Part 2577 – Naked And Vulnerable.

Ambrose dug his claws into the blanket. “Forget all that. I know Caten too well. If I had set any ground rules, he would have laughed. He would have found a way to make me break my own rules.” He dug his claws in deeper as he remembered that woman’s death. “He wouldn’t have given me a choice in the matter.”

Caten didn’t tell me that she was nine months pregnant. 

He clenched his teeth. Of course Mark Caten wouldn’t tell me that. Why would he? He knew the fact that she was pregnant would be enough to make me object. Why bother with actual gestational age? It was all small details as far as Caten was concerned.

Barbara covered his hands with her own. “Ambrose?”

His claws relaxed at her touch. “Caten never gave me a choice. As soon as he found out about Maria, he had me good and trapped. It was always ‘Obey me or lose Maria’. Every time. Every darned time.” Ambrose turned his face away from Barbara. “And I didn’t want to lose her. I couldn’t bear to lose her. So, I obeyed him. I was his good little vampire. So obedient. So hard-hearted. So willing to do anything to protect the ghost of the woman I loved.”

A wave of repulsion and guilt crashed over him as he remembered their deaths. “I was so willing to damn my eternal soul to protect Maria’s ghost. To keep her with me. I wanted her to stay with me always…even though I knew it was selfish. I knew deep down that it was wrong to keep her from crossing over. But I refused to let her free.”

Barbara silently stroked his hands.

Ambrose noticed her silence. No “Don’t worry. It’s okay.” No “We all make mistakes”. No “I love you all the same”.


Her silence was a stake straight into his heart. Ambrose kept his gaze averted as he said, “Speak to me, Barbara. Tell me what you’re thinking. Even if it hurts me. Please talk to me.”


Barbara held onto his hands as she studied him. This man…Black hair. Clear skin. Black eyelashes. Black eyes. Handsome face. Her gaze moved downwards. Bare skin. So much bare skin.

Naked and vulnerable.

What do I honestly think about what he’s telling me? These ugly pieces of his past. This ugly side of him, the man I love.

She looked back up at his face. How do I answer this question? How do I genuinely feel about him keeping Maria’s ghost here on Earth?  “Was it against her will? Or did Maria want to stay with you?”

Ambrose took a few minutes to respond, “She said she wanted to stay with me. That’s what she said, but I don’t know if that is the full truth. I don’t know if she longed to move…to move…” He swallowed hard. “To move on. But. She did. Maria did. When Caten gave her that opportunity to leave me, she took it. She believed him. She left me.”

Barbara’s heart ached for the pain in his voice. She wanted to hug him and comfort him more than anything else. Yet, there was a question she needed to ask. “Ambrose?” she asked in a small, uncertain voice. “If I die before you, would you force me to stay as well?”

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