He needs my help.
He’s asking for my help. It can’t be an easy thing for him to do. But does that mean I have to give in? Do I have to help him?
What will he ask for in return?
“What do you want from me, Ambrose?” Elsie asked.
He blinked slowly. “You’re asking me at the wrong time, Elsie. Wrong day. Wrong month. Wrong year. I don’t want anything from you, my dear Marauder.” His gaze lowered to her neck. “Not anymore. I just want to go home.”
Elsie looked at his tired face and she felt the pang of memory.
Elsie guided Ambrose down the basement stairs. It wasn’t easy. His body was determined to slip and slide out of her grip. But she held onto him.
I could have put him on the living room couch and pulled the drapes. But he’s safer down here.
I’m safer with him down here.
I will need to change the lock so I can lock him down here when I need to.
They reached the bottom of the stairs and she led him into the spare bedroom. She helped him onto the bed.
He didn’t roll onto his side or move at all. He lay there, completely open and vulnerable.
I should stake him.
I would be right to stake him.
It’s my job to stake creatures like him.
He opened his eyes to half-mast.
His black eyes were glazed over.
Can he even see me?
His mouth opened as if to speak, but no words came out.
I need to help him.
She removed her father’s gauntlet and pulled up her sleeve.
I hope I don’t regret this.
“I’ll do it. I’ll help you.” Elsie looked at Hildreth. “Are you okay with it?”
Hildreth felt a warm glow inside his chest.
I matter to her.
My opinion matters to her.
“Yeah. Like I said, I trust you, Elsie baby.”
Robin clomped over to them. “Darnation, you big dolt! Whatcha doin’ over here when I left you all the way o’er—” He stopped when he noticed Elsie and Hildreth. “Uh? Who’s—-” He sniffed the air. “You guys were in Missy’s room. Why?”
He bared his fangs and unsheathed his claws. “If you’re plannin’ to drag Am’rose back to freakin’ Olessa Caten, I’ll shred your skin off you.”
“It’s okay, Robin.” Ambrose said. “They aren’t here to cause any problems.” He smiled. “They’re here to help us get back home.”
“Oh? Well. That’s dandy and all, but I ain’t got a clue who’s who.”
Ambrose rubbed his hands up and down his face. “This is becoming a very long conversation. I want to go home so I can go to bed and die in peace.”
“Huh.” Hildreth said. “If only.”
Ambrose lowered his hands. “The pretty lady with the frizzy hair is Elsie Vansing. The obnoxious loser next to her is Hildreth Mayhew. Can we go now?”
Robin snorted. “That’s some introduction.”
“Sorry. I’m in no mood for anything more formal than that. Can we please leave now?”
It took a lot of discussion and debate, but in the end they got it all sorted out to no one’s real satisfaction.
Elsie sat in the driver’s seat. Robin sat in the co-pilot’s seat.
Hildreth and Ambrose sat in the back as far away from each other as they could. They were both pretty much hugging the doors.
Ambrose leaned his head against the door frame and closed his eyes as Elsie pulled out of the parking lot.
He was sound asleep by the time they passed the hospital’s main sign.