Uncle Kay had been right. Doctor Green-Eyes was really annoyed when it was confirmed I was a Danevbie. She grumbled in a manner that reminded me of Specter the entire time she made up my new papers. “If he never had a birth certificate in the first place, I do not understand why he needs one now,” she snarled. But she finished making up my documents that made me a real citizen. Well maybe not real, it was sorta fake. But close to real… and she told me her false IDs had never been compromised.
“When did you want to have the ceremony?” Specter asked one evening. We were stretched out on the bed and I kept trying to play footsies with him. He didn’t play back but he didn’t pull his feet away. “Kelly said she’s fine for whenever.”
I nodded. Kelly Watts was a scientist or something who had legal standing to perform marriages. Uncle Kay had talked to her and she had agreed. Our witnesses were going to be Uncle Kay, Dr. Green-Eyes, and Mrs. Penstone. I was surprised Dr. Green-Eyes was gonna be there but apparently Uncle Kay had talked her into it (wait, Aunt Green-Eyes? What? She was my however-many-greats aunt? What?).
“Are you two going to use your real names?” Specter asked when Uncle Kay came to tell us his sister was going to be there too. “Rood?”
“Actually R-Rood isn’t our real name either,” Uncle Kay said and Specter looked all suspicious. “We w-will be using our Rosso identities.”
“So… it’s not legal.”
“I’m using fake stuff,” I put in quickly. “Technically. My identity stuff was all made by the doctor… so… um… there’s that fact.” I was relieved that that that seemed to help things. “This is legal though, right?” I asked after a few seconds of nobody talking.
“Yes,” Uncle Kay answered promptly. “As l-legal as any other marriage c-ceremony. Just because four of th-the six people involved aren’t using their b-birth names.”
“Four?” I was confused about that. “Me… and you two make three.”
“Me, my s-s-sister, Sp-Specter whose birth n-name was not Specter. And I am only a-assuming Mrs. Penstone’s s-surname is from her m-marriage though I may be wrong. And you are using your b-birth name. And th-the only reason three of us are using fake IDs is b-because two of us are a couple of d-decades away from being t-two hundred and the third used to be a ghost.”
Specter looked as if he was thinking about it. Like maybe he wanted to argue. I reached down and took his hand in mine, smiling. “This is so exciting, I can’t wait to be married.”
“Which n-name are you t-taking?” Uncle Kay asked pleasantly.
Huh? I looked at Specter who was staring back at me. That wasn’t anything we had talked about, and Uncle Kay saw he had stepped in something. So he mumbled something incoherent and left the room with a lot of speed.
“I guess we need to figure this out,” I said.
“It’d be unfair of me to ask you to just change yours to Greyson, I guess,” Specter said, the corners of his mouth were tugging downward.
“And it’d be unfair to ask you to have yours be Danevbie,” I said.
“But you don’t even–” And then he stopped, went a dark shade, and muttered, “I am not going to finish that sentence.”
I folded my arms, having the feeling I knew what he was gonna say. “That’s good. That is very good you’re not. Just because I don’t remember my family doesn’t mean I don’t want to lose my name. Cause I don’t. I just found out. I might not want to see my family right now… but I want my name.”
“And I want mine. I didn’t like the name ‘Jareth’ but ‘Greyson’ is important to me.”
“Should we just… keep… our names?” I didn’t want to do that. I mean, apparently my parents did but they had no choice about it since technically my father couldn’t change his. But I didn’t really want to change my name, and I knew he didn’t want to change his but–just keeping our last names didn’t seem… right for us either. Not to me though.
Specter angrily tugged at his beard. “I don’t know,” he snapped but I didn’t flinch or jump since I could tell he wasn’t angry at me he was just angry because. “Oh, what’s it matter? Maybe we shouldn’t get married if it’s gonna be this much of a hassle.” He turned away from me, grumbling and hmph-ing.
“Fine then let’s not get married!” I snapped back.
“No–Chance–I didn’t mean–“
“I don’t want it to feel like a hassle to you!”
“It’s not a hassle, not really. I just get frustrated easily.”
“I love you–I want to get married–“
“I do too. I don’t want this to make a problem before…” Specter paused then grit his teeth. “I’ll change mine.”
“No! We don’t need to change anything…”
“You sound sad about that.”
I gripped his hands tightly. “I’ll change mine.”
“No, I have an idea.” He gave me a… well, it wasn’t a smile. It was more of a not-quite-frown. “We can hyphenate our names.”
“It means combine them. Greyson-Danevbie, or Danevbie-Greyson.”
I tapped my chin with my finger. Greyson-Danevbie. Danevbie-Greyson. “I like that,” I said with a nod. “I like that. Yes! Let’s do that! Which one? Danevbie-Greyson sounds better. Though it is going to make writing our names harder.”
Specter laughed and wrapped his arms around me, lifting me off the ground and spinning me around. “I don’t care if it’s harder, it sounds wonderful. Specter and Chance Danevbie-Greyson.” He kissed me and I kissed back, feeling all happy again.
I found out, not long after our name decision, that Samuel Everett’s body had been found. It was declared a suicide. I had no idea how since it was… Doctor Green-Eye’s gun? And what? I wasn’t sure… though apparently there was a note. On his computer. A confession to something or other involving ghosts. Like, killing ghosts in graveyards or something like that. I wasn’t sure. Specter told me someone else had taken over as head of the business but he owned it for now. He explained to me he wanted nothing to do with it ever again and was selling it. The value of it had gone down considerably due to the ‘suicide’ but Specter said he could still get a good price.
“Are we going to be rich?” I asked.
“No, not rich. But we’ll be able to pay off most of, if not all, the house–and get a new car.”
“A new car? What’s wrong with your jeep?”
His face tightened. “Samuel gave it to me when I finished college and became an official employee of that place. I don’t want to keep it. Plus it’s old. A new vehicle would be nice.”
“What about a job…?”
He shrugged. “I’ll be working here. Helping with research. It won’t pay that much but hopefully that won’t be too much an issue.”
He was wanting to cut off all ties to EGHB and I didn’t really blame him. I was a bit happy he was working here in the labs with Uncle Kay, although Uncle Kay never seemed completely comfy around Specter. I wasn’t sure why. Sometimes I saw Uncle Kay reaching up for his hair as if checking to make sure it was still there or something. I was so curious that soon I asked Specter about it and Specter laughed. Seriously laughed. Just laughed, and laughed, and laughed.
“When I was a kid, living in the labs, I would tell every man I came across to grow a beard. Since Professor Rood was one of the people in charge, I kept insisting he needed to grow a beard and finally one day I put gum in his hair. He had to get it shaved off cause I put it close to his scalp.”
I covered my mouth, trying not to laugh as well but I couldn’t help myself and began laughing as hysterically as Specter was laughing. “You were a little terror, weren’t you?” I shrieked, doubling over since laughing too much actually hurt.
“Yes, I was,” he laughed back and we both wound up on the floor, still laughing and giggling and whimpering in pain (well, I was whimpering in pain–he was panting for air). Then he made it worse by telling me about other things he did. He’d draw beards in all his picture books, on both men and women. He’d run around, kick people, bite people and basically he was a complete terror. I laughed even more until it hurt so much I could hardly breathe.
“I wonder what I was like as a kid,” I said after we both finally managed to calm down.
“How come you don’t want to… meet your family?” he asked.
I leaned back against him and he gathered me in his lap, hugging me from behind. “I’m just scared, really. I feel like… I was this glass ball that was shattered and put back together.” I ran my finger up his arm, enjoying the feeling of his fur. Um. Hair. His hair. “I’m scared if I meet my family everything will be shattered again. That sound silly?”
“Nah.” He kissed the back of my neck and then one hand slid to my belly. I gasped out loud then began shivering. “Mmm… I like your new shampoo…”
“Nooo!” I wriggled away from him. “I’ve decided I want to be like in the movies, the old movies. With marriage.”
Specter tilted his head, his bangs lightly brushing his forehead. “What?”
“I’m a virgin.”
He began laughing hysterically again. “No! You’re not.”
“Yes I am.”
“No. You’re not.”
“Yes I AM!” I stuck my chin out. “We did those things when I was a ghost and now I’m not. I’m human and everything is–is… new. Virgin. I’m a virgin.”
“Chance–” He started but I gave him a look. “Okay, okay!” He put his hands in the air. “I won’t argue. So no sex till marriage?”
“Please tell me you’re not going to wear a white dress. You are cute as hell but… I really… didn’t want a drag wedding.”
I began giggling again. “No. But Uncle Kay is taking me shopping this weekend for a nice outfit but I don’t think it will be white.”
“You’re buying a tuxedo…?”
“No. It probably won’t be a tuxedo,” I said and returned to his lap. “Aren’t you going to get an outfit for the wedding? A special outfit?”
“No… I was just going to wear… that suit I used to wear all the time.”
He groaned and then bumped his forehead against mine. “Stop making sad sounds. Fine. I’ll get a special outfit. Happy?”
“Yes.” I curled up on the couch and smiled as he grumbled and grouched.
It was less than a week after I got my wedding outfit that the ceremony was gonna take place. I barely slept the night before, constantly getting up and walking (slowly, so I wouldn’t trip) around the room. Specter slept heavily. I had never slept well as a ghost and that unfortunate problem stayed with me when I turned alive. Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing the wrong thing? I do love Specter, don’t I? He does love me?
I looked at his sleeping form, at his hair sticking out everywhere, at his muscular arm draped across the bed where I should be. At the pattern his hair made, at his tattoo. I had completely lost it when I thought he didn’t love me. I went towards the bed to join him but took a wrong step and fell onto the floor with a loud thud. “OWWWWW!”
He was up in an instant. “What? Where? Chance? Oh not ag–are you okay?”
“Yep. I’m okay.”
He picked me up and set me on the bed. “Did you fall out?”
“No, I was walking… I’m just really nervous about tomorrow. Well, today.”
“So am I.”
“You are?” I stared as he climbed back into bed with me. “Really?”
“I think everyone is nervous on their wedding day,” he said a bit grumpily. “Specially to someone who never thought he’d get married. Let alone fall in… love.” I smiled, the fuzziness from that word just filling me up. “I wonder how the heck you can put up with me sometimes. My temper.”
“I dunno, when you get angry or something it’s just how you react to things and it’s not always cause of me. And when you want to be alone, that’s fine too. When you want to sit all quiet I don’t mind.”
“One of the reasons I’ve agreed to this stupid commitment circus,” he growled. “You… understand me. Somehow.”
I beamed and scooted closer to him. “If it’s a circus does that make me your ringmaster?”
He stared at me then snorted. “Silly.” He gave the corner of my mouth a quick kiss then flopped back. “Get back to sleep, babe. We have a wedding in the morning.”
The ceremony was set for eleven-thirty and then we were just gonna have a lunch, then Specter and I would go officially move into our new house. After I got cleaned up I put on a fluffy robe and went to Uncle Kay’s room cause I didn’t want Specter to see my outfit. I got dressed in his room then we went to the bathroom near the lounge to wait for the right time. While waiting, Uncle Kay helped fix my tie.
“Do I look good?” I asked nervously, tugging at the top.
“You l-look very handsome,” Uncle Kay promised. I smiled. “You know… th-this will be th-the first wedding I’ve been able t-to attend for one of my d-d-descendants.”
“You weren’t at your kid’s wedding? Was your kid married or did he or, uh, she just have a kid out of, uh, marriage?”
Uncle Kay began fixing my tie again. “No. C-Calcifer got married, th-though he did have a ch-child out of wedlock. He had f-four children total. Then his d-daughter, Luna, had your g-grandfather, Sebastian.”
“And Sebastian is… was… my mom’s dad?” I asked, trying to remember the information I had been told.
“Yes. There have b-been so many w-weddings but… this…” He stopped and just stared at me. “I’ve n-never really gotten th-the chance to feel like… a f-family. Other than my s-sister. I… I’m very grateful you’ve asked me t-to be part of this.”
“Even if you weren’t my great-whatever-grandpa I’d still want you to do this cause I like you, and you’re awesome.”
He hugged me super tight at that, and then left to go make sure everyone was there. I fidgeted in my suit, tugging at the sleeves, feeling a bit ucky in this suit. It was tight and itchy. Just when I was about to wonder why I had gotten this outfit in the first place, Uncle Kay came to the door. “R-ready?” he asked.
“Um. Yeah. I guess.” I crossed the hall, feeling all shaky. This was right, this was what I wanted. Right? Yes? Maybe? Why? Did Specter really want to get married? He hated stuff like this. I wanted to cry. I did start crying. I turned and ran back into the bathroom before I even reached the door to the lounge, and I cried into my hands.
“I can’t do this!” I wailed when Uncle Kay followed me in. “I’m not good enough for him. I’m too much a burden.”
“No–no you’re n-not. Specter l-loves you…” Uncle Kay had to bend over to rub my back because I had just slid down to the floor.
“I’m brokennnnn,” I wailed. “I have hippocampus problems and I don’t remember stuff and I’m broken.”
Uncle Kay gently pulled me up to my feet. “No you’re n-not. You’re not. Chance, you’re a w-w-wonderful kid.” It was super weird being called ‘kid’ by my great-whatever-grandpa who looked as young as me. “Specter is sm-smitten with you.”
“In l-love. Everyone can see it. Even my s-sister. She thinks it’s d-disgusting.” I couldn’t help but give a smile at that. “And now he is w-waiting for his love to go in th-there and get m-married. If you don’t… w-want to get married… then there is n-nothing wrong with th-that. But I have the f-feeling you do.”
“I do,” I admitted then got up, wiping my eyes. “I’m sorry.”
We went back to the lounge and this time I didn’t completely freak out. A tiny part of me was still scared. We had only been together for over a year now, just barely over a year. Maybe we should have left this engagement go longer? But then my heart hurt when I thought of that. And then my heart felt better when I saw Specter waiting for me near Kelly Watts. He looked so handsome in his outfit and when he saw me his face changed. It softened a bit and the scowl disappeared. He wasn’t smiling but I could tell he was very happy, and that comforted me.
Uncle Kay took me down the aisle, past his sister who was sitting near the back with her arms folded and a glare on her face, past Mrs. Penstone and Mr. Fluffy who was sitting primly beside her, and to Specter who had to lurch forward and catch me since I tripped on the rug that had been put down for us. Stupid feet.
Kelly gave me a look and I smiled at her. She shrugged and then began speaking, going on about how we were here to witness the union between Specter Greyson and Chance Danevbie. I squeezed Specter’s hand, heart pounding in my chest that scared me cause I knew people died of heart problems. Was this one of the problems? Pounding so hard to felt like it would split my chest in two? And then Kelly was going over the vows, which we had written ourselves. It had the usual for-better-for-worse stuff but it included some cute stuff we wanted (Specter promising to always do his best to catch me when I tripped), some silly stuff (me promising to never ask him to shave his beard) and some serious stuff.
Then he was putting a ring on my finger, and I put one on his finger.
“I now pronounce you man and husband, you may now kiss.”
I was a bit overexcited for this part and banged my face off of Specter’s face since I jerked forward to kiss him as he leaned to kiss me. “OW!” I shrieked, covering my nose. There was a very quiet chuckle near the back of the room from Doctor Green-Eyes, I figured.
“You all right?” Specter moved my hands and inspected my nose but I guess he didn’t see anything wrong because he cupped my face in his hands and kissed me gently. Two people clapped and I even heard a meowing sound.
“I present to you, Misters Specter and Chance Danevbie-Greyson,” Kelly said.
I gave a happy yelp and jumped against Specter, wrapping my arms around him. He put his arms around me, holding me up and then hefting me up a bit more so he could carry me down the aisle. Mrs. Penstone was holding Mr. Fluffy and she was giving me a thumbs-up with a huge grin. Uncle Kay was wiping his eyes with a handkerchief. And Doctor Green-Eyes was bent over a tablet, checking something.
“Do you think we rushed this?” I asked when he carried me into the lunchroom.
“Bit late for that, Chance,” he said, helping me into a chair. “But I don’t care. Now, next month, next year, never–as long as I’m with you. That’s all I want. To be with you.”
That settled my stomach and then I grinned when Uncle Kay and Mrs. Penstone came in. Mrs. Penstone came over and gathered me in her arms for a hug. “It’s so good to finally meet you in person!”
“Ahh–ah hi! Yes. Hi! It’s good to meet you too,” I said.
She pulled back, patting my arm. “I’m very thankful you boys invited me. I hope to be able to see more of you two as the years pass! You’re both welcome to come to my place for a dinner sometime.”
“That would be really nice, Mrs. Penstone, thank you.”
The four of us ate our not-so-fancy meal of goopy cabanara. Mrs. Penstone had brought some tuna for Mr. Fluffy who sat on the floor, happily eating while the rest of us chatted. I expected Mrs. Penstone to ask about my deformity that we had told her I had but she never asked about it. She just kept going on about what a cute couple we were, and how beautiful my eyes were.
After the meal was gone we had some cookie-ice-cream sandwich thingies for dessert. Then Mrs. Penstone gave us a card which also had a gift card in it for a store that sold things like cookware and bed clothes. We hugged and she took the cat and left. Uncle Kay surprised us with his own gift–a really nice computer.
“See you t-two later,” he said and I gave him a huge hug.
“You better visit lots,” I said and he nodded. “And I’ll visit lots too.”
Specter scooped me up so I wouldn’t have to walk out to the car, then we went in his new car to our new house where he scooped me up again. “I never thought in a million years I’d be carrying someone over the threshold,” he grumbled. “Ugh, I’m living in a cheesy romance aren’t I?”
I laughed. “I’m the ditzy, clumsy innocent and you’re the anti-romance, grouchy-butt who sweeps me off my feet? Yeah. We’re in a cheesy movie, all right.”
But he smiled, and we kissed as he took me into our new house, and our new lives as a married couple.