It wasn’t him. It was someone else. It was something else. It wasn’t him.
Elsie’s face burned. But I wanted it to be him.
“Elsie. Please. Please talk to me.”
“There’s nothing to talk about. I don’t know why you think there is when there isn’t.”
“What have I done wrong?”
She stopped in the middle of her driveway.
“Why won’t you look at me? Why won’t you just—”
“Hildreth, please. Just stop.” She turned to face him. “I’m tired and that’s all. It’s not you. It’s…”
His face fell.
“It’s nothing but tiredness. That’s all.” And I am tired. Tired of being tugged between Hildreth and Ambrose when all I really want is Hildreth.
“Is it that vampire again?”
Her face burned like a wildfire. She turned and walked stiff-backed to her house.
“Oh, Elsie. Why?”
She pulled out her house key and unlocked the front door.
He came over to her. “Elsie.”
“Elsie…” His voice made her simple name sound like something sparkling.
He laid his hands on her shoulders.
“So, then. Let’s dance.”
Elsie opened the door, entered her house, and left Hildreth without even a good-bye.
She took off her coat, kicked off her boots, and she saw Ambrose’s face.
His black eyes. Looking at her. Admiring her. Wanting her. Loving her.
She felt his touch. Always too warm. His breath on her skin.
His kisses turned more eager and passionate, making her heart flutter and her pulse dance.
“Stupid vampire. Stupid rotten worthless vampire!”
She went downstairs to her training room.
He grabbed her hair and whacked her head against the floor.
She punched the boxing dummy. Over and over.
He lunged for her throat.
She felt the sharp sting of his fangs piercing her wrist.
She screamed and punched the dummy harder and faster until her knuckles bled.
Elsie saw Hildreth.
His blue-green eyes.
His light brown hair.
How deeply he adored her.
She stopped in mid-punch.
He loves me.
Even though I can be so difficult, he loves me. And he has stayed with me through all of my ups and downs.
“I am the worst kind of idiot imaginable.”
She pulled out her cellphone and dialed his number.
The phone rang and rang and rang.
“Don’t talk. Just come back here. Please come back to me.”
He didn’t even hesitate. “I’ll be right there.”