Ambrose lowered her into the seat and buckled her up.
Barbara’s hair was a mess of crumples.
His long fingers trailed through her hair as if it were a high quality fur coat. He delighted in the feel, the texture, every crumple, every wave, every bit of color.
I want to take her into my arms and just hold her a little bit longer. Barbara. My beautiful Barbara.
“mm. It’s cold out.”
Ambrose closed her door and walked around to the other side of the car. He got into the driver’s seat and drove her home.
He managed to kill only a snowman in the middle of Joseph Granger’s yard and Lydia MacFee’s mailbox.
Ambrose considered it a very successful trip.
He parked the car and carried her inside.
She was sound asleep in his arms.
Asleep and completely trusting.
He carried her up to her room.
Laid her down on the bed.
Unzipped her coat and removed it.
And there he stopped.
He stopped and looked down at her.
Asleep and trusting.
I will not betray that trust.
He kissed her neck and left her alone.
Raven licked his lips one more time before dabbing them with his handkerchief.
The blonde in the white fur coat lay dead at his feet. Blood stained the collar.
He folded the handkerchief into a smooth square and returned it to his coat pocket.
He crouched beside the dead woman.
It has been so long since Miss Farlington.
Every woman I have met since has died at my hands, my fangs. I have never considered taking one on as a companion. Or as a lover.
I have only considered them to be prey to be caught and devoured.
I have only ever wanted her.
No one else.
Should I even try?
It feels wrong to do so.
It feels dirty and disloyal and untrue.
Besides that, is there really a woman out there who can supplant Miss Farlington in my heart? Do I even want to find out if she exists?
Do I want her to exist?
Would I accept her if she appeared? If she came knocking on my door?
The scent of oak, mocha, and musk pushed him out of his train of thought. “Hello, sir.”
“Hello, yourself.” said Ambrose.
“Where have you been?”
“I’m going to marry her.”
Raven gave him a questioning look. “Are you able to do so, sir?”
“Yes.” He smiled and it wasn’t just an ordinary happy la la la type of smile.
It was joy.
Pure and simple joy.
If I had taken Miss Farlington’s offer, if I had taken her hand and run away with her, such joy would be mine.
It wasn’t meant to be.
Now, it can never be.
So, I shall be alone
“I’ve passed all of Barbara’s guardians. Now, all I have to do is keep a promise I made to her father. And I’m just—” He sighed. “—oh so looking forward to it.”
“If I may ask, sir, what is this promise?”
“I have to be tested for STDs. I’ve never done it before. So, I don’t know what all’s involved. I have a good idea that it’s just going to be all manner of fun fun fun.”
“I seriously doubt that, sir.”
“Yeah. So do I.”
“Was Miss Addleston planning to accompany you, sir?”
“She doesn’t even know about it yet.” He smiled. “I’m not going to ask her. I have a feeling that would be miles away from her personal comfort zone. Even if she didn’t come into the room with me.”
Raven thought it over. “Did you want me to accompany you?”
“No. I’d rather face that piece of music on my own.”
“Very good, sir.”
“I’m going to get it done tonight. Just so I can get that off my back. I don’t suppose you know where I’m supposed to go.”
“I imagine you would need to get that done through a physician’s office.”
“Any doctor’s offices open this time of night?”
“I am uncertain, sir. I suppose you could check at The Cardboard Box.”