Barbara folded her hands behind her head and closed her eyes. She listened to the whispered sound of Sarah’s fingers tracking across the pages of her book and the ruffled flap of the turned pages.
What are we going to do with her? I want to keep her with us, but can she stay with us without being formally adopted? But who would let a vampire adopt a child? Do we have to tell them that Ambrose is a vampire? Probably. I’m sure that’s one of the questions they would ask.
Ambrose would never bite her. I know he wouldn’t. I trust him. Sarah trusts him. She really likes him. I know. I can tell. But none of that would matter to an adoption agency. I suppose it would be like a drug addict trying to adopt a child. Who would let that happen?
I don’t know what to do.
Barbara opened her eyes as she realized an important detail. “Oh!”
We’re getting married tonight. I assume we’ll go on a honeymoon. But we can’t very well take her with us.
She sat up and thought about her options. “I have to ask Dad and Jeff for their opinions, but I don’t want to leave Ambrose out of the equation. But it wouldn’t be fair to drag him all the way back to the hospital.”
Her ears became decidedly heated as the solution came to her.
So, we’ll come to Ambrose.
“And that’s the last one!” Clarice placed the white laser cut box next to the plate. She stepped back and admired the results of their hard work. A party favor box sat by each plate.
Father Landover had sent over the garland for the bridal party’s table as well as the small bouquets for each table. The restaurant’s staff had done their part in setting up the garland and working in small heart-shaped fairy lights. The lights hadn’t been turned on yet, but Clarice could just imagine what it would look like. The mental image choked her up.
John came up behind her. “Thank you for your help. There’s no way I could have done it all by myself.”
She turned to face him. “You’ve done so many things by yourself, too many things.”
He shrugged. “What else could I do?”
Clarice’s heart went Ba-Dum! in sympathy.
He’s just too precious for this world! I want to hug him and protect him from anyone and anything hurting him ever again.
His phone rang. “Hello? John here.” His face lit up. “Barbara! What…Is something wrong? Oh?” He raised his eyebrows. “At his place? Okay, but are you sure? Okay. Yeah, yeah. No problem. We’re actually all done over here. Yeah, I’ll be there shortly. Love you, pumpkin. Yeah, I’ll see you there. Drive carefully. Bye.”
“What’s going on?”
He put his phone away. “Barbara wants me to meet up with her and Jeff over at Ambrose’s place.”
“Well, I can see why you raised your eyebrows. What’s happening? Why there?”
“She didn’t get into too many details, but apparently she has a question she wants to ask us menfolk.”
“Very.” He hesitated. His glow flickered to an uncertain gray. “What were you planning to do after this? Were you going home or do you have stuff to do for Elsie’s wedding?”
She smiled gently and laid her hand on his shoulder. “I’ll gladly come with you.”
His glow brightened to its usual white. “Thank you!”
LM walked over to the window and looked outside.
Carthage is out there somewhere.
Am I wrong to reject him? No. Capernaum is right. I am where I should be. Perhaps I will never fit in with them. Maybe I will always be the outsider. But that’s okay.
LM half-turned and looked at Jeff, who was busy talking softly to his unconscious daughter.
He is a lot harsher than Capernaum ever was. He and I will never be close comrades the way Capernaum and I were. But that’s okay. He is a good man. He is honest. I can trust him. I’m sure of it.
I will not let him down ever again.
“Capernaum.” he said softly. “My dear friend, I’m sorry I didn’t listen to your warning. Can you ever forgive me?”
A familiar hand came to rest on his shoulder.
LM smiled tearfully. “My dear friend.”
Jeff’s phone rang. Jeff pulled it out of his pocket and answered it.
LM turned away from him and looked outside. He fell into a silent contemplation of how much his life had changed.
Capernaum didn’t speak, but he kept his hand on the half-fey’s shoulder. That was good enough.