Soon enough, the anticipated day finally arrived and after a relatively easy and problem-free labour, Chantia was able to bring home a healthy little girl, who she and Sam had decided to name Arienne.Sam and Chantia weren’t the only ones who had been anticipating the arrival of little Arienne. The ghosts all made turns to visit the newcomer, but the one Chantia usually encountered at her child’s side was Charlotte. The long-dead girl could usually be found staring at Arienne with quiet awe in her eyes, just watching the child sleep. She never attempted to touch the baby, but Chantia was unsure if it was because Charlotte was afraid of hurting the girl or because she simply couldn’t interact with little Arienne. After all, Arienne hadn’t been born on Full Moon like Chantia had been.
“Do you think she’ll be able to see you?” Chantia asked curiously after a while. Charlotte shot Chantia a surprised glance at the question, but she soon turned her attention back to the girl happily gurgling in the cot.
“She can see me,” Charlotte confirmed and offered a finger to the baby to prove her point, and sure enough, little Arienne reached out for the translucent finger. Even so, Charlotte made sure to keep her finger out of reach the entire time. “Remember I told you that the magic of our sister world latched onto you at your birth?” At Chantia’s hesitant nod, Charlotte continued. “Well, it seems a little bit of that magic carried over to her. She’ll never be quite as proficient as you are, but she can see us.” Charlotte offered her finger to the child again, but this time she didn’t remove it away from the child’s grasp. To Chantia’s mild surprise though, Arienne’s tiny fingers failed to make contact with the ghostly finger, phasing directly through it instead. “She just won’t be able to ever touch us, and we will never be able to touch her.”“That’s…kind of sad,” Chantia admitted. “I never considered the two to be exclusive.”
Charlotte inclined her head a bit in acknowledgement of Chantia’s statement. “You are the only living person able to touch us,” the ghost confessed. “Even Mia had never been able to touch us. Her potion doesn’t give that ability. Only people like you who were born just as the Full Moon rose will ever be able to touch us.” She shrugged slightly, clearly dismissing the matter.
Her words reminded Chantia of other things the ghosts cannot do, and with that she remembered the fruit Mia had given her just after they had graduated university – the one the genius had been positive would enable the ghosts to taste it in food. Chantia had kind of forgotten about the fruit, to be honest.“That reminds me,” she informed her friend, “Mia gave me something, a fruit. She said that, theoretically, you guys will be able to taste it if I use it in a recipe. Maybe we should have a little get-together tonight and try it; just me, you guys, and Mia, if you want to see her again,” Chantia suggested. She was still friends with the ghosts, and even though they shared a house, Chantia felt like she never got chance to just spend time with her friends anymore.
“Sounds like a good idea,” Charlotte agreed and stepped away from the crib, finally tearing her attention away from the baby now sleeping peacefully. “It would be nice to see Mia again. It’s been a long time since we last saw her.”
After discussing the idea for several minutes longer, Charlotte left the room to inform the other ghosts and Chantia, after making sure her daughter is still happy, left for the kitchen, trying to decide what she was going to do with that flame fruit.In the end, she decided on working the flame fruit into a Baked Angel Food Cake. The fruit was tricky to work with, stinging her fingers whenever she handled it too long and it took her most of the day to finish the desert, but even so she was quite happy with the end result, producing a cake of perfect quality.
She was just about to put the finishing touches on the curiously smoking cake when the baby monitor alerted her that Arienne was crying. She made her way up to the nursery, but when she arrived there, she noticed she hadn’t needed to bother.Sam was so preoccupied with taking care of Arienne that he didn’t even notice Chantia’s arrival. There was a soft, contented smile on his face and Chantia couldn’t get it into her heart to disturb his peace, so she left without a word, content with the knowledge that she didn’t need to worry about Arienne.
Chantia had planned in having the get-together in the kitchen, where everything was close at hand and easily accessible, but the ghosts had other plans.
“It’s Full Moon, Chantia,” Charlotte protested when Chantia suggested they retreat to the kitchen. “The magic is at its strongest tonight. The bridge is right here, by the lake, and the bridge is open tonight. We never stay inside on Full Moon nights.”
Chantia frowned slightly, not really eager to spend the evening outside in the cold and the snow when she knew she could spend it inside in the comfortable warmth of the kitchen.“It’s really cold outside,” Chantia pointed out stubbornly. “It’s the middle of the winter.”
Her argument did nothing to dissuade the ghost.
“It’s Full Moon,” Charlotte reiterated emphatically. “You can’t properly experience Full Moon unless you’re outside.”
Chantia was still really sceptical, but in the end she gave in to the ghosts, seeing as they remained quite adamant on the issue. A little cold won’t hurt her, and as long as she dressed warmly and made sure there was a steady supply of hot drinks for her and Mia, who had arrived several minutes earlier, she couldn’t really see a reason to refuse the ghosts.
She couldn’t really understand their adamant request, but when the moon finally rose and transformed the area into a scene that looked and felt like something out of a fairy-tale, she finally understood. She could almost physically feel the magic in the air surrounding them.“This is rather surreal,” Mia breathed in quiet amazement as she stared at the scene around them and Chantia had to quietly agree with her. Even from a non-magical point of view, it was rather surreal. Between the snow silently drifting down, the broken ice of the lake reflecting the moonlight and the misty spray from the nearby waterfall shining in the light, it looked like some otherworldly scene.
Charlotte laughed exuberantly when she heard those words, causing her laughter to ring joyously between the mountains sheltering them from the rest of the world that suddenly seemed so far away.
“Surreal, maybe,” she agreed with sparkling eyes, “but this is the reality of Full Moon. This is where the magic crosses over. This is where you can just give yourself over to the magic, and be connected to every single universe out there!”The small party started fully at Charlotte’s declaration. The magic in the air brought about a side of the ghosts Chantia had never seen before. Usually, they were a bit…distant, and Chantia had always thought the name they called themselves by – The Lost – fitted perfectly. But this night, this one, magically beautiful night, they looked for the first time like they belonged, laughing freely and openly and talking openly without inhibition.
It brought a rather humbling realisation to Chantia. If this was the way the ghosts were like during Full Moon, when the magic from other worlds – the World of the Dead amongst them – crossed over, what would they be like if they actually did live on the World of the Dead, where they really belonged? Would they always be this way?
“Is that what it means to be a magical being living in a non-magical world?” she mused softly to herself, but one of the ghosts heard her nonetheless.“If by ‘that’ you mean we can only be our true selves during Full Moon, then yes,” Angelica confirmed with a slight smile. “That is what makes it so difficult to linger here, but until our reasons are fulfilled, linger we will.”
Chantia swallowed heavily, finally understanding just why Angelica had been so happy – and envious - when Clint had moved on.
She shook her head slightly, trying to understand. “But why? I know it’s rude of me to ask, but I’m trying to understand. Why do you linger? What are these reasons of yours?”The ghosts all exchanged glances with each other. It was several silent seconds later when Chantia finally received a reply, even if it was only a partial answer.
“I’m waiting for my husband,” Angelica confessed quietly, folding her hands demurely in front of her. “He promised me he would return, and asked me to wait for him before he went to war, so wait I will.”
Of all the answers Chantia could’ve received from the white ghost, that wasn’t one she had been expecting. The last known war that had occurred happened more than 150 years ago, so it was quite obvious the man Angelica was waiting for would never return. The fact that he hadn’t returned to Angelica when she had still been alive probably indicated that he had died in the war he fought in.“I know he’s already gone,” Angelica confirmed with a sad smile before Chantia could find a way to point it out to her in a diplomatic matter, “but he promised he would return for me, and I promised I would wait for him, so I’ll wait, no matter how long it might take.”
Her I’ll risk Damnation for him was left unsaid, but it didn’t need to be said. Everyone knew Angelica was thinking it.
Charlotte’s answer was just a short, cryptic statement that explained absolutely nothing at all.“I’m still trying to find Leneo,” was her soft, subdued murmur. Her eyes grew distant and she fell silent as she retreated into her thoughts and memories, and Chantia couldn’t get it into her heart to push the matter and open old and but unhealed wounds.
She was starting to feel like she was always simply waiting for answers; the people closest to her having secrets they weren’t quite willing to share with her just yet. It made her feel strangely inadequate.
Frederick didn’t even bother answering at all.
Helen though, had another unexpected answer.“I want my killer to face justice,” Helen declared with fire smouldering in her eyes, “for what he did. It is not right that he should walk free and remain a danger to people around him, when he should be locked away. Which he would’ve been, if he hadn’t killed me as well.”
So she told them the entire story – how she witnessed the man, a well-known politician, kill another man in cold blood, and then killed her to keep his secret safe. For years she had to watch the man rise up on the ladder of success, while she had a secret that could bring about his complete ruin, and yet she was utterly unable to inform the world and bring the power-hungry politician to justice.
It was something Chantia might finally be able to help with. She was taught in university how to handle cases like that. It wasn’t the first time in history something like that happened.“I’ll help you,” she promised Helen sincerely. “I’m a registered medium; they’ll believe me if I tell them I have a testimony from a ghost. If you can provide evidence that it really did happen, then we can do this,” she assured the ghost.
Helen’s eyes lit up with hope. “Really? You’d do this for me?” she asked with hope in her voice.
Chantia nodded, hoping to reassure the ghost. “Of course,” she promised. “This is exactly the kind of thing I’ve been trained to do, and you’re my friend.”
The conversation after that turned to more mundane things. Helen was ecstatic that Chantia had volunteered to help her, but agreed to discuss the details at a later stage in private.
The first topic of conversation, of course, was Mia’s change in marital status.
“So how’s married life treating you, Mrs Crawford?” Chantia asked her sister teasingly. Mia had gotten married a month ago in a private wedding, much to Chantia and Evelyn’s delight. Ironically enough, Mia’s husband, was one of the guys that had always sent her love letters during high school. In the end, it seemed his persistence had paid off.“I’m rather enjoying it,” Mia replied with a happy smile. “Carl and I…we understand each other,” she said fondly. “And I do love him,” she admitted.
They kept talking until late in the night, long after Chantia saw the light of her and Sam’s room go out, indicating that he had went to sleep. Chantia shared the Baked Angel Food with the ghosts, and to Mia’s delight her theory was proven true as the ghosts managed to taste the cake after all.
At their request, Chantia also played several songs on her violin.The magic of the night guided her sure fingers on the strings, and for the first time in her life she managed to make others hear the beautiful song she always heard in the back of her mind. She had tried several times before to recreate the melody on her violin, but it was only now that she finally managed it.
The ghosts didn’t need sleep, and the magic of the night invigorated the two Living among the ghosts, so when the Moon set behind the horizon and took the magic with it, Chantia was somewhat surprised to realise just how tired she was. Mia politely excused herself to go home, so Chantia took the opportunity to finally go to bed as well.She tried to be as quiet as possible to prevent waking Sam, but when she finally slipped between the covers the movement woke him.
“Chantia?” he murmured sleepily. Chantia smiled and gave him a soft kiss, reassuring him that everything was fine.
“It’s me. Sorry for waking you,” she apologized. He made an acknowledging noise in the back of his throat without opening his eyes and threw his arm across Chantia’s waist, pulling her closer to him. Seconds later, he was asleep again, and Chantia allowed sleep to claim her as well.
I’m glad I moved Chantia into a bigger house, but this one is terrible for taking shots. The camera just doesn’t want to cooperate with me, and I have no idea why. -_- It’s especially horrendous in the smaller rooms, like the nursery.
With this chapter the dreaded A Party To Remember roll is completed. In case it wasn’t clear, I chose the Afternoon Tea Party, but instead of afternoon I made it a Midnight Tea Party. I completed the parameters though – Angel Food Cake of at least good/very nice quality (mine was perfect), 2 coffee rounds from the most expensive coffee machine and two songs played on the violin. Oh, and all guests were best friends with the host. The ghosts don’t actually live in the house, so they were legitimate guests.
Oh, and if someone doesn’t know, Raison d’être means “reason for living: something that gives meaning or purpose to somebody’s life, or the justification for something’s existence.” (Well, that is the definition according to my dictionary). I thought it was a rather fitting title. :)
And since the first child is born, I’ll reveal the marital status: Couple.