John pulled into Clarice’s driveway and shut the car off.
They sat there for a few minutes, more than a little rattled.
“Did we really get chased by a bigfoot?” Clarice asked.
John mentally replayed what they had seen. “Yeah. I think so.”
“I thought they only lived along the Appalachian Trail. We’re a little out of their range.”
“That’s for sure.”
She laid her hand on his upper arm. “Are you all right?”
“Yeah.” He looked over at her. The concern on her face surprised and warmed him. “Yeah, I’m all right.”
I love her.
“Do you want to come inside for a cup of hot chocolate?” Her hand moved down to his own hand. “You look like you could use one right about now.”
It’s been such a long time since I’ve felt like this.
He smiled. “Thanks. Hot chocolate sounds wonderful.”
“Isellta don’t love me.” Robin held onto Ambrose. “He don’t want me. My ‘sellta don’t need me.”
“How do you know?” Ambrose’s voice was gentle and caring.
I wanna just melt into him.
Robin dug his fingers into the back of Ambrose’s hoodie. “He’s with some other guy. I heard the guy’s voice in my head. He sounded so darn sure and smug. He said my Isellta weren’t mine no more. ‘sellta don’t love me. Just him. Not me.”
“I’m sorry.” Ambrose resumed rubbing his back.
Feels so good.
Robin closed his eyes. “What am I supposed to do? I wanna hate Isellta for goin’ full floozy behind my back, but I can’t. It hurts too much inside.”
“Project your thoughts to him again. Find out what’s really going on, Robin. Find out the truth.”
“I tried. He just ignored me. He don’t wanna talk to me.” He pressed his face into Ambrose’s neck. “It hurts.”
As he rubbed Robin’s back, Ambrose ached for him. “I know what it’s like, Robin.” He closed his eyes.
Rebecca appeared in his mind.
Rebecca with her mess of red curls and her beautiful skin.
And he remembered…
Ambrose left the mercantile in a barely restrained huff.
Why do they not have such things in stock? It is such a bother to always have to special order…
He stopped and stood still as Rebecca crossed the street. She was accompanied by a well-dressed man.
She held a baby in her arms.
She cooed and smiled at it. A loving, genuine smile.
The man caught up to her and held her parasol over her head. She looked up at him with gratitude and love.
Ambrose stumbled backwards.
His heart beat too loud.
His breathing was all wrong.
He felt hot and cold and sick.
He couldn’t think.
He could only stand there and watch her.
Rebecca crossed the street and she never gave him a single look.
She simply went on her way.
I truly was nothing to her.
Why did I give in to her?
Why did I?
His face burned in shame as he remembered her touch on his skin. He remembered how her every touch and every move and every breath had pushed him further and further into ecstasy.
But it was nothing to her.
I was nothing to her.
I am nothing to her.
She has moved on and left me behind.
What am I supposed to do?
How can I go on?
He turned and ran home.
“Trust me, Robin. I know how much it hurts.”
Robin sniffled. “Does it get any better?”
“It will.” Ambrose thought about Maria, Rebecca, and Elsie. “It will take a long time. But the pain will slowly quiet down. It will fade. It will die. Until one day you will be able to think about him without wanting to tear your skin off your muscles and bones.”
“Am’rose. If I can’t get someone as soft and as gentle as ‘sellta to love me, who will?”
Ambrose rubbed the younger vampire’s back as he considered all of the possible answers to that question. “A vampire’s life is long and you will never age. You will find someone else, Robin.”
“I don’t want no one else, Am’rose. Just him.” He broke down into tears. “Just my ‘sellta.”
Ambrose hugged him closer. “I know.”