Last night, I had again stayed up with Jack, watching his DVDs of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and very deliberately not talking about the elephant in the room: whether or not I planned to ever become a vampire.
I couldn’t understand all the ramifications of my decision when I couldn’t even fully believe it was true. Last night, I had spent the entire time watching an old TV show on DVD and trying not to entice a vampire to bite me.
How could I possibly reconcile those two ideas? The utterly mundane with the totally supernatural? One of those things just didn’t belong.
Instead of dwelling on it any longer, I rolled over and grabbed my cell phone off the nightstand. I vaguely remembered the jingle of my phone interrupting my sleep, but I had been too tired to answer it. When you’re still human, staying up all night can be incredibly exhausting.
So what? Are you like really sick or something? That was a text message from Jane. Along with, Hello? Are you ignoring me? At least she still cared, which I found to be kinda surprising.
There were three from Milo, and I was reluctant to read them. I didn’t want to think about him being alone in that apartment all the time. He didn’t really have any friends, and on top of that, he had his current issues with his sexuality. It was a very cruel time for me to leave him.
Are you done going to school now?
Mom asked about you. She’s worried. Maybe you should apologize to her now.
I’m worried too. When are you coming home?
I groaned and pulled the covers back up over my head. How would I answer that? I was probably never coming home, and I’d probably never talk to him again.
But I couldn’t exactly say that. I didn’t want to. Just yesterday, I’d promised he’d be in my life forever, and apparently, that was a total lie.
“Are you up yet?” Jack asked sunnily, and I assumed he was standing in my doorway.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” The bed heaved as Jack jumped into it, and I lowered the covers enough so I could peek out at him. My room was completely dark except for a light from the hall, and I could barely make out the cocky grin on his face. “Morning, sunshine.”
“If you’re gonna be this cheery, you can just go away,” I grumbled, and he laughed.
I hated how wonderful his laughter sounded and the way it filled me with pleasant tingles. I didn’t want to be pleasant. I wanted to be grumpy and stay in bed all day, avoiding the world until somebody else made a decision for me.
Having a choice in something as major as the rest of my life was far too much of a responsibility for me.
“Didn’t sleep well, I take it?” He propped himself up on his elbow so he could smirk down at me.
“I slept great, actually.” My phone was still in my hand, so I reached my arm out and extended it towards him. “Milo texted me.”
“I see.” He took the phone from me and scrolled through the messages. “Jane still talks to you? I thought you were over her.”
“I was never under her. We just eat lunch together at school and stuff,” I brushed off his disapproving tone. “Never mind her. That’s not what has me all depressed.”
“You didn’t reply to him.”
“What could I possibly say to him?” I asked honestly
“Whatever you want.” He shrugged and handed me back my phone. “He’s your brother.”
“Ugh, you’re no help!”
“Are you going back home?” Jack asked quietly.
“No. I don’t know.” I looked away from him. “I have no idea what I’m doing!”
“Why don’t you just get up and take a shower? You’ll probably feel better then. Besides, you don’t have to decide anything right now.” He rolled out of my bed and looked at me expectantly. “Come on. Get up.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right,” I admitted and slowly pulled myself out from underneath the covers.
“You know, I really wish you’d catch onto the fact that I’m always right.” To encourage me to move faster, he flicked on the lights, and I squinted at the sudden brightness.
“Get out of here so I can shower.”
My bedroom had an attached bathroom, so I shooed Jack out when I started getting my clothes together. Like the other rooms, I had a massive closet, and my paltry wardrobe looked pathetic in there. Mae had offered to take me shopping, but their generosity was overwhelming, so I declined.
After I finished getting ready, I lay down on the bed and tried to think of a way to respond to Milo. Even if someday I would have to faze him out of my life, I wasn’t quite ready for that day to be today.
But that didn’t mean I was ready to move back home and pretend like nothing was happening. Life as I knew it had changed, and I couldn’t go back and act like things mattered when they didn’t. Milo still mattered, but school and curfews didn’t.
“Are you done?” Jack knocked on the door and pushed it open without waiting for an answer. He leaned on the open door and grinned at me. “You’re already back in bed? You just woke up.”
“I’m not sleeping. I’m just thinking.” I had my phone in my hands, and I was just staring at it, as if it could magically come up with an answer to all my life’s problems.
“Well, I hope you don’t mind, but I’m here to interrupt your thoughts.” He opened the door wider and stepped inside a little bit, so I could see past him. Looking rather sheepish, Milo stood in the doorway and gave me a half-wave. “I thought you could use the company.”