Jack never let himself believe that Peter loved me because he loved Peter. He respected him and never wanted to go against him. Then I came into the picture, and the only way Jack could reconcile his own feelings for me was by assuming Peter could never feel the same way.
Jack truly believed he was the one that was meant to be with me, not Peter, and that made all his actions and behavior okay. But if Peter loved me as much as he did, then Jack suddenly became the villain in his story instead of the hero.
“Jack, you know how much I love you.”
I reached out for him, and he pulled away. He exhaled shakily, so I reached out for his hand again, and this time he let me take it. He wouldn’t look at me, so I moved so I was standing in front of him.
“I really do love you, and this is the right choice. And we didn’t do anything wrong, not really. I mean… I don’t know. What else were we supposed to do?”
“I don’t know,” Jack admitted quietly. He was still looking down so his eyes wouldn’t meet mine, and I touched his cheek.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you like this. I just…” I trailed off. He felt so sad and guilty. I hated to see him this way. “I just wanted you to go easier on Peter. You two should be able to get along.”
“No, you’re right.” He forced a smile at me, but it barely counted as one, so he let it go. “I will try.”
“Why don’t you come inside with me?” I asked. I wanted to stay with him all day, but the sun was really starting to get to me. It was this heavy sort of weakness that just barreled down on me like a wet blanket.
“No, I wanna stay out here just a little bit longer. Matilda’s still having fun,” Jack said. Matilda had actually sprawled out on the patio, basking in the sun for warmth, but I didn’t argue with him.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” I asked and wished he would just look at me.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” he nodded, but he was lying.
“I love you,” I whispered, hoping that would help somehow.
“I know, and I love you, too.” Without looking at me, he gave me a quick kiss on the forehead, and stepped away from me. He had never kissed me so brusquely before. “Mattie, come on! Where’s your ball?” Matilda jumped up to start searching for it, and Jack went to help her.
I glared up at the sun before going back in the house. If it wasn’t for the stupid light, I would’ve stayed out there with him. But the bright noon sun was too draining, so I walked back into the house. The dark sanctuary of the kitchen brought relief, and I sighed. I had no idea if I had done the right thing, but anything that made Jack that upset was probably bad.
I spent more of the afternoon pretending to sleep than actually sleeping. To fill the time, I texted Jane and tossed and turned a lot. I listened for Jack to come in the house, but he never did. Bobby got up to eat, but everyone else was sound asleep. Except for Jack, who was gone.
Finally, I gave up on getting anymore rest and got out of bed. I texted him to ask where he was, but he didn’t answer. I was starting to think I was a pariah the way nobody answered my calls or texts.
When Bobby walked by on his way to his room, he smelled overly delicious. My bedroom door was shut, and the scent of his hot blood wafted in. It had been a few days since I ate, and vampires could go much longer than that. I had to get my hunger in control if I ever planned on being with Jack.
So as hungry as Bobby made me, I swallowed it back and decided to clear my head with a nice long shower. I had just started gathering my clothes when I felt the warmth in my chest, meaning Jack was nearby, and a moment later I heard him bounding up the stairs.
“Hey.” Jack poked his head in, still hanging onto the bedroom door. “Are you up?”
“Yeah, I was just about to take a shower,” I held up my clothes for him to see. “Unless you wanted something?”
“No, go ahead and shower. But do you wanna watch a movie after?”
“Yeah, sure,” I shrugged. “Have you slept yet?” It was after six, and as far as I knew, he hadn’t gotten any sleep since he got back.
“Nah, I’m okay,” he shook his head. “I’ll talk to you after your shower then.”
“Uh, yeah, okay?”
With that, he left, shutting the bedroom door behind him. I stood there, holding my clothes in my arms, trying to figure out what was going on. I heard him knocking on the door across the hall. He got more nervous, which made me nervous, so I decided to wait to see how this turned out before I got in the shower.
“Yeah?” Peter opened his bedroom door sounding crabby, but that was Peter.
“I went to the video store and I, uh, rented Brideshead Revisited. I know you really like it, and I thought you might want to watch it with us. Me and Alice, I mean,” Jack said.
“Um… sure.” Peter sounded taken back, and so was I.
“Alice’s taking a shower, so it’ll be a little bit,” Jack said.
“Okay.” There was kind of an awkward silence. Jack must’ve finally excused himself because Peter shut his door, and I heard Jack running back down the stairs.
In the shower, I sing very loudly (today it was the theme to Golden Girls), but even over the sound of my voice and the water running, I could still hear Mae screaming. This would later prove to be a godsend, when Peter explained to me that Brideshead Revisited is an eleven-hour long period piece that originally aired on the BBC in the 1980’s.
At the time, however, Mae’s desperate pleas were enough to scare the hell out of me.
- 18 -
Once I got out of the shower, I could hear well enough to ascertain that Mae wasn’t in immediate danger, and Ezra was trying to calm her. But something was the matter and I didn’t like it. I threw on a pair of my sweats and one of Jack’s oversized tee shirts, and hurried out the door.
“I wouldn’t go down there if I were you.” That was Bobby’s word of advice. He stood just outside of Milo’s door with a hoodie wrapped tightly around him. “It doesn’t sound pretty.”
“You aren’t bloody listening to me, Ezra! You never listen to me!” Mae shouted from downstairs.
“What’s going on?” I asked Bobby, hoping to gain some insight on the situation before diving into it.
“I don’t really know. Milo and Jack left on a blood run about fifteen minutes ago, and Mae and Ezra started fighting a few minutes after that,” Bobby shrugged.