Nothing was overtly wrong with Peter giving it to me, but Jack wouldn’t approve. For my birthday, Jack had a Muppet specially made to look like me and had taken me scuba diving with the sharks at the aquarium. They were pretty awesome gifts and I loved them, but they weren’t the same caliber as expensive jewelry.
Then again, Jack had also given me immortality, so he kinda had Peter beat.
“Is it cooler in here?” Milo opened my bedroom door without knocking, and I dropped the necklace in the drawer and slammed it shut.
“Um, I don’t know,” I said, taking a step away from the dresser.
“I think it’s hotter in here,” Milo groaned but walked into my room anyway. Like Peter, he had decided that shirtless was the way to go. “It’s got to be at least a hundred degrees here!”
“Have you tried the pool?” I asked.
“Yeah, right.” Milo wrinkled his nose and flopped back on my bed. “The sun’s still out, and even if it wasn’t, you’ve seen the pool.”
Something was wrong with the filtration system, so skeavy green moss covered the pool. There seemed to be something wrong with everything in the house. Apparently, it had been even more rundown when they bought it, but Peter and Mae were fixing it up. But the pool didn’t work, the air went out, the wrap-around porch sagged, and the roof needed replacing.
I went over and pulled back the heavy curtains, looking outside. The sun stung my eyes, and I stared out at the emptiness. They didn’t have a neighbor for miles, and everything looked dry and faded. I slid open the window and a hot breeze wafted in, but at least it was better than nothing.
“I’m starting to think this was a bad idea,” Milo said wearily.
“It’s not that bad. I mean, other than the heat.” I sat on the bed next to him. Beads of sweat stood out on his chest, and he looked up at me, his big brown eyes dejected. “You’ve had fun seeing Mae, right?”
“Kinda,” he shrugged and looked away.
Milo had been the baby, the one that had garnered all of Mae’s attention until Daisy came along, and she required a lot more than he did. He wasn’t a real jealous person, but this struck a nerve with him. Being ignored by our real mother had been bad enough, let alone her replacement.
“What’s Bobby doing?” I asked, hoping to cheer him up by talking about his boyfriend.
They’d been together for four months, and they weren’t “meant for each other,” not the way vampires are, but there was still something there. Bobby made Milo happy, and he was a good guy.
Bobby mostly lived with us back in Minneapolis, and despite my initial hatred of him, he’d really grown on me. Some of that probably had to do with the fact that I’d bitten him, bonding us together slightly. It tended to drive Milo nuts, but we couldn’t do anything about it.
“He’s sitting in front of a fan in our room,” Milo said, scratching absently at his arm. The spiders here were crazy about him. The bites didn’t really hurt him, but they left irritating, itching bumps for hours. “Even the heat is getting to him, so you know it has to be bad.”
“He’s probably just used to living in our climate,” I yawned. We hated being hot, and we constantly kept our house at frigid temperatures. Plus, we had just come from winter in Minnesota. “Ugh! It’s too hot sleep!”
“Tell me about it.” Milo looked up at me. “What time is it back home? Maybe Jack’s up.”
“I don’t understand the time difference. You tell me.”
“I don’t know what time it is here,” he said and made no effort to find out. “Have you talked to Jack lately?”
“The other day. The reception here is so shoddy, it’s hard for me to get through.”
My heart ached at the thought of him. I was bonded with Jack, so it was painful to be away from him. It had lessened a bit over the last few months, but it still wasn’t anything where I’d enjoy not being around him.
“How are things there?” Milo asked.
“The same, I guess. Ezra is moping around the house, and Jack can’t wait for us to get back.”
“I still can’t believe that Ezra hasn’t talked to Mae,” Milo looked a little wide eyed over it, and I felt the same way.
No matter how mad or frustrated I might get with Jack, I couldn’t imagine going months without talking to him. It would be like going months without eating.
Bobby shrieked from his bedroom down the hall, but Milo and I were slow to react. Spiders had been infesting their room since we arrived, and Bobby screamed like a girl every time he saw one. Admittedly, some of them could actually kill him, but most of the time, he’d already stomped on them by the time Milo or I came to the rescue.
I heard a door slam, followed by a bizarre clawing sound. Bobby’s heart beat frantically, but his wasn’t the only one. Another heart pounded hard and fast, but it was quieter and not as rapid as a human.
It was the sound of a vampire’s heart. A very small, very hungry vampire.
By the time Bobby yelled again, Milo and I were already running out of my room. His room was way at the other end of the hall, but we could see Daisy, clawing at the door with her bare hands. She was strong enough to tear the wood, leaving bloody trails as it splintered out around her fingers.
Before we had a chance to reach her, she managed to tear a hole in the door big enough for her little body to wriggle through, and Bobby started screaming like hell.
Bobby had locked the door behind him to keep out Daisy out, but that didn’t help us rescue him. Milo got to the door first and tore into it.
Bobby kept screaming, and Milo dove through the hole before it was big enough. He sliced open his side pretty bad, but he wouldn’t have noticed at all if it wasn’t for Daisy. The scent of blood made her even crazier.
I reached through the hole and unlocked the door, deciding that seemed faster. Bobby stood on the bed with his back pressed against the wall. A nasty bite on his arm dripped blood all over the sheets, but he just stared wide eyed at Milo wrestling with Daisy.
When she wasn’t crazy with thirst, she was an adorable little girl with chubby cheeks and downy blond curls. But when she gnashed her teeth, trying to get at the blood running out of Milo’s side, she looked evil.
Her face contorted with a deep snarl. Her lips pulled back, revealing her sharp teeth, unnaturally large for a child. Her eyes blazed, and she moved like lightening.
Milo couldn’t move fast enough, and she kept biting him as he tried to pin her down. When she bit him, she wasn’t even trying to drink his blood. She just snarled and snapped at anything like a crazed animal.