By Mavis Applewater
Disclaimers; the story and characters are the sole possession of the author and may not be reproduced, posted or sold without the author's permission. So there. Just a little warning. This story is most definitely rated PG. Sorry no wanton sex this time.
As always this is for my bride, Heather
Massachusetts General Hospital or as the locals call it MGH is a large teaching hospital near the Charles River in Boston. Just over ten years ago Laurel Dearborn was a young undergraduate student. To help pay her tuition and living expenses she worked at MGH. Working third shift Laurel's job consisted of transporting patients.
At times her work was not only exhausting but at times it could be down right dangerous. Between the boisterous inebriated, generally cranky and downright violent patients Laurel's night could be interesting to say the least. Her favorite patients were the poor souls who instead of being sent to a room or for x - rays were being moved to Allen Street.
'Moved to Allen Street' had been an expression used by the staff for as long as anyone could remember. The morgue located in the basement of the Warren building had once faced Allen Street. Even though the street had been renamed and the morgue moved to this day the staff still refer to a deceased patient as being moved to Allen Street.
Laurel always handled the guests of Allen Street with respect. Never peeking beneath the sheet or body bag. Instead she offered words of comfort. In her mind she was simple trying to make their last journey as pleasant as possible.
Working the late shift made it difficult to keep up with her studies. The money was too good to refuse the long hours. Late one November night, Laurel walked away from the cash and the hospital for what she had hoped was forever. It wasn't the full moon. It wasn't the blizzard that decided to blanket the east coast. It was her last trip to Allen Street that drove her out of the hospital.
When the snow started Laurel's supervisor called her in early. She didn't mind pulling extra hours. The money would be good and chances were good her classes would be canceled the next day. She trekked over to the hospital and began working.
The full moon alone made for a busy night. Add a freak snow storm and Laurel found herself wheeling patients around nonstop. There was a bonus that night. T.C who was an EMT was also on duty all night. T.C in Laurel's humble opinion was the most beautiful woman in the world. Each time the sinewy brunette smiled or greeted Laurel; the young coed swooned.
Laurel wanted to believe that T.C was giving her special attention. The truth was T.C was nice to everyone she encountered. It was no wonder everyone adored her. Laurel hoped that just perhaps that would be the night that T.C would finally notice her in a different light. She could almost picture it in her mind. The shift would finally be over and T.C would invite her to join her for a late breakfast. Sharing a meal together was all Laurel dared hoped for at that point in time.
Whenever Transport got a call to go to the ER, Laurel literally jumped at the chance. All she wanted was to see T.C and dealing with the sudden influx of crazy people was a small price to pay. Just after midnight the already frantic atmosphere in emergency room grew even more unstable. Laurel was unaware of what was going on. All she knew was there had been some kind of accident.
The only information she had was T.C was on the scene. She had heard T.C's voice over the radio. There was something amiss. T.C's voice crackled explaining her patient's status and that her partner Darren had been injured as well. Other than that Laurel didn't have a clue.
"Laurel?" Phil her boss beckoned her. "Are you up for a wagon delivery. Going straight to Allen Street?"
"Poor thing," Laurel sighed softly.
"Can you handle it by yourself?"
"Yes." She groaned.
"I thought so, Mighty Mouse," he said using the nickname Marge the head nurse had given her after her first shift. Everyone had doubted that the petite young woman was going to be capable of performing her duties. She proved them wrong.
Laurel dashed off to the ambulance bay. She did look for a glimpse of T.C when she passed the ambulances. Failing to spy the object of her affection she by passed the large vehicles and headed straight to the corner's wagon.
"Got that?" Smitty on of the security guards questioned when the shiny black body bag was loaded on the gunnery.
"Just help me get the gunnery through the snow," Laurel conceded. "I'm going to move the patient through the main lobby. No need upsetting the folks in the waiting room."
She thanked Smitty once they had pushed the gunnery up the small incline and through the lobby doors. Laurel paused for a moment to brush the snow off of the bag. From there her job was simple. She guided the gunnery through the lobby towards the elevators for the Warren building.
"Sorry about the snow," she apologized to her charge. "I didn't think you'd want the folks in the waiting room to see you this way. You just relax. I'm going to get you downstairs safely." She prattled on trying to give her guest some comfort. Laurel didn't really believe that the poor soul she was escorting could hear her. She simply wanted to give the patient a little dignity. Perhaps it was too little too late. She just felt a need to try.
The elevator finished its descent the large metal doors opening up revealing the cool corridor. The florescent lighting giving the long hallway a creepy aura. The coroner seemed even more solemn than usual when Laurel handed her the paperwork. "You're in good hands." Laurel whispered to the patient.
She was surprised when she heard the coroner sniff as she was leaving the morgue. Laurel rolled her weary shoulders as she made her way back down the hallway. Her gloomy mood lightened when she spied T.C standing by the elevator doors. It wasn't uncommon for T.C to check up on a patient even those who failed to survive the trip. "Hi." She said trying to hide her smile.
"Hey." T.C nodded.
Laurel shivered feeling a sudden cold blast when she approached T.C. She couldn't help noticing that the normally happy T.C looked pale and very tired. "Long night huh?" Laurel tossed out in an effort to make conversation.
"You have no idea." T.C quietly responded.
Much to Laurel's disappointment T.C really didn't seem to notice her. Reluctantly Laurel pushed the button. Her heart sank when the doors immediately opened. "Going up?" She hopefully questioned.
"Oh." Laurel pouted stepping into the elevator.
When she entered the large space she could have just kicked herself for not thinking of something witty to say. Just as the doors were about to close she stepped in front of them and held them open. She wanted one last chance to say something to T.C.
"T.C?" She sputtered confused when she found the hallway empty. "Damn." She groaned before retreating back into the elevator.
By the time Laurel reached the lobby she was sent back to the ER. She gulped when she went to check in with Marge. The normally stoic older woman looked as if she had been crying. "Marge?"
"Sorry, Kid," Marge cleared her throat. "Uhm, you need to run the patient in bay three down to x - ray."
"What's up?" Laurel questioned.
"T.C." Marge sniffed.
"What about her?" Laurel blurted out. "I just saw her."
"Of course you just saw her," Marge snapped. "You moved her down to Allen Street."
"No," Laurel drew the word out confused by Marge's suddenly surly attitude. "I saw her in the hallway."
"Laurel," Marge said with a shake of her head. "The body you just escorted was T.C."
"That's not funny." Laurel fumed.
"I'm not joking," Marge choked. "Her rig skidded out of control. By the time back up arrived she was gone. None of this makes sense. Frank said she died on impact. But we all heard her on the two - way. Even Josie her dispatcher said she talked to her. Darren said that she saved him and the patient."
"Then she was fine," Laurel tried to argue. "I'm telling you, I saw her not more than ten minutes ago. I talked to her."
No matter how valiantly Laurel tried to argue the point, the truth was that Teresa Anna Maria Collins died when her ambulance crashed head first into a concrete barrier. Since she was driving there wasn't any chance she survived the accident. Laurel never returned to work. She couldn't bare the thought of making another trip to Allen Street. A week later the snow was gone. Laurel picked up her last paycheck and attended T.C's memorial service.
It was the last time she expected to see any of her former co - workers. She was mistaken. Over the passing years there was times when swore she had seen T.C. She catch a glimpse of the brunette's reflection in a store window or mingling in a crowd. Her body would break out in a rash of goose bumps. Each time she spun around to find T.C she was nowhere to be found.
Laurel found a way to handle the strange occurrences. She pretended it never happened. It had to be her imagination. T.C was gone. For many years feigning ignorance worked. Until the dreams started. She bought a small Beacon Hill condo. She hadn't wanted to move just above hill from MGH. She couldn't refuse the deal she had gotten on the condo located in such a trendy neighborhood. Or the easy commute with the red line just down the street from her front door. All in all the one bedroom condo was a deal and a half.
The problem was Laurel never got a decent nights sleep. No matter how hard she tried or how many pills she took Laurel couldn't sleep through the night. It was always the same. A work boot kicking at a metal door. The sound of someone cursing and pleading for the door to open. The feeling of dread mixed with frustration blanketing Laurel. She'd wake up feeling frightened and cold. The temperature in her bedroom having dropping so dramatically that she could see her breathe. Slowly the heat would return to normally. The cold air made sense when she moved in. That was early April and still chilly at night in Boston. When mid June arrived and the nocturnal ice storm continued, Laurel was beside herself.
"What do you mean it's cold at night?" Janice Dearborn questioned her youngest child. "It's July?"
Laurel was regretting say something to her mother at the family's fourth of July picnic. "Only when I wake up in the middle of the night. Then it goes back to normal."
"And you wake up at the same time every night?" Janice scrunched up her face completely dumbfounded by what Laurel had just told her.
"Yes." Laurel conceded never really taking the time into consideration.
"It's freaking me out," Laurel groused.
"Maybe your place is haunted," Janice chimed suddenly excited.
"What?" Laurel laughed hysterically.
"I have this friend," Janice prattled on ignoring her daughter's gales of laughter. "Well, not a friend. She's the shampoo girl at the salon. She does tarot card readings."
"A shampoo girl and a medium?" Laurel pressed her tongue in her cheek. "My she must be a busy girl."
"I think she's single," Janice tried to sweeten.
"Mother." Laurel growled.
Laurel kept her cell phone pressed against her ear. She was in the middle of trying to juggle the phone, carry on a conversation with her best friend Cindy and unpack her bags.
"No," Laurel grunted. "I did get some sleep."
"So, it must be your new home." Cindy thoughtfully concluded.
"My mother did bring up an interesting point," Laurel said. "Between trying to fix me up with a shampoo girl/tarot card reader."
"She's still trying to fix you up?" Cindy howled.
"Yeah," Laurel groaned. "Sometimes I wish I had normal parents who were all freaked out by my being a big old lesbian. Mine ran out the second I told them and join PFLAG. What she did mention was about the time when I wake up. I never noticed before but it always seems to be just after midnight."
"This just gets stranger and stranger." Cindy surmised.
"Tell me about it," Laurel groused.
After ending her conversation with Cindy, Laurel finished unpacking. Once her laundry was properly sorted she opted to just crawl into bed. She held onto the hope that her uninterrupted sleep would continue even though she was home.
Bang! Bang! 'Open!' Bang! The boot slammed against the door over and over again. 'Come on you piece of crap!'
'Are we upside down?'
'On our side. I managed to get the stretcher upright. I've called for help.'
Bang! Bang! 'Open! You stupid son of a bitch!'
'Why are you using my radio?'
'Huh? Easier I guess. Are you going to be sick? Use this. Just relax Buddy. I'm guessing you've got one hell of a concussion.'
'You're so cold.'
'It's snowing. Batteries are dying. I'll try the one in the cab. Just relax . . . My God.'
'What is it?'
'Nothing. Help will be here soon.'
"No!" Laurel screamed clutching her chest as she jolted out of bed. Her body was shaking. She glanced at the clock. The red numbers glowing in the darkness revealing that it was 12:11am. Hugging her cold body Laurel stumbled into the tiny bathroom. She ran the water until it was hot. Dipping her head down she splashed her face with the water. Clutching the sides of the sink she lifted her weary head. The scream caught in her throat when she saw a someone standing behind her. A pale figure looming in the bedroom. She whirled around only to find no one. "No, no, no!" She ranted stumbling about turning on every light in the condo.
Even after confirming that she was all alone she couldn't shake the feeling that someone was watching her. "This has to stop." She exclaimed as her teeth chattered violently. It didn't stop. Over the passing months the dreams grew more intense. The banging on the metal door was preceded by the sounds of windshield wipers. Blankets of snow blocking the view.
Laurel waking up at exactly 12:11am every night. A face looking at her when she peered into the bathroom mirror. In the back of her mind she knew who the person was. She just couldn't bring herself to say it out loud. Even after she came home from work one night and saw her sitting on her bed. Now it was late October and Laurel was certain that she was loosing her mind. Perhaps that was why she agreed to her mother's hair - brained idea.
Laurel felt more than a little foolish when she answered the door. "Laurel this is Tanya." Her mother gleefully introduced the attractive woman.
"Hell ... Hello," Laurel stammered taken completely off guard by Tanya's beauty. "Come in."
"You have a lovely home," Tanya complimented her as she stepped inside the modest condo.
"Thank you." Laurel managed to respond.
"So, your Mom says you want your cards read." Tanya brightly chimed.
"Yes." Laurel blurted out eager to engage in whatever activity Tanya offered.
"Among other things." Her mother muttered.
"Mom." Laurel hissed.
"This place is so small." Mrs. Dearborn commented when they sat down in the living room/kitchen.
"You had to move in a hurry," Tanya stated as she laid out her things.
"How did . . .?" Laurel stammered.
"Educated guess. Nothing supernatural I assure you," Tanya quickly quieted Laurel's fears.
"Bad break up," Laurel sheepishly offered. "I got a deal on the condo."
"This is a condo?" Tanya blurted out before she could stop herself. "Sorry. Why don't we start?"
Laurel sat back watching Tanya's long fingers laying out the cards. She pick cards when requested. Shuffle the deck when asked and waited nervously. "You already know." Tanya stated as she looked over the cards.
"Know what?" Laurel barked indignantly.
"What is troubling you," Tanya dryly responded. "Or rather who is keeping you up at night."
"I have no idea what you are talking about," Laurel fussed.
"T," Tanya slowly began. "G no C. Who is T.C?"
"I know," Tanya smirked. "And so does she. So, don't try telling her to move on. She's watching over you. And you being here or rather in there," she added pointing towards the bedroom. "Draws her even closer to you."
"So, what she's my guardian angel?" Laurel sputtered.
"No," Tanya shrugged off the notion. "Angels are angels. Spirits are spirits. Two completely different things.
"Fascinating," Laurel groaned. She hadn't wanted to sound curt. She just wasn't ready to admit that Tanya was right. "Sorry. T.C was someone I barely knew. She had a lot of friends. My God, there was a line around the block to get into her memorial service. She touched so many lives."
Laurel found herself lost in the memory of the service. T.C had truly touched everyone she met. It saddened Laurel that the only people who were absent from the service were T.C's parents. At first Laurel had mistakenly assumed that her parents had passed on. During the service she discovered that they had turned their back on their only daughter when they discovered that she was gay. It made Laurel sad every time she thought about it.
"I don't know what to tell you Laurel," Tanya carefully began. "I can only tell you what your cards are telling me. This is what is behind you. Stress. The ending of a bad relationship. What lays ahead is all good. A new beginning and there is a dark figure above you. Watching over you. Basically you are going to have a very good year. A new start in life."
"Romance?" Mrs. Dearborn eagerly inquired.
"Yes," Tanya chuckled seemingly amused by Mrs. Dearborn's antics. "I can't see just when that is going to happen or who the lucky lady will be."
"Rats." Mrs. Dearborn scowled.
"Would anyone like some coffee?" Laurel threw out in an effort to change the subject.
"I'd love some." Tanya eagerly accepted.
"I can't stay," her mother blurted out picking up her purse. "I'm meeting your Aunt Sara in town."
"What?" Laurel sputtered.
"Tanya drove her own car in," Janice hurriedly explained making her exit. "You two talk. Love you. Bye."
In a blink of an eye Janice was out the door. "What the?" Laurel questioned locking the door behind her mother.
"Feeling a little set?" Tanya gleefully offered.
"A wee bit," Laurel agreed. "Well, still want coffee?"
"Yes," Tanya nodded. "And over coffee you can tell me more about your problem. Maybe between the two of us we can figure things out."
"It started when I moved in here," Laurel slowly began after they settled down on the sofa with their coffee. "I'd go to bed. In the beginning the dreams were always the same. Someone banging their foot against a metal door. I feel out of sorts. Confused and off balance. I also feel very afraid. I wake up freezing and panic stricken. I always wake up at the same time. 12:11am. The dreams have become more detailed recently. People talking. Something about being upside down. The cold. Last night there was a barking dog. The panicky feeling is getting worse. And as an added bonus I've started to see a strange person's reflection in the bathroom mirror. I've seen her sitting on my bed a couple of times. It's to the point where I'm afraid to come home."
"I can't imagine what you are going through," Tanya sympathetically offered. "Can you tell if you recognize the woman or the voices that you are hearing?"
Laurel paused staring into her coffee mug. "Yes," she finally confessed. "The woman is T.C. The person she is speaking to is her partner Darren. Why me?"
"I don't know," Tanya reluctantly answered. "Tell me about T.C? How did you know her? How did she die?"
"I was working transport at MGH," Laurel shivered at the memory. "I was just a teenager. T.C was an EMT. I thought she was so hot. There was a freak snow storm. I remember the hospital was a zoo that night. The weathermen had missed on the storm. We never saw it coming. T.C was driving to places outside of her zone. Everyone needed back up. So, they sent out anyone who could get to the people. T.C was driving. The ambulance crashed into a one of those cement barriers. It hit so hard it went over the barrier and crash again this time hitting a large girder. The front of the ambulance was crushed. T.C was killed instantly. Except she couldn't have. We all heard her on the radio. Darren swore that she helped him and the patient after the crash. I saw her down by Allen Street."
"The morgue," Laurel clarified. "That's what they call it at the hospital. Moved to Allen Street. I saw her standing by the elevator after I delivered her body to the M.E. I didn't just see her. I spoke to her. Can you explain that?"
"Yes and no," Tanya shivered slightly. "I think that she did die in the crash. And you did see her. Maybe she just needed to finish her job. It happens. Have you tried to talking to other people who were around that night?"
"It might help." Tanya tried to rationalize. "If others have experienced some of what you have then maybe you'll be able to make sense out of this. Just a suggestion. I'm not a psychic. I'm just someone who is a little in tuned. Everyone is. Some people are just better listeners."
"I have to be honest. All I really want is to be able to get a good night's sleep," Laurel wearily confessed. "Does that sound selfish?"
As strange as the circumstances were; Laurel found it easy to talk to Tanya. The night passed far too quickly for Laurel. Reluctantly she finally walked Tanya down the hill to where she had parked her car on Charles Street. They exchanged pleasantries and much to Laurel's pleasure phone numbers. After she watched Tanya driving off, Laurel rounded the corner to head back up the hill.
The sight of MGH looming from across the street made Laurel shiver. She wrapped her coat tighter around her body. She stood there looking at the hospital. Finally she bolstered her courage and crossed the street. It wasn't busy for the hospital that night. Still there was a flurry of activity. Laurel felt a little foolish standing by the desk at the front of the emergency room.
"Laurel?" A familiar voice announced from behind her.
"Marge." Laurel smiled turning to greet the kindly older woman.
"It has been a long time Mighty Mouse," Marge hugged her tightly.
"Yes," Laurel agreed nervously tucking a lock of hair behind her ear.
"Is everything alright?" Marge fearfully questioned.
"Yes," Laurel quickly reassured her. "I was wondering if you had a moment?"
"It's about time for my coffee break," Marge said hooking her arm in Laurel's. "Walk with me."
They walked past the main lobby and down to a small area set up near one of the eateries. They took a seat and Laurel just looked around. She was far from eager to start the conversation. "This place just keeps growing," she finally said. "I forgot how big it is."
"Hmm," Marge hummed sitting back in her chair. "Not that I'm unhappy to see you, but what brings you by? I'm happy you aren't here visiting someone. Still it begs the question of why you're lurking around the hospital in the middle of the night?"
"I live just up the hill," Laurel hesitantly answered.
"Nice," Marge nodded. "It's been a long time. I was surprised when you just up and quit."
"I couldn't come back," Laurel tried to explain. "That night was so strange. It really shook me. You heard on the radio that night, didn't you?"
"Me and everyone else within earshot," Marge shivered. "And you saw her."
"Down in the corridor that leads to the morgue," Laurel asserted. "I talked to her. Are they sure that she died right away?"
"The M.E, swears that T.C couldn't have survived the crash," Marge stammered. "I went to the wrecking yard. I saw her rig. I just had to see for myself. Even with all the safety devices in the ambulance there's no way she could have survived. I have no idea what happened that night. All of us and Darren swearing that she survived and called it in really held up releasing her body. It was freaky. The patient the one they were rushing here also swears she spoke to her; after the crash. I'll never understand what really happened. You might want to talk to Darren. He's on duty. Seems like you need to talk about this with someone."
Laurel walked back to the ER with Marge. She hung around for a bit until Darren showed up. He was easy to spot he's lanky form and sparkling blue eyes. Darren always stood out in a crowd. There was something exotic about his beautiful eyes and dark skin.
"Hey Kid," he greeted her with a warm hug.
"Hi," Laurel hugged him tighter. "Do you have a sec?"
"Sure." He shrugged guiding her outside so he could grab a quick smoke. "How long has it been?"
"I quit right after the accident," Laurel tentatively answered.
"I almost did as well," Darren quietly responded taking a drag from his cigarette. "I figured that T.C would come back and kick my ass if I did."
"Sounds like her," Laurel found herself smiling. "I was . . . I was the one who escorted her body to Allen Street."
"Man." Darren tensed up.
"Thing is I saw her standing by the elevator," Laurel blurted out before she lost her nerve. "I'm trying to make sense out of it."
"Good luck," he mumbled. "She was crushed, died on impact. They keep telling me that. I know I saw her. I know she radioed it in. Everyone keeps reminding me that I had a concussion."
"What happened?" Laurel pleaded. "I keep having these dreams. A barking, someone trying to kick a door open and something about your radio."
"Son of a . . ." his voice trailed off. He took a breathe before lighting another cigarette. "Freaky trip from the get go. This woman Mrs. Rollinsworth, got tore up by a neighbors dog. Poor woman was a mess. When we arrived the cops were still trying to get the mangy beast off this woman. Damn thing snapped at us a couple of times. You should have T.C and me trying to push each other out of the way. We finally got the lady stabilized and loaded in the rig. I stayed in the back. T.C was driving. She was doing her best with the snow and slick roads. But she knew we had to get the lady to the ER and fast. She lost a lot of blood. I don't really remember the crash. It happened so fast and I was knocked around. When I got my bearings T.C was trying to kick the back doors open. I was still kind of out of it. I remember throwing up in a bag that she gave me. She was using my radio. My hand held. I thought it was odd. Why not call in on the dash set?"
"The batteries were dying." Laurel added.
"Yeah," Darren nodded. "That's when she said she was going to use the one in the cab. She got all pale. Just staring at the front. It was so cold. She said help was coming and everything would be alright. The back doors flew open. T.C sounded so strange reassuring me. I went to say something to her and she was gone. The second team was there pulling us out. That's when I saw that the front of the ambulance was crushed. I saw her later too. For the past ten years I've been telling myself it was a dream. They kept me in the hospital for a couple of days. I blamed myself for the accident. Like I said I was ready to turn in my papers. I dreamt that T.C was standing beside my bed, telling that she blew her perfect driving record. She kept saying she was driving too fast for the weather conditions and that the accident was her fault. If you got an explanation for that I'd love to hear it."
"I wish I could," Laurel blew out in frustration. "Right now I'd settle for understanding why I'm dreaming about it."
"It started when I moved into my new place," Laurel said. "Just the up hill."
"What?" Darren stammered.
"I bought a condo up the street," Laurel explained. "Why?"
"Nothing," he was lying Laurel could just feel it. She didn't feel a need to push him. This was a painful subject for everyone. No one felt the pain more than T.C's best friend. "You know the only thing I can say to explain it, is that if anyone could or would save someone's life after dying that person would be T.C. She was the best."
"Can't argue with that."
Laurel was exhausted by the time she returned home. Shedding her clothing she couldn't shake the feeling that someone was watching her. "I'm so not in the mood." She sighed wearily. She tried to ignore the feeling as she climbed into a hot shower. Standing under the hot stream of water Laurel thought about everything she had learned that night.
Even though she had to admit that it was impossible but it seemed clear. T.C died in the crash and somehow she still performed her duties. Laurel wondered if T.C was unaware that she had died. "Is that what you saw when you went to get the radio?" She wondered out loud as she stepped out of the shower. "Now that would be a shock." She added wiping the steam from the mirror.
She jumped when she heard a voice whispering from behind her. Adding to her fear was the pale image staring back at her from the misty mirror. Spinning around she searched for the person she had seen and heard. "I don't know what's worse not finding or if one of these times I see you standing there." She sputtered her teeth chattering from the sudden cold.
Laurel woke up screaming the dream turning far more detailed. Talking to Darren that night seemed to fill in all the gory details. The snarling dog, the bloody woman and the constant thrump noise of the windshield wipers. The feeling of flying; followed by a loud crash. T.C pulled her gloves off with her teeth so she could move Mrs. Rollinsworth back onto the stretcher. Checking the woman's injuries before turning her attention towards Darren.
Laurel kicked in her sleep following T.C's desperate attempt to open the back doors. Laurel's lungs seized when the image of bloody glove covered hand hung lifelessly from the gnarled metal. Laurel's scream pierced the darken room as she shot up. Clutching her chest she felt like crying. She didn't need to look at the clock to know what time it was. "Christ," Laurel sniffed suddenly understanding the significance of the time. "Twelve eleven that's when you died." She fled her bed when her query was followed by a garbled whisper.
Laurel sat up all night with every light in her home brightly lit.
The following night she called Tanya and told her everything. Much to Laurel's relief and pleasure the tall brunette quickly volunteered to come over and keep her company.
"Most of this makes a certain sense," Tanya tried to comfort the agitated blonde.
"Oh, sure it does," Laurel shivered. "Except the minor detail that woman was dead when it happened."
"From what you said she didn't know that at the time," Tanya reasoned.
"But she was dead." Laurel stressed.
"True," Tanya winced. "None of that is important. What we need to do is to get her to stop waking you up."
"And creeping around my bedroom would be nice." Laurel sternly added.
"She might be drawn to you because you were so nice when you delivered her to the morgue," Tanya said. "Making her passing easier."
"So, why hasn't she crossed over?" Laurel pleaded. "From everything I know and heard she led a good life. Why is she sticking around?"
"Don't know," Tanya conceded. "Just out of curiosity why was this condo so cheap?"
"I bought it from a friend of a friend," Laurel explained. "Why?"
"Not important," Tanya answered furrowing her brow. "What I do know is that I'm going to do what I can to make you comfortable. I'm staying and I'm going to do everything I can to ensure that you get a good nights sleep."
"Tanya," Laurel teased. "We haven't even had our first date."
"That is why you're going to grab some blankets and we are going to curl up on this couch." Tanya triumphantly concluded.
The following morning Laurel awoke curled up in Tanya's warm embrace. "I slept." She murmured snuggling closer to Tanya's body.
"I thought you might," Tanya yawned. "That's why I suggested the sofa. Your friend seems fixated on your bedroom."
"Or it could be you," Laurel happily supplied.
"That remains to be seen," Tanya said scratching the top of Laurel's head. "I have to go. I have classes. Then back to the salon."
"Do you regret starting your education so late?" Laurel question. She had learned why the bright young woman was working at the salon the first night they had talked.
"No," Tanya smiled. "I had a blast. Now I'm moving to the next stage of my life. Speaking of which I have to hit the road. Laurel do you mind if I crash here again? Not tonight I have some studying to do. But if I came back on say Tuesday would that be all right?"
"I certainly wouldn't object." Laurel gleefully agreed.
"Do me a favor?" Tanya questioned. "Ask this friend of friend why the cost of this place was so cheap?"
Laurel agreed and walked Tanya out. The hug they shared was nice. Yet, Laurel was secretly hoped for more. "Oh, well," she sighed before dashing off to get ready for work.
Over the next couple of days Laurel spent her time tracking down the last owner of her condo. Her task was made easier since she had started sleeping in her living room. "Okay, so originally my place was two studio apartments," she repeated the information Jack Jergins had just relayed.
"When the place like most places these days went condo they tried selling both of them as a studio condo," Jack continued. "They didn't sell because they were too expensive. So, the owner decided to knock down a wall and call it a one bedroom. I liked that it was below street level."
"I love that as well," Laurel said. "How many folks owned it before you?"
"Three." Jack shyly confessed.
"And why did you move?" Laurel pressed on.
"I kept hearing things," he sheepishly answered. "And seeing things."
"Things." Laurel was determined.
"Okay," Jack finally caved. "A woman. I saw her reflection in mirrors and walking around my bedroom. It freaked me out."
"Did she say or do anything?"
"No," Jack blew out. "It freaked me out. It's happening to you isn't it?"
"Yes, and it would have been nice to know before I bought the place," Laurel flared. "Whatever happened to full discloser?"
"Sorry, but what could I say?" Jack tried to defend himself.
"What should I do?" Laurel demanded.
"I don't know," Jack said. "I tried everything. Even had a friend of my do this cleansing thing. She won't leave. Then again I was never entirely sure it wasn't my imagination. Now that you have seen her, I'm sure."
Laurel raced to the front when the bell rang. She had been eagerly awaiting Tanya's arrival. She still didn't know exactly where things were going with the enigmatic brunette still she was eager to find out.
"Darren?" She sputtered when she answered the door. "Sorry, I was expecting someone. Come in." He seemed solemn as he accepted her offer. "Wait. How did you know where I live?"
"Lucky guess," he explained shoving his hands in his pockets. "This use to be two apartments wasn't it?"
"Yes." Laurel began to feel queasy.
"That was hers." He explained jerking his head towards Laurel's bedroom.
Laurel stood there dumbfounded. The sound of the door bell finally jolting her into movement. She didn't say a word when she answered the door and showed Tanya in.
"Sorry didn't know you had company." Tanya apologized clearly confused.
"Tanya this is Darren," Laurel feebly offered the introduction. "By hers you mean?"
"That was T.C's apartment." He grimly stated.
"That's why she's been drawn even closer," Tanya put the pieces together. "You knew her, were kind her and you're living in her home."
"You said the dreams started when you moved," Darren tried to explain. "Then you told me you moved to the hill. I just had a feeling. She loved this place."
"She must have," Laurel said with dread. "Since she doesn't want to leave."
"I didn't mean to upset you," Darren apologized. "I just had to see."
"No worries," Laurel responded.
"I'll go now." Darren shrugged.
"Believe or not you've helped," Laurel tried to reassure him.
"Did he?" Tanya questioned after Darren left.
"No," Laurel shivered spying a figure sitting on her bed. She was mildly proud of herself for not to run off screaming. Much to her relief the figure just as quickly vanished.
"Mystery solved," Tanya sounded encouraging. "It might make things easier."
"I really liked T.C," Laurel tried to formulate her thoughts. "Hell, I had a big old crush on her. But I still can't sleep in my bedroom. And as fond of her as I was I really find it disconcerting to see her wandering about. Call me a coward but I can't handle seeing dead people."
"Fair enough," Tanya tenderly responded. "Tell her."
"Excuse me?" Laurel gaped at her guest.
"Go in the bedroom and explain it to her," Tanya insisted. "I'll go with you. Maybe if you ask her nicely she'll understand."
"Can't I just move?" Laurel whined.
"Yes," Tanya conceded. "I'm just not certain that will stop the nightmares. She's become really attached to you."
"You're staying tonight right?" Laurel whimpered.
"Yes," Tanya smiled. "Let's try the bedroom and see if you can sleep."
"Sleep?" Laurel questioned suddenly thinking that it was a ridiculous notion.
"Yes, sleep," Tanya smirked clasping Laurel by the hand. "Since we haven't even been on a date yet. A little company and a good nights sleep is all I'm offering."
"Fine." Laurel grunted.
"What should I say?" Laurel questioned after they sat down on her bed.
"You might want to start with how you felt about her," Tanya encouraged.
"T.C," Laurel closed her eyes. She needed to collect her thoughts. Never before in her life to she want to make certain that she got the words right. "I thought the world of you. I'm proud to have known you. Your kindness transcended your life. It is truly amazing to be such a good soul. It is more than I could ever aspire to. I know this is your home. I just need not to see you. I guess I'll always know that you're around but if you could not scare me anymore I'd really appreciate it." She blinked her eyes open. She smiled when she realized that she was holding Tanya's hand. "Think it worked.?"
"I wouldn't be surprised," Tanya smiled over at her. "From everything you've said she was a truly kind person. I don't think she's going to leave but she might be a little more discreet about her presence."
"And if it doesn't?"
"I'd put this puppy up for sale," Tanya emphatically stated. "Might not stop the dreams but at least you won't see her sitting around waiting for you. Want a little dinner? We can order take out or hit a restaurant."
"And then we what? Cuddle?" Laurel laughed.
"You're no fun at all," Laurel laughed.
"Yes, I am," Tanya purred sending a shiver up and down Laurel's spine. "If you want to find out it is going to take more than one date."
"An old fashion girl." Laurel stood still clasping Tanya's hand. "How about heading into Cambridge for dinner?"
"Sounds like a plan."
Laurel awoke the following morning feeling completely rested. She snuggled up against Tanya's body. She snickered at the sight of the beautiful woman still fully clothed and sound asleep. "Morning." She whispered in Tanya's ear.
"Hmm." Tanya softly murmured. "Did you sleep?"
"All through the night," Laurel smiled. "The only dream I had was a particular randy dream about a certain brunette."
"Sounds nice," Tanya cooed. "Did you enjoy yourself?"
"Immensely thank you." Laurel beamed. Snuggling even closer. "Why do you think she's watching over me?" Laurel questioned later as they were making their way out to face the day.
"Sounds like T.C watched over a great many people," Tanya rationalized. "Didn't you say at her service you met a quite of few former patients that she helped after they were hospitalized?"
"That's how she was." Laurel conceded.
"How we behave in life is often how we are in the after life," Tanya explained. "Since she was a care giver in life it isn't surprising that she'd be the same way in death."
"I just wish she'd find a way to do it without scaring the bejesus out of me." Laurel said.
Laurel had hoped that after the little chat she offered up to T.C that the strange occurrences would stop. The creepy events certainly ebbed, yet they didn't end completely. She'd still see T.C's reflection and still had the occasional unsettling dream. Laurel decided since it was no longer a constant barge she could deal with it. This was made easier since most of her energies were focused on Tanya.
By Halloween night Laurel was finally happy in her new home. She was enjoying the early stages of her romance with Tanya. Everything was new and exciting as they grew closer. The only thing niggling at Laurel was one question. Was T.C watching over her to warn her about something? To protect her from some tragedy or was she simply lingering in her former home?
Laurel stood in her bathroom fixing her make - up as she waited for Tanya's arrival. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw a shadow passing behind her. "Okay, not as scary." She thanked the former resident. "I appreciate that."
'She's not the one.' Laurel jumped when she felt an icy coldness caressing her neck. The words were more than a little troubling. "Great." She shivered bolting out of the bathroom. "Bad enough I get this crap from my mother. Now I'm getting advice about my love life from the great beyond. Fabulous."
Laurel tried to shake the feeling of uneasiness. She couldn't even after she and Tanya went out and enjoyed the hoopla that is Halloween in New England. They had a great time that night. They sat up all night talking about their childhoods and dreams of the future. In the back of Laurel's mind was T.C's words. It didn't feel like a warning. More like a friendly piece of advice.
In the passing weeks T.C's words would prove correct. Tanya was great, smart and very beautiful but she just wasn't the one. Things fizzled and each moved on in different directions. Tanya's direction or better put her lack of direction led her to the West Coast. Laurel's kept her in Boston.
It didn't stop Laurel from feeling completely miserable on the day she said goodbye to Tanya. "Is that what you're doing here?" She screamed in frustration as she stood alone in her bedroom.
'She wasn't the one.' Eerily echoed from behind her.
Laurel clenched her fist fighting against the urge to wail. Just as she was about to give in to the urge the voice returned. 'You'll meet her soon.' Laurel stood there dumbfound feeling oddly comforted by the words.
"Promise?" Laurel sheepishly pleaded.
'Very soon.' T.C's faint voice promised.
'Allen Street. Go back to Allen Street.'
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