A.N - I think I'm going to like writing this story. Lol. The first part is a dream/memory thing, but it is important.
I wanted to break away from the predictability of my fics, so I've branched out into the more dramatic side of things. I really hope you guys will give me a chance.
Finally, this chapter should really go out to Anthony because he helped me write it. Fine tune it at least. Thank you Ant.
Disclaimer : I don't own any of the Mediator characters. They all belong to Meg Cabot.
The Mission was empty, save for three people : Father Dominic, Paul Slater and Me. Only, Father Dominic didn't know that Paul and I were here. Or that Paul was carrying a gun.
Silently walking across the school's courtyard, Paul slightly in front of me, I was cursing the day I had told Paul I was a mediator. Back in the twelfth Grade, when he'd moved here from Seattle and started at the Junipero Mission Academy, there'd been a pesky ghost hanging around the school. I'd spotted Paul talking to him one time when no one else was around, so I told him that I too was a mediator. Him and Father Dominic are the only ones that I know of.
We'd stayed friends throughout Senior Year, drifting apart only when we'd attended different colleges - rival colleges - both in Carmel, California.
Then, during my junior year of college, Paul Slater suddenly made himself known again. He needed a favour and gave me an ultimatum - help him, or he would tell my classmates what I was, that I was a freak.
And me, being as stupid as I am, I favoured my popularity more than I did my morals.
So now Paul was on his way to murder Father Dominic - for reasons I didn't know - and I'm his accomplice.
"Paul," I hissed. "Seriously now, do you have any idea what you're about to do?"
"Oh yes." Paul pulled out the gun from his back jeans pocket, the moon reflecting off the silver barrel. "I do."
He had a glint in his eye similar to that shining off of the gun in his hand.
We were getting closer to the church.
"How do you even know that Father Dominic is in there?" I asked, my voice rising in hysteria, causing Paul to spin around on his heel and point the gun threateningly at me.
"Shut up would you?" He demanded. "God, have you even ever tried to be inconspicuous?"
I pushed the gun away from me, wrapping my hand around the barrel as I did so. A stupid mistake.
"Get that gun away from me, Slater." I demanded. "I don't know why you've brought me here, just do it and lets get out of here."
Paul shook his head, laughing quietly.
"You don't know now. But you will soon." He murmured something under his breath. Something I couldn't hear. "I know Father Dominic's there. I made sure he was."
Paul span away from me again and strode towards the doors of the church cockily, pushing them open dramatically.
"Father D?" He called. "I'm here."
"Mr. Slater?" I heard Father Dominic's voice call out confusedly, out of my line of vision. "I wasn't expecting you. I was expecting -"
"Someone else, I know." Paul smirked. "You were expecting Jesse. On important mediator business."
Paul laughed as I froze. Father Dominic thought he was here to see me? Paul used me to get Father Dominic alone to kill. I felt sick.
"Yeah, he's here too." Paul continued. "Come on out, De Silva."
Swallowing through the lump in my throat, I steeled myself as I stepped into the church of my childhood. The church that Father D had married my parents in, the church he had christened me in. The church he was about to die in.
"Oh, hello, Jesse." Father Dominic called cheerfully, unaware of his fate. "What's this about this 'important mediator business'?"
I couldn't meet his eyes.
"Jesse?" Father Dominic asked concerned. "What is it?"
"This is about you meeting your maker." Paul scoffed, raising up the gun to Father Dominic's chest. I felt bile rise up in my throat. "Meeting that God that you love so much."
In that one word, my pre-college, high school principal managed to convey so many emotions, one of which standing out far more than the rest : Betrayal.
"Goodbye, Preacher Man."
Paul's words were accompanied by a single loud shot.
Father Dominic's eyes went wide as a small circle of blood grew ever wider against his clothes, his face growing paler and his eyes glassy as he finally took his last breath. He hadn't made a single noise since the bullet entered his body.
Paul laughed, walking over to Father Dominic and kicking him, to make sure he was dead.
"Thanks Jess," Paul tossed me the gun which I instinctively reached out to catch. "Couldn't have done it without you."
I felt the tears in my eyes ball over. Oh God. What had I just allowed to happen? I ran over to Father Dominic, shaking him and trying to get some type of reaction, feeling for his pulse. It was no use. He was dead.
"See you, dude."
It was as Paul raised his hand to wave at me that I realised something I hadn't before : He was wearing gloves. Meaning that none of his fingerprints had gotten anywhere, but plenty of mine had.
Paul had gone by now, and I lifted the murder weapon in disgust, glaring at it before throwing it away. It skidded down the main aisle before bumping to a stop against one of the pews.
I hunched over Father Dominic's body, his eyes still wide open, filled with the betrayal that had been acted against him. A single tear fell against his cheek, rolling down it and dropping off of his chin to the floor.
"I'm so sorry, Padre." I whispered. "So, so sorry."
Heavy footsteps echoing around the Mission had me looking up quickly in shock. The place was filled with police officers. Flashing red and blue lights bathed the walls closest to the open doors in intervals. There was a police officer right behind me, his hand balled up in a fist over my shirt collar, pulling me up and handcuffing my hands behind my back.
"Not as sorry as you're going to be." He snarled into my ear as he marched me away from Father Dominic's body. We passed Forensic Detectives who were picking up the murder weapon with tongs and sealing it inside a plastic bag. We passed the nuns who lived in the nearby rectory frowning at me in shame.
"Jesse de Silva," I heard Sister Ernestine say whilst shaking her head in disapproval. "Such a nice boy."
I didn't even try to explain that it wasn't me who had done it. There was too much evidence against me. I may have been stupid enough to help Paul on his little jaunt but I wasn't that stupid.
But then I saw something - or, someone, rather - that I had hoped I wouldn't on this little walk of shame. Susannah Simon. The girl I was in love with, and had been since she'd moved here in the tenth grade. Only she didn't know it. It didn't matter anyway, because now she'd never like me. I was a murderer. Or as good as, anyway.
I kept my gaze on hers until she looked away, tears overflowing in her eyes as she turned into someone else's embrace. Her step-brother Jake's.
"I'm sorry Susannah," I whispered, knowing that she wouldn't hear me. "I'm sorry. It wasn't me. I didn't do it!"
The sound of laughter grew louder around me as I was forcibly shaken by unseen hands. The police officer who'd been escorting me out of the church had already pushed me into the back of his police cruiser.
"It wasn't me, Susannah!" I tried to plead with her again.
She didn't hear me, of course she didn't. She would never know the truth.
--- --- ---
I jolted awake with a start in my cramped prison bed to the sounds of laughter from my cellmate. He was poised over me with his hands clenched in my prison jumpsuit. Clearly he'd been the one shaking me.
"Hector had his nightmare again," Tony jeered at me moving to sit down on the bed opposite mine in the tiny space.. "Does little Hector want his mommy?"
"Shut up." I responded, head still dizzy from that memory of a year ago which had plagued me every night since. And her face. God, her face. That look of shock, of hurt.
"What I want to know is," Tony drawled, lazily lighting a cigarette, as he pushed his feet onto my bed. "Who is this Susannah you keep talking about? Is she hot? 'Cos, if she is, well, you're in here, and she's not, you know?"
"You don't know what you're talking about." I snarled at him.
He smirked at me.
I couldn't really argue, he had a point. Susannah, my querida, was outside of these prison walls, having the time of her life in college. The same college I had gone to. She was one of the main reasons for me helping Paul out that night, I didn't want her to find out what I was.
I should have just told her myself. Then I wouldn't be stuck in here. I kicked the wall angrily.
"That won't get you out of here." Tony told me. "I tried once. Got put in containment for violence."
I rolled my eyes.
"Thanks for that."
He shrugged. Tony had been sentenced to five years for armed robbery and actual bodily harm. A bank teller had tried to be brave and attempt to stop Tony from leaving the premises after he'd robbed it and had been shot in the leg for his troubles.
"De Silva." The prison guard spat out my name, as he did all of the other prisoners. "You've got a visitor."
I raised one of my eyebrows in surprise. Over a year in this place and I hadn't gotten one visitor. Not even from my family - they had disowned me when I was found guilty, when my fingerprints had been found all over the gun. And the body. They didn't even visit me on my 21st birthday. All I had gotten that day was a few hundred punches from the other inmates deciding to give me birthday beatings - emphasis on beating - including the one for luck. I'd had to spend my birthday in the hospital wing.
"Come on." The guard barked. "We haven't got all day."
Shuffling my feet along the floor as I walked, purely to annoy the prison guard, I let him cuff my hands behind my back as he lead me towards the visitors area.
I was pushed onto a rigid, bright orange chair that sat opposite a similar one before my hands were released. In between me and the, as of yet, still empty seat opposite, was a divider of glass, each side with their own telephone for the prisoners and visitors to communicate.
Drumming my fingers onto the divider, I waited for my visitor to be brought in.
The door swung open, and I saw the blue of the police officer's uniform before he led in a girl. A very familiar girl. I gasped. It was Susannah. Was she my visitor?
I barely let my hopes be raised before they were dashed as she was led to a prisoner further down than me. Of course she wasn't here to see me. She hated me.
I turned to see who she was visiting, recognition dawning on me as I remembered her step-brother Brad having been brought in for a few months for joyriding. His time was almost up, if I remembered correctly. Lucky for him. I still had another fourteen years. At least.
The tapping of a finger against the window in front of me had me looking up at it startled. Paul Slater was sitting there with the phone against his ear, gesturing for me to pick up my own.
"What do you want?" I demanded when I did.
"Hey, hey," his voice travelled through the phone to my ear. "Don't be so rude. I may not come back to visit you again."
He smirked at me, much more wicked than Tony's had been earlier.
"Good." I spat. "I don't want you to visit me."
"Well that's too darn bad," Paul told me matter-of-factly. "Because I'm visiting you now, and I have something I need to talk to you about."
My grip tightened around the receiver of the phone as I nodded my head slightly for Paul to continue.