Elsie ordered a sesame and soy mousse for dessert. He ordered a decadent chocolate ganache brownie with a generous snowball-sized ball of vanilla ice cream and thick layers of hot fudge plonked on top of it
He smiled as normal.
He talked and teased her as normal.
He should have won some sort of Oscar nomination.
He managed to keep it all together until he just couldn’t anymore. “I’ll be right back. I need to powder my pretty nose.”
She laughed. “Idiot.”
Hildreth kissed her forehead and walked to the bathroom.
He went into one of the stalls, locked it, and leaned his head back against the door.
Ican’tbreatheIcan’tbreathe. What am I going to do? “What am I going to do?” I am not going to lose one more person I love to a vampire. I will not!
He raked his fingers through his hair only to stop at the mid-way point. I won’t be able to talk her out of it. I know.
His hands slid down his face and fell to his sides.
I will wait. It’s going to kill me, but I will wait. Maybe she’ll refuse. It isn’t likely, but it’s possible. Marginally, fractionally, hopefully possible.
I will wait.
If she accepts, then.
Then, I’ll decide on my next move.
Elsie looked up at him and smiled. “I don’t see any powder on your nose.”
“I used manly nose powder. It’s invisible.”
“Ha! There’s no such thing.”
He sat down in his seat and dug into the softened ice cream. “There is too. I invented it. See? I took fifteen tablespoons of powdered quail eggs, mixed it with forty-five geisha tears—”
Elsie raised her eyebrows at that ingredient.
“—blended in three quarts of genuine sand from Guatemala, tossed it all into a golden champagne bucket, swirled it all together, and poof! Invisible manly nose powder.”
“I don’t even see how mixing any of those ingredients would make it invisible.”
He shrugged. “Magic, of course.”
She laughed. “Of course.” She snagged the last bit of brownie.
“Snitcher.” He lightly tapped the back of his ice-creamed spoon against the tip of her nose.
“I hope you aren’t planning to leave that there.”
“Of course not.” He kissed off the ice cream. “Elsie.” He laid his hand along the side of her face. “Can all of our days be just like this?”
“What? You putting ice cream on my nose?”
He laughed. “No. Can they all be this happy?”
She frowned slightly. He’s trying to ask me something else, something more. But I’ll answer it. “As long as we’re together, yes. Oh, yes.”