Chapter Two

"Hi there, are you ready to order?" I smiled politely to the couple sitting at table five. Well, I kind of smiled. I suppose it would have looked more like a hysterical glare. Hey! In my defence it's quite hard to concentrate when you have a ghost booty dancing next to you.

Yes, that's right. I said 'booty dancing'.

"Quit it," I mumbled, stealthily covering my mouth as I pretended to cough.

"Nope," Phoenix Walker replied and proceeded to pelvic-thrust his way towards me. I can't imagine I'll be keeping this job for long.

"Yeah, we'll just have two cappuccinos, no sugar." The guy didn't even look up as he barked his order. Hmm, quite tempted to spit in his coffee. Or at the very least, chuck in some sugar.

"Sure thing!" I chirped, flashing a fake smile. God I hate my job. Customer service was so not a flaming passion of mine. I trotted back to the counter, stuck the order on the spinney thing and skillfully ignored the ghost next to me.

Okay, that's obviously not working. I burst out laughing as soon as I turned to him. Well done Max, well done.

Phoenix had two bendy straws stuck on the bottom of his two front teeth. Like a freaking walrus, people! Damn and he even made the walrus face look sexy. This man is a beast. But, then of course I realised I was laughing at an empty chair. Anyone looking at me strangely? Ohhh, you bet your ass. Yep, this job will not be lasting much longer.

"You'll right Hon?" Tiff, my boss, gave me a worried look.

No I'm not alright Tiff. I'm currently debating whether I might actually be mentally retarded. "Oh, I'm fine! Just tired with the move and getting used to a new city and all." I continued babbling while Phoenix laughed hysterically next to me. Excellent.

Needless to say, I'm probably going to have to check out the want ads later. Like, late to my shift and laughing like a crazy lady? Yeah probably best not to have me serving customers. "Thanks man," I huffed, hitting Phoenix in the chest as we left the diner. I folded my arms across my chest, ready to unleash my fury.

...But he gave me the puppy dog eyes. Evil, evil ghost boy I shall find a way to re-kill you. We turned the corner and stood facing my apartment building. It was nothing too impressive, just a six story complex. However, I could see my apartment from where we stood. The last window on the fourth floor... Oh the detective skills were soo making a comeback! The killer could have stood outside waiting for Phoenix to leave and then snuck up to the apartment and lay in wait for his return. Wahaha. I mean the perpetrator was already in the apartment, right? Maybe. Gosh I really wish I had a more reliable witness. Like, "Uhh and then I turned around and then I got shot and then I died..." really isn't helping much.

A hand waved in front of my face, "Y'okay there?" Phoenix titled his head down to my level, giving me an amused grin.

I pushed away his hand, "Perfect. Just gathering clues!" I beamed, bouncing up to the building.

He rolled his eyes, "You're really going to go all Holmes on this?" He sounded exasperated. Gee, you think someone would want to know who their murderer is. Unless he has some idea all ready. I mean, the description he has been giving me is pretty weak. I find it hard to believe he didn't even see the face of the murderer while he was standing right in front of him.

I stopped, "Why are you afraid of finding out who the murderer is? Like, don't you want revenge or something?" I squinted at him, trying to look intimidating. He could be such a goober at times.

"What if they're someone I know?" And the puppy dog eyes return! I shoved him and started laughing. Well my friend, that is exactly what I'm counting on. He would so not be this protective over an anonymous killer. 10 bucks that he knows the murder and he's like mentally blocking it or whatever.

I flapped my hand dismissively. "Ch'yeah right man. But just in case, we're going to check out your old place!" As I said the last word I magically unlocked my bike. Ta-da! Okay, I know a motor bike would be waaay cooler. But come on people, I'm potentially unemployed at the moment.

"But, you don't know where I live." He smirked triumphantly, placing his hands on his hips. What a sex god... OKAY! Seriously Max, focus time!

I rocked back on my heels before hopping on the bike, "I may have written down the address from the newspaper article." I smiled devilishly but didn't give him a chance to respond as I tore down the sidewalk. That's right, Max one. Ghost zero.

I wanted to face palm myself as I stopped in front of his house. Actually I think the term 'castle' is more accurate. Seriously, did they discover an oil field or something? These folks were definitely packing. Giant driveway (which sucks when you've been riding for an hour, by the way), massive cherub statutes and fountains, colonial looking columns around the front and expensive blah lavish blah blah, I'm sure you get the picture. "Dude you suck." I muttered, giving Phoenix the stink eye.

He just winked and jumped off the back of my bike. We walked up to the front door and I suddenly felt underdressed. I just totally imagined everyone inside the castle wearing formal gowns and suits. While here I am, sporting a varsity jacket and denim shorts. Oh god, denims shorts with that whole 'ripped' look. They'll probably think I'm a beggar. Outstanding.

I was about to knock on the door but phoenix ushered me behind the nearest tree. Okay, this is weird, is he twitching? "What?" I asked absently.

He ruffled his hair nervously, "I just don't think you really want to meet my family..." Baww he's so cute when he's worried. Little lines formed on his forehead as he knitted his brows in anxiousness. I wanted to pinch his cheek. Buuut, that would be weird. Moving on.

I rolled my eyes, "I grew up with a carnival family, pretty sure that's as weird as it gets."

"Cool, why don't we go and see them instead..." He made jazzy movements with his hands, but that obviously wasn't convincing me.

"Look dude, I wanna find out what happened to you so I can get on with my life." I stared him down, arguments were so my thing. Well that and thumb wrestling. Seriously, I'm like El Diablo.

He suddenly glared at me, the adorable dimples disappearing, "Well sorry for being such an inconvenience!" Hmm, guess I struck a nerve somewhere there. Probably the whole 'I can actually get on with my life because I'm still alive thing', but he seemed to take it a little too personal. I mean, considering he's quite happy floating around as a ghost. Interesting, must investigate this lead further.

I raised an eyebrow, "You pretty much got me fired today." My voice was dark as I tried to magician some eerie smoke around me, which can't be that crazy considering I'm arguing with a ghost here.

"Just trust me! You don't understand what my family is capable of." He threw his arms in the air.

"Trust you? Trust the guy who makes it his mission to ruin my life? Yeah, nah." I folded my arms defiantly. There was nothing he could do to stop me from walking into that castle.

Apparently Phoenix figured out my game plan and opted for a different method of distraction. Because as soon as my icy gaze reached his face, I realised what he was doing. The smug little smile that turned up the corners of his lips was just a breath away from my own mouth. The bastard. The freakishly sexy bastard!

I motioned to take a step backwards but my body was halted by an oak tree at my back. "That's not fair," I breathed as his hand swept away a few lose strands of my hair. His fingertips grazed my cheek in the process, sending a cold shiver through my body. Buckets just found a new level of crazy. His hand paused and slowly retreated, but not without letting his fingers lightly trace a line along my suddenly parted lips. "So, seduction is your weakness?" He laughed quietly as his hand returned to his side.

What can I say? I'm weak. But just as I was about the jump the guy I heard a voice from behind us.

"Hey you!"

Phoenix was still standing over me and I heard him grunt as he turned around. Seriously going to freaking shoot whoever ruined my almost-moment. But, as soon as Phoenix moved aside, I saw the guy who was yelling at me. Okay, this is awkward. Why are there two Phoenix's?