The Captain of the Manor
Their talks lasted through dinner and hours of research before Aiden collapsed on the bed in a deep sleep. When he woke, he saw Edmund sitting back in the chair next to the bed, reading from one of his family's books.
The day continued from there. Both of them acknowledge the day was Hallowe'en and Edmund's last full day of this corporeal portion of life. If perhaps his last day at all according to the words of the priestess.
They spent the entire day together, talking about everything from Edmund's earlier life, to his life as a ghost, rebuilding the manor into a popular bed and breakfast, and even the lonely portions of his existence. They discussed sections of the books. Aiden wrote down every word of the initial curse, the additional one when he tried to cross the threshold of Edmund's room, and the words of the priestess.
Over a late lunch, he continued to read the words, scratching notes, and thought about his future prospects. He was pissed to find an email from the company in Boston decided to hire internally for their position, but would keep his information on file.
"Just my luck," he muttered.
"What is wrong?" Edmund asked.
"The job offer fell through. They're going internal," Aiden said with a shake of his head.
"Which means you're back to the beginning of your job search?"
"Or I could accept your proposal to help you break the curse. It appears my life is rearranging to meet with yours. Could be part of the curse, bringing me full circle to find and help you." Aiden shrugged.
"You would do this for me."
"I would," Aiden said as he closed the laptop. He raised hands over his head for a full body stretch. "The sun is going down."
Edmund stared only at Aiden, ignoring everything around him. His form flickered with his concentration.
Rising, Aiden strolled over to Edmund, taking more care than ever, used a finger to push back his glasses, and placed his hands on the arms of the chair. He leaned forward, smiled, and captured Edmund's in a soft, lingering kiss. One of his hands lifted to curl around Edmund's cheek, the skin smooth and cool as marble under his touch. There was a flicker of energy, mist, but nothing to show he was truly alive.
Pulling back, he stared deep into Edmund's gaze.
"Aiden… I couldn't ask you to do…"
"You don't have to ask. I agree. Come, we need to do this in your room. What else do we need?"
"Candles, moonlight, and hope," Edmund said as he stood, brushing against Aiden's body.
"And lube. Lots of lube," Aiden said with a grin. "Though, I hope neither one of us needs to stay inside the other the entire night, because… umm… ow."
Edmund laughed as he wrapped an arm around Aiden's waist and led him out of the room. "No, I don't think it will be necessary. Perhaps we should make love a couple of times to prove our love for one another or the beginnings of love."
"I'll definitely second those ideas and I insist on lots of cuddling for the rest of the time."
"I say that sounds good and hope I can cuddle you for a long time beyond one night. I never thought I would even have the chance to end this curse. My life seemed to stretch endless ahead of me."
"We'll make it better if this all works," Aiden said.
This time, Edmund made sure to open the door instead of ghosting through. "I learned after last time."
Aiden broke out into laughter at the sheepish smile on Edmund's face.
They stopped at the threshold, not because of a spell, but the transformation of the interior room.
"Umm. This isn't your room, is it?" Aiden asked as he looked around at the lavish blankets, pillows, the bed piled with more, breezy curtains flowing with the sea breeze, a fire roaring in the hearth, and candles flickering everywhere.
"Not the way I left it earlier," Edmund said as he stepped forward and stopped to stare in a corner. "Priestess…"
"What…" Aiden moved until he was behind Edmund, his hands clutched his waistband as he poke his face around Edmund's shoulder. He saw the shadowy image become clearer of a dark-skinned female with her hair wrapped in a colorful cloth and her clothes were gauzy and flowing. She wore several amulets around her neck and waist.
"Happy All Hallow's Eve, gentlemen. Captain Edmund Carslyle, the one who doomed my love to death and cursed by myself, do you come into the relationship under your own free will and bidding?" the priestess intoned.
"I do," Edmund said, not arguing any points tonight.
"Aiden Joseph, the one who entered this manor without pretense or knowledge of the aforementioned curse, do you come into this relationship under your own free will and bidding?"
Aiden blinked and fixed his glasses. "I do, Priestess."
"So polite, dear boy," the woman said with a smile, bright against her skin. "By your free will and power of this night, I open the spiritual world and release you from your curse this evening, Captain Edmund Carslyle. If the two of you prove a love strong between you, life will remain beating in your heart, your soul replaced intact. If you break apart and are false with one another, Captain Edmund Carslyle, your soul and life is mine and you will cease living among this world."
Edmund swallowed under his throat. "I understand, Priestess, please do thy bidding with me."
Aiden clutched him tighter to support the man.
Raising her hands, the priestess chanted and spoke with her spirits and gods until a line of smoke flared from the fire and wrapped around Edmund, forcing him away from Aiden's grip.
"Edmund!" Aiden called out, but couldn't get through the barrier.
Edmund cried out as his body twisted and contorted under the power. He dropped to his knees, suddenly feeling the weight of the world and loss upon his body. He pressed a hand against his chest.
It was there. The strong beating of his heart.
"You have until the rise of the sun to prove your commitment or your soul returns to me with the first rays of the sun across the water. Mark this time well," the priestess said and disappeared along with the barrier around Edmund.
"Edmund! Damn, not again… Edmund!" Aiden shouted as he banged his fists against the barrier. When it disappeared, he almost faceplanted, but balanced himself out. Seeing Edmund on his knees, he dropped and crawled to him. "Edmund? Oh, Edmund, talk to me." He reached out and pressed one hand to Edmund's shoulder and another on his back. The sensation of touching him was different and astounding. "Oh… my… god…"
"I'm alive…" Edmund said.
Not wanting to waste a minute of his one night with Aiden, Edmund twisted until he captured Aiden's face between his hands and pressed his lips against him. Their tongues dueled, tangled, and plied against one another. The kiss sloppy, wet, and full of need.
"One night. My night with you… Now…" Edmund said, catching his breath.
Lips swollen, eyes bright with passion, Aiden gave him a lopsided smiled. "You got it, pirate."
TO BE CONTINUED