downtown apartment building

The story so far

It will mean split second precision. If they make one slip, wait a second too long, then Barlowe won’t be able to assimilate and his body will die.

There was only one way to lure Quentin to Abigail, and it was something Barlowe both dreaded and eagerly anticipated.


Abigail came up behind Barlowe on the balcony, wrapping her arms around his waist. Her cheek nestled in the hollow between his shoulders.

“It’s cold out here, come back inside,” she said. “We have to talk more about what is going to happen with Quentin. You need to be completely ready for this.”

Barlowe let her lead him back to her bedroom, barely listening to her instructions, thinking more about how she tasted like cinnamon rolls.


Quentin waited at the sergeant’s desk for Barlowe. They had arrangements to meet again to discuss closing the Dolan case. From his vantage point, he could see inside the glass-walled office. A tall woman with auburn hair was in the room with Barlowe. They kissed and Barlowe embraced her, holding her close for several seconds.

As she left the precinct, Quentin watched her closely, a feeling of recognition needling his memory. Barlowe got his attention, and waved him over.

“A lovely woman,” Quentin said, still looking after Abigail, who was wearing her Iona persona.

Barlowe didn’t need to pretend to blush and smile.

“Sorry about that,” Barlowe said, closing the office door behind Quentin. “That is Iona, my fiancée, or at least after tonight, I hope she is.”

Quentin took a seat without further comment. Still trying to remember where he knew the woman from, it suddenly dawned on him. A wicked grin spread across his face. She had learned a few things while he was dormant. He never expected her to master shapeshifting.

What were the odds that his Abigail would be this detective’s intended. He couldn’t believe his luck.

During their meeting, Quentin only paid cursory attention to what Barlowe was saying.

Barlowe noticed Quentin’s distraction, and knew Abigail had set the bait well. Ending their interview, Barlowe stood, his hand out for Quentin to shake.

“Thank you detective,” Quentin said, taking the offered hand. “Oh, by the way… congratulations.”

“No congrats yet,” Barlowe said, reeling him in. “I’m proposing tonight at dinner. She’s cooking at her place.”

Exiting the police station, Quentin was already envisaging what cruelty he would inflict while solving two problems at once – retribution against Abigail for her betrayal, and assuming a new host in Barlowe.


Abigail and Barlowe laid in her bed, waiting, knowing Quentin would be there soon. They needed to make him believe they were unaware of his presence and intentions.

“He’s close,” Abigail said. “You trust me, don’t you?”

“Completely.” Barlowe took a deep breath as he gathered Abigail in his arms. “See you on the other side.”

This week’s Studio30 Plus: “envisage” and/or “imagine”

2 thoughts on “Betrothed

  1. I think it could have been titled “Cusp,” since that’s where you so expertly left the story. Sweet dangling dash of “here… we… go.”


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