Ambrose entered every prison cell down the aisle, both occupied and unoccupied. Barbara stayed close to his side. She didn’t quite cling to him, but it was terribly tempting.
Moans and groans emanated from some of the cells. Others were quiet. Those unnerved her the most. The people inside of the quiet cells were so still. She didn’t know if they were alive or dead.
Entering the cells was even worse. So many of the prisoners were in painfully bad shape. So many of them appeared to have been chained to the wall and forgotten. And there was nothing Barbara could do to help any of them.
She held his hand as they left one of the quiet ones.
“Are you all right?” Ambrose closed the door behind them.
“I think so. But ask me again when we get out of here. I might have a different answer.”
“I’m sorry, love. I didn’t even think about how this would affect you.” He smoothed some errant strands of hair away from her face. “If you want to leave—“
She shook her head. “We’ve made it this far. Let’s keep going.”
“Barbara.” A worried frown creased his eyebrows.
She managed a smile. “After all, we aren’t here on a sight-seeing safari. This is a search and rescue mission. We NEED to keep going.”
“Barbara, you don’t have to push yourself beyond what you can endure for my sake.”
She lightly laid her fingers on his lips. “Robin isn’t just your friend, Ambrose. He’s mine too.”
“We’ll get through this together for Robin’s sake.”
He uncovered his mouth. “I could…You could go to the car and I could keep search—“
“No. Just no. I am not leaving you, Ambrose Smith. I don’t trust Preyuna. I don’t trust this whole place. I do not want Mark Caten to steal you away from me again.”
Pure and simple adoration shined in Ambrose’s black eyes. He laid his hand along the side of her face.
She leaned into his touch.
“My wonderful, iron-willed Barbara.” He wrapped his unoccupied arm around her waist.
Barbara reached behind his head and rubbed beneath his hairline. “My fluffy gray kitten.” She stepped into the very small space left between them. “My husband.”
“My wife.” His gaze dipped to her lips.
She smiled for a second before she kissed him.
Oh, I could easily lose myself in her breath, in her kiss. Just lightly slip away to where there is only her and me. Ambrose ended the kiss and rested his forehead against hers. And no one else.
She ruffled up the hair on the back of his head.
“hnnnnn…” The sound came from the back of his throat — all warm and husky.
Barbara blushed. “We really should keep on with our search.”
Ambrose sighed. “I know.” He kissed her again. Just a quick but loving kiss.
Her blush deepened as she looked into his eyes. She didn’t say anything and she didn’t need to. He heard what she didn’t say. He understood the words she did not mentally project at him.
And all of those unspoken words stole his heart all over again. “Yeah.” he said warmly. “Let’s continue our search.”