"I'm so sorry" his cracking voice pleaded as I covered my eyes with my hands. Sprawled on my bed on my back, the attractive blond man was beside me pleading.
I sighed and continued to breathe irregularly. Finally tears came as I zeroed in on his intense concern and harnessed it to react. My tears only served to concern Bill further.
He continued to apologize while I lay there crying.
"Oh, give me a break." A second, warm, sultry voice whispered in my ear. "You definitely wouldn't be crying if he was a good kisser". I didn't need to open my eyes to know who was speaking.
My ethereal stalker had decided to show up. What a pervert. Trying to date was hard enough without an audience.
I ignored him and continued to focus on the pained feeling I felt emanating from my distressed date, Bill. Clearly, he could not see or hear the apparition that was haunting me.
Lucky for him to be spared from the never-ending waterfall of sass.
"I just--I just thought you were interested in me as a person." I fake sobbed through my fingers. The tears were running now but they weren't fed on my distress, just his.
"I am!" Bill exclaimed back at me. He reached over to me. "Please don't cry. I am so-so sorry."
"Then why did you stick your hands down my pants? Why didn't you try to kiss me first?" I exclaimed between sobs.
I kept my hands over my eyes, not for dramatic effect but to avoid making eye contact with the apparition standing near my bed.
Bill gently pulled my hands off my eyes and turned me to face him. "I'm sorry." He exclaimed. "I've been away at sea for a long time and.... You know how men get. We are animals.
" He gently caressed my hand in his, running his finger in circles in my palm nervously attempting to comfort me.
"Oh geez" The ghost scoffed. I ignored him.
It had been four months since I realized I was being haunted. As a child, I knew that I had "gifts" that others didn't.
Growing up in the bible belt, I was lauded as someone who "spoke to angels" or was "called of God". The results of using my gifts, however, seemed more in line with the work of Satan.
Routinely ghosts decided to stalk and harass me. One particular ghost seemed to take a too much of a liking to me and had no intention of leaving my side. Ever.
Now even my sexual encounters have an audience.
I continued to quietly cry, and Bill wrapped his arms around me. "I thought you wanted to get to know me and explore the world." I sniffled.
"I do." He pleaded. "I am just an animal. I can't control my urges." He looked longingly at my neck and gently brushed his lips against it.
I pulled away holding him at arm's length. I looked him squarely in the eye. "That's not true. Everyone has complete control over their choices.
You don't have to act on an emotion just because you feel it."
His expression tightened. "I really hope this doesn't interfere with what we have." He responded caressing my face and pleading with me. "You are very attractive...
and smart! Very smart! And I want to get to know you."
I stood up and slowly ushered him towards my door. "I hope it doesn't either. I am really tired; can you show yourself out Bill?" He nodded and left.
All emotion left my house with him and I felt nothing. I chuckled and plopped myself onto my bed. Ghosty sat on the edge.
"You're a sociopath you know that?" He taunted.
"Not sure a stalker has the right to make a DSM-5 diagnosis." I retorted. I kicked in his general direction. "No Ghosty bits on my bed. You know the rules."
He didn't move and instead stuck his tongue at me. "I would love to see you stop me. And my name isn't Ghosty, it's--"
He stopped abruptly. It was unfair of me to tease him. "Ghosts" or "Spirits" often lost memory of who they used to be the longer they had been dead.
Clearly, he had been gone for a while because he couldn't even remember the most basic key to his identity, his name.
"What's in a name, a rose by any other word, would still smell as sweet.
" I threw a pillow at him which he for a second caught before allowing it to pass through his fingers and tumbled to the ground. He pretended like I didn't notice.
"Oh no" his dramatics were laughable at best. "I wish I could touch real objects like real people can, but I can't, because I'm a ghost.
" He carefully glanced over to see if I was buying his charade.
"Lies." I seethed.
Our disagreement regarding his nature would continue on.
He mostly tried to keep up the charade because he was in process of trying to convince me that he was a good guy and that his reason for following me around were completely benign.
I wouldn't be so easily hoodwinked. I still remembered the first day we met like it was yesterday.
"Hurry up Eva! We are going to be late for our presentation!" My roommate suddenly burst through my bedroom door carrying my bag.
She ushered my half sleeping figure towards the dresser to change.
"Come on Scarlet." I sluggishly batted her away. " I can dress myself"
"For fuck's sake Eva. It's faster this way." She quickly removed my pajama shirt and replaced it with a bright yellow sundress. "Oh my god" I gaped at its gaudy frills. "This is not my style.
" She ignored me as she buttoned its front. "Tough luck chicken fuck."
I laughed and gently pushed her. "That's not a thing people say." She rolled her eyes, "Cha it is. Besides, it matches the flowers in your hair."
"What flowers--" I glanced into the mirror on my old oak vanity, the vanity I had inherited from my grandmother.
Sure enough, small daisies spanned in a rudimentary flower crown across my head from one ear to another. I turned to Scarlett in shock. "Did you do this?"
She laughed. "Why on earth would I put flowers in your hair? You probably did it while drunk off your ass last night."
She came up behind me and leaned over my shoulder to fix her lipstick.
She was perfectly decked in an off the shoulders white flowing blouse, black and white gingham print pencil skirt, and stockings with heels.
Her flowing blond hair cascaded like perfect silk to her slim shoulders. I caught myself right before I instinctively reached out to play with it.
"I'm never letting you drink again.
" She said roughly shoving my feet into shoes and pushing me down the stairs and through the kitchen of our two-bedroom duplex straight into the garage where her BMW was parked.
She shoved me into the passenger seat before throwing my backpack in my lap, slamming my door and jumping into the driver seat.
Apart from sharing our first class in college and duplex together, the similarities between Scarlett and I ended there.
Her family was well off and provided her everything she needed to succeed while I came from more humble existence, surviving on top ramen, part-time jobs and scholarships.
She was graceful and beautiful, with others flocking to her naturally never-ending spring of popularity, where as I was the waterhole that carcasses decomposed in.
She drank like a sailor and I got wasted after 3 beers. After the fourth beer last night I passed out fully dressed on my bed.
Luckily, she had woken and dressed me for our presentation this morning. I blushed a bit realizing she had just seen me in my underwear.
I found myself staring at her in the driver seat, fighting the urge to touch her. The moment fleeted away as she parked and dragged me into class.
I assure you that I am normally not this irresponsible.
I really hadn't intended to go out the night before, but Scarlett had insisted, and she was quite persuasive when she put her mind to something.
Maybe that is why she felt responsible to get me to class on time this morning.
Or perhaps it was because we were in the same group for our oral presentation and my absence would impact her grade. We arrived in our seats just as the professor took the podium.
The presentation came and went without incident.
Honestly, Preston University hadn't been my first choice for school. Among the Ivy league options, its existence was not public knowledge. Applications were by invitation only.
The blue parchment with gold leafing had found its way to me. I was accepted with full tuition scholarship to the Physics program as a result of "incredible gifts".
Whatever that was supposed to mean.
I wandered along the majestic gothic architecture of the various campus buildings and bell tower.
I settled on bench in front of the library fountain to eat my almond butter and gouda grilled cheese. As I munched quietly, voices of nearby students caught on the breeze.
It was impossible to ignore them.
"I hear it's haunted." whispered one student.
"You don't know that! It's not even that old."
"Yeah, but it's right next to a graveyard. Besides, have you met the Harris family? Something's off about them."
"You know that is all just talk. People like to spread rumors about rich people because they are jealous."
"There is more than that, they belong to some kind of cult or something-- Plus that physics major who disappeared last year..."
I stood up suddenly and walked away. Although I hadn't known Scarlett Harris for very long, I knew the kind of person she was.
Even with her incredible popularity, she still found enemies and people jealous of her success.
This wasn't the first time I had heard her family name slandered but it was the first time I learned of our duplex being "haunted".
If that were true, it may be up to me to help the spirits move on given my "gifts.
" While Scarlett wasn't aware of my ability to talk to dead people, perhaps she knew more about the rumors surrounding the place we lived.
"So... I hear the duplex is haunted..."