They finished the sandwich, bite by bite.
The waiter came out of nowhere and reclaimed the empty plate. “Would you care for any dessert?”
Hildreth exchanged a look with Elsie. “What do you say?”
She smiled. “Go ahead. You’ve earned it.”
He grinned. “I would like the hamburger and bacon cheesecake.”
“All right. Would you like that with A-1 sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and mustard sauce, or relish sauce?”
“Ahh, so many options.” Hildreth looked at her. “What sounds good to you?”
“None of it, but that’s just me. Might as well go with the A-1 sauce.”
“Elsie. I love you so much.”
Ambrose sat on the couch, making sure not to sit on top of Barbara.
It doesn’t hurt anymore. Her name is just another name.
Five simple letters.
And that is all.
Barbara sighed in her sleep and rolled over on her side.
Seven lovely letters.
And that is everything.
The face I love.
The touch I crave.
The heart I treasure.
All summed up in those seven letters: Bar-ba-ra.
Ambrose looked down at her form, which was covered but not concealed by the throw. He laid his hand on her hip.
A mad desire rushed over him to touch more, to do more.
Move my hand higher.
Move my hand lower.
Make her move under my touch.
He stood quickly and stumbled away from her.
“I can’t.” He clenched his teeth as the desire grew. I CAN’T.
“NO!” He fled the scene and the temptation.
Ambrose kicked his bedroom door open, entered the room, and slammed the door shut.
“Rrrraaahh!” He slammed it again and again and again.
Until, at last, the temptation’s voice went silent.
He pressed his forehead against the door and panted.
It’s still there, hidden inside of me. Waiting for our next quiet moment. I can’t do that again. I can’t stay there again. Especially when she’s tired. It’s too much. It’s all too much.
I want her too much.
How many times can I resist before I give in? But I can’t yield. For her sake, I must stay strong.
And I will stay strong.
Because she trusts me.
Because I love her.
Because I don’t have those blamed, blasted results.
I will wait.
I will resist.
Robin looked up at the sky.
“What’s wrong?” asked Isellta.
“Dawn’s comin’. I can feel it. I can smell it. I need to get on home.”
Isellta nervously flittered his wings. “I can teleport you.”
Robin gave him a cold, hard look.
Just as I expected. “Robin. I’m offering to get you home faster than you can run. Don’t turn me down because of your stupid human emotions.”
“Oh, so my emotions are stupid, huh?”
“They are. They keep you from making obvious decisions and it’s nonsensical. You are utterly nonsensical.”
“You think I’m all that dumb? Fine. Go attach yourself to some logic genius and live happily ever after on a mega-sailboat in the middle of the Baltic Sea.”
“I don’t want to do that. I want to stay with you.”
“I don’t know!”
“Because I’m worried about you, Robin. Your eye—”
Robin bared his fangs. “Shut up! Shut up about my eye! I don’t want to hear it. I don’t…” He winced and pressed his hand against his forehead. “I…uhh…”
“Nonsensical vampire. Overly emotional human.” He hugged Robin. “You’re so errant-minded. I wish you’d just make sense for once.”
Robin growled and tried to squirm away.
“Hold still for one second.”
Robin went limp.
“That suffices.” Isellta teleported him back to his room at Raven’s house and gently laid him onto the bed.
Robin rolled onto his side facing away from the fey.
Isellta did a happy wing flap. “I managed to get him back here without too much trouble. I win this round.”