So I've held on to this for a long while; I've been trying to figure out a plot line that will be somewhat interesting to you readers. I think I have a semi-interesting one that might appeal to some of you :D and I don't think it's something that's been done before, so hopefully you'll all like it. (And by the way, for those of you who are reading So Changed, I am still writing it along with this fanfic.)
These characters do not belong to me – they belong to their incredible author Katherine Paterson – though I do own the plot line ;) Please read and please review if you want more (remember anonymous reviewers are accepted).
Thank you and enjoy!
"Will you stop doing that?" Leslie asked him for the hundredth time. "You're making me feel guilty."
Jess looked up again and sighed. His best friend was staring at him in weariness. "I just want a picture of you I can look at this summer," he said as he put down his pencil and drawing book. "Then I can compare you when you're back."
"Now you're making me feel worse." Leslie zipped up another suitcase and laid it on the floor next to her desk. "Can't you just be normal and say, 'Have a great time at Niagara Falls, Leslie; I'll see you when you get back!'?"
"Have a great time in Niagara Falls, Leslie; I'll see you when you get back."
"Oh, you just sound so enthusiastic," Leslie said, rolling her eyes. "God. At least put some effort into it."
"I'm going to rot here this summer," Jess said miserably. "I'll be so bored I'll sit in front of the TV all day long like Brenda and Ellie and lose all my brain cells."
A flicker of amusement flashed in Leslie's eyes and her lips twitched upwards for a second. "King Jess," she said in a mock serious tone, "promise that thee shalt do no such thing."
"Methinks that thou art lady should—shalt…er—" He had been a king in Terabithia for six years and he still couldn't speak in a royal tone. "Well, I think you should trust that I'll only watch, maybe…twelve hours a day?"
Leslie threw her pillow at him. Laughing, Jess asked sarcastically, "Ten? Seven? Two?"
"How about you watch our subjects instead?" Leslie said, smiling. "That way you and PT could tell me about something interesting when I'm back."
"Sounds like a plan."
The next morning when the Burkes were packing up their car Jess and Leslie sat on the porch, watching uneasily, counting down the minutes when they would have to part. PT lay between them, tongue lolling and sides heaving because of the heat. Leslie stroked his head absentmindedly.
"Are you allowed to scoop water out of the river?" Jess asked.
"Promise you'll try and bring me back some," Jess begged her. "We could put it in the castle. As a memoral, or whatever, of one of the greatest waterfalls ever."
Leslie grinned. "A memorial?"
"I think it's illegal to scoop water out of Niagara Falls, Jess."
"And wherever else you're going after that…think about the Terabithians."
"That would be nice, too."
Then they were silent. Judy Burke was holding down a suitcase on top of the roof while Bill tied it firmly.
"It's for six weeks," Leslie said quietly after a while. "A month and a half."
"That's an awful long time."
Jess sighed and picked up his sketchbook that lay beside him. Leslie groaned when she saw it but she sat still without a word so he could finish drawing her.
"Do you have a message you would like me to give to the Terabithians, your majesty?" Jess asked as he drew.
Leslie blew a piece of her hair out of her mouth. "Notify our subjects," she said in her queen voice, "that though I shall be departed for a colossal quantity of time I shall not disregard them and will be exultant to see them at my homecoming."
"In English, please?"
"Oh, Jess," Leslie laughed at him, turning to look at him with affection in her eyes. "I'm going to miss you so much."
Jess couldn't say anything. He dated his picture and turned it around so Leslie could see it. She smiled as her gaze fell upon it.
"You never cease to amaze me, Jess," she told him softly.
Jess gazed at her then at his picture again. He shrugged, swallowing back a lump in his throat hastily.
The car door slammed and Bill leaned against the car in exhaustion while Judy fanned herself with her hand. "Five minutes, Leslie, and we'll hit the road!" she called out.
Leslie and Jess stood up. PT followed their lead and, stretching, walked down to the steps to Bill and Judy.
"You sure he'll be all right at your house?" Leslie said as they watched Bill and Judy pat PT goodbye.
"Yeah, the little kids will like having his company." It was getting harder for Jess to speak. Leslie, as though sensing this, turned to him and smiled encouragingly, though her eyes were filled with sympathy and sadness. Jess tried to smile back.
"Have fun," he said, trying to sound as though he was happy she was leaving him for so long.
Leslie stood there a second longer, then she quickly stepped forward and hugged him; Jess wrapped his arms around her in return and told himself he was never letting go.
"We'll see each other in six weeks, in Terabithia," she whispered in his ear.
"I'll tell the subjects to start preparing," Jess said, leaning his cheek against hers. "We'll clean the castle and decorate the fortress. You'll love it."
"Yeah." Leslie hugged him tighter and Jess felt his sadness multiply. "I'll miss you."
"I'll miss you too, Leslie. Don't worry about me—have fun, okay? And don't forget the water."
"Okay, your majesty," Leslie said, pulling back from him and flicking him on the forehead with her forefinger. "But I'm going to worry about you."
"I'll be fine."
"You ready, honey?" Bill called from the car. He and Judy were in it and pulling on their seatbelts; PT was sniffing at the tires.
Leslie and Jess walked slowly to the car. As they approached Bill said, "Thanks again, Jess, for taking PT off our hands for us."
"Wha—? Oh…no problem," Jess said. Leslie held onto his arm rather then getting in the car.
"Think you two can survive without being in sight of each other for six weeks?" Judy teased them, not knowing how powerful her words were. Neither of them said anything.
"Well," Bill said after a moment or two, "I hate to have to break you guys up here, but…"
Leslie nodded and opened the car door. Jess held it back for her so she could get in.
"Take care this summer, okay, Jess?" Judy said as Jess shut the door. Leslie rolled down her window.
"Okay. You, too."
"Do you want anything from the gift shops they have at the Falls?" Bill asked. "They have postcards, books..."
"That's okay. Leslie's going to try and bring me back some water," Jess said, smiling a little bit. Leslie gazed at him with sparkling eyes. "Have fun."
"Thanks, Jess," Bill said, smiling back. "Have fun here."
"I'll try," Jess said, laughing. He picked up PT and held him to Leslie as Bill started the car. Leslie kissed the dog on top of the head, and when Jess put him down, she kissed Jess on the top of his head, too.
"Don't rot here this summer, Jess," she said to him.
Jess smiled reassuringly. "I won't."
"Take care of them," Leslie said, deliberately saying "them" rather then "Terabithians" because Bill and Judy were there. "And yourself. And don't you dare lose all your brain cells," she added, smiling up at him.
"Will do, your majesty," Jess told her, grinning in return. He picked up PT again and stepped back as the car started rolling; Leslie turned around and waved out the window.
"'Bye," Jess said as the car disappeared around the bend. It occurred to him as he set PT down and a breeze ruffled through his hair that Leslie could no longer hear him.
So this is a really lame start, I know. :D I'll be getting into the action soon.
Please review! I appreciate the reviews so much.