Am I A Ghost Or Real?

Brown Eyed Girl

Alarm.

Snooze.

Zone off.

Alarm.

Smack phone.

Snooze.

Grumble.

Zone off.

Alarm.

Ah! FUCK IT!

Switch off.

Get up.

That was how it usually went when it was time to wake up. Sometimes it takes up to eight alarms to wake me up. I'm not exactly a morning person, never was, but in the need for change, I opted to some new morning habits. Even though I had to literally drag myself out of bed, it didn't take long for me to completely wake up. And no matter how many hours of sleep I get, even if just a couple, I never felt too tired to face the day. Perks of being a trained spy, trained to kill. Had to be alert at all times.

Last night after I dropped Holly off, I drove to Marcus's loft. Once we settled in 'The Goblin House'as he would call it, (The nerd, since it was a chamber that held his gadgets and weapons as well as information system, just like the Green Goblin's lair in Spiderman was for, so he gave it the same name. While the one at my house was called Fortress of Solitude or Batcave.It all depends on who wins our argument of who's better, Batman or Superman.) We called Stevens and she filled me in on the details of the gang with the tattoo and the details of the operation to which they sent our spies to. After I was satisfied with knowledge I told her that Jameson had interest in me. Marcus chuckled and taunted while she warned me about how dangerous it could be.

"If it were any other person, any other mission I would've given you the option, I would've asked if you wanted to go into this intimately, to make the mission easier. But not this mission. Becoming intimate with someone like Jameson will be dangerous, for the mission and for your life. He was one of the best. He'll know something's up immediately. He'll suspect you immediately. And he won't hesitate to kill you and then run. So be careful, and try your best not to encourage his affections, don't give him a reason to want to get closer to you." That was her warning and Marcus agreed.

Except he added that I should find someone else to find interest in. That way Jameson would give up if he thought I was into someone else. Stevens said it was up to me. Once the screen went off I smacked Marcus on the shoulder, I smacked him hard enough to know that it will bruise. Yet, he still made remarks about the hot pathologist that I was smitten with and that I should just go for it, and then he begged for details. With that I told him goodnight and told him I was leaving. I made it home after 1 AM and I immediately went to bed.

By the time I got out of bed it was after 5AM. I felt like going for a run. I needed to keep my shape. In order to be on top, I had to work for it. Running helped my body stay strong and flexible.

I got a little more than 4 hours of sleep. That was still good for me.

I pulled my hair into a ponytail as I got into my sweats and running shoe. I put on my shorts, sports bra and a shirt. I put my hair in a ponytail and then looked for my armband phone case. Once I had my earphones in and my keys inside the case, I set out for my morning run.

I always hated exercise, I still do. But my job requires it. I've been doing it too much that I actually feel like I need to run. It sometimes helps me clear my head. So I simply let the music take over me as I run towards the nearest park. I intended on running for the next hour and a half. Maybe more.

As I run I think about tonight. I dread what to expect of my mother. I run the fear away, until other thoughts take over.

Holly.

How is it possible I've only known her a day and I'm already smitten? This is so bad. And I'm going to see her this morning. Yes, here come the butterflies. Stupid feelings and stupid hot pathologist with a sexy smirk and interesting mind.

Stupid Gail! Stupid Charlie! Stupid who ever I am!! YOU CAN'T SUCK HER INTO THIS! REMEMBER YOUR WORK IS DANGEROUS! AND YOU'RE LEAVING WHEN THIS IS OVER!

If only I would listen to myself. No matter how much I'd try to talk myself into never talking to her again, I can't! Being her friend will be hard, but I need to keep myself in control and not give in to more. It's stupid to assume she'd be interested in me anyways. No one's ever payed that much attention to me. No one's ever needed me or wanted me enough to stay, or even to tell me I was wanted. People always left when they were around me. What makes me think this would be any different. She's just being friendly. And that's how I should be. I shouldn't encourage myself to fall. Not if I was leaving. Not if I needed to catch this guy without harming anyone. I can't risk anyone's life for this, especially not hers.

STOP THINKING!

I turn the volume up on my phone and run faster. Maybe the music will drown out the thoughts. For a while it works, as I focus on the music. Until I bump into Steve and Traci who were running the other way towards me, right as I make it to the park and Steve gives me a questioning look. So we stop in front of each other and I pull my earphones out to hear them.

"Gail?" He asks breathless and surprised. "You're running? You never run."

"I'm a detective Steve. How will I catch the bad guys if I can't keep up. If only I had mind control abilities. Wouldn't need to move a muscle. Catch em all like that, just like superheroes." I say sarcastically as I snap my fingers at my last comment.

"You've always been a nerd!" He teases.

"You're one to talk! Captain of the universe!" I say as I lightly punch him in the shoulder and Traci laughs.

"He actually saved that as his name in my phone." Traci informs me and I simply smirk evilly at Steve.

"Don't." He warns but I ignore him.

"Did he ever tell you how he got that name?" I ask her and she shakes her head no.

"Gail." Steve warns and again I ignore him.

"Well you see, my brother here, when he was probably ten, thought that Captain America was cool. But he was only captain of America. So Steve thought he'd one day be Captain of the whole universe, not just earth, but everything. He'd save the whole universe. He even had a costume drawn and ready. So adorable." I reveal to Traci as I give Steve a triumphant smile.

"Awww, that's so adorable." Traci coos at him.

"You're a jerk." He Tells me with his annoyed face.

"Mostly to you." I say as I hold my smile to him.

"Whatever. You want me to pick you up tonight? Or will you make it there by yourself?" He asks as way to change the subject.

"I think I know the way." I think it'd be better if I make it there myself. I can make it there at my own pace then.

"You're not going to bail, right?" He makes sure.

"Nope. I'll be there ready to consume all the booze and listen to mommy dearest lecture me." I tell him as I give him an annoyed fake smile.

"You'll survive." He reassures me. "We'll back you up." He than points and himself and Traci.

"You guys are sickeningly cute. So if you excuse me, I'd like to avoid this yack fest and continue my run." I make sure to keep my tone teasing, so Traci wouldn't be offended. She doesn't know me, or never knew me, so she's not used to my annoying side.

"Charmer as ever. Want to catch breakfast after this?" Steve asks me before I can put my earphones back in.

"Sorry bro, someone else beat you to it and promised me free breakfast." I tell him as I put one earphone in.

"Who?" He questions and I simply ignore him as I smile and put the other earphone in. I make sure the volume is up as I make my way around them to continue my run.

The song then ends and a new one begins.

Great! 'Brown Eyed Girl' just came on!

As If I needed more things to make me think of Holly. Stupid shuffle.

-

Hey Lunchbox! You better not still be sleeping! Cause you promised me free food and I'm starving! I text Holly once I'm done with the shower and completely dressed. It was almost 8AM.

I don't remember that. I already ate. Holly texts back. And somehow I know she's lying.

Bullshit! I'm picking you up in ten. So be outside. I tell her as I tuck my phone into my pocket, grab my keys and wallet with my badge, I find my gun and put it in it's holder. Once I'm sure everything's ready I make my way out to my car.

Too damn bossy officer. I'm not sure I want to buy you breakfast if you'll just boss me around. I receive that text once I get in my car.

Sorry to disappoint but I don't have a uniform. I'm a detective. Sorry you missed me when I was actually in uniform. So suck it up, I am the boss sometimes. I text.

Not MY boss. She reminds me.

I then don't answer back as turn my car on, put it to drive and make my way to her house.

When I make it outside, she's nowhere to be seen. So I refuse to walk to the door. I just honk and wait.

Ten seconds later and Holly walks out of her front door carrying a folder.

Has she always been this breathtaking? Is it possible she's even better looking than she was yesterday? HOLD IT TOGETHER GAIL. KEEP THE COLD CALM FACE!

I may have been able to hold my facial expression, but I couldn't control the tingles that were starting to take over my whole body.

"Really? You honked?" Holly asks as she approaches my car. I had chosen to drive with the top off, since it was sunny.

"Meh, couldn't be bothered to do anything else. Thought I'd make my presence known somehow." I tell her with a shrug.

"Riiiight." She drags her word as she opens the car door and gets in. Once the door is closed and she's got her seatbelt on she looks at me with a friendly smile.

"Good morning officer." She greets.

"Seriously? I thought we established that I don't wear a uniform." I don't mind her calling me officer. I am not a detective either.

"Hey, you call me Lunchbox and it's annoying. Thought I'd find a way to retune the favor." She quips with a shrug.

"Whatever. Where we going?" I ask her for the destination.

"Depends. What's your favorite breakfast?" She answers with a question.

"Ugh, if it's up to me then, I sure hope the diner is still there." I say as I put my car on drive and pull out of her driveway.

"There where?" She questions.

"There's this diner me and Steve used to go to a lot for breakfast once a week. Siblings bonding. Since we barely saw each other then. Also, it had the best pancakes. But then I left. So I don't know what happened to it." I don't know why I answered her so honestly but it didn't feel like an effort to talk to her. It felt easy and I liked that.

"What's with the music?" She then asks as she reaches for the radio to switch my music.

"No touching my radio. You don't like this song just press next on my iPod." I answer her to stop her from reaching my sound system and switching it to radio. I had way too many songs so I put them on an iPod, since they only fit on it. I guess I bought a lot of albums, some artists I've never heard of. I wasn't always into music. I used to listen to anything with a good beat that was good enough to dance to or get drunk to, but then one of my missions lead me to infiltrate a local band, where one of it's members was a suspect for cyber attacks. For unleashing viruses into the governments system. The band was looking for a female singer to feature in some of their originals. So the agency for some reason sent me in. They weren't sure if he was working alone, or what kind of software he was using, so I needed to work to get all the information. It took me a month to take him down along with his two accomplices. In that month I'd learned a lot about music and got introduced to a lot of great bands and artists, thus my love for music.

"You have a lot of songs." Holly notes as she scrolls through my music on my iPod.

I don't give her an answer to that. I don't feel like explaining my love for music, or anything else. I simply wait for her to pick a song. Once she picks something, the drive continues in silence as we both just listen to the music, until I reach our destination.

"So it's still here." I note as I get out of my car and face the old diner.

"Never been here before." She says as she closes her door too.

"You're gonna love it." And with that I lead her inside the place.

Once we go in, I look to the far left side of the place to see if our favorite booth was empty. Somehow when we first started to come here, Steve and I always ended up eating at that table.

I immediately take a seat, and she simply looks at me questioningly as she takes a seat opposite me.

"What? I like this booth." I answer her silent question.

"Feeling nostalgic?" She teases.

"Whatever." I ignore to answer as I lift my hand trying to wave the waitress over.

A young girl, probably late teens, comes over to our table carrying two menus, she's definitely new.

"Hello, my name is Jenna. Can I start you with something to drink?" She asks once she hands us the menu and she takes out her notepad.

"A giant mug of coffee please." I order.

"Me too." Holly says and with that the waitress nods and promises to be back soon with our coffees and to take our order.

"So what's good here?" Holly then asks as she adjusts her glasses and looks over the menu.

"Everything?" Whatever she'd order would be good, I'm sure. I already know what I'll be getting, so I just lay my menu down on the table and watch Holly as she reads through her menu.

I'm pretty sure she's reading the details of every item on the menu. She looks cute with her eyebrows down and her eyes squinting in concentration. And just like that she looks up at me suddenly. Eyes looking at me above the glasses that have slid down her nose.

"Something fascinating here Peck?" She then asks me with raised eyebrows and a teasing tone.

"Not sure yet. I already know what I'm getting. So I had nothing else to look at." I shrug at her as if I wasn't feeling all the tingles from being caught staring at her, or from her eyes meeting mine.

She simply hums at me then and goes back to looking at the menu with a smirk on her face. And she keeps it up like that till the waitress comes back with our coffee.

"Did you decide on anything? Or will you need more time?" The waitress asks us in her friendly tone.

"Yeah, I'll have the blueberry pancakes, the large plate with eight, and also can I have some baked potatoes and toast on the side with jam?" I order and she writes it down, once I'm done talking I turn towards Holly. "You decide yet?"

"I'll just have the ham and cheese omelet." She answers as she hands the waitress the menu and I do the same. Once Jenna repeats our orders and we confirm them she leaves.

"So I'm guessing you like your food." She starts the conversation. "Are you sure you can eat all that?"

"Oh there will be nothing left on the plate, I'm sure." I say.

"Well it's good then, if you can eat a lot and still look like this." She then points her finger at my body. The way she was gazing at me at that moment made me want to gulp but I hold it in.

"Like what?" I try to get her to say it then. Just to tease her. Try to take the uncomfortable feeling off myself and turn it to her.

She then meets my eyes and hers turn challenging. She caught on to my game. And with that she gives me her lopsided grin and lifts her coffee mug to take a sip.

"Hot." She answers as if it was no big deal, just a statement, a fact, and she continues to sip her coffee and I instantly feel my cheeks turn a little red.

"Me or the coffee?" I ask trying to town down my flushed cheeks.

"We were talking about you weren't we?" She asks with smirk still in place.

Play it cool, Gail. Brush it off, before you can't.

"Yeah always been that way." I say as I nod my head in agreement and pick up my own coffee. "Just like you're a nerd." I point out.

"Not denying that." She can't deny it, I'd find many ways to prove my point and she knows it.

"How old are you anyways? I bet you skipped some grades?" She looks a bit too young to be a forensic pathologist.

"Well why don't you take a guess." She challenges. "You're a detective after all."

"Oh I am? You acknowledge it now?" I tease and she just gives me a knowing smirk. "Fine… Let's see, if you went about this without skipping any grades or any college classes, I'd say you'd be about 33 or 34. That's assuming you've been doing this job for a while. But you don't look above thirty. So you must have skipped some grades. So my guess is between 28 and 30. So my safest bet is 29."

"Wow. Spot on." She affirms with an impressed expression. "I did start school a year earlier and I did skip a couple of grades. I got to take some college courses while still in high school. So that saved me about 4 years of my life."

"So you're like super smart? That's kinda cool." I tell her.

"I guess." She answers, and with that Jenna the waitress brings our food and places them on the table in front of us.

Once she leaves I rest my coffee mug on the table and slide the pancakes plate closer.

"Good, you're plate gets baked potatoes and toast too, that means I won't have to share mine." I tease her as I also slide the rest closer to me. She simply chuckles at that.

"Well you never share food so." She shrugs and picks up her fork.

"I seem to recall I did last night," I remind her and she smiles. "Don't expect it to happen again though." And with that she chuckles and takes a bight from her omelet and moans.

Why? Why do that to me? The sound alone sends electric shocks through my body.

"You were right, this is good." She says and takes another bite.

With that I grab the butte and smear it on my pancakes before I drown the whole plate with syrup and dig in.

We eat in silence for a while, enjoying the taste, until halfway through our food, Holly breaks the silence.

"So, I told you my age, now your turn." She says as she takes a coffee sip.

I wait to swallow the big pancake bite I took before I answer. "I think I guessed it, you didn't tell me. It's only fair you do the same."

"But you're a detective," She states.

"And you're all professor X, so…" I say as I look at her challengingly.

"Are you sure I'm the nerd?" She asks me. I guess my mention of a superhero wasn't the best idea.

"Yes, positive." And I go back to eating. Can't stay away from my food too long.

"Okay, let's see, I'd say you were about 26?" She guesses.

"Hmm nice try." I say as I shrug and just eat another bite. When I look up she is just looking at me expectantly.

"Well I am not 26 yet. That would happen next month." And back to food.

"Oh. Well close enough." She says with a smile and she goes back to food. "Skip any grades?" She adds with a smirk.

"No. Not a genius like you. After highschool, I took a like two classes or one class a semester for two years. After I left I finished the rest in almost two years, joined the academy and then the police department. A year and a half later I made detective." I recite, a lie I should get used to telling.

"Made detective fast then." She observes.

"Yep, I'm that good." I give a cocky smile and go back to my food.

The rest of our meal is filled with work conversation. She asks me what the biggest case I ever worked on was, if I could tell her. And I lie. I tell her a completely fabricated story and she buys every single word of it.

After a while her phone rings.

"Hey you," She answers it warmly. Her friendly tone indicates it's someone important. Could she already be taken? Why is my heart heavy? Stupid emotions!

"No Zoey, I'm having breakfast." She then exhales exasperatedly. "Yes, I do have it sometimes." Eye roll. "Well what's so important you had to call?" Fixes glasses. "Right. Can we not discuss this now though? ... No I'm not alone... No, I'm not on a date... Would you stop being annoying?..."

So not a girlfriend, a friend? or a sibling maybe?

"I'll be right back." I guess a little privacy could help her deal with this. She nods at me and I get up.

I walk to the counter where the lady who owns the shop usually sits.

"Hey what does our table owe?" I ask her as I pull out my wallet.

"Haven't seen you here in a long while." She says as she looks at her screen for our bill.

"Yeah, have been out of town." I guess I feel flattered she actually remembers me.

"Good to have you back then." She hands me a paper with our bill and I hand her a fifty, a twenty and a ten dollars.

"That's tip." I tell her as she questions why I gave her way more.

"Oh," She says as she calls Jenna over. Once Jenna arrives the lady smiles at me. I return the smile, even give Jenna one and go back to the table just as Holly's hanging up.

"Sorry about that. My sister's a little annoying." She gives me an appologetic look.

"Ah siblings. I know what you mean." I tell her with a smile as I attempt to finish what's left of my food.

"Yeah, I guess you would. Steve seems cool though." She says.

"He is. I mean we used to fight a lot, but we grew to like eachother. We had a united purpose. Standing up to my mother." I say with a fake chuckle.

"Right, superintendent Peck. She's a bit out there." So I take it she's met my mother.

"Sorry you had the displeasure to meet her." I say with a cringe and she just shakes her head at me. "Tonight's gonna require a lot of alcohol to stomach."

"What's tonight?" She questions.

"Family dinner. The big reunion." I say sarcastically.

"Is it true then? Have you really not kept contact with anyone since you left?" She asks curiously but also concerned for me.

"Yeah, I was a coward." I exhale.

"No, I'm sure you had your reasons." She justifies for me my behavior.

"Yeah. I guess I did." Like joining the intelligence agency. The undercover part of it. Risking my life on daily basis. That's a good reason.

"So you weren't kidding when you said nothing left on plates huh?" She chuckles as she observes my empty plates.

"Good food can't be thrown away. It's a crime." I tell her.

"Right and you are all about stopping crimes." She teases.

"That too." I smile at her and she smiles back.

"I guess asking for the check is in order." And with that she raises her hand to ask for it.

"Actually it's taken care of." I tell her as I stand up and pick up my jacket.

"What?" She asks surprised and suspicious and I shrug at her. "I thought I was buying? You were excited about free food." She says.

"Change of plans. But next time it's on you." I say as I wear my jacket.

"Next time huh?" She asks with a knowing lopsided smile and I just melt.

"Next time." I say. Before I could say anything else or give in to smiles. I walk towards the exit.

"Gail?" Just I open the door I am greeted by my brother and Traci.

"Steve. Traci." I say as I step aside opening the door for Holly to walk out.

"Hi." She greets them.

"Hey Holly." Traci says as Steve says "Hi."

"Well it was nice bumping into you twice but we gotta go." I say before they could say anything else to eachother. Steve will have so many questions I'm sure. Because I just met Holly yesterday. Well I officially met her yesterday. Unless you can count the first time I bumped into her, litterally bumped into her, while leaving the station. And the Gail Peck Steve knows does't usually hang out with just one person, when she's only just met them. But the Gail Peck I am now, isn't as awkward. Or maybe it's just Holly, and how comfortable I feel around her. Which is unnerving to me. "So see you tonight." I add as I grab Holly's hand and lead her away. She simply waves goodbye at them as we walk towards the car.

Once we reach the car I realize that I haven't let go of her hand yet and the tingles start to take over my body, and with that I just ubruptly let go.

"Sorry." I appologize as I open the door for her to get in.

"It's okay." She answers warmly as she gets in.

"Let's get you to your car." I say once I'm inside and turning the engine on and driving off. I hand Holly the iPod which I put in my pocket and she just plugs it in and puts it on shuffle.

I guess she knew the songs that started playing considering she started singing along. She wasn't bad, but she had some of the lyrics wrong and it was adorable. So I continue my drive towards her car with a smile plastered on my face the whole way.

"Thanks for the ride officer." She turns towards me with a smile once we arrive to The Black penny parking lot.

"Anytime Lunchbox." If she insists on calling me officer, I'll just keep calling her lunchbox.

"I guess I'll see you around?" She asks as she reaches for the handle.

"I guess so. You do have my number." I say with a smirk and she just smiles and opens her door.

"Well I'll be sure to use it, in case you got too scared to use mine." She teases as she gets out.

"Have a nice day Doctor." I tell her pleasantly with a smile.

"Have a nice day detective." She returns my smile and then walks towards her car.

Once she's in and she drives out of the parking lot. I get my car to drive and pull out too.

Being around Holly is easy. I'm already getting sucked in. I don't think I can fight it. But that's not a bad thing right? I'm allowed to be happy, even if just for a bit right? But then again, if I let myself be happy, I'll end up miserable. I'll end up hurting her too, won't I? Damn complicated job!

I have to stop thinking about this for now. I can't make decisions like this. Because if I keep myself in this conflict and let it take over me, I will go crazy.

Hey where did we go?

Days when the rains came.

Damn Shuffle!!! Playing 'Brown Eyed Girl' again.

God! Holly and her brown eyes!! I guess my shuffle is even thinkinga bout her.



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