It was a good plan.
It was a well-laid plan.
It was a failed plan.
As soon as Missy saw the bed, she threw herself onto it and refused to get off.
Raven sighed and decided not to dispute her claim.
He settled down on the cot.
“Good night, Raven.”
“Good day, Missy.” He closed his eyes.
Just as dawn recolored the sky.
Hildreth swept his finger all over the plate and licked the A-1 sauce and cheesecake crumbles off of it. “Mmm. So freaking good.”
“Maybe. But ordering two of them was complete overkill.”
“That’s because you had more than half of the first piece.”
“It wasn’t more than half. It was less than half.”
“Ha! Seems you got some faulty memory there, Vansing.” He smiled, a gentle loving smile. “But I know how to fix that.” He kissed her.
“Mm.” said Elsie. “You taste like A-1 sauce.”
“Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.”
“You shouldn’t say that. You should say something like—” His voice went up into a wobbly falsetto. “Oh, Hildreth! You are the greatest kisser God ever created.”
She laughed. “You make me sound like a drunken Miss Piggy.”
He burst out laughing. “So. Since we came here to eat, what is my penalty?”
“Early death from clogged arteries.”
He waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. “Besides that. You said I’d have to do something for you. So, what is it?”
“You have to keep a promise you made.”
“Yes. When you were still at Master Shinowa’s, you made a promise and you still haven’t kept it.You will fulfill that promise today. Even if we fall asleep half-way through.”
“And you forgot. Figures.” She twirled her fingers through his short hair. “You promised me a Star Wars marathon.”
“From Episode 1 through Episode 7?”
“And no skipping parts.”
He wrinkled his nose. “Not even the Jar Jar scenes?”
“Not even the Jar Jar scenes.”
“Harsh, Elsie. So harsh. Just so you know, it will take us…” He did some mental calculations. “…at least thirteen, fourteen hours to get through the whole lot.”
“Then, we best get home and get started.”
The waiter suddenly appeared next to him.
Hildreth startled. “Geeah!”
“Will there be anything else?”
“No. We’re done here.”
Elsie held onto his hand as tight as she could as they negotiated Havaton’s busy sidewalks and streets.
Hildreth’s gaze moved from their combined hands to the determined expression on her face. His heart glowed.
My lovely, wonderful Elsie.
I wonder if that vampire realizes just how much he’s lost.
If he had stayed with her.
If he had fought for her.
If he had bothered to make that effort to hang on to her, where would I be today? How many of my recent misadventures would I have never gone on?
Would I have known?
Would I have felt it?
The love I share with her…Would I have felt its absence?
She looked up at him.
There’s so much I want to say. So many words burning inside of me. And I don’t know how to say them. I can’t form them. I can’t make them leave my body.
I’d have to have an out of body experience just to get those words out into the air.
If she had stayed with that vampire, would she be this happy? Would he have treated her well?
Not likely. He is a vampire.
He’s just a monster.
Would she still be alive?
A mental image lashed his mind. Ambrose holding Elsie. His mouth on her neck. His fangs buried in her skin.
It made Hildreth want to cry.
He would have killed her.
He wouldn’t have had the decency to change her.
He would have killed her.
My lovely, fierce Elsie.
He imagined her pain and shock blanding into a blank-eyed stare.
I will not let him touch you.
He will never come near you again.
If he does, I will stake him.
I will stake him and I will feel no regrets.
I will feel peace.