Flutter / Page 51

Page 51


“No,” Milo laughed. “I just wanted to wear wings, and black is Halloween-y. And slimming.”

“Oh my god, I can’t believe I didn’t know you were gay growing up,” I flopped back down on the bed. Every holiday ever was an excuse for Milo to dress up. The signs were ridiculously obvious when I thought about it.

“You can be a little slow sometimes,” he agreed. “Now come on. Get out of bed and get ready. We’re going out!”

“I can’t go out,” I said. “Jack’s not home.”

“I’m pretty sure you’ve left the house without Jack before.” He sat down on the edge of the bed next to me. “And it’s a holiday. You can’t stay cooped up in your room forever.”

“Maybe not, but I can’t leave with Jack still gone. It doesn’t feel right.”

“He’ll be home soon,” Milo said without conviction. “Or maybe he won’t. I don’t really know. But either way, you can’t just stay here until he gets back.”

“I can’t go out! That’s like… I don’t know. Sacrilegious or something.” I looked over at him. “I mean, he left me here to punish me. So I should be properly punished.”

“Jack doesn’t punish anyone. That’s not how he works,” he waved off the idea. “He just needed time to clear his head, and he’s giving you time to clear yours too. Since you can’t seem to stop kissing his brother, I’m sure he thinks you need time to make up your mind about what you really want.”

“I have made up my mind!”

“Well, good, then you have time to go out with us!” Milo said brightly. “So come on! Get up! Get dressed! Let’s dance!”

“No, I really can’t,” I repeated. “Not until Jack comes back. I just have to stay here and wait for him.”

“What if he never comes back?” Milo asked, and I shot him a glare. “Sorry. But you know, what if it’s a really long time?”

“Then I’ll just wait forever if I have to,” I decided. “I’ll be like Snow White, and you can just put me in one of those glass cases until Jack comes and gives me true love’s kiss.”

“Oh, Snow White, that’s a good costume for you.” He touched my hair. “With your pale skin and dark hair, we could totally make that work.”

“Milo!” I groaned.

“Is she coming with?” Bobby asked, appearing in the doorway behind Milo. He was wearing a white shirt, unbuttoned down his chest, with a black vest and tight pants. I was about to guess for some kind of pirate, and then I saw the laser blaster in his belt.

“Are you Han Solo?” I raised my eyebrow at him.

“Yeah, I wanted him to be Princess Leia, but he wouldn’t go for it,” Bobby gave Milo a pouty look, and I was momentarily relieved that Jack wasn’t around so he couldn’t try out that exact idea on me. Then I realized that Jack wasn’t here, and I got sad again.

“I am not going to wear a gold bikini,” Milo said. “Even I’m not gay enough for that!”

“So you’re like half a costume?” I asked Bobby.

“Yeah, I was gonna be Andy Warhol, but I looked really terrible with the white wig. My complexion is all wrong for it,” Bobby gestured to his skin, then an idea dawned on him, and he smiled wickedly at me. “Hey, if you don’t have a costume, you could always go as Leia!”

“No! No way!” I shook my head. “Even if I wasn’t too busy being suicidal, there is no way you can talk me into that. No gold bikini’s or cinnamon bun hair-do’s.”

“Fine. Costume or not, you really should come out with us,” Milo said, looking at me with concern. “It’s not good for you to just lay in bed all the time like this. You’re not even watching TV or listening to music. You’re just laying in the dark. It’s not healthy.”

“I don’t care.” I smiled wanly at my brother. “I’m okay, though. Honest. I’ll get up and do something tonight. I just… I can’t go out. But thanks for inviting me. I really appreciate it.”

“Okay,” Milo relented. “But you better be out of this bed when I get back. Or else.”

Milo smiled sadly at me before leaving with Bobby. On the sheets next to me, he left behind a trail of glitter and black feathers.

I did not want to get out of bed, but I didn’t really want Jack coming back to me being a big, stinky mess, so I decided that if nothing else, I should keep up my hygiene, so he doesn’t break up with me for that. I showered, styled my hair, put on makeup, and got dressed. For the sake of Halloween, I even painted my nails green. I don’t know why I went through all that trouble, but it felt like something to do.

Matilda needed to go to the bathroom, so I went downstairs to let her outside. She was the only real consolation I had. As mad as Jack might be at me and everyone else, he would never leave her behind. Not for good.

While she was outside doing her thing, I glanced down the hall. The door to the den was open, and Ezra sat at the computer, the screen glowing blue on his face. He probably still slept on the couch in there, and I wondered if he and Mae were ever going to make up. And if they weren’t, I wondered why neither of them left.

My cell phone started ringing, and my heart skipped a beat until I realized it was Milo’s ringer and not Jack’s “Time Warp.” I briefly considered not answering it. He probably just wanted to talk me into coming out with him. But then again, he might be in trouble, so I figured I should take it.

“Hello?” I answered, and I had to hold the phone away from my ear because the music was so loud.

“Hello?” Milo shouted over the music. “Hello?”

“Milo?” I yelled back, so he could hear me. “Milo? Where are you?”

“I’m at V!” Milo shouted, and I could barely hear Bobby saying something in the background about a girl. “You’ve got to come down here!”

“No, I already told you I’m not going,” I sighed. Matilda started barking at the French doors off the kitchen, so I went and let her in. “Thanks anyway.”

“No, I mean you really have to come down!” Milo said.

“She’s going in the room with him!” Bobby shouted plaintively at Milo. “Tell her to hurry and get down here! We’ve gotta do something!”

“I’m not leaving you alone to deal with her,” Milo told Bobby, and I really wished I understood what was happening or the music behind them was quieter.


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