Ambrose got his cup of hot water while all of the non-vampire folk ate their food.
Raven had a cup of tea that he was slowly sipping down.
Robin had some sort of fruity alcoholic cherry cola layered drink. It was pink and red with yellow tapioca bubbles in it. Ambrose thought about taking a sip just to see if it was any good, but it looked too cold for his likings. So, he stuck with his hot water and was happy with it.
He glanced around the table.
Father Landover was embroiled in a deeply serious conversation with Olivia. Ambrose thought about eavesdropping, but decided against it for no real reason.
John ate his twice baked potato with salmon, chives, and an insane amount of sour cream. He seemed to be enjoying it. He also seemed to be avoiding any eye contact with Olivia.
Ambrose fixed his gaze on John and took another sip of water.
If my parents were alive…If they were here…
Can they see me?
Can they see how I’ve changed and grown because of Barbara?
Are they proud of me?
Elsie is here. Now. At the same time as me.
Should I tell Barbara?
He looked at her.
Why should I keep it a secret?
She smiled at him. Then, she noticed his expression. Her smile fell. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
She turned pale.
“Barbara. You don’t have to be afraid. I know she’s here. Her scent is in the air, but it has no hold on me this time. It isn’t calling to me. It’s just…there.”
“Why are you telling me this? Why now?”
“Because I want to be completely honest with you. I don’t want you to run into her in the hallway and be taken by surprise.”
“Have you seen her?”
“No. And I am not looking for her.” He smiled. “Why would I when I have you?”
Her color returned. “That would be a very good question.”
“Barbara.” He leaned in close and whispered in her ear, “I want you. Just you.”
The heat of his breath on her skin.
The soft warmth of his voice in her ear.
The subtle brushing of his lips against her ear.
They all conspired to set Barbara aflame.
“No fair. You’re…you’re cheating.”
Ambrose smiled flirtatiously. “Maybe.” He returned to his seat.
And this is exactly why we can’t touch until after we’re married.
She admired him.
He makes it too easy to fall.
He looked at her.
Only three days left, kitten. Just three.
John took a sip of his coffee and spared a subtle glance at Olivia.
She looks so much like her.
But she isn’t her.
She isn’t my Carolyn.
His thoughts turned to Clarice.
She is nothing like Carolyn.
I don’t expect her to be.
I don’t want her to be.
He sat back in his seat and pondered the strangeness of that thought.
His smile grew.
I can’t wait to see her again.