“Our saliva has chemicals in it. Like mosquitoes and vampire bats have anesthetic in theirs. We have that, plus more to make the wound heal fast. The marks are usually completely gone within an hour or two of the bite.” He grew bored with the conversation, so he turned and jogged up the stairs. “Come on, Alice, if you want a say in what we watch.”
“I’d go with him, or he’s liable to make you watch The Lost Boys,” Mae warned me.
“Hey, it’s a good movie!” Jack shouted, and I was inclined to agree.
Just the same, I’d rather watch something a little less blood sucking. The whole point of the night was to not think about all the weird stuff going on.
I hurried up the stairs after him and fought the urge to go into Peter’s room. Even standing in the hall, I could smell that tangy, sweet aroma that Peter left behind, but I quickly pushed it out of mind before my heart would beat all funny.
“I’m just gonna put these away real quick,” Jack informed me when I came into his room. “I wouldn’t want my vampire image to be spoiled by wrinkled clothes.”
The door was open to his massive walk-in closet, and he had started hanging up some of his shirts. I walked over to peer inside, and I wasn’t surprised to find that his wardrobe consisted almost entirely of tee shirts, Dickies, and various shades of Converse.
“You have a billion dollars, and you have the wardrobe of a twelve-year-old.”
“Yeah, well, I have the emotional maturity of a twelve-year-old too, so-” He stuck his tongue out at me and then went back to hanging up his clothes.
“You showed me.” I rolled my eyes and went over to flop down on his over-stuffed bed.
It was completely unmade, but it had to be the most comfortable thing I had ever laid on. The sheets were probably Egyptian with a ten million thread count. Not that I knew what any of that meant, but I know it made things more comfortable for some reason. My sheets came from Target, though, and I slept just fine on them.
“I’m glad you like my bed.” He had finished hanging his things up and walked out into his room. “I would’ve made it if I’d known you’d be rolling around in it.”
“I’m not rolling around,” I muttered, but I sat up so I wouldn’t be tempted to.
I looked around his room. There were a few posters on his dark blue walls (one of which was a tour poster from the Cure playing at First Ave on July 12, 1984, and I wondered if he had actually been there). Underneath his massive flat screen TV, there was lots of gaming equipment strewn about a slick black entertainment center, but I didn’t see any movies.
“So did you just make up the stuff about the movies?”
“Oh, no, check this out.” Jack picked up a remote control off the entertainment center and hit a button. The entire wall to the left of the TV slid back, like a pocket door, and revealed a gigantic shelving unit overflowing with DVD’s. “That’s cool, right? This was Mae’s idea, because she said having all the movies out in the open was ‘tacky.’”
“But Peter has tons of books out in his room,” I said.
“Right?” Jack shook his head and walked over to inspect his movie collection. “Books are ‘sophisticated.’ It’s what I get for living with people who were born before television. They just don’t understand this modern age.”
“Yeah, you have a rough life,” I mocked.
“Hey, my favorite pair of shorts just got thrown away!” He looked back at me, pretending to be heartbroken. “It’s been a pretty sad day all around.”
“About that…” I wanted to segue into asking him more questions about the club, even though I wasn’t sure if I should.
“I didn’t kill her, if that’s what you’re thinking,” Jack explained quickly. “Most vampires don’t kill people. It would make eating impossible. If we killed every time we ate, the vampire population in Minneapolis alone would kill at least a thousand people a week. We’d eat ourselves into starvation in less than a decade.”
“I didn’t think you’d killed her, but that’s good to know.” A shiver ran down my spine anyway.
In order for a thousand vampires to eat, a thousand people had to be bitten each week. Even if some of them lived on blood banks, the way Jack and Mae mostly did, that was still impossible to fathom.
“How could all those people be bitten? Why aren’t they talking about it?” I asked.
“Very few know they’re bitten.” He wouldn’t looked at me, and he shifted his weight uncomfortably. “We don’t go around blood raping them or anything. They just think they’re on dates. Lots of vampires – not me – but lots have ‘girlfriends’ or ‘boyfriends,’ but really, it’s like… having a cow, so you don’t have to buy milk.”
I gasped and instantly thought of Jane. She went home with all sorts of guys, and most of them were attractive and kinda creepy. She could easily have been a vampire’s cow, more than once.
“But how do they not know?”
“Well, they just think…” He rubbed his forehead and sighed. “They just think that they’re with really good lovers. It feels really good. So if you incorporate it with sex, especially with drunk or high people, they have no clue. And it doesn’t really hurt them. You’re a little weak and woozy, but otherwise okay.”
“So that girl that you bit…” I felt strangely jealous. Knowing that Jack was with a girl, that he’d fed on someone made my stomach twist. “Did you have sex with her?”
“No,” Jack said, but he turned away from me and looked ashamed. My heart sped up, and he tilted his head, so I knew he heard it. “But we did… stuff. The stuff doesn’t matter, though. I know guys say that, but for us it’s really true. It was just a way to get what I wanted.”
“Because for you, it’s not the sex. It’s the blood that’s intimate and… erotic.” When I said that, he realized he’d actually made things worse and grimaced. “So what’s it like?”
“It’s like drinking blood,” he sighed.
He rubbed his eyes, and I could feel how nervous this made him. The topic upset me, and he knew it. Just thinking about drinking her blood made him thirsty. On top of that, he could hear the quickening of my pulse.
“It’s hard to explain. You’ll understand when you’re a vampire,” he said finally.