“That is the end.” Raven sat on the foot of Missy’s hospital bed. “I thought I was doing the right thing. It is what I have done before to help the vampires under my care. Yet, I cannot help but see it from her point of view: as a predatory act, a violation of her trust, an act devoid of honor.”
Missy leaned forward. “It was a creeper thing to do. I can’t deny that, as much as I would like to just so I can make you feel better. If you did that sort of thing to me, I’d be so mad at you. I’d probably burst into flames.”
She touched his nearest knee. “But what else could you have done to help that guy? Send him out hunting on his own?”
“That was not possible.” Raven said. “He would have been unsuccessful, at best. At the very worst, he would have run afoul of a hunter and been staked. Of course, that would have all depended on if I could have even convinced him to go hunting in the first place. He was quite reluctant to bite her. I cannot imagine how he would have managed on his own.” He shook his head. “Or perhaps I can.”
“Hm.” She tapped her fingers on his knee. “You could have told the girl all of that stuff but she might have been all ‘Well, that’s not my problem. I don’t want to be bitten so go away and leave me alone’.” She shrugged. “Most people would refuse such a deal. Unless, of course, you were the one doing the biting. You might get more takers if you were the one doing the biting even if it does hurt.”
Raven thought about Junie Jane Peterson. “I know of at least one person who would leap quite enthusiastically at that chance.”
Missy smiled at him. “Oh, I’m sure there are a lot more people than that. You’re so pretty, my Raven.”
He started to smile back, but uncertainty stopped him. “Does this change how you see me?”
“What? The fact that lots of people would line up and pay lots of money for a chance to be bitten by you?”
He lowered his gaze to her hand. “The fact that I am a dishonorable man.”
Her fingers went still.
He focused on the arcs of her fingernails, on the fire-like color of her ring’s opal. “If your father knew of what I have done tonight, he would agree with me. He would say that I am dishonorable…that I am unworthy to be your husband.”
“And I would say, ‘Dishonorable or not, unworthy or not, I still want him to be my husband’. I don’t want anyone else to wind up with my pretty shirtless Raven.” She squeezed his knee. “This changes nothing, Raven. Not one single thing. I love you, Raven, because you are you. Because you are the best and most honorable man I have ever remembered meeting. You rank all the way up there next to my dad and that’s saying a lot.”
He raised his gaze to her face.
She smiled. “Besides that, if you’re dishonorable for trying to help out a fellow vampire, what does that make me when I deliberately burned down a whole building full of people out of anger and spite? Am I dishonorable?” Her expression turned serious. “Am I a monster, Raven?”
“No.” He said it without any hesitation or doubt. “You are not.”
“And neither are you.”
His throat tightened up. He cleared his throat the best he could. It wasn’t quite good enough, though. His voice sounded constrained as he asked, “Missy? May I hug you?”
He crept closer to her.
She grabbed him by the front of his shirt and pulled him into a hug.
He relaxed into her embrace. “I love you, Missy. I love you so much.”
“And I love you, Raven.” She leaned the side of her face against his chest. “My pretty shirtless Raven.”