“‘sellta. My Isellta. Is he all right? Is he hurtin’? Is he sick? Is he okay?”
Raven fidgeted with his gloves. “I am unsure. The gentleman did not say.”
“Well, what did he say?”
“Isellta misses you, sir.”
Robin’s bravado fell away, revealing his open vulnerability. “I miss him too.”
Raven’s heart sank.
How can I lie to him?
I know how he feels.
Yet, I do not.
His heartache is not the same as my own. It is all his own.
And I cannot.
I cannot lie to his face.
It would not be fair.
“He needs you, Robin. He needs you to come.”
“Master Harris made it sound urgent.”
“I…” Robin flapped his arms in an impatient gesture. “What am I supposed to do? Huh? What? If I go now, somethin’ bad’ll happen. I know somethin’ bad will happen. I can’t I can’t take that risk. I can’t mess things up for Ambrose.”
“What about Isellta?”
Robin bared his fangs. “Shut up! You think this is easy for me? It ain’t. I’m achin’ to run to him. Every second every minute every thought, I’m achin’ to run to him and hold him. At this point, I just wanna hug him. I need him in my arms. That darned stupid fey. I need him bad.”
“What will you do?”
Robin slumped against the wall and looked up at the ceiling. “The one thing that makes me sick all over…wait. I’m gonna wait till Sunday. I will attend Ambrose’s wedding. I have to. I owe him and Barbara one.” He closed his eyes. “What’ll you do?”
“I will stay with Missy for the rest of the night and day.”
Robin opened his eyes and side-glanced at him. “What? You gonna leave us two guys all alone?”
Raven smiled. “I trust you and Ambrose can keep yourselves out of trouble.”
“I guess. It just feels weird not havin’ you home with us.”
“Sir? Do you miss me?”
Robin walked over to him and punched his shoulder. “Stupid. I’m goin’ out. I need some fresh air in my lungs.”
“Be careful, sir.”
“Yeah. You too. You will come to the weddin’ on Sunday, won’t you?”
“I would not miss it, sir, not even if I were staked.”
“Good. Gotta go. Keep Ambrose and Barb’ra outta trouble for me, okay?”
“Of course, sir.”
Robin did a two-finger salute and headed down the hall.
It wasn’t until Robin was long gone that Raven remembered what Jay had told him: “I left my name and number at the pub Robin frequents. Once you make up your mind, call me.”
He quietly considered his options.
“I suppose it cannot be helped.” He reentered Missy’s room and walked over to Jeff who was watching Ambrose and Sarah have a conversation. There was a bemused smile on the former hunter’s face.
“Hey.” Jeff glanced at them again. “How does he do that? How does he know what she’s saying?”
“Impossibly impeccable guessing skills?”
Jeff shook his head. “It isn’t a guess. He knows. It’s interesting.” He gave Raven a scrutinizing look. “But you didn’t come over here to admire that vampire’s interpretation skills.”
“Indeed not, sir. I need to leave for a few minutes. I should be back within the quarter. Do you mind?”
“Should I mind?”
“Go. I’ll be fine.” He laid his hand on Raven’s shoulder. “We’re fine.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Call me Jeff.”
Raven smiled. “Thank you.”