Elsie set her fork down. “What’s wrong?”
“You have THAT look on your face.”
“THAT look? And what would THAT be?”
“The look you get when you’re thinking about something you don’t like. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” He smiled. “It’s true. There’s nothing wrong. We’re together. That vampire is living in a river boat down in Baton Rouge, for all I know. And there’s no conflict. Nothing that I’m hiding from you.”
She sighed. “Good. So, what were you thinking about?”
“The first time I saw you.”
“I was with Ambrose.”
“Your hair was a mess.”
“Nice. You didn’t have your Bossman 550. You had a crossbow.”
“I liked that crossbow. It was cool. But the Bossman 550 is a better weapon. That vampire pushed my buttons. I wanted to punch him into the sky.”
“I guess some things don’t change.”
He gently turned her face towards him. “Some things do.” He kissed her.
The fork fell out of her hand. Maybe it fell on the table. Maybe it bailed out all the way and landed on the floor.
Neither Hildreth nor Elsie noticed, much less cared.
It took them a while to come up for air.
They sat there, panting for breath.
“We’re gonna get ourselves kicked out for indulging in inappropriate behavior in a family restaurant.”
“Might even get ourselves banned from eating here again.”
“So?” She grabbed his hair and kissed him again.
Halfway through the kiss, Hildreth laughed again.
She pulled back, but she didn’t let go of his hair. “What now?”
“Elsie Vansing. You are all manner of naughty.”
“You’re not so innocent yourself, you know.”
“I know.” He looked at her and there was wonderment in his eyes. “Elsie. My beautiful, fierce Elsie.”
“Is it May 21 yet?”
Ambrose woke up, gagging.
Darn Kevin and his darned garbage stench!
He covered his mouth and coughed into his hands.
He gagged again.
That does it.
Ambrose set Kevin’s head on the floor and came dangerously close to vomiting on him.
He left the room and the house as fast as he could.
He stood on the front porch and breathed deeply.
Clean, unrubbished air.
He leaned against the closed front door. His breathing slowly returned to normal.
This is going to be a long week and one day.
He closed his eyes and took in his surroundings.
The sun was up. No doubts about that.
The air was warmer than usual.
The snow drip-splatted off the roof.
Maybe spring is finally on its way. It better be. It’s well over-due.
Thinking about spring made him think about May, which made him think about Barbara.
He opened his eyes wide and swore in French. “I didn’t tell her that I was staying here. What if she tries to pay me a visit? I’m not there. They are.” He pulled out his cellphone.
The screen was black.
He pressed the button to turn it on.
A blank battery symbol appeared.
The screen stayed black.
He snarled at the phone and jammed it back into his pocket.
“Great. I have to go back inside the den of stench and use his phone. Lovely. It’s just what I wanted to do.”
He took a deep breath and ran back into the house, into the kitchen, over to the cordless phone.
The phone was not on its base.
And wound up with a mouthful of garbage scent.
I could look for it.
I’d probably find it.
His stomach clenched up from the scent.
The stench is too much. I can’t. I just can’t.
He ran out the door and stood on the front porch, retching.
Maybe I’m over-reacting. It’s day. They’re sleeping. They won’t even know she’s there.
But I want to be there when she comes.
I want to see her again.
He stepped off the porch, walked down the driveway, and headed on down the road.