Ivy’s Ghost: Chapter 1

            Ahhh… Ivy. She was the kind of person who could make me happy on my worst day. She had a small angelic face that I could caress for the rest of my life. The second I met her, I knew I had to have her. I guess you could say this was a love at first sight type of a situation. The beginning of our relationship was beautiful and tender. It was very clear our love for each other was growing rapidly.  

            “John…” A soft voice woke me. “John. Wake up sleepy head.”  I opened my eyes expecting Ivy, but as my vision focused in the early morning I saw a different, but familiar face. My heart started to beat rapidly as I tried to figure out how she got in.

            “Jenice…? What are you doing here?” I tried to keep myself collected as she pawed at my bare chest.

            “Don’t be silly.” She snickered with a blank expression on her face. “You let me in. I had the most amazing night last night, Hun.” In anger, I pushed her off of me and stood up out of bed.

“What are you talking about? We didn’t do anything last night. You broke into my apartment!” Jenice’s eyes shifted focus and her demeanor changed. I could tell she really wanted me to believe that she had spent the night with me. Obviously, she had fixed her long black hair to look slept in and wore a red lace negligée. Clearly, she was a beautiful woman with dark tan skin and freckles that seemed to be placed perfectly across her shoulders and nose. With the light coming in from the windows she almost seemed tempting. You could tell she’s the kind of woman who always gets what she wants. But, my judgement it better than to do that.

            Jenice was Ivy’s childhood friend. A couple weeks into dating Ivy, I had met Jenice during Ivy’s birthday dinner. She was very nice and friendly to me, but I didn’t think anything of it until months later. I had thrown my famous Halloween party and invited many of Ivy’s friends to come, including Jenice. She came in the typical sexy costume of a leather jumpsuit and cat ears. She filled out that costume very well and caught every man’s eye when she entered. She slinked over to the drink table and made her way over to me.

            “Great party. I love what you did with the place.” She winked at me and it almost appeared as if she licked her lips. I had never been around such a forward woman. “Anyway, where’s that girlfriend of yours?” For the first time, I noticed how deep and seductive her voice was.

            “Ivy? Your friend?” I stammered and tried to make light of the situation. “She’s the sexy bunny in the kitchen. Do you want me to grab her for you?” She slowly shook her head no in response.

“Come with me, John. I have to show you something outside.” I foolishly followed her mostly because I was a bit intoxicated. I didn’t really think about what she would need to show me, but for the sake of impressing my girlfriend’s friends, I went to appease Jenice.  As we walked outside the cold October air hit my shirtless body and deep into my lungs. All I wanted to do was to go back inside. “Listen to me John.” She grabbed my bicep. “Why do you like Ivy? Why are you with her?” Her whiny tone had my full attention at that point.

            “I love her. She’s my best friend and she is so beautiful–wait, why do I have to explain myself to you?” I brush her hand off of my arm.

            “But Ivy isn’t me. I mean, look at me. I’m hot. You could have this, you know? I would do anything you want.” She started to unzip the top of her jumpsuit outside where any passersby could witness. I sobered up quickly at this point.

            “Jenice, stop it. Let me make it clear, I don’t want you. Zip yourself back up and don’t ever talk to me about this again. I’m going inside.” I turned on my heel and started for the door, but Jenice fell to her knees and started sobbing.

            “But, babe… I love you! Why don’t you love me? John! JOHN!” Her wailing grew louder and louder. I couldn’t stand to look at how pathetic she was, so I left her there and went to search for Ivy.

Seeing Ivy was like a breath of fresh air from the insanity of her friend. She was smiling and enjoying herself, but I had to be the bearer of bad news. After telling Ivy, she decided to scoop her friend off the grass and send her home.  Moments later, I heard more yelling outside and decided to check up on the two of them.

As I walk outside of my building, I see Jenice yelling at Ivy. Then it got worse. Jenice quickly slapped Ivy’s face and then stormed off into the street still yelling about our conversation. I ran over to Ivy as she was sobbing softly into her hands. I held her in my arms and brought her back inside. Ivy informed me that Jenice had been struggling with her bipolar medication and refused to take it which made her act this way. She was her friend, so she loved her regardless of her mental health. That just showed how kind and caring Ivy is.

            “I’m so sorry I ruined your party.” Ivy sat on the edge of my bed after the party ended. She pulled her bunny ears off her head and studied them quietly. “She’s not been this bad in years.” I really felt how Ivy’s heart was broken for her friend. Her eyes showed a plethora of emotions I couldn’t quite understand.

“Don’t say that. It’s not your fault. She’s sick and things happen when sick people don’t take their medication.” Inside I was still furious and pretty drunk, but I had to hide it for the sake of calming down Ivy and not coming off as a jerk.

“Maybe tomorrow you can contact her family and see if they can help her out, but for now you don’t need to worry, love,” I sat next to her on the bed and kissed her red cheek and worked my way down to her neck. While I was struggling to take off her costume, I opened my eyes and saw something outside the window. It was a pair of eyes observing us. “Fucking perverts! Cover yourself up Ivy. I’ll be back in a second.”

            I grabbed my old baseball bat as quickly as I could and ran outside. Still shirtless, I walked around the corner of the apartment building. My imagination ran wild thinking about what I’m about to see. I really didn’t feel like beating up some drunk pervert after all the night’s events, but I had to. Shit, it would be great stress relief.

            My grip tightened on the bat as I approached. Then, I saw who I was up against. I stopped dead in my tracks. As my eyes wondered, I saw not a man, but a woman. A woman dressed up as a cat. As I walked towards her she smiled and looked as if she was about to hug me.

            I stopped and looked at her very sternly, “You’re disgusting. Leave…right now.” To my surprise, she lowered her head and walked away. It was too easy and honestly suspicious. That moment stuck in my mind for weeks.

            About six months later was when I awoke to her in my bed. She got off the bed and walked towards me with a sad look in her eye. “Sweetheart, why do we have to fight like this? Why can’t we just get along?” My fist clenched and all the angry feelings came back to me.

            “I’m going to give you one warning. Get out of my apartment or I’m going to call the police.” I franticly grabbed at my phone off my dresser and unlocked it.

            “You don’t want to do that. Listen to me. I’m here because I love you and I want to start our lives together. Don’t you want that too?” She whimpered and ran her hand eerily down my chest. I dialed 911 as she fake sobbed and placed it on the dresser near where I was standing, so the operator could hear me without Jenice knowing. As soon as I heard the phone answer I started talking again.

            “No, I don’t want that. You broke into my apartment. Leave right now!” She glared at me and then retrieved an object from the sheets. It was a gun. “Why do you have a gun, Jenice? Put that down. You don’t need to do that.” I could hear the operator talking, but none of which I could make out.

            “Why would I do that? Why would I put the gun down? You don’t love me. You don’t want me. Stupid Ivy gets to have you to herself. I don’t want anyone else to touch you, especially Ivy, that bitch. After our special night you never called or texted me no matter how many times I tried talking to you.” Anger filled my body, but there was nothing I could do until the police got here.

            “Special night?” This girl was clearly delusional.

            “Are you telling me you don’t recall our special night after the party?” She cocked her head and I could see a vein popping out of her neck. “We made love, John. Ivy was outside watching the entire time. Ask her.”

            “That was you that was outside! Nothing happened between us! What’s wrong with you, psycho?!” Wrong move. She raised the gun and aimed it at my head. “No, I love you. I do want you.” I stuttered.

            “You’re just saying that because I have a gun pointed at your head!” The 911 operator’s voice got louder at this comment. “What’s that noise? Who… is that your phone?” She snatched it off of the dresser and saw the number that was dialed.

The next moment seemed to go by in slow motion as Jenice pointed the gun at my head and pulled the trigger. All at once I saw my life from the very beginning exactly like people say it happens. From my birth Laos leading up to my adoption and moving to the U.S. I saw my childhood friend Brian who was the only other Asian in my class. We were running and laughing on the playground in our big winter jackets. I could hardly make out Brian’s face, but I remembered him by his bright orange jacket. Then, I grew and more intense memories flashed by. Good memories, sad, scary, remorseful, sensual. Emotions more intense than anything I’ve ever felt all at once.

Then right when I thought I couldn’t handle the flood of emotions, I saw Ivy and time seemed to slow down. She had her long brown hair draped next to her face. Her eyes looked up at me softly and she whispered, “I love you, John.” And then Blackness.

Inhale. Exhale.

I opened my eyes to see Jenice below me. She was crying hysterically into her hands and as she knelt down I saw my body lying there covered in blood. I froze completely unsure of what to do. I wondered why I was still on Earth if I was dead. Why does it seem like I never left, only I felt like I was floating. My feet were on the ground. Is this it? I wondered. Living my life and dying only to be a ghost to haunt this shitty apartment. This can’t be right.

            Jenice touched my body’s face and cried hysterically with tears running down her face. For the first time ever she looked genuine. Her facade of love struck psycho seemed to have faded, but only for a moment. She kissed my corps and ran her fingers through my hair, which is pretty freaking gross considering that most of my head was blown all over the wall. My body was disgusting and hard to look at. Jenice didn’t seem to be bothered by it. She loved me all the same. Which lead me to wonder why she had this obsession with me. I never lead her on in anyway prior to my party. Maybe she could somehow tell that I was very attracted to her.

            Then I snapped back into reality. I was dead. I walked over to Jenice and studied her tears. “Jenice, can you hear me?” She didn’t seem to notice, but her breathing got more intense. I walked closer and got right next to her. Then she slid her hand onto her gun and shot herself letting out an intense cry of pain. Once again the bullet passed through me as did her blood spatters. I saw her spirit rise up and meet my face. Her ghostly eyes widened as she saw me, but she didn’t have time to do anything about it. Her soul was quickly sucked down through the floor. I imagine she was heading towards hell considering she was a murderer. Then again, why didn’t I go? Why am I still here?

            I sat down on my blood covered sheets and once again put my head in my hands. Time seemed different as a ghost. It seemed almost instantaneous that the police showed up and started examining the crime scene. I watched for hours, but it only felt like minutes. I stayed on my bed sitting and feeling sorry for myself. At this point, I didn’t even think about how my family or Ivy must be feeling right now after learning about my death. I was only thinking about how unfortunate my death was and how bad it looked. Would the headline read “Lover’s Quarrel Leads to Murder-Suicide”? I mean, it does look really bad. Jenice was wearing that sexy red lingerie and died in my bedroom. If Ivy were to know, she would be devastated.

            As day turned into night, I attempted to get under my covers and curl up. The only problem is I’m not a solid person anymore. Every time I lifted the sheet, it would slowly slip through my hands. This was terribly annoying and inconvenient because now as a ghost I’m cold all the time. Who knew being dead would be so hard and so stressful.

            When morning came, I decided to leave my bedroom and find Ivy. I didn’t know how this whole ghost thing worked, but if I could just find a way to get to her and contact her, I could put this whole thing behind me. I’m assuming that this is why I’m still left on earth. Unfinished business? I hoped that after I can talk to Ivy, I’ll be sent to wherever it may be.

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