Felix quietly entered Desirae's untouched room, his brown eyes taking in everything she had left the day she died. Her bed was left undone, her teal comforter halfway off of her bed and certain articles of clothing resting on her bed. He slid his hands in the pockets of his gray sweatpants, glancing at the magazines that were placed on the carpet next to her bed along with black bobby pins scattered randomly on the cream carpet. He walked closer to the night stand next to her bed that held two framed pictures. The largest being of Suzie and Desirae on a jet ski and the other taken at what he was guessing a homecoming with Desirae sitting between two pretty girls with chopsticks in their noses while sitting at a table.
If Olivia was always uptight, Desirae was the carefree sister by far.
Joseph entered the room moments later, catching the younger man picking up the frame picture of Desirae and Suzie. "She's having a hard time," he said, glancing at the pink bin of dirty clothes in the corner of the room. "I don't even know where to begin with where all of her stuff should go. Throw them away or donate them? I guess donating would be the best thing. Do you think the faster her stuff is gone the easier it may be?"
His lips formed a thin line as Felix listened and stared at the wide smile Desirae had in the picture. "How would I know? I have no idea. If you want my honesty, I doubt getting rid of her stuff will help any, especially right now since it's been two weeks. People take their time. You should take your time too. I know several people that have lost loved ones and they actually just leave the room the way it was left for some time." He paused, putting the picture back down. "It's too bad that…Olivia didn't get to work on her relationship with Desi before…um," he let his sentence drift off, still uncomfortable with putting 'died' in the same sentence with 'Desi'. It was still too surreal that he was just speaking with the younger girl and minutes later she was dead a few miles away from the house.
"They're very different people," Joseph mumbled, sliding the closet door shut. "Very different."
"I tried to get Olivia to build a relationship, but she wasn't having it. I know that things got a little sour between the two of you as well."
He shrugged, "I can only try so much to be there for Olivia, but ever since she found out that I'm not her real father, her personality did a complete one-eighty. I'm sure that plays a part in why she didn't care for Desirae too much. She only saw her as her half-sister. She's much nicer to her other siblings and she likes her real dad much more than me it seems."
"…Did anyone ever tell Desi that?"
"About Olivia being her half-sister? No. Her mother didn't want to look like some whore I guess."
He lifted a brow. "…Did anyone tell her that you're getting a divorce?"
"No. Don't look at me like that—she was sensitive. Overly sensitive sometimes."
Felix nodded in agreement, having caught Desirae once or twice watching a classic cartoon movie and tearing up when a main character met their end. "Wow. I for sure thought that she would've caught word of it from someone…"
"I wanted to wait and find the right time and way to do it. If there were ever any issues, I made sure to always keep them away from Desirae so she wouldn't have to worry and think something was her fault. Always sensitive and always over-thinking things," he ended with a small smile, his eyes set on an old picture that included Desirae and himself at the zoo when she was six. He sighed heavily, sliding a dresser drawer shut. "I'm going to take a walk."
Felix nodded slowly, sadly watching the older man leave the bedroom. The odor of whiskey was unmistakable and Felix couldn't recall the last time he ever saw Joseph with an alcoholic drink—if ever. Sitting on the edge of her bed, he ran a hand through his black hair as he stared at the carpet, something still bothering him ever since the day that Desirae died.
He could've sworn he heard her voice in the living room before they received the notice of her accident and felt as if he was being watched. He was beginning not to doubt it.
Desirae tucked her brown hair behind her ears as she stood on the sidewalk, staring at the numerous things that were placed near the spot where the accident occurred. Her picture was placed on a post, flowers of all types resting beneath the picture. Her shoulders slouched and a pout on her face, she just wanted the nightmare to be over and for things to be what they were.
She missed walking with her loud friends through the halls of their high school and through the mall, always taking advantage of the photo booth. She missed the frequent sleepovers and movie nights with Suzie that always included them laughing hysterically, gossiping and eating too much raw cookie dough so that they ended up with stomach aches. She even missed the times her father had to wake her up from school from age twelve to sixteen so she would make it to her first class on time. When the constant yelling of her name didn't get her out of her bed, he would always be up for dragging her out by her ankle or the most annoying, spraying her with a spray bottle. Desirae giggling to herself at the memory of sometimes getting jolted out of her sleep with the spray bottle, but it did always get her out and up for school despite her cranky attitude that came along with the rude awakenings. Thinking of her family, the small smile slowly began to fall from her face when she realized that it had been a few days since she decided to stick around and see what they were up to. As much as she wanted to, she couldn't kick the nagging bite of loneliness whenever she was around her family.
"So surprised to see you're not crying all over yourself right now."
"I don't cry about everything, you know." She crossed her arms, turning towards the Reaper with an annoyed look on her face. "You keep disappearing without taking me with you."
"I took you with me to get coffee during your funeral. Isn't that enough? You want to follow me everywhere like some lost puppy?"
"Yes," she replied evenly. "Is it against the 'rules' or something?"
"No, but," he cringed slightly, "if I wanted a companion then I would've gotten one."
"I'm not so bad."
"You're not one to talk…guy." She wrinkled her brows, "You've never told me your name. Do you have a name? I don't know what to call you."
"Reaper does just fine."
She rolled her eyes, tilting her head as she continued talking. "Boring and not original at all. What's your name? It's not going to hurt anything to tell me, you know." A woman and her dog jogged through them and after a good minute passing, Desirae lifted a brow. "So, just 'Reaper'?"
"That's what I've always been called," he answered slowly, his eyes meeting hers. "I've never been addressed by any other name for as long as I can remember." She stood with him, unsure of what to say. How did he not have a name? Didn't he come from someone or something? He didn't just appear one day as some being, right? The Reaper had no answers himself it seemed, so she figured it was just one of those things that were to be unanswered all together. A mystery in life that no one really knew the truth about.
"How old are you?"
"Mm," he hummed in thought, glancing away briefly. "It's been years. Thousands, perhaps? I've lost track through time."
"…I don't get it," she murmured softly.
He shrugged his shoulders. "It's very simple. I live to serve a certain higher power and transport souls. That is all." Even if he was silent, infuriating and always giving her a 'you're dumb' look, she couldn't help but feel bad at how he couldn't really answer questions that any human would know the answer to.
"That must be…very lonely."
"I don't have bonds tying me to anyone else, so how can I feel loneliness?"
She uncrossed her arms, placing her hand on her chest with a smile. "I'll be your friend then. Well, a new friend anyway, because I know you have those. I saw you talking to some guy that night it was raining."
"Oh…him?" There were many Reapers that went in and out of his life. He always met new and always ran into old, but he didn't know if they were what he called 'friends'. Sometimes they sat, walked and ate together while collectively sharing stories and whatnot, but it was a job. They had the same job and all they were to him were other Reapers doing a similar job.
"Does he have a name?"
"Now that you mention it, he does."
"What's his name?"
"But you don't have one? Then it's settled because that makes absolutely no sense!"
"I'll name you , because 'Reaper' doesn't cut it for me and if I'm going to be around you, I want to call you something other than that."
"I didn't say you were going to be around me."
"But you didn't say no either and when I don't hear 'no' in any situation, then clearly, the answer is yes." He frowned. He didn't like her way of thinking.
"I'm not some animal to be named."
Ignoring him, the wheels in her head began to turn. She held up her index finger, turning and walking a few feet away. "Sh! Let me think." His frown deepened. What made her think he wanted or better yet, needed to be named? He never had a name before and it never bothered him a day in his life. Other souls had managed to annoy him as well in the past, but this one was pushing buttons that hadn't been pushed in quite some time.
"This is stupid."
She spun and pointed at the man in the navy blue suit, a genuine smile on her face. "Roman!"
"You need to pass on," he replied.
Desirae glared quickly. "Rude." She tested the name again, "It fits! You should admit that I am amazing at naming things. Let me hear it."
"Annoying," he grumbled, her voice working up a piercing headache. "I need to leave," he dead panned, sighing in defeat when he felt her latch onto his sleeve.
Desirae found herself sitting in a diner next to Roman, staring at the man across from them in the booth with a suit on as well. Alec, if she remembered correctly. He was in a fitting black suit with a white tie snug around his neck. He was clean shaven and handsome just like Roman, but she decided he was much nicer when he immediately greeted her with a smile as soon as he simply appeared in a sitting position. Unlike Roman, his eyes had actual color; hazel. His hair was neatly buzzed with a short cut Mohawk lining the middle of his head.
"Ah, you've brought your little ghost along?" His smile fell as realization hit him, his eyes briefly glancing to Roman. "This may be a first," he trailed off. "But that's fine," he started with another smile. "The more the merrier. Sometimes I have a one-sided conversation with this guy. I'm Alec."
Desirae gave a reserved smile, "Desirae." He was the complete opposite of Roman! Why couldn't he have been her Reaper, she thought.
"She named me," Roman grumbled.
"That happens. What is it?"
"Roman," Desirae answered with a smile. "It's not weird? He made it seem weird that I wanted to give him a name."
"Not at all," he said with a small smile. "I was given my name by a soul I had to collect long ago. One hundred years ago, to be exact! I see no problem with it."
"Really?" Her brown eyes lifted to the waitress that approached their table with a smile, making it obvious that she was eyeing the two men. Confused, she sat quietly as they made orders of breakfast food during lunch and waited to speak until the blonde was gone. "She can see us?"
"Just us," Roman answered. "You're still dead."
Alec watched the teenager shoot him a nasty look. "We have the power to make ourselves visible to the living if we want. Same with souls. You know, if they want to say a last goodbye or whatever, but it's looked down upon to even do that."
"So, why won't you pass on?"
"I don't want to," she answered quickly. "I'll…I don't want to leave my family. And I don't know where I'll go if I…do that. Heaven or Hell…that type of thing. Is that even…" While she was raised to believe that there was a Heaven and a Hell, now that she was dead, she wasn't sure what to think and what was really out there. Reapers were just things that existed in stories, but here she was being proven wrong by sitting with two of them.
"We just tell people like you that you're going to 'the other side'." He shrugged his shoulders, "Many just go with it. We can't really answer where you'll end up. Sorry." He stared at her, a smile still on his face. "I like her, Roman. She's cute, nice…I'm surprised you're dragging her along though. You must feel bad leaving her alone," he concluded, his smile widening when their food arrived. He ignored the narrowed eyes of his fellow Reaper from across the table, "You didn't even ask your little ghost if she was hungry."
"…I haven't felt hungry," she spoke. "Do Reapers get hungry?"
"No," Alec answered, figuring that Roman would remain quiet and eat like he always did. "But we have taste just like humans do and I love the taste of food, so I'm going to eat as much as possible. We don't feel full either, so…I eat anything that's placed in front of me."
"Instead of informing her, you should be telling her why she should pass on," Roman suddenly said.
Desirae frowned, "Even if I do want to pass on, I should be able to do it on my own time! There's a lot of problems with this! I didn't even get to tell him I loved him!" Her brown eyes flickered to the uninformed Reaper across from her, "Felix, that is. And I'm only eighteen! This isn't fair! And the way I died…that wasn't much! I at least wanted to go out doing something memorable."
Alec grinned, "Memorable?"
"Like," she started, throwing her hands up as she tried to search for a memorable moment in death. "Like saving a box of kittens from a fire or something!"
Alec blinked once before laughing out loud at her response. "I suppose that would be memorable if someone ever ran into such a ridiculous situation."
Felix smiled slightly as his step-mother told him goodnight before closing her bedroom door, stepping into his old room and closing the door quietly. He sat down at his computer desk and opened his lap top, reaching into his pocket when his phone began to vibrate minutes later. He checked his e-mail as Olivia spoke with him, mentioning that they should be heading back home in a few days. He murmured an agreement, opening another window to a downloading website where he could catch a missed episode of his favorite show. He stood, scrolling through the episode titles. "You don't mention Desi much, Liv. I'm not sure how I can be there for you if you don't say anything."
"…I just don't want to speak about it. When I have something to say about it, then I'll say something about it," she replied quietly.
For a moment, he wondered if he cared more about her little sister dying, but immediately pushed that thought aside. No one could be that cold. "I was talking to Joseph earlier about things." He turned away from his desk, yawning as he spoke. "I had no idea that Desi didn't know that your parents were getting a divorce."
"What! A divorce?"
Felix flinched violently at the sound of another, familiar voice entering his conversation. His wide brown eyes shot to the corner of his room near his bed, his heart beating rapidly as he backed into his desk and computer chair, yelling 'fuck'. He dropped his phone and stumbled, falling backwards on his rear end as he started to break into a sweat as he scooted away from the younger girl staring at him, just as surprised. "Shit," he swore out, closing his eyes tightly once, twice, three times.
Desirae stood with her mouth ajar, confused and speechless. She had backed into Roman, startled at the reaction Felix displayed and if she would've been looking at Roman, she would've seen the surprised look on his face that matched her own. Silence erupted between the three of them, the only real noise being Felix and his heavy breathing. He continued to mutter a string of curses, re-opening his eyes to still be met with a girl that was supposed to be dead.
Desirae stared, bewildered. "You can see me?" Felix scooted further as Desirae took a step towards him, his back hitting the wall and his phone long forgotten. He swallowed, his brown eyes drifting to the other person in the room who he didn't recognize. Roman's lips formed a thin line, far from amused. Desirae smiled, "He—you can see me!" She looked at Roman over her shoulder, "You did this?"
As always, reviews are appreciated! And a big thanks to those who have given me feedback so far. I'm really enjoying writing this and I'm glad I turned a little idea into a full story that was going to be just a one-shot! Sorry for any mistakes found in this chapter. I had a problem with format too when I was editing this, but I think I fixed it and it should look okay. Everything was running together and I wasn't sure why!