The Captain of the Manor
"I haven't decided what to do as of this moment," Edmund admitted after long minutes of pregnant silence filled the space between them. "Please, may we sit and discuss what is happening? Perhaps over in the sitting area."
Wanting answers himself, Aiden stood and led the other male to the small sitting area in the far corner of the generous suite. He settled in one of the armchairs, kicked off his shoes, and pulled his legs up to one side. He rested an elbow on the arm and leaned his head on his raised hand.
Edmund followed and chose the opposite armchair, turning it a little to face Aiden. He leaned back, folded his fingers together across his lap. "I… I find myself at a loss of words. I have no idea what to say."
"You're not the only one. Quite a predicament we're in together. This definitely was not on the list of what to expect on my first trip with a ghost hunter team."
"To find an actual ghost cursed by a voodoo priestess over 200 years ago to live a half life except during the autumn."
"There is all that…"
"Loss of a job. Loss of income. A gorgeous suite given to me for free within an ancient manor set along the Carolina coast." Aiden paused, tilted his head against his hand. "A man I find myself attracted too."
"I'm grateful to hear you're attracted to me. For I'm the same with you, the moment I saw you outside the window the day you arrived. I almost forgot about the paranormal hunters at the sight of you."
Aiden felt a flush creep up his neck.
"Since I was the cause of your job loss by my refusal to allow them in my home, I felt responsible for offering a suite. When there was a bit of trouble with your card, I decided to cover the cost of the suite."
"Trouble with my card?"
"There weren't enough funds to cover a single night in our smallest room," Edmund admitted.
Aiden groaned and lowered his face in his palm.
Edmund reached out and covered Aiden's knee with his hand. "Please… Do not trouble yourself…"
"I have too. I have no money, no job, and no way to cover rent or bills or anything. I have a doctorate and several masters with the loans to match and none of them are doing me any good."
"Please wait here a moment." Edmund disappeared from the room before Aiden couldn't blink.
"Sometimes I wish I could learn that trick," Aiden muttered.
"No, you don't for it comes with a serious mess of other problems," Edmund said as he reappeared next to Aiden's chair.
Aiden pressed a hand to his chest and jumped. "Jeepers, you scared the crap out of me."
With a chuckle, Edmund shrugged. "I thought you would prefer to hear the issues with my little disappearing trick."
"What are those?"
Edmund carried several large leather-bound books and a medium-size trunk in his arms. He placed everything on the floor next to Aiden. "These are books, maps, logs, and journals for my entire family line and history. In addition to what little research I did into my curse."
Aiden reached down and picked up one large book as Edmund returned to his chair. He took extra care with the old leather and musty paper. He loved the smell of old books and what they hid from the world. "I feel like I need cotton gloves or something to protect the pages."
"Oh. I have some," Edmund said as he performed the same disappearing act.
Shaking his head, Aiden brushed away some dust from the cover. Carslyle – A History of a Sailing Family was engraved into a simple copper plate.
"Some gloves for you. The pages don't react to my hands since I'm not completely human," Edmund said as he held out a pair of white cotton gloves.
Aiden looked away from the book and nodded. "Thank you," he said as he pulled on the gloves to protect the delicate pages from the oils on his hands. "This is your family history?"
"Hmm. It includes the old generations in Great Britain, when one side of the family immigrated to the New World, and continues from there. One of my distant nieces or nephews is working on another edition of the newer lines and descendants." Edmund moved to sit, but stopped. "Do you require anything else before I sit?"
"Not yet," Aiden said as he grinned.
"Perhaps I'll stay seated for longer than a minute this time."
Edmund sat down and crossed his legs at the ankles.
"Well, there was…" Aiden started and broke into chuckles when Edmund raised a single eyebrow. "Kidding. I'm kidding."
Edmund shook his head.
"Please, tell me everything about your conversation with the priestess, if you can," Aiden said as he changed books, opened the trunk, and found a delicate journal dated the time Edmund disappeared and in strong, decisive writing. "Is this yours?"
"Hmm. A chronicle of my last voyage, details of the curse, and after reappearing within my home, lost and uncertain of what happened. I included notes about how I learned to manipulate items, energy, and other things. There are also details about my first autumn experience after the curse."
Sitting back with the journal on his lap, Aiden flipped through the pages, some yellowed with age, others stained from time and wear, and smudges of the fountain pen and ink. "Please, could you tell me what happened with the priestess?"
With a nod, Edmund settled back against the chair and recounted his words with the priestess to Aiden, who listened, nodded at times, stunned at others, and twitching to write notes. During the telling, Edmund retrieved a pad and pen for Aiden, who grinned and wrote copious notes. He repeated various sections, striving for the details Aiden yearned for to understand.
When it was done after several takes, they both noticed the windows were darker as the sun finished setting.
"Are you hungry? I could call down for dinner?"
"I would love something," Aiden said as he kept his attention on the notes.
With a nod, Edmund rose and went to the phone. He dialed to the kitchen and ordered dinner for two to be delivered to the suite.
TO BE CONTINUED