Ambrose started to slip the phone under his pillow, but he stopped and pulled it out again. He called Raven.
“Is he all right, sir?” Raven asked.
“Not even going to say hi.” Ambrose laid down. “How inconsiderate.”
Ambrose closed his eyes. “It went straight to voicemail. Just like before.”
Barbara left the bathroom.
He opened his eyes and admired her as she walked towards the bed.
“You know, it is possible he’s asleep.” Ambrose said. “He’s a vampire. It’s daytime. Sun’s up. Tiredness reigns.” He moved the blankets aside for her. “Do I need to go on?”
She crawled into bed and curled up against him.
Ambrose covered her with the blanket.
“You may have a point, sir.” Raven said. “Yet, I cannot shake the feeling that something is terribly wrong.”
“Same. Have you contacted Isellta yet?”
Raven paused. “No, sir. I have not.”
Barbara spread her hand above his heart.
“Tell you what.” He looked into her eyes. “You get a hold of Isellta. I’ll call Robin again. I know it will go to voicemail, but who knows? I might get lucky. It isn’t likely, but it isn’t impossible.”
“Very good, sir.” He ended the call.
Ambrose called Robin’s number again.
The blackberry tea was just what Preyuna needed. Every sip soothed her irritation with Mark Caten and life’s generalized unfairness. Her frazzled up nerves plateaued into something resembling calm.
But she could still feel the weight of Robin’s cell phone in her pocket.
She pulled out the phone and set it on the kitchen table. The screen was dark.
What should I do with it?
She thought about Robin. She thought about his scarred face. She thought about him smiling on the screensaver.
She thought about how much Isellta wanted him.
She thought about sticking the phone into the garbage disposal.
Preyuna sipped her tea, a long and luxuriant sip.
I didn’t have anything planned when I took his phone. It just seemed like something I needed to do.
She picked it up and contemplated the black screen.
I could give it to Isellta as an act of good will. It might make him see me as something more than the villain in his story.
She turned the phone on again.
But I will not be his hero.
The phone chirped and chimed its welcome.
I will never be Isellta’s hero, no matter what I do.
The main screen loaded quickly and Robin’s happy, scarred face reappeared.
This ugly, scarred monster will always be his hero. If I give this phone to Isellta, he won’t even thank me for it. He’ll lose himself in fantasies and desires for this…ugly thing.
I’ll lose him for good.
Preyuna startled as the phone rang. She checked the caller ID: Am’rose.
She tilted her head. “Well. Isn’t that interesting?”