'I'm sorry; perhaps I should have explained myself better.' Jenna Stapleton gave him a wan smile. 'I'm not like you; I can't see ghosts - only my mother, or so I thought.' She gave a helpless laugh, and passed a hand across her eyes, swiping away the tears.
'I'm sorry; this isn't going quite as well as I'd hoped,' she admitted. 'I don't know why; I just thought it would be so easy. We'd talk, and you'd understand, and then you'd help me find my mother.'
Lukas didn't reply immediately. He caught the waitresses eye, and ordered another round of tea and coffee. He glanced at his watch; an hour or so yet, before MacKenzie came looking for him.
'Okay, look.' He turned back towards the young woman. 'Firstly, I do understand; probably more so than you realize. There are just some things you can't explain, even to yourself, let alone a complete stranger.' The waitress arrived, and Lukas passed Jenna her tea. She accepted the cup with a grateful smile, and Lukas thanked the waitress, before settling back.
He allowed Jenna a little time to regain her composure, and stared out of the window at the sunlit street beyond, studying the people hustling past the glass, intent upon the own errands and their daily routines. The area was busy at this time of the day, the polished chrome and glass entrance to the Arndale shopping center across the road being the main focus of activity. Traffic crawled along the middle of the street, the occasional impatient driver flicking his horn at the constant stream of cabs that stopped to take on or disgorge passengers in front of the Arndale.
The view palled quickly for Lukas, and after a minute or so, he turned his attention back to the young woman across from him. Jenna was sipping at her tea, and watching him, a small anxious frown creasing her brow. He gave her a warm smile, and the frown faded, as she returned the gesture tentatively.
'Okay. My advice now,' the medium began, 'is to start over. Take it from the point you're most comfortable with. We can just sit and talk, and see where we go from there. And, before you ask; No -I do not think you're crazy.' He smiled. 'Lucky is probably nicer.'
Jenna smiled gratefully. 'Thank you, Mister Madson. That means a lot, from you.'
'You're very welcome; and I think you can call me Lukas. Most of my friends do.'
'Am I your friend, then?' There was a small glint of playfulness in Jenna's eyes, that Lukas found very appealing.
'I'd like to think so,' he told her, 'and that you're mine.' He sipped his coffee, and studied her thoughtfully. 'I have the feeling that you might need a friend at the moment.'
'You're probably right.' She admitted, with a small shrug. 'It's not really the sort of thing you can throw into everyday conversation is it? I mean, it's different for you; people know you, and know what you can do. If I told people I still talk to my mother, they'd probably have the men in white coats banging on my door by the end of the day.'
'It's not all that different for me.' Lukas replied. 'There are still plenty of people out there who think I either belong in the padded room next to yours, or that I'm the biggest con artist since Orson Wells fooled half of the American population into thinking the Martians were landing.' He laughed at the look of puzzlement on Jenna's face. 'Forget it; it's a bad analogy. My point is, I know how you feel.'
'You're really good at making people feel better about themselves, aren't you?' Jenna laughed. 'That's a good talent to have.'
'I'm glad it's helped.' Lukas smiled. 'So; when did you first talk to your mother.., mum?' Jenna nodded. 'Was it soon after she passed?'
'It was the day of the funeral.' Jenna gazed out of the window beside her; her thoughts distant. 'I remember; it was two days before my twenty-second birthday, and I was just sitting there, in my bedroom, wondering how I was going to get through the rest of my life without her. There was only the two of us, you see, Mister-,' she caught herself before Lukas could correct her. 'Lukas.' She threw him a swift grin, before returning to her observations of life beyond the glass.
'Anyway, I never knew my dad. He left us, not long after I was born. My mother said that was probably the best thing he'd ever done for us. She never went into details, but I think he drank, and abused her quite badly, even while she was pregnant with us. I was a twin,' she added, in response to Lukas' upraised eyebrow. 'My sister would have been a few minutes older than me, but she was stillborn. My mother named her Summer.'
'Another beautiful name. I'm sorry to hear that.' Lukas responded automatically. 'It must have been really hard on your mother.'
'I think that's part of the reason we were always so close.' Jenna smiled. 'I was all she had left. She had no family, and had me - us - quite young. She was still in her teens, and my dad was, apparently, quite a lot older than her.' Jenna shrugged. 'It was never easy, trying to get details out of her. She would always clam up, whenever I pestered her about my dad. In fact, it was the one subject that could make her angry - really angry, I mean; almost nothing else could. She was that sort of a person. Kind; loving; the perfect mother really.' Jenna's eyes clouded over, and Lukas waited patiently, sipping at his coffee, until she was ready to continue.
'Anyway,' Jenna began, after she had composed herself. 'She always treated me like a little sister, rather than a daughter. We looked a lot alike, and people tended to think we were sisters anyway, and it was sometimes easier to just pretend. We went out together, shopped together, and borrowed each other's clothes and makeup.' She smiled; remembering. 'We even double-dated once, just for a giggle. It was a complete disaster. We all ended up getting absolutely smashed, and then the guys decided they preferred each other to us.' She shook her head and laughed, and Lukas joined her.
'So; the pair of you had a closer than average relationship.' Lukas commented. Jenna nodded.
'People said that we were inseparable.' She smiled, nodding. 'I know it sounds weirder than it was; at least, I think so. We were just so close. Anyway, when I was twenty, she was diagnosed with lung cancer.' Jenna sighed, softly. 'She smoked; had done since her teens. I hated the smell of the stuff; I was always at her to kick the habit. But she said she didn't have either the inclination or the willpower. Anyway, there it was; I was twenty; she was thirty-seven, and terminal.'
'A difficult time for you both.'
'It was the hardest time of my life.' Jenna said quietly. 'But mum was great. She spent most of her time making sure that I was okay. Even though she was going through chemo, and was sick herself, most of the time, she always seemed to think of me, before herself.' Jenna turned her gaze towards Lukas. 'Even then, Mi-, Lukas; she seemed to know something. She always said that, even after she was gone, she would still be with me, and that we'd be together. I never really believed her, of course; I thought she was trying to make me feel better.'