Disclaimer: I do not own Ghost Whisperer or anything you recognize from it.
Please note: I've taken the universe from Ghost Whisperer and the characters but have heavily steered away from the canonical story line, adding a deeper emphasis on the darker aspects of the show. I'm pairing two OCs together for this story and running with everything I like in the show, leaving behind the undesirables. Please Enjoy and please review!
In this cry of pain the inner consciousness of the people seems to lay itself bare for an instant, and to reveal the mood of beings who feel their isolation in the face of a universe that wars on them with winds and seas. —John Millington Synge
Wading through the Living
Tessa Bennings hiked her purse higher on her shoulder and slowly walked towards the nondescript diner, making sure she didn't touch any passers-by on the busy sidewalk. Opening the door of the diner, she cringed when a bell above the door chimed, "Have a seat anywhere." A woman's voice called out to her.
Keeping her eyes on the ground she nodded more to herself than anything, and walked straight to the counter, taking a seat on an empty red stool. She clutched her worn khaki coloured purse in her lap and made sure to keep her eyes downcast. The diner was brimming with morning activity, both alive and very dead: and by making herself as invisible as possible, it guaranteed a stress free breakfast. "What can I get you this morning?" A woman asked and Tessa peeked from her eyelashes making sure the server wasn't wearing torn bloody garments before smiling politely.
"May I please have a stack of pancakes and a glass of orange juice?" She asked clearing her throat from its hoarse disuse.
The older woman in a diner dress nodded, "Sure thing."
Tessa watched as the older woman walked to the other end of the counter to place the order and she quickly peeked at the diner's occupants through her peripherals. She wasn't used to being in such a small town, in fact, she still didn't think it was that good of an idea to move here. Having lived in New York City most of her life, she hadn't really seen anything but buzzing streets and even buzzier diners. But her birthday was fast approaching and she'd be damned if she would continue living a drab life because of her shitty past. No, it was time to turn over a new leaf, create a new Tessa Bennings that would be stronger than anything that haunting her.
She wished she could take all the credit for her move from New York City to the small town of Grandview but that would be lying and she did enough of that to herself already. Her move had been borne from necessity and seeing as how she had no real filial ties that considered her to still be living, she finally decided to stop her nomadic ways and set roots down. It would be harder for her to hide away from the dead in such a small community but she figured the farther away she was from her past, the harder it would be for the things that haunted her to find her. She heard footsteps approaching and waited until the food was placed down in front of her before looking up at the waitress, "Thank you." She quietly said.
"Enjoy. If you need anything, I'm Sharon." The older woman smiled at her.
"Thank you Sharon." She nodded and reached for the syrup, watching as the older woman walked away. She poured a large amount of syrup on her pancakes and began eating with zeal, she hadn't wanted to stop anywhere on her way to Grandview and so she had skipped a few meals along the way. Though to be honest, it had been quite a while since she actually wanted to eat, and maybe it was because of the sun shinning or maybe it was because she was starting fresh, hoping she wouldn't be haunted here.
"Will you look at that poor girl?" Sharon commented, topping off the two cups of coffee across the diner from the young woman scarfing down the pancakes.
"Yeah, what about her?" Jim Clancy asked, checking his watch for the second time that morning. He felt terrible about leaving Melinda to have breakfast by herself but it had been a while since he had seen his friend Seb and with their schedules, it was next to impossible to hang out like they used.
Sebastian rolled his eyes and nodded his thanks to Sharon, taking a sip of the coffee, "Melinda is fine. God, you're acting like a newlywed." He smirked and stretched his neck, trying to roll out the kinks. He knew his job was high stress but he loved what he did, which sometimes worried him. What kind of a fool liked putting out fires for a living? Sometimes he wondered if he should have made the transition to paramedic like Jim had done.
"I know…it's just…" Jim trailed off, glancing across the diner to the woman Sharon was still chattering on about. He frowned to himself, feeling a cold slither of unease worm its way into the pit of his stomach.
"What?" Sebastian asked following Jim's gaze that settled on the small form of a young woman hunched over an almost empty plate, "She's really scarfing that down fast." He grimaced quietly.
Jim studied her and frowned, "Sharon, can you make sure to give her a piece of pie?" He asked.
Sharon glanced away from the girl to quizzically stare down at him, "At this time in the morning?"
Seb nodded, understanding Jim's misplaced worry, "She looks hungry." Though to be perfectly honest, he couldn't see most of her as she wore a shapeless coat that hid most of her and an even baggier knitted cap. But the way she was attacking the plate of pancakes, he felt a moment's pity for her.
Sharon nodded and walked towards the young woman and feeling like there was nothing else he could do, he turned to Jim. "Now what?" He asked frowning when Jim still didn't look away from her, "you're married." He pointed out not really sure why he didn't care for Jim's staring.
Jim snorted and turned to his friend, "She just reminds me of someone." He commented, shrugging it off to his friend. Though he couldn't shake her from his thoughts; it was true, she did remind him of someone. Whenever Melinda got spooked or withdrawn from talking to unnerving spirits, she always looked pale and defeated: just like that young woman across the diner. He shook his head and delved back into the conversation with Seb.
"Another refill?" Sharon asked quietly with a tender smile upon her face.
Tessa returned a slight smile, "Yes, thank you." She nodded her thanks and took another large gulp of the refreshingly crisp orange juice and glanced back up at the staring older woman, "Yes?"
"Are you okay, sweetie?"
Despite the older woman being in her mid-fifties, Tessa felt her spine straighten. She always hated when people she wasn't familiar with used endearing terms, as if they could worm their way into her affection. It had never worked when she was younger being treated and it sure as hell didn't work now. She decided now was as good a time as any to pay and take her leave, "Of course. How much was my bill?" She asked politely.
Sharon shook her head, "Are you still hungry? Would you like another order of pancakes or…how about pie? I'll get you some apple pie."
Tessa sighed feeling like the scum on the bottom of her shoe, she hadn't meant to be so abrupt with the older woman but she honestly didn't feel like chattering on and on about her shitty life. She just had to keep reminding herself that Grandview wasn't New York City and they probably did things much differently here. She would have to compromise if she wanted to remain invisible, "Sure." She smiled pleasantly, "though, can I have the pie to go?" She asked smiling self-deprecatingly, "I have quite a few things left to do today while it's still bright."
Sharon smiled brightly, "Oh?"
Tessa smiled, not even feigning amusement, though Sharon was nosey, she reminded Tessa of the crazy-overbearing-mother she saw in a movie a few nights back, "I have to move into my apartment." She didn't bother adding 'job hunting' or 'grocery shopping'; she had spent most of her teenage and adult years keeping things to herself, it would take more than a sweet meddling older woman to break Tessa's habits overnight.
Sharon reached behind her and grabbed a freshly baked pie and large cardboard container from the counter and packed the entire pie into the white box, "That's lovely. You're going to be a local." She smiled genuinely, "What apartment complex?"
"The one on Elms Road." She said, not wanting to give her entire address away.
"Oh, well…" Sharon winced and leaned closer to Tessa, her white hair gleaming under the bright diner lights, "Make sure you keep your doors and windows locked at all times. That's not really the safe part of town."
Tessa smirked to herself, she didn't want to break it to Sharon that she was more terrified of things that couldn't be kept out by locks and doors than by men with knives, "Well, I'll make sure to keep that in mind. So, how much was breakfast?" She asked pulling out her wallet from her purse in her lap.
"Oh." Sharon shoved the container holding the pie across the counter to Tessa, "Everything is on the house. Consider it a welcoming gift to Grandview."
Tessa shook her head; her eyes bulging at the heaviness of the container and quickly estimated the total the bill should have come to. The last thing she wanted was to feel indebted to anyone, "Here's a sixty." Okay, so maybe it was a very hefty tip but she left it on the counter anyway, grabbed the container and her purse, and left the diner quickly so a stunned Sharon couldn't do anything more than stare.
Keeping her eyes and face adverted from the morning crowd; she crossed the street to where her used silver car was parked and unlocked it, setting the pie carefully on the passenger's seat before settling herself in the driver's seat. She had quite a few things to do today and she would preferably like to get them done before she got too tired and became careless.