Hildreth admired the spread of food on his plate. “Mmm. Scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage. But no toast. What gives with that?”
Elsie grinned. “That comes last.”
Hildreth opened his mouth to object, but then he thought about it. “Well, I guess that makes sense. If you serve toast too soon, it gets all cold and gross . Bleah!”
Elsie looked like she was bursting to tell him something good.
“You got something you want to share with the rest of the class?”
“Interesting choice of words.”
“Huh? Wait. Which words?”
She put a large clump of scrambled eggs in her mouth.
He watched her eat.
A small patch of panic worried his stomach.
What if Caten wasn’t lying?
What if he does get that vampire to kidnap her?
He picked up a piece of bacon and ate it in a slow, thoughtful fashion.
Well. That would be the needlessly complicated way to go about killing that vampire. He’d have to get a hold of that vampire and convince him to kidnap Elsie. Then, Caten would have to call me back and relay the message and go through the trouble of convincing me that he’s telling the truth.
Sounds like one too many rounds of phone tag to me.
Why doesn’t he just send one of his own people?
He sighed as he imagined Mark’s response.
Because I’m freaking Mark Caten.
He’d probably call me loser, sub-loser, lower primate life form, and a variety of equally colorful insults.
Including my absolute favorite: low ranker.
Elsie moved her chair closer to him and tugged on his ear lobe.
“You’re lost in your thoughts.”
He smiled. “Yeah. I tend to do that.”
“Well. Do it after breakfast. You don’t want your food to get cold.”
“Mmm.” He stabbed the sausage with his fork. “Elsie.”
“Mark Caten threatened to send that vampire here to kidnap you.”
“And you believed him?”
Hildreth shrugged. “He threatened you last time and look what happened. His mugs burned your house down.”
“Ambrose is not a mug.”
Hildreth set his fork down and studied her expression.
“He’s too…arrogant. Besides that, he’d never come for me.”
She sounds disappointed.
He looked down at his scrambled eggs and found he could really relate to their scrambled up state of being.
“Hildreth.” She punched his arm. “Stop it.”
“Look at me.”
“I know what you’re thinking.”
“Yes. It’s the same thing you think every time I say his name. You think I’m secretly pining for him.”
She punched his arm again in the same spot.
“I’m not. I don’t want him. You stupid idiot!”
Another arm punch.
“Get that into your head already. I want you. You have no idea how much I want you. You look at me and I want to just throw myself at you.”
She aimed her fist to punch him again.
He blocked her and took her hand captive.
She didn’t try to set it free. “And when you kiss me, I want to just pummel you to the ground.”
“Sounds like I’m in for some major pain and bruises on our wedding night.”
“Only if you’re stupid enough to bring up Ambrose’s name.”
He grinned. “So, I shouldn’t call out his name when we’re in the throes of passion.”
“If you do, I’ll smash your esophagus.”
“My Elsie.” He kissed her hand. “My lovely, fierce Elsie.”
She stood and crowded into his space.
He released her hand.
She slid her fingers into his hair.
He smiled and leaned his head back.
She kissed him.
If that vampire kidnapped her…
If he ever touched her again…
If he ever bit her…
He kissed her like he was trying to devour her soul.
I’d stake him without any regrets.