“Shouldn’t you be patrolling instead of talking on the phone?”
“Yes.” Hildreth sighed a melodramatic sigh. “But the vamps just aren’t cooperating. I haven’t seen one for the past hour.”
“Isn’t that a good thing?”
“It’s all a matter of perspective, Jeff. Although, I will say yes. It is a very good thing. I get to spend some quiet time with my red hot fiancée. So, that is a definite plus.”
“Quiet time, huh? Are you behaving yourself?”
“What? Me? Misbehave?” Hildreth slipped into a broad Southern belle accent. “Why, I’m just APPALLED at such implications.”
Jeff laughed. “Such a dweeb.”
“Indeed, I am!” He said it with so much enthusiasm Jeff just had to laugh again.
“I’m not sure if that is something to be that proud about.”
“Coming from you, it is. So, what’s happening over there? You okay?”
Jeff looked at the silent hospital bed. “I don’t know. They removed the oxygen mask and Tessa’s breathing just fine on her own.”
“She’s still unconscious.” His fears crushed down on his shoulders. “I just got her back into my life, Hildreth. I was all ready to be her father again. And now…? If she doesn’t wake up…Hildreth, what if she doesn’t wake up?”
Hildreth went silent for a few minutes. “Hey. Do you need me to come over there?”
“No. You have work to do. I’ll be fine. I’m just. I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure? If you need me—-”
Jeff smiled. “If I need you bad enough, I’ll give you a call. I promise.’
“Okay. Hey, I was thinking about something awesome. Do you want to hear it?”
Jeff rubbed away some tears that had escaped. “Always.”
“I was thinking.”
Jeff grinned. “You know, it’s always a bad thing when you say that.”
“Never. My thoughts are always good and pure and clean and awesome.”
“Yeah, right.” Elsie said in the background.
“But what if you bring a whole box of those fabulous doughnut holes to the wedding and you and I split them in between photographs and cake cutting and such?”
“Hmm. That sounds like fun. You’d want straight lemon custard, right?”
Hildreth fake-gagged into the phone. “Uhh, no. I’d rather not become a vomit volcano on my wedding day. Elsie would kill me and then she’d kill you. Wouldn’t that be a tragedy?”
“A great tragedy.”
“A Greek tragedy?”
“Thought so. But seriously, Jeff. If you need me to come running—-”
“No. I…I’m good.”
“With you in my corner? Absolutely.”
The door opened and Raven entered the room.
“Well. Raven’s here. I gotta go. And don’t worry about me. I’m fine. She’s off oxygen. She’s breathing on her own. She’s still alive. There’s still reason for hope. So, I’m fine. I’ll be fine.”
Jeff ended the call as Raven approached the bed.
“I see they removed the oxygen mask, sir.”
“Yeah. Where are your comrades?”
“I sent them home, sir, with strict orders to do laundry.”Raven looked down at Missy. “I bought their tuxedos. They tried them on.” He smiled and his voice softened as he continued, “They both looked amazing. Even Robin.” He held her hand. “You would have been amazed by his transformation. He looked so sharp I barely noticed his facial scar. Yet, you would have been disappointed. They both changed behind a curtain. You would have missed out on seeing Ambrose’s chest yet again.”
Hm. I don’t think he’s talking to me anymore.
“Ambrose looked quite attractive in his tuxedo. It fit him perfectly. I imagined him standing at the altar rail and I felt so proud of him.”
Jeff sat down in the armchair near her bed and yawned.
“I drove them both home and made sure that their tuxedos were properly hung in their rightful closets. I also made sure that Ambrose put his wedding rings in a safer place – namely, the top drawer in my dresser. They will not get lost in there.”
Jeff leaned his head back.
“If you had been there…Missy. If only you had been there.”
Jeff closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep to the soft drone of Raven’s voice. The last words he heard were, “I missed you, Missy. I miss you.”