“I’m sorry. Sorry I had to tell you that. Sorry I couldn’t do nothin’ to bring him back to us. To make him wanna be with us.”
“Robin. It was his choice to make.”
Robin backed out of her arms. “You don’t get it. I was so…I kept pushin’ him away. It ain’t no wonder he didn’t wanna be with us. I just kept pushin’ him away. I made it more’n clear I didn’t want him to take Dad’s place. But I kept wishin’ that he’d push back and…and just try. If he had just tried to take Dad’s place. If only he’d shown me I meant somethin’ to him. Somethin’ good.” He bowed his head. “If only ‘sellta was here.”
“You two still haven’t gotten back together?”
He shook his head.
He flapped his hands in frustration. “Because I’m a freakin’ idiot. What else is new? Because I’m jealous. Because I’m scared of gettin’ hurt. Because I’m scared of hurtin’ Ambrose. Because. Because I’m scared somethin’ will happen and I won’t never come back home.”
“But if you love him—”
“Then, go to him.”
“Mama. I don’t know if he still loves me. I thought he did. I believed he did. But now? I ain’t so sure. He’s been with some red-headed fey chick some four hun’red times. There’s some guy who’s all ‘Oh, he’s all mine now.’ Who knows how many others there’s been? I don’t. I just feel like…like I’m at the bottom of some long list. I don’t matter to him no more.”
“Have you tried talking to him?”
Robin nodded. “And he said nothin’. Not e’en hello. And I don’t know why.”
“Robbie. Sweetheart, if you love him, fight for him. Go to him and demand to know the truth. Don’t just leave it like this.” She laid her hand on his face. “Don’t dwell in all of the unknowns. Go to him.”
She kissed his forehead. “Don’t think about that. Focus on your love for him and let that guide you.”
“But what if he don’t want me? I mean—” Robin extended his broken claws and held them up for her to see. “—look at me. I’m damaged and he ain’t. He’s…He’s so lovely. How could he look at me and want me?”
“Because.” She took his clawed hands into her hands. “Because you are you. Under all of your temper and bluster and vampirism, you are a good and loving man.”
“Would he be willin’ to look that deep?”
She smiled. “Go to him and find out.”
He retracted his claws. “I’ll think about it. I’m still scared, but I promise I’ll think ’bout it.”
Clarice sat on the passenger side as John settled in the driver’s seat. She silently admired him as he reached over to close the door.
He may not be Gerald, but mmm-mm-lipsmackin’-mmm. He’s all sorts of kiss my lips hot.
John buckled his seatbelt. He looked over at her.
I don’t think he fully realizes just how attractive he is.
“Is something wrong?”
She patted his knee. “Nothing. You just keep on being you and nothing will ever be wrong.” Her hand stayed on his knee. “I really do like you, John.”
He put his hand on top of her hand. “And I really like you too.”
“Then, maybe you should kiss me.”
John smiled a closed mouth smile and leaned towards her.
She intercepted him with a kiss.
A kiss he had absolutely no objections to.