Sookie gave me her phone number before leaving for the station and we had plans to make plans for dinner that weekend. I smiled all the way home; all the way through my shower and all the way to work that afternoon with my thoughts never straying far from her.
The experts were right; exercising WAS good for you.
If I hadn’t gone for a run that morning, who knows when I would’ve seen her again and just being near her was enough to get my heart racing more than any amount of running could do for me. Even Chow noticed my uncharacteristically good mood when I walked into the office and asked in disbelief, “What’s that on your face? A smile?” He leaned forward across his desk, adding, “What? Did you come across the Holy Grail; Action Comics Number 1 with the first appearance of Superman?”
Thanks to my curse, I didn’t have a lot of luck making friends as a kid, so I’d taken to collecting comic books. It was fun to lose myself in the make believe world of superheroes and I felt a kinship towards many of the characters. They too were hiding the real them and what they could do and I often wished I could be one of them. I just couldn’t see how my curse could help to rid the world of evil.
The smile never left my face though because Sookie’s phone number was currently burning a hole into my cell phone and I just looked back at him, saying, “Fuck off Mr. I’m-a-wanna-be-bad-ass-with-my-Japanese-Yakuza-tattoos-doing-a-beginners-level-Sudoku-puzzle.”
Chow and I were more like work friends than anything else and while he too was a little wary of me and my quirks, we got along okay for the most part. He just waved me off with a grin, looking back down at his puzzle book, and said with a shrug, “Whatever Thor. Just make sure you give me a call if Wonder Woman shows up so I can talk her into letting me play with her and her lasso of truth.”
Like I said…asshole.
No amount of ribbing from Chow or anyone else could rid me of my good mood and it was a few hours later that I was sitting at my desk finishing up some reports when the one person who might do some damage to it waltzed in. The building had long since emptied out, so I knew I wouldn’t be overheard talking to him and just sat back and waited. Corbett wasted no time in asking, “So what happened after I left this morning?”
I could tell it was eating away at him after witnessing my interaction with his daughter and grinned, asking, “Do you really want to know?”
“Fuck you Northman. My baby girl was just joking around, so don’t go getting any squirrelly ideas in that head of yours.”
I masked my fantasy fueled sigh with a chuckle and decided to let him off the hook, admitting, “Nothing happened,” while omitting the part of how something might have happened had he not been there.
I would’ve gotten to touch her ass at the very least.
When he breathed a sigh of relief, I leaned forward and wondered out loud, asking, “Wasn’t it your idea in the first place that Sookie and I would be good together?” He nodded curtly, as though he wasn’t quite sure if he still felt that way, so I asked, “Then what’s your problem?”
His eyes dropped to his feet as he began pacing back and forth in front of my desk for a few minutes until he finally halted and looked up at me, answering, “I don’t have a problem. I guess it’s just because she was barely seventeen when I died and I’ve made it a point to not hang around whenever she’s met up with any of them other fellas, so it was a bit of a shock seeing my little girl acting so…so…flirty.”
He’d said ‘flirty‘ like it was a ghastly sexually transmitted disease, but my brain was caught on what he’d said just prior to that. “What other fellas?” I asked, just as guilty as him when I’d said the word in the same fashion.
Sensing he now had the upper hand, his grin was firmly back in place as he asked, “What’s wrong Doc? Are you afraid of a little competition?”
“I have competition?”
Apparently the word ‘competition’ was just as disgusting as the words ‘flirty’ and ‘fellas’.
“I don’t know,” he said, with a mock puzzled look on his face. “You’d have to be in the running first. I think you’d have to actually ask her out for them to be considered your competition.”
“I did!” I exclaimed a bit louder than necessary, but after I thought about it, I added, “Sort of.”
“What do you mean ‘sort of’?” he mocked. “Either ya did or ya didn’t. Ain’t no ‘sort of’ about it.”
Why was I humoring this man who did nothing but try to make me look like an idiot in front of her earlier?
Oh yeah…because I’m a loser with a dead guy for a best friend.
I rubbed my eyes as though it would help clear my head of the ghost who had just taken a seat across from me and explained our plans-to-make-plans conversation. Corbett just shook his head like I was the ultimate dumbass, an eternal teenager doomed to pass notes in study hall, but his smile gave him away and he left me to my reports after wishing me good luck and telling me to keep my hands to myself.
Maybe I could find a voodoo practitioner that could make me up a Gris-gris to keep away nosey spirits of the cock blocking variety? This was Louisiana, after all…
Since I’d literally run into Sookie on Tuesday, I decided I would call her on Thursday to make plans for the upcoming weekend, so I wouldn’t look like the overeager and desperate for her attention ass that I actually felt like. She was all I could think about anymore and I was pretty sure I knew now why Corbett had been so adamant about how good we would be together. He’d taken over the role of a father figure of sorts for me over the last eight years and he worried that I’d end up spending the rest of my life alone. It was something I’d already resigned myself to, but after having lived the life that he had, he wanted me to have the same happiness he’d experienced and tried to convince me that Sookie, or someone as full of life as she was, would be the key.
My life had devolved to nothing more than my work. My curse had made me a loner beforehand and working in the morgue left me with an even greater invisible cloud that always hovered over me; always keeping me in a shroud of darkness. All of my time spent away from there was spent in virtual solitude and even though it wasn’t something I tried to maintain, I didn’t exactly do much to change it either. I’d been disappointed enough for one lifetime.
It had been well over a year since my last ‘fling’, if you could call it that, and had been nothing more than a one night stand during a conference I attended in New Orleans. We wouldn’t have worked out anyway due to the distance of her living in California and the fact it was nothing more than a drunken hook up, but it certainly didn’t help matters when we’d gone out together the following morning for breakfast and she came back from the restroom to find me talking to the empty chair beside me.
Octavia Fant looked like a nice enough woman to me and it would’ve been rude to not answer her question about how good the beignets were.
How was I supposed to know she’d been dead for over twenty years until she told me?
I would be taking a big risk in putting myself out there, but Sookie had such a hold on me already that I knew I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t at least try. She could be the light to my dark and if she was anything like her father, I hoped she would be able to at least forgive me my odd episodes and overlook it to see the man underneath.
And with any luck, I’d be underneath HER at some point in the future.
It was that thought (and not wanting a repeat of the fuckery in the park) that had me sitting at my desk Googling ‘voodoo talismans’ on Wednesday evening, in preparation for my date with Sookie, when my office phone rang telling me I was needed at one of the local no-name motels. I gathered my things and headed over, with the flashing strobe lights of the police cars telling me I was in the right place, and I grabbed my bag and headed towards the two patrolmen standing like bookends, with an open motel room door in between them.
“What have you got?” I asked as I got near.
The one on the left just shrugged and looked away as if he couldn’t be bothered with the details, saying, “A dead body.”
Yeah, I never would’ve guessed that one in a million years. Thanks asshole.
I ignored him and walked through the door, but came up short at the sight in front of me. On the other side of the bed, beyond the bloated and distorted naked body of the deceased man that separated us, was the object of my every thought lately. Sookie was rooting through a duffel bag sitting on top of the dresser pulling out all sorts of what appeared to be illegal drugs, with her hand over her nose and her eyes scrunched, I assumed from the less than pleasant smell, but she was still just as beautiful as I remembered her to be.
“Detective,” I said to announce my arrival.
Her head snapped up and her eyes smiled back at me, but I had no idea of what her mouth was doing, since it was still covered by her hand, until she said, “Doctor Casanova, fancy meeting you here.”
Did that mean she was still feeling ‘flirty’?
The word sounded much better when I used it and I swatted away the flies that were buzzing near my head and played along as I smiled back, saying, “Who else would you expect to meet up with at such a fine establishment as this? Is my choice of venues for our date not to your liking?” It was a disgusting roach motel and even without the dead body lying on the bed, I was sure the other rooms were just as nasty.
Her eyebrow shot up and she dropped her hand from her face as she took a step closer, saying, “Is that your way of telling me you like to meet up in dirty little motels with hourly rates?” I floundered thinking she didn’t realize I’d just been teasing until she grinned, saying, “That just makes it…dirtier.” I lost the grip on my bag and it fell to the floor with a thud when she purred, “I like it.”
The body had to have been lying there for days and the fact that the heat had been left on high didn’t help matters as far as the sight and smell of him were concerned, but I was still turned on despite it all.
“What?” I asked, wondering if I’d said it out loud and hoping I hadn’t as I turned around, expecting to see the not so helpful patrolman.
Instead I saw a naked guy.
Talk about embarrassing.
“I said that I liked it,” Sookie said, drawing my attention to her again. When her eyes didn’t stray from mine, I realized she couldn’t see the naked Zack Galifianakis lookalike now standing next to me and cursed myself for almost giving away, well…my curse. Sookie seemed to dismiss my faux pas and decided to test just how healthy my heart was by asking, “Should we see if they have any vacancies?”
Was she serious?
Was she kidding?
I just couldn’t tell and the naked ghost choking out, “Duuuuudde,” next to me was no help in figuring it out whatsoever, so, like a dumbass, I forced out a questioning chuckle and hoped my own tears wouldn’t accompany them if she decided I was just too weird for her. Thankfully she smiled and let me off of the hook by getting to the actual reason we were both standing there, saying, “Bluto here checked in on Saturday and paid upfront for the week in full. I guess their maid service is slacking on the job because the only reason we were called was because of the smell.” Her lips quirked up and she jerked her head to the side, indicating the neighboring wall, as she added, “I guess even shit’ems have standards and they couldn’t take it anymore.”
“I can’t believe I died buck ass naked,” the buck ass naked guy next to me said. “Why do I look like Jabba the Hut?”
I kept my eyes on Sookie, but tried to answer them both, saying, “The heat didn’t help any,” and picked up my bag before wandering over to the bed. Sookie was already wearing a pair of latex gloves (and a silky blue blouse over fitted gray slacks that accentuated the perfect heart shape of her ass that I hadn’t yet gotten personal with; not that I noticed, or anything), so I pulled on a pair myself and did a quick cursory check of the backside of his body since he was lying face down.
There was nothing glaringly wrong, so I lifted his head and saw Sookie cover her mouth and nose again just as an “Eewww…” came from her lips. I’d been on the job for long enough that I was pretty much desensitized to the sights and smells anymore, so when she asked, “How can you stand it?” I answered honestly.
“I’ve been around worse.” It was true, even if the guy’s face was completely distorted beyond recognition. His ghostly form had a substantial beer baby, making him top heavy, and since he’d died face down, most of his bodily fluids had pooled in his face and neck area. When I rolled him over completely and his ghost shouted, “DUDE!” I wasn’t really expecting it, but I managed to not jump while he added, “There’s a chick standing right there! Cover my junk!”
Bodies release lots of things when they die and the fact that he was more embarrassed over Sookie seeing his distorted dick instead of the dried shit he was covered in said a lot about him. It brought up the whole ‘chicken or the egg’ conundrum; did he knowingly shit himself and then die or die and then shit himself, but I ignored him completely when I looked up to see her eyes dancing back at me as she said, “Good! Then if this works out,” she motioned a gloved hand between us, “you’re in charge of diaper duty when we have our own little rugrats one day.”
Does that put me ahead of the competition?
I knew she had to be kidding and tried to not picture just what would have to occur for the two of us to produce any rugrats and thankfully I didn’t have to respond because the body did it for me. Shifting him had caused the gas in his body to shift as well and the resulting sound of it escaping made Sookie jump in surprise. I laughed at her mortified look, and even more so at the now humiliated ghost, gesturing to his gassy physical self, crying “DUDE!”, but the green tinge that colored Sookie’s cheeks had me motioning for her to follow me outside. She gasped heaping breaths of fresh air into her lungs, mumbling, “And I thought Jason was bad,” before she swallowed hard and asked, “Got any ideas on when he died?”
I stilled my hand before I could reach out and touch her, especially since I was still wearing my now soiled latex gloves, and answered, “It’s hard to say, but I’ll have a better idea after I get him back to the morgue.”
Even with the greenish hue, she was still as pretty as ever and she seemed a little out of sorts, but tried to lighten the mood by saying, “So, I think getting a room is probably out of the question now…”
Damn it! Had it really been an option?
Did I care? No fucking way.
“Tease,” I grumbled without thinking first.
What? It had been well over a year!
She laughed and we looked up seeing Flood headed our way when he’d called out her name, so she bumped her hip against mine to get my attention and smiled saying, “I can think of more appropriate words than ‘tease’. Certain; inevitable; inescapable…they’re all much better choices.” She gave me one last sultry smile, saying, “But you have to actually call me first,” before making her way towards her partner.
She’d left me in a daze and I eventually shook off my stupor and wandered back into the motel room, greeted by another chorus of “DUDE!” that only I could hear, with a goofy grin plastered onto my face. It was due to a feeling I had thanks to another word Sookie could have chosen to use…
Sookie looked at me like I was any other normal man; a man she found something in that made her want something more. Hypothetical rugrats aside, I wasn’t quite sure what that was, but I was determined to find out. It was with that thought in mind that I pulled off my gloves and took out my cell phone. Scrolling through my contacts, I found her name and hit the send button and just a few seconds later I heard her tinkling laughter in my ear making my heart leap again as I asked, “What are you doing tomorrow night?”