Ambrose opened the door to Missy’s room and went inside.
Jeff loitered in the hall.
I have too many things to think about.
What the future may bring.
I’m in love with Elsie? Tch! He was just pulling boll weevils out of the ground. It didn’t mean anything.
He rubbed his thumb against the silver band around his ring finger. “Laura. He’s wrong. I am not in love with her. How could I be when I still miss you?”
And I do.
I miss you, baby.
Jeff entered the room.
Ambrose had collapsed back into his chair and had fallen asleep.
“Huh! He really was tired.”
Jeff walked over to Raven. “I wish you wouldn’t call me Master. I haven’t earned that title and I guess I never will.”
“I am sorry, sir.”
“Just call me Jeff and that will be fine.”
“Very well, Jeff. I am tired as well. So, I will skip the further pleasantries and get to the point. I heard Missy’s voice in my mind.”
A wave of dizziness hit the former hunter. “Are you sure? Maybe it was your imagination. Maybe wishful thinking.”
“I hardly know myself. Yet, it was her voice. It was unmistakable. Jeff, sir. We had discussed this previously. I am bringing it up again now.” He stood butler-straight with his palms flat against his sides. “I would like to enter her mind, sir, if you will allow me to do so.”
Jeff turned to face his daughter.
So many things to think about.
Too many things and this is just one more.
“What do you hope to accomplish by entering her mind?”
“I want to see what is happening. I want to see—-”
Jeff shook his head. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Raven. It isn’t you.”
“It isn’t that I don’t trust you. I just can’t. I can’t let you do it.”
“Sir, I can see what is happening inside her mind. I can see—-”
Jeff shot a sharp glare at him. “I don’t want you to do it!”
Raven bowed his head.
“Do you understand me? I don’t know if I fully do. I can’t even explain my reasoning or my fears. It…This isn’t a logical thing, Raven. It’s pure instinct. And all of my instincts are telling me not to allow this. So, I can’t. My instincts have never steered me wrong. I can’t go against them. I’m sorry.”
Raven raised his head. Cold fury gleamed in his red eyes. “I understand, sir.”
“Indeed. ” Raven’s emotions slipped into his voice, making his words sharp and clipped as he said, “It is not instinct, sir. It is simple and basic fear, sir. Nothing more, sir, and nothing less.”
“It isn’t your fault, Raven. This is not about you. This has nothing to do with you.”
“It has everything to do with me!” The words escaped in a heated rush. “For she is everything to me. I need to know, sir.”
“I can’t do it. I can’t let you do this. I’m sorry, but I just can’t.”
Raven stormed out of the room.
“Well.” Maelin told Robin’s sleeping self. “That was surprising. I guess I should go check on him. Make sure he doesn’t jump off the top of the hospital.” She patted Robin’s knee. “I’ll be right back.”
Raven walked straight to the stairwell.
He headed upstairs, one step at a time.
His face burned. His breathing was ragged.
Never let them see you hurt.
Never let them bear witness to your private heartbreaks.
Keep your chin up.
Always display a calm detachment — even if that detachment is a lie.
Never let them see you hurt.
Never let them see your weakness.
Never lose control.
I lost control.
I should not have lost control.
Tears fell unchecked down his face, but he didn’t stop. He kept climbing higher and higher.