“Yes, it was.” Mae shifted in the bed and tucked a curl back behind her ears.
She sat up more and refused to look at Jack. Right now, he only felt bewildered and intrigued, but I got the impression that there was something that she wasn’t telling us, and it made me nervous.
“Did he need a blood transfusion too?” Milo asked
“No, but it doesn’t matter how he survived. The point is that it doesn’t make you a monster for drinking too much.” Mae purposely turned more towards Milo, so her back was more to Jack. “It’s easy to forget how fragile humans can be, and that’s why it’s important to always be careful.”
“Well, how bad was he?” Milo started to doubt her story since she couldn’t provide any details, but I knew she told the truth. She just left something out. “Did he lose a lot of blood?”
“Yes, he was almost dead.” She closed her eyes and rubbed at her forehead. “His heart had completely stopped beating.”
“So what did you do?” Milo sat up straighter, and Jack looked very interested in her story.
“We were… gone, and Ezra wasn’t there.” Mae sighed and shook her head. “It was a long time ago. I don’t know why all of this matters so much to you.”
“I just don’t understand what happened. If he was that bad, how did he live? Did you take him to a hospital or something?” Milo asked.
“No, there wasn’t enough time.” Mae opened her eyes, but she stared intently at the bedspread instead of looking at any of us. “It’s so easy to lose control, and that’s why I only drink bag blood anymore. I never want to feel that way again.”
“Mae, what happened?” I demanded as gently as I could. A sick feeling was building up in my stomach.
“We…” Mae exhaled shakily. “Peter turned him.”
- 23 -
Mae closed her eyes tightly, and for a second, nobody said anything. It felt like all the air had been sucked out of the room. Milo’s brown eyes were even larger than normal, and he looked back and forth between Mae and Jack.
Jack didn’t seem to feel anything. Then this shocked, nauseated panic spread out over him. His heart hammered in his chest.
“What are you talking about?” Jack demanded, his voice quavering.
“Jack, love.” Mae reached out for his hand, but he leapt up off the bed before she could touch him. Tears formed in her eyes. “It was a long time ago.”
“No,” Jack shook his head, refusing to believe or understand what she said. “I followed two girls into the club, and then…” He ran a hand through his hair and stared off, trying to think. He’d never really remembered much about turning. “You told me that you found me in the alley, that they left me for dead.”
“Nobody left you for dead, love.” She got up off the bed and took a step towards him, and he took a step back.
“What really happened to me?” Jack shouted. She flinched at the anger in his voice.
“You were at the club, and…” She trailed off. “You know how these things happen.”
“No, I want you to tell me exactly what happened,” Jack glared at her. “I deserve to know what you really did to me!”
“You were at the club, and I was hungry. I picked up people there a few times before, and I didn’t think anything of it. So I took you to one of the back rooms,” Mae said hurriedly, and Jack closed his eyes. “I didn’t mean to, Jack! Honestly! I never meant to hurt you! I didn’t even realize what I had done until it was too late! You weren’t breathing and your heart had stopped!”
“I thought you couldn’t turn if you were dead,” he said but didn’t open his eyes.
“I don’t know why it worked, but it did.” Mae walked closer to him, and he didn’t move. “I called for Peter, and he said the only thing we could do was turn you, so he did. And then we took you back home and took care of you and loved you.”
She put her hand on his chest, and he let her, but he was visibly shaken. His heart beat erratically, and the color drained from his face.
“Why didn’t you tell me this before?” Jack asked as evenly as he could.
“The last thing you remembered was following the girls, and everything was confusing and frightening enough in the beginning,” she said. “We didn’t want to add to it, so we let you believe that the girls had done it.”
“So you lied to me?” When he opened his eyes, they had gone icy. “You lied to me for the past sixteen years? You thought that was a better alternative?”
“No, we just… I didn’t know how to tell you,” Mae floundered.
“Whatever.” He pushed her hand off him and stormed out of her bedroom. I went after him because I felt I should, but I had no idea how I could help him.
“Jack!” Mae called, running after him. She tried to touch his arm, and he jerked it back from her. “Jack! Please! It doesn’t change anything!”
“It changes everything!” Jack made it as far as the living room before he whirled on her. “You killed me! You…” He ran his hands through his hair, and he couldn’t process what she told him. “And you covered it up! How could you lie to me about something so important? What else have you been lying to me about?”
“Nothing! This was the only thing, and it wasn’t lying!” Mae looked away from him and shook her head, her eyes swimming with tears. “We just let you believe what you wanted.”
“Bullshit!” Jack yelled. “You let me believe what you wanted me to believe! You didn’t want to tell me that you had almost left me for dead! And if Ezra had been there, instead of Peter, you would have! He never would’ve let you turn me!”
“What’s going on?” Ezra asked, coming down the stairs at precisely the wrong time.
Sometimes, it really sucked being able to feel everything Jack felt. He had his arms wrapped around himself, and he was very close to throwing up. He’d always thought they’d been so moved by his plight that they saved him, when really, he had just been a casualty.
“Why didn’t you ever tell me Mae killed me?” Jack shouted, turning his anger on Ezra. “You made me live a lie the entire time!”
“You’re being melodramatic,” Ezra said calmly. “Nothing has been a lie.” He gave Mae a disparaging look, and she shied away from it. Apparently, he didn’t approve of the way she told Jack.