Flutter / Page 31

Page 31

“You’ve had a really long night. You should probably get some rest, too.”

“That is true.” It was early for me to go to bed, but I hadn’t felt completely rested since before I went to Finland. I yawned and thought longingly about curling up in bed.

“Do you want any company?” Jack asked, wagging his eyebrows.

“You know I do,” I chewed my lip. I always wanted Jack in bed with me, especially after we had started earlier, but my heart wasn’t really in it just then. “But we probably shouldn’t. I’m probably not in control enough to handle what you would do to me.”

“That is true,” he smiled a little sadly. “You go in and go ahead to bed. I might come up in a bit to grab some clothes, but I gotta get the dog cleaned up before I can take a shower and crash on the couch.”

“I feel so bad about kicking you out of your own bed,” I said for the millionth time since I had moved into his room.

“Hey, I’m nothing if not a gentlemen, and I couldn’t sleep knowing you weren’t absolutely comfortable.” He leaned down and kissed me. His lips were cool from the night, but the kiss was brief, stopping too soon. Still, my skin felt warm and flushed when he straightened up. “Go on and get to bed. I’ll see you later.”

Reluctantly, I turned to walk back into the house. Matilda chased after me, planning to sneak into the house, but Jack stopped her. Her big white paws were covered in cold mud from running around by the lake, and her fur was full of debris from rolling around. I don’t know what his plan was for getting her clean before they went into the house, but I left him to it.

I watched them for a minute before heading up to his room. Matilda leapt happily over piles of leaves, and Jack charged after her, laughing and egging her on. He was dirty and his clothes were getting ruined, but he didn’t notice at all because he was having too much fun with his dog.

It was weird how things like that could make me love him so much. My heart swelled at the sight of him, and I turned to go upstairs before I changed my mind about inviting him to go with me.

In the middle of a horrible dream about crocodiles chasing kittens, Jack came in and gave me a kiss. I stirred a little in bed and invited him to join me, but he declined for reasons that remain a mystery. I’m sure he told me, but as soon as the words were out of his mouth, I was asleep again, but thankfully, I managed to save all the kittens from the crocodiles.

When I did wake up for good, I realized that one of the things that Jack had said to me had been goodbye. Not “good night,” not “see you in the morning,” but “goodbye,” which had way too much finality in it for my taste.

I raced downstairs to find the den, a.k.a. Jack’s current sleeping quarters, deserted, with all his blankets folded up neatly, and he never folded up blankets or made his bed. I thought about checking in with Mae, but I didn’t want to disturb her.

That left me hurrying back upstairs to check with Peter on the off-chance he knew something, and  Matilda trailed after me, another sure sign that Jack was gone. Peter was gone, too, but I wasn’t even sure if he’d come home yesterday.

In truth, I’d known Jack was gone the second I opened my eyes. I could always feel when he wasn’t around me, like the thread between us got pulled painfully thin. I couldn’t tell exactly where he was at or anything; I just knew that it wasn’t close by.

Before knocking on my brother’s bedroom door, I listened carefully. After hearing what he’d been up to yesterday, I didn’t want to walk in on them in the middle of something. From the sound of it, Milo was still asleep. It wasn’t even six  at night, and in vampire time, that’s pretty damn early. Usually, I’m not up before eight pm.

“Milo?” I knocked cautiously but didn’t dare open the door. This was weird considering Milo and I usually just burst into each other rooms. We had never any reason for propriety before this Bobby character had come into our lives.

I was about to knock again when Bobby opened the door. He wore pajama bottoms and nothing else, revealing his heavily tattooed torso. Something in Latin was scrawled across his chest, and ivy wound about just above his pubic area, not to mention about a million others that I didn’t have a chance to study. He hadn’t flat ironed his dark hair, so it stood up in a crazy mess, but he looked to have been awake for awhile.

“He’s still asleep,” Bobby whispered and crept out of the room, closing the door quietly behind him so we wouldn’t disturb Milo. “Is there something I can help you with?”

“Uh, maybe, I guess,” I said. He crossed his arms over his chest, trying to protect his bare skin from the chill of the house, and I wondered why he hadn’t just put on a shirt. “Do you know where Jack is?”

“Kinda, actually,” Bobby nodded, looking pleased to be able to help. “They had some emergency business thing. I didn’t understand exactly, but the stocks were going crazy and they had to go fix it. Ezra and Jack left a few hours ago, and I think Peter was already on his way there. They should only be there for a day or two.”

“How do you know all this stuff?”

“Oh, cause I have insomnia,” Bobby smiled a little. “It kinda works out having a vampire for a boyfriend, but he still sleeps, and I don’t.” He shrugged at the humor in it, but I wasn’t sure if I found anything about him fun or charming.

“I see.”

Matilda finally decided neither of us were Jack nor were we suitable replacements, so she wandered down the hall. I watched her walk away, then went back to staring awkwardly at Milo’s half-naked boyfriend.

He smelled delicious, but I didn’t really want to eat him. I counted that as a good sign, but I didn’t like him. Still, I didn’t really want to go back to my room just yet.

“So, are you up for the day?” Bobby asked.

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Cool. Let me just get a shirt,” he said, as if I had invited him to do something. I nodded and waited for him, like I thought I had invited him too.

Bobby disappeared briefly into the room before coming out with a slim-fitting zippered hoodie hanging open. I tried to peer around him to see what Milo’s bedroom looked like now that he was sharing it with someone else, but Bobby barely opened the door. I’m not sure if he was trying to hide something, or if he was just trying to respect Milo’s sleep. Either way, I decided that I didn’t trust him.

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