With the camping trip over, Lucas and Evelyn easily fell back into their usual routines. Every week, Lucas went to school, did his homework, worked at the diner, and spent time with his friends (with strict adult supervision – Lucas’ escapades in Granite Falls were not so easily forgiven). Of course, he still set aside a few nights a week for Evelyn, too. The only difference was that he also set aside some time to carefully attend to the new plants in his garden.
“We’re getting there.” He would tell her, night after night. “You’ll see.”
Beneath her doubt, Evelyn secretly hoped he was right.
Evelyn’s routine remained unchanged as well, though hers remained much less exciting than Lucas’. She spent her days floating in the darkness, alone with her thoughts. On the nights she spent alone, Evelyn often did the same, not even bothering to leave her tomb. What was the point? She always asked herself. It wasn’t like she could do anything anyway…
Her nights with Lucas always ended the same way. He would pull out his phone to check the time, and give her that guilty look that told her exactly what was coming. “I should probably get some sleep…” He would say, with some sweet, affectionate gesture that made saying goodbye even worse than it already was.
Sometimes she would be fine, and wish him a cheery goodnight. Other times, she would beg him to stay with her, just a little longer. But he almost never could…
So she would spend the rest of the night sitting alone, sometimes pushing herself to wait until the sun came up, so she could get a glimpse of its beauty. Someday… Evelyn would often tell herself, thinking of Lucas’ optimism. Maybe he was right. Maybe she could be saved. Maybe one day she could feel the warmth of the sun on her skin again, or go play guitar in the park, or make a new friend.
But, of course, today was not that day. It never was. The strange force that compelled her to retreat to her grave always took over, and she had no choice but to obey.
In a way, things had been so much easier before she’d met Lucas. Her existence had been sad, lonely, and empty… But she’d accepted her fate, and was prepared to face it. Now, she was no longer content with her solitude, for he had given her something both wonderful and terrible to hold on to – Hope.
“Dude, are you sure it’s a good idea for us to be here while your parents are gone” Sam asked uncertainly.
Lucas nodded, laughing. “It’s been nearly two months… I’m pretty sure I’m not in trouble anymore.”
Noah shook his head. “I can’t believe it — they pretty much put you under house arrest over a text message.”
“Well, my parents aren’t stupid… They knew what was going on.” He smiled at Noah. “I’m glad you’re finally off the hook too.”
“Yeah, but they still have that stupid lock on the liquor cabinet now…”
Evelyn floated in the doorway, hidden, as she eavesdropped on the conversation. The sun had just gone down, and, knowing Lucas’ parents would be out, she had planned on surprising him. She hadn’t realized he’d have company.
Evelyn lingered for a few more moments, feeling both intrigued and jealous. Not jealous that these boys were taking Lucas’ attention, though. That did not bother her at all. She was jealous at the mere fact that he was able to have friends at all. Hearing him talk about Sam and Noah had been one thing, but seeing them together… Doesn’t he see how lucky he is? Evelyn wondered.
She turned away, about to head back outside, when a thought suddenly came to her. Lucas’ parents were completely unable to see her, that much was certain. But what about his friends? She’d heard so much about them, but she’d never actually tried to have any contact with them.
The ghost hesitated. This was risky, she knew. Would they be able to see her? How would they respond? Only one way to find out… Evelyn was tired of hiding, and she was sure Lucas was too.
Her mind made up, she took a deep breath, put on a smile, and walked through the doorway.