The seasons fly by. Before I know it, snow blankets the ground and ice traces patterns of fairy wings on the windows.
Dante comes by most nights, and no matter how often I see him, how much I love him, I can’t keep my body from getting chills and feeling creeped out.
“Are you getting outside enough?” Dante asks me. “Don’t want you getting cabin fever.”
So I head out to a frozen pond at the edge of town.
I guess every place in this valley is mysterious. But the magic that fills this pond and meadow makes me believe that anything is possible.
I throw a party and invite the gang. We all bring gifts to share.
It’s a typical party at my house. Frank looks over a chess position, Chauncey plays video games while Arkvoodle and Mara look on, and Mike Nix stands around calculating how many gifts we’ll each get.
But even though it’s far from exciting, we still have fun.
The next day, Arkvoodle asks me out. I like Arkvoodle. And I’ve been thinking that I might want to date someone who’s, you know… alive. Even if he’s not from around here.
We have so much to talk about. I never realized that an alien could care as much about the environment as I do!
We make an igloo together and a few snowmen.
My fingers start freezing and I’m hungry, so I invite him back to my place.
While I fix up some spaghetti for us, he takes a bath. It feels domestic, cozy.
But as soon as we finish our meal and it starts to grow dark outside, I can’t wait for him to go.
Because as soon as he leaves, Dante comes around. What do I need with a living boyfriend, when I’ve got a love that lasts?
I wonder if my house, sitting next to the cemetery the way it does, rests on a cursed plot of land.
In early spring, Martin Bertiger drops by to visit–and drops dead.
It’s the strangest thing. This makes the third person to die here. I don’t even know Martin, just like I didn’t know the countess.
His ghost tells me not to worry: he was old. He’d been expecting this.
“Just move my headstone back in the garden, will you? I’ll be fine.”
On a rainy night in late spring, I hear a scratching at the door. At first, I think maybe it’s Dante or Martin, but when they don’t slide in through the walls, I go to take a look.
It’s Pixel cat!
“Pixel! What are you doing here, out in the rain?”
I invite him in, scramble up some eggs for him, and make a little nest of towels in case he wants to climb in to dry off.
While I’m painting, he comes into the art room to join me. I know he’ll be heading back to his home as soon as the rain stops, but while I’m watching him, I realize that I could adopt a cat.
Then I realize, if I could adopt a cat, I could adopt a kid.
The clouds blow over, the moon shines, and the stars come out.
I meet Dante in the garden, where he surprises me with flowers.
“What do you think of families?” I ask him. “You know, a home with a cat and a kid, old-fashioned style?”
“Do you want a child?” he asks.
“I don’t know,” I reply.
“Or a cat?”
“I’m not sure. Do you?”
“I used to want a child,” he tells me, “before all this happened. I thought you’d make an amazing mom. I didn’t think you’d want a vampire for the father of your child. But I can’t deny that I thought about it. I dreamed.”
“And now?” I ask.
“Now, all that is past.”
I watch him sleeping on the bench. The tough truth hits me: I’m in love with ghost.