Chapter Thirteen—The Denver Paranormal Society
It had taken less than a day to go through the rubble that was once my home. Edward, my father and I shifted through the debris looking for anything salvageable. There was nothing left, really. If the fire didn't destroy it, the snow had ruined it. I was thankful that I had taken the time to copy every photo I had of my friends and family, and leave them with my father.
Clarence, the spirit that once inhabited my home, had not made an appearance since the night that Kate died. I shuddered just thinking of that night; her death and the subsequent pull of her spirit into the darkness was on the top of my list of the worst things I'd ever witnessed.
There were no adequate words to describe what I had seen that night. I sat back against Edward's headboard – correction – our headboard. He had insisted that I'd stay with him and, though I was delighted, I didn't want to depend so much on him.
I loved him deeply, truly, but I learned the hard way that love couldn't always make someone want to stay. My gifts were a burden, and Edward had only witnessed a small piece of them. If he'd known the extent of them, perhaps he wouldn't want to be with me.
There was still much he didn't know about my past or me. I knew I'd have to tell him about my mother's death eventually. It wasn't something I talked about, though he had asked about her.
How do I tell the man I love, that I was responsible for my mother's death?
I scratched at the gauze on my shoulder as Edward slipped into bed beside me. His arm draped somewhat dramatically over my hip and a sigh escaped him. I knew he'd been having trouble sleeping because of me, but this wasn't why he was upset as I skimmed over a newspaper.
I was looking through the listing for a house for sale.
His arms wrapped around my waist as he rested his cheek on my thigh. "I know I'm going to sound like a child, but I really don't want you to go."
"I know," I whispered. I sat the paper down beside me and ran my fingers through his hair. "I just don't want to you regret your decision later and then I'd have nowhere to go."
He sighed, pressing his lips to my bare thigh. "That wouldn't happen. We were practically living together before your house blew up."
"It's been a really quiet month for me," I said softly. "Since Hayley, I've helped three others. That's a lot to handle."
He nodded. "I understand, really I do. I'm afraid that once the semester starts, you won't have time for me."
I could hear the need in his voice, and I knew that he loved me as much I as loved him. "Three months. We'll try it out for three months, and I'll save the money from my insurance claim for a down payment if I choose that I need to move away."
He pulled me down enough so that he could nuzzle my stomach. "That's all I ask, but I'm positive that you'll love living me. I'm the perfect roommate."
I rolled my eyes and pulled him to me, kissing him softly. "I'm going to need my own space, though."
He smiled. "Of course, you can take the one across from Hayley's room." His eyebrows furrowed as he closed his eyes. "What should we do with her room?"
I cradled his face in my hands and waited until his eyes opened. Our gazes met and he exhaled heavily. "I don't think I'm ready yet," he said lowly, regret and sadness evident in his eyes.
"Whenever, or never, that doesn't matter to me."
"I love that you understand," he said, looking thoughtful. "But I know she wouldn't want me to keep it as a shrine and have it go to waste."
I smiled and wrapped my arms around his neck. "No she wouldn't. She'd want you to—"
"Have her baby sister or brother move in?" he said, his words hesitant.
"Hmm," I said a little shocked. "I, um…"
He laughed and kissed my lips once, before he looked into my eyes. "I know it's only been a little over a month, and how we came together was fast and unconventional but I know you're my future. Plus, I'm not getting any younger." He waggled his eyebrows and grinned. I loved that he felt he could talk with me like this. He was so sweet, alleviating my worries with his teasing and a smile.
I cupped his face, forcing him to pucker his lips, kissing him. "You wanna make babies with me?" I grinned as I ran the tip of my nose along his. He let out a deep breath and sat up so that he could gather me in his arms. He shoved the newspaper away and settled us so that I was lying on top of him.
"I want it all with you," he whispered, running his fingers through my hair. "Whenever you're ready, I'm in no hurry." Edward remained quiet for a while as if he was gathering his thoughts. "Our children, will they be like you?" he asked warily. I tensed and I knew he sensed it when his arms tightened around me. "You're answer won't change my mind on wanting a family," he said, easing my worries again.
"Probably not, it skips a generation. My grandmother had it, skipped over my father, so that left me to bear the burden."
"Sorry, I thought it was on your mother's side," he said cautiously. I didn't blame him for his wariness, because I've been hesitant about discussing her.
"No, but don't let that make you complacent. My father may not have my gifts but he's extra perceptive on certain things. He senses a presence but he can't see or hear them as I do."
His soothing presence calmed me as his hands continued to run through my hair. After several minutes I was sure he had fallen asleep, until he spoke again.
"What happened to your mother?"
I sighed and closed my eyes to prevent the tears from falling that were always present when I spoke of that night. "She died trying to protect me."
"I don't remember much of that night. I just know things secondhand. My father thinks that my grandmother was protecting me from something, because when she died that was when we started to have trouble with a presence in our home. One night, while my father was out, something happened. When he returned my mother was dead and I was unconscious, the entire house was in shambles."
"Did they figure out how she died?"
"Her heart," I whispered. "In the file, the coroner listed that she was in prime physical and mental health. Her heart just stopped suddenly. My dad thinks she was literally scared to death, which may explain why they found me in a closet passed out. I was only eleven."
The tears I held at bay escaped in unstoppable force. Through it all, Edward held me close and whispered words of his love for me.
If he was still willing to love me, despite the dangers and baggage that came with being with me, then I had to believe he was my future.
We pulled up in Edward's truck in front of the team's office on Crescent Street. I gave Edward's hand a squeeze before exiting the truck. We were meeting the rest of crew there for brief introductions and rundown on the case we'd be starting in a few hours.
I looked up the street and saw Jasper's beat up red truck and Alice's little blue Mazda there too. Just as I stepped onto the sidewalk, they exited their vehicles to greet Edward and me.
I gave Jasper a small smile, his dark blue eyes bright with mischief. He was a born prankster and from what I knew of Emmett, I knew they'd get along just fine. "Hey, gorgeous," he said as he pulled me into a hug, spinning us.
I laughed and shook my head when he set me onto my feet. "Jasper, this is Edward Cullen, the team's leading man." I grinned when Edward chuckled behind me. "Edward, this is the man who will be behind the cameras, Jasper Whitlock."
They shook hands as Alice slowly walked cautiously toward us. Every inch of skin covered from head to toe, except for her small roundish face. She gave me a slow smile and offered me an awkward one-armed hug. She was being cautious not to allow any of her skin meet mine, she was terrified of the things I've seen, so I didn't blame her. She took the same precautions as she gave Edward a small smile.
However, I forgot about over-enthusiastic Jasper. He practically tackled her and gave her a bear hug that had her pink tinged cheek touch his. She gasped, closing her eyes and pushing away from him. I braced myself to catch her when she collapsed to the usual terrible aftereffects of seeing a person's past.
She didn't though. Alice's eyes widened as Jasper looked horrified. Edward pulled him back, explaining to him how Alice's gift works. Yet, Alice stood before us in complete calm.
"I didn't see anything," she whispered. There was astonishment and fear in her words. "That's never happened before." She quickly removed her glove and Jasper stood there, willing and waiting for her next move. Her hand shook as he lifted it up to his face. Slowly the tips of her fingers ran his jaw before she placed her palm on his cheek.
After a few tense seconds, as Edward and I watched, Alice smiled, brightly.
"That's amazing," she said softly.
"Well you can keep touching all you like, sugar," Jasper said with a wide smile.
I shook my head, following Edward toward the office. "Well, that looks promising," I said. Edward chuckled.
"I agree. I've never seen Alice dumbfounded before. Scared and wary is all I've seen from her."
"Same here," I said, looking around.
The front door opened as Jasper held it for Alice. Seconds later, Emmett and someone I assumed was Eric, entered.
After we settled into chairs, Edward gave a briefing on the case of Rosalie Hale. There was a history of abuse and death in her family. This led me to believe that the spirit inhabiting her home or the nearby river may have something to do with her.
He gave us some details of the case, but not the specifics of the incidents that Ms. Hale or her children had witnessed. Edward didn't want us influenced by them. Once briefed, Edward led the introductions.
"Emmett is our equipment manager; he and Eric will set up the cameras and our base of operations in the van. He also knows how to work every piece of recording equipment we have. So, go to him if you have questions or problems. Eric is our soundman that will be working in conjunction with Jasper, who is following some of the teams with his special camera. They are there to capture our reactions if something should occur and document in high resolution whatever they can catch that perhaps our small DV cameras do not.
"Lauren here, Eric's wife, is a third year paranormal investigator," Edward said, gesturing toward a blonde-haired woman who looked timid and somewhat shy.
"You all know what Alice can do, she only is there to observe." Alice nodded and Edward continued. "This lovely woman beside me is my girlfriend and—"
"I talk to and see the dead," I said with a small shrug. A few faces looked shocked, especially Jasper, and internally cursed for not telling him sooner.
"You can actually see them, and talk with them directly?" Emmett asked, his usual jovial smile gone. I nodded. "Damn that sucks."
"Yeah it does," I said but looked at Edward. "Sometimes though, it allows me to help people."
Everyone watched as Edward smiled and placed a kiss on my lips. They all knew of his past, about his lost daughter and the recent events that led to the discovery of her body.
"She helped you," Lauren said with a small smile. "She helped you find her, didn't she?"
Edward looked at each of the faces of his team and nodded. "She's the real thing everyone."
An hour later, the group started to assemble the equipment in the van. It was freezing, but we still had a job to do. As I passed Jasper one of his camera cases, I felt something nearby. I turned and saw someone across the street with a familiar face. My temper flared as I stomped across the street. His dark skin was almost radiant, as he stood with a cautious smile in a grey suit. I slapped his solid chest and gasped, tumbling backward. He steadied me with his strong arms.
Once he settled me on my feet, I punched his chest again. "What did you do?" I cried.
"I did what I had to do," he said softly, grasping my wrists.
"You're one of them," I said, my voice cracking.
"Yes, not all spirits can be lucky enough to have you help them," he said, grasping my chin so that I had to look up at him. "Only those who may die in the next six months can see me."
I gasped, pushing away from him. My hand flattened against my chest, and I shook my head. He grasped my shoulders; the warmth of his touch was surprising. "You can see me because of your gift."
"An angel of death," I said in a broken sob. "How could you do this?"
"I had to," Jacob said firmly. "There are things happening, you'll be seeing more of us. We're here to lead those to where they should go. But there's something out there, forcing spirits to stay and seek revenge."
I was still in too much shock to process what he was telling me.
"I volunteered," he said with a shrug.
"Of course you did," I muttered. "Tell me how it works."
"You know better than that, loca," he said with a chuckle. "I can only tell you so much. I don't know how and the exact time a person is going to die. I'm drawn to them the closer they get to that moment. Most can't see me unless they're going to die in the next six months. However, I have no control of what will happen to them. I can't change it, nor am I allowed to influence them in any way. I also know that one decision or one little change can affect the future. Someone can see me one day and not the next. It's not a perfect system, but I go where I'm needed when I'm needed."
"Why are you here then?" I asked warily.
"I wanted to see you," he said with a smile. "And warn you." His smile fell. "There's something out there that is influencing the dead, but I don't know the details."
"You don't know a lot of things," I grumbled, toeing the ground unable to meet his dark eyes. "Something is happening to me."
"Yeah, I noticed. You look all glowly."
I laughed gently and looked up to his eyes. "I'm happy."
"Yes," he said, his eyes softening. "But—"
"My gifts are strengthening, because of it."
He nodded as he looked over my shoulder at something behind me. I heard footsteps, and I turned to see Edward crossing the street. I must've looked strange talking and hugging air. The rest of the team looked at me from across the street with confused expressions.
"Bella," Edward said softly, pressing his lips to my forehead. His arms wrapped around me and held me close. "It's freezing out here."
"I'm sorry," I whispered, looking up at his gaze.
"Are you going to introduce me to your friend?"
I tensed and snapped my eyes to Jacob's, his eyes falling to his feet. I grabbed Edward's hand and tugged him toward the team. "You stay away from us," I said angrily at Jacob. "You stay the hell away from him."
"Bella," he whispered. His dark brown eyes sad and remorseful, I couldn't find it in my heart to react to it. "I'm sorry."
Fear had me lashing out, "You stay the hell away from him!"
Um, The End?
AN: The sequel is called The Denver Paranormal Society and is posted. Thanks so much to kyla713 for your help with this story, hooisernina for bidding and winning this story by donating to the Stacie Auction. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I loved writing it.
Tell me your ghost stories or maybe about a somewhere nearby that people think is haunted.