Kenneth's phone began to vibrate, wrenching him from his slumber. His hand flew out and smacked the device on his nightstand, before pulling it to his ear. "God Charlotte, it's like, fucking, five am." He rubbed his face groggily, and waited for the girl's excuse.
"I know, but I can't sleep," her voice came shaky through the receptor ", I can't just lay here while my mother's corpse rots in the next room."
"Oh man, they haven't told you?" Kenneth sighed deep and frustrated ", look, just go to school like normal okay? Peter , Lucy, and myself, will meet you after you get out. Don't do anything stupid, and just act normal."
"Alright," she said defeated ", but I must admit, you're sorta freaking me out."
"I have that effect on people."
"Fine Kenneth," her cell glared blue against her skin ", goodnight."
"yeah yeah," Kenneth responded ", thanks for waking me, goodnight." Charlotte smiled, she loved how ornery he was.
"Peter," Lucy tried to calm herself enough to speak ", it's getting late. Kenneth could come out. We should stop."
"I thought you said you didn't want me to?" Peter teased while nibbling her ear.
"I know, I kind of don't, but I also would not like to be caught doing something like this."
"I haven't finished," Peter propped himself up on his elbows and smirked.
"Well, neither have I," Lucy put her hand around his neck ", sometimes it's a lose lose."
"Lucy," Peter laughed ", I didn't know you were into this sort of thing."
"Yeah, one sec," Lucy gripped harder ", let me choke the life out of you, that get's me off."
"Me too." Peter sat up and pulled Lucy into his lap, all the while still inside her. Peter hugged her, his face in her chest, his hands clasped tight around her. They were silent for a moment, and Lucy felt herself blush. How in the world could she still be so nervous after they've already had sex? How could Peter still have such a hold on her? Lucy draped her hands on his head, looking down at him. Peter's eyes were closed, and he was breathing lightly, almost as if he was asleep. Finally, her confusion had built beyond her ability to stand it. "What are you doing?" Lucy spoke and the silence dissipated like hot breath on a cool day.
"I'm trying to remember."
"Remember what?" Lucy was puzzled as she stared at Peter whose eyes were still shut.
"What you feel like." A bout of nerves plumed within her, dazing her with a strange high, and making her feel like she could float away.
"Why in the world would you need to do that?"
"Because I don't know how long it'll be until I get to again, or if I ever will."
"Quit acting like you have feelings," Lucy spoke with bittersweet words, which left the aftertaste of wistfulness in her mouth ", it's weird."
"Then you quit acting like you're not a girl," Peter was very matter-of-fact when saying ", bitches love that shit."
Lucy giggled. That was more like the Peter she was comfortable with.
"Lucy," Peter gazed up at her, his eyes sparkling like the window at Tiffany's ", do you love me?"
"Of course not." Lucy ran her fingers through his thick untamed hair ", don't be silly."
"You're going to tell me someday," Peter buried his face again, still clinging, like a child to their mother's skirt.
"And why would I do a thing like that?"
There was a pause before Peter spoke, a long one that made Lucy feel uneasy, like all the silliness had left the room.
"Because I want to hear it."
The next morning had come, and Lucy realized she had drifted off, nestled into Peter as the hours passed. She wasn't exactly asleep, because it's pointless to go somewhere you already are. Since to sleep, was to depart the realm of the living, departing wasn't necessary. Lucy didn't need to be unconscious to dream, she was already dreaming. Spirits entertained themselves with dreams to wait out the years until they were reborn, but Lucy hadn't found herself doing that often at all, she enjoyed, too much, the time she was having.
By the time Kenneth came out to the car is was two o'clock in the afternoon. Peter and Lucy were up and talking. Lucy would have killed everyone out of embarrassment if Kenneth had seen the aftermath of the immoral things that had transpired. The younger brother got into the driver's side and looked across at Lucy in the passenger's seat, disconcerted ", You're still visible?" Kenneth cleared his throat, stuck his keys in the ignition, and turned his attention on the road ", whatever, that's weird."
"He's right!" Lucy proclaimed while shooting up and almost smashing her head against the spongy lining of the car.
"God calm down, and put on your seatbelt for crying out loud!" Kenneth flailed his arms momentarily and then reclaimed the wheel.
"You're the one who needs calming Kenneth," Lucy grinned and tugged the curls above his sideburns ", I'm dead, it's cool."
"Okay fine, just don't touch me while I'm driving."
"Lucy," Peter interrupted their playful banter ", I told you before, a while ago, but I guess we can't ignore how stupid you are, the charge will take longer and longer to wear off, which is why it's a dangerous thing to do too often."
"Yes, yes I know," Lucy used her hand like a pupped to mock Peter ", or else I won't get into heaven, blah, blah, blah."
"It's nothing to joke about," Peter said sternly.
"Neither is your pill addiction, but your dad still tries to laugh it off," that string of words, which Lucy spoke so proudly, was followed with a high-five from Kenneth, which served as insult to Peter's injured ego.
"I don't have a pill addiction."
"Then that's the only thing you aren't addicted to," another high-five.
"Alright, cut it out," Peter barked ", fun and games is over!"
"Since when are you sick of fun and games?" Kenneth looked in his rearview at his brother.
"Since the fun was at my expense." The whole car was flooded with mirth.
Kenneth pulled into the Parking lot of North high. Charlotte recognized his car almost instantly, and hurried over to the passenger side door, only to realize Lucy was already seated there. The redhead then climbed into the back next to Peter. Charlotte flicked her emerald eyes at him, completely charmed by how the sun caught in his lashes. She wondered what it would be like, to keep that light in a bottle.
"Okay Charlotte," Peter swiveled to face her and put his hand on her knee ", I've got some potentially upsetting news."
"I imagined you would." The girl continued to think about the sunlight on his skin, even though she ought to have been listening to the words he spoke. Charlotte was just so tired, she was tired of being let down, and she was tired of being told no, but most of all she was tired of being trapped in a life she didn't want.
"I couldn't kill Jane, because she isn't a person, she doesn't have a soul." Peter watched the icy cold shock pour over the small girl, who was left utterly frozen, unable to make any telling expression.
"I'm sorry Charlotte, but there's nothing I can do this time," Peter stared intently, but the young girl only looked away, past him and the rest of the world ", I know you don't want to be stuck in that house, but there's no way to escape her, I can't help you any further, and you're not old enough to emancipate yourself." Lucy and Kenneth watched her, waiting for her to cry, or ask a question, or do something at all. "This is where real life conflicts with death, I'm not in control of all the rules, I can only bend so many of them..." Peter began to feel as though he was talking to comatose patient, someone unresponsive and seemingly lost to the world.
"Don't be sorry Peter," Charlotte spoke through lips slightly parted by a terribly strong urge to run, anywhere, and nowhere ", I am so happy to hear that..." The rest of the group fell bewildered and silent. "It makes so much sense, I am so happy to know that a person isn't really capable of the things she's done. God would never let someone's soul be tainted with that much evil," Charlotte started to shake, her emotions getting the best of her ", that night, when she looked me in the eyes and said I had done God's work, I saw nothing staring back at me. There was a hole inside her, which left room for her to cut up her own daughter." Charlotte shuddered and began wringing her thin fingers ", she left me alone in the woods to bury my sister, and when I was dragging the trunk it tipped over and the impact caused the latch to come open and all of Lucy's limbs came tumbling out. I had to pick them up with my bare hands, and it was so strange to feel how soft her skin still was, even though the tissue was so stiff it wouldn't bend at all." The young girl gasped, as if reliving the moment her hands came in contact with Lucy's severed body ", I had already puked so much that I really couldn't believe I was still able to. By seven am the sun had come out, and I felt like everyone could see what I had done."
Lucy scrambled into the back of the car and clutched her sister, bringing Charlotte's face into her chest. The redhead sobbed, from the pit of her being, in a way Lucy had never seen before. Charlotte needed to know that Jane was without a soul, if not, Charlotte would have believed forever that the void inside her mother was in her heart as well. Lucy held tighter, rocking her sister, whose short pink fingernails dug into the fabric of Lucy's shirt. Their hearts would heal, Lucy knew, Jane's void would not envelop them. They were whole.