“With that last word, her hand fell to the comforter. Her eyes dulled. Her heart stopped. And the woman I loved…was gone. I wanted to stay there and grieve, but dawn was approaching fast.” Raven’s mouth twitched in a half-hearted smile. “It would have bode poorly for me if I had fallen asleep in her room. Her people would have misunderstood. I ran back home. Back to what was once her home.”
Missy rubbed her nose in the handkerchief’s last dry corner. I bet you cried your heart out and your guts out and all of your—-
“No. I was upset. I was hurting. But I couldn’t grieve. I was tired. I needed my sleep. I pushed the pain down and told myself that one day I would find the time to indulge in my misery.”
He shook his head. “Not nearly enough. Missy. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
Antioch will fix me.
“I would like to believe that is so, but I don’t trust him. I believe he will harm you further. He may kill you.”
She shook her head. No. I am XQ. I matter to him. I’m special to him. He’s proud of me.
“And he will harm you.”
“He will harm you to force me into letting you stay with him. I know he will. If I were him, I would do so.”
But if he doesn’t fix me, I’ll never be able to talk to you, really talk to you. I miss hearing the sound of my own voice and saying everything that I want to say all in one breath as fast as I can in one long glorious sentence of non-stop words.
He smiled as he remembered their time together in the old school building. His smile fell. “I’m sorry, Missy.”
She looked puzzled.
“I should have protected you. I never should have let them take you away.” His voice choked up. “I could have stopped them.”
She hugged him.
“I’m so sorry.”
And the Hoover Dam collapsed.
Missy hugged him tighter.
She didn’t say anything to comfort him. She just held him and let him cry.
And that was enough.
Ambrose laid all sprawled out on the floor, completely unconscious.
Barbara sat beside him and ran her fingers through his hair. Her skin seemed to glow in contrast with his hair’s blackness.
She kissed him.
But that kiss wasn’t enough. She wanted more. So much more.
She unzipped his gray hoodie all the way down, exposing the white tank top and bare skin underneath. The hoodie disappeared without her actually removing it.
Her gaze travelled all over him.
Every bit of him.
She untucked his tank top and it joined the hoodie in the lost and found department.
Barbara stroked his bare chest and smiled.
He’s so helpless.
She pulled out her stake and drove it straight into his heart.
He opened his eyes and looked at her one last time.
Barbara woke up to the sound of her own screams.
She stopped screaming, grabbed her phone, and called Ambrose.
She burst into tears.
“What? Who is this?”
“Barbara. What’s wrong? Are you hurt? Where are you? Did another vampire bite you? Darling, speak to me.”
“No. I’m fine. I just had a very bad dream. I needed to hear your voice just to know that you’re still here. You’re still okay.”
“I’m here, love. I’m still alive and biting.”
She thought about the better half of her dream.
I want to run to him.
I want to throw myself into his arms.
I want him to hold me and kiss me and tell me that he loves me.
But if I go to him, feeling the way I do right now, I’m scared of where my feelings would take us.
“Do you need me to come to you?”
“No. Just talk to me. Doesn’t matter what you say. Talk about the weather. Talk about trees. Talk about why you look so darn hot in a tank top.”
He laughed. “Do I really?”
She smiled and all of her tears and fears went away. “You know you do.”
“Would you believe it’s the result of excellent genetics?”
“Nope. I think you’re a closeted exercise fiend.”
He laughed even harder.
The sound of his laughter made her glow inside. “Yep. You do all of your exercises in a closet.”
“Is it a nice closet?”
“Oh no. It’s dark and dingy. The walls haven’t been painted in years. And there’s a persistent old sweat sock scent in the air.”
“Oh, nice. I suppose it’s cluttered too.”
“Why am I not surprised?”
“I love you, kitten.”
“I love you, Barbara Addleston. I always will.”