Ambrose’s heart was too full for words to express. So, he didn’t try to speak.
He closed his eyes and leaned into her embrace.
This extraordinary young woman.
She has captured me heart and soul. Does she know how deeply she has ensnared me? And I don’t want to break free.
There are corset cords binding us together, pulling us ever closer. And I don’t want to cut them.
I want to make her happy.
I hope I can make her happy.
“Love, I love you.”
“I love you, my fluffy gray kitten.”
“Oh yeah? Well, flower this! I’m getting off this motherflowering boat with or without you.”
“But, Rose. This is love. This is big time, soul defining love.”
“The flowering boat is sinking, Jack. MOTHERFLOWERING SINKINING!!!”
Jack flapped his hands uselessly as the piano skated across the room and crashed into the mirrored wall.
“Well. There goes the flowering piano.”
Hildreth blinked in a sleepy, vaguely stupid way. “What the heck am I watching?”
“That was a priceless motherflowering Steinway! That’s it, Jack. The world that we have known has gone to flowering rot. If there is no divine protection for flowering Steinways, then that’s it. We are all darned. Darned to flowering heck!”
“Whatever it is, it’s obviously the edited for tv version.” He readjusted his cold compress and winced from the pain. “mngh. Too bad Elsie isn’t here.”
Hildreth laid back on the couch. “She could tend to me and…” He grinned. “She could get all dressed up in a hot nurse costume. Something that boosts her breasts just right and shows off her cleavage even better.”
He visualized that a little too well.
He shifted into a more comfortable position. “Mmm. Okay. Time to think about something else.”
“Wow. That one name just killed my buzz.”
“And that one just buried it.” He frowned.
Caten has been very quiet. No harassing phone calls. No texts. Nothing.
I should be glad. No. I should be celebrating with a cake shaped like a steak.
He’s going to pop out of the bushes.
There’s no question about it.
Only a question of when.
He sighed and momentarily focused on the tv. Rose was chasing Cal with a tomahawk and a death dealing facial expression. Jack was nowhere in sight.
Huh. Maybe I should call him.
He picked up his phone and went into his contacts.
Mark Caten sat second on the list.
Hildreth’s thumb hovered over the call button.
“Happy happy joy! Haappy happy joy! That’s what we got heeere. Lots of happy happy joy.”
Mark Caten huffed out an irritated sigh and answered his phone. “Sorry. I don’t talk dirty this late at night.”
“Who is this, anyway?”
Maybe I should hang up.
“It’s Hildreth Mayhew.”
“Hildreth what? Ohhh, wait. I know you.” He sat up. “You’re that unreliable low ranker who refused to handle my request. What’s the matter, low ranker? Did Elsie ditch you and run off with her one true love?”
“Sorry, but I AM her one true love.”
Mark Caten fake gagged. “As if. If you aren’t going to stake that child murdering vampire for me, you should run a little experiment. Lock Ambrosia in a room with Elsie. Give them five minutes alone. Open the door and see who’s humping who.”
I want to punch him. I want to punch him so much.
“I seriously doubt that anything of the sort would be happening.”
“Hahahahahahahahaha. Ahh. Haaaa-hahahahahahahahahahahahaha.”
Hildreth’s unoccupied hand curled into a fist.
“But seriously. Have you changed your mind about staking Ambrosia? Is that why you’re calling me?”
He sounded so eager it made Hildreth happy to say, “No.”
Mark Caten’s expression dropped into dourness. “So, what? You calling just to harass me, low ranker?”
“No. Things have been too quiet. I want to know what you’re up to.”
Mark smirked. “There are many obscene ways I could answer that, but like I said, I don’t talk dirty this late at night. I am waiting.”
“For you, Hildreth. I know you hate him. I know you have amazing fantasies about him and Elsie all cozed up together and making some hot—”
“I do not have those kind of fantasies.”
“Hahahahahaha! Of course, you do. You know you do. And you enjoy them.”
Hildreth closed his eyes and resisted the urge to vomit profanities into Mark Caten’s ear. “So. You’re waiting for me. For what?”
“For you to come crawling back to me and whimper about so many blah blah blah nonessentials before you finally get to the important part.”
“And what would that be?”
“Oh, please. Listening to a low ranker like you play coy? Vomit-induced coma. You know what I’m waiting for, Hildreth Mayhew. You know what I want.” He chuckled. “You know that you will give in.”
“No. I’ve had this conversation with Elsie. I don’t want to have anything to do with that vampire.”
“Blah blah blah blah-blah. That’s all I hear coming out of your mouth. Hmm. Here’s a thought. Maybe you need the right motivation. Maybe if Ambrosia were to…mmm, just doing some creative brainstorming here…Let’s say, if he were to kidnap Elsie. I know she likes to hunt alone. He could catch her unawares. I’m sure he won’t need too much prompting.”
“You don’t even know where we are.”
“Oh, but that’s the nice thing about my cell phone. It has a special app, where I can track the location of my callers. As they’re talking.”
Hildreth ended the call and threw the phone to the other side of the couch.
He covered his face with his hands and trembled.
What have I done?