Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Mediator characters.

AN: This story is AU and has no ghosts (sorry to disappoint). It is currently a oneshot but I am considering rewriting it to turn it into a longer chapter fic. That, of course, will depend on all of you lovely readers and those of you who decide to review (Hint hint). I got this idea while pining for the guy I work with (sadly not at a bookstore) and I thought how wonderful it would be if I could talk to him without the pressure of having to maintain a worktype relationship. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy it. Please review! Enjoy!

Masquerade

Sixteen-year-old Susannah Simon was relatively new to Carmel-by-the-sea, California. She had recently moved there when her mom married a guy named Andy and she now lived with his three sons whom she affectionately (not) referred to as Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc.

Suze was just glad that she didn't have to go to school with them. Instead of attending Mission Academy, Suze had opted to attend Sacred Heart, an all girls school. As much as she hated the idea of an all girls school, it was better than having classes with Dopey, who was her age.

Getting Suze up for school everyday was a challenge. It usually involved her mother shaking her for fifteen minutes straight and then blasting Britney Spears until Suze had to get out of bed and turn off the music. If there was one artist she couldn't stand, it was Britney Spears. Being more of an Alanis fan, Suze would glare at her mother as she grabbed a Pop Tart and walk out the door. Suze barely bothered getting ready for school. It was a private girl's school with uniforms, who was she trying to impress? No one. That's why she would show up with no makeup on and her hair in a grungy ponytail.

The one part of her life that Suze Simon actually enjoyed was her job at the local bookstore. Through that job she had met her only new friends. CeeCee Webb had almost instantly become Suze's new best friend. The two of them hit it of like you wouldn't believe. She also was friends with CeeCee's boyfriend, Adam McTavish. The three of them would work nights and weekends together in the back room, taking inventory and sometimes stocking books. Sometimes they even had a little too much fun with the price sticker roll…

But since Adam's dad owned the store, they never got in trouble for wasting an entire roll of price stickers by placing them all over each other. Suze found it a miracle that none of them had gotten fired either for sticker wasting or their lack of productivity. But it appeared that Mr. McTavish cared more about his son having friends and keeping teens off the streets of Carmel (as if that would ever be a problem in such a small town) than their work ethic.

There was one other person that Suze got to know through her new job…Jesse de Silva. He was possibly the most appealing male specimen that Suze Simon had ever laid eyes on. His short black hair looked like the kind of hair that you would love to run your fingers through anytime of day. His liquid black eyes had so much depth to them that one could get lost in them for what felt like an eternity. And his body…if Suze ever got started on how good and muscular the rest of his body looked, she would never be able to stop.

Jesse worked in the café area of the bookstore and on more than one occasion, Suze would stop for a hot chocolate before leaving for home. Just to get Jesse to serve it too her and hope that he would talk to her. Luckily, Jesse was the kind of guy who would talk to anyone despite of his obviously popular status. The two of them would sometimes stay and talk about innocent topics after closing as they sipped their drink of choice, coffee for Jesse and hot chocolate for Suze. No matter how much she insisted, he refused to call her Suze and would instead call her Susannah.

It was when she talked to Jesse that Suze regretted her schooling decision. CeeCee, Adam and Jesse all went to Mission Academy. One thing was for sure, if Suze were to go to Mission Academy now, it would not take Britney Spears to get her out of bed and she would actually put some effort into getting ready in the morning.

Despite her laze-faire attitude towards school, Suze put on makeup and brushed out her hair before heading to work. With a hottie like Jesse working there, who wouldn't?

"Hey Suze," Adam said one day as they were finishing their shift. "What are you doing for Halloween this Friday?"

Suze shrugged as she finished counting copies of the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul book. "It's my turn to do candy duty I think."

"Oh," Adam's shoulders drooped.

"Don't mind him," CeeCee grinned through her braces. "He was just hoping you would be able to come to his soon to be annual Halloween Masquerade."

"Soon to be annual?" Suze cocked and eyebrow quizzically.

"This year is the first of many to come," Adam puffed out his chest proudly.

CeeCee gently pushed him into the nearest shelf after emptying the box at her feet.

"If your plans change, let me know." Adam grinned, "I'm sure I can make room for you on the guest list."

"Gee, thanks Master McTavish. I feel so special," she said in a mock astonished tone.

Adam gave a theatrical bow which prompted CeeCee to push him into the shelving unit again.

Suze smiled and said her goodbyes as she hung her vest up on her way out. Walking up to the café counter, she rummaged through her purse, hoping she had enough money. In all seriousness, Suze was surprised she didn't spend her entire paycheck before the week was over on hot chocolate. Finding a five dollar bill, Suze let out a silent sigh of relief and she walked up to the cash register. "One medium hot chocolate please."

"Coming up," Jesse smiled at her. A strange expression crossed his face as he went to fill her order.

When he came back, the strange expression on his face had turned to one of barely contained laughter.

"What?" she asked. "Do I have something in my teeth?"

"No," Jesse chuckled. "You just have a price sticker on your forehead."

Blushing, Suze reached up and pulled the sticker off her. Taking a quick minute to read it, she saw that it said "Red Hot $5.99". It was a sticker for a cooking book that specialized in peppers. Her blush deepened as she stuffed it in her pocket. It was only now that she remembered the sticker fight she, Adam and CeeCee had had a half hour before.

"What can I say, sometimes I get over zealous about my work," she smiled, trying to make light of the situation.

"I can tell," Jesse said as he looked at another sticker on her upper arm.

If it was possible, Suze turned and even deeper shade of red as she grabber her coffee, slammed her five on the counter and mumbled her thanks as Jesse gave her change back. As fast as she could, Suze walked out of the bookstore and out to her car to drive home, the sound of Jesse's chuckle following her out.

It was only when she was getting ready for bed that night that Suze found another sticker on the butt of her jeans. "Great," she muttered as she climbed into bed and threw the sheets over her head.

The next day when Suze came home from school, her mother greeted her excitedly. "Oh, Susie, it's wonderful! You've been invited to a party!"

She frowned and looked at the paper her mother was holding.

Walking into work that day, she stormed over to Adam and thrust the paper in front of his face, "What's this?"

"You're official invitation," he said, looking slightly scared of the dangerous look in Suze's eyes. "I had sent it out before I asked you yesterday."

Quicker than Adam thought humanly possible, Suze's expression changed. "Well it's a good thing you sent it. My mom found it first and is insisting I go."

Adam let out an excited woot and started dancing down the aisle. A confused CeeCee slowly took off her jean jacket as she walked towards them, "Do I even want to know?"

"Suze's can come on Friday!" Adam said as he jigged into the backroom.

"Awesome!" CeeCee gave Suze a high-five.

"Since it's a masquerade maybe we could make things really crazy and say that Suze is my cousin from Alabama…we could call her Crystal!"

CeeCee glared at her boyfriend, "Sometimes you are such a dork McTavish."

"And you know you love it," he gave her a lopsided grin before planting a quick kiss on her mouth.

"If, notice the if," Suze stressed the word, "I decide to go along with your crazy scheme, my name would not be Crystal."

"What would it be?" CeeCee asked as she put on her work vest.

"Amber."

"Amber McTavish…" Adam tested the name. He grinned wolfishly, "Nice."

Friday found Suze with her chestnut brown hair swept up elegantly. She was wearing a pink dress and fake wings. An iridescent white butterfly shaped mask would adorn her face before she entered Adam's house.

Suze smiled as she slipped her mask into place before stepping out of Andy's car. "Have fun kiddo," he said before taking off.

Walking up to the door, Suze was surprised by the large number of people who were doing the same thing she was. This was going to be one heck of a party…

When it was her turn to be checked in by the host, Suze decided to introduce herself to Adam as "Amber McTavish" just for the heck of it. You only live once, right? Might as well have fun… Suze thought as she entered the living room. Many people were already mingling as the DJ started to play music.

Adam entered a short while later and announced that it was time for the dancing to begin. Suze had resigned herself to the fact that she was most likely going to be a wallflower when a hand came into her line of vision. "Would you honor me with this dance?"

Suze froze with her cup of punch halfway to her mouth. She would recognize that voice anywhere…

Turning she found herself looking at a boy that she could clearly tell was Jesse, even with a mask on.

"Why of course," she said with a fake southern accent that she could actually use to pass off as someone from Alabama.

"You aren't from around here," Jesse observed as he pulled her out to the dance floor.

"Well aren't you a quick one," she laughed, her voice was coming out a few pitches higher than her normal voice.

Jesse looked incredibly hot in a tux and a plain white mask. "Bond, James Bond," he said as he lowered his voice.

"Fairy Princess," Suze muttered, feeling quite lame with the fake wings on her back. They seemed like a cute idea before she left the house but now they just felt stupid.

"I'm Jesse de Silva," he said, taking the awkwardness out of the situation.

"Although this quite defeats the purpose of a masquerade, I'm Amber McTavish."

"I didn't know Adam had a sister."

She laughed, "I'm his cousin, not his sister. I don't think I would be able to remain sane if I was his sister."

"That would explain the move to Alabama," Jesse smiled warmly.

"That it would. You know, y'all should come visit Alabama sometime. It's mighty nice down there."

"I don't doubt it," Jesse twirled her.

The two of them talked for most of the night. Suze was able to be upfront and honest with Jesse except for the part about her name. At one point, Jesse said, "You know, you look a lot like someone Adam and I work with."

"That's what Adam tells me," Suze replied, barely breathing for fear of him discovering who she really was. For some reason that wasn't too hard to figure out, it was easier to talk to Jesse while pretending to be Adam's cousin. Suze could felt free to be herself without having her name attached to her opinions. Surprisingly, she found that she and Jesse had many similar interests.

As the night drew on, Suze found herself falling more and more for her coworker. As one slow song finished, Jesse slowly lowered his head. Suze started to lean up towards him, preparing herself for the kiss she was sure would follow.

Just as their lips were about to meet, Adam's voice floated over the crowd thanks to his newly acquired microphone, "And now if you would all do the honors of unmasking your partners." He turned to CeeCee and took off her black mask. She took off his ridiculous purple one and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.

Suze took off Jesse's mask and relished in the sight of his unadorned face.

Jesse's fingers inched towards the elastic that held Suze's mask in place. "Wait," she said, putting her hand on top of his. "Do you promise I'll get that kiss no matter what?"

"Of course. What are you afraid I won't want to kiss you after seeing you without the mask? Is it that you have some kind of mark on your face that girls always refer to as a birth defect when it is no more than a freckle?"

"Umm…" Suze said quietly, unsure of what else she could say.

Jesse took that as her agreeing with his statement and he carefully removed the mask from her face. His eyes widened and he took an involuntary step backward, "Susannah?"

Tears formed in Suze's eyes as she spun around and forced her way through the crowd. Just as Suze was about to reach the bathroom, a hand gently grabbed her arm and turned her around.

A lone tear fell down her cheek as she looked at her feet. The same hand that had grabbed her tenderly wiped the tear off her cheek. Then, the hand cupped her chin and tilted it up. Suze found herself becoming lost in Jesse's liquid black eyes.

"Why did you run?" he asked softly.

"I was afraid you would be mad that I had lied," she replied simply.

He shook his head, "I'm not mad."

Suze tried to force herself to look away from his eyes but she couldn't. No part of her body would move, she was frozen in one spot, Jesse's hand on her chin acting as an anchor.

"Besides," Jesse smiled sweetly. "I promised you a kiss."

Suze could never remember being this happy in her entire life. Never in her wildest dreams would she have imagined that Jesse felt the same way about her.

For a long time after that night, Suze would fall asleep looking at the iridescent white butterfly mask that sat on her nightstand and think about the night of that wonderful Halloween Masquerade.