Ambrose staggered and stumbled over to Kevin, coughing and gagging the whole way there.
Then, he saw how much his one time rival had changed.
He sank down to his knees.
Kevin’s hands had transformed into a wolf’s large paws. His arms – into a wolf’s front legs. His chest had narrowed. His shoulders had flattened. His skin color had paled into a wolf’s skin color.
His torso had reoriented into an animal’s alignment.
His clothes hung loose and wrong on him.
His entire body convulsed as his back legs and head transformed. His eyes stared straight ahead – unfocused and unseeing.
“Kevin.” He laid his hand on the werewolf’s shoulder.
Kevin slowly turned his head and looked up at Ambrose. There was no sign of any recognition.
Ambrose felt a sharp pain as if he’d been staked. “I’m so sorry. I wish it weren’t like this. In a strange, contrary way, I wish we could still be rivals. I wish I still hated your guts. I wish you were still—” His voice caught in his throat. “—mooning after Barbara. I wish…Kevin. I wish you were still you.”
The werewolf laid his head down and panted extra hard. He tossed his head back and howled a broken note howl.
“I’m here. I may not be the one you wish were here. But I am here.” He stroked the werewolf’s thick hair. “And I will stay with you.”
John Addleston pulled into his driveway and parked the car.
“Dad. Are you sure you’re okay?”
He smiled at Barbara. “Don’t worry, pumpkin. That vampire never bit me. Your boy Ambrose never gave him that chance.”
“That was pretty amazing. He must like you a lot if he was being that protective about you.”
His smile softened. “I don’t think he did it for my sake. I think he did it for you.”
She looked surprised.
“Come on. Let’s go inside.”
The vampire followed Ambrose’s scent all the way to Kevin’s house. He tried to follow his scent into the house and was promptly ejected.
He sighed and made himself comfortable on the white plastic chair on the front porch.
Ambrose Smith can’t stay in there all night. He’ll come out eventually.
And I’ll be here.
Hildreth took his time in the shower. He sang through his entire Dixie Chicks repertoire and moved onto sporadic show tunes.
The Chariots of Fire theme song.
The Indiana Jones main theme.
The David Bowie songs from Labyrinth.
Then, he did an illogical jump to the songs from the Jane Eyre musical. He was halfway through “Sirens” when Elsie knocked on the door. “Your clothes are washed and dried.”
She opened the door and walked right in.
Hildreth slid the shower door open a crack and poked his head out. “Hey there, gorgeous. Come to join the party over here?”
She set his clothes on the counter and looked over at him.
Huh. This glass door is pretty well steamed up. Still. How much is the steam actually obscuring?
She walked towards the shower.
If this is a dream, I’m going to be so mad.
She stopped at the half-way point.
He wiped the water from his face. “Are you coming in?”
Please say yes. Please.
The steam whorled around Elsie, making her appear ghost-like.
And don’t you dare be some sort of vision. Be real. Please be real.
He grabbed onto the sliding door and held on for dear life. “Els. Come to me.”
She shook her head and quickly left the room.
Hildreth leaned his head against the door’s metal trim.
Elsie closed the door and leaned back against it.
But not in a shower.
I just know he’d get hurt. I know it.
I swear, I know it.
She closed her eyes.
Hildreth moaned softly.