“All right! I’m going to do something a little different. This is going to surprise you.” Olessa laughed. “Oh, it will surprise you.”
She talked on and on and on until Robin just plain tuned her out. He focused on her fey companion.
What’s his name?
Skinny little thing.
Pretty face for a male fey.
As if that even matters.
He ain’t lookin’ at me. Why? Why’s he ignorin’ me?
What do I care?
I don’t. Stupid little thing is just one of her minions. He can go stare at the wall and die for all I care.
And I don’t care.
“Unfortunately, I have to wait one more hour while it heats up.” She laughed. “Don’t want to put it on you while it’s still cold. What good would that do?”
“Olessa.” Isellta’s wings twitched. “Maybe we should wait on it. Maybe…”
“Shut it, fey! This is my realm. Things go down here the way I want them to go down here. I don’t have to listen to your whining nyeh nyeh nyeh’s.”
“But…” He glanced at Robin. “Maybe this once. Just this one time?”
She walked up to Isellta and slapped him.
Robin stood before him and slapped his face even harder. “LEAVE ME ALONE!”
Isellta looked at Robin with hurt in his eyes before he disappeared.
Robin woke up. He stared at the half-blurred, half-clear image of the ceiling.
Even before she sliced my eye, I was so blind.
I thought you were like her. Cold and indifferent and unfeelin’.
I was wrong.
I was so…stupid and so wrong.
You tried to help me. In small, quiet ways, you tried.
And all I did in return was yell and scowl and belittle and…
He looked over at Isellta’s rocking chair.
A deep sense of loss gripped him and threatened to tear him apart.
WHY AM I SO STUPID?
Why didn’t I think and feel all of these things when he was still here?
He was here.
Right here with me.
I could have touched him.
I could have held on to him.
I could have spent so much more time with him.
I could have seen him look at me.
Look at me, Isellta, and smile.
Let me see that smile on your stupid face.
Let me see you flap those stupid wings of yours.
I’m all wrong for you, Isellta.
But come back to me.
Robin closed his eyes and wrapped his arms tight around his chest. He imagined the feel of Isellta’s wings rubbing up against the inside of his arms.
Let me see you again.
He imagined Isellta returning the hug without hesitation or fear.
Let me start us all over again.
Isellta snugged his head under Robin’s jaw and fell asleep.
Can’t we start over again?
His wings flapped as he slept.
Isellta played the blues on his harmonica as the three vampires converged on Mark Caten.
Ambrose smiled – a sharp fanged smile – as he sauntered towards his enemy.
Mark Caten made mrbbled sounds that were probably speech, but a muzzle held his jaw tightly shut. His arms and legs were cuffed to the wall.
He was completely defenseless.
All three vampires stopped in front of him.
“All right.” said Robin. “Who goes first?”
Ambrose chuckled. “I’ll let you two go first. I’ll finish him when he’s all broken and weak.”
Raven nodded. “I understand, sir.”
Robin’s hollering and foot stomping jolted Ambrose out of his happy dream.
He growled and careened out of bed. He staggered all the way to Robin’s room.
Robin’s voice died down only to flare into another prolonged fit of hollering.
Ambrose snarled and kicked the door open. “What the heck is wrong with you?”
Robin spun around too quickly. He lost his balance and fell on his bottom. “Stupid.” He got back up on his feet. “You hear me fine? Stupid!”
“I’m glad you agree with me. Now, shut up and go back to sleep. Or I will find a creative way to stake you.”
“Oh, blah blah blah. You don’t know stuff about stuff.”
Ambrose gasped. “What?”
“And neither do I. You’re stupid and I’m stupid and we’re all stupid stupid stupid.”
“Go back to bed. Robin. Shut up. Go to sleep. Or I will clobber you.” He shrugged. “You know what? I’ll do it anyway.”
Robin’s good eye glazed over. “You don’t get it. I don’t get it either. Why?”
Ambrose marched over to the other vampire, scooped him up, tossed him over his shoulder, and hauled him back to bed. He dropped him with a little more force than necessary. “Now, go to sleep.”
“I can’t. Isellta. Isellta ain’t here.” He grogged a look at Ambrose. “What’s wrong with me? Why do I feel this way for him? It don’t…” He scoffed. “It don’t make sense. So, why?”
Ambrose shrugged. “Right now, I don’t particularly care. I need my sleep. We can discuss this tonight.”
“Oh. Ok.” Robin rolled over and fell fast asleep.
Ambrose started to walk back to the door, but his day exhaustion walloped him. He turned around and returned to Robin’s bed.
He stretched out next to the other vampire. “You try anything, I’ll smash your fangs.”
Robin didn’t even try to reply.