Every day for a long time was a learning experience for me. It seemed all my skills had become horrible now that I couldn’t go non-solid. I couldn’t cook very well and couldn’t play the guitar. I tried a few times and Specter offered to get me lessons but after several clumsy attempts I just couldn’t even look at the thing anymore. Specter stashed it away to stop me from getting all crying every time I saw it.
As for cooking I was able to slowly grasp the feel since it wasn’t as different. I just dropped things more often and made more messes. Specter did make a comment about how my cooking flavoring had improved. When he told me this I smacked him with a wooden spoon but he was right. When I made a soup I had made before I spit it out and couldn’t eat it. As a ghost, it tasted fine. As a human? WATCHER the seasoning was WAY too strong. I marveled that Specter had actually eaten my cooking before. Maybe he hadn’t deserved that smack.
One other big issue with me being human was Specter’s habit of tossing things at me. He was getting a lot better at remembering not to throw things at me than I was at catching things. I kinda couldn’t catch things. Or go un-solid. For the first few weeks of marriage I was hit by something almost every day. A can of pop, a candy bar, a hairbrush, etc, etc. Then he started wising up though sometimes still made the occasional mistake. He’d toss something and most of the time I couldn’t catch it and whack. It wasn’t his fault. He was soooooo upset every time he accidentally hit me. He bent over backwards to make it up and was extremely nervous every time we were out together and I had a fresh bruise. Not just from his accidental throwing but also from my general clumsiness. I ran into so many things and fell so many times. I was getting slightly better with my huge, awkward feet.
Specter did most the cleaning and taught me how to do some, since I made the most messes. But I wasn’t allowed to mop. I slipped and fell a lot when I mopped. But vacuuming was easy. Doing laundry. Dishes. Not making beds though, I was really bad at making beds. Sweeping, I could sweep. But Specter did most the cleaning still even after he got a proper job. And by proper job, I mean he continued working at the labs. He was officially hired as a research assistant. He didn’t love it but he didn’t hate it.
“It’s weird,” he told me one night as we snuggled in bed. I was putting lazy kisses on his wrist and forearm. “My parents worked for them. Now I am. I always thought I would, growing up. Follow in their footsteps so to speak. Mmm.” He pulled me against him and returned my kisses on the back of my neck. “Hope I’m not making a mistake.”
“What mistake would that be?”
He hesitated and then sighed, his breath creating a nice sensation on my skin. “I’ve never been sure what that doctor was up to. I never liked her as a kid, I don’t like her now. He’s okay, I guess, but he doesn’t like me too well. But they’re hiding something. What if there are more ghosts–bad ones, I mean–hidden in there? What if there’s another…”
He didn’t finish the sentence but I knew what he was thinking. Another Everett. I rolled over to face him. “I trust Uncle Kay,” I said quietly. “I’ll ask him tomorrow when he comes visit, okay?”
Specter nodded then pushed my clothes away for some lovemaking. It had taken a couple days into our marriage before I was ready to ‘go all the way’ and yeah it hurt and was awkward and still sometimes felt uncomfortable, but it was also super nice and wonderful and sensational and left me breathless. Sometimes literally. And then Specter would freak out and have to remind me to breathe. That usually kinda killed the mood though.
Uncle Kay visited a lot. Every couple of days, after Specter went back to work. It was always nice seeing him even though it was kinda annoying that he kept pushing the Danevbie thing. Every time I would smile at him and politely decline. I did not want to go. Part of me sorta did. The biggest part of me, though, wanted to just leave my happy bubble a happy bubble. Uncle Kay assured me my family was nice which I believed but it didn’t change the fact I was so scared. How would they feel about me being alive? How would they feel about Specter? Not because I was gay cause Uncle Kay told me I had several people in my family who were gay, but because he wasn’t exactly Mr. Gets-Along-With-Everyone. I knew of just one family member–Uncle Kay–and he didn’t exactly get along well with him.
Part of it was the idea of so much change right now. Life was hectic enough and I wasn’t ready to go from simmering to boiling to bubbling over. And if I never got my memories again, cause of my hippocampus thingie, then I wasn’t sure how awful that would make rebuilding lost relationships. Too much. Way too much.
So when Uncle Kay came in the next day and he got that distant smile on his face, I prepared to do battle again. But instead of asking me about the family thing he said, “I have a p-present for you.” And he gave me this big rolled up thing that was actually a rug. He helped me move the couch and I put the rug down and it looked super nice there. Then we had some lunch and watched TV while eating but he still didn’t push me about my family. I was surprised. It had been a couple days. I really thought he would.
Maybe he’s learning not to push me about it, I thought then, after I put the dishes in the sink, decided to talk to him about Specter’s worries. Instead of thinking about it, though, as soon as I sat down I blurted out, “Are you hiding something evil at the lab?”
Uncle Kay’s eyebrows raised so high I thought they might take flight and go off into space. “Wh-what?” he finally stuttered. “Why w-would you ask th-that?”
“Well,” I said slowly, “you had it before, didn’t you?”
Uncle Kay blinked then pushed a finger under his glasses to rub the corner of his eye. “Ye-es. I s-suppose we did. But not–not now. We don’t r-really have anything hidden at th-the lab. Just the projects you’ve s-seen already.” He began rubbing his chin. “We have one th-that you don’t know about but it’s nothing… d-dangerous or evil.”
“I’m just worried about Specter,” I said which wasn’t entirely a lie. I was worried him but not cause there might be something bad at the lab but because he was so worried about it.
“I’m s-surprised he w-wanted to stay working with us,” Uncle Kay admitted. “I know it must be… d-difficult for him. But I’ll d-do my best to make sure nothing happens.”
I nodded. “Good. Thank you. So what project is it?”
“Oh! He’s n-not involved. But r-remember when I told you about time travel and how it w-wasn’t time travel?”
I bit my bottom lip and thought for a few seconds, bringing up the memory. “Uh-huh?”
“It’s about th-that.”
“What’s Specter helping with?”
“Researching s-supernatural beings,” Uncle Kay replied. “Assisting my s-sister with that. The most d-dangerous thing is driving to and f-from work, really.”
I thought about that for a few seconds, mulling over it, then reached for a video game controller. “If that ever changes, you’ll let me know. Right? If anything changes at the lab?” I stared up at him, still more worried about Specter’s state of mind than my own.
“Of c-course,” Uncle Kay promised and then joined me in playing video games.
I told Specter about what Uncle Kay told me and Specter seemed a bit relieved but not completely. I guess I couldn’t blame him for that. In any case, winter proceeded and became spring and warm weather. We hadn’t gone out much in winter because even I knew me plus ice equaled bad idea. We went out sometimes though, mostly to dinner or movies. It was super nice actually being out with him. Not worrying about people seeing me (well, through me). Not worried about getting terrified looks (just weird ones when I ran into a telephone pole). It was wonderful.
But spring came! And with spring I started doing some gardening to keep me busy during the day. I also starting doing a lot more gaming since Specter bought me some games for the computer (some of the games I had for the console but I liked having them on the PC too!) and then I discovered people actually watched other people playing video games. I begged and wheedled at Specter till he bought me some equipment, and then I started doing that. I didn’t think anyone would watch me but within my first five episodes I began to get multiple watchers. By the time spring passed into summer, I was hitting over a hundred views for my first videos which was awesome. And by the time summer turned into autumn, it was well over a thousand.
Specter’s twenty-seventh birthday came around but he didn’t want to do anything. He grumped, grouched, threatened, and even hissed at me when I suggested a small birthday party. But when he came home on his birthday to find a (not very well done) cake and some presents waiting he seemed pretty happy. I hadn’t invited anyone but Mrs. Penstone called to wish him a happy birthday (I had seen her every so often. Probably about once a month we’d visit, and we’d talk on the phone even more than that) and it was also sorta the anniversary of our being together, so we celebrated that as well.
My twenty-first birthday came and it was my first living birthday so Specter wanted to do something big. Apparently by big he meant take a lot of money and go on a huge vacation. We went on a cruise! A week long cruise. It was amazing, and wonderful, and perfect, and just so incredible. We both loved it so much that when our first wedding anniversary came, we went on another cruise.
A whole year, I thought when we got back home to cold Moonlight Falls. It was so hard to believe. A year being married. It was an indescribble year. And so many years to go! I began whistling as I did the laundry, dumping some of our clothes into the washer and putting in detergent but it was too much, but that happened a lot. I just turned the washer on when the phone rang and then Specter yelled that it was for me.
I went to the bedroom and picked the phone up. “I got it,” I said and then heard a click as Specter hung up the downstairs phone. “Hello?”
“H-hey Chance,” Uncle Kay said.
I beamed. “Uncle Kay! We just got back this morning, it was amazing! I took loads of photos. Wait till you see. Specter even tried surfing. On a ship! Surfing on a ship in the ocean! It sounds so weird but it’s true.”
There was some quietness and then, “Th-that sounds really fun.” But he didn’t sound like it sounded fun. I began frowning. “Happy anniver-versary.”
“Thank… you. Um. Uncle Kay, is something wrong?”
Another quietness. “Chance. Can I ask you s-something about… y-y-your family?”
I winced. Uncle Kay probably brought the family thing up around once a week, every week for the entire year. He didn’t pressure me about it. Just casually asked me. I had hoped he would give up but nope. Once a week. “I’m not ready,” I said. “I’ll let you know when I’m ready. But now I’m not.”
“All r-r-right.” But that didn’t seem to be all. I waited, and waited, and waited, and finally after nearly a full minute of quietness, Uncle Kay said, “If s-s-s-something were to–to happen to someone in your family. Would you w-w-want to know?”
I clutched the phone, feeling kinda dizzy. “Wh… did something happen?”
“Would you want t-to know?” he repeated, ambi… ambidext… ambigu… mysteriously?
Now. That could be a trick question. If I said no, what would happen if something did happen? And he never told me? Or if I said yes, would he just tell me even if nothing did happen? I had no idea what to say. I felt even dizzier. “Did someone die?” I finally asked, feeling like that was semi-safe territory. If someone died then maybe I should know.
Quietness. Sick, dizzying quietness. Then Uncle Kay said, “No. No one h-has died, as far as I know. One of your g-grandfathers was in the hospital. He’s out n-n-n-now. But it had me w-wondering, if something–“
“If someone dies… you can tell me,” I finally said, the grip on the phone loosening. I had no idea what I would do if that happened. In fact, it would be bad. Me showing up out of the blue for a funeral. ‘Oh yeah hey I knew about you guys for a year now but never thought it good to see you till this tragedy’. I should let Uncle Kay take me to them, I thought but then the dizziness came back. Harder. I pictured me meeting them and not knowing them, not remembering them. I had no idea what they looked like but my sister (who okay kinda looked like me in my thoughts. Maybe she did. Maybe I did remember her. Maybe she did have the same red/orange hair and bright blue eyes. No freckles though. Is that what she looked like?) in my thoughts my sister would be crying, begging me to remember. Feeling hurt I couldn’t remember. Feeling angry.
In my thoughts everyone hated Specter because I remembered him so perfectly (perfect Specter, it still hurt me that I had forgotten him). In my thoughts everyone wondered why I was even with Specter. Grumpy, growly, hairy, unsocial Specter. Sometimes in my thoughts my family hated me because I was alive now.
“…nce…? Ch-Chance?” I was jolted from those thoughts by Uncle Kay’s voice. I muttered something incoherent in reply. “I s-said I really think you should go see them.”
“No.” The word came out without me meaning it to. “Not now Uncle Kay. I can’t. Please. I just can’t.” They’d feel bitter because of my hippocampus, angry about Specter, betrayed because I was living now and no longer a ghost. Unhappy about my marriage. The longer I left it, the more the list would grow. If just these few things scared me what about when we had kids and–
The word was like an arrow into my brain. Into my hippocampus. There was a kid. When I was a ghost. I remembered him, just slightly. More like… I remembered how he made me feel. I remembered the need, the want, the desire to have children. I couldn’t remember his name (it was sorta like my own?) but that strong feeling of wanting kids just burst forth from my hippocampus (or wherever) and I wanted them. I wanted kids.
“All right, Ch-Chance, I’m sorry,” said the voice on the phone. Oh, Uncle Kay. Him. Yeah. His voice. Phone. Kids? Could we have kids? Well, we could have kids. But would we? How did Specter… what if Specter… oh. I wanted kids.
“I’m sorry, Uncle Kay,” I said, only half paying attention still. “Thank you for… well yeah. Um, I’ll talk to you later. See you tomorrow? You still coming in?”
He confirmed he would and then we said goodbye. I set the phone down then set myself down. I sat on the edge of the bed and pulled my legs up. Kids. Kids. Kids. This house was big enough for kids. We could fit kids in this house. But I was only 21. We were only married a year. Was it too soon? It kinda felt too soon. Maybe I’d talk to him in the spring about it. Start warming him up to the idea as the earth warmed up (ooh, that was sorta poetic!) and then maybe around our two-year anniversary maybe we could start trying for a family. Kids. Our own kids.
Yes. I liked that.
Being a year in Moonlight Falls made me realize a few things. I didn’t go out as much as some but I was aware that Moonlight Falls was one of the strangest places around. I certainly read about it online. We had werewolves? Vampires? Witches and wizards? Faeries? I did have some sort of feeling that the people in Moonlight Falls weren’t exactly… ‘normal’. Heck. Me and Specter were not normal. Ex-ghost. We looked normal and maybe we were one of the more normal families around. It was hard to say. I had seen some… non-normal teens at the labs although I never really had proof that they were not ‘normal’ other than the ghosts. So did everything else really exist? And did they cong… conge..r… did they happen to be attracted to Moonlight Falls for some reason?
I asked Mrs. Penstone her thoughts on it and she just laughed. Then she stopped laughing and said, “Stranger things have happened. The supernatural need a place to live as much as anyone else does. Isn’t that right, Mr. Fluffy?”
Because of course she brought Mr. Fluffy with her. He meowed and then dug his claws into my couch as he gave me this really weird and kinda creepy look. Like he knew I wasn’t normal. I gulped and then changed the subject but Mr. Fluffy kept just staring at me.
My second winter (as a living person) passed with a bit more difficulty than my first. Specter and I went out a lot more and so I fell a lot more. I was constantly slipping and sliding on the snow or ice or whatever else was on the ground. Though other than falling I had some fun. Building snowmen. Sledding!
I wanted to try ice skating but Specter said no. I kept whining and begging till finally he took me to a rink and I couldn’t even stay on my feet without his help. I clutched him as we went around a few times–and we both fell, since he didn’t know how to ice skate either. Finally we gave up and went home for some hot cocoa.
Then spring came again and I began doing more gardening. I was getting somewhat good at it though not great. My Let’s Plays were doing amazing and I did a huge gaming marathon for my one year anniversary of doing Let’s Plays. Around that time I decided it would be a good time to start seeing if Specter wanted kids. I didn’t know how to bring the subject up. I considered being subtle. Obvious. Casual. But then when Specter came home one night I just blurted out, “Let’s have kids!”
Specter stared at me with huge eyes and then dropped his briefcase. “Wh…at…?” he asked in a whispery, wavery, slightly scared sounding voice.
“Kids,” I said again, blushing. “Um. Kids are–well. I kinda thought maybe one day… maybe… we could… maybe…”
“K-kids?” he squeaked. “What?”
I shifted then went over, taking his hand and pulling him towards the living room area. “Kids,” I confirmed. “I was thinking maybe–maybe one day, not right now obviously, but one day maybe soon we could maybe sorta maybe kinda have a kid? Or two? I mean… I kinda… maybe sorta… want one. Or two. But… I wasn’t… I didn’t… Specter?”
“Kids?” He sat down rather hard on the couch, looking like he had been run over by a train. “As in… kid-kids?”
I bit my bottom lip. “Do you not want kids?”
“I… never really… thought… this… ahhh… this wasn’t what I thought would happen when I got home today. You sort of… knocked me off balance here, Chance.”
Now I bit harder and it sorta hurt. I was also sorta scared. “I’m sorry…” What if he doesn’t want kids at all? What am I going to do? I wanted kids. I remembered that feeling before but I also loved Specter with everything so I just didn’t know what to do now.
Specter saw the look on my face and sighed, patting his lap. I sunk down onto his lap and he held me close. “Chance… I love you. But you do have a habit of bombarding me with things the moment I come home.” He rubbed his beard gently against my chin in a way he knew I loved. I squirmed, trying not to let him nuzzle his way out of this conversation. “I would like a little bit of time to relax and unwind.”
“I don’t every day!” I protested.
“No. But often. That being said… I think kids… would… be a possibility.”
I bounced up, clapping my hands. “REALLY?” I shrieked. “Really?!”
He got up and hugged tight. “Yes.We can talk about it in length later. Maybe during or after dinner.” I nodded happily. “But babe please, unless it’s an emergency… no throwing things at me as soon as I get home?”
I nodded again then realized why he was saying this, remembering the fight we had before cause of me doing this. I studied his face and thought about how carefully and slowly he was talking. So I put my hands on his fuzzy, hairy cheeks and said, “You did a good job.”
“At what?” he asked, scowling.
“Keeping your temper under control.”
“I wasn’t going to lose my temper,” he grumbled. I just kept staring. “Okay I was trying not to. I–I’m trying…” He bent his head forward so our foreheads touched. “I never had a reason before to keep my temper under control until a couple years ago.”
“What happened?” I asked, kinda confused.
He blinked then began laughing. “Oh Chance! I love you.”
“You said that twice in one day! Talk about progr–ohhhhh you meant me,” I said, realizing. I flinched, feeling stupid. “I’m an idiot.”
“No. You’re not an idiot. But if you want to expand your knowledge, we do have those text books and some–“
“I’m gonna play some games now, bye.” I whirled around and went to turn my computer game on. I felt him staring at me and I turned to stick my tongue out. He chuckled and went to turn the TV on while I played games happily, excited for our talk about maybe one day having kids!