Hildreth and Elsie went to work attaching tracker buttons to all of the staked vampires.
Her frizzy black braid fell over her shoulder.
Hildreth glanced at Elsie and admired her. “I saw you oogling me when I was fighting that behemoth. Were you enjoying the show?”
“More than you can imagine.”
“Huh. That sounds like a set up for an off-color joke. Or maybe a flat out dirty one. I wonder if I should go there.”
“If you do, I’ll punch you.”
He grinned. “So, you like the way I fight.”
He stopped and looked over at her. “Gorgeous? Plain, little dowdy me?”
“You’re anything but dowdy.”
Hildreth drama-posed with the back of his hand against his forehead. “But you think I’m both plain and little. Oh, woe is me.”
He opened his eyes and side-glanced at her. “mm. Mm. Mmm. Elsie Vansing is staring all lusty-eyed at me.”
She blushed and returned to the job at hand. “Am not.”
“She’s also being very defensive. What, oh what, could that mean?” He stood and strolled over to his fiancée’s side. He crouched. “What does that mean, Elsie?”
She attached the tracker button, activated it, and remained seated. She bowed her head.
“You aren’t playing fair, Hildreth. You want to wait until we’re married and so do I. But you’re making this so difficult. I want to grab you and shove you onto your back. And I want to do a lot more than that.”
“Oh?” He laid his hand on her knee. “Like what?”
Hildreth looked up at her.
“I’d rather not say.” She offered him her hands.
He took them and she pulled him up.
“I’d much rather show you.”
“Oh?” His mind raced with wild imaginings.
“And I will.”
He smiled ruefully. “In two days?”
She kissed him. “Just two days.”
“And we’ll have the rest of our lives.”
“I’ll have you.”
“And you’ll have me, Elsie. All of me. Heart and soul. Mind and body, I will be yours.”
“And I will be completely yours.”
He curved his hand around the back of her neck. “I love you, Elsie. I love you so much. I know. I know I say it a lot. At least, it sure seems like I do. But I want you to know it. In case anything should happen to me, I want you to know that you are loved.”
“Then, kiss me, Hildreth. Don’t say anything else. Just—”
He leaned forward and kissed her.
It took a lot of trying and wheedling and finally a certain amount of mind control, but the vampire managed to lead the old man back to Incandesca’s hideout.
The door was still unlocked.
He opened it.
Incandesca was still going strong. Her current word barrage target was a Scandinavian-looking vampire everyone called Spot for no real reason. It just seemed to be the common understanding that yes. That was the poor fellow’s name. He tolerated it, because no one really paid attention to his objections.
“My lovely Mark Caten thinks he can keep me from seeing my daughter. Huh! I’ll show him. I’ll make him pay for all of—”
Spot’s eyes slowly glazed over.
The old man glanced around. “Huh? Wh—where am I?”
That caught her attention. She sniffed the air. “Grilled cheese and…beer. Was that really the best you could do?”
The vampire shrugged. “He smelled good to me.”
Spot unglazed and carefully slipped away while the Master was distracted.
“What’s going on?” the old man demanded. “Where am I?” He frowned at the masked figure. “And who the heck are you supposed to be? Isn’t it too early in the year for trick and treating? Fool kids nowadays. Always finding some reason to dress up in foolish costumes and the makeup. I demand to—”
Incandesca touched her finger to his lips. “You need to stop talking.”
“I’m hungry and you smell mediocre at best.”
“Hey! I take offense to—”
“But you will just have to do.”
“I object to—”
Incandesca chuckled. “Of course you do.” She raised her mask, uncovering her mouth.
“Hey! You…” His voice trailed off as she bit his neck.