Kat shivered as she packed the last of her clothes into the old suitcase. She looked around the small dingy apartment she had been able to keep. It wasn’t much but it was home, and she took care to keep it clean. It was time to move on. She lost her job and was being evicted. Hard to pay your rent when you don’t have any money. She looked up at the old woman smoking at the dining room table.
“Well, I guess this is it, see you, Marge,” she said and dragged the bag to the door. Marge shook her head and frowned. Kat knew this would not have been Marge’s choice. Marge died three years ago and her son was a money hungry landlord, who was upping the rent as much as possible. Marge gave her a wave and then vanished before her eyes. Kat closed and locked the door. She dropped the keys off at the office where a young pretty girl gave her a fake “We’ll miss you!” before she left. Kat rolled her eyes. She had been thinking about her next place. Obviously, this town wasn’t working for her. She had two choices, stay with Jean and her new husband in Boone, North Carolina, or head to Jessa’s little place in Maine. She picked a nickel out of her pocket. It wasn’t a quarter but it would do.
Heads we go to Boone, tails we go to Ellsworth, Maine. She pressed her lips to the nickel and flicked it into the air with her thumb. It flew up spinning and landed on her palm. She flipped it to the back of her hand and took a deep breath before checking to see. Opening one eye to peek, she saw the smiling face of the president.
“Boone it is,” she muttered as she dragged her bag behind her. Either way it was going to be a long bus trip. She sent her friend a message letting her know that she was on her way. She also sent a message to her other friend letting her know that she decided to stay with Jean. The three friends had grown up together and promised to always be there for each other. They knew she was having a hard time, and she housed them when they had a rough patch. When you didn’t have parents you had to rely on your friends, your best friends. Jean and Jessa were the only ones who knew that she saw spirits, other than the spirits themselves. They were the only ones she trusted with her secret.
The bus trip took a few days, and after paying for the ticket she only had thirty dollars left in her pocket. She could use her gift to get money from people, but she didn’t like to do that. Instead she informed a fellow traveler that his Aunt loved him and to check in her coffee can before he sold the house. That traveler was kind enough to buy her lunch for the information she passed to him but he seemed to not believe her. She shrugged, at least she gave him the message. His Aunt seemed to adore him. The scenery changed to a wooded area with trees. It was a beautiful road with trees on both sides and as far as the eye could see. She wondered if it would snow during the winter, like it did in Oregon.
As the bus pulled into the shopping area, she could see people and spirits walking along the shops. One of the spirits was very old, as far as she could tell. It looked like it was from the early 1900’s, from his attire. Then she saw something really strange. A man with green skin, red hair, and black eyes. Like solid black eyes, there was no white to them. He looked right at her like he knew she could see him. A woman walked right through him and Kat knew there was something unusual about this town. The bus turned and she lost sight of him, thankfully. She realized that he made her heart race with fear. She put her hand over her heart in hopes to slow it down. As the bus pulled into its stop, she rose and followed the other people off.
“Kat! I’m so glad to see you!” Jean shouted, pulling Kat from her reverie and into her embrace.
“Jean!” Kat said hugging her back, “It feels like forever since I last saw you!”
Kat pulled back and noticed Jean cut her red hair shorter, her green eyes still sparkled with the magic inside her. She still sparkled with the look of a newlywed and Kat took her hand, looking at the pretty little ring resting on her finger.
“Congrats! Your ring is much prettier in person! I’m sorry, I couldn’t make it to the wedding,” Kat said with a frown.
“It was a quick wedding anyway, I get it,” Jean said hugging her again, “Besides, you’re here now! I’m so happy to have you.”
Kat smiled relishing the warmth of Jean’s embrace. It had been a long time since they last hugged goodbye. Five years had gone by in the blink of an eye.
“So, where’s the hubby?” Kat asked as she took Jean’s arm and let her guide them to her car.
“He’s busy with work for the rest of the week. He’ll be back on Sunday,” Jean said with a smile, “It’s nice we get some girl time in before he comes home.”
Kat smiled at her as they loaded her bag into the back of Jean’s SUV. Jean chatted animatedly about her job here and all the nice people that live here. They drove past where Kat had seen that unusual man and Kat found herself looking for him. There was no sight of him, just a few spirits that wandered among the regular people. Jean was used to Kat’s distracted behaviors. Kat would tell her managers and bosses that she had ADHD and that seemed like a good excuse to them. It was really hard to stay focused on conversations when you could see things others can’t. The SUV turned down another road and Kat could tell they were heading further into the woods.
Jean pulled up to a wood cabin looking house with a nice front porch. It looked like a really good size, compared to Kat’s last apartment. It looked beautiful nestled in the trees, but with a nice garden to the side. And it looked like there was a greenhouse in the back. Their feet stomped on the wooden steps up to the front door. Jean unlocked it and smiled at Kat as she pushed the door open. Kat smiled at her and gave a little laugh. It was nice to see Jean so proud of her home. As usual there were some dry herbs above the front door. Jean knew how to keep the bad spirits at bay. Kat was sure she had a full perimeter around the house to keep them out. Kat was always relaxed around Jean because she knew there wouldn’t be any spirits jumping at her and scaring her. The hallway opened up to an open living room/ kitchen with a dining room to the side.
“That’ll be your room right through there,” she said pointing to the door they had walked past, “You’ll have your own bathroom attached. And across from you is the office.”
Kat smiled opening the door and pulling her bag in. There was a big queen sized bed in the middle of the guest room and it had a nice dresser. There were some flowers in a pot growing on the dresser, and a big mirror sat in the corner. The room was light and cheery.
“What do you think?” Jean asked smiling at her friend.
“I think it’s amazing! It’s nicer than any room I’ve stayed in before,” Kat replied and watched as her friend beamed.
“It’s nicer than any of my past homes, too,” Jean said with a smile and taking her hand she pulled her around, giving her a grand tour. The house had five bedrooms, and four bathrooms. There was a den and a movie room on the lower level, as well as a laundry room.
“So, my big question… Are there any spirits? Did I get my bases covered well enough?” Jean asked leading her back to the office and her bedroom. Kat looked around the office and her eyes landed on a picture with four guys. They looked unusual too, one with bright teal eyes and blue hair that turned to green at the tips, with a light skin tone. One with long white hair and bright blue eyes, with a tanner skin tone. One had red hair that was short and spikey, with yellow eyes and brown skin. The last one had eyes that were slanted and a beautiful golden brown, and blonde hair with red streaks. His skin was a lighter brown than the red head. Kat’s head tilted to the side.
“No, your house is free and clear. Not a ghost in sight,” Kat said turning to Jean, “Is one of these guys your husband?”
“Yes, the one on the left is Matt. I know he’s kind of plain looking, but he stole my heart,” Jean said with a smile. Kat stared at her a minute. She pointed to the one with teal eyes and blue hair. That was plain?
“Oh, and that picture was before the accident. Alistair, the one next to him, he lost an eye and his face is really scarred on the right side. We call him Al,” She pointed to the one with long white hair and then moved her finger to the red head, “And that’s Ignacio, we call him Iggy.”
Then she pointed to the blonde, “Last but not least is Justin. Those are Matt’s best friends. You’ll be seeing a lot of them. And you’ll see Iggy, and Justin’s girlfriends, who I don’t like so much. They say things so Iggy and Justin don’t hear them, you know, when they’re not around. They can be kind of mean.”
“How long have they been dating?” Kat asked.
“Only a few months, but I think Iggy and Justin are kind of blind to the things they say. Matt said something about them, and they got mad. They said he was just trying to ruin their happiness, or something like that. Matt also hopes they don’t stick around too long. They are pretty. That’s why Iggy and Justin keep them around. I think if they hear the stuff those girls say, they’ll drop them. We just have to wait for them to get bored,” Jean said with a shrug. Kat nodded and followed her to the living room.
“Or maybe we’ll get lucky and Iggy or Justin will fall head over heels for you,” Jean teased, elbowing Kat. Kat shook her head.
“What? We could totally be sisters!” Jean said.
“Are they brothers?” Kat asked with a laugh. Jean tilted her head.
“Actually, no. They’re just best friends,” Jean said with a shrug.
“So, we’d pretty much be exactly as we are now…,” Kat said giving her the side eye, “I mean, we’re pretty much sisters anyway. You don’t have to be blood related!”
Jean laughed, “That’s true.”
“All I’m saying is don’t get your hopes up. Not every relationship has a fairy tale ending, ya know?” Kat said hugging her friend, “I’m just happy to have a BFF like you!”
“Aww, Kat! I love you, too,” Jean said with a laugh. They stayed up well into the night catching up on each others life. That was the thing with their relationship, no matter how long they have been apart or haven’t talked, it seemed like they could always pick up where they left off. Their conversation came so easy. They talked about movies they wanted to see, and places they wanted to visit. Kat gave a yawn and looked at her watch.
“Oh, it’s late. We should get to bed,” Kat said stretching and getting up off the comfy couch. She could have totally fallen asleep on it.
“You’re right. We need to get up early to see that movie,” Jean said, “Don’t worry, I got you this time.”
“Thanks,” Kat said walking to her room.
“Oh, hey, it’s just us for a few days, so don’t bother putting those murky contacts in,” Jean said, smacking her on the butt on her way past. Kat laughed and nodded as she walked to her room. She went to the bathroom and looked at her reflection. Washing her hands first, she pulled the brown contact from her bright purple eyes. She frowned as she looked at the unusual color. It was hard to find a good job with such an unusual skill, that sometimes distracted her from work, and even harder when her eyes were such a bright shade of purple. She tried to play them off as brown by wearing contacts. But then people would notice her staring off. Jean was used to it, but how would Jean’s husband react? Kat thought of the picture and shook her head. Any of those guys looking at her like she’s weird? Yeah, right!