You first realized you were a ghost when you found yourself floating through the sky. Oh, it’s kind of like a movie! You didn’t know what to make of it, but no matter; you weren’t bummed out or anything! It was just…interesting. You remember everything about your past life and you still look the same. Heck, you’re even still wearing that hospital gown you died in!
“Hey, that’s my house!” you say to no one in particular. You wonder if you can phase through the roof like the ghosts in the movies do. And you do. But you don’t recognize the people living in the house now, so you wonder how long it’s been since you died. You hover near the ceiling as you look upon the household.
On the sofa, there’s a blonde man in his twenties, you’re guessing, with pale skin. He’s wearing a black cap, black jeans, and a white T-shirt with an orange cap on it. Is that supposed to be ironic or something? Geez. He’s sporting a pair of weird, pointed sunglasses. His arm — which has a funny tattoo on it — is draped casually around another man’s shoulder. The other guy, also seemingly in his twenties, has these square frames and messy hair. He has on a white T-shirt with a skull on it, a green jacket, and shorts. He’s chattering away with a British accent and smiling, showing off a set of buckteeth.
And then you notice there’s a third person.
Hmm? He’s staring at you… Or at least you think the little guy is. You can’t really tell, because his eyes are hidden behind shades similar to that of the other guy. You guess they’re brothers or something, since he also has blonde hair and pale skin. He has on a bib that reads “my dad can kick your dad’s ass,” except the first “dad” had been crossed out with black marker and “bro” was written above it. He’s eating a breakfast of toast and milk. He looks at you, picks up his toast, and holds it out.
“Want a bite?” His voice is a quiet monotone.
“Huh, oh, sure!” you reply, slightly flustered. However, as you float over and attempt to take a bite of the toast, it merely phases through you.
“Whoa,” the little boy says and drags the toast through you again. You kind of just freeze there in shock; he notices and stops, putting the toast back on the plate.
“You okay?” he asks, reaching out to ruffle your hair…wait… “Huh, I can touch you.”
“Oh, cool,” he says. He then picks up the toast, takes a bite out of it, and promptly kisses you on the lips.
And you kind of just freeze there in shock for the second time in the past five minutes.
“Is it good?” he asks, pulling away. You realize he had pushed the bitten piece of toast into your mouth. You chew it and swallow.
“Yeah…” you say slowly. Oddly enough, you could taste it.
“Dave? Were you talking to someone just now?” asked the blonde-haired man as he walked by. He opened the door (leading to the bathroom, if you remember correctly) and paused before it.
“Bro, this guy is—“ Dave begins, tilting his head towards you.
“What are you talking about, little man?” Bro says, cutting him off, “There’s nobody there.”
Dave glances at you with a raised eyebrow and you merely crack a smile and shrug.
“Now eat up or you’ll be late for kindergarten,” he says with a dismissive wave. As he’s waving, Bro’s hand passes right through you.
“I’m in elementary school now,” Dave replies and you can still here a pensive tone in his voice.
“Yeah, that’s what I said. Now I'm going to go primp myself up in the bathroom, if you don’t mind.” You’re not sure if he’s serious or not, since his voice is completely flat.
“Uh huh,” is Dave’s only reply and Bro goes into the bathroom.
“Dave, would you like me to take you to school?” says the black-haired man, leaning over the back of the couch.
“Swell! Just give me a few moments and I’ll be right with you, sport!” With that, he swung himself over the backside of the couch and follows into the bathroom as well. Right after that, you hear something along the lines of “Jesus fucking Christ, English, I know my ass is pretty great, but can you not jump me this early in the morning” and “oh, quit spewing nonsense, Dirk” before Dave drags your attention back.
“Are you a ghost? Bro’s hand went right through you,” Dave asks. “I don’t think he or Jake can see you.”
“I think I am,” you agree, ignoring the clattering noises coming from the bathroom, “aren’t you scared of me?”
“Don’t know,” Dave says, and then asks, “What’s your name?”
“Okay, John. Have some of this, too.” He takes a sip of the milk and kisses you again.
“Gosh, Dave, give a little warning next time!”
Dave is the only one who can touch you, though you don’t know why. You can feel and taste something if he’s touching it, too. So you ended up spending time with him. You watch as Jake and Bro (well, Dirk, but Dave always refers to him as Bro) take Dave to school every day, and you wait for him to come back. You help him with his school homework sometimes and play games with him. Hmm, does this mean you’re haunting him or something? The question bothers you, but you ignore it as the years quickly go by…
“Yo, John, come here and listen to this for me.” Dave’s holding out an ear bud and beckoning you towards him. He has to have the other side in his own ear, otherwise you can’t touch it. “Bro’s not here, so you’ll do.”
“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?” You float over anyways. “What did you come up with this time?”
“Just a Romantic Era mix.”
“Ooh, got a crush on anyone?”
“Why do you ask?”
Dave’s in junior high now and he chose music as his elective. He’s always liked listening to it, ever since he was…ten, was it? You think that’s when you met him. Wow, it’s already been three years, huh? So much has changed since then. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that he still hides his eyes behind shades. He’s swapped out the “anime shades,” as he calls them, for a pair of aviators. You’ve learned that he’s kind of self-conscious about his eyes, since they’re red and all, but you like them! He’s thirteen now and growing up so fast. You, on the other hand, haven’t changed much. You suppose you age slower, because you’re already a ghost. You were nineteen when you died and you still look nineteen…maybe twenty?
Dave has become your best friend over the years and it’s just so fun watching him experience everything. You’ve even begun following him to school and such. You watched as he met new people, made new friends, and hung out with them afterschool. Sometimes you get this weird feeling in your chest when you see him walking off with them, like they’re going to take him away from you, but you know that’s not the case; you always push these weird thoughts and feelings aside.
“Well, you’ve just been making lots of romantic mixes lately!” you say with a laugh, then add smugly, “And you’ve been wearing all these cute outfits lately, so I figured maybe you were in love.”
“Jake’s the one who bought this stuff, not me,” he said with a sigh, “I’d get like, a major guilty conscience if I didn’t wear the outfits. Is that what you want, John?”
“Haha, knock it off, Dave!” you say, popping the ear bud out. “Nice mix by the way. You’re getting really good at this!”
“One day, I’ll get good enough to make one for you,” he mumbles.
“Don’t you ever get tired of that dress?” Dave says, cutting you off.
“Oh,” you say, looking down at the hospital gown, “I’ve gotten used to it, so I don’t mind.”
“Well, I think different clothes would look pretty good on you.” He’s wearing a red baseball shirt with a record on the front and black jeans. “Hey, the things I touch can transfer to you, so…”
“Huh?” You blink in confusion.
“C’mere,” Dave says, motioning you to come towards him with his finger. You’re not sure what he’s thinking, but you hesitantly float over.
And he hugs you.
“W-what are you doing?!” you squeak in surprise. You can feel your face turning red.
“Just do it,” Dave says, his words muffled, because he’s talking into your chest. “Make sure you’re touching the entire outfit.”
“Uh…I don’t know if this is going to work,” you say in a nervous tone.
“John, please, have a little faith in me, yea?”
Oh, geez. Dave comes up with the craziest ideas! But if this is what he wants…
Then I want to make it happen for him.
“John. John, look.”
“Huh?” You hadn’t realized you had your eyes closed. You look down at your clothes.
“Your clothes changed,” Dave says with a small smile. “We match now.”
“Oh, you’re right,” you say, blushing a little.
“See, told you it’d look good on you,” Dave says with a smirk. He squeezes your hand a bit and murmurs, “You know I like you best, John.”
You don’t know when he took your hand in his (maybe while you guys were hugging), but you like his warmth. You don’t know what to say, so you just smile and he understands. After all these years, you’re finally wearing something besides those hospital pajamas, so you’re really glad to have met Dave. You know you like him best, too.
After that, Dave started helping you change clothes every day. You like it when he hugs you, full-body, inviting, and warm. He doesn’t seem to mind doing it; he even hugs you to change you into his pajamas sometimes! In high school, he also chose music as his elective — of course — but he also joined the crafts club afterschool. He made some cool accessories and simple clothes the two of you. (He’s turned out to be surprisingly good at it!) Your favorite one is the long-sleeved shirt with the green slime on it; he’d made it right after you told him you liked Ghost Busters.
The two of you were inseparable, even though nobody else knew about you…
“What?” you say inquisitively. You caught Dave staring at you; his un-shaded red eyes felt like they were boring holes into the side of your face. The two of you were watching Con Air (only the best movie ever!) on the couch, since Dirk and Jake weren’t home.
“Nothing, babe, just noticing how cute you are,” he deadpans, looking back at the movie. Since high school, he’d gotten into the habit of calling you pet names. (“It’s ironic, John.”) He’d always slip one in, keeping up his cool-kid act; you think his favorite one is probably “hummingbird,” because it’s “the most ironic.”
“Geez, please listen to yourself sometimes, Dave,” you say, scratching your cheek sheepishly.
“No, I'm serious. You’re like, cuter than the lead male in this shitty movie. Bet a lot of girls liked you.”
“No way I’m better looking than Nicholas Cage!” You laugh. “Besides, I always had breathing problems, so I didn’t go to school much…” You trail off as you watch a pained look flash across Dave’s eyes.
“Sorry,” he says quietly, looking away. He wraps his arms around legs and rests his chin on his knees.
“It’s okay, Dave, I'm fine now. I swear!” You drift over and wrap an arm around his shoulders. “Okay?” Dave doesn’t reply.
You know that you’re dead.
That you’re a ghost now.
You’re just glad you got to meet Dave.
“I’m going to bed now,” Dave says. He slides your arm off his shoulders and slips off the couch, not even bothering to turn off the television. But…
Ever since that night, Dave’s been…how should you put this? Sometimes he gets this sad look on his face when he’s with you. It makes you hurt, too. But the days rush on by.
“It’s too goddamn hot,” Dave says, shutting the door with his foot and dropping his backpack onto the couch.
“Welcome home, Dave!” you say, greeting him cheerily.
Dave’s in college now, so you don’t really follow him to his classes, since they’re so boring, bluh! But he’s filled out nicely and even you definitely look like you’re in your twenties; Dave only looked a bit younger than you now. He had moved out of the house he had shared with Dirk and Jake and was living in an apartment alone now. Well, not alone, but with you. He had decided to major in music — no surprise there — and had gone to a college in Texas, not too far from home, but far enough, as he likes to put it.
“Should’ve chosen a university not in Texas when I had the chance,” he grumbles as he rummages through the fridge. He takes out a cold water bottle and takes a swig. “You should’ve put on the air conditioning for me, John.”
“Oh, sorry, I should have,” you say, playing along with him. The weather doesn’t really affect you, since you don’t feel the temperature changes. You can only feel Dave’s warmth.
“Kidding, babe,” Dave replies. He still hadn’t dropped the whole pet names thing. Not that you minded. “Oh, your outfit. How long has it been since we changed it?”
“It’s fine. It can wait,” you say, face heating up a bit. Dave’s a lot older now, so you feel kind of weird still getting hugs from him. It’s not that you don’t like it when Dave hugs you, but you figure it must be embarrassing for him, too, right? A grown man, still giving a teenager hugs. What even! You hope Dave doesn’t know what you’re thinking, but something in his look tells you that he does; he just knows you too well, so you try to come up with an excuse. “It’s hot out today, right? Getting close to me will just make it worse—hey!”
“I don’t mind,” he says, pulling you down forcefully from where you were floating and shoving you onto the floor and straddling your legs. His teeth are clenched and his shades have slipped down, so you can see his furious red eyes. He has his hands balled up into fists on either side of your head. “I’ll do it right now.”
“Dave, wait—“ you begin, but he’s shouting now.
“I wish we were classmates, god damn it. I wish we could hang out and do stuff together outside. I never felt this way before, John, and it just hurt so fucking much.” He shuts his eyes as he continues. “Only you’ve ever made me feel this way, John, so please say it’s okay. If you say that, I won't keep all this bottled up inside. I’ll share it with you—“ He opens his eyes and immediately breaks off.
You’re crying. You can feel the tears slipping out from your eyes. It’s the first time you’ve cried since you met Dave, and you hate the feeling of it.
You hate that Dave has feelings for you.
You hate that they hurt him so much.
You hate that it will never work between the two of you.
You hate that you’re dead for the first time.
You hate that you have feelings for Dave.
You phase through the floorboards and fly into the sky.
“You idiot,” you say, stopping. You’re high above the clouds now, where he can’t see you. You wipe away the tears. “You know we can’t…”
You’ve always known that you and Dave can’t be together forever. You’re dead and he’s part of the living. You knew that and yet you developed feelings for him and allowed him to get these feelings as well. You thought you had accepted your death, but…why are you so hurt? Dave’s growing up and leaving you behind. You know that you can’t be his best friend anymore or anything beyond that. You just want him to like you forever…
You still check in on Dave once in a while. Without letting him notice, of course. You watched him stare out the window, completely ignoring the lecture one of his professors was giving. You also watched him get his first job and begin earning money on his own. You were there when he saved up enough money to buy a sewing machine. He had gotten a lot better at sewing. Sometimes, you even listened to him make music from outside the apartment window. One time, you saw a girl trying to flirt with him, but Dave completely ignored her advances. (You couldn’t help feeling relieved.) You were among the audience when he got up to get his diploma from graduating college. Dave’s growing up so fast.
He’s going to become an adult, and you’re going to disappear. Probably move on to the next life or something. And that’s the way things should be…right?
A wedding tuxedo?
You had decided to check up on Dave today and found him wearing a formal outfit. He was standing inside one of the chapel rooms with glass sliding doors, so you could see inside clearly as you stood behind the rose bushes.
Dave’s getting married? You’re losing him to someone else…
“John!” Dave shouted. He had noticed you standing there. You could tell his eyes were trained on you even though his shades were still in place. You immediately turned to run. “Shit, John, wait! God damn it, John, you finally show up and now you’re running off! Wait!”
You’re crying again and tears are streaming down your face. You’re about to jump and fly off when Dave grabs your hand and turns you to face him.
“Fuck, John, you know how hard it is to run in dress shoes?” He’s panting and he’s got some small cuts on his face, probably from the tree branches. But you just don’t care right now.
“Y-you’re getting married!” you yell, still trying to pull your hand away, “t-to someone I’ve never even met!”
“Jesus fucking Christ, John, I told you to wait. Just let me explain,” Dave says between breaths and you stop struggling. “I’m just modeling this for my new album cover. It’s my job. I'm not getting married.”
“Huh?” is all you can manage through your tears.
“I’m not marrying anyone!”
“Fucking…” he trails off and sighs. “I want to spend my life with you, John.” He wraps his arms around you and you can feel the tuxedo transferring over. “And that hasn’t changed.”
“You idiot—“ you begin, but he kisses you silent. He kisses you on the lips sweetly, tenderly, and then kisses away your tears. He pulls you even closer as he nuzzles your neck and sighs.
“Tell me what you want, John. The truth this time.”
“Dave…can we just stay together…like this…forever?” you mumble. He laughs and kisses you on the forehead.
“Yea, John. Let’s just stay like this forever.”