As soon as Father Landover left the room, John laid back down and closed his eyes.
If I were Ambrose and Clarice were Barbara, would Father be so okay with leaving us unchaperoned? I assume not.
I hope not.
He opened his eyes.
They love each other so much, Carolyn. If only you were here. If only you could see them together.
If only you were here with me.
If you were here with me, I’d hold you in my arms. We’d laugh and cry with joy over our only child becoming someone’s wife. Our little girl.
My little pun’kin.
I feel so happy and so sad. Excited and nervous. I’m going to surrender our daughter to Ambrose Smith, a vampire. What will her future be? What sorrows and joys will she know as his wife?
Will she regret marrying him?
Will I regret giving him my permission?
John sat up. “Carrie, did I make the right choice? Or am I making a horrible mistake that will break my heart? I don’t know. He loves her. Oh, Carrie love. He loves her so much and she loves him. I wish you were here to calm me down. To just.”
He bowed his head.
Just hold me.
Touch me one more time.
“I miss you. I miss knowing that you’re there in the kitchen or out in the yard or simply gone shopping. I miss knowing that you’re just a phone call away. I miss your voice. Oh, I miss it so much. The sound of your laugh.”
He raised his head and extended his arm. “Carrie, if you’re there, take my hand. Touch my fingers. Just a small touch, barely enough for my nerves to register. Just let me know you’re there.”
He kept his arm extended.
Not a single touch.
“Carolyn.” He lowered his arm. “Maybe something like that is too much to ask for. Can you be there for her wedding? Is it possible? Even if I don’t see or feel you, please be there. Come, Carolyn, and see our little girl get married to the man she loves.”
He sat and waited for some sort of response, for some sign that she had heard him, for some small acknowledgement.
He waited for the sound of her voice.
Not a single word.
He got out of bed. “I should check on Clarice.”
John entered the living room. He hesitated a moment before approaching the couch. He gingerly went down on one knee. Getting back up again was not going to be spectacular fun, but he chose to not think about it.
He focused on just her, instead.
Her frosted blonde hair.
Her carefully applied eye make-up.
Her smudged lipstick.
Was that from me kissing her? I didn’t realize I’d kissed her hard enough to have that effect.
“Carolyn would have liked you. I think.” He cleared his throat. “I think you two would have been good friends.”
“mmmmmm….I bet you say that to all the girls.” Clarice opened her eyes. “So, hot loving goodness, what you up to?”
John fixated on the smudged coral pink lipstick.
I should either get a paper towel and smooth away the smudges or I could just kiss her.
“Um. Father Landover left. He got an emergency call and he ran off to take care of it.”
I want to kiss her.
She sat up. “So, we’re all by ourselves.”
“Just you and me.” She leaned into his space. “mm. I could kiss you.”
“Then, kiss me.” The words rushed out before he could consider their appropriateness.
“If you’re going to be all that insistent.”
He nodded again and leaned towards her.
Then, just like that, his lips were pressed against her lips. Over and over in happy repetition. He put his hand on the side of her face.
She grabbed his shoulders.
And he liked it.
The feel of her hands.
The feel of her lips.
The feel of her breath.
He broke off and lowered his gaze to the blanket. “I. I’m—I mean, we should leave. We—”
“I love you, John Addleston.”
He looked up at her.
“I love you. You are such a good man and I love that. I absolutely love that.”
“I love you too, Clarice.” He kissed her again. It wasn’t fireworks and explosions. It was a beeswax candle – warm and glowing. It was light.
It was just simple, sweet love.
And that was all they wanted in that moment.