Ambrose grabbed the phone from Marvin and put it to his ear. “Elsie?”
But she wasn’t there.
Just dial tone.
He exhaled softly, but the hurt stayed deep inside and refused to leave. “Who was it? Did she say her name? What did she want?” He hung up the phone and looked at Marvin. “Was it Elsie? What…Why was she asking about me? What did she want? What did she say?”
“That’s a whole big lot of questions to answer.”
“Just tell me. Was it her? Was it Elsie?”
“Well, she didn’t go announcing herself. She just went on asking questions about some guy she was looking for. She didn’t seem all that happy about you hanging with that fey chick.”
“Why? What did she say?”
“Oh, she didn’t say anything.” He smiled, a big, friendly smile. “Now, don’t get yourself all weirded out. I’m not psychic like some creatures out there. Just sometimes a guy knows when a woman’s peeved. You can hear it in her silence.”
Ambrose frowned at the phone with all of its fake pay phone glory. He wondered if it would be worth his while to render it punch happy dead. “Idiot. You didn’t have to tell her about Ginshee.”
“Sorry about that.” He perked up. “Hey! How about I make it up to you?”
“I know! A cup of water and a prickly pear cheesecake. How ’bout it?”
“No.” He thought about Raven. “I have to leave.”
“What? You don’t even want cheesecake?”
He glared at Marvin. “I don’t like cheesecake.” A sepia-toned memory surfaced and he smiled fondly. “I never did.”
He left without saying thank you or good-bye.
Marvin waited until he was gone.
He picked up the phone and dialed a number he knew backwards, forwards, and blindfolded. “Hi. Yep, it’s me. Yeah. Yeah. Wife and kids are fine. Look. You need to relay a message to the boss. Tell him that Vampire Lover Boy somehow found out his plans for Hunter Chick.” He hesitated. “I have no idea how he found out. He just knows. Maybe it’s vampire psychic power. I don’t know. He blabbed to her. I mean, he told Hunter Chick everything. No, he’s gone now. Just left.”
He looked at his reflection in the fake pay phone’s well-shined chrome. “What do you want me to do?” He winced. “Do I have to? Oh? Oh, really? That much. That’s an awful big lot of money. Okay. Yeah. Yep. Okay. I’ll see you at the company picnic tomorrow. That’s still on, right? Good. Bye.”
Marvin hung up the phone. He thought of Raven and the vampires who lived in the Bad Vampires Club and felt a twinge of regret.
“But, hey. At least I didn’t mention Ginshee’s plan to turn rogue.” He thought about her fey beauty as he closed up shop.
He smiled and left.