I’m already doing something. Laundry at the laundromat. And I will be until the end of time. I text messaged him back.
Luckily for you, I have that long. Care if I join you?
Sure, why not? As I’d fervently pointed out to Milo, I wasn’t sexually attracted to Jack, so what did I care if he saw me looking like this?
Cool. I’ll be there in a few.
Do you even know where it’s at? I waited ten minutes for him to reply to that, but then I realized that he was already on his way.
Somehow, he’d know where I was at, just like he knew my apartment number without me telling him. He just knew everything, and it was flipping’ irritating.
The bell chimed above the laundromat door a few minutes later, and I didn’t even have to look up to know it was Jack. There was an Indian girl a few seats down from me, and she gasped when he came in.
“Hey, there.” Jack plopped on the seat next to me, wearing a Space Invaders hoodie and a pair of Dickies shorts. His sandy hair looked crazier than normal, and he smiled brightly at me.
“How did you know where I was at?” My tone had long since stopped being accusatory. When I asked him things, I was just curious and mildly amused, and always expecting no answer.
“You told me where you were.” He looked at me like I was an idiot, which was somehow flattering.
“No, I didn’t. I said I was at a laundromat. There’s like a million in this city,” I explained.
“This one is the closest to your house, and you don’t drive.” His response surprised me because it actually made sense. There was nothing odd or vaguely psychic about it. He turned to watch the washing machines and crossed his legs underneath him, apparently settling in for the long haul. “You know we have washers and dryers at my house.”
“I’m not at your house,” I said, instead of commenting on his plural use of washer and dryer. Knowing them, they probably had one for every room, like the bathrooms and fireplaces and balconies.
“You could’ve asked to come over and do laundry,” Jack said. “Mae was really taken with you.”
“I really enjoyed her, too.” That was all I was going to say on that subject. The last thing I wanted to do was talk to Jack about Peter. It felt wrong somehow to admit any attraction to him to Jack. “That doesn’t explain how you knew where my house was.”
“Why would it? Mae liking you has nothing to do with where you live.”
“No, I mean, do you always know where I’m at?” I looked up at him, and he shook his head.
“I’m not psychic.”
“What about when you took me home that first night? I was sleeping in the car. How did you know where I lived?”
“Jane told me.” He kept looking straight ahead, and I wondered when he would grow tired of my constant stream of questions.
I knew that normal friends didn’t just continuously interrogate each other like this, but normal friends didn’t act like Jack.
“Why would she tell you that?”
“I asked her,” Jack said, again looking at me like I was an idiot.
“If I called and asked her that, is that what she would tell me?” I challenged him, and even pulled out my phone to prove I would call her. (I really wouldn’t, because I was avoiding talking to her about Jack, or anything, really.)
“I don’t know what she’d say, but it’s the truth.” That felt very true. Jack may not tell me things, but he didn’t lie to me.
“So, how did you know which apartment was mine that night you came over for supper?” I asked.
“See my answer to the last question.”
“She told you my apartment number and everything?” I asked skeptically. That seemed like an awful lot of information for her to give out to a complete stranger about her unconscious best friend, but then again, she was completely in love with him at the time.
“Sure did.” Jack shrugged. “You were passed out. I thought I might have to carry you up.”
“You would’ve carried me into my apartment and put me in my bed and everything?” I furrowed my brows at him. When I said it aloud, it sounded terribly creepy, which is why I had said it aloud. I wanted to feel as creepy as it sounded, but it didn’t. It felt oddly natural. “You just met me.”
“Would it have bothered you if I had?” Jack asked me honestly.
“That’s still a peculiar thing to do.” I purposely didn’t answer his question. “And you have an awful lot of secrets for someone that knows so much about me.”
“I guess I do,” he laughed, and then turned to me. “So when are you coming over again?”
“I don’t know,” I said hesitantly. He must’ve noticed my reluctance because he bumped my shoulder with his. “I can’t tonight. I’m doing this and then I have school tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow then, after school.” It wasn’t exactly an order, but it wasn’t really a question either. “Ezra will be home.”
Everything about me tensed up. After reacting the way I had to Peter, I was terrified to find out how I’d react to his other brother. Maybe it would be worse, and even if it wasn’t, it wasn’t worth the risk of lusting after Mae’s husband. That would be embarrassing and it’d feel like a betrayal.
“He’ll like you. Trust me.” Then he softened and lowered his voice, leaning in closer to me. “It won’t be like with Peter.”