The door was unlocked.
Ambrose yanked it open and tried to barge into the house.
The power of being uninvited repelled him so hard he wound up flat on his back. He rose quickly and bashed his fist on the door frame.
“Hey! You mangy, stinky cur! Get over here now!”
There was no sound.
“Kevin!” He bared his fangs. “I swear if you don’t get over here, I’ll—”
The stench of rotting garbage came from somewhere behind him.
Ambrose extended his claws and spun around.
Kevin stood in the middle of his yard.
There was something wrong with him.
Clearly and terribly wrong.
His posture was stooped.
His hair hung long and thick over his shoulders – like a mane.
He looked at Ambrose and opened his mouth to speak.
A series of squeaks and yips came out instead of words.
Ambrose walked up to the other man.
He shook his head. “You look terrible.”
a other dream. night ‘olk. three. Kevin pitiful squeaked again. los’ speak.
How am I going to tell Barbara this? How can I? It will break her heart. “Does it hurt? Are you in pain?”
hurr…? no hurr. on’y…st’ange fear.
Ambrose considered the man before him.
I understand. I now understand why Barbara cares about him. He’s so…hopeless. “What can I do? How can I help you? How can I make this transition easier for you?”
Kevin shook his head. not can. I alone. He scratched his chest. alone alone.
Ambrose laid his hand on his former rival’s hand.
Kevin raised his head to make eye contact with him.
“You don’t have to be alone.” He released his hand. “I have something I must do tonight. I will come back tonight and every night to keep you company as you change.”
His expression hardened as he remembered. “Because I was alone.”
Kevin scratched his neck.
“Go inside. I’ll be back later.”
Barbara sat all curled up on the couch right next to the arm rest.
Her father stood. “I’m gonna make me a cup of coffee. You want anything?”
She shook her head.
“Don’t worry, Barb. He’ll come.”
She looked up at him.
“He’s crazy about you. He’ll come.”
“What if he’s been staked? Would I know? Would I feel it…the sudden loss, the sharp pain?”
He came over to her. “I don’t know. I don’t know if I’d want you to feel it.” He kissed her forehead. “I do know one thing for certain: if Ambrose Smith is still alive, he will come. If he doesn’t, I will help you hunt him down – dead or alive.”
“I love you, dad.”
“I love you too, pumpkin.” He left the room.
Barbara leaned her head back.
What if he’s changed his mind?
What if he doesn’t really want me?
What if he’s with someone else…loving someone else?
Her entire chest hurt at the thought.
I don’t want him to love anyone but me. I want to be the only person he holds and kisses and whispers “I love you” to. If I’m not…
If I’m not…
What if Mark Caten’s gone and caught him again?
The front door opened.
Her heart raced.
She raised her head.
Ambrose strode into the room.
She stood. “Ambrose.”
He came to her and embraced her.
“You’re shaking. What’s wrong?” She tried to pull back out of his arms.
He shook his head and held on to her.
“Ambrose. What’s wrong?”
He turned his head and whispered in her ear. “I’ll tell you later. Not now, love.”
Something inside her glowed.
He called me “love”. He’s never called me anything but my name before.
She rested her head against his chest and listened to the power of his heartbeat. “I’m so glad you’re here.”