Part 2248 – Can You Hear Me? Do You Hear Me?

Ambrose fell through the darkness of a dream. Yet, even as he fell, he felt Barbara’s touch. Her presence orbited his body in concentric rings, protecting him and delighting him. Her voice gave him wings and he flew in the dark.

Barbara.

Ambrose.

Don’t leave me.

I’m here.

Don’t leave me.

Ambrose. Ambrose.

Her voice changed.

Ambrose. Am’rose.

Her semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla bean scent sharpened into acidic tangerines.

Robin?

Am’rose!

He stopped in midflight and glanced around, but there was nothing to see. “Robin? Where are you?”

Am’rose. A sob choked his voice and broke it. Am’rose. AM’ROSE!

Ambrose’s pupil’s widened. “Robin. Where are you? Speak to me!”

am’rose! He broke down, crying like he was the only one left in the world.

“Robin!” Ambrose flew towards the younger vampire’s cries. “ROBIN!”

****

Ambrose woke up. He automatically reached under his pillow, but his phone wasn’t there. He swore in sleep-smudged French.

Barbara perked her head up. “What’s wrong?”

He got out of bed and checked the pockets of his discarded clothes.

“Ambrose. What’s wrong?”

“I dunno. Need to call Robin.” Ambrose found his phone in a pocket. He was still too fuzzy-headed to notice or care if it were in his slacks or his tuxedo jacket. “Something’s wrong.” He went into Contacts and, miraculously enough, selected the correct number. “I need to hear his voice. Need to know he’s safe.”

He pressed Call and the phone rang.

****

Robin slept. His day exhaustion was too powerful to resist or ignore. He had no choice but to give in to its demands. It didn’t matter that he was pinned to a wall with his mouth clamped shut. His day exhaustion overwhelmed him.

It claimed him and it owned him completely.

And he slept.

His phone rang.

*****

“Come on.” Ambrose sat on the bed as he listened to the phone ring. “Pick up. Pick up.”

Barbara moved over to him and rested her chin on his shoulder.

“Come on, Robin. Let me know you’re okay.”

***

The phone kept ringing.

Robin slept through it.

****

Ambrose closed his eyes as the phone rang.

Robin. Robin! Answer it!

***

The prison cell door opened and Preyuna entered. She wore a long black and gold striped gown that contrasted with her red and silver hair. She whispered into her hands and pushed the spell forward.

The spell lifted just for her, revealing Robin asleep and still pinned to the wall.

His phone was ringing.

She approached him, looking every bit a scorned queen’s ghost. The silver of her hair glinted and seemed to glow in the prison cell’s dim light.

His phone was still ringing.

She stopped before him and reached into his tuxedo jacket’s pocket. She pulled out his cell phone.

****

Robin! Can you hear me? Answer your phone!

It went to voicemail.

***

The phone stopped ringing.

Preyuna examined the phone. She touched its face, waking it up. Robin’s laughing face made its appearance as the screen saver.

She narrowed her eyes and slowly raised her gaze to the young vampire in front of her.

***

Ambrose lowered his hands.

“Voicemail?” Barbara asked.

He wordlessly nodded.

She hugged him.

He leaned back against her.

“Maybe he’s asleep. It is daytime.” she said.

“Maybe. Let me try again.”

****

Preyuna looked back down at Robin’s laughing face. She pressed her thumb against his eyes, his nose, his mouth as if that would make him pop out of existence.

The phone rang again.

She shut it down and pulled the phone’s charger out of his tuxedo pocket. She put both objects in her own pocket.

Robin moaned in his sleep.

She unmasked him.

His head drifted downwards.

“Why?” She slapped his face. “WHY?” Another slap. “Why you? Why does it have to be you?” Another slap. “You’re nothing. Do you hear me, vampire? You are nothing. You aren’t a parallel line. You aren’t a line. You’re a scribble. You’re a sham line. You’re nothing worthwhile.”

Preyuna took a moment to calm down. “But, Robin. You could be a hero. All you have to do is kill Mark Caten. Kill him, Robin. Make it bloody. Make it ugly. Make it long and torturous. Oh, make him scream.” She put her mouth close to his ear. “And Isellta will be all yours, Robin.”

****

“Nothing?” Barbara asked

“He shut his phone off.” Ambrose frowned. “I can’t shake this bad feeling that something is wrong.” His shoulders slumped.

“He’s probably going to sleep.” Barbara smiled and guided him down to the mattress. “Call him again tonight.”

He closed his eyes. “Tonight.” He rolled onto his side and Barbara curled up against him.

He smiled and embraced her. “Love you, love.”

“Love you, kitten.”

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