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And Still You Were

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And Still You Were

Her ghost does jigsaw puzzles. Alison will buy one, and tip the pieces tumbling out over the coffee table. And slowly, without her ever quite seeing, the picture starts to form.

She found an old box full of puzzle pieces, one day. And she and Dennis drank cocoa and put them together.

Well – he didn't drink the cocoa. But he was good at the jigsaw.

He tends to like things tidy. Alison comes home every day and dumps her jacket on the floor by the door, and the ghost will hang it up – with a stiff, put-upon silence that seems weirdly different to the normal comfortable quiet.

She pictures him saying "Is it really too much to ask that you pick up after yourself?" and she nearly apologises to the thin air.

It was kinda helpful having Dennis keeping things neatly arranged all the time. (Especially since she was no good at it herself.)

Mind you, he had very fixed ideas about where things should go. She kept putting her hairbrush down on the bathroom sink, and then having to remember that, no, it'll be in the bedroom, right-hand side of the mirror.

She's banned him from the bathroom.

Back when he was just getting comfortable with her, Alison stepped out of the shower and found her towel hovering invitingly in mid-air.

And yes, she felt ridiculous, but it had to be said, so once she was safely dressed, she cleared her throat and said firmly "Ghost. You can't come into the bathroom while I'm in there. It's not decent."

And he didn't. (Or at least, there are no hovering towels, and Alison chooses to believe it's because he's giving her some privacy and not just keeping very quiet.)

Dennis really could work wonders with the loofah.

Her ghost likes crime shows, movies set in space, and All My Children. (She keeps coming home to find that it's been taped, yet again.)

Alison is much more into romantic comedies than action. But she's starting to get into the ghost's favourite cop show… and he supplies her with tissues and ice-cream during the sappy bits of her weekly chick flick marathon.

Dennis was constantly turning on the stereo. He seemed to like having music playing – whereas for her, after a long day of demon detecting, the quiet was kind of appealing.

Occasionally, though, she really got into it.

Once, she got up and started dancing along, and Dennis cranked up the volume and started floating things around the room, and soon she was twirling round and round, laughing, and wishing he was corporeal enough to dip her backwards. It had been ages since she'd danced with a guy who knew what he was doing. (Or any guy, really.)

Alison often wonders who he is, and how he became a ghost. (Is he even a he? She thinks of him like that, but maybe it's actually a woman, haunting her old apartment. After all, she heard the woman before her disappeared mysteriously…)

She's come close to hiring a medium, a few times. Someone to come and talk to her ghost, and find out who he is. But she likes the mystery, and besides, she's pretty sure most of the stuff mediums say is bull, anyway.

It was a bit weird – having conversations with someone who couldn't actually say anything. But they were still conversations. Dennis was always part of what was going on – she always had a good idea of what he thought about stuff.

And yeah, in a lot of ways she didn't know much about him. In other ways, though, it didn't matter – because he knew her better than anyone.

They'd always be friends. She just knew it.

There's a photo, up on Alison's mantelpiece.

The day she arrived, she took it down to make room for photos of her family – and woke up the next morning to her belongings back in their boxes, no central heating, and that photo, right back on the mantelpiece. It took her three days to get the message – but once she stopped moving his photo, the ghost stopped moving her stuff.

It's of a girl with dark brown hair and a big smile, looking happily at the camera. Alison has no idea who she is – but she can't quite shake the feeling that she's seen her somewhere before.