Elsie glanced around the room. There was nowhere to sit and not a single thing to read. She shrugged and strolled over to Missy’s bed.
She looked down at the unconscious young woman. “Which one do you belong to? I know you’re Jeff’s daughter. But these three vampires aren’t here for him. They’re here for you. Why? Which vampire is yours? Ambrose? Robin? Or this one over here? What was his name? I met him at Gendarme’s. He recognized me. He knew my ancestors.”
She sighed. “I don’t know why I’m talking to you. I don’t know you. I don’t really know Robin or the other one. I do know Ambrose. I fell in love with him. It’s a long story, but a short one too. Our love affair ended just as it began, but it left its mark on me. He left his mark on me. And I don’t mean just his bite. It was so hard for me to let him go, to move on.”
“And yet you did.” Ambrose said.
She startled and turned around.
He stood right behind her.
“Ambrose. I didn’t know you were awake.”
He smiled, a slow and easy smile. “I thought you’d be more on your guard, Elsie. We are alone. Just you and me. Anything could happen. I could bite you. I could kiss you.”
“I could stake you.”
“But you won’t. And, Elsie, I won’t. You and I had fire. We were fire that burned so hot and so bright.” He examined his hands. “But that fire is gone.”
“You feel nothing for me?”
He lowered his hands. “Nothing. What about you?”
“Nothing. Even if I still felt something, it doesn’t matter. You hear me, Ambrose? It does not matter. I love Hildreth. I intend to marry him tomorrow morning and I will be his completely.”
“And I wish you all the best, Elsie. I wish he’d fall into a manhole in New York City, but that’s to be expected. I do wish you well, Elsie.”
“Are you going to touch me?”
He chuckled softly. “No. I would have so many lifetimes ago, when I still burned for you. But I love Barbara. I want to touch her and I want her to touch me. I ache for it. I long for it.” His expression turned serious. “Do you want me to touch you?”
Do I? What would happen if I said yes? Would a touch become a kiss?
She backed away from him. “No. Hildreth and I are not married yet, but I am his and he is mine. I will not do anything to ruin what he and I have.”
“You don’t trust me.”
He took a step back and did not answer.
“That’s what I thought.”
“I have made mistakes, Elsie. Mistakes that I still regret. Mistakes I never want to repeat. If I did, I would hate myself. So, no. I will never touch you again.”
LM dragged an armchair into the room. “I still need to find another one, but here’s this one.” He set it up next to Raven. “I don’t know if you want it here or—-”
“Oh, thank heavens!” Ambrose dropped into the chair and exhaled a sigh of relief. “I needed this so bad.”
“Okay.” LM said. “I guess I’ll leave it there. I’ll go find another chair for you.” And he left the room again.
Elsie watched him fall asleep.
You aren’t mine anymore, Ambrose Smith. And I am not yours.
And I am fine with that.
She thought about Hildreth and her fingers ached with the need to dig into his hair.
Elsie smiled. “Yes. I am more than fine with that.”
Hildreth, I love you.