Disclaimer: Please see first chapter for disclaimer.
A/N: Hey y'all! I wasn't planning on doing this one so quickly, but reading your reviews spurred me on :D I was having trouble with some parts, but found it easier in others, while writing this one. But all in all, I hope its an OK read : )
I just wanna say a HUGE, GIGANTIC, THANK YOU to you all for reading and reviewing. I love reading what you all think. And I hope I'm still doing Jesse justice! You have made me laugh and encouraged me on...thank you so much. Here's to y'all...CHEERS!
Recap: Jesse pays a visit to Suze in hospital. Ending with a stronger bond between them...
I was restless and nervous all night. I couldn't stay still. And pacing was becoming a new habit for me. I was anxious to know how Susannah was. How badly hurt she could be. I knew she was in a lot of pain, so her injuries were definitely not minor. Every-time I closed my eyes all I could see was her bruised and bloody face, swimming before my eyes. Her prone form laying on the ground. Her bloody and matted hair lying around her. The grimace of pain across her face. The tensing lock of her jaw, to stop herself crying out. The ever brave Susannah. Never accepting defeat.
I tried to get to her. So many times, I tried to see. But all I got was another fist to my face, or a punch to the stomach. The fight was brutal and unfair. Two against one. Susannah never had a chance. She can defend herself true enough. But Carrie and Felicia were using their rage and fury against her. Just like Mark and Josh were doing against me. Susannah didn't have a chance to defend herself. It was a reckless act, to have summoned the Angels to Michael. But she never deserved to have to deal with their angry backlash.
She didn't deserve my own too. When I appeared beside her and witnessed what the Angels were doing, I was shocked. Shocked that the thought would even enter her mind, to let the Angels continue what they were doing. I was angry at myself more than I was with Susannah. It was her own anger, that had driven her to do it. I knew it was. But I also knew she felt guilty about it too. That she hadn't meant for anyone to get to hurt. But in the end, the only one who was worse off, was Susannah.
It makes my blood boil, thinking about how defenceless Susannah was. The Angels were going to kill her. Of this I was certain. And it was only by sheer luck and prayer, that the emergency services turned up when they did. For the first time since Gina arrived, I was grateful to have her here. So thankful she had called Father Dominic when she had. If she hadn't of done so, I don't think Susannah would be alive now. The more the fight wore on, the more determined and ruthless the Angels became.
I came so close to losing Susannah, the thought was unbearable. But it didn't come close to my own inner anguish and turmoil I was feeling. The way it felt like my heart was breaking. The utter feeling of dejection of the thought of never seeing her beautiful face again. Never hearing her laugh. Even to hear her talk bad about Spike. To never see her walk into her room after school and grace me with her presence and smile. It brought tears to my eyes of the sheer magnitude of grief. The heavy weight pressing down on my heart. Making my shoulders slump and my hands shake.
The long buried feelings and emotions I had been trying to hide, were slowly crawling their way to the surface. Threatening to take control. My denial crumbling, along with my resolve. Everyday they got stronger. They had been close this time. And it was only getting worse. I didn't have the willpower in me to fight anymore. And I wasn't sure I wanted to. All I could think of was my own guilt, for letting this happen to her.
I should have done more. I should have been quicker. Kept a look out for the signs with Susannah, of her intentions. I should have been more threatening to the Angels. Brought up my own power to get them to back down. I felt like there were so many different scenarios and actions I could have taken, to avoid this. To avoid Susannah now lying in the hospital. I can't ever forgive myself.
I didn't want to keep pacing around the courtyard. And the tranquil atmosphere wasn't doing anything to calm my frazzled nerves. Repeatedly I ran my hands through my hair, trying to stop the nervous actions. Nothing was helping. I knew the only solution to make me less worried, would be to visit her. And I wasn't afraid to admit, I was terrified with what I might find. How hurt she was. There isn't anything I could do to ease her recovery. Frustration ran through me, burning hot. I hated that I was so limited on helping Susannah.
I finally stopped in my rapid movement. Planting my feet steady, determination coming to my eyes. I took a deep breath of cool, crisp air. With one last shaky movement of my hand through my hair, I went to Susannah.
The room I found her in was dark but for a small lamp on one of the tables. Casting the room into a deep ominous silence. It was making me uncomfortable just standing there. I looked to the bed Susannah was lying in, seeing her eyes closed and her form completely still. I took a shaky breath concentrating on the smooth, shallow breathing of Susannah. She was so quiet and still, I felt my fear start to rise to the surface.
I had no idea what all the equipment was she was attached to. Only things I assumed that were monitoring her condition. I slowly and quietly walked over to her bed. My steps hesitant and slow. I didn't want to wake her. I only wanted to see with my own eyes, that she was alive and breathing. All things considered.
When I finally reached her bed I could see the full extent of her injuries. There didn't seem to be any part of her face, that wasn't marred with a bruise or a graze. The gash on her head was covered up with a bandage. Her split lip had a couple of stitches in it. Making her full lips look swollen and painful. She had dark circles underneath her eyes. And even with the pain medication I was sure she was given, I could still see the faint lines of suffering around her mouth and eyes. The rest of her was covered with a blanket and her arms were limp by her sides.
"Oh, Querida," I whispered softly. The only thing I could think to say.
My hand itched to reach out and hold her own. To feel the familiar warmth and contact. To reassure myself, she was okay. But I was too worried I would wake her. I knew my own touch was slightly cold to her. It would most likely jolt her from her restless slumber. I stepped back slightly. Taking myself away so I wouldn't be tempted.
She looked like she was dreaming, but it didn't look very pleasant. It was probably the nights events playing on her mind. I wouldn't have been surprised. I noticed a faint shiver run through her. I thought she might have been cold, so I stepped forward again and lightly lifted her blanket. Moving it slightly, so she was more covered. I hoped the movement hadn't roused her from her dream too much.
I stood watching her sleep for a few minutes more before I decided to leave her in peace. I was slightly reassured she was okay. But I wouldn't be completely calm, until I spoke to her myself. I silently promised Susannah I would visit her tomorrow, not daring to speak aloud again. Stepping back, I took one last look at her face and left. I went to her home to wait. I knew Gina was in Susannah's room still, so I waited in the family living area. Sitting myself on their large overstuffed sofa, finally relaxing minutely.
Their family dog, Max, left the room as soon as I appeared. Whining with his tail between his legs. It was a shame he didn't like ghosts. I loved having a pet dog when I was alive. He was a great companion. Once again, I thanked the fates for blessing me with Spike. As mean as he looked. He's still a very affectionate animal. Towards me, anyway.
Sighing at my turbulent thoughts and emotions, I sat forward holding my head in my hands. It was close to dawn when I finally lifted my eyes to my surroundings again and I knew her family would be waking soon. Her youngest brother David, was normally the first to waken. Shortly followed by Susannah's mother and stepfather. Susannah and Brad after them. And more often than not, Jake would be the last to rise. He seemed to sleep an awful lot.
I heard the first signs of movement coming from upstairs and knew the house was starting to wake. I stood up to lean against the fireplace. It felt awkward sitting on their sofa while they went about their lives. I listened as they became more active and louder. One by one, they all made their way downstairs and towards the kitchen. Jake, Brad, David, Susannah's mother and stepfather, were all dressed and ready for the day. Gina was still in her nightclothes. Not bothering to get dressed yet apparently. She had been going to school with Susannah since she had been visiting. But due to circumstances, I didn't expect her to go today.
I followed them all to the kitchen, still staying back from them. Max slid out of the room again, as soon as I appeared. Susannah's stepfather made a comment about his behaviour and carried on with his breakfast. It was a little while before I heard what I wanted, in regards to Susannah. Her mother told her family that Susannah had cuts and bruises over the majority of her body. Including a large cut to her forehead. The most troubling injury, was the cracked ribs. I winced when she told them. I had never had broken ribs, but after the force of the vicious kicks I had received from the Angels last night and the quick flash of pain. I could very well imagine how awful it must be for her.
I felt a new, fresh wave of guilt come over me. Shaking my head at the news I was hearing from her mother. She asked them all not to upset Susannah when she got home. Telling them, that her ordeal had been traumatic enough. She sent Brad a pointed look, who bowed his head in shame. I couldn't see him keeping that up for long though. Neither could I see Susannah sitting back, taking his attitude. As an afterthought, Susannah's mother asked no one to show Susannah a mirror. She said this part with more force than she did the rest.
I felt a small smile appear on my face, knowing how Susannah would react if she saw the damage. Followed by a grimace, that she would have to go through this in the first place.
I left the kitchen after that. Choosing to sit on the porch and wait for Susannah's family to go on their respective journey's. Gina and Susannah's mother left shortly after everyone else had. Going to visit Susannah at the hospital no doubt. I had been wanting to go and visit Susannah too. But I was putting it off. Delaying the inevitable.
I decided to go to her room for a while. To wait until I felt it would the right time to visit. Or until I worked up the courage. I was joined by Spike not long after I appeared. He seemed very happy to see me and I was in return. I had missed him while I was watching the Angels. His constant purring and attention seeking. It helped to lift my burden slightly to have him with me. He padded back and forth across my lap, finally settling by my thigh. Reaching his paw out every now and then. His claws retracted. I let the small smile form on my face that had been wanting to appear the moment I heard the familiar thump on the porch roof.
We sat together for a while before I decided it was time to face Susannah. Or evade her, if need be. I couldn't help but feel slightly nervous at the reception I might receive from her. I didn't know how to start. How to explain. Eventually I stood, dislodging a disgruntled Spike. I heaved a quick sigh, looked at Spike for support and disappeared.
When I arrived in Susannah's room I saw her propped up in bed, her eyes closed. I knew she was awake, I could see her hands idle pulling at the threads on the blanket covering her. I quickly tried leaving, before she heard or sensed me. Suddenly losing my nerve to face her now. Again, taking the cowardly way out. Sometimes Susannah could be scarier than any ghost I've encountered since meeting her.
But I was caught before I had the chance. Susannah's eyes flew open at the rustle I made, her gaze locking on me with a hard stare. Pinning me back into place.
"Oh, no, you don't," She said, lifting herself up more in her bed. I saw her grimace with the pain of her ribs. "You come back here right now."
I appeared fully in front of her again. A sheepish look on my face at being caught.
"I thought you were asleep," I said nervously. "So I decided to come back later." I tried. Hoping she would believe me. But her expression told me otherwise.
"Baloney," Susannah said, seeing straight through my explanation. "You saw I was awake, so you decided to come back later when you were sure I was asleep." Susannah paused. I could see the slight hint of anger in her eyes at my evasion tactics. "What, you're only going to visit me when I'm unconscious now? Is that it?"
"You've been through an ordeal." I said. I was extremely uncomfortable standing here. I didn't know what to expect. Or what to say to Susannah. Where to begin with my apologies for what happened. I started shifting slightly, from foot to foot. Avoiding meeting her eyes. "Your mother – back at the house – I heard her tell everyone they weren't to do anything to upset you."
"Seeing you won't upset me," Susannah quietly said.
Something in her voice finally made me stop my movement and raise my eyes to her bruised face. I looked directly into Susannah's beautiful green eyes, glistening with un-shed tears. I felt a lump form in my throat seeing the distress in her gaze. She was hurt by my actions. Hurt - I had thought - about what happened last night. My broken, unspoken promise to protect her.
I took an involuntary step closer to her, my own stare marred with guilt and sadness. I didn't want to see that kind of pain there. I had caused enough already. She didn't deserve more. I wished then, with all my being, to take her physical and emotional distress onto myself. To spare seeing her cry, because of me.
"Susannah," I softly said. "I –"
"No," She said, interrupting me before I could speak any further. "Let me go first. Jesse, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for that whole thing last night. It was all my fault. I can't believe did it. And I'll never, ever forgive myself for dragging you into it."
"Susannah – " I said. Completely taken aback by her response. That she would take all the blame onto herself, for that fiasco last night. I wanted to tell her it wasn't her fault, it was mine. And that she had nothing to apologise for. That she didn't drag me into it. To reassure her.
"I am the worst mediator," She carried on, ignoring my interruption. She wasn't looking at me now. She had dropped her eyes to stare at her blanket covered legs. "The worst one that ever lived. I should be thrown out of the mediator organization. Seriously. I can't believe I actually did something that stupid. And I wouldn't blame you if you never spoke to me again. Only – " Susannah paused, looking up at me again. The tears more present in her eyes now. I longed to reach out and comfort her. To brush away the errant teardrops, falling from her sparkling eyes.
"It's just that you've got to understand; he tried to kill my family. And I couldn't let him get away with that. Can you understand that?" She asked timidly.
It was because of this speech Susannah gave me, that I did what I did next. I ignored the part of me that was screaming that it was a bad idea. I threw away the fear of Susannah pulling away from me. And did something I had been longing to do, since I first saw her lying here. Finally giving in.
I reached out carefully, keeping my eyes on hers and with the backs of my fingers I slowly grazed my hand down Susannah's cheek. One of the only places of her face, that wasn't cut or severely bruised. I kept my touch gentle as I trailed my fingers down her soft, smooth skin. As soft as I always imagined it to be. Not breaking eye contact with her the whole time. I couldn't help the affection I'm sure she saw in my dark eyes.
I felt the familiar warm tingle sensation I feel when I touch Susannah. Only this time, it was magnified by the sincere, shy look in Susannah's eyes, directed at me. I let my hand fall away, resting it lightly by her outstretched arm. Not quite touching, but enough to feel the heat she gave off. I saw the light blush tinting her cheek where I had just gently caressed. Even through all her bruises, I noticed. I felt the corners of my mouth tilt slightly.
"Yes, querida," I said quietly. "I understand."
I was still shocked by Susannah's admission of her guilt. And her sincere apologies. But most of all, I did understand. Because no matter how rash and reckless Susannah can often be with her own life and choices; she is still protective and loyal to her loved ones. Still prepared to do anything for the people she cares about. And I knew. That is what makes Susannah her. It's part of the reason, that I feel the emotions and feelings, I shouldn't have toward her. One of many reasons why. The reason I would use everything in my power to protect her.
"And the only reason I got so angry was because I didn't want to see this happen to you." I said, gesturing towards her marred face. To the cracked ribs, that were causing her discomfort. To the pain in her eyes.
"I'll be all right. I won't even need plastic surgery, they said." Susannah replied, a small smile at the edge of her lips.
I opened my mouth to continue. To apologize. To tell her how terrible I felt about the way I've acted towards her. And for getting her into this horrid situation. But before I could speak, the door to her room opened. Susannah and I both turned as one to see who it was. Gina came bursting into her room, holding a drink in each hand with an excited look on her face. My time was up. I wouldn't have the chance to say what I wanted to now, so I started to leave. Letting Susannah rest and spend time with Gina. There would be plenty of time to talk after.
"Guess what?" She said, just as I started to shimmer away.
I turned to Susannah before I left, giving her a full smile. Showing her all the relief I felt. And more importantly, reassurance that I understood. I knew that was what she needed the most now. Her answering smile was all the confidence I needed. The twinkle in her eye of a silent message passed to each other. I felt my spirits lift. All the nervousness I was feeling before, vanished. Susannah knows I will always be here for her, as long as she needs me. I wasn't going anywhere...
A/N 2: Thanks for reading, please review and make me smile. Hopefully it'll wake me up :D !! THANKS AGAIN, hope to see y'all in Book 4... ;P
Meg – THANK YOU, for all your wicked reviews, Meg. I really appreciate the support and the feedback. I hope you enjoy this one too. And I hope to see ya in the next story :D Take care...
Jessica – Hello! Wow...thank you :D I'm glad your enjoying them. Their fun to write. Mainly because of the BRILLIANT reviewers and readers. Lol. But thank you for taking the time to leave a review...I really appreciate it. This series is gonna keep right on going, right up to the end :D Thanks again, take care...
Coming In Story 4 of The Shock Of A Lifetime Series: A little surprise for you all. And Jesse senses a certain ex-fiance hanging around Suze's room...