Elsie parked in her driveway. She pulled the ring box out of her purse and opened it. The two rings were still in there, perfect shined.
Her breath caught in her throat as she imagined the larger one on Hildreth’s finger. The way the gold caught the light. The contrast of the hard gold against his soft skin.
“Until death do us part.” It was both an exhilarating thought as well as a frightening one. “Until death.”
One day, he will be gone. This crazy, idiotic man I love. I will have to say good-bye to him. I will have to let him go.
I will have to move on without him.
How would I be able to wake up every morning without him in my bed, without him in my life?
How could I hunt without him?
Her chest hurt as she imagined the loneliness without him.
How would I be able to breathe?
Elsie closed the ring box and put it back in her purse. She pulled out her cell phone and called his number.
She closed her eyes as she listened to it ring.
“Hey! This is the Hildreth Mayhew Fabulosity Center. Press one if—-”
“Hildreth. Hildreth, you. You. Darn it! You.”
“Els? What’s wrong? Are you hurt? Are you okay? What?”
“I love you. Darn you, Mayhew! I love you.”
“Uh? You sound…angry about it?”
“I’m not angry. I’m just. It’s so overwhelming. Hildreth, I don’t want to lose you. I never want to lose you. Do you hear me, you idiot? I love you.”
“Els, I don’t understand. What’s going on? Oh, blast it all! It’s him again, isn’t it? If that vampire—”
“Shut up about Ambrose!” She frowned. “This has nothing to do with him. This is about us. All about us. About you and me and no one else. Hildreth, I don’t want anyone else in this whole world. I just want you. Do you understand that?”
His voice softened. “Els. Elsie.” His voice in her ear felt like a kiss. Elsie could almost feel his arms around her. “I love you. I have loved you from the first moment we met. I will always love you, no matter what. But you already knew that.”
“Don’t tease me. Or I’ll come over there and beat you up.”
He laughed. “Oh, no! My Elsie is threatening to pummel me. Oh, no! Whatever will I do? I sure hope she doesn’t go punching up my pretty face. I’d be so lost without it.”
“Idiot.” Her fingers ached for the texture of his hair, for the heat of his scalp. “What would I ever do without you?”
“Hmm. I’ve wondered about that. I have a bad feeling you’d live on rice cakes, oat bran bars, and tofu water. Depressing stuff.”
“That is not what I meant.”
“I know. I love you. I love you so much, Els. I’d be lost without you.”
His unabashed confession stole her heart clean out of her chest.
“Ah, I have to let you go. I want to see Master Shinowa out to his car.”
“Okay. I’ll talk to you later.”
“And I’ll see you tomorrow, Elsie baby.” He ended the call.