My blood approves, p.9
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       My Blood Approves, p.9

         Part #1 of My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking
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What are you doing? Jack text messaged me.


  Wanna do something? Jack replied.

  I wore a pair of drawstring sweats, a faded Darkwing Duck tee shirt with an unzipped navy blue hoodie, my makeup had completely worn off, and my hair was pulled back in a pony tail. Of course he’d want to see me when I looked like that.

  I’m already doing something. Laundry at the laundromat. And I will be until the end of time. I text messaged him back.

  Luckily for you, I have that long. Care if I join you?

  Sure, why not? As I’d fervently pointed out to Milo, I wasn’t sexually attracted to Jack, so what did I care if he saw me looking like this?

  Cool. I’ll be there in a few.

  Do you even know where it’s at? I waited ten minutes for him to reply to that, but then I realized that he was already on his way.

  Somehow, he’d know where I was at, just like he knew my apartment number without me telling him. He just knew everything, and it was flipping’ irritating.

  The bell chimed above the laundromat door a few minutes later, and I didn’t even have to look up to know it was Jack. There was an Indian girl a few seats down from me, and she gasped when he came in.

  “Hey, there. ” Jack plopped on the seat next to me, wearing a Space Invaders hoodie and a pair of Dickies shorts. His sandy hair looked crazier than normal, and he smiled brightly at me.

  “How did you know where I was at?” My tone had long since stopped being accusatory. When I asked him things, I was just curious and mildly amused, and always expecting no answer.

  “You told me where you were. ” He looked at me like I was an idiot, which was somehow flattering.

  “No, I didn’t. I said I was at a laundromat. There’s like a million in this city,” I explained.

  “This one is the closest to your house, and you don’t drive. ” His response surprised me because it actually made sense. There was nothing odd or vaguely psychic about it. He turned to watch the washing machines and crossed his legs underneath him, apparently settling in for the long haul. “You know we have washers and dryers at my house. ”

  “I’m not at your house,” I said, instead of commenting on his plural use of washer and dryer. Knowing them, they probably had one for every room, like the bathrooms and fireplaces and balconies.

  “You could’ve asked to come over and do laundry,” Jack said. “Mae was really taken with you. ”

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  “I really enjoyed her, too. ” That was all I was going to say on that subject. The last thing I wanted to do was talk to Jack about Peter. It felt wrong somehow to admit any attraction to him to Jack. “That doesn’t explain how you knew where my house was. ”

  “Why would it? Mae liking you has nothing to do with where you live. ”

  “No, I mean, do you always know where I’m at?” I looked up at him, and he shook his head.

  “I’m not psychic. ”

  “What about when you took me home that first night? I was sleeping in the car. How did you know where I lived?”

  “Jane told me. ” He kept looking straight ahead, and I wondered when he would grow tired of my constant stream of questions.

  I knew that normal friends didn’t just continuously interrogate each other like this, but normal friends didn’t act like Jack.

  “Why would she tell you that?”

  “I asked her,” Jack said, again looking at me like I was an idiot.

  “If I called and asked her that, is that what she would tell me?” I challenged him, and even pulled out my phone to prove I would call her. (I really wouldn’t, because I was avoiding talking to her about Jack, or anything, really. )

  “I don’t know what she’d say, but it’s the truth. ” That felt very true. Jack may not tell me things, but he didn’t lie to me.

  “So, how did you know which apartment was mine that night you came over for supper?” I asked.

  “See my answer to the last question. ”

  “She told you my apartment number and everything?” I asked skeptically. That seemed like an awful lot of information for her to give out to a complete stranger about her unconscious best friend, but then again, she was completely in love with him at the time.

  “Sure did. ” Jack shrugged. “You were passed out. I thought I might have to carry you up. ”

  “You would’ve carried me into my apartment and put me in my bed and everything?” I furrowed my brows at him. When I said it aloud, it sounded terribly creepy, which is why I had said it aloud. I wanted to feel as creepy as it sounded, but it didn’t. It felt oddly natural. “You just met me. ”

  “Would it have bothered you if I had?” Jack asked me honestly.

  “That’s still a peculiar thing to do. ” I purposely didn’t answer his question. “And you have an awful lot of secrets for someone that knows so much about me. ”

  “I guess I do,” he laughed, and then turned to me. “So when are you coming over again?”

  “I don’t know,” I said hesitantly. He must’ve noticed my reluctance because he bumped my shoulder with his. “I can’t tonight. I’m doing this and then I have school tomorrow. ”

  “Tomorrow then, after school. ” It wasn’t exactly an order, but it wasn’t really a question either. “Ezra will be home. ”

  Everything about me tensed up. After reacting the way I had to Peter, I was terrified to find out how I’d react to his other brother. Maybe it would be worse, and even if it wasn’t, it wasn’t worth the risk of lusting after Mae’s husband. That would be embarrassing and it’d feel like a betrayal.

  “He’ll like you. Trust me. ” Then he softened and lowered his voice, leaning in closer to me. “It won’t be like with Peter. ”

  “How do you know?” I asked stiffly, and even I wasn’t sure if I was asking how he knew what it was like with Peter, or how he knew that this time would be different.

  “I just do. ” Then he bumped into me again, teasing. “You know that I know. I don’t know why you always have to argue. ”

  “It’s just in my nature, I guess. ”

  “What’s that?” Jack noticed the Cosmo on my lap, and before I could stop him, he snatched it up. Embarrassingly, I had left it open to the quiz I had been taking. “What man are you pleasing in bed? And question four, you really do that?” He gave me a look that was both appalled and admiring, and I tried to take the magazine back from him, but he moved to quick for me. “I had no idea you were that kind of girl, Alice! I mean, this completely changes my opinion of you!”

  “I was bored!” I finally managed to grab it from him. He laughed freely at my humiliation, and I just shook my head. “Ha ha. Very funny. ”

  “Yeah, it kind of is,” Jack said when his laughter died down. He leaned back and spread out his arms on the back of the chairs, so one of his arms was behind me. “The truth is, though, that I know exactly what kind of girl you are. ”

  “Oh yeah?” I asked, intrigued. “And what kind of girl is that?”

  “Oh, you’ll see,” Jack smiled at his cryptic answer.

  “You say stuff like that just to drive me nuts, don’t you?” I shot him a look, and he just laughed, confirming my suspicions.

  Jack waited with me until all the laundry finished. To pass the time, we did a few Cosmo quizzes (although I refused to answer any about sex) and a crossword puzzle in the newspaper, which he was amazing at. He had to be the smartest person I had ever met, but he did a pretty good job of keeping it secret.

  When the laundry was done, he carried all three massive bags out to his Jeep. He offered to take them up to my apartment, but I thought it would be better for Milo if he didn’t see him. Jack’s effect on people tended to wear off the longer they went without contact.

  Before I went into the building, he reminded me that he was picking me up tomorrow at six, and whether I liked it or not, I was spending the evening with his family.

- 9 -

  Jane had always been much more clothes obsessed, but suddenly, there were not enough clothes in my closet. It actually wasn’t the amount of clothes so much as the fact that they were all terrible. I’d even done laundry, so everything I owned was clean and neatly folded or hanging up, but none of it was good enough. I must’ve changed my outfit like fifty times before my phone rang.

  “I know, I know,” I answered the phone breathlessly.

  “I just wanted to make sure you didn’t chicken out,” Jack said. Fortunately, he sounded more bemused than he did angry. “I’m outside waiting. ”

  “I’ll be out in a minute. ” I flipped my phone shut and rushed over to the mirror to inspect myself. Milo, who had been my wardrobe supervisor, sat on my bed amidst discarded outfits.

  “Jack?” Milo asked, trying to sound offhand.

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  “Uh huh,” I mumbled absently and tried to smooth out the hem.

  I wore a dark blue tunic dress that fell just above my knees. I’d gone with opaque tights underneath and a pair of skimmers. I wasn’t sure if I’d gone casual enough or too casual or what, but either way, I felt stupid and I wanted to change again.

  “This is horrible!”

  “You look great,” Milo admonished me. I’m sure he’d grown tired of listening to me whine and change for the past three hours, but I really wanted to make a good impression. “And Jack is waiting. You don’t really have a choice anymore. ”

  “Promise?” I asked, looking over at him.

  “Yes. They’ll love you. And even if they don’t, I will. Now go!” Milo stood up and started shooing me out of my room.

  “Okay, okay. ” I groaned, but Milo just kept pushing until I was out the front door.

  I ran out to Jack’s car before I could change my mind. He had taken the Jeep again, and I was glad for a slower ride.

  “You look great,” Jack grinned when I hopped in.

  “Whatever. ” I flipped down the visor so I could investigate myself in the mirror. My eyeliner was thicker than I ordinarily wore it, but it made me look more dramatic and mature so I liked it.

  “Fine, you look terrible,” Jack laughed and sped off down the road.

  “Can you slow down?” My nerves made my stomach flip out, and I knew I could feign carsickness since it would almost be the truth. I just didn’t like the idea of us getting there in like ten seconds.

  “You’re really that nervous?” Jack was growing concerned, and he slowed down a little.

  “No,” I lied.

  I flipped back up the visor and sunk in the seat. I was completely dreading meeting Ezra, and seeing Peter again, while simultaneously being really excited to see him. I hated my body for its ability to have contradictory emotions.

  “It’s really not that bad. Ezra will like you. ”

  “Will you stop trying to convince me that everyone likes me?” I snapped. “You’re making me paranoid. ”

  “That doesn’t make any sense,” Jack looked over at me, sitting next to him being petrified, and he sighed. “You know, Peter really didn’t mean anything. ”

  “I don’t wanna talk about Peter,” I replied through gritted teeth, but that wasn’t it exactly. I couldn’t talk about him. Just thinking about him made my heart race out of control. There didn’t seem to be enough oxygen in the Jeep.

  He knew that was I inclined to silence, so he turned up the stereo. Today it was the Smashing Pumpkins, singing about a bullet with butterfly wings.

  Even though he had slowed down, the drive to his house still went by much too fast. By the time we had pulled into the garage, my heart was beating so fast that I was sure I was going to die. I thought about telling Jack this, but by the grim look on his face, he already knew.

  “You’ve got to calm down, Alice. ” He touched my hand to reassure me, and amazingly, it worked.

  “Is that another one of your superpowers?” I asked when my heart stopped feeling like it would explode

  “What?” Jack kept his tone sober, but I could see the corners of his mouth creeping up at my use of the word “superpowers. ”

  “Calming me down or making me feel whatever it is you feel. ” I had expected him to avoid the question or shrug me off, but instead he got serious and his forehead creased.

  “You feel what I feel?” He cocked his head to the side a little bit, looking at me curiously.

  There was a good chance that I was blowing everything out of proportion. He was charismatic and excitable, so his emotions had a way of dominating situations. That didn’t mean that I actually felt what he felt.

  “Not literally, I’m sure. It’s just like when you want me to calm down, I usually do. Or when you were nervous about the dog, I felt you tense up so I got freaked. But it’s probably nothing more than what normal people feel. ”

  “Hmm. ” He didn’t look convinced, but he pulled his hand back from mine and opened the door to the Jeep. “You must be feeling pretty calm and happy right about now, so let’s go inside before it wears off. ”

  “That’s actually a good idea,” I agreed and got out of the Jeep.

  “You mean it does actually wear off?” He hurried around to meet me, and it felt weird for me to be on the other side of the question-and-answer game we always played. I wrapped my arms around myself and shrugged. “No, seriously. I don’t understand how this works. ”

  “I don’t know either. I just assumed you’d know what I was talking about. ” We had reached the door into the house, but he paused, staring off into space.


  “Unless what?” I asked.

  “Nothing. ” He shook his head, shaking off whatever thought he had.

  “Jack!” I protested, and he smirked at me.

  “I’ll tell you later. ” He’d never said that me before, and it surprised me.

  “Really?” I asked hopefully.

  “No. Come on. ” Before I could argue more, he opened the door and walked into the house. “Hi, honey, we’re home!”

  “Peter, hold Matilda!” Mae shouted from another room, and I cringed, knowing that Peter was just a room away. Then Mae raced into the entryway, her arms already open to hug me. “Alice!” She threw her arms around me, holding me tightly to her. “I’m so glad you’re here!”

  “Me too,” I told her, and I was surprised to find I actually meant it.

  “You know, I’m here too,” Jack pointed out when she released me. He had only meant it as a joke, but she turned and hugged him anyway. “Thanks. ”

  “You know we’re always glad you’re here,” Mae smiled at him.

  “I know you’re glad that I’m here,” Jack corrected her, and a new fear gripped me. Maybe both Peter and Ezra didn’t like him, meaning that I wouldn’t even stand a chance.

  Suddenly Matilda came bursting into the room, but Jack intercepted her, and she jumped happily into his arms. This is a hundred pound dog, and he caught her in his arms with ease. I knew that eventually I’d have to stop being so amazed by Jack.

  “Peter!” Mae shouted towards the other room, where Peter remained hidden.

  “She got away from me!” Peter said, his silken voice shooting through my body. If he had even half the strength that Jack had, hanging onto Matilda wouldn’t be a problem. He’d let her go to spite us in some way.

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  “Peter,” another voice boomed. His voice was deeper than Jack’s or Peter’s, and it resonated in a way that made me flush warmly. He was disapproving, and I knew that if I had been on the receiving end of his disproval, I’d probably faint.

  “Sorry,” Peter grumbled.

  “That’s Ezra,” Mae told me, smiling proudly just at the mention of her husband.

  Jack finally put down Matilda, who had completely saturated his face in slobber, and she bounded away. Mae looped her arm in mine, and I knew she would revel introducing me to Ezra, so I let her lead me
into the next room.

  “He’s really not scary at all,” Jack reassured me as he wiped dog slobber of his face with the back of his arm.

  Then we walked into the living room, and as soon as I saw him, all my fears melted away. My very first thought was that he looked like an angel. He was taller than Jack and Peter, but he didn’t seem to tower over anyone.

  As I had suspected, he was gorgeous, and he wore a white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up and collar unbuttoned, revealing a tantalizing hint of his chest. His eyes were deep mahogany and infinitely warm. His skin was the same tanned color as Peter’s, but his hair had sun kissed streaks through it.

  He was in his mid-twenties, and he looked amazing, but he also looked… old somehow. Around his eyes, I could tell that he was much wiser than his age belied.

  “And you must be Alice,” his deep voice rolled warmly towards me, sending pleasurable chills coursing through me.

  There was something about his voice, I’d heard it when he said Peter’s name, but I couldn’t quite place it until he spoke more. He had a faded accent, maybe Irish or Australian, but I couldn’t be sure since it was so soft. He stepped closer to shake my hand, and that’s when it finally dawned on me.

  Ezra had an accent, but Peter and Jack didn’t, and maybe Ezra being born in another country while the other boys were too young to pick up an accent could explain that.

  But their eye colors were all so distinct and completely different. Ezra had deep brown, Peter’s were shocking green, and Jack’s were a soft blue. There was no way they were brothers.

  “And you must be Ezra,” I said.

  He held my hand in both of his, and he smiled so warmly at me, I thought I would melt. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Peter standing in the corner, casting an odd look at us, but I tried to ignore it.

  “I’ve heard so much about you. ” He let go of my hand and took a step back so he was at a polite distance. Mae stayed planted at my side, and she had started stroking my hair again. I realized belatedly that she was showing me off.

  “All of it good, I hope,” I said quietly. It was an incredibly cheesy thing to say, but I couldn’t think of anything better.

  With Ezra stepping back, he didn’t quite eclipse my view the way he had before, and I couldn’t help but sneak a glance at Peter, who was staring straight back at me. He leaned his shoulder against a wall with his arms crossed over his chest. Wearing tight fitting jeans and a black tee shirt, he was so amazingly gorgeous that I had to pull my eyes away to look back at Ezra, who suddenly didn’t seem quite as astonishing in comparison.

  “Isn’t she lovely?” Mae gushed, putting her arm around me. All the attention was flattering, but very odd. Mae treated me as if I had cured cancer or walked on water, and all I had done was show up.

  “She is something,” Ezra said, and I felt him appraising me, so I straightened my back slightly. “But you knew she would be. ”

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