Ambrose lay flat on his back with his mouth slightly open.
His eyes were closed, but he was not asleep.
He was hungry and he was exhausted.
The scent of lily of the valley and musk filled his world. It touched the inside of his lips, lining them with blood.
He licked the blood off.
His body screamed and raged for more. So much more.
He opened his eyes.
Elsie was there.
Ambrose saw the red line around her wrist.
Tantalizing, delicious red.
He didn’t ask for permission. He grabbed her wrist and pulled it down to his mouth.
He licked the red line over and over until her scent was all too much for him. He bit her wrist.
Her blood and her scent filled him with the desire for more and more.
And so much more.
Ambrose woke with a shudder.
He rolled onto his back and, for the first time in a long time, thought about Elsie.
He thought about how much he’d loved her.
The feel of her skin.
The passion of her kiss.
He frowned as he remembered the locked doors.
The tight control.
I was just a wild animal to her. Pet it. Touch it. But always keep it under control. Keep a leash on it. Put a muzzle on it. Don’t let it escape.
She has me under control too, but it’s different.
Or maybe it’s me.
Maybe I’m different.
Yes. I am different. I want to stay under control. I don’t want to lose it with her. I don’t want to hurt her again.
I don’t want to lose her.
I never felt that way with Elsie.
Not even once.
His phone rang.
He pulled it out from under his pillow. “Wha?” He smiled at the sound of her voice. “Hey. You know what time it is?”
Ambrose wobbled up into a sit. “Already? Aren’t you the quick little thing? What did he say?”
His face fell. “Why? But I…I…” He listened to her explanation.
“It isn’t fair. Barbara, what are we going to do? I love you so much. I don’t. I can’t. I.” He rubbed his free hand across his forehead. “I see. I see. I don’t know. I don’t…”
His pupils widened. “Oh. I do know where my baptismal certificate and birth certificate are.” He half-chuckled. “And you’re not going to believe it. Mark Caten has them. I don’t know how he got a hold of them, but I know he has them. He used to brag that he had complete control over my matrimonial future. How are we going to get it away from him without him shredding it or setting it aflame? Because he’s jerk enough to do something like that.”
Her suggestion made him smile. “I wouldn’t mind beating him up for it, but I like your idea better. If we’re lucky, Sammy will make the old rotter explode. No. Don’t worry. I’ll call him. Yes, I’m tired and punchy, but I’ll do it. Love you.”
He ended the call and slumped back down to his pillows for a couple of closed-eyed moments.
Those moments quickly became two hours.
He startled awake.
The phone was still in his hand.
He brought up Sammy’s name and called him.
“Hey. Sammy. Me. Ambrose. I…” He rubbed his forehead again. “I need your help. It’s not a big deal. Just one small thing. I need you to steal two documents from Mark Caten.” He sighed. “Fine. Don’t steal it. Acquire it. I don’t care. I just need you to get them out of his bloody hands. My baptismal certificate and birth certificate. He has them.”
He scowled . “What do you mean ‘What do I want them for?’ That’s the stupidest question I’ve ever heard. I need them so I can talk to the priest about marrying Barbara.”
Something on Sammy’s side of the line exploded.
Sure hope that wasn’t his head. “You still there? Good. Yes, I already proposed to her.” He smirked. “What do you think her answer was? No? What? Why would she say no? That doesn’t even make sense. You’re being stupid. Jealous and stupid. Yes, I know you went through a lot of trouble searching for horse-drawn carriages. The right moment came and I had to take it. So I took it.”
He closed his eyes. “Will you do it? If you won’t do it for me, do it for Barbara. Yeah, I knew you’d see it my way. Make sure he doesn’t give you a fake. I don’t know what a fake certificate looks like! You’re making my head hurt. Take care of it. Bye.”
Sammy ended the call and set his phone on the desk.
Kittens and puppies and bunnies and poppies and corn fields and daisies and sunshine and rainbows and long hot showers and emeralds and rubies and pearls and new dragon kin.
He calmed down.
I’ll have to take care of this in person.