Starbucks was in its usual rush hour craze when I breezed through the
doors. Coffee is my addiction. Looking around, evidently I wasn’t the
only one that couldn’t get my ass in gear without a cup of Joe.
ten minutes in line, I made it to the counter and was greeted by a
young woman who looked way too happy for this hour of the morning. Her
blue eyes sparkling, white teeth gleaming and spiked artistic black
hair, perfectly put together. “Can I get a Venti Skinny Caramel
“Venti Skinny Caramel Macchiato,” she called out as I handed her a ten.
I waited for my change, I glanced to my watch. Eight-forty. The time
spent in line had cost me. I only had twenty minutes to get to work.
Being late just wasn’t an option as the assistant to the Event Manager
of Randall Marketing, Dylan Cobb. It didn’t matter if the job had him
halfway around the world, he checked in at nine o’clock sharp to make
sure I remained at his beck and call. Sadly, I always was.
job itself was ideal as Mr. Cobb was only in the office one week out of
the month due to his promotional work. It meant I was left alone most of
the time. Bossless and getting paid good money―I had the life of
self-employment, but without the headache. Now, if I actually had to see
Dylan on a daily basis, that would be a different story. I wouldn’t
have lasted three days with him constantly looking over my shoulder,
always in my space.
“One Caramel Macchiato,” another employee called out, drawing me away from my thoughts.
I started, but as a cold breeze swept in behind me, my words froze. To
anyone else, the sensation would have been passed off as a cold breeze. I
knew better than to believe that.
There was a spirit here.
refused to acknowledge said spirit. “Thank you.” I impressed myself by
sounding calm and collect. The server was looking at me as if I’d lost
my mind as I took the cup from her hand. Ignoring that too, I spun on my
heels, and kept my focus on the ceramic tiled floor to avoid any and
all curious glances at my peculiar behaviour.
Just as I reached for the door handle, a voice came from behind me, “Can you hear me?”
male ghost sounded shocked. Apparently my glow grabbed his attention.
As ghosts before this one had told me, I had a light around me―a golden
aura. It made me stick out like a sore thumb. Ghosts were
harmless―annoying, but harmless. From the surprise in his tone, it was
obvious he wasn’t expecting me to hear him. Shit! I’d already given
myself away. Well, I could rectify that.
Without hesitation, I
grabbed the door handle, pulled it open and forced myself to remain deaf
to the voice. If I ignored the ghosts long enough, they moved on and
searched out someone else who held this gift, which I had yet to meet.
To this day, I still
questioned if calling my ailment a gift was
appropriate. An ability to see and hear ghosts had become more of a
daily irritation than anything else.
Much to my annoyance, I felt
the spirit join me outside as I walked down the street. The ghost
stayed right on my heels, his presence strong behind me. The cold air at
my back was a contrast to the warm air in front of me as every hair on
my neck stood, goose bumps pimpled a trail along my skin. If only I
could rub them away, but I wouldn’t dare. That would acknowledge I knew
he was there.
“Can you hear me?”
His voice was rich and
deep enough to send vibrations into my soul. I wasn’t so deaf that I
couldn’t tell this was one smooth talking male spirit, even if his voice
did come sharp with frustration. I quickened my steps to get away from
him hoping he’d catch the drift, weaving in and out of pedestrians as I
made my way down Peabody Place.
Something in his
insistent tone made me want to be as far away from him as possible. He
sounded desperate, which meant a big headache for me. If I hadn’t worn
my damn sling-backs, I would have tried to run and hide. But the
three-inch Manolos and the tight tailored gray skirt around my knees
made it impossible.
Within minutes, I hit the heart of the
Memphis City―Beale Street. I let out a breath of relief as warmth
surrounded me. It wasn’t just the basking sun, the spirit had left me
be. Pleased that my dodge worked, I took a sip of my energy in a cup
then smiled. Coffee’s fantastic, the ghost is gone―life’s good.
I continued to walk down the street, the Hard Rock Cafe came and went.
The smell of eggs and bacon filled the air and my stomach growled in
response. I wasn’t a morning person by nature. My only thought when I
woke this morning had been caffeine. Now, I wished I’d grabbed a muffin.
But with ten minutes to get to my desk, I couldn’t worry about such
things and would have to wait until lunch.
Another block passed
under my heels before I reached the historical red brick building with
its stripped green and white awning. To me, this place looked more like a
market than an office space but being downtown in the heart of Elvis
Land, nothing modern existed here. The City needed a serious makeover.
The moment I opened the door to the office, a bubbly voice greeted me, “Good morning, Ms. Tess.”
I responded to Doris, the receptionist at the firm who was in every way
a butterscotch sundae. In her mid-forties auburn curls reached down to
her ears and big brown eyes that could warm you on the coldest of days.
lovely day today, is it not?” Doris asked as she shuffled eons of
paperwork around on her desk. The woman was very messy, yet somehow
organized. Within her mess, she knew where to find the smallest items.
Truly incredible to watch. After a brief moment, she lifted her face
with a sweet smile as she held out the messages over the counter.
is.” So, I just told a little white lie. The ghost hadn’t exactly
started my day off right, but I wasn’t about to tell her about it. I
grabbed the post-it notes from her hands. “Did you have a nice weekend?”
“Started my gardening. It’s going to be a beauty this year. You’ll have to come out and have a look-see.”
I smiled. “I’d love to.”
created a piece of art with her gardening skills and I would never turn
down the invitation to see it. Doris loved flowers. I could at least
appear interested, even though my green thumb was black.
lit up, but when the phone rang, she just waved a good-bye and answered
it. “It’s another beautiful day here at Randall Marketing, how can I
direct your call?”
That was Doris, sunshine on the gloomiest of
days. I started to walk toward my office and headed down the hall. Two
doors down, I arrived. Once there, I grabbed the door handle, opened it,
then closed it behind me.
Just because the building was historic
didn’t mean my office had to be. Complete modern chic was what I had
created here―glass table, dark charcoal walls with a white upholstered
Placing the coffee on the table, I pulled out the
chair and sat down. Cool leather came against my warm skin as I flipped
through the messages left for me. None were urgent enough to worry about
I powered up the computer. As it booted up, I took a sip of
my coffee. The warmth slid down my throat and gave an immediate rush to
my energy levels. Before I could place the cup back on the table, a
knock sounded at the door and a moment later, it opened.
“And just where were you all weekend?” Caley snapped, shutting the door behind her.
my best friend since the age of four, was a typical pageant Queen.
Bleach blonde, sparkling baby blue eyes, perfect skin and a body men
drooled over. But it’s all a front―she’s the devil in disguise.
was at home.” I gave her an innocent smile. “Did you try and call me?”
Of course, I lied. If I let Caley drag me out every time she had an
itch for a party, I’d be considered a sorority girl.
pointed at my face and glared. “Don’t you try that shit on me! I called
you all weekend and your damn phone went straight to voicemail.”
“Hmm…” I pretended to ponder for a moment then finally said, “The battery must have died.”
was the only sure way to get Caley to leave me be. Truth was, she could
have just come over, and I wouldn’t put it past her that she would. But
the little hint was a subtle way of telling Caley I wanted to be left
alone. Normally, she knew enough to stay away.
“Liar.” Caley plopped down in the seat in front of my desk. “Where were you, Tess? I wanted to go out.”
wasn’t anywhere.” I placed the coffee cup back on the table. Caley’s
brows rose in disbelief as I continued. “Honestly, I vegged on the
Caley snorted. “Now doesn’t that sound appealing?”
mouth parted to offer a snappy retort, but a cold wisp of air brushed
across my skin and I froze in shock. This ghost was persistent.
Normally, they never took this much time to see if I could hear them.
His insistence began to intrigue me.
“Hello.” Caley snapped her fingers in front of my face. “Leave the aliens behind and return to mother earth.”
laughed it away, but felt uncomfortable. The ghost knelt right beside
Caley, well not really kneeling but more floating, and made it
impossible not to look at him. The thing with ghost was they made it
appear as if they were sitting on objects, lying down―things like that.
In actuality, they floated very close but were never quite able to
obtain any physical contact with the world around them. It was weird at
first. Now, after seeing it for so many years, it no longer fazed me.
ghost though had captured my attention. As much as I wanted to look
away, I couldn’t―men like this were meant to be ogled. His eyes were
predominantly blue, but each contained a thick chunk of chocolate brown
within the blue. The contrast was stunning.
I’d never seen
anything like it, but my amazement had only begun. He may be a ghost,
but just by looking at him, I knew he either belonged to law enforcement
or the military. Only men of this calibre―chiselled bodies, a tough air
about them―were created within their ranks. His expression was firm and
serious, but personality lived there too. Everything about him was
conflicting. His strong jaw, the muscles clenching along his cheeks, all
spoke of power. His kind eyes, soft plush lips, and untidy dirty blond
hair showed playfulness.
He wore a black tank top which left his
arms exposed and muscles upon muscles layered those arms. His body
thick, wide with pure tough guy appeal.
“Anyways,” Caley said, drawing my gaze back to her. “I had to go out with Susanne and you know how much I enjoy that.”
laughed. “Now that sounds appealing.” Caley’s step-sister is a horny
twenty year old who had the body to fulfill her needs. Whenever Caley
was out with her, she spent most of the time trying to keep her out of
trouble. “You could have stayed home, you know.”
“Stayed home?” Caley’s expression showed her disgust. “On a Saturday night?”
“Yeah, you know, get some popcorn, watch movies―relax.”
shook her head and gave a chastising look. “If you don’t stop this
grandma behaviour, your va-jay-jay is going to shrivel up and die.”
ghost let out a low chuckle. The sound hit me like a cup of warm cocoa
causing my insides to melt. Annoyed, I forced the reaction away. First
off, Caley was so
wrong―well, maybe a little right―but I’d never
admit it out loud. Second, being swooned by a ghost wasn’t on my
“Excuse me, my va-jay-jay is just fine,” I retorted, not only to Caley, but I also wanted the irritating ghost to know.
I’m glad to hear you’ve still got some spunk.” Caley stood, placed her
hands on her hips. “Because I have a date for us tonight.”
“A what?” A date? Oh God, no. What had Caley gotten me involved with now and more important who?
Caley’s grin showed pride in herself. “Yes, my dearest Grammy, we have a double date.”
guys I met on Saturday night.” Her hands fell from her waist and she
wagged her finger at me in classic Caley fashion. “And you’re going,
either willingly or unwillingly, so deal with it.”
“But it’s a
Monday night” Not that a date didn’t sound like fun. Hell, it’d been
months, actually a year since I’d been on one, but a man Caley chose in a
drunken stupor. No thanks. Being a dark brunette with the long shag
look, emerald eyes surrounded by dark lashes, body of a twenty year old
with boobs which screamed of youth, my looks were never the problem.
was my random spouts of talking to myself, which was the anchor in my
ship. My sex life was as dead as the man in front of me. That particular
part of my body was more like a woman married for forty years―bored.
But it didn’t mean I wanted to go out with anyone Caley set up for me,
so I did my best to get out of this. “I have to work tomorrow.”
Caley pointed her wagging finger directly at my face, as a knowing glance rose to her face. “Grandma.”
sighed and rolled my eyes. There would be no winning here. Caley’s
relentless. It was a personality trait I respected most in her. She
never backed down, always dreamed big and went for it. But it wasn’t all
rays of sunshine. Her determination made her a little rough around the
edges. Still, I loved her for it. She may have flaws, but she was loyal
and trustworthy. Qualities hard to find nowadays.
If I wanted to keep any pride, I had to give in or it’d look like she won. That I couldn’t have. “Fine. I’ll go.”
grinned, appeased. She spun on heels and headed toward the door. “I’ll
pick you up at eight.” Then, she glanced back and winked. “Leave the
granny panties at home.”
Ten long, gruelling hours
dragged by. Not because my boss was as demanding as any two-year-old,
but because the ghost still hadn’t left or shut up. The past hours he
tried his best to get my attention. Good thing, I’m great at tuning
people out or I would have caved after hour two.
With a long
heavy sigh, I turned off the computer, cleaned up the papers, and just
as I stood pushing the chair under the desk, the ghost said, “I know you
can hear me.”
Apparently this was his favourite line, since
he’d said it a thousand times over the past ten hours. A non-stop stream
of jibber-jabber which was irritating. If the ghost’s voice wasn’t so
damn luscious I wouldn’t be so wound up. Some spirits tried harder than
others did but I never reacted to them like this. He had me intrigued.
Still, I’d fight against that ridiculous feeling.
Quickly, I made
it out of my office and toward the front door. After a wave good-bye to
Doris, I stepped outside and breathed in the early evening air. Food
mixed with exhaust from the cars on the busy street―everything that
meant I was home.
The moment I took a step forward, my happiness faded when the ghost said, “I’m not leaving until you admit you can hear me.”
a flick of my hair to dismiss him, I started down the street and soon I
rounded onto Third Street. The ghost tried again, a little louder and
more abrupt this time. “Dammit woman! Will you stop ignoring me? It’s
I’m annoying him? I wanted to laugh at the ridiculous
notion, but it would only give me away. So instead, I kept my eyes glued
to the street in front of me, wanting nothing more than to be home.
few blocks down, I turned onto G E Patterson Avenue, and my aching feet
and head shouted in relief as my building came into view. On the
outside, it appeared to be an old textile factory. Inside, it was
anything but. The exact reason why I snatched one of the modern condos
the day it’d gone on the market.
I made my way up the stairs
while I took my keys from my purse. At the thick mahogany wooden door, I
raised my key pass to the scanner, grabbed the chrome door handle, and
swung it open. After I hurried in, the door closed behind me with the
ghost right on my heels.
Just three doors down, I opened the door
to my condo before slamming it closed behind me. Of course, it didn’t
stop the ghost from melting through the door to invade my personal
Tossing the keys on the kitchen table, I dropped my purse
on the floor and went straight for the bathroom. If this sneaky spirit
followed me, a serious fit would be released.
As the bathroom
closed shut behind me, I waited a moment, marvelling at my granite
masterpiece. Large shower, corner Jacuzzi tub, modern sink with a glass
bowl sitting atop, even the toilet looked sleek.
After a moment, I
let out the breath I’d been holding, pleased the ghost was smart enough
to stay away from here. At least, he had some morals or maybe just
What I needed was some space to breathe and the
silence was pure bliss. At the shower, I turned on the water as hot as I
could stand it, stripped off my clothes and stepped in to enjoy the
moment of peace.
It wasn’t until my fingers were wrinkled and the
bathroom was full of steam did I dare to get out. I turned the shower
off, squeezed the water from my hair, and wrapped the warm towel around
my body. With hesitation, knowing what was ahead of me, I opened the
door to the bathroom and followed the steam out as I made my way across
the dark hardwood floors toward the bedroom.
Halfway there, a sudden gasp―a deep, low gasp that spoke of shock and desire―stopped me.
it didn’t stop me for long. No, I couldn’t play into this type of
nonsense. I scooted into my bedroom then shut the door behind me and
leaned against it. What in the hell was that all about? Did he think I
was beautiful? The thought did bring a smile to my face. But as fast as
it came, I forced it away. What was I thinking? Being flattered by a
ghost was about as sick as it came.
Pushing those thoughts aside,
I got dressed. Once done, I made my way back to the bathroom to take on
the task of becoming a sexy kitten.
A while later, I replaced
the cap on my lip gloss, returned it to the make-up bag, and took a step
back to examine myself in the mirror. My hair was being kind to me and
my makeup was bang on. With my low-riding dark wash jeans and blue plaid
three-quarter length sleeve top, tied to leave my midriff exposed, I
couldn’t have been more pleased. At least, I would look sexy while I
suffered through the embarrassing blind date.
Right then, the
familiar cold breeze swept across me again. I raised my gaze back from
admiring my clothing to the mirror, I wasn’t alone. The ghost had joined
me in the bathroom, and instinctively, I glanced at his face in the
“You can see me?” he stared at me with intent.
eyes were so captivating. Everything in me screamed to look away and
ignore him. But something in me just couldn’t do it. I wanted to be lost
in those eyes. Who knew maybe that was his thing―a powerful presence
which demanded he be heard. Whatever it was, it worked on me.
passed before I snapped back to reality, tore my gaze from the mirror,
spun around and walked right through him. My breath hitched as a cold
shudder rendered my muscles useless for a moment. It was equivalent to
walking into a deep freeze. Luckily, the effects weren’t long lasting.
my initial stagger, I persisted on and as I walked by the kitchen, the
green numbers on my stainless steel stove glowed seven-fifty-eight. With
sure steps, I hurried on and made it to the door, just needing to get
the hell out of here and away from him. It’s one thing to see ghosts,
another thing to help them if they demanded it, but to be attracted to
one? This was beginning to linger into the land of the mentally
grabbed the door handle, tore through the door and didn’t stop for a second even as I heard him speak again.
“By the way, you look sexy as hell.”
Copyright © Stacey Kennedy