(First published in a storytime blog hop April 2017)
“I thought we agreed you were going to make yourself scarce,” I hissed.
“You agreed,” Jake smirked. “I just let you think I agreed.”
Jake shared my flat. Not by my choice and, as far as I could tell, not by his either.
Previous tenants had come and gone without noticing him, but my knack of seeing dead people had put paid to his habit of quiet ghostly co-habitation. We’d eventually muddled along and roughed out some ground rules, and I’d convinced him to put his poltergeist traits to good use by keeping the place tidy.
This was the first time I’d brought a date home though.
“It occurred to me that you should have a chaperone present. You don’t know anything about this chap.” Jake fiddled with his threadbare cravat, and threw me what I assumed was supposed to be a concerned look.
“I know more about him than I do about you.” All I knew of Jake was that he’d been here since eighteen-something-or-other and was very cagey about whatever his profession had been. “Only an idiot wouldn’t do a sensible bit of stalking on social media first.”
“You keep telling me not to trust anything you read. I prefer to go with what I can see with my own eyes.”
“Well, what you’re seeing right now is me pointing at the door. I like this guy and I’m not into weird threesomes.”
“What sort of threesomes do you prefer?” he waggled his eyebrows at me.
“Just get out.”
He strolled over to the door. “I’m going. But you might want to check through his pockets,” was his parting shot before he slid through it.
Damn him. Now instead of cozying up on the sofa with a glass of wine, I couldn’t stop wondering what he meant.
“You were right,” I admitted when Jake drifted back an hour later. “It was horrible. Steve kept insisting he’d never seen Gran’s ring in his life and had no idea how it had got into his pocket. He was so upset I almost believed him despite the evidence right in front of me. But then my credit card fell out of his sock!”
“I hate to say I told you so.” Jake perched beside me on the sofa and wafted my forgotten wine glass across to me. “What’s a credit card?”
“How could you tell about him?”
“Never try to kid a kidder. It was the way he looked everything over the moment he arrived.”
“I thought he was admiring the decor. Damn, I really liked him.”
Jake shrugged philosophically and passed my grandmother’s engagement ring over, the small diamond glinting in the lamplight. “Lock this away somewhere safer next time. Your bedside table is too obvious.”
I took it from him and a thought occurred to me as I gazed into the sparkling depths of the few carats anyone in my family had ever been able to afford. “It’s curious that out of every thing he could have chosen, Steve picked the one thing most precious to me. There are much more valuable things he could have chosen.” I slanted a glance across to him.
Jake’s ghostly cheeks glowed a faint pink. “Ah,” he said.
“The credit card, though. I suspect that was much more his style.”
“What is a credit card?”