John Addleston smiled.
This is how it should have been that day.
Ambrose and Barbara focused only on each other.
No errant kisses on the wrong woman’s lips.
Peace. Love. And such simple happiness.
That’s how it should have been.
The waiter returned. “What would you like to drink, sir?”
John looked at them as Ambrose whispered something in her ear and she giggled.
“Decaf coffee. Extra cream.”
“Now, that’s a drink. I’ll bring it out in a second.”
Ambrose gave him a belligerent look. “Hey! Where’s my hot water?”
The waiter sighed. “It’s still heating up. Sir.”
“Good. And no lemons.”
“Of course, sir.” The waiter sighed and left.
Carolyn laughed and showed John her water glass. A full lemon was wedged in there. “Seriously? I mean, just seriously? Were they in a rush? Or are all of their knives broken?”
He tried to pull the lemon out.
It was stuck.
He laughed and put the glass back down. “I think someone on the other side of the counter was having a bad day.” He flagged down their waiter. “Could you please get us another water with a slice of a lemon in it?”
The waiter mopped his forehead and sighed. “I’ll see what I can do.”
John looked at her. They became lost in a silent, happy moment. Words weren’t said because they weren’t necessary.
The waiter returned with the glass of water.
A lemon and a lime were wedged in the glass.
John opened his mouth to object, but the waiter walked off too fast.
He looked at Carolyn.
They burst out laughing. “I’ll take the lemon if you take the lemon-lime.” she said.
“Sounds good to me.” They picked up their glasses, tapped them together, and drank around the fruit as best as they could.
The ridiculousness of the situation hit them at the same time.
She managed to swallow her water, but he spit it out all over the table.
That only made them both laugh all the harder.
Barbara moved closer to her father and squeezed his hand.
He cleared his throat. “I’m okay, pumpkin.” He raised the menu. “Let’s see what they have to eat.”
Three rejected hot waters later, Ambrose sipped his water as Barbara and her father ate.
John glanced up at him. “So, you don’t eat?”
He shrugged. “Human food just doesn’t interest me the way it used to.”
“Because you got changed?”
“Yes.” He took another sip. “Funny thing is: The kind of scents that appeal to me the most when I’m hunting are sweet food scents.”
“Hm. Out of curiosity, what do we smell like to you?”
Ambrose let out a short, surprised laugh. “I’ve never had anyone ask me that before. Your scent is what the sea smells like in the middle of a hot July day. Warm, a little salty, a little like seaweed, and a little like fresh fish.”
“Really?” John sniffed his hand.
“You shouldn’t be able to smell it. Scent is apparent only to extraordinaries and animals.” He took another sip of water. “Mm. As for Barbara, I love her scent. It’s like a decadent semi-sweet chocolate brownie with a mellow vanilla bean frosting.”
“What is your scent?” asked Barbara.
“Mocha, oak, and musk.”
“Mmm. Sounds lovely.”
He grinned. “I don’t know if lovely is the right word, but I’ll take it.”
Barbara edged off a piece of her ravioli and scooped it up with her fork. “Will I ever be able to smell your scent?” She put the piece into her mouth.
“Only if you’re changed. And I will not do that.” He picked up his napkin and wiped the tomato sauce off her face. “I will never do that.”
She looked up at him.
His heart raced as he saw the trust in her eyes. “I will never betray your trust in me.”
I want to take her away from here.
I want to be alone with her.
What does she want?
She wants me to wait.
She wants me to be patient.
But what does she want?
I could enter her mind and find out for myself, but I don’t want to do that to her.
“Barbara.” he said softly. “What do you want?”
She looked surprised by the question. “How do you mean that?”
He smiled. “The answer is up to you.”
She frowned slightly. “I don’t understand.”
He set the napkin back on the table. “What do you want from me, from yourself, for yourself? What do you want most in life?”
“That’s a pretty heavy question to be asking during dinner with my dad.”
“I know. It’s just…So many times, I think ‘I want this’. ‘I want that’. ‘I want’. ‘I want’. I want. Well. Now, I want to know what you want.” He kissed her forehead right between her eyebrows. “Don’t answer now. Just think about it. When you have your answer, tell me. Any time of day or night, call me and tell me.”
She nodded. “Okay.”
“And I’ll tell you what I want then.”
“Oh.” She blushed a little. “I think I know what you want.”
He laughed softly. “Of course. But I want more than just that.”
He shook his head with a mischievous grin. “I’ll tell you after you tell me. Till then, you’ll just have to wait.”
“Tsk. And you call me a brat.”
He pressed his forehead against her forehead. “I love you.”
She rubbed the back of his neck. “I love you too.”