For the first time in a very long time, he was not hungry.
He uncocooned himself and sat up. He felt his fingertips one by one. Each fingertip had a bone spur-like spot right above the fingernail line.
So, I still have my claws.
He ran his tongue along his teeth and found the matching bony prominences in his gumline.
And I still have my fangs.
I’m still a vampire. So, why aren’t I hungry?
Raven entered the room. “Good evening, sir. Is there anything I can do for you?”
“I’m not hungry. Why aren’t I hungry?”
Raven pulled the light-blocking curtains open. “Perhaps it was something you ate, sir?”
Ambrose frowned. “I haven’t had anything to eat since…” Sammy. His frown lifted. “Would dragon blood have this sort of effect?”
“I am afraid I cannot tell. I have never encountered a dragon, sir.”
“Huh. I wonder how long it will last.”
“Sir. If I may change the subject…”
Ambrose stretched out. “Go on.”
“Miss Addleston is concerned for your safety. She requested that I join you on your journey.”
Ambrose crawled out of bed. “I don’t suppose you have a coat I can borrow.”
“I do, sir, but what of her request?”
“I prefer to be alone.”
“I am aware of that.”
“Good. Then, you’ll let me be alone.”
“Will you be all right?”
Ambrose shrugged. “I don’t know.”
Raven pulled Ambrose’s shoes out from under the bed. “Please sit, sir.”
Raven unlaced the shoelaces and proceeded to put the shoes on the other vampire’s feet.
“You don’t have to do that. I can do it fine myself.”
“I know, sir.” He laced up the right shoe. “I could come with.”
He tied the lace into a tidy bow.
“You can do me a favor, though.”
“Keep tabs on her. Make sure she doesn’t get hurt or changed while I’m gone.”
“Sir?” He tied the left shoe’s laces. “Are you certain I can be trusted? I am a vampire. She is a human.”
“Protecting people is kind of your thing.”
“Yes, sir.” He looked up at Ambrose. “Yet, the people I tend to protect are vampires.”
“I’m not asking you to live with her. I’m not that stupid. Just watch her. Keep other vampires away from her.”
“What of myself, sir?”
“The last hunter I ran afoul of made me see the different ways we can be hurt. You do anything to hurt her, and I do mean anything, I will kill you. And I will make your death very painful.” He extended his claws and touched them lightly against Raven’s throat. “Am I clear? Sir?”
Raven’s posture stiffened. “Adequately.”
Hildreth ran his hand through his hair. “I’m forgetting something. What am I forgetting? Oh! Right! Train tickets.”
He ran back into the house, up to his bedroom, and grabbed the tickets off his dresser. His cell phone rang.
He picked it off his dresser and answered it. “Hello? Hildreth here. Elsie! Oh, I’m sorry. I got sidetracked. I am on my way. I’ll be there. Be safe.”
Hildreth ended his call and set the phone back on his dresser. He started to leave the room.
He swore under his breath. He ran back to the dresser, grabbed his phone, and headed downstairs to his car.
He sat down in the driver’s seat and sighed.
What is wrong with me? Why am I so jittered up? I’m just going to Master Shinowa’s for a little extra training. Then, I’ll return. I’ll marry her. We’ll honeymoon. Then, I’ll kill Ambrose and he will be gone for good.
He started the car and backed out of his driveway. “Nothing at all to be nervous about.” Right. And I’m not nervous. I’m totally…Ah, shoot!
Hildreth pulled back into the driveway, got out of his car, ran to the front door, and locked it. He returned to his car, got back into the driver’s seat, closed the door, and killed his mailbox as he backed out onto the street.
“eh. I’ll deal with that when I come home.”
He buckled his seatbelt and left.