Raven sat on the bed beside her and kissed her forehead.
She smiled and shook her head.
She threw her arms around his neck and caught him off balance. He fell back onto the bed and she landed on top of him.
She kissed him.
It stole his heartbeat away.
I shouldn’t allow this. It isn’t proper. It isn’t right.
She broke away and looked down at him.
The air between them changed.
It grew warmer, like spring becoming summer.
Does she feel it too?
Or is it only me?
You’re so pretty so kissable so lovely so touchable.
She is pretty too.
I hadn’t thought about it.
I had never even noticed.
Miss Farlington’s ghost was always there.
Always standing far too close.
I could only see her.
I couldn’t see Missy at all.
Now, I can.
And she is lovely.
He raised his head and kissed her. His hands rested on her shoulders.
The intercom dinged. “Alert! Alert! A rogue vampire has attacked the facility. Alert! Alert!”
Missy broke off and raised her head.
“Alert! Alert! A rogue vampire has attacked the facility. Alert! Alert!”
Raven clenched his teeth. Robin. What have you done?
Missy sat back on her feet. Raven.
He looked up at her.
They’ll come for me. They’ll expect me to eliminate the threat. They’ll want to test my obedience. Raven. You have to leave.
He shook his head.
He shook his head again.
She transformed into XQ and snarled sparks and flares at him.
He dug his fingers into the blanket. “I am not leaving you behind. Hurt me. Burn me. Stake me. Kill me. I will stay here with you, if I must.” His pupils widened as he realized the full truth. “I love you.”
She turned back into Missy.
The door banged open and Robin barged into the room.
Outside the door, people ran past in flagrant panic mode.
“Hey. Quit having fun over there. We gotta go.”
Raven rose from the bed and strode over to the other vampire. “What did you do?”
“Nothing! Okay, so maybe I killed a couple of people. Big whoop.”
More people panic-ran past the door.
“Define a couple, sir.”
“One here, one there, two there, an undefinable number there—”
Raven unsheathed his claws. “You imbecile. How will we escape with everyone on alert?”
“Shut up! I was in a rotten mood. Anger had to go somewhere.”
Don’t lose it.
Push the anger down.
Deal with it later.
Focus on the escape.
His claws retracted. “I will have you know, sir, that I will bring sorrow and pain upon your head. Later, of course.”
“Dandy. Can we go now?”
Raven looked back at her.
He shook his head.
“You’re wasting time.”
Raven looked at him. A cold, hard “Go die in a freezer” look.
Robin took the hint and shut up.
Raven returned to her. “Please. Please come.”
“If you want her to come that bad, just scoop her up over your shoulder and go.”
Raven closed his eyes and pushed the irritation as far down as it could go.
She smiled. Could you carry me like that? That would be an interesting experience no one’s ever carried me like a Neanderthal before.
“Will you come?”
Another group ran in the opposite direction. Screaming and wailing echoed down the hall.
“Seriously. Just grab her and go.”
She lowered her gaze.
“Missy, please.” He came close to her and gently pulled her head against his chest.
She closed her eyes and curled her fingers around his wrist.
“I can’t leave you here.”
So soft so warm so lovely shirtless Raven.
Robin fidgeted in the doorway. “Hey, lovebirds. You can do all of this canoodling fun at home.” He shrugged. “Just sayin’.”
She opened her eyes and kissed his bare skin again. I’ll come.
She felt a flare of disappointment as his shirt covered his skin and he buttoned it closed.
Am I making the right choice?
I belong here.
This is my home.
My entire life.
No. Not my entire life. Raven holds pieces of it. Professor Hrashna holds even more.
So, where does that leave me?
She smiled at how his hair spread forward as he bowed his head.
I want to stay with him.
But leaving here…I leave behind any and all chances of regaining my voice. But if I stay, will they return my voice? I think they will to reward me to make me happy they care about my happiness they do they do they…
She rubbed her throat.
But they took it away.
They won’t return it.
I will never be able to speak again.
If I leave here, they won’t show me any mercy when they catch me again.
Raven tucked his shirt in and buttoned his cuffs.
But he’s worth it.
Worth the fear, the loss, the doubts.
Pretty lovely Raven.