The pain lived inside Robin’s bones and flowed through his veins.
Olessa laughed as he screamed with his mouth clamped shut.
People rushed past him. Loud voices. Loud sirens. Panic.
What else is she gonna do to me? What else can she do? How much worse is it all gonna get today and tomorrow and the next day? Next day? Next? Next? Next? When’s she gonna stop? When’s it all gonna end?
Isellta stood at her side. But he did not laugh with her. He never did. He looked at Robin with sorrow and pain.
The pain lived on. Even as he lost consciousness.
Isellta traced the line of Robin’s scar.
Over and over.
In a gentle, soothing movement.
“‘sellta.” Robin smiled. “My sweet ‘sellta.”
He caught the fey’s hand.
He opened his eyes.
Isellta wasn’t there.
He snarled at her and she quickly backed off.
“That was hardly called for, sir.” Raven knelt beside him. “What happened?”
“Stupid question. Werewolves.” He winced. “Ngh! hurts…”
“I dunno. every place. hurts. Isellta. he ain’t here. my ‘sellta ain’t here. hurts. hurts bad.”
“It’s okay, Robin.”
“No, it ain’t!”
Raven sighed. “Missy, we need to get him home. He desperately needs a good shower. It should help soothe his aches and get rid of that ungodly werewolf stench.”
“A bath would be better.” Missy smiled. “A lovely, soaking bath with stuff dumped into it to take away the pain I don’t know what it’s called it’s some sort of…salt?”
“Ah, I believe you mean—”
Robin growled. “If this is another dream, I’m gonna have to kill someone.” He closed his eyes. “Just take me home.”
Missy picked him up and tossed him unceremoniously over her shoulder.
“gaah…stupid. hurts. hurts…”
“Sorry! We’ll have to stop at the store on the way home. I don’t think we have any of that salt stuff.”
Robin moaned. “just wanna go home and DIE.”
Barbara smiled as she become aware of their surroundings. “Ambrose, if you have any more doubts about yourself, just consider this: We’re standing in my bedroom and you have not made any untoward advances.”
“Because it wouldn’t make you happy. Maybe it would, but regret would sink in fast. There would be nothing I could do to take away that regret. Barbara. I want to make you happy. That’s all I want.”
“Then, marry me. Don’t worry about what if’s and all of the possibilities. Ambrose, we have cleared so many hurdles to reach this point. You and I have faced so many fears. I will not let you go.”
He laughed softly. “You are extraordinary, Barbara Addleston. You are fire.”
His words stole her breath and heated her skin.
“Unexpected, wondrous fire.” He gently kissed her cheekbones.
Her stomach fluttered. “Ambrose…”
“I adore you.”
Her knees trembled.
I need to sit down before I fall down.
Only place to sit is the bed.
Nope. Not going there.
“I wish I could stay here with you, Barbara.”
Did I just say that out loud? Wait. He isn’t reacting. So. I guess I didn’t. That’s a relief.
“But I have to go.” He touched foreheads with her. “Too soon, as always.”
“Only five more days, kitten.”
“Only five…Oh, Barbara!” He looked into her eyes. “Only five more.”
She looked into his black eyes so bright with love.
I just can’t help it.
She kissed him.