Ambrose watched the injured man, waiting for him to make the wrong move. It isn’t that likely he’ll try anything, not in his present state. But he must be thinking about it. After what I did to him and took from him, he has to want it. He has to feel that small flicker of revenge simmering low inside and want it to burst into full flames.
I’m sure I would if I were him.
“I can’t believe I’m bringing the wrong guy home.” Ambrose said. “When we started on this side-quest, I thought it would be a simple matter. Either Robin would be there or not. If he were, we’d take him and Isellta back home. If he weren’t, we’d just continue on our merry little way. I did not intend to snatch one of Caten’s prisoners.” He chuckled. “I still can’t believe I did that.”
All of the cars ahead of them simultaneously decided to go only three miles per hour, forcing Barbara to slow down. “And I didn’t have to talk you into it.” she said.
“No, you didn’t.”
A red light made the car lineup come to a full halt, except for one yahoo who apparently thought that red was just another shade of green. Barbara looked back at Ambrose. The street lights illuminated her face and seemed to set her eyes sparkling.
It took his breath away. He laid his hand along the side of her face. “I’m yours, Barbara. All yours.”
She smiled a closed-mouth smile at him and covered his hand with her own. “Until death parts us, Ambrose.”
How long will we be parted, Robin? Isellta used his fingertip to trace lines on the kitchen table’s highly polished surface. When will you finally come to me? He tapped into his base magic and made the whorls and lines glimmer in gold.
Her Majesty told me that she’ll let me know when you arrive. He changed the gold to sapphire. I’m scared that she might be lying, but maybe. Maybe she isn’t? He turned the connecting line into varying shades of blue, from the palest baby blue to deepest violet.
If you do come and if she lets me see you, what will you see when you see me? Will you see me or will you only see my filthiness? Will you still want me? Will you still be able to love me? The deep violet line darkened into a shimmering black. Do I deserve to be loved?
The smells and sounds of cooking food pulled Isellta out of his melancholy thoughts. Melting butter. Snapping. Popping. Crackling. Meat cooking. Spices. Salt. Pepper. Onions sizzling. Spatula scraping the pan.
He fluttered his wings. “I don’t even know what you’re making, but it smells very good.”
“Thank you!” Maelin said. “It’s pretty late at night for an omelet, but it sounded like a good idea to me.”
“Omelet? Om…let…? I don’t recognize that word. What is it?”
“It’s eggs mixed with whatever sounds good to you.” Maelin mixed it all together one more time before plating it. She carried the two plates to the table. “In this case, thin slices of steak, onions, and oh!” She walked over to the fridge and pulled out a bag of shredded cheese.
Isellta watched as she sprinkled the cheese over the omelets. “Is it okay if I want more cheese than that?”
She smiled at him. “Of course, angel.” She added more to the top of his food before putting the bag back into the fridge.
The cheese softened and melted on the strips of meat and melded into the edges of the scrambled eggs. Isellta’s mouth watered. He picked up the knife and fork from the plate.
Black lines instead of blue veins striped the back of his hands and trailed to his elbows.
Maelin sat next to him. “There we go!”
He shook his head.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“I can’t. I can’t eat. I need to wash my hands, my arms. They’re filthy. I can see it. Black lines all over them. I can’t eat like that. I can’t. I’m filthy. I’m so disgusting and filthy.”
Maelin set her fork on her plate. “May I see?”
Isellta raised his gaze and searched her expression. He didn’t even know what he was searching for, but it wasn’t there…whatever it might have been. He held out his arms. “See? It’s all over.” Robin will see it too and he won’t want me. His wings flattened against his back. “It’s all over.”