My blood approves, p.3
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       My Blood Approves, p.3

         Part #1 of My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking
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Since I had been up until the wee hours of the morning trying to figure Jack out, and I didn’t have school, I fully intended to spend the entire day sleeping, curled up in the soft comfort of my down blankets.

  Unfortunately, my Jane embargo fell through. Or rather, burst through my bedroom door, destroying any chance of sleep.

  “What the hell is going on?” Jane hissed after she’d thrown open my bedroom door so hard that the knob left a mark in the plaster.

  I jumped up, tangled up in a mass of blankets and sleep induced confusion. I could barely focus my eyes on the blurry vision of Jane, standing in my doorway, with her hands on her hips glaring down at me.

  Milo cowered behind her, muttering things about how she needed to keep it down or Mom would completely freak out. Whenever Jane was around, he acted like a puppy about to pee on the floor, and it drove me nuts.

  “What are you talking about?” I asked groggily. I flopped back down in bed, trying to remember the dream Jane had ripped me from.

  Page 7

  “You know what. ” Her lips curled back into some kind of sneer and she stepped her Jimmy Choos over my dirty clothes strewn about my room.

  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the alarm clock telling me it was 11:13 am, and I grimaced. It wasn’t even noon yet, and Jane was in heels and red lipstick.

  “I really don’t,” I yawned and pulled the covers up over me more.

  “Why haven’t you answered my zillions of text messages or phone calls?” Jane yanked my covers off me, forcing me to talk to her.

  “Because there were zillions of them,” I said and grudgingly sat up.

  “Ugh,” Jane groaned. She sat down next to me in a terrific huff. “There wouldn’t have been so many if you just answered me. ”

  “Sorry. ”

  “Well?” Jane looked at me.

  Her expression had softened, so she’d apparently forgiven me, which was pretty amazing. Jane’s one Cardinal Sin was ignoring her, and I had managed to for almost two days.

  “What?” I didn’t really know what she was trying to get at. Was I supposed to thank her or something?

  “Have you talked to him?” she asked, and I rolled my eyes.

  “Him who?” Milo visibly puffed up at the mention of a guy, preparing himself to defend my honor.

  Milo was the kid at school that got shoved into lockers, and he was younger than me. I don’t know who exactly he could protect me from, but it would be a pretty sorry excuse for a guy.

  “Jack!” Jane answered him like it should be completely obvious. When she realized that Milo had no idea who she was talking about, her mouth fell open. “Oh my god, Alice! You didn’t tell him about Jack?”

  “I have not, no,” I shook my head. In fact, I hadn’t planned to tell Milo about Jack until I had things sorted out better, but thanks to Jane, that would no longer be an option.

  “How could you not tell him?” This fact just flabbergasted her. She couldn’t grasp a world where one didn’t incessantly talk about Jack.

  “I don’t know, Jane,” I sighed. “It just didn’t come up. ”

  To be honest, her instant obsession with Jack was the first thing about him that truly made me nervous. If he had this affect on her, what was he doing to other people? And why wasn’t I the same way?

  “Wait,” Milo said as it dawned on him, and I would’ve cut off my leg to keep him from completing his thought. “Is Jack the guy you went out with last night?”

  “You went out with him?” Jane gasped.

  “We just went to a concert. It was no big deal. ” I kept my tone casual and nonchalant, but I heard her sharp intake of breath.

  “Who is this guy?” Milo demanded. Jane’s reaction made him nervous, and he did his best to look as threatening as he could.

  “Jack is just like the most amazing guy ever,” Jane said eloquently.

  “He’s just a guy,” I continued with my ultra-casual voice, and even added a shoulder shrug for good measure.

  “How can you even say that?” Jane asked. In her mind, he’d been stacked up with the gods and should only be gushed about in revered tones normally reserved for shoes and hand bags.

  “You know what, I just don’t get it. ” I turned to her. “What is it about him that you like so much?”

  “You’ve got to be kidding. ”

  “I’m not. ”

  “But you’ve met him!” Jane insisted.

  “I know that. I still don’t get it. You’re crazy about him. You’ve got to be able to articulate what it is that you’re attracted to. ”

  “He’s just…” Jane fumbled for words. He’d been the only thing on her mind, so why couldn’t she explain him? “It’s like… There’s just something about him. It’s completely indescribable. I just want him. More than I’ve ever wanted anything. ”

  “Huh. ” That was all I could think to say.

  “You’re telling me that you don’t want him?” Jane asked me in total disbelief.

  “No, I don’t,” I said honestly.

  I liked Jack in a really weird way, but not like Jane. It was much simpler and less carnal. Or at least that’s what I gathered from the way she talked and acted.

  “Did he say anything about me?” Jane returned to the only topic that truly mattered to her – herself.

  “Nope. ” I stood up and started going through my dresser drawers for clothes. The whole conversation had run its course with me, and I was moving on to take a shower and start my day.

  “Not a thing?” Her voice sounded so small and sad, but I ignored it.

  “Nope,” I repeated. “But, look, I’m gonna hop in the shower. And you’ve probably got better things to do than wait around for me. ”

  “I guess,” Jane mumbled.

  She looked totally dejected, but I figured that in a few short hours, she’d probably be drunk and dancing topless on some poor guy’s table. It was kinda hard to feel sorry for her.

  After she finally pulled herself together and left, Milo questioned me about Jack. It took a little while, but I managed to convince him that everything was okay. Reluctantly, he dropped the subject and allowed me to take a shower.

  The hot water felt good on my skin, and I let my thoughts wander to where I had left off last night. Something Jane said, about how in love she was with Jack even though she couldn’t think of a single reason why, stuck in my head.

  That’s when it hit me. Jack, the way I saw Jack – attractive with a boyish charm – that’s who he really was. What everyone else saw, like Jane and the waitress at the diner, they were just responding to something that wasn’t real. The pheromones or whatever created some kind of illusion.

  But maybe I wasn’t immune. Maybe there was nothing spectacular about Jack at all, but I was just responding to it on a smaller scale. Maybe I was falling for the same trap Jane was.

  - 4 -

  The television channel TNT, in its infinite wisdom, had a John Hughes marathon running on all day. Milo, who had never understood the appeal of Molly Ringwald, watched them with me. He tried to convince me to watch something else, but I was stronger than him and manhandled the remote.

  We started onto our second viewing of Pretty in Pink when my cell phone started to jingle. It was going on midnight and I assumed it was Jane calling for some kind of sober cab service (even though I did not possess a car), but I picked up my phone off the coffee table anyway.

  Page 8

  Instead, I found a text message from Jack.

  So. You haven’t texted me.

  You’re very observant. I responded.

  My plan was to try to be indifferent. I didn’t appreciate the idea that I had probably fallen victim to some kind of spell or hormonal manipulation.

  Does that mean you don’t want to be friends?

  He actually typed that, like a note I’d get in the first grade. Something about that completely endeared him to me, and
since I couldn’t smell or see him, I decided that must mean that I actually liked him.

  No. I do. Definitely.

  “Who is that?” Milo asked with an edge to his voice. He was sitting at the other end of the couch from me, and he leaned over so he could look at my phone, but I turned it away from him. “It’s that Jack guy, right?”

  “You do realize it’s perfectly legal for me to text members of the opposite sex. ” I gave Milo a hard look and he just shook his head.

  “Whatever,” Milo said and turned his attention back to the movie. My phone rang again, and Milo made a humph sound.

  Excellent. Wanna do something? Jack messaged.

  What did you have in mind?

  Anything. Everything. The city is our oyster! Jack texted back.

  That sounds pretty ambitious. I replied, but it did sound exciting.

  It is. So can you be ready in like fifteen minutes? Jack asked.

  Sure. Meet you outside.

  In a flash, I touched up my makeup and slid on shoes. Before rushing out the door, I promised Milo that I wouldn’t be home too late and that I had my phone if he needed me. He grunted at me, and then I dashed out to meet Jack.

  He was already waiting outside, this time in a bright red sports car that looked like it cost more than a house. He grinned wildly when I opened the car door and jumped inside.

  “So, this is nice,” I said, referring to his overly flashy car.

  “It’s more than nice. It’s a Lamborghini Gallardo,” Jack explained with that foolish grin plastered on his face. “There are only six thousand of these in existence. ”

  “Is it new?”

  “Nah, it’s my brother’s,” Jack said.

  Before I could say anything more, he put the car in gear and it thrust itself into the street. I had thought we had gone fast in the Jetta, but it had nothing on this.

  “Your brother must be loaded. ” The car gracefully slid around a corner and weaved in between cars. Quickly, he turned it onto I-35, presumably so we could get the full effect of it going top speed on the open road.

  “He kind of is,” Jack shrugged. “I don’t really worry about money, I guess. ” It was the casual way someone talked when they never had to struggle for anything, and I wondered if Jack was wealthy and where he came from.

  “It must be nice,” I muttered.

  We were pretty poor, but not quite so poor that I felt like I had to get a job and bring in my own money. Just enough where I felt it.

  “There are plenty of other things to worry about,” Jack replied seriously. “Believe me. ”

  “Like what?” I looked over at him, instead of the blur of the scenery flying past us. He smirked at me and shook his head. So that was another thing he wouldn’t talk to me about. “So you have a brother?”

  “Two, actually,” Jack said. “And a sister. Well, she’s actually my sister-in-law, but she feels like a sister. ”

  “So is she married to your brother, or are you married?” I asked tentatively.

  “No, I’m not married,” Jack laughed. “She’s my brother’s wife. ”

  “What are their names?” With the endless amount of things I wanted to know about him, I was stuck asking safe questions.

  “Peter, and then Ezra is married to Mae. Ezra is the oldest. ”

  “What about your parents?” I turned towards him and rested my head against the seat. The rush of the world around us had made me a little dizzy.

  “Dead. ” His voice was emotionless, but his eyes got hard, which didn’t look right at all.

  “Sorry,” I offered lamely.

  “Nah, it was like fifteen years ago. ” He shook his head, trying to brush me off, and then he turned to me, his face brightening again. “What about you? You have family?”

  “My mom, and a younger brother,” I answered. “But he’s more like an older brother sometimes. ” Jack laughed loudly at that, his wonderful laughter echoing throughout the car and sending waves of warmth over me.

  “Yeah, I can completely relate,” he grinned.

  “Really?” I had always thought of Milo as an oddity, but it was nice to know that there was someone out there like him.

  “Yeah, but Peter’s something else,” Jack said. “Really. I doubt you’ll ever meet anyone like him. ”

  “Well, I’d have to meet him first,” I pointed out.

  “Maybe someday. ” He sounded weirdly far off, almost apprehensive.

  “You’re not married, but does that mean you’re single?” I asked.

  “Uh, yeah. ” Then, before I could ask him more about that, he turned the tables on me. “What about you? Are you seeing anyone?”

  “Hardly,” I snorted. Other than a few drunken make out sessions at a couple parties, I had nothing to show for a love life.

  “Why not?” Jack pressed.

  “You saw my friend Jane,” I said dully. “She has this way of completely stealing all the light in the room. ”

  “Oh, she does not. ”

  “Why don’t you have a girlfriend? The ladies obviously like you. ” I changed the subject back to him.

  “That’s actually part of the reason why. Everyone likes me without ever knowing me. It makes it hard to have a real relationship with somebody. ”

  “So… what’s the other part?” I asked, and he didn’t answer. “You’re not going to tell me. ”

  “I think there’s a midnight show of Rocky Horror Picture Show in Lakeville,” Jack announced randomly. “Are you up for it?”

  “Sure. ” I glanced out the window, watching the car glide through traffic. “So, why didn’t you drive your car tonight?”

  “That’s not really my car, either. ” He didn’t really answer my question, but I was starting to get used to that. “It’s my sister Mae’s. ”

  I noticed that he called her his sister, not his sister-in-law, and I wondered if that was simply an oversight. His insistence on being so mysterious was making me overanalyze everything.

  Page 9

  “Do you even own a car?”

  “Yeah, a jeep. I just haven’t felt like driving it lately. ” Then he flashed a sly smile and looked over at me. “Besides, this is so much faster. ”

  “That doesn’t seem fair at all,” I said tiredly after riding in silence for a minute. My mind had been to trying to figure out all the things he wouldn’t tell me. “You won’t tell me anything about yourself. ”

  “Hey, I’ll tell you almost anything about me. ” He kept his tone light, but he looked a little wounded. For the first time, I realized that he not telling me bothered him just as much as it did me.

  “My favorite color is chartreuse. I love the Ramones and the Cure. My bedroom walls are painted dark blue. I had my first kiss when I was fourteen while listening to ‘Rock Lobster’ cause she really, really liked B-52’s. I should’ve taken that as warning sign that it would never work, but I was awfully young and stupid. ”

  “Chartreuse?” I questioned, skipping over the remainder of his confession. “I don’t even know what that is. ”

  “It’s sorta like a bright olive,” Jack explained. “It’s the color most visible to the human eye because of where it sits in the light spectrum. ”

  “You’re incredibly random. ” We turned into the parking lot of the multiplex, and I realized he had managed to avoid really telling me anything. When he pulled into park, I looked at him seriously. “So why can’t you tell me things?”

  “Why do you think?” Jack asked, not unkindly.

  “Witness protection. ” It was an idea I had actually considered but quickly crossed off because it didn’t really explain anything. And just as I suspected, Jack laughed.

  “Okay, that’s not it. ” Still smiling and shaking his head, he hopped out of the car, and I quickly followed him.

  “Hey, does that mean you’ll actually tell me if I guess right?” The movie had probably already st
arted, so Jack was walking rather fast towards the theater, and I chased after him as swiftly as my short legs would carry me.

  “I don’t see why not,” Jack said, and that perplexed me even further.

  “If I can guess it then why can’t you just come right out and tell me?”

  “It’s just the way it is. ” He opened the big glass doors of the theater for me, and I walked inside, furrowing my brow.

  When he went up to the cashier to buy tickets, I started rummaging in my pockets for my own money, but he just waved me off and paid for my ticket. If I hadn’t been so preoccupied by this new development, I probably would’ve protested further.

  “So, are you Rumpelstiltskin?” I asked him, leaning up against the counter as he got our tickets.

  He laughed loudly, and the cashier blushed at the sound. He was completely oblivious to it, and I hoped that I would hurry up and feel the same way. I hadn’t really staked a claim on him, but it was still irritating to notice girls drooling all over him, especially when I was visibly with him.

  “That’s awesome!” He handed me my ticket, and while I did feel overly happy about his minor compliment, I only let the frustration show on my face. He walked to the theater, slowing enough so I could keep up with him. “Rumpelstiltskin. That’s really awesome. I’m gonna tell Ezra that. ”

  “Why? Are you guys like a family of goblins or something?”

  Jack laughed, shaking his head, and then pushed open the door to the movie before I could question him further.

  The movie had already started playing but just the very beginning. Many people were dressed up in costumes from the movie and throwing popcorn at the screen, so for once nobody noticed us sneaking into the back row.

  Rocky Horror Picture Show was a pretty good movie and I did rather enjoy it, but either Jack had ADD or he had being evasive down to an art form.

  Deciding to make the best of the situation, I followed suit and watched the movie. Jack was a borderline fanatic. He hadn’t dressed up in a black corset or anything like that, but he shouted right along with all the lines.

  When “Time Warp” came on, I thought he might get up and dance, and he probably would’ve if thered been enough room in the aisle.

  Towards the end of the movie, I had settled back in my seat, and even his enthusiasm had faded a bit. My arm casually brushed against his, and I felt struck by his odd skin temperature again. His skin was soft and warm, but it felt more like touching fabric than it did like touching a person.

  It was such an odd sensation that I felt like I had to get more of it. I pushed my arm over on the shared arm rest, very deliberately pressing my bare skin against his. The back of his hand felt impossibly soft.

  He hadn’t pulled his arm away, but I felt his gaze so I looked up at him, finding a very perplexed expression on his face.

  “Are you trying to hold my hand?” Jack asked, as if the idea were completely alien.

  I was not trying to hold his hand, but I didn’t appreciate the way it seemed so offensive to him. What would be wrong with that?

  “What if I am?” I stuck out my chin, ready to hold my ground and find out what would be so bad about hitting on me.

  Without hesitation, Jack called my bluff and took my hand in his. It definitely felt like I was holding hands with doll or something other than another person, but then it started to warm up, his skin heating up unnaturally, and I pulled my hand from his.

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