"Making the most of my sacrifice, I see."
Tara spun, wide-eyed. "Who's there?"
"Sitting in your bedroom sobbing your eyes out. Nice. I ought to take my heart back."
"Add when, why, and how, and you just might make a good journalist. That, at least, would be good use of me. But no, you cry." Giving in, Jeff materialized. "Hardly complimentary, kiddo."
Slack-jawed, she sat down hard on the floor. "I...what...?"
"Hey, at least I don't look like I did after the car crash. Being dead restored me to my former glory...though it cost me what seems to have broken in you."
Her hand fluttered to her chest where the scar still ached. "My heart?"
"No, my heart. Don't worry, I don't want it back. Wouldn't be much good to a dead guy."
"Dead." Her lips barely moved. "You're dead. You're...a ghost?"
"Ah, finally joined the land of the living, no pun intended. Wonderful."
Her shock turned to a frown. "Why are you here?"
"Down to two important questions now. Good for you. I am here because I saw how that jerk who supposedly saw you through your recovery actually cheated on you while you were still in ICU. What were you doing with a guy like that?"
Her lower lip trembled. "I...thought he loved me." To his surprise, her lips firmed, and she raised her head. "So, how come I can see you?"
He smiled. "Even I don't know that, kiddo. Maybe you should ask God."
"I plan to. And finally, when? Or, how long, I should say. How long have you been with me?"
"Since the moment I died. I saw them drop my heart in, sew your chest up, and send you on your way. I've been here ever since."
Her eyes met his, and neither looked away.
His smile faded. "Sorry, kiddo, but you already asked that one."