This man comfortably sat on the love seat in his room. He’d never seen a ghost able to handle their form well enough to manage that. Normally they fell through the couch. This man sat there studying the welts and bruises that covered Tristan with sympathetic green eyes that matched his own.

Shayne gave Tristan a friendly smile. “Good morning, lad.” He cocked his head to the side to study Tristan. “Everything’s fine. They’ll never hurt ye again,” he’d promised.

Tristan didn’t believe him, didn’t trust him so he did what he always did with ghosts. He ignored him. Shayne didn’t seem to take it personally. He remained by Tristan’s side day and night for several weeks before Tristan slowly began to trust him. Soon Tristan was sleeping in his bed without fear and his body for the first time in his life was free of cuts and bruises.

Not long after that, Tristan began to talk with Shayne, who’d explained that when he’d been alive he’d suffered the same curse as Tristan. He’d led a tormented life because of the curse and, as a result, led his life with a death wish thinking only in death would he be able to find peace. When death finally came at the ripe old age of thirty in a violent act, he was stunned to realize that he’d been cursed in death as well.

Now Shayne was bound to earth to live as a guardian of sorts. He could touch and move things when he chose without any difficulty, but he couldn’t be seen or heard by any living souls except by someone like Tristan. The only thing that changed for Shayne was his loss of human needs like food, water, and sleep. Other than that nothing had changed at all.

Shayne had been with Tristan ever since that first night. At first he’d stayed to protect Tristan until he was strong enough to protect himself. Over the years their bond had strengthened. Shayne went from being his protector and a second father to him to his best friend. Tristan didn’t know what he’d do without him. He was the only one who knew and accepted him for the freak that he was. Without Shayne he’d be lost or probably dead by now, by his own hand or someone else’s, he wasn’t sure.

“Listen, I’m just asking you to do me a little favor,” the man snapped.

“Fuck off,” Tristan said, walking past him to his front door and yanked it open. He rolled his eyes at the sounds of sex and god-awful  p**n o music blasting.

He turned to shut the door and sighed when he spotted the persistent prick standing in his foyer. Tristan gestured to the door. “Get out.”

Pipe man folded his arms over his chest, defiantly. “No, I’m not going anywhere until you do what I want. If you don’t, I promise that I’ll make your life a living hell.”

Tristan shut the door and walked past the stubborn ghost towards the open double doors of the living room. He walked into the room and plopped himself down onto an oversized chair as he grabbed a remote to change the skin flick on the television.

“Hey, I was watching that!” Shayne protested as Tristan switched on the Xbox.

“You know how it ends. She fakes and he comes with his eyes closed while picturing some guy’s tight ass.”

Shayne scowled at him. “I don’t ask for much-“

Tristan cut him off with a chuckle, “Only for your own room, the twenty-four hour playboy channel, and you make me listen to Sinead O’Connor whenever you get homesick. That alone is too goddamn much!”

“Hey! She’s a very talented woman! She’s just misunderstood, that’s all!” Shayne snapped, throwing a pillow at Tristan’s head.

Tristan picked up the other wireless game controller and tossed it to Shayne. “Man up, bitch.”

Shayne threw him a dirty look before he turned his attention to the television. “You’re my bitch, lad, never forget that,” he said with a smirk.

“We'll see…..”

“Yeah, we’ll see, lad. By the end of this game ye’ll be good and spanked.”

“Ah, excuse me…hello?” the man with the pipe in his neck said as he stepped in front of the television.

“No, he didn’t,” Shayne said in disbelief and disgust. He cocked an eyebrow in Tristan’s direction. “Does he not know that I’ll bitch slap him into the next millennium for coming between me and kicking yer ass?”

Tristan sighed as he sat back in his chair. “Apparently not.”

“If you just do what I ask I'll leave you alone. Until then I’m staying,” the man swore.

“Yer not threatening my lad now, are ye?” Shayne asked with a hopeful glint in his eye, a look that Tristan knew all too well.

“Yes, he’ll do what I say or I’ll make his life a living hell,” the man said firmly. He turned a smug look on Tristan. “You know I can do it. Just look how I drove you away from that woman and I swear I’ll do it every time. You’ll never get laid again.”

Shayne’s eyes widened in surprise. “Ye met a woman at therapy? Don’t tell me ye plugged a nutso, lad.”

Tristan dropped his head back until he was looking up at the ceiling, and when that wasn’t enough to escape the bullshit that was his life, he closed his eyes. “They’re not all nuts that go there. Hell, I have to go there and I’m not crazy.”

“Well, ye do see and talk to dead people. Hell, ye live with one,” Shayne pointed out and Tristan didn’t need to look at Shayne to know that he had a sly grin on his face.

Without looking up, Tristan pointed a finger in Shayne’s direction. “Good point.”

“So….,” Shayne prompted.

Tristan looked up and muttered something.

“What’s that now, lad?”

“I said I was talking to Marty,” he grumbled louder.

Shayne’s whole face lit up. “Marty, ye say?”

Tristan rubbed both of his hands roughly over his face. “Don’t start that shit again. You know I can’t.”

“Why? Is yer wee willy not working?” Shayne asked with feigned innocence.

Tristan shot him a murderous glare. “First off, my willy isn’t wee and it works fine. You know that’s not the problem.”

“Ah,” Shayne said in understanding as he nodded solemnly. “Aye, I suppose I do understand.”

Tristan scoffed his agreement.

“I think he’s g*y,” the man with the pipe commented.

“No, I’m-"

Shayne cut him off. “Aye, I’m afraid that has to be the case. That’s the only explanation for it. I’m afraid I’ve turned a blind eye to the signs for years.”

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Cursed Hearts Fantasy
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