Clarice gave Hildreth a very energetic hug, which made him laugh. As she released him, he said, “Next time I’m feeling down and blue, I’m just gonna come over to your place and ask you to hug me.”
Clarice laughed. “Any time, hot stack of pancakes.”
“Mmm. Pancakes….I could totally go for a stack right now.”
“Come on over to my place and I’ll make you plenty.”
“Ooo. Talk about tempting.”
“Do you like maple syrup or caramel sauce on your pancakes?”
Hildreth almost drooled. “Caramel sauce on pancakes? Is that a thing? Can I have some? Can I have them both?”
Elsie punched his arm. “Idiot. I don’t know how you can be hungry all the time.”
Hildreth wiped his mouth and thought about it. “Hmm. I’ll be wimpy and unoriginal and say that it’s a guy thing.”
“No. I think it’s just a you thing.” Elsie hugged her mom.
“Be good, Elsie. Stay out of trouble. Or, if you get yourselves into trouble, be sure to pack protection.”
Elsie’s face burned. “Mom. We are not lovering.”
“That word again.” Hildreth rubbed his chin. “Such a mysterious word. What exactly does that mean?”
“Oh, I could tell you if you want.”
“There’s no need to do so.” Elsie wrapped her arm around his lower back. “Hildreth knows what it means. He’s just messing around.”
Hildreth grinned at her. “No. Really, Elsie. I have no clue. Maybe you can tell me.”
He laughed and pulled her into a kiss.
Clarice took a step back and looked at them together.
A happy glow outlined their bodies. Firework-like bolts of bright colored energy shot out around them.
The tension is gone. I wonder what it was all about to start with. I could ask, but I don’t think it really matters anymore.
She smiled as she remembered…
The vampire pinned Clarice to the ground.
She tried to squirm away, but he was too heavy, too strong.
He lowered his mouth to her neck.
“Please. Please don’t. Please!” She heard the steady thump of approaching footsteps.
Running fast and hard.
Something slammed into the vampire, knocking him away.
Clarice looked up and saw a young man with silver gauntlets on his arms.
The vampire came charging back.
The man fought him in sharp, hard punches and quick kicks.
She sat up and watched him pummel the vampire into exhausted submission.
He staked the vampire in one, swift move. He turned to her. “Are you okay?”
His dark energy lightened to bright white.
It dazzled her eyes. She squinted and turned away.
“Can you see it?” He walked over to her and crouched. “Can you see it too?”
“If you mean the blinding light all around you, yes. I see it.”
He smiled – a shy, uncertain smile. “I’ve never met anyone like you before. My name is Gerald. Gerald Vansing.”
He didn’t offer his hand, but she took it anyway. “I’m Clarice Lindley.”
Maybe I should tell her.
I’ve been holding it in for so long.
I don’t want to die without telling her.
But, ugh! It will feel so out of the blue.
Then, I’ll slowly work up to it.
Clarice cleared her throat. “That was a lovely party. Everyone had a good time and the food was excellent. A good warm up to Sunday.” She cleared her throat again. “It’s…it’s just too bad.”
“What?” Elsie asked.
“That your father wasn’t there.”
Elsie’s expression hardened. Her energy turned black. “I think it’s time for us to leave. Bye, Mom. We’ll see you—”
“I don’t want to talk about him. What’s there to say about the man who threw me away?” She got into the car and slammed it shut.
“Hmm. That didn’t work out too well.”
“I’m sorry.” Hildreth said.
“Oh! Nothing to be sorry for.” She hugged him again. “You lovers have a good night. I need to get myself home and hit the ol’ Beauty Rest.”
She started to walk away.
She looked back at him.
“I have a feeling there’s something you want to tell her. Something about her father?”
“Am I that obvious?”
He smiled. “Why else would you bring him up? Just stay here. I’ll talk to Elsie and I’ll be right back.”