“No, that’s not what I meant!” I said quickly and smiled at him. “Of course I want you to come with.” I pushed the call button for the elevator and turned back to him. “There’s just a few things you have to know before we go.”
“Okay?” Milo raised an eyebrow at me, but I thought it’d be best if he were prepared. The elevator doors sprung open and we stepped inside. Thankfully, we were alone, because I would feel silly saying this stuff in front of complete strangers.
“First, his brothers are really hot. I mean, like movie star hot, except even hotter. I know that you think Jack is amazing, but his brothers blow him out of the water.” I looked over to gauge his response, but for the most part, he just looked skeptical.
“Second, his family is super rich. One of their cars easily costs twice as much as Mom makes in a year, and they have five of them and this super fancy house. It’s really intimidating.”
“Like how rich?” Milo started to look nervous, so my point was getting through. “Like Bill Gates rich?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t ask.” I hadn’t asked Jack about that one thing. Their wealth was inconsequential to me.
“Well what do they do for money then?” Naturally, Milo wanted to know all the practical reasons for everything. I had always meant to ask Jack what they did, but something else always sidetracked me.
“I didn’t ask that either,” I sighed, and the elevators opened to the lobby.
“Is there anything else I should know about them?” Milo asked as we walked out.
“Um, Jack drives super fast, but he’s perfectly safe.” I pushed open the glass doors that led outside.
“Really?” Milo wrinkled his nose. “Like how fast?”
“You’ll probably see,” I told him offhandedly, and then hurried over to Jack’s Jeep and jumped inside before Milo could ask anything more about it.
As soon as I realized what I’d done, it dawned on me why Jack had invited Milo along; he knew I wouldn’t say anything in front of Milo. Jack was trying to get off the hook about last night.
Someday, I’d probably have to tell Milo everything, but that day definitely wasn’t today. Maybe when I had the answers myself, and I could actually explain everything. Until then, I didn’t feel like letting that much out in the open.
“Hey,” Jack smiled at me, then turned back to Milo. “Hey, Milo. It’s good seeing you again.”
“Yeah, you too,” Milo replied. He stared at Jack for a moment, but he was much better at controlling his crush on Jack than most people. I wondered if it had to do with the fact that he was gay. Or maybe he just had really amazing self control.
“So what did you have planned for tonight?” I asked as Jack sped off down the highway towards his house.
“I don’t know,” Jack shrugged. “I just thought it was time that your family met my family.”
“Why not?” Jack countered.
“I don’t know. We haven’t known each other that long, and it’s not like we’re getting married or something.” That would be the logical time for families to mingle, not when two people have known each other for a couple weeks and are just friends.
“No, it’s definitely not like that.” Jack breathed deeply, and then turned up the stereo, blasting out the Violent Femmes.
We were silent on the short car ride, but when we pulled up in front of his house, I heard Milo gasp in the back seat and whisper, “It's like a castle.”
I’d already been there a couple times, and it still felt breathtaking. The turret really set it off, but it completely suited them. After meeting Ezra and knowing that he built, it all seemed even more perfect.
“Is Mae gone?” I asked.
We had pulled into the garage, and I noticed her black Jetta gone. Every other time I’d come here, the garage had been full, and her empty spot stood out.
“Yeah, but I thought she would be back by now.” Jack’s face flashed confused and concerned, but he instantly smoothed it out with a broad smile for Milo and me. “She’ll be back soon. And Ezra and Peter are still here.” He got out, and we followed suit.
“Hey, wait.” I lowered my voice then grabbed onto Jack’s arm to stop him. Milo was a little bit behind us, admiring the Lamborghini. He’d never been much of a car person before, but the Lamborghini had that power over anyone. “Is Peter going to be nice to Milo?”
“Oh, yeah, he’ll be fine,” Jack nodded.
“So it’s just me that he has a problem with?” My heart tightened.
I had been hoping that Peter’s icy demeanor had something to do with the fact that I was an outsider, but if he had no problems with Milo, then it had to be me personally.
“You are far more complicated,” Jack whispered.
“Is ‘complicated’ like you’re go-to word or something?” I muttered, making him laugh.
“Why are we just standing in the middle of the garage?” Milo piped in. He wasn’t that into cars, so it hadn’t held his attention for long, and he stood behind us looking confused.
“We’re not.” With that, Jack quickened his pace towards the house, and Milo and I followed more slowly.
Jack threw open the door, and he was instantly greeted by Matilda jumping into him. Without Mae there to stop her or dampen her enthusiasm, she was free to jump and slobber all over Jack as much as she wanted.
“Oh, and they have a dog too,” I told Milo and gestured to the giant white ball of fur in Jack’s arms. Jack remembered that Milo was there, and he put her on the ground much sooner than he normally did.
“Yeah, I figured that out,” Milo said dryly.
“This is Mattie!” Jack scratched her head roughly. “She’s a good girl. She’s just a big baby.”
“I can tell.” Milo stood off to the side, watching Jack wrestle with his dog.
Ezra magically appeared in the doorway, and after taking a moment for myself to admire him, I looked back to see Milo’s reaction. His eyes had widened and his jaw had even gone a little lax. I wondered if I looked that awestruck when I met Ezra.
“Oh, it’s just you,” Ezra said.
“Thanks,” Jack replied sarcastically and stood up, temporarily ending his roughhousing with Matilda.
“No, sorry, I didn’t mean it like that,” Ezra’s face broke into a smile that made it hard for me to breathe. “I thought that you might be Mae.” At the mention of her, his lips got tighter, and he and Jack exchanged a pained look. “But she’s not back yet.”