“But you don’t work,” Jack looked at me quizzically.
“I don’t know where they’re at,” Ezra sighed, coming back to the room a few minutes later. He had a Post-It note and a pen in his hand. Under his breath, he muttered, “Without Mae, I can’t find anything in that damn den.”
“I can help you look, if you want,” I offered.
“No, I’ll just get the information, and I’ll call my lawyer tomorrow,” Ezra said, sitting back down at the table.
“You need a lawyer to transfer a title?” I asked.
“No, my lawyer can get the papers I need.” He scratched the back of his neck. “What do I need to get from him? Just tiles and registration for you and Milo? And I need to call about insurance for the Delorean?”
“Yeah, I think so,” Jack nodded.
“Sorry, I have to make notes.” Ezra smiled sadly as he scribbled down on the paper. “I can’t seem to remember anything anymore.”
Ezra had astonishingly beautiful handwriting, and I leaned forward to watch as he wrote down Milo’s name and the Jetta, and then Audi, followed by Alice Townsend instead of Alice Bonham.
“Um, it’s Bonham,” I said, correcting him. “Instead of Townsend.”
“Oh yes. Sorry. I always forget.” Ezra shook his head and crossed out Townsend and wrote my last name above it.
“Why don’t we just leave it Townsend?” Jack suggested, looking up at me.
“Cause it won’t match my driver’s license,” I said.
“I know but… why don’t you change that?” Jack asked.
“Not this again,” I rolled my eyes.
“Oh, come on, Alice. It’s weird!”
“No, it’s not!” I stood up, and Jack tried to hang onto my waist, but I pulled away from him. “You know what’s weird? Taking the last name of your boyfriend and his entire family.”
“It’s your brother’s last name too!” Jack pointed out. “And I just don’t understand why you’re so against it. It’s not a bad last name.”
“No, it’s not.” I crossed my arms over chest. “I don’t have any problem with your last name. It’s just not my name.”
“Mae took Ezra’s last name,” Jack countered, as if that would validate his point someway.
“I don’t really want to be involved with this,” Ezra said, slowly standing up.
“Jack, we shouldn’t really be talking about her.” I hurried to use Mae as a shield to deflect the argument.
“It won’t kill him to hear her name,” Jack scoffed. “Lord knows you never stopped talking about Peter around me.”
“Alright. I am going to the den.” Ezra turned and walked out of the room, escaping the tension so quickly it made me envious.
“I hardly ever talk about Peter around you! I’m always biting my tongue!” I shouted, and realized just a moment too late that that statement made things a lot worse.
“Always?” Jack narrowed his eyes and stood up. “Sorry, Alice. I didn’t mean to stop your Peter gushing. I didn’t know it was so hard for you to not speak about him.”
“That’s not what I meant,” I sighed. “I’ve been careful of your feelings is all, and I think you should show the same respect to Ezra, since you know how he feels.”
“No. I don’t know how he feels. He had a woman who loved him and wanted to spend the rest of her life with him, so she didn’t see anything wrong with taking his last name.”
“She left him, Jack! Their relationship isn’t something we should strive for.” I shook my head and stepped away from him.
“You’re missing the point.”
“You’re missing the point,” I said. “Why can’t you let me have one thing that’s mine?”
“What?” Jack was taken aback. “I don’t understand. This is all yours.”
“No. This is all yours.” I gestured widely to the house. “Everything here belongs to you.”
“Not any more than it belongs to you,” he shook his head. “This is ours. This is our life.”
“No, it’s not, Jack! This is your life. Everything I’ve done has been for you, and I’ve changed everything to be with you. I gave up everything!”
“No, you…” His expression crumpled. “I thought you wanted this.”
“I did. I do,” I sighed and looked away from him. “I do. I just wanted something for me.”
“You really feel that way?”
“What way?” I asked, not sure what part he was referring to.
“That you gave up everything.” His blue eyes were so wounded, and I hated when he looked that way. “I was trying to give you everything.”
“No, Jack, I know that.” I rubbed my forehead, struggling to think of what I meant. “I don’t regret being here, and I know that you only try to make me happy.”
“But I’m not. Am I?” He leaned back, resting on the edge of the dining table behind him.
“Yes, you do. You make me so happy.” I stepped over to him, meaning to reassure him. “But maybe that’s not the only thing in life that matters.”
A knock at the French doors made Matilda bark, and Leif stood outside in the snow, tapping at the door. Jack rolled his eyes and stood up straighter, but he didn’t go anywhere. I waved Leif in, and he opened the door, letting an icy draft blow in.
“Is this a bad time?” Leif asked.
“Yes,” Jack said too loudly, and I shot him a look.
“No, come on in,” I told Leif, giving him a much softer look than one I gave Jack. “We’re just talking.”
“I didn’t mean to interrupt. The snow’s been really coming down today, but I can always find another place to sleep, if it’s a problem.” Leif had stepped inside the house, but he waited by the open door, ready for us to kick him to the streets.
“You know you’re always welcome here,” I said, but Leif looked at Jack, waiting for him to give his approval. When Jack didn’t say anything, I hit him in the arm. “Isn’t he, Jack?”
“Yes,” Jack said.
“I really don’t want to bother-” Leif started.
“No, you’re fine,” Jack said and waved him in. “You can crash on the couch in the living room if you want. The blankets and stuff are in the hall closet, and you can get cleaned up or whatever.”