Ambrose hissed out his irritation.
Well. My mind’s moving in happy directions, isn’t it?
It’s the air in here. It’s too stale.
He took his coat off, but that didn’t help.
I need to move. I need to get out of here.
He uncurled himself and got off the bed.
He walked over to the door, unlocked it, and slid it open.
“Lovely. More warm air.” Ambrose left his room. “Why don’t they have the AC on?”
Small spot-shaped nightlights glowed along the base of the wall, roughly ten spaces apart.
He scoffed. As if I even need those.
He walked to the back end of the car and tried to open the connecting door.
He did an about face and walked to the opposite end of the car.
Oh, goody. This door’s locked too.
He kicked it.
I should tear it off its hinges and throw it somewhere. Where am I supposed to go? What am I supposed to do? Sleep and deal with those kind of dreams? Or should I stay awake and continue to ruminate on depressing thoughts?
He ran his hand through his hair and sighed.
One of the doors behind him slid open and the scent of roses and lavender filled the air.
Ambrose turned quickly.
A woman in a maroon silk robe stepped out into the corridor. She looked at him and smiled.
He didn’t know her name.
But he recognized her.
He knew her.
She approached him.
He backed away from her until he was trapped in a corner.
“Get away from me.”
“That lovely, luxuriant scent.”
“I said, get away.”
She stopped in front of him.
Her face was as beautiful and as doll-like as he remembered.
“That voice.” She reached for him with claw tipped fingers.
“Don’t touch me.” He bared his fangs. “Don’t you dare touch me!”
“I know you.”
“You don’t know me. You didn’t even try to know me. You changed me and left me.”
He glared at her. “I am not your child.”
“You are.” She reached for him.
He grabbed her wrist. “You abandoned me. Do you have any idea what I went through? The loss. The confusion. The hunger. The uncertainty and fear.”
“I am a vampire.”
He tightened his grip on her wrist. “Do you know that my first victim was my father? I killed him. I couldn’t help myself. Why did you leave me behind? Why didn’t you take me with you?”
She smiled. “I don’t crave companionship. Don’t need it. I’m surprised you do.”
He released her wrist. “I didn’t say I needed companionship.”
“But you do, my dear child.”
“Quit calling me that.”
“That’s why you’re up and about at this time of day.”
“I’m up and about this time of day because I’m a vampire and I can’t sleep. There’s nothing to do. Nowhere to go. I’m trapped. And IT’S TOO WARM IN HERE!”
She laughed. “Then, come with me.”
“What are you afraid of, child?”
“I have a name. It’s Ambrose Smith and I’m not a child.”
“I am Isadora. That might be my real name. Or it might be what I call myself.”
“And you’re not going to tell me which it is.”
“Why would I?” She ran her tongue along the edges of her teeth. “I still remember the taste of your blood and how hard you struggled against me.”
His hands curled and uncurled.
“You didn’t realize how hard you were making it for yourself. If you had just given in from the very start, it would have been over in seconds with such a little amount of pain.”
“You didn’t tell me.”
“Why would I? It should have been obvious.” She splayed her hands on the wall on either side of his head. “So, come with me. Ambrose.”
He shook his head.
“Why? You want to spend the whole night pacing and kicking doors?”
“I don’t want to be with you.”
She laughed. “Is that what you’re afraid of? Dear, dear child. I don’t do that sort of thing with other vampires. It tends to turn into an ugly battle of power and wills. No fun.”
“What do you want from me?”
Her smile grew. “Companionship. I happen to play a mean game of War. Care to play it with me?”
“Are you serious?”
“Very. It’s going to be a long night for both of us with nothing better to do. We might as well play cards.”
His hands relaxed. “You’re right.”