For Your Love
Jesse turned around upon hearing his name and stared at me expressionlessly.
"Good," I said with a smile, "it's you. I was hoping I wouldn't have to look for you for too long. I mean this place is pretty creepy, don't you think?"
Ok, this was my plan: I could so tell Jesse was going to kick off about me coming after him. I mean, he's Jesse, that's what he does. So what I'd decided to do was act casual, and then maybe he wouldn't think us both being up here again was such a big deal.
Except it was. I mean, Shadowland is more than 'pretty creepy'; I'm terrified of the place. And that nightmare I'd had last night had so not helped. But, of course, I had way more important things to worry about than that. So I figured that as long as I found Jesse and kept my visit here short, then I didn't have any reason to make a fuss.
Jesse, however, didn't seem to have thought this through the same way I had. "Susannah-" he began.
"Don't!" I said quickly.
Jesse's eyebrows knit together. "Don't what?"
"Don't start lecturing me, or whatever, 'cause I know what I'm doing this time."
Jesse still didn't look happy. "Susannah you didn't-"
I cut him off again. "Look Jesse, do you want to get out of here or not? 'Cause I know how to get in and out of here now and I figure I can take you with me. But, you know, I would much rather be doing that right now than listening to you fret over me for no reason. So you can come or you can stay, it's up to you. But either way I want to get out of here. So can you decide, please?"
Okay, I know I was being rather mean to Jesse right now. But can you blame me? The whole thing with Ellie had pissed me off! And if you think about it, this whole mess was Jesse's fault. If he had listened to me rather than going all macho and protective of me then this would not be happening!
So, instead of waiting for an answer, I grabbed Jesse's hand, ready to shift with him. Before I did so, though, I remembered something. "Look," I said, "I, um, think I have reason to believe that Paul might be telling us the truth. So, you know, be nice okay."
Jesse stared at me, incredulous. "Why?"
"Because he's not going to tell us what we need to know if you're there knocking the stuffing out of him," I said, matter of factly.
"No," Jesse said, "I meant, why do you think Slater is telling the truth?"
"Um… because Ellie just tried to kill me," I said real fast, and then I closed my eyes and shifted before Jesse could say anything.
Paul was still sitting next to me when I opened my eyes. He grinned down at me. "You okay?"
"Just peachy," I muttered in reply as I sat up slowly. Gah, shifting headache!
"She tried to kill you?" said an angry voice from my other side. Looks like I'd brought Jesse back safely.
"Yes," I replied, turning to him, "We did all the I hate you because you stole my boyfriend blah blah blah for this you will die! Then she chucked me at my dressing table and I lost consciousness." Seeing the look on Jesse's face I quickly added, "I'm okay though, Paul came and scared her off before she could do any real damage."
Jesse looked at me for a few seconds then he nodded, not necessarily satisfied but I guess he realised that we had more that we needed to talk about.
I turned to Paul. "Okay, so how about filling us in a little on what we've been dragged into by that ex-girlfriend of yours?"
"What more is there to talk about?" Paul asked lightly.
"Um, what about the whole yes, I killed her but you don't know the circumstances thing? Since Ellie's stories don't exactly fit, and all."
"Why, what did she tell you?" Paul said, looking slightly amused.
"Um, that after you taught her all that shifting stuff, she decided she wanted to use her powers for good instead of evil. So she dumped you – the big bad guy – and you, consumed by rage, got out a gun and shot her." I gave him a curious look, "Any of that sound familiar?"
Paul blinked. "God," he said, "What a drama queen. And you actually believed this?"
"That, I take it, is not how it all went down then?" I asked feeling pretty relieved.
Paul looked kind of disgusted, yet amused at the same time. "Um, no."
"Well," I said, "That's good."
Jesse didn't seem impressed, though. "What really happened then?" he asked, like he expected Paul's version of the events to be much worse than Ellie's.
"Yeah," I said, "Ellie said she was angry at me because of… "I hesitated, not wanting to be too specific while Jesse was in the room, "because of what happened during the summer. And because then you went home to her pretending nothing had changed. Which, I have to say, proves what an utter jerk you are."
Paul rolled his eyes. "God, I thought I was never going to see you again. What did you expect me to do? Go home and dump her, claiming I could never love another?"
Gee, thanks for being so subtle, Paul. I looked up at Jesse; if he was annoyed by what we were talking about then he was doing his best not to let it show. I guess he realised that we needed to hear what Paul had to say.
"You could have tried not attempting to cheat on her in the first place," I said kind of huffily.
Paul grinned at me, "I couldn't resist."
At this point Jesse decided that he'd had enough of that topic and went in his no nonsense voice, "What happened then? Why did you kill her?"
Paul hesitated for a second then went, "It was an accident, okay. I mean, when that girl gets angry she turns into a complete psycho. And right then she hated me. She suggested that we could go for a walk, so we did. We went to a park. It was night, so it was pretty easy to find a spot that was empty. We stopped there and suddenly Ellie was all 'Who the hell is Suze?' One minute we were just talking and the next she was trying to off me. She started hitting me at first, but once I grabbed her arms she started throwing things at me, you know, telekinetically. All I did was try and calm her down; I swear that's all I was doing. And then somehow she managed to snap this massive branch off this tree above her and she sent it flying right at me. And, well… what could I do? I didn't have time to think, I just sent it flying right back at her…"
"And it killed her…" I said.
"Yeah," Paul's face was completely unreadable. He seemed determined to show no emotion. Either that or he just didn't care.
"God," I muttered, "and there was I thinking you were some kind of psychotic murderer."
Paul smiled slightly. "Not quite."
"What happened next?" I asked. I mean, even if he hadn't meant to, Paul had still killed someone. Surely the police would have got involved eventually.
"I rang an ambulance, told them we were just walking through and the branch fell. Ellie didn't get out of the way quick enough. Yeah, it seemed suspicious, but the branch was huge, no normal person could have snapped it like that. So every one thought it was an accident. I got away with it completely. And Ellie must be furious about that." Paul looked at me, his face completely serious, "Look, I always knew Ellie was going to try and get her revenge, but I never expected it to involve you. I know you never did anything to deserve what happened earlier but Ellie thinks you're just as much to blame as me. And it's going to be difficult to get rid of her, but… I'll help, okay?"
"Er… thanks," I said.
It was weird. The thought of joining forces with Paul, I mean. Jesse wasn't happy about it, I could tell, but I think he was waiting till Paul was gone for us to discuss it. The thing was, though, that Paul was right, it was going to be hard to get rid of Ellie. With her being some powerful shifter while she was alive, she was going to know every trick in the book.
But Paul knew a lot too. And I was pretty sure that that was going to help.
"I don't like this," Jesse said, practically as soon as I got back into my room. Paul had left when David had called that dinner was ready and I had gone downstairs without any chance to talk to Jesse before now.
"I know you don't, Jesse," I said sitting down next to him on the window seat, "But what else can we do. Ellie's not going to move on freely until she kills Paul and me, and she's not going to let herself get exorcised. We're going to need all the help we can get."
Jesse didn't seem convinced. "I don't trust him. He could be planning anything."
"Well, I think he really did feel bad about bringing me into this. And anyway, Ellie wants to kill him too. If you ask me, that's a pretty good reason for wanting to get rid of her."
Jesse shook his head. "I do not doubt that Slater wants to get rid of Ellie. I am just worried that that is not all he wants to do. I don't want you to get hurt querida."
I smiled at him and wrapped my arms around him, leaning my head against his chest. "I don't think Paul wants to hurt me. But we'll be careful anyway, okay. Just… don't worry about it, Jesse."
Jesse nodded, but he didn't really seem satisfied. I guess it takes a lot to convince Jesse that I'm not in some kind of danger where Paul's concerned. Even if it's obvious that he's on our side.
I sat up straight to look Jesse in the eye. "I will be fine Jesse. We both will." Then I leaned in and kissed him. Our first kiss since he came back. I'd almost forgotten how wonderful it felt.
Only, that feeling didn't last very long. To my annoyance, as soon as I pulled back I saw the familiar glow of someone materialising out of the corner of my eye. I turned round and there was Ellie.
I jumped to my feet, and so did Jesse.
"What do you want?" I asked, hoping that whatever it was wasn't going to end with me being sent flying through the big bay window behind me. I decided to move away from it, just for good measure.
"Not much," Ellie replied with a smirk, and then she turned round and took the bottle with Jesse's blood in it out of the drawer behind her. It took me a second to realise that she was holding the bag of ingredients that were supposed to bring Jesse back to life in her hand. Then before either of us could do anything she dematerialised.
I turned and stared at Jesse. "What was that about?"
A/N: I edited the first chapter if anyone wants to reread it. I think it's better.
No time for review replies I've got to go out now. Sorry.