Maelin waited and waited and waited for the elevator. She looked up at the LED floor counter above the door.
It was still stalled out on the fifth floor.
Maybe it’s broken.
Maybe there’s a whole crowd coming aboard.
Maybe I should just take the stairs. But Robin’s scent led me to here. If I take the stairs, how will I find him? This isn’t exactly a two floor hospital.
The elevator moved down to the fourth floor and loitered.
Maelin patiently waited.
A young couple came over to her. Since she didn’t have anything better to do at the moment, Maelin studied them.
He had light brown hair, green-blue eyes, and a good-looking face. He was tall and athletically built. She had frizzy black hair, gold eyes, and a pretty face. She was a little shorter than him with a trim figure.
He smiled at Maelin. “You look like you’ve been waiting a while.”
“Just a little.” She checked the floor counter.
“You don’t seem to be sick or hurt. Are you just visiting a family member?”
Maelin smiled. “Not quite.”
“Oh? Not quite. Hm. That’s a very mysterious answer.”
She laughed. “Actually, the answer is complicated and kind of a long story.”
The elevator dinged and the doors slid open.
“Well. We’re going to be confined in one square space for X amount of minutes. Might as well tell me the whole story and make it interesting.”
The woman punched his arm, which made him laugh. “You’re flirting with her.”
“mm. mm. mm. Look at you getting all fired up and jealous. Elsie Vansing is getting all jealous over wee little me.”
Maelin followed them onto the elevator. A faint trace of Robin’s scent lingered in the air.
So, he was here.
She looked at the long vertical line of floor numbers.
Which one did he get off at?
Elsie glanced at her. “Which floor?”
Well. This is awkward. Which floor? I could go over there and sniff the buttons to see which one he touched, but I’d rather not do that in front of an audience. I’ll just take a random guess. “Eight.”
“Well! Isn’t that something?” he said. “That happens to be the same floor we’re getting off at. Convenient, huh?”
“Very convenient.” Maelin said.
Especially if he’s up there.
They walked in single file: Ambrose, LM, and Robin. All three of them were dead quiet with the occasional rustled exception of LM’s wings.
I ain’t even sure how I wound up in the caboose department. I guess I could walk along with Ambrose. Make sure he don’t go topplin’ over in the middle of the hall.
I dunno. I ain’t really complainin’.
Robin’s gaze trailed along the stiff, crooked line of LM’s wings. They were not the solid deep black of Isellta’s wings. They were more of a dark gray. They didn’t extend as far as Isellta’s did. They would never be able to fold up against LM’s back or flap or flutter the way Isellta’s did. Pulling them into his back was clearly more impossible than it was for Isellta.
Isellta’s got wings, but he ain’t no bird.
But he ain’t a human either.
Robin stopped walking.
But I love him.
Ambrose stopped and looked back at him. “You okay?”
Robin shook his head.
Ambrose came over to him. “What’s wrong? Tired?”
“No. Am’rose, is it wrong for me to love ‘sellta? I mean, I’m human.” He shrugged. “Basically human. Isellta’s fey. He ain’t human. He ain’t never been human. He has wings. What’s that make him if he ain’t human?”
LM stopped. He turned to face the two vampires.
“He may have wings, Robin, but he is not an animal.” Ambrose said. “If that’s what you’re worried about.”
“So, what is he?”
LM looked at Ambrose and waited for his answer.
Ambrose’s voice turned gentle as he replied, “An extraordinary. Just like you. Just like me.”
LM blinked quickly and tilted his head.
“Is it okay if I love ‘sellta?” Robin asked. “Or is it all messed up and wrong?”
Ambrose sighed and rubbed his forehead. “Why do you always want to have these deep, philosophical conversations during the day? Let’s keep moving before we both drop to the floor.”
Robin wanted to insist on getting his question answered, but he could feel his day exhaustion seep into the bones in his back. “Okay. Let’s keep movin’.”