Part 6

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We split up. Was it the smartest idea? No, probably not. But I couldn't take the two ghostly voices pelting me in rapid-fire, unsure where to look, while Bronte hovered at my side and kept repeating herself. "What are they saying? What did they say? Stella, come on, what are they–"

"Time out!" I shouted, making the motion and everything. The voices stopped immediately. I pointed at the planchette and board, forgotten on the couch. "Can one of you use that? Or do you both need to be there?"

Bronte dived for it as Oliver—I'm pretty sure it was silvery voice Oliver —answered. "One of us should be able to move it individually."

"Great. Bronte, you use that." My telling her was redundant at this point. She was already replacing the board on the coffee table and plopping down excitedly on the couch to watch it move, pen and paper in hand.

I turned toward the empty room. "And whichever one of you touched me, no, I guess I touched you—whatever—the one I felt up—we're going into my room."

It was impossible to tell if he followed me into my room or not. I hesitated with the door open, wondering if he needed it to be open to enter. Ghosts floated through walls, right? Would it be rude to shut the door and make them go through the wall?

Stress replaced my excitement faster than I thought humanly—or ghostly possible—at the thought of learning spectral etiquette. I could barely figure out human etiquette. Rose was our people-person, both mine and Bronte's. She knew how to read people, the exact words to say, how to talk with them. I tended to default onto snark when I felt surrounded by people while Bronte just hovered silently in the background.

I threw the door shut then turned to my room. It felt weird talking to a boy—even a dead one—while on my bed on our, I guess, first official meeting. So I sat in the maroon wingback chair in the corner, my own book nook apart from the one in the living room, and pulled my legs up to my chest.

"You in here?"

"Yes."

Maybe splitting up wasn't a good idea? I hated not being able to see anything. At least with Bronte nearby, I knew where to look.

"Which one are you?"

"Cyril."

"Cyril," I repeated. The one with the lower voice. Huskier and baritone. "Can you, I don't know, tell me where you're standing or something? Just talking to an empty room makes me feel stupid. Or crazy. I haven't decided which yet."

Nervous laughter floated through the room. "I'm standing beside the door."

"Oh. Thanks. Um, would you like to sit down, or something?"

"No, thank you."

Silence stretched between us. I stared at the door, eyes screwed up, trying to see the vague outlines Bronte swore she saw. But there was nothing. Just my bedroom door, as always.

How many times had he been in here, watching? And I completely unaware?

Shivers tingled down my spine for creepy reasons, rather than supernatural ones.

He cleared his throat. I didn't even know ghosts could do that—but he did. "Did you—did you have questions?"

"A few." Hundred, I added silently.

"You're welcome to ask anything. I understand this must be..." he struggled to find the right word.

"Stressful," I blurted.

"Stressful," he repeated, his tone sinking. "I do apologize for that. It is not my intent to—"

"Do you prefer walking through open doors or walls?" I blurted. "Because if I just slammed the door on you, I'm sorry. It's my first ghost-girl situation and I don't really know what to do."

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