Needless to say, getting accustomed to six ghost boys hanging around wasn’t going to be the easiest feat.
After Lutz had blatantly told you they were here to stay, you’d heard a knock on your door. “_____?” Your mother had called. A hint of worry was in her voice.
“M-Mom…!” Your voice had caught in panic. What were you going to say? Come in? Don’t come in? What would happen to the spirits?
She’d opened the door with caution. “You doing okay?”
The so-called guardians had dissipated, much to your relief. “Yeah… I was just… I just…” What had she heard? It couldn’t have been good to hear that concern in her tone.
She’d smiled and said, “It’s okay; I understand. It might take some time for you to adjust. Coming home for good all of a sudden must be a big transition. Anyways, I was just coming to tell you we’re going out to dinner to celebrate, so get dressed in something nice!~”
You’d grinned back at her. “Okay. Thank you.”
She’d left after that, but the spirits never returned that night.
The dinner out with your parents had gone smoothly – no spiritual entities had paid any unwelcome visits.
At the moment, you were alone in your room again. The clock read ten a.m. and your parents were out doing their usual Sunday morning errands.
You were sitting at your desk with your laptop in front of you. I don’t know why I never tried this earlier… you thought to yourself as your fingers hovered over the keyboard. The Google search bar was displayed with the words ‘guardian spirits’ already typed in. As cliché as this is, maybe it’ll really give me some answers.
With that, you began the research.
After all, could you really be the only human on the planet with these… ‘reverse poltergeists’ hanging around you? With all of the mediums and psychics the world claimed to have, perhaps you’d find some advice to help you.
I just want to figure out why this is going on and how I can make it stop…
After ten minutes of clicking through entry after entry, you leaned back in your chair and growled.
Sure, there were descriptions of guardian spirits, but no ways of expelling them from you. All of the sites that claimed they could rid one of spirits were only for darker entities, such as demons or poltergeists.
Of course, at that point, you’d felt ridiculous simply for being on such sites. They were clearly made by psychic impersonators.
It’s obvious no one’s having the same issue as me…
The only site that helped was the one which gave you a solid understanding of what ‘guardian spirits’ were supposed to be. Sighing, you returned to that page one last time.
“Guardian spirits are also spirits of (usually) human beings, though they are not necessarily spiritually evolved or finished with their own incarnations. More often, they are simply spirits who take a personal interest in your safety and well-being.
Usually a guardian spirit is someone who had a connection to you. They may be a deceased family member, friend or ancestor who has taken an interest in you because of your relationship. They might also be the spirit of someone you knew in another life—someone to whom you were close. They don’t happen to be going through an incarnation at this time, so they have decided that they want to help you from the other side. They may be there throughout your whole life, or for only a certain part of it.
Interestingly enough, sometimes guardian spirits guard animals; sometimes animals are guardian spirits. It’s not unheard of for deceased pet owners to be spotted watching over their beloved animals, or for deceased pets to watch over their beloved humans.”
Finally, you closed your laptop in defeat. “Well, shit.”
“The part about the animals is quite interesting though, isn’t it?”
Your eyes widened as you caught a flash of pink out of the corner of your eye. “O-Oliver…”
He smiled innocently at you. “Would you be less frightened of us if we were cats?”
You chuckled, but chose not to respond.
He stood with his hands clasped at his front. “Anyhoo, I apologize if we caught you off guard last night. Surely you believe that was not our intentions, yes…?” His sky blue eyes met yours. The ethereal pink swirls around the irises made you stop breathing for a beat.
He looked genuinely sorry for his and the other spirits’ actions. In fact, he looked like he might cry. “Please…” He stepped a little closer to the desk chair you were sitting on. “Do not be afraid of us.”
You sighed and swiveled away from him. “It’s… It’s not that I’m scared of you. I just don’t know how to… deal with this, you know?”
He put a hand to his heart. “I wholeheartedly understand, poppet. In fact, I am here to deliver some information to you that’ll both help you and overjoy you.~”
You smiled at his choice of words. He was always such… such an angel. “And what is this information, Mr. Baker?”
He grinned at your acknowledgement. “There are certain hours we cannot appear or see you.”
He was right; this was satisfying. “…Really?!” You were already grinning at the idea of being completely free of them - even if only for a few hours.
“Oh yes. However, the schedule is very complicated. I’ll have Kuro write them all down for you; organization is his favorite.” He adjusted his bow tie and continued, “Full moons, for example. The spring equinox… things such as those and many more.”
For the next thirty minutes, he’d proceeded to tell you all of the times and days they were unable to connect with you. However, with so many spirits and different schedules for each, that only gave you about six hours total of complete alone time every day. It was all spread out, too. Some of them only minutes at a time and throughout the night.
“Don’t worry,” Allen had said after he’d poof’ed in mid-explanation, “We won’t perv on you, we promise…”
“Allen…” You quietly growled aloud.
He’d only been around for a few minutes yesterday, but it was Monday now. The Day of Judgment, in your eyes. After all, it was your first time back in god-forsaken public school. Classes at the hospital were nothing compared to this.
The large buildings, the throngs of students, the anxiety-inducing desire to fit in… all of it was weighing stress over your shoulders and Allen showing up at every corner was not helping.
“Can’t help that you’re so fun to tease.~” All day, he’d been poofing in when you least expected it – while you were getting your schedule from the office secretary, while you were talking to a teacher about getting caught up in schoolwork after taking inadequate classes, and even while you were trying to say hi to students so they’d sit next to you.
Of course, starting junior year in the middle of October wasn’t the best way to begin your public school comeback. You had all of zero friends at this school, and everyone already seemed to have their own social circles that didn’t include a new girl fresh out of a mental institution.
Well, today’s been absolute trash, you thought to yourself as you sat in your fourth period math class. The class was going over review, so the room was silent as everyone worked on their algebra two sheets. You sat at a table completely alone. This desk’s fit for four people… you thought in annoyance.
And… I have no idea how to do these formulas. Just perfect. You hadn’t made any friends and you were already behind.
I should ask the teacher for help… Yeah, like your anxiety would allow you to do that.
“Hah… fuck school, am I right?”
Your breath caught. Oh god, he’s back.
Don’t say anything.
Everyone in the class will hear you.
Allen was sprawled on top of your table, jokingly posed like a stereotypical male model. “This is so goddamn boring. I say you ditch this class and we go to the skate park or some shit.”
I can’t believe no one can see him or hear him. This is pure torture. You scribbled ‘NO’ on your paper and discreetly showed it to him.
He chuckled and said below his breath, “Alright.” With that, he slid off the table and began moonwalking around the room. “If you won’t have fun with me, then I’ll have fun by myself.”
Stop, you wanted to say. What happens if you bump into someone? Will they feel it or will you move through them?!
The class remained dead-silent as Allen danced through the desk aisles. “Oh yeah! Fuck you, fuck you, and fuck you too!~” He sang as he pointed to several different fuckboy-looking guys in the room. “Fuck you, you’re hot, fuck you.”
His attention-seeking attitude was doing a great job of distracting you. Focus on the math problems, you told yourself.
Ignore him… What kind of guardian is he supposed to be, anyway?! You understood nothing about phantoms, angels or guardians, but you guessed whatever he was definitely shouldn’t be dressed like that.
He had on a worn leather bomber jacket with fur around the collar and anarchy patches on the shoulders. Under it was a white V-neck tee and a dog tag necklace. His dark jeans were ripped at the knees, his red Converse had black Sharpie doodles on them, and tattoos were peeking out from his clothes. You’d counted four piercings on him and his brunette hair was messy.
This… can’t be what an angel looks like…
He was nothing like Oliver. But then again, none of them were really alike in any way.
“Pay attention to me…”
You responded by staring harder at your blank worksheet.
“…Hey dollface, watch this, won’tcha?”
He tried one more time for your acknowledgement as he jumped up and latched onto the ceiling’s railing with his leather fingerless-gloved hands.
“…What are you doing?!” You furiously worded to him, careful not to let anyone see your mouth move.
He smirked at you and began doing pull-ups from the ceiling bars. “Being a douche.”
Yes you are, you mentally agreed with him.
As he did the pull-ups with ease, his shirt rode up and revealed his tanned abs and boxer waistband. His jeans were riding low on his waist… which made his hips look quite enticing.
He didn’t seem to mind the fact that he looked like a stripper. It wasn’t like the show was for anyone but you.
Oh god… that’s hot.
You felt your body temperature rise as you quickly looked away from him. No… don’t… start that…
But honestly, how much had you missed out on?
You were in your third year of high school and yet you’d never had your first kiss. Finding a boyfriend in a looney bin? Yeah, that never happened.
It hit you that you were finding more and more boys attractive than back when you were in the mental hospital. Holy crap… boys are… so hot?! The thought alone made your face burn some more. Or… maybe Allen’s just hot?
You peeked back at him. He jumped down and made finger guns at you – his lips in a roguish grin and aviator sunglasses over his eyes.
How did I not see him like this before?
For the first time since your spirits had reappeared, you thought about your past relationships with them.
How had you seen Allen before…?
As a friend.
He was different from the others, because you’d seen Oliver as a mentor, Kuro as a teacher, and Lutz as a big brother. Both Luciano and Zao were under the ‘undecided’ list, and Francois was just the devil.
Why did I think of Allen as a friend? Because he made me laugh and gave me funny advice? But, that was what Lutz was for…
Thinking about them made you oblivious to the bell ring. Before you knew it, everyone was leaving the classroom. Quickly, you put away your supplies and decided to finish the worksheet for homework.
Lunch went by uneventfully. You found someone to show you where the cafeteria was, but she left after she got you there. It would have been nice if she let me stick around… and meet her friends… but nope, even after you’d told her it was your first day here, she left to go find her friends. Shows how friendly people around here are…
Allen didn’t show up during your fifth period class, but he was there at the end of your sixth. “Hey babe, ready to get mindfucked?”
You were already leaving the class and no one was near you in the hallway, so you decided it was safe to audibly reply. “I don’t like the sound of that.”
He winked, “It means I’m going to tell ya everything.”
“Oh…,” You shrugged. “That sounds good, actually.”
You two turned on a path to exit the school grounds and began the walk home. As Allen sauntered beside you, something about him seemed… calmer. Guess he finally found some chill.
The empty neighborhood was lined with timeworn houses. The sky above was cloudy and gray. Orange and red leaves scattered across the street, sidewalk, lawns and air as they continued to fall.
“I died in a gang fight.”
A gust of autumn wind blew past your hair. “When?”
“It was 1994.”
“So you were…”
“A real person? Hell yeah,” He paused. “We all were. But we’re from different times. Kuro’s the oldest, probably. Comes from the fuckin’ 1800s.”
“No wonder he’s so black-and-white.”
“You know it.”
“So… a gang fight?”
He smirked and elaborated with, “A motorcycle gang. We didn’t get along with our east coast rivals. It was outside a Tupac concert in Detroit. We had guns, and you can guess what happened.”
“Where did they shoot you?”
He put a fist to his chest and overdramatically sang, “Shot through the heart, and you’re to blame, darling you give love, a bad name.”
You chuckled. “Do you brag about literally getting shot in the heart?”
He shoved his hands back into his pockets, “Nah. Some random fucker put a bullet through my chest, so there’s nothing special about it.”
You paused for a moment. “Luciano said you died in the hospital I was born.”
“That’s right. Of course the police came, and paramedics, and they took me away on a gurney, to a shitty hospital, where I dropped dead, officially.”
He immediately waved it away. “It’s no prob. I met you and got to see you in high school,” He laughed. “Nothin’ could be more entertaining than that.”
You grinned and rolled your eyes. He probably doesn’t want to talk about his death. “Oh shut up.”
“You’ll have to make me, babe.”
…Is he flirting now? You gave a frustrated sigh.
He toyed with your hair. “Heh… you’re cute when you’re mad.”
I can’t push him away or do anything weird because if someone sees me… you trailed off on that thought.
“I bet you like this,” You muttered with only a tad of irritation. His antics were exhausting, after all.
“That would be a smart bet.” His crimson eyes sparked trouble, with a promise.
Still, you couldn’t tear your gaze away from his dark, rugged facial features. Did he really enjoy this? This… being spiritually bound to you?
“I get to hang around a cute girl as a ghostly apparition. I can’t say this gig doesn’t have its perks.”
That night, you were sitting at your desk doing homework.
So much stuff to catch up on…
Your desk was pointed towards a window, so you sighed and looked out into the dark evening. It was easy to get lost daydreaming this way.
A lonely street lay in view. The moon was crescent-shaped and emitted a misty blue glow.
Your mind wandered to the day’s earlier events. Allen was the only spirit who’d showed up today. I guess I should consider myself lucky. At least I had someone to help me get through school. Even if it was chaos…
As you thought about how your life back home had gone so far, you happened to notice something peculiar in the glass.
Huh, is that…
Your eyes changed focus onto the window’s surface.
The figure shifted and you realized it was Luciano’s reflection.
He was lounging over your bed on his stomach, watching you, his face propped up by his arms. As expected of him, he was wearing a satisfied smile and sly eyes. “Good evening, bella.”
“Were you just… watching me?”
“I like to see you work.”
You waved off his comment. He liked seeing you work? What was that supposed to mean? Were there other things he liked about you? Did this being tied to you thing mean they had to like you? And in what way…?
You found yourself more and more curious about their existence and how they worked lately. Maybe I should just… give in and ask him?
He’d always evaded your questions in the past, but now that you were older, perhaps he’d open up about the truth. After all, that had been his promise, hadn’t it?
“Come on. You’ve been working for the past two hours. Take a break with me.”
You gave him a look. What was he implying?
He chuckled, “Let’s go for a walk.”
Five minutes later, you were outside on a rural road with him.
“So… you better tell me everything. Why do you guys follow me like this?”
“Well… as Kuro explained, we’ve formed a bond with your soul. We can’t leave now, even if we wanted to. Which, by the way,” His voice, smooth as silk, matched his elegant eye-lidding, “We’ll never want to.”
You looked down and felt the tiniest hint of a blush. “That was my next question. Why are you all so… friendly with me? What do you even like about me? I-I mean, not just you, but everyone else…?” You got choked up for a moment there when you saw his suggestive smile.
“Are you asking if we all like you?”
“Well, you know what I mean…”
He ran a hand through his mahogany hair. “There’s something special about you, Miss _____. Yes, in a way, we all adore you. Even Kuro. That’s why he called us your guardians.”
Doubt crept into your mind. The whole ‘guardian’ business was still hard to believe.
“No need to be suspicious. You give off an unearthly energy, _____. It attracted us to you, but don’t forget it could attract monsters and demons, too.”
…No way. “Monsters? You can’t be serious.”
He grinned viciously. “Oh, did you believe spirits were real before? No, but here I am. Did you believe witches were real before? No, but yes they are. There’s a whole other world you haven’t been exposed to yet, my dear.”
You came to a halt.
He moved to stand in front of you. His expression had softened from the sadistic impatience. “So, you’re physically a treasure. And then there’s the fact that you’re you…” He gently combed his fingers through your hair, “You’ve been intriguing to us since the beginning, principessa.”
His words made the rest of the world swirl and twirl and fade away. Your gaze was locked on his.
He is… truly something not of this universe.
He gave off more of a celestial, otherworldly vibe than the other spirits.
His irises were an unnatural shade of magenta, almost fuchsia. The pupils looked to be maroon. Overall, his eyes seemed to glow in the darkness. Moonlight shined upon his red-tinted hair and tanned skin.
“I…” You were at a loss for words. What was there to say? ‘Thank you’ for being interested in you? Maybe compliment him back, like tell him he looks like an Italian god?
He smiled at your speechlessness. “I assume you have some other questions to ask me?”
You looked him over again. He was dressed in some kind of old-fashioned khaki uniform. This was a stark contrast to Allen’s early 90s outfit from today. “W-What time are you from? I mean… when did you die?”
“The year of 1976.”
Wow… so he’s been dead a lot longer than Allen.
You were so busy losing yourself in thought about Luciano that you didn’t hear the car coming.
Headlights flashed bright enough to blind you.
You heard tires screech loudly.
The smell of rubber and asphalt and gasoline burned your nose and you prepared a scream.
The next millisecond, you were swiftly tackled by Luciano.
You’d barely had a second to process what was happening before you were tumbling across the ground off the road.
Pebbles and twigs dug into your sides, but the pain was only that: earth and scrapes.
You both lay on the sidewalk whilst the automobile sped past you – close enough to feel the wind on your cheek.
Heart racing, you shakily sat up to witness a truck full of teenagers driving away. Some of them shouted “Oh, shit!” as they looked out the windows at you before disappearing around the corner.
This rural road was quite infamous for new drivers pushing the limits on speeding. Since hardly anyone drove past this straight road, people liked to see how fast their car could go. Once in a while, you’d see them roaring by at over 100 miles per hour.
You blinked several times until you could see the world clearly again.
I… could have died just now.
He was already getting up.
“What did you do?”
“What do you think?” He smirked, “I saved your ass.”
“I’m a spirit; I can do things you can’t. Such as… possess superhuman speed.” He looked smug, and for good reason.
He reached for your arm and carefully pulled you up. He didn’t let go when he got you standing. Instead, he placed his hands around your waist and pulled you close. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think he was going to kiss you.
Your heart fluttered. He’s amazing.
Suddenly you couldn’t get rid of the thought. What would the lips of your own personal, ghostly guardian feel like? As starry and mystical as the cosmos of his eyes, perhaps?
You felt his sweet, warm breath on your mouth. He smiled and whispered, “As long as I roam the Earth… you will always be safe.”
The next afternoon, you were scanning the aisles of a convenience store. Hmm… should I buy chocolate or a bag of chips?
You’d spent most of yesterday and today doing homework, so you’d decided to go out and get some snacks. After all, it was nice to use your license and mom’s car to do things. You hadn’t gotten such freedom while living at the mental institution.
Once you’d decided on what you were going to purchase, you headed up to the register. Wow, it’s cool to finally feel like a normal person. Ever since your release from the hospital, even the smallest things gave you satisfaction.
Now all I need to do is…— you halted mid-thought when you saw the person behind the counter.
Holy crap he’s cute?!
You’d never seen him before, but he was quite good-looking for a small store cashier. Seeing him nearly made you choke on your own spit.
…It’s okay, this is fine, I’ve talked to plenty of cute guys before, this should be easy… Truth was you’d never really talked to a ‘cute boy’ before – living in a psychological facility and all – unless you counted… people that didn’t quite exist.
He made eye contact with you and smiled. “Hi. Are you all set?”
“Y-Yeah,” You managed to say.
Next time, don’t stutter, you scolded yourself. Quickly, you dropped your items on the counter and waited for him to scan them.
As he did so, he happened to notice something he liked. “Oh…,” He grinned. “I like your shirt.”
You looked down and realized with both horror and shock that you were wearing merchandise from your favorite show.
Now way… he likes this kind of thing too?
“Ah, thank you,” This would be the perfect chance to start a conversation with him. “I actually—”
Before you could finish, something flew off a shelf from behind him. Seconds later, a loud clatter was heard.
“Oh no… I should clean that up,” He looked over at a nearby employee and asked, “Jessica, can you take over?”
She rang you up instead while the boy went to go fix the issue.
Damn... you kicked a rock as you stepped out of the store. I could have used that opportunity. Guess I’ll have to wait to try flirting some other day. Yeah, what other day? You rarely received chances like those.
“Hey. Did that frustrate you?”
You inhaled sharply and turned to see Zao strolling beside you. “…What are you talking about?”
He gave you a laidback smile, “Don’t you ever wonder why you’ve never had a boyfriend?”
What was he going on about? “You didn’t answer my question.”
“I was getting to that,” He casually stretched his arms. “Hah… I guess you could say I’ve kept guys away from you for years.”
It took a minute for that to sink in. “You’re lying…”
He smiled sheepishly. “Well, that guy you tried flirting with just now…”
Oh god, don’t tell me he…
“…You threw those off the shelf?!”
He slowly broke into a grin. “I had to,”
You groaned in frustration. “Why would you do that?”
His expressive face morphed into a childish pout. “Well, he was gonna hit on you…”
“So… maybe I want you all to myself.” He blew you a playful kiss. “Call me selfish, I guess.”
You gaped at him.
I… don’t know if this is the way I remember him.
Much like Allen, you were suddenly swimming with questions regarding your past relationships with these spirits. As a child, you’d seen them differently from now. Or were they the ones acting different?
“No one else can have you. It’s already bad enough I have to share you with the others…”
So this means… You tried to summarize the information you’d just received. So basically, after all this time, a ghost has been in love with me, and was using its powers to keep boys away from me? What the HELL?! You asked him if this was correct. “…Because that would explain a lot.”
He laughed, “That’s pretty on the nail.”
He hadn’t even flinched at the ‘in love’ part. You considered telling him that was a joke, but shrugged it off instead. Duh, he isn’t a serious person, you argued with yourself. Of course he’d blatantly gone along with it.
Now infuriated, you pushed him away from you. “Don’t interfere with my love life!”
He chuckled at your small moment of rage. “Easier said than done, kitten.”
At this point, you were standing outside your car. You prolonged getting out your keys in a moment of bewilderment. “Wait. You’re not kidding? You… like me?”
You continued with, “As in, like like me?” Oh, way to sound mature, you inwardly griped.
He blushed a little, narrowing his eyes at you. “Thought you knew…” He said quietly through clenched teeth.
You stood there with an incredulous look on your face.
“…H-How could I… how could… I mean… you…” Words were lost on you. Him, a spirit, had that kind of attachment to you? What? Luciano had said all of the spirits liked you “in their own way,” but you’d thought he meant platonically.
So, Zao was the one who had the strange, unnatural romantic feelings for you? “This… is a little weird now.”
“Weird? Nah…” He leaned into your face, smirking. “I’d say things are going to get a lot more interesting from here on out.”
He chuckled. “Break the rules with me, _____.”
“You know… I’m not the only one who’s in love with you, right?”… ‘In love’?!