Till Death Do Us Part Conclusion

Spooktacular Sunday October 2015

Hi Yall and welcome back for the final installments of Till Death do Us Part

Till Death Do Us Part Cover red title

Till Death Do Us Part

Copyright © 2015 <Cathy Brockman>

All rights reserved

Edited By Ellie Mack

Proofread by Vicki Locey

Novelette: 17,121 words (63pages)

Genre: Male/Female -Supernatural, Contemporary

Heat rating: 2

Blurb:

What happens when we die? I’m not sure about everyone else, but for me, Bill Parker, I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my wife Mandi and my kids alone. So, I stayed behind, attached to my wife… I mean my widow.

 

Currently she’s seeing this new guy. I don’t trust him for one second. He has an air of danger about him. It’s my job to protect her and my family, but how do I protect them when the only contact I have with her is in Mandi’s dreams?

If you missed Chapters 1-5 you can find them here

6-10 here

Chapter 11

I must be dreaming

 

I was shocked when Mark followed through on clearing up the bank fiasco. Somehow, he managed to make a deposit and produce a valid deposit slip. Mandi apologized. I still think he is hiding something and lying to her.

Christmas was even more chaotic than Thanksgiving. Mandi had been so busy with all the preparations and stuff that she barely had time to sleep, little less to dream about me. I missed our visits.

It’s now New Year’s Eve and thankfully, Mark was working at the bar. Mandi had decided to stay home, but the bar was going to stay open until 3 a.m. He claimed he had to stay to help clean up, so he won’t be home until dawn. He told her not to wait up.  She smiled and said OK. I couldn’t help but laugh since she never waits up for him when he works.

I’m thrilled since that gives me more time alone with Mandi.

 

After her shower, she comes into her room, searching around as if looking for me. “Bill, are you here?”

It’s heartbreaking because now that I am gone she seems to want me more. Perhaps the saying ‘you don’t know what you have until it’s gone,’ holds true.

I fold back the sheets and pick up her e-reader from the nightstand, dropping it on the bed. I hope she takes this as a sign that I am here.

Her face lights up with a warm smile as she climbs into the bed. I am pleased that she is wearing her long nightshirt and not a negligee for him.

“Good. I’m glad you’re here. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t know why, but with you around, I feel so secure. I miss you.”

“I miss you too,” I whisper, knowing she can’t hear me. I would give anything to be able to talk to her, but I guess I better count my blessings and be happy I get this much.

I settle in next to her while she reads out-loud to me from her Kindle. It’s become a habit when Mark works late. I cherish these moments and have grown to like the books that she reads. She received a gift card for Christmas and had been busy downloading books. She is very diverse and reads anything from vampires, shifters, stories full of suspense and angst, even stories about gay men. I have to say, when she started reading me a male/ male romance I was a bit freaked out. I admit that the story was very good. I hope that isn’t what we are reading tonight though.

I’m in luck. She chose a werewolf series that she loves. So, I snuggle up beside her and listen to her soft, sweet voice.

 

After a couple of hours, she plugs the reader back up on the nightstand by her bed and rolls over on her side. I curl up behind her, spooning her into me. We were always such a perfect fit.

It isn’t long before she drifts off to sleep, and I find myself in her arms for real. Well, as real as a ghost can be. We are lying face to face, holding each other closely.

“Hi, baby-doll,” I say, gazing into those gorgeous green eyes that always seemed to mesmerize me.

“Hey,” she whispers back, as a slight blush creeps across her face. ”I’m so glad you’re here.” She brushes her knuckles over my cheeks, down my face, swiping a finger across my lips.

“I am. I mean sorta.” I feel like a blubbering fool. She has always had a way of making me come unglued.

“Thanks for staying with me. I don’t think I could get through a day without knowing you’re still with me. I made one heck of a mess with my life again, haven’t I?” She nuzzles into my neck. I can’t think clearly enough to answer her questions. So, I nod, swallowing hard.

“It’s so strange being able to talk to you and hold you again. It feels so real.” She dips her head to my throat and inhales deeply. Her hot breath on my skin sends a shudder through me.

“It is real. I’m not sure why you can only see or hear me in your dreams, but I’m glad. I don’t like Mark; there is something up with him. Be very careful.”

“I will. He is helping us out a lot. I just can’t take care of the kids on what I make, and their checks from you go for their car payments, clothes, and a little in a trust for college.”

“I understand. Please watch for signs from me in case I see something you can’t. Ok? Let me try something, hand me that notepad on your nightstand and pen. I’m going to leave you a note and see if it shows up on the paper. That way we will have a way to communicate.”

“That’s a great idea. Do you think he can exorcise you, or whatever it is he is doing?”

“I don’t think so. My mentor checked in on me during Christmas, and I asked about all that. He said that it took a very powerful witch or medium to cause any harm. There aren’t very many. The things he has been doing ward off evil spirits, so I have nothing to worry about.”

“”Good! I don’t want you to go.”

“I’m glad because the one way I can be revoked is if you no longer want me around.”

“That’ll never happen. I do still love you. You know that, don’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Let’s not waste any more time talking? Are you able to make love to me?”

Her question catches me off guard. I can’t breathe. If the hard on I am sporting right now is any sign, then I’m sure I can.

“It seems that when you pull me into your dreams I am as real as you are. Care to find out?” I wink. Her sweet blush and gentle nod of her head is all the invitation I need.

I push her onto her back and gently lay on top of her, letting my erection press lightly against her. I lean down and take her mouth in a slow, heated kiss.

Her hands slide up my shirt, caressing my skin. “Can you feel that?”

“Yes.” I breathe out as I nuzzle down her neck, kissing and licking. She always loved it when I found that special spot under her ear.

Her moans of pleasure urge me on. She yanks my shirt over my head, and her nimble fingers make quick work of my trousers. It has been so long and I’m so worked up that I couldn’t care less if she tore them off.

I sit on the edge of the bed to remove my pants and socks. I hide my shoes under the bed in the guest room, but if they can’t see me, I doubt they can see my clothes either.

As I rise to take off my socks, she grabs me and pushes me back, straddling me. I forgot how eager she could get. She leans down and kisses me slowly, her tongue tracing and teasing my lips and tongue. She nips and sucks, which drives me crazy. I can feel the heat of her on my stomach. She isn’t wearing anything under her nightshirt. I reach under, caressing her small, firm breasts. She lets out a gasp as I tweak a hard nipple. I can’t resist any longer. I slip beneath her top, taking one of the succulent orbs in my mouth, tracing it with my tongue, sucking gently, and nibbling on the hard peak, while twisting the other with my fingers.

Her soft moans fuel my desire.

“Since you’re a ghost I’m assuming there is no need for a condom?” she whispers between moans, as I slide my free hand down her side and around her back. The need to feel her soft skin again is overwhelming.

I don’t want to stop what I’m doing to answer, so I nod hoping she notices it.

She is so warm and wet as she slides slowly down on me. She pushes my head back and leans forward for a kiss. I wrap my arms around her holding her tightly as we are joined as one. She gently eases me down to the bed, her lips like a drug. I whimper when she pulls away. That whimper quickly turns into moans of ecstasy as she gradually begins moving, making love to me. The way it used to be. Perfect. Beautiful. Amazing. Sensual. The way I wish it could’ve been forever.

I slide my hands all over her body, enjoying every soft contour, as she tosses her head back, quickening her pace. I feel her body tightening around me and I know the end is soon near.

I echo her cry of pleasure, and as she drops down on top of me, I hold her trembling body. I don’t want to let go, but I know I will have to. Much too soon.

“I love you,” she whispers into my ear.

Hearing her words I feel the warmth of her love spreading over me, our bond becoming stronger.

“I love you too,” I whisper back. In the background, I can hear doors opening and closing, footsteps approaching. I can’t hold back the tears as she slowly disappears from my grasp.

Chapter 12

Something’s Fishy

 

After we had made love on New Year’s Eve, Mandi dreamed of me more often. Those nights make having to tolerate another man living with my wife and doing things with my kids that I could no longer do, all worthwhile.

I try to lay low and not give in to my urges to do things to get Mark to leave. As tense as things are becoming, I figure it may not be long before I get my wish.

Mark is staying out more frequently, and he and Mandi argue increasingly more. The kids seem only to pay attention to him when he is buying them things, but I suppose that’s typical teens.

Whenever Mandi questions him about where he is going, or why he stays out so late, he says he was fishing with his brother-in-law or working.

After weeks of him coming home without any fish, Mandi points it out. Suddenly, he starts bringing home a bag or two of them, conveniently cleaned, filleted and, my guess, previously frozen. I’m surprised that Mandi fell for it.

One day in early spring, Mandi comes in from work early and picks up the mail. She looks pale as she flops down on the sofa with three of the letters. I sit beside her, peering over her shoulder.

“How could this be?” she murmurs, as she opens the third.

I pick them up and read them. There is a credit card issued in Mandi’s name over the limit and overdue. Another is from the mortgage company, stating she is two months behind and late in the third. The last is a shutoff notice from the electric company if she doesn’t pay last month along with this month, which is also late.

The tears building in Mandi’s eyes break my heart. I follow as she goes to the office and fumbles through Mark’s desk. There isn’t anything incriminating there, but I find it odd that there aren’t any receipts or old bills anywhere. Not even a bank statement in the file drawer. The top drawer is locked, but the desk is so old it isn’t hard to jiggle open. Inside, hidden in the far back, she finds two checkbooks. One has many negative numbers and extra payments, looking as if the account was bouncing a lot. The other one is perfect. All deposits in place, all bills paid on time. The one he shows Mandi. She rants, raves, and sobs as I comfort her.

Mark barely got in the door when Mandi made her first attack, shoving the checkbooks in Mark’s face.

“Explain this!” She growls. The sound may not be quite threatening on its own, but trust me this woman can do some damage with words, and her purse that weighs about 15 pounds. I would love to see her deck him a good one.

 

I take a seat and watch the action. Too bad I can’t have some popcorn and a beer. Scratch the beer. Too much of that is what got me where I am. Sitting here invisible watching my wife fight with her new husband.

 

“Calm down and give me a chance to see what you have.” He takes them from her hands, his eyes growing wide and face paling as he looks them over. “Where did you find these?”

“What the hell does it matter how I find them or where? Why do you have two checkbooks and a credit card in my name? Mandi’s face turns a bright red, her lovely green eyes flashing with the fire of her fury.

“I didn’t know what to do honey. You overspent over the holidays. I figured I could pay it off this month. It’s all taken care of now.” He shoves the checkbooks in his back pocket, saunters to the fridge and grabs a cold beer. My mouth waters as he takes a long drink, then he turns back to Mandi as if they were discussing the weather. “Would you like a glass of tea or maybe some wine to help calm you?”

“I didn’t overspend. YOU are the one that got the kids all of those expensive clothes and gifts, and the expensive jewelry for me. The things I bought fit perfectly in my budget.” She glared at him, hands on her hips her face fierce.

I can’t believe he has the nerve to blame her. He is smooth, but my Mandi is much smarter than he is giving her credit.

“I’m sorry. You’re right. I did go a bit overboard. But it was our first Christmas and I wanted you all happy. I thought I would make more in tips and extra parties to cover it.” He gave her a look that I assume was supposed to be cute. On Mandi it might’ve been, with him it was pretty silly.

“That’s why I’m working extra and trying to sell fish. I have it covered. I didn’t want to worry you. It’s all under control.”

I call bullshit! That’s a wild fish story if ever I heard one! There has to be more than that. I just don’t think it’s over. He is up to something.

I see Mandi about to give in or at least call it a night on this one.

 

 

I remember watching him going out to the car a lot after working on the bills, so I decide to investigate. At first glance, there is nothing unusual. It is neat as a pin, just the way Mandi likes things. She keeps a milk crate with emergency supplies – a gallon of water, a thermal blanket, a toolkit, a first aid kit, a couple flashlights and, of course, a jumper cable. In another flat box, she keeps a six-pack of water and a box of granola that she rotates every few weeks.

I’m about to give up when I notice the bottom isn’t completely locked in place, so I lift it to find a stack of letters lying on top of the spare tire. I look around to see where everyone is so no one will notice the papers floating through the air. The kids are both gone and Mandi and Mark are in the kitchen arguing over their lunch. I gather them quietly, shut the trunk and hide them under my mattress.

I’m so thrilled that I have proof. I can’t wait to rub it in Mark’s face. I’m so full of pride at my accomplishment that I just have to gloat. I go into the office and turn on the computer, which they keep un-coded since they both share it. I pull up the sticky notes and write:

Busted!

I found the proof that will be the nail in your coffin. It won’t be long now before you are out of our lives for good.

 

Little do I realize this stupid stunt could be the nail in my coffin, not his

Chapter 13

Make Mine a Medium

 

It’s two long days before Mark comes into his office to use the computer. He has been too busy eating crow and out working to cover up whatever it is he is doing.

I didn’t worry that Mandi would find my note since she uses her pad more than the computer. I thought about deleting it since I’m not sure the impact it will have now that she has forgiven him. Well, perhaps not forgiven him, since I know Mandi. She may let it go for now, but it won’t be totally over. Ever.

I decide to leave it. I may not have gotten rid of him yet, but I did drive a deeper wedge between him and Mandi.

 

He finally comes up to the office, and I follow him in. Mandi is in the shower, and I know that she won’t be coming into the guest room where she has been sleeping for the past couple of nights, with me.

I wish I had thought of it sooner, and I would’ve added that to my little note.

I hear the whir of machinery as the computer groans and whines. It is pretty much a dinosaur, but at least it does still work.

I watch Mark’s face twist in confusion as he reads the note. His brow furrows, and he bites his lip as he reads.

Bang! He rubs his fist, looking around the room. Suddenly, his eyes light up, and he grins slyly. I hear the printer grind and watch as he folds the paper he snatches off the printer up and puts it in his pocket. His fingers fly furiously over the keyboard. I watch for a few minutes, hoping he will try to argue with me. I would love to smack him with a book or two. Instead, he seems engrossed in reading something on the computer. I go over and look. Another medium’s homepage.

I head back to mine and Mandy’s room. I may not have gotten a good fight with him, but at least I will be the one making love to my wife tonight.

I slam the guest room door as I leave, so he knows I will be in there with her.

***

The next morning after Mandi leaves for work, and the house was all clear. We make love more now, and with more passion, than we had the past few years of our marriage.

I hear a door quietly snick shut. I hurry to see who came in. I hope Will isn’t skipping school again, or Kelly following in his footsteps. I’m shocked to see Mark head into the kitchen and make a fresh pot of coffee.

Why isn’t he at work? A few minutes later the doorbell rings. An average looking woman, who appears close to Mark’s age, walks in looking around as if she is studying the layout of the house. This can’t be good.

I wish I had a way to record this to prove to Mandi he is cheating. She doesn’t own a video recorder because they all have smartphones. Even if she did, I couldn’t get it and bring it to wherever they end up. A floating video recorder would be obvious.

 

“Thank you for stopping by Sylvia. Would you like a cup of coffee? It’s fresh.” He offers her a chair.

“No, thank you. I don’t drink anything with caffeine. It’s a stimulant and in my business I don’t need anything to add to, or take away from, my senses. I will take some water if you have any purified.” She pulls out the chair, looks at it, walks over to the paper towel dispenser and pulls off a few. After wiping down the chair, she sits.

I notice that she keeps looking in my direction and squinting.

“We have bottled spring water and my wife has a pitcher of filtered water in the fridge.”

“I’ll have the filtered, please.” She rests her hands on the table, quickly pulling them back and wiping them with the towel. “On second thought, I will take the bottled, please.”

I suddenly feel cold  as if something is examining me. The strange woman makes an ‘ah’ sound.

“Shall we get straight to business?” she asks.

It does appear that my first impression was wrong, and they aren’t lovers.

Mark looks at her in surprise. I guess he doesn’t like that his charm is falling flat.

She grabs his hand, as he hands her the bottle, and holds it tightly, closing her eyes. This time, she makes a disgusted ‘Hmm’ sound. She drops his hand as she sets the bottle on the table.

“This won’t take long,” She says as she narrows her eyes at him.

Mark sits down across from her.

“You do indeed have a spirit in the house.”

“I knew you would be able to help me. You come highly recommended. What do we do? Have a séance and send him back to wherever he belongs?” He grins triumphantly.

She looks at him, her face is taut, nose slightly crinkled as if he disgusts her. I know the feeling.

“No, there will be no séances or exorcisms. Those are for flamboyancy in movies. However, your spirit is no danger to anyone in this house. He seems to be a gentle soul though protective of the ones he loves. As long as you don’t challenge him or inflict any harm, physical or emotional, you should be fine. “

“You don’t understand. I want him gone!” His voice is loud and angry.

“It’s not your choice. He has strong spiritual ties to your wife and not the house. The only one that can send him on would be her. She would have to sever the links of both their hearts and souls.” She pushes away from the table, the water untouched.

“I will get your check for your consultation.” He grinds his teeth in that annoying manner I hate.

“I don’t want your tainted money. Your objectives are selfish. You are a deceitful, domineering man. I wish you luck.” She looks in my direction and gives me a gentle smile. “You, on the other hand, I hope Karma is just.” She glares at him. I smile as she walks out of the door, leaving a fuming Mark behind.

I push the water bottle off the table and chuckle when he jumps as it hits the floor, rolling towards his feet. I had to let him know I was there!

“Don’t be too smug. I have an idea of how to get rid of you myself, and it won’t cost me a dime.”

 

Chapter 14

How can you fix a broken spirit?

 

Mark leaves home for a few hours.  I assume he’s going to work. When he comes back, he has a bag of groceries, a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of Mandi’s favorite honeyed peach wine.

He puts the wine in the chiller and begins chopping vegetables for a salad. I unplug the chiller.

Hitting the switch to turn on the garbage disposal, he notices the chiller unplugged. He takes the bottle out and puts it in the refrigerator.

He sets the table using Mandi’s favorite lace tablecloth, flowered place mats and napkins and then heads towards the bedroom. I follow to see what he is doing and almost throw up as I look in the door and see him naked as a jaybird. I run back downstairs and switch the tablecloth to the ugliest one I can find – a solid black one, with skulls on it that she uses for Halloween.

Mark curses as he enters the room and sees what I have done. Then he glances at the clock, takes the meat out of the marinade and places it in the oven, before resetting the table with another flowered tablecloth, and proceeding to put out the salads and condiments.

He barely gets it ready as Mandi comes through the door.

”Wow, what is this about? You hardly ever cook, unless it’s for a fish fry.” She places her handbag on the table by the door, slipping her shoes underneath.

“I want to surprise you. You work so hard and have been so worried about the bills. I have something to show you after we eat.” He kisses her gently on the lips.

“Where are the kids?”

“Both called and said they weren’t coming home until later.”

I wish I were able to tell her that he called them and asked them to find a place to go until their curfew.

They sit and eat in silence. Mandi gets up and begins to clear the table, but Mark stops her. “Go upstairs and take a long bath, I’ll clean this up. I know you’ve had a hard day.”

“Speaking of hard days, why aren’t you at work tonight?”

“I wanted to spend some time with you plus I think have found the source of the bills not getting picked up from the mailbox.”

She raises her eyebrows questioningly. “Tell me.”

“Get your bath. I’ll tell you when you come out.”

I watch as she reluctantly leaves the room. What is he up to now?

Soon, he has the dishwasher loaded, the wine out and opened, and a tray set up on the coffee table. He turns the TV to her favorite music station and sits, waiting. Gloating.

I take a seat in the armchair to see what lies he has now.

Mandi comes into the room carrying her e-reader.

“Sit beside me.” Mark pats the couch beside him

“What do you have to tell me?” She accepts the glass of wine, taking a sip.  “Ooh, My favorite! Where did you get it?”

“The perks of working in a bar. I have something to show you that will prove what our problem is.”

Reaching into his pocket, he pulls out a folded piece of paper.  Mandi’s eyes widen as she reads it.

“This can’t be true!”

“I’m afraid it is. I have wanted to tell you for months now that he has been tormenting me.”

“Why haven’t you?” she still sounds skeptical.

“I didn’t think you would believe me, besides I couldn’t prove anything until now.”

She looked down at the note in her hand.

“I don’t know what to say,” she states, her voice sounding faint. Hurt.

“You don’t have to say anything. It’s not all your fault. We have all been tricked.” He pulls her into a hug. I watch as she stiffens and then pulls away when he tries to kiss her.

“I need a few minutes alone to think,” she says.

“Take as long as you need.” He smiles victoriously.

She storms off to the guest bedroom.

“Are you in here?” Mandi doesn’t sound happy at all.

I toss her Cosmo magazine on the bed to show her I am here.

Then all of a sudden, all hell breaks loose.

“What the hell, Bill? How could you do this?”

I wish she were asleep so that we could talk, but I have a sickening feeling she won’t be dreaming of me tonight.

After what seems like hours of her ranting and raving, and cussing blaming me for the bills not getting paid, she even claims that it’s my jealousy to hurt Mark that has ruined her credit. I have humiliated her. She tosses the crinkled paper on top of the magazine. “I never want to speak to you again.”

I feel a searing, tearing, burning in my heart as she stomps out, taking part of my soul with her.

 

Chapter15

What a pretty Light

As the days wear on, I feel lost and alone. I can still hear and see Mandi and the kids, so whatever happened, it didn’t send me away.

Mandi has moved back into her room with Mark though I never hear any sounds of pleasure. If only I hadn’t sent him that message on the computer. I had no idea he would print it out and use it against me.

I feel weak since she left me in the room that night, and she hasn’t dreamt of me since. It’s as if a tether to her has been cut loose. Now I find I can move around freely. I walk to the park sometimes to get out and escape the loneliness. I have no idea how to communicate with Mandi anymore. I do find a bit of joy in tossing Mark’s toothbrush in the toilet, his shoes in the kitty litter, little things like that. I know it’s juvenile, but I am determined to let him know that he may have won a battle, but he hasn’t won the war. Not yet.

Just when I think things can’t possibly get worse, I find how wrong I can be.

Mandy is sitting in her recliner reading, Kelly is in her room as usual, Mark is watching stupid reality television when Mandi’s cell phone rings.

“Hello”

I watch as her eyes grow wide, her face filled with concern.

“Yes, sir, this is Amanda Wallace.”

She listens intently. A tear slips from the corner of her eye.

“Where is he?” She grabs her pen and paper that she keeps by her chair and starts writing furiously. I run over beside her and look. I hold my breath as she scribbles.

It has the name of the county hospital and ER number.

Her face is as white as snow as she ends the call and immediately begins to dialing another.

“What’s wrong?” Mark asks her with a very slight sense of concern and no curiosity.

What has he done?

Mandi holds up a finger as she talks to the hospital. It takes a few redirections; then she gets the ER. They won’t tell her anything other than Will is there, and she needs to come and bring an insurance card. Typical hospitals. They care about nothing but money.

We get to the hospital and after jumping through several hoops Mandi finally gets to go back to see Will. He is shaken, has a broken arm and bruised ribs from the airbag.

“What happened?” she asks between sobs, tears streaming down her face.

“I don’t know. I left Jon’s and tried to stop at the stop sign. For some reason, the car wouldn’t stop.  I missed the curve and hit the tree.”

I wrap my arms around them both and this time she doesn’t shout at me or try to pull away. However, she does stiffen at my touch. We sit with Will until the Dr. comes and tells her she can take him home that nothing is broken, and he doesn’t have a concussion.

We all ride home in silence. Mark leaves after we reach the house to take care of the towing of Will’s car. That’s when I figure something fishy is up. I notice the garage door slightly ajar, so I go to investigate, and there sits Will’s car.

 

Meanwhile, Mandi settles Will in, and he falls asleep quickly after taking a pain pill. Mark comes in a few minutes later.

“I guess this should prove to you that your dead husband is dangerous.”

“How dare you try to blame Bill? It had to be a freak accident.”

“How accidental is a cut brake line?”

I stand in confusion.

“Mark, you’re crazy! Bill would never try to hurt Will.”

“No, but  he’s desperately trying to get rid of me for months, now that you’re no longer speaking to him, I think he  wants me permanently gone.”

“What are you saying? How could this be aimed at you?”

“Follow me.” Mark takes her by the arm, guiding her to the door that leads into the garage. Opening it, we can see Will’s car, sitting there with the hood up.

“But, he hit a tree. Wouldn’t it be dented?” She looks confused.

“I sent Will to the store after class today, and his car wouldn’t start. I lifted the hood, and the radiator cap was gone, so I let him use my car.”

Her mouth drops open. She tries to speak, then passes out cold in Mark’s arms. He carries her in and places her on the couch.

Almost immediately, I feel a jerk and find myself sitting beside Mandi.

I can tell as she sits up that she is beyond angry.

“Mandi, you know I would never do that, don’t you?”

“I don’t know anything anymore, Bill. I never thought you would stoop so low as to destroy me to get rid of Mark, but you did.”

“I didn’t! I swear!” I feel myself getting weaker and weaker. I can see a light forming like a star on the horizon. How can I see a star in the house?

“I wish you weren’t here. You won’t stop until you hurt someone.”

A pain begins to envelope my entire being. It starts as a slight throb, growing stronger each minute.

“I confess that I wrote the note. But, I didn’t hide the bills.”

The light draws nearer, and I can feel it calling to me. “NO! NO! Mandi, please don’t do this. Don’t let me go. Think! Will left the house in the car and didn’t wreck it, right?”

She looks at me through tear-stained eyes.

“That would mean that it had to be done at Jon’s house.”

She continues to glare, as the light stops advancing.

“Mark left while you were cooking to get ice cream, remember?”

She barely nods.

“I was holding you; you felt me. Besides, I can’t leave the house without you. Understanding dawns on her face. I’m glad that she doesn’t know that I can leave now since she severed our heart bond. I feel bad about not telling her this, but I will as soon as this is all over.

She gets up and walks to her car. Popping the trunk, we find an oily rag, some wire cutters and a radiator cap tucked discreetly between the two boxes Mandi keeps in the car.

I see Mandi gazing at the large light behind us.

“What have I done?” I watch in horror as she crumbles to the floor again. I am wrenched out of her dreams.

I am so glad that Mark is such a pompous ass. I watch as he goes out to get the evidence from Mandi’s car. He lays the radiator cap under a flowerpot in the garage, which we keep a spare key. He put away the tools and tossed the rag into the trash, sealing the bag, putting it in the burn barrel and igniting it.

He goes into the house with soot and grease from the rag on his hands and face.

While he is in the shower, I keep turning the cold water off to let him know I am there. Little does he know I have a surprise hidden under the washcloth on the sink!

He brags, gloats, and confesses the entire thing in the empty room knowing I am there.

“Go ahead and play childish tricks. When she wakes up you will be history, once I convince her that you were trying to kill me and Will could’ve easily been killed instead of banged up.”

I seethe but can’t speak. He is right. Will could’ve been hurt much worse if he had been in a busy area or near a hill or the tracks.

I let him rave on.

“I have to say you almost got me there showing her the receipts. At least I got smart enough to burn the damn letters instead of hiding them. One of these days she will thank me when I hit the big lottery.”

Then it gets even better. He admits he had quit the bar and had been going to Bingo on Monday, and with a bunch of his friends to the next town over to the gambling boat. He is sure she will forgive him when he strikes it rich.

Mandy moans from the living room. He tosses his towel to the floor and rushes in. He sits next to her gently brushing the hair from her face.

His eyes grow big as Mandy’s phone floats into the room and is laid gently on her chest. I quickly push the playback button before Mark has a chance to grab it.

 

 

Epilogue

It’s been a very long night. There isn’t any way to refute what she heard, so Mark grabbed a bag and lit out of the house while Mandi had the cops on the phone.

We no longer had evidence, since anyone could’ve put the radiator cap in that pot, there were no tools in her car any longer, and the oily rag was ashes. At least she had the conversation though they stated it may not be admitted as evidence since he was recorded unknowingly.

His lawyer contacts him and tells him that there will be no charges if he willingly moves out and doesn’t contest a divorce. The Police set up a time the next day they would be there to escort him so that he can gather the rest of his belongings. That won’t take long, since after the police had left, Mandi and I bagged it all up and moved it to the garage doors.

When he shows up the next day he tried to talk, but she refused to see him. The cops followed him as he took his stuff, and Mandi and I sit inside, watching from the window.

She had the kids stay with their friends in case things get ugly while Mark was here. She didn’t want to give him a chance to try to poison them with more of his lies.

Later, after Mark and the police have left, Mandi took a long bath. I lay waiting for her in our bed glad that this ordeal is finally over. She crawled in and I draw her next to me. It wasn’t long until she was asleep and we were together again, in the dreaming. This time, we are in a very different place. The room is elegant; a big bay window looks out over a big lake. I can hear the sound of soft water lapping at the moored boats. The sunset is beautiful. I recognize it as the hotel room in Chicago where we spent our honeymoon. I turn to face the beautiful woman in my arms scantily clad in a short, silky, white negligee. Long red hair fanned over the pillow. She is more beautiful than any angel ever could be.

“I’m so sorry Bill.” The sadness on her face breaks my heart.

“About what?” I gently run my fingers over her face, trailing down her graceful neck. Her shivers cause a chain reaction in my body resonating from my fingers, up my arm down my body pooling in my groin.

“Everything. What was that light when we were together last? You weren’t leaving me were you?”

“I think I was, but not willingly.”

I tell her about the medium and what she said about the heart and soul bonds. How it felt when the heart bond broke loose, how warm and inviting the light was.

“Why didn’t you go? Especially since I said all these mean things to you and accused you of hurting our son and trying to kill Mark. I should have known that no matter how angry you got that you’d never do such a thing. Me on the other hand…” She giggles.

That sound was the sweetest thing I have heard in a while. The past few weeks the house has been somber. No laughing. No singing.

She leans over and gives me a kiss. The kiss starts out forcefully and hungry. We kiss and grope like there is no tomorrow. Our lovemaking is hot, hard and needy. Subsequently, I hold her trembling body next to mine. “I still can’t understand  why after all I have done to you when you were alive, and especially now, that you would stay here with me,” she whispers, her breath still harsh and ragged.

She sighs as I pull her tighter wrapping her in my arms.

“When you hold me it feels like I’m enveloped in a warm blanket. Like soft, warm wings enveloping me.” She lets out a long soft sigh.

“When I said my vows to love, honor, cherish, to stand by you through thick and thin, forever until death do us part I meant it.” I brush a strand of hair from over her eyes, so I can see her expression as I make my confession of my feelings.

“I know, but you died, your vows were met. Why haven’t you moved on?” A tear starts trickling down her cheek.

“When I said till death do us part, I meant both of us. I’m here to watch over you, protect you, until you die.”

“I’m so glad,” she whispers, “make love to me.”

She didn’t have to beg. Not this time anyhow, though hearing her beg me is definitely on the menu for the future.

We kiss slowly and passionately until we were breathless. I trail kisses down her neck, over her shoulder sliding the delicate strap down with my teeth baring a small pert breast. I worship first one then the other as she writhes beneath me, gasping and pleading for more. So I lied, I did want to hear her beg. I slowly and torturously work my way down her soft stomach easy the soft silk off her as I go. The scent of her arousal mixed with the honeysuckle body wash is exhilarating. I lick and tease her until neither of us can take any more. I slip in two fingers, she screams and trembles as I bring her to release.

“Please, Bill. Please make love to me now, before I wake up!”

I forgot our time was limited for the night, so I quickly take off my underwear and lean over her for a kiss. As our tongues battle her legs wrap around my hips pressing my hardness into her wet core. I press in gently and our bodies are quickly recalling how perfect we fit. We moved in a slow horizontal waltz, our heavy moans becoming our erotic music. Much too soon we both reached the crescendo, once again sealing the deal. Body, heart and soul.

We collapsed into each other’s arms. Sleepily, she mumbled, “I love you, Bill, till death do us both part.”

 

The end

 

 

 

 

 

 

Till Death Do Us Part–Chapters 6-10

Spooktacular Sunday October 2015

Hi Ya’ll! I hope you enjoyed last weeks free read.  As I mentioned last week I appreciate all comments and constructive criticism so feel free to leave comments!

Till Death Do Us Part Cover red title

Till Death Do Us Part

Copyright © 2015 <Cathy Brockman>

All rights reserved

Edited By Ellie Mack

Proofread by Vicki Locey

Novelette: 17,121 words (63pages)

Genre: Male/Female -Supernatural, Contemporary

Heat rating: 2

Blurb:

 What happens when we die? I’m not sure about everyone else, but for me, Bill Parker, I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my wife Mandi and my kids alone. So, I stayed behind, attached to my wife… I mean my widow.

 

Currently she’s seeing this new guy. I don’t trust him for one second. He has an air of danger about him. It’s my job to protect her and my family, but how do I protect them when the only contact I have with her is in Mandi’s dreams?

1-5 can be found here:

Chapter 6

Free shows abound

I awaken, the next morning, to lots of clattering and loud voices coming from the kitchen.

“I don’t care! You’re my wife and I have the right to make love to you any time I want. You should be more compliant! This is getting old!” Mark kicks the chair out with his foot and sets his coffee down on the table, so hard that it sloshes over the side.

“Actually, I’m not your wife yet!” She puffs up like an angry cat, crosses her arms over her chest, pursing her lips in that oh so familiar scowl. “I won’t be if you don’t show me a little more respect! The last couple of weeks it seems as if you’re changing!” She tosses a dishrag at him and smacks him in the face with it.

That’s my feisty baby doll! She may look sweet and innocent, but she can be hell in heels when she’s had enough.  Wait a minute! He said wife and she said wedding? What the hell? I hope that I misheard!

“Honey, you know I love you and wanted to wait until I had enough tips saved up to get a ring, but will you marry me?”  He doesn’t even kneel. Just blurts it out. She looks as shocked as I am.  Then shocks me more when she faintly says a yes. I know she’s only doing it for financial security and because she doesn’t like living alone. I’m not sure of his motive yet, but I don’t think it’s love. He has some issues and I’ll find out what they are. A light bulb goes off in my head. While they’re busy arguing over breakfast, I’ll go upstairs to their joint office and see what I can find.

After a couple of hours digging, I hear Mandi’s music playing loud. That must mean the leech has left. I hear the mower outside. Shit, he’s sucking up.

I haven’t found anything on his desk. In fact, there isn’t much there at all—just a calendar, his pay stubs, and the receipts of his recent purchases. I knock them on the floor as I leave the room.

Downstairs is a sight for sore eyes. Mandi has on a pair of tight-fitting exercise shorts and a sport bra. She goes to the utility closet and pulls out the broom, mop bucket, mop and vacuum, along with her basket of cleaning supplies. I always get a kick out of how organized she is. Everything has to be in the right spot. Heaven forbid you get something out and don’t put it back. I notice she has the living room basket, so I settle on the couch to watch the show.

I always loved watching Mandi clean the house. No matter what she does, she gives it her all.

She gets her supplies all lined up on the bar, which separates the dining room –  her dusting items, the glass-cleaner, a roll of paper towels, a blind duster and a stack of white soft dusting cloths. I grin, as she sprays the ceiling fan duster and tries to slip the gadget over the blade. The fan moves and she totters and stumbles. I decide to help. I get up on the nearest table and steady the fan so it doesn’t move as she slides the duster back and forth a few times over each blade. She’s sneezing and cursing under her breath. I hop off the table, flick the dust bunnies out of her hair and move to the next one. After we finish the two in the long living room, one in the dining room, and the one in the kitchen, she lays the long handled duster next to the stairs.

I chuckle because she stands with her hand on her hip and the other on her chin, with one finger extended to her pull lightly on her perfect lip. Her face scrunches up and it’s so cute, as she contemplates the scent she will use today. She chooses the lemon; placing the orange, lavender and rain cans of duster, glass cleaner and liquid cleaner back into the basket, she sits it on the kitchen counter. She turns off the radio and places her mp3 player in the cute, little, frog speaker dock.

The music begins and Mandi sets off wiggling and dancing around the living room, meticulously removing each of the whatnots on the table to the tune of Golden State of Mind by Joy Wave. I laugh when she picks up the spray can and uses it as a microphone. Her and Kelly used to dance around cleaning together like this when Kelly was little and stayed home on the weekends. Kelly became a very good duster—and she can sing too. Her mom…not so much, but she’s a riot to watch. She sweeps, mops and vacuums next. All the while, she’s belting out the current tune playing, shaking and shimmying. She always said Saturday cleaning was her workout for the day.

I heard the lawn mower stop and the weed eater start up. Mandi did an encore performance in her bedroom, office and bathroom. She leaves Kelly and Will’s room and bathrooms to them.

After gathering the supplies, she traipses back downstairs, heading into the kitchen. She unloads the dishwasher, wipes down the counter and flops into the booth in the breakfast nook with a bottle of cold water. I had joined in with the dancing with her, holding her tight during the slow songs. The way her body glided with mine, it’s as if she knew that I was holding her.

Mandi gets up to toss her bottle in the recycling bin, when Leech comes inside and tracks wet grass onto the mudroom floor. The jerk doesn’t even have the decency to brush off before he comes in.

“Hey! I just spent the entire morning cleaning! Can’t you at least brush off and take off your shoes?”

He shoots her a nasty look, but quickly turns it into a smile. “Sorry, darling, I was so thirsty that I didn’t think about it.” He goes to her and pulls her into his arms (after kicking off his shoes and leaving them in the middle of the mudroom.) “I forget you’re a neat freak. Remember, only a few months ago I was a lazy bachelor.”

You’re still a lazy bastard… I mean bachelor. I thump him hard on the head.

“What the hell! Mandi, why did you just thump me on the head?”

“I didn’t, but should’ve for you are dragging all that grass in on my wet floor and getting me all sweaty. You had better be glad I hadn’t had my shower yet, or I would’ve done more than thump you.” She handed him the broom, as she headed off for her shower. Another one of her cute quirks—she takes lots of showers and baths. She puts her clothes in the hamper, even if she only has them on for an hour or so and hasn’t done anything. She claims that if they touch her body, they need washing. Gotta love that gal!

I turn to see Mark sweep his mess into the dustpan. I can’t resist knocking it away just as he starts to dump it into the trash.

He curses and looks around furious. “I’m warning you to quit messing with me or you’ll regret it. I’ll figure out who you are soon.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 7

What’s the big rush?

 

The next few days are about the same. It seems like Mandi and Mark are arguing quite frequently, and he is staying away a lot more. Of course, that makes me very happy, though it doesn’t seem to make Mandi as pleased.

While he is out, I take my place in Mandi’s bed, holding her. I look forward to visiting her again in her dreams. I can’t get into her dreams on my own, but she can call me in by dreaming of me. It hurts me a little that she hasn’t dreamed of me since that one night.

I’m pleased by the fact that Mandi seems to be having second thoughts about Mark. But, then again, she only let him stay out of need. A loveless marriage will never work.

Tuesday evening, they are sitting at the dinner table. For once, all four of them are together.

I keep pushing the fork away as Mark tries to put it in his mouth. I know that’s juvenile, but  even the kids thought him missing his mouth and spaghetti falling all over his long pointed chin and shirt is funny. I like hearing them laugh.

I would dump the whole bowl on his head, but that may frighten the kids, so I stick with tiny, subtle tricks.

Mandi grins and I wonder if she has figured out what I am doing.

She gathers the dinner plates and goes to put them in the sink and get dessert.

“Bill, stop messing with Mark,” she whispers.

I guess that answers my question. I open the refrigerator door for her, since her hands are full of plates, silver wear and napkins. I pick up the cheesecake and set it on top of the plates in her hands.

“Thanks. Don’t do anything more to Mark. Do you hear me?” She whispers again, as she makes her way back to the table.

I am so tempted to push his head into his dessert, but I refrain. I don’t want to make Mandi mad at me.

“This looks good. You always make a good dinner.” Mark takes a bite. Murmuring ‘mm mm’ about his mouthful.

The kids nod in agreement, as they dig into the delicious looking cheesecake, making noises of appreciation of their own.

“So, I was thinking we should go this Friday and get married.”

Forks clank to the saucers; I think one may have hit the floor. All eyes are set on Mark, even mine.

“Why so soon? I mean, we haven’t had a lot of time to discuss it or plan a wedding or anything.” Mandi appears more nervous than surprised.

I can tell because she always twirls a strand of her hair when she is nervous or anxious.

“I just figured it would make things easier for you. I’m sure those busybodies at your church, and at work, are whispering and spreading rumors. I just want to make things are good for you, dear.” His broad smile is as fake as a three-dollar bill. When he drops the smile, I notice a little twitch in his left eye. Is he nervous? Worried? What is this man up to?

“I don’t think I can pull off a wedding in just one week, Mark.”

“Sure you can. We don’t need anything fancy; you’ve already had your storybook wedding. Besides, a big wedding costs lots of money. I figure we can go to the courthouse Friday, if we get our license by tomorrow.”

The tension in the room gets thicker and thicker.

“My family will have a cow if I elope!”

“Well, why don’t you call your pastor and see if he can marry us Friday evening? If so, then all you have to do is call your family. I’ll call my sisters and you can have a small wedding. I will even pay for a cake and some fixings for punch, but let’s keep it simple. OK?” He picks his fork back up, shoving the last bite of cheesecake in his mouth. I hope he chokes on it.

The silence stretches and stretches. Both kids sit quietly, slowly nibbling their desserts, keeping their eyes cast down.

“OK. Fine.” Mandi concedes quietly.

No! No! No! I pace around frantically. How can I stop it? I only have a week! I have to find out what he is up to and fast. I slam my fist into the wall where she keeps photos of us with the kids. My picture crashes down.

Everyone jumps, startled. All eyes are on the mess on the floor. I hear Mandi mutter, ‘Sorry.’

“You didn’t do it. It must’ve been a small tremor. Either that or you have a ghost.” Mark looks over at Mandi with a smirk on his face.

Mandi jerks her head up, eyes wide. The kids shake their heads in disbelief.

Mark gets up, goes to the broom closet and retrieves the broom and dustpan. He bends over, picking up my picture. He takes a long look, before placing it on the table. His thin lips curl up into an evil grin.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 8

There’s a ghost in the house

The leech doesn’t have to work tonight, so I’m stuck with him. The way he is hanging on Mandi and is all lovey-dovey makes me want to gag, so I decide to see what the kids are doing.

Will is in his room playing some game where he chases zombies. I glance around his room and realize that he has all sorts of zombie posters, though they are mostly games or movie ads, a stack of the Walking Dead DVDs, a few comic books and tons of gaming books and magazines – no wonder the kid doesn’t have a girlfriend, he is too busy killing zombies or figuring out how… At least his calendar was the swimsuit issue!

After watching a few minutes, I slip into Kelly’s room. It is no longer pink and frilly as it was a few years ago. Gone is all of the princess stuff, except for her tiaras that rest on top of her bookshelf with her pageant trophies. I notice there aren’t any recent ones. I guess she has outgrown those.

I notice her school books tossed on her bed. She is supposed to be doing homework, but she is on the computer and the phone at the same time. She is so much like her mother, always multitasking.

I browse around at her bookshelf and the photos of her and a few friends when a bit of her conversation catches my attention.

She’s relaying tonight’s dinner conversation with her friend on the phone. It sounds like she’s torn about the wedding. She likes that Mark spends money on her, gets her what she wants, but she doesn’t like him all that much. Perhaps she is too much like her mother.

She laughs at something the other person is saying. I am about to leave when I hear her say, “I think we have a ghost in the house.”

 

                                                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 9

Speak now or forever hold your peace

I am getting a bit nervous that everyone’s noticing me. Well, at least they think the house is haunted. It’s not the house that’s haunted since I can go anywhere Mandi goes. This means I will be attending my widow’s wedding today. Great! I wonder if I can stop it.
I sit quietly in the car as we head to the church. Mandi and Kelly are both quiet. It feels more like we are going to a funeral than to a wedding. Kelly helps carry in her mom’s dress and stuff. Kelly has apparently dressed at home. After everything is out of the car and inside the church, Kelly plops down in a pew,  puts her ear buds in and begins texting on her phone while listening to music. Mandi’s sisters are in the back, setting up the cake and drinks. That leaves Mandi alone in a small room getting ready.

As she takes off her yoga pants, I grab her dress while her back is turned, hoping if I hide it, she won’t go through with this charade.

“Bill! What are you doing?”

Oops, I’m busted.

I try to tell her, but she can’t see or hear me. Darn!

She grabs for the floating dress. I hang on for a moment.

“Bill, you let go right now! I know you don’t want me marrying Mark. I understand. But you are dead now, and I have to move on.”
Reluctantly I relinquish my hold on the dress. At least it’s not a traditional wedding gown. It’s a pretty, simple sundress with pink flowers on it. She will look beautiful, as usual.

“Please don’t mess this up for me. You don’t have to worry. I don’t love him like I did you, but I need him. You understand that, don’t you?”

No, I don’t understand. Well, I do. I know it’s hard making ends meet alone, but I can’t understand why she chose him. She could do so much better.

I stand silently as she finishes getting dressed. I even walk down the aisle with her. She smiles as I link my arm through hers. “No more shenanigans, I mean it,” she whispers, as we leave the room and stand in the back waiting for our cue.

Finally, their song begins to play, and we make our way down the aisle. I hate leading the woman I love down the aisle with a man that I don’t trust. But, what can I do?
I could do plenty. I could knock over the candles, but I don’t want to hurt anyone or damage the church. I could flood the baptismal booth, and the pastor would have to postpone the ceremony. But all that will do is delay the inevitable. Instead, I step aside and study one of the panels of stained glass while they say their vows.

“I am very proud of you. You’re doing a good job though we don’t agree with the things you are doing to the man.” I jump at the sound of an unfamiliar voice. Turning around, I see a short, rather pleasant looking man. No, he isn’t dressed in white, glittering, or has wings. He’s dressed in a casual tan suit with a pale blue shirt underneath.

“I didn’t mean to startle you.” He gives me a reassuring pat on the shoulder and a gentle smile.
“Who are you?” I look around to see if anyone else is noticing our conversation, but all eyes are on the wedding taking place.
“I am Peter. And, before you ask, no I am not a disciple! I am assigned to watch over you and help you when I can.”
“Why have I not met you until now?” I glance back at Mandi and sigh.
“We like to give new charges time to get accustomed to their new jobs. You are doing quite well. I know it is hard to watch your loved ones move on, especially this, so soon.” He motions back to the couple taking vows that neither of them means.
“I wanted to tell you that you are not alone. I am always near. Call my name and I’ll be there.”

“What no music or dancing with the lyrics?” I chuckle, turning to find I am once again by myself. I focus my attention back on the funeral—I mean wedding—taking place.
I’m happy that they chose their vows and not the traditional ones. There was no honor, cherish, obey or love till death do us part. Just some sappy crap Mark said and a simple agreement from Mandi,  then a swap of rings. When the pastor says “Is there anyone here that has reasons why these two should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace,” I see Mandi’s eyes flit around anxiously, the muscles in her jaw twitch nervously, as she sucks in a deep breath and holds it. I resist temptation and remain silent, though, when the pastor says you may kiss the bride I knock a hymnal off a side table to cut it short.
When we arrive back at the house, there is a sprig of strange flowers hanging over the door with an apple slice that looks like a star attached to it.
Mandy “aaawwws” as she takes it down and brings it inside.
As we open the door, we are assaulted with a strange odor. It smells like burnt weeds, maybe herbs.
It looks like our Mark had been busy here while we were at the church. There are candles all over the house, some around pictures that have me in them. I have to say, it is a bit creepy.
I am about to gather them up and toss them in the trash when the door opens, and Mr. Leech walks in with Kelly. She had conned him into taking her to get a big tea at the drive-in since it was still happy hour.
“How sweet! You decorated the house while we were at the church!” Mandi hugs Mark.
He looks around anxiously and flashes a fake smile to Mandi.
“Yuck! What’s that smell?” Kelly whines grabbing her nose.
“It’s incense. I thought you liked it,” Mark says casually.
“Yeah, but not one that smells like someone burned a pot of dressing or set weeds on fire. Why is some of Mom’s rosemary sprinkled around all these weird candles?” Kelly asks.
“I was just trying to make the house smell good, sorry. I chose the wrong kind of incense. I thought Frankincense smelled better than this.” He sets the box of gifts he is carrying on the bar that separates the kitchen and dining room.
“I’m gonna grab my stuff to stay over at Amy’s tonight. Will has already gone to one of his friends. I can’t remember which one. I’ll be ready to go in a few minutes. Will one of you take me?” Kelly waves in the air as if trying to make the smell disappear.
“We both will. I think I’ll take your mom out for dinner and show off my new bride.” He pulls Mandi in for a kiss.
“Ewwwwww! Get a room!” Kelly dashes through her bedroom door.
Mandi goes to freshen up quickly, and Mark heads to the study, so I follow him. He hurriedly grabs a stack of books,  shoving them into the bottom desk drawer Mandi gave him to use.
After they leave, I open the drawer and pull them back out. The title of one is, How to Get Rid of Unwanted Ghosts. Another is a book of spells; there is one on herbs, another on candle magic. I laugh. Obviously, this stuff doesn’t work, but it will give me something to read, while they are out to dinner, and occupy me while they are in bed consummating their marriage. I shudder at that thought. I take the book of candle magic and pick up Mandi’s mp3 player and headphones, as I head back to the guest room, which I now call my room. There is a paper sticking out of the book on candle magic, so I pull it out to find a list printed from the computer of local mediums. Why is he so desperately trying to get rid of me?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 10

Happy Holidays, Ho! Ho! Ho! And all that good stuff.

 

After the wedding, things become relatively normal. Winter has set in though, and it is cold. The holidays are frantic with Mandi and Mark arguing some about what to do and when to go where and at what time, as well as what  gifts to get for whom.

 

After a bit of fussing, and some unfair tactics, Mandi gets her way. That’s after a bit of compromising.

They agree to split Thanksgiving up into two visits. They will go to Mandi’s family first. Now, I always loved going there to visit, especially Thanksgiving. Mandi’s mom is an excellent cook. She goes all out with ham, turkey and dressing, chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, yams, green bean casserole (Kelly’s favorite) and of course pie. Lots of pie! I think that was my favorite.

This year is no exception. The dessert table is full of fruit salad (Mandi’s favorite), chocolate pies (Will’s Favorite), pumpkin pie, and my favorite–Pecan Pie.

I wonder if I can taste anymore. I haven’t been hungry or thirsty since I died, but what I would give for a taste of that pie. I catch no one looking and cut a little sliver before taking a bite. I can still taste, I think, or do I just remember how good it is, because it is as delicious as I remembered! Wow and all this time I thought I couldn’t eat.

After lunch, the family split up. Mandi and Mark drop the kids off at my mom’s, but Mandi doesn’t go inside. My heart aches when I see Mom come out on the porch and wave to Mandi. I wave back, wishing she could see me. I haven’t seen her since the funeral. When Mandi drops the kids off for a visit, she always stays in the car. Maybe I can talk Mandi into taking me there one day, perhaps the next time she dreams about me.

They head to Mark’s younger sister’s house for dinner. It’s still early, so Mark settles in with his brother-in-law to watch the ball games. Mandi sits in the kitchen with two of Mark’s sisters. The other one watches the games with the men. Mandi and Mark’s family get along fine. They seem to love her, which doesn’t surprise me. Mandi is the kind of person that everyone loves. I can’t help but notice that she looks lost and sad. Sure, she has a big beautiful smile, but I know that is her public face. The fire I love so much about her seems to be dwindling to barely a flicker these days. I hate seeing her like this.

Thanksgiving finally is over, but the Christmas season has just begun. I notice Mandi has put most of it off until the week of Christmas, which is very unusual. She usually starts in the summer and by now has the biggest part of shopping over and her baking under way. She hasn’t even mailed out Christmas cards this year, which she usually does the weekend following Thanksgiving after decorating the tree, the house, and the yard. She hasn’t done any of that. I was never big on the holidays until I met her, and then I got caught up in all her enthusiasm. Where has it gone?

A few days before Christmas, Mandi is in the mall trying to find a gift for Mark. After walking for hours, I see the big bookstore ahead, so I give her a slight nudge towards it.

“Darn it, Bill. Quit pushing me! We can’t go until I find Mark a gift!” she exclaims.

The woman passing her gives her a funny look and quickly moves on. I can’t help chuckling. I finally corral her into the bookstore, though she went straight to the coffee shop.

After she finishes her big raspberry latte with soymilk, she heads straight for the exit back into the mall. At least we had to walk through the maze of bookracks. As we reach the self-help and non-fiction aisles, I notice a book called How to Exorcise a Ghost. I give it a shove, and it falls on her foot.

“Damn it, Bill, that hurt!” She picks it up, her eyes widening at the title. “Don’t tempt me!”

Oops, wrong choice.

“Come on. Enough wasting time. I’m not going to find Mark a book in this section.”

The man at the end of the aisle looks at her as if she sprouted an extra head and hurried off.

I see a big book of spells in front of her as she puts back the last book. I look around, and no one is near. It seems everyone is avoiding the woman that keeps talking to herself. I pick up the spell book and gently push it into her chest. She takes it and looks it over. “What on earth are you trying to tell me?” She flips open the book and begins browsing through it. I look over her shoulder, and when she gets to purification spells, I put my hand on the page, so she can’t turn it. She reads a few lines, and her brow lifts when she spots a page with herbs and candles.

“Hmmm, I think I see now. So, why would Mark be doing purification spells, and if he has, why haven’t they worked?”

Another woman enters the aisle, but as Mandi keeps talking to herself, I mean me, the lady turns away. This was more fun than the tricks I played when I was alive. My favorite was making a fart sound in a crowded aisle, looking around, saying ‘Ewwww,’ who did that and walked away. Will got a big kick out of it.

“Are you still here, Bill? Darn, I wish you could answer me!”

I drop a book beside her, so she knows that I am still here.

“It says here the purification only works on negative energy. Maybe that’s why the spells aren’t working; either that or he isn’t qualified to do them. It says here you have to be a true believer or a practitioner, and if the spirit is not full of negative energy, it still may not work.”

She puts the book back on the shelf and wipes her brow. “I’m glad it didn’t work. I need you now more than ever.”

She then gathers up a baseball collector’s book for Will and a couple of coin savers and coin collector books for Mark, along with a boxed set of Beautiful Creatures for Kelly. She also finds a couple of cookbooks she doesn’t already have in the sale bin. I’m surprised she found even one she didn’t already own!

At the checkout, she swipes her debit card.

“I’m sorry, it says to use other tender,” the clerk says politely.

Mandi scowls. “I know there’s money in here, I just got paid yesterday.” The cashier wipes it on her shirt and scans it again.

“Sorry. Still not working.” The clerk hands her a little slip that says to call her bank. She digs around in her purse and pulls out a credit card.

“Sorry, Ma’am. Do you have cash?” The clerk shakes her head handing back yet another refused the card.

A line is now forming behind us. Mandi huffs and takes out another credit card.

Another, “Sorry.” The pleasant tone of the clerk vanished two cards ago.

Mandi leaves the books and heads straight out of the door. In the car, she calls the number of her bank. “Overdrawn? No Way.”

She calls both card companies. “Over the limit!”

I can hear her heart pounding and pull her close to me as she sinks into my arms, sobbing violently. I wipe a tear from her chin and kiss the top of her head. She lets out a long sigh and starts the car up. As Christmas music floods the small space, she slams the button, shutting the music off.

Back home, I follow her in the door, ready to watch the action.

I can’t help from saying in a deep, exaggerated voice… “Let’s get ready to rummmmmbbbbbble!!!”

She attacks full force. “Why the hell is my debit card overdrawn, and all my credit cards are over the limit?”

“Hi, honey, where’s my good morning kiss? Seems like someone got up on the wrong side of the bed.”

“I’m not in the mood for your bullshit. I gave you my check yesterday, and you were supposed to deposit it with yours. How can we possibly be overdrawn when I had money in there to begin with?”

“Calm down, honey. I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation.” He reaches for her, and she slaps his hands away.

“Don’t touch me. Explain.”

“I took them to the bank as soon as I got off work. I did work late.” He lightly smacks his forehead like in that popular vegetable juice commercial. “That’s it… I deposited the checks after hours, so they just aren’t on the books yet. The money should show by Monday.”

I want to smack him in the face.

“Monday? I need the money now! I have a few gifts I need before Monday morning. I need to buy some groceries and stuff to make my candy for work,” she shouts.

He walks nonchalantly to the fridge and takes out a bottle of cola. “Look, I get paid Sunday. I’ll ask for an advance and give you all my tips. How’s that?”

“I don’t have much choice, do I? Monday, I want to see the deposit slip.”

I watch as he swallows hard, his fingers nervously drumming on the bottle. “I’ll try to get to the bank as early as I can Monday, and see if I can get this cleared up. That is if I don’t have to work over. With the Holidays there are lots of parties and I need to work for the extra money. ”

“I suggest if you want to eat here and sleep in my bed, Monday you produce a deposit slip with my check and yours, plus the other two hundred dollars I already had in there.” The pictures on the wall shake as the door comes to with a loud bang!

Mark raises the bottle to his mouth, and I give the bottom of it a rough smack.

Loud expletives fill the room as Mark lets the bottle go. Cola everywhere! When Mark lifts his hand from his mouth, I am disappointed that there is no blood.

“Damn you! I think you chipped my tooth!”

Good. A victorious smile spreads across my face, and the door lets out another bang as I go to find Mandi.

 

 

I hope you are enjoying it so far! Come back next week for the exciting conclusion!

 

 

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