“Okay, yeah, but you don’t have a normal human temperature.”
“Are you like a walking thermometer?” Jack started the car and looked over at me.
“Where are we going?” I asked, ignoring his question.
“I’m taking you home,” he said, then added, “Just for the night. I’ll see you tomorrow. But you’ve had a long enough night, and you have school in the morning.”
“You still need to go to the hospital,” I pointed out. “The bite broke the skin. You need a rabies shot.”
“I do not.” He started to pull out of the parking lot and turned on the stereo, but kept it low so we could talk.
“Look, I know the wounds aren’t very big, but if any of his saliva mixes with your blood, you can get rabies,” I said. “I read this book by Chuck Palahniuk all about rabies, so I’m almost nearly an expert. It’s even sexually transmitted.”
“Well, luckily for you-” (at that point he stopped to wink at me, but I just rolled my eyes) “-I do not have rabies.”
“You don’t know that,” I said. “It wouldn’t hurt you just to get a stupid shot.”
“No, Alice, I don’t need a shot.” He looked at me, completely serious, and then it finally dawned on me.
“You can’t get rabies.” I sighed and leaned my head back against the seat. “That really blows my whole werewolf theory.”
“I already told you they aren’t real.”
“So is it just rabies or is it any communicable disease?” I asked it even though I wasn’t sure he would answer. “Oh my god. It’s any disease, isn’t it? Any form of illness?”
“You’ve had a very long night,” he said quietly. “Maybe we should drop it for tonight.”
“But-” I started to protest but I couldn’t think of a single argument for it. All of this was getting maddening, but for whatever reason, he couldn’t tell me what was going on. So all I could do was get more and more frustrated and perplexed. “You’re okay, aren’t you?”
“What do you mean?”
“Like… you got injured tonight for me, and I just want to know that you’re okay.” That might be the only information I’d get, and it had to be enough for me to settle with that.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Jack smiled at me. We had stopped in front of my building, but I was reluctant to get out.
“Ugh, this is so unfair,” I groaned, opening the car door to get out.
“You know what you’re problem might be?” Jack asked, giving me an odd look. “You worry too much.”
“Yeah. That’s my problem,” I grumbled getting out of the car.
Jack was still laughing when he pulled away, and I stood on the curb for a minute, trying to put everything into perspective. Sure, he had killed a rabid dog and then magically healed from the attack, but at least he saved my life. Again.
There isn’t a single sound in the world that’s worse than an alarm going off. After Jack had dropped me off last night, it had been all but impossible to fall asleep. Between lingering adrenaline from the near-death experience, and Jack’s increasingly cryptic responses and bizarre behavior, I had too much on my mind.
Once the warm water of the morning shower splashed my face, it all seemed even more ridiculous. I lived in Minneapolis, not Gotham City, or whatever other bogus city where supernatural forces at work.
Here, in the real world, there were no super powers or werewolves or unicorns. Everything in life had an explanation, and Jack’s probably had more to do with cocaine or mescaline than it did magic.
People addicted to speed were known to exhibit superhuman strength, and combine that with some kind of chemical imbalance that made him smell irresistible to women, and there it was.
Problem solved. And he was just kind of a jackass and didn’t want to let on that he had a drug problem.
I spent too much time in the shower, and I almost missed the bus to school. Milo sat next to me, but he didn’t seem to be in a talking mood, so I put in my ear buds and decided to pass the time listening to Rogue Wave on my iPod. Resting my forehead against the glass of the window, I watched my breath fog it up.
Milo kept giving me the cold shoulder even though I hadn’t done anything wrong, and this guy that I barely knew but really liked had fought off a rabid dog last night. What exactly had happened to my life over Spring Break?
School passed more slowly than it ever had before. I slept all through my second hour, but I managed to sneak my iPod into my other classes. I just stared out the window, at the chilly rain falling down, and tried not to think about Jack. By the end of fifth hour, I had completely exhausted myself not thinking about him.
When I stopped at my locker between classes, I managed to drop my History book on the ground. I bent down to pick it up, and when I stood back up, Milo was standing right next to me, scaring the crap out of me. He admired the clutter that occupied my locker, including the obligatory collage mess of magazine cut outs lining the inside of the door.
“God, you scared me,” I grumbled, shoving my History book into my book bag.
“So are you gonna be at home tonight or not?” He had one of his hands on my locker door, and he swung it back and forth, just enough to make it squeak.
“Of course I’m gonna be there. I live there.” I continued fiddling around with something in my bag, but mostly I was trying to look busy.
“I meant, are you gonna hang out with Jack?” His tone was icy, and I didn’t understand what he found so offensive about me being with Jack. Even if he was having some kind of jealousy, shouldn’t he be trying to cover it up better?
“Yeah, probably,” I shrugged.
We hadn’t actually talked yet, but Jack had said that he would see me today, and I didn’t have any reason to doubt him. Well, except for the fact that he was hiding something major.
“So are you guys like dating or what?” Milo asked, dripping with angry sarcasm.
“No. It’s not like that.” I slung my bag over my shoulder, and he just narrowed his eyes at me.
Suddenly, it pissed me off that I had to explain myself to him. We weren’t dating, but it shouldn’t matter to him anyway. It wasn’t my fault that Jack’s abnormal attractiveness had made his sexual orientation even more confusing. If he had told me he was having issues with it, I wouldn’t have brought Jack around.
“Whatever,” Milo muttered.