Part Four of Ten
Chapter seven: Dinner and a favour
Jennifer was told to come over to the house for seven o’clock, so none of them were shocked when they heard the doorbell sound at just before seven. Valarie and Ashley had coached Chloe in the proper way to act around Jennifer; that was until Valarie revealed the secret that this was not Chloe, but a boy that had saved her life just before she threw herself off the cliff on the other side of the woods.
Valarie went to answer the door while Chloe waited in the living room with Ashley. Spirit had decided that her not being in the room to distract Chloe would be the best idea. The last thing Spirit needed was for the headmistress of the private school Valarie was trying to get Chloe into, would be distracted by her being in the room saying silly things.
“Hello Jenny.” Valarie said as she let Jennifer into the house and gave her a hug. “I’m so glad you could make it over to see me on such short notice.”
“I was glad to get your call Val. Its been far too long since we last saw each other, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of you, once Chloe starts at the school in a couple of weeks.” Jennifer said as she hugged Valarie back.
“Follow me and I’ll let you meet the family.” Valarie said after she took Jennifer’s coat and hung it up.
“I wanted to get you a house warming present, and knew you used to like your wine, so I bought you this.” Jennifer said as she handed Valarie a bottle wrapped in pink tissue paper. “I don’t touch the stuff myself, but I’m sure you and Ashley will enjoy it.” Jennifer added as she followed Valarie into the living room
“Thank you Jenny, but you really didn’t have to do this.” Valarie said as she saw that it wasn’t a cheap bottle of wine either.
Ashley and Chloe had both stood up as they saw the two women enter the room. Chloe was stood just behind Ashley looking nervous about another person meeting her while pretending to be something she wasn’t, well not yet anyway.
“Ashley, my dear friend. You look more beautiful every time I see you.” Jennifer said as she walked over and gave her a hug.
“Not as good as you do.” Ashley giggled as they hugged. “How do you stay looking so young while looking after all those little monsters?” Ashley asked.
“The secret is I drain their youth while they’re not looking.” Jennifer said with an evil laugh.
Chloe a couple of days back would have know that Jennifer was just kidding, but since finding out that she’d been sharing her mind with a ghost, and now she had that ghost as a spirit guide, Chloe let out a frightened little squeal in her throat that had the three women all looking at her.
“Hello there and you must be Chloe?” Jennifer asked as she broke the hug with Ashley and stepped around her to get a better look at Chloe. “I don’t really drain their youth sweetie.” Jennifer added with a smile as she held out her hand to shake Chloe’s.
“Hello Miss Scott. It’s very nice to meet you.” Chloe said in a whisper as she shook Jennifer’s hand.
“Please call me Jenny while we’re away from the school my dear. You make me sound older than I feel.” Jennifer giggled. “You are a pretty little thing aren’t you, just like your mother and your aunt.”
“Thank you Jenny. I can only wish to be as pretty as them when I grow up.” Chloe grinned at the hidden meaning in what she said.
“I’d say you are already well on your way Chloe.” Jennifer said as she stroked the side of Chloe’s face while thinking just how beautiful she was, and what a total heartbreaker she would be when she was old enough to start dating. “You have your mother’s eyes as well.”
Valarie shared a hopeful look as she looked at Ashley when she heard what Jennifer said about Chloe. Valarie was hoping that Jennifer was still as kind when she found out the secret Chloe was hiding. Ashley looked pleased with how well Jenifer accepted Chloe to be a girl just by looking at her. Ashley had been fooled from the start, and she and Valarie had improved on Chloe’s looks since then.
“What can I get you to drink Jenny, if you don’t want any wine?” Valarie asked on her way to the kitchen to put the bottle of wine she’d brought with her in the fridge.
“I’ll have the same as Chloe please.” Jennifer said when she saw that Chloe was drinking orange juice.
“Chloe’s drinking orange juice and lemonade, is that still okay?” Valarie asked as she made sure that was what Jennifer really wanted to drink.
“That sounds even better,” Jennifer smiled as she took a seat on the sofa and then patted the empty spot next to her for Chloe to sit down so they could talk while Valarie and Ashley worked on dinner.
Chloe sat with Jennifer and listened as she told her all about the school she ran, and how many fun things there were for Chloe to do in and after school. Chloe was worried that maybe the real Chloe had set a higher standard than she was able to deliver. With Mark not being around very much, and James not being a big lover of school to begin with, he’d not gone to school that much, so Chloe was lacking in the education needed for her to play the part of Valarie’s Chloe. Chloe just giggled and looked excited every now and then as she tried to hide the worry she was feeling.
Dinner was soon ready and Chloe looked happy to just sit and listen to the three women speak about their time at school. Even though Ashley was a year older than Valarie, they had still been close at school, and even shared a lot of the same friends. Valarie and Jennifer had looked up to Ashley with her being the oldest of the three though. Jennifer treated her like a big sister, just like Valarie did.
Chloe enjoyed the stories of what they did at her age, and she was sad to see the meal come to an end, but the stories carried on when they all went to the living room. Talk soon came around to marriage though, and Valarie knew it was time to tell Jennifer the truth, or the part that she needed her to know.
“How’s Kevin doing over in America? Has he married...? Emily was it?” Jennifer asked.
“I need to talk to you about that Jenny.” Valarie said looking nervous as to whether or not she was doing the right thing by opening up to her friend.
“Oh, don’t tell me they broke up?” Jennifer asked. “I thought you said they were perfect together.”
“They were, and they didn’t break up Jenny.” Valarie explained. “They were killed in a car crash on a freeway in America.” Valarie added. “Along with Chloe.” She added on the end with a wince.
“What?” Jennifer asked as she looked at Chloe and then back at Valarie for an answer. “Then who’s this I’ve been speaking to since I got here?” Jennifer asked as she pointed at Chloe sat next to her.
“Do you believe in ghosts Jenny?” Valarie asked.
“What do you mean?” Jennifer asked as she moved away from Chloe thinking she was a ghost.
“Don’t look so worried Jenny, Chloe’s not a ghost, but they do play a part in what brought this Chloe to my doorstep.” Valarie tried to explain as she saw her friends trying to make the space between her and Chloe as big as she could.
“My Chloe and this Chloe died at the same time on the same day, but they both came back to the same body, this Chloe’s body to be precise.” Valarie said as she looked at Jennifer to judge her reaction. “When my Chloe died, she saw the future and saw that I planned to take my own life at some point, so she fought to get back, that was when she saw this Chloe, but she did have another name back then. I’ll explain more about that later.” Valarie pointed out when she saw the puzzled look Jennifer had.
“None of this is making any sense to me at the minute Val, so I hope you can explain it all soon.”
“My Chloe ended up getting this Chloe to help her come here and save me from throwing myself off the cliff on the other side of the woods out to the side of the house.” Valarie said with tears in her eyes.
“So you’re telling me that this isn’t your daughter, but just some poor girl that your daughter is possessing?” Jennifer asked looking completely confused now.
“No, My Chloe has gone into the light, but this Chloe doesn’t have any body to look after her, so I was hoping you’d help me keep this a secret. I want to pretend that this Chloe is my daughter, and I want her to start at your school, just like Chloe was going to.” Valarie explained.
“Won’t people notice the fact that your dead daughter has started school? After being reported as being dead?” Jennifer pointed out.
“No because Chloe was buried under her father’s name, but Chloe always used my maiden name to match up with the name I wrote under. So it never even flagged up on the news in this country when it happened.” Valarie told her stunned looking best friend.
“It looks like you already have it sorted out, and if you hadn’t told me just now, I never would have know.” Jennifer said with a sigh. “I really wish you hadn’t.” She added as she put her head in her hands.
“We had to tell you because of the other little secret I need to talk to you about.” Valarie said looking even more nervous now she’d seen the way Jennifer was reacting to the first bit of news.
“There’s more?” Jennifer asked looking even more worried now. “What more can there be?”
“Chloe used to be James before she saved my life yesterday, but he’s been dressing as a girl for some time. She used the name Jane when she dressed, and now she wants to become a girl.” Valarie told her friend.
“You’re transgendered?” Jennifer asked as she looked at Chloe now trying to see any sign of the boy Valarie had just claimed she was. “Has someone been giving you any pills to take?” Jennifer asked as she thought Chloe looked too much like a girl to not be on some sort of pills.
“No ma’am. I’ve never taken any kind of pills to make me look like a girl.” Chloe said as she shook her head from side to side. “I’ve just always felt like I was a girl from as far back as I can remember.” Chloe added as she wiped away some tears from her eyes. She could see her dream slipping away.
“Have you ever had any kind of tests done to make sure you’re not intersexed?” Jennifer asked trying to find out any reason for why this boy looked so much like a girl.
“Inter what?” Chloe asked looking confused at the use of the big sounding word.
“I take that as a no then.” Jennifer said trying to get control of the situation, and not look so freaked out by what she’d heard. “Intersexed is when a child is born looking one way, but really they’re another sex, like a baby boy is really a baby girl, but she has a defect that makes her look like a boy.” Jennifer tried to explain to the child sat next to her.
“I’m a girl, but was born looking like a boy.” Chloe said, thinking she understood what Jennifer was trying to say.
“I know that sweetie, but there are lots of reasons for that, it doesn’t mean you were born intersexed.” Jennifer said as she looked to be deep in thought.
“How do you know so much about all this stuff Jenny?” Ashley asked.
“We have a girl at the school now that was raised as a boy until he was eight, then he had some medical problems and they found out that he was intersexed, and was a girl. I had to do a lot of reading so I could understand it all.”
“Maybe we should talk to them and see if the same people helping that child can help Chloe?” Valarie asked looking excited to find someone else in the same boat.
“No, the fewer people we involve in this the better.” Jennifer said looking worried. “I know for a fact that family has had a right battle on their hands trying to keep it out the news. That is why they sent the girl to my school. People could start to wonder why Chloe is hanging out with a girl like...” Jennifer stopped herself before she said the girl’s name.
“So you’ll help us then Jenny?” Valarie grinned when she saw that her friend wasn’t talking about reporting her to the police.
“I should be reporting you for being insane, but part of me does believe in ghosts and things that go bump in the night, so I’ll hear Chloe’s story, from the beginning, and then I’ll help you come up with some plan to help get her to see a doctor.” Jennifer offered.
Ashley got up and went into another room, and then she returned with a box of tissues and placed them on the coffee table in front of Jennifer. “Trust me, you’ll need them.” Ashley warned.
Chloe sat forward on the sofa and started telling Jennifer all about a mother that dressed her son as a girl and how they had lots of fun together, then about the mother falling in love with a man who became the child’s stepdad. Chloe then started crying when she spoke of her mother dying from some illness she could never say the name off. Chloe then went on to say what her stepfather did to her after finding James dressed as Jane one afternoon after being away for nearly a week. Jennifer felt sick when Chloe told her about the men he’d brought home to spend time with her. Jennifer showed a little evil smile when Chloe told her the part about pouring hot tea all over the man’s groin that was getting ready to do god knows what. Chloe then told her about the running away and her getting hit by a lorry, along with her stepdad. Jennifer showed another evil little smile when she heard that the stepdad had been killed by the truck, but the truck hitting him had helped to save Chloe’s life.
“I have some files saved off on my laptop Jenny; they tell you all about the accident and what happened to Chloe just after that.” Ashley said. “I had to check into it for what Chloe is about to tell you.” Ashley added when Jennifer looking at her oddly.
Chloe carried on talking about how she woke in the hospital in a lot of pain, and how she was now having strange dreams about a girl stood on the edge of a cliff and how she’d drop to her death every time Chloe tried to save her. Chloe told of how, when she was well enough to move around again, she overheard that they planned to move her up to the psychiatric ward. Chloe said she knew what that word meant and it wasn’t good, so the girl from her dreams showed her how to escape. Chloe then explained how she lived rough on the street looking in bins for food until the other day when she was led into a building by the girl in her dreams, where she found some food, but then got chased.
“How did you get away from them?” Jennifer asked.
“I hid in the back of a removal lorry and ended up getting blocked in until the men placed the chest in the room that is now my bedroom.” Chloe explained. “I saw mother come into the room and sit on the bed sobbing that she was sorry for something. I waited for her to leave before getting out of the chest and leaving the house, but I saw the picture on the bed and realised that the girl in the picture was the girl from my dreams.”
“What happened when you found this out?” Jennifer asked looking totally engrossed in the story she was being told.
“I saw a folded piece of paper and picked it up. I read it and saw that it was a suicide note, so I ran over to the window to see where mother might have gone, and that is when I saw the cliff edge on the other side of the woods, the same as the ones from my dreams.” Chloe snuffled. “The other Chloe fought to take control of my body, so she could save her mother. It hurt when she tried, but we soon recovered enough for me to run after her. We stopped her, and mummy’s already told you the rest of it.” Chloe said, not wanting to talk about Chloe leaving and then coming back as a spirit guide called Spirit.
“You poor child.” Jennifer said as she wept while holding Chloe in her arms. “One so young should not know such pain. I’ll do all I can to help you all.” Jennifer said with determination in her voice.
“Thank you Jenny, but I’m worried about you getting in trouble if someone finds out.” Valarie said.
“Let me worry about that, you just make sure Chloe here is well looked after.” Jennifer smiled. “From what Chloe just said, I doubt anyone will be looking for a boy called James anyway, not that she looks anything like a boy or a James anymore.” Jennifer added with a grin as she held Chloe at arm’s length to get a better look at her.
“So what do we do first?” Ashley asked.
“We need to get Chloe seen by a doctor.” Jennifer said. “I do have a close friend that’s a doctor, but he lost his wife a couple of months back, and he’s not been dealing with it very well, but I’ll have a word and see if he’s willing to help us.” Jennifer added.
“What if he refuses, what then?” Valarie asked.
“We find someone else.” Jennifer said in a matter of fact way.
Valarie remembered that Jennifer was always the girl with a plan growing up. They got into more trouble because of Jennifer, but it did make for interesting reading for others. Valarie had written a string of very successful books based on their adventures as kids. Valarie was beginning to wonder whether or not she could write another set based around Chloe, or what the new Chloe was able to do by being able to talk to ghosts that is.
Ashley grabbed her laptop and showed Jennifer everything she’d found out about the life of a boy called James. Jennifer shed another couple of tears when she read the hard copy of what she’d been told. Jennifer was still having trouble believing that this child sat at her side was anything but a girl. Jennifer couldn’t see any trace of male puberty starting, and she wondered if she could be intersexed after all, but it got missed at her birth. Jennifer had read that testing for the condition had only started to gain ground in the past couple of years.
“It’s too late to call my friend this evening Val, but I’ll go over and have a word with him tomorrow and then give you a call with the details of what he says, but don’t get your hopes up just yet.” Jennifer warned. “Like I said, he lost his wife a couple of months back, and it hit him hard.” Jennifer sighed.
“I know just how he feels Jenny. Maybe if I spoke with him, I could help him deal with it a little better.” Valarie said as she thought about how she’d felt the past several months since Chloe’s death.
“That could be a good way to get him to have a look at Chloe.” Jennifer said looking excited about her sudden brainwave. “I’ll tell him that I’m worried about you because you lost your husband recently, and I think the two of you getting together and talking could be good for both of you.” Jennifer explained.
“I’m game if you are.” Valarie agreed with her friends plan.
Jennifer stopped another hour or so talking about the books Val had written. They joked about Jennifer getting part of the royalties from the books, but it was only ever a joke because Valarie had already donated money to the school that Jennifer ran.
They all stood and waved to Jennifer as she drove away, before they all returned to the living room to sit down and relax.
“That went better than I thought it would.” Ashley said with a sigh of relief.
“I knew that Jenny would come through for us though, she’s never failed me in the past.” Valarie grinned.
“Mummy? Do you have copies of the books you wrote about your adventures with Jenny?” Chloe asked, having had her interest peaked by the conversation she’d heard about them earlier in the night.
“Trust me Chloe, all the really good stuff never made it into the books.” Ashley giggled.
“Ash! Chloe doesn’t need to know about any of that.” Valarie warned as she threw a cushion at her sister, but hit Chloe instead. Chloe threw it back as she giggled and things soon got out of hand as they all started throwing them around.
The room looked a mess by the time they were all too tired from giggling and throwing cushions to do anything except lay back on the sofa’s and giggle. Chloe couldn’t remember having so much fun before, but she did have memories of the other Chloe doing this sort of thing all the time. Chloe wondered if Spirit would ever end up regretting her taking over her life.
“Don’t ever think like that sis.” Spirit suddenly said as she appeared right in front of Chloe grinning.
“Don’t do that!” Chloe snapped, just before she playfully reached out and slapped Spirit on the arm. “I’m going to get you fitted with a psychic bell or something.” Chloe added as she sat up.
“Sorry, I keep forgetting that you can’t always see me.” Spirit giggled. “I’ve never been one to get upset about others having fun, and I’ve seen what you had to put up with sis, so I’m happy to see you having fun.” Spirit added with a smile.
“I bet your mother would like to see that neat little trick you showed me up in your room.” Ashley said with a wink to Chloe.
Chloe grinned and then looked at Spirit who already had her hand out ready to link up so she could talk to her mum again. Chloe reached out and took hold of Spirit’s hand before reaching out with her other one to take hold of Valarie’s.
“What’s going on?” Valarie asked with suspicion.
“Just hold Chloe’s hand and find out sis.” Ashley grinned.
Valarie let out a sigh and then she took hold of the offered hand Chloe was holding out. She felt a tingling in her hand that spread through her whole body. Valarie gasped as she saw the image of a girl start to form just in front of her.
“Chloe!” Valarie cried out when she saw her daughter smiling at her.
“Hi mummy, and its Spirit now.” She giggled with pride as she had to wipe away some tears.
“Oh sweetie, it’s so good to see you again.” Valarie said as she too had to wipe away some tears. “How are you able to do this?” Valarie asked, not sure what it was they were doing.
“You have a very special daughter sat here. She is able to link the spirit world with the real world.” Spirit explained.
“I have two very special daughters. Even if one is working on the other side now.” Valarie said with pride for both of them. Valarie knowing it wouldn’t work, just had to reach out and try to touch the smoky image of her dead daughter, but it just moved around as her hand passed straight through it.
“I wish I could touch you to mummy.” Spirit sighed. “Tell Aunty Ash to touch your other hand with mine, and she’ll be able to join in the conversation as well.” Spirit told Chloe when she saw the sad look Ashley had with not being able to hear what was being said by her.
“Spirit said if you touch me, then you can see her too.” Chloe smiled as she looked over at Ashley.
Ashley was soon reaching over and touching Chloe’s arm as she waited for the ghostly image of her dead niece to appear. “I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of seeing this happen.” Ashley grinned. “Hi pumpkin.” Ashley added when she saw Spirit smiling at her.
“Hello again Aunty Ash.” Spirit giggled.
“You’re looking really pretty honey.” Valarie said as she saw how smartly dressed Spirit looked in a misted pink version of what Chloe had on in a plumb colour.
“Thank you mummy.” Spirit beamed with pride. “My clothes will always reflect what Chloe wears.” She explained.
“I’ll try not to wear anything you don’t like then sis.” Chloe giggled.
“I like your dress sense, just don’t start dressing like a boy again.” Spirit said looking worried.
“That’s never going to happen.” Chloe frowned. “I don’t think I’ll ever wear trousers again.” Chloe added with a shudder.
“See if you still say that when the weather gets cold.” Spirit pointed out. “I do have a couple of ideas for you though, that you may like the look of.” Spirit added with a wink.
“I need all the help I can get when it comes to being a girl.” Chloe said with a heavy sigh. “I’m scared about going to this school because I’m not that bright, and I don’t want to let you all down.” Chloe explained her worries.
“That’s what you have me looking after you for sis.” Spirit grinned.
“But isn’t that like cheating?” Chloe asked looking worriedly at her mother to see her reaction.
“Normally I’d say yes, but if we hope to make people think that you’re really Chloe, then we need to let Spirit help you retain the same grades, and I know you’re a lot smarter than you give yourself credit for sweetie.” Valarie said as she patted Chloe on the leg with her free hand.
“Did you hear any of what Jennifer and we talked about tonight?” Ashley asked Spirit.
“Yes I heard everything, and I’ve also been told that Chloe will have her first job as a ghost whisperer when you go for the meeting with the doctor friend Jennifer knows.” Spirit said looking serious as she looked at Chloe.
“I’ll have to talk with a ghost?” Chloe asked looking worried. “What do I say to them?” She asked.
“You don’t have to say much at all sis, just do like we’re doing now, and let them say their final words before they can go to the other side and find peace.” Spirit explained. “I’ll be linked with you as well; none of the other ghosts will hurt you while I’m there.”
“So you already know that this doctor will take a look at Chloe?” Valarie asked looking hopeful.
“Yes, but he will be more interested in talking with you to begin with mother. He’s been thinking the same dark thoughts as you had before Chloe and I stopped you.” Spirit said with a shudder that the others felt pass through them as well. “His wife is desperate to make contact with him and stop him from doing something foolish.” Spirit explained.
“Will he still want to help me once he finds out about my little gift?” Chloe asked as she looked down at her hands and the fact that Valarie and Ashley were talking to the former Chloe who was now a ghost or spirit as she liked to be called.
“That I can’t see, but his wife says he’s a good man, but he just needs a little help to get him over this hump.” Spirit said.
“I hope we can help him then, not only for me, but also for himself by the sounds of it.” Chloe said.
“I have to be going now. I need to make arrangements for the wife to be there when you meet with the doctor, and this will also stop her from haunting him.” Spirit said with a sad smile.
“She’s haunting him?” Chloe asked.
“Yes, but not in a nasty way, she’s just desperate to stop him from hurting himself.” Spirit explained. “Just call out if you need me before I return.” Spirit added just before she faded away and Chloe let her hands drop back into her lap.
Do you think I should give Jennifer a call and let her know about this doctor friend of hers?” Valarie asked after they had all been sat thinking to themselves for a couple of minutes.
“And tell her what sis?” Ashley asked. “She’ll think you’re totally nuts if you try and tell her what Spirit just said. I just saw it for myself, and I find it hard to believe still.” Ashley added as she pointed at the spot where Spirit had just been stood minutes before.
Valarie went to say something, but stopped when she realised that Ashley was right. Jennifer would just think she’d been talking crazy and probably call for child service to come and take Chloe away from her, so she would have to wait for Jennifer to call her doctor friend and then hope that Chloe can help him settle things with his dead wife.
“You’re right Ash.” Valarie said with a sigh.
“I’m always right!” Ashley grinned. “Except when I’m wrong, but even then I’m right. Am I right?” Ashley asked with a giggle when she saw the confused looks she was getting from Valarie and Chloe.
“And you say that I’m the insane one?” Valarie asked with a raised eyebrow.
Chloe sat cuddled up between her mother and aunt for a little longer, but Valarie was soon taking her up to bed when she saw her starting to fall asleep. She tucked Chloe in after making sure she’d brushed her teeth, and then Ashley popped in and kissed her on the forehead before wishing her a goodnight and then leaving the room again so Valarie could say a proper goodnight. Chloe was soon drifting off to sleep thinking about the exciting day she had.
Chapter eight: What’s up doc?
Chloe was sat talking to Ashley about some of the things she’d heard the night before while Valarie sorted out breakfast for them all, when the phone rang.
“I’ll get it!” Ashley said as she jumped up and went over to the wall where the hand set was housed when not being used. “Hello Ashcroft residence, Ashley speaking.” Ashley said in an upper class manner, using Valarie’s maiden name that she wrote under. Chloe and Valarie were left having a fit of giggles when they heard the way Ashley spoke on the phone.
“Oh hello Ashley.” Jennifer’s voice said on the other end of the phone sounding just like Ashley had. “May I speak with Lady Valarie please?” She added sounding just as posh before she burst out in a fit of giggles.
“Right you are governor.” Ashley said switching to a cockney barrow boy. “Got a Lady Jennifer on the dog and bone, she wants to speak to the Lady of the house.” Ashley added as she held the phone out for a giggling Valarie to take off her.
Chloe was holding her belly as she was laughing so hard she had tears rolling down her cheeks. Chloe had never seen anything like this in all her short life, and she couldn’t ever remember laughing like this before. Ashley rejoined her at the table and then pulled Chloe into a hug while she let Valarie talk with Jennifer.
“Hi Jenny. I hope you enjoyed yourself last night? It was great to catch up on old times.” Valarie said, not wanting to dive straight in with questions about this doctor friend she had, and whether or not she’d spoke to him yet.
“Hi Val. It was the best night out I’ve had in a long time.” Jennifer replied.
“Sounds like you need to get out more.” Valarie giggled.
“My idea of a good time is normally sat with a mug of coco while reading a good book and chucking one of my two cats off my knee when they start nesting a little too deeply.” Jennifer informed Valarie.
“I hope to change that then, now I’m living closer. You’re welcome over here anytime, I hope you know that?” Valarie said.
“Thanks Val, and I hope that you can find the time to come over and see me. I’m sure Chloe would like to meet my two little fur balls, they both love it when people come to visit.” Jennifer said with a smile in her voice.
“I’m sure Chloe would love that, she’s always loved Cats.” Valarie said just before she realised that she actually had no idea whether this Chloe liked cats or not. Valarie looked over at Chloe and saw her grinning at the idea of going to see some cats, so she sort of got her answer that way without needing to ask the question.
“I spoke with Robert this morning.” Jennifer said trying to get to the point of her calling.
“Robert?” Valarie questioned.
“Robert Kaufman, the doctor friend I was telling you about last night. Sorry, but I thought I told you his name, silly me.” Jennifer giggled.
“Oh right, is he willing to help us?” Valarie asked excitedly.
“I’m not sure about that, as I didn’t want to say too much over the phone. I sold him on the idea that getting together with you could be good for him because you lost your husband a couple of months back.” Jennifer explained.
“I guess he’s having a pretty rough time of it as well?” Valarie asked, but already knew he was from what Spirit had said.
“You have no idea... Sorry, I guess you actually do.” Jennifer corrected herself. “I’m worried he might be heading down the same path you were, but I doubt some young girl is going to jump in and save him at the last minute.” Jennifer added with worry in her voice.
“You might be surprised.” Valarie thought to herself, but didn’t want to say too much before Chloe had a chance to try and help this Robert out with some help from Spirit. “I’ll be happy to talk with him and see if I can help Jenny. How do you want to work it?” Valarie asked.
“I was thinking that I’d give you the address and then meet you there later today. I can keep Ashley company while you and Chloe speak with Robert.” Jennifer explained her plan.
“That sounds like a wonderful idea, and then we can all go and grab a bite to eat if we feel like it.” Valarie added with a smile in her voice.
“Sounds like a plan to me Val.” Jennifer then went on to give Valarie the address for Robert and then they arranged to meet up at his house at eleven before she hung up.
“Jenny got us in the door, so now you and Spirit can work your magic on a Dr Robert Kaufman.” Valarie said as she looked at the piece of paper she wrote his name and address on. “Has Spirit come back yet?” Valarie asked having not heard Chloe speak to her or about her since the night before.
“I’m here.” Spirit said as she was suddenly sat at the table smiling up at her mother.
“She can’t hear you silly.” Chloe said as she reached across the table for Spirit to take hold of her hand, so she could talk to her mother.
“I’m sorry sweetie.” Valarie said when she thought that Chloe was talking to her, not Spirit.
“I didn’t mean you were silly mummy, I was talking to Spirit.” Chloe giggled. “She was trying to answer you herself.” Chloe explained.
Valarie giggled as she stood and watched the ghostly image of her daughter appear at the kitchen table for her to talk to. “Did you hear what I just said to Chloe and Ash?” It took Valarie a couple of seconds to realise that she could see Spirit without touching Chloe. “How come I can see you?” Valarie asked looking a little shocked by it all, but excited at the same time.
“Yes I heard it all mummy, and Robert’s wife is there waiting for us.” Spirit informed them. “Tanya is eager to talk to her husband, and have a go at him for being so foolish.” Spirit added in a worried voice. “I spoke with my probation officer, and she said that Chloe has a special gift that should allow me to talk to people this way, but only if they have already formed a link with me through Chloe first.” Spirit explained it the way Sammi had explained it to her.
“Chloe won’t get hurt will she?” Valarie asked, playing the protective parent, and trying to rap her head around the fact she could now see and talk to her dead daughter while not needing to touch Chloe’s hand.
“No, there’s nothing she can do to hurt Chloe, not with me around, and due to Chloe and I being linked, we will never be far apart for anyone to try anything either.” Spirit calmed her mother.
“I’m glad to hear that sweetie.” Valarie said as she blew Spirit a kiss. She knew that she couldn’t give her a real kiss, so that was the next best thing. “Let’s have a quick bite to eat and then go and get ready to go over and see this Dr Kaufman.” Valarie added as she went back to sorting out scrambled egg on toast for them all.
“I’ll chat to you later mum.” Spirit said just before she let go of Chloe’s hand and then faded back to just letting Chloe see her.
Valarie and Ashley were stood waiting in the hallway when they saw Chloe almost skipping down the stairs humming to herself looking happy about something. Chloe had turned down both of them helping her to get dressed saying she needed to learn these things for herself, but both women could tell by looking at her that she’d had some help from Spirit, not that either of them minded too much, they thought it would be good for Chloe to learn from someone her own age.
“You look as pretty as a picture Chloe.” Valarie said as she signalled with her finger for Chloe to give them a quick spin to get a proper look. “I love the hair, and what you’ve done with the little bit of makeup you have on.” Valarie added with a smile.
Chloe had used a little bit of pink lipstick, and a tiny bit of eye shadow. “I had a little help from Spirit, but I did all the work, she just talked me through it.” Chloe pointed out.
“Did Spirit help you pick out what to wear as well?” Ashley asked, liking the look.
Chloe was wearing a pink t-shirt and denim skirt with pink footless tights on her legs ending in a pair of ballet slippers on her feet. Spirit had talked Chloe into wearing the pink tights to hide the bruises on her legs from living rough on the streets for the last several weeks.
“We picked it out between us.” Chloe smiled as she looked down at herself. “Do I look alright?” Chloe asked.
“Like your mother just said, you look as pretty as a picture.” Ashley said as she bent down and gave Chloe a hug. “You do know that Spirit learnt everything she knows from me, right?” Ashley added looking proud of her work as a teacher in fashion.
“We better get a move on. Come along.” Valarie said as she made Ashley stand up again.
“We have plenty of time yet sis.” Ashley pointed out as she looked at the time on her watch.
“Not if we still want to get you through the door with a swelled head.” Valarie said as she pushed Ashley through the door with a giggle.
Chloe started giggling at the comment, but she was soon running around Valarie’s car squealing with Ashley running after her. “I’ll teach you to laugh at me.” Ashley said as she chased the girl around and around the car until Chloe was out of breath, at which point Ashley pounced on her and subjected her to tickle torture. Chloe was like a pile of goo in Ashley’s hands by the time Valarie had locked up the house and walked over to the car.
“I think I just found someone even more ticklish than Ch... I mean Spirit.” Ashley corrected herself before she used the right name for the wrong person.
Ashley helped Chloe to get in the back seat of the car before she got in the front passenger seat and then watched Valarie program the address into her sat nav before setting off towards the place that a female voice directed her.
Chloe sat in the back of the car smiling as she looked out the window when not looking at the two women in the front of the car talking and playing around. Chloe was starting to sense when Spirit was about to appear, so she turned to look at the empty seat next to her just as she saw her suddenly come into view.
“I felt you about to appear this time.” Chloe grinned.
“Sammi said that could happen with how powerful your gifts are.” Spirit explained as she linked her hand with Chloe’s so she could enjoy the ride a little better. “Hi mummy, Aunty Ash.” Spirit said from the back seat making her mother almost drive the car off the road when she turned to look at where the voice just came from.
“Do you have any job openings up there?” Ashley Asked with a nervous giggle while grapping onto various parts of the car’s interior, as she looked over her shoulder at the ghostly image of Spirit.
“I’m sorry, but I thought you heard Chloe talking to me just now, and would realise I’d be showing up.” Spirit pouted as she tried to break her connection with Chloe, but Chloe wasn’t about to let Spirit go away in a sulk. “Just let me go sis.” Spirit grumbled.
“No, we want to chat with you.” Chloe said as she gripped Spirit’s hand even tighter to let her know she wasn’t going anywhere.
“We don’t want you to leave sweetie, it was just a little bit of a shock to suddenly hear you speaking to us all.” Valarie explained after pulling onto the side of the road so she could look at her daughter while she spoke.
“I’ll try and work on my appearing skills to give you all more warning in future.” Spirit giggled feeling much better knowing that none of them were really mad with her, just a little shook up due to nearly crashing.
Valarie was soon on the road again and she pointed over to a large house way back on the other side of a playing field. “That’s the school you’ll be going to Chloe.”
“Wow, it looks so big and old.” Chloe said as she looked out the window at the stately looking home that was now a private school run by Jennifer. “Will I have to wear a uniform to go there mummy?” Chloe asked.
“Yes, but it looks like the kind of uniform that all the other kids are wearing for school these days.” Valarie explained. “Jennifer didn’t want the children to look to different to the other kids you see out and about in this area coming and going to school.” Valarie added.
“At least it will be a girl’s uniform you’ll be wearing when you start going to school there.” Spirit pointed out as she sensed Chloe’s worries.
Chloe didn’t have time to say anymore as Valarie pulled her car into a large driveway where she could see Jennifer stood at the side of a blue mini clubman waving at them with a smile on her face. Valarie parked up and then they all got out. Chloe could still see Spirit, but none of the others could anymore, not now Chloe had let go of Spirit’s hand.
“I see you found the place alright then?” Jennifer asked as she gave all three of them a hug.
“Joys of having sat nav in your car.” Valarie pointed out.
“I still like to use a map myself; it’s a good way to pick up men I’ve found.” Jennifer giggled. “You never heard me say that Chloe.” Jennifer warned looking serious, but she was soon giggling again when she saw how worried Chloe looked.
“Take no notice of her sweetie; she’s always saying stuff like that.” Valarie explained as she gave Jennifer a playful slap on the arm as they waited for her to lead the way up to the house the driveway belonged to.
Jennifer rang a bell that was just above a sign than said ‘Dr R Kaufman and Dr T Kaufman’ on it. They didn’t have to wait long for a man to answer the door and give them a hollow smile that never reached his sad looking eyes. Valarie knew that look from looking in the mirror every day for the past several months, she knew only too well the amount of pain this man was feeling, and how death seemed like the only way to put an end to it.
“Hi Robert, these are the friends I was talking to you about. This is Valarie, Chloe and Ashley.” Jennifer said as she pointed to each one as she said their names.
“Hello, please do come in and I’ll make us all something to drink.” Robert said as he led them into the house and then a living area at the back of the building.
“Ashley and I will sort out the drink, while you three have a chat about the loved ones you’ve lost.” Jennifer said as she pushed Robert into the living room just before she dragged Ashley away with her to help with the drinks and also give Valarie time to talk with Robert.
“I was sorry to hear about your wife Robert. May I ask what happened?” Valarie asked as she was led over to a sofa and Robert helped her to take a seat just before Chloe sat down next to her.
“Thank you. I’m sorry for your loss as well Valarie.” Robert said as he sat in an armchair that looked like his favourite spot to sit in the room. “Tanya was driving back from an emergency call when she came around a blind bend and hit a fallen tree that was across the road.” Robert explained as he fought back the tears.
“I know just how it feels to lose someone and wish you could speak to them one last time and say a proper goodbye, or just see them to know that they are in a better place.” Valarie explained how she’d felt all those months while Chloe was gone.
“I just find it harder and harder to get up and keep going day after day.” Robert said with pain in his voice. “I look at the world going about its business and wonder how it can; knowing that someone so amazing has been taken out of it.” He added as he wiped away a tear.
Valarie took a quick look at Chloe to remind herself what stopped her from taking that final step and ending it all, literally in her case. Chloe wasn’t looking at Robert though; she was fixed on a point just behind him.
Chloe had walked into the room and saw a pretty woman stood to the side of the armchair where Robert was now stood, and she looked worried and sad to see her husband in so much pain, but not being able to do anything about it. The woman Chloe took to be Tanya looked at Chloe and then looked away again like she didn’t expect them to notice her, but she was soon looking into Chloe’s eyes when she saw that the girl was looking right back at her.
“Are you her? The child with the special gift?” Tanya asked as she walked through the table at the side of the chair and made a straight path right for Chloe, but she was soon stooped in her tracks when Spirit appeared to block her. “I’m sorry; I mean the child no harm Spirit.” Tanya said as she took a step back.
“I know Tanya, but this is her first time doing this, and we don’t want to scare or overwhelm her, or you will never find peace.” Spirit said in a calming voice.
“I understand, and I’m sorry if I scared you little one.” Tanya smiled as she looked around Spirit at Chloe.
Chloe not being able to answer back without making herself look like a mental patient had to just nod and give Tanya a little smile to let her know she understood.
“Chloe needs you to tell her some little detail that only you and Robert would know, so she can make an opening for him to except what she has to say.” Spirit explained to Tanya. “Nothing rude though.” Spirit added with a grin.
Tanya looked to be deep in thought for a couple of minutes while she tried to think of something that only her and her husband would know about. “Tell him that my wedding ring isn’t lost, it just fell down the sink, and I was too scared to tell him what happened to it.” Tanya suddenly said as she remembered him sobbing when it wasn’t with her things after the accident.
“Excuse me sir, but your wife’s wedding ring wasn’t stolen from the scene of the accident. She dropped it down the sink, but was too scared to tell you.” Chloe said to Robert who was now looking at her with a confused look. “And it’s still in there if you want to go and look.” Chloe added as Tanya told her.
“What? But how...?” Robert asked as he felt compelled to go and find out.
Jennifer and Ashley were still sorting out the drinks when they saw Robert run into the kitchen and then go under the sink where he did some grunting and groaning before coming back out with a piece of pipe in his hand. He tapped out the contents of the pipe which didn’t smell too good, but he was soon smiling as he held up his wife’s wedding ring.
“How did you know where it was?” Robert asked as he looked at first the ring and then Chloe, before he went back to looking at the ring again as he held it on both hands.
“Tanya told me were to find it Sir.” Chloe said nervously.
“When? Before she died?” Robert asked.
“No, just now in your living room.” Chloe replied as she waited for the man to realise what she’d just said and react to it.
“No child, please tell me how you knew where to find my wife’s ring?” Robert asked looking more serious about it now.
“I was being serious sir.” Chloe said.
“Ask him to ask you a question that only Tanya would know the answer to.” Spirit said when she saw that he’d need convincing.
“Tanya is with us now, so ask me a question that only your wife would know the answer to.” Chloe said in a calm voice as she stood looking up at the man still nursing the ring in his hand like it was the most delicate thing on the planet.
Robert looked at Chloe like she was insane for a couple of seconds before he finally spoke. “What movie did we go to see on our first date together?”
“It’s a trick question.” Tanya said. “His car broke down and the recovery vehicle took us back to his place where we sat and watched a film called Cadyshack with Bill Murray in it. We went to see a movie on our second date though, it was called ‘The tourist’ and had Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in it.”
“Tanya said your car broke down, so you went back to your place and watched some film called Cadyshack, but you went to see a film called The Tourist on your second date though.” Chloe repeated what Tanya had said to her.
Robert looked confused as he found he needed to sit down and think about what he’d just been told. “Tanya has been here watching over me all this time?” Robert asked with shame in his voice over what his wife might have seen.
“Yes, and she’s worried about you.” Chloe said as she walked over and touched a hand to one of his while holding out the other one for Spirit to hold with Tanya holding Spirit’s.
“What are you doing now?” Robert asked.
“I’m going to let you and your wife speak to each other.” Chloe said in a calm voice as she looked towards Tanya.
Robert looking on with his mouth hanging open as he saw first a young girl appear and then he saw the misted image of his wife appear next to the girl. “Tanya?” He asked with tears rolling down his cheeks. “Is it really you?”
“Yes it is my love, and I’m very upset with what I’ve been seeing.” Tanya said with a voice so full of love that even when she wanted to sound angry she couldn’t. “I’m sorry I left you alone, but you still have so much good to do in the world, starting with this young girl stood before you. It’s not your time yet, but I will still be waiting for you when your time comes.” Tanya promised.
“But I miss you so much.” Robert pleaded with pain in his voice.
“I know you do by darling, but I will always be watching over you, but your work has only just begun. I have to go now, but remember what I said and help this child.” Tanya added in a firm voice.
“Yes my sweetest Tanya.” Robert said as he felt a great weight lift from his heart just as he saw his wife fade away leaving the ghosted image of the young girl stood next to Chloe.
Chloe looked a little worried as she was suddenly being hugged by Robert as he sobbed his heart out. “Thank you for letting me say goodbye to my wife, and helping me find this ring.” He sobbed.
“What’s going on here?” Jennifer asked as she didn’t see anything other than Chloe talking to Robert in a strange way.
“Chloe is a ghost whisperer, and she just helped Robert find peace with his wife.” Valarie explained to her friend.
“What the hell happened to you since the last time we spoke all those months ago Val?” Jennifer asked, not believing that Chloe could see and talk to dead people.
“I think we better show and tell sis.” Spirit said as she held out her hand for Chloe to hold again, once Robert had let Chloe go.
Jennifer watched as Chloe held out one hand to an empty part of the kitchen before she reached out with the other one for Jennifer to hold.
“What do you want me to do?” Jennifer asked nervously as she looked at the hand Chloe was offering her.
“I need you to take hold of my hand, so I can prove that what my mother says is true.” Chloe said as she raised her hand a little higher to prove her point that she needed Jennifer to take hold of it.
Jennifer reached out with her hand, but pulled back a couple of times before she finally let Chloe hold it. Jennifer felt a warm tingle spread up her arm and through her whole body, she became very calm and then she started to see the misty form of a girl start to appear on the other side of Chloe.
To Be Continued Next Tuesday
Story by SaraUK
Edited and Posted by SamanthaK
EDITORS NOTE: Please Comment and/or leave Kudos and let Sara know you like her work please, Any comments on spelling, grammar or the layout of the story please PM me “Samanthak” not Sara. Thank you
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