Robin brisk-walked down the hall.
He didn’t know which floor he was on.
He didn’t know where he was going.
He wasn’t even paying attention to his surroundings.
His mind was rattled.
His nerves were a mess.
And Isellta’s voice sang sweet and soft in his ear.
He flexed and unflexed his claws.
I want him to appear.
I want to run into him.
He found a random elevator and entered it.
He punched the button for the first floor.
He apparently hit it too hard, because it didn’t light up.
Robin slumped down to his hands and knees.
The door slid open.
The combined scents of oak, mocha, musk, semi-sweet chocolate, and vanilla bean filled the elevator’s squared space.
“Robin?” Ambrose’s scent intensified as he knelt beside him. “What’s wrong? Did…did…”
“Am’rose.” He flung himself into the older vampire’s arms.
Ambrose hugged him. “It’s okay.”
Robin laid his head against Ambrose’s chest.
“No, it ain’t. I hurt. I hurt bad all over and I’m torn. I wanna run to him. I need to. I need…It hurts too bad.” He cried.
Ambrose pulled him in closer.
“I wanna go now, but somethin’ will happen. Somethin’ bad. You’ll come to save me and somethin’ bad’ll happen to you. Or it’ll happen to Barbara. I ain’t gonna do that to you guys. I can’t. It ain’t fair.”
His crying devolved into messy sobbing, but Ambrose held on to him.
Barbara knelt beside him.
“It hurts. ‘sellta, it hurts.”
Isellta stood in the darkness.
Sharp white lines shot through the night. They bent and twisted to form stars connected by straight lines to become steady, perfect constellations: the Big Dipper, the Small Dipper, Orion, the Southern Cross, and so on.
Isellta watched their formation with delight. His wings flapped. “Such straight lines. So much sense. So pretty.”
He walked across the night sky in his bare feet to touch the North Star as it stood still in its assigned spot.
A brilliant star shot past him in giddy delirium. It was unattached to any constellation. It was a wild star – glorious in its freedom.
Isellta ran after it.
It dodged and dipped away from him. Flying too high. Flying too low.
Always out of his reach.
It flew with gleeful abandon. Up to the moment it somehow got tangled up in Orion’s belt.
Isellta ran up to it. “Here. Let me help you.”
It transformed into Robin. His hair was a mess with touches of star pollen still sticking white glow to random strands. One speck balanced on the tip of his nose. He looked up at Isellta with a mischievous smile. “My ‘sellta. My ‘sellta.”
Isellta’s skin tingled. “Robin. My own Robin!”
Robin held out his hand. “‘sellta.”
Isellta reached for it. His heart raced. “Robin!”
Their fingertips touched.
And Isellta woke to the empty darkness and an aching heart.
What’s wrong with me?
What do I want?
I have Robin here with me. What more do I want?
He found Robin’s scar in the dark.
He traced the full line.
Robin’s here and he loves me.
I don’t deserve it.
I don’t deserve his love.
I’m stupid and worthless.
I make no sense at all.
I can’t just be happy with what I have.
I want something else and I don’t know what!
“Robin. I love you. I want you.”
What is it?
What do I want, Robin?
What is this ache?
Why can’t I just be satisfied with what I have right here?
What do I want?
I want you, Robin.
I love you, Robin.
I wish I could see you.
Maybe that is it. That would make sense. But why do I keep dreaming about leaving him?
I don’t want to leave you.
Robin kissed his forehead.
But still the ache remained.
What do I really want?
“I love you, Isellta.”
Isellta flapped his wings. “I love you too.”