'I would've figured it out sooner or later, you know.'
All Edward did was smile benignly. You know, that kind of smile. Those smiles that just say oh-okay-whatever-you-say-darling. Which didn't do a whole lot to improve my mood. I mean, I was already seriously crabby from getting next-to-no sleep last night. And my period came. So he wasn't really helping.
I got out of bed, maybe stomping my feet on the ground harder than I would've.
Okay, yeah, I was angry at myself. Pissed, even. Could you blame me? I was, after all, supposed to be the kind-of-expert here. What with my sixteen years of experience, and all that. I honestly don't know why I didn't think of possession earlier. It was obvious. It was more than obvious, damn it. It was almost staring at me right in the face, and Edward here had figured it out in – what, a few minutes? Argh.
But there was still a chance that possession wasn't, in fact, the answer. It's pretty rare, possession. The ghost has to be pretty darn strong to be able to properly possess a healthy, live person. Ghosts get stronger the longer they're dead, and that spotty ghost I'd seen in Lauren's house seemed like she'd died only recently.
I've only come across one case of possession before, and that was when I was about twelve. The old woman living below me in my then apartment got possessed by the ghost of a seventeen-year-old boy who'd committed suicide. She'd started acting all weird and stuff. Weird as in she locked herself in her apartment twenty-four-seven and strangled all three of her cats and left their furry carcasses on our doorstep. Mom was pretty freaked out by that. Then the old woman – I still remember her name. Mrs. Breech or something. She smelt like talcum – went to the rooftop of our apartment and jumped. The sound she made when her frail body hit the pavements below was really disturbing. Me and Renee, we rushed down. By the time we got out of our apartment building, a bunch of people had already started crowding around Mrs. Breech.
It's funny how normal people get so equally fascinated and horrified by something as normal as death. It happens all the time. Get used to it. But maybe I'm only saying that because I see death all the time.
Anyway, Mrs. Breech was lying face down on the cement pavement, and I saw this shimmery thing detach itself from her broken body. I'd assumed it was Mrs. Breech's ghost. I still remember thinking Oh, man, not another one. Then I noticed the shimmery thing was male, vaguely muscular and definitely not Mrs. Breech. 'What're you doing in her body?' I had asked out loud, astonished. Renee shook my shoulder, not understanding what I was saying. The teenage boy brushed imaginary lint of his ghostly body, smiled at me and said, 'I was bored and I had nothing else to do.'
I figured that seventeen-year-old boy had to have some pretty pent up vengeance and anger in himself to be able to possess someone like that. Then again, Mrs. Breech had been old and weak. I think the sickest part of possession is bending someone to your will like that. Feeling so powerless in your own body must be horrible.
Yeah. So possession isn't exactly pleasant.
'I know you would've.' Edward said blandly, settling himself in his favorite bay window seat.
'Would've what?' I said vaguely, jolted out of my reminiscing.
'Would've figured it out sooner or later.' His tone was so engaging that I didn't know whether he was making fun of me or not.
'Erm – thanks?' I fumbled around with a woolen pair of socks, tugging them on my feet. The thick, rolling mist I saw out of my room window the minute I woke up didn't look very promising.
'You are, after all, the expert in these fields.' Edward didn't look at me as he spoke. Okay, now he was definitely poking fun at me.
'What? You want a pat on your back and a gold medal for figuring it out first?' I snapped, losing my patience. I'd wanted to be on civil terms with him – he was, after all, living in my bedroom. If we weren't on civil terms things would get pretty awkward.
Edward merely smiled, a trace of cockiness behind those crooked, upturned lips. 'Why, not at all. Although maybe a "thank you", or some form of appreciation would be nice.'
'Like I said, I would've figured it out sooner or later.' I said. 'Without your kind help.' I added pointedly, not caring if I sounded really childish.
'Blerhghddh…' Alice woke up, rising up from the hard, polished floor. Before this, I didn't know ghosts would sleep at all, but apparently they did. Alice must've been really tired out yesterday night, because usually she'd be the first one up, chirping and frolicking around like six o' clock in the morning was a perfectly sane and normal time to be up. Rosalie and Angela were both sprawled on the floor, hugging each other. I don't know if "sprawled" would be a good word, though, since they were hovering about two inches off the floor.
'Morning.' Edward and I said simultaneously. I shot him an unnecessarily fierce glare, and he smiled. Again. Gah. Stupid ghosts.
'Morning.' Alice stretched, floating off the floor. 'So…' a brief flash of despair crossed her face. I think she must've been thinking about the events that had transpired the day before. '…what're we going to do today?'
'I was thinking we should visit Tyler in the hospital. Make sure he's still alive, and all that. Oh, and we should drop by the police station, too. Visit our incarcerated friend Lauren. The usual stuff.' I shrugged.
A ghost of a smile – sorry, bad but completely unintentional pun – graced Alice's delicately elfin features. 'Yeah. The usual stuff. Hey! Hey, wake up, Rosie! Angela!'
They both grumpily woke, peering at me through bleary eyes. As Alice told them our events planned for today, I pulled on my other woolen sock, and stood up.
'Hospital and police station. Sounds good.' Stupid Edward rose off the bay window seat.
'Excuse me?' I sniped. 'Who invited you along?'
Alice's jaw slacked, eyes flicking between the both of us like she was watching a tennis match.
Edward looked surprised. I couldn't help but feel satisfied that I'd thrown him a little. He paused for a moment, then tipped an imaginary hat. 'Well, have a good day, ladies.'
'That wasn't very nice!' Rosalie looked at me balefully.
'What?' I defended myself, feeling a little guilty now. Okay, so I'd acted like a baby.
'You just brushed him off like that?' Angela seemed a little awed.
'Well, I didn't really want him to come. And he annoys me.' I fished around half-heartedly for an excuse.
'I thought you liked him!' Alice pouted a little.
'Yeah! I thought so too.' Rosalie picked herself up.
'I mean, you know, since you both live together, and everything.' Alice raised an eyebrow wickedly. 'So I just sort of… assumed… that you were both together.'
'That's… preposterous.' I blustered, blushing a little.
'Well, turns out we weren't right.' Angela sighed and propped her face up on her palms.
'I swear he likes you, though.' Alice muttered thoughtfully.
'Erm –' Alice looked slightly uncomfortable. 'I don't know if it's my place to tell you but… last night, after you all went to sleep, I was still awake, see? I couldn't sleep at all. I think I only got about two hours of sleep. Anyway, I rolled over to my side and… saw him. Edward.'
'And…?' I prompted, more curious than I wanted to let on.
'He was sitting over there.' Alice pointed at the bay window seat. 'Where he always sits, and he was… watching you. You know… looking at you sleep.'
I was stupefied. Bewildered. Alice must've been hallucinating.
'How am I supposed to know?' Alice threw her ghostly arms up, sighing in exasperation. 'You're the one who should know.' Then she gave me this hugely exaggerated wink. Like Edward and I were secretly having some torrid affair behind her back or something. Pssh.
Rosalie and Angela squealed. 'So he was just sitting there? Staring? How romantic!'
'It doesn't even mean anything.'
'Doesn't mean anything?' Rosalie regarded me with in incredulous expression. 'You can't be freaking serious. Look, a guy – a pretty damn hot guy, might I add – watching you sleep the whole night is not nothing.'
'Argh, whatever.' my mood soured even further. Though I'll admit my entire body was flushed. Don't get the wrong idea – I didn't like it. Edward watching me sleep, I mean. Not in the least. It felt like a pretty huge invasion of privacy, actually. Plus I do a lot of funky stuff when I sleep. Like drool and sleep talk, for instance. Not something I particularly want someone to witness, you see. 'I'm off to the hospital. You guys coming?'
I practically had to beg Renee to let me out of the house. She finally relented, but this time she insisted on following. 'Every time I let you out of my sight you become a witness to a murder.' She grumbled, but I could see she was more worried than angry.
I hate hospitals. They're so… ick. Those bright lights overhead make me feel sick. Never been able to stand them. Since Forks wasn't exactly a huge metropolis, the hospital was pretty modest, somewhere beside Fork's Main Street.
'Ugh.' Alice voiced my thoughts exactly as we pulled up to the hospital, tucked safely in Renee's old Ford. The three of them were squashed together in the back seats, constantly shifting about.
'We're looking for a Tyler Crowley. He was just admitted yesterday.' I leaned over the receptionist's desk, and a kindly black woman pointed the way.
'So, tell me again how this boy got himself hurt?' Renee asked, looking around with mild interest. We passed a listless, veiny old man seated in a wheelchair, staring blankly in front of him. I shuddered delicately.
'He – er – fell off a cliff.' I told Renee a little sheepishly.
'Good God.' Renee put a hand on her heart. 'What is wrong with this town? You know him? This boy?' Renee asked as we walked down a semi-crowded corridor.
'Er – yeah. Sure. Good friend.' I lied. I figured visiting someone I didn't know at all in the hospital would seem a teeny bit strange.
'Yuck.' Angela turned pale as the three of them drifted behind us.
'You smell it, too?' Rosalie said uncertainly.
'Yeah. It's everywhere.'
'It smells like death.' Alice said in a hushed voice, solemn and grave.
'Disgusting.' Angela complained.
'Here – Ward 23B.' Renee peered in through a small sliver of glass placed directly in the middle of the mahogany door. 'There's no one in there.'
I cautiously pushed open the heavy door, not wanting to startle Tyler. He was asleep, face pale and bruised all over. Even from over here the bruises looked like they hurt. Really, really hurt. Both his legs were encased in plaster casts. There were multiple tubes running in and out of his body, with evil-looking machines beeping by his side.
'Is he alright?' Alice floated right through the door and hurried over to Tyler's motionless side.
'Goodness, the boy looks terrible.' Renee sympathized, wincing a little.
'At least he's alive.' I said darkly, thinking of that ghost again.
'Oh, my God.' The three of them clustered around Tyler's bed, supremely worried. Renee stepped right through Rosalie, and the both of them let out exclamations of surprise. 'Cold in here, isn't it?' Renee rubbed her shoulders.
'Yeah.' I said dryly, looking at Rosalie who was saying, 'That felt so weird. Someone going through me.'
There was a clipboard attached to the side of Tyler's bed. I leaned down and tugged it off. It was a report of Tyler's physical condition, prepared by a doctor.
'Oh God.' I said, to both the ghosts and the living. 'Look at this – it says here he went through a three hour surgery last night to fix his broken ribs and fractured arm.' I peered closer at the clipboard, flipping over a page. 'He hasn't woken up since. Blood pressure's fine. No visible brain damage. Multiple bruises and lacerations all over… his condition's pretty stable, though.'
'Fucking hell.' Rosalie exclaimed. 'That possession ghost, or whatever, is so dead.'
'If she's a ghost there's a very strong possibility she could already be dead.' Alice reminded her.
Rosalie scowled. 'You know what I meant.'
Tyler's eyes fluttered.
'Oh, wait, he's waking up.' Renee said.
'He's not waking up anytime soon.' Someone cackled. An unfamiliar voice. For some reason, only Alice, Rosalie, Angela and I turned around automatically at the voice. Then I realized Renee didn't turn around because she couldn't hear her.
It was her. The ghost I'd seen outside Lauren's room. She didn't look any different from the last time I saw her, except maybe now her eyes glittered.
'You!' I yelled without thinking.
Renee's head snapped around. 'What?' she asked, confused.
Then I did a pretty stupid thing. I pounced, running towards her with something blazing in my chest. God damn it, she still had the nerve to show up after what she'd done. I was plenty sure she'd had something to do with Alice, Rosalie and Angela's deaths, too. I was going to kill her.
Well, okay, she was already dead, but you know what I mean.
Of course, being a ghostly apparition, she simply walked through the opposite wall and disappeared.
I barreled through Ward 23B's wooden door amidst Renee's bewildered cries of 'Bella! What're you doing?'
I scanned the corridor, heart pumping wildly and ghost-kicking instincts already kicking in. Where the fuck was she?
Then I saw her. She'd reappeared at the other side of the wall, looking smug. She stood as I approached her, still smiling. This was a little weird. I mean, any sane ghost would've just run. Ghost whisperers are plenty skilled in kicking ghost butt.
'Hey again.' She greeted, waving.
Then I sank my fist into the side of her jaw, effectively throwing her against the floor.
'Argh!' she howled in pain, eyes squinted and hands clutching at her mouth in agony. 'What the – you can touch me?'
'Duh.' I rolled my eyes, and lifted her up again. Ghosts are surprisingly light. 'Good for me, I guess.' Then I socked another one to her nose. I could feel soft cartilage shatter under my fist. Lucky there wasn't anybody in that deserted corridor. Blood spurted from her mangled nose, and she let out another fresh howl, wriggling and fighting me away.
'Get – away –' she gasped, kicking.
'I cannot believe – ' I laughed humorlessly. '-that you actually had the fucking balls to come back here and visit Tyler. What is wrong with you?' I didn't give her the chance to reply though. I guess getting kneed in your gut isn't very good for conversation.
The ghost groaned and doubled over, gasping and whimpering. It'd take a lot more than a few punches and kicks to get rid of her, though. That broken nose I'd given her would heal in a few hours.
'Fuck you!' the ghost screamed. Apparently she'd wised up, because when I reared my leg back to flip her over and nail her down on the floor, she sank right through the solid tiled floor and disappeared.
And you already know how much I hate it when ghosts do that.
Author's Note: Hahaha! Review! Sorry I took so long to update, I'm a bit busy at the moment.