TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Steve had gone back to the bedroom to check on Ghost. He closed the door, and saw that Ghost was sound asleep. He smiled and wondered how Ghost could fall asleep so easily...he never could...too much rattling around in his head. He went over to lay next to Ghost, snuggling up to him. Ghost stirred, coming awake, and he turned over, giving Steve a kiss and hug.
"Mmm...I had a nice dream, and it came true already," he said.
"Was this part of the dream," Steve asked, kissing Ghost back.
"Yeah, that's it." They rested for a few minutes.
"They're fixing supper out there. I guess we should go join them," Steve said.
Ghost sighed. "I like your family."
"They like you, too...and Bill told me to tell you he is cool with everything...us...well, Linda filled him in, so we don't have to be awkward with them."
Ghost nodded, glad to hear that.
"The kids are a trip...so funny. It'll take some getting used to having them around," Steve said.
"I know. They think I'm just a big kid come to play with them," Ghost said. "You're the grown up uncle, though. That's ok, 'cause I still feel like a kid, anyway, most of the time. I won't mind playing with them at all."
"Why can't I get to be a kid, too?" asked Steve. "I can play."
"I know, but you're older than me, so you have to be the grown up," Ghost laughed.
"Fine, then," Steve said, getting up, and pulling Ghost up, too. "Let's go."
They went back into the living room. Bill was there, keeping an eye on the kids, and watching TV. He looked up, as they came in.
"Hey, supper is almost ready," he said. "They'll holler when it's on the table." He wanted to stare at the newcomers to his soon to be, for real family...Steve all dark and broody looking, and Ghost all light and childlike, but he didn't want to seem rude. And, what he'd heard about Ghost kind of scared him...just a bit...that he was psychic, and could read minds, and thoughts, and feelings. He didn't know what to make of it. Was he supposed to act normal, or try to hide his thoughts? How did this work? And, as he was thinking this, Ghost did hear it.
He thought he'd better make Bill feel more at ease. He smiled, and knelt down in front of Bill, taking his hands into his own. Bill jumped, caught by surprise. Steve was on the couch watching, knowing Bill was surprised, and watching Ghost work his magic.
Ghost sighed. "Bill, I can tell you're kinda uneasy, and maybe skeptical of what you've heard about me. Yeah, I can do all that whenever I want to, and I heard all your concerns just now, but mostly I try not to. I can block out thoughts just as good as I can let them in. So, don't be afraid of me, please? I'm just a regular person, and I'm not going to scare the kids, or anything." He shrugged and smiled.
"I know it's weird and strange. If I pick up on something you were thinking, I might say something that will be about that, that's all. It even still surprises Steve sometimes when I hear his thoughts." He looked over at Steve.
"That's right, Bill," Steve said. "Even after all this time."
Yeah, so I hope you understand," Ghost said.
"Uh, yeah...thanks for explaining it to me. It is strange to me, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. I'm sorry I've been staring. It's just I'm the other newcomer to the family...I'm still learning, so I'm sure we'll all be ok...one big happy family," Bill said.
"I think so, too," Ghost said. "Well, I'm hungry. I'm gonna go see what's in the kitchen." He headed that way.
Bill looked at Steve. "Wow, Ghost is amazing. Did he really just know what I'd been thinking?"
Steve nodded. "Yep, that's Ghost. Happens to me all the time, too." He laughed.
Just then, they were called to the table. The kids ran ahead, and they all grabbed a chair. Linda and Lisa had made fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy, with a couple of side dishes. Steve was grinning.
"What, you like chicken, don't you," Linda asked.
"I sure do. I was just thinking you were making some weird California food...but, this is great."
"Hah, that's funny," Linda said. "We eat real food around here. We tried some of that weird food, and it wasn't for us. I guess we're still pretty southern, even if we do live out here. Give us down home cooking, any time."
"Well, now you're talking," Steve said.
"Y'all dig in," Bill said, as he was helping fix the kid's plates.
They all had the nice meal together, the first of many. Everyone talked at one time, and laughed, and got to know each other better. Afterwards, Linda shooed them all out of the kitchen, so she and Lisa could have some sister time.
"Wish you were coming with us, now," Linda said. "It will be weird not seeing you every day."
"I know, Sis, but right now I just can't. We're seriously thinking about it for later, though. And, it's not that long until our wedding, and then school will be out. You'll be back for that. Then we plan on visiting y'all out there...see how you're doing. Maybe Bill and I will decide to move there. I'm really going to miss the kids around here," Lisa said.
"I know, but hey, you and Bill need to get started on your own kids...haha," Linda said.
"Well, not that soon, but we will."
Steve and Bill had gone back into the living room, and were watching some sports show on TV. Once in awhile they'd yell at the players. Stevie and Mandy had lured Ghost out to the back yard to play with them while it was still light enough outside. They showed Ghost their playhouse and swings, and ran around the yard chasing a ball. Lisa's puppy, a fluffy, cocker spaniel, chased the kids around the yard, yipping.
Ghost laughed at their antics, and joined in, throwing the ball and pushing them on the swing. Then, in the shade of the big tree, he lay in the grass. The puppy and both kids climbed all over him, laughing, and making a forever friend.
"Look at them out there," Linda said, as she watched from the back door. "They're having fun...hope Ghost don't mind all the ruckus."
"It doesn't look like he minds a bit. Seems like he's just a little bit taller kid, himself," Lisa said.
"I know. The kids love him already. Same for me...the first time I met him, and he sure makes Steve happy."
Lisa nodded. "Um-hmm, I can see that. I know what you told me about them. They've sure had some rough times, though...sad, really." She paused a moment. "Now, not to be, well, an over-protective aunt, but do you ever worry about the kids being alone...with either of them?"
"What? No, no of course not. Why would I?"
Lisa shrugged. "No reason, except I know Steve's our brother, but really, he and Ghost, too, are still kind of strangers to us still. And, you told me about Steve's temper, and Ghost...well, he's a wild card. He seems unpredictable, to me, and kind of spacey...and you know, all the problems he has. I'm just a worrier."
"I know you are, Lisa, and to tell you the truth, I did have thoughts about all of that. I know Ghost is pretty far out there, and he could have a seizure, at any time. But, Steve is working on controlling his temper, and doing good. On that note, I trust them both, but I'm not quite ready to leave the kids totally alone with either of them, right now," Linda said. "Just me being a mom, you know."
"I know," Lisa said. "Well, at least we talked about it." She gave Linda a hug.
"I'm gonna miss you, sister..." they both said, at the same time, then laughed.
Just then, the kids came barreling in the back door, asking for cold drinks. "We're thirsty and hot," they shouted.
"Are y'all coming in, now?" asked Linda.
"No, not yet. We'll take it outside, and Ghost is waiting for us," Stevie said.
Linda looked outside. Ghost was still lying on the grass, looking up at the sky, through the tree branches. "Looks like y'all wore him out with all your running around. Here, take these out...just for a few more minutes, then it's bath time." She handed them plastic cups, and watched them go, wondering what Ghost was thinking about...looking at.
Stevie and Mandy made it back to the yard, without spilling much, and handed Ghost his cold drink. They were gulping theirs, and getting red mustaches on their lips, and laughing. Ghost looked into his cup...red liquid. Taking a swallow, he smiled.
"This is cherry Kool-Aid," he laughed. "I haven't had this in forever."
"Yeah, Kool-Aid, Ghost. It's good," Mandy said.
Ghost drank his, making his own red mustache, which got the kids giggling.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing