“Fuck you all,” Jack looked at Peter, then back at me. “Seriously. Fuck you all.” Then he looked away from us and walked out of his bedroom.
- 24 -
Going after Jack would not be an option. When he left, I felt how badly I disgusted and hurt him, and he didn’t want anything to do with me. He might never want anything to do with me again, but I had to give him time. So I stood in his room, reminding myself to breathe.
“Alice, I’m so sorry,” Peter said genuinely. “I didn’t mean to say that. I never meant to tell him anything, but he-”
“Shut up!” I snapped. “Just shut up!”
Peter left me alone, and I sat on the bed. I trembled horribly, but I managed to keep from crying or vomiting, so it was almost a win. Over and over again, I just kept telling myself that he wouldn’t leave me forever. Not over this.
I had kissed Peter before, and he had gotten over it. Admittedly, I hadn’t really been dating Jack at the time, and he had still been hurt by it. But he only hurt because he loved me, and it had just been one stupid kiss.
I tried to think of how I would explain this all to Jack. When he came back, he’d want to know why, and I had better have a good excuse. Unfortunately, I didn’t have one. There was no good reason for what I did with Peter. I couldn’t even explain it myself, and I had been trying for days. What I felt for Peter was nothing like what I felt for Jack… but I couldn’t deny that I did feel something for Peter.
As much as I had been minimizing it, there was still this connection and pull I had towards him. Maybe I would have it forever, but I only acted on it because of weak impulse control.
That’s not what I could tell Jack, though. He would never be okay with that. And he was just starting to get along with Peter again. Why did I always have to ruin everything?
When Jack still hadn’t come back several hours later, I called and texted him. Multiple times. But he never answered. I could hear Bobby waking up in the next room, so I decided that helping him out would be better than feeling sorry for myself and worrying about Jack. Bobby wanted food, so I made him a sandwich and grabbed him a Diet Cherry Coke.
Milo was moping about the living room, and I’d had enough of it. Grabbing him by his arm, I drug him upstairs. He complained the entire time, but he didn’t fight me that hard. I managed to get him and Bobby’s food in his room without damaging any of them.
As soon as Milo saw Bobby sitting up in bed, he started crying. He ran over to him and they embraced. He apologized a million times, and Bobby forgave him a million times. Just like that, they were back to normal. I hated them.
Jack still wasn’t home when Matilda and I finally passed out, but that didn’t worry me that much. When I woke up, and he still wasn’t there, I got more concerned. After another thirty ignored calls from me, I decided I had to try a different tactic.
Jack was pissed at nearly everybody in the house, except for Milo and Bobby. In fact, he was ridiculously fond of them. I woke up Milo and demanded that he text Jack, just to make sure he was okay.
Two minutes later, Jack replied with, “Yeah, I am okay.” So I made Milo follow-up asking when he would be home again, but that text, Jack never answered.
I lay in bed, feeling certain that he was never coming home. He had left with a Lamborghini and credit cards with no spending limit. He felt betrayed by almost everyone living in this house. If I were him, I’d probably run away forever too.
What could he possibly still want with me? All I ever did was complicate and hurt him. He was better off without me, but selfishly, I wanted him still.
The ache I felt at being apart from him only seemed to be growing. Jack was either getting farther away, or … I don’t know. Maybe his feelings were ebbing away, and I could feel it, like a painful tear spreading down my middle.
I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. I just stared at the ceiling, and let the pain consume me. After all, I deserved it. This was my fault.
“Alice?” Peter knocked on the open bedroom door, but I didn’t turn to look at him. I refused to do anything that didn’t involve being immobile and suffering.
“You’re pissed at me, and you should be,” Peter said. “I never should’ve said that.”
“For once, you didn’t do anything wrong,” I sighed. “I never should’ve kissed you, and after I did, I should’ve told Jack about it. I screwed up.”
“I shouldn’t have let you in my room that night. Or maybe I should’ve…” He trailed off. “I never should’ve come back in the first place.”
“No, this is your home. I’m the one that ruined everything, but I always do.”
“No, Alice, you don’t ruin anything,” Peter took a step into the room, but I held my hand up to him.
“I need to be by myself, okay?” I could see him out of the corner my eye. He debated whether he should listen to me, but finally, he nodded and left me alone.
If I wanted any chance of a future with Jack, I was going to have to spend the rest of my life avoiding Peter. For the first time, I really understood why Peter was always taking off. It was impossible for us to be around each other. It was just strange that Jack was the one that left and not Peter. I shivered and hoped that that didn’t signify anything.
All around, everything seemed to be falling apart. Bobby was recovering, but Milo was still shaken up. Peter sulked about the house, and he tried to talk to me several times, but I always shut him down.
Mae and Ezra were completely unraveling. I could hear them shouting at each other constantly, about Jack, about Daisy, about anything. Matilda just lay by me and whined, and I buried my head under the pillow. I didn’t know how much more of this I could take.
“Alice?” Milo knocked on the door tenuously, waking me up. It was the second night Jack had been gone, so I hadn’t really slept. “Alice, wake up.”
“What’s in it for me?” I grumbled and poked my head out from under the pillow. When I saw Milo, I blinked, assuming that I was dreaming. He was wearing some kind of getup that included black angel wings and excessive amounts of eyeliner and glitter. “Okay, what the hell are you wearing?”
“It’s Halloween!” Milo smiled and walked over to the bed. Matilda growled at him, and I totally agreed with her.
“What are you supposed to be? Some kind of dark fairy?” I sat up so I could inspect his costume, but it didn’t make much sense to me. Other than being entirely black, there wasn’t any rhyme or reason to it.