Hildreth couldn’t sleep.
He was tired, but he couldn’t sleep.
He rolled onto his back and stared up at the darkened ceiling.
How do vampires live like this?
He closed his eyes.
I am going to sleep. I am going to sleep. I need to get my rest so I can hunt tonight. So, yes! I am going to go to sleep.
I’m not falling asleep.
Ok. New tactic.
The room is full of fluffy sheep. I am going to count them. Fluffy, boring, monochromatic white sheep.
God bless their bleating little hearts. They’re just standing there in a thick wooly huddle waiting to be counted.
Wait. Sheep. Is sheep plural or singular? What the heck is a singular sheep? A shape? No, that doesn’t sound right.
I think I hate sheep now.
Now a room full of Elsies. Man alive! I’d probably have a heart attack if my room were full of Elsie clones. I wouldn’t even know which one to look at first. Or what to say.
I probably wouldn’t say anything intelligent. I’d just stand there like a jibbering monkey, making a complete and total idiot of myself.
He grinned. They’d all call me an idiot in that same lovely Elsie voice.
But all I really need is one Elsie. My lovely, fire-hearted Elsie.
I’m still not sleeping.
I should call her.
She’s probably sleeping too.
He picked his phone off his nightstand and dialed her number.
It rang and rang and rang and rang and—-
“Hildreth! You should be sleeping.”
“Tell that to my over-thinking head. Hey. I don’t suppose you could come over here and keep me company.”
“Define ‘keep me company’.”
“Now, Elsie. I’m not always thinking dirty thoughts about you.”
She let out a surprised laugh.
“Could you come?”
“You do realize that I’m trying to sleep too, right?”
A long fifteen minute pause.
“I’ll be right there.”
Hildreth stood on the front porch, rubbing his arms.
Her car pulled into his driveway.
He smiled as she got out of the car.
Her frizzy black hair blew wild in the wind.
She hurried over to him. “You idiot. Why are you standing out here without your coat on?”
“Just waiting for you.”
“Idiot.” She grabbed hold of his arm and hurried them both inside. “Complete idiot.”
He helped Elsie take her coat off and tossed it onto the couch.
“I really don’t know what I’m going to—-”
He embraced her. “You’re so warm.”
Her hands went around his neck and a little down his collar.
“Elsie.” His voice was a breathless whisper.
She kissed him. “Do we have to wait?”
His voice refused to work right. So, he nodded.
Her hands slid from his back to his shoulders. “It’s so difficult. I love you, Hildreth. I want you so much.”
“And I you. But I really don’t want my house to be attacked by a zombie horde or crashed by a passing UFO or struck by a comet—”
“Do you have any idea how unlikely those scenarios are?”
“Yeah. But they would definitely happen if we tried to get past first base. Wait. If what we’ve been doing is first base, what the heck is second base?”
“You don’t know?”
“Not a clue.”
“But you’re a guy. You’re supposed to know all of those weird baseball references/analogies.”
Hildreth laughed. “Oh, really?” He scooped her up into his arms, causing her to yelp.
“Hildreth! Are you nuts?”
“Macadamia nuts, peanuts, Brazil nuts, coconuts, yep. All of the above.” He carried her over to the couch and set her down next to the arm rest.
She curved her arms around his neck and pulled him into a kiss. Her fingers teased along his hairline.
When she finally released him, he smiled. “Elsie Vansing. You are a very naughty girl.”
“Would you want me to be any other way?”
Hildreth curled up beside her and rested his head on her shoulder. “No.” He closed his eyes.
She kissed his forehead. “Let me know when it’s May 21.”
“Likewise.” He took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh.
His body relaxed.
He fell asleep.
And so did she.