“Taking a rain check on tonight.” He went over to the closet and changed into his pajamas. When he walked out, he was still pulling his shirt on over his head. “The mood is kind of destroyed.”
“I can reset the mood,” I offered with a smile, but it felt plastic even to me. I wanted to want him, but my heart wasn’t really in it just then. He walked over to me, and I put my hand on his chest, amending my sentiments. “It could be a really good distraction.”
“Probably,” Jack agreed, smiling. “But I’d like to be more than just a distraction.” He kissed my forehead before heading out of the room. “I’ll be in the den if you need me.”
I stayed awake long after Jack left. I should’ve convinced him to stay with me, even if we didn’t do anything. In a house overflowing with people, I felt strangely lonely. After everything I had tried to do for Jane, it had inevitably been a failure.
Even if I saved her today, what about tomorrow? Or the day after? Eventually she would die, and all my efforts would amount to decomposing in the dirt. Everything suddenly felt really pointless, but I tried to shake it off and get some sleep.
Jack once again started the day with an apartment hunt, which I once again declined. It had taken forever for me to fall asleep, and I wasn’t up to it. I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to move out, but by now, I knew that I didn’t have a choice.
Peter had made it perfectly clear that cohabitating with him would be impossible, and considering Jack had actually been alive for over forty years, it was about time that he started living on his own.
I hadn’t been awake for that long when Jack returned. I decided to take a shower, but I noticed the state of our bathroom. Mae was still gone, determined to rescue Jane, and I thought as a nice treat for her return, I’d get all our towels down and actually clean the bathroom.
I pulled my hair back in a messy bun and grabbed the Comet and got to work. I was scrubbing dried toothpaste and shaving cream off the sink when I heard Jack bounding up the stairs.
“Alice!” Jack shouted. “I’ve got great news!”
I came out of the bathroom, and I know I looked hot. I had on yellow rubber gloves to keep my hands from getting all mucky, and I held the Comet soaked sponge. My pajamas had water and soap splattered on them, and my hair fell out of the bun.
“What are you doing?” Jack gave me a perplexed look, but his delight was unmistakable.
“Cleaning, but never mind.” I tossed the sponge back in the bathroom, since I doubted I needed it to converse with Jack. “What’s your great news?”
“I got us a place!” Jack beamed, and it was struggle for him to keep from jumping up and down. I smiled because he was, but the nerves in my belly tightened.
“Already?” I asked, and somehow managed to keep the unease out of my voice.
“Yeah! I know you haven’t seen it, but it’s perfect! It’s absolutely perfect! You’ll love it!” He’d already fallen in love with the place. “I had to put money down because it’s so hard to find a place that matched all our needs, and it would get scooped up crazy fast. But I set up a time for you to see it tomorrow, and if you don’t like it, the deal’s off. I won’t make you move anywhere you don’t want to, but this place was just so perfect.”
“No, I’m sure it’s great. If you love it, I know I will too.” That was completely true, so I didn’t understand why I didn’t feel that way. His happiness was taking me over, but a bit of doubt still gnawed at me.
“They allow Matilda, and it’s really hard to find a place that allows big dogs, and there’s a dog park real close by. It’s three bedrooms, one for us, one for Milo, and one for… I don’t know. Cause why not?” Jack shrugged. “And it has this fantastic balcony!”
“Do we even use the balcony now?” I asked. All three of the upstairs bedrooms had balconies, but I’m pretty sure that I had never been on one, and the only person I’d ever seen use them was Peter. After we kissed. That reminded me that I had to move out. “I’m sure we’ll use it more since we don’t have a yard.”
“I know we’ll be giving up some space and some creature comforts, but I think it’ll be great.” Jack had calmed down some, and he looked at me sincerely. “We’ll be able to have a life of our own, you know?”
“Yeah, totally.” I nodded.
“I stopped and got some boxes on my way back, so we can start packing some stuff up.” He edged away to the door. “I’ll be right back.”
“Okay. I think that I’m gonna take a quick shower and get all the cleaning gunk off of me,” I said. Jack barely heard me because he was already darting down the stairs.
Once he was gone and took his emotions with him, my anxiety had a chance to kick in. I tore off the stupid rubber gloves and went into the closet to get a change of clothes. I needed a moment to catch my breath. It all felt so sudden, and I couldn’t explain what terrified me so much about it.
We were just moving out, not that far away, and Milo and Ezra and everyone would still be a part of our lives. Jack made decent money working with Ezra, although I was too embarrassed to ask the exact dollar amount, but I’m sure he could afford to take care of us. There was nothing to fear really.
Except being alone. As much as I wanted to be with him, it scared the hell out of me. On top of all these vampire hang ups about possibly murdering him, I still had the normal teenage girl insecurities. I had never been with anyone before, and Jack had. And if something were to go wrong, we were on our own. Milo wouldn’t know how to handle anything, and Ezra couldn’t get there in time.
As I leafed through my drawer of undergarments, it finally dawned on me. Without a doubt, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Jack, and I definitely wanted to have sex with him. It would happen someday, and probably someday very soon if we were living on our own. So why not now?
Ezra was downstairs in the den, and Milo was next door. If something happened, I could easily get help. And really, I was sick of waiting. I was sick of interruptions. I loved him, and it was time.
- 31 -
I purposely held my clothes close to me when I came out of the closet so Jack wouldn’t notice, but he probably wouldn’t have noticed if I were waving them on a flag in front of me. He put some mix CD in the stereo that he claimed had lots of “upbeat jams” that got him in the mood to pack.