“So did you just make up the stuff about the movies?”

“Oh, no, check this out.” Jack picked up a remote control off the entertainment center and hit a button. The entire wall to the left of the TV slid back, like a pocket door, and revealed a gigantic shelving unit overflowing with DVD’s. “That’s cool, right? This was Mae’s idea, because she said having all the movies out in the open was ‘tacky.’”

“But Peter has tons of books out in his room,” I said.

“Right?” Jack shook his head and walked over to inspect his movie collection. “Books are ‘sophisticated.’ It’s what I get for living with people who were born before television. They just don’t understand this modern age.”

“Yeah, you have a rough life,” I mocked.

“Hey, my favorite pair of shorts just got thrown away!” He looked back at me, pretending to be heartbroken. “It’s been a pretty sad day all around.”

“About that…” I wanted to segue into asking him more questions about the club, even though I wasn’t sure if I should.

“I didn’t kill her, if that’s what you’re thinking,” Jack explained quickly. “Most vampires don’t kill people. It would make eating impossible. If we killed every time we ate, the vampire population in Minneapolis alone would kill at least a thousand people a week. We’d eat ourselves into starvation in less than a decade.”

“I didn’t think you’d killed her, but that’s good to know.” A shiver ran down my spine anyway.

In order for a thousand vampires to eat, a thousand people had to be bitten each week. Even if some of them lived on blood banks, the way Jack and Mae mostly did, that was still impossible to fathom.

“How could all those people be bitten? Why aren’t they talking about it?” I asked.

“Very few know they’re bitten.” He wouldn’t looked at me, and he shifted his weight uncomfortably. “We don’t go around blood raping them or anything. They just think they’re on dates. Lots of vampires – not me – but lots have ‘girlfriends’ or ‘boyfriends,’ but really, it’s like… having a cow, so you don’t have to buy milk.”

I gasped and instantly thought of Jane. She went home with all sorts of guys, and most of them were attractive and kinda creepy. She could easily have been a vampire’s cow, more than once.

“But how do they not know?”

“Well, they just think…” He rubbed his forehead and sighed. “They just think that they’re with really good lovers. It feels really good. So if you incorporate it with sex, especially with drunk or high people, they have no clue. And it doesn’t really hurt them. You’re a little weak and woozy, but otherwise okay.”

“So that girl that you bit…” I felt strangely jealous. Knowing that Jack was with a girl, that he’d fed on someone made my stomach twist. “Did you have sex with her?”

“No,” Jack said, but he turned away from me and looked ashamed. My heart sped up, and he tilted his head, so I knew he heard it. “But we did… stuff. The stuff doesn’t matter, though. I know guys say that, but for us it’s really true. It was just a way to get what I wanted.”

“Because for you, it’s not the sex. It’s the blood that’s intimate and… erotic.” When I said that, he realized he’d actually made things worse and grimaced. “So what’s it like?”

“It’s like drinking blood,” he sighed.

He rubbed his eyes, and I could feel how nervous this made him. The topic upset me, and he knew it. Just thinking about drinking her blood made him thirsty. On top of that, he could hear the quickening of my pulse.

“It’s hard to explain. You’ll understand when you’re a vampire,” he said finally.

“What is it like for her then? What’s it like for a human to be bitten?” I moved so I was sitting on my knees, leaning more towards him. His hunger filled the room like a fog, permeating through me.

“I don’t know.” Swallowing hard, he glanced over at me and almost instantly looked away.

“Did she enjoy it?”

The thought of her, some faceless girl, being with Jack in a way that I never had made me ill. Maybe that’s why I did what I was doing. I wanted to know, in some twisted way, but I also didn’t think it was fair that she go to feel something with him that I couldn’t.

“Yeah. I mean, I guess she did. I don’t know.” He ran a hand through his sandy hair and gave me a pained look. “Why do you wanna know? What are you trying to find out?”

“What would I feel?” My voice had gone low and soft, sounding strangely seductive, especially for me. I don’t know if I’d done it on purpose really, or if it was just that I could feel everything that Jack felt, and it was playing with my mind. “If you bit me right now. Would it hurt?”

“For a second.” Licking his lips, he kept his eyes locked on me, and his breathing got heavier. “But then there’s the most wonderful sensation you’ve ever felt. It radiates from the bite like a warm heat and your heart speeds up so fast, it should hurt, but it doesn’t. Your senses go into a frenzy, but it all feels amazing…” He trailed off and swallowed hard.

“What would you feel?” I asked, and the corner of his mouth turned up just slightly.