Barbara led Ambrose across the lobby to the elevator.
Somewhere deep inside his soul, Ambrose cringed about going on another Death Trap of Doom. But the serious, intensely focused expression on Barbara’s face kept that cringe completely internal. It made him smile.
I love seeing her happy.
That wonderful sparkle in her eyes.
But I love this side of her as well. So sharp. So focused.
Barbara stopped at the elevator and released his hand to press the up button.
She can be so bright and sparkly. She can be so fierce and determined. But they aren’t flip sides. They are braided and meshed together. They are her whole self.
I love her whole self.
Barbara looked up at him. “Are you nervous?”
“Not at all.” Ambrose caressed the side of her face. “Not anymore.”
She blushed. “I mean about going on the elevator.”
“Probably.” He kissed her forehead. “But I’m with you.” He kissed his way from the middle of her forehead to her temple. “I’m with the woman I love.”
Before Barbara could say or do anything, the elevator doors opened. She claimed his hand again and pulled him aboard. She pressed the 5 button as soon as Ambrose’s luggage crossed the threshold.
The elevator’s doors closed.
Ambrose jolted as the elevator began its ascent. He tightened his grip on his luggage’s handle. His legs trembled.
But then Barbara turned to him. “It’s okay.” She embraced him and held him as close as she could. “I got you, kitten.”
He pressed his forehead against her shoulder-line. Such a small space. Trapped. No escape. If it crashes…If the wires snap…He shuddered.
She rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m here.” Her hand slid up into his hair, rumpling and ruffling it.
If it crashes…Barbara…What if it crashes? Barbara. Barbara…His breathing sped up into heavy panting.
“You’re safe, my kitten.” She hummed “Unexpected Song” against his head until she simply had to let the words free to fly on softspun wings.
Ambrose closed his eyes. He could almost see the music and lyrics filling the elevator’s air and shimmering with the light of her voice. His breathing slowed and calmed.
The elevator stopped.
The doors slid open.
Barbara stopped singing. “We’re here, kitten.”
He raised his head in surprise. “What? The fifth floor already?”
She kissed him. “The fifth floor…finally.”