As Ambrose calmed down, he became more and more aware of her scent and the scent of her blood. He quickly released her.
“You’re bleeding.” He tried not to look at it, but his gaze kept dipping down to that red line.
She zipped her coat up. “It’ll dry.”
“Are you trying to make me insane? Do something about it.”
“There isn’t a bathroom in here.”
She stood. “Should I leave you here?”
He bowed his head.
“I’m sorry. That came out a whole lot harsher than I’d intended.” She came back down to his level. “Are your hands okay?”
“Let me see.”
He held them out.
“Hm. I don’t see any damage. How’d you tear through all of those fences?”
Ambrose extended his claws and looked up at her. He watched the expression on her face as she touched them and ran her fingers down their thick curves to their sharp tips. He waited for the revulsion. For the inevitable rejection.
It will come.
Curiosity came instead.
“They’re not broken or chipped or anything. How come?”
“They don’t break. My claws can’t break.” He lowered his hands. “I’ve…I’ve tried.”
“After my change, I went on a rampage.”
“Killing. Not even for their blood.”
“Just tearing everyone apart.”
“Ambrose!” “Please! Spare me at least.” “Don’t you remember me?”
“Everyone I knew. Until there was no one left.”
The scent of blood.
“Their blood was all over me. Over my hands. All over my claws.”
These things…These disgusting things!
“I tried to break, bite, tear them out of my skin.”
“I don’t want them!”
He shrugged. “I’m stuck with them.”
The scent faded as her blood crusted over.
“Barbara, I’ve asked you this before and you gave me the answer I hoped for. I’m going to ask you again: Are you really okay with me being a vampire? I do horrible things. I could take only what I need from my victims, but I almost always go for the kill. Is that what you want to be aligned with? Something like me? I could turn on you, Barbara. Under the right circumstances, I could turn on you and tear you apart.”
“I know that.”
“I could give in to all of my dark urges.” He paused. “I could make you hate me.”
“Wait.” She frowned. “Are you trying to push me away?”
“Because that’s what it sure sounds like to me.”
“Then, stop it. I know you, Ambrose. Yes, I know you’re a vampire. I know what sort of stuff being a vampire entails. I know that you can be a pushy, obnoxious jerk when you’re hungry. I know you’re proud and selfish and—”
“Are you really going to list all of my bad qualities?”
She giggled. “Just the big ones.”
“What? I have big and small bad qualities?”
“Yep! And I still love you.”
“Because I know you. I know you have good qualities too.”
“Are you going to list those off too?”
“Mmm, nope.” She gave him a light kiss. “Not at this time.”
“Can you tell me at least one?”
“Yes. You rescued me.”
He laughed. “I don’t know if that counts as a good quality. It’s more of a good action.”
“All the same, thank you.”
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
She gave the other vampire a nervous glance. “I froze. I just kept thinking about when that other one bit my neck. I just. I couldn’t do anything.” Her gaze returned to Ambrose. “Thank you for calling me back to my senses.”
“What else could I have done? Nothing? I don’t want you to be changed into a vampire. And I certainly don’t want some raggedy filth vampire doing it. I’d rather be the one you call your lord and believe me. That will never happen.”
She laid her hand along his face.
He closed his eyes and sighed.
“And you wonder why I love you. Silly.”