Part 921 – Mrs. Hastings And Missy Talk

“Well! After that very heavy talk, I do have some good, semi-fluff news.”

He smiled. “Only semi-fluff?”

“Because it involves my car, it can’t be considered full-fluff.”

He nodded. “Makes sense.”

“I don’t know what kind of metallurgenists they have working in The Cardboard Box’s car repair shop, but they are amazing.”

“They fixed it?”

“Completely! Not even a scratch.”

“That is amazing. Your car was beyond totaled.”

“Would that make it trashed?”

Ambrose shrugged. “I was thinking more like wrecked and ruined.” He felt a surge of panic as he remembered the werewolves climbing and scratching her car.

He remembered his inability to save her.

His hands tightened into fists.

She hugged him. “It’s all right. I’m safe.” She laid her head on his chest.

His hands relaxed.

Ambrose hugged her and closed his eyes. “I almost lost you. Barbara, I could have lost you.”

“You didn’t. I’m here. I’m right here.”

“I love you.” His heart ached and he could think of nothing more to say than, “I love you.”

***

Missy sat on the floor beside Raven and stroked his silky black hair as he slept.

“Hello. This is Mrs. Peter Hastings. Yes. I am the one who brought in the genetic material for the Peter Hastings clone.”

She kept her focus on him.

“I would like to contact him. Is that still within my rights?”

“So pretty. But I wonder why he keeps his hair cut like that? He’s so tidy and precise. Why would he want a crooked hairstyle?”

“I see. Can you give me his phone…I see. Why? It is very irregular for them to change the rules. I thought—No. But I thought…Oh. The Gargoyle Rights Group. I see. Yes. That makes sense. Yes. Thank you for your time and explanations. I appreciate both. Yes. Good-bye.”

Missy went still. “Well? What did they say?”

Mrs. Hastings slumped back in the wingback chair and sighed. “Apparently, The Gargoyle Rights Group forced The Institute to release their gargoyles from what they claimed amounted to slavery and imprisonment. And, of course, The Institute is unwilling to release his phone number to anyone.”

“What other alternatives do we have?”

She shrugged. “Nothing that I can think of.”

Missy resumed stroking Raven’s hair. “I wonder what kind of shampoo he uses. Must be some high-quality stuff to make it feel this good. Probably is expensive, but I bet he scrimps it to makes it last a real long time. I wonder how much shampoo he actually puts on his head. Probably the smallest dollop. No. Something less than a dollop. Do the wasted bubbles upset him? Or is it just one of those things he’s learned to accept?”

An idea dinged in her ear. Something she’d forgotten.  “Learned to accept. He’s a vampire. He’s had to learn…”

Mrs. Hastings stood. “I’m going to pay Robin one more visit and—-”

“Oh!”

“What?”

Missy stood quickly and hurried over to the older woman. “Raven is Antioch’s master he can totally find him he won’t even have to look for him he’ll just have to call for him it’s funny well not laughing out loud funny obviously but I was so mad at Raven for changing him I thought it was wrong and unfair and a betrayal—”

“Wait? What?”

“Oh. Right. I guess we didn’t tell you about that part. Raven bit Antioch. Antioch’s a vampire now.”

“Oh.” Mrs.. Hastings returned to her seat and slowly sat down.  “And the hits keep coming.”

“Are you going to kill Raven?”

She shook her head. “I don’t know. I barely even know what to think. This day has been one thing after another. This is just one more added on.” She looked up at Missy. “Are there any other big reveals I need to know about?”

“Hmm. I’m not pregnant. Antioch is not my dad that I’m aware of. Raven and I are madly in love but not engaged. I have not slept with Robin, Ambrose, or Raven. I am not a vampire and neither are you. I can’t think of anything else.”

Mrs. Hastings looked up at her. “You are a strange young woman.”

“‘Yes, I am’ and ‘No, I’m not’ don’t sound like the right kind of responses. So, I’ll just shrug.” And she shrugged.

A moment of silence passed between the two women.

“So. Your Raven is able to find Antioch. How?”

“Well, Raven is the one who changed Antioch into a vampire. That makes him Antioch’s lord. He can boss Antioch around and Antioch will have to obey him whether he wants to or not.”

“That’s interesting to know, but how does that help us find him?”

“Easy! Raven will send out his mental call and tell him to come here or else.”

“And he will come?”

Missy nodded. “Even if Raven called him right now.”

Mrs. Hastings searched Missy’s expression. “You aren’t happy about that?”

She shook her head. “Antioch took care of me. He cared for me. He was the only person in the whole Institute who really cared for me. Yes. He stole my voice and my entire identity. He turned me into XQ. But he didn’t deserve to be changed.”

Missy returned to Raven’s side and knelt on the floor. She traced the line of his eyebrows, his eyelids, his eyelashes, his nose. “But.” Her voice softened. “Antioch tried to kill me. That’s why Raven did it. Does that make it right? Doesn’t seem so to me.”

“But you’re still here with him. Why?”

“Because I like being with Raven. He’s so lovely and pretty.” She rolled her finger across his lips. “And…because when I’m with him, I’m Missy. I can remember all of the things we’ve done together. But if I leave him, who am I? Where am I supposed to go? Back to The Institute?”

“Surely you have family—”

Missy shrugged. “I have no idea. You see, I don’t know who I am. When they changed me into XQ, they stole away those memories. Antioch was supposed to return them to me, but he didn’t. Raven apparently didn’t make that point clear. So, Antioch found a way around it. And I’m stuck with only memories of being Missy and being XQ.”

“Are you sure he even knows who you are?”

“At the very least, he can tell me where I came from. He can tell me who Jeff Farsigh is and why I have memories of him and a yellow and white house. Maybe Jeff is some sort of relative. Might even be my father. I don’t know. And I want to know. I want to know everything about who I was.”

“If you return to The Institute, could they give those memories back to you?”

Missy shuddered. “I don’t want to go back to that place. Not ever again.”

“But could they?”

Missy laid her head on Raven’s shoulder and stroked his chest. “My Raven is the prettiest vampire ever.”

“Could they?”

Missy stroked his chest in silence.

Mrs. Hastings walked over to her and put her hands on the younger woman’s shoulders. “Missy.”

“Maybe. I don’t know. If I go back there, they might do more experiments on me. Maybe change me into a different elemental. Just to see if it was possible.”

“Would they really do that to you?”

“Yes.”

“Then, your only choice is Raven contacting Antioch.”

“Yes.”

 

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