Ambrose watched her carry Sarah towards the door. He clenched and unclenched his hands.
She opened the door.
She looked back at him.
“Can I?” He took an uncertain step forward. “Can I walk you to your car?”
She smiled. “Come.”
The four letters curved around him, entwining his wrists and ensnaring his waist, teasing him and enticing him. Their maroon ink saturated his skin.
He shook his head to clear it. “Just a moment.” He walked over to Raven and Jeff. “I’ll be right back.”
Raven raised an eyebrow. “I believe it would be unwise for you to go unescorted.”
“Thanks for the understatement.” Ambrose said.
“Indeed.” Raven looked at Jeff. “Sir, if you would do the honors?”
Jeff gave Missy an uneasy look.
“You have no reason to fear, sir. She is safe with me.”
“I know.” Jeff walked over to Ambrose. “Let’s go.”
Jeff followed Ambrose and Barbara to the elevator. He noticed how Ambrose tensed up as the elevator door opened. “Problem, vampire?”
Ambrose glared at him. “No. Hunter.” He stomped aboard.
Jeff and Barbara came aboard as well. He pressed the button for the first door. He watched Ambrose as the elevator headed down.
The vampire grabbed the rail at the back of the elevator. He stayed on his feet, but his face turned pale.
Ambrose snarled at him. “Shut up.”
“I didn’t say anything.”
Ambrose closed his eyes. He took long, deep inhales and steadying exhales.
I wonder what would happen if I had to fight him in a moving elevator. Would I have the advantage? It would seem so, but it’s a pretty tight space in here. Not much maneuvering room.
He sized up the vampire before him and smiled.
I know this much: He would not be an easy one to stake, no matter the location or situation. I can tell.
It would be an interesting challenge.
Jeff stepped over to Barbara. “You look like your arms are getting tired. Do you want me to hold her for you?”
“Would you mind?”
“Not at all.”
Barbara surrendered Sarah to the former hunter.
It took Jeff a couple of tries to get her into a comfortable position. “Sorry. It’s been a long time.”
Sarah wrapped her legs around his waist.
Jeff nearly dropped her as a memory came to mind…
Jeff woke up to the TV blaring an infomercial for a parakeet bird call whistle. It was only $19.99. A positive steal for such an ingenious device.
At least, that’s what the lady with the orange pompadour was saying.
Jeff shut off the TV and stretched.
“mmm. mommy.” Tessa murmured in her sleep.
He looked down at her. She had fallen asleep with her head on his right leg. “Tessie.”
It’s just us.
Will you remember her as you get older?
Or will we both forget all of those things we love about your mother?
He sighed. “If she were here, she’d take you to bed and tuck you in. But.”
Tears stung his eyes. He blinked and let them fall.
“It’s just me now. Please forgive me if I do things wrong. I don’t know all the small things she did for you. I don’t know how to take her place.” He gently edged her head off his leg. “Come on, my little monkey girl. Let’s get you to bed, okay?”
She opened her eyes and gave him a bleary look. “mommy?”
He shook his head. “Just me.”
She sat up and threw her arms around his neck.
He hugged her. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
His voice cracked as he said, “I’m sorry.” one more time.
She wrapped her legs around him.
He hid his tears in the small crook of her neck, but his body betrayed him with every hard shake.
“It’s okay. It’s okay. We’re okay.” Jeff said over and over as he held on to Sarah.
Ambrose tightened his grip on the rail. He focused on the distant expression in the former hunter’s eyes and the tears trailing down his face. “Interesting.”