Chapter One

"So how'd you die anyhow?" I mumbled half into the pillow I was attempting to sleep on. I still had two hours until my shift at the diner started. So, since counting sheep just wasn't working, I figured the ghost haunting my apartment could bore me into a slumber.

I could sense him shrug. "I don't recall."

Or not. Feeling more curious than tired I risked opening my left eyelid. Big freaking mistake. I jumped back ten meters, screaming the whole way. As soon as I opened my eye I realised his face was about a centimeter away from mine. "The hell!" I was slumped against my apartment door, still panting in shock.

He just burst out laughing. "Well I'm a ghost right? So it's my job to scare you."

I glared daggers at him while he re-messed up his blonde hair. I continued squinting at him as I cleared my throat, "I was not 'scared', I was 'surprised'." Obviously I couldn't have the ghost one upping me. "Anyway," I decided a topic change was necessary, "How can you not recall your own death? Pretty sure that's something I wouldn't forget."

As I relaxed into the wooden door, I saw him take a seat on the edge of my coffee table so he was facing me. "I dunno. I came home from work, picked up a beer from the fridge, sat down... And that's it." He looked around the apartment as he spoke, possibly reliving the memory.

"That's it?" I just felt the need to confirm his last sentence.

He shrugged again and then paused. "Oh wait, I think I may have been shot."

My eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets, "What?" I mean seriously, who can talk about being shot so casually.

His blue eyes scrutinised mine, probably curious about my reaction. I could see a smirk tugging at the corners of his lips as he pulled up his shirt.

I gasped and moved closer. Other than the obvious hot factor concerning his pack, my eyes were also entranced by the small bullet wound on his abdomen. There was a small purple-gray circle surrounding a dark hole of coagulated blood. "Eeew," I cringed, repressing the urge to poke it. Okay, sort of repressing my morbid urge of creepiness. I hadn't realized, but my arm was already extending in anticipation. He slowly grabbed my wrist before I had the satisfaction of squishing the wound with my index finger.

I suddenly felt chills. I still wasn't used to the icy feeling of my dead friend. Not that I ever plan on getting used to the feeling. Whatever, moving on. "Poke it and I'll make you a ghost too," He deadpanned. Haha, get it?

Oooh, scary. "Anyway," I exhaled. "Who shot you?" Alright, my childhood Nancy Drew obsession was totally making a comeback.

But, he shrugged again, "That's what I don't remember." As he spoke he pulled his shirt back down. Okay, and so I may have perhaps been a little disappointed, considering the view was not all that bad. But there were more important matters at present.

"Well then," I smiled devilishly, "I guess we'll have to crack the case of your murder!" I jumped up immediately and began rummaging through the unopened boxes in my apartment (yes, I still hadn't fully unpacked. I mean, I had only been living here like two days now), until I finally pulled out my detective hat. "Aha!" I exclaimed in victory. Naaw, it still said 'Max' on the inside, with a line through 'ine'. What? When I turn 18 next year I'm legally changing my name to Max. Nothing against any Maxines'. The name just doesn't fit me. Anyway.

"Wait!" He held up his hands, signaling for me to stop.

I squinted at him. "What?"

"What's the point? I'm dead now aren't I?" He was quite sensitive for a ghost.

"Yeahhh," I drawled, kind of drooling over his eyes. I mean, I'm not some stalker or anything but they were such a nice blue. Um. Anyway, mid-sentence here... "But if the killer is still walking around he might kill someone else! What if he's out for people in apartment 12A! I could be next!" Alright, hyperventilating wasn't exactly part of my plan. But holy butt of the celestials, I don't want to die!

"You're not next." He snapped at me. But I was still a little edgy. So, to stop me from rambling he extended his arm into my body, as if he were reaching for my freaking soul or something. So then, of course, I completely mind-blanked. Blizzard going on in head and all that.

He slowly removed his arm, "Calmed down now?"

"I hate you." Was that the blender I could hear? Oh, wait, no. That's just me, grinding up my teeth.

"By the way..." I started, feeling another topic change was essential. "What's your name?" I finished lamely, hoping he couldn't see through my plan.

The blonde ghost just stared at me for a moment, apparently taken aback by my question. This in turn caused me to stare back at him, slightly more dumbfounded. He had not freaking forgotten his own name. "Phoenix Walker!" He suddenly blurted before I could tease him. Damn, like a second before I was going to throw out John Doe jokes.

Anyway, I was now pretty busy trying not to laugh at his first name. Irony, right? "Neat." I sucked in my lips. Nope. Can't hold it. So, I practically exploded with laughter.

Apparently Phoenix Walker did not have the same humorous appreciation for the joke. Instead, he took to glaring at me. Please, like that's scary. "I'm sorry," I straightened up after about half a minute. "It's just you know, 'rise from the ashes' and all..." It's not like it was my fault he was a ghost.

Aduh, he's a ghost!

My brain clicked. "You have unfinished business! That's why you're a ghost!" Whaha, did I also mention how awesome my detective skills were?

I didn't even wait for a response from Phoenix as I grabbed my keys and bolted to the door. "To the library!" This time sporting a Julius Caesar voice.

So libraries aren't really as fun as I imagined. Lots of books, lots of old people and lots of places for me to get completely lost. After about 20 minutes I finally found the, um, newspaper computers? Or whatever they're called. Because apparently there is a difference. I tried searching his name on the regular computers and it kept coming up with 'Walk the Line' staring Joaquin Phoenix.

Anyway. As I was about to type in his name, someone threw and ice-cream at me. "Motherfu-" I yelled, turning around to realise:

1. Not an ice-cream.

2. Just the really freaking annoying ghost that's haunting me.

3. I am totally about to yell out 'motherfucker' in a library.

I put my hands over my mouth. Whoops. No one heard, right? Okay, except maybe the old lady in the Mills and Boon section gaping at me.

Moving on. "The hell!" I kind of vicious-whispered at him through my hands.

Phoenix smiled, real cheery like. "Just doing my job."

"I swear, if you weren't already dead..." No! I must focus. I turned my head back to the computer screen and quickly typed in his name. Not that my life was totally boring or whatever, but this was kind of a welcome change to 'come home, sleep, get up, work at the diner, come home, sleep, etc'.

"Aha!" I exclaimed, quite pleased with my Holmes skills. "I found you!" I felt like liking my thumb and sticking an imaginary gold star on my forehead, but, um, well that would look silly. Note to self: place imaginary gold star on forehead at home, when no one is looking.

Phoenix moved around to the side of me to get a better look. "Hey, yeah."

There wasn't much information about him, except for the really, um, 'nice' photo of him. Okay, mentally drooling. Anywho, Blah blah. 18 year old boy dies of gunshot wound in apartment. Blah blah. No known suspects. Blah bla- woah! Hold on a second there. 'Heir to Walker estate'. No freaking way.

"You're rich? And the heir?" I exploded, attempting to shove him and instead receiving goose bumps on my right hand.

Phoenix shrugged, "Not really. I'm the eldest but I left home."

I stared at him incredulously. "Left home to do what?" Seriously, this guy was killing me.

"I was a mechanic." He laughed. HE LAUGHED. (I know right?)

"Are you crazy?" I hissed. Like, oh let me think: millions of dollars, or become a mechanic? I'd say it's a no brainer.

He shot me a defensive glare. "Look, I wasn't keen on business. I preferred building cars. Hence, I left home and became a mechanic." I also just realized he waves his hands when he talks. Adorable.

But I still didn't get it. Maybe because I'd never had money before. Stupid rich kids.

Whatever. "Then why does the article refer to you as the heir?" Things just weren't adding up. Man, I totally wish I had a moustache to stroke right now.

"I guess dad still wanted me to take the business over Dean." He ran a hand through his hair and I was momentarily side tracked as I drifted off to daydream land. Wait! Eww. What am I? Like a necrophiliac now?

"Who's Dean?" I suddenly realised I had no idea what he was talking about.

He turned his head so he was looking into my eyes. Dammit, blue eyes of gorgeousness. Okay. Instead focus on his nose. Ugh, no okay. What? Dimples. Oh great. Um. WAHA! That's right. He has a freckle on his cheek. Fully focusing on that little imperfection. Man, I'm brilliant.

"Hey?" Phoenix Walker scrunched his brow and waved a hand in front on my face.

"Yeah what?" I replied, still in the heat of concentration. And yes, I was totally squinting with determination. It probably looked like I was trying to explode him with my mind. But, he still continued, "Anyway." He gave me another freaked out look, "Dean is my younger brother."

"Excellent!" I proclaimed, finally diverting my eyes from his imperfection. "We shall find the brother then! Oh wait," I looked down at my watch, "Right after I apologise to my boss for being late to work."