Life After Love
by Imogen Markwell-Tweed
Genre: Paranormal LGBTQ Romance
Danny loves his new apartment, its stainless steel appliances, low crime rating, and proximity to his job that keeps him from having to take the bus. The only downside? The ghost that haunts it. When Danny reluctantly offers to share the space with Adam the Ghost, he thinks he’s signing up for an awkward roommate situation. Instead, Danny is faced with the very real possibility that Adam might be the love of his life — and that, at any moment, he might lose him forever.
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On the other side of the kitchen, with arms folded and eyes narrowed, the ghost of 3B stares Danny down.
Danny is a reasonable guy. He likes order and precision, is always the one who balances the books at the coffee shop he works at, uses a spreadsheet for his personal budget; he likes reason. But there is no reasonable explanation for why there is a ghost in his kitchen having a staring contest with him.
Still, it’s happening, so Danny tries hard not to blink. His eyes water. One twitches.
“Goddammit!” He throws his hands up, glaring hard at the ghost when it lets out a cheer. “Shut up.”
“It’s not my fault I’m better at staring than you,” the ghost says, grinning widely. “To be fair, I have had a bit more experience than you.”
Danny points a warning finger at the specter before taking a deep breath. “I’m going to need my kitchen, you asshole. I actually eat.”
“You won the bedroom,” the ghost says, shrugging. The only thing breaking the ghost’s bored demeanor is its still-twitching lips, a grin fighting its way across.
“This is my apartment.” Danny tries again for the logical argument. “It was mine first.” The two had been through this once already. “I’m the one paying rent.”
The ghost doesn’t walk so much as appear next to Danny in the next second. “There’s real discrimination in the job market. No one wants a dead guy.”
Danny snorts. “The Realtor should have led with this.”
“And yet,” the ghost shrugs, disappearing before blinking into existence, sprawled out on a kitchen chair.
Danny side-eyes the flickering ghost. He lost the remote control to a round of rock-paper- scissors, and now the kitchen to a staring contest. At this rate, he’d be lucky to keep the bathroom.
Danny considers for a moment and arrives at the conclusion that there are two options.
Option one: Move away from this literal haunted house. That’s the plan that makes sense.
There is a ghost, and that really is not in the lease. But Danny doubts that the property manager will believe him. There’s no way that Danny would get his first month’s rent and deposits back. He can’t afford a different place.
So, option two: Befriend the ghost. Sure, the ghost is dead. Or undead. Or… well, he doesn’t exactly know the proper adjective. Up until two weeks ago, he’d been a staunch unbeliever, and he hadn’t studied occult terminology. He probably should now.
This is crazy. Danny is crazy.
Danny tentatively sits across from the ghost. It smiles; Danny frowns.
The ghost is shaped like a man — maybe is a man? Is there an appropriate way to ask a ghost about its relationship to human gender? Danny files that away for later.
At any rate, the ghost has long hair, falling just an inch or two below the shoulders, blonde, almost white, but it’s hard to see; the ghost isn’t see-through or anything, but difficult to focus on. It’s not a physical thing as far as Danny can tell; more like reading when it’s too dark. He has to squint to really see the sharp outline of the ghost’s body.
The ghost’s head snaps up and its eyes narrow on Danny. They’re brown, Danny thinks, and large. The ghost has nice eyes. “I’m Adam.”
Adam. Adam the Ghost.
Danny lets out a laugh. It’s just on the line of hysterical. “Sorry I haven’t asked yet.”
“I get it,” Adam shrugs. “Ghost, human. Bound to be difficulties.”
Danny doesn’t realize he’s biting the inside of his cheek until he tastes blood. “Listen, we gotta… hash this out, I think.”
Adam’s eyebrows pull together. “Hash what out?”
“I can’t live without my kitchen, man!” Danny buries his face in his hands. “I need… my fridge! The coffee pot. And I want to watch TV.”
There’s a flicker across Adam’s face; not an expression, though that’s there, too, but a literal flickering of his visage. He appears and reappears, starting with his face. Danny laughs again. He’s going to need so much therapy.
“You’re staying?” Adam asks, after a long pause.
Danny lowers his hands. He shrugs. “Yeah, man. You’re staying?”
Adam tilts his head, still frowning. He’s suddenly much clearer than he has been to this point. “I’m staying.”
There’s another pause that Danny is too exhausted to try to understand. He raps his knuckles on the table. “I’m going to go sleep. Forever!”
He leaves the kitchen and tries not to be weirded out by the silence. Of course Adam’s silent.
Well, that’s that, then. Danny has a ghost roommate.
Imogen Markwell-Tweed is a queer romance writer and editor based in St. Louis. When she's not writing or hanging out with her dog, IMT can be found putting her media degrees to use by binge-watching trashy television. All of her stories promise queer protagonists, healthy relationships, and happily ever afters.
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