The violet haired gentleman returned to the front lobby.
Barbara smiled her bravest at him. “They will review your application and get back to you in a few days. Good luck!”
As he left, her phone rang. “Hello! Thank you for calling…Oh, Sammy! I’m sorry! I forgot to check the caller ID when I…Yes. I’ll be right there.”
She put up her Away From My Desk sign and hurried, without running, to Sammy’s office.
She sat in her usual chair.
Sammy rose from his seat and came over to her. “I talked to Ms. Vansing.”
Barbara wrung her hands in her lap. “And she said…”
“She gave me the information I needed.”
Her hands went still. “She agreed to help us?”
“I may have left out some key information. I didn’t mention Mr. Smith. I didn’t say anything about you. I didn’t tell her anything about what happened to Caten’s Davisburg business.”
“But she agreed to help us. Oh, Sammy! That’s wonderful. So! How are we dividing this? I take half of the list and you take the other?”
Her face fell. “I want to help.”
“No, Ms. Addleston. I will not have another vampire bite you.”
“But he might. Or another vampire might. Or any number of possible—”
“Sammy. You can’t just wrap me up in bubble wrap and lock me in a empty vault. I want to help. I need to help. I need to be there when you find him. Please. Don’t leave me out of this.”
Sammy leaned against the edge of his desk. “There is the other reason. I am going to travel from location to location in a way…” He hesitated. The flowers on his desk wilted. “It would be difficult for you to keep up with me.”
“Just tell me where to go and I’ll drive there.”
“No, Ms. Addleston.” His voice was steady and calm. Nothing broke, exploded, or caught on fire. “No.”
“Then, what am I going to do?”
“Wait for my call.”
She opened her mouth to object.
“And I will call. No matter what.” His wilted flower exploded in a poof of black smoke. “No matter what I find.”
“You’re expecting the worse.”
“Yes. And I don’t want you to be anywhere nearby if reality meets my expectations.”
“What do you mean?”
The glass flower vase creaked and snapped as cracks ran across its surface.
Sammy picked up the vase and stuffed it inside his desk drawer. “I mean, if I feel that he’s a danger to you or if he’s too badly damaged, I’ll have to…I’ll…”
Her heart sank as she filled in what was left unsaid. “You’ll kill him.”
There was a loud sound as the vase exploded.
“Only if I must, Ms. Addleston. But I will try not to. I will do all that I can to rescue Mr. Smith and bring him back to you safe. But I need you to stay here. I need to know that you are safe. Can you do that?”
She bowed her head and considered the possible ways to disobey him.
Ambrose will probably be all bone-heavy and exhausted. But what if he’s hungry? What if he’s desperate for blood? What if he’s in evil vampire mode? Maybe Sammy’s right.
She raised her head. “I’ll stay behind. Just promise me that you will bring him back. Even if he’s dead.”
He nodded. “I will leave tonight.”
“It’s for the best if I wait until nightfall.”
“It’s complicated, Ms. Addleston.”
“Be careful. Don’t get yourself hurt or killed or changed. Please.”
“Of course, Ms. Addleston. I’ll be careful.”