Status: Complete.

Letters of the Loneliest


Without waiting for an invitation, her boss steps into the apartment. Lily shuts the door in a daze. She rests against it, surveying the scene before her. Barry is up now, shoulders slumped, avoiding eye contact with both of them.


He finally looks up, giving the older man a brief nod. "Simon."

"You know each other?" Lily asks, finding her voice.

She remains by the door, ready to make a quick getaway if needed. The whole situation is weird and leaving a bad taste in her mouth. She wants answers, but she's not sure if she's willing to stick around for them.

"Come in, Lilac," Simon tells her, motioning a hand. "I think it's time we talk."

She hesitates, looking between the pair. They're both watching her intently, as if they know she might flee at a moment's notice. The air is tense, everyone holding their breath. Simon shifts, but doesn't appear impatient. He looks relaxed, in control, like it's another day at the office.

Finally, the doorknob slips from her grasp and she steps cautiously towards the pair. Still, they wait.

"We're not going to hurt you. We only want to talk." Simon's voice is soothing, gentle. Nothing like the usual bark. "It's not how I wanted to do this." He shoots a glare back at Barry. "But we'll make do."

She stops in front of the couch, wringing her hands. What once seemed warm and cozy now feels suffocating in the presence of their larger than life persons. Her stomach tosses and turns.

Simon gestures towards the comfort of the couch. "Why don't you sit down, Lilac?"

"Why don't you quit calling me that," she grounds out. "It's just Lily."

"Is it?"

It's asked in a way that has her questioning herself. That's the kind of man Simon is. He oozes a confidence so powerful that he could make you doubt anything, even your name.

Despite her unease, she lifts her chin in defiance. She'll fake it until she makes it. Moving with confidence, she marches past both men and seats herself at the table. The raised chair doesn't put her eye level with them, but it helps her feel not so insignificant.

A flicker of amusement crosses Simon's face, as if he knows what she's up to. Barry smiles, but keeps his eyes trained downwards.

"Why don't you two have a seat?"

They only hesitate a moment before moving to the couch as one. If things weren't so uncomfortable, she'd laugh at the two men sharing the tiny piece of furniture.

"There's no sense in prolonging this," Simon says, leaning forward, elbows on knees. "This is why I didn't want Barry involved. He has a hard time keeping his feelings in check."

Barry stares straight ahead, never even blinking.

"I need you to keep an open mind, Lilac."

"Lily," she automatically corrects.

"Lily." He sends her a condescending smile. "What I'm about to tell you- Well, it'll be hard to digest."

"It won't work." It's the first time Barry has spoken since greeting Simon. "Nothing has."

"You shouldn't even be here," Simon tells him. "I'm letting you stay, so please, let me do the talking."

Barry's mouth shuts and he drops his head once again. His palms are pressed firmly together, tucked between his knees. It's hard to imagine that this is the same man that made love to her all night. He looks so small now, tucked into himself.

"You're stuck in a repetitive cycle. It's got to stop. You need to let go."

Her face scrunches. "Yea, I mean, I've been at the office a couple years now, and I don't do much outside of work. I don't think it's that big of a deal-"

"That's not what I mean." Simon squeezes the bridge of his nose. He opens his eyes and stares straight into hers, face a serious mask. "Lily, you're no longer part of this world. It's time you let go and move on. For your sake. For Barry's sake. You've got to break this cycle."

Lily stares, dumbfounded. The man is literally crazy! This whole thing is ridiculous, like they're having an intervention for her. For what? Because she's not a part of this world?! What does that even mean?

"I know it's a lot to swallow, but I don't want to beat around the bush."

She shakes her head, smiling even though nothing's funny. "This is nuts. You're both crazy and you need to leave before I call the cops." She glances at Barry. "The other cops."

"Dammit, Lily!" Barry roars, jumping to his feet. "It's me! You know me! Think about it!"

"I don't know what you're talking about," she says, beginning to shake.

"I'm Barry! I was supposed to be your husband!" His voice is pleading, eyes filled with tears as he moves closer. "You know me, baby. You know me."

"Barry, that's quite enough!" Simon is up, too, sensing Lily's growing distress.

"I don't know you!" she screams, covering her face. "I don't know you," she says again, whispering this time.

Except, she does. She felt it the moment they met. The way he had called her Lily-Belle earlier. Pieces start dropping into place. Forgotten memories begin to surface.

"Yes, you do." His deep rumble is softer now. She lifts her head to find him kneeling in front of her, dark eyes clouded with the silent plea. "You know me better than anyone ever has."

She's transported to another day. It's Christmas time in the square and people are everywhere. No, not Christmas. It's New Year's. There's the ball, counting down. She screams along with the rest of the crowd, cheeks rosy, hair covered by a red knit hat. The hat was a present from Christmas. From him.

The ball lights up and the song begins playing. She turns to him, grinning. He's down on one knee. She can't hear his words, but knows what he's asking. Her future reflects in his eyes.

It's Barry.

"Oh, my god," she whispers, staring down into the same man's face.

"You remember." He seems shocked by the revelation, making her wonder how long he's been trying to get through to her. Looking back to Simon, eyes wide, he says, "She remembers."

Lily gasps when she sees the simple ring on her left hand. Tears spring up and she slides from the chair into his arms. They embrace, lovers that have spent far too long apart. He kisses her tears away. She squeezes him close, never wanting to forget again.

"I'm sure you want an explanation." Simon is standing over the couple. A mixture of sadness and joy rests on his face.

Lily nods, pulling back. She swipes at the wet tracks on her face. Sniffling, she stands, dragging Barry up with her. They move in synchronicity to the couch, hands clasped tightly. She's scared to let him go.

He wears the same expression as Simon when she looks up at him. Angry hornets swarm her belly. She's positive she won't like what's about to be said, but she needs to know.

"I'm in the paranormal field. A sort of therapist for those who've passed on, but still linger."

Lily listens intently, telling herself to stay open minded. A psychologist for ghosts?

"I've been trying for months to help you cross over, but to no avail. Everything else I've tried has only sent you running. Every time, it's like you get a case of amnesia. Your cycle starts over and you forget everything I've said, everything I've done. You don't even remember me."

"I'm really dead?" She's not sure why the thought isn't sending her into shock. Maybe she still doesn't quite believe it. "What about you? Are you dead, too?"

"Only half," he says with a half smile. She stares, not sure if it's an inside joke. "I still have a physical body. I'm still a part of the living world, but I can walk between the two worlds."

"And you?" She turns to Barry. "You can travel between life and death, too? You never mentioned that before."

Barry and Simon exchange a look. She swallows hard when he squeezes her hand. The smile on his face doesn't quite meet his eyes.

"I'm not a part of the living world anymore." Lily chokes on a sob. She violently shakes her head, his face blurring. He pulls her close. "Sh, sh, sh, baby. It's okay."

"What happened to you?" she asks, face buried in his chest. He feels so warm that it seems impossible for this to be real.

"Do you remember what happened to you, Lily? How you died?" Simon questions her gently.


Before he can say more, another memory pops up. She's cold and naked, inside a dark, dank room. It smells like urine and bleach. Her heart pounds until it feels like it'll jump out of her chest. Then, the door creaks open.

"I was murdered." Barry flinches at her words.

"Yes," Simon confirms.

"By the man in the notebook?"


How does she know this stuff now, but not five minutes ago? Maybe this is a dream. Maybe her alarm will go off any second, and she'll wake up in Barry's arms.

"Is everything in the notebook real?" she asks, on the edge of the couch now.

"Yes and no." Simon moves to sit on the coffee table directly in front of her. "The people are real. Everything else isn't. This whole world isn't real. I've created it just for you. The people in the notebook are real, though."

"I'm lost." Her head spins.

"The people in the notebook have impacted you in some way. That's why you remember them." He clasps his hands together. "I'm sure you noticed the date is the same for every entry." Lily nodded, remembering that she had found it extremely odd. "The 17th is the date of your death."

"The last entry was mine," Barry confesses with a sheepish smile.

"He's not played by the rules since I've started helping you." Simon glares at him, but she can see the fondness lurking beneath.

She rests her forehead against Barry's cheek, grateful to have him by her side. He gives her strength.

"Why haven't I moved on?" she asks after the long pause.

"Spirits typically refuse to leave, because of negative emotions. They're angry or worried, because something was left unfinished." He's talking with his hands now, animated with the passion for his research. "Every case is different. Majority are pretty simple. They only take me a day or two. A few have taken me six weeks. But you," he points a finger at her, "I've been working on you for eight solids months."

Lily doesn't know whether she should be flattered or offended.

"I've had to think outside of the box for you. What I came up with was this. I picked up your emotions, memories, interests, and formed this world specifically for you. You're in your same apartment, at the same job, pursuing the same dream-"

"But not engaged."

"Well, no." He glances towards Barry who is scowling now. "Barry is so emotionally invested in this and I was afraid he would blow it. I allowed him to be a part of your world, if he promised to not intervene." Another pointed look.

"Hey, I didn't," he defends himself, arms held up in surrender. "She found me."

"Yes, which I hadn't banked on. I had no idea you would try to go to the cops. Especially, after my forceful dissuading."

Lily perks up, making a T with her hands. "Time out right there. What was up with that? My boss?"

"I had to insert myself into your life somehow. I needed to be somewhere that I could monitor progress, but not be suspicious."

"Well, kudos for you, because I had no flipping idea."

"Anyways, I assumed the reason you wouldn't move on was because you never fulfilled your dream on Broadway. So, I thought if I could get you there, then you would finally be satisfied. You weren't, though. Your cycle continued. I still have no idea what's keeping you here."

"How does the notebook fit in?"

"Ah, right, of course. The people in the notebook triggered strong emotions for you. I sprinkled them in so that maybe you would connect the dots yourself. That you would remember and realize on your own. It was a shot in the dark that you might be able to help yourself crossover."

"Rosemary was my grandmother, the homeless veteran was my dad, and the social worker tried to help me after he left and my mom started abusing me." Lily's amazed by how easily it's coming back to her now. "I knew them all before I died."

"Exactly. They're all real people that you knew when you were alive. You associate some of your strongest feelings with them."

She thinks back to all the people she'd noticed over the course of the week. It suddenly didn't seem like a coincidence. "They're all dead, too?"

Simon clears his throat, answering the question before it's asked. "Yes, they are. That's how they were able to communicate with you. They were trying to help, too. Well, most of them anyways."

Lily swallows the lump in her throat, trying to ignore the news of her father passing. If only she could've connected with him one last time.

"He's waiting, you know." She stares at Simon, slack jawed. He shrugs. "I can read your thoughts. That's how I knew Barry was here."

"My dad is waiting?"

"Yes, he's been waiting."

"I've stopped so many people from moving on," she whispers, wanting to scream in frustration. She pops her head back up. "Wait, you said they were trying to help me. How?"

Simon rubs his wrinkled forehead, appearing to have forgotten what they were talking about. He snaps his fingers, perking up. "Right, right. They all had trouble crossing over, too. I asked for their help. I wanted them to tell you what had held them back, in hopes it was something similar for you. Fear of being alone seemed to be a main ingredient."

"Guilt," Barry suddenly blurts out. Both, Lily and Simon stare at him. He points at Simon. "You said negative emotions hold people back."

"Yes, but-"

"You feel responsible for my death," Barry says, taking Lily's hands in his. His grin takes up his whole face, tickled that he cracked the case.

Simon's eyes light up, too. He claps his hands together. "Yes! Yes, you've figured it out! No wonder you were a detective, my boy!

Lily pulls her hands back, tucking them in her lap. "What happened? How'd you die? Was it my fault?"

"Of course not, baby." He takes her face in his hands. "It doesn't matter how, just know that it wasn't your fault. I don't blame you, Lily-Belle."

"No, you have to tell me," she insists, feeling sick to her stomach.

"I figured out who the serial killer was," Barry begins, pain evident, "He had you and I didn't have time to waste. I went without back up. You were already dead. I figured he was long gone and I let my guard down." He shrugs at the end, then brushes a piece of hair back from her shoulder. "It was my fault."

A tear trickles down her cheek. "Why didn't you move on? Was it because you didn't save me?"

Barry looks towards Simon for guidance. He merely shrugs, but then nods subtly.

"I don't want to move on without you."

"Oh, Barry," she cries, palming his cheeks. "I got you killed and then you've hung around here waiting for me. I've messed up both of your lives."

"Sh, no. No, that's not true." He rests his forehead on hers. "I didn't want to live without you. You were the last thing I thought of before I died. I think a part of me knew you were gone, and I wanted to go out the same way. So, that maybe whatever came next, we would be there together." He gently kisses her lips. "And here we are."

"I love you," Lily whispers, smiling through her tears. "You're too good for me."

"I meant it when I said forever."

"I think my job here is done," Simon says, voice cracking. "Best of luck, you two. Maybe we'll meet again someday."

They both nod their thanks, too choked up to speak any words. Hand in hand, they walk into the light together, never to be apart from one another again.