So this is a story about a ghost, as you figured by the summary, but it's also mostly about friendship and love, and making decisions that will change your life.
I hope you enjoy it! Don't forget to review!
Phoebe's eyes watered as she looked down, her face twisting from the effort she was pulling. The sound of the blade meeting the kitchen counter echoed in the room as she finished cutting the onions, blinded by a wall of tears due to the acid gas floating around the vegetable. She sighed as she brought her fingers to her forehead, taking her hair off of her face and putting it behind her ears. She looked up at the window to the backyard, adjusting her apron as she did so, and her eyes landed on her daughter. A large smile brighten her face as she watched her run around the playground, jumping up and down in orange, yellow and red leaves, throwing them in the air as she laughed, watching them fall around her. A tall man took the giggling girl in his arms, swinging her from left to right as the kid laughed harder, looking at the man with as mix of amazement and happiness, her arms reaching for him as he held her against his chest and started walking towards the house. Phoebe wiped the tears from her cheeks as she turned her head to the left in time to see the back door open, letting her husband enter the house, carrying their daughter in his arms.
"Why is mommy crying?" The little girl asked; worry spreading across her face as she looked and her father.
"I'm not crying, honey, it's because of the onions," Phoebe explained with a warm smile towards her daughter.
"Oh," the young girl nodded, her face growing pink from embarrassment. Her father couldn't help but chuckle at the scene, also smiling as he put his daughter down with a groan.
"You're not getting lighter with age, that's for sure," he commented before he started unzipping his coat.
"I'm only 5!" his daughter exclaimed, shocked that her father could say such thing, but also worried that it might mean he wasn't going to take her in his arms as much as he used to. Her parents chuckled before her father leaned down to reach the zipper of her coat. He unzipped it and let her slide out of the sleeves, giving her a cocky smile.
"That's right, and you'll be six soon. That's really old, isn't it?" He turned to his wife who took a second to realise she should answer. She quickly nodded, agreeing with her husband.
"It's not," the little girl disagreed, her eyebrow furrowed in an upset expression. "I'm still your little girl," she continued, her lip quivering as she tried not to betray the sadness taking over her. Her father didn't fail to notice and quickly brought his hand to her face, placing some hair behind her ear before slowly caressing her cheek.
"Of course, Lilly, honey, you'll always be my little girl," her father assured her, smiling warmly. Lilly's sighed loudly, a big tension seeming to leave her shoulders. She smiled back to her father, happy of the outcome of the conversation.
"Cool," she spoke happily. Her father chuckled again, tousling her curly blond hair with his right hand, taking out a brown leaf in the process. "I'm going in my room," she finally announced. Her father nodded and watched Lilly run out of the kitchen and in the corridor where she turned left to the stairs that she climbed in a second, making an incredibly loud banging sound as she did so. He stood back up and turned around to his wife who was facing the opposite direction, too busy cutting carrots to notice him walking towards her before he placed his hand on her hips. She jumped, surprised to feel his touch when she though he was much further from her than that. He gently kissed her shoulder before resting his chin on it, watching her every move.
"Hey," he finally whispered in her ear. Phoebe giggled at the feeling of his breath on her neck now forcing her to bring her head down to her shoulder in an attempt to stop him from tickling her.
"Ted, stop it, I have to finish this before the guests arrive," she scolded him, trying to ignore the smile growing on her face. Ted laughed again, softly kissing her neck, only for her to smile wider. "I'm serious!" she forced herself to say, though the amusement on her face was clear and he didn't fail to notice it.
"Come on, they won't be here before..." he started, but stopped himself a second. "Wait, what time is it?" he asked, turning to the microwave to see the green numbers flashing the hour. "Five thirty already?"
"Yeah, and they said they'd be here around six," Phoebe explained, growing serious again as she went back to cutting carrots. "Could you check if Lilly's room's ok? And change maybe..." she proposed, now looking at him over her shoulder, realising his clothes weren't quite appropriate for a dinner. He followed her gaze and studied his clothing.
"What's wrong with my clothes?" he asked, half insulted by her comment.
"Just do it, ok?" she simply answered before she sighed, visibly too busy to argue. Ted rolled his eyes and walked out of the kitchen, heading for the stairs his daughter had climbed a couple of minutes ago. He was soon on the second floor of the house, and he slowly entered his bedroom, smiling as the sight of the dress resting on his bed, knowing it was what Phoebe had planned to wear that night. It was his favourite dress, not too chic, but not casual either. He knew just how much this dress showed just enough, embraced perfectly her curves and made her look absolutely beautiful. After taking off his dirty shirt and replacing it by a clean one, he walked out of his room and headed towards the first door on the left that was closed. He stopped in front of it and raised his hand to knock.
"Who is it?" a small, girly voice asked, causing Ted to smile.
"It's Daddy," he answered her. "Can I come in?" he asked.
"Um... wait," she hesitated. Ted raised an eyebrow but waited anyway, wondering what his daughter needed to do before she could open the door. "Ok, now you can," she finally announced not even a minute later. Ted turned the doorknob and entered the room to find his daughter resting on her belly, swigging her feet happily, with a Barbie doll in each hand. She turned her head to look at him once he had made it through the door frame and was now standing next to her. "Hey Daddy," she greeted him.
"Hey there," he whispered softly, leaning down to watch what she was doing. "Why didn't you want to open the door when I first asked you?"
"Barbie had no clothes on! She didn't want you to see her like that; it would have been too embarrassing," she explained, pointing to the doll she had in her right hand.
"Oh, I see," Ted simply said, nodding. "Do you think you could do something for me?" he finally asked.
"Ok. What is it?" the little girl wondered, putting down her Barbie's to do whatever her dad wanted her to do.
"Could you clean your room, please? Your mom wants it to look good for the guests," he explained. Lilly looked around, realising her toys were all over the place. "You wouldn't want Samantha to think you room's messy, now, would you?" he continued.
"I guess not," the little girl agreed. Ted smiled and passed a hand in his daughter's hair before standing up again.
"So I can count on you for this?" he asked, faking to be worried.
"Of course, daddy. It'll be super duper clean," she confirmed, nodding her head twice while saying 'super' and 'duper'. Ted chuckled and walked out of the room, keeping the door open this time. After her father left, Lilly quickly went back to her dolls, which she gently lined up in their huge house placed in the right corner of her bedroom, along with their car and their private pool. When that was done, she stood up and walked around the room, picking up toys and clothes in the process. She put the toys in her toy chest and her clothes under her bed, being too small to place them in her drawers. Looking around the room, she nodded in satisfaction. She jumped on her bed and took the book on her nightstand, going through the pages without being able to read them, but she seemed to be satisfied only looking at the pictures. A couple of minutes later, in which Lilly could barely concentrate, being too busy waiting for the guests to arrive, the doorbell rang. She quickly put down her book and jumped off of her bed, running towards the stairs as she couldn't help but scream: "Sam!" She took exactly two seconds to jog down the stairs and reach the door just before her mother, who was now nicely dressed up in her red dress. "I got it!" she assured her mother, who laughed softly, letting her daughter open the door to show four people in the door frame, all smiling. There was a man and a woman looking the same age as Phoebe and Ted, and a small little girl as young as Lilly. The woman was holding a toddler who couldn't be older than three years old.
"Hi!" everyone shouted at the same time before they all laughed, and Phoebe let them in with a smile. "How are you?" she asked, kissing their cheeks, soon joined by Ted.
"Want to go play in my room?" Lilly proposed to the other little girl, also known as Samantha, with a happy smile.
"Do you have Barbie's?" Samantha asked. Lilly nodded vividly and Samantha smiled. "Okay then," she agreed. Lilly smiled and lead her friend up the stairs, running again. Their parents were still in the door frame when the girls disappeared in the house.
"Where did they go?" Mark, Samantha's father, asked. He turned to Ted who just shrugged and laughed.
"In Lilly's bedroom, I suppose," Harriet, Samantha's mother, figured.
"You know how kids are," Phoebe said before she laughed too. "Especially these too. Lilly was really looking forward for this, she loves Samantha so much," she continued.
"Oh, I know. They're inseparable. I have a feeling this friendship is going to last a long time," Harriet spoke with a smile.
And she was right; this friendship did last a long time. Eleven years, to be exact.
Eleven years before that night. That warm, cruel night when Lillian Dickson was murdered.
Thanks for reading! Please review and tell me what you think =)