Hildreth fell asleep on the oversized leather couch in the living room. Elsie curled up in the matching armchair.
She stayed up all night, waiting for Ambrose to come home.
Elsie opened her eyes and startled.
Hildreth’s face was just inches away from her own.
She sat up quickly and glanced around. What? What am I doing over here? Did I sleepwalk? Hildreth wouldn’t have carried me over here. At any rate, he wouldn’t have put me on the floor.
Then, she recalled: Five o’clock in the morning. Cold. Lonely. Many bad dreams.
I got off the chair and came over to him. My eyes were too tired. That’s why I thought he looked like Ambrose. I would have curled up right next to him and slept in his arms, but he was sprawled out like a fifty-armed starfish. There wasn’t enough room for me. So, I curled up on the floor, close to his face, and closed my eyes.
And here I am now.
She contemplated his face as he slept. I must have been completely out of it to confuse him with Ambrose. They look nothing alike. And they kiss nothing alike.
She could feel her face turn red. I kissed him. No. I dreamed it. That didn’t really happen. Why would I kiss him?
“Unngh…” Hildreth rubbed his eyes. “Uhh?” He uncovered his eyes. “Elsie? Why are you over here?”
She rose to her feet. “It’s morning. I’m going to look for Ambrose.”
He grabbed her hands. “Before we do.”
She tensed up.
“You kissed me last night.”
So, it did happen! “Yes.”
“And that was that.”
“I don’t know what you’re trying to ask me.”
“Will you kiss me again?”
“What? Right now?”
He smiled. “Right now.”
“Why? Did I say something in my sleep?”
“No. I just have this strong feeling that if I don’t kiss you now…That vampire will reenter the scene and I’ll be pushed aside and forgotten. So, Elsie. Kiss me again. Please.”
She knelt beside him.
He isn’t Ambrose.
I don’t want him to be Ambrose.
Elsie leaned forward and kissed him.
He released her hands and gently returned her kisses.
And she felt wonderfully safe.