Raven followed her all the way back to her car, which was situated in The Red Envelope’s parking lot. He watched her unlock the driver’s side door and quietly marveled at her open vulnerability.
She smiled at him and reclaimed her heavy bag of books. “Thank you so much! You’re a life saver. I don’t know how I would have carried that bag all the way here without wearing out my wrist or shoulder or something.”
“A life saver.” Interesting choice of words. “You are quite welcome, miss.”
She put the bag into the car.
“May I offer a bit of helpful advice?”
He took her hand and turned it to reveal the white vampire marks on her skin. “Please try to be more wary of strangers you choose to trust.”
She gasped. “What? Did you…?” Her face went pale. “Did you…? Are you a…”
He shook his head. “No, miss. I did not.”
Tears welled up in her eyes.
Raven felt a pang of regret.
“It wasn’t a nightmare, then.” Her tears fell, even as she frowned at him. “You tricked me. I trusted you. I thought you were someone good and decent.”
He took a breath to try to explain.
“I guess I was wrong.” She got into her car and slammed the door shut.
She started the car.
He got out of the way, just in case she was planning to drive over his toes.
She didn’t, though.
She simply drove away.
Raven stood, silent and lost in thought. He rubbed the vampire mark on his own neck. It was covered by his shirt collar and the collar of his suit jacket. It was completely invisible to the outside world. But he knew it was there.
His expression softened at the sound of Missy’s voice inside his head. Missy.
My pretty shirtless Raven. Where are you? Are you okay? Are you safe?
I am. I am over by The Red Envelope. As he projected that thought to her, Raven turned away from The Red Envelope’s parking lot and walked. I simply need to get to my car and I will come to you.
Good! I can’t wait to see you again, my pretty shirtless Raven.
And I you.
Ooo! Will you take your shirt off when you come back into my room?
He let out a surprised laugh. Perhaps.
Oh, I hope so!
I will be there soon, Missy. I promise. Raven decided not to waste time with walking. He ran all the way back to his car, which was near the spot where the young woman had regained consciousness. It was quite a run away, but Raven had a lot of determination going on.
He got into his car and didn’t even wait to catch his breath. He started the car and headed back to the hospital.
Missy sighed happily. “Raven will be here soon.”