Barbara had fallen asleep earlier than she’d expected.
Ambrose was there in her dreams.
She laid her head on his chest.
She could feel its rise and fall.
She could hear the beat of his heart.
And she was happy.
He whispered words to her. Secret words that she knew but couldn’t understand.
She smiled and whispered the words back to him.
She didn’t want the dream to end.
Ambrose entered her room.
He approached her bed and crouched beside it.
Her hair lay all loose and wild over her pillow. Her mouth curved in a peaceful smile.
“Barbara.” he whispered.
She did not stir.
He stood and whispered in her ear. Soft words. French words of love.
He wanted to crawl into bed with her.
He wanted to be with her.
He thought about his conversation with her father.
He kissed her face. “Not until you’re ready. I love you, Barbara Addleston.”
She opened her eyes and looked up at him.
He kissed her forehead. “You’re safe. Go back to sleep.”
And so she did.
Hildreth and Elsie stood back to back as the vampires converged.
“What a cute couple.” Kleine pushed through the crowd. A couple of heavy-set vampires got in his way. “Hey! Lummoxes! This is my moment. Move. Or I’ll tear you out of my way.”
They muttered unpleasantly, but they shuffled out of his path.
He smiled at them. “Thank you. Thank you so much. Appreciate it lots.” He snapped a glare at Hildreth and Elsie. “Yes. Just an adorable little couple.”
“You know. That would be a whole lot more convincing if you said it with a smile.” said Hildreth.
Kleine snarled. “I’m not trying to be convincing. I don’t want to smile. I want to tear Elsie Vansing into little Tator Tot crumbs.”
“Oh, that’s nice. Just ruin Tator Tots for me. Nice. Thanks, vampire.”
“You don’t understand, hunter. You don’t understand anything.” He turned to his side and gestured wildly at his head. “Look at what she did to my HAIR!”
“Ugh. Bald spot.”
“Exactly!” He glared at her. “That is why you. Must. Die!” He snapped his fingers and his crowd of vampires launched their attack.
Hildreth smiled. Here we go. “You get that side. I’ll take care of this one.”
Elsie leaned her head against his back. “Obviously.”
Elsie and Hildreth tore through the vampires’ ranks. Their moves were unintended mirrors of each other – a perfectly choreographed dance.
The vampires fell. Some crumpled to the ground. Some gasped in pain. Others let out melodramatic yells. But they all fell at Elsie and Hildreth’s feet.
Until only Kleine was left.
He sighed. “I really need to acquire better minions.”
Elsie let out a warrior yell and charged at him.
Kleine considered his options and ran.
Elsie and Hildreth raced after him.