As they broke away from Kiss# 3,464, Barbara’s mind flashed to seeing him in the hotel room without his shirt on. She remembered how it felt to be wrapped in his bare arms and pressed against his bare chest.
I want that again.
I want more than that.
The red light turned green for the fifth time.
She hurried back to her seat and buckled up.
“No. I just…”
“Barbara. Did I do something wrong?”
“Of course not. I was just…” She drove forward. “…thinking.”
“About how good you look in a tank top and—” She could feel her face turn red. “—how good you look without it.”
“Ha! Barbara. Barbara. You naughty minx. Thinking dirty thoughts about me. I ought to be appalled. I’m old enough to be your ancestor.”
He played with a loose strand of her hair. “You have no idea how much I love seeing you happy. Especially after all of the drama we’ve gone through.”
“We’ve gone through a lot.”
“And now…” His smile fell. His hand returned to his lap.
“What is it? What’s wrong?”
“Kevin. I promised him I would stay with him. Could you drop me off at his house?”
“Can I come in with you?”
He shook his head.
“Please. He’s running out of days. Please, Ambrose. Just tonight. Just this one night.”
“I don’t like it. Something bad will happen if you go in there. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“Just this one night.”
“Just a few minutes.”
He looked out the window.
“You don’t understand. He is changing, Barbara. He’s losing himself.”
“I know that.”
“I don’t know how far gone he is tonight.”
“I have you.”
He looked back at her.
“I hate to sound like a damsel, but I’ll have you with me. You’ll protect me.”
“So many things can happen. So many things can go wrong far too fast.”
She looked straight ahead. “After he changes, he’ll find a werewolf pack to live with. He’ll never come home again. I’ll never see him again. I know this.”
“Barbara. You’re so kind-hearted and caring. It will break your heart to see him as he is now. He is so far removed from the man you knew.”
Barbara fell silent as she saw Kevin in her mind. His sloopy hair pinned back with a fleet of bobby pins. His laidback smile and easy-going attitude. His love for her.
“You shouldn’t have to see him like that.”
“I know.” she said softly. “But this isn’t about me.”
He looked puzzled by that concept.
“He is the one undergoing this change. He is the one who is really suffering. If I can soften his pain just by being there for a couple of minutes…If I can give him one last happy memory before it’s all gone…”
She glanced at him. “Yes, it will hurt. I’m not going to pretend that it won’t. I will cry, but Ambrose. I have you here with me. I can turn to you and you can hold me and comfort me.”
He smiled. “You manipulative little brat. Trying to use my desire against me.”
Her face burned so hot she wouldn’t have been surprised to see smoke coming off of it. “Not at all! I wasn’t even thinking…I wasn’t even…”
He kissed the side of her face. “Whether you intended it that way or not, doesn’t matter. I’ll let you come in with me.”