His dreams were chaotic. His mind leapt from dream to dream without any reason or warning.
There was no underlying plot to the dreams.
Yet, Raven haunted each one. He was there. Always there. Sometimes in the shadows. Sometimes standing right behind Antioch, breathing on the back of his neck. Sometimes standing in front of him. Sometimes near. Sometimes far.
But he was always there.
His laughter infected every dream, like a demented soundtrack. Antioch couldn’t ignore it, couldn’t tune it out.
Raven’s laughter played over and over inside his head.
Antioch felt the words “I hate him.” as if they were tattooed on his skin. He could feel the words sink deeper and deeper into his bones and into his marrow.
I will break his dominion over me.
Raven was quiet as he drove back home, but his mind was a frantic mess.
If Ambrose forgot about acquiring a tuxedo, what else has he neglected to acquire for the wedding?
Ambrose leaned forward.
“I do hate to ask this, but I feel as though I must. Did you buy wedding rings for yourself and Miss Addleston?”
“Oh, dear. I knew I forgot something.”
Raven slammed on the brakes and turned in his seat. He shot a furious glare at Ambrose. “What?”
Ambrose laughed. “Calm down. I was just kidding. Yes, I have the rings.”
“Darnation!” Robin said. “Don’t go jokin’ like that. Raven’ll throw himself back here just to throttle you.”
“I will do no such thing. Sir. Are the rings safe?”
Ambrose shrugged. “They aren’t made out of wood.”
“That is not what I meant. Do you have them in a safe place? Do you know where they are?”
“Yes, I have them all safe and secure in my steamer trunk.”
Raven winced. “In that disaster zone? Sir, how will you ever find it in time?”
Before Ambrose could answer that question, Raven shook his head. “Never mind that. I intend to spend the remainder of the night at Missy’s side. You, sir, will stay home and straighten out that mess in your steamer trunk. You will wash all of your clothes in there and put them in their rightful places in your closet and dresser. You will not return them to that trunk. You will put your wedding rings in a safe place where they will not get lost. You will put your steamer trunk away.”
“What’s the point in all that?” asked Robin. “He’s gonna be leavin’ us in two days.”
“That is true, but I will not have him move out of my house with all of his clothes in a wrinkled up state. It will reflect poorly on me. Robin, you will help him.”
“Wha? You think he can’t take care of a little laundry?”
Raven’s eyes glinted dangerously. “You will help him.”
Robin folded his arms across his chest and slouched. “Fine. Darn mother hen.”
Ambrose sat back in his seat as Raven resumed driving.
Just two days.
“What?” He noticed Robin’s dejected attitude. “What’s wrong?”
“Second guessin’ myself. I know. Darn it all! I know I’m makin’ the right choice. But is it really right? Shouldn’t I be choosin’ Isellta over you? What does it mean that I’m more worried about puttin’ you out and ruinin’ stuff for you than I am about whatever Isellta’s goin’ through? Does that mean I don’t love him enough? Maybe.” He looked outside the window and drew his shoulders forward. “Maybe he’d…maybe he should…Maybe someone else would be better for him. I don’t think I’m good enough. I don’t know if I’ll ever be.”
“Robin. Come here.”
Robin scooted over to him.
Ambrose hugged him. He could feel the younger vampire relax in his arms. “Have you considered the possibility that your fears might be something real? They could be a premonition.”
Robin nodded. “That’s why I feel so dang messed up. If it is real, then I’m doin’ the right thing. But what about Isellta? I don’t know what’s happenin’ with him. Jay said that someone named Preyuna did stuff to him, but he didn’t go into details.” He hugged Ambrose. “What if this Preyuna person went and hurt him bad? What if I’m doin’ him wrong by not runnin’ to him? What am I supposed to do, Am’rose?”
“The obvious. Call Jay back. Ask for more details. Find out what’s going on. If you don’t, you’ll make yourself crazy.”
Robin hugged him tighter. “I’m gonna miss you when you leave.”
Ambrose rubbed his back. “I’ll miss you too.”