Barbara perked her head up as Ambrose entered the office. “Hey, there!”
He strolled over to her desk and elbow propped on the ledge. “Hey. Sorry about waking you last night. I was just so happy that I figured out that stupid phone all by myself.”
She giggled. “I guess that means I should say sorry about waking you this morning. But I couldn’t help it.”
“I know.” He looked down at her and he thought about his dream. He thought about Elsie.
“What’s wrong? You look so serious all of a sudden.”
He shook his head. “Nothing. I’m going to sit down.” He smiled. “I don’t want to distract you from doing your job.”
“Oh, it’s okay. You can distract me all you want.”
The phone rang and she answered it.
He walked over to the seat in the furthest corner.
What would I do if Elsie strolled in here and threw herself at me? I don’t want to hurt Barbara. But what would I do?
His heart raced at the memory of her touch.
No. It doesn’t matter. It won’t happen.
It can’t happen.
But if she weren’t.
What if she weren’t?
No! I can’t. I won’t think that. It’ll make me go mad. Just the thought. Just the possibility.
But no. It’s over.
She’s dead and gone.
He covered his face with his hands. She’s dead. My Elsie’s dead.
He uncovered his face. But Barbara is alive. She is alive and she is here. Right here. She’s seen me hungry. She’s seen me be selfish and cruel. And she hasn’t pushed me away. She still wants to give me a chance.
Maybe she’s wrong to do so. Maybe she’s naïve. Maybe she’s incredibly stupid.
But I know she isn’t.
Maybe I’ll give in and bite her.
But I know I won’t.
“Ambrose? Sammy’s ready for you.”