Ambrose tried to follow her through the open doorway.
Only to be magically shoved back.
Darn it all!
He kicked the fake wood siding.
She’s on her own.
There’s nothing I can do about it.
Nothing I can do but wait.
I hate waiting.
Which reminds me.
He pulled out his cell phone and called the STD Clinic.
“Hi. Ambrose Smith. Give me my results.” He scowled. “I don’t want to wait three to five business days. I want my results now. Why? Why do I have to wait? Why can’t you just tell me?”
He clenched his unoccupied hand into a fist and thought many happy thoughts about punching Steve the receptionist. “I am aware of that.” His temper died down as Steve explained in a great many words why it was taking so long. “I understand. I hate it, but I understand. I will call you back. Just so you know.”
He ended the call and returned his phone to his coat pocket.
Ambrose paced as he waited for Barbara to return.
The open door offered Barbara some light, but it sure wasn’t enough to break the darkness. Not even close to enough.
Barbara felt along the wall for the light switch.
Please don’t let there be any dead, bludgeoned bodies. Please don’t let there be any dead bodies of any sort. Please don’t there be any werewolves.. Please don’t let there be any vampires.
Please let Kevin be okay.
She found the switch and flipped it.
The overhead light came on.
No dead bodies, werewolves, or vampires.
She walked through the foyer to the living room. “Kev?” She turned on the light in there.
He wasn’t in there either.
Playing hide and hard to seek, huh? I can do this. Ambrose can’t be my cavalry if things go wrong. But I can do this. I am woman. I am mighty. World, hear my roar. She pumped her fists. “Rawr.”
She marched to the kitchen.
Stomach infested with butterflies.
She entered the kitchen.
Turned on the light.
Kevin sat at the kitchen table – with his back to Barbara.
He didn’t move.
Oh. My. Gosh. He’s dead, isn’t he? Barbara hurried to his side. “Kev!”
He sat there with his hands in his lap and his long bangs in his eyes.
She swept his bangs to the side.
His eyes focused on her.
“Kev. I’m here.”
She smiled. “Yes. Me.”
“He’s outside. Are you okay?”
He shook his head. “Dream. Night Folk. Two them. Scared. Woke. No name. My no name. Outside. Want run outside. Not sleep. Barbara.” His mouth twitched. “My slipping. Scared. Scared, Barbara.”
“Oh, Kev.” She sat next to him. He can still talk, so that’s a plus. But it’s even more fragmented than ever. What will he be like tomorrow?
His hair schlooped back into his eyes. He left them like that. “Not know. Forgot small things already. Scared. What happen next? What lose next?”
Her heart ached. What answer can I give him when I don’t even know?
“Barbara. Stay? Stay to end?”
How can I tell him no?
“Where are your bobby pins?”
He pointed towards the kitchen drawers.
“Oh. Silver. Of course.” She stood and walked over to the silverware drawer. She pulled it open and smiled a heartbroken smile.
His bobby pins were in there, mixed in with the knives and forks.
She grabbed a handful of the pins and returned to him.
“If I stay with you, what will happen as you change?” She swept his bangs back up and pinned them into place. “Will I be safe here? Will you even know me?”
“No Barbara stay?”
“I don’t think I can.” She put the last pin into place. “I wish I could, but it wouldn’t be safe.”
He frowned. “But marry vampire.”
“No!” He stood and knocked his chair over.
Barbara quickly backed away from him.
“Different: no! Werewolf = danger. Vampire = danger. Same. Same, Barbara. Same.”
“It is not the same. Vampire…I mean, Ambrose. He’s…” How can I even say this? “He isn’t like you.”
“Same. Werewolf = hurt Barbara. Vampire = hurt Barbara. Werewolf = changed Barbara. Vampire = changed Barbara. Hunger and hunger. Wild and wild. Same. All same. Werewolf and vampire = predators. Werewolf and vampire = animals.”
“Ambrose is not an animal.”
“Vampire bite.” He grabbed her wrist and pulled up her sleeve. “See? Bite. Bite = animal.”
His eyebrows quilted up like he was about to cry. “Stay. Barbara stay. Not afraid if stay.”
How can I tell him no?
But how can I say yes?
What can I say?
She lowered her gaze and shook her head.
“It isn’t just him. It’s…I’m scared too. You might kill me if I stay. You might kill me right now.”
“Vampire kill you.”
“He won’t.” Barbara thought about Ambrose. Love and pride swelled inside of her. “I know he won’t.”
“Love you.” He held out his hands to her. “I love you, Barbara.”
Her heart broke.