Ambrose held Barbara’s hand as they followed the priest into the rectory.
She looked up at him. “It’s okay.”
He squeezed her hand.
Father Landover escorted them into his living room just like last time. “Well. Here we are again. Ambrose, Barbara, and…”
“John. John Addleston. I’m her father.”
“Pleasure to meet you, sir. Please have a seat.”
They clumped together on the couch – one, two, three – like kernels on a corn cob. John moved over to give the lovers a bit more space.
Father Landover grabbed his armchair and dragged it over to them. He sat down. “Barbara told me about the results of the DNA test and, let me say, I’m very happy for you both. So!” He clapped his hands together. “When do you two want to get married?”
Ambrose chuckled softly. “I’d love to say right now.”
Father Landover laughed. “I’m sure you would.”
“But I won’t. I want this to be special, not just a quick spur of the moment kind of thing.”
“But life is so uncertain. Especially a vampire’s life. I don’t want to wait for months on end. So many things could happen. So many things could go wrong.”
“All lives are uncertain. Even mine. I minister to my congregation of vampires with the knowledge that the day may come when one of them or all of them might turn on me. They might kill me. They might change me. I know this. I have always known this, but I will not abandon them. How could I? If I don’t help them, who will?”
“You’re a very brave man.” said John.
“Not always. I have nightmares. I have fears. I know how vulnerable I am every time I turn my back to them during Mass, every time I bend forward to offer them Communion. But I know this is God’s will. This mission. This small church in the middle of nowhere. This is where I’m meant to be. And this is what I’m meant to do with my priestly life.”
He smiled. “But we are not here to talk about me.” He rose from his seat and went over to his bookcase.
So, then he hasn’t been turned. Good. One more load off my mind.
Barbara leaned her head against his arm.
Ambrose looked down at her.
All I have left is one last load of worries, of what ifs, of waiting for an answer.
The priest returned. “Sorry about that.” He sat down and leafed through his planner. “Let’s see…Ah.” He raised his head. “I have an opening next month.”
Ambrose gasped. “So soon?”
“Is that a problem?”
“I…I don’t know.” He gave Barbara a questioning glance.
“What day?” she asked.
She looked over at her father. “What do you say? Will that be enough time to do everything we need to do?”
“When’s the next available date?”
Father Landover flipped through a lot of pages in his planner. “oo. No. No. Ah.” He raised his head. “May 30. Of next year.”
Ambrose shook his head. “I don’t want to wait that long.”
Ambrose looked over at John. “It’s up to you, sir.”
“So. May 21 or May 30.”
“May 30 of next year.” said Barbara.
Ambrose tightened his grip on her hand as the older man contemplated the two dates.
Please don’t go with May 30. I don’t want to wait so long. But…May 21. It will be here so soon. Do I really want to feel like we rushed into this? Maybe we should wait. Maybe…
I could reach into his mind and see what he is thinking. I could influence his thoughts.
I could bend his thoughts to what I want.
His decision will be his own, whether I like it or not.
John came out of his thoughts and focused on the priest. “It’s going to make things a little hectic and crazy, but I say May 21.”
“Are you sure?” asked Ambrose.
He looked at them – his daughter and her vampire fiancé – and smiled. “I’m very sure.”