Yes, I know it's been FOREVER. If you're still willing to stick with this story after all this time, then I can never say how appreciative I am for that. I WILL finish this story I promise. Your reviews, as always, are wonderful. Thank you so much for them. Here's chapter 12. Enjoy! :)
When Kevin pulled away from the kiss I didn't know what to do. Usually, if something like this happened I would see instant regret on his face, but this time he just looked at me tenderly.
I pulled away from his kiss. "I still don't understand. I don't think Brook and Bridget will just trust me with no questions asked." I was trying to get us back to a rational topic, so that the irrational part of my brain that only wanted to think about the kiss would shut up.
"Of course they'll have questions," he said. "Tell them the truth. Keep them away from Victor. You're smart, it shouldn't be too hard to do. Now, where was I?" And he kissed me again.
And again I pulled away, trying to believe how this turn of events had made me the responsible one. "So you're telling me that it's okay to just introduce myself to humans. I can just walk right up and say 'hi, I'm Amber the friendly ghost?'"
"This is a unique situation, Amber. We can bend certain rules to keep the order. This does not mean that you should start talking to every human you see. Just Brook and Bridget, make sure you stay away from their little meddling cousin." He ran his fingers through my hair again. "Now, if I didn't know any better I'd say you were trying to avoid kissing me." He had a playful glint in his dark eyes and a small smile on his face.
"I'm just –" I broke off, not sure how to explain everything. "I'm very confused. It's hard when you're being like this with me because I don't know if it'll last till tomorrow. And then even though I know by now to expect you to go back to your professional, businesslike ways, it still hurts every time."
I wasn't looking him in the eye anymore. I didn't like pouring everything out to him. I'd made the decision a long time ago to avoid getting so emotional when it came to Kevin, but he just made it so damn hard.
When I finally did peek up at him, I saw that he had a pained expression on his face.
"I like you, Amber. I really, really like you. I swear if everything wasn't so screwed up…" he trailed off.
"I still don't understand why you just led me on while I was alive. You knew I was going to die, why were you with me?"
"Amber, I didn't know this would happen to you. I expected you to move on like the others. I'm not supposed to become attached to anyone who's supposed to die. You were my biggest mistake."
I turned away. Damn him for still being able to hurt me. I knew I was a mistake for him, but did he really have to say it like that?
"No wait," he said, looking panicked as he took in my reaction. "I didn't mean it that way. You weren't the mistake. It was me, everything that I did."
I scoffed at his weak explanation. It's not you, it's me, like I was going to let myself fall for that one.
"Do you do this often then? You expected me to move on like everyone else right? Do you always just get in with girls who you know are going to die so you won't have to deal with them after a few months?" I asked harshly.
Kevin looked at me in surprise. "How could you say that?" he asked, still in shock. "I told you, I'm not supposed to get involved with people when I know they're supposed to die. I never get involved with people like that. With you, I just couldn't help myself. I tried to stop, but every time I saw you…"
I looked at him stupidly. He couldn't resist me? Here I was thinking it was the other way around for more than two years.
"Amber, if we weren't in the middle of all of this, I wouldn't treat you this way." He came to hug me as he spoke.
I sighed, giving up. "I know. Are you still going to be like this tomorrow, though? Or are you going to act like you barely know me?"
He smiled a little. "I'm not going to change. I promise. My feelings for you never change."
"The problem is that I never knew what your feelings were in the first place," I said.
"That's for another time," he said. "Right now, you need to focus on what I was saying about the twins. It's very important."
"Okay, okay," I gave in. I felt strangely happy, but I knew I shouldn't get my hopes up. Kevin would forever continue to confuse me. I should know better than to take everything he told me at face value. Although, it wasn't as if he lied to me frequently…
"Listen, I shouldn't be here right now. Remember what I told you. Talk to the twins, okay? And make sure they don't tell their cousin about you." He kissed my cheek softly and teleported away, leaving me in shock.
I felt confused, but that was the usual feeling after an encounter with Kevin. Still, those thoughts were for another time. I needed to figure out how to introduce myself to the twins without frightening them too much.
I avoided humans. When they lived in my house, I did my best to stay out of their way. I liked some humans better than others, and the most interaction I had with the ones I liked was putting forth a little effort to help them from time to time. When they were running late and couldn't find their keys, I would put them in a noticeable place, or if they left the house and forgot to turn off the stove, I would do it for them. However, beyond those small gestures, I never had any contact with them. And now Kevin wanted me to make friends.
The next morning, I agonized over how to introduce myself to the twins. I hadn't even been a social person when I was alive. You would think that dying would help me not worry over the petty things like whether or not they would like me, but it didn't. I came to the conclusion that no amount of mental preparation was going to help. I was a ghost -- they were going to label me a freak no matter what.
The twins finished getting ready for school early that morning, which was unlucky for me. I was hoping for the excuse to not have to talk to them.
"Are you sure you want to meet this Victor guy?" I hear Brook ask her sister in the kitchen. "He's probably just as crazy as Mariana."
"I want to find out about the ghost we saw," Bridget said.
"You mean the ghost you saw," Brook asserted.
As they argued back and forth over their cereal, I tried to calm down. It was now or never.
I put some energy into making myself solid, figuring that my reception would be better if I didn't show up transparent. "Actually, you did see a ghost," I said walking into the room.
The girls looked at me for a full second before reacting. They both stood up at the same time. "Who are you?" Bridget asked, backing away from me.
Brook grabbed her cell phone. "Get out of our house. I'm calling 911."
"Wait," I stopped her. "Don't you recognize me?" I asked as I made myself go transparent again.
Bridget's eyes widened while her mouth dropped. Meanwhile, Brook glared at me, but I could see her hands trembling as she gripped on to the phone.
"You can call the police," I said to Brook, "But they wouldn't be able to see me. I can make myself invisible." I shielded myself from view to prove my point.
"Leave," Brook said in a stern voice. She kept glancing at the door that led outside, trying to gauge her chances at escape.
"I can't," I explained to her. "This is my home too. You can leave if you want. I won't do anything to stop you, but I would like to talk."
Brook just kept looking between me and the door.
"You're really a ghost?" Bridget said quietly, from the corner she'd backed in to.
"Yes," I answered. "I'm the ghost you saw both times. I really didn't mean to scare you. Both times I was caught by surprise," I rambled.
"What's your name?" Bridget asked, still quiet, but she was beginning to come out from the corner.
"Stay away from it," Brook ordered her sister. "You need to leave," she said to me.
"I already told you I can't," I said to Brook. I was trying my best to not be exasperated with her. She had every right to not trust me. The twins were actually taking this a lot better than I'd expected. "My name is Amber Michaels," I said in response to Bridget's question.
"She isn't really a ghost," Brook said to Bridget. "I'm sure Mariana put her up to this."
"Then explain how she made herself transparent and invisible," Bridget said, giving Brook a hard look.
"I don't know, obviously it's some sort of parlor trick," Brook said. She looked me over, trying to discover how I could be transparent. With some effort, I switched to making myself solid. However, this switch only seemed to do more to further convince Brook that I was faking.
I wasn't really sure where to go from there. Apparently, my decision to just wing it wasn't the best choice I could have made.
"Please don't be frightened or concerned, I'm not going to try to hurt you or anything," I tried to assure them.
Both girls were still looking at me with wary eyes. Bridget seemed hesitant, as if she wanted to approach me, but wasn't sure if she should. Brook looked as though she was ready to fight me.
"Prove it," Brook finally said.
"I'm sorry?" I responded stupidly.
"Prove that you're a ghost."
Really? My standing here wasn't enough? Although, I supposed it was difficult for humans to accept the supernatural. At least her request was a simple one.
"I can do that," I said. "But it'll probably have to wait."
Brook snorted. "See?" she said to her sister. "She needs to time to come up with a way to do it."
"Actually," I interrupted. "You two have to leave for school now, or you'll be late. I can prove it as soon as you get home. I promise."
Brook narrowed her eyes. "How do you know when we leave for school? Have you been spying on us?"
I swear humans really do have a tendency to zero in on the most insignificant things. Here a ghost is standing in front of her, and Brook's main concern is whether or not her privacy was invaded.
"Of course not, I live here too. Well, I don't live, but I spend most of my time here. I've picked up on a lot of your daily habits. I can't help it. Don't worry, I don't watch your every waking moments. Believe me, I try to stay out of your family's way. I just happen to see you from time to time…" I trailed off when I realized I was babbling.
The twins were just staring at me again, probably going into shock. "Besides," I continued. "I went to the same school you two go to now. You know, back when I was alive."
"We could skip school," Bridget suggested.
I was pleased that she was doing the talking now. Between the two of them, I definitely thought of Bridget as more friendly.
Brook was looking at her sister in shock. "You want to skip school."
"You don't normally find the idea so abhorrent," Bridget replied smoothly. "I want to talk to her."
Brook looked between her sister and me. "Alright, we'll stay home today."
Brook started dialing, and I realized that she was pretending to be Mrs. Stevenson on the phone to excuse them from school. She lied naturally. This appeared to be something she'd done before.
"So," Bridget began, hesitantly. "How long have you been, um, a ghost?"
I was happy that she was starting with a basic question. This I could answer.
"I died two years ago on August 6, 2005."
"How?" Brook asked, joining the conversation.
"Brook," Bridget admonished. "She might not want to talk about it."
"Stop acting like she's your friend," Brook warned. "She's probably dangerous."
"I'm not dangerous," I interrupted. "And I don't really mind talking about my death. My father killed me."
Both girls stared at me in shock.
"It was actually in the news a lot. He killed himself and my mother as well. I'm the only who's still here though," I continued. "That's actually how I can prove to you that I'm really a ghost. You can probably find a news story online about my death. The articles have pictures of me."
Brook started walking out of the kitchen.
"Where are you going?" Bridget called after her.
"I'm going to see if she's telling the truth," Brook said.
She started marching up to her room, with Bridget and me following close behind. She opened up her laptop and googled my name. Sure enough, the pictures and articles that followed my death popped up. I noticed Brook was frozen, staring at a picture of me.
"Oh my god," Bridget whispered, her hands covering her face, as she looked a picture of my neck with hand prints on it.
"Why are you here?" Brook demanded. "Why aren't your parents ghosts too?"
She struggled to say the word ghosts. I shrugged in response to her question. "I wish I knew. For some reason they moved on to wherever it is you're supposed to move on to after you die, but I didn't."
"Why are you talking to us? Do you always talk to humans?" Bridget asked.
"No, you guys are the first humans I've talked to since I died."
"Well, I sure feel special," Brook mumbled. Bridget elbowed her.
"I'm supposed to keep you away from Victor," I explained.
"You know him?" Bridget asked. "Is he a ghost too?"
I shook my head. "I really don't know him that well. I've been told that he's really dangerous."
"Told by who?" Brook asked.
I hesitated. I wondered if Kevin would be upset if I told them about him. The entire time I'd been dead, I'd been angry at him for not being able to answer my questions. It was annoying to find that it was equally frustrating when my role was reversed, and I had to keep secrets and hesitate to answer questions.
"Well?" Brook seemed angry now. She was definitely the impatient one.
"Amber?" I jumped when I heard Kevin's voice behind me.
The twins stood at the same time, identical frightened expressions on their faces as they stared at him.