Barbara’s fingers went still.
Ambrose knew that was not a good sign. He opened his eyes, but he stayed right where he was. He wasn’t ready to see her expression. “I used that information I’d gained from his mind. I tracked down the crystal feather. But someone else was trying to find it. A very determined young woman who had her own need for the feather’s powers. We wound up working together. Her need for the feather far outweighed Caten’s need for it. So, when we finally found it, I let her claim the crystal feather. I went home empty-handed and with a very ready lie in mind. I lied to Caten. I told him the feather had been eaten up by boiling lava.”
“That is a terrible lie, sir.” Raven said. “If you do not mind my saying so. Hardly credible at all.”
“Yeah, I know. It was awful. All I can say in my defense is it seemed like a really good lie at the time.”
Raven made a small noise of disapproval.
“Of course, Caten didn’t fall for it.”
“No offense intended, sir, but I can hardly imagine anyone falling for such a lie.”
Barbara broke away from Ambrose. “What happened?”
Ambrose was relieved to see her expression held no sign of disgust. “Exactly what you’d think. Caten got his revenge on me. I messed up. I disappointed him. I didn’t do what he wanted me to do. I failed him. And/or all of the above.”
He remembered the ear-splitting silence. “There was a ghost in my house. Maria’s ghost. I wanted her to be there. I wanted her to stay with me. She wanted to stay. Caten knew that she was my weakness. She was the one way to hurt me, to crush me. And he took advantage of it. He found a way to convince her to cross over. She was gone and completely out of my life.”
Ambrose remembered dropping into bed and crying. He remembered the fire and anger and hatred that had gripped him. “I barged into Caten’s office with the intent to kill him. He uninvited me and sent Elsie to capture me. She did. He locked me up in that God-forsaken public display.”
Understanding came over Barbara’s face. “So, even if you had wanted to go back to him, you couldn’t.”
He shook his head. “I couldn’t. Honestly? I forgot about Greg. I was completely focused on my own survival. Then, Elsie came into my life and Greg got shoved even further back into no man’s land.”
She frowned. “You forgot. This whole time that we’ve been together…This whole time that you’ve been talking about changing and becoming a better person…”
His heart sank. This is where it starts. This is where I begin to lose her. “I meant it, Barbara. I want to be a better man.” He took a step back. “I didn’t forget him on purpose. I…”
Raven cleared his throat. “I am in desperate need of a good shower. Please excuse me, sir.”
“Be safe.” Raven said. “Both of you. Please.”
“Of course.” Barbara smiled at him. “You too, Raven.”
He bowed to them and went inside the house.