Life with Vic isn't exactly what Christopher Minnick was expecting. His boyfriend has given him a new lease on life -- literally -- but he doesn't have a job, Jessie thinks he's a ghost, and there are only so many closets on hand for shoving Jonathan into. Now, with Lee back in the limelight, things just might become more than Christopher can handle.
Lee Hellstrom is hitting the big screen after more than three decades and, with the much younger Grant Cooper at his side on the red carpet, he plans to make a lasting impression. The only problem is that not all the attention Lee has drawn is good.
When Lee goes missing, it's up to Christopher, Vic, and Grant to save the old man from a most horrible of fates.
Christopher's life may not have been perfect, but his death is a pain in the ass.
Like nearly every week after dinner, Grant and I sat on the bench across the street from Things in the Attic.
The sun had already set, but the traffic was still heavy. I managed only a few glimpses of Jessie and Evan as they moved around inside. They both looked the same from this distance, and I wondered if they would look the same close up. I wondered if I did.
I liked watching them, and in the darkened street, the brightly lit store looked like a movie screen showing scenes from my past, the past I missed a hell of a lot.
Maybe I needed a job.
Even before I sold the place, I had known I would miss it. I’d stood behind its counter for too many years not to. It had felt like a part of me. But when I had moved out West -- ran away, if I were honest -- I hadn’t given much thought to the people inside. I’d simply thought of Jessie, Evan, and Grant as employees, too caught up in my broken heart and need to escape. But they’d been friends. They’d been a lifeline I needed and didn’t realize I already had.
In the end, it was the people that I missed most of all.
The October wind was bitter, and I pulled my coat around me, out of habit more than anything else. As a ... what was I? Despite Grant’s insistence that I was a zombie, I was pretty sure I wasn’t. Though, I had been eating a great deal of red meat. Would brains be considered red meat? I had no idea.
So, if I wasn’t dead but I wasn’t alive in the same way the people around me were, what was I? I felt like something else. I felt different than before. Better. But maybe this was the same way people walking around with other people’s organs felt. Or perhaps there was somewhere in-between. I didn’t know.
“You could just walk inside.” It was the same conversation every week.
“I’m sorry?” Maybe if I pretended I was going deaf. “What?”
“I know you heard me. The undead have great hearing.”
“They think I’m dead.” There was no arguing with that.
“But you know you’re not.” Well, apparently, Grant could argue about anything, couldn’t he?
“Because Jessie and Evan were at my funeral.”
“So was I.” That was true. Lee had been the only one of my friends Vic managed to completely keep in the dark, but Grant had been the one to help Vic dig up my body. Still, somehow the excuse seemed more and more flimsy every week. It was only a matter of time before we met accidentally.
“I’m going to tell her, just not now.” I’d always been good at putting things off. “But soon. I have a plan.”
“Well, don’t wait too long. Waiting will just make it worse.”
“And how exactly is that?” I sounded like an asshole. Of course waiting would make it worse.
“What if she gets so used to having all that money she starts to need your ghost?”
I didn’t want to ask, I really didn’t, but I fucking asked anyway.
“Grant, please tell me why Jessie would need my ghost for money?”
If there had been an award for stupid questions, I was pretty sure balloons would have dropped from the sky, and someone would have stepped out of the shadows carrying one of those giant checks.
“Well, you know. The shop has been really hopping since you came back.” Grant looked at me like I was supposed to know what he was talking about. “With the tours?”
“Tours? What tours?”
“Things in the Attic, it’s one of the stops on the weekend ghost tours now. You know, because of the ghost of the old owner that haunts the park bench across the street?”
He had to be shitting me.
“Jessie sees me sitting here with you after dinner every week, and she thinks I’m a ghost?”
“She told you this?” I asked again for clarification. He nodded again. “And what did you say?”
“I told her I was pretty sure you were the one who lost the keys to the filing cabinet.”
“I’m going home.” I stood up and started heading down the sidewalk.
“You want me to walk you to your car?” Grant called after me.
“No, I think I can manage it.”
“See you next week, then.”
Not if I saw him first.