Disclaimer: I don't own Ghost Whisperer or 7th Heaven. If I did, neither would have been canceled.
Summary: All Jim wanted was for a long needed peaceful getaway for his wife and two children. When at the airport, Melinda meets the delusional ghost of Annie Camden, who leads her to the Camden family and well in over her head.
Time: December 2016 (nine years after the 7th Heaven season finale; a year and a half after the Ghost Whisperer finale)
Same as it Never Was
The fragrance Holiday joy lingered everywhere in Grandview. Christmas was only four days away, and even a foreigner traveling throughout Grandview couldn't miss that fact. Lights were strung up outside of the buildings up and down the streets. Businesses were decked out with signs that read "Happy Holidays!" and "Merry Christmas!" Several even had their own Christmas trees. Same as it Never Was, was no exception.
Inside their front window, a "Happy Holidays" sign glowed, and this year, to the left directly inside the door stood a mediocre sized wooden Christmas tree. They had spent days doing inventory on all of the new antiques they had received for the Holiday season. The holidays, Christmas in particular, were always their busiest time of year.
But this year, Jim had been pestering her to do something out of the ordinary. Ever since the birth of their second child, a little girl, neither of them had gotten out much. Melinda had to admit, before the children were born, life was much simpler. They could pack up, fly across the country, and that was that. There were no questions, it was their life; their free will.
Now that Aiden and Amelia were in their lives, which Melinda couldn't be more thankful for, life wasn't as simple. She had two other bodies to worry about. Anywhere they stayed would have to be kid-friendly, bars were a no-no, and then there was always the possibility of one of the kids getting hurt. How could she ever forgive herself? Then again, given all she had gone through with Aiden, the kids weren't entirely out of the woods in Grandview.
Fortunately, she hadn't had to go through that with Amelia. For years she had been hesitant to go along and have a second child. After she had feared losing Aiden, she didn't want to go through that again. And of course, there was something else that had boggled her mind: any more children she had would not be genetically Jim's. They would be Sam's. As time passed, and as she was coaxed by her husband, she managed to move past that. Ten months ago, Amelia Adele Lucas had blossomed into their lives, and Melinda wouldn't change that for the world.
Aiden adored his baby sister. Mia had brought nothing but joy for the entire family. At seven, Aiden was growing fast. Melinda hadn't realized how much she had missed having a little baby around until the day Mia was born.
Only time would tell if Mia would be "blessed" with the gift. For as long as she could, like she was still doing with Aiden, Melinda would allow her to live a normal healthy childhood; if normal was even possible having a mother like Melinda.
"Melinda?" Delia's voice startled her. "Are you okay? You look distracted."
Melinda shook her head and blinked her eyes. "Yeah…I'm just fine. I was just…thinking."
"Are you sure you're not thinking about the trip?" Delia questioned suspiciously. "You know, I think you should go. You and Jim have hardly had family time out of Grandview since Aiden was born. And you know; Aiden is growing up now. I think he'd have fun on a little trip."
"I'm sure he would," Melinda laughed lightly. "And if it were just Aiden, it wouldn't be a problem. I've got Mia to worry about now. She's too young to go on such a big trip. And what if…"
"…stop with the 'what ifs', Mel." Delia cut in, imperatively. "Families go on vacations all of the time. And it's California, Mel. You can't pass up this opportunity, especially in the middle of December. I'll tell you what, if you don't go, I will."
"What about the shop, though?" Melinda continued to worry. "I just can't leave you here all by yourself especially on the day before Christmas Eve. You know how those last minute shoppers are."
"Don't worry about the shop, I'm a big girl. I can handle it." Don't worry, those were words Melinda just couldn't digest. Just then, the door burst open and Jim walked in with what appeared to be a bundled up doll. Right behind him, a small boy gallantly ran over to his mother.
"Hi, Mom!" the little seven-year-old munchkin ran behind the desk. "Guess what?"
"What?" Melinda asked as she wrapped her tightly bundled son up in her arms. He broke free of his mother and reached into his snow pants pocket.
"Look what Dad got us!" In his hands, he held four rectangle shaped pieces of paper. Before she could make out the writing on them, she knew what they were.
With reckless eyes, she turned toward her husband. "But Jim, we hadn't made a final decision on this…and you bought tickets?"
He smiled laughingly as he edged closer to her and kissed her forehead. "I knew you'd never say yes, so I went ahead and bought the tickets. You can't say no now."
"But work? You got all of that time off of work?" she inquired, still trying to come up with some excuse for why they couldn't go.
"I've got a three week vacation," Jim grinned widely.
"—Yes Mel, they have plenty of replacement staff for me. C'mon, Mel, we need this. The kids need this. Remember when we used to talk about the family vacations we'd have after we had kids?"
She sighed, knowing she would never get out of this. "Yeah, but I always expected the kids would be a little older."
"I'm a big boy now," Aiden insisted as he curled lip and grabbed his mom's arm. "Come on, Mom. Don't worry, it'll be fun!"
"Yeah, come on Mel, it'll be fun," Jim mocked Aiden, curling his lip.
Looking between the two boys, she let out a gasp. "Fine, we can go."
"Yay!" Aiden cried, soon followed by Jim.
"But just so you know," Melinda continued, eyeballing her ecstatic husband, "I'm not going for you; I'm going because Aiden wants to. Last I checked, I didn't have two seven-year-olds."
"Oh, you are funny," Jim chuckled as leaned over to peck her forehead, but she jerked away.
"Don't get mushy with me now…" she warned and lifted a finger at her husband. "When does the flight leave?"
"Oh, yeah…" Jim trailed hesitantly with a crack in his voice. Melinda could tell that she didn't want to hear what was about to come next. "In about an hour, we have to get going." Her eyes drooped to the floor. As Jim noticed the worrisome look on her face he laughed, "Don't worry, I've got our entire luggage in the car."
He grinned as he handed the ten-month-old to her older brother and wrapped his arm around her tightly. The warmth in his jacket transferred to her chilled body, and his warm love transferred into her heart. Everything's going to be okay, she told herself hesitantly, nothing's going to go wrong…families go on vacations all of the time with their children. But then again, they weren't exactly a normal family.
A bucket full of tears could have filled the living room at the Camden residence. It had eight years since she and her siblings had lost their father. It seemed impossible to conceptualize that their mother was gone too. Ruthie Camden-Brewer sat in the living room of the house she had lived in for eighteen years, before going off to college.
Seven years ago when she had left Glen Oak, she had left everything she knew behind. It had been a year since her father died of his final heart attack on their RV trip. After that, Ruthie had entered a severe case of depression. At the time, she didn't think she would ever feel happiness again. She pushed her boyfriend at the time, T-Bone, out of her life and started a new life of emptiness.
A year later, what should have been the year she graduated high school, she decided she needed to get away. She needed to get away from her mother who had gone mad, and her sister who seemed to pretending like nothing had happened. So that was exactly what she had done. She had jumped on a plane and moved to New York to attend Columbia University, in the steps of her oldest brother. Unlike her brother, she had no desire to go into medicine. Her field of study was Psychology.
Matt and his wife, Sarah, were still living there with their two sons. Graciously, to save her some cash, they had allowed her to live with them. Then, three years later, they had their third child, a girl. With Hanna, they no longer had room for Ruthie to stay there. She still had a year left of college, and no money to support herself outside of college. Matt said he would help her a little, but he insisted that she got a job. That's what he did in college. But Ruthie, stubborn as she was, insisted that she couldn't afford to have a job, school was hard enough. Out of desperation, that summer she flew back to California to ask for money in person. She knew Kevin and Lucy would support her, they always had.
Things hadn't gone exactly how she planned. She hadn't seen what had happened coming. Needless to say, her sister and brother-in-law had bitterly refused to help her. They had given many reasons; similar to Matt's.
And then…she ran into him; he who she had not seen in four years; since she had told him, "No." One thing led to another, and she soon found herself with child. Had she trapped him? One might suggest that. But she had gotten what she wanted. He flew to New York with her and they rented an apartment together to support her.
Nine months later, Sophie entered their lives. Five months after Sophie was born, Ruthie graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Psychology. Afterward, in order to be close to Martin's dad, they moved back to Glen Oak. Ruthie rebuilt her relationship with her family, graciously thanking them for not giving her the money. If they had, then she wouldn't have Martin or Sophie back in her life then. She could never change that, not for anything.
Her life had just turned itself around. She had a great job, two amazing children, and a seemingly perfect husband. Even though he traveled a lot with his job, he always had his way of coming back and made her feel like she meant something. He made her feel special, something nobody else had really done.
He was in New York at a business meeting when she received the news that morning. It wasn't his fault, he couldn't have known that her mother was going to pass in her sleep that morning. He had left her to explain to her two children, aged five and two, that their grandmother was never going to come back.
Several hours later, there she sat, in a cold gloomy living room. It was a living room that had once been full of joy and happiness. Ruthie could remember being a kid and coming home from school. She would walk in the front door and smell home cooked cookies lingering from the kitchen. Her dad would greet her on the days he was home and ask her how her day was…
They were both gone now, and she knew would never get used to it. Across from her sat her Lucy, crumbled into her husband's strong arms. Next to her were her seventeen year old twin brothers. Both of their faces were straight and solemn; nobody had said a word since she had gotten there.
That was, except for the children. Lucy's oldest, Savannah, was the only one truly old enough to understand what was going on. She had only been three when her grandfather had died, she barely remembered him. But she would remember her grandmother. Savannah sat on the couch next to her grieving mother; her face was also stained from tears.
Aside from Savannah, the other children continued to play. Lucy had made them go outside, insisting that they preserve the upstairs where Annie Camden had passed. Her three younger children, Austin, River, and Sierra had gone outside with Sophie and Dylan. Their other cousins hadn't arrived yet.
As Lucy's tears considered to flow, she sobbed, "Why can't they get here sooner? They should be here! They should have been here already. Ruthie and I are the only ones who were here for Mom during her final years."
"Luce," Kevin said softly as he rubbed his wife's back. "You know your brothers and sister have their obligations. They have their lives, we have ours. Basically, you're saying that we should move to Buffalo and live near my mother."
"Maybe we should," Lucy pouted. "Now that Mom's gone, I have no reason to be here."
"You're the minister of your dad's church," Kevin said softly. "That's why we have this house, that's what your father would have wanted."
"How do you know that's what he would have wanted?" Lucy sobbed. "He never told me that, maybe he wanted us to move out of Glen Oak. He didn't leave a will, he didn't want to accept that he was going to die."
The petite and lengthy eleven-year-old that sat next to her started to stand up. "Mom, Dad, I'm going to go check on the kids. Okay?" She crossed her arms, and seemed to be trying to hold back her tears.
"Okay, Sweetie." Kevin nodded as he wrapped his arm around his wife. Savannah forced a weak smile and ran out of the room. It was evident that she was just trying to avoid the room full of gloom. Ruthie couldn't blame her; part of her wanted to chase after Savannah. But she knew she needed to be there for Lucy, and part of her needed Lucy now more than ever.
"I wish it took less than five hours to get from New York to California," Ruthie sighed. "It's 2016, you would think they'd have invented a faster plane by now."
Lucy had forced back a laugh at her sister's semi-joke. "Yeah, you'd think," she nodded in agreement with Ruthie.
"But then you'd probably have more plane crashes…" Kevin noted, only to endure an elbow by his wife.
"Don't you dare even bring up plane crashes at a time like this!" Lucy cried, sticking her lip out.
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry," Kevin sighed, as Lucy pushed herself away from her husband.
"You better be," Lucy mumbled and jumped across to the other couch to sit next to Ruthie. She stretched out her arm and wrapped her arm around Ruthie. "I'm glad you're here, Ruthie. I don't know what I would do if you weren't."
"I'm glad I'm here too," Ruthie mouthed, as tried to breathe out of her nose, which only resulted in the moisture retracting further into her nasal. She closed her eyes and began to think what would happen when her brothers, sister, and their spouses arrived. Here it was, the Christmas season, and none of them had original plans to return home. And more importantly, she hadn't seen or talked to Mary in almost eight years – since their father's death. Mary had not met Sophie or Dylan.
This wasn't exactly what Ruthie had in mind for a family reunion.
Author's Note: I probably shouldn't be starting another story, but this idea's been bugging me ever since I first started watching Ghost Whisperer. I sort of doubt that anyone will read and review this, because I'm forced to put it in as a Crossover. Though, I would be delighted and surprised if someone did read and review. (:
This isn't your normal 'crossover.' I mean, it's not like your random, "7th Heaven meets Ghost Whisperer" sort of story. It is, but it isn't. There's a storyline behind each family, and if you watch either shows, I think you'll enjoy it. (Even if you don't watch both, but if you didn't watch both I don't think you'd be in the Ghost Whisperer / 7th Heaven crossover section! Unless, of course, you found this on my profile)
I'll quit rambling. If you're reading this, please review!