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Take My Hand Chapter 8

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Chapter 8

            After a few moments of sitting on the sofa, looking solemnly into the eyes of the beauty in his arms, Carson broke the silence. “You must be hungry,” he said lamely, acknowledging their shared pasts with a sad smile, yet tenderly trying to lighten the mood and consider her fragile humanity.

            Jocelyn smiled and giggled a little, releasing the tension of the previous moments, her anger and pain recoiled back within herself yet in a much lesser amount than she had experienced in all her life. Her outburst had been cathartic, if somewhat brief. And she genuinely was able to smile at Carson as she replied, “Indeed, I am.”

            “Well, if you would accompany me, I believe I have just the restaurant for your enjoyment.”

            “Carson, I don’t have the money for that,” Jo replied sadly.

            “Jo, you must never worry about money with me. I can take care of you. Come, you will enjoy yourself if you will refrain from worrying over things that I am perfectly in control of,” he said, smiling as he jokingly scolded her in his charming way. At times his accent and speech patterns would return to those of his childhood, making Jo smile at the illogical nature of it all.

            She sniffed back the last of her tears, allowing a choked giggle to escape as she placed her hands on either side of his face. “You are positively adorable, my sweet Carson.”

            Carson made a face at her as his eyes sparkled in amusement. “Do you realize how insulting it is to call a vampire adorable? And worse, sweet? I should be terrifying, vicious, merciless perhaps, but never adorable or sweet.” He scolded her with a stern face, acting as though he were truly greatly offended.

            Jocelyn pouted prettily, knowing he was not reprimanding her in actuality by the glint in his mischievous eyes. Carson’s façade broke as a glorious smile lit his face in response to her precious, childlike reaction.

            “You, my darling, may call me adorable whenever it pleases you,” Carson said, kissing the tip of her nose. “But please do remember I have a hard-earned reputation to uphold,” he added, winking at her conspiratorially.

            “Oh, heaven forbid I allow the big bad vampire’s reputation to be stained,” Jo said, jumping up from the sofa. “So, where do you plan to take me since it’s already ten o’clock?” Jo asked, curious.

            “Well, this restaurant is known to stay open rather late. It’s called Gabriella’s,” Carson said, the glint remaining in his eyes.

            “That was your mother’s name,” Jo said, posing it almost as a question.

            “Indeed it was. It is named in honor of her,” Carson replied.

            “You own the restaurant?” Jocelyn asked, greatly surprised but making the assumption based on the name and Carson’s glimmeringly smug expression.

            “I do. Does that surprise you? A vampire has to make a living in some way.” Carson, having stood from the sofa, reached for Jocelyn’s leather jacket and held it while she put it on. He then took her hand and led her toward the door. “Wait. Can I show you something?” Carson asked eagerly.

            “Like what?” Jocelyn asked cautiously.

            “I have a way to get us there in a matter of seconds,” he replied, excitement illuminating his eyes.

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