He lay next to her on the bed, and Maisie was suddenly frightened. Words raced through her head, "What am I doing, why am I doing this? I shouldn't, it's not a good idea, something bad could come of this."
He seemed to divine her thoughts. "Don't be frightened, I won't let anything bad happen to you, I'll keep you here, where you belong. Now close your eyes and empty your mind. Think only of me, and how much I love you."
It took her a moment. She wanted to close her eyes, be trusting, but she was scared. The memories of the incident in the cemetery still frightened her. But he was patient, smoothing back her hair, stroking her face, and soon she began to relax, and her eyes seemed to close of their own accord.
It was subtle at first, she could barely feel him touching her, then the air on her breasts let her know that her blouse had been opened, and her jeans and panties were around her ankles.
And then she felt it. Light touches like a cool breeze, then feeling like he was hovering over her on a cushion of air. The feeling of him caressing her breasts, then seeming to open her up. Cool fingers inside her stroking her and playing with her, making her fear now feel like excitement.
And the feeling of him against her now, skin to skin, feeling like she was floating in the air. It was now no longer a ghostly lover, but a man of flesh,how had he somehow become solid? In her, moving with her, doing a strange dance she did not know the steps to, but was trying to learn.
The feelings were alien, but familiar, and when she started to climax, it was as intense as any she'd known with Larry, or with others, but somehow different.
She reached up her arm for her pillow, then realized that she was floating with him above the bed, "No," she cried out, and would have fallen onto her bed had his strong arms, strong even in death, not caught her and lowered her slowly.
"I'm sorry I scared you," he said, "But I'm not as subject to the laws of gravity like you are. The next time we do this, it will be less scary because you'll know what to expect."
Maisie was having trouble breathing, her heart pounded so hard it felt like it would jump out of her chest. She wanted to pull away from him, but let him cradle her, trusting him to prevent any harm from coming to her.
At last her heart slowed down and she relaxed. "How can you do that?" she asked, "That was different…"
"From anything you've done before? Honestly, I don't know. I don't know how I become solid but remain spirit. Maybe it comes from my feelings for you. I want to watch over and protect you, I want to love you even though some day I will have to let you go."
"And that will be when we manage to banish him, and he won't be able to hurt anyone, anymore."
"Not we, I, it's too dangerous, I don't want you to get hurt."
"But it's me he's after, not you. You'll need me to lure him out, when the time comes. I know you'll protect me."
"Later, we can talk about this later. Put your clothes back on, your roommate is pulling into the driveway. I'll see you tonight." He kissed her, then vanished.
She grabbed some clothes, ran into the bathroom and turned on the shower. She looked into the mirror, not knowing what she expected to see. Were the green eyes staring back at her somehow brighter? Were her cheeks flushed with excitement still? She let the hot water run over her. She washed her hair, then scrubbed herself with a coconut body scrub. She rinsed herself down, then stood there, afraid to leave the shower, afraid that a stranger would stare back at her from the mirror.
She heard a sudden pounding at the door and turned off the water.
"Hey, are you going to drain the tank dry?" came Reomi's voice, "Did you pick up your meds?"
The two slips of paper were still sitting in her purse. "No, I forgot, I'll get them tomorrow, okay?"
Reomi cracked the door open, "Am I going to have to play mother, no, don't answer that, you'll only say that I'm doing a good job of it anyway. I forgot a couple of things, so I have to go back to the store. Where are your scrips? I'll take them to the pharmacy and you can pick them up tomorrow, first thing in the morning, okay?"
"They're in my purse, first pocket. I just forgot, Reomi, one day is not a big deal."
"Maybe, but mama-san here wants to make sure. Oh, Grant is bringing over a friend tonight, he plays guitar,which I know you'll like, and he's cute. We're gonna go bowling after dinner, so put on your makeup and make yourself look pretty. It won't hurt for you to be friendly, we're not trying to make matches."
"Okay, Yentl, but next time you ask first before you bring me any more suitors. I need to finish drying off and dry my hair. I'll be ready and willing to help you get dinner ready when you get back." She shut the door in Reomi's face to make her point.
She closed her eyes, remembering what it had been like. "Say my name," he had said to her, "You know it now, please say it."
"Ian," she had whispered softly, afraid to say it out loud.
"Say it again, say it out loud like you're not afraid," and she had, holding him tightly.
"Maisie, my little Maisie," he'd said tenderly, before he'd whisked her off to the clouds. His love making had been ecstasy, but now she was afraid. Reomi's culture was full of all sorts of ghost stories, wasn't there one there one about a maiden being taken by a ghost? What if, despite what he had promised, he really did mean to take her away with him. He had stolen her heart; did he also mean to steal her soul?
As Reomi promised, Grant's friend Dave`was cute. He was also making it clear that he was interested. He leaned towards her when she spoke, did the same when he addressed her. His eyes stared frankly at her, and she hoped she was not blushing.
After dinner, they went bowling, a past time Maisie tolerated, but Reomi loved. She was not much better at bowling than she was at pool, but Dave helped her with her swing, and soon she was surprising herself with the occasional strike and made some spares. When they were done, they had drinks at the bar, Maisie surprising herself by finding she was having fun.
They drove back in Grant's Camaro which he parked in the driveway, a sign he'd be spending the night. Dave walked over to his Lancia, and Reomi gave her a look indicating that she should follow and tell him good night.
No, Reomi, I won't, she thought, but could not find a way to gracefully bow out. She would not take him touch her, but she did want a closer look at his car.
"Like it?" he grinned, and she nodded.
"What do you do that you can afford it? I hear their upkeep is kind of pricy, but it's the kind of car people seem to like anyway."
"Did you just insult my car?" he asked, then smiled as she tried to back her way out of what she said. "Well, it was my brother's, I inherited it from him when he died. And I have a good job, but I'm thinking about playing music full time. We're getting a fair number of gigs. When Justin first got sick, I was thinking about devoting myself full time to music, but then as he got worse I concentrated on my job. Brain tumors are expensive to treat, no less so when the patient dies."
She gave a little gasp and covered her mouth with her hand. "I'm so sorry, it must have been really hard on you and your family."
"Yes, it was, but we were luckier than most. My parents could help with his treatment and made sure he had the best care. I'll have their full support if I decide to pursue my music, my dad was a very successful musician. I'm still thinking about which would be the best way to go."
He stepped gently towards her, but she retreated. "Maisie, I thought I was getting the feeling tonight that you might like me, do you? Have I offended you?"
"No," she shook her head, "I just spent a month in a," she struggled to say the word, "a mental hospital for a bipolar disorder. I haven't been out all that long, Reomi was definitely rushing this."
He took her hand, holding it gently, "If I promise not to rush it, would you think about going out with me? Even if it means double dating at first. You're a sweet girl, and I'd hate to miss out. I'm nice, unless you ask my ex. My friends would vouch for me, though."
Trapped, she felt trapped. Where was Ian when she needed him? "I-I, suppose so, but you can't push me, I mean it," she said.
Before she could turn and go into house he caught her by the waist. He pulled her close and kissed her softly. "Okay," he replied, "No pushing."
She ran into the house, shut and locked the door behind her. She sought the safety of her room, and threw herself onto her bed, curling up in fetal position. It was only slight comfort to feel Ian curl himself around her, but she took his hand and put it to her cheek."
"How did it go?" he asked, "Did you like this guy? Want to see him again?"
She tried to pull free of him, "Why are you asking me this? Reomi went behind my back and set me up. It was easier to go along than object; she won't be happy until she thinks I'm with someone nice, like she is."
He put an icy hand around her wrist and gripped it so tightly that it hurt. "But did you think about me at all while you were out."
"Ow, let me go, what's wrong with you, you're not yourself." His eyes seemed to blaze blue fire, and she came to the realization it was not Ian with her on the bed. "No, it's not you, you're him, the drummer. IAN!" She screamed, but no sound seemed to come out.
But he heard. Suddenly he was there standing next to her, and the other let loose her hand. He took hold of the neck of the other and pulled him off her.
"Don't you ever, ever, touch her again, you bastard." The other dissolved in a cloud of black smoke and dissipated, leaving no more trace than had the car early that morning.
She put her arms around him, holding him. "Oh, Ian, I'm not safe. How can you keep him away from me if he knows where I live? I'm scared, I'm scared, and I don't know what to do." She looked at him, tears in her eyes, "I'm afraid you can't help me, either."