Ambrose sniffed the air as he entered town, but there were no scents in the air that particularly called to him.
He snapped to attention as he caught a whiff of warmed crème brulee.
A smile spread across his face. “Hello again.”
He followed the scent to behind The Red Envelope’s dumpster.
She sat all huddled up against it.
She startled and looked up at him. “You.”
“What do you want?”
She rose quickly and threw her arms around his neck. “Then, take me. Take me completely.”
He opened his mouth to object.
She tilted her head, exposing her neck.
He bared his fangs.
Only what I need.
He bit her neck.
“Yes.” she whispered. “Don’t stop. Empty me. Kill me.”
The blood poured in.
He ecstatically gulped it down.
“Keep going. Don’t stop. Kill me. Kill me.”
He released his grip on her neck and licked his lips. “I can’t. But thank you.”
“Why?” Tears fell down her pale face. “You’re a vampire. You’re supposed to be heartless. You’re supposed to be a killing machine. So, kill me.”
“I’m not a killing machine.”
“I’m so tired of hiding from him, of always being on alert, always being on the run. If you change me, it will give me a fighting chance.”
“Until he stakes you.”
“I won’t give him the opportunity.”
“He’ll find an opportunity. Probably during the day when you’re weak and vulnerable.”
“I’m sorry. I can’t.”
She dug her fingers into his hair and pulled his face down to her neck.
He snarled and jerked his head out of her grip. “I’m done with you. You want to be turned into a vampire, find someone else to change you. I won’t.”
She crumpled into a grovel.
His expression softened. “Is there no one you can run to for protection?”
“I don’t know who to trust.”
“Who is he?”
“I don’t know his last name. Just his first.”
“That isn’t very helpful, but what is it?”
Raven sat in the corner with Missy curled up next to him. He put his arms around her shoulders and pulled her closer.
She slept soundly. Her face completely at peace.
Robin, however, was not at all at peace. He paced the room, muttering dark words under his breath.
“Sir. Please settle down. You’re making me feel agitated.”
Raven sighed. “You’re going to wake her up.”
“You think I care about that?”
Raven considered the rhetoricalness of the question and decided to answer it anyway. “Not particularly.”
“Then, SHUT UP!”
“Sir. If this is about what Antioch did to you—-”
“This is more than that. It’s everything. This place. Missy. Antioch. Isellta. stupid Isellta. stupid worthless heartless little fey slut…” He stopped his pacing and melted into tears.
“Sir!” Raven gently laid her down and hurried over to his fellow vampire. “Sir, what…”
“You didn’t see him with her. Having soooo much fun with his fey girlfriend or whatever the heck she was to him. He…”
Robin covered his face with his hands and sobbed. “Why does this hurt so much? He’s nothing to me. Just a nuisance. Just an endless reminder of…” He doubled over. “It hurts so much.”
Well. This is confounding. It’s as if he’s in love with Isellta, but that can’t be. Isellta is a male fey and Robin is a male vampire. Neither one is a woman. So, how could he possibly be in love with Isellta? “Perhaps you’re overtired.”
Robin dropped his hands and glared. “How could I be overtired, stupid? It’s the middle of the night.”
“Shut up. Do me a favor and just shut up.”
Robin screamed and stamped his foot repeatedly on the floor. “stupid stupid stupid stupid FREAKING STUPID!”
“Sir. If you don’t calm down, I’ll—”
“You’ll what? Punch me? Bite me? What?”
Raven smiled. “I’ll make you calm down.” His smile grew. “The same way I calmed down Antioch.”
Robin’s pupils widened.
“If you don’t mind, sir.”
“Mind?” Robin snarled. “Just try it.”
Raven shrugged. “If you insist.”
“If you want to find out if vampires can get black eyes.”
“Ah. Then, you don’t wish it.”
“Heck yeah I don’t wish it, ya smorgasbord of stupid.”
Raven looked back at her. “What do you think will happen tomorrow? Will Antioch keep his end of the bargain?”
“Do dragons bite?”
Raven gave him a puzzled look.
“Stupid. It means no. Dragons don’t go about biting people. They make them explode. Duh. Common knowledge.”
“Ah. What can we do? How can we insure that he will return her voice and let her go?”
“I don’t know. You could just throw yourself at him again. That sure worked good last time.”
“Is there anything you can do to help?”
“Threatening him with a shiv sounds like fun to me.”
“Indeed it does, sir, but he could turn that to his advantage. Is there anything you can do?”
Robin shrugged. “Subtle stuff, but that ain’t a whole lot of fun. I prefer using fists and claws.” He smiled. “Although, I do know a couple of nice soliloquies I could pound his head with, if I have to.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”