Isellta’s mother stood before him. So tall and beautiful and cold.
He twisted his fingers as he waited for her to speak.
“I had to apologize on your behalf.”
“And do you know what she said in response to my apology? She told me to investigate your father’s family tree because someone as overly emotional as you cannot be a full fey. She actually wondered if you were really my child.”
His feathers bristled. “She says a lot of things. Mean things. But, momma. You know it’s nonsense. You know that—-”
“I wish she were right.”
His small wings flattened.
“I wish you weren’t mine.”
“Momma. Don’t I matter to you?”
“Why would you?”
“Because.” He looked down at the floor and tried his best not to cry. “Because you matter to me.”
“Consider yourself, Isellta. You’re nothing but a weak, overly emotional thing. You can’t even pull your wings into your back.”
“I try. I try every day. I—-” His voice wobbled. “I’ll keep trying for you. I’ll make you happy. I’ll make you proud of me.”
Isellta grabbed the closest pillow and hugged it.
If she saw me now…
If she knew that I’m in love…
Nothing would be any different. She’d still be disappointed in me.
Robin loves me.
Isellta smiled. Robin loves me and I love him. And even if we can’t touch each other on Sunday or go near each other, I’ll see him. It will hurt to be unable to touch him, but it will be him. My Robin with all of those small imperfections that make him Robin. And that will be happiness enough.
Until we can find a way to break Mark Caten’s spell.
Then, I’ll be able to go home to my Robin.
My overly emotional, irrational, nonsensical, wonderful Robin.
The day flew by like over-caffeinated hummingbirds — in a dizzying whirl.
And, soon enough, it was time for Barbara to go home.
She shut down her computer, forwarded the phone, made sure all of her papers were put away, and Ambrose strolled through the door.
All of the day’s frustrations and craziness fell away as she ran into his arms.
He laughed. “You didn’t even give me a chance to say hello.”
“Ha! I detect a significant lack of sincerity.”
She giggled. “Strange. You must be imagining things. You might have to buy a new sincerity detector.”
He laughed again. “Brat.” He kissed her.
He put his lips close to her ear and said, “Barbara. Tonight, six days will become only five days.”
His voice in her ear, his lips grazing against her skin, and the sweet promise of his words conspired all together to make her knees shake. “Oh, Ambrose.”
He kissed the outer rim of her ear. “Sorry, love. I have to get to work.”
“Mind if I stay and watch you?”
“If you want. Fair warning: I will have to charge you a watching fee.”
“Hmm? And how much would that be?”
He opened his mouth, but closed it in a coy smile. “I’ll tell you on Sunday.”
His smile blossomed into a grin. He winked at her and went to fetch his cleaning supplies.
And, in a matter of hours, five days.
I’ll marry the man I love in only five days.
Barbara smiled as Ambrose dragged his cleaning supplies into the lobby.
Then, this wonderful man will be mine. For better or worse. With all of his strengths and weaknesses. His day exhaustions. His bad vampire moments. His laughter. His tears. His touches. His love. He’ll be mine and I’ll be his.
She walked over to him as he plugged in the vacuum cleaner. “Ambrose.”
He stood up straight.
And she couldn’t help but admire him.
His shaggy black hair.
His bright black eyes.
His straight nose.
His perfect for kissing mouth.
His lovely neck. It wasn’t too short or too long, too thick or too thin. It was perfectly in between.
His broad shoulders.
His strong chest. He was currently wearing one of his new t-shirts: a fitted light gray with the words “I am a tiger” on front and “Rawr!” on the back.
She smiled and shook her head.
“I don’t care what your shirt says. You aren’t a tiger. You’re a fluffy gray kitten and you always will be.”
He smiled back. “Is that so?”
“Mmm.” She pulled him into a kiss and he didn’t even try to resist.
He gladly returned her kiss, instead.