Ambrose was quiet the whole way to Kevin’s house.
And, for once, Barbara appreciated the silence. It gave her time to think.
Yet, all she did was worry.
Endless loops and intricate Celtic knots of worry.
Ambrose laid his hand on her knee.
Startled, she glanced at him.
“It’ll be okay, Barbara.”
His hand moved in soothing strokes. “Yeah. I hope.”
She pulled into Kevin’s driveway and shut the car off.
The house was completely dark.
Ambrose unbuckled his seatbelt and opened his door.
Barbara sat still.
“I’m scared. What if things are going too fast? What if he’s too far gone? What if he’s waiting for me to come inside and he tackles me and he—”
He closed the door. “Barbara, look at me.”
“I’m here. I’m with you, Barbara. That mangy, stinky, rubbish of a mutt will not lay a fang or a claw or a finger on you. If he tries, I’ll tear him apart.”
“And you would too.”
He laid his hand along the side of her face. “I’ll do anything to protect you.” He leaned forward and kissed her.
She wanted to disappear into his kiss and into his touch.
His kiss seemed to last forever and not long enough.
He ended the kiss, but his face was still so close to her own. “Are you ready?”
“To go inside?”
“Uhh…inside…Oh!” She snapped out of her floaty thoughts. “Kevin. Yes. Umm, yes.”
“Let’s go inside.”
They got out of the car.
She linked her fingers with his fingers as they approached the front door.
They stopped on the front porch.
“Barbara.” His pupils widened in panic.
“He hasn’t invited me inside. I can’t go inside.”
“And I can’t invite you. It isn’t my house.”
“And he sure isn’t going to do it. Barbara. You can’t go in there.”
“I have to. If he’s hurt—”
“Barbara, you can’t go in there. He’ll attack you. You’ll be scratched. Bitten. You’ll become like him. Please don’t go in there.”
“Please don’t. If he tries anything, I can’t help you.”
She looked straight ahead at the closed door. “What did he say when you talked to him?”
“He was…” Ambrose cleared his throat. “He didn’t say much, to be honest. He asked for you. He wanted to talk to you. He needed to see you. He…”
“What? What else?”
“He needed help.” Ambrose stared at the door like he wanted to shred it. “He’s scared.”
They stood outside the door, equally lost in their thoughts.
He breathed out a soft laugh. “You’re gonna go in there, aren’t you? No matter what I say.”
“I know.” He turned to her. “You aren’t like me. You see someone who needs help, you’ll help. I’m not like that. I’m still so selfish. But I’m scared. What if he turns on you? I can’t…I can’t…”
She hugged him.
He returned the hug and leaned his face against the side of her head. “Be safe and remember silver can hurt him.”
“No.” She released Ambrose. “Silver can kill him.”
“If you have to do it, do it.”
“I won’t have to. I know.” She smiled and laid her hands on the front of his coat. “Don’t worry. I’ll be okay. I’ll be safe. He won’t hurt me. I’ll be fine. You’ll see.”
“Before you go inside, do me a favor.”
“Kiss me one more time.”
“Let me guess: Just in case?”
“Just in case.”
“Well. If you’re going to insist.” She looped her arms around his neck and kissed him. A sweet, simple kiss. “Stay out of trouble.”
“You too. Be safe.”
“You too.” Barbara opened the unlocked door.
She entered the dark house.