Sammy pulled back Ambrose’s blanket and dropped him onto the bed.
Ambrose burrowed his face into his pillow and sighed softly.
Sammy covered him up and turned to leave.
“Mngh…Thank you, Sammy.”
Sammy looked back at the vampire. “What—?”
But Ambrose had fallen asleep again.
Sammy stood there for a few minutes, watching him sleep.
Sammy’s mind was quiet.
His emotions were still.
He saw a glimpse of Ambrose’s future.
Barbara threw her arms around Ambrose’s neck as he came home from another hunt. She hugged him so fast and so hard it knocked him back a couple of steps. He laughed and said something that made her laugh. He looked at her with simple adoration just before he kissed her.
Sammy blinked and the vision was gone.
He left the house and sat down in his car.
Even though his heart was aching, he smiled.
Ms. Addleston will be safe with him. Safe and so happy.
His passenger side window shattered, but the shards of glass transformed into lilies of the valley.
Barbara looked up as Sammy walked through the front door. “Oh, good! You’re back. I have a couple of messages for you.”
He walked around to her side of the desk.
“You will have to call Ms. Odeshay. I know you’ve been avoiding her and I really can’t blame you, but—”
She looked up at him. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” He smiled. “I wish you and Mr. Smith every possible happiness. I honestly do.”
She took his hands and squeezed them. “Thank you, Sammy. It means a lot to me.”
He cleared his throat. “What were my other messages?”
The rest of the room was tip-top tidy.
Nothing for Isellta to clean or to claim.
He opened the door to the walk-in closet.
Suits and dress shirts hung in orderly lines.
Isellta flapped his wings in excitement.
“They’re even arranged by color!” His wings went still as something didn’t make sense to him.
He took out the button and rubbed it between his fingers. The smooth, clean feel of it comforted him.
But it still doesn’t make sense. Why is his closet so well-ordered while his dresser looks like a catch-all bin?
He admired the button’s high glossed shine. His wings flapped.
I can see my reflection!
Hm. Maybe the clothes in the closet are more expensive than the dresser clothes. Maybe they wrinkle faster?
That makes sense.
He returned the button to his pocket and got busy doing some high level snooping.
Until he found two intriguing items: a photo album and a journal.
He carried them over to the bed and settled down with them.
The photo album was denim-covered with the word “photo” stitched across it in metallic thread. He ran his fingers over the silver letters.
He opened the album.
It contained the expected sort of childhood pictures: winter pictures of kids in snowsuits and snow shoveling, snow forts and snowmen in scarves and carrot noses.
Summer pictures of swimming and birthday parties, horseback riding.
And a forlorn young boy in a arm cast.
Isellta took that picture out and studied the boy’s somber face.
It looks like Jay.
Why is he so sad? Is it because of his arm or…?
Isellta set the picture aside and looked through the other pictures.
But his mind kept going back to that one.
Why was he so sad?
As Isellta flipped through the pages, Small Jay grew taller and older.
Then, he ran across a picture that wasn’t placed neatly in the book’s plastic sleeves. It was tucked in between the pages – as if someone had just tossed it in there as a bookmark.
It was a formal portrait of Jay and a young woman. They faced each other with what were supposed to be artistically somber expressions. But there was laughter in their eyes.
Isellta sat back and focused on her.
She was pretty in an non-American way. Her hair was very black and very straight. Her nose had a curiously flattened appearance, which intrigued Isellta. He wondered if it was supposed to be like that. Her eye was narrower than Jay’s with short eyelashes and a well-arched eyebrow.
Is this Maelin? Or is it someone else?
He looked at the pride and love in Jay’s profiled expression. It made him ache somewhere inside his chest.
As soon as I’m done assisting Queen Preyuna with her “Kill Mark Caten” project, I will run back to you.
Wait for me.