Candy Kisses (multi-author series)
A Changeling For All Seasons (Box Set)
by Alice Gaines
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-59596-651-3
[ Paranormal Valentine’s Romance ]
Phyllis Green has decided that her vibrator is better than men. That is, she thinks so until a little old lady named Agnes appears on a milk carton in Phyllis’s fridge on Valentine’s Eve. Agnes claims to be Phyllis’s fairy ghostmother, and she’s going to take Phyllis to Valentine’s past, present, and future. Will one of the visions turn out to be a keeper?
Note: This title has no chapter breaks.
Shit, would the guy from the next apartment ever come so she could get some sleep?
Phyllis Green turned on the lamp beside her bed and looked at the alarm clock. Midnight, and she had to get to the studio first thing in the morning. Her neighbor and his date had been going at it all night. Staying power was one thing, but weren’t guys supposed to report erections lasting more than four hours?
“Fuck me, Howie,” the woman hollered. “Fuck me, fuck me!”
“I’ll fuck you,” Phyllis muttered as she climbed out of bed. “Show your face around me and you’ll get royally fucked.”
The noise didn’t abate. Instead, the sound of his headboard crashing against the wall joined in the chorus of lust. Great. Just great.
She walked through the dark hallway to the kitchen and switched on the overhead light. Eventually, he would peter out, no pun intended. What goes up must come down and all that. Maybe some warm milk would relax her enough to get right to sleep once he did. After pulling a saucepan down from its hook and setting it on a burner, she opened the fridge and searched around for the milk.
When she found it, she pulled it out and gave it a good sniff. The sell-by date had passed, but not by too much. Should still be good. After pouring some into the pan and turning on the burner, she waited for it to come up to temperature.
Hey, wait a minute. A picture of a gray-haired little, old lady stared back at her from the milk carton. Didn’t they put missing kids on there?
The picture’s mouth opened. “Phyllliiisss.”
Shit. She dropped the carton, and milk puddled on the floor. “Who’s there?”
“Phyllliiisss.” This time from the toaster. First, her food. Now, the appliances.
The same face appeared there, but kind of spread out to fit the surface. Phyllis ran her hands over her eyes. This was all some dream. If she went into her bedroom, she’d find herself sleeping soundly. The guy next door wasn’t fucking some woman’s brains out, and the toaster didn’t have a face on it.
On the stove, the saucepan boiled over, filling the kitchen with the smell of scalded milk. She jumped as quickly as she could to turn off the burner and ran back into the bedroom.
She wasn’t sleeping soundly, and the guy next door was still fucking that woman’s brains out. But, she wouldn’t go back into that kitchen until daylight. She jumped into bed and pulled the covers up over her head.
“Phy… oh, what’s the point?”
The voice came from directly above her, and Phyllis pulled the covers back just enough to look. An entire little old lady, or the ghost of one, hovered near the ceiling. “Who the hell are you?” Phyllis demanded.
The lady floated down and solidified. Without the distortions in her face and without the flying thing, she didn’t seem so menacing. In fact, she might have been someone’s grandmother if she hadn’t shown up on a milk carton first.
She cleared her throat. “Phyllis Green, I’m your fairy ghostmother.”
“Don’t you mean godmother?”
“Let’s leave God out of this, shall we?” She scrunched up her nose. “No sense of humor.”
“He made the clown next door, didn’t He?”
“That is annoying.” She waved her hand, and the bozo came with several loud grunts. Finally, quiet settled over the room.
“There, now I can hear myself think,” the ghost said.
“Well, thanks for that, anyway. You can leave now. I’ll take it from here.”
Phyllis pulled the covers up over her head again, but something pulled them right back down. The ghost or fairy or whatever she was sat on the bed, the blankets in her hand. “You left the kitchen quite a mess, young lady.”
“I’ll clean it up tomorrow.”
“Today,” the ghost corrected. “It’s after midnight.”
Great. A picky ghost. She probably corrected people’s grammar, too.
“Do you know what day it is?” the woman said.
“Uh, February thirteenth.”
One gray eyebrow went up.
“Okay, the fourteenth.”
“Valentine’s Day,” the ghost said.
“Well, shoot, and I forgot to send Denzel a card.”
“That isn’t funny, young lady.”
“Tell me about it,” Phyllis answered. “He forgot me last year.”
“Sarcasm will get you nowhere. You’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day properly if it kills me.”
“Aren’t you… well, a ghost?” That would imply she’d already died, if it wasn’t rude to point that out.
“I’m the ghost of Valentine’s, past, present and future.”
“Aren’t there supposed to be three ghosts?”
The ghost shook a finger at her. “With your attitude, you’re lucky to have me.”
The old lady had an interesting concept of lucky. Phyllis had an early day working on her strip with her partner and cartoonist, Earl. She didn’t have time for any of this.
“Look, I know you mean well,” she said. “But I don’t want anything to do with love. Frankly, it’s a pain in the butt.”
“I knew you’d say that.” The ghost crossed her arms over her chest and gave Phyllis a smug smile. “That’s why we’re going to start with sex.”
Phyllis sat straight up in bed. “You and me?”
“Of course not, you young goose. I like men, especially if they’re well hanged.”
“You mean hung?”
“Hanged, hung.” The ghost waved a dismissive hand. “As long as he has a big one and he knows how to use it.”
Phyllis sat there and stared at the woman. A grandmotherly type who appeared on milk cartons and toasters and then sat in her bedroom talking about big ones. Weren’t women her age supposed to keep busy knitting doilies or something?
“Close your mouth before a fly flies in,” the ghost ordered.
Her jaw had dropped, so she shut her trap.
“You needn’t look so shocked,” the woman went on. “Your generation didn’t invent sex, you know.”
“The feelings haven’t changed since Adam discovered the fig leaf. Neither have the tools. If you must know, I did a darned sight better than you’re doing.”
That wouldn’t be hard. She hadn’t gotten laid for months. It seemed like every choice she made in men was the wrong one. At least, her vibrator didn’t promise to call and then disappear into a black hole. Somewhere out there was a dark star where all her lovers accumulated, and the Laws of Physics had a lot of explaining to do.
“You have all the opportunities in the world for great sex, and you ignore them,” the ghost said.
“You even do a comic strip called ‘Wonderslut.’ What would Wonderslut think of your behavior?”
“Wonderslut doesn’t exist.” What a ridiculous conversation.
“Well, she ought to.” The ghost polished that pronouncement with a huff of very high dudgeon. “You’re a disgrace, young lady.”
“Let me get this straight. Someone my grandmother’s age is scolding me for not sleeping around.”
“It’s about time somebody did.”
Phyllis pulled up the covers and lay down again. “I’m going to go back to sleep now. Let yourself out. I hear the microwave’s very nice this time of year.”
“I’ll go for now,” the woman said. “But I’ll be back at one. You’re going to get lain tonight, or my name isn’t Agnes DeWyld.”
With that, the woman dissolved into a wisp of smoke and disappeared. Phyllis turned off the lamp and put a pillow over her face.