Chapter Fifteen

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It was a strange thing, being buried. I'd missed my own funeral, having been put back to sleep after Tommy explained everything to me in the morgue. He said it was really nice, though. A lot of people came. I didn't know why that made me feel good, but it did.

Another thud of dirt hit the top of the coffin and I giggled, feeling slightly mad.

"You okay?" Tommy asked beside me. He was still a spirit, but had promised not to leave me alone for this. He'd woken me up again once the lid had been nailed shut on me.

"We're being buried alive-sort of. It feels weird."

"Garrett will come with the witches to get us as soon as it's dark. We won't be in here very long."

I remained silent, remembering very well that we would soon be rescued. "You know," I said suddenly. "This is the second time you've woken me up from my own grave." For some reason, that was incredibly funny as well and I laughed until my sides hurt. Tommy, however, didn't seem to find it as hilarious.

"I'm so-"

"So help me, if you apologize for this again, I will slap you as soon as you have a body. You saved me from living the rest of eternity as an ear, Tommy. You did good."

"I didn't do anything," he argued, frustration in his tone. "I couldn't! I just stood there while everyone else did the work."

"If you hadn't found me, there would be nothing to find. Both times." My voice softened and I blinked in the dark, wishing I could see him, or at least feel him. "You saved me. You. It may not have been the way you wanted to, but you did it. I'm here because of you and I'm glad of it."

He sighed, obviously not feeling the same way himself but unwilling to argue with me about it.

The sounds from above were growing further away and slowing down. They must have been almost done with the burial. I felt another stab of sadness for Mom, but she would be okay. After all, there was at least one spirit watching over her.

The minutes turned into hours, the silence stretching between us as I dozed on and off, thinking of my life now. "So how is this going to work?" I asked after a particularly long stretch of nothing.

"They'll dig us up and take us back to the school."

"Not that." Rolling my eyes I silently chastised him for being a smart ass. "Us. How are we going to work?"

"What do you mean?" He sounded hesitant, yet eager. What a goof!

"I mean, you're my teacher and I am head over heels in love with you. Will you stay a teacher when I graduate? Will you be sent off to watch someone else? Will I be stuck in a graveyard somewhere, waiting for you to come home while your dinner gets cold?"

He laughed, a breathy sound in my ear, and then sighed with longing. "I wish I could kiss you right now for that," he confessed. "You mean it? You love me?"

"Of course I do," I replied evenly. "I told you before."

"Yes," he argued. "And I thought-well, I thought it might have just been stress over hiding from the werewolf."

"It most certainly was not." My reply was strong, steady, and true. I loved him, without a doubt. "I meant every word. How could I not, when I've come to know you so well? Every time we spoke, I learned more about you. You must have noticed how I felt. I was sure everyone in the school had."

He chuckled, and I could imagine exactly how the smile on his face looked.

Suddenly, the casket moved, rocking slightly, and I gasped, pressing my hands against the silky sides.

"It must be after dark," he said reassuringly. "They've come to let us out."

"Why did you stay with me?" I asked as we were moved to who knew where, apparently along a very bumpy road while being carried by someone who kept almost dropping us.

"Because I love you," he said softly. "And I will not leave you alone again. That's how this works. You and me, together. Always."

I smiled, remaining silent as our journey continued. My suspicions that we were being carted to the school were confirmed when a shiver passed over me. Suddenly, I had a whole, perfect body again.

And I was smashed in a very small space with Tommy.

"Hi," he said awkwardly, smooshed on top of me.

"Hi." I grinned, loving the feel of his arms around me again. They weren't exactly around me-more like squashed into the free space beside me-but it was still wonderful.

"They're going to open the casket soon," he murmured, his breath washing over my face.

"I don't care."

His lips met mine softly, sending a thrill through me that left me hungry for more. Eagerly, I returned the touch, pressing against him with all the strength I could muster. It was my first kiss, an event that seemed like popping fireworks and drinking sweet tea at the same time. I could drown in the taste of him, be lost forever in his touch.

When the casket did open, to several whispers and giggles, I still didn't care. We had forever together and I planned on loving him for every second of it.

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