If only Elsie were here.
Hildreth’s eyes drifted to half-mast.
He startled awake.
He sat up straight and glanced around.
The house was quiet, but not unnaturally so. Not in that silence before the pounce sort of way.
Just in a “I’m all by myself” way.
But something is wrong.
He pulled out his phone and quickly dialed her number.
“Answer. Answer. Answer. Please answer.”
“Elsie. Ohh. Are you all right?”
She didn’t answer.
“Els? Elsie baby, talk to me. What’s wrong?”
“I. I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Don’t do this to me. Talk to me. Please.”
“I wish. I wish you were here, Hildreth. I miss you. I.” She paused. “I need you.”
Another infuriating pause.
“Elsie? Is it…Is…”
She sighed. “It has nothing to do with Ambrose. So, quit worrying about that. It’s. My dad. I’m here at his grave. I was hoping. I don’t know. Maybe I wanted some closure. Maybe I wanted to feel a sense of everything being right in the world. Maybe I was hoping for his ghost to appear. If only to just touch my shoulder. Just to let me know that he was there. That he.”
She made an exasperated sound. “I don’t even know why I’d hope for something like that. He was never there for me when he was alive. Why would he bother comforting me after his death? Why break a major winning streak?”
“I’m sorry. I gotta go.”
“Elsie. Wait. Don’t push me away. I miss you too. I’m bored out of my ever lovin’ mind. Do you know I’m actually looking forward to physical therapy? That’s the level of bored that I’m at. I’m like sitting here thinking that smacking my head against the wall would be a ton of fun. I’m that bored. I’m watching Dumb and Dumberer and loving every minute of it. Yeah. That level of bored.”
“Hildreth. You shouldn’t watch things like that. It will significantly lower your intelligence. And don’t smack your head against the wall. You’ll give yourself a concussion.”
He grinned. “I’m also thinking about running around with a pair of scissors just to see what will happen.”
“Hildreth Mayhew, don’t you dare do something that dumb. You’d fall onto them and pierce your lungs and—”
He laughed. “Elsie Vansing. You’re worried about me.”
“Always. Ohh, I wish you were here.”
“That is not fair.”
“Saying my name like that on the phone. I can’t touch you. I can’t kiss you.”
“Hmm. We could make kissy sounds. Does that work?”
He grinned. Mission complete.
“We could. But I’m standing in a cemetery, Hildreth. It would be disrespectful to do that on the phone when I’m standing in a cemetery.”
“Oh, I don’t think the dead will mind. There may even be a few who’d be all ‘Ohhhh, yeeeeeaaaaah!'”
“I don’t even want to know what you mean by that.”
He laughed and she joined in.
“I love you, Hildreth.”
“Even though I’m an idiot?”
“Because you are such an idiot. What would I do without you? My life would be so different without you.”
“I’m hoping that’s a good thing.”
“It is.” She made a kiss sound.
A pleasant shiver ran down his spine. “Naughty, naughty Elsie Vansing. Doing profane acts in a cemetery. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.”
“It’s your fault.”
“mm. When you come back here, you will have to give me a real kiss. You know that, right?”
“You think I need to be told that? Love you.”
“I’ll see you later.”
“I’ll see you later.”
“Love you, Els.”
He ended the call and leaned his head back.
I can’t wait till she returns.