This post is wily! It had apparently be set to Private or floating around and… please just let’s say it went up as planned. I know you remember the series of spoof stories at ALBTALBS because Part II was only a
week ago… again I want to thank the wonderful Jen W. at Cover Remix. And of course our fearless (intrepid? ;-)) authors Mari Carr and Jess Dee. Seriously – they’re good sports. We should all show them some love.
Atlanta, Georgia is miles away from Jake’s Robert’s life in Sydney, Australia.
But since his mother uprooted them both to live in America with her new husband, Jake has no choice but to find his feet in his new home.
Problem is that new home, so totally foreign to him, is also strangely familiar. As is the hauntingly beautiful Southern Belle who appears to him out of thin air…determined to address him as John Masters, someone Jake doesn’t know at all.
Or does he?
Lizzie’s mouth opened to his immediately, their tongues meeting in a dance so familiar and so exciting, goose flesh sprung to life all the way down his back. She moaned softly, a sound that echoed through his ears, and he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her in close, deepening the kiss.
Good Christ, she smelled amazing. And tasted even better, like the spring berries he loved so much.
Lizzie pressed herself against the length of his body, her firm, round breasts pushing against his chest. Jake experienced a moment of profound frustration as he tried to curve her lower body to his, but her massive skirt prevented him from getting closer. Then Lizzie laughed breathlessly and whispered, “soon” and Jake lost himself to the taste of her tongue and the feel of her lips.
He kissed her until a billion memories rained down on him, until John Masters no longer seemed like a foreigner from a distant land. He kissed her until he was John Masters, the young lieutenant about to head off to war.
How on earth had he forgotten this part of his life? How could he have lived so free of memories of the person he was and had always been. John Masters, son of Lillian and Charles Masters, born March, 1845 in Atlanta, Georgia. Recent member of the Confederate army and soon to be husband of Elizabeth O’Hara. He would propose to her. Just as soon as he returned home from the war.
Jake gasped and broke the kiss, pulling his lips from Lizzie’s.
What the fuckola?
Had he just convinced himself he was a young Confederate soldier, going off to fight in a battle that had taken place one hundred and fifty years ago?
As he stared at the woman he loved and intended to marry—yet didn’t know at all—she gave a soft sigh and shimmered away to…nothing, leaving Jake holding air.
Only the tingle on his lips and the painful tightening in his groin remained as proof that he had in fact kissed her.
Dan and his mom had put his silence at dinner down to general teenage angst. They’d been wrong. In fact, Jake’s silence had been the result of his astounding encounter in the passageway.
He’d met a ghost, kissed her, and remembered a million memories he’d never experienced. A billion thoughts and emotions had battled for dominance in his head. Astonishment at interacting with a ghost. Confusion that he’d recognized said ghost. Utter enchantment for her. And bewilderment that he’d recognized himself as John Masters, a person he’d never heard of before today.
But perhaps most of all, he was consumed by memories of the kiss they’d shared. The very real kiss that had seared its way down his spine and left the flavor of Lizzie forever imprinted on his tongue.
Leaving the dinner table and taking a shower hadn’t made much of a difference. Jake was still obsessed with their improbable meeting.
He wiped down the mirror, clearing it of fog and stared at his reflection, then frowned. Somehow he hadn’t expected to see himself in there. Something life-changing had happened this afternoon. Surely that change should be visible in his face? In his features or body? But no, he just looked like the same old Jake Roberts he’d always been.
The same Jake Roberts who’d kissed his Lizzie—or was that John’s Lizzie?—in the passageway.
“I kissed a ghost and I liked it,” he hummed softly, shaking his head at his reflection. “The taste of her…”
“Oh, John,” a soft gasp behind him had Jake spinning around. “My, oh my, don’t you look handsome all dressed up in your uniform like that.”
Lizzie stood before him, her hands clasped together beneath her chin and her pink ball gown showing off her feminine curves. Her blue eyes glowed with pride and love.
Jake couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face. Seeing Lizzie was the highlight of every day. Lord knew, he’d miss her something fierce when he left tomorrow. He hoped she’d remember to write him every day, just like she’d promised.
He didn’t see her everyday. He’d seen her for the first time this afternoon.
“Oh, dear, you have that look on your face again.” Lizzie’s face dropped. “The one that says you’ve just seen a ghost.”
“A very beautiful ghost.” Without thinking twice, he took her hand and tugged until Lizzie stood in his arms once more. Then he kissed her. Again.
And again the memories rained down on him, and Jake became John. And John let himself drown in the taste of the woman he loved, in the feel of her tucked in his arms, her lips pressed to his, her tongue so seductive in his mouth.
Lord knew, he wanted her naked, beneath him. Counted the days until he could untie the ribbons of her corset, get rid of the countless layers of her petticoat, and finally make her his in every sense of the word.
Lizzie pulled away with a breathless laugh. “You need to be careful,” she chastised. “You’ll crease the uniform before you’re ever seen in public wearing it.”
Jake stared down at his towel. The one that did a useless job of hiding his reaction to Lizzie’s kiss. “Uniform?”
She reached up and fussed with his…collar? “Yes, silly. Uniform.” She nudged his shoulder, urging him to turn around, and this time when Jake faced his reflection, everything he’d expected to see in the mirror earlier but hadn’t, looked back at him.
His face was the same, but his hair was shorter. Much shorter. And rather than his bare chest and towel, he saw a grey, buttoned jacket that instantly made his skin itch beneath the rough wool. He was dressed for…war.
Not just dressed for war. He’d been to war. Left this house, left his parents’ house, left…Lizzie.
He’d left the woman he’d loved to go and fight for a cause he hadn’t been a hundred percent sure he’d agreed with. God knew, he loved the South, and loved the life he’d led there, but slavery…
No, slavery had never been something he’d die for. Yet, he’d gone to war. And he’d fought. Faced battles bloodier than any man—any child—should ever have to face. Hand-to-hand combat. Sword-to-sword combat. He’d fought, and he’d killed, and he’d been killed.
Jake gasped, struggled to find air.
“L-Lizzie,” he stuttered.
Her eyes were enormous, staring back at him in the mirror.
“Lizzie, my love. I…I died.”
Her jaw dropped. “You what?”
“I died. Lizzie. I’m dead.”
And God, he remembered it, remembered every second. The look of pathological rage on his opponent’s face, the hatred blazing from his eyes. Then the burning pain as the Union soldier’s sword pierced his flesh, slid between his ribs and found his heart.
Jake clutched his chest, as though trying to staunch the invisible flow of blood as it coursed from the mortal wound.
“He killed me,” Jake whispered hoarsely. And as his eyes closed and the last breath stuttered from his lungs, Jake gave voice to one thing he mourned in that last second of life.
“Jake!” Her voice, filled with panic and concern washed over him like cool rain in the summer.
“Lizzie,” he whispered. She seemed so far away. He reached out for her. “Lizzie. I’m almost there.”