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Haunted Love
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Haunted Love
by SheridanC

     

Chapter Four

Hank folded his arms over his chest and shivered, gazing wistfully at the Lopez-Fitzgerald house. The full moon filtered over the lawn, casting a glow about the house with fantasy-like qaulity.

Hank had no clue why he was there, at that house. Why his gaze was riveted to Theresa's bedroom window, the room that Paloma was sleeping in.

Nor why a sudden aching began in his chest, a longing in his heart.

A car rumbled past, heading down the road. Hank blew warmth into his ice-cold hands and turned towards his own car.

He should get in and drive away, he knew, but his feet disagreed, leading him towards Theresa's bedroom window.

He just had to see Paloma.


"Anyone mind explaining to me just what the hell happened out there?" Luis sighed, frustrated. His little sister sat on the couch in the livingroom of Sheridan's cottage, shivering violently, her wide brown eyes gazing sightlessly ahead of her.

Sheridan remained calm. It had happened before, and she had no doubts that it would happen again. This ghost, or whatever it was, had its sights set on her. It was trying to frighten her, or drive her insane.

For whatever reason, it wanted to scare her silly.

"Sheridan? Why were you with my sister?" He suddenly grew suspicious. "Did you leave the cottage?"

"Well, ah," Sheridan stammered. "Um, yes...I-I just wanted to see your sister."

Luis gave her an admonishing glance. "You know better than to do that. The drug cartel is after you. If anything should happen, it would mean my badge." He glanced at the clock on the mantle over the fireplace. "It's one o'clock in the morning, Sheridan. What you did was dangerous."

Sheridan looked rightly chastised. "Sorry," she mumbled. "It won't happen again."

She knew that Luis was only looking out for her safety. She'd come to realize that awhile back.

"Good," Luis replied. He sat down and leaned forward, clasping his hands together at his knees. "Now, why were you both out cold when I found you? And who screamed?"

"Both of us," Paloma suddenly spoke up. She looked at her brother. "It-it was a ghost. I saw it. I
saw it."

She began to tremble violently. "Oh, God. I saw a
ghost."

Sheridan sighed and lowered her head. Logical people like Paloma and Luis seeing ghosts would, more likely than not, drive them over the edge.

She was suddenly glad that she was more like Theresa, believing that anything was possible.

Luis muttered a curse and jammed his hands through his hair, rising to his feet. He began to pace.

"You sure it wasn't your imagination? A trick of nature, or something?"

Paloma shook her head, still wide-eyed. "I know I saw it!"

"Look, let's just get you back home," Luis suddenly said, turning to face his sister and Sheridan. "Sheridan and I will drive you home, okay? And you can forget this ever happened."

Sheridan jumped to her feet and pointed an accusing finger at him. "You saw it, too! You can't just keep forgetting this ever happened! It keeps coming back, and it will slowly drive as all nuts!"

"Calm down, Sher," Luis muttered. "We have to figure out what's going on, but I don't want Paloma involved."

Sheridan was nonplussed. Not at his words, but at the cute nickname he'd given her at the Lopez-Fitzgerald house. She slowly smiled.

"Okay. Let's get going."


"Paloma."

The whisper floated over Theresa's bedroom. She grumbled and threw her pillow over her head, not wanting to be roused from such a beautiful dream.

"Paloma," came the whisper again.

She groaned and muttered, "Would you get that, Loma?"

"Paloma!" the whisperer said once more.

She opened one eye and glanced down at Paloma's rumpled bedsheets. Paloma wasn't there.

Theresa groaned and stumbled out of her bed, towards the window, where the whisper had come from.

Hank stood there, and, at her approach, his jaw dropped. He scrambled to find an explanation as to his presence.

"I, ah, Paloma, ah, left--"

"What do you want?" Theresa yawned. "Paloma isn't here."

"Er, ah, I want Paloma. Uh, I mean, I want to
see Paloma," he quickly corrected. Fidgeting nervously, he added, "If she's not here, I'll just--"

"Hey! What the hell is going on here?"

Theresa arched her neck to see her brother at his angry shout. Sheridan and Paloma departed his car and came racing to the window with Luis at their side.

"Hank?" Luis demanded incredulously. "What are you doing here?"

"He wants Paloma," Theresa informed her brother with a grin.

Hank shot her a withering glare. "I wanted to
see Paloma."

"Why?" Luis asked, confused. From beside him, Paloma gave Hank a grin.

"Uh, well, I, ah, I wanted to see her to, ah, discuss...politics." He flushed red with embarrassment at his lame excuse.

"I...er...see..." Luis replied uncertainly. "Theresa, go back to sleep," he told his little sister, casting a suspicious glance Hank's way. "Hank...er...come inside."


"Politics?" Luis sputtered. "You can do better than that, can't you?"

Hank nervously ran a hand through his hair. Sheridan and Paloma were in the kitchen, making a pot of coffee after everyone decided that they wouldn't be getting any sleep that night, anyhow. Luis and Hank had stayed in the livingroom while waiting for their coffee.

"It wasn't an excuse," Hank denied. "It was the truth."

"Oh, sure," Luis replied sarcastically, rolling his eyes. "Admit it, Hank. You have the hots for my little sis."

"Do not!" Hank shouted.

"Uh-huh," Luis chuckled. "And, look, I have no problem with that." He gave Hank a pointed look and rose to his feet. "I just don't want you hurting her. If you want to get with Loma, that's okay. Really."

Hank flushed red with embarrassment and lowered his head. Loma was the nickname he'd given Paloma back in the third grade. And she hated it with a passion.

Luis and Theresa had taken to calling her that after Hank had called her it for a year, which upset Paloma. Hank, although, had the feeling that she secretly enjoyed the nickname.

Sighing, he admitted, "I don't understand what happened. I saw her again yesterday, and everything just changed. I feel different when I'm around her." He looked at Luis. "I don't know what this feeling is, but I enjoy it."

Luis smiled softly, thinking of Sheridan. He shook his head to rid himself of the unwanted thoughts.

"Just don't hurt her," he warned. "I'll ring your neck if you do."

Hank grinned. "Don't worry. I don't plan on hurting her...ever."


"...And in the third grade, he started calling me 'Loma'," Paloma laughed. "I would act like I hated the nickname, but I really like it."

Sheridan grinned while waiting for the coffee to brew. "He came to see you, Paloma. Do you know what this means?"

Paloma blushed. "No."

"Oh, come on. Can't you see it? Hank likes you. Maybe even loves you."

Paloma went wide-eyed and jumped to her feet from the chair she'd been sitting in at the kitchen table. "No way! He couldn't. You're taking things wrong."

"Oh, come on. Politics? That's one lame excuse, if I do say so myself." Sheridan raised an eyebrow. "Don't tell me you don't see it. He gets all jumpy when he's around you."

"What about Luis?" Paloma replied with a grin. "I think he likes you."

"Cut it out,
Loma," Sheridan muttered, standing. "You know he and I can't be together."

She wandered over to the counter with the half-full coffee pot on it and sighed.

"Sher," Paloma said, coming up behind her, "about this ghost thing..."

"I know, I know. There must be a logical explanation." Sheridan rolled her eyes. "How many times have I heard that, I wonder?"

"Wait." Paloma grabbed her arm and spun her around. "I saw something."

Sheridan furrowed her brow in curiosity. "What? What did you see?"

"Look, I don't know how this is possible, but it looked like...well...there was fuzz."

"Fuzz?" Sheridan said, shaking her head. "What are you talking about?"

Paloma sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "You know how your television screen gets all screwed up sometimes, and there's fuzz? That's what it looked like."

A frown furrowed Sheridan's brow. "Are you sure it wasn't just your imagination?"

"Are you sure the ghost wasn't our imagination?" Paloma scowled. "We could have had a linked dream. You know, it is possible."

Sheridan rolled her eyes. "Luis has seen the ghost, too, Loma. Remember?"

"Oh yeah..." Paloma shook her head and wandered back over to the kitchen table. "I guess it
could have been my imagination...."

Sheridan offered a small smile just as the coffee finished brewing. She grabbed four mugs and filled them up, all the while thinking about the ghost.

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