Part 977 – “You Didn’t Ask Me.”

The movement of the car and the soothing sound of Ambrose’s voice lulled Missy into a state of sleepiness. She leaned her seat as far back as possible, accidently bumping Robin’s knees.

“Ow!” He smacked her head rest. “You’re squashin’ me. Lift that thing up or I’ll tear it up.”

“Robin.” Raven’s voice held a stern, no fighting in the car tone.

“What? She’s squashin’ me here.” He smacked the head rest again. “Dang it, woman! Move it up.”

Raven sighed. “Missy, please raise your seat a little.”

“Uhhh, a little? More like a lot. I tell you, she’s squashin’ me.”

Missy raised her seat.

Robin growled.

“Sir! There will be no growling in my car.”

“Well, tell her to move it up higher.”

Raven sighed. “Missy.”

She raised it again.

“Ain’t nearly high enough, but at least my knees ain’t bein’ crushed.”

“Are we there yet?” said Ambrose.

***

Missy closed her eyes and fell into a light drowse into a deep sleep into a…

black tunnel. It tilted sideways and she fell…

up into the air. Her hair stood on end, trying to touch the sky. She held out her hands and fell…

onto the hard ground. The ground was made out of matte metal with a paper sheet just under her. Antioch stood beside her with a thick hypodermic needle in his hand. “This is going to hurt.” He thrust it down to her skin. “A LOT!” She jumped off the table and fell…

into Raven’s arms at the edge of a cliff. He bared his fangs and lunged at her neck. She stumbled back and fell…

through a series of yellow and white diagonal lines. She landed on soft grass. It felt good. She rolled onto her back and smiled at the sky. It was a beautiful day.

Somewhere in the distance, her mother and father laughed. It wasn’t a fake “Oh, ha ha ha.” laugh. It was a delighted, tickled, happy inside and outside their skin sort of laugh.

She smiled at the sound.

She wanted to get up and see what they were laughing about.

But the sky was so blue and the sun was so warm.

And they sounded so happy. She didn’t want to interrupt them and make them stop.

So, she stayed on her back, basking in the sun.

It was a beautiful day.

***

Raven cast a small glance at Missy as he merged onto the highway.

She smiled in her sleep and it warmed him inside.

He smiled and focused on his driving.

***

Jeff Farsigh.

I hope this isn’t a mistake.

Ambrose looked at the back of Raven’s head.

It feels like a mistake.

Farsigh is not an easy pushover like Hildreth. Even with the three of us and Missy, he could easily take us out. I was lucky last time.

Maybe Missy should have gone alone.

He chuckled softly to himself.

As if Raven would have let that happen.

That reminds me.

Ambrose pulled out his cell phone and called Barbara. He listened to it ring and ring.

“Hello?”

Relief rushed over him. “Barbara.”

“Ambrose! What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I’m…” He paused, momentarily stumped for words. “Raven and Missy are on their way to Marsh Valley. It’s about 15 miles from Pinkerlee. I decided to come with them.”

“I don’t understand. Why are you going there?”

“Well, frankly I’m coming with to make sure that Raven and Robin don’t get staked.”

“Staked? Ambrose! What…what…”

“I am not going to get staked. I’ll be fine.”

‘Ambrose.” She paused. “Why?”

“Missy…” He took a deep breath and released it in a nervous exhale. “She wants to regain her memories. Pretty much the only way she can do that is by visiting a former hunter. Supposedly, it will jumpstart her memories or I don’t even know what.”

“And you just…You didn’t ask me.”

“Barbara.”

“You’re running into a potentially dangerous situation and…you didn’t even ask me if you should.”

“Barbara. My whole life is a dangerous situation. Every time I step outside my door at night, I could—”

“I know that. But this is different. You’re deliberately running into danger and you didn’t give me any say in whether you should or shouldn’t.”

There were so many easy, snarky things he could have said to that. He held them back. “What would you have me do? Nothing? Raven is too tightly focused on Missy to be cautious. Robin is all locked up in his worries about Isellta. They needed me to come with. If I stayed home, they could get staked and it would be my fault.”

“What if you get staked?”

“I won’t. I promise you I won’t.”

She sniffled.

“Barbara. Love, please don’t cry. I will come home. I will come straight to your house if you want me to. Just…” He caught his breath. “Please. Don’t cry.”

“I love you. I don’t want to lose you.”

“You won’t. I will be your husband and you will be my wife. I love you. Barbara, I love you.” He longed to touch her, to hold her, to kiss her. “I’m sorry.” he said gently.

He could hear her crying and it killed him inside. His longing to hold her changed into an ache. “I’m so sorry. What do you want me to do? Should I leave them and come back?”

“That isn’t a fair question. What can I say, Ambrose? What can I honestly say? If they need you that much, how can I tell you to come back?”

“Barbara.”

She sniffled. “I’m tired and my head hurts. I’m going to go to bed. Good night.”

He opened his mouth to speak.

She ended the call.

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