A blood run meant that we were getting low on bag blood at the house, and they had gone to get some from a blood bank. My stomach grumbled at just the thought of blood, but Mae was yelling so much, I ignored it.
“Don’t tell me to calm down! I am not going to calm down!” Mae continued after Ezra mistakenly suggested she relax a bit. “This isn’t something that we should be reasonable about! This is life and death, Ezra!”
“I know that, Mae! That’s exactly why we need to think about this!” Ezra raised his voice, but there was nothing angry about it. He was just trying to be heard over her. “But everyone else in the house doesn’t need to hear us yelling.”
“I don’t care who hears anything!” Mae yelled, followed quickly by the sound of something glass smashing, like a vase. Matilda barked in response, and Mae snapped at her to shut up.
“See?” Bobby whispered, but the things that made him cower were exactly the reasons I felt like I had to intervene. Peter was still in his room, trying to sleep from the slow sound of his heart beat, so that left me as the only one to help out.
I went downstairs and found Matilda looking as worried as a dog can look. Mae stood to one side of the living room, and she was even worse than yesterday. Her hair was a frizzy mess, and her skin was blotchy from yelling and crying so much. She hadn’t changed her pajamas in days.
Glass was shattered all over floor in front of her. A heavy glass statue of a swan had sat on the mantle, and she would’ve had to have thrown it very hard to make it shatter like that.
“You’ve woken Alice,” Ezra told Mae, almost tiredly. He stood on the far side of the room across from her, wearing silk pajama pants and a tee shirt. Apparently, they had started fighting immediately after waking up.
“No, I was awake. I just got of the shower.” I tugged at my hair to demonstrate. It dripped wet down my back since I hadn’t had a chance to dry it.
“I don’t care if I wake her! I don’t care if I wake anybody!” Mae raised her head to the ceiling as if to wake anybody else that might be sleeping.
“Will you knock it off? This isn’t about them. This isn’t their fault,” Ezra said.
“How is it not about them?” She pointed at me, but she refused to look at me. “This is completely about them! They’re why you won’t do this!”
“No, that’s not true. They have no bearing on this,” he shook his head.
“Bloody hell they don’t! They have everything to do with it! You wouldn’t even turn Alice because her brother had just turned, and I know you wanted her to turn!” Mae gave him a knowing look that I didn’t understand, and he shook his head. “Don’t be so damn condescending, Ezra! I know you turned her brother for her! So why won’t you do this for me?”
“This is an entirely different situation, and I won’t do this. Absolutely not.” He was quiet, but his voice was so firm and finite.
“Dammit, Ezra!” Mae wailed, tears streaming down her cheeks. “You can’t deny me this! You have no right! No right!”
“I cannot allow this, Mae, and I am sorry.” He pursed his lips tightly but didn’t budge.
She looked ready to collapse, but he made no move towards her. I wanted to help, but I was afraid of how she might react to me. If Ezra wasn’t going to tend to her, then I didn’t think that I should either.
“You are not sorry! You are cold and you are cruel, and I cannot spend my life with you!” She was sobbing so hard she had to grip onto the back of the chair to keep from falling over. “I will not let you make this decision for me! You can’t!”
“You’re right. I cannot make this choice for you, but I will not tolerate it, either. You can do whatever you like, but you will not be allowed in my house with that abomination,” Ezra said coolly.
“Abomination?” Her voice cracked. “We are the abomination! She is merely a child, and I want to save her!”
“You cannot save her, Mae! You can only turn her into a monster!”
“Like we’re monsters?” Mae brushed a strand of her hair from her eyes and looked down at the floor. “Maybe we are, and maybe she would be too, but she would have a life. And it wouldn’t be a bad life. She could have everything that we have to offer.”
“We have nothing to offer her,” he said.
“How can you say that?” Mae gaped at him, then she looked at me with hate for the first time, and I flinched. “Is it because of her? Because of Alice? She gets everything you have to offer? You let Jack turn her and gave him no repercussions, even though you had just turned her brother. For her.
“She is not the only thing in this life that needs you, Ezra! In fact, I don’t think she even needs you! You aren’t that indispensable to her!” Her lips quivered, and she glared at him. “You aren’t that indispensable to me either!”
“If I’m some kind of burden, I can leave. I don’t want to cause any problems between you two,” I said quietly. I hadn’t completely figured out what their fight was about yet, but I certainly didn’t want to be the source of it.
“You’re not a burden,” Ezra said, looking apologetically at me. “Don’t worry yourself with this. You can go up to your room.”
“What if she moves out?” Mae latched onto an idea, and her entire demeanor changed. She took a few quick steps closer to Ezra, deftly missing all of the broken glass on the floor. “She and Jack could move out. He can take care of her, and Milo is already self-sufficient. Peter is gone most of the time anyway. We have the room, and we have the time.”
“Alice and Milo are not ready to be on their own like that,” Ezra said. “And it isn’t about them! You keep trying to solve something that isn’t the problem. Even if everyone moved out, and it was just the two of us, I would still say no. This cannot be done, Mae, no matter what anybody else does or doesn’t do.”
“There has to be something!” She knelt on the ground at his feet. She was literally begging him, and when she took his hand, he didn’t pull away, but he wouldn’t look directly at her. “Ezra! Please! I have never asked you for anything like this before!”
“You’ve asked me for plenty like this before, and I have indulged you too much,” he sighed. “But I cannot do this. I won’t.”
Mae let go of his hand and sat back on her heels. Closing her eyes, she rubbed at her forehead, and I knew she was trying to think of something.