The Steady Beat

…..

There was an eerie silence as Paul sat up, and got off the bed, his skin healed to perfection.

"Hello Mr. Paul." said a man who had white hair.

"Who are you?" asked Paul.

"Judge Othneal." answered the Judge.

"From the Old Testament?" asked Paul, getting more nervous by the minute.

"Of Course. You are dead, you know."

"WHAT!" shouted Paul, then more calmly he continued, "I can't be!"

"You are. Look behind you." The Judge said calmly. Paul spun around and saw a body covered by a sheet. He walked over and pulled the sheet from the bodys' face, he looked down nervously and looked into his own face!

"You have died and become a helper to those who have died and regret something."

"Like an Angel?" Paul whispered.

"Kind of." said the Judge.

"Just great! What do I do?" exclaimed Paul.

"You will know, here comes your first case." Judge said.
At that moment a girl named Ashley appeared, looking a little confused. The Judge whispered to Paul:

"Your name is now Mr. Smith. This is Ashley Kamansky, she got shot in a bank robbery."

"Oh, Right, Well.." Paul started.

"Ashley K., Over here" The Judge called loudly interrupting Mr. Smith.

"Huh? What? Where am I?" Ashley asked confused.

"Who knows! I don't even kno..."

The Judge then cut off Mr. Smith again;
"You are on Earth, Ashley, but not for long, you have threatened too many people in your life, the heat is rising for you I'm afraid." The Judge said sadly.

"No, wait Judge! She deserves another chance." Paul said quickly, falling into his role.

"Yeah, Judge, I've done many good things in my life." Ashley caught onto Pauls lead, but Paul cut her off,

"Yeah, what about all the times she was nice to the people that were always mean to her."

"Yes, I suppose, Alright, You, Ashley-Jean Kamansky have three days and three days only. no-one will recognize you, you will return with all your memories intact. You are a free agent in the universe, with the blessing of God almighty and His court." At this the Judge slammed down a mallet and the world dissolved into blackness. The world seemed to shimmer before coming into focus.

~My God...ness. That's me ten years ago!~ she thought looking at a girl sitting in front of her who had turned around to stare at her.

"Miss. Jones, are you paying attention?" The teacher asked Ashley(the dead Ashley, now known as Sally Jones.)

The teacher was Ashleys' 11th grade teacher, Mrs. Fraisor.

"Miss. Jones?" asked Mrs. Fraisor getting aggravated.

"Uh? Yeah. Sure." Sally said.

At that moment she looked to her right and saw Paul dressed in a black leather jacket, white shirt, and black pants; he spoke very loudly,

" Only you can see and hear me when I am in these clothes. Oh! By the way, the answer is Madrid."

"Madrid" answered Sally, looking hopefully at her teacher.

"Sorry, my mistake, I thought you were daydreaming, being new and all."

The bell, at this moment went off and they left the room for English. As Sally stepped into the hallway, Paul disappeared. She looked around wildly, and spotted him in Jeans and a T-shirt with books under his arm walking into her English room. Sally entered the

room, and spotted Paul waving her over to a seat he had saved for her.

"I guess I'm a student. Huh?"

"Looks like it." Sally answered putting down her books.

"Do you want to go out to dinner with me tonight? We can work on what you have to do."

"Sure." answered Sally excitedly.

As the class progressed Ashley + Paul answered all the questions. Finally the teacher called on Sally, who gave a perfect textbook answer. The teacher was extremely shocked.

The bell rang and it was time for lunch, Paul and Sally left the room together, with envious looks from every girl in the room.

"Looks like we are an item." Paul said trying to hide his pleasure.

"I'm glad!...wait...sorry I meant, that's an interesting idea...thing..."

"It's okay, I think you're realy cool, Ashley." Paul said looking at her smiling gently.

"Thanks you are cool too." answered Sally smiling back.

"So, still on for dinner?" Paul asked after school, putting away his books in his locker.

"Yeah." Sally answered tucking her homework under her arm.

"See you at 7:00 in front of Paulette Pizza." Paul said walking away.

"He is soo Hott" Ash(Ashley(alive)) said to Sally.

"Man do I know it!" Sally said.

"You are so lucky to be going out with him, I wish I was."

"Well, Uh, I better go."

"Bye, Good luck, Sally."Ash said.

Sally walked out of school and to her apartment.

Sally walked to the Pizza House, when she neared the front door she saw Paul, and she nervously ran a hand over her hair. She walked over and Paul led her into a restaurant. As they ate dinner Paul asked her,

"Okay, what do you really regret doing?"

Sally stared into space thinking, finally she said, "I regret breaking up with Sam, my steady."

Paul stared at her in amazement.

"You had a steady boyfriend?!"

"Yeah, and broke up with him for a week with a bast... sorry, weirdo, who, in turn broke up with me after a week was up. I never saw Sam again." at these words she looked down at her plate clearly upset.

"Okay, Sal." Paul placed a comforting hand on Sally's arm.

"Well," he continued "When did you break up with him?"

Sally thought for a moment before answering, then she said, "Oh! I reme...mber, it was two days from today! I meet Eric tomorrow, so if I can prevent the meeting then it will never happen!"

"Wait! You and I are supposed to be going steady."

"Huh?"

"Look at your hand."Paul said blushing.

Sally looked down to see Pauls High School ring on her finger, which he had managed to slip on her with out her noticing, and on the gold band surrounding the Blue stone, were the words 'I love you Sal. ~Paul' engraved in fancy French Script.

"Oh!" she exclaimed excitedly.

"Yeah, Well, Won't it look weird if my steady starts trying to go out with a new guy?" Paul asked looking at her.

"Yes, I suppose, but Oh! Your steady! I love you!" cried Sally.

"I love you too, Sal." Paul said truthfully, blushing again.

"Sorry."

"It's okay, It's fine! Now lets figure out another plan" He continued as red as a fire engine.

"Sorry."

"Okay, it's Okay."

"Um... Okay...I know! What if I talk Sam into changing his 'unfaithful steady' policy to except the other me... (boy this is weird!)" she said. (the last words she said were under her breath. But Paul heard.)

"Not as weird as you think." Paul said staring Sally in the face, thinking that just 24 hours ago he had been alive, with 3rd degree burns, but alive.

"Well, If I talk to Sam before the other me tries to break up with him..."

"Maybe he won't dump her!" Paul cut her off.

"Right."

"Why not!" Paul continued, "It could work."

Then they got up and left. Paul walked Sally home, and as Soon as he had left and Sally closed the door she collapsed against the wall.

"Oh! My Boyfriend! Paul! He is sooo Hott!" she gasped.

Ash was standing by the door when Sally came to school the next morning.

"Sally! How did it go?... Oh! Never mind! I see! Your his steady!"

"Yeah, I still can't believe it!" Sally said, as the bell rang.

Sally and Ash walked to Geography.

"Oh, isn't he hott?" Ash said pointing to a new boy sitting by himself in the front of the

room. "Hotter than Sam."

"NO! Don't say that."

Ash shrugged her shoulders and sat down next to the new hott boy.

~Oh, No!~ thought Sally.

" The first downfall." Paul whispered in her ear.

" Now I just have to convince Sam not to leave her when he finds out about the new boy."

" You better hurry, you only have 48 hours left!" Paul said dragging her down to the back of the room to sit with him.

************************** (after school)

~I've gotta find Sam.~ this was the thought that was circling Sally's head.

" You'd better find Sam." Paul whispered, invisible, in her ear.

"I know." Sally groaned softly.

Suddenly she saw Sam across the street. Without thinking she dashed across, barley managing to avoid getting hit by a car.

~Well, at least I can't die.~ she thought as she continued running towards Sam, and just as he opened the door of his car she caught him by the arm.

"What the hey?!" Sam shouted.

"Please, Sam I need to talk with you."

"Who are you, anyway?"

"I'm Sally, Ash's friend."

"Oh. Did she send you to talk to me for some reason?"

"Not exactly, well, kinda...not really..."

"Huh?...Never mind, Just get on with it."

"Ok. But before she comes out of the school, I NEED to talk to you."

"Aren't you going steady?"

"Yes, but it's not about you + me it's about you and Ash."

"Our relationship is fine." Sam insisted.

"No it's not. She thinks she is in love with the new kid, Eric. She'll try and break up with you. But you don't want to loose her, and I know that she doesn't want to loose you. Trust me. And she really does love you. Wait for her silliness to pass. You are more important to her than you know...Trust me." Sally implored him.

"Almost nothing can change the policy I have about dumping untrue girlfriends,...but for some reason...I trust you...You remind me of another Ash...You two aren't related, are you?"

" Not exactly."Sally said looking at the ground.

" Funny, I could have sworn that you..."Sam started, and his voice trailed off as he saw Ash hurrying toward them, "That you act like I think Ash will act when she is older... Funny isn't it? I know you are the same age...You're just so like her."

"Whose so like who?" Ash asked impatiently, coming up alongside them.

"Hi Ash!" He said quickly.

"Hi Ash!" Sally said awkwardly.

"Let's go Sam."Ash said putting her hand on the car door handle, Sam unlocked the door and Ash jumped in and Sam ran around to the other side of the car and jumped in as well.

"Remember!" mouthed Sally as the car moved slowly away from the curb.

" Alright already!" Sam mouthed back at her in the rear-view mirror, from which dangled a pair of Fuzzy Dice as big as Sam's hand.

************************* (that night)

The bell of Sally's apartment rang and she walked to the door, amazed. She pulled open the door and was shocked to find Ash standing there.

"Ash," she said surprised, "Come in."

Ash Ash entered, Sally noticed Ash was trying desperately to keep her temper under control.

"What's wrong Ash?" Sally asked, knowing full well what it was.

"I told Sam about Eric and how it was only a one time occurrence. Sam said he was going to decide whether or not to break up with me." said Ash through gritted teeth.

"I'm sorry Ash. I realy am." Sally said truthfully.

"Yeah, well, nothing anyone can do. I just wanted to let you know. I had better go." Ash said moving towards the door.

"Yeah, I guess. Well, Good Luck, I hope everything turns out all right." Sally answered.

"Thanks. Me too, Sally. Bye." Ash said opening the door and stepping out the door.

"Bye."Sally echoed as Ash shut the door behind herself.

************************** (In Ash's room)

-RING- The phone in Ash's room was ringing. Ash, who had been wrestling with her dogs on the floor, jumped up and picked up the phone on it's third ring.

"Hello? (WOOF WOOF)" Ash said as her dogs barked.

"Hi Ash. Playing with your dogs?" Sam asked calmly.

"Sam?" Ash asked tentatively.

"What, Ashley?" Sam answered evenly without giving anything away in his voice.

"Nothing,...just...Have you decided about us?" Ash asked.

"Yes. I could never leave you. I don't want to loose you. Someone helped me relize that today. I love you Ashley-Jean!"Sam said with apparent joy in his voice.

"Thank God! I'm soo sorry! I love you too!" Ash said as she flopped onto her bed, and to her dismay one dog immediatly jumped up on the bed and sat down on her head.

As Ash talked to Sam, Sally rang Ash's doorbell.