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Her Guardian

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Kelley O'Hara has a ghost.

Well, not a ghost exactly,at least she didn't think so. But ever since she can remember, she's never felt alone, even when there was physically no one around. Instead of feeling afraid because of the odd presence she always sensed, she always felt comforted. Like she was never far away from home. Even now, at sixteen, getting her heart broken for the first time didn't seem as bad is could have been.

Kelley was laying on her bed, face down into her pillow, when her phone started buzzing incessantly. Grumbling to herself, she hit the ignore button for the fifth time in the last twenty minutes. She knew that she would eventually need to accept the call and have a long, uncomfortable talk about feelings and betrayal, but that time wasn't now. No, that would be too much for tonight.

Kelley's phone started buzzing again. Reaching over, she grabbed her phone roughly with the intention of ignoring the call. Or throwing it against the wall. When she realized that it was her best friend Ashlyn, she changed her mind and hit accept instead.

"Hey, Ash."

"Kell, I just heard about what that asshole did to you. I can't believe that she would cheat on you, especially with her! I'm so, so sorry. I'm right down the street and I can be there in five if you need me." Ashlyn was fuming. They had been best friends since they were five and they were always there for each other. Tonight would be no exception.

"I'm okay, I think. I just need some time to be really pissed off right now. But shouldn't you be on your date with Ali? A one-year anniversary is a big deal for you guys. You know I'll be okay tonight. We can talk tomorrow at school," Kelley sighed into the phone. She knew that her best friend had good intentions but all she wanted to do was lay in bed and try not to think about her girlfriend, or ex-girlfriend, on top of another girl. Or under. Whatever.

"I know, Kell, but we're kindergarten buddies. And kindergarten buddies never leave the other behind. I don't want you to feel lonely tonight." Ashlyn didn't want to give up without a fight. Even if the fight was futile. Even if she was sitting at a fancy restaurant with her slightly irritated girlfriend who was trying not to listen.

"I know, Ash, but I'm not alone. At least I don't feel alone." Even before she said the words, she had sensed that uncanny presence hovering nearby. Close enough to be felt but far enough away to not seem threatening.

"Okay, as long as you're sure you won't be alone. You know I'll kick her ass for you when I see her tomorrow. I don't care what she says." After a short pause, Ashlyn asked, "Is your friend visiting tonight?" Ashlyn knew not to say anything about Kelley's ghost directly unless they were alone. Others weren't as willing to accept things that they couldn't see. Even people as amazing and wonderful as her girlfriend, Ali.

"Yup, I have  company tonight. No need to worry about me, I promise. Now get back to your hot date, stud. You know better than to keep a pretty lady waiting."

"Okay, Kell, but you call me if you need me, alright? I don't care what time it is. I'll be there. Kindergarten buddies for life."

"Yup, Ash. Kindergarten buddies for life."

Kelley hung up the phone and took in a deep breath of relief. She knew her friend meant well but all she really wanted to do was sleep.The heartbreak could come later. The uncomfortable conversations could wait. Slowly, her breathing evened out and she began to snore gently.

If she had stayed awake for just a minute longer, Kelley would have felt the presence in her room slowly moving a bit closer. If she had been awake for just a few more moments, she might have felt the hint of pressure on her back and the faint feeling of two strong arms encircling her body. But even though she didn't feel the presence while she slept, Kelley's dreams were sweet, even though her heart was broken. The heartbreak could wait for another day.