Saturday, May 7, 2011

Wond'ring Aloud by Belinda McBride

The song Wond’ring Aloud is from the classic Jethro Tull album “Aqualung.” For those of you old enough (or savvy enough) to remember this album, you most likely associate it with the hard rock sounds of Aqualung and Locomotive Breath. However, there’s a little hidden gem on the album, a simple love song called Wond’ring Aloud. Oddly, this little ditty is one of Tull’s most discussed and debated songs. Is this a beginning? Honeymooners, perhaps? Or is this an established couple who are choosing to move forward in their relationship? To me, this is a song about selflessness; about arriving at a point in a relationship where the other person suddenly takes precedence over self. This is a song about love that’s moved on from the lust of youth to the deep passion of forever. The final line of the song sums up forever love to me: “And it’s only the giving that makes you what you are.”

"Wond'ring Aloud"
Ian Anderson

Wond'ring aloud --
how we feel tod
Last night sipped the sunset --
my hands in her hair.
We are our own saviours
as we start both our hearts beating life
into each other.

Wond'ring aloud -
will the years treat us well.
As she floats in the kitchen,
I'm tasting the smell
of toast as the butter runs.
Then she comes, spilling crumbs on the bed
and I shake my
And it's only the giving
that makes you what you are.

I’m taking the liberty of posting the URL to a second version of the song; the video is from concert in 1976, the link is to a more recent performance by much older Ian Anderson. (who wrote the song at the age of 24!) In addition, the more recent recording is how the song was originally recorde
d: with guitar, piano and a string quartet.

1977 concert footage:

Recent performance, in case you happen to be curious to see how the song (and singer) has weathered about 40 years:

* * * * * * * * * *

Wond'ring aloud, will the years treat us well?

David and Calvin have been ghost hunters for years. They've been best friends for even longer. But now, friendship has evolved into something deeper, and neither man knows how to tell the other how he feels. Enter a pair of hitchhiking ghosts, and the problem just might
become even greater!

Rated PG
Genre: m/m, m/f, paranormal
Heat: mild

Wond'ring Aloud by Belinda McBride

Martin Westborough carefully dipped his pen into the well of India ink. He thought for a moment before setting pen to paper, letting the words run through his mind, uttering the stanza out loud, just to m
ake certain it was right. Once the words began to flow, he quickly filled the page with line after line, letting the rhythm and meter carry him away. He hummed a bit, listening to the birds outside the window and the breeze in the treetops. It was an ideal day in the English countryside. The cerulean blue of the sky was studded with white clouds. The wind carried away the heat of early summer. In the distance, he heard the lowing of a cow. It was as it had always been and would always be. Perfect.

“Darling, did you say something?”

He jumped at the unexpected intrusion. Jane stood framed in the doorway, her loose morning dress failed to disguise the shapely curves of her body. Her hair was arranged in a simple twist at the nape of her neck and ringlets broke free, framing the perfection of her face. Her cherry-red lips curved up in a smile.

He blinked in confusion. Was this how the conversation was supposed to go?

“No, I was humming a moment ago, but no, I said nothing.”

“Oh.” Her smooth brow puckered in a frown. “I thought I heard someone call out. It was a man’s voice.” She turned from the door, starting back down the stairs. He watched as she paus
ed and looked at him. “I believe I’ll take a walk in the garden. The roses are so lovely this time of year. Would you care to join me?”

He looked at her, love surging through his very essence. He’d loved Jane all his existence, it seemed. When
they’d secretly pledged their love, he’d promised her eternity, if she’d only wait for him. And she’d waited faithfully, through schooling and war and finally his homecoming. They’d wed against their parents’ hopes, though both sets had accepted the union graciously.

“I’ve just a bit left to the verse, and then I’ll join you.”

She smiled and left the room, her footsteps echoed down the stairs, until he could no longer hear her. Martin shook his head. She knew not to interrupt him when he was writing, but he couldn’t find it within him to be annoyed with Jane. He looked d
own at the blank page in front of him and began the words to the poem he’d been considering for so long. Pen touched paper and he paused. It wouldn’t hurt to do things a bit differently once in awhile. Martin reached for his hat and coat and then set them back down. It was a lovely day and no one would care if he went outside bareheaded and in his shirtsleeves. After all, this was his home and he was free to act as he wished.

* * *

“Would you look at that?” David Cameron leaned forward, peering through the windshield at the beautiful old estate that rose before him. “Are you sure this place is abandoned?”

Calvin carefully steered the van up the graveled drive, coming slowly to a stop at the back of the property. He checked the photo of the house that the owners had sent and compared it to the house in front of them. “This is it. It’s in great condition, though. They must have caretakers coming in pretty regularly.”

Indeed, the gardens around the house were healthy and well-tended, if a bit overgrown. The cottage itself was a work of art. Cottage? David laughed under his breath. This was t
he wealthy aristocrat’s version of a cottage. It rose at least three stories, and yes, it was more quaint than stately. Still, he’d expected something a bit more humble.

He hopped out of the van, shading his eyes against the sun. It was a brilliant day, much different than what he’d experienced when they’d arrived in London. The rain and fog had been depressing, forcing them to drive slowly on their trek to the coun
tryside near the Scottish border. Last night, they’d stayed at a tiny bed and breakfast inn, and David had lain awake late into the night, clearing his mind so that he’d be ready for his first day at Rosemead.

He and Calvin were ghost hunters. They’d started the business as a hobby in their late teens, using the oc
casional job to supplement their meager college funds. David’s studies had leaned toward history with a minor in psychology while Calvin had remained firmly entrenched in his tech world. When they graduated the jobs kept coming, and they finally got serious a bout the business.

They approached the job differen
tly than other teams. Basically, David went in blind. He’d go in and let the past tell him its story. His results were always backed up by the scientific evidence collected by Calvin. Sometimes they found nothing, and sometimes they struck gold.

He had a good feeling about this place.

He headed to the back of the van and watched Calvin for a moment. Black, razor styled hair glinted in the sun. Cal had always taken his style hints from Canto-pop stars. A fringe hung over one eye and he impatiently pushed it back. David smiled; he’d worked so hard on the effect that morning. Personally, he liked it when Calvin forgot about his hair for a few months, letting it grow out to his shoulders. It was straight and sleek, unlike David’s messy red curls.

Cal wore a white tee-shirt under his bad boy leather jacket. Tight blue jeans were tucked into a pair of lace-up Doc Martins. He wasn’t tall, wasn’t short, and had a body that stopped traffic.

Calvin stood, stretched and put his hands on his hips, looking around the yards.
“Too much work goes into
a place like this. Give me a condo any day.” He leaned forward, hauling out a box of cables. David took the moment to enjoy the guilty pleasure of ogling his friend’s ass, and then took the box from him. “Just leave it there at the back door. I don’t want to set up till we walk through the place.”

David set down the box and wandered into the cottage gardens. Plants grew wild, spilling over neat borders in a
riot of color. Bright scents filled the air and bees lazily hovered over the tiny blossoms of a lavender bush. A path covered with dirty white stone lead to riotous growths of flowers. Further back grew roses of all sizes and colors. Quaint stone benches were scattered around in the shade, and he had no problem imagining people wandering these paths in years gone by.

He walked a bit, listening to the crunch of the granite beneath his feet. When he stopped, he heard only birds singing and the breeze in the treetops. It was as though he was alone. Completely alone. But he wasn’t alone at all. He closed his eyes, listening to the lilt of a voice that just eluded his hearing. Soft laughter an
d then a gasp of pleasure. He flushed slightly and his cock began to rise in sympathetic arousal. He shivered and listened with more than his ears.

“Dave!” Calvin’s voice sounded urgent, so David began to trot up the path, surprised he’d come so far. When he arrived back at
the house, his friend was waiting impatiently. There was a pile of boxes and equipment that he’d already unloaded.

“Sorry!” He could see Calvin was royally pissed. “Just wandered off down the path. Next thing I knew, I heard you calling.”

He tilted his head, looking up into David’s face. “You look pale. You okay?”

“Fine.” David forced a smile to his face. He’d lost at least twenty minutes. Maybe longer. He looked behind
him, down the garden path. He then took a deep breath. “Let’s get inside. Check this place out.”

“After you.” Cal grinned, and let David lead them into the house.

* * *

This place was the real deal. Calvin could see it on Dave’s face. It was in the set of his shoulders as he prowled from ro
om to room, a mixture of excitement and apprehension in his voice. He’d been more distraction than help as Calvin set up monitors and computers, so he’d sent David away to tour the house. For being old, it was in remarkably sound condition. The owners swore that they couldn’t get anyone in to clean or do repairs. They’d purchased it on the cheap, hoping to turn it into an upscale bed and breakfast establishment; the sort that catered to wedding parties and such. Unfortunately, their plans had been a bust. Now they were hoping to draw a different sort of clientele. If Calvin and Dave could verify a haunting, thrill seekers might come calling. Unfortunately, they’d still have to deal with the fact that none of the locals were willing to set foot on the property.

The house was mind-bending. Most of the furniture was gone, but the rooms were in pristine condition. The wall paper was intact, still vividly colored. The wooden floors gleamed, as did the windows. It was slightly dusty, but overall, cleaner than his apartment back in Berkeley. An few pieces remained but it seemed rude to
use the beautiful wooden furniture to hold his equipment, so Calvin brought in folding tables and camp chairs.

They’d debated the merits of staying in the house overnight, and had decided to work until a few hours after dark, and then head on down the road to a busy little inn. To his consterna
tion, and anticipation, there had been only one vacancy at the inn. Two single beds in one single room. But then, he and David had shared the inflatable mattress many times on other jobs, but that had been in the course of work. Somehow, sharing the intimacy of a room was more intimidating.
He knew it was idiotic to view his friend this way. He knew…but still, at some point over the years, Calvin’s pe
rception of David had shifted. One day, they’d partied together, studied together and even dated together. The next, Calvin was looking at David as though he was more…as though he was his.

And that wasn’t okay.

Neither of them was innocent. Neither of them were completely straight, either. He’d seen the looks Davey had given to the occasional man over the years; generally a hunky, tall guy like himself. Short Chinese men hadn’t been on his menu. Maybe he craved someone larger and stronger; someone who could take him, make him cry out into the pillow.

And at some point over the years, Calvin had come to the realization that his friend was the real deal. David was what made their little business different. He was a real, bonafide psychic. A medium. When he’d first realized that, Calvin had been both thrilled and terrified. Not of David, but for David. His scientific skills combined with David’s talent gave them a distinct edge over the completion.

Unlike his friend, Calvin liked to know what he was walking into. He always had some research under his belt. He always had an idea of what they were looking for at a haunting, and when David managed to draw the story from an old building, his ability frightened Calvin to the core. He was not so much frightened of the ghosts or spirits, but of the toll it took on David. Just an hour ago, he’d wandered into the garden, losing a good half-hour down there. He didn’t wan
t to know what the hell had happened; he just wanted that look off of Davey’s face. He wanted him back where he could protect him.

Good God, he loved him. And he couldn’t keep going on like this.

“Hey Davey?”

“Hmm?” Dave glanced over at him, the a
fternoon light caught on the strawberry gold of his hair. With coloring like his, David should be homely, but his blue eyes were bright and surrounded by dark lashes. He never missed a chance to tease him about his pale skin, but in reality, it fascinated him. As he aged, David grew from gawky to handsome. His lanky limbs muscled out and he grew more confident by the day.

“What do you think about adding a couple team members? Maybe take a bit of pressure off the two of us?” Well, it would take the pressure off him if he wasn’t on the road with David, day in and day out. Maybe he could get over this man crush. Maybe he could find someone and get laid. Accept reality and move on with his live. “I’m nearly thirty. I’m thinking I’d like to buy a place, have a home base. Maybe manage the business rather than be on the road all the time.”

David frowned. “I guess. Not many people have your background...” He trailed off, his attention caught by something. Calvin bit his tongue to keep himself quiet. It was starting. David closed his eyes, focusing on whatever it was that had captured his attention. It was pretty lame to have brought this up during a job; Da
vid didn’t need the distraction.

He moved quickly to his bank of monitors, looking at various read-outs. Nothing looked out of the ordinary, except…nothing was moving. All the graphs and monitors had frozen in place. He looked up at David, meaning to speak, but his friend was frozen in place, an expression of intense concentration on his face.

“Hello? Can you hear me?”

The silence vibrated in his ears. He studied the monitors, and suddenly they came to life, graphs and needles and warning lights all flashed in a chaotic flurry of color and movement. He’d kept the sound turned off so it didn’t disturb David.

Suddenly, all the monitors went back to
normal. Whatever had been there was gone. The two men stared at each other.

“It was a woman. Maybe a man too.” David was white as a sheet. As white as if he’d seen…a ghost. And apparently, that’s exactly what he’d seen.

* * *

They lay in their bed, the sheets tangled around sweaty limbs, their breath still coming hard. Martin nuzzled Jane’s hair, enjoying the lavender fragrance of its length. He dropped a kiss on her temple, and then cupped her breast. She was perfect as she’d ever been.

“I’ve had the strangest feeling today.” Her breath stirred the hair on his chest, causing him to shiver. Or maybe he shivered because he shared that strange feeling. He’d heard the soft murmur of voices and had been plagued by feelings…déjà vu. So much felt familiar.
She rose, not bothering with her robe, and Martin enjoyed the sight of her pale skin in the late afternoon sun.

“You worked so hard on your song today, but now the page is blank.”

“What?” He rose and joined her at the small writing desk. Sure enough, the parchment was pristine. He clearly remembered writing; though the words were hazy in his mind. “That’s strange.” Yet it wasn’t. The page was always blank when he returned to it.

And then he remembered. She must have remembered too. They’d broken their routine today. It had jolted them into remembrance. Their gazes met and she smiled winsomely at him.

“Do you mind so much?” He reached out, stroking her skin, remembering a time when it wasn’t so smooth and unlined. Her hair hadn’t always been this color of gold.

Jane moved into his arms, resting her head on his chest. “Mind? What more could I ask for, then to spend eternity with my love?”

He wrapped his arms around her, holding her close. Now he remembered and smiled, nipping the soft skin of her shoulder. For some, being trapped in limbo might be a curse, but every moment he spent with his Jane was a blessing. They moved through their daily routine endlessly, occasionally jolted back to reality when a visitor arrived at the cottage.

“There’s someone in the house. That’s what woke us.” She looked up at him, looping her arms around his neck. “Perhaps…”

“Perhaps we could visit them?” He finished her idea.

“Perhaps we could do more.” She didn’t smile, but a dimple appeared in her cheek. He leaned down, teasing the indent with the tip of his tongue. He knew exactly what she had in mind.
With a thought, they were in the drawing room, blinking past the fog of ages. The room was bare, or very nearly. He was momentarily puzzled at the odd machinery set up on tables, then recognized it as belonging to the present time these people inhabited. Two men stood frozen, one in the center of the room, the other behind the table at the far side of the room. The man who stood nearest them was nearly as tall as Martin. His blue eyes searched the room, finally settling on where he and Jane stood.

“Hello? Can you hear me?”

His accent was unusual, but Martin knew he’d heard it before. Over the years, many men and women had visited their home. None had managed to manifest quite so clearly as this one. The other man was little more than a hazy blur. Jane clasped his hand, pulling him from the room.

“Can he see us?” She looked up at him, her delight mingled with fear. He understood completely; how many years had it been just the two of them? There’d been a medium many years back, a pretentious, annoying man, but nevertheless, he’d managed to connect with them. Jane squeezed his hand, and with a glance to make sure they were both properly attired, Martin took a breath, moving slowly back into the room. They watched the men who now hovered behind the table, fussing with the machinery they’d brought with them.


He pulled it from the mind of the other man, letting the data and facts of the past few years flood his brain. Technology to prove the existence of…ghosts. He looked down at his wife; her expression told him she’d picked up the same thought. Twenty-first century. The lapse of time no longer had the power to surprise them, but he was fascinated by the advances that had taken place since they’d last had visitors.

The ginger-haired man straightened, looking straight at them. His eyes went wide and he started to move, one hand reaching out in their direction. Before Martin could warn him, he touched, his hand passing right through the fine black fabric of Martin’s sleeve. He felt nothing, but obviously, the medium was affected. His eyes rolled up in his head and he moaned, going limp. Just before he collapsed, the other man rushed forward, catching him.

“David!” He looked wildly around the room. “We aren’t here to hurt you! Leave him alone!”

Involuntarily, Martin and Jane stepped back, watching the man cradle the other in his arms. Gently, he stroked his face, running his fingers through David’s hair. He looked up again, seeing nothing. “Come on Davey, wake up!”

He was foreign in appearance; his face had high, jutting cheekbones, his almond shaped eyes angled up at the corners. Martin had seen images of men from the Orient, but had never seen one in person.

“Isn’t he just lovely?” Jane tilted her head a bit. “And so in love.”

Martin moved close, staring down into the man’s frightened face. “Can you hear me?” The man jerked in surprise. Maybe…he reached out, gently touching his arm. The man gasped. He looked up at Martin in awe.

“I can see you!”

Martin let go of his arm, but the visitor kept staring.

“I can
see you!”

“So you said.” Martin replied dryly. He smiled as the man scrambled back, dragging his friend with him.

“I…” He looked around, eyes wide in shock. “There’s stuff in here! Where’s my equipment?”

“It’s still here. You’re just seeing from our perspective.” Jane’s voice was soothing. She smiled happily. “It’s been a very long time since we had visitors. We’re so glad to welcome you. Martin, darling?”

He cleared his throat and performed introductions. “I’m Martin Westborough, and this is my wife Jane. Welcome to our home.”

“C..Calvin Yee. My friend is David Cameron. My…we were hired to come here..” He stammered, clearly overwhelmed. “We were hired to see if the place was really haunted. Owners can’t get anyone to come out here…”

“I see. There have been a few like you over the years. But it’s just the two of us.” He smiled, trying to reassure the young man. “No malevolent spirits; no angry specters. Just an old married couple.”

“Old.” For the first time, Calvin laughed. “You look like kids. Young adults, anyway.”

It was true; they’d taken the form they’d been at in the prime of their lives. Still, they were quite old. They’d lived good, long lives.

“Why are you still here? In this house?” Calvin still cradled the still form of his friend, though the tall man was stirring. His eyes fluttered, and then went wide as he looked around, taking in the situation. He suddenly sat up, holding the other man’s arms in place. He was paper-white, but less afraid than the other man.

“I touched you…” He looked from Martin to Jane and then back. “I felt you, but there was nothing…”

“That’s why you fainted.” Jane smiled kindly at him. When David looked around, he looked ready to pass out again.

Martin answered Calvin’s earlier question. “We don’t know why we never passed over. Perhaps we stayed because we wanted nothing more than each other.”

“Like a wish gone wrong.” David was scrambling to his feet. Calvin followed, steadying him.

“Oh no, it’s not so bad. We live through our daily routine until a visitor disrupts it. That’s really the only time I find myself wishing for more.” Jane smiled, moving to settle into a wing chair. “That’s why we decided to approach you. We wondered if you could help us.”

Martin moved to the edge of the room, peering out the drawing room window. The world was as he’d always known it, but if he looked a bit harder, he was able to see the changes that had taken place in the world since he’d last walked abroad. He let the curtain drop back into place.

“We are happy here, make no mistake about that. But we are restricted to the boundaries of the property. We are unable to go elsewhere. Unless people come here and seek us out, we are quite alone.”

“And we can help you?” David was looking steadier with every minute. He looked a bit wary, though. “How can we do that?”

“When you leave the property, if you are willing, you can carry us with you.” Martin studied their faces, not willing to let his eagerness show too clearly. He craved sound and company, even for just a short time. He knew Jane felt the need as well.

“Like…possession?” Calvin spoke warily.

“No, we would have no influence over your behavior. We would simply observe.” Jane smiled prettily. It wasn’t quite the full truth, but Martin chose not to interrupt. As always, his wife’s charm took them further than his cool, factual demeanor. “And we can’t stay with you very long. In time, we would be compelled to return here to our home.”

The two men glanced at one another. He could see David’s eagerness contrasted with Calvin’s reluctance.

“Give a piggyback ride to a couple ghosts?” Calvin heaved a deep breath and shrugged. “No funny business? No bad intentions?”

“None at all. We simply want to observe the living world for a time. We have no influence over your behavior.” She folded her hands and looked anxiously at the two men. Martin held his breath, and then let it out abruptly as both men slowly nodded.

“Why the hell…heck not?” David shrugged. “I doubt we’ll ever get a chance to do something like this again. So how does it work?”

“Like this.” With little more than a thought, Martin moved, finding himself housed in the body of another. It felt odd and ill fitting. Just a few feet away, David shook his head and he saw Jane’s essence hovering around his, like an aura.

“Jane?” He looked anxiously at her.

“I’m fine.” Her voice came out deeper and oddly accented. Still, it was Jane. He smiled as she patted her temporary body, lingering at the groin. “I never get tired of this!”

“Catching a ride, or inhabiting a man?”

“Both.” She tilted her head just a bit. “They’ll be back soon. Do you notice anything odd in their thoughts? Will they be safe?”

Martin let himself flow through Calvin. Chinese…he was from America, but he was Chinese. And…

“He’s in love. With David.” And so very sad about it. He thought his best friend was oblivious. And oddly, after all these years, it was legal for men to love. Not widely accepted, but not a legal offense.

“And this one is the same. He thinks Calvin would be shocked. Offended.” She walked up to Martin, bending down to settle a kiss on Calvin’s lips. “Silly young men. They have much to learn from us.”

“And we’ve got very little time to teach them.” He felt Calvin’s body react to the embrace and knew it wasn’t just him. Somehow, Calvin was responding to David. Jane smiled wickedly, thrusting their hips together. They ground a bit, their cocks rubbing against the rough fabric of their trousers.

“Time to let go.” Jane stepped back a few feet, her smile on David’s lips. “He’s starting to come back.”

Calvin was returning as well. Martin let go of the body, content to settle in see where these men took them.

* * *

“Damn.” David shivered, still trying to shake off the feeling of the brief possession. Had he imagined it, or had he and Calvin been kissing? No, that was Jane and Martin, the beautiful ghosts of Rosemead Cottage. He wondered if any portraits of the two existed. Before they left Rosemead, he’d have to visit the local museum.

“Can you feel them?” Calvin slipped behind the wheel of the van, just sitting with his hands resting on the wheel.

“I’ve got Jane, I think. But it’s not like I can feel her. I just kind of know.”

“Same here. Martin’s there, but just watching.”

Was it his imagination, or had Calvin just glanced at David’s groin? He’d been hard as a rod when he’d roused, and noticed that Calvin had been as well. Even now, arousal simmered. David slid into the passenger seat, slowly buckling his seatbelt. “So what now? There’s not really a lot to see in the village.”

“Just…we can go to the tavern. He just wants to see faces.” They exchanged glances. “Okay, so that was weird.”

“Jane wants to see fabric…clothing.” He frowned, not really hearing her thoughts, but feeling them. “She wants the same; just to see faces. They have descendants in the area.”

Calvin drove slowly down the narrow roadway, giving their passengers time to look around and see the changes to the countryside. Some of what they saw was unfamiliar. Much was largely unchanged.

“That was her home when she was young.” David nodded toward a handsome old house that was attached to a church. Jane had been the youngest daughter of the local vicar. His gaze lingered as they passed. In moments, they were rolling into the village. Calvin parked the van near the tavern they were staying in. They got out and strolled down to the village, sightseeing and window shopping. The small town was a mish-mosh of architectural styles. Some were like old friends, some were unfamiliar. He laughed when he realized that a disreputable old tavern had been converted into a movie theatre.

David found himself studying clothing and hairstyles, occasionally glancing at the cars that lined the roadside. It was like seeing the world through new eyes. When they’d driven through early in the day, he’d seen a quaint English village. Now, he was seeing details; a familiar storefront with a different tenant. Even faces were comforting.

“Time passes, but I swear I just saw Squire Wilson!” That was Jane speaking. He felt a surge of apology and laughed. Without thinking, he reached down, clasping Calvin’s hand.

Oh damn. He didn’t look, but since his friend didn’t pull away, he left his hand there, enjoying the forbidden contact. They drew a few looks, but not as many as he expected. Later, he’d blame it on Jane. For now, his heart raced as Calvin tightened his grip slightly.

“I was frightened earlier. When you fainted.”

“I didn’t faint!” David looked at Calvin in indignation. “I’d just touched a ghost! I’m a psychic, stuff like that hits me hard.”

“Hmm. First time you’ve said that out loud. About being a psychic. I always knew, but wasn’t sure that you were comfortable with it.”

They walked on, pausing to examine a window with electronics on display.
“When I was a kid, I used to hear voices in our house. Not loud, and nothing I could really make out. No one else heard it. When we moved to a new condo it stopped.”

“Did you miss it?” They walked into a busy little pub. David was disappointed when Calvin finally let loose of his hand.

They took seats at a small round table.
He looked at Calvin, and that’s when he knew that things were changing. Shifting. There was something new there in his friend’s brown eyes…a sense of knowledge. Under the table, their legs brushed together, and once again, he felt his arousal stir.

“Yes and no. Once I figured out that I was hearing stuff other people didn’t hear, I felt…weird. Freakish. But at the same time, it gave me such a sense of peace, knowing that death wasn’t the end.”

They ordered the house ale and a plowman’s lunch. He barely tasted it, but knew that Jane was enjoying the common fare. Did they eat ghost food? They were both dressed in antique clothing, she in a high waisted dress, Martin wore a simple, yet elegant black suit. His brain scrambled to place their era.

“They lived in the 1700s. Jane died of a stroke. Martin passed just a few days later. They were married a very long time.”

Calvin’s hand was flat on the table and David reached out, laying his hand over Calvin’s. He looked up and studied the other man’s face.

“How do you feel about this?” He looked down at their hands. For a moment, it looked as though Calvin was about to cry. David tightened his grip and then started to pull away. Cal grabbed his hand, cradling it in his.

“I feel…good. Right.” He looked up at David. “I was afraid…” He reached up with his free hand, rubbing it over his eyes. “I was afraid to tell you. I’m going to be thirty, you know. I’ve loved you for years and all I could see was being alone. Without you. Forever.”

“Is that why you suggested we expand the business? To get away from me?”

Calvin nodded. “Yeah. I just…it’s too hard, working so close, always worrying, but never being able to show how I feel.” He glanced around the dimly lit pub. “Is this because of them? Their feelings?”

David shook his head. “No, this is us. I’ve been trying to work up the guts to talk to you about it.” He lifted Calvin’s hand, carrying it to his lips. “I love you, Cal. Have for quite awhile now.” His smile felt lopsided on his face.

He looked inside and found Jane, who was brimming with delight. So she had played a role…maybe just a small role in pushing them forward. She’d reached out for her husband’s hand, carrying David along. All they’d needed was a little icebreaker.

With a sigh, he felt her leave. No goodbyes, but he knew where to find her.

“He’s gone.” Calvin twisted his hand in David’s grip, and for a moment, his heart dropped. But then he found his fingers pressed against Calvin’s mouth. “I think I remember us kissing, back there in the cottage.”

“I remember that too. Woke up with a boner.”

“You always wake up with a boner.” Calvin gave his finger a tiny lick, and then blew over it. David pulled a breath, trying to will down the erection that was pressing against the zipper of his jeans.

“Now we’re alone again. We’ve got a room upstairs. I’ll bet those two beds will fit together just fine.”

David rose on unsteady legs. He dug into his pocket, dropping a bill on the table. He looked around the pub. A moment ago, it had seemed quiet and private. Now the noise of a dozen conversations began to rise around them. It felt friendly here. Good. “We could buy it, you know. The house. Give us roots and give them a window on the world.”

Calvin stared at him for a moment. “We could do that. Especially if the owner finds out it’s not haunted.” A smile started at the corner of his mouth and he glanced up toward the stairs. David followed Calvin up to their room and in just minutes, they discovered that indeed, the two beds fit together perfectly.

* * *

Martin finished the poem with a flourish. He smiled down at the page, even though they both knew that once he looked away, the page would go blank.

Jane smiled at her handsome husband. He wore only his shirtsleeves and weskit. His hair was unfashionably long and inky black. She stepped back from the door, hiding the fact that she’d been spying.


She appeared in the doorway, bearing a tray with toasted bread and tea. The fragrance filled the room and sudden hunger flared in his eyes. She sat the tray on the bed and turned, walking into his arms. Martin whirled her into a waltz, humming a lovely tune that was completely unfamiliar to her.

“Martin! The tea!” With a crash, the tray toppled to the floor. They looked at each other and burst into laughter.

“That was your homemade marmalade, I expect.” He looked disappointed at the loss. “I will help you with another tray.” He slipped out of his weskit, tossing it to the floor. “Later.” He pressed her back against the bed, studying her face.

Jane reached up, combing his hair back from his high forehead. He’d always been such a handsome man. She was grateful she’d followed her heart and married her poet, rather than the wealthy landowner her father had hoped for.

Thinking of their courtship reminded her of other lovers.
“I’m glad they found each other. Soul mates are so rare. We did a good thing, didn’t we, Martin?”

“A very good thing.” He smiled and kissed her. “How many does that make for us?”

“At least a dozen couples. And that odd little threesome who came to visit in the last century.”

He smiled. “Ah yes. I remember them. I wonder when our next star-crossed lovers will show?”

“I suppose there’s no telling.” Jane began to work at his clothing, pulling his shirt from the back of his trousers. They could simply think themselves naked, but that took away so much of the fun.

“I finished the song.” He sat up to pull the shirt over his head. “It vanished from the page, but this time…” He tapped the side of his head. “It’s here. No need to write it again.”

“How lovely…that’s what we danced to, isn't it?” Somewhere in the house, a door slammed. She clearly heard footsteps on the ground floor. Martin gave an exasperated sigh, but really, they had forever to make love. They clasped hands and vanished, ready to see who was on their doorstep.
* * * * * * * * * *

Belinda McBride is published at Loose Id, Changeling Press, Passion in Print and Dreamspinner Press. She specializes in erotic romance in multiple genres, including LGBT, m/b, science fiction, paranormal and BDSM. You can visit her website at:

http://www.belindamcbridecom And her blog at:

Her next release is the paranormal menage 'Hunting Holly' in the upcoming Doms of Dark Haven 2: Western Night anthology, coming to Loose Id on May 16!


Debby said...

Hi Belinda, I get to write the first comment. What a beautiful story. I love how there are two stories in one. I am enjoying these little stories each week. I have to say I have never been disappointed. thanks you so much
debby236 at gmail dot com

Linda Mooney said...

Wow, I LOVE this story! Thank you, Belinda!

Belinda McBride said...

Aw, thanks you guys! I went sort of long, but at least you got your money's worth! LOL!

Missy Jane said...

What a sweet, romantic story. I LOVED it!

Diana Castilleja said...

Great romantic story, Belinda. :)

Layla Hunter said...

oh I absolutely loved this story within a story! So romantic and poetic as well. Leaves the door open for other ghostly influences over other couples as well!

Lovely way to wrap up a Saturday afternoon and head into evening.


Celtic Chick said...

Hi Belinda,

What a wonderful story about ghosts helping to bring lovers together.

I also like that you used an obscure Jethro Tull song for your story.

desere_steenberg said...

Loved this post really excellent !

Viki Lyn said...

This brought tears to my eyes! I haven't read too many ghost stories, so this was a treat. And I love that the couple turned out to be match makers. Great ending.

Phylis said...

Finaly got a chance to read last Saturday's post and I enjoyed this. Kind of a two for one love story. Beautiful. Thanks you Beliinda for sharing this story.