A/N: Hey, ya'll, what's up? This is my first fanfic on Tuck Everlasting, and yes, it's based off the movie. This is actually the second one I've put onto the site, but the first one, a Draco/Ginny fic on Harry Potter, didn't go so red hot. I finally decided to try my luck with this one; hopefully it'll get a lot more response than the HP one did. Please review!
Disclaimer: Don't own nutin'.
Chapter 1-The Arrival of Fate
She cried herself to sleep the night her grandmother died, and prayed for her grandmother's peaceful rest in a place far away from the earth. Elizabeth Jackson had been the closest of all her siblings to her grandmother; she was the one who had taken time to listen to Winifred Jackson's stories of when she was young in the early nineteen hundreds. She loved to hear about what a wild girl her grandmother had been when she was just about her age; the wonderful woven stories Winifred Jackson could tell of a boy who would live forever until the end of time. Elizabeth's mother, Victoria Jackson, always tried to tell her that those stories were nothing but tosh, and that there was no way anyone could never die.
Victoria Jackson had been listening to her mother-in-law's stories for eighteen years after marrying into the family, and she continued to hear of them as her daughter spoke of nothing else. More than anything, Elizabeth wanted to meet the boy who couldn't grow old and winkled, and she detested it when her mother insisted on telling her not to believe in such childish things. Elizabeth wasn't quite a child anymore, at age sixteen, but she was not yet an adult, and she hated it when Victoria treated her as a grown up.
So when Winifred Jackson passed on, Elizabeth felt as if she had lost her last contact to her childhood. Not to mention she had lost her best friend that night, the only one who had bothered to listen to her troubles with her mother, the only one who actually knew how she felt. Growing up, Winnie Foster had felt stifled by her parents' insistence that she become less like a child and more an adult. They had wanted to send her away to a finishing school so that she would have all she would need to be a proper, well-brought up wife and mother. That was when Winnie Foster, at fifteen, had met the Tucks and had decided that she should live life to the fullest.
That was what Elizabeth wanted, after hearing her grandmother's stories about her young love and his family, only Victoria had other ideas for her daughter. Winifred's only son and child had died when Elizabeth was just an infant, and Victoria had attempted to single-handedly raise all of her four children by herself, without Winifred's offered help. The rest of Victoria's children had grown up properly the way she'd wanted and had gone off; leaving Tree Gap behind, gotten married, and had children of their own. None of them believed their "crazy" old grandmother's story of the Tucks, not even when they themselves were kids. Not one believed except for Elizabeth, and she trusted in it even stronger when her grandmother passed on.
A year after her grandmother's death, Elizabeth passed her seventeenth birthday, observed only by Victoria and the one friend Elizabeth had: Charlotte Johanssen. Charlotte never thought that Winifred was insane like others had; on the contrary, she believed everything that came out of the old woman's mouth, just like Elizabeth had. The day of her seventeenth birthday was solemn for both Elizabeth and Charlotte, as the day before had marked the first year Winifred had been gone from the earth.
Victoria smiled broadly, looking into the camera she held before her eyes, snapping a shot of Elizabeth blowing out her candles, wearing a long white Victorian dress with a red sash she had been forced into. Charlotte and Elizabeth thought it was ridiculous. Victoria, with her old-fashioned ideas, thought it was darling. Finally, after cutting the cake, the girls were able to excuse themselves and hurry outside into the yard, picking some of Victoria's roses to lay on Winifred's grave. What they didn't expect to see sobbing at the grave was a young man no older than seventeen or eighteen with long dark brown hair. His face was obscured by the arm he was crying into, but Elizabeth had a feeling that he was quite handsome and she felt a twinge of remorse for him. She didn't know why he was crying at Winifred's grave, but she had an inkling.
Elizabeth took a step forward but Charlotte held her back. Shaking off her friend's hand, the birthday girl stalked confidently over to the boy and grabbed his shoulder roughly. He turned around with a gasp and after apparently recovering from his shock, his eyes widened. "Winnie?" he whispered, and Elizabeth bit her bottom lip to keep from breaking into tears at the mention of her beloved grandmother.
"N-no," she stuttered, swallowing a lump in her throat. "My name is Elizabeth Jackson. And you are?" The question was hardly necessary, but she wasn't exactly sure he was who she thought he was, and thought it appropriate and polite to ask him his name.
"Um…" the boy hesitated. "No one. Just an old friend. I didn't know Winnie was dead."
"You don't look old," Elizabeth teasingly remarked, but her smile faded when she saw the boy remained unmoved.
"I'm sorry. You look so much like her…are you related?"
"She was my grandmother," Elizabeth replied, hardening her features. She had never heard anyone talk about her grandmother with so much passion and caring in his voice; even her grandfather hadn't spoken about Winifred like that.Charlotte cleared her throat from behind the two, and Elizabeth turned around, quickly snatching her friend's arm and dragging her over to introduce her to the boy. "This is Charlotte Johanssen." She paused. "Are you going to tell us your name?"
The boy seemed mesmerized by Charlotte; he stared up at her with large dark eyes as if entranced. Elizabeth was slowly getting agitated, and she stepped in front of her friend. "Well?"
"Jesse Tuck," he mumbled, eyes now downcast, not wanting to see Winifred's features displayed in Elizabeth's countenance. She was surprised, naturally; she had never realized she was the spitting image of Winnie Foster at that age. No one, not even Winifred had mentioned that. She had the same long dark curly hair, same eyes, same skin tone. Jesse had recognized it instantly, mostly because of the dress. It was an exact replica of the one Winnie had worn when their two worlds had collided.
"Jesse," Elizabeth breathed, squatting next to him and forcing him to meet her smoldering gaze. "Winifred told me about you. She always knew you would come back for her, but she couldn't wait that long. Her mother forced her to marry my grandfather, Edward Jackson."
"You know about me?" There was no mistaking the astonishment in his voice as he asked the question. It was obvious in the manner that he now regarded her that he had thought Winnie would keep him and his family a secret. Elizabeth nodded eagerly in reply to his question, and he let out a huge breath that he seemed to have been holding. "Do you know about the spring as well?"
"Yes," Elizabeth barely whispered. "Grandmother took me to it once. That was where she first told me the story of your family."
Jesse nodded slightly and inclined his head toward Charlotte, who now crouched beside her friend. "And does…Miss…um…Johanssen…know about it as well?"
"Oh yes," Charlotte cut in before Elizabeth could respond. The blonde girl seemed as captivated by Jesse as he was by her, and Elizabeth suddenly felt a twinge of envy stab her stomach painfully. She ignored it, not wanting anyone to know, least of all a boy she had just met but felt like she had known her entire life. "Winifred told me stories of it too…when Elizabeth and I became friends. I've never been to the spring, of course, but I know where to find it." Charlotte said all of this very fast and Elizabeth felt annoyed with her friend's bubbly attitude and personality.
"Why don't you take me there?"
Elizabeth couldn't tell who Jesse had directed the question to, but Charlotte had risen to her feet and was leading the way to the woods, Jesse following close behind. Elizabeth lagged behind, rolling her eyes at the pair. Charlotte was giggling profusely, while Jesse eyed her in a strange manner. Elizabeth thought it was an insult to her grandmother's memory to be feeling this way about Winnie's first love, and she thought it was a bigger insult for Charlotte to be flirting with him. And it didn't help that Jesse obviously thought she was beautiful, maybe more beautiful than Elizabeth was and even more beautiful than Winnie.
Elizabeth knew she wasn't a very attractive person. Throughout her years, she had seen Charlotte with various boyfriends, but she had never found one of her own. Of course, she had fancied herself in love with a couple boys whom she had thought at the time were incredibly handsome, but they never felt the same attraction for her. Instead, they had always gone after her gorgeous blonde friend, one Miss Charlotte Johanssen.
They entered the woods, Elizabeth still dragging her feet behind them, and through the twists and turns they wove their way into the clearing where the spring was. Elizabeth didn't know Charlotte would have been able to find the way to the everlasting spring by herself, but apparently, she had managed. Elizabeth made herself comfortable by the spring, spreading her white dress out around her as she sat with her legs folded to the side. Charlotte was giggling and flirting, holding Jesse's hand as she pulled him toward the water.
Elizabeth could not read Jesse's expression and a sinking feeling swept through her. She trembled slightly, but when Charlotte noticed and asked what it was, she blamed it on the slight breeze that had picked up in the woods. Above them, the trees rustled softly, and Elizabeth could hear a rather peculiar tune, a haunting melody. Without thinking, she began humming the tune, not noticing when Jesse froze and looked at her with wide eyes. She had never before heard the strange melody that now plagued her eyes to the point where she could not hear anything but what she was listening to and what she was humming.
"Elizabeth?" Charlotte was gazing at her in concern, so unlike Jesse's hurt and angered expression. Elizabeth blinked furiously and stared up at the two, confused as to why they were looking at her. She could no longer hear the music but it still ran in her mind. It was a melody she would remember for the rest of her life.
"I have to go," Jesse said abruptly, backing away slowly, then whirling around and breaking into a run. Elizabeth jumped to her feet and called after him to wait. Charlotte was glaring at her friend with a scowl upon her lovely face.
"See what you do?" Charlotte snapped. "You chased him away. No wonder boys don't like you. You can never keep your damn mouth shut!" With that rant, Charlotte took off after Jesse, her calf-length royal blue dress, matching the exact shade of her eyes, flying up around her.
Elizabeth choked back tears that threatened to engulf her and started to follow at a slow pace, but then decided against it. She walked back to the spring and collapsed beside it, sobbing over the words Charlotte had spoken that had cut through her like a knife to her heart.
Charlotte followed Jesse, calling for him to wait. "Jesse, please! I don't know what that meant to you, but please don't go!" she begged as she chased after him. Jesse came to a sudden halt that Charlotte didn't see, and she ran smack into him, landing on her backside in a less than graceful fashion. Jesse stifled a small laugh as he turned and helped her to her feet. She flushed a pleasant rosy color and stared furiously at the forest floor. "Jesse…what happened back there?" she asked tentatively, unsure how he was going to reply to that.
"Nothing," Jesse mumbled, and turned around, walking to the place where they had entered the woods. Charlotte walked silently at his side, curiosity burning within her, but she knew better than to keep bugging him about it. They returned to Winifred's grave, and Jesse went straight past it to a motorcycle Charlotte hadn't noticed before.
"Is that how you came here?" Charlotte asked eagerly. She had always wanted to go for a ride on a motorcycle, but her mother, Catherine Johanssen, had deemed cycles unworthy and dangerous. The way both Charlotte and Elizabeth had been brought up was stifling, and their mothers often conferred with each other as to what was appropriate and what wasn't for wealthy young ladies to be doing.
"Yes," Jesse replied, straddling the bike and fitting his helmet over his face. Charlotte smiled weakly and waved as he revved the bike and rode away. Somehow, she knew they would meet again.