“Elsie? Here? Why?”
“I don’t know. I passed her at a stop light. I saw her. It was her.” Barbara watched his expression. “What? How do you feel about that?”
“Tired.” He noticed how she was looking at him. He smiled. “I don’t care. That door is closed, locked, and a quartet of applause hungry divas are singing the mad scene from Lucia di Lammermoor in front of it. I’m not going back to her. I will not.” He sat up and held her hands. “Why would I? Tell me, Barbara. Why would I want to go back to her when I have you right here?”
Words failed her.
“I proposed to you because I want you to be my wife. Only you. Elsie can come and go out of this town as she wishes. She can do it with a full marching band with floats and banners. I don’t care. Believe me, Barbara. I speak the truth. And, if you don’t believe me, just consider this: I asked both your father and Sammy for your hand. You can’t even imagine how stressful that was. Both of them had reason to turn me down.”
“I notice Sammy didn’t kill you.”
“I’m still not sure why he didn’t.”
“You were lucky.”
He kissed her hands. “I am lucky and so blessed. Barbara.” He leaned forward and whispered in her ear, “Je t’adore.”
Her heart melted into absolute slop.
His head slumped against her shoulder. His entire body went heavy and limp. “mmnn.” His breath was warm and soft on her skin.
She smiled and guided him down to his pillow. “At least, I didn’t have to toss you into bed this time. Yay, me!”
His breathing softened into a regular sleep pattern.
Her gaze traveled from his face to his exposed neck, bared shoulders, naked arms. I want to touch him. Not just here or there. I want to touch him all over.
She got off the bed and backed away from it as she realized the flip side of that want. Her face burned.
Barbara fled the room and got out of the house as fast as she could.
She sat in her car, shocked and rattled by her own desires. Knowing that they were her own desires and not a vampiric suggestion made her shock all that much worse.
The memory of his hands riding up her back surfaced. And for a moment, Barbara thought she could feel his fingers.
She started the car and drove home with the windows wide open.