“I know.” He sighed and looked down at the floor, rubbing his feet along the carpet. “I hate the way Peter feels about you, and I really hate the way you feel about him-”
“I don’t feel anything for him!” I interjected. Jack glanced up at me, and I knew I protested too loudly.
“Well. Whatever. I still don’t like it.” He shrugged. “But you spent two weeks alone with him in Australia, and that turned out fine. I think I can trust you to be around each other for like two days.” He ran a hand through his sandy hair, disheveling it more. “And even if I can’t, he’s my brother, and he’s in trouble. I don’t want the last things I say to him to be in anger.”
“That’s really sweet, Jack.” I touched his arm. “And it’s really mature.”
“No, it’s not mature,” he sighed. “I just can’t hold a grudge. I’m a sucker.”
“You’re sweet, and I love you.” I wrapped my arms around him and smiled up at him.
Jack leaned down and kissed me, his lips pressing warmly against mine. It started out gentle, but quickly worked its way into something more. His arms wrapped around me, pressing me hard against him. His skin burned hot against mine, and his emotions flooded me with their fervor.
“Jack,” I breathed, putting my hand on his chest.
“Oh, right.” His eyes went over to the bed, where Daisy lay buried amongst his navy comforter. He grinned when he looked back, but I felt how disappointed he really was. “If only there wasn’t a small child on the bed, I would totally ravish you.”
“I’m sure you would,” I smiled.
“Too bad.” He gave me a kiss on the forehead and pulled away from me. “I’m gonna hop in the shower.”
“I was just gonna take a shower.”
“I need the cold shower more.” He walked backwards toward the bathroom. “Unless you wanted to join me.”
“That would defeat the purpose of a cold shower, wouldn’t it?” I asked.
“Maybe.” He shrugged and pulled off his shirt, revealing the perfect hard contours of his chest and stomach.
He disappeared into the bathroom. I heard the water turn on a moment later, and he tossed his shorts out into the bedroom, enticing me to join him. I probably would’ve, if it weren’t for Daisy in the room and Peter in the living room below us.
I shut the bathroom door without even peeking in on Jack, and he laughed. I looked over at the bed, and I knew I didn’t want to hang out in here with Daisy. She still creeped me out. I didn’t trust her alone with the dog either, so I called Matilda as I left the room, and she ran after me.
Peter was in the living room, sitting on the couch with his feet propped up on an ottoman. Blade Runner played on the TV, but he didn’t seem to be paying attention to it. He had his fingers laced behind his head and he stared off at nothing.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“What?” Peter looked over at me, as if he’d just realized I was there. “Uh, yeah. I’m great.” He lowered his arms, crossing them over his chest, and sat up straighter so his feet were on the floor.
“You seem kind of spacey.”
“Got a lot on my mind,” he shrugged.
Matilda jumped on the couch next to him, and he scratched her head. I sat down at the opposite end of the couch, putting as much room between us as I could.
“I thought you said you weren’t gonna think about it,” I said.
“Trying not to.” He gave Matilda one final pat than dropped his hand. He looked over at me, letting his emerald eyes linger on me just long enough where I had to look away. “How have you been?”
“Good, I guess.”
“Even with Jane’s murder?” Peter asked, and I shook my head. “She was murdered, right?”
“Yeah, she was. And they don’t know who did it.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” he said, and it really sounded like he meant it. I don’t think I could ever get used to him sounding so kind. It added something to his already velvet voice that never failed to startle me.
“Me too,” I sighed.
After that, we watched the movie in silence. I sat stiffly, afraid to move or do anything. I could feel Peter sitting next to me, doing the same thing. I’m not exactly sure what I was afraid would happen, but I knew I didn’t want to risk it. I’d already hurt both Peter and Jack enough.
Jack bounded downstairs a little while later. His hair was still damp from the shower, and he ran his hand through it absently, sending little droplets sprinkling all over the room.
“How’s the movie?” Jack asked, glancing back at the TV.
“Fine,” Peter and I both answered quickly.
“Great.” Jack pushed Matilda off the couch and sat down next to me, but he turned to Peter. “I was thinking. Why are you going with them?”
“What?” Peter asked.
“Why are you going with Mae and Daisy when they leave?”
“Because.” His eyes flashed to me for a moment, then he looked away from both of us.
“Mae and Daisy don’t need you,” Jack went on. “And I know me and Bobby have a lot of crap in your old room, but we could clean it out. Well, we’re gonna move soon anyway, but that’s not the point.”
“What is the point?” Peter asked.
“Why don’t you stay here?” Jack asked. “This isn’t your fight, the thing with Mae and Daisy. Neither of them are your responsibility.”
“Thanks.” Peter swallowed and stared down at the floor. “I mean, I appreciate it, Jack, I really do. Especially coming from you. But you know why I’m going with them.”
“Come on, Peter.” He gestured to himself and glanced back at me. “This thing between the three of us, it’s stupid. I didn’t realize how stupid it was until I saw you today. It’s over, you know? I’m with Alice, and you’re fine. We can just be… normal, again.”
“I think you’re being overly simplistic, Jack.” Peter lifted his head to look at him.
For a minute, they only stared at each other. Finally, Jack nodded and looked away.
“Hello?” Leif called as I heard the French door swing open.
“Who is that?” Peter asked, and Jack rolled his eyes.
“It’s Leif,” Jack sighed and got up. “He practically lives here now.”
“Oh, he does not.” I stood up and went out to the dining room to meet him.