“All of you?” I looked from Mae to Jack, who just nodded solemnly. “Then why did you say that it would be better if Ezra or Peter were here? Don’t you know just as much?”
“They’re older, much older,” Mae explained, and her strained expression started to relax a bit.
“How old are you?” I remembered the first time I had asked Jack that, when we were waiting in the booth at the diner, and the way he had laughed at the question.
“Well, um, I was twenty-four when I turned, and that was in 1994. So I guess that puts in me in my forties.”
“You don’t seem like you’re in your forties,” I said and he laughed at that, which went a long way to alleviate the tension in the room.
“Vampires age differently, obviously.” Jack gestured to his bare chest, which did not look a day over twenty-four.
“Physically, we don’t age much at all,” Mae elaborated. “We mature in a much different rate. When we first turn, we’ll almost regress emotionally. Jack is closer to that of someone in their teens than of one in their twenties.
“Part of that has to do with his personality,” Mae smiled at him. “But part of it is his age. And since our minds always stay sharp, we don’t ever really get old. We learn from our experiences and we mature, but not the same way people do. Jack will never really act like a man in his forties, no matter how old he gets.”
In retrospect, a lot of what he did made sense when I thought of him as being more around my age. Which is why it never seemed creepy that he was hanging out with me, even though he was older. He never acted older. He was, after all, at my maturity level.
“How old are you?” I turned to Mae.
“I was twenty-eight when I turned, and that was… wow, that was fifty-two years ago.” She looked a little surprised herself, as if she hadn’t thought about in awhile, and then smiled at me. “So, I’m eighty. Wow. Well, that’s not as bad as Peter or Ezra.”
“How old are they?’ I couldn’t help but lean in close, scrutinizing Mae’s perfect porcelain skin. It was hard to believe that she’d even been twenty-eight.
“Oh, gosh.” Mae looked over at Jack for help, but he just shook his head.
“I only know the age they were when they turned.” Jack had been leaning forward onto the island, but now he stood up and leaned back on the kitchen counter behind him, crossing his arms over his chest. “Peter’s nineteen and Ezra’s twenty-six. You’re the oldest.”
“Thanks,” Mae gave him a wry look, then turned back to me. “Well, Peter’s not quite two-hundred. Maybe one-ninety or something like that. And Ezra is… Gosh, it’s so horrible that I don’t know how old my own husband is. Oh! Jack, you remember! We had that big party a few years back when he turned three-hundred? When was that?”
“I don’t know,” Jack shrugged. “Like… five years ago? Time’s really hard to keep track of anymore.”
“You’re telling me that Ezra is over 300 years old?” I asked.
Ezra, who had to be one of the most perfectly attractive people I’ve ever seen and drove a Lamborghini. He’d been around for over three centuries. I had never felt so small or insignificant in my entire life.
“Yep. I’m the baby. By a lot.” Jack grinned broadly, and part of that made sense. Ezra and Peter’s eyes looked so much older, and everyone seemed to indulge Jack the same way you would indulge the baby of the family.
“But you call them your brothers, and they can’t be.” I remembered when I asked Jack about it being a fraternity, and slowly, it dawned on me what I had said that had made him laugh. They’re blood relatives.
“Not in the human sense, no,” Mae explained. “But as vampires… brothers still isn’t exactly the right word.” She looked back over at Jack. “You understand this better than I do.”
“It’s hard to explain until it happens to you, or if you don’t know the person that turned you,” Jack took a step towards the island and nodded at Mae. “Ezra turned Peter, and Peter turned me.”
He laid his hands flat on the countertop and watched me, gauging my response to everything they were telling me.
“You mean Peter turned you into a vampire?”
Whenever I said the word vampire, I felt like a complete tool. Like I was in a bad horror movie or I was being Punk’d. It just wasn’t a possibility.
I was having this conversation because it was like when I had a dream and everyone was made of cotton candy or something. I just kinda went along with it. Once I suspended my belief, I just had to go with the flow and pretend like everything made sense.
“Yeah.” He nodded.
“So what does that mean? He bit you?” Just the thought of Peter biting anyone made my heart rate speed up. That’s what he’d been trying to do when I was in his room, and even now, knowing exactly what he meant to do, it somehow made me want him more.
“No, biting doesn’t do anything,” Jack shook his head, but he raised an eyebrow and gave me an odd look. Then it dawned on me.
“You can hear my heartbeat,” I said. When we had been in the car, right before the accident, my heart had been racing like mad because I was thinking about Peter, and it had been distracting Jack.
“And when you…” Jack’s expression changed, and he looked away from me, but I could already feel his desire.
“You’re thinking of Peter,” Mae caught Jack’s response. My cheeks reddened, because it was so embarrassing that the vampires find out that I have a crush on one of them. That was my big concern right now. “You release a kind of pheromone when you’re… ready. I don’t know how to explain it.”
“It entices us to bite you,” Jack said bluntly.
My heart had slowed, but he still looked strained. Meanwhile, Mae didn’t look effected by it at all.
“So… is it just when I think about Peter? Or when I think about… anything like that?”
“Ezra is will have to explain all that,” Mae said suddenly. Jack had looked as if he was about to say something, but she cut him off.
“So how do you turn into a vampire then?” I returned to the topic we’d been on before I’d distracted them with my beating heart.
“I drank Peter’s blood. So it’s Peter’s blood, and Ezra’s blood, mixed with my blood coursing through my veins.” Jack gestured to his arms, as if I could see through his skin to his veins. “It’s not like a father-son thing, because it’s not part of who they are. It is who they are. My blood is their blood.”