tagRomanceThe Gift

The Gift


Crystal heard the voice the first time as she put the phone back in its cradle.

You know perfectly well he's lying.

She spun around. The family room was empty. She stood completely alone in the house, but the voice of a warm, friendly woman spoke directly behind her.

Better check your cookies, sweetie. You're gonna burn them.

The timer still showed two minutes left. Skin crawling, she walked around the island to it and cracked the door to see her Halloween cookies getting overdone. Quickly, she found oven mitts and pulled them, setting the baking sheet on the stove top, then stood there blinking at them, baffled and disturbed.

She looked around again. The only other face in the room was her own, her terrified green eyes staring back at her from the stainless refrigerator door. She walked cautiously over to the kitchen table, sat, pulled her mitts off and put her hand to her mouth.

You're welcome, the voice commented in dry tones. We should get back to your husband. You do know he's lying. Right?

"Who are you, and where are you hiding?" she demanded, looking around.

You can call me Susan, sweetie. I'm right here with you.

She pulled in a shaking breath and carefully prompted, "And I can't see you because..."

You're possessed. I'm inside you.

Crystal tried to imagine any explanation she could accept. Was someone playing a trick on her with a hidden speaker? But the voice seemed to be coming from right behind her...

More accurately, the voice is in your head. Difficult place to mount a speaker. Let's talk about your husband.

"Why would a ghost want to talk about my husband?" she stammered.

I think the question here is, 'why would a wife want to be faithful to the cheating bastard?' I've been watching you for a while. I'm impressed with your patience, sweetie. No matter what BS excuse he gives you, you just smile and take it. Why do you do that?

She folded her arms, still looking around, even though she knew she wouldn't see anyone. She just couldn't figure out where to face when she spoke. "What makes you think he's cheating on me?"

Oh, let's review, shall we? No matter how loving you are to him, he's distant, tired or uninterested. He often leaves his wedding band behind when he goes. You two never have sex. You almost have to tackle him to to kiss him, and then he gets mad at you for being too affectionate. He works long hours, he goes outside to use the cell phone all the time, he never lets you see the bills anymore, he does all the finances at work...and just now, just like every other time he's gone to St. Louis, he phoned to let you know he'll be there an extra day. Again.

Susan's tone had turned mocking by the end. It softened once more. And I've watched you long enough to know you never let an article on 'How to tell when your man is cheating' pass without reading it. Lady, you know. We can move on to the next question.

"I don't know it for sure," Crystal persisted.

A feeling like a sigh emanated from the spirit. I do. I've listened in on those cellphone conversations. Her name is Julia. Which is why I feel no guilt about what I'm going to make you do. It's time to get those cookies off the baking sheet, sweetie.

Crystal stood and went back to her baking, still worried for her sanity and trying to work out other reasons for the voice. As the last cookie slid onto the wax paper, she found the courage to ask, "What are you going to make me do?"

We're going to cheat on your husband, sweetie. There's a man who hasn't had sex since almost three months before I died. I want to make love to him again.

"No. Forget it." Crystal set spatula and the baking sheet in the sink.

Susan's exasperation came as a palpable feeling from inside her. What's the point of being faithful to the bastard? Why bother?

"I don't want him to leave me! I don't know what I'd do on my own! And Josh still needs a father!"

He's hardly ever home while the boy is awake. The man doesn't go to any of his games, he doesn't take him fishing or do any activities with him. He doesn't even check to see how he's doing in school. What father are you referring to?

"You can't make me do it, so forget it," she repeated.

Susan's 'voice' turned arctic. I can't? Let's test this out.

Her hands began unbuttoning her blouse, which she didn't think much about until she realized she had no reason to be doing it. She discovered that she couldn't stop. Like an invisible lover refusing to heed her pleas, her fingertips swept it open and off her shoulders while gently caressing creamy skin on bare shoulders. As she watched them in fear, they traced the edge of her bra downward, slowly dropped to her side. Her arms crossed behind her back to pull out of the sleeves and let the blouse drop to the floor.

"Why am I doing this?" she whimpered as she kicked of her slippers and began undoing her jeans. As she slid them off her hips, her only answer was an amused chuckle from Susan. She stepped out of the jeans and began massaging her tits through the lacy bra cups.

"Susan, please..."

Relax and enjoy it, sweetie, the ghost seemed to murmur into her ear.

She undid her bra and let it fall, releasing her breasts for her hands to explore. Rose nipples quickly tautened as her fingertips traced circles around her areolas, lingering and teasing for a time before slipping in lazy paths downward. Fingers skimmed across her abdomen, then slid down her hips to her thighs, where her palms pressed into quickly warming skin to massage. Her hands slipped back up to her waist momentarily, then her right slid down into her panties to rub small circles on her mound while her left drifted upward to cup her right breast and begin a rhythmic kneading. She shuddered and leaned back against the center island for support.

Fingers explored further, slipped into her wetness. Involuntary tremors raced through her body. She begged, "Susan, my son will be home soon...."

The ghost showed no mercy. A hungry desire filled her, drove her, awakened her body. She crushed her breasts with her hand and forearm, a desperate substitute for the weight of a lover's chest. She craved more from her slick fingers and moaned out loud as they began to deliver.

Her hands settled into a steady tempo and she sank to her knees. In the refrigerator door, she watched a brunette housewife in her early thirties spread her legs and furiously rub one out like a hormone-intoxicated teenager, her hips lending vigorous aid to the effort. Her middle finger, now sopping wet, curled up underneath her clit as her thumb began furiously massaging it, index finger sliding along her lips with the motion.

The eager digits pushed her higher and faster. She felt the rising tide within her, the sensation missing from her being for so very long, and pushed with burning, sweet desire for it, finding it at last in a burst of shuddering ecstasy. The wave erupted from her as a loud cry of delicious agony, trailing off when her body reached a sexual paralysis.

The afterimage of glowing pleasures soaked into her muscle when they finally relaxed. She leaned, completely drained, propped up against the cabinet doors, her panties soaked, her lungs laboring to catch up.

The reality of the situation soaked into her mind at the same time. She hadn't even attempted to resist. She'd been unable to resist. Her body had done the ghost's bidding without hesitation. Terror burned within her as pleasure faded. What other things could Susan make her do?

Murder, mayhem, just about anything, sweetie. Your body is mine. You're only in control when I allow it. Now grab your clothes and scoot upstairs, because that boy of yours is coming up the walk.

In a panic, she grabbed her bra, jeans and blouse and dashed for the stairway. She heard the front door opening as she made it to the top.

"Hi, Mom! I'm home!" Josh called.

Fighting to control her voice, she called back, "Hi, honey! Do your homework right away. You've got a party tonight, remember?"

"Yeah." Looking down from the balcony hallway she saw him crossing the living room, slinging his backpack onto the couch. "Hey, cookies!"

She held her tongue until she reached the master bedroom. "They're not frosted yet, Josh!"

Once her bedroom door closed, she leaned her back against it, fighting to catch her breath, calm her pounding heart and control her terror. Her twelve-year-old boy could have walked in only minutes earlier to find his mother masturbating in the kitchen. What had she done to deserve such a thing?

When she spoke again, Susan sounded almost contrite. Goodness, sweetie, I hadn't realized you weren't even doing yourself! That was your first orgasm in ages, wasn't it? How long have you gone without?

She hung her head. "Longer than I want to admit. We haven't made love in this house."

You moved in over a year ago! She could feel amazed sympathy from Susan, then a return to the friendly attitude the ghost had taken when she first made herself known. I really don't feel guilty now. This is practically a mission of mercy.

"I don't want to cheat on him!" she insisted, now pleading, knowing she couldn't stop it..

Crystal, honey, I don't care. You're too good for the bastard and you don't deserve to be neglected like this. It's wrong that he's leaving here to dutifully raise his son for him while he's off visiting his daughter.

"His what?"

You heard me. Her name is Amanda. She's two years old next month. Why do you think you had to trade down to a smaller house? He couldn't afford the mortgage payments on the old place with the child support he's paying to that little bartender of his.

She tried to shut the idea and Susan out of her heart. She whispered, "I don't believe you."

You don't have to, sweetie. I don't need any cooperation from you at all, Susan answered in dry tones.

Once again her body moved without her permission. She showered and shaved, even denuded her sex, something she'd never done before. With curling iron, hairspray and clips, she did her hair up fancier than she had in years. Susan used her hands to hunt through her jewelry, trying out various items until she settled on a belly chain Crystal hadn't worn since pregnancy and the diamond earrings and necklace she never touched out of fear of losing them. Her wedding ring went into the jewelry case over her desperate protests.

She gazed into the mirror at a nude beauty she hadn't seen in years.

Crystal, honey, you are a criminal. Leaving something this gorgeous rotting on the shelf has got to be a crime.

"Being faithful isn't a crime," she hissed angrily, but she could feel waves of rejection from Susan even as she said it.

As much nice as that sentiment may be, enabling that bastard to play however he likes simply must be wrong. Now, I saw you the other day looking at a costume. Let's see, where was it again?.

As she walked into the closet where the costume sat in a box on the shelf, Crystal\ laughed in disbelief. "The white witch costume? That's from college! It doesn't fit anymore! I don't know why I keep it!"

Maybe you were too big for it once, but you've gradually lost weight ever since you moved in.

She retrieved it and carried it over to the bed. The hat popped right up as she removed the box top, pushed into its conical shape by wires set inside the cloth. She set it aside and picked up the dress. To her amazement, she pulled it on and easily closed the zipper. The ghost had been right; it fit almost perfectly. She donned the sleevelets and put on the hat, then picked up the wand and turned to look at herself in the mirrored closet door.

She couldn't help the delighted giggled that bubbled up out of her, her own amusement, not anything Susan did. She kept pulling down on the too-short hem or pulling up on the nearly immoral neckline-- her bust had gained some with motherhood-- but it was absolutely cute.

No, she was absolutely cute. She bit her lower lip as she modeled it, still giggling. Could she actually wear this tonight?

It isn't a question. You're wearing it. I'm not letting you take it off. Let's go show your son.

"Susan!" she panicked as the ghost began walking her to the bedroom door, "I'm not wearing anything underneath!"

Good point. She turned back, rummaged through her dresser to find a white garter belt and stockings. No amount of pleading would get Susan to agree to adding anything else, not matter how sexy. In a pair of white stilettos, she went marched out to model the outfit for her son, hoping he didn't notice how his pantyless, braless mother was blushing.

Under the circumstances, she could have done without the wide-eyed stare and the "Wow, Mom! You're really hot!"

She escaped as soon as she could, returning to the kitchen to decorate cookies and get the candy bowl ready for that evening.

Susan had her working on her makeup when Josh's ride arrived. The 'friend' whose parent was driving him there turned out to be a cutie in a catgirl costume. When the girl came to the door to fetch him, her eyes bugged a little too.

As Josh the wolf man prepared to leave, words came out of Crystal's mouth courtesy Susan... "You have your key with you? I may not be home later."

"Huh? Why... oh yeah, you gotta pick Dad up. I got it; don't worry!"

Crystal watched Josh and the girl leaving. She suppressed a grin when she heard her quietly asking, "Wow, was that really your mother?" After a wave goodbye she closed the door and went to get her hat. With the sun down and the light fading, the trick-or-treaters would come out soon.

"Why did you make me ask if he had his key?"

'Cause you'll be having fun somewhere else when he gets back, of course.

Of course. She recognized in defeat she would be unable to avoid it. By morning she would be as unfaithful as her husband. Years of being a good wife thrown away, and she was powerless to stop it.

Greeting the delighted kids at the door cheered her up somewhat. They would stare with awe up at the pretty white-garbed witch at the door, and once she got used to it, she could enjoy stooping over to put candy in their bags when their dads were walking them around. She got appreciative looks from some of the bigger trick-or-treaters too, a few of them at least a couple years old than Josh.

As the visitors began to come less frequently, her next-door neighbor and his little four-year-old daughter showed up, probably hitting her house last before returning to their own. She desperately fished for his name as he coaxed the shy girl out from behind him, but couldn't manage it. She did remember the girl. "Rebecca! What a beautiful little princess you are!"

She couldn't help it. She gave the little darling an extra handful of candy before straightening up again. His eyes were avoiding hers, to her amusement. As tall as he was and as low as she'd stooped to reach the bag, he probably had a glimpse of her nipples.

"What do you say, princess?" he prompted, and Rebecca sing-songed, "Fank you!"

"Well you're welcome, your highness!" she exclaimed, and managed a little curtsy. The girl stared at her a moment longer, then turned and almost ran away. He laughed and chased her down. "Hold up, 'Beca! Our house is the other direction!"

She stayed at the door, watching him herd the girl back across the lawn to the correct house, then became aware of a feeling of pride coming from Susan.

She's so beautiful, the ghost whispered.

"Susan... was that..."

My husband and the daughter I died giving birth to. Yes.

In all the times they had seen each other, she'd somehow missed the fact that he was a single parent. She and he smiled at each other all the time-- he was a handsome man around her own age-- and she often greeted Rebecca when she saw them out front. It had never occurred to her she'd never seen the mother.

Susan opened up to her while the last few trick-or-treaters visited. He hasn't once gone on a date or anything since I died. He just works, fetches Rebecca from day care on the way home and takes care of her, day in and day out. It isn't fair. He doesn't deserve it.

"He's just doing what he has to, Susan. It isn't a question of fairness, it's a matter of responsibility. Of course with a young daughter to raise, he would be too busy to date."

You don't understand! Susan answered in anguish. She probably isn't even his!

Shocked, Crystal waited, unable to respond. The bitterness radiating from the spirit nearly hurt.

Finally, Susan said, He knows. He knows I cheated on him. He knows I have no idea which man's daughter she is, and that he's the least probable of the choices. His parents wanted him to do a paternity test, but he refused. He told them it didn't matter whether she was his daughter or not, because she was my daughter and he loved her like he loved me.

Susan's tears welled up in Crystal's eyes. I always justified my cheating when I was alive by assuming he was probably cheating too. I didn't know how good a man he was until it was too late. He didn't deserve a cheating bitch like me, and he doesn't deserve this.

"Susan..." she whispered, but couldn't find any words to follow the name. The weeping ghost within her said nothing further.

Once the last of the trick-or-treating had ended, she turned out the lights, locked up and walked next door, hardly aware of whether Crystal or Susan directed her actions. At his front door, she carefully arranged her neckline to hang as low as it was supposed to, then rang the doorbell. His eyebrows raised slightly when he answered, but he seemed happy to get another look at her. She felt a tingle as she watched his eyes wander, before he caught himself and kept his gaze above her neck.

"Hi." She smiled, then asked, "May I come in?"

With a mystified look, he let her inside. She strolled into his foyer, thrilling a bit as she felt his attentions wandering downward again.

"Is Rebecca in bed?"

He nodded. "I tucked her in a little while ago. She was already dropping off."

As he came between her and the wall, she draped her arms around his neck and backed him into it. He stared at her in surprise. She purred, "Good. Let's get acquainted."

She tiptoed slightly and took possession of his lips. He responded at first, then pressed her away, "Mrs. Grainger..."

"Crystal," she breathed and reattached herself.

He did not reject it quickly, but he finally came free and said, "Crystal. Please. You have a husband, and I have to live next door to him."

"Husband?" she echoed. "Do you mean the asshole who decided to spend an extra night with his little mistress in St. Louis instead of coming home to his wife and son? That husband?"

Of course he had no way to answer. She gazed up at the handsome man, felt the contours of her body pressing against him and hungered for his warmth still lingering on her lips. The frustrations of her marriage began pouring out of her. For the first time, she admitted aloud to herself or anyone else the things she had known and denied for years.

"I have been completely faithful to him since our wedding day. I know he only married me because he got me pregnant, but he hasn't even tried to content himself with me. He began fucking around on me while I was carrying his child. He's had girlfriends the entire time we've been married. He has a child with his current one. Why should I be faithful to the bastard when a better man lives right next door?"

She glared at him, as if daring him or anyone else to offer an explanation. No answer came forth, so she reclaimed his lips. He allowed it this time, then covered her mouth with his own and gathered her into his arms. One hand traveled to the small of her back and the other to the nape of her neck, trapping her into the kiss she had began.

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byTexienne© 10 comments/ 34730 views/ 10 favorites

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