“You really like sharks?” I asked, even though I knew the answer. We’d watched Jaws four times last summer, and he’d even made me watch the sequel that was supposed to be in 3-D and Jaws: The Revenge because (and I quote) “this time it’s personal.”
“Let’s go to the zoo tomorrow,” I suggested. “They have sharks down in the aquarium so we don’t have to worry about the sun. It won’t be super exciting, but it’d be nice to get out of the house for awhile.”
“Yeah, sure. That sounds good,” he smiled at me.
His smile was so wonderful, and I felt this painful tug inside of me. I walked up behind him and wrapped my arms around his chest, resting my head on his back between his shoulders blades, and hugged him. I just wanted to be close to him.
“What’s that for?” He stopped with his tie and put his arms over mine, and he sounded a little concerned. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I just miss you, that’s all.” I did miss him, a lot, and I had a bit of guilt thrown on top, but he couldn’t know about that. “I feel like we haven’t spent any time together lately.”
“We just watched an entire season of Futurama together last night,” Jack laughed, and I could hear it vibrating through his back. Delighted shivers ran through me, and I squeezed him tighter to me. He loosened my arms and turned so he could face me. “But I guess I can never really spend enough time with you.”
He kissed me softly, and my heart swelled happily. Of course, I couldn’t completely enjoy the moment, because I couldn’t help but think about Peter’s kiss, and how different it felt. Jack must’ve felt it because he pulled away and looked at me, his blue eyes filled with worry.
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I lowered my eyes. “I’m just a little shaken up from today.”
“You’ll get the hang of it. It just takes time,” he assured me. His concern made me feel even guiltier, so I walked back away from him and sat on the bed. The distance helped some.
“How come Milo got the hang of it so quickly?” I asked.
“It just depends on the person, I guess,” Jack shrugged and turned back to the mirror. “It took me way, way longer than it took him, but I’m a slower learner, apparently.”
Jack kept practicing his knots, and while he eventually managed something that looked semi-professional, he never got it down the way he would’ve liked. I sat on the bed, watching Shark Week and chatting with him, but the night seemed to end too quickly. I was not ready for him to go when he started yawning, but he’d insist he’d see me very soon.
Even though I’d just eaten, I made sure to eat again before I went to bed. If I was going to spend the afternoon around people, I wanted to be prepared. I was really excited about going to the zoo, so I woke up early and got ready. Jack came up to check on me just as I pulled on my shoes.
“Ready?” Jack grinned at me.
“Always. Are you sure you are?” I eyed up his outfit, which was his standard uniform. Shorts, two-toned neon Converse, and a Boba Fett tee shirt.
“What’s wrong with this?” He glanced down at his clothes.
“Nothing, except it’s the end of October, and it’s like fifty degrees and we’re going to be outside. Plus, the sun is out.” I had chosen jeans, a long sleeve shirt, and a fashionable scarf that I had looped around my neck. Even though we enjoyed the cold, people didn’t, and we were supposed to look like people.
“I’ll be fine, and it’s not that cold,” he shrugged. “Come on. Let’s go. I wanna see the otters before it gets too dark.”
The sun wouldn’t be out for much longer, but I couldn’t stand being in it for that long anyhow. If we were going to the zoo, there were a few animals that Jack wanted to see while we had the chance. He was telling me about how he refused to compromise on the prairie dogs as we went down the stairs, but then I saw Peter and completely tuned out.
- 21 -
It might seem pretty weird that I lived in the same house as Peter, directly across the hall, but I had managed to avoid him since we kissed. The reason for that is that I hadn’t left Jack’s room. I didn’t want to see Peter, and that was part of my logic behind the zoo trip.
Unfortunately, when we descended the steps into the living room, Peter happened to be standing right there. He wasn’t looking at us, but my initial reaction was to panic anyway.
“Something wrong?” Jack asked.
“No, I’m fine,” I shook my head and hurriedly pushed my feelings away.
Ezra hung a new giant flat screen TV on the wall, and Peter and Bobby supervised in some way. I’m not sure what was wrong with the old flat screen, although I would lean towards nothing. Peter stood a few feet back from where Ezra held the TV up, and Bobby was sprawled out on the couch, popping some of the bubble-wrap that had come with the new television. The cardboard box was on the floor by his feet, along with the “old” TV.
“What’s going on?” I asked, even though I didn’t really want to say anything. I wanted to rush out of the room before Peter had a chance to look at me or Jack, but that would seem odd.
“Ezra bought a new TV,” Bobby answered, watching as Ezra handled a TV that would be too big and too heavy for any one man to deal with alone.
“Is it straight?” Ezra held onto the bottom of it and took a step back to look at it. “It better be since I have all the wires hooked up already.”
“Yeah, it’s straight,” Peter said, and just hearing his voice made my pulse change.
“What was wrong with the old TV?” I asked to distract myself.
“Nothing.” Ezra stepped back further into the room so he could admire his handy work. “Jack and I just went to Best Buy this morning, and this TV is way better than the last one.”
“You went to Best Buy?” I cocked an eyebrow at Jack. “How early did you get up?”
“Early enough,” Jack shrugged. “Ezra was going to the store and asked if I wanted to come with, and like I would pass up a trip to Best Buy?”
“I don’t see how this TV is any different than the one we had before,” Peter said, echoing my thoughts. “It isn’t even bigger, is it?”
“It’s not about being bigger!” Jack walked away from me, closer to the TV so he could explain all the merits of it. His lingo instantly got technical, which was silly since Peter probably knew less about technology than I did. Ezra and Jack were the ones who were obsessed with all things new and electric.