Couples slow danced to Celine Dion’s “Immortality”.
Barbara smiled. “So! You ready to crash their fun again?”
Ambrose shook his head. “I don’t like this song.”
“It’s a beautiful song.”
“It makes me feel lonely.”
She listened to the lyrics and she understood. “Have you ever considered changing someone to have as a companion?”
“Are you offering?”
“What? No. I just meant in general.”
“Of course. I considered it. I tried it.” He curled his hands around his glass of hot water. “They always got staked. So, I’ve given up on that plan.” He tightened his grip. “But if I asked you, would you let me change you? Or does that fall into the same forbidden territory as sleeping with me?” He heard the hurt and irritation in his voice and he hated it.
“Just forget it. I wouldn’t want to do it with you anyway. I’d just lose control and hurt you. So, it doesn’t even matter.”
“Ambrose. Stop talking for one second. Listen to me. My not wanting to sleep with you has nothing at all to do with you, much less with you being a vampire. It’s me. It’s what I want. And what I don’t want. It isn’t because I don’t feel anything for you.” She blushed. “It certainly isn’t because I don’t want you like that.”
“It’s because I don’t want to be anyone’s one quick fling.”
“I know. But I want it to be something between me and my husband and no one else.”
He took a sip of his water and sighed. “Finally. A place that knows what I mean by hot water.” He gave a passing waiter a thumbs-up.
The waiter gave him a weirded-out look and walked a little faster.
“So, then. If I wanted to change you…”
Barbara watched the couples on the dance floor. “They’re really good, aren’t they?” She lapsed into several minutes of silence. “It would hurt, wouldn’t it?”
“So much more than you can imagine. The pain would fade and the hunger would take its place.”
“Could I get by without biting anyone?”
“No. You would need to eat once a night. Skipping even one meal would be enough to turn you into a monster.”
She bowed her head. “I don’t want to be a monster.”
Ambrose tore his gaze away from her neck and focused on her. “I understand.”
Celine’s song finished and the next one – Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” – began.
“Now.” Ambrose smiled. “This song I do like. Will you dance with me?”
She smiled bright and happy. “Of course.”
Ambrose and Barbara stepped onto the floor. The other couples regarded them with suspicion and subtle panic, undoubtedly expecting horrors.
Ambrose took her into his arms. His one hand on the middle of her back. His other hand holding her hand.
They swayed to the music. Their eyes locked on each other. The other dancers faded – out of sight and mind. There was only the music and the lyrics and Ambrose and Barbara all together in one perfect whole.
Ambrose sang along softly, “Take me into your loving arms. Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars. Place your head on my beating heart. I’m thinking out loud.”
Barbara joined in, “Maybe we found love right where we are.”