“What exactly are you accusing me of?” I slammed my locker door shut. He let his hands fall to the sides, looking startled. “Even if I am dating Jack, so what? I can do that. There’s nothing wrong with being friends with him or dating him or whatever it is I decide to do with him. He’s a nice guy and it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do.”
“Whatever you say,” Milo said, but he wasn’t as confident or angry.
“Milo, this is stupid.” I readjusted the strap over my shoulder and looked at him softly. “I get it, okay? I saw the way that you looked at Jack.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He flushed and averted his eyes, shifting uncomfortably.
Outing him in the middle of the hall at school probably wasn’t the best idea, but I just couldn’t take his indifference to me anymore. He normally told me everything, and it looked like he wasn’t going to talk to me about this unless I got the ball rolling.
“It’s okay.” I lowered my voice so other people wouldn’t overhear. “If you’re gay. It’s okay. I understand.”
“You don’t understand anything!” Milo shouted.
When he looked up at me, tears filled his eyes, and I realized that I had made a terrible mistake. I couldn’t force him to come to terms with anything, and if he wasn’t ready to talk about it with me, I should’ve respected that.
“Milo-” I started to say something, but I didn’t really have anything to follow it up.
He didn’t wait around for it anyway. He just turned and stormed off down the hall, leaving me alone to think about what an ass I was.
When I got on the bus after school, he made sure to sit on the opposite side. On the way to our house from the bus stop, he jogged on ahead of me. I tried to hurry and catch up, but by the time I made it inside, he’d already slammed the door to his bedroom.
He must’ve been really upset if he risked the wrath of our mother just to show me how angry he was. I sighed and flopped on the couch, wondering how he had managed to put up with me for so long.
I had made it through two full episodes of Judge Judy while lying sprawled out on the couch without any word from Jack or Milo, and I was starting to think that maybe the whole world had ostracized me. The only time that Jane had talked to me all day was during lunch, and then it was just a list of how much she drank and who she had sex with over the break.
I just wanted to curl up on the couch and completely give up on life, but then I heard the familiar ring of “Time Warp” and I quickly snatched up my phone.
Are you done with school yet? Jack text messaged, making me wonder how long it had been since he went to school.
Yeah. I’ve been done for like two hours. Why? I replied.
Good. Ready to hang out? He hadn’t really answered my question, but hey, what’s new?
Yeah. Sure. What did you have in mind? I messaged him.
I’ll pick you up in 15.
And that was that. My clothes from school were fine (I’d gone with jeans, a long shirt, and a cute little black vest), but most of my makeup had worn off, so I rushed to the bathroom to reapply and run a brush through my hair.
I started heading towards the front door, but decided against it. Exhaling nervously, I knocked on Milo’s door.
“Milo?” I said cautiously. He didn’t respond, but I continued anyway. “I know you’re mad at me, and I don’t blame you. I did a stupid, stupid thing. But um…” I sighed, and tried to figure out what I wanted to say. “You can talk to me if you want to. But I just thought I’d let you know that I’m going to go hang out with Jack. But you can call me if you want to. Okay?”
He still didn’t answer, but I waited a minute just to be sure. Then since I’d already spent too much time getting ready, I hurried out to meet Jack.
I stepped outside, feeling like the worst sister in the world, just in time to see Jack pull up. I trudged over to the red Lamborghini and fell into the seat heavily.
The Ramones blared out the speakers, and he turned them down quickly, looking at me with a mischievous grin. Even though my sour mood had to be obvious, he was oblivious to it, so it soon faded away.
“What?” I asked. He bit his lip, as if he couldn’t decide whether to tell me or not. “What’s going on?”
“I think that its time you met my family.” He sounded wildly excited by the idea, but also a tad nervous. Whatever made him nervous tended to terrify me, so I gulped. “No, it’s a good thing. Yeah.” Then he nodded, more to himself than me. “Yeah. It’s good.”
- 7 -
He had thrown the car into gear, and we were flying down the street and turning on the highway before I could even really protest, not that I would’ve anyway. Meeting families was usually my least favorite thing in the world, but a family that spawned Jack intrigued me.
“After what happened last night, I think it’s time,” Jack explained, but I had no idea what his family could possibly have to do with a rabid dog. Unless his family were dog breeders or something.
Then I remembered what happened and looked over at Jack’s arm, which was bare thanks to his return to his tee shirt uniform. (He wore one today that read “Frankie Says Relax.”)
I leaned in closer to inspect both his arms, thinking I must’ve looked at the wrong one. But neither one of them had a scratch or a mark or even a scar.
He noticed me looking and immediately chastised me. “No. Don’t even think about it.”
“What?” I leaned back in my seat, still staring at his arms. “You mean asking how you magically got rid any trace of the dog bite so quickly?”
“Precisely. Don’t ask any questions about anything like that, not about me, not about anyone else,” Jack warned me.
“They’re like you, aren’t they?” By now, nothing should come as a shock, but I still looked at him in disbelief. Every time I thought things couldn’t get any weirder, they did.
“I want you to meet them, but you can’t be like this. You have to act completely oblivious.” His tone was light, but he was being firm. “I mean it, Alice. My family. My rules.”
“Yeah, yeah, I get it.” I rolled my eyes and turned my attention to the world speeding past us out the window. “Where do you live anyway?”
“In St. Louis Park, by a lake,” he said. “It’s not that far.”
I didn’t know tons about that area, but what I had heard is that there were lots of nice, expensive homes. So it would make sense that Jack lived there, since we were cruising down the highway in a bright red Lamborghini.