I was startled when I noticed Kara staring at me with her mouth forming into a slight “o”, and her expression was as though she had seen a ghost.
Aulad cleared his throat, “this is going to be good.”
“Shut up”, I said through gritted teeth so that only Aulad could hear me.
“Hey”, I said as casually as I could.
“Hey, um, were you talking to yourself?” Kara asked.
Her face was full of suspicion, but her eyes told me that she thought I was losing it.
“Yes”, I confessed. “Dr. Patrakiz said it’s a coupling mechanism– it helps with the grieving process”, I lied.
“Like a true professional”, Aulad said sticking his chest proudly.
I gave Aulad a pinch on his arm.
“You know, I barely felt that”, he mocked.
Kara hesitated for a moment, “Oh.”
“Yeah I was actually debating on rather or not I wanted to watch a movie or something, but I think I might just go to my room and I don’t know, check out some videos online or something.”
Great, now I was babbling.
“Okay”, Kara said with a hint of doubt in her voice, “are you sure everything is okay? I mean, I know we haven’t really talked in a while so–”
“–Nope, I’m fine. Just trying something new, that’s all.”
“Okay, I was going to hang out for a bit, but if you want to do something, I can stay…”, Kara offered.
“No really, I’m fine. Go, have fun. I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Sure, see you tomorrow”, Kara smiled.
I watched as Kara disappeared into her bedroom.
“Oh my God, you’re going to get me sent to a mental institution”, I whispered.
Aulad kissed my lips, “I love you.”
Tears began to well up in my eyes.
“What now?” Aulad asked wiping a tear from my face.
I shook my head, “I just never thought I would ever hear you tell me you love me again. Aulad’s handsome face lit up with a smile.
“You know I’ll always love you Lici, always.”
“And I’ll always love you.”
As I laid in Aulad’s arms, there was a soft knock on my door.
“Alicia? Are you awake?” Kara asked through the door.
“Yeah, come in”, I said sitting up on the bed.
Aulad continued to lay comfortably on the bed beside me.
“Hey, my friends canceled on me at the last minute, you want to hang out and have a girls night?” Kara asked with her pink glossy lips pinched into a pretty pout.
“I, uh, I don’t know–”, I hesitated.
“Come on you’ve been cooped up in here for almost two months! You need some fresh air, a change of scenery, and I’m already dressed and I don’t want to waste a good outfit”, she begged.
“Alright, alright. Give me a minute to get dressed”, I caved.
I watched as Kara’s eyes lit up with excitement. I was perfectly fine with laying here with Aulad doing nothing. Ah-ha! I waited until Kara was good and gone before I spoke to Aulad.
“You want to come? I asked.
“Where?” He asked propping himself up on one elbow.
“Out with us”, I pressed.
“No way! So I can hear all the man bashing? No!”
“Come on Aulad, I don’t want to go either. Ever since your passing everyone has been killing me with kindness, and I’m just downright sick of it”, I spoke honestly.
Aulad sighed, “Alright, fine!” He gave in. “I guess it is my fault you know, with the whole dying thing.”
“Uh-huh, yup that was all you babe”, I joked.
Truth be told, I was glad to get out of the house, but I would have rather it been with Aulad instead of going out with Kara.
“Isn’t this wonderful!” Kara beamed drinking her Grapefruit IPA.
“Yup someplace”, I said taking a big gulp of my Peanut Butter Stout.
“No, I mean being out, breathing the fresh air”, she beamed.
“I can’t breathe”, Aulad said sarcastically with arms crossed, pretending to smell the air.
Aulad was slouched down in his chair looking bored out of his mind. I gave his leg a quick squeeze under the table, causing his leg to bump the table making our drinks shake. I glared at Aulad shooting down any ideas he was thinking of.
“Oops”, I said taking a few napkins to wipe up the beer that splashed onto the table.
“So, I have a confession to make”, Kara began.
“What?” I said flatly, really not interested in Kara’s heart to heart right now.
“If I tell you, you have to promise not to be mad.”
Now, this had my attention, I eyed her with suspicion, ” I can’t promise you that I won’t be mad, what did you do?”
“You have to promise or I’m not going to tell you.”
“Could she get more dramatic?”
Aulad snorted,”I’ll be back Lici, I can’t take it anymore.”
“Just tell me, Kara”, I huffed ignoring Aulad.
“So remember that guy Jaxon you thought was cute in Sociology?” My mouth dropped in horror, and Aulad stopped dead in his tracks.
“Now, this is getting good”, Aulad said taking his seat and leaning forward.
“Uh, I don’t think I said he was cute or anything, and if I did, I was probably talking about him in passing”, I said trying to play it off.
I could tell out of my peripheral vision that Aulad’s eyes were burning a hole through me awaiting more details, but I didn’t dare look at him.
“Okay whatever, play it off if you want to, but I know you. Anyway, I kind of sort of, set you up on a blind date with him.”
“You what?” I said in disbelief, getting upset.
“Wow”, Aulad said in just as much shock as I was.
“Kara! How could you do that? I mean what about Aulad? Did you even ask if I was done grieving over him? You never asked me if I was ready–”
“–I know, I know, I’m not saying to date him or anything I just thought he could be a friend to you–”
“I have friends, at least I had a friend. I can’t believe you would go out and do something so disrespectful and deceitful. As if Aulad wasn’t your friend too. You could have at least let the grass grow a little bit on his grave first before you set me up with the first guy you see fit.”
I got up from the table upset and embarrassed.
“Wait, you’re leaving?” Kara asked as if I wasn’t supposed to be upset.
“No, I’m going home to get ready for my blind date”, I said sarcastically.
“That was better than I thought it was going to be”, Aulad said breaking the silence on our way home. I continued to walk with my head straight. I can’t believe she said that. I know she didn’t know Aulad could hear her but damn, I didn’t want to talk about another guy either. Two months was not enough time for me to go out and start dating again. I’ve only ever known Aulad and she knows that! I started to get upset all over again. “Hey, talk to me. I may be a ghost but I can’t read your mind or anything.
“I’m sorry, it wasn’t like that I–” I said feeling guilty. Aulad sighed and tilted my head up so that I was looking up at him.
“I love you, even if you thought this Jaxson guy was cute, what does it matter now? I thought Melissa was cute at one point but does that matter now?”
“Wait, you thought Melissa Albright was cute?”
“Hey, we’re not talking about me, there’s no future for me and her, I’m the dead guy remember? You on the other hand…”
Aulad’s face showed a hint of sadness. I could read what was going through his mind.
“I love you, I’m not going anywhere, as long as I’m with you I don’t care about anyone else.”
“Alicia, you still have your life, you can still have a family and– and a husband one day.”
“I can adopt a kid, and I have you.”
Aulad began to laugh.
“What’s so funny?” I asked getting defensive.
“Can you imagine introducing the poor kid to his ghost of a father? “Honey this is your father, oh and by the way, he’s a ghost“.”
I shrugged, “You never know.”
“I’ll hold my breath on that one, starting now”, Aulad said acting as though he was really taking a breath and holding it.
“Come on we’re almost home, you may not be able to feel the chill but I’m cold”, I giggled.
When we got back into my dorm room, I decided to take a hot shower. I started to take off my black skinny jeans and red sequence tank top along with my matching blue bra and panties.
“I sure miss that”, Aulad smirked.
“Me or the shower?” I teased stepping into the shower.
“Both”, he breathed, appearing beside me.
The sudden change of energy sent cold tingles down my spine. I let the steaming hot water run over me and began to lather myself with a sweet-scented shower gel. What a night, I thought still stewing over Kara’s inconsiderateness.
“Relax baby”, Aulad said massaging my back with his extra loofa all lathered up.
“Oh my God, you know that’s weird right?”
There was no way Aulad’s body was in the shower with me when my back was close to the shower wall. His forearms and hands were the only things visible from the wall.
“Yeah, I know. But it comes in handy right?”
“Yeah I guess”, I smiled relaxing a bit. “Aulad?”
“If I can feel you, do you think I can feel you?”
Aulad’s hand stopped massaging my back. Then he tapped on the shower glass and wrote a soapy, “YES”, on the glass. The thought had crossed my mind but I never considered it until now. I finished washing up and just as I turned off the shower I heard a hard knock on the front door.
“Who could that be?” I wondered out loud.
“Who cares let them wait”, Aulad said taking off his clothes.
“It could be Kara, she could be locked out.”
“Let the bitch wait.”
“Aulad!” He held his hands up in defense, “hey she is a bitch. She tried to set you up on a blind date!”
“Yeah, but she’s not a bitch!” “Alright, I take it back. She’s not a total bitch but she–”
“Aulad, just because you’re dead, doesn’t mean you have to be–”
“What? Honest?” Aulad said cutting me off.
I quickly threw on a tank top long enough to cover the fact that I wasn’t wearing shorts.
“Yes”, I said racing out of the room.
I reached for the front door and noticed someone walking down the hall.
“Hello?” I called out.
“Oh hey, I didn’t think you were home”, he called back.
It was Jaxon, holding flowers and a small plastic shopping bag.
“I was just getting out of the shower, sorry. Um, come in”, I moved over and held the door open for him to come in.
I hated to admit it but Jaxon was attractive in his own right. But not attractive enough for me to be attracted to him in that way right now.
“These are for you, I just wanted to check on you and see how you’re doing. You haven’t been to class in a while…”
“Thank you”, I opened the cabinet to get a vase but then quickly remembered I didn’t have any shorts on.
“Can you reach this for me”, I asked pulling at my tank top.
“Oh and I dropped the class, I’ve just got too much on my plate nowadays.”
I reached into the shopping bag and pulled my hand back in surprise.
“Ice cream? How thoughtful.”
“Yeah I heard somewhere, that ice cream is a temporary cure for almost anything.”
“Nice”, I giggled slightly impressed. Just then we both heard my bedroom door slam making us both jump. Shit, I thought.
“Oh, um, I didn’t mean to impose, I didn’t know you had company”, he said peered behind me.
“I don’t, I left my bedroom window open… you know from the steam? I uh, I should really blow dry my hair before I get sick”, I said opening up the door front door for Jaxon.
“Yeah, okay. I wrote my number down on the card inside the flowers if you ever want to talk or get together for coffee or hot chocolate or something.”
“Sure, thank you for the flowers and ice cream Jaxon”, I said as we hugged in a quick awkward embrace.
After I closed the door I took a moment to collect myself before walking back into the bedroom.
“Aulad?” I called. “Aulad?” I called again.
“I heard you the first time“, he said with a bit of ice to his tone.
I noticed he was fully dressed.
“Hey, sorry, I thought you left”, I said moving closer to him but he held his arms out creating a distance between us.
“Are you mad?” I asked knowing perfectly well how he must have felt.
“No, I’m seeing. . . clearly”, he said turning and evaporating into the wall.