A.N - Okay, this is my entry to the Monthly Mediator Writing Challenge using the song The Secret's In The Telling by Dashboard Confessional. I have fallen in love with this song since downloading it for this entry. xD

Basically, it's Jesse being all reflective and looking back from that night when Maria goes all crazy on Suze to when she walks into his life.

Omitted Information

It had been peculiar to see the house so lively. I'd watched, in the preceding months before her arrival, as people came in and restored the old house into something suitable for modern day living. Yet, when the family I soon learned was the Ackerman's finally moved in, the familiar twinge of loneliness had started to set in.

All those people sharing the house in which I'd died but none of them knew of my existence. Not one person could see me.

Until she had walked into the newly done-up room I frequently resided in. Susannah – my querida – with her chestnut hair bouncing behind her and her emerald eyes lined with a harsh black whilst the clothes she wore were completely absurd and not at all respectable for a lady to wear. Her eyes had widened as they saw me sitting at the window seat.

The signal is subtle.

The memory of our first meeting had always been amusing for me to remember.

Susannah had used such vulgar language and I had felt compelled to glance behind me at the window, just in case there was a chance that this un-ladylike girl wasn't speaking to me. She had spoken strangely, using terms I was unfamiliar with, and behaved appallingly – she straddled a chair! Back when I was alive, women had always ridden sidesaddle, if at all.

Then she had called me a cowboy and the word had inspired such seldom used anger within me that objects in the room began to rattle as I had spat out refusals whilst reprimanding her with an outstretched finger.

We pass just close enough to touch.

Her small hand had wrapped around my finger and scolded me so thoroughly that all other emotions evaporated. One hundred and fifty years and no one had known I was here – let alone talked to me. But then along came Susannah and I existed again – I could be touched.

My eyes didn't move away from the offending digit for an undeterminable amount of time before asking only one thing.

"What kind of … girl are you?"

No questions, no answers

She never actually did answer my question. Instead, I was graced with the answer of what kind of girl she wasn't before she left the room angrily – and me alone again.

I respected her even then. My hesitation on the word 'girl' had been merely a matter of my astonishment, not that I had found her anything other than feminine. No, Susannah Simon was most evidently a girl.

We know by now to say enough
With only simple words
With only subtle turns

Shamefully, in the months that had passed since that fateful meeting back in January, my feelings had started to become more than platonic. And, as a result, my worry over not finding her in her room was instantaneous.

When I finally did find her – in her youngest stepbrother's bedroom – and I was greeted with a pick swiping the space in front of me as I jumped quickly backwards, my worries over her safety vanished, but my worry for her mentality grew tenfold.

Until she explained that her fear was my leaving her when my body was found and my worry disappeared instantly. Instead it was replaced with such great amusement that I felt compelled to actually laugh. Susannah, I could tell, wasn't particularly pleased with my response but seeing as speech was impossible, I could only reach out to smooth her soft hair to appease her.

Which it apparently didn't, judging by her response of pulling out yet more weapons – provoking more laughter from myself – from under the sheets and hiding under them herself.

"Susannah," I had tried to stop laughing – genuinely, I had – but my voice still held the tone of condensed laughter.

My apologies had been disregarded with a simple "Go away," from Susannah, muffled from her shelter, and I knew I had offended her greatly.

One of my attempts to get Susannah to talk earlier had been to trap her between my arms, which I had placed against the headboard she leaned against, and it had surprisingly worked quite well. This time, considering the covers were hiding her beautiful face from my gaze, I had to resort to other methods.

Everything I tried, I did out of a selfish desire to show without words how I felt for her.

I put on my most persuasive tone and leaned in closer to her, tugging at the sheets her grip was steeled onto. Stubbornly, she remained hidden but she did talk. And when Susannah mentioned Maria and knives in the same sentence, my heart – if I'd had one – would have been pounding in fear.

The things we feel alone for one another
There is a secret that we keep
I won't sleep if you won't sleep
Because tonight may be the last chance we'll be given

"She –" I broke off, barely able to entertain the thought. "She tried to hurt you?"

Susannah's answering nod had me clutching at her shoulders tightly. It was terrifying, not knowing that you had come so close to losing someone that you held close to your heart.

Of course, I knew that she was over-dramatising it – her exaggerations were bordering on amusing – but the danger was still very real.

I had Susannah clutched tightly in my grasp as she explained how 'large' Maria's knife had been, how it had been held to her throat, and I kissed the top of her head, muttering that she was my dearest one – only she didn't know that that was what I was saying.

We are compelled to do what we must do
We are compelled to do what we have been forbidden

It didn't matter anyway. The way I felt towards Susannah could never amount to anything more – assuming, of course, that my feelings were reciprocated. Not only was it entirely disrespectful for me to even think about Susannah in any way other than friendship but also, for her to have a relationship with me, it would mean my querida giving up any other chance for a normal life.

I knew that Susannah had been 'asked out', as I believed it was known, by someone that afternoon and, in spite of the rage that built up inside of me at the thought, I found myself thinking about all the other boys that Susannah had 'gone out with'.

That first week of knowing her, she'd shown interest in the boy that a ghost was haunting and I'd had to show up to save her life when Heather, the ghost, had gotten a bit too power-hungry. Then there was the son of the man who thought he was a vampire. I remember them being in his car and I had shown up casually, reminding Susannah of my presence. It had worked, of course. She had left the car and, as far as I'm aware, nothing serious ever amounted between the couple.

Finally, this past month, there was Michael Meducci. He had continuously tried to convince Susannah to 'go out' with him, not knowing that she did only on my insistence that he needed help. I think I remember Susannah telling me that he'd been put in jail on murder charges.

But now there was this new boy, and who's to say that he is good enough for Susannah? Who's to say that he'll slip up? To Susannah, he could be The One, and I could do nothing but step back and let her get on with her life.

But I didn't have to like it.

So I won't sleep if you won't sleep tonight

It took my promising that I would never leave her – even after Mr. Ackerman finds my body in the backyard – to convince Susannah to leave her stepbrother's bed, and an oath of protection to calm Susannah enough so she could sleep.

Spike, it seemed, wanted my affection also and I whiled away the night idly scratching his fur, my face buried in the pages of a book that had been on the floor in her stepbrother's room. And, whilst I would have been just as content to watch my querida sleep, the book was there so as not to arouse suspicion.

Susannah could never know how I felt.

Our act of defiance

My feelings for Susannah caused me to slip up occasionally. Last month, when she had been put in hospital thanks to those four high school ghosts, my worry over her had been so intense that when I'd seen her lying in that bed …

I shut my eyes at the memory.

My relief had been so strong that I couldn't stop myself from reaching out and caressing the one area of her cheek that wasn't bruised or cut. I still remember the feel of her skin – the soft, warm skin that one could only associate with Susannah.

It was the one time that I had slipped up. But I had vowed not to again.

We keep this secret in our blood
We love in secret names
We hide within our veins
The things that keep us bound to one another

Susannah and I had had our fair share of time together since she'd moved in – mostly, and I hate the thought of it, due to her complete incompetence for mediating ghosts with anything other than violence – and that type of … bonding can tie a couple together forever.

I, certainly, would never give up the memories. Due, in a large part, to Susannah's hatred of playing the heroine, and how much I like to sweep in on my white horse from time to time.

Until the last resilient hope
Is frozen deep inside my bones
And this broken fate has claimed me
And my memories for its own

I hope that when I finally do move on, it's after Susannah has forgotten about me. I know that otherwise would cause her pain and I can't bear the thought of that.

Almost as much as the thought of being apart from her pains me.

Our unlikely friendship has gone beyond the point of acquaintanceship, for myself, and so I am forced to admit – with begrudging reluctance – that I feel I would be the one to suffer most, should I 'move on'.

Your name is pounding through my veins
Can't you hear how it is sung?
And I can taste you in my mouth
Before the words escape my lungs
And I'll whisper only once...

It seemed only fitting that the brother of my competition, so to speak, would be the one to finally give me that push towards purgatory. Whilst Susannah was on a date with the man himself.

Objecting, protesting … putting up any form of resistance seemed futile – not when it was obvious that it was Susannah who wanted me gone.

But, in spite of even that, I couldn't help the words that fell from my lips.

"I love you, Susannah."

'Cause you will be somebody's girl
And you will keep each other warm

It's right, that Paul was the one that Susannah chose. After all, he is a mediator as well. The excuses I had seen her make to many other boyfriends wouldn't be given life in this relationship.

Paul Slater should be able to give her a good life.

More than I ever could.

But tonight I am feeling cold