This is my entry for the Jesse POV competition on MCBC. I was going to put another chapter on it, but I would hate timydamonkey to think I'm copying her, so it'll probably just stay as a one shot.

But there you go. I'm not very good at Jesse's voice. Be nice, haha.

Love Lolly.

- 8 -


It is the most torturous and wonderful thing, to be stuck in this afterlife.

The beauty is that I have finally found the one - the only woman I have ever, and could ever possibly love.

And the pain of it is that I loved her too much, it seemed.

Padre had told her. I knew. I knew the moment that she stepped out of her bathroom in her silken shirt and her worn trousers and her bandaged feet.

I knew.

Her essence screamed it. Susannah would like to think that she is unpredictable; unreadable; mysterious.

And yet I read her as effortlessly as I read simple English.

With Spike on my knee, I eyed her warily. I felt the impending hostility I would receive. Hostility I so richly deserved. I could not help that I loved her. But I could not do this to myself. I could not stay in this room of my death, while she was here. Not when I loved her so.

Not when all I ever wanted to do was kiss her.

And I could not stay when it was so apparent that her feelings were not reciprocated. To stay would to be to commit suicide of the heart.

She blinked in what she must have thought was a careless manner. I knew she was angry with me. Perhaps she realized my feelings - and my desired intentions - towards her. Perhaps she now hated me for it. After all, what dead man could ever be foolish enough to fall for a girl whose heart still beats?

Surely Susannah could never love a fool.

'Oh,' she said lightly, 'You're still here. I thought you would have moved to the rectory by now.'

Anger laced her every word. Dios, I am shameful. Why was my purgatory still here on earth? Why was I murdered in her room? Why did I have to be DEAD when I fell for her?

'Susannah,' I said in a deep voice.

'Don't let me stop you,' she said stiffly to me. 'I hear there's going to be a lot of action over at the Mission tonight. You know, getting ready for the big feast tomorrow. Lots of piƱatas left to stuff I hear. You should have a blast.'

Each word hit me like bullets could not. She resented me for my love. She did not WANT love from a ghost. Friendship had been a sacrifice for her. But love was certainly not welcome.

And so I had to leave.

I got to my feet. 'Susannah . . . you must know it's better this way.'

'Oh,' she nodded and shrugged in a manner that declared pseudo-nonchalance. As much as she tried to hide her anger, I could see it in her eyes. 'Sure. Give my regards to Sister Ernestine.'

I stared at her. This was the woman that my no longer pounding heart was devoted to. She was perfect, to me. She was everything, to me.

She was alive, and I was dead.

Her apparent dislike aroused something desperate within me. I didn't want to leave. As much as I knew I had to, I didn't want to. 'So that's all,' I growled. I had no right to use that tone with her. It was I who'd committed the acts of a fool, to have fallen so desperately in love, 'That's all you have to say to me?'

How could she be so carefree about this? I was urgent for her to care that I was going. For all I knew . . . she wanted me to go.

And it killed me. Like Felix Diego never could.

'Yes,' she said conclusively. Then she paused. 'Oh no, wait.'

Had my heart been functioning, it would have skipped a beat. My eyes flashed with hope; one so deep that it seemed to moan around the very corners of my soul.


Love me . . . oh please . . . please love me as much as I lo -

'Craig,' she said. 'I forgot about Craig. How is he doing?'

Hope so evanescent faded from my grasp. My soul was emptied. A disappointment so consuming weighed me down like a cannon-ball strapped to my boots as I plunged into the ocean, too heavy and too careless to swim back up and save myself.

Fool. You are a fool.

'He's the same,' I said tonelessly. 'Unhappy about being dead. If you want, I can have Father Dominic - '

She smiled humorlessly. 'Oh, I think you and Father Dominic have done quite enough. I'll handle Craig, I think, on my own.'

I did not understand why this concerned her so. My departure, I mean. She did not care for me. She valued my friendship, I am sure. But she had no desire to kiss me so, as I had brazenly displayed myself when she'd brought me back from her "Shadowland."


'Fine,' I said in a curt voice. If she wanted to be alone, I most certainly would not burden her with my presence any longer, seeing as it angered her so.

'Fine,' she raised her eyebrows.

I swallowed, hiding behind my expressionless face. 'Well . . . ' my gaze met hers with attempted pleas. I knew it was too late. Susannah could never be mine. It is a fool's dream to hope for something so forbidden, and so wrong. It is selfish, and shameful. 'Goodbye, Susannah.'

In more ways than you know.

'Yeah,' she muttered. 'See you round.'

No matter how much I cursed myself and my foolish actions, I could not stop the desire to touch her, one last time. If this was indeed our goodbye . . . how could I leave without telling her the truth? She deserved to know why I couldn't stay.

I was about to say it. Those words were born on my tongue. They made my throat tense up with fear, and urgency, and recklessness.

Say it! Do not be a coward. Do not be a fool . . .

I love you.

I fell in love with you as soon as I saw you. I was a fool for not realizing it. And I was a fool to fall for you to begin with.

Can you love a fool, Susannah?

I touched her face, making her lips part and her eyes widen. Something flickered in her emerald irises. Something I hoped to be something it surely was not.

'Susannah, I - '

. . . love you.

It never left my mouth, though.

This fragile, and most PRIVATE moment was interrupted by the one that mi querida moaned about in her sleep . . .

And now she'd never know what I had to say.