Ghost Memories Ch. 03byHeinz57©
Teri's eyes focused on the alarm clock... 0630 hours. She didn't know how she got here. Her hand touched a warm spot and memory flowed in. "Nancy!" Teri called.
"Just a second," Nancy's voice called from the bathroom. "When did you come to bed?"
"I don't remember how I got to bed." Teri replied sheepishly.
"Then we both slept the sleep of the dead." Nancy said exiting the bathroom. "I don't think I moved at all during the night." Nancy began her normal stretching routine. It helped to maintain the lovely curves of her body."
As Nancy was doing her routine Teri rose from the bed. Straightening the linens and fluffing the pillows she said, "You need to wear some of my hiking clothes for our walk to Harry's. Your light clothes would be wet through by the time we got there. Heavy socks are in the bottom drawer of the dresser." With a final fluff to the last pillow Teri walked into the bathroom to attend to her toilette.
Nancy had finished her normal routine, donned her laundered undies and was bent over at the door into the closet selecting a pair of hiking shoes when Teri exited the bathroom. "Oh! The pale blue color is lovely, Nancy."
Standing up Nancy slowly turned to face her friend and lover. "I bought these with seduction in mind."
"Were it not for our breakfast appointment," Teri said huskily, "I would willingly show you my appreciation for your choice of color." Putting a steel clamp on her body and emotions Teri went to the closet and selected flannel shirts and wool slacks for the two of them. Approaching her dresser Teri selected and donned conservative, white undies. Keeping her back to Nancy Teri quickly adjusted her bra cups and then opening the bottom drawer of the dresser extracted two pair of woolen socks.
Nancy was dressed and sitting on the bed when Teri finally turned around and handed her a pair of socks. Fitting her feet into the socks Nancy said, "I didn't mean to upset you."
Teri having seated herself on the chair replied, "I'm not upset but having a hard time restricting my desire to ravish you. The upcoming meeting has far more importance than I can share with you right now. I ask for your patience and tolerance."
"Just who are Harry and Andy?" Nancy asked changing the direction of the conversation.
"Ah! Curiosity killed the cat." Teri quoted as she walked out of the bedroom towards the back door. Selecting two windbreakers she handed one to Nancy. "Bear with me a while longer and satisfaction will bring it back." Teri slipped her windbreaker on and pulled Nancy out the back door.
Nancy shivered as she finished putting on her own windbreaker. "Is it always like this in the morning?" she asked.
"Pretty much." was Teri's reply, "You're experiencing the normal on shore breeze. The ocean is only a quarter mile away from the house. The water is relatively cooler than the land. Since heat rises the cooler ocean air pushes the warmer land air up. If the breeze were any stronger we wouldn't have the light fog you see."
"So if Harry and Andy agree to hire me," Nancy said, "I can expect this kind of weather when I go to work?"
Teri chuckled, "This is nothing compared to what some mornings will bring. The fog can be so thick that you can't see your hand at the end of your arm."
Nancy laughed and shivered, "Thanks for cheering me up. Do you know the worst I can expect?"
"Oh, that's easy." Teri replied, "Gale force winds with snow and ice blowing down from the Arctic. When I'm energetic or Bill pulls me out like I did to you we'll walk the beach for a mile or so just to enjoy the solitude and see what has washed up on the beach."
Out of the blue Nancy asked, "Does Bill own an RV?"
"Not that I know of." was Teri's puzzled reply, "Why?"
"I just got an impression of Bill sitting in an RV." Nancy replied.
"Do you get any sense of distance or more important, pain?" Teri said with a smile.
"Oh you, I should have known that you were getting the same impression." Nancy said, "Is this going to happen all the time? Is my sixth sense going into overdrive?"
"Nancy my love, you have been using your sixth sense as you call it for years." Teri replied tenderly, "It's what makes you so good at what you do for a living. Around most people I call my abilities 'sixth sense'. When I'm with people that know me and share the same principles I use the term psychic talent. You use empathy to get your patients to tell you where their worst pain is and then relieve that pain with your healing hands. We'll talk more. I can see the outline of Harry's sign in the distance."
Relief flowed through Nancy. Several questions had been answered. She sought and found Teri's hand. Grasping it lightly Nancy and Teri walked silently toward the dim red light that was the sign announcing Harry's Place.
Completing their entry into Harry's Teri saw that Harry was busy with customers. "We'll take a seat in the back but with a view of the front door Nancy." Teri said, "The time is right for the crowd to pick up. Harry will need to split his time talking to us and serving customers."
Approaching a window booth Nancy asked, "Is this one okay?"
Teri did a quick check and said, "This one will be fine. Please sit so that you face the kitchen and relax. I'm here for moral support."
Just then Harry came down the aisle and approached their booth, "Teri, a pleasure to see you again." Turning to Nancy he continued, "And who is this beautiful, young woman?"
"Harry, I'd like you to meet Nancy, a close personal friend of mine." Teri said with a smile, "Nancy, please meet Harry, an old friend of the family."
Extending a hand to Nancy Harry said, "A pleasure to meet you Nancy."
A mild jolt went through Nancy as she gripped Harry's hand firmly. "A pleasure to meet you Harry," Nancy replied with a quiet voice. She was reluctant to let go of the hand that held hers.
"Beautiful and very much alive," Harry said as he released Nancy's hand. Nancy flinched when Harry bellowed toward the kitchen. "Andy two cups of your finest for our latest arrivals."
Andy appeared with two steaming cups. He shouldered Harry aside and put the cups down in front of Teri and Nancy. "Teri, it is always a pleasure to see you. Please introduce me to your beautiful companion." he said while smiling directly at Nancy. Nancy blushed at such open compliments.
"Andy, this is Nancy. She is a close personal friend of mine." Teri replied, "Nancy, please meet Andy, another old friend of the family. These two ex-sailors own and operate this restaurant."
Nancy held out her hand to receive a formal greeting. When Andy took her hand in his she felt a double jolt flow through her whole body. "I'm very happy to meet you Andy." Nancy said with a smile.
Releasing Nancy's hand Andy asked, "Are the two of you going to have your usual starvation breakfast or can I feed you a good seaman's breakfast?"
"Seaman's breakfast, please!" Teri and Nancy said at the same time. There was genuine laughter all around.
Andy made for the kitchen while Harry took a seat next to Teri. Smiling at Nancy Harry said, "Tell me what you know about our meeting this morning."
Nancy blinked at Harry's bluntness and answered honestly and openly. "Teri and I hand shook yesterday on a six month contract which would pay me $3000 a month, of which $500 would go directly to savings. My services would be waiting on tables and taking the pulse of the locals to see how they felt about the possibility of having a clinic open here in town."
Harry smiled but asked, "Why the six month contract?"
Nancy stuck her tongue out at Teri before she responded, "The length of the contract would allow me to see if I could acclimate to the weather and the peace and quiet of this town."
"Teri missed an important part of any contract." Scowling at Teri he continued, "Pay good enough and a person will work for you. Take care of the inner person and you get a loyal employee. Andy and I like to foster loyalty. In addition to your wages we provide room and board.
Just then Andy appeared at the table with two generous plates. At the center was a small bowl of fruit. Surrounding that were eggs, thin sliced ham and pan fries. "Harry," he said, "you're ignoring your other customers. I can't cook, serve, and man the till while you talk up the ladies. Off with you and when you come back bring coffee with you."
"All right, all right," quipped Harry, "don't get your knickers in a twist." Harry got up and ambled off to see the other customers.
Andy took Harry's seat. "Did I hear the mention of room and board?" Not waiting for an answer he continued, "We can do meals one of two ways. Eat all your meals here or a combination of meals here and use our pantry to stock your shelves. That takes care of the board. The room is about a quarter mile down towards Teri's place. It's on the same side of the road as us. It's a ground floor with a view. It being winter here the sun will be a welcome sight."
Teri was eating the excellent breakfast but listened carefully to the suave performance of Harry and Andy. She hoped that they wouldn't over do it.
Harry strolled down the aisle carrying a fresh pot of coffee. "Nick and Thelma would like their usual." Harry said to Andy. Andy slid off the seat and returned to the kitchen. Harry filled the empty cups then sat down next to Teri.
"Teri," he said, "did you consider how Nancy was going to get her belongings from the city?" What is she going to do with her knick-knacks and furniture?"
"Harry," Teri said, "I hadn't thought things through that far. You don't want Nancy to start right away do you?"
"Can you start working a week from this coming Monday?" Harry asked Nancy.
Nancy looked at Harry and then Teri. "Harry, I don't want to come off sounding like some spineless woman but I couldn't possibly start work a week from Monday. There is just too much to accomplish in that short a time."
Harry responded bluntly, "I want you to start work a week from Monday. Now I'm going to leave this table and return in five minutes. At that time I want to hear how you are going to honor the contract you made with Teri." Harry got up from his seat, picked up the coffee pot and went into the kitchen.
Nancy burst into tears as sobs wracked her body. "I can't do this." she said to Teri, "It's too much for one person to deal with."
Teri replied, "You're absolutely correct, Nancy. One person, you, can't do this. How did one person, you, make a journey across country to start a new life? How did one person, you, get the education and skills needed to enjoy a fulfilling career?"
Nancy's sobs slowly subsided and she was able to stop the tears. Recognition forced Nancy to realize that she hadn't done those things alone. "I had help." she answered slowly, "Sometimes I would ask for help and other times it would come out of the blue."
As Teri slid off her seat she said, "I'm going outside to smoke a cigarette. I'd say join me but Harry will be back in a couple of minutes to get your answer. Remember my dear friend, you are loved. Teri turned and walked away.
Harry walked up to Nancy and said, "Well Nancy, how are you going to honor your contract with Teri?"
Turning away from the window she had been looking through Nancy said, "By asking for help in accomplishing a task that I thought was impossible."
"Good! You took the hard, first step." Harry said sitting down next to Nancy. "My sixth sense told me that you had the right stuff when we shook hands. Andy, what color servers apron can Nancy have to use?"
Andy, as if on cue, appeared in the kitchen doorway. Approaching the table he sat down and presented a black apron to Nancy. "Any color as long as it's black. Now, how can Harry and I help you solve your problem?"
"Andy and I had a few words." Harry said, "There is a slightly better room about a quarter mile south of here. It is a ground floor unit with a southern exposure. Can your car handle your clothes and knick-knacks?"
Teri made an appearance just then. "I think Bill's SUV could handle Nancy's clothes and knick-knacks. But she will have to ask Bill for his help."
"So, if Bill agrees," Andy said, "your pantry, clothes and knick-knacks can be moved in one trip. That leaves HHG's and cleaning up after. Here are the numbers for a cleaning service and mover. Tell them that you are a friend of ours. They will take care of the details."
"Nancy," Harry asked, "Are you on a lease or month-to-month?"
Nancy had been sitting there eyes agog and mouth agape. "I'm sorry." she said, "Did you ask me something?"
"Yes," Harry said laying a hand on Nancy's hand, "Are you on a lease or month-to-month?"
"Oh, I'm on a month-to-month. I've been in the same place for over two years." she replied sheepishly.
Andy spoke up, "Give me the number of your landlord and I'll call him about your sudden move. Now here is the key to your room. Why not walk down there and check it out."
Nancy quickly opened her wallet and pulled out a business card. Handing it to Andy she said, "I don't remember if the office is open on Saturday."
Andy scanned the card and said, "I know the owner of this complex. I'll ring him up and tell him why you're moving on such short notice." Standing up Andy headed for the kitchen.
Harry got up from his seat saying, "Andy and I have a business to run and you have to start your move. Take Andy's advice and look at your room." Harry left Nancy and Teri sitting there and began walking to the front talking to his customers on the way.
Teri leaned over and tapped Nancy's shoulder. "Come on Nancy, let's go see your room. I'm curious."
Nancy, obviously in shock, slowly slid to the edge of her seat. When she stood up Nancy muttered, "I need the little girls' room."
"Okay," Teri said, "on our way out," Nancy followed as Teri made her way to the front of the restaurant. Approaching the front counter Teri pointed to the restrooms. She said to Nancy, "I'll wait here for you."
As Nancy entered the restroom Harry walked up to Teri. Handing her a card key he said, "You'll need this to get through the gate, pedestrian or auto. Nancy has the right stuff but we'll see how see reacts in the morning."
Teri leaned over and kissed her father. "The performance you and Andy put on," she said, "was superb. Even the Pope would have been impressed."
"Why thank you, Teri." Harry said as Nancy exited the restroom. "Nancy," continued, "we'll see you at six in the morning a week from this coming Monday."
Nancy smiled and said, "Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet will stay my appearance with destiny."
As they walked through the fog-filtered sun light Teri handed Nancy the card key. "Harry said that you would need that," she said, "whether you are walking or driving."
"A card key?" she asked, "In this small town?"
"Andy and Harry," Teri replied, "have always been security minded. They subscribe to an ounce of prevention and all that."
Nancy saw their destination when the sun broke through for a moment. "The painter definitely knew his subject." she said openly admiring the killer whales arcing out of the water painted on the side of the building. "Is there a pod that calls this place home?" Nancy asked.
"Honestly, I don't know." Teri replied, "I've driven by here but never had the occasion to see inside. Why are you so hesitant about where you'll be living for six months?"
"What with the events of yesterday and the interview this morning," Nancy replied quietly, "I'm having trouble absorbing it all. I'm half afraid that if I use this card and key a wonderful dream will turn into a nightmare."
"Having been where you are a few times I can understand your reluctance." Teri said softly, "So, we will proceed when you are ready." She waited for silently beside her friend and lover. She watched for several minutes and finally saw a shudder go through Nancy's body.
Nancy slowly extended a shaky hand towards the card reader. When the lock popped open Nancy exhaled the breath she had been holding. The building and the scenery didn't disappear but stood resolutely in front of her. Buoyed by their seeming permanence Nancy pushed the gate inward to allow passage of herself and Teri. Grasping the key that Harry had provided she led Teri towards the left side of the screen of small trees. She found herself looking for the numerals 22. "Come on, I see my room number about two-thirds of the way down to the left."
Teri found herself being towed toward the numerals 22. Enthusiasm had gotten a foothold in Nancy. She wanted to see what her room was like. Teri barged into Nancy's back when Nancy stopped short after opening the door. "I can't see inside," Teri said, "with you blocking the door Nancy."
"I specifically heard Harry and Andy say 'room'." Nancy said taking two steps inside what was obviously a furnished apartment. "You heard them say 'room' didn't you? There must be some mistake."
"Those two rarely make mistakes." Teri replied, "Take a look around. See what there is to see."
Nancy started to wander around. She took a look in the kitchen then over to the door that appeared to be a bedroom. That door belonged to a bathroom, which upon inspection contained a door leading to a bedroom. Turning around Nancy went back into the kitchen and opened the other door. It opened directly into the bedroom. Surprised Nancy exclaimed, "Guests can use the bathroom without having to go through the bedroom. I'll have to learn how to keep the doors shut. It's just a minor inconvenience though."
Teri asked, "Is there enough closet space?" Walking into the bedroom she saw two double closets and a linen closet.
Nancy was right behind her looking over Teri's shoulder. Giving Teri a push Nancy said with a giggle, "See what's in the linen closet."
Teri couldn't help but laugh at the change in Nancy. "Is this real enough for you? Maybe the goblins are in the bathroom." Opening the linen closet Teri found two complete sets of bedding and four complete sets of towels for the bathroom.
Nancy hugged Teri from behind and said, "Thank you for the kick in the shins and especially about me being loved."
Teri turned around, embraced Nancy and gave her a tender kiss on the lips. "You are welcome."
Nancy paused, looked around then said, "There are no lights in here but the whole place is light and airy."
Teri laughed as she said, "There are light tubes installed." Going to a section of wall near the kitchen Teri placed her hand on the wall. Her hand became translucent. "There must be collectors on the roof. I read about them in Ted's reference material. It is a definite benefit for any first floor apartment. Have you seen enough for now?"
"Yes." Nancy said, "It still feels strange though, all this for waiting on tables and doing some industrial spying. Maybe it will make more sense after a restful day and a good night of sleep. Tomorrow after breakfast I think I'll go back to the city and start packing my knick-knacks and summer clothes."
"Sounds like a good plan." Teri replied, "Don't forget to ask Bill about his help."
"I'm at peace within myself about Bill." Nancy said with a smile, "By asking for his help it will get our new friendship off to a good start."
Teri and Nancy walked out of the apartment into a vastly different scene. The morning fog had burned off leaving a clear sky and cool temperatures. Their sight was drawn to the west. Glittering in the background was a blue/green swath that was the ocean. A low fence defined the western boundary of the complex. Extending westward from the fence sat sand dunes. Struggling to hold them in place were the hearty grasses gently waving in a light breeze.
Walking hand in hand Teri and Nancy left the complex and strolled up the road toward Teri's house. Along the way acknowledged the greetings of people with a cheery hello or a brief wave of their hands. Arriving at the gate Teri took out her key and card key. Accepting the card key the gate slid aside permitting entry. At the back door Teri unlocked it and allowed Nancy to enter first. Teri and Nancy 'knew' that the house was vacant but neither said anything to the other.