Barbara stopped at the front desk and smiled brightly at the receptionist. “Hey there, Donny!”
“Barbara!” He got out of his seat, walked around to the other side of the desk, and hugged her.
Ambrose curled and uncurled his hands.
“Darn it, girl! Where you’ve been?”
“Working at Sammy’s Place.”
“Who? Him or me?”
He laughed and didn’t answer the question. “So, whatcha doin’ here? Come to visit the old haunts or what?”
“I’ve come to…well. Get tested.”
“I want to know if Ambrose and I are related.”
Donny looked at her and looked at Ambrose. “Can’t see it. But that doesn’t always mean much. Appearances are deceiving.”
“Is this going to involve needles?” asked Ambrose. “Because that would be a problem.”
“Ha. Ha. No. Vampire. Hard skin.”
“Ahh. Thought so. No, no needles are necessary. Especially the way I do it.” He held out his hands.
“Put your hands in my right hand.”
Ambrose gave Barbara a “What the heck?” look.
Ambrose arched his eyebrow at Donny. “So, how do you do it?”
“Are you being flippant?”
“Serious. Are you going to do this or not?”
“Okay. But if there’s a buzzer in your hand or you make me look stupid or feel stupid…” He smiled and it was more like a snarl. “Well. I don’t think I should be held accountable for my actions. If you understand me.”
Donny smiled. “Put your hands in my right hand.”
“Barbara, put your hands in my left hand.”
She did as she was told.
“Fair warning: No matter what you see or hear, don’t move and don’t do any talking either.”
“Why?” asked Ambrose.
“It’ll distract me. Are you two ready?”
They nodded their heads.
Donny closed his eyes and said something in Armenian. Ambrose couldn’t tell if it were a whole paragraph or a really long run-on sentence, but it just went on and on.
I swear if he’s spamming us, I’ll—
A beam of dark blue light burst out of Ambrose’s chest. Just as a warm pink light came out of Barbara’s.
Ambrose’s mind shut up.
The light spiraled and hardened into DNA strands. Donny released their hands. He opened his eyes and examined Ambrose’s strand first. His fingers strummed the bars in a smooth gliding motion, as if he were playing a harp.
Ambrose didn’t feel anything, which disappointed him.
If he’s messing around with my DNA, I should be able to feel it, darn it!
Donny’s fingers traveled across the whole strand, from end to end.
Then, he turned his attention to Barbara’s.
Ambrose bristled as Donny’s fingers explored her DNA.
I want to slap his fingers off.
I want to yell at him to stop touching her.
I’m stupid and irrational to feel this way. She can’t even feel it. Still. There’s something…indecent about how he’s touching it.
I don’t like this.
Poke me with needles and force me to do a buccal swab. I’ll take that over this.
Donny reached the end of her strand and said another long ramble of Armenian. The DNA strands untwisted and unformed back into beams of light.
Both lights disappeared.
“You may lower your hands now.”
“So?” Ambrose swallowed hard. “What is it?”
Barbara hugged his arm again. “Are we related?”