Monday, February 25, 2013

Secrets of the Dead Chapter 13


Chapter 13

Washing the foul taste from her mouth, Jessie took a moment to calm herself. She didn’t want to think about the reason she had just spilled her guts in the toilet. Sure, a good part of her queasy stomach might be attributed to her hangover, but not all, and it was the other part she didn’t want to think or rehash in her mind.

Feeling more stable, she lifted from the sink and caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. She looked…she didn’t want to even think deathly, but it was close. Wiping her hands on the towel, she was reminded of the episode in the shower. The hands on her body had felt so—she cut her thoughts off, giving her head a shake.

She didn’t care to go there right now.

Opening the door, she was surprised to see C.J. standing in the hall, leaning against the wall across from the door, waiting for her.

“Feeling better?”

“No. I need something to eat, though. I’ve got the shakes.” Was it from lack of food or the revelation of what had actually happened to her that brought it on? She couldn’t be sure.

“I’ll scrounge something up for us to eat. Feel like talking?”

“No.” She really didn’t.

“I think you might feel better if you talked about what happened to you.”

“And give that bastard the satisfaction of knowing what he did to me is affecting me? I think not.”

“Okay.” He helped her down the stairs. “Wow, you’re shaking like a leaf. Are you a diabetic?”

“No. Why?”

“You’re pretty shaky, and you said you needed to eat.

Probably just shock, and spilling your guts in the toilet.

It’s raining again.”

Glancing out the window on her way through the living room, she saw that it was. “I would love to feel that on my face right now.”

“Doors are still sealed tight. Someone doesn’t want us to leave here.” He helped her to a chair then turned to the cupboards. “How does soup sound?”

“Perfect.” She didn’t think her stomach could handle anything else. “You made me that stupid bet knowing there were spirits here? That’s unfair.”

Smiling, C.J. opened a can of vegetable soup.

“Thought that one got past you.”

“Memory like a—what has a good memory?” Her mind currently was a little off.

“Elephants,” he supplied, stirring the soup in the pot.

“Right. Is there anything to make a sandwich with in the fridge?”

“I’ll check.”

He moved to the fridge and as he bent over she

admired just how well his jeans fit against his nice firm ass. “So, back to my discussion—”

“Wasn’t a discussion, you were accusing.” He carried the meat and cheese to the counter.

“Whatever. That was pretty crummy of you, but what I want to know is how you knew I would believe in ghosts after two days? Unless you had an inside track on that as well? Did they tell you they were going to lock us in here?”

He turned to see her eyes narrowed in on him. “No, I didn’t know they were going to lock us here. I had hoped something would show up to sway you from your adamant disbelief, but that wasn’t the reason why I made the bet.”

“Then why did you make the bet?”

“I wanted to know what it was like to kiss you.” He set the plate of deli meat on the table, his eyes lowering to her with a seductive slant.

“You wanted to know what it was like to kiss me?”

“Yes, I did.”

 “You don’t even like me, or at least you didn’t. I hope that’s changed now, though.” A man didn’t do what he had done with her—to her—if he disliked a woman. But she had to make sure.

“I liked you just fine before, Jessica, even more now; I just liked aggravating you, still do,” he replied comically, setting the hot pot on the place mat on the table.

“Gee, lucky me.” She slapped meat between two pieces of bread, then took a huge bite. “How do I prevent him from touching me again?” she asked apprehensively after swallowing the food in her mouth.

“I’ll stay with you.”

Her brow lifted. “As in, sleep with me?”

“Unless you have a problem with that, yes.” He handed her the bowl, then filled another for himself.

“We’ve had sex, Jessica.” He supplied after a moment’s silence.

“I know that.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“We hardly know each other.”

His eyes lifted to her with surprise. “We had sex,

Jessica,” he repeated a little slower this time.

She snorted in response, stirring her hot soup. “Sex is different than sleeping with someone, and besides, I was drunk.”

His hand stopped midway to his mouth. Dropping the spoon back into the bowl of soup, he replied. “Are you saying that the only reason you had sex with me was because you were drunk?”

“Well, yeah, but…”

“Oh, oh, I get it.” He pushed from the table, obviously angry. “That’s nice, Jessica, fucking nice. Thank you for that.” Marching past her, he left her alone at the table.

“I was going to add that I don’t normally sleep with people I barely know, and that I didn’t regret having sex with you. Until now.” She whispered the last, anger rippling off of her. The room suddenly quiet, she felt uneasy being alone. Looking around, she hoped the entity was no where near her now.

She kept a watchful eye – not that she would be able to do anything if he tried something. Great, not only was she angry but now she was paranoid as well. Great, fucking great.

~

To keep himself busy and his mind off of a certain female he refused to acknowledge, C.J. went over every bit of information he had accumulated thus far, making sure he had everything documented properly and coded on disc with his own pass code. He wasn’t taking any chances with this evidence.

She only had sex with you because she was drunk.

Growling under his breath, C.J. flipped through his printouts. What was wrong with him, obsessing over what Jessica had said? It shouldn’t matter what she thought, or what she said. It was her loss if she didn’t want to be with him. She was just going to have to fend for herself from now on and find a way to keep Mr. Greedy Hands from copping a feel.

Oh, who was he kidding, he couldn’t do that, couldn’t leave her to deal with the entity on her own. He cared too much about her to do that to her.

The familiar tickle drew his attention. Lifting his head from his papers, he saw her standing before him, that now familiar solemn look on her face. “Hello, Andrea.” She didn’t respond and he hadn’t expected her to. “Why do you always look so troubled? I know your death was tragic, but I sense something else is behind your misery.”

Moving in soundless steps, she closed the distance between them until she was a breath away. She had incredible brown eyes, and he wondered if they had lit with glee when she had been alive. He felt her presence as she touched his hand. It was an odd sensation he had felt only a few times before, but it was never forgotten. A cool feeling like that which occurs from sucking on a mint, came close to what he felt when she touched his hand. And when his hand lifted without his assistance, and began to write on his pad, he was compelled to watch.

Save us.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Secrets of the Dead chpt 12


Chapter 12

 

C.J stood near the entrance to the living room, watching as Jessica sat with her face practically plastered against the tiny television screen, hooked up to one of his cameras. Just looking at her made him feel all warm inside. He remembered vividly how she had felt in his arms, how her naked body had fit perfectly with his.

Though she’d changed into her own clothing, he could still visualize her wearing only his shirt and nothing more.

He wondered what she would do if he whisked her off her chair and threw her down on the ground and ravaged her delicious body.

“What are you doing?”

Shrieking, Jessie jumped from the chair she’d been sitting in. And C.J.’s first reaction was to laugh.

“Why the hell do you find scaring me so damn funny?

My God, I could have had a heart attack.”

“It wasn’t intentional, darling, but it sure gave me a thrill. What were you watching that has you so spooked?”

As he pulled up a chair and sat beside her, he saw the tape from the night before, stilled on the screen. “Ah, now I see.”

Settling down now, she took her seat, and played the tape. “I was just reviewing this. It’s a little freaky to watch.”

“I imagine for you it is.”

“But not you, because you’re used to this sort of thing.

I still can’t get over it. Did you know this place was

haunted before you came here? Like, seriously know, not

just taking the owners’ word on it?”

“No, but hearing their accounts I had a strong

suspicion what they described was the truth.”

“Why?” She stretched out in the chair, her long tanned legs dangling over the arms.

Damn, she was sexy. He remembered just what those legs had felt like touching his sides, lifting up and curling around his back as he drove himself into her. How wild she had been, writhing beneath him, gyrating her hips, nails digging into his back as her body convulsed over and over and….

“C.J.”

“What?” he jumped at her voice, suddenly feeling incredibly hot.

“You okay?”

“Yeah, fine. What did you say?” He couldn’t recall a single word she had said to him.

“You’re flustered. Why are you flustered?”

“I’m not.”

“You are so. You never get flustered.” She sat up, leaning forward. “What were you thinking just now?”

“Nothing.” It suddenly came back to him. He hoped.

“You asked why I knew the house was haunted just by talking with the owners.”

Her lips curling in a smirk, she pressed on. “Let’s set that conversation on the back burner for now and discuss what it was that distracted you, making you pant and looking a little wild in the eyes.”

“I was not panting and my eyes never go wild.”

“Oh, they go wild alright, and you were most definitely panting.” Her eyes wandered down to his crotch.

“You’re hard!”

He didn’t have to look down to know she was right, but he did shift to disguise it a little more. Change the subject and now. “The moment I stepped into this place, I knew there were other presences here, so when I made you that bet, I had the upper hand.”

“Now that wasn’t very nice. What were you thinking about that got you hard? Do ghosts get you hard, C.J.? Are you a necrophiliac?”

His eyes narrowed. “That’s an obsession with a corpse, Jessica. There are no corpses here.”

She bit her lip, smirking. “Fine, whatever. Tell me what you were thinking about.”

 “You’re not going to let up until I do, are you?”

“Nope.” She crossed her arms over her chest and stared at him.

“Fine, I’ll tell you what I was thinking. I was remembering what it felt like to have these gorgeous legs of yours wrapped around my body as I drove myself into you.” His fingers slid up her ankle, past her knee and all the way to her thighs before she stopped him.

“C.J...”

“Do you know what else I remember?” He placed his hands on the arms of the chair, standing up, leaning over her, his eyes meeting hers. “I remember how wild you were, bucking beneath me, begging me with your body to give you more.”

She swallowed hard, and if the pink in her cheeks was any indication, she was growing aroused by what he was telling her.

“And I wonder, Jessica, just what else I could do to you to make you scream out in ecstasy.” He took her mouth in one sharp motion that took her breath away. He felt her suck it in, felt her hold it as he devoured her lips.

And while he toyed with her mouth, he yanked her to her feet, pulling her tight against his chest.

There’s my animal, he thought as she backed him against the wall, pressing her belly against his. When her hand slid down and not so gently grabbed hold of his dick, his eyes nearly crossed.

He felt it then, the sharp stinging pain in the center of his chest that warned him of the rage that was stirring in the room. The conflict of emotions swirled like a confusing brew inside of him, his loins begging him to proceed, his mind telling him to take cover.

He hadn’t had time to decide when a loud crash startled them both.

They broke apart, Jessica spinning around just as a vase flew towards them. Grabbing her, C.J. pushed them to the side as the vase crashed into the wall, tiny shards of glass falling to the floor and scattering. The matching vase lay shattered only feet before them.

He released Jessica, stepped back in experiment, and felt the rage still slightly. “Hmm.”

“What hmm, and what the hell is going on? Did that vase just fly towards us?”

“I need to experiment.” Grabbing her by the arms, C.J. yanked her against him and took her mouth hastily while his hands roamed her body. He felt the bubbling in his gut and knew an instant before the rage erupted that he was onto something. Releasing her quickly, he stepped away and waited.

“What the hell?”

“Someone doesn’t like me touching you.”

“What?”

Rubbing his chest, the burning very unsettling, he turned to Jessica with complete seriousness. “I believe that last night’s display was a temper tantrum because I was with his girl.”

“English, Dowling, I’m a little keyed up here and my mind is mush.”

Oh, he wanted to finish what they had started in the worst way, but he didn’t think now was the best time. Not until the angry energy swirling about stilled. Damn the spirit for ruining his fun. He shifted himself and took a deep breath in hopes of cooling his libido down. “You know those so called bugs you felt the first night you were here?”

“Yeah.” She shuddered.

“It wasn’t bugs, darling, that was a man having a little pleasure moment.”

“What the hell are you talking about, Dowling?”

Frowning, she dropped down into her chair, her body starting to settle down.

“I believe what you felt were the hands of Darius

Smithers, attempting to have his way with you.”

She snorted in response, then laughed it off. “Get out, that is so ridiculous.”

“He was reportedly a ladies man.” C.J. sat on the sofa, lighting a cigarette, feeling the energy around him calm.

He was more than relieved. At least his stomach could settle down now, as well as other uncomfortable aches.

“And I think he’s taken a fancy to you, and might I say, I can’t blame the guy. You are quite the woman Jessica.”

“Are you trying to tell me that you think there is some perverted ghost here trying to fondle me at night?” She snorted again. “Come on, Dowling, that’s absurd.”

“Why is that absurd? Think about what you’ve witnessed this past day, then think back to what it felt like that first night, in your bed. If it had been bugs, darling, where did they go, why didn’t you see any when you changed the bedding?”

She put a hand to her stomach. “Oh god, oh ick.” Then her eyes went wide. “That means in the washroom, it was him touching me, and in bed, he pinched my nipple. Oh

God, God. I feel sick.” Lifting to her feet, she ran for the stairs and to the washroom.

Couldn’t say he blamed her. It sickened him just thinking about what the perverted entity might have done to her. With the smoke smoldering between his fingers, he lifted his head and searched the room. “Only a coward violates a woman, and only a coward hides his face. Touch her again, and you’ll have me to answer to.”

A gust of wind swept into the room, stirring the curtains, rattling the windows and tossing pictures to the floor. In the midst of the storm brought on by a pissed ghost, C.J. stood, calmly tapped his cigarette out, then headed after Jessica. He’d grown out of his fear of the dead a long time ago.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Secrets of the Dead Chpt 11


Chapter 11

They spent the better part of the morning and the afternoon placing the furniture back where it belonged, then cleaning the house. They’d been very surprised to find the bedrooms just as disheveled as the rest of the house.

“I would have to say, someone was royally pissed,”

C.J. commented, finally taking a break and sitting at the kitchen table with a cold glass of water. He could feel someone present, lurking about, and whoever it was, was not pleased at all.

“I’m still trying to grasp this all.” She laid her head gently on the table, exhausted.

Stroking her damp hair, C.J. smiled. “Give yourself time.” She had seen more than anyone he had ever known, and he felt closer to her than he thought he ever would with a woman.

Lifting her head, she sighed. “When was your first ghost sighting?”

This was a tough one. Should he open himself up to her completely and tell her the truth? Or should he give her what she could handle? Dive in, C.J. my boy, and either sink or swim. “When I was three.”

Her brow lifted in surprise. “Three? That’s awfully young. How did you know it was a spirit?”

Lifting a cigarette from his package, he lit up before responding. “I just knew.” He blew a cloud of smoke in the air, and dove. “There are certain people in the world that have the ability to communicate with the dead. Mediums, clairvoyants, etc. I prefer calling myself a spiritual guide.” His eyes met her and he waited. Would this be where he drowned?

She sat back, ran a hand through her damp hair. “A spiritual guide?”

He felt himself sinking. “Yes.”

Taking his glass, she gulped down half before setting it down. “Explain it more clearly to me.”

He was treading water now. “I can feel them, their presence…spirits,” he added, then drew on his cigarette.

“It’s like a tingling at the back of my neck, and a faint electrical charge goes through my system. When the spirit is strong, vengeful or afraid, I often get severe indigestion.

I feel them before I see them.”

“You can see them?”

He flicked the ashes into the ashtray and continued.

“Yes, I can, though sometimes it’s a little foggy. Depends on their strength.”

“You see them?” she asked a little more excitedly, leaning forward, placing her arms on the table.

With a smile and a nod, he responded. “Yes, Jessica, I can see them.”

“Wow. What do they look like? Are they bloody, decayed, bones?” Her eyes lit with excitement.

Apparently he was swimming after all. “Sometimes I see them the way they died, but never as just bones. It’s their soul, their entities that come to me, not their bodies.

When I see them as they were when they died, it’s for a reason.”

“And that reason would be…?” She was totally engrossed now.

“Mostly to make a point, as to say, ‘Hey, look what the living did to me, now fix it’.” He tapped out the cigarette and lifted to make some coffee. He wondered if the entity had tossed the perked coffee and spared the decaf, thinking no one would care to use the decaf.

Shrugging that thought away, he started a pot of water to boil.

“And do you?”

“I try, but sometimes I can’t.” And those were the cases that always ate at his gut. He hated leaving something unresolved, but sometimes there was no other choice.

“Why not?”

He turned back and smiled, realizing she was completely enthralled by what he was saying. “This isn’t freaking you out at all is it?”

“No. And believe me, my not being freaked out by it is a little freaky. I mean, come on, I’m a die hard skeptic, and here I am sitting at a table, talking with a guy who communicates with the dead, in a house with spirits.” She held her hands out as if to say, ‘I rest my case’.

Laughing, he leaned against the counter, waiting for the water to boil. “You’re amazing, Jessica. To answer your question, I can’t always help the dead. I can only do so much, dig into things so far without drawing attention to myself and being called a freak.”

“But you are a freak.” She said it with the utmost affection, and if he didn’t catch that in her words, the smile was enough to clue him in. “I think I get what you mean.

Who knows about this ability of yours?”

“My family, my boss, you.”

Her left brow lifted in surprise. “That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“No girlfriends?”

“Nope.” There were very few people he trusted with his gift.

“So what about your family, they must have told people?”

“Hard to tell someone something they don’t believe in.” He turned to her and saw the confusion on her face.

“My family doesn’t accept the fact that I can communicate with the dead.”

“For real?”

He nodded.

“Why don’t they believe you?”

“Did you believe in spirits before today?” he countered.

“No, but I’m not a family member. I would think they would trust you more than that.”

Yeah, so did he. “I’m an embarrassment to them. My grandfather has gone so far as to disown me.”

“Get out. Wait, grandfather, would this be the same one whom you share a name with?”

“One and the same.”

Now she understood. “Can’t say I blame you for the name change. Carlton is a stuffy sort of name, and though you are pretentious at times, you’re not stuffy.”

“Gee, thanks Jessica.” The water finally boiling, C.J. filled his cup, setting the pot back, then adding decaf coffee. It would have to do, he supposed.

“Make me one too, please, I’m so damn thirsty.”

“Yeah, hangovers will do that to you.” He set the cup in front of her, grinning.

“What?”

“Nothing.” Still grinning, he sat down to enjoy his coffee and a smoke.

“That is not a nothing grin, pal, now fess up.”

“Who knew you were such an animal…”

Lowering her head, her face turning red, Jessie tried to disguise it by drinking her coffee.

“Are you blushing?”

“No,” she said vehemently.

“You are, you’re blushing. Oh, my God, that’s so cute.”

Her fist lifted with warning. “Back off, Dowling, or you’ll be sporting a shiner.”

His coffee and cigarette forgotten now, he moved next to her, leaning close to her face. “Wouldn’t be the first time I received a black eye. Come on, animal, take your best shot.”

Snarling at him, she pushed from the table. “And waste my energy on a slug like you? I don’t think so.”

“Chicken.”

Her back stiffened, and as she turned, her emerald eyes narrowed. “I am not chicken.”

 “Where I’m sitting darling, you sure look chicken to me.”

“You want me to hit you?”

“Not particularly, no, but I like the fire in your eyes.

Reminds me of last night. There it is again.” She was blushing like a school girl and it was very appealing.

“Oh, go talk to your ghosts.” With her head held high, she marched from the room.

Laughing, C.J. leaned back in his chair and finished off his cigarette and coffee. The day was turning out pretty damn good so far.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Secrets of the Dead Chpt 10


Chapter 10

Something was tickling her nose. Using her hand, she tried to swipe it away and felt the brush of hair against her knuckles. Planting her hand, she felt the warm flesh beneath her palm.

Recognition hit and woke her with an angry slap. Eyes shooting open, she sat up quickly and instantly regretted it when the room spun wildly around her. Laying back down, closing her eyes, she waited out the dizziness the hangover had caused. Her mind raced to the night before.

The pounding rhythm in her head reminded her of what she had drunk. The soft ache in her loins reminded her of what she had done. Carefully opening her eyes, she turned her head to see a naked C.J. beside her.

“Oh, God.” Her eyes wandered and she drank in the beauty of the man beside her. Dear God, she’d had sex with him. She hadn’t been that drunk that she couldn’t remember the event, and Lord, what an event it had been.

They had literally torn each others clothing off. She’d been an animal, which was so not like her.

What did they do now? Would they go on as they had been, sniping at each other, treat this as a one night fling and move on? She felt more than a little awkward. In truth, the guy irritated the hell out of her, yet he’d made her feel so incredible the night before. How was she supposed to respond to him now, after sharing something so intimate?

“Dowling,” she spoke quietly. “Dowling,” she called out louder, careful of her pounding head. When all he did was moan, she slapped his chest. “Dowling!”

“Jesus,” he swore, his eyes opening, his hand coming up to the burn she had left on his bare skin.

“Wake up.”

“I’m awake. Ouch.” He turned his head to her, the frown on his lips turning to a smile. “Morning.” Then his eyes went wide. “Holy hell.” He bolted upright and jumped to his feet. “Oh, my God.”

 “What?” Had that been a smile on his lips? Carefully she sat up, minding the spinning room, and turned in the direction he was looking. “What the hell?”

Before them, the room was a complete mess. The sofa stood on its end, both chairs slammed up right against it, all pushed against the window. The coffee and end tables stood one on top of the other, in front of the fireplace.

Carefully, Jessie stood up, waiting out the dizziness and had a better look. She had to rub her eyes to make sure she wasn’t seeing things. “How…”

“I need to check my equipment.” He flew off, still nude and not realizing it, and she had the pleasure of watching his ass muscles moving gloriously as he ran.

Searching for her clothes, Jessie finally found them off in the corner by the fireplace. Grabbing her shirt, seeing the straps torn and split down the middle, she opted for

C.J.’s shirt instead.

“This is incredible. The meters went off the scale. The temperature recorded several degrees below freezing at one point. It didn’t last long, though, as it rose exponentially. And we slept through it all. Damn, I have never seen anything like this before. It’s phenomenal.”

“You’re naked, you know?”

“What?” His face was glued to the readouts.

“You’re naked.” She tossed his jeans at him, hitting him square in the face. Not that she minded seeing him naked.

Unaffected by it, he grabbed the jeans and slipped into them, his eyes never leaving the data before him. “The cameras.” He rushed to the video equipment as he did up his pants. “Do you know what this means?”

“That you were a busy boy last night.”

His eyes lifted to her, confused. “Beg pardon?”

“I don’t know how you managed it all alone, but I give you credit for a job well done.”

Straightening his back, C.J. angled his head at her.

“You think I did all of this?”

 “No, I know you did all of this. Boy, you’ll do anything to make me a believer.”

Clearly angry, C.J. let his calm demeanor slide as the darker side of him slipped out. “You think I did all of this just to make you believe there are other forces around us aside from ourselves?”

His voice sounded incredibly deep and more than a little dangerous. “Well…yeah.”

“Fine.” Walking to her, he grabbed her arm and led her to the camera.

“Let go of me.”

“Not until you see this.” Taking her by the shoulders, he turned her to face the monitor attached to one of the cameras. “Watch.” He pressed play.

Folding her arms across her chest, Jessie glared at the screen. There, at the bottom to the left they lay on the floor, naked and cuddling. “Great, you captured us sleeping on tape.” It was actually quite sweet.

“Oh, darling, I captured more than us sleeping on these babies, but that’s not it. Watch.”

“What do you mean… Oh my God, you taped us making out? How could you?”

“I have my cameras set on timers that begin taping on their own. I didn’t know we were going to go at it like rabbits last night. Watch.”

“You will erase those tapes,” she insisted, then grunted when he turned her face back to the monitor. “What the hell?”

“Keep watching.”

She couldn’t pry her eyes away if she tried. There before her, the furniture moved on its own, sliding into the position they now rested, and at the bottom of the screen they slept like babies. “Oh my God.”

“My sentiments exactly. I need to check the rest of the house.” He left her mesmerized in front of the TV.

How was this possible? How were they moving on their own? It wasn’t possible, yet she stood here now, watching as they moved completely on their own. How had they not heard the commotion?

“Jessie, you have to see this,” C.J. called out from the kitchen.

Turning, prying herself from the monitor, she walked to the kitchen, noticing the dining room table was on its side, blocking the window and the chairs placed on top of one another. In shock, she met C.J. in the kitchen.

“Look at this.”

Like the dining room, the kitchen table was set up against the door, but unlike the dining room chairs, the kitchen ones were broken in pieces, wood scattered everywhere. The cupboard doors lay torn from their hinges, some hanging by only one hinge. The contents of the cupboards were strewn everywhere.

The place was an utter mess and all she could do was stare with her mouth hanging open.

“Incredible, isn’t it?”

S he was speechless.

“Jess, Jessie. Are you okay?”

“What did you call me?”

“Jessie.” He smiled.

It was enough to break her shock, and as she turned to him, she felt something click inside of her. “You called me

Jessie.”

“Yeah, well, even I’ve been known to make mistakes.”

He stood before her in only his jeans, his chest bare, blonde hair curling over tanned flesh on his chest. His curly hair was disheveled, a day’s worth of stubble on his face, and he was the most beautiful man she had ever seen.

“C.J. Dowling make mistakes? Has hell frozen over?”

Grinning, he slung his arm over her shoulder, pulling her closer to kiss her head. “Must have. So, what do you think?”

I think I’ve fallen in love with you. “About what?”

“This, what you see, what happened.”

“It’s something.”

He turned to her, pursing his lips. “Please tell me you aren’t still thinking I did all of this.”

“No, no, I saw enough to know you couldn’t have.”

“Then what’s up?”

“I think I need a moment to let it all sink in.” Sliding to the floor, she sat, legs crossed among the filth, and stared blankly ahead.

“Want a drink?” he asked, kneeling down in front of her.

“God, no,” she said abruptly.

“Hangover bad?”

“There’s a Mariachi band inside my stomach.”

“Ouch.” He placed a hand to her belly. “You look good in my shirt.”

She looked down at herself, gave a shrug. “Mine was kinda shredded.”

“Wonder how that happened?” he smirked.

She followed suit and smirked back. “There are ghosts here.”

“Yes, darling, there are.” The smirk turned to a smile.

“Real ghosts, not make believe.”

Kissing her head, he laughed. “For real ghosts.”

“I don’t think I know how to process it all.”

“Give it time.”

Her eyes lifted to his. “You always believed? I thought you were a nut case, but this is for real.”

“It certainly is.” He stroked a hand along her arm.

“Now what do we do?”

“Well, I could think of plenty we could do...”

She shivered as his finger slid along her bare thigh.

“Are you for real?”

“In the flesh.”

“The place is a mess and…” she momentarily lost what she was about to say when his hand slid between her legs. “Okay, I give.” But as she sat up to nibble on his scrumptious lips, her stomach rose just a bit too high for comfort. “Oh, I think I might barf.”

 “Isn’t that romantic.”

“No, seriously.” She jumped up and bolted from the room. She barely made it to the washroom and decided she was never ever going to indulge in that much booze ever again.

Stepping from the washroom, she found C.J. leaning against the wall, waiting for her.

“Better?”

“No.”

He let out a long sigh. “Then you’d better put some clothes on.”

“Why?” she asked curiously as she followed him down the stairs.

“Because, darling.” He turned to her and she felt herself moisten with the sexual intent she saw on his face.

“If I have to see you traipse around in nothing more than my shirt for much longer, I may not give a damn if your feeling ill or not.”

“Oh, now who’s being romantic…”