What am I gonna do?
Evelyn spent all day sitting alone in the darkness, trying to figure out how she could face Lucas again.
He must hate me… She thought miserably. And could she really blame him? She’d rejected him so abruptly, so coldly. I have to explain myself. Evelyn decided. Lucas deserved to understand why.
When she ventured outside that evening, Lucas was already waiting for her, his nervousness apparent on his face. “Evelyn,” he began speaking as she drew closer to him. “About last night…”
“No, please.” She interrupted, cutting him off. “I… I owe you an apology.” The ghost hung her head low.
Lucas simply shook his head in return. “You don’t.” He insisted. “I do. It was really stupid of me to say those things to you…” The boy’s cheeks reddened slightly as he spoke. “It doesn’t change how I feel,” he admitted, “but I shouldn’t have put you on the spot like that, or been so forward about it… Can you forgive me?”
“Lucas, there’s nothing to forgive.”
He continued on, ignoring her words. “I know you still think of me as a kid… I mean, I’m not even 17 yet…” Lucas muttered, embarrassed. “But we’ll be the same age in a few years.” He added, almost hopefully. “So, maybe…”
Evelyn cut him off with a laugh that may have been of bitterness or amusement… maybe both.
“What?” Lucas demanded, slightly annoyed and even more embarrassed than before.
“I’m sorry.” Evelyn tried her best to stop laughing. “But that’s the problem, don’t you get it?” She sighed. “I look 20, I act 20, I even feel 20. And I’ve felt this way for the past 25 years… I’m stuck. Forever.”
The smile was completely gone from her face now. Evelyn floated silently toward the nearby patio table as she continued. Lucas followed. “I’m 45 years old, Lucas. But I’m stuck at 20. Someday, you’ll be 45 years old, and I’ll still be stuck at 20. And then one day, years from now, you’ll be long gone and I’ll be one hundred and forty-five years old. And guess what?” She shook her head. “Still stuck…”
“I still don’t know what I did to deserve this.” Evelyn went on. “But that’s the way it is. So yeah, I guess I still think of you as a kid. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that I still think of myself as barely more than a kid… And I always will. And that’s not fair to either one of us.”
She finally stopped speaking, looking nervously toward Lucas for a reaction.
“So… It’s not that you don’t… y’know. Feel the same about me?” He asked nervously.
Evelyn bit her lip. “Of course it’s not that.” She admitted. “Things have been changing a lot between us the past couple years… We both know that. But what hasn’t changed is the fact that this… us… Would never work.”
“Well, why not?”
“Have you seriously not heard a word I’ve said?”
“I have.” Lucas said softly. “But I still don’t see why not… Don’t you remember my promise? I’m gonna find a way to get you your life back. I’ll never stop trying.” He insisted.
Evelyn simply rolled her eyes. “Sure. And what happens if it doesn’t work? What if you never find a way?”
Lucas did not hesitate. “I will.” He said firmly. “But even if I don’t, who cares?”
“You will. You’ll care. Don’t you want to be married someday?” Evelyn countered, her voice full of sadness. “Don’t you want children?”
“And how would that work, exactly? If I stay stuck like this…”
This time, Lucas did hesitate. “I… I don’t know.” He admitted.
Evelyn rose from her seat, turning away from him. “See?” She muttered.
Lucas got to his feet as well. “Hey, look… I don’t know what’s gonna happen, okay?”
“I don’t want to hold you back.” The girl shook her head. “I don’t want to hurt you… Or have you hurt me…” She added sadly.
“I would never do that!” Lucas reached out, touching her cheek as gently as he could so as not to pass through her.
“You say that now…”
Lucas thought back to his father’s words from just a few days before. “Maybe things will work out, maybe they won’t…This kind of thing can be scary, but you have to be brave.”
So Lucas decided to be brave.
He reached out to her, as firmly as he was able to, and kissed her.
Evelyn raised her arms in shock, and considered pulling away from him. But the slight warmth of his lips on hers and the barely-perceptible pressure of his hands on her shoulder and the small of her back felt so natural, so right that she let it happen, pulling herself closer to him.
Unfortunately, their bliss did not last for long. They became a bit over-zealous, trying to pull themselves too close together, and pressing their lips together too tightly. Lucas gasped sharply as his entire face was enveloped in a freezing-cold mist when it passed straight through Evelyn.
They pulled apart abruptly, giggling.
“It’s like I said, this won’t work.” Evelyn said, though she smiled as she did so.
“Maybe not.” Lucas agreed. “But I’m willing to still try, if you are.” He reached out, gently cupping her hands in his.
Evelyn knew this could only end in disaster, but as she looked into his bright green eyes, she could not find it in her heart to disagree. “Okay,” she smiled, “I’m game.”