“Um… no, I’m good,” I said.
“Girls’ shoes are so much better than boys’ shoes,” Milo lamented. He lifted his head to steal a glance at Jane’s magazine, but Mae gently pushed his head back down so she could trim his hair.
“At least you don’t have to wear heals,” Jane said. “I mean, they may look fantastic, but they kill to walk in. They’re like little feet torture chambers.” Mae laughed again, the second time in two minutes.
Taking in the scene in front of me, it finally occurred to me what was happening. Mae had a daughter, and a granddaughter, and a sick great-granddaughter, but all she ever took care of were boys. Peter and Ezra needed nothing from her at all.
When I came around, she had been so thrilled because she thought she’d finally have a girl to pal around with, but I spent most days lounging around in jeans. Jack was back, so I tried to look extra pretty today, and I had still gone for jeans with a fancy green top.
Maybe that was why Mae had bonded so much more with Milo than she did with me. He was probably more feminine, and in a weird way, needier than me, even though he was also far more self-sufficient.
Enter Jane, the walking Barbie doll. All clothes, boys, fashion, and a constant need for attention, the exact thing Mae needed. I’m not sure if this solved Mae’s crisis over what to do about her terminal great-granddaughter, but it lifted her spirits for a while.
For her part, Mae seemed to be making a massive improvement on Jane as well. She had already put on some weight, not enough for Jane to complain, but enough where she could almost pass for someone that wasn’t anorexic.
The wound on her neck had healed, leaving a mangled scar. Vampire bites usually don’t leave scars or marks of any kind, but if the tissue is damaged often enough, it’s going to scar. Eventually, her father would probably have to pay for some cosmetic surgery to fix that, but for now, even she wasn’t whining about it.
I felt weirded out watching the three of them laugh and titter about boys and clothes. Mae and Jane getting along I could understand, but I had never imagined that Milo and Jane could really enjoy each other.
One of the positive side effects from Jane spending so much time in the company of vampires was that she had grown more immune to the charms of our pheromones. She wasn’t tripping over herself to be with Milo or Jack or Ezra the way she would’ve been before, although she did seem to be nursing a crush on Peter.
I moved onto the living room to wait out Jack’s discussion with Ezra. Bobby sat cross-legged in the middle of the living room with a sketch pad on his lap and stared up at the television intently. This was the first time I’d seen anyone watching the new flat screen, other than the dog. Instead of watching some action packed blockbuster that got the most out of the HD, Bobby had the TV on CNN.
I assumed he was trying to seem smarter in some way. He had on thick black glasses that I had never seen him wear before. On closer inspection, I saw a fairly nasty black eye from the fight the other day, and he tried to mask it with fashion glasses and side bangs. He had another smaller bruise on his chin, but the worst of them were hidden under his shirt on his chest and abdomen.
“What are you watching?” I flopped back on the couch. The news wasn’t my favorite thing, but it had to be better than watching the re-imagining of Steel Magnolias going on in the dining room.
“Anderson 360,” Bobby replied absently. “It’s for school.”
“How is it for school?” I raised an eyebrow. “And I didn’t think you still went to school.”
“I go to school during the day, when you’re sleeping. A whole lot of things happen during the day that you don’t even know about,” Bobby said. Still staring at the TV, he sketched furtively on the pad. A box of charcoals lay next to him on the floor, and he had the sleeves pushed up in his shirt, so he was getting black smudge marks all over his tattoos. “I’m supposed to watch the news for an hour and draw how it makes me feel.”
“How does it make you feel?” I asked.
“Like the whole world is coming to an end.” He didn’t sound that upset by it. I sat up straighter, trying to see what he drew, but I was at the wrong angle to really see his sketch pad, so I flopped back on the couch.
The TV, I could see, so I watched it to see what had Bobby worrying. The screen had been divided into two boxes. The smaller one had news correspondent Anderson Cooper explaining the story, which took place in the big box. It showed a giant boat, like an ocean liner or a tanker, that appeared to have crashed into the shore. The boat tilted to the side as helicopters and smaller boats swarmed around it. The bottom of the screen said “Cape Spear, Newfoundland,” but other than that, I didn’t really understand what I was looking at.
“So what’s going on?” I asked Bobby.
“An oil tanker crashed into Canada,” Bobby nodded to the screen. “The hull was ruptured, but hardly any of the oil leaked out. They’re saying it’s a miracle, because if it had, it would’ve been like four times as bad as the Exxon Valdez cause this boat is much bigger.”
“I don’t know what that is.” It sounded familiar to me, and considering the context of the conversation, I should’ve gotten it.
“It was an oil tanker that crashed by Alaska in 1989.” Bobby glanced back at me. “I didn’t really know that off the top of my head. They were just talking about it a lot.”
“But there isn’t an oil spill, is there? Not really?” I squinted at the TV, trying to see a sheen on the water around the tanker. “So what’s the big deal? How does that make you feel like the end of the world?”
“Because of why the tanker crashed.” He stopped sketching and stared at the TV in kind of amazement. “The whole crew died.”
“What do you mean?” I sat up more. “Like when they the hit land?”
“No, they were all dead before that. Nobody was driving it, and they just crashed. The radio transmissions coming from them weren’t right, and they sent boats out to check up on them, but nobody knows what happened. Finally, two days ago, they lost all contact with them, and then boom! It drove right into the island,” Bobby nodded at the screen. “It’s the creepiest, most bizarre thing I ever heard of, like in Aliens when they go to rescue that deserted ship or whatever. But real.”
“What are you talking about? How did the crew all die? Did they run out of food or oxygen or something?”