Chapter 3 - Little Black Case

"And then, they had to cut me open, and they had to pull my guts out and shove their hands all around my open stomach to get to the-"

"Please, for the love of God, stop!" I felt my stomach roil as the old man gave me an evil smirk. Allison immediately froze in the act of getting my shirt from a backpack she had packed with my stuff from home.

"What? Do you not like this shirt?" I looked over at her as she asked in a hurt voice.

"No! I mean, yes! I mean- Ugh, you know I hate questions like that! They're impossible to answer correctly! And I wasn't talking to you. There's a really obnoxious old guy-" I looked pointedly at the corner where the old man stood with his arms crossed and a smug look on his face, "sharing the grizzly details of his demise on the operating tale."

Allison grinned, then grabbed the shirt, a pair of pants, and some socks from the bag. She came over to the bed and handed me the clothes. I carefully stood up and got dressed from the ugly hospital gown into my own clothes as Allison looked around the room, most likely looking for a sign of the ghost. I grabbed a hair tie off of the table and pulled my lightblonde hair back, a few strands getting loose and falling in my face.

"Okay, time to get out of here," I said once I was finished. Allison nodded, then grabbed the wheelchair next to the door and turned it towards me. "Oh, come one Allison," I whined, "I do not need a wheelchair!"

"But, Cammy, I want to push you! Please! Pleeeeeeeease! Please-oh-please-oh-please-oh-"

"OK! Okay. God, you can be so childish sometimes," I said, exasperated.

"You know you like it, baby," she said with a horrible Spanish accent.

I stuck my tongue out at her.

She flipped me off.

Venice walked in the door. And he looked yummy.

He was wearing a light gray button up shirt and some black slacks, his hair was neatly combed, and he had a black leather jacket thrown over his shoulder.

"Ready to go?" he asked in that smooth voice of his. That's when I noticed he had a black eye.

"How'd you get that shiner?" I asked, pointing to his eye. His hand flew up and softly poked at the bruised eye.

"The ghost came back last night. I didn't duck a flying baseball in time and got this as a reward." He grimmaced slightly, then shrugged.

After some bickering, Allison finally got me and my backpack into the wheelchair and wheeled me out while Venice checked me out of the hospital.

Once outside, I gratefully got out of the chair and gave it a good kick, then hopped around on one foot in pain. Those chairs where hard! Allison just laughed at me, and I could see amusement in Venice's eyes. After a bit, the pain subsided enough for me to gingerly walk on it.

"Okay," I said out loud, "I'll, uh, see you guys later, 'kay? Bye now!" I then attempted to run in the opposite direction of Venice and Allison, but Venice quickly caught me by the collar and pulled me back before I got very far.

"Where do you think you're going?" He asked flatly.

"Uh, home?" It came out more as a question than a statement.

"Did you forget our deal?"

"Nope, but I hoped you had," I said and grinned innocently. He sighed and let go of my collar.

"So," I asked, "what now?"

"Well," Allison said, "I don't know about you, but I'm going for some nachos at the diner. See you later Cammy, Venice!" She gave me a quick peck on the cheek and ran to her car, narrowly tripping over a speed bump.

"Well, looks like it's just you and me then," Vince said. I shivered a little at his hot breath blowing across my ear.

I took a discreet step forward and cleared my throat. "So, what now?" I repeated.

"Well, we can go to your place so you can pack whatever you want to take with you to my house."

"Uh, how long will I be staying with you?"

"Until you get rid of the ghost." When I looked at him with a raised eyebrow, he said, "You should at least pack for a week. If it takes longer than that, we can always get more of your stuff."

I sighed, but agreed.

Venice led me over to a large, black, shiny, and very expensive looking car. He opened the door for me to get in, then got into the drivers seat and started the car. I gave him directions to my place, and we were there within twenty minutes. I got out of the car and made my way to my second floor apartment with Venice following closely behind. At the door I paused with my key halfway in the lock, and suddenly turned around. Venice quickly whipped his eyes back up to my face, and I blushed as I realized he had been staring at my ass.

I cleared my throat and willed the blush away. I noticed, with some satisfaction, Venice had a small flush on his cheeks, too.

"Um, I should tell you, there may be someone in there," I said after a short awkward silence.

"I thought you lived alone?" Venice asked in confusion.

"I do. The person in there isn't living with me, exactly. You see, they're, uh, dead."

Before Venice could say anything to that, I quickly turned back around and flung the door open, then promptly ducked as I saw a dark shape come flying towards my head. I had managed to avoid the projectile, but Venice wasn't so lucky. With a resounding thud, the shoe hit Venice right in the face. The shoe slowly slid to the floor, leaving a stupefied Venice standing there.

{WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU, CAMOND?!?!} Emi shrieked from inside the apartment. But I barely heard her over my own laughter. I was crouching on the floor clutching my aching stomach, laughing in a very undignified way. It was nice to see someone else besides me suffer Emi's wrath. And the look on Venice's face? Priceless!

All of a sudden,Venice narrowed his eyes and stuck his leg out, shoving me over with his foot. I toppled to the ground, face planting onto the floor. He then stepped over me and into the apartment. He looked around carefully, then edged along the wall towards the kitchen.

My apartment was set up so that once you walked through the door, you could either go left to the living room, or right to the kitchen. Straight across from the door is a hallway with my bedroom, bathroom, and a small closet.

Venice made it to the kitchen just as I stood up, rubbing my sore nose. I glared at him, then slammed the door shut.

"So, uh, where's the other...ghost?" Venice asked, glancing around the the room.

"She's standing right in front of you." Emi had her arms crossed over her chest and was sizing Venice up.

{Who's he? Is he why you were gone? What's his name?}

"Uh, Emi, this is Venice. Venice, Emi," I said, pointing to the correct parties. Then I whispered to Venice in a stage whisper, "Emi's around five, blonde, and has a thing for throwing objects at unsuspecting people's heads."

Emi stuck her tongue out at me, then vanished. Venice stood there for a few seconds, looking uncertain. I told him Emi was gone, and he visibly relaxed. I gave him a grin, then went to my bedroom. Pulling my old and battered suitcase out from my closet, I began to pack everything I'd need. Vince stood in my doorway leaning against the door jam watching me.

I packed some of my clothes, a couple of my favorite books, a first aid kit, my Ipod, and a small shoe box filled with some of what I call my "ghost excorcising supplies." Going to the bathroom, I got my toothbrush, toothpaste, and any other toiletries I'd need. After I got everything I could think of, I went to the living room and tossed the suitcase onto my couch.

"Okay, I thing that's everything," I said, turning to Venice. That's when I remembered something very important. "Shoot, no it's not." I went back to my bedroom and got onto my knees, then began searching under the bed. I felt my hand brush against something, so I grabbed it and pulled it out. It was a medium-sized black case. Turning back to the door, I again caught Venice starting at my ass, but was to distracted to be embarrassed.

I took the case to the kitchen and gently set it on the table with a soft thunk. Clicking open the buckles, I opened the top half of the case. Inside, in special compartments, were assorted ghost hunting accessories. EMF detectors, video cameras, voice recorders, salt, two of those L-shaped metal bars you hold in your hands and they point out ghosts, and many other things. And, tucked into one of the side pockets, was a gun.

Venice gave a low whistle. "You sure are prepared, aren't you?"

"Of course. I've been dealing with ghosts my entire life. One day, I just got tired of getting caught unprepared by ghosts, so I got all this stuff." I gave him one of my goofy grins, and he chuckled.

"So, what's the gun for. I thought they didn't work on the dead?"

I grimaced as I looked at it. "Sometimes," I said slowly, "The living can be more dangerous than the dead. Especially when they have something to hide."

He gave a small nod, and I closed the case.

{Cam-Cam, where are you going?} I looked over towards the hallway. Emi stood there with a worried look on her face.

"Uh, Emi," I said, giving Venice a pointed look, "I'm going to be going away for a week or two. I need to help this guy," I pointed at Venice, "get rid of an angry ghost."

{What?! A whole week?! But, what about me? I don't want to be here by myself again! Camond, please don't leave me! Please!} By now, Emi had a desperate look on her face. She ran up to me and wrapped her arms around my thin waist, burying her face into my stomach. I felt a pang of guilt twist my gut. I began to stroke the top ofEmi's head, trying to calm her down.

I knew this probably looked weird to Venice since he couldn't see Emi, but I didn't care. To me, Emi was as real as the living. This is just who I am. I'm constantly talking to things people can't see, or finding out stuff I couldn't possibly know without the help of ghosts, and, occasionally, reassuring the dead like I am now. Half the town thinks I'm crazy, and the other half think I'm psychic.

Emi suddenly pulled back, a determined look on her face.

{I'll just go with you!}

"Emi, you're haunting this building. You can't go to another one."

{Yes, I can! I'll find a way! Just watch me!} And with that, she vanished. I sighed and turned to Venice. He had a somewhat confused look on his face, but I was thankful he had been silent during my talk withEmi.

"So," I said to him, "Ready to go?" When he asked and I told him that Emi was gone, he nodded, grabbed my bag off the couch, and left. I grabbed my case off of the table, turned off all the lights, then paused at the doorway. Setting the case down, I ran back into my bedroom and reached under the mattress. I pulled out a folder, then quickly ran back to the door. I shut and locked it, then picked up the case and made my way to the car were Venice was impatiently waiting.

"So," I asked once in the car and we were on our way, "Were do you live?"

"About two hours away."

"Which town?"

"Trenton," he said.

Whoa. Trenton wasn't a town, it was a city. A big city. And a lot of rich and famous people live there. In fact, I used to live there. And my parents still do.

After about two hours, we finally made it to Trenton. I ended up sleeping most of the way there. Venice woke me once we made it into the city itself. I watched the reflection of the car in the glass of the large buildings we passed. And I watched the people. So many people! I forgot how many people there are in large cities. We passed by a huge bookstore and I was practically salivating at the thought of all the books I could buy in there.

Slowly, the business buildings gave way to houses. After a short while, we got off the main road onto a curved, more private road with fewer but bigger houses down it. I was stunned at the sizes of some of them. They weren't houses, they were mansions! We finally turned down a long, winding driveway surrounded by large trees. I sat up a little straighter in my seat, then blinked at the bright light once we made it out of the shadow of the trees.

The driveway led to a huge stone-covered mansion. It was three stories high and shaped in a wide U-shape. Venice pulled up the the circular drive in front of the large wooden doorway and parked the car.

"Holy crap," I said, jaw slack, "You live here? What do you do again?"

Venice gave a small chuckle. "I never told you what I did. And yes, I live here. I own a food company. I inherited it from my grandfather when he passed away."

"Wow," was all I could say as I goggled at the house. I didn't notice Venice had gotten out of the car until he opened my door. I nearly fell out since I was leaning on the door, but quickly caught myself before I did a face plant.

"Well," Venice said as I got out of the car, "Welcome to your new home for the week." He gave a little smile, then turned and walked up the steps to the door and began talking with someone who looked like a maid standing at the now open door.

{Psh, I've seen bigger places} said a small voice from beside me. I nearly jumped out of my skin. I looked beside me and saw a small, blonde-headed girl standing with a pout on her face and her arms crossed. I couldn't believe it!

"Emi?!" I asked in disbelief.

She turned to me and gave me a cheeky grin, then vanished.

What the hell?!

A/N:Thanks for all the reviews, favorites, and alerts!!