It felt good to sleep.
Not just a light doze. A deep, melting-into-the-mattress-and-pillow kind of sleep.
Ambrose was so deep asleep he wasn’t even aware of what he was dreaming about, but he knew that Barbara was near.
He felt her presence.
He smelled her scent.
He felt her touch all over his body.
And, in the depths of his sleep, he smiled.
Barbara smiled as she trailed her finger down the middle of Ambrose’s back. “I always thought you looked good in a tank top. I never realized how good you’d look without it. Although, I will admit I always had my suspicions.”
Ambrose sighed in his sleep. It was a warm, contented sound. But he stayed asleep.
She traced his shoulder blades with her fingertip. “If you had wings like Isellta, you would be a dark angel with black wings to go with your black hair and black eyes. Provocative. Seductive. Irresistible. Not that you aren’t all that already, but I think wings would move you up into a whole new category.”
He didn’t react to that.
“It feels so good to touch you. You have no idea how good it feels. I love it so much. Maybe you’ll never really know how happy it makes me to stay here by your side, loving you and admiring you.” She put her hands on his shoulders and loved how their shape filled the cups of her palms. “It’s so amazing, so very new to me still. A small part of my mind is freaking out that I’m sitting completely naked on your bed and you’re here, completely naked too. But it’s just a small part. Very small. You don’t have anything to be afraid of, Ambrose. I won’t flake out and leave you.”
She leaned forward and kissed the back of his neck. “You would have to do something tremendously and deliberately awful to make me leave you. Even then, it would hurt so much to not have you in my life. I love you, kitten. I do.”
Barbara fingered the white vampire mark on his bare neck. “I will tell you all of these things when you wake up. Just not all at once. I’ll tell them to you one at a time. When you’re sad. When you’re having a panic attack. When we have to be apart. I will tell you one of these things when you least expect me to. I’ll tell you for no reason at all.”
She laid her head on his back and stroked his left side. “I will tell you all of these things because I love you. Because I want you to know.”
Barbara’s voice was stars and constellations shining brilliantly in space. Faceted diamonds without a setting rainbowing in the night sky.
Her voice sang a secret siren song, enticing and alluring. And, like the sailors of long ago, Ambrose heard her call. In his sleep, he heard her voice enticing and luring him. Touching him with gentle fingers of quarter notes and whole notes. Caressing him with whole rests and half rests.
Ambrose untied himself from the ship’s wooden mast and jumped into the starry ocean. It rippled around him in inked circles. He swam to her voice, to the music of her song. And he called out her name.
She sang his name back to him in words no human had ever spoken.
He stepped onto a rocky shore.
Barbara stood before him and the moon shined down on her, setting her honey-blonde hair into a soothing, saturating glow.
Everything about her pulled and yanked at him. He ran to her because he had to, because he needed to. Staying away was an impossibility.
He needed to be with her. He longed for her touch, her embrace.
He needed her.
He cried out her name.
Until, at last, he was in her arms. Safe in her arms. Warm in her arms.
And her voice whispered words in his ear. Words he knew. Words he could hear. But still he listened to her voice, to the comforting flow of her words.
“Ambrose.” she said. “Ambrose.”
Ambrose surfaced from the land of dreams. Barbara’s head weighted down his back. Her hand stroked his side.
He smiled and whispered her name inside her head.
Ambrose. she whispered back.