She was a redhead with a name and a beautiful face, but in Ambrose’s dream she had neither name nor face. She was just there, touching him, caressing him, and pulling him in.
But with every touch, with every gasp and every breath, he felt nothing but anger.
It isn’t Elsie.
He clenched his teeth.
This isn’t Elsie.
He dug his claws into the mattress.
It should be her.
He wanted to beat her.
I want it to be her.
He wanted to scream.
WHY ISN’T IT ELSIE?
She cried out his name and it wasn’t Elsie’s voice.
He opened his mouth wide and bared his fangs.
He bit her neck until she died.
He felt no regret as the blood high claimed him.
Ambrose startled awake. He lay there, shivering.
Will I be that way with Barbara? Will I want Elsie instead of her? Will I kill her because I want her to be Elsie?
“Well. That is a stupid question.”
I haven’t thought about Elsie like that in so long. I don’t even know when I stopped. Was it before the whole drama scene at the restaurant? Or was it even further back? I don’t know. I can’t even remember.
I don’t want her and she doesn’t want me. She made that very clear. As did I.
And I’m fine with that.
If we ever go all the way, if Barbara will ever have me, I won’t hurt her. As much as I can help it, I won’t.
I certainly won’t hurt her for such a worthless reason.
He closed his eyes.
My darling Barbara.
He fell asleep and Barbara appeared in his dreams.
And they were very good dreams.
Ambrose woke to a bad case of cold feet. He raised his head and glanced around the couch.
Sure enough. The throw had jumped ship and was currently lying with its fallen comrades.
He sighed irritably. “stupid dumb rotten…” He got off the couch and deliberately stepped on the throw with his bare feet.
Ambrose walked into the foyer and pulled on his shoes.
“Hey there, handsome.”
He kept his focus on tying his shoes.
“Don’t worry. I’m not going to get too close. I just want to let you know that Sammy wants to see you. He has some questions for you, I guess.”
“I’m not sure. He didn’t say.”
He quickly ran out of shoes to put on and laces to tie. He grabbed his coat.
“Ambrose. Before you go, I have a surprise for you.”
“What is it?”
“It’s on the kitchen table. I know you’re in bad, hungry vampire mode, but come. I want to see your reaction.”
“Fine. Just don’t get too close to me. I don’t want to hurt you.”
“Totally understand. Come on.”
She disappeared into the kitchen.
He counted to forty-five before following her scent trail.
He entered the kitchen.
Her scent was so strong it was like walking into a fudge shop.
Ambrose covered his nose and mouth with his hands and focused on his own scent as he approached the table.
But his mouth watered all the same.
Until he saw it.
A cell phone lay in the middle of the table with a yellow sticky note on it. The words “Ambrose! This is for you!” was written on the paper in beautiful cursive.
Ambrose slowly uncovered his face and gave her a questioning look.
“It’s yours. I bought it for you today. I made sure to get you a flip-phone. I didn’t think you’d care for the flat ones.”
He picked it off the table and carefully removed the sticky note.
“I felt bad that you have no way of getting a hold of me if you need to or, you know. The other way around.”
He flipped it open and closed it back down.
“It’s pretty simple. Nothing too complex about it. Oh! And you don’t have to worry about programming any numbers into it or anything. I already did it.”
“For me? You did this for me?”
Ambrose set the phone on the table and approached her.
His hunger pulled at him and urged him to run. Attack. Bite. Kill.
He stopped before her and kissed her. A simple, gentle kiss. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Same to you.” His expression softened. “And thank you.”