“You are such an idiot!” Mae turned away from him to inspect me for bite marks. When she saw the blood on my lips, she gasped and turned back to him. “Did you do that to her? You drew blood?”

“No!” Jack insisted, his eyes wide. “She did that! She bit her lip!”

“Why would you do that?” Mae whirled on me, and I’d finally regained enough strength to sit up. “Do you have any idea what that does to him? Do you both have a death wish?”

“It was an accident,” I mumbled.

“You need to shower and use a lot of mouth wash.” Mae held her hand to her face, looking distressed but sounding matter-of-fact. “If he even hints at smelling Jack on your blood…” Her eyes welled with frightened tears, and she pointed to the bedroom door and snapped, “Go! Right now! Go downstairs and use my shower!”

“Sorry.” I scrambled out of Jack’s bed, which was easier said than done since my ankle tangled in a mass of blankets. “Sorry.” As I stumbled down the stairs, I heard Mae yelling at him.

“How can you be so careless with her life? With your own?” Mae admonished him. “She’s only a girl, Jack! What were you thinking?”

“I wasn’t!” Jack said.

“I know how hard this is for you-”

“You have no idea how hard this is for me!” Jack growled fiercely, and I winced.

By kissing him, I had only made it harder. It was impossible for him to ever be with me, unless we wanted our life expectancy reduced down to a matter of hours. Still, that kiss had hinted at how amazing those hours would be, and maybe it would be worth it…

I shook the thought from my head and hurried into Mae’s bathroom. Immediately, I opened the medicine cabinet and pulled out the Listerine. The alcohol burned my lip, but I used it until it went numb.

After a shower so long and intense that my skin came out red and raw, Mae decided that it was time that she sat down and had a long talk with me.

She admitted that she didn’t understand what Jack and I had gone through because she’d only been turned for six months when she met Ezra, and they had been together ever since.

There was obviously something very different going on with us, but as long as Peter felt a claim to me, I couldn’t do anything with Jack, or I was risking both of our lives.

Jack and I would have to find a way to be friends without ever being caught up in any moments, and that would probably be easy if I didn’t do anything stupid like, say, bite my lip so he’s attracted to my blood.

I ended up staying most of the night over there anyway. I couldn't sleep after that, so we decided to pretend like nothing had happened.

Jack put in The Crow and The Dark Knight, and I curled up on the couch with Mae. He sat on the floor on the far other side of the room with Matilda because that seemed safest.

Even with everything that had happened, Mae let Jack drive me home. She had decided not to tell Ezra about the “incident” so we’d have to go on like normal, and that meant that we’d have to get used to being around each other without being stupid.

When the sky started to lighten, I finally agreed to go home.

“This is my favorite time of day,” Jack mused, looking out the windows of the Lamborghini as we sped way from his house and towards mine. “The sky is so pretty right before it changes.”

“It reminds me of a dream,” I agreed. “So… I’m really sorry about what happened earlier.”

“Don’t be. That was my fault. I have to learn how to control my impulses. You might not believe this, but that’s something that I struggle with,” Jack laughed dryly.

“I bit my lip. I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.”

I had done it on purpose, whether I was ready to admit it to myself or not. He wanted me to, and I could feel that the same way I could feel my own heartbeat. I had made the choice to do it, knowing exactly what it would lead to.

“No, it’s okay.” He paused for a moment before adding, “You taste really good.”

“We’re not talking about that. We’re not even thinking about it,” I corrected him.

“I’m not. I wasn’t. I was just making conversation.” That’s what he said, but I could feel the hunger ebbing when I stopped him.

“Well, we can’t talk like that. We can talk about anything but blood or biting or sex.”

“Sure, take out all the fun things,” Jack grumbled.

“It’s for your safety as well as mine.” I shot him a warning look, and he stiffened a little

“Okay. You’re right. Sorry.”

“Do you think maybe we should stop hanging out?” I didn’t want to, not even slightly, but it would be the safest way to avoid anything.

“No,” Jack answered too quickly. He let out a deep breath, then looked nervously at me. “Why? Do you?”

“I don’t know. I mean, I still want to hang out with you but…”

My answer hurt him, and at times like that, I hated that I could feel anything he felt. When we had been making out upstairs, it had been amazing, but these situations were murder. His emotions were always so raw and intense. He had very little self-control when it came to the way he felt.

“Honestly, I don’t know if I could stop even if I wanted to,” Jack said finally.

The sky glowed oddly blue-gray as the sun neared the horizon, and the color seemed to match perfectly with Jack’s eyes when he looked over at me.