Charlotte and I hit a major snag in our mutual quest to figure out how to bring our brother William back to life.
“I’ve researched every place I can think of to discover more about Life Fruit,” Charlotte said for like the thousandth time. She’d used most of her contacts in the scientific community to discover if anyone could locate the elusive fruit and give us a seedling or a plant.
“We wouldn’t be able to grow it now anyway,” William said, shrugging. “It’s winter, and everything you’ve discovered said that this plant only grows in the ground during its season and cannot be grown in a hot house situation.”
“I really thought we’d have found something by now,” I sighed. I was extremely disappointed in our lack of progress.
“Well at least we have quite a few specimens of Death Fish,” Charlotte acknowledged. We had met at the cemetery to get samples of the water to see if we could discover anything else about why the Death Fish could only be found in grave yards.
The three of us had started to meet regularly to discuss our progress, no matter how minimal. I couldn’t help but wish we’d talked about William’s predicament sooner. I figure we’d be farther along.
To reduce my stress level due to the frustrations related to finding Life Fruit, I took my brother’s advice and started dating again. He had warned me that I couldn’t get too caught up in work and research. I still had to live my life.
“Just because I’m dead, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t live,” he advised me. So, reluctantly at first, I started going back to the local watering hole.
That’s when I saw Eve again. She had changed her hair, so I was initially shocked by her appearance. Then, we caught up, and I remembered how much I liked her before I started dating Julie seriously.
“I’m sorry you broke up,” Eve sympathized when I explained why I was at the bar alone.
“It’s ok,” I said. “I guess we just weren’t compatible. Now we just work together, but I don’t see her that often. We are rarely in the office together. Our work keeps us out in the field.”
“Oh? What is it that you do?”
“Um…” I hedged. “I’m not really supposed to say. I guess it’s classified.”
Eve and I continued to talk. I gave her half answers about my work. I told her the name of the company and explained that our offices were in the basement of the science facility. Then I asked Eve about her classes and she got really enthusiastic about her students and how much fun it is to teach.
Hearing her talk about kids made me smile. Hunting for ghosts was exciting, but I think I could have enjoyed being a teacher. I would have liked helping to shape the young minds of Twinbrook. I admired Eve for what she did. I told her that.
“Oh, it’s nothing. I just like what I do. The kids make it special, not me.”
“You help,” I smiled. “All the kids must love you.” She blushed at my compliment.
After that meeting in the bar, I asked Eve to go with me to the movies and then, since we’d enjoyed ourselves, I asked if she’d like to meet me in the park.
“I know it’s cold and snowy,” I said, “but the Winter Festival is in town and we could go skating or make snowmen or whatever you want.”
“Sounds like fun,” she agreed. I was glad because I really liked her and would have hated it if she didn’t enjoy being outdoors at least a little bit.
We ended up spending most of the afternoon at the park. We did exactly what I suggested, going ice-skating and building a silly snowman. Then Eve surprised me by gathering up a decent sized snowball and lobbing it at me. It caught me off guard and I ended up on my ass in the snow!
“Hey! I’ll get you for that!” I threatened, while she laughed. Then the two of us engaged in a fairly raucous snowball fight. I’m afraid that Eve got the best of me. She was a surprisingly good shot!
“I played varsity softball,” she told me after. “I was the catcher, but catchers are pretty good throwers, too.”
We ended the evening on the swings, just hanging out and talking. When the temperature really dropped and it was getting pretty dark, I invited Eve back to my place.
Within a few weeks, Eve and I decided to take our relationship to the next level. We waited until Snowflake Day to tell everyone.
“So, you two are going to live together?” Charlotte asked. “That’s a pretty big move.”
“I know,” Eve said. “Sometimes I think we’re going too fast, but then I try to think of any cons to this decision and I just can’t think of any.”
“I love you,” I leaned over and kissed Eve on the cheek. She blushed, but I smiled.
“I’m happy for you both,” Charlotte’s girlfriend, Tiffany, said, coming over to sit by Charlotte. “This house is huge and I know that Char has been worried about you living here alone.”
“I have the cat,” I said.
Charlotte snorted. “I don’t think that old cat counts as a roommate. She barely leaves her bed. Since Felix died, I think Hattie has been pining away. It’s only a matter of time before she dies, too.”
“I know,” I said, “but she’s still a good cat.”
With Eve in the house, I had to be a bit more circumspect with my interactions with William. I hadn’t told her about him. I wanted to, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it.
“Just tell her,” William advised. “Char told Tiffany and Tiffany took it well. She is always asking if I’m around.”
“I’m sure you love that, don’t you?” I snorted.
“Well, it is sort of fun to scare her every now and then. She still jumps when I turn on the TV or open the fridge or something. It’s cute when she gets exasperated.”
“Well, I don’t want you to tease Eve like that. She’s not like Tiffany.”
“How do you know? You haven’t told her anything.”
“I just know.” I ignored William as he laughed. I focused on my workout.
Since Eve was still pretty curious about my work, I decided I would explain my brother’s ghostly self by first explaining exactly what I do.
I came home early one evening wearing my uniform. Of course Eve was surprised by it.
“Why does your jumpsuit have a gravestone on it?” She asked. “I don’t think I have ever seen you wearing it.”
“I usually leave it at work,” I said. “But I got out early tonight. I thought I’d just come home. I can wash it here.”
“Hmmm,” she stared at the S.E.E. logo under the gravestone. “What does S.E.E. stand for? I’m not sure you’ve ever said.”
“I know,” I said. “It stands for Supernatural Entity Evaluation. We are like investigators. But what we investigate is in the supernatural realm not the physical one.”
Eve wrinkled her nose the way she always does when she doesn’t understand something and is trying to work it out. I normally found the facial gesture cute, but now it made me nervous.
“I’m not sure I get what you are saying.”
“Well,” I rubbed the back of my neck. “I am sort of like a Ghost Buster. I mean, I investigate and sometimes exterminate ghosts, poltergeists and other spirits.”
“I think I need to sit down,” Eve said and headed for the sofa. I sat down in the love seat. Then I proceeded to tell her all about my work. In the end, Eve, decided that I wasn’t completely crazy.
“I don’t know if I completely believe in ghosts. But, you do go to work and make a living doing something. You say you investigate ghosts…I guess maybe that’s exactly what you do.”
“So, did you tell her?” William and I were about to engage in video-game carnage after our workout. Eve was out teaching an extra-curricular class and William and I weren’t due to go to work for a couple of hours.
“I tried.” I said, but looked away, so he knew I wasn’t being completely honest.
“I really did try. She barely believed me when I told her about my work. I think it’s just going to take some time to tell her about you. We’ll have to work up to it, I guess.”
“Just tell her,” William said. “You know you can’t go forward with this relationship if you don’t.”
“What do you mean by that?”
William just looked at me. “Don’t act like you don’t want to take this relationship to the next level. I’m just surprised you haven’t already purchased a ring!”
“What! We haven’t known each other long enough to get married!”
“Are you kidding?” William raised his ghostly eyebrow at me. “You’re the marrying kind, Homer. That’s why I always knew that Julie wasn’t the girl for you. But, I think you might have that with Eve.”
I didn’t respond, but I was pretty sure I had found the right girl. I just needed to let her in on all the weird secrets in my life before I could ask her the question William knew I wanted to.
I am frustrated in my search for the fruit I need to possibly find a way to bring my brother William back from the dead. Nothing I have been able to uncover has led me to finding the fruit. And now it’s winter. Even if I did find it, I couldn’t grow it.
Of course, I can’t let this get me down. As William himself warned me, I have to let myself live a little instead of burying myself in work. Thankfully, I have Tiffany as a partner. She never lets me forget to have a little fun in my life.
“You’re getting good at this,” Tiffany encouraged me. She’d been teaching me how to ice-skate.
I smiled and started to laugh, but then I felt myself wobble and the next thing I knew, we were both hitting the ice.
“Oh, gosh! I’m sorry!” I said, “are you ok?” Tiffany had fallen forward and landed more on her face. She was making a noise that I couldn’t distinguish.
“Tif? Are you alright?” I repeated, leaning over her to see if maybe she’d hit her chin or bit her tongue or something. Then I realized that the noise she was making was laughter. I pushed her lightly on the shoulder. “Don’t laugh at me!”
“S-sorry,” she gasped between laughs. She was laughing so hard she couldn’t seem to get to her feet. “Y-you sh-should have s-seen your face!”
“Hey!” I tried to sound annoyed, but I had started laughing too. Eventually we both got up and then skated over to the rink exit.
We left the rink, and I offered to get us both some hot chocolate. I thought we might leave after that, but Tiffany said we should build a snow man. I didn’t know why we’d bothered to have a warm drink first, but I shrugged and agreed.
“This is fun,” I told her as we were making it. We’d decided to do a traditional snowman with the carrot nose and black buttons and a top hat. We used branches for his arms. I’m not sure where Tiffany got the materials to make the thing, but I’d stopped being surprised about the things she thought up for us to do.
What I didn’t know was that Tiffany had an even bigger surprise in store for me. Once we put the twigs into the body, she said, “I think we’re missing something.”
“What?” I asked, confused. “I think it has everything. Carrot, buttons, sticks, hat…what more do we need?”
“Just this,” Tiff said. I turned and saw her down on one knee holding and open box.
“Will you marry me?”
Tiffany lifted the shining ring from the box and put it on my finger. Then she stood and I fell into her arms.
“I can’t believe we’re getting married!” I screeched.
“I can’t believe you’re getting married,” William echoed my own words when I broke the news to both of my brothers.
“Me either,” said Homer kind of wistfully. I knew that he was dating again. I think her name was Eve, but I hadn’t met her. William said she was sweet.
“When do you think you two are going to do it?” Homer asked. “Are you going to wait until spring?”
“Yeah. Tiffany wants an outdoor wedding.”
“What about a bachelorette party?” William asked, wiggling his ghostly brows in what I suppose was meant to be a suggestive look.
I snorted. “I don’t think so.”
“You have to be kidding me!” I stalked into the bathroom where I heard Tiffany singing off key like she always does when she bathes alone.
She looked up at me and smiled. “What?”
“You know what!” She just stared at me with a little smirk on her face.
“It will be fun,” she said, continuing to wash.
“I thought we agreed. I thought we both thought the whole idea was silly. No party. No fizzy drinks. No strippers!”
“You agreed. You thought all of those things. I always said it would be fun,” Tiffany replied.
I sat down on the toilet and watched as Tiffany lifted a leg and ran a loofa over her skin. I was distracted, which was not a good thing. I was regretting having this confrontation in the bathroom.
“Charlotte. Your brother wants to do this for us. Both of them, actually, even though I have to rely on Homer’s word that William was the one who thought this whole thing up.”
“Oh my gosh! You let my brothers talk you into this?!” I dropped my head into my hands, taking away the distracting sight of my girlfriend, but knowing that I wouldn’t be able to get out of doing the stupid bachelorette party.
“Yes. They want to throw us a party. It will be co-ed. Don’t worry. It will be fun, you’ll see.” I just groaned.
In the end I gave in over the bachelor party which I knew was really inevitable. But when I agreed to let them throw the party, I forced Tiffany to agree to a make over.
“I like my look,” she told me, but I got her to go to the salon anyway. She asked for “just a trim” but I took one look at the wince that the stylist, Fabio, gave her and told him he could do whatever he thought would be perfect for our wedding.
In the end, he didn’t do a lot, but I loved the new look and Tiffany admitted that it was “nice.”
She was more enthusiastic about my new look. I had to agree. It was quite a difference from my messy bun, but I liked it. Surprisingly, just as Fabio had told me it would be, the new shorter hair-cut was just as easy to deal with as the bun.
The bachelorette party wasn’t that bad. I was a bit annoyed that Tiffany made me dress in a ridiculous mini-wedding gown.
“Why do I have to wear this and you get to wear that sleek black number?”
“’Cause you love me?”
“I look stupid,” I pouted.
“No you don’t. You look lovely. It’s perfect.”
“Well, the least you could do is leave your hair down. Fabio cut it so cute and now you have it tied up again.”
“Charlotte. I love my new hair, but this dress looks better when my hair’s up. Don’t you think?” She turned showing her exposed back and then turned back.
I looked at her neck and had to agree. There were shorter tendrils brushing against her collar-bone since Fabio had cut layers into it that were too short to pin up under her ribbon. I wanted to kiss her right below the ear.
Of course, we couldn’t get out of having exotic dancers at the party. My brother came up to us with a huge grin and told us they’d be there. “William insisted,” he said. “He said a bachelorette party just had to have dancers. We hired girls.”
“Oh great,” I snorted. “Just because we’re lesbians.”
“Ha,” he snorted back at me. “William said you’d say that. He told me to tell you that the girls are for the male members of this party.”
“Whatever,” I said, but Tiffany just laughed. “Whatever makes you feel better,” she patted Homer on the shoulder.
The two dancers brought huge bottles of champagne in for everyone and people started toasting us. Then, once the juice was flowing, things got a bit wild. Even Tiffany got into the spirit of the party, insisting on spraying me with fizzy nectar.
“It’s been fun,” I admitted when Tiffany and I were slow dancing at the end of the night.
“And you thought this was a bad idea.”
Well, the party was such a hit, I decided the stupid hat Tiffany made me wear wasn’t so bad. I went back to the salon and got Fabio help me pick out my dress and fix it up so that the hat with the veil worked. If I did say so myself, I thought I looked pretty good.
We got married outside like Tiffany wanted. We went to the park and said our vows on the dance floor. Then, to commemorate the event, we had some cute photo-booth wedding pictures taken.
That night, when Tiffany and I got home, we were exhausted. I thought we might just fall right into bed and fall asleep. I know that isn’t very romantic, but my feet were killing me and it was late.
As usual, though, I hadn’t counted on my wife—how strange to think of her that way!
“Charlotte,” she said, grabbing me close. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“This was the best day of my life.”
I nodded, not sure I could speak. I thought I might just start crying if I tried. It had been a perfect day.
“You looked beautiful today. I liked the dress. And the hat,” she smiled, her eyes twinkling as she flipped at the netting hanging around my eyes.
“You looked beautiful, too,” I managed to say. “Fabio did a great job with your hair. I liked the flowers.”
She smiled. “Let’s go to bed.”
We didn’t fall asleep right away. But, we did have the best dreams!