“Now.” Estrella sat next to her son. “Before we go too far into helping Ambrose Smith, do you know if he has driven a team before?”
Sammy shrugged. “He’s over a hundred years old. I’m certain he must have driven a team at some point in his life.”
“Not necessarily. If he came from the right kind of family, they would have had their own coachman and Ambrose wouldn’t have learned that particular set of skills. You ought to call him and make sure.”
Ambrose cursed and swore to kill someone as he pulled the phone out from under his pillow. He pressed Talk. “This had better be good or you’re dead.”
“Hello, Mr. Smith.”
“Sammy. I’m sleeping. This can wait.”
“I’m afraid it can’t. This is regarding your request.”
“Request.” He rubbed the heel of his hand against his forehead. “If you don’t speak plain English, I am going to scream and throw my phone.”
“I’m sorry. This is regarding the horse and carriage that you had requested.”
“Horse and carriage.” He huffed out a loud sigh into the phone. “Still not making sense.”
Something on the other line crashed.
Ambrose vaguely wondered what it was.
“You wanted a horse and carriage so you could impress Ms. Addleston with your…Mr. Smith. I need to know. Do you know how to drive a team?”
“Yeah. Offer them significant pay raises and—”
“Mr. Smith. Please focus. I meant a team of horses.”
“What? No. My family had Jarvis. Why would I know how to drive a team of horses when we had Jarvis?”
Something on the other line cracked and popped.
“So.” Sammy paused.
A significantly long pause.
“You were going to take Ms. Addleston for a carriage ride driven by you and you don’t know how to handle a team.”
Another long pause.
“Mr. Smith. You may want to rethink your plans.”
“No. This is what I want to do.”
“Mr. Smith. It’s madness. You will wind up killing her.”
“It can’t be any harder than driving a car. There’s no pedals to step on.”
“Oh, Lord have mercy. Horses are living creatures. They need to be controlled with a firm, disciplined hand, Mr. Smith.”
“I can do this, Sammy. Trust me. I want to do this. Make it happen.” He ended his call and went back to sleep.
Sammy pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes.
Blue skies. Coral reefs. Swimming in the ocean. Flying in the sky. Puppies rough-housing. Kittens learning how to walk. Sunflowers. Daisies. Mimosa. Red wine. Opals. Rubies. Diamonds—
“So, he can’t do it.”
“No. He can’t. But he’s insisting that he can.” He lowered his hands. “He’s incredibly hard-headed. It took all of my power to refrain from turning him into ash. Mother, I don’t want anything to happen to Ms. Addleston. If I can find someone who is willing to let a vampire drive their horses, could you do me a favor?”
“Of course. What is it?”
“Shadow him. Become skye if you must. If he goes careening into traffic or if he finds a cliff to go charging at, stop him.”
“You won’t do it yourself?”
“My emotions would get the best of me. I might try hurting him on purpose. Could you please? For me?”
“Don’t worry, Sammy. I’ll protect the one you treasure.”
Sammy relaxed. “Thank you.”