Ambrose and Barbara stood quietly and the air was still.
“How could you forget?” she asked. “After injuring someone like that and changing them into a vampire, how could you—“
“I don’t know! It’s been an insane year, Barbara. I’ve gone from one stressful situation to another to…” He took a breath and exhaled. “But that really isn’t a reason. It’s an excuse. Maybe.” He examined his hands, as if he were searching for any traces of Greg’s blood. “Maybe I wanted to forget. Maybe I’d rather remember all of the hurts of my distant past than remember the crimes I’ve recently committed.” He scoffed. “That still isn’t good enough. I don’t really know what would be.”
“Just tell me the truth, Ambrose.”
“The truth? The truth is I forgot. I just plain forgot. I don’t know why. I don’t know how. I just…forgot.” His shoulders slumped. “And I didn’t mean to.”
Everything about him, from his dejected posture to the defeated tone of his voice, softened Barbara’s heart. This could be him putting on an Oscar winning performance to make me forgive him. But I don’t think so. “Was he the only one? Or were there others?”
“Just him.” Ambrose’s voice was very subdued.
Barbara stepped closer to him. She couldn’t help it. I want to touch him and comfort him. She started to reach for him. But what if… She pulled her hand back. Maybe he isn’t the only one to blame. “Ambrose? Is it my fault?”
He raised his head and looked at her in surprise. “What?”
“Did I inadvertently keep you in Pinkerlee by falling in love with you?”
“NO. It isn’t your fault, love. Just mine.” He swallowed hard. “So. What do you want me to do?”
Barbara gave in. She took his hands and held them. “Come away with me.”
“Are you sure?”
She smiled. “Of course I’m sure. It’s nearly impossible to have a honeymoon when one’s husband is not present.”
“I mean it, Barbara. Are you sure?”
“I am. Yes, I am appalled that you could just forget someone you tortured to that degree. And, deep down inside, I’m freaking out that he was suffering this whole time that we’ve been together.”
Panic flashed on his face. “If I had remembered sooner, what would you have done?”
“Well.” She thought about it. “I would have asked you if he deserves to be locked up.”
“And I would have said no.”
“Then, I would have asked you if you intend to do something about it.”
“I would have said—” He chuckled half-heartedly. “—pretty much everything I said tonight about going to Caten’s place. I would have had the same hesitancy, the same fears.”
“And, just like tonight, I would have come with you for all of the same reasons, the same fears.”
He searched her expression. “You would still want me, even if I had told you—“
She smiled. I can’t resist. She curved her arms around his neck and guided him down into a kiss.
Ambrose didn’t resist. He returned her kiss with gentleness and love.