Olivia gradually woke up to the sound of singing in her room. It was a masculine voice, pulling her back to consciousness with a scratchy melody.
“Noah, I swear to God…” she murmured, turning to glare at Noah.
Who was still asleep beside her, snoring softly. But the voice was still singing and she gradually realized the song wasn’t in a language she understood.
She sat up, blinking in the dim light coming through the window. The voice was coming from inside the room, and as she glanced around, she spotted the spirit by the foot of the bed.
He was a middle-aged man and she could see him clearly in the moonlight by the window. His eyes were sad and he wore a black suit that she could see through to the dresser behind him.
“Who are you?” Olivia asked softly.
The singing stopped and the man turned to look at her.
“Yes, you,” she said, her heart pounding. “I can see you, sir.”
There was silence for a second, but the man didn’t disappear. “Are you here for a reason?” Olivia asked.
Maybe if she acted like she knew what she was doing, she would start to feel like she knew what she was doing.
The man tipped his hat to her. “I always loved Clarissa,” he said softly. “I broke her heart and I need to say the words.”
Olivia nodded. “Thank you for telling me,” she said softly. “Do you…need me to do something for you?”
The man looked thoughtful for a second, then shook his head. “No…no, I just needed someone to know.”
“Can you move on now?”
That was what ghosts did, right? She was really going to have to talk to Celine again.
The man looked slightly less solid now as he smiled and nodded at her. “Thank you,” he whispered, then faded away.
Olivia laid back down, trembling. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
Then she realized Noah wasn’t snoring anymore.
She turned her head and saw him looking directly at her. “What was that?” he whispered.
“I can see ghosts,” Olivia said.
Noah thought for a second, then nodded.
“You’re not weirded out?”
“I’m still drunk,” he admitted.
“You fell asleep at the table.”
“We’ll talk tomorrow. Go back to sleep.”
“I love you too.”
Noah closed his eyes and settled back in. Olivia did the same, the room now quiet except for their breathing.
Noah woke up to the smell of lavender and a massive hangover. The bed underneath him was soft, comfortable, and familiar.
It was Olivia’s. For the second time in three months, he was waking up in her bed with fuzzy memories of the night before.
He’d been repairing the stairs. Then…dancing? He’d been dancing with Andrew? And Liv…saw ghosts?
He turned and saw her next to him, still asleep. She looked peaceful. And she didn’t have that sad look in her eye that he kept seeing.
He needed to leave before she woke up and that sad look returned.
He stood up and paused, waiting for the room to stop spinning. There was some whiskey in the fridge upstairs, that would help with the pounding in his head.
Olivia muttered something in her sleep, rolling toward the spot he’d just vacated. He tucked the blanket more securely around her, pushed a lock of brown hair off of her face, and walked out of the room.
He stepped out into the living room, took a few steps into Mia’s room, and looked in. Mia was asleep in her crib. He didn’t want to risk waking her, so he blew a gentle kiss, and walked back out.
Andrew was asleep on the couch under the window. He stirred and looked up at Noah.
“Hey,” he murmured.
“Hey,” Noah whispered. “Go back to sleep.”
Andrew nodded sleepily and closed his eyes. Noah looked at him laying on the couch. His head throbbed, but he couldn’t resist stopping beside Andrew for another second.
Like he’d done for Olivia, he tucked the blanket more tightly around Andrew. Andrew didn’t move except to grip the blanket, and Noah turned and left.
By the time Noah opened his front door, his heart was pounding and he was out of breath. He went straight to the counter and found the half-empty bottle of whiskey there. Not even bothering with a glass, he took a pull straight from the bottle.
He staggered out to the living room and fell onto the couch. One more shot of whiskey and the bottle was empty. But the hangover was receding.
He dropped the bottle on the ground, threw an arm over his eyes, and fell asleep.