Ambrose released her and started to slump to the floor.
Raven emerged from the shadows to catch him. “You may leave, Miss Addleston. I will take care of him. I will keep him safe for you.”
“Can you go with him when he leaves?”
Raven adjusted and readjusted his grip on Ambrose. “I will discuss that with him tonight.”
“Thank you. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.”
He smiled and hauled Ambrose back to the bed.
Barbara left as he tucked Ambrose in.
Kevin’s face brightened. “You’re back to me.”
“Well. I don’t know about that. I’m just leaving him alone so he can get his beauty sleep.”
“But vampire’s leaving.”
“Barbara be with me then?”
She walked down the hallway.
“Barbara?” Kevin caught up to her. “Barbara be with me then?”
“I don’t know. I need to think about it.”
“No think. Waste time. Time too precious.”
Her heart ached as she understood his meaning. “I know. I just don’t think it would be right.”
“Right?” He seemed to be genuinely puzzled by that word.
“It wouldn’t be real. My feelings for you…They aren’t what they used to be. For me to be with you now, it would be pretend. It would be a lie. And I don’t want to lie to anyone like that. Especially someone like you.”
“Oh. I get it. You don’t like me.”
“No, it’s more complicated than that. I do like you, but it’s more of a friend like than a love like. Does that make sense?”
“Friend. Not love. Could become love?”
She walked down the stairs.
“Barbara? Friend become love?”
“I guess it isn’t impossible.”
“Then, just be my friend. Is that possible? Can you do that?”
She stopped at the mid-way point and smiled. “Of course, I can.”
He smiled, wide and happy.
Barbara had the strange feeling that if he had a tail, he would have wagged it.
Hildreth looked up at her as she unzipped his coat. His heart pounded too fast and his breathing was all wrong.
He reached up and stroked her face. “Elsie.”
His fingers moved down to her hood’s drawstrings. He worked on untying them.
Someone tromped up the five stairs behind them. “Excuse me!”
Elsie startled and climbed off of Hildreth.
“This is a public park, ya hooligans. Take your lovemaking somewhere else.”
Hildreth sat up. “We’re not hooligans, ma’am.”
She gave him a Medusa-like glare. “That’s what you think. Get going! The both of you! Go on! Get!”
Elsie helped him up.
“Trying to do such things in this inclement weather. Pah! You young folk are all fools. Fools, I tell you!”
Hildreth looked love at Elsie and received love back.
She took his hand and held it tight. “Well. We’ll be going now.”
“Good. You better get going or I’ll call the cops on you.”
“Huh?” said Hildreth. “For what?”
“What? Seriously. What?”
“Hildreth, let’s go.”
He let her guide him across the slippery bridge to the shortcut. “Can you really be arrested for that sort of thing?”
“Yes!” yelled the lady on the bridge.