“Yes.” said Ambrose. “Here we are now.”
“Will you stay the night, sir?”
Raven looked disappointed, which irked Ambrose.
Does he think I’m a bad vampire too? “I don’t need to stay here. I have a home.” He scowled. “And, just so you know, I am fully capable of fending for myself.”
Raven took a step back as if he’d been caught unaware. “Of course, sir. I never meant to imply otherwise.”
“I’m sure you didn’t.”
Raven bowed, a stiff, vaguely annoyed bow, and turned to leave.
“Before you go, tell me.”
Raven turned his head to the side.
“How do you keep the hunters away from this place?” He scoffed. “You have a sign sitting on top of this place, advertising that this is a vampire club. In glowing neon letters.”
“The hunter in this town, Lazalee Marshbrook, understands our situation here. We have reached a mutual understanding, sir. We don’t cross her lines. She stays away from ours.”
“I’ve never heard of such a thing. Hunters are ruthless killers.” He kept his thoughts away from Elsie’s gentle touch and her passionate kiss. “That’s all they are.”
Raven turned to face him. “They say that of us, sir. Is that all that we are?”
Ambrose did not reply.
“If you’ll excuse me.” He bowed again and left.
Ambrose sat on the floor with his knees all bunched up and his back pressed against the paneled wall. It was a whole lot more comfortable than sitting on the Queen Anne’s chairs. He had tried the others and they were all lumpy. Some were actually worse than others. He had no idea why that was even possible.
Is it old cushioning or what? They couldn’t have been like that when they were brand new. No one, vampire or otherwise, would buy lumpy-seated chairs. There’s just no excuse.
Elsie returned to his mind.
Ambrose closed his eyes and listened to the old house’s creaks and bumps and groans.
Coming towards him.
But he saw her face. Her black hair. Her gold-colored eyes. He remembered the feel of her skin, the touch of her lips, and he longed for more.
I want to feel her neck beneath my teeth, her life blood pouring into me, filling me. I want to feel her body go slack in my arms. I want to know that she is mine forever.
He opened his eyes and looked up at the ceiling. “And that’s why I can never go back to her.”
The scent of talcum powder and sea salt announced the other vampire’s presence before he could even say a word.
Ambrose looked at the man standing before him. He was skinny and unmuscular with floompy blond hair that draped over one eye.
“Hey, hey, hey. I heard Raven had to chase the cops off your tail.”
He went down into an eager crouch. “Who’d you bite?”
Ambrose smiled as he remembered the shock on Mark Caten’s face. “I bit one of Mark Caten’s servants and I killed a whole bunch more.”
“Wow! When you say killed, do you mean…you bit them all?”
“No, stupid. It isn’t possible for any vampire to bite that many people in one night and not get caught. Or staked.”
“Oh.” He held out his hand. “Name’s Marcus.”
Ambrose shook his hand. “Ambrose.”
“So? You got any ladies in your life?”
“None that I wish to talk about.”
“Ahh. Heartbreak, huh? Yeah, I’ve been through that too.” Marcus sat on the floor. “What you gotta do is find a new one.”
“A new what?”
“Get a whole new lady in your life. I recommend going with another vampire. Saves you a whole lot of grief with the ‘I want to bite her but I don’t want to bite her but I do want to bite her’ rigmarole.”
Ambrose considered it.
“Not that I would personally know that. Vampire women are so particular about their vampire love interests. They don’t go for bad ones like me.”
“I don’t want to be with another vampire. I just want Elsie.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I hear ya. But a vampire’s life is too long to get stuck to one single person. So, get out there. Try a different girl every night.”
“I don’t want that either.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get ya. But the more girls you go out with, the sooner your heartbreak will heal up.”
One of the other vampires poked his head into the room. “Hey! It’s coming up to Sparkle Boy’s big scene. You guys comin’?”
Marcus looked at Ambrose, who shook his head. “You sure?”
“Okay!” Marcus got up and followed his fellow bad vampire out of the room.