Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Meg Cabot, nothings mine, I'm just having a little fun with Jesse's POV...
A/N: For the new readers...This story follows 'The Shock Of A Lifetime' the second story in the series. It's Jesse's POV, of all his encounters with Suze in Ninth Key.
I'm not totally happy with it, but I want to know what you all think. I hope you enjoy and thanks again to my regular readers and reviewers for all the support with 'The Shock Of A Lifetime'. Luv y'all! Not beta'd, all mistakes, etc are mine.
Enjoy : )
Recap: Suze gets woken by a distraught woman in the middle of the night and Jesse get a surprise visitor of his own...
The First Steps To Friendship
The next couple of days all seemed to mix into one. Susannah took full advantage of not having any ghosts loitering around her room and spent the time she had spare down the beach with her new friends, where she had been longingly looking every-time I saw her sitting at the window. I couldn't blame her. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
I didn't see much of Susannah those two days. Giving her space, trying not to give her reason to decide that she didn't want me 'hanging around' her room afterall. So I only saw her for a little bit in the evenings. During the day she was at school, hence leaving me to my own devices, with the room and the house as my only roaming ground. I enjoyed the silence and the peaceful quiet though.
I made sure to keep my senses open and alert to anything supernatural going on around me. I didn't want to take any chances. You didn't know what kind of Spirit was going to call in.
As it turned out, we didn't have to wait long. It was only three days into Susannah's rest period from the trauma of Heather and someone appeared needing Susannah's help. It was obvious from the beginning this wasn't going to be a simple as it seemed.
I was in my usual place at the window seat when I felt the air around me shift. Indicating a spectral visitor soon to arrive. I quickly made myself disappear, so Susannah and the incoming visitor wouldn't know I was there. I did this for two reasons. First I wanted to see how Susannah would conduct her Mediator skills, when being confronted with a ghost that wasn't trying to kill her and was actively seeking Susannah out. And two, it wasn't my place to help the visitor. That was Susannah's job.
I could feel the sadness and utter dejection from the Spirit moments before she appeared. She was completely distraught and so wracked with sadness, it was incredible palpable in the air. I had to swallow around a lump in my throat, her emotions were so strong. I made an assertive endeavour to block it out, trying not to take the mass feelings on myself.
On her arrival she stood by Susannah's bed, body wracked with sobs, she was trying not to let out. She had her back to me and I could she her shoulders shaking with the effort to keep herself in control. Whatever had happened to this poor Spirit, she was a mess. The anguish was pouring out of her.
She wasn't there a minute before she took a deep breath, threw her head back and let loose a blood curdling scream. So loud and piercing it instantly reminded me of Heather. Only Heather's was in anger and rage. This lady was screaming in grief. I tried not to shrink away from the memory and the noise. I saw Susannah wake with a sudden start sitting straight up in bed, appearing dazed looking around her room blinking in the soft moon light filtering through her windows. Right on to the stricken woman screaming at her bedside.
Susannah sat perfectly still where she was, waiting for the woman to calm down and notice she had Susannah's full attention. She did eventually. "I'm sorry." She said, reaching up to wipe her eyes, still crying very hard and didn't appear to be calming down.
"Yeah, well, you got my attention. Now what do you want?" Susannah asked quite rudely. No compassion in her voice or posture. Just impatience and annoyance. Not the nicest way to start a conversation, or a way to start to help the sorrowful spirit.
"I need you," The woman responded, her crying easing slightly with the odd sniffle and faint shiver running across her dejected frame. "I need you to tell someone something." She exclaimed.
Susannah looked at her, obviously waiting for the sad soul to elaborate further. Noticing she wasn't going to without prompting, Susannah asked. "Okay. What?" She seemed to be coming back to her full senses, after her impromptu awakening.
"Tell him..." She trailed off, reaching out once again to wipe the tears silently streaming from her eyes and across her cheeks. "Tell him it wasn't his fault. He didn't kill me." She said, voice slowly becoming slightly stronger. The relief at getting help shining through the cracks. I just hoped Susannah had the sympathy and the patience to deliver her message and help this grieving soul. I kept a silent vigil on both woman, intrigue to watching this play out.
I looked to Susannah to see her reaction to the message the Spirit told her. She raised at her eyebrows in a silent question. She seemed confused again. Maybe she wasn't as awake as I thought she was. "Tell him he didn't kill you?" Susannah asked. Looking for confirmation that she heard the Spirit correctly.
"You'll tell him?" The spirit asked eagerly, hope starting to shine through slightly in her demeanor. "Promise?" She was desperate I realized. Whatever this message meant to the person she wanted it delivered to, it was very important to her. And the recipient it seemed.
I mentally hoped Susannah didn't slip up. And took into account just how important this small task was to the Spirit. That she would have more tact, should she have to come across this particular ghost again in the near future. Or at least one in a similar emotional state.
I narrowed my eyes at the expression on Susannah's face and the hesitation in her forthcoming answer for the woman. "Sure," Susannah slowly answered, "I'll tell him. Only who am I telling?" She asked diplomatically.
The woman stood a little straighter, looking at Susannah while stating. "Red, of course." And then she vanished into the night. Leaving behind the feeling of sadness choking the air, with Susannah and myself. Susannah looked at where the Spirit was once standing, blinked a couple of times, then turned and thumped her pillow before laying back down to sleep.
I made myself known then. Not completely happy with the way Susannah conducted herself around the emotional woman. "What?" Susannah spat, as soon as I appeared in the same place the woman was seconds before.
I ignored her tone of voice, shaking my head at her rudeness towards the woman. "You didn't even ask her name." I stated. My voice was flat and UN-emotional. My displeasure at her little scene, clear in my attitude and defensive stance. I hoped this wasn't how she treated all her 'guests'.
Susannah leaned up onto her elbows, peircing me with a scathing look. "Like she gave me the chance." She said. Facing my reprimand head on.
"You could have at least asked," I spoke, crossing my arms over my chest not backing down. "But you didn't bother." It wouldn't have taken much effort to get more information from the poor soul. It would have at least helped her track down who 'Red' was supposed to be. Taking her look of confusion when the woman stated the name, to mean Susannah didn't have any idea who that 'Red' was supposed to be.
"Excuse me," Susannah said, sitting up in bed fully now. "This is my bedroom. I will treat spectral visitors to it any way I want to, thank you." Was Susannah's tart response. Rudeness slicing through her words like a knife.
"Susannah," I said softly. One word in warning letting her know her stubbornness wasn't helping the situation, or her plight any. "If your going to do this, Susannah," I continued. "don't do it halfway."
"Look, Jesse," Susannah began. Her ire was getting up, I could sense her frustrating at everything to do with her 'gift' and the impatience now crystal clear in her voice. "I've been doing this a long time without any help from you, okay?"
I'm sure Susannah was expecting me to back down then, but I refused. She claims she's been doing this job on her own - so long - and how she didn't need my help, but I wasn't going to listen to this argument anymore. It had worn thin. She could try it as much as she wanted, I know she appreciated my help, more than she would say, or likely to admit. To me or herself. "She was in great emotional need, and you – "
"What about you?" Susannah demanded, cutting me off from my own opinion at getting her to understand. "You two live on the same astral plane, if I'm not mistaken. Why didn't you get her rank and serial number?" Susannah questioned. Leaving me falling behind with her confusing request.
"Rank and what?" I asked.
"Her name," Susannah told me. "Why didn't you get her name?"
"It doesn't work that way." I informed her. Shaking my head at her presumptions. There are many things I don't understand still. And I've had a long time to get to find them out. More often than not, leaving myself frustrated with my lack of knowledge.
"Look," Susannah said, seeming to deflate. Now she just sounded tired and weary. "I fully intend to help that woman. Just not now, okay? Now I need to get some sleep. I'm totally wrecked." The use of words she used, often left my mind spinning, trying to understand what she said. Now was no different.
"Wrecked?" I echoed Susannah, trying to determine I had heard her correctly.
"Yeah. Wrecked." Susannah translated for me. "Beat. All tuckered out. Tired." She finished. Why didn't she just say that? It would have saved a lot of trouble and confusion on both sides.
"Oh," I said. Understanding slightly why she was so short in patience with the distraught spirit, and myself. A tired Susannah was not the best person to be having a conversation with. I had forgotten how late it was too. I stood where I was in the moonlight, just looking down at Susannah letting everything of tonight seep in and observe her. She did look very tired. She seemed to be fighting to keep her eyes open. "Good night, then, Susannah," I said.
"Good night," She replied, her voice foggy with exhaustion. Laying back down, and pulling her covers up and over her. Burrowing down underneath, to fall back into slumber.
I left then, taking myself to the Mission courtyard to sit in silent contemplation until I was sure Susannah would be asleep. Thinking back to the extremely sad Spirit. She was in great need, that much was easy to see. But my earlier thought came back to me. My instinct was telling me this was going to go wrong. That not all was what it appeared to be. I would have to try and see what I could find out tomorrow. Find something that could maybe help Susannah.
It was late at night as I was sitting in the Mission courtyard when he came to see me the day after Susannah's distraught spirit showed up. I was a little taken aback to when he first appeared. Though not entirely surprised. I assumed he was looking for a Mediator - like Father Dominic - considering I was at the Mission. Or at a stretch, Susannah.
He appeared standing in front of me, tall and proud. Exuding strength of character and will. He looked about the same age as my father was, when I died. He stood looking down at me. From my position on the bench I had to peer up at him. His expression was marred with a hard and stony look. His stare intense and a little angry. His eyes looked vaguely familiar though.
I finally broke the ominous silence that had been draped around us like a cloak since he arrived. "Can I help you?" I asked casually. Not entirely sure what to expect from him. I tried not to let my discomfort show on my face and willed myself to relax.
He didn't make a move to answer me. He didn't even blink, he seemed quite intent on trying to make me feel uncomfortable. Which was working the longer he stared at me the way he was proceeding to do so. "Are you looking for a Mediator?" I continued breaking the silence. "Because I could – "
"I'm here to see you actually, Jesse." The older man spoke. His voice was like ice, cutting me off from my offer mid stride. How did he know my name? We couldn't have crossed paths before, I would have remembered him. He seemed to be an old Spirit too. Meaning he must of died quite a while ago. He seemed very in tune with himself and the senses around him.
"Oh," Was my weak reply. Not to sure how to respond to that. If he was here to see me. Then that also stood to reason his anger was directed at me too. I realized it would be a good start to ask his name, try to maybe calm him down slightly. But he beat me to it.
"My name is Peter Simon," He paused, causing the air around us to freeze and crack with the tension of his next sentence. "I'm Susannah's father."
I don't know how long I sat there for, openly staring at him in shock. Now I understood why he seemed familiar to me. But I had no idea Susannah's father had passed away. She had never mentioned him to me before now. At the same time realizing, we actually hadn't had a proper conversation without it turning into a battle, before now either. I wonder if she would have told me.
I suddenly realized I was being quite rude and quickly jumped to my feet. "Nombre de Dios. I didn't...I mean Susannah never... – " I broke off with a heavy sigh at my fumbling reply. No wonder I was nervous around this man, it was Susannah's father! Which also means he must be here about her. I quickly stuck my hand out to shake his. "It's nice to meet you, sir." I politely replied, dragging some semblance of a normal reply from somewhere.
He looked at my hand stretched towards him with suspicion, before meeting my gaze again, finally reaching forward to shake my hand. He had a strong grip and wouldn't break eye contact with me. Testing me, I realized.
I searched my mind for something to say, to put him at ease and myself. This was a new situation for me. I had never had a protective father chase me down to have a friendly, yet terrifying talk about his daughter before. I moved on my feet slightly, trying not to shrink away from his penetrating gaze.
Before I had a chance to ask how I could help him again, he asked. "What are your intentions towards my daughter?" The question was blunt and to the point and his tone was like steel.
I gaped at him for a second, trying to find my voice. Of course he would plunge straight in there wanting to know what I was doing living in Susannah's bedroom, it was every father's right. "I assure you sir," I started. "My intentions towards Susannah are strictly honourable. I would never do anything to hurt Susannah, or make her uncomfortable in anyway. I just want to help her." I pleaded my case, hoping he could hear and understand I was being sincere in my actions with helping Susannah.
He continued to look at me, but his glare seemed to soften minutely. His stance pouring authority, "I have to say, Jesse, I'm not comfortable with this arrangement you have with Susannah. Not one bit." He said. Hearing me out, but stil putting his input in. "I know you helped Susannah when she had trouble with that angry ghost and I appreciate that – "
"Pardon the interruption sir, but all I want to do is help Susannah. I tried to warn her not to go and see the angry spirit, but she wouldn't listen to reason." I stated my case again. "Susannah seems to have a propensity for walking into dangerous situations and I just want to keep help keep her safe." I told him. I didn't want to be rude, but he had to understand my side.
"I'm quite aware of this fact, Jesse. Susannah has quite often in the past, gotten herself into some very hot water. And I am grateful you were there to help her this time. Even if she wasn't the most graceful at accepting the help you offered her."
"Thank you, sir."
"And she does need the help you give her, much as I hate to admit it." He grudgingly said. "But for the record, I'm not happy about you living in her bedroom." I opened my mouth to say something else, but he quickly intercepted me. "I heard what you said, your intentions are quite clear, I see that. But it still makes me uneasy." I could understand his concern. It was only fair.
"But," He said. "I trust Susannah's judgement. And she seems to trust you and that goes a long way. Susannah doesn't trust people too easily. You have to earn it, and from what Susannah has said and from what I've seen," He paused again. "You have." I went to thank him again, when he quickly held up his hand to forestall me. "But I will be watching, Jesse. If you hurt my little girl..." He trailed off, leaving it to my imagination as to what he would do. And I didn't doubt for a second he would be able to do it either.
"Thank you, sir. I won't betray Susannah's trust, or yours." I solemnly said.
He nodded at me in acknowledgement. "See that you don't." He said. And the anxious, nervous feeling that had been fluttering around my stomach since he told me who he was, were starting to lessen. I could see where he was coming from in regards to Susannah. It would of been wrong of me to have dismissed his anger and concern about our arrangement.
He stayed a little longer to talk with me, still scrutinising me but not as severe as he was from the beginning. Taking the time to get to know and confide in me. He told me how he was concerned for Susannah. How he knew she wasn't happy. And Susannah's concern over her father not moving on yet.
He spoke with me, about a person Susannah had tried to get in contact with this afternoon. He had warned her that evening to stay away from the contact. How this person was extremely dangerous and it went a lot deeper than she realized. But he knew Susannah wouldn't listen to him.
He was a good man and I enjoyed speaking with him in the short time he stayed with me. He was easy to confide in. By the time our discussion had finished and it was time for him to leave and for me to return to Susannah's home, we had resolved the issue he had sought me out to discuss. My mind felt clearer about Susannah from having spoken to her father. But my heart weighed heavy with the fright of the new danger Susannah was potentially walking into.
I stood with her father and shook his hand in a goodbye gesture. Wishing him well and to see him again. He smiled at me and with one last request before parted ways with me for the night. "Take care of my little girl, Jesse." And he was gone.
"I promise, sir." I vowed to the silent night. Turning to the moon, silently repeating my pledge.
A/N 2: Okay, please excuse the awfulness that is the last part :D I came up empty when trying to write what Suze's dad would say to Jesse. I could only think of what my older brothers would say. And that wasn't an option. They're more of the type to tie the guy to a chair and interrogate him mercilessly! Not really helpful...
Anyway, I hope it was half-way okay. Please review and tell me what ya think : )
Coming in Chapter 2: The screaming woman is back and Jesse confronts Suze on his little interlude with her father...