|The Principle of Intrusive Relationships
Author: Octello PM
My boyfriend is a jerk, a control-freak, a bad driver and... a ghost? No... a zombie? Wait... what? What do you call it when you bring someone back from the dead? I swear, it wasn't on purpose. Well, maybe a little... Crud. ON HOLD.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Supernatural - Chapters: 5 - Words: 9,624 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 10 - Updated: 05-11-09 - Published: 03-28-09 - id: 2652796
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Sorry this took so long for so much co-dependancy.
The woman who had sold me the charm was so old that I had to wonder if she, too, was a zombie of some sort. She had dark brown skin and winter-sky grey hair, and bright eyes that observed us quizzically as we descended the stairs into the small store that smelled like incense and sweat.
"You're back?" she asked me, not bothering to look at Matt, Tara, or Ryker. "Did something go wrong?"
"Is your fiancé not at rest?"
I wrapped my arm around Ryker's, pulling him forward, "I ended up… um… anti-putting-him-to-rest. If you can anti something like that…"
She didn't bat an eyelash. "Hm. I see."
"And now he's falling apart. Literally."
"Yes, I would assume so." The lady wasn't amused, and she looked at me like I was a little kid who had accidentally let the big dog into the neighbor's yard, and now it had eaten all of the flowers and was going to puke it up and I had to pay for that somehow…
"Can you fix it?" Ryker asked, "Because I've gotta tell you, kind of blows. My hand I can deal with falling off, but what if it happens to be my head next time?"
Matt groaned, "That's disgusting."
"It is not without potential, however," the woman said sharply. "Tell me, girl," she pointed at me, "How long was your fiancé buried."
"How long has it been since he has again been living?"
Ryker nodded, "Yeah. About that."
"Two months and you couldn't tell me, but you told my sister…" Matt grumbled, "Because my sister is such a fabulous secret keeper."
Tara glared at him, "She didn't tell me, I found out. It wasn't her choice…"
The woman interrupted, "Enough, children. Girl, what charm did you use to create this re-animation?"
"The one that…" I thought about it for a moment, "Looks like a baby's foot? I think."
The woman sighed deeply, "You have not created a lasting life, girl. Though that charm is not one that requires real ritual, it will never produce real results. Your fiancé has one month to remain among us before he will become how he was."
"What?" I stared at her, bug-eyed, "What do you mean?"
She didn't answer. She just gave me a significant look and then turned around, not talking to us anymore. I felt strange and shell-shocked as we climbed back up the stairs into the fresh air, the spring sun warm and clean. A month? Just one month? This was worse than if he had randomly gotten brain cancer. At least then, there might have been a surgery to save it. Just one month? I had just gotten used to having him back, I had finally gotten over my disbelief and started really loving him again.
Damn it! Why did this keep happening? Why couldn't fate or God or whatever or whoever just leave us alone and let me have a boyfriend? Why did he have to keep dying? It was going to get expensive if I had to keep bringing him back…
"Let's go to Vegas," Ryker was saying earnestly, "Let's get married. You'll make a really hot widow."
"I don't want to be a widow," I said. My voice sounded angry, but I couldn't connect an emotion to it. "I want you to not die again."
Matt was shaking his head and muttering something that I wasn't going to bother tuning in to hear, because I just wanted to sit and soak in my angst. Tara was pulling at her hair, looking at me nervously, and Ryker took my hand and dragged me along, still singing the praises of marriage in Vegas.
"I've got an idea," Ryker proclaimed, pulling me into a little ice-cream shop. Matt and Tara followed closely. "Let's get a banana split and think this over."
"You hate bananas. So do I. So does Matt. Tara's the only one who likes bananas."
"Then we'll get a root-beer float or something."
The shop was cute, set up to be part of that nostalgic "fifties diner" thing. The tiles were an off white from all of the people having walked around in it, the walls were a charming sort of soft baby blue with white trimming, and the counter had large red bar-stools. I sat down on one and sighed deeply. Everyone else sat down, too, Matt on my left and Ryker on my right, Tara by her brother.
"I'd like a single scoop of chocolate ice-cream with sprinkles on top," Matt said to the wide eyed server girl.
"Um… Vanilla, with gummy bears," Tara ordered,
Ryker grinned widely, "Me and her," he motioned to me, "Are gonna share a root-beer float." He took my bag and paid for all of us. "Thanks honey."
"You have one month, maybe less," Matt said firmly, "So what are you going to do?"
Ryker shrugged, watching our float be made with great interest. "Maybe we'll go to LA. I always wanted to see LA. Mom and Dad hated it, though. So I never got to go there as a kid…"
"We?" I snapped, "Ryker, I know that dying sort of freed you from your day job, but it didn't do the same for me."
He sighed. The girl handed us our float and he poked at the ice-cream absentmindedly with the straw. "Why don't you come to the afterlife with me?"
It went dead silent, no pun intended.
"What?" Matt finally asked. "Are you serious?"
Ryker nodded, "Why shouldn't she?"
"Because then she'd be dead. I know you are, and that's all fine and dandy for you, but you've been dead for five months. It's a little bit freaky when you offer to take your living girlfriend back to hell with you."
"Hey," Ryker snapped, "Hell is not all that bad. It's boring like any other minimum wage night-shift job, but it's not all that bad."
"When have you ever had a minimum wage night-shift job? You were a spoiled rich kid!" Matt objected, taking a bite of ice-cream and glaring.
"I'm right here, Matt, you don't have to talk about me like I've ceased to exist," Ryker replied, annoyed, "And I had a minimum wage night-shift job when I was in college. At the school's library. I shelved stuff."
Matt rolled his eyes, "So taxing."
We didn't talk much after that, but as Matt dropped us back off at my apartment, he took me aside and gave me an earnest look, "Linda. Rio. We can go next week. Just pack a backpack, tell your boss you're taking a vacation, and I'll get Tara to pay for our tickets. She was right, by the way, about Fragile Allosauras. She got a text from Brian, and apparently a few radio stations have already picked up on one of their singles."
"Please, Linda. He wants to take you to the afterlife. Do you know what that means? He's looking to kill you."
"I'll figure it out, okay?"
"I'm going to tell her to do it."
I looked up at him, his curly hair and his glasses, that nice-guy-is-worried-about-your-bad-asshole-boyfriend look… What the hell was I doing? I just nodded, "Whatever you want." And then ran up the stairs to catch up with Ryker.
When night came, I turned the TV on and tried to tune Ryker out. I didn't want to think about it anymore. "Hey," he came up behind the couch and draped his arms around my neck, "Don't ignore me." He said it softly, not angrily.
"I don't want you to die. I really don't want you to die in pits and pieces, especially."
"You should come with me. We won't have to live without each other then."
"But we'll be dead."
"People die all the time. In fires, from the flu, in their sleep-"
"In car accidents."
He let go of me and slid over the back, sitting down beside me and pulling me close, his hands on my hips, "Sweetheart, death isn't that bad. You get a little uncomfortable for a while, and you itch a bit, but after that, it's nice. You get to see your parents and…"
"Your parents aren't dead. Neither are mine. Ryker, you're twenty-five. Who did you see in the afterlife, and how did you get a dead-end job in Hell?"
"Well, I was in, what's it… Purgatory? It was kind of like being alive, except, you know, without any of the benefits. I gave tours of Hell. It was boring as…" He grinned widely, "Hell."
I giggled slightly, "Come on…"
"No, seriously. I've got a month? Well, quit your job, let's go to Cuba, France, wherever you wanna go. We'll spend our days hung-over and you'll die of some kind of heroin overdose, maybe cocaine. We can be a Pixie's song."
"No, that would be a Leonard Cohen song, and you hate Leonard Cohen."
"Not even a Nirvana song?"
"Maybe. I don't know, but the answer is no."
"This is all just… Ryker, don't you think this is weird? It's so fucking weird!" I began to cry, grabbing onto his shirt and burying my face in his chest. He was strong, tall, warm… "First you come back from the dead. Then you come back from the dead with super-powers, then you think we should get married… I'm only twenty-four!"
"Linda, it'll be fine." He kissed the top of my head, running his fingers through his hair. I could hear a dim heartbeat, and I didn't even try to figure out how an organ that had been embalmed could be beating. "We can do it now, cut to the chase, see, here…" He let go of me and reached one hand up, pulling a kitchen knife down from the air. That was a damn scary power purgatory had given him.
"No!" My voice came out strangled and shrieking, so much so that he dropped the knife behind the couch and pulled away from me.
"Life, Ryker! That's the point! I don't want to die with you, I want to live with you. I don't want to live without you. I hadn't gotten used to it, and I don't think I ever will."
He looked at me with those forest-green eyes and I felt my heart breaking bit by bit. "Linda… Darling… You know I love you… Come on, it won't be that bad…"
I pulled him close to me and pushed him back so that I could lay my head on his stomach more easily. "Be quiet."
For once, he was. He held me, and the last thing I remember for the night was his arms around me and Leonardo DiCaprio holding his girl on a doomed ship. When I woke up in the morning, I was covered with a blanket, and there was a pillow where Ryker used to be. He was nudging me gently with his foot, holding two bowls of cereal. "Hey darling. Time to get up. You don't want to be late to work."
"Were you serious about that kitchen knife last night?" I asked, standing up and stretching.
"Of course I was." He was frighteningly serious.
I ate breakfast, took a shower, changed, and headed to work, kissing Ryker once before I left. When I got to the clinic, Doctor Bryan hadn't shown up yet, so I was stuck waiting for half-an hour. He was lucky nobody was scheduled… When he did come, he was rubbing his eyes madly, "Sorry, Linda, I had allergies this morning. Here you go." He unlocked the door and let us in.
"Doctor Bryan?" I asked timidly, sorting through files.
He looked up at me, "Yes?"
"I'm thinking of taking a vacation in a couple of weeks… Do you think Stephanie could take over? Just for a week or so."
"That shouldn't be a problem," he said absent-mindedly, "Where are you going?"