’t need your damn pity.” Her cigarette had burned down to the filter, so she tossed it on the grass and pulled another one out of her bra.
“I’m not giving you any.” I crossed my arms on my chest, trying to look defiant in some way.
“So did you come here to gloat then?” She exhaled smoke in my face and tried to glare at me.
“I have nothing to gloat about.” I coughed and waved the smoke away. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“You have no idea what this is like.” She chewed the inside of her cheek and shook her head. “It’s like I can still feel him inside of me, and not in a way I’ve ever felt before. He’s under my skin, and I can’t shake him, and he doesn’t want anything to do with me.”
“I know exactly what that feels like,” I corrected her. “Exactly.”
“What are you talking about?” Her expression was skeptical, but she started to soften.
“I don’t really wanna get into everything right now, but… it’s Saturday night, and I have nowhere else to be right now. Nobody has called me in days.” I tried to shrug it off, but it stung worse saying it aloud. It had been almost a week since I’d last talked to Jack.
“So why do you look better than I do?” Jane eyed me over.
“Honestly, I don’t know. Except that I haven’t been drinking.” The only thing I had over her was that I had more practice with trying to pretend like vampires didn’t freak me out.
“We could go fix that.” She gave me a wicked smile and nodded towards the house. “I’m sure there’s a drunken guy in there that would just love to feel you up.”
“That is probably true, but I don’t think that’s the answer. Come on.” I took step backwards and nodded in the direction of my house. “Let’s go back to my place. We can watch bad Lifetime movies all night long. It’s far more therapeutic than drunk dialing.”
“I think I’d much rather finish off that bottle of vodka, and see what Dan is up to.” She looked longingly back at the house, then glanced back at me. “You’re more than welcome to join me.”
“No, come on, Jane.” I wanted to grab her arm and drag her back with me, but I stayed where I was and tried to think of a convincing argument. “Don’t you ever have enough of that?”
“You don’t have to approve, but this is my life, okay?” Jane said harshly. “I don’t know what the hell you do to get you through the night, but this is how I cope. And I’m not gonna change it just cause you don’t like it.”
“Whatever,” I said, but she actually had a point. “You just gotta stop calling Milo, okay? He’s not gonna talk to you, and nothing you can say or do will ever change his mind.”
“I know,” she breathed shakily. “And that’s why I need another drink.”
“But you won’t call him anymore?” I asked her as she turned to walk into the house.
“Scouts’ honor.” She crossed her finger over her heart as she walked precariously in her heels. “I’ll even delete his number from my phone.”
Even after she’d gone in the house, I stood out in the fog, debating on what I should do next. I really wanted her to come with me, but mostly for my own selfish reasons. Spending another night alone sounded like torture, and I couldn’t even find Peter’s book to keep my company.
I thought about calling Milo to let him know mission accomplished and to see if he had taken the book for some reason, but then I decided against it.
The fog made me feel even more alone as I walked home. It blanketed everything around me, making me feel like the only person on a deserted planet. I shuddered at the thought, and I tried not to pretend as if everything wasn’t getting to me.
It was pretty amazing that Jane was a crying wreck, but I was holding up still. Maybe it was all the denial. I just kept trying to tell myself that eventually things would have to change. Somebody would have to talk to me. Right?
I had been so lost in thought that I didn’t notice the footsteps falling behind me until I heard that familiar helium laugh echoing off the fog, making it sound far away and right next to me at the same time. I froze because I have absolutely no flight or fight reflex, and I was completely unprepared.