But then, how exactly would I go about becoming one of them? And why would they even want me to? Just what the hell did he even mean by “one of them?” One of them what?
By the time I got out of the shower, I had used up all the hot water. I muttered an apology to Milo, but he shrugged and said he didn’t mind cold showers.
Going to school had never seemed so much like a chore, but at least it was Friday. I could stay out as late as I wanted tonight, and I would spend every second of the night interrogating Jack if that’s what it took. I wouldn’t stop until he told me everything.
The day went by surprisingly fast, but that was in a large part because I slept my first three hours. Over my lunch break, I text messaged Jack and asked him when we were going to hang out.
Even though he usually responded to me within seconds, he didn’t this time, but that’s what I had mostly expected since he stayed up all hours of the night. Still, I couldn’t help but check my phone every ten minutes and feel a twinge of disappointment that he hadn’t answered.
When I got home, I turned the TV onto old Speed Racer cartoon reruns, but I didn’t even really pay attention to it. My phone was on my lap with the volume turned up full blast, and I kept bouncing my foot anxiously up and down. I crossed my arms tightly over my chest to keep from biting my nails, but it was a very hard battle.
“Are you going over to Jack’s tonight?” Milo sat on the couch, absently watching the cartoon. He glanced over at me, and even in my distracted frame of mind, I noticed the pained expression on his face.
“Probably.” Then I looked down at my phone and sighed. “Maybe not.”
“I could make us supper if you stayed in,” Milo offered hopefully.
Even though his voice had already changed, his face still carried all that baby fat that made him look like a little boy, and I couldn’t wait for him to grow out of that. Then it wouldn’t hurt so much when I broke his heart.
I really had been neglecting him a lot lately, and it had to be horrible sitting in this tiny apartment all by himself night after night. But I had to get to the bottom of things with Jack.
“That’s a nice idea, but not tonight.” I let him down as gently as I could, but his face crumbled anyway, and he looked away. “Maybe we can another day this weekend.”
“You’re gonna be out all night with Jack.” Milo tried to keep it matter-of-fact, but there was a bitter edge. “It’s the weekend, and you’re seventeen. I really shouldn’t expect any different. And pretty soon, you’ll be out on your own and have your own life and all that. I should just get used to it now.”
“Come on, Milo. You know you’ll always be a part of my life.” Before I had met Jack, I would’ve said that with a 100% certainty. Milo was my brother and a huge part of my life, and nothing that could change that.
At least that’s what I thought until Jack had half-warned/half-promised me that my life was going to change, that I was going to change. There might be somewhere that I went that Milo couldn’t follow. As much as it would kill me to leave him behind, the thought of life without Jack and Peter sounded worse.
“Whatever you say,” Milo replied, and he was completely unconvinced. Maybe it was starting to show on my face, that I already had one foot out the door.
I considered arguing with him more about it, but what was the point? Things were changing, and we both felt it. I didn’t want to lie to Milo, so we sat in silence, watching the TV. I expected him to get up and go in another room, or at least somewhere else to mourn my impending absence, but he stayed out there with me.
When my phone finally jingled Jack’s ring tone, my heart skipped a beat and I jumped at it, but Milo just rolled his eyes.
When do you wanna hang out? Jack texted me.
As soon as possible.
You know what I think would be fun? Why don’t you bring Milo with? Jack messaged back, and I felt a wave of conflicting emotions run over me.
Bringing him along would definitely satiate my guilt, but it would also mean even less alone time with Jack where I could drill him for answers. Plus, I still hadn’t figured out what they wanted with me, let alone what they could possibly want with Milo. But he would like them, especially Mae.
Finally, I decided that there was only one way to make a decision.
“Milo, do you wanna come with me to Jack’s tonight?” I tried hard not to sound reluctant about asking him, and I even smiled when I turned to look at him, trying to make the offer sound somewhat enticing.
“What do you mean?” His eyes lit up and his voice raised an octave, but he wanted to make sure he understood what was transpiring before he agreed to it.
“Just go over to Jack’s house and hang out. He has Guitar Hero and stuff .” That would be an added bonus for Jack. He’d have someone to play video games with him that didn’t get irritated by it or totally suck at it.
“Do you really want me to?” Milo hesitated, and I smiled reassuringly at him.
“Yeah, of course I do.” I wanted to be around him, but I wasn’t sure that this was the best idea.
But it was the best idea I could come up with, and nothing bad had happened to me when I’d been with Jack. In fact, he’d saved my life twice. There shouldn’t be anything to worry about. So why was I worried?
“Then okay. Yeah. That’d be great.” Milo jumped up and ran into his room to change his clothes. He still had that crush on Jack to contend with, and I’m sure he’d forget all about it once he met Peter and Ezra.
He’s in. When are you picking us up? I replied to Jack.
Five minutes. I’m already on my way. That was Jack for you, not being psychic.
“You better hurry!” I shouted at Milo and went into the bathroom to fix my makeup. The clothes I was wearing would have to do, but at least I wouldn’t go there with smudged eyeliner. “He’s gonna be here in five minutes!”
“Ready!” Milo responded a second later. I peeked out the bathroom door to see him wearing almost the exact same outfit he was before – a long sleeved white shirt with a green polo over it and a pair of jeans.
“You’re sure you want to come with?” I asked him, once I had finished getting ready.
We walked out of the apartment, and Milo doubled check to make sure the door was locked and that he had his house keys in his pocket, something that I never did.
“Yeah, why wouldn’t I?” Then Milo shot a nervous look at me. “Do you not want me to?”