Status: completed, requested by agent.
Miguel awoke with a start. Leah hovered over him, her face inches from his. Her mouth moved, but the echoes were whispering
again, loud as the ocean.
Groggy, he blinked at her a couple times, trying to clear the haze. "What is it?"
She leaned down and kissed him lightly. She took his lower lip between her bottom teeth and bit it, a little too hard.
He flinched and pulled away.
"What is it?" he repeated.
"I want you."
Half-asleep yet, Miguel glanced at the bedside clock. Four in the morning. Weird. Leah never woke up in the night.
"Yeah, okay." She kissed him. He closed his eyes and savored the kiss. Threading both hands through her hair,
he wondered why it felt so thick.
Cool hands framed his face as her tongue explored his mouth. She'd never kissed him that passionately before! Blood surged
through his body in an arousing kick.
**Hands on his face.** Leah had a cast on one hand that revealed half an inch of her palm and her four fingers.
Miguel wrenched his eyes open. Dark eyes stared into his. Long black hair fell in a curtain around his face and plump
dusky lips curved in a smile.
Miguel shoved her away and sat up. She sat back on her haunches, wearing the slightest of slips. He could see the dark
circles of her nipples and the triangle of her pubic hair through the thin fabric.
"Do you like me better like this?" She spoke softly. Her voice was husky and seductive. She yanked the sheet
off and slid her arms up his bare legs. The ends of her hair tickled his skin. His traitorous body reacted. The ghost incarnate
nearly purred with delight.
She skimmed up his chest, the tip of her nose nearly touching him, her hot breath ruffling the sparse hair on his chest
until she drew up eye level. She straddled his lap and he discovered with morbid fascination that she was naked beneath the
Naked, hot, and wet.
**And you're married!**
Before the thought could sober him, La Mariposa rose and sank down on him.
The sensation was intense, her heat flaming around him. "I can't do this," he protested even as she began to
move on him.
"You're doing it now." She threw her head back and sighed theatrically.
Miguel reached out to shove her away, but his arms were useless. She moved with such expertise and skill that he was
fighting for control.
She got hotter and hotter, burning hot. So hot Miguel wanted out, wanted away, wanted the cool sweetness of his wife.
He tried to twist away and dislodge himself from the spirit.
La Mariposa's face twisted in a snarl and she grabbed his shoulder, squeezing, digging sharp fingernails into his skin.
He protested with a shout.
He was going to burn in hell for this. He was already burning in hell.
La Mariposa clenched tight around him and ground her hips down harder. "Come on, lover boy, give me what I want.
You know you want to come."
A thick smoke stole over his mind, fueled by silky whispers.
She knew what she was doing. She had an air of expertise that Leah didn't. His hands went from trying to shove her off
to gripping her hips and lifting her higher.
The friction peaked and crested, crashing through his body like a tidal wave, wiping everything out of his mind.
He went limp, numbed by the realization that he had just cheated on his wife.
With a ghost.
Part of his asked, **Does that even count? She's not alive.**
Adultery begins in the heart. Leah had told him that, long, long ago.
La Mariposa swung her leg over his body and vanished. He was in alone in his bedroom. Moonlight painted everything blue.
Leah had been beside him before La Mariposa showed up. The side of her bed was empty and cold. Where was she? Guilt ate
a hole in his gut. He'd betrayed Leah. Ghost or not, sex with another woman was, well, sex with another woman.
He got out of bed and went to the bathroom to wash off any evidence. He flipped the light on.
There was no sexual residue.
A dream. It was just a dream. Such strong relief flooded through his body that his legs went weak. He grabbed on to the
Water sloshed in the tub behind him. He whirled, expecting La Mariposa to pull some other nasty trick.
It was full to the brim with water a few shades lighter than blood.
"Oh, God," he muttered, taking a step toward it.
Something under the surface moved, creating a gentle wave that lapped at the edge of the tub and spilled over, staining
Leah's baby blue bath mat.
He took another step. What was under the water? The surface moved again. Close enough to see, he peered into the depths.
He could barely make out the outline of a figure.
A glitter on the edge of the tub caught his eye.
Leah's wedding ring.
His breath quickened and he felt unsteady on his feet. Miguel stared at the ring, diamonds twinkling in the overhead
light. His body ached, demanded rest. He didn't deserve a rest. He was weak all-around. Standing over the bathtub, gazing
down at the obscured figure on the bottom, he hated himself. He could have pushed La Mariposa away. Instead, he'd sacrificed
his morals and now it seemed like he was giving up his sanity.
He reached down for the ring.
A hand surged from the tub and latched on to his wrist. He fell back, shouting, dragging a body half out of the tub.
Her eyes were huge, black pupils and bloodshot whites. Her face was drawn, whiter than the porcelain fixtures around
her. She was naked and her once-full breasts sagged like half-deflated water balloons against her ribcage. Her mouth gaped
Her fingers gripped his wrist like a vice.
"You did this to me," she said, her voice as dry as a corn husk. It rasped in her throat. "You made me
She released her hold and turned her wrists up. Deep vertical slashes ran the length of her forearm.
"You left me by myself. I couldn't be alone anymore." She rose to her feet. Her skin hung on her emaciated
frame like a limp, crinkled paper bag. She lifted one foot over the high side of the tub.
Horrified, he noted the gashes identical to the ones in her arms running the length of her thighs. The skin gaped, revealing
smooth, red muscle. Pink-tinted water ran from the wounds. Carnation-tinted droplets dripped from her slicked-back hair, falling
to the floor in fat droplets.
She advanced on him. He backed up until his bare butt hit the cold sink. "No," he whispered, shaking his head.
She held her hand out to him, fist balled around something.
She set something down on the edge of the sink. Her eyes met his, and for a moment they were her eyes, his Leah's eyes.
"I don't want to be alone anymore, my love." She brushed a wet hand over his chest and walked out of the bathroom,
through the darkened bedroom, and vanished through the door.
**I don't want to be alone anymore.** He looked down for whatever she had put beside his white-knuckled grip on the edge
of the sink.
A razor blade.
He picked it up and contemplated the silver edge.
**You did this to me. You made me do it.**
He knew what she meant. He betrayed her again. Somehow. This time, she couldn't get over it.
Miguel touched the cold blade to his wrist.
He wouldn't hurt her again. She wanted him with her. **I don't want to be alone anymore, my love.** He squeezed the
ring tighter in his hand, the same one that clutched the razor blade between thumb and forefinger.
**"Miguel, don't do this. Please, please, stop it now."**
Her voice rang out of the stillness of the bathroom. He felt her good hand on his face, the other on his up-turned arm,
the rough edge of the cast digging into his skin. He felt her, but he couldn't see her. Was this another trick to make him
"I can't leave you alone, baby." The blade bit into his skin. It hurt worse than he thought it would-but not
enough to make him stop. He bore down, drawing blood that ran in a vibrant cherry stream across his tan skin.
**"He doesn't hear me. Why doesn't he hear me?"**
Leah's voice was frantic, almost singsong.
"What do you want me do?" Desperate to please her, he halted his painful process.
**"I want you to stop and wake up. Wake up!"**
A crushing, invisible hand closed on his heart. The pang was so intense he lost all feeling in his left arm. The razor
and Leah's wedding ring fell to the floor with twin metallic tinkles.
Brutal shudders rumbled through his body. He heard Leah, felt her moving around him. He even felt her cast grating against
his arm. He just couldn't see her! The bathroom was empty, the bedroom just as vacant. The entire house had an empty feeling.
"Leah, where are you?" Hot desperate tears welled in his eyes.
**"Miguel, I'm beside you. I'm right here."** A smooth hand and one swathed in a rough cast guided his hands
to her face, unseen, yet right before him.
Another shattering pang ripped through his torso. He stumbled forward.
"Gotcha, bro." Jose. Strong arms looped around him and supported him.
His vision swam and refocused. On Leah. And Jose.
Though still in the bathroom, he wasn't standing there naked. He had on pajama bottom and a robe. The tub was empty,
dry as a bone. He looked up at Leah.
She was all curves and concerns. Their eyes met and huge tears filled hers. Her gaze flickered away. He followed it to
Blood welled out of a small wound and dripped to the floor. Though the injury was real, nothing else had been.
All a dream. He knew for sure. Shaking off Jose's supporting arm, Miguel made his way to the bed and sat down heavily.
Leah hobbled across the floor with her crutch. She dropped down beside him. "What happened?"
It had just been a dream, albeit lucid. The stress of the upcoming show must have gotten to him, plus all of Leah's fears.
He draped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. "It was just a dream."