Derrick Fredricks didn’t believe in love at first sight. He didn’t think ghosts existed either, but that didn’t keep either of those two things from happening to him -- he fell in love with Cooper Jennison the moment they met, and then he became a ghost.
Returning to the side of his lover in spirit form, Derrick tries to reach across the divide to comfort and guide his boyfriend as Cooper deals with Derrick’s death while warding off the attentions of Derrick’s best friend.
Memories of their brief time together remind Derrick of his pledge to Cooper: love you forever. Will Derrick succeed in being able to contact his love, or will the veil between the living and the dead prove impenetrable?
Hearing the sound of the television from the great room beyond, Derrick made his way past the free standing fireplace with its low burning fire. Cooper was seated on the couch with his back to Derrick, staring intently at the screen.
"The heavy snow has caused a rash of accidents on the county's roads and highways. One on highway 115 just north of the interstate has proved fatal. A truck sliding across the midline forced a driver off the road and into a tree. He was killed instantly. His identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin."
Derrick stood stock still as he viewed the picture on the TV screen. In the flashing red lights of emergency vehicles, it showed a dark, late model SUV jammed against a tree. The front end was mangled.
"Hey, Coop. It's not me. I'm here ... see," he said, walking toward the man on the sofa who sat with one hand over his mouth, quietly saying, "No, no."
Cooper didn’t respond. Derrick repeated his statement, denying that the SUV was his and that he was fine, as he walked around in front of the couch to stand between Cooper and the TV. Cooper still did not act as if he were aware of Derrick's presence. However, Lexie, Cooper’s vizsla, who was curled up on the couch with her head on her master's lap, raised up, her hackles rising. She cocked her head to one side and whined.
Derrick's head was spinning. He knelt in front of his lover, who now sat with his head in his hands shaking it as if to rid it of unwelcome thoughts. Lexie continued to stare in his direction as if trying to make out what she seemed to sense.
"No, Coop, it's not me. It can't be. See. I'm right here. I can't be dead. Coop, please hear me!"
Cooper rose from the couch. Lexie jumped down after him. Derrick got up from the floor. The man and dog walked by him, Cooper seemingly unaware of his presence, Lexie warily regarding the direction in which he stood. They proceeded to the kitchen. Derrick followed. Cooper leaned on the butcher block in the center of the room, his shoulders slumped, his head drooping. Derrick stood beside him wishing he could reach out and touch him, make him realize he was there. Hesitantly he placed his hand on Coop's shoulder. He could feel the warmth of him.
"Coop ..." he whispered.
Cooper raised his head slightly and turned toward him, a puzzled look on his face.
Derrick watched as Cooper robotically went to the sink and filled a kettle with water. Observed as the man he loved made himself some tea, walked back into the living room and sank into his seat on the sofa. Once more Lexie followed, still regarding the area in which Derrick stood with suspicion.
Derrick came and sat on the back of the sofa behind him. If only he could let him know he was there. That he was all right.
All right? How could he be all right? He was dead. That had to be it. Why else was it that Cooper couldn't see or hear him? But then why was he here? Shouldn't he be in ... heaven ... or ... he didn't want to think about that alternative He would accept that for some reason he was here, with Cooper even though his lover was unaware of his presence.