Ambrose came out of the blood high, panting as usual, but also with a smile on his face.
Raven peeked around the corner. “Sir?”
Ambrose licked his lips. “Not the best taste, but ahh. So much better than being hungry.”
Raven approached him. “Sir. You and I need to discuss last night.”
“Okay.” He dropped the dead hunter. “Let’s discuss it. You can start by telling me how the blazes you let another vampire come that close to her house.”
“My thoughts had drifted elsewhere, sir. He walked up to the door. I did chase him away.”
“Were there any others?”
“No, sir. Just that one.”
“Sir. What you accused me of, what you claimed I did, you were wrong. Completely wrong. I kept my distance. She never saw me. I never tried to do anything to her. It never even crossed my mind. That is the truth of it. Sir. Now. If you will excuse me, I’m still hungry.”
Raven stopped, but he didn’t look back at Ambrose.
“I’m sorry. I just freaked out. I saw those claw marks on the door and…” He shook his head. “I lost it. I completely lost it.”
Raven stood silent and still.
“I will find another place to sleep. Maybe not at her house, although I’d love to. But I can’t spend all of my days on a couch. I need a bed that I can thoroughly stretch out on. But that is none of your concern. Is it?”
“It is not. Sir.”
“Then, you best go your way and I’ll go mine.”
“Your jump to rash judgment…It shocked me. It hurt me. No one has ever hurt me like that.”
Raven turned to face him. “I should tell you to stay away from me, but.” He bowed his head. “I don’t like being alone, sir. There are too many memories in my head. Too many voices calling to me. Ghosts, sir. Ghosts that taunt me and make me question my sanity.” He looked up at him. “Please don’t leave me alone, sir.”
A moment of silence passed as Ambrose considered his possibilities. “Well. I don’t have anywhere better to stay.”
Raven smiled and it was like sunlight on new snow. “Thank you, sir.”
“I have to go have speaks with Sammy. Will you be okay hunting on your own?”
“Yes. The ghosts don’t appear until I’m home and all alone.”
Ambrose entered Sammy’s place, expecting all manner of trouble. He just wasn’t sure why.
Sammy sat at Barbara’s desk. “You’re here. Very good. I’ll let you get to work.”
“Barbara said you wanted to see me for some reason or other.”
“Yes. Come closer.”
Sammy rose from his seat and walked around to the other side of the desk. “How do you feel?”
“Is your head clear? You’re able to think and remember?”
“Remember…I saw my parents. They gave me their rings. My neck hurt. I felt…” He frowned at that memory’s fuzziness. “I didn’t feel good. I didn’t feel right. Sick. Some sort of flu or something. And then.” He struggled to remember. “Then, I woke up in the woods with blood all over my claws. I have no idea what happened in between. Why can’t I remember what happened, what I did, anything?”
“When the savage hunger took over, your ability to think and remember was temporarily disabled.”
“Will I ever get those memories back?”
‘No. Because those memories were never there to start with.”
“So, I’ll always have that blank space, that…Never? I’ll never remember?”
Ambrose shuddered. “Sammy. Next time I’m in a bad state like that, don’t let me bite you. I don’t like having gaps in my memory. It scares me.” He arched an eyebrow. “Should I be expecting any other ‘fun’ developments?”
“The savage hunger, as you call it, won’t come back and take me over again?”
“No. You should be in the clear.”
“Good.” Ambrose started to walk towards the double glass doors. He stopped half-way there. “Sammy.” He returned to Barbara’s desk. “I need to ask you a question. It’s a very important question. I need an answer.”
He took a deep breath and released it in a shaky sigh.
“I love Barbara. I honestly love her. In all this time that she and I have been apart, all I wanted was to get back to her.”
Sammy’s expression became very still and unreadable.
“I’m probably doing this all wrong and backwards.” He laughed softly. “I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve never done this before.”
He tried to swallow, but his throat was bone dry. “I know you have feelings for her. I’m not blind or stupid.”
Sammy didn’t react to that statement either. Ambrose wondered if that were a good sign or the sign of certain doom.
“That’s why I’m asking you this. I want.” He hesitated. “Do I have your permission to marry her?”