Part 14 – Interlude

“Ambrose.” Her voice, so soft and urgent, broke through his dreams.

He opened his eyes.

She stood there, looking down at him.

He smiled. “Good morning.”

“Not yet.” She kissed the top of his head. “Not for you, anyway.”

He reached up and stroked her hair. “So? What do you want then?”

She took his hand and held it. “I need to know. How long is this going to go on? How long are you going to stay with me?”

“If this is about your niece paying you a visit—”

“It isn’t. This is about you and me.”

He sat up. “What?”

“What I feel for you and what you feel for me…I don’t know if they’re the same.”

Ambrose frowned.

She released his hand and sat on the bed. “I keep thinking, keep expecting that one morning I’ll come down here and you’ll be gone. My blood and my love won’t be enough for you anymore. You’ll move on to what you consider fresher and better grounds.”

“Elsie.”

“I don’t…” She laid her hands in her lap. “I’m not immortal like you. But I feel like I stand alone. I’m just a rock in a stream. Everyone flows around me, blows past me. Even those I love. They leave me alone.”

Ambrose wrapped his arms around her neck in a gentle embrace. He didn’t speak. He just held onto her.

“Will you leave me too?”

“Only if you send me away.”

She rubbed the tears from her eyes. “Ugh. I’m sorry. It’s not like me to be this sentimental.” She sighed.  “I just found out that Master Innaquay has died. They haven’t given me a new master yet. I don’t know who they will choose. I don’t know if anyone will choose me. I don’t know what will happen if I am not given a new Master. I don’t know.” Her voice caught. “I don’t know.”

“No matter what happens, I’m here.” He kissed the side of her head. “I’m here with you. I won’t leave you. I promise.”

She closed her eyes and leaned her head back against his chest.

Neither one spoke. For there simply was no need to say a word.

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