Disclaimer: I do not own any rights to the story Bridge to Terabithia I am just a fan of one of the most emotionally powerful books that I have ever read.
A/N: Thank you for reading my story, and a special thanks to those who have read and reviewed. What a wonderful group of people you are here at BtT fanfiction. This is such a very special place with so many friendly, helpful and kind people; it is my Terabithia.
And now: the conclusion of 'The Phone Call.'
The Phone Call
As Jesse got himself ready to make that long drive to his campus he thought about Darcy and what happened last night. He thought about the frightening dreams he had, and about Scott calling this morning telling him about meeting Leslie in Philadelphia. He thought about that strange dream he had ten years ago about Leslie dying. He tried pushing it all away; he had to go to school and then to work. He shouldn't be worrying about stupid dreams and old girlfriends. School and work were too important for him to go around chasing fantasies like he was some dumb little kid.
But those dreams just wouldn't let him go; they continued to gnaw away at him. What if they were true he thought, and his and Leslie's souls are taken at midnight. Naw, just a stupid dream he told himself. Then, feeling a little silly for doing it, he went to his bottom bureau drawer where he still kept Leslie's things. He took out the ring that he had offered to her almost six years ago and hung it on a gold chain around his neck. Just in case, he told himself, just in case. He laughed at himself for being so weird, but it did make him feel better.
The events of the past two days continued to haunt Jesse as he and May Belle drove to school that morning. He became more and more anxious as the morning wore on and he chided himself for worrying about something so foolish, Just the same, after class he called work and told them he was sick. He went home instead, and tried in vain, to track down Leslie Burke. He made dozens of phone calls but each one was a dead end. The number he called years ago in England was no longer in service. The need to find her grew inside of him now, the harder he tried the more urgent it became to find her. Those terrible dreams continued to haunt him, becoming more frightful as they replayed in his head over and over again. Darcy's face was everywhere he looked, staring at him, menacing and evil: taunting him, tormenting his soul. Was he going crazy? Is he hallucinating? What is it he thought, what's happening to me? Overwhelmed with anxiety he couldn't think straight, his growling stomach told him he was hungry, but he couldn't eat, he was sick inside with worry. He had to find her; he had to find her at any cost.
He searched the internet for any news of Bill or Judy Burke. He also searched for any news of Leslie Burke, but every lead he found wound up a dead end. Everything seemed to be closing in on him and smothering him. Thinking about all those years that they have been apart, the wondering and the worrying. The belief that he was somehow connected to her and that he couldn't move on, feeling an overwhelming need to wait for her. A need that was bigger then himself: bigger then the both of them. Their souls, he believed, were entwined in some supernatural spiritual destiny that he could not quite grasp the meaning of but glimmered just beyond his perception, like the glimpsing flash of a vision from the corner of ones eyes. "Ok…I admit it," he said out loud to whoever or whatever may be controlling his fate, "I miss her, "he said with tears standing in his eyes, "I miss her so much…. I have to find her!"
By late afternoon he had exhausted any and all leads he had pursued. Not knowing what to do next or which course to take he decided he would go to Philadelphia to see if he could find her there. Why didn't I think of that earlier he chided himself, he felt foolish that he hadn't. At first he thought he would wait until morning to leave for Philadelphia, but his anxiety wouldn't allow it; he had to leave tonight. But he was so tired and drained after what he had been through over the past twenty-four hours he went to lie down and rest for a few minutes. Just a few minutes he told himself, then I'll make the trip to Philly and I'll find her. Sleep took Jesse as soon as his head hit the pillow. It was a deep dreamless sleep, a sleep that released him from his troubles for the moment. Dead to the world he lay unmoving in his bed. Then after what seemed to him like the passing of only a few minutes he heard someone calling his name.
"Jess, Jess, wake up Jess."
"Huh…What…What is it May Belle?" he asked, groggy with sleep and annoyed with his sister. He looked over at his clock: 11:30pm. "Oh no, I fell asleep," he said and sprang up shaking the drowsiness from his head.
"Jess, it's the phone, it's for you."
What?…Who is it?" who would be calling at this hour he wondered. Was he dreaming again? No, he didn't think so.
"It's your girlfriend," May Belle said smiling at him as she handed him the phone.
"My girlfriend," he squeaked, "I don't have a….Hello…" Then on the other end of the line, a timid little voice, shaky and soft said, "Hello Jesse?"
"Leslie?" he barley whispered, his voice was lost to him at that moment. Shock waves shot through his body making him feel all tingly and warm inside, his heart pounded in his chest, he felt like it would burst with joy. Just hearing her voice after all that had happened recently made everything right.
"Hi Jess," she said, "it's been a long time…How are you?"
"Good…Good…" he beamed, "Leslie, how are you… I've missed you so much…I…"
"Jess listen," she said interrupting him, "if you still want to see me you know where to find me. Just close your eyes and keep your mind wide open...I'll be waiting." Click!
"Leslie…Leslie?" the line went dead. "Leslie!…Don't hang up…Where are you…LESLIE?"
"What did she say?"
"Huh?" Jess looked up to see May Belle standing in the doorway.
"That was Leslie wasn't it," she said, then asked him again, "what did she say?"
Jesse just stared at May Belle for a moment, he wasn't going to say anything to her, he wished she would go away and leave him alone. Leslie is right he thought to himself, this is too painful. He wished now that she hadn't called him at all, he wished he could just forget about her and move on. He was sick inside, empty feeling; part of him wished he could die and end the pain he carried with him for so long.
May Belle seeing the pain on her older brother's face persisted and asked him again, "What did she say Jess?"
"If I tell you will you go away and leave me alone?" That numb feeling that he had when he first heard Leslie was leaving Lark Creek returned. For some reason unknown to Jesse, someone or something was continuing to torture him. Why he wondered, for what purpose?
"Yeah ok," May Belle said, "if you tell me I'll leave you alone."
"Ok then, I'll tell you," he said with irritation in his voice. "She said if I want to see her…. 'To close my eyes and keep my mind wide open,' you happy now, some kind of joke huh. Now go away and leave me alone." May Belle looked thoughtful for a moment then said, "don't you get it Jess? She's at the tree house."
Jesse gave May Belle a hard look and said, "what are you talking about May Belle. Why would she be there?…Why would she be at the tree house." He shook his head and sighed, "besides," he said, "Scott just saw her in Philadelphia yesterday." He felt for the ring under his shirt and rolled between his fingers, feeling it scrape against his chest; his heart ached for her. "GET OUT MAY BELLE," he cried, " LEAVE ME ALONE!"
May Belle stood her ground and voiced firmly, "wait Jesse," she said, "listen to me…'Close your eyes and keep your mind wide open,' Isn't that how you get to Terabithia?… That's what you told me, remember?…And where is Terabithia?"
Jesse just stared at his sister for a few moments in disbelief. He didn't know what to think anymore, he was so confused. Maybe she's right he thought, maybe Leslie is at the tree house. "Do…Do you really think she's there?" He asked hopefully.
"There's only one way to find out Jess," she said smiling at him.
Jesse hesitated only one second, then jumped up from his bed. He grabbed May Belle up in a hug and spun her around kissing her on the cheek. Then putting her down he said, "thanks May Belle." He flew down the stairs and was out the door in no time. Stumbling through the darkness he ran down the moon lit trail that led to Terabithia. The sweet smell of spring in the air, and the moon lit forest reminded him of the night he cut down the enchanted rope, the night he fell in love with Leslie Burke. He knew even at that young age that he loved Leslie forever and always. That night, so long ago, he had severed the thing that first bound their friendship. Tonight he hoped he could rejoin the threads of their love. Coming up to the bridge he stopped and looked through the trees into the forest. He saw a light coming from the direction of the tree house. "Well," Jesse said to himself, "that's either Leslie, or there are trespassers on my property." As he stepped slowly across the bridge all the memories of Leslie flooded back to his mind, filling him with a giddy anticipation. Making his way cautiously down the dark trail he approached the tree house. If it is Leslie he thought, what will I say, what should I do? As he came close he called up to whoever may be in there.
"Leslie?" he called softly.
A figure appeared in the doorway silhouetted by a lantern's light. She beckoned to him and said, "come on."
Jesse bounded up the ladder and was in the tree house in an instant. There she was, standing there before him; it's true, she's really here. They stood staring at one another for what seemed an eternity, gazing into each other's eyes, communicating volumes without a single word. Then Leslie broke the silence by saying, "Yes."
"Huh?…What?" that's a strange greeting he thought to himself as he continued to stare at her, drinking in her beauty. His heart was about to burst with joy. Then Leslie said, "Jess, don't you remember?…The last time we were here together you asked me a question…The answer is yes."
Jesse, realizing what she meant said, "wait." He reached in his shirt and pulled out the ring, the ring he had offered to her six years earlier.
"You kept the ring," she giggled.
"Yup," he said as he knelt down before her. Then taking hold of her hand he looked up at her face, looking deep into her beautiful eyes. He again asked as he had done six years prier. "Leslie," he said, "I love you Leslie Burke, I love you more than anything in the world… Will you marry me?"
"Yes Jesse Yes," she said softly, her voice quivering and happy tears glistened in her eyes.
He slid the ring onto Leslie's finger, she held out her hand and admired the adornment for a moment. Then she smiled down at Jesse with a mischievous glint in her eyes and said, "I love you Jesse Aarons," then she lunged at him, knocking him over. They rolled on the floor of the tree house embracing one another. Smothering each other with kisses to make up for all the kisses they had missed over the years. It felt to them as if time had stood still and that this night and the last time they were here together were seamless, as if no time had past between them at all. There was never a happier couple than Jesse and Leslie, or should we say Jesslie.
In the distance the sound of church bells could be heard chiming out twelve midnight. Jesse and Leslie were oblivious to the sound. Then as the tolling of the last bell chimed down to silence a great gust of wind blew up from deep in the dark forest. A chilling wind that sent the trees swaying and creaking. Brisk gales that whistled and moaned though the tree house producing a breath like sound resembling a voice. A dark voice that appeared to say, "curse you Aarons: you win."
Leslie's head shot up as the strange sound reached her ears, her eyes popped wide open with terror and she whispered, "what was that?"
"Nothing," Jess said, with a quiet laugh, "it's just the wind…" Then playfully mocking her he said, "or maybe it's the prisoners of the dark master." He laughed again. Then he pulled her back down on top of him and she snuggled into his warm body, glad that they were together again. They were safe now in each other's arms: safe, happy, and content. They lay there together on the floor of their castle, holding on tightly to one another, never again to stray far from the others embrace. Then Jesse whispered, "I love you Leslie," and she kissed him softly on the lips.
Two figures stood together in the darkness beneath a beautiful star filled sky, the light from the moon shining softly on their faces. They stood there on the bridge to Terabithia watching the tree house. They waited there until they saw the lantern's light go dark. Then the two figures turned to leave. They walked slowly, side by side down the dark shadowy trail, the glow of the moon lighting their way.
"It was really nice of you to drive Leslie all the way from Philadelphia."
"Hey it was the least I could do for two of my best friends…. Besides the fate of the whole universe hung in the balance."
"Hey, Its true….Oh, by the way, thanks for bringing the sleeping bags and the lantern."
"Well we couldn't let the king and queen of Terabithia roll around on the castle floor in the dark getting splinters, could we?"
"I guess not…. As if they would have even noticed."
"You know my sisters said that they were weird and weirder, how true is that, they sure do deserve each other don't they."
"Yeah they do. But you know you'll never find a happier couple anywhere on the face of the planet."
"You've got that right."
"So…um… May Belle… How old are you now?"
"Well I was just thinking maybe we could go out sometime. I mean… I'm almost done with school…and I'll be moving back to Lark Creek to work in my dad's business, so I…um"
"Sure I'd love to Scott…I thought you'd never ask."
A/N: I hope you have enjoyed my little story 'The Phone Call.' I've had such a great time writing it and I think that my writing skills have improved at least a little bit because of it.
As for the title, 'The Phone Call.' There are several phone calls made throughout the story and some of them are life altering, but which one is the fateful one?… Hell if I know… I guess you folks can decide.
A special thanks to the following;
G-Matt: Who has reviewed every chapter of my story. Thank you so much for your support. You're the best.
MadTom: Thank you for your insperation, direction and support. I have great respect for your opinions and advice. Thank you so very much. And no I don't give you too much credit!!
Looneylove1331: Thank you, 'my sagacious young friend,' for your aid and comfort in a time of self doubt. Don't ever forget: "Nothing Crushes Us!"
Ihatesnakes: Thank you for your advice about grammar and stuff. I still make 'pletny an misteakes' :) (and without even trying) I think I've improved somewhat, due partly to your encouragement and direction. I continue to follow your wonderful story and draw insperation from your writing. Those of you who have not read 'A Life Rescued' do youself a favor and take the time to read it.
Fire-Inferno: Thank you Tom, another great contributor and reviewer at BtT Fanfiction. I know you must be very busy lately because I haven't seen you around for a while.
Narnianmelody: Although she has not reviewed my story I would still like to thank her for founding the BtT category in fanfiction. Without BtT fanfiction all the wonderful stories here may have never been written.
I also would like to thank the following reviewers:
LORD commodor Norry
Epikhigh1993, (formally TeriyakiGirl)
Evilflame of hell, (formally Silverterror)
Thank you again for your reviews. If I've forgotten anyone send me a 'PM' and I'll update the list.