Chapter Ten

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I was staring. It should have been embarrassing, but I couldn't help myself. Other people were noticing, but thankfully said nothing. Ever since I'd saved Angelica's life, she'd laid off a little, only sneering in my direction occasionally. The only person who didn't seem to know I was watching was the object of my curiosity-Tommy.

I thought about his name a lot. He was nice, like a man named Tommy would seem to be, but there was something about him that made me think he would prefer being called by his given name. Thomas sounded so much more . . . mature to me. He acted like a Thomas. Why did he like going by Tommy then?

Watching as he ate lunch with some of the other teachers, I chewed on my bottom lip, pondering his past and death. What had he done as a child? Where was he from? Did he ever go back there and visit? Do ghosts often visit their earthly homes when they've chosen to work for the people as he had?

His fingers wrapped around a fork with ease, long and graceful. A smile graced his features, warm and inviting as he spoke to the man beside him, the math teacher. Green eyes sparkled as he laughed, everything about him so casually displayed in them. I hadn't been the only one to get caught in his stare; I'd noticed several people, teachers and students alike, sharing a look with him on more than one occasion. If I listened hard enough, I could hear the baritone tenor of his voice, drifting across the space toward me. They were telling Shakespeare jokes. It sounded like the math teacher might have known the man himself.

Casually, as if he did it without even thinking, Tommy glanced in my direction as he took another bite of his pancakes, smiling when he saw me looking.

Embarrassed, I quickly looked away, cheeks burning, and grinned to myself. The memory of being held on his lap, his head rested on mine, came to me easily. It was as if I could feel his fingers on my back at this very moment, their comforting presence immediately banishing any worries or fears that I had.

Carefully, I checked to see if he was still watching, but, no-he'd turned back to his conversation, a mug raised to his lips as he nodded.

"Earth to Bridge," Lilly said from beside me. "Are you alive in there?"

"Huh?" Ripping my attention away from him, I turned to her, blushing slightly still.

"Everything okay?" She was grinning, though. She knew exactly what I'd been doing.

"Yeah, I'm fine." Clearing my throat, I took to eating my own food again, making a conscious effort to not look anywhere but my own table. I'd continued sitting with the ghosts, even though none of the zombies were really indifferent to me. There were only a few others besides Drake and his two friends, and if they came to breakfast-or any meal, for that matter-they sat at other tables as well. For as cliquey as it was here, my kind seemed to have integrated with everyone else fairly well.

"Did you hear anything I said?" Lilly sipped her coffee, eyes wide with excitement.

"Something about dresses?" I shrugged, smiling apologetically.

"There will be a big party and dance for Yule next month," she explained impatiently. "There's a limited number of dresses each year-one for each girl here-and they'll be here for us to start picking from today! We need to be the first ones there, or all the good ones will be gone. It's not like we can go out and buy something else if everything nice gets taken."

"Oh. I'm not really one for parties and such." Wincing, I took a swig of my own hot drink, trying to ignore her flabbergasted look.

"This is like our prom, Bridge," she explained carefully and slowly, like I was stupid. "There aren't any other celebrations like this during the school year. Besides, everyone is required to attend." The last part was thrown on hastily, which made me wonder if it was true, but I looked at her in surprise anyway.

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