Ambrose went limp and soft in Barbara’s arms as his day exhaustion reinforced its grip on him. His arms fell to his sides.
Barbara gently guided him down.
He burrowed his face into the pillow, stretched out his legs, and fell asleep.
Kevin’s running on borrowed time. I don’t know how much.
Maybe I should go back to him. Make his remaining time as a human something to hold onto. Make it worthwhile.
She rubbed his hair between her fingers.
But I don’t feel for him the way I feel for Ambrose. I mean, I feel horrible for him. I don’t want him to change into a thoughtless, memoryless monster. I want him to be just Kevin. The same shiftless, ordinary Kevin I used to know, that he will never be again.
If I stayed with him…
Her hand slid down to his back.
Ambrose took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh.
It wouldn’t be fair. I’d be leading him on. He’d misunderstand my intentions. And what would happen after he crossed over? Would he expect me to be his mate?
As for Ambrose, he wouldn’t understand. He’d feel betrayed. I know he would.
She leaned forward and kissed the back of his neck – right at the hairline.
He moaned, a deep warm sound.
I can’t hurt him like that.
He turned his head and opened his eyes. “Barbara.”
“It’s all right.” She kissed his forehead. “Just go to sleep.”
“I have to leave Pinkerlee.”
He closed his eyes and fell asleep.
Hildreth woke up alone in his bed. He smiled.
We never did go to the Casbah Café. Too bad. That would have been nice.
He sighed. As for all of that stuff she said about that vampire, it doesn’t bother me. Not anymore. She told me her heart last night and I believe her. I trust her.
His smile fell. “But I will not let her go anywhere near that vampire. I will not let him latch his filthy claws into her.”
Which, unfortunately, reminds me.
He grabbed his cell phone off his nightstand and dialed her number.
“Hey, gorgeous. I uhhh…”
What am I doing? I can’t tell her this sort of thing over the phone!
“Could you meet me in the park? The footbridge. The one overlooking the lake. I…I need to tell you something. It’s important.”
The worry in her voice stabbed his heart.
“I’ll tell you when you get there. I love you. Bye.”
Cold winter’s rain pelted Elsie as she entered Garvitt’s Park. She raised her hood and tied it tight under her chin.
What was he thinking? Having me meet him here on such a day. I hope he doesn’t make me wait.
I hope I don’t get sick.
She took the shortcut through the frozen woods. The ice covered trees creaked dire threats of falling limbs.
But their threats fell on disinterested ears.
I hope I don’t slip and fall.
She followed the shortcut down a long, slippery curve out onto the main trail. The footbridge stood before her.
Elsie walked up the five ice-slicked steps onto the footbridge.
Hildreth stood on the other side, looking out at the lake.
She approached him. “I hope there’s a good reason why I had to risk life and limb to get here. If not, I will roundhouse kick your face off.”
He didn’t turn around.
“I’m sorry, Elsie. I have to leave.”
“So, what? You made me come all the way over here and you can’t even give me a decent reason why?”
“You don’t understand.” He turned to face her. The rain clung to his hair in ice clumps. “I have to leave.”
Her heart sank.
“I have to leave Havaton.”