“Sorry,” I offered lamely.
“Nah, it was like fifteen years ago.” He shook his head, trying to brush me off, and then he turned to me, his face brightening again. “What about you? You have family?”
“My mom, and a younger brother,” I answered. “But he’s more like an older brother sometimes.” Jack laughed loudly at that, his wonderful laughter echoing throughout the car and sending waves of warmth over me.
“Yeah, I can completely relate,” he grinned.
“Really?” I had always thought of Milo as an oddity, but it was nice to know that there was someone out there like him.
“Yeah, but Peter’s something else,” Jack said. “Really. I doubt you’ll ever meet anyone like him.”
“Well, I’d have to meet him first,” I pointed out.
“Maybe someday.” He sounded weirdly far off, almost apprehensive.
“You’re not married, but does that mean you’re single?” I asked.
“Uh, yeah.” Then, before I could ask him more about that, he turned the tables on me. “What about you? Are you seeing anyone?”
“Hardly,” I snorted. Other than a few drunken make out sessions at a couple parties, I had nothing to show for a love life.
“Why not?” Jack pressed.
“You saw my friend Jane,” I said dully. “She has this way of completely stealing all the light in the room.”
“Oh, she does not.”
“Why don’t you have a girlfriend? The ladies obviously like you.” I changed the subject back to him.
“That’s actually part of the reason why. Everyone likes me without ever knowing me. It makes it hard to have a real relationship with somebody.”
“So… what’s the other part?” I asked, and he didn’t answer. “You’re not going to tell me.”
“I think there’s a midnight show of Rocky Horror Picture Show in Lakeville,” Jack announced randomly. “Are you up for it?”
“Sure.” I glanced out the window, watching the car glide through traffic. “So, why didn’t you drive your car tonight?”
“That’s not really my car, either.” He didn’t really answer my question, but I was starting to get used to that. “It’s my sister Mae’s.”
I noticed that he called her his sister, not his sister-in-law, and I wondered if that was simply an oversight. His insistence on being so mysterious was making me overanalyze everything.
“Do you even own a car?”
“Yeah, a jeep. I just haven’t felt like driving it lately.” Then he flashed a sly smile and looked over at me. “Besides, this is so much faster.”
“That doesn’t seem fair at all,” I said tiredly after riding in silence for a minute. My mind had been to trying to figure out all the things he wouldn’t tell me. “You won’t tell me anything about yourself.”
“Hey, I’ll tell you almost anything about me.” He kept his tone light, but he looked a little wounded. For the first time, I realized that he not telling me bothered him just as much as it did me.
“My favorite color is chartreuse. I love the Ramones and the Cure. My bedroom walls are painted dark blue. I had my first kiss when I was fourteen while listening to ‘Rock Lobster’ cause she really, really liked B-52’s. I should’ve taken that as warning sign that it would never work, but I was awfully young and stupid.”
“Chartreuse?” I questioned, skipping over the remainder of his confession. “I don’t even know what that is.”
“It’s sorta like a bright olive,” Jack explained. “It’s the color most visible to the human eye because of where it sits in the light spectrum.”
“You’re incredibly random.” We turned into the parking lot of the multiplex, and I realized he had managed to avoid really telling me anything. When he pulled into park, I looked at him seriously. “So why can’t you tell me things?”
“Why do you think?” Jack asked, not unkindly.
“Witness protection.” It was an idea I had actually considered but quickly crossed off because it didn’t really explain anything. And just as I suspected, Jack laughed.
“Okay, that’s not it.” Still smiling and shaking his head, he hopped out of the car, and I quickly followed him.
“Hey, does that mean you’ll actually tell me if I guess right?” The movie had probably already started, so Jack was walking rather fast towards the theater, and I chased after him as swiftly as my short legs would carry me.
“I don’t see why not,” Jack said, and that perplexed me even further.
“If I can guess it then why can’t you just come right out and tell me?”
“It’s just the way it is.” He opened the big glass doors of the theater for me, and I walked inside, furrowing my brow.
When he went up to the cashier to buy tickets, I started rummaging in my pockets for my own money, but he just waved me off and paid for my ticket. If I hadn’t been so preoccupied by this new development, I probably would’ve protested further.
“So, are you Rumpelstiltskin?” I asked him, leaning up against the counter as he got our tickets.
He laughed loudly, and the cashier blushed at the sound. He was completely oblivious to it, and I hoped that I would hurry up and feel the same way. I hadn’t really staked a claim on him, but it was still irritating to notice girls drooling all over him, especially when I was visibly with him.