Part 1494 – Mind Games And Sloshing Drinks

Ambrose watched Barbara walk off with Robin.

It hurt.

It hurt like he had fishhooks embedded into his ribcage and Barbara was jerking them with every step.

“Hey. Can I help you?”

He reluctantly turned his attention to the cafeteria person behind the counter. “Yes. I want a medium root beer, some sort of hot tea, and a large hot water. And when I say hot water, I mean HOT. Not lukewarm. Not warm. Hot. Scald your skin off your fingers hot.”

The cafeteria worker looked aghast. “I can’t do that. This is a hospital.” As if that were the most rational reason to deny his request.

“I’m aware of that. But I am thirsty. And I want a large hot water.” He smiled. “It’s just that simple.”

“But there are laws against that—”

Ambrose closed his eyes and sent his thoughts into her mind.

I will do as you say.

“I will do as you say.”

I will get you a cup of truly hot water.

“I will get you a cup of truly hot water.”

He opened his eyes and broke the connection. “And a cup of hot tea and a medium root beer.”

She nodded and murmured. “Root beer…hot water…hot tea…”

“How much will that be altogether?”

“uhh…um.” She shook her head. Her eyes cleared. “That will be three forty-nine.”

He paid her and she scuttled off to get the drinks.

I would never do that to Barbara or anyone else in our small group.

He smiled.

But it’s nice to know that I still got it.

***

“How the heck you keepin’ so dang sane during all this waitin’?” Robin asked.

Barbara smiled. “Who says I’m staying sane? Honestly, I’m barely keeping it all together. I’m just glad we decided to keep seeing each other. If I had to stay away from him…” She looked over at Ambrose as he waited for their drinks.

At his black hair.

The shape of his shoulders.

His back.

Turn around, Ambrose.

Look at me.

Look at me.

Ambrose.

He tilted his head.

Look at me, kitten. Please turn around and look at me.

He turned around.

Barbara.

The expression on his face matched the desire in her heart. Flummoxed, she turned her face away, but she didn’t even know what to look at.

Robin snorted. “Yeah. You both woulda gone high flyin’ bonkers if you’d stayed away from each other.”

“No kidding. I don’t know. I love him. But ever since we made this agreement to not touch each other, I.” She peeked another glance at Ambrose.

Unfortunately, the cafeteria worker had him sidetracked as she handed him a tray with the three drinks.

“It’s difficult. I. I crave his touch so much more than I ever have. It scares me, Robin. I don’t know. I don’t.”

He touched her hand. “I know. Trust me on this. I know.”

***

Ambrose held his breath as he carried the cafeteria tray.

I’m going to knock something over.

It will probably be my water. And after all of the trouble I went through to get it.

The drinks sloshed with every step.

Keep it steady.

Steady.

Steady.

Don’t dump the drinks on anyone’s lap.

Or head.

If only Raven were here, I’d make him carry it. He’d carry it like the pro he is.

Ambrose maneuvered around a wayward chair, causing the drinks to slosh like vivid exclamation points. He paused.

I should put the drinks down and have Robin carry them. Especially since he snatched Barbara from me. But. I want to do it. I want to show her that I can do it. I want to impress her.

He stiffened his back.

The drinks sloshed again for no real reason.

I can do this.

I can.

He took a deep breath and continued forward.

Barbara turned in her seat and smiled at him.

He almost dropped the tray.

Ambrose stopped at their table. He lowered his gaze as he carefully set the tray on the table.

Touch me, Barbara.

Touch me.

He slowly raised his gaze to her face. “Barbara.” He set the tea cup in front of her as carefully as he could.

She looked up at him. “Ambrose.”

He spread his hand right next to the cup. “Love.”

Please touch me.

“Hey.” Robin threw the pepper shaker at Ambrose. It sailed over his head, leaving a trail of pepper in its wake.

“Well. That was uncalled for.”

“Yeah, whate’er. I’m thirsty too.”

Ambrose gave Barbara one last look before serving Robin his root beer.

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