Barbara’s face was on fire as she ran outside.
I’m a slut. A total slut. A hypocritical slut.
The warming air failed to cool her face.
Touching him like that. Provoking him like that. What was I trying to accomplish?
She ran down the front steps.
How could I do that to him? I know how it affects him.
She stopped by her car. Is that why I did it? I wanted to talk to him about Kevin, but what if I really wanted…
She bowed her head and saw his face. Hungry. Expecting.
But he wasn’t hungry for my blood.
What if I had kept going?
She gasped as the truth came to her.
I wanted to keep going.
She got into her car and closed the door.
She saw his desire.
She pressed her forehead against the steering wheel.
It’s the same as mine.
Someone knocked on the driver’s side window.
Barbara raised her head and Ambrose was there.
He rubbed the heel of his hand across his forehead.
She got out of the car. “Ambrose! You shouldn’t be out here.”
“Hush, you. Come on. Let’s get you back inside before you pass out.”
She put her arm around his waist again.
“I need to…I need…”
“Shh. Let’s go. Come on. Move your feet, nice and easy. Good boy. Come on. Back to the house.”
Ambrose laid his head on the couch’s armrest and closed his eyes.
But he could still feel Barbara’s finger spinning webs of pleasure inside his skin.
He breathed hard and heavy.
I want more.
I want her to touch me as she has never done before.
I want it now.
I WANT IT NOW!
But I can’t.
Even if it makes me crazy, I won’t.
I will honor her wishes.
Her scent billowed into the room as she returned from whatever she was doing in the kitchen.
She set a glass on the cocktail table. “Hey, kitten.”
He smiled despite his feelings. “Is that your official nickname for me?”
“Mm-hmm. Little Gray Kitten.”
He burst out laughing. “Can’t I at least be a big kitten?”
“Nope. That would be a contradiction of terms.” She kissed his head.
He opened his eyes and looked up at her.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry for doing that to you. You’re right. That wasn’t fair at all.” She stroked his hair. “It wasn’t fair for either of us. I put us both too close to temptation. I’m sorry.”
“I should be mad at you. I should tell you to go home and…” He closed his eyes and his words blurred into something unknown. Then, they petered out into silence.
His body relaxed.
She kissed his head again. “I’m going now. I’ll see you later.”
“Bar’ra. Wai’.” He opened his eyes and raised his head. “Kevin.”
She returned to him. “How is he?”
How do I tell her? How can I put what I saw into words? How can I soften the blow? How can I…
“Don’t be afraid, Ambrose. Just tell me.”
He sat up and looked at her.
There are no words that can make it okay.
There’s no way to soften it.
There’s only one way to tell her.
Just tell her.
“He’s going fast.”
Her face went pale.
“He…can’t. He can’t talk out loud anymore. He can only send out his thoughts. Even then, he can’t say full sentences anymore. Just one words.”
She covered her mouth with her hands. The anguish in her eyes made him want to shut up.
“Barbara.” He held out his arms. “Come. Let me hold you.”
Barbara uncovered her mouth. She came to him and curled up in his lap.
He hugged her.
I can’t tell her the rest. It will break her.
“Is there more?”
But I don’t want to lie to her.
He stroked her hair. “He…he can’t.”
I hate that I have to do this. “Barbara. Are sure you want to know?”
He inhaled her scent and its sweetness gave him the courage he needed. “Kevin can’t stand on his own two feet anymore. His body is forgetting that it’s bipedal.”
“What can we do? Can’t we do something? Can’t we slow it down? Can’t we reverse it? Can’t we? Ambrose, can’t we?”
“I’m sorry, Barbara.”