Ambrose laid his head back down.
Elsie tracked me down and called me.
I spoke to her.
It was her.
It was her voice.
He closed his eyes.
His phone rang again.
He huffed out an irritated sigh. “This had better be important.”
He answered the phone. “Hello?”
His expression softened.
“Barbara. You know, I am trying to sleep.”
He smiled. “mmm. No. To be honest, I was thinking about you. I had a bad dream. Elsie called me. I don’t even remember what she wanted. Maybe she wanted to go to France and stomp grapes. I don’t even know. I assume they still do that. I don’t know. No. She wanted me to go see her one last time. I told her no. Part of me wanted to say yes, but I thought about you. In my dream, I just wanted you. And I do, Barbara. I want only you.”
Ambrose closed his eyes and listened to the cadence of her voice. It was like a lullaby.
He raised his hand and imagined it combing through her wavy honey-blond hair. He imagined her scent sticking to his skin like sweet syrup.
His mouth watered as he imagined licking it off his fingers.
His fingers wilted into a loose fist.
He imagined her face pressing against his knuckles.
“mmm. mmm. mmnot slee’ing. liss’ning. lishannmmm…”
His hand fell limp-wristed to the floor.
“mmm. mmm. mmm…”
Barbara closed her eyes and listened to him “mmm” in his sleep.
She imagined herself lying beside him as he slept.
She imagined her arm draped across his bare chest, rising and falling with each breath.
Her face heated up.
She opened her eyes.
“Yes, sir. You are such a bad influence, but I love you.”
I wish I was there with you.
Isellta took another bite of the pickle. His wings flapped out of sheer happiness. “Mm! So good!”
Jay and Maelin exchanged a smile.
“Thank you, Jay.”
“Well. I wish I could take credit for it, but it was one of the other servants who bought it.”
Another crunched bite. “Mmm!”
“I’ll be going to work soon, but don’t worry. You won’t be alone. Maelin will be with you. She’ll protect you.”
Isellta lowered the pickle. “What do you want me to do while you’re working?”
Jay smiled. “I’ll leave that answer up to Maelin.” He gave her a teasing glance. “She’s very good at being bossy.”
She grinned back at him and playfully bit his earlobe.
Jay let out a surprised laugh.
Isellta tilted his head and blinked quickly.
I don’t get it.
That seems like it would hurt, but…he likes it? Is this another nonsensical human thing? Must be. I’ve never seen a fey do that. But Maelin is part fey. So…? Is it a dragon thing? Maybe. That would make sense.
“You know, I could bite you back.” said Jay.
She released his ear and stuck her face into his face. “So? Why don’t you?”
“Mmm, maybe I will.”
Isellta’s wings flapped involuntarily as Jay leaned towards the side of her face.
If Robin did that to me, would I like it? I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like something I would enjoy.
I used to feel that way about kissing.
He tilted his head the other way and watched him nibble on her ear.
Isellta shook his head.
No. I would not like it. If I see Robin again, I’ll have to tell him not to do that to me.
Isellta took another bite.
If he’d want to do that to me.
I wonder if he’ll want to kiss me.
I don’t know.
He left without saying good-bye.
Didn’t even wave at me.
Maybe I was just seeing it all wrong.
Maybe he was just eager to get away from those guards. That would make sense. They were shooting at him.
Maybe his nerves were all rattled up and he just forgot. That makes sense too.
His wings flapped.
So, maybe he doesn’t hate me.
Jay stopped bothering her ear and kissed her.
Isellta noticed how he spread his hands on her face and neck.
How she yielded to his kiss without any resistance.
The way they moved their mouths.
The way her hands moved on him.
I want this.
I want Robin to kiss me like that. I want to feel that safe and relaxed in his kisses.
If he’ll kiss me.
Maybe it will take him a while to reach that point.
But I hope he reaches that point.
Their lips separated.
Jay leaned his forehead against her forehead. His eyes were closed. His mouth slightly open.
Isellta took another bite of the pickle.
Jay startled out of whatever he was doing or thinking. He moved his head away from hers and finished eating his breakfast.
She opened her eyes and admired him.
I want to be loved like that.
If Robin can love me like that.