Disclaimer: Yeah, you know the stuff. Pokémon and its characters do not belong to me, yadda yadda yadda…
Here is the eleventh and final chapter of my new Pokémon high school fic! Enjoy, and don't forget to review when finished!
Jessie – 17
James – 17
Ash – 13
Misty – 13
Cassidy – 17
Brock – 15
Gary – 13
Butch – 18
::Evolution – Chapter11::
James slowly walked out across the school grounds, hands shoved deep in his pockets and eyes lowered to the grass at his feet. Around him kids laughed and talked loudly, having fun in their friendly groups in the freedom of recess. In comparison, James' mood was far from joyous. It was Friday, and tomorrow would mark a week since the school dance the previous Saturday. It would mark a week of confusion and misery on behalf of the emotions experienced by the lavender-haired teenager, after apparently parting for the last time with his friend, Jessie.
Jessie had not spoken to him since the dance, and indeed he had not tried talking to her either. Despite both being in the same English and Biology classes, the pair had not even locked eyes since the incidents of Saturday night. As every day wore on James' fears heightened at the realisation that this undeniably was the end of anything between him and Jessie. Suddenly nothing else in his life seemed worth the while, without the prospect of seeing and talking to the sapphire-eyed girl every day.
It confused him that he could have feelings so strong for a person that he had barely known for three weeks.
What also had James confused was the change in perception he'd had of another of his female friends – Cassidy. For all his life James had thought her a close companion. She was someone who understood aspects of his family life, and who was there to have fun with when they were stuck at another dreary upper-class gathering. Yet the school dance had revealed another side to Cassidy, and Jessie had clearly underlined James' unwillingness to see the unattractive features of the blonde teenager's personality.
Over the past school week James had forced himself to look at Cassidy through the eyes of another. He had covertly watched how she acted around other people, and subtly questioned a few students on their thoughts and opinions of her.
Despairingly for James, his findings did not support the friendly, understanding image he initially had of Cassidy.
James felt despondent at the notion that the way he had perceived Cassidy for song long apparently was an illusion. He was reluctant to admit that the friendship between him and his fellow twelfth-grader was based on a lie. How could Cassidy have been able to fool him for so long? It couldn't be possible.
James continued to head out across the school grounds, toward the outer fence. His destination was a park bench that stood beside a tall elm tree, where James intended to sit and wait out recess in peace. Lately he had even felt distant from Cameron and his other friends, and mostly chose to sit and think alone at recess and lunchtimes.
To James' slight dismay there was already a person sitting on the park bench. He stopped walking, and awkwardly looked at the guy resting there. "Uh… sorry, I didn't think anyone would be here," James mumbled, turning to walk away.
"Hey," came a very gruff voice from the guy sitting on the bench, "you don't have to go. I'm sure we can both fit on here."
James considered the other guy's words, and turned back to sit on the park bench. He lowered himself onto the bench, and looked at the person next to him. The guy was quite thin, and had teal-coloured hair with two bangs that fell onto his face. "I'm Butch," came the gruff voice again.
"And what are you doing all the way out here, James?"
James looked down at the ground in front of him, and began to dig a hole in the dirt with the toe of his black leather school shoe. "Trying to find a place to think. And to get away. What about you?"
An uncanny smile appeared on Butch's face. "Pretty much the same. Plus, staying out here keeps me out of trouble."
James raised an eyebrow, but decided not to ask as to what sort of trouble this Butch character seemed to get himself into. James looked into the distance at the many students milling about near the school building. His eyes suddenly landed on his group of friends sitting together near the quadrangle. He watched as Cassidy's form animatedly conversed with Cameron and a couple of other guys.
Butch's eyes followed James' line of sight to land upon Cassidy, and he grumbled knowingly. "Don't tell me you're troubled over her," he said.
James turned to look at Butch, an unsure look on his face. "Well, she's part of it. You know her?"
Butch sighed hoarsely. "I did. I used to go out with her at the start of this year. Biggest mistake of my life. Thank God I finally woke up to my senses – she's nothing but a sneaky, selfish two-faced miltank if you ask me."
James' eyes widened. He didn't even know who this guy was, let alone know that he had been boyfriend to supposedly one of his close friends earlier in the year. And yet again here was another testimony to Cassidy's rather unpleasant personality.
"Seems everyone thinks that…" James started, "and I guess I'm beginning to see it myself. I don't want to, but I really can't deny that she's not a very nice person…" his voice trailed off.
Butch laughed in his husky voice. "That's putting it mildly. You, uh… her boyfriend?"
"No… just a close friend. Or I thought so, anyway. I just don't know how I could have been so blind to this side of her for so long…" James dug harder at the dirt with his shoe, becoming angry that his ignorance had caused him to lose something that over such a short time had become very important in his life.
Butch picked a twig up off the ground and began fiddling with it. "Hey, you're not the only one Jim."
James' eyes flickered from Butch and then back down to the ground at the referral to him as 'Jim'. Peculiarly, it was a reassuring identification for James. It signalled that the teal-haired teenager next to him was a refreshingly laidback and friendly type of guy. James eased from ploughing his shoe so violently into the ground.
Butch continued, "It was a while before I realised what a double-crosser she was. And I know for a fact there are plenty of others out there with Cassidy on their 'Dirty Stinking Traitor' list."
James sighed. "It's too late now, anyway. It's too late for me to realise who Cassidy really is, because the damage has already been done. There's nothing I can do anymore. Jessie's gone from my reach…" James acknowledged that Butch probably had no idea what he was talking about, but he didn't care. A feeling of utter hopelessness washed over him.
Surprisingly, Butch seemed to completely understand what James had vaguely hinted at. "Hey, Jim," he spoke in his gruff voice, and placed a hand on James' shoulder in order to attract the other boy's full attention. "Don't let Cassidy ruin everything for you. She's not worth any of it."
James turned his head to look Butch in the eye, indicating his receptivity.
"You have to fix whatever Cassidy has broken, just to show her that she's not the all-powerful manipulator she thinks she is. You have to show her that she's not the boss around here. Do you want to let her think that she's won?"
James frowned. "I can't fix it… there's too much damage. It's impossible to repair."
Butch removed his hand from James' shoulder, and casually went back to fiddling with the twig he had found on the ground. James watched as Butch carefully picked small chips of bark off the slender piece of wood. "Do you want this Jessie girl?"
"… Of course I do."
"Then you've gotta stop thinking about the problem, and start thinking about the solution. There's no use worrying about the predicament you're in. Just focus on how you're going to get out of it. If you really want Jessie, you'll find a way."
James stared at Butch, astounded at the wisdom that this seemingly random, ordinary guy possessed. James could almost feel inside of him a sense of hope rekindling. Butch was right – Cassidy wasn't worth toiling over and Jessie was worth too much to just discard as being completely lost forever.
Butch watched as James' eyes lit up. "You're right," James stated, confidence seeping back into his voice. He looked out over to the quadrangle to where his group of friends were sitting and narrowed his eyes at the form that was Cassidy. Abruptly he stood up, a plan already quickly forming in his mind. "Thanks, Butch. The help you've given me today… has been priceless."
Butch once again displayed an uncanny smile. "No problem, I'm glad to help out. Especially when it comes to taking down the likes of Cassidy Fleckman."
James returned the smile and turned to jog across the school grounds.
"Go show her, Jim! Do it for everyone who has been double-crossed by that scum!" Butch yelled loudly to James, and laughed huskily. Finally someone was going to put that blonde in her place.
Jessie gazed out the bus window, resting her forehead against the cool glass. Outside the sky was gloomily overcast – Jessie wondered perhaps if a storm might be in store for Spire City this Saturday afternoon. As the bus pulled to a stop outside the North Spire Mall, Jessie watched the multitude of people bustling about – it seemed not even the probability of a storm could disparage the eager shoppers. Jessie's stomach tightened as she saw a teenage boy and girl walk past hand in hand, and quickly blinked at the sensation of her eyes beginning to sting with tears.
As the bus pulled back onto the road to continue its route, Jessie silently chided herself for letting such a small and insignificant thing create such a reaction in her. All week she had felt to be in a whirlwind of emotions – one minute an indifferent, independent woman, the next a confused child unable to hold back a waterfall of tears. Suddenly Jessie felt herself on the verge of her child-like state, and hoped that she would be able to restrain her tears before the bus reached her stop. She felt additionally depressed today, having arrived at Tilbury's Antiques that morning for work to find that her beloved jewellery box had been bought. It seemed nothing was ever going to go right for her.
Jessie thought about the school dance, as she had done so many times in recent days. It was exactly a week since that dreadful night when Cassidy had taunted her in front of half the school, only to have James go on and justify Cassidy's actions by saying she simply "has a few mood swings now and again".
Jessie closed her eyes and let her mind drift back to the night of the dance. After she had yelled at James she began running home in the dark, tears terribly blinding her vision. Before long Ash, Brock and Misty had caught up with her, having heard about the incident Jessie had had with Cassidy. Unbeknown to the fight she'd had with James, they comforted and walked her home, thinking Jessie solely upset about what Cassidy had said. Jessie decided not to complicate things by revealing to them the true core of her lament.
Jessie could not deny that she was happy to have her younger cousin and his friends come to her consolation. She was entirely sick and tired of being left alone, and needed several shoulders to cry on in this time of need. Indeed when they all arrived home, Delia was quick with hot cocoa for everyone, and provided an extra shoulder and word of comfort for a distressed Jessie.
Yet with all the friendship that had surrounded and supported her, Jessie had climbed into bed that night nevertheless with a heavy heart. Ash and Misty could not hide their own infatuation with each other, making it clear to everyone that they were finally more than friends. Of course, this only made Jessie feel even more miserable. In the following days she struggled to cope with the events that had occurred, the things that had been said and the decisions that had been made that night. She dreaded having to attend school on Monday, as avoiding James proved to be a hard task considering that they shared the same English and Biology classes. However, Jessie managed to continually find seats relatively distant from James, and neither had spoken or even looked at each other. To any outsider, it would seem as if the pair didn't even know each other.
Wednesday marked the day in which Jessie and James' Biology class received results from their human evolution assignments. Jessie was utterly relieved that Mr. Livingston handed out results individually, and no awkwardness had to be encountered if the teacher alternatively gave marks out to Jessie and James together. They had gotten an A. Jessie had remembered the day when James came to see her at Tilbury's Antique's and told her that to get an A assignment, they needed to sort out their differences and work together. It had been the beginning of their friendship.
How quickly that all seemed to disappear.
The familiar sensation of fresh tears again threatened and Jessie blinked repeatedly, forcing the crimson-haired teenager out of her melancholic reminiscing. She gazed out of the bus window to see the shops of Spire City's central business district slowly wane to be replaced with the endless houses of suburbia.
Jessie hated the fact that she simply could not get James off her mind. She was supposed to hate him. She was supposed to forget him; completely erase his presence from all memory. Yet the more Jessie tried to forget about James, the more she thought about him. And the more she thought about him, the more she tended to consider the fact that perhaps she had made a mistake in being so harsh on James that night. Her insides knotted at the thought that she herself may have unnecessarily broken up what could have been the most beautiful relationship she could ever have.
The sapphire-eyed girl sighed, forming a small cloud of condensation on the bus window. She shut her eyes tightly, trying to block out any thoughts of James. She had to be strong. There was no going back; no changing the past. It was just a simple matter of acceptance.
Jessie sighed again. Acceptance – there was nothing simple about it.
Twenty minutes later, Jessie stepped off the bus and began walking along Chrystia Avenue towards the Ketchum residence. She watched as leaves danced in a gust of wind along the road, and wrapped her arms around herself to shield from the sudden cold. It looked as though the storm front was arriving.
Reaching her house Jessie walked over the front lawn and began to ascend the stone steps leading to the front door. She extended her arm to open the door, but her eyes suddenly fell upon a package that lay nestled in the corner of the porch, which essentially was simply a slightly longer top step that forwarded into an alcove. Jessie found it unusual that no one had collected the parcel already – both her aunty Delia and Ash were at home. It must have only been recently delivered, she thought. Jessie bent down to pick it up, astounded to find that the parcel was addressed to her! There was no postal address – simply the single word Jessie printed on the front. Whoever the parcel was from had obviously been and left it themselves.
Jessie lifted her eyes from the parcel to look around. Curiosity getting the better of her, she eagerly sat herself down on the top step of the porch and began ripping through the brown paper of the package to find what was hidden inside.
Lifting the paper away, now sitting on her lap was a deep mahogany jewellery box, trimmed with an intricate gold and encrusted with stunning sparkling diamonds. It was the jewellery box from Tilbury's.
Without warning, Jessie felt tears beginning to well in her eyes. She was so completely shocked by the contents of the parcel, all walls that she had constructed over the past week seemed to crumble away into nothingness. Who would have left this for her? Who would have known to leave this for her? Who could afford this beautiful yet extremely expensive gift?
Sniffing to hold back the tears, Jessie flipped open the lid of the jewellery box to have the little ballerina-girl in her white dress instantly spring up and begin twirling around to a tune all-familiar to the scarlet-haired girl. Yet in contrast to the regular emptiness of the jewellery box, it had now been filled with many little things which Jessie carefully began perusing through.
First Jessie lifted out a CD case that was slightly slimmer than an average album. Flipping it around to look at the front, she found it to be a CD single. It was Evanescence's My Immortal – the song that James had walked in to hear Jessie not only playing on her keyboard but singing as well. Jessie remembered how vulnerable she had felt when she realised that James had heard her singing, yet how comfortable he had made her feel after a few meaningful words of reassurance.
Jessie next pulled out some folded pieces of paper. Carefully unfolding them, they were revealed to be the sheet music to R.E.M.'s Nightswimming – not only the song that James requested she play on his grand piano one afternoon at his mansion, but also the song that had been playing when they had shared their first and only dance together the previous Saturday night.
A business card from Jessie's place of employment – Tilbury's Antique's – was the next item Jessie examined from the jewellery box. Jessie's mind drifted back to the day when James had travelled all across town just to come and see her while she worked at Tilbury's. He had wanted to sort out their differences so they could work as a team. He hadn't wanted things to be intense between them. Jessie had been impressed about the way he civilly confronted her like that.
Underneath the business card from Tilbury's were several more cards, of considerably larger size. Jessie lifted them out to discover them algebra flashcards – similar to the ones that James had used when helping her out with some Maths problems at her house one afternoon. Jessie had finally begun to understand some concepts about algebra, becoming so excited about this feat that the two had embraced and come very close to sharing a kiss.
Jessie wiped the palm of her hand across both eyes, attempting to rid some of the tears that were building up and hazing her vision. It was clear to her now the pattern that was carrying through these items, and in turn the person responsible for the gift. She continued to look through the remaining objects.
The ballerina continued to twirl as Jessie pulled out a napkin that had the 'Hutchy's Café' emblem inscribed across it. She smiled slightly at the memory of the peculiar response James had to her personalised concoction at Hutchy's. Next Jessie lifted up a keychain of a miniature globe of the world. Both she and James had talked about their dreams to travel the globe – James had even made the comment that perhaps they could be travel partners. Jessie had been unsure as to whether he was serious or not. A ticket to last Saturday's school dance also nestled in the jewellery box, signifying both good and bad memories for Jessie. The dance had seen her share an intimate dance with James and made her feel as if she simply belonged in his arms. Yet it had also seen the pair have an intense fight – from which the silence was still continuing.
Two pieces of paper were remaining in the jewellery box. Jessie unfolded one – it was the picture of the samurai girl that she had drawn for James while bored one English lesson. The second was James' result sheet from the pair's Biology assignment. A big 'A' had been drawn by Mr. Livingston at the top of the paper in thick red marker. Jessie looked down to read the teacher's personal comments:
'Excellent work James. I can see a lot of effort was put into this assignment and this is reflected in you and your partner's impressively high mark. It seems you and Miss. Ketchum make a very good team. Well done.'
As a single tear rolled down Jessie's cheek a figure appeared at the bottom of the steps. Jessie did not have to look up to identify who it was.
James ascended the stone steps and sat beside Jessie, not saying a word. Neither spoke nor looked at each other for a moment. A dull rumble of thunder could be heard in the distance.
Jessie closed the lid of the jewellery box, and finally gazed sideward to look at James. James, however, continued to stare straight ahead.
"I was thinking," he began, still not meeting Jessie's eyes, "about the times we spent together. I almost had the feeling that we'd known each other for a lifetime. Looking back though… it's hardly even been three weeks."
Jessie struggled to hold back a wave of tears. She did not know what to do or how to react to this sudden appearance of James. She knew that she told him never to come near her again, but something compelled her to keep listening to what he had to say.
James continued, "I thought about the times we had together… and I was disappointed to find that all the memories that were formed during those times…" James moved his eyes to look at the jewellery box that sat in Jessie's lap, "all fit in that little box."
Jessie looked down at the jewellery box and also felt an overwhelming sense of disappointment. He was right. It had seemed that the times they spent together were worth a lot more than what could fit in that box. She lifted her eyes back up to see that James had finally turned to look at her. As they locked gazes, Jessie inwardly panicked – just looking into his eyes seemed to put her whole body into arrest. Her senses felt beyond control.
A look of distress appeared on James' face. "I don't want to stop at one little jewellery box. I want our memories to be endless – I don't want them to be able to fit into any sort of container, because they'll just keep going on and on. Jessie… ever since Saturday night I've felt like a part of my soul has been missing. I know it sounds corny, but it's the only way I can explain it."
Tears stung Jessie's eyes, and she knew that she would soon break down. She didn't know whether to say anything, or to simply let James continue talking. What exactly was he trying to tell her?
James paused and looked down, as if he too was trying to compose himself before continuing. "Jessie… I don't know how it happened over such a short period of time, but I can't keep on fooling myself into believing that it hasn't happened…
I have fallen head over heels in love with you."
Jessie raised her hand to her mouth to stifle a sob. She looked away from him, now letting her tears fall freely. She could see that James wanted to reach out and comfort her, but was restraining himself in case of another outburst similar to that of the previous Saturday night.
"I'm sorry that I hurt you, Jessie. You have to believe that that's the last thing I'd ever want to do," James spoke. Jessie remained speechless, as she had done since James' arrival. She sniffed, and used her sleeve to wipe the tears from her face.
"Please say something," James pleaded.
Jessie tried to search for something to say, but found herself unable to find any words. She looked down at the jewellery box in her lap. "James," she began, struggling to speak without bursting into tears, "this jewellery box cost five-hundred dollars."
James looked at the little wooden box, surprised by what she had first chosen to say to him. "…Well, I saw you eying it that day when I came to see you at work. When I was there last night your boss told me that you were quite devoted to it." The lavender-haired boy smiled modestly.
Jessie frowned. "James, five-hundred dollars is way too much. I can't accept it." She held the jewellery box out for James to take.
A hurt look emerged on James' features. He pushed it back to Jessie. "No, you deserve it. It's the least I can offer." Jessie's expression remained unconvinced. James resumed speaking, "Plus, you'll just get a really crappy Christmas present from me this year."
A small smile appeared on Jessie's face, surprising even herself. James seemed impressed with himself for being able to prompt this expression of slight happiness from Jessie.
Jessie slowly took the jewellery box back and placed it behind her on the step, before turning back to look at James. The smile had disappeared from her face. "What about Cassidy?" Her tone was noticeably solemn.
James looked down. "Cassidy…" he started, "Cassidy and I are no longer friends."
Jessie raised her eyebrows, genuinely surprised at this revelation.
"It seems you were right, Jessie. It just took me a little while to finally wake up to my senses and realise what kind of person she really is. Yesterday I told her that I no longer wanted to associate in any way with her, and that she was a sneaky, selfish, two-faced miltank." James smiled deviously.
"She didn't like it very much. Especially seeing as I told her in front of a lot of people, who, even though appeared to be her friends, ended up joining my side of the argument in the end. It looks as though there are several people who aren't all that fond of Cassidy Fleckman," James finished.
Jessie took a moment to absorb everything that had been said by James. He was not friends with Cassidy anymore. He had realised his own mistakes. Not to mention he'd bought her a jewellery box worth five-hundred dollars, filled with all manner of items dedicated towards the memories of their slightly complicated relationship. Suddenly Jessie realised that this was the most romantic and wonderful thing that anyone had ever done for her.
And he'd told her that he was in love with her!
Jessie again felt another onset of tears. This time, however, they were not tears of sadness, anger, hopelessness or confusion. They were tears of joy.
She looked up at James and smiled widely. James looked taken aback by this swift change in mood, and curiously poised to wait for her next action.
"James…" Jessie began, taking in a deep breath.
"Yes?" He asked. Not knowing what to expect, his heart beat rapidly in his chest.
"I have fallen head over heels in love with you too," she said, unconcerned with the tears rolling down her cheeks. She had said it. She had finally said it. All the confusion that Jessie had felt over the past few weeks drifted away. Her decision was crystal clear.
An expression somewhere between utter relief and tremendous happiness formed on James' face, and he laughed incredulously. Jessie too, could not help but laugh.
As the laughing subsided, the pair stared into each other's eyes – an intimate gaze that had been shared since the first day they had met. Finally, both leant in and united in a kiss that each had always longed for.
As they wrapped their arms around each other, a clap of thunder marked the beginning of a heavy downpour that soaked Jessie and James in a matter of seconds. Untroubled by the rain, the kiss only became more passionate.
The front door opened abruptly, revealing an unsurprised-looking Delia. Jessie and James were forced to pull apart.
"You kids had better come inside right now unless you want to catch a cold. Come on, I'm sure the couch will be much more comfortable than our front step."
Jessie and James smiled at each other, and, Jessie first collecting her beloved jewellery box, both followed Delia inside.
OH MY GOD!!! I'VE FINISHED THIS FANFIC!!! I'VE REALLY FINISHED IT!!!
Well, it had to happen sometime! Evolution is finally complete!
Firstly, I just need to send out a big SORRY to everyone who has been waiting for this chapter. I don't think that I've updated this fanfic in around two months, which I admit is pretty slack! I've just been really busy with end-of-year exams and all that sort of stuff. But I've finished year eleven now (go me!) so I got to work on this as soon as I could. Hope everyone's not too angry with me!
Well, I hope everyone liked the ending to Evolution! Hopefully everybody's satisfied with the final outcome (mmm… rocketshippy goodness)!!! Anyway, please let me know what you think and review this chapter!
A big thankyou needs to go out to all of my reviewers. This would not have been the story it is without the help and support of you guys! In particular I need to thank Tear22, Crazy4TR112, INVU4URAQT, Dawn and Sapphire Ookami for coming back more than once to check up on what's been going on at Spire City High! Also, I need to thank Drac-Frst for giving me the idea about including Butch in this chapter. Thanks!!!
I hope people continue to read, review and most importantly ENJOY this fanfic in the future! I'm not sure about any upcoming fanfics, but if I'm not writing, I'll still be lurking around somewhere on ! Hmm, that is a point to dwell on… what am I going to write next? Hmm… any requests?
Anywho, I'll catch you guys later! May the Rocketshippiness be with you!
Till Next Time,