He went down to the kitchen, wearing only the pair of boxers he’d slept in. I admired the view but couldn’t act on it. He devoured two bags of blood within three minutes, and Matilda and I waited on the other side of the room until we were certain he’d gotten his temper back under wraps.
“Sorry,” Jack said, crumpling up an empty blood bag and tossing it in the garbage. “I didn’t mean to be so… you know.”
“It’s okay. I didn’t mean to drink so much of your blood,” I said.
“It’s okay,” he shrugged. “It felt really good, and it’s not like I haven’t taken my share of your blood.” He opened the fridge and pulled out another bag. “I can’t believe how thirsty I am.”
“Sorry,” I said and hopped on the counter. He shook his head because he was too busy gulping down the blood to answer me.
Ezra must’ve heard us in the kitchen and came in to talk us. He eyed up Jack’s underwear only attire with a raised eyebrow, but he didn’t say anything about it.
“How did everything go?” Ezra asked Jack.
“Good. The transfer went off without a hitch.” Jack squeezed the bag, making sure he got the last few drops from it. When he was satisfied, he threw it away and rolled his shoulders. “I wish I didn’t have go there every few weeks to do it in person. It’s the future. Technology ought to have caught up to us by now.”
“It’s good for you to work and get out of the house,” Ezra said. “I’ve been spending too much time here, and I’ll be joining you again next time.”
“You sure you don’t wanna just go in my place? I feel like I’ve spent more time away than I have at home in the past few months,” Jack said.
“If that’s what you want,” Ezra shrugged.
“I barely remember what my girl looks like anymore,” Jack grinned and walked over to me. He leaned on the counter next to me, looping one arm around my back. “You sure are pretty.”
Ezra’s phone rang in his pocket, and it was always surprised me that it was the Bee Gees. He’d apparently gone through some horrible disco phase in the seventies, and Peter had said he’d been terrified that Ezra would never come out of it.
“Aren’t you gonna get that?” I asked.
“Is there any reason why not?” Jack asked, giving him the same odd look I was.
Ezra sighed heavily before answering. “It’s Mae. I doubt I have anything to say to her.”
“How do you know it’s Mae? Are you like phone psychic?” I asked, getting excited. I hated seeing Mae and Ezra apart, and if she was calling him, maybe it was a step closer to them getting back together.
“She’s been calling all day, and I’ve been avoiding it all day.” He ran a hand through his hair and shook his head. “We’ve got nothing to talk about. I have no reason to answer her calls.”
“Ezra! You love her. I think that’s plenty of reason,” I said.
“She made her choice.” Ezra’s voice resonated through everything when he got firm. He made it so hard to contradict him.
“I don’t think she had a choice,” Jack said, surprising me by coming to Mae’s aide. He’d been pretty angry with her since he found she’s the reason why he became a vampire. “At least she knows that you’re alive and you’ll be fine without her. But if she had picked you, the kid’d be dead.”
“Maybe so.” Ezra lowered his eyes, growing contemplative. “But I’m not ready to make amends.”
“Have you even listened to the messages?” Jack asked.
“No.” He breathed deeply. “I don’t want to hear her voice.” He shook his head and looked up at us. “And quite frankly, I don’t want to have this conversation either. I’ve made my decision.”
“I don’t know why all your decisions get to be final.” I crossed my arms over my chest.
“I’m older and wiser.” The edge of his mouth curled into a hint of smile. “On the subject of which, how are your studies coming?”
“Great,” I lied. I’d gotten through the three chapters in history with Milo, but I’d barely cracked open the anatomy book.
“I expect you’ll be ready to go over them later,” Ezra said. “Also, I left a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird in the living room for you to read.”
“What? Why?” I wrinkled my nose. “I read that in like tenth grade.”
“Read it again.”
The subject was apparently closed because Ezra turned and walked over the kitchen, back to his den to do whatever he did to pass the time without Mae. I sighed loudly and leaned back, resting my shoulder against Jack’s.
“Your studies?” Jack raised an eyebrow. “What’s going on?”
“Ezra thinks that since I’m not going to school or working, I should be doing something so I don’t end up a total dimwit.” I picked at a few stray Matilda hairs that stuck to my jeans. “He’s not wrong, but that doesn’t mean I like it.”
“So what are you studying for?” Jack asked, his interest piqued.
“I don’t know. Right now, just history and anatomy and To Kill a Mockingbird, apparently.” I gestured toward the living room and grimaced. “You think a book with a character named Boo Radley would be more fun.”
“It’s not supposed to be fun. It’s about the ability of good and evil to coexist in mankind, and the effect the knowledge of that has on innocence,” he said. I gave him an odd look, and he smiled. “You forget that I’m an English major.”
“Sometimes,” I admitted. “So, how come you’re working for Ezra and not teaching or whatever it is you planned on doing with your degree.”
“There’s no money in teaching.” He laughed and kissed my temple, then went back over to the fridge. “Sorry. I’m still really thirsty.”
“Sorry,” I apologized again. My own belly felt full almost to the point of being distended, so I knew I’d drunken way too much. I’m not even sure how Jack was walking around.
“I don’t actually have a degree, for one thing.” Jack opened the fridge and pulled out another bag. He shut the door and turned back to me, leaning on the stainless steel. “And I don’t think I really wanted to be a teacher. I don’t know what I wanted. I just liked English.”