Chapter 7:

It’s not a date

After 400 years I finally met you

Wrinkles and gray hairs are only a way of showing that a body has endured the passage of time. But souls only age if their owners let them do it, and can become younger without the help of science or magic.Bookmark here

They walk down the street on their way to the commercial area, it’s a sunny day without a cloud in the sky, the bright clean color as a sapphire is only altered by a white line created by a plane in the distance. It’s the middle of summer but today, even with all the sunlight, the weather is not so hot.Bookmark here

“So, any ideas of what you are looking for?” Jeanne asks.Bookmark here

“Not actually. I was thinking about a phone that can send text messages faster that raven mail so I can write to Valentine and… you too, if that’s ok with you” Hana gets a little nervous “Not trying to be invasive or anything”Bookmark here

“I’ll be delighted if you write to me, anytime is ok” they both smile “Ok, so you are saying that basically anything is ok with you. Then, can I recommend one with a touchscreen? They are super intuitive and you can do a lot of things with them and super fast” Her eyes show a lot of excitement.Bookmark here

“Oh! That one sounds interesting, is it the one you use?”Bookmark here

“Sadly no, I’m part of the flip phone club… But Hiroshi has one, it's so cool and they have cases with all sort of personalized decorations” Bookmark here

“I don’t know, maybe I should join your club and get a flip one too. That way I won’t feel left out”Bookmark here

“No please! Do it for me, and for all the poor undead that can’t use that advanced technology”Bookmark here

“Wait… advanced? You mean that a phone like that is better than the ones you and Valentine have?”Bookmark here

“Yes! With one of those there is no need of joining the flip phone club, you’ll be like a god amongst mortals”Bookmark here

“Huh, I see” For a moment, Hana imagines having a phone made of gold. Since she still doesn't know other smartphone models, the one she holds in her fantasy looks like the dial one at home but with some lightbulbs attached to the sides. In her imagination she shows that piece of technology to her friend who covers her eyes with the dracula coat that she is wearing for some reason and says: ‘Oh no! It’s brighter and stronger than sunlight. You have proven your superiority oh great Hana’ after that brief moment of daydreaming she softly laughs for herself.Bookmark here

“You made a decision? I mean, I won’t force it if you really don’t want to”Bookmark here

“No, no. I really want one now. Let’s get that golden phone”Bookmark here

“Golden? Peculiar color choice”Bookmark here

“Ha ha, yes… color choice”Bookmark here

“Ok, I know a place that probably has what you are looking for” She starts walking and Hana follows.Bookmark here

The commercial area is really lively in the morning. Hana hasn’t explored it even living close by, it’s scary in a way and coming alone is a total pass for her. At night she has come just a couple of times with valentine but most places are already closed by then.Bookmark here

Hana notices the elegant movement produced by Jeanne’s hair when she walks, her body expression really feels different like if she were with another person and not the guy she met at the bar.Bookmark here

“Hey Jeanne, can I ask you something?”Bookmark here

“Huh? Sure, what’s on your mind?”Bookmark here

“Do you have more bodies? Now that I think more about it, it’s somehow an odd situation. I just took the word of an unknown girl, but what if you weren’t the Pierre I met some weeks ago?”Bookmark here

“A little late to worry about that, If I were an impostor you’ll be already in some trouble” She tries to laugh but a loud snort is heard instead.Bookmark here

“Don’t test your luck, I can take care of my own” She flicks one finger and a bright yellow star appears for a second and then fades “Magic is my ally”Bookmark here

“Ok, I’ll take your word” She extends both hands trying to imitate a shield that covers her face “Answering your question, yes I do. I have over 40 bodies stored inside a big fridge or they’ll rot. Even so they do it eventually, so every now and then I have to get rid of them and find new ones. Luckily and sadly at the same time, people die every day so it's not really hard to find a replacement. Take this one for example” She sighs and moves her hands up and down like presenting an object for an auction “This was the body of a woman that never stopped working, it was more important than her family, her friends and even herself. I don’t exactly know how it happened but seems that they found her dead in the office”Bookmark here

“What? How horrible”Bookmark here

“Yeah, when I took her body from the morgue and possessed it… I gained some of her feelings and desires. Turns out that she loved to go shopping with her friends when she was in college, but was never able to do it again. I’m trying to give this body a relaxing time and doing something the original user liked is a way to do so… Do you think it’s weird?”Bookmark here

“Not at all, I think that is amazing. A way to let them rest in peace”Bookmark here

“Heh, not every soul stays behind like I did. So she is fine, but I sure try to take care of the second handed bodies without them I wouldn't be able to experience so many things”Bookmark here

“Oh so it’s not really that common, why did you become a ghost? How did you die?”Bookmark here

“I don’t remember how it happened, and with the passage of time, I’ve been forgetting my past life… Oh! That’s the place!”Bookmark here

They arrive at a white building with yellow posters promoting data plans, they decide to enter and the place is full with showcases where many smartphone models are exhibited. The mascot of the place is a dog that has the colors of a German Shepherd but physically looks more like a Golden Retriever.Bookmark here

“Welcome to Charlotte Mobile, what can I help you with?” A young man asks while he approaches.Bookmark here

They spent around two hours deciding what model would be best for Hana. First was the surprise of color screens, “They are just like really small TVs” She whispered amazed to Jeanne, then the man started showing options, some are too small for her hands, others feel heavy. She takes her time examining each one they present to her, always having trouble with the touch screen. For Hana, that a screen moves with her touch is witchcraft as its finest, Jeanne tried to explain how it works but when she looked at Hana’s puzzled expression she decided to stop. Bookmark here

Finally a perfect model appears, not too heavy, not too small, just a nice slim rectangle with a purple case. Hana and Jeanne celebrate like if they found a treasure, then she asks the price, the response of the young man almost makes her faint.Bookmark here

“That’s a lot of zeroes” She nervously says while sweat runs freely on her forehead <Dear me, Valentine will kill me if I spend recklessly so much money, it’s hers after all I can’t do this> She thinks.Bookmark here

“I think, that is a reasonable price” Jeanne says “Let’s buy it”Bookmark here

“No! I can’t do that, I know Valentine is being nice. But isn’t this as expensive as a house?”Bookmark here

“Is everything alright?” The man asks, trying to maintain a smile for the clients that look like they aren’t going to buy anything even after they spent two hours of his time.Bookmark here

“Yes, yes, sorry my friend is from… the countryside… the countryside of another country, so she is not so good with the currency conversion yet” Jeanne successfully lies “We will take it, let me explain it to her and we’ll go and meet you at the counter”Bookmark here

“Certainly, I’ll prepare the required documents. Do you also want the data plan?”Bookmark here

“Yes, we’ll have the combo that is being promoted. Thank you very much”Bookmark here

“My pleasure, I’ll see you in a couple of minutes” The man takes the phone, the box and leaves.Bookmark here

“Hey Hana, are you ok?”Bookmark here

“Not really, I don’t want to owe Valentine that kind of money. I know she is helping me to adapt but this is too much”Bookmark here

“Hey, take it easy. I’ve been talking with valentine about today, she doesn’t mind. Besides we are going 50-50 and give it to you as a present”Bookmark here

“What? You? But I barely know you… also, aren’t you broke?”Bookmark here

“No problem, I don’t know many people like me, and I want to know you better. I’m just trying to be nice… wait, broke? What gave you that impression?”Bookmark here

“At the bar, that night, you didn’t drink anything. Not even water, I thought that maybe it was expensive for you”Bookmark here

“What? No. I Don’t need to drink, eat, or sleep. I’m a freaking ghost, remember? You save a lot of money when you don’t need to have 3 meals a day. But I won’t recommend it unless you are a Zombie or a Ghost… maybe a Ghoul… Wait, I think those other two need to drink blood or eat flesh, I’m not sure. My point is that I’m already friends with Valentine and this was her idea. I just decided to help a little, please accept it and come with me to sign all the paperwork”Bookmark here

“Ok, I’ll try” She takes one step “No sorry, I can’t, I can't. This is difficult for me, I want the phone, and I’m willing to accept the present. But if I go I feel that I’m spending the money on my own, so I can’t… please understand”Bookmark here

“Right, then give me Valentine’s card and I’ll be right back”Bookmark here

“Take it” She hands over the violet card, then turns around and covers her eyes “I’ll be right here. If I don’t see it, then everything is ok”Bookmark here

“Have it your way”Bookmark here

Jeanne goes and talks to the man. After a couple of minutes of him typing and receiving the cards from Valentine and Jeanne, he turns on the phone and sets everything up.Bookmark here

“Ok, now I just need your signature” He says.Bookmark here

“Sure, just where do I sign?” Jeanne asks since there wasn’t a single piece of paper on the desk, or even a ballpoint.Bookmark here

“Oh, here” He turns around the screen he was using “Just use your finger to sign in the gray area, to the left you can see the terms and conditions if you want to take a look at them. We will also sent them to your email address”Bookmark here

“Oh… joy, isn’t there any paper where I can do it?”Bookmark here

“Sorry, we are an eco friendly company so all that paper waste is a thing that was left in the past, don’t worry, as I told you before, every document will arrive at your email address” He smiles, then thinks <What’s up with these clients? They are so weird>Bookmark here

“You see, I’m bad with touchscreens… a skin problem?”Bookmark here

<Oh dear god, what are you even talking about?> “Miss, don’t worry it’s totally safe” <Just sign already>Bookmark here

“Uh…” She turns around and looks at Hana who is still covering her eyes <Guess there is not helping it> “Ok… yeah… time to sign…” <please work, please work, please be a resistive touchscreen>Bookmark here

She extends her finger and touches the screen, she moves it trying to sign but nothing happens, the gray area has no change.Bookmark here

“What?” The man asksBookmark here

“See? Skin problem…” She quickly lies with a nervous laugh.Bookmark here

“Give me a second” He checks the configuration “Please try again”Bookmark here

The process is repeated and fails a second time. The man touches by himself and sees how a black line appears.Bookmark here

“That’s odd. Here, please use this” He hands over a pen looking object made of metal.Bookmark here

“I don’t think that’ll… thanks…” She takes it without thinking <Maybe if I’m lucky> She tries to sign with the object and the screen has no change <Shoot, I knew it>Bookmark here

“What? How?” <What now? I just want to take my break. God, if you are hearing, please let her sign so they can leave>Bookmark here

“L-let me try something” She takes the man’s hand and makes him grab the pen “Now we just…” Grabbing with both hands, she moves his hand and uses it to sign, it finally works.Bookmark here

<What is she doing?> He couldn’t think straight during the process “O-ok, I think that works… Do you have any questions or need anything else?” <Her skin… She is really cold”Bookmark here

“No, that will be all, I’ll take this and we’ll be on our way”Bookmark here

<THANK GOD!> “Ok, please contact us if you need anything else. Have a good day” <Finally, time for lunch>Bookmark here

Jeanne goes where Hana is standing, she gives her back Valentine’s credit card, then her new smartphone, they talk for a bit and then leave the building.Bookmark here

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