“You mean the clubs I was trying to get into?” I wondered if Jane had ever been picked up by a vampire without knowing it. She probably had, and that served her right.
“No, it’s a vampire one. Well, I guess I don’t know where you guys were trying to go, so you might’ve. Most people don’t know it’s a vampire club. That’s how I turned.”
“Peter picked you up at a club?” I raised my eyebrow skeptically.
“Nope,” Jack grinned. “I followed these two hot chicks in, and they turned out to be psychotic vampires. Peter was there, looking for something to eat. But the girls went crazy and left me for dead. Peter found me in the alley behind the club, and for some reason, he decided to save me.”
“Do you have to be dead to turn?” I asked.
“No, you can’t be dead,” Jack clarified. “Once you’re dead, you’re dead. That’s it. Vampires aren’t undead. We’re just a different form of people. Ezra explained it to me that vampirism is a virus, sorta like AIDS, except whereas AIDS makes you sick, this makes you better.”
“It’s a virus?” I looked skeptical.
“I guess.” Jack shrugged. “That’s what Ezra told me. It’s like an evolutionary mutation. His theory is that people have no predators. The only thing that really takes people down is weather and disease. The plagues actually helped keep the population in check. When cities were overflowing, a plague would come and knock the numbers down. A vampire is just another kind of plague.”
“Yeah, that’s great and everything, but a virus?” I shook my head in disbelief. “How can a virus do this to you?”
“Again, Ezra is more of an expert than I am,” Jack said. “But it just makes you more efficient. We get exactly what we need all the time. We don’t have to process anything. We live on pure, fresh nutrients. And it stops decay. When we die, we’re like Styrofoam. We’re here forever. When we get injured, we heal at an alarming rate, because we’re all blood.”
“You guys are really vampires?” They had been explaining stuff to me for a long time, but I still couldn’t wrap my head around it. Jack laughed and leaned on the counter.
“That was my reaction at first, too,” he grinned.
“I think that was everyone’s,” Mae agreed.
“But … this is a normal house. I mean, it’s really nice, but it’s normal. And you guys are just like a family. And you-” I pointed at Jack. “-you sit around playing video games all day. In a house the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota? Come on. Vampires are cooler than that.”
“Thanks a lot,” Jack laughed loudly.
“Well, you know what I mean. You guys have eternity, and you spend it like this?”
“Exactly. We have forever. How would you spend it?” Jack cocked his head at me.
“I don’t know,” I admitted. I had never really thought of it before. Trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my measly little human life had always seemed like enough. “But something more glamorous than this.”
“Peter and Ezra have seen everything, at least a hundred times, and Mae doesn’t really wanna go anywhere,” Jack shrugged. “I mean, I’ve traveled a little bit, but I’m not in any rush. I’ll be able to see it all one day. I went to the pyramids with Peter a couple years ago.” He rolled his eyes. “He’s been there like thirty times. He’s like ‘oh big triangles in the sand, whoopee.’ So that was kind of the end of my traveling, for now, at least.”
“So you just sit here and play video games?” I asked incredulously.
“What do you expect us to do?” Jack laughed. “We just have more time than you. What do you do with your life?”
“I don’t know.” I lowered my eyes and thought about it. “This all just seems weird to me.”
“Of course it does, love.” Mae gently stroked my hair. “It’s a lot to take in.”
“You guys aren’t gonna eat me, are you?” I didn’t sound afraid, because I wasn’t. I was merely curious, and Mae laughed.
“No, of course not,” she smiled reassuringly at me.
“But Peter wanted to last night,” I pointed out. “And Jack really wanted to tonight, before the car crash.”
“Jack!” Mae gasped, glaring over at him. Funny, she didn’t look even remotely appalled when I told her Peter wanted to.
“I did not!” Jack insisted, but he was a bad liar.
“Jack, you know you can’t do that,” Mae growled, and I wondered what the big deal was. They said that when they bit people it didn’t hurt and it didn’t kill them. So what did it really matter if Jack bit me?
“It wasn’t my fault!” Jack said defensively. “She was getting all crazy thinking about Peter. And you know what? I didn’t bite her. So. You can just wipe that look off your face.”
“Why does thinking about Peter make me more delectable?” I asked, and they both lowered their eyes. “Come on! I know you’re vampires! What’s left?”
“Delectable,” Jack mused. “That’s a very good way to describe it.”
“Why are you even telling me this?” I narrowed my eyes at them. “Why did you tell me you were vampires? Isn’t it like some big secret or something?”
“Hardly,” Jack snorted. “I hate it that in movies when they’re all like, you can’t tell anyone that we’re vampires or the high council of snooty vampires will kill us all! There’s no high council. There’s not a big vampire society. There isn’t one council governing every human on earth.
“And you know what?” Jack continued. “People don’t believe in vampires. Do you think that we have to hide anything about us? Did I ever really try to hide anything with you?”
“No, but you wouldn’t tell me things,” I told him pointedly.
“Yeah, cause I liked you. The first day we met, if I had told you that I was a vampire, you would’ve thought I was insane and wrote me off.”
“Why did it take so long for you to tell me?”
“I wanted to make sure you trusted me, so you wouldn’t just think I was insane and never want to talk me again.” Then he got a pained expression on his face and sighed. “I was gonna tell you that night in the park. Then that stuff happened with that damn dog. And you got so upset when I killed it, and I thought if you react like that to me hurting a dog, how are you gonna feel when you find out that I bite people?”