Almost the instant I sat in his car, I fell asleep. I remember a brief discussion about who he would take home first. I woke up just as Jack pulled up in front of my apartment building. Jane was already gone, so I guess he’d dropped her off. I’m not sure how he knew where I lived, but it didn’t seem important then.
I left Jack outside my brownstone and went up to my apartment. Fortunately, my mom wouldn’t be home from her shift until after seven a.m., and my younger brother Milo was already asleep in his room.
Painfully, I stripped off the ridiculous get up that Jane had dressed me in and pulled on an oversized tee shirt. I grabbed my cell phone with the full intention of plugging it in, but I collapsed onto my bed with my phone in my hand before I had the chance.
Just as I started passing out, I felt the phone vibrate in my hand, startling me awake.
Sweet dreams :) – Jack
The text message was from Jack, and I felt my heart beat faster. Somehow, when I had been sleeping, Jack had gotten my phone number from my cell and programmed his number into mine.
Under other circumstances, that might have been a little creepy, but in this case, it just made me feel happy and relieved. Clicking off my phone, I set it on my bedside table and promptly fell asleep.
- 3 -
When I woke up, the first thing I noticed, after the painful damage to my feet, were the ten million text messages from Jane. All of them were about Jack, and I felt no urge to reply.
I pulled on sweats, and then stumbled into the bathroom to overdose on painkillers and cover my feet in Neosporin and Band-Aids.
Miraculously, I’d woken up before two o’clock in the afternoon, and that meant that my mom was still asleep. She did a graveyard shift as a dispatcher in St. Paul, so she usually made it home at an ungodly hour and then slept all day.
My brother Milo was a studious little bastard though, and he’d probably been in bed before midnight and up before nine.
When I made it out to the living room, I found him sitting at the computer, probably researching a paper for school even though we were on Spring Break. He was a sophomore in high school and had the social life of a toddler.
It was a sad, sad thing that I was the cool one in the family.
“What’s wrong with you?” Milo asked, glancing up at me.
“What’s wrong with you?” I countered, utilizing my quick wit.
I had gone into the small adjoined kitchen and poured myself a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. (Scientists haven’t tested this, but I’ve come to find that a Gatorade, a bowl of Fruity Pebbles, and an Excedrin will cure any hangover.)
“Hung over?” Milo noticed me creating my antidote, and I definitely felt that way.
“Something like that,” I said.
With my bowl of cereal and lemon-lime sports drink in hand, I flopped on the couch, determined to find either Looney Tunes or a trashy Lifetime movie (the second part of my hang over cure-all).
“What time did you get in last night?” Milo asked with a hint of disapproval in his voice.
He’s a year and half years younger than me, but he’s definitely the parental figure in our relationship. Since Mom’s always working, and Dad’s been out of the picture since the beginning of time, I guess one of us had to step up and do it.
“I don’t know.” I tried to think, but I couldn’t actually remember.
After we left the diner, I had pretty much been unconscious the entire time. I only vaguely remembered getting the text from Jack, and I guessed it was somewhere around two or three.
“So what did you end up doing last night?” Milo had given up on even the pretense of doing something on the computer and tilted his chair towards me.
His dark brown eyes settled on me with their usual mix of curiosity and concern, as if he always half-expected me to admit to shooting up black tar heroin and having sex for money.
“Nothing,” I shrugged.
“Nothing?” He raised an eyebrow, his suspicion making him look older than he really was. Aside from the baby fat that clung to his cheeks, he could actually pass for being older than me.
“We couldn’t get in anywhere,” I explained through a mouthful of cereal. “So we just wandered around looking for a club until my feet were completely destroyed, and then we came home.”
“Jane didn’t drag you off to some party?”
“That’s very unlike her to end a night without vodka or sex,” he commented.
“Life is full of surprises.” I had eaten all my cereal, so I drank the rainbowed milk from the bowl and hoped that Milo would let the subject drop. “What are you up to today?”
“This,” he shrugged. “You?”
“Same.” I set my bowl down on the coffee table and settled back on the couch. “There’s a movie about a sex addict on Lifetime. Care to watch?”
“Sure.” He got up from the kitchen chair that sat in front of the computer desk and planted himself at the end of the couch.
I stretched out, resting my battered feet on his lap. He started to say something about the state of them, but then answered his own question by simply saying Jane. We both agreed that she was the source of all my life’s problems.
We spent the rest of the afternoon camped out on the couch watching a Lifetime movie marathon. Mom got up, showered, and left for work early, citing overtime, but I was never sure if I believed that or not.
Sometimes, I think she just didn’t like being in the apartment. At this point, it had become more like Milo and I lived on our own. We even did all the grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. (By “we,” I mostly mean him. But I did help. Sometimes.)
Around nine, I finally decided that I ought to shower. When I went into my room to gather my clothes, I noticed my cell phone flashing on the table. I had ignored it all day because I had wanted to ignore Jane, but I knew that eventually I’d have to deal with her.
Much to my surprise, buried underneath the mass of texts from her, I found a text message from Jack.
Motion City Soundtrack tomorrow. First Ave. Seven o’clock. I’m buying. You in?
He’d been paying attention last night when I just casually mentioned liking the band Motion City Soundtrack, and he’d invited me to a concert. First Ave. was a rather historic little venue downtown, not far off from where he found us.
I knew that if Milo heard about it, his paranoia would kick in, and he'd do everything but forbid me from going. Despite that, I couldn’t feel that way. Sure, Jack was too old for me, but we weren’t dating, and I didn’t really feel like that would become an issue.