Disclaimer: I own nothing.
AN: This story takes place basically any time for "Ghost Whisperer" and shortly after the fifth season of "Angel." Enjoy!
"I'm glad we took this trip to L.A.," said Jim Clancy, putting his arm around his wife, Melinda Gordon, and giving her a warm squeeze. "It's nice to get out of Grandview and have a vacation."
"Well, it's a vacation for you," said Melinda. "I'm searching for antiques."
The two strode down the street, taking in the sun and the sights. While Grandview was by no means small, it was certainly not Los Angeles and two were becoming fairly enamored of the city.
With her antique shop owner's eye, Melinda studied an apartment building with an intriguing stone façade. Then, almost without meaning to, she made eye contact with a man standing in a window. The man was of average height, with black hair and brown eyes. He looked somewhat sad and lonely—forlorn. There was one other thing Melinda noticed fairly quickly: He was a ghost.
Seeing the expression on his wife's face and knowing what that meant, Jim sighed and asked, "Where is it?"
"In that window," said Melinda, pointing. "He looks sad."
Knowing his wife's prodigious desire to help others—even when they were dead—especially when they were dead—Jim just asked good-naturedly, "Do you want to go check it out?"
"Yes," breathed Melinda, loving her husband even more in that moment, something she had not known was possible.
The two of them entered the apartment building and were just beginning to wander the halls when a man approached them and introduced himself as the building's manager. He asked if they were there to see the apartment for rent and before Melinda or Jim could even answer, he had whisked them away to the for-rent apartment.
Opening the door, he told them, "It comes fully furnished and, honestly, you won't find such a nice place for such low rent anywhere else in L.A. So, where are you folks from?"
"Grandview," answered Melinda dismissively. "Why is the rent so low?"
"You complaining?" deflected the manager.
"No," said Melinda, glancing into the bedroom and seeing her ghost staring at the bed, as if hoping that a special someone would appear in it. He turned and, when he saw her, he immediately vanished. Without any warning, a shelf collapsed, sending the few items on it crashing to the ground.
"Oh, I'll fix that," said the manager quickly. By the look in his eyes, Melinda could tell that this happened a lot. It was probably why he had so much difficulty renting out the place.
"Do you think we could look around by ourselves a little bit?" asked Melinda. "Just to get a feel for the place."
"No problem," the manager answered. "I'll just leave you folks to it then." With that, he left them alone in the apartment.
"Is this the apartment with the ghost?" asked Jim once the two of them were alone—or as alone as they could be in a haunted apartment.
"Yeah," said Melinda. "I think he knocked the shelf down. He probably does stuff like that whenever the apartment gets shown."
"You think he's, I don't know, dangerous?" asked Jim, always worried for his wife's welfare.
"No," answered Melinda. "He knocked down a shelf, not us."
Stepping away from her husband in slightly mincing steps to accommodate her stiletto heels, Melinda began speaking to the room, hoping the ghost was listening. "Hello, I know you're there. I can see you and you can talk to me."
"Where is she?" asked the ghost, appearing suddenly next to Melinda.
"Who?" asked Melinda, turning to face him.
"Where is she?" he asked again.
"I don't know who you're talking about, but maybe if you tell me more, I can find her for you."
"She freed me … after I died."
"What's your name?" asked Melinda.
"Dennis," he answered, "and I need to find her. I need to protect her."
"You can't live here. This is her apartment. She made my mother leave. It is her apartment now." Having said that, Dennis disappeared, leaving Melinda and Jim quite alone in the apartment.
"Is he gone?" asked Jim.
"Yeah," replied Melinda. "He's looking for someone. I don't think he'll be able to rest until we find her. I think she used to live here. Jim, why don't you go ahead to the Dodgers game; I think I want to go to the library and see if I can figure any of this out."
"Are you sure?" he asked. Although Jim wanted to stay and help his wife, he kind of wanted to go to the baseball game more.
"Yes," she said forcefully. "I want you to have a good time."
As the two were leaving, the manager approached them again. "So, what do you think?"
"We want to think it over a bit, but we'll get back to you," said Melinda, steering Jim out of the apartment building.
Hours later, Melinda and Jim met up again in their hotel room.
"So, what did you find out?" asked Jim, sporting a new Dodgers cap.
"A lot," said Melinda, settling in to give Jim all the details. "Our ghost's name is Dennis Pearson. According to a newspaper article I found, he was missing for a long time, since the 1950s. Police thought he had killed his mother and then fled town with some woman. For decades, no one lasted more than a few months in that apartment, with multiple women committing suicide."
"That would explain the low rental rate," said Jim.
"Yeah," agreed Melinda.
"So, what, this Dennis ghost was making these women kill themselves or he was killing them and making it look like suicide?" asked Jim.
"I don't think so," said Melinda. "A tenant in 1999 discovered Dennis' body in the wall."
"What?" squawked Jim.
"Police changed their theory on what had happened fifty years earlier," explained Melinda. "They think Dennis was going to leave town with some woman and, in order to stop him, his mother murdered him, and then suffered a heart attack."
"So, you think mom's a ghost, too, and is making girls kill themselves?" asked Jim.
"I think she was, but I think she's gone now," said Melinda. "The tenant who found Dennis lived there undisturbed for three years. After that, tenants didn't last long either, but they didn't die, they just chose to leave."
"What do you think this ghost wants?" asked Jim.
"I think he wants Cordelia Chase, the tenant who discovered him. She lived there longer than anyone else. He talked about needing to find a girl so he could protect her."
"Well, where is she?" asked Jim.
"I found a death certificate for her from a couple of months ago," said Melinda sadly. "He probably doesn't know and is wondering where she is. I found a hospital record that said she was an inpatient at a long-term care facility for nearly a year before she died. She was really sick."
"We need to tell him," said Jim, so sincerely it nearly broke Melinda's heart. "It would kill me not seeing you for a long time and not knowing why."
"We'll go back first thing in the morning," agreed Melinda, pulling her husband down into the hotel bed beside her.
The next morning the two of them headed back to the apartment building and asked the manager if they could see the apartment again. Once the manager had left, Melinda began speaking to Dennis, whom she did not see at that moment.
"You're looking for Cordelia Chase, aren't you?" she asked.
Appearing right in front of her, Dennis asked, "Where is she? Is she coming?"
"I'm sorry," said Melinda, feeling such sadness at having to be the one to give this ghost such bad news. "Cordelia isn't coming back, Dennis. She died a couple of months ago." Melinda pulled a print-out of Cordelia's obituary out of her pocket and showed it to Dennis. In the center of the print was a picture of a vibrant, smiling young woman.
"No," said Dennis, his emotions running so high that several items fell off of shelves and tables, causing Jim to jump.
"I'm so sorry," said Melinda.
"How?" he asked, his eyes filling with tears that would never fall.
"She was sick," said Melinda. "She spent the last year of her life living in a hospital for patients with neurological illnesses."
"She was sick," repeated Dennis. "She was getting sicker."
"She's not here," ventured Melinda. "If you want to see her again, you need to cross over. You need to let go and go into the light."
"I can't," said Dennis. "Not yet."
"What's holding you here?" asked Melinda.
"Somebody on Earth needs to remember her. I don't know where Angel and the others are. They live dangerous lives; they could be dead, too. Somebody here on Earth needs to know how wonderful she was."
"That's not your job anymore," said Melinda softly.
"But somebody needs to."
"Then tell me," offered Melinda.
Nodding his head slowly, Dennis began to speak softly. "Cordelia Chase was brave and strong and funny. Life tried to break her down so many times, but she never gave in. She saved people's lives, every day. Even when she began to get sick, she kept helping. She hid her illness from the others, but I knew about it. I tried to take care of her. I helped her to bed when the migraines were so bad that she couldn't walk. I kept her secrets and I always tried to protect her—not that she needed it. But she was also obnoxious, biting. She could be rude in a way that was patently Cordelia, but there was no nastiness behind her words. I think it was habit. She was kind, truly kind. She cared about other people. I think a lot of people probably saw the bad in her, but I saw such an abundance of good." Looking at the obituary still in Melinda's hand, he asked, "Will you remember her for me?"
"Yes," agreed Melinda, wiping tears from her eyes. After taking a long look at the picture of the beautiful young woman who had clearly won the heart of the ghost haunting her apartment, Melinda refolded the obituary and put it in her wallet, to be kept safe there forever.
"Thank you," said Dennis. Suddenly looking to the left, Dennis asked, "What is that?"
"That light's for you," said Melinda. "It's time for you to move on."
Dennis nodded once more at Melinda and then walked away, dissolving.
"He's gone now," said Melinda, wiping away more tears, as she leaned into Jim's body and let him hold her in his arms.
Melinda finished her trip and bought several interesting antiques for her store. When she went home, there were many things she would remember from her trip. Most importantly, she never forgot Cordelia Chase or Dennis Pearson.
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