“I want to sleep with you.” Ambrose hadn’t meant to say it out loud, but it was too late to take it back.
And there was no way to pass the words off as something else.
Maria stared at him. “What?”
Well. Since that cat escaped the bag…
“I do. Say yes, Maria. It’s the least you can do after turning down my proposal.”
“Don’t refuse me. I need this. I deserve this. After everything your father—-“
“Ambrose, my father just wants the best for—-“
“And I’m not good enough for him. I never will be. What about you? Maria, am I good enough for you?”
She walked over to a nearby bench and sat down.
He stopped next to her. “Am I?”
“Ambrose, I love you. You know I love you.”
“You just don’t want to marry me.”
She sighed. “Just calm down for a second and let me talk.”
He folded his arms across his chest.
“I love you, but my father—“
He looked away from her.
“—he wants me to be with someone who’ll take care of me.”
“You think I won’t.”
“I don’t know. You are a vampire. And you can’t even propose without being a complete jerk. Can you take care of me, Ambrose?”
His thoughts churned.
“I’m not immortal like you. I will get sick. I will get old. Can you take care of me when that happens?”
“If I change you into a vampire, you won’t get sick or old.” He turned his gaze back to her. “And your father won’t have any further say in your life. You’ll be mine.”
He unfolded his arms. “Give me one night, Maria. Just one.”
She shook her head. “My father—-“
“TO BLAZES WITH YOUR FATHER! This has nothing to do with him. This is about you and me and what we want.”
“No, it isn’t. This is about what you want. That is why I turned you down. Because my feelings and my wants don’t matter to you. I don’t know if they ever will.”
“As long as you have that mindset, I can’t. I just can’t. I’m sorry, Ambrose.”
He looked up at the branches above their heads. “You should head home. Your father’s undoubtedly waiting at the door.”
“He cares about me, Ambrose.”
“And I don’t?”
Ambrose opened his eyes.
I am not that man anymore.
I’m better than that.
I know I am.
I’ve tried so hard to overcome my selfishness.
Because of her.
Because of Barbara. Without ever saying a word, she has made me want to be better. Someone better just for her.
No one else has made me feel that way.
He looked at the young vampire curled up in his arms.
Ahh, if only she were here instead.
But not yet.
I want her.
But I will honor her wishes.
I will wait for her, even though the waiting is driving me mad.
I will wait.
It’s all a matter of hours and minutes and, after tonight, only one more day.
Robin’s breathing broke into hard sobs.
“Shh.” Ambrose rubbed his back. “It’s okay. It’s okay.”
Is this what it will be like when Barbara and I have kids? Me lying in our bed, comforting our lovelorn oldest son.
I think I can do this. Even though all of the what ifs still scare me, I want this.
I want to be a father.
He hugged Robin and spoke softly to him, “You’ll be okay. When Sunday comes, go. Run to Isellta as fast as you can. Even if it means missing out on my wedding, just go.” He kissed Robin’s head. “Trust me. Believe me, I’ll understand.” He chuckled. “I might even cheer you on with big old fashioned pom poms.”