“So. When are you getting married?” Elsie took a sip of her iced tea.
Elsie managed to refrain from spewing iced tea everywhere. “May 21. Of this year.”
“What about you? When are you getting married?”
“Are you kidding?”
“You mean, we’re going to have the same anniversary date?”
“How’s that for amazing coincidence?”
“Amazing. Are you getting married here in Pinkerlee?”
“No. We’re going to tie the knot in a small church a couple of hours away from here. I don’t think it’s in an actual city. It just sits out there all by itself.”
Elsie finished the rest of her iced tea. “Sounds lonely.”
A thoughtful look came over Barbara’s face. “I guess it is.”
“How did you ever convince the priest or minister, whichever the case may be, to agree to perform a wedding ceremony for a vampire?”
And, for a moment, Elsie saw a glimpse of what drew Ambrose to the other woman.
“It’s a long story.”
Elsie shrugged. “I’m listening.”
Clarice looked at John.
At Barbara Addleston’s father.
She saw kindness looking back at her. “So. Does this count as a date?”
His smile was good.
His smile was kind.
“Not quite a date. I haven’t asked you out yet. I haven’t come to your house at 7:00 to pick you up.”
The gray energy around him paled into less gloom, into something that sparkled like a small hope.
“I really do want to date you.” she said. “I want to know more about you. I want to know who you are, Mr. John Addleston.”
“And.” He hesitated.
He looked afraid to say the words in his head.
But he broke through the fears and said them, “I feel the same about you, Mrs. Clarice Vansing.”
“So? When should our first date be?”
John looked down at the card in his hand. “Let me think about it.” he said softly.
She patted his hand.
He looked up at her.
“I’ll let you think about it.”
Marcia ran across the moors with a gazelle’s natural grace. Yet, her thoughts were far from graceful. They were wracked with fear.
Fear for the man she loved.
Greg Brady. Her darling. Her prince.
Jan had captured him and taken him to the abandoned abbey at the edge of the Black Bog.
Marcia’s heart beat with a desperation she never knew she possessed. She had to rescue him. Yet, time was moving with lethal speed while she felt as if she were barely moving at all. Oh, but she would be too late! There was no doubt in her mind.
Greg. Her beloved Greg. He would be lost forever to her plain sister’s evil machinations.
Yet, she did not give in to her fears. She would not. She merely ran all the faster with thoughts of her beloved firm in her mind. “I will save him. Even if it should be at the risk of my own life. Even if I must do it with my last passing breath. I will save him.” Her silken hair rippled behind her head like a unicorn’s ravishing mane. Even in the worst of her desperation, Marcia was divine.
Hildreth’s phone rang, startling him out of his reading daze. He put “A Lovely Woman Meets A Fellow” face down on the couch and answered the call. “Hello? Hildreth’s Steamed Love and Puckered Lips Service. How may I help you?”
He grinned. “I thought you’d like that. I’ve been wanting to say that to you all day.” He laughed. “What’s up?”
A pleasant chill ran through his spine. He shifted into a more comfortable position. “Say that again.” His grin softened. “My Elsie. I’m here. I’m here.”
Words crowded his head, but refused to leave his mouth. All he could say was, “I’m here, Elsie.”
But she understood.
Elsie whispered, “I love you” inside his ear.
He chuckled. “Now, Els. Don’t you know you’re supposed to grab my hair when you say it like that?”
Hildreth rubbed his thumb along the side of the cellphone. “I wish you were here now. I wish you could teleport. I wish…Els. I wish.” He closed his eyes. “Yes.”
His legs trembled with the desire to run to her.
“I’m here. I’m here, Elsie. I’m right here.”