TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
He remembered he'd made Ghost promise a long time ago to never, ever leave him alone in the world. If Ghost wasn't here, then he didn't want to be here either.
He also wondered why he'd never even gone in this bedroom, either...just closed the door and pretended it never happened. But, he knew why. It was because he was scared to. Scared to face what he'd done to his only friend. He was horrified at the scene of destruction inside that room. He should have made things right in there, but it was too late, now.
Now, Ghost had almost died a second time because of him. It was too much for such a fragile, magical being as Ghost to have to come home to. That Ghost could still love him, was beyond imagination. Ghost was so much stronger and braver than he, himself could ever be. He'd survived what he'd done to him, had survived being on his own, survived coming home to face him, had survived his fear of opening that bedroom door.
"That is so much more than I could have ever done," thought Steve. I'm never going to forget this, never hurt Ghost again. I don't deserve him, don't deserve his love, and I'll do anything to never betray this trusting, innocent being again," Steve vowed.
Ghost was leaning limply against Steve. He was exhausted. He took deep shuddery breaths, and his left eyelid kept twitching. Steve could feel uncontrollable trembling throughout Ghost's body. Steve knew he needed to get Ghost back in the bed. They couldn't just sit here in the hallway, staring into that room. He reached over and closed the door.
He took Ghost's face in his hands. "I'll make everything right again. I'll clean the room and do everything I can to help you get through this," Steve said. Then he thought, "That sounds stupid and hypocritical, since I'm the one to have caused all this in the first place. How can Ghost even want to have me make it right?" But even though he wasn't even making any sense right now, it was the only thing he could think of to say. He was so overwhelmed with Ghost's pain, he couldn't think straight.
He helped Ghost to his feet, and led him back to the other bedroom, settling them both into the bed. He pulled the blankets over them both, and held Ghost close, as he hummed a made up song into Ghost's ear. Ghost had always liked him to sing him to sleep, and so he did. They slept for hours.
When they awoke, Steve was still worried about Ghost. They'd been through hell the past two years, and now what? How could they begin to repair all the destruction of their lives? He'd been watching Ghost sleep, when once again he was amazed at Ghost's strength and character. As he marvelled that he was actually here, Ghost turned toward him, his hair messy across his face, and opening his sleepy eyes, looked straight into Steve's eyes. He grinned his lopsided grin.
"I'm soooo hungry. What'cha got to eat around here, anyway?" asked Ghost, just like any normal day.
In the few seconds before Steve spoke, his thoughts swirled with questions. "Is Ghost ok, did he block out what happened last night, does he hate me, is he just pretending to be ok with everything, had he himself just woke up from a horrible nightmare, and the past two years never really happened at all, how are we gonna get back to normal, what do we have to eat around here?"
Ghost had closed his eyes, and must have been hearing Steve's thoughts, because he answered every question that Steve had not voiced out loud. Ghost spoke softly, his forehead pressed against Steve's.
"Steve, I'm gonna be ok. At least I'm trying to be. Please be patient with me. I love you with all my heart, but right now, I'm still a little bit scared of you and what you are capable of." He gulped, and continued.
"It was an awake nightmare, not a sleep one. We've been drowning in pain and have just surfaced after so long, but we will get back to normal. I can sense that we will, but it will take time, Steve, it will take time..."
There was more Ghost wanted to say, but he was so overcome with hunger, that his thoughts were beginning to get jumbled and disjointed. So, he kissed Steve lightly, then shakily sat up on the edge of the bed.
"I have to eat something, now," he said, as he made his way to the kitchen. He did not look at his closed bedroom door.
"How does he do that?" Steve wondered. "It's so weird, but then I should be used to it after all these years together. He messes with my head without even trying." It never failed to intrigue him. He followed Ghost out to the kitchen.
Ghost was rummaging around in the refrigerator and cabinets, finding little to nothing there. "Don't you ever go grocery shopping, Steve? There's nothing here."
"Oh, Lord help me," Steve thought, as he grinned sheepishly, and shrugged. "Ghost is proposing a shopping trip, and I know how that'll go."
"Shut up, Steve, don't even go there," Ghost said, smiling.
He'd done it again...he'd heard Steve's thoughts. "Don't you ever quit?"he asked.
"No," said Ghost.
They found a few pieces of stale bread, a half jar of peanut better, and a mostly empty jar of molasses, with sticky residue on the outside, the lid glued on tight. With some effort they got the thick syrup opened, and scraped what they could onto toast and the peanut butter. That would have to do for now. At least there was coffee.
Going to get another cup, Ghost paused, looking out the kitchen window at the deep green woods behind their house. He slowly sipped his coffee. After a few minutes, Steve came up behind him, touched his shoulders, and smoothed Ghost's pale hair.
"What is it, Ghost?" he asked, softly.
Ghost leaned his head and back into Steve's chest, and sighed. "Why did you stay here, Steve?" he asked
Steve looked confused. "Why wouldn't I stay here? This is where I live."
"No, I mean, why would you want to stay here. After that night, the whole town was mad at you. I was gone away, maybe forever. You hated your job at the record store. Kinsey wouldn't let you play your music there anymore..." Ghost's voice trailed off.
Steve hadn't ever thought of it that way. He knew he wasn't as good at emotions and words as Ghost, so he said simply,
"This is your house, Ghost, and I hope mine, too. This is the last place I saw you, and I prayed you'd come back to your home someday...and I wanted to be here, whenever that day came. I know everyone hated me. I didn't care. I made a mess of everything, but I could never leave here.
Ghost, everything in here has your imprint on it... everything, even the air I breathe in this house. If that was all I would ever have of you...well, then that would be all, but I could never leave. Never...not unless you told me I had to, and please God, please, never say that!"
He hugged Ghost in desperation. Ghost turned, hugging him back, just as fiercely.
"I'll never, ever ask you to, Steve. I don't think I'd want to even live without you."
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing