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"Boy, you're a damn fool."
Evan Wilton sat upright in bed, scanning the room for the source of the voice that awakened him. He saw no one. Of course he wouldn't. His grandfather, the man he thought he'd just heard was dead. He died over three months ago. It was merely a dream. He flopped onto his back and draped his arm over his eyes. His grandfather was dead. When would he just know that and not need to continually remind himself of the fact? How long would it take?
"I'm speaking to you, boy. The least you could do is pay attention."
"Pop?" Evan asked aloud, feeling the fool for doing so as he cautiously removed his arm.
"Of course it's me. You think after all these years you'd recognise my voice."
"But you're dead," he stated.
"So? What's your point?"
"I'm dreaming. That's it. I have to be. It's just because I miss the old coot so much that I think I can still hear him."
"Old coot? Who you calling an old coot, boy?"
Evan shook his head. He rubbed his eyes and looked around the room again. This time he saw his grandfather leaning against the doorjamb. He jumped out of bed. "Pop? What the fuck?"
"Put some pants on, boy. It's too early in the morning to be waving that around. And watch your mouth."
Evan pulled on some shorts and sat on the edge of the bed. "Pop?"
"Jeez, would you get with it already, boy? You act like I've never visited before."
"It's not that, Pop. It's just that you're dead. I wasn't expecting you."
"Harrumph. You should've been. Someone has to knock some sense into that fool head of yours."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"What do I mean? What. Do. I. Mean? The girl, you idiot. The girl. Be. You're going to lose her if you don't get your head out of your ass."
"Be," Evan sighed tiredly. "She's already gone, Pop."
"Stupid fool. Serve you right if she was, acting like that," the recently deceased Walter Evans grumbled. "You still have time if you'd stop hiding like some snivelling coward and be the man that I know you are."
"She doesn't really want me. I'm not good enough for her."
"Hogwash. Stop talking out your ass and think for a minute here. She's got a good head on her shoulders. Yup, Belynda Himmel is one of the finest women I ever met. Right up there with your Gran and that's saying something."
"Yeah she is, so what the hell would she want with a loser like me?"
"Damned if I know when you're saying stupid shit like that. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and go after her. There's still time."
"But she's leaving in a few days."
"So what? She asked you to go with her. She never impressed me as the kind of girl who would do that frivolously."
"She didn't know what she was saying."
"Horse feathers and you know it. Or you would if you'd bother to consider it rationally. The girl loves you, though why I'll never know with that attitude. Keep it up and she won't."
"Love? You're wrong, Pop. Be doesn't do love. She said so herself."
"Damn fool. If you believe that you're further gone than I thought. She's scared. Been burned a few too many times. Doesn't want to call it that is all. But that's what it is sure as shooting."
"I don't think so."
"No? Then what would you call it?"
Evan squirmed. "Lust."