Disclaimer: The Mediator belongs to Meg Cabot.
Summary: Jesse's POV of all his encounters and more with Suze in 'Haunted'. Story 5 of 'The Shock Of A Lifetime' series.
A/N: Well, book 5 already...where did that time go, lol. I had fun writing this. Some parts were deeper than others, but I'm quite happy with it. I hope you are too :) Thank you so much for the AMAZING response with the last story...totally blew me away, so thank you, thank you, thank you. And also for the lil one-shot/missing scene of 'May It Be'.
Recap: Jake brings a couple of dinner guests home. One of which is not in the realm of the living. Causing a mini confrontation between Suze and Jesse...
To Find A Resolution...
I finally returned to Susannah's room after a period of absence that was longer than necessary. My reappearance was tense and awkward. Neither willing to speak first or break the silence. I found it difficult to meet Susannah's eyes. To see the deep hurt I had caused shimmering beneath the surface. I never found the courage to tell her how I really felt. To have spoken the words she needed to hear and I needed to speak. The feelings that were forever engraved in my heart and soul. Waiting to be set free without hindrance.
But the more I delayed going back, the more the doubts and the guilt had built inside me. The truth and reality of our situation was raw and open in my mind. Making me face the hard truth everywhere I looked. Every-time I would see another person other than Susannah or Father Dominic. I was reminded that the world had kept on living and I was just standing on the outskirts watching it go by. With no chance of being able to join in and give Susannah the life she should have. That I can't give her. I had fooled myself into thinking my love for her would be enough. But I knew now that it wasn't. She deserves more.
But the damage had already been done. I had already made a mistake and I knew it may have cost our friendship dearly.
The pain I felt for what I had done to Susannah was hot and undeniable. One I knew time may never clear and erase. A constant reminder of what I had for a split second. Of what I could of given and had all but destroyed. My return to Susannah's room was frightening and difficult. But I knew I owed it to Susannah to go back. To face her and at least apologize once again and hope we could still have a relative piece of what it was like before I had ruined it all. I didn't want to hurt Susannah anymore than I already had.
Even after a couple of weeks of putting my exorcism, Susannah's sacrifice and our soul shattering kiss behind us, the atmosphere between us was still quiet and palpable. Our conversations were stilted and vague. Our shared smiles were few and far between. She didn't spend as much time in her room as she had before. She would speak of her day but there was no enthusiasm in her voice when talking with me. No light in her eyes or bounce in her step. It was as though we were strangers again. Both stepping out into new territory neither felt comfortable in.
Often I would see her gazing out of her windows at the spectacular view in the distance. Her eyes distant and sparkling. Dreaming of a far off memory or vision. Each time I would wonder and hope she was thinking of our so short time together. When we both revelled in the love we shared and the perfect moment to follow. It always ignited a slither of determination in me to reach out to Susannah and tell her. To see the light that sparkles in her eyes, that only lasts for a split second to remain forever. To encompass her in my arms and my love.
But I always came back to reality with a painful ache. Each time took a little more of my resolve and control. Making the temptation much brighter and stubborn. Finding my fingers itching to touch her hair. My arms aching to hold her to me. My heart breaking a little more when I knew there was no way I could. Making my eyes sting and harden.
Those moments would follow with a hasty apology and my disappearance. To give myself time to clear my troubled mind and ease my torment. The fresh wave of anguish I would see in Susannah's eyes each time nearly making me return to her side again and take it away. But upon my return of my hasty absence, the evidence of her own discomfort would be gone. Carefully buried beneath anger and betrayal. Feelings she never allowed herself to show or speak to me with. But the affliction was always there. I always saw through her defence enough to see her heart was breaking just as painfully as my own.
The explanation and truth of why I have caused us both to suffer is clear and to the forefront of my mind. But never spoken to ease either of our sufferings. My belief that if we ignored it and accepted it wouldn't work, that over time Susannah would move on and be happy. That she would have the life she wants with someone who loves her. But with each day my beliefs were growing weaker and weaker.
I longed to see her anger with me to spring forth. To break the tense mould we had carved around ourselves. For her to yell and scream at me. To make me tell her why. But I knew it would never appear. That Susannah was too proud and stubborn to let her emotions overrule her mind. She had let it happen once before and she was left hurt because of it. I knew it wouldn't happen again. That now too much pain had been enforced and she was protecting herself. It would only leave her vulnerable and scared.
But still my heart longed for the release. For Susannah's.
The days and the weeks that followed there after progressed slowly and quietly. Our time together was short and sparse. But each night I would continue to sit on Susannah's window seat. Watching over and protecting Susannah. Spike by my side keeping me company. Helping to ease my burden and pain minutely. My senses were always alert and anxious. Waiting for the moment when Susannah would start to dream. For her nightmares to take hold of her again, just as they had each night. Waiting for her breathing to become erratic with fear. For her body to tremble in fright. Listening for the whimpers and cries soon to follow. My name sometimes whispered. The hope and plea in her voice always making me want to run to her side.
I could feel the panic flowing from her. Intensified to match my own as each night her nightmares would become more intense. Her fear becoming more apparent to the point when i could almost see a shadow of it in her eyes in waking life. Her exhaustion and fatigue pulling her down deeper. A constant shroud laid upon her shoulders.
But like some unwritten rule, the subject of her nightmares is never spoken. Her dreams never acknowledged. My own knowledge of them hidden away from Susannah. Concealed with my own hate and detest for the person who had ignited a fear so deep into Susannah, I regretted I hadn't done more than break his nose...
I saw no need to speak of him and talk to Susannah about her troubled sleep. I knew she would never see him again. And I didn't wish to let Susannah become more vulnerable than she already was. So I didn't pursue it. Hoping time would do what it did best and heal her wounds. Content in the knowledge that Father Dominic was on hand to deal with any wayward spirits seeking Susannah's help for the time being. To give herself more of a chance to recover. To let Paul Slater and the shadowland become a distance memory.
I had believed this even when Susannah had returned home from school. Carrying the large book I had asked Father Dominic to loan me, "Critical Theory Since Plato". She was almost using the large thick book as a shield. Protecting herself from something or someone. She had an underlying tension coming from her that I knew had nothing to do with what had happened between us. This seemed to be coming from an outside influence. Something to do with school perhaps. Susannah's eyes were hooded and guarded from me. The sense that she was hiding something was strong and worrying. But I chose not to say anything. Believing it to be hypocritical of me to accuse Susannah of such things; when I was in fact doing the same.
I sat in Susannah's room with her for the rest of the afternoon, deeply engrossed in my loaned book. Susannah had been issued a large amount of schoolwork already and had uncharacteristically sat down to complete it. I caught her staring off into space every now and again with a troubled look upon her face, solidifying my belief that something was wrong. But I repeatedly tamped down on my urge to speak up and ask.
Even after everything that had happened, I still only wanted to see Susannah happy and to be a good friend to her. To be here for her no matter what.
She was soon pulled from her reverie to be called down for dinner. Leaving me in the desolate silence of her room, unable to feel the natural presence that always lingered behind after Susannah had left. The light atmosphere I so craved to feel surrounding me again, but unlikely to feel. With a dejected sigh I returned my attention back to my book in my lap and Spike by my side. Trying furtively to lose myself in the complicated text. To let it saturate my curiosity and desire to learn. To allow it to sweep away all that was troubling my thoughts.
But I was soon interrupted from my book by the banging of Susannah's bedroom door. Swiftly followed by said Mediator and a spirit guest close on her heels behind her.
"Nombre de Dios," I quickly exclaimed when I spotted the spirit around Jake's age waltz into the room with Susannah. Looking around him curious but bored before finally seeing me on the window seat. A look of complete surprise on his face. Spike quickly leapt to his feet arching his back hissing at the loud and abrupt incoming. Upon seeing it was Susannah and another spirit he quickly calmed down and settled beside me once again.
"Sorry about that," Susannah interjected once my gaze had slid back on to the boy beside her. Making quick introductions to us both. "Jesse, this is Craig. Craig, Jesse. You two should get along. Jesse's dead, too." She finished, closing the door behind her.
I scrutinised the boy now named as Craig, through narrowed eyes. Watching him take in my appearance from where I was sitting. His eyes wide with intrigue, obviously realizing how long it had been since I was alive. He seated himself down quite quickly on the edge of Susannah's bed, his fingers playing with the comforter beneath him. Still openly watching me.
"Are you a pirate?" Craig said, finally breaking the silence he had been in since he had walked through the door. His sincere tone laced with expectancy raised my ire slightly. I noticed Susannah putting a hand over her mouth trying to cover the small smile I saw trying to break through. On a normal day I would of relished in the action, but not today. Not with Craig sitting here with a new situation for Susannah. One I wanted nothing more than for her to hand over to someone else. That i knew she wasn't ready for.
"No," I replied tonelessly. "I'm not."
"Craig," Susannah said breaking me from my scrutiny of the boy with us, scowling slightly at the amusement I could read in her voice. My look didn't deter her though. It only served to make me relax slightly. It had felt like so long since I had seen Susannah smile around me. I felt the first stirrings of hope flare to life in my chest. "Really, you've got to think. There's got to be a reason why you are still hanging around here instead of off where you're supposed to be. What do you think that reason could be? What's holding you back?"
Craig finally roused from his open stare at my attire looked to Susannah to answer. Obviously continuing an earlier conversation that had passed between them. "I don't know," He said with a shrug. "Maybe the fact that I'm not supposed to be dead?"
"Okay," Susannah said, taking a deep breath to keep herself patient. I could see the faint traces of fatigue in her eyes already, making me hope this mediation wouldn't go on to long, for Susannah's sake. "I can certainly see why you might feel that way," She continued. "Was it sudden? I mean, you weren't sick or anything, were you?"
I watched slightly curious as Craig's expression turned to one of indignation at Susannah's enquiry. "Sick? Are you kidding me? I can bench two forty, and I run five miles every single day. Not to mention, I was on the NoCal crew team. And I won the Pebble Beach Yacht Club's catamaran race three years in a row."
"Oh," Susannah replied, not at all surprised to hear all that he had just told her. All of which I didn't understand. "So your death was accidental, then, I take it?"
"Damn straight it was accidental," Craig spoke, his eyes flashing and his finger stabbing the mattress beneath him to emphasise his point. "That storm came out of nowhere. Flipped us right over before I had a chance to adjust the sail. Pinned me under." His expression took on a far off look for a few seconds before being brought back to the present by Susannah.
"So..." Susannah said hesitantly, knowing the need to be delicate with some spirits and the circumstances around their deaths. Heather coming to mind. "You drowned?" But all she got in return was Craig shaking his head in frustration at our lack of being able to follow his thoughts. Or his explanation. It was a logical question and conclusion and one I had come to myself.
"It shouldn't have happened," Craig said, his body tense and his eyes looking to his shoes unseeingly. "It wasn't supposed to have been me. I was on my high school swim team. I was first in the district one year in freestyle." He raised his head to look at Susannah, his eyes searching hers for a recognition she nor I could see.
"I'm sorry," Susannah said gently. "I know it doesn't seem fair. But things will get better, I promise."
"Oh really?" Craig's docile voice was suddenly tainted with anger. His eyes pinning Susannah with a scathing look making her flinch underneath his gaze. I resisted the sudden need to speak up and tell him to stand down. But I didn't stop the scowl to appear on my face. "How? How are things going to get better? In case you haven't noticed, I'm dead."
Unwilling to sit back and watch Susannah get verbally berated I spoke up for the first time since Craig's pirate comment towards me. Noticing the grateful look Susannah shot me at having a reason to divert her attention from Craig's blistering gaze on her own. The same look that was making her uncomfortable and unnerved.
"She means things will get better for you when you've moved on," I said, speaking clearly and precisely. A dangerous undercurrent in my tone that Craig had not picked up on. More fool him.
"Oh, things will get better, will they?" He let out a laugh that sounded dry and bitter to my ears. "Like they have for you? Looks like you've been waiting around for a while, buddy. What's the holdup?"
Quickly resisting my eyes from travelling to Susannah - should Craig see and come to the natural conclusion on his own - I decided to not answer. To let him believe I had no clue. Because of course not even Susannah knew why I was still here. The truth I knew would only cause more problems to arise in the delicate and fragile balance hanging between Susannah and I. There was no need for her to find out. It wouldn't make any difference other than causing us both to suffer from more heartache.
So instead I sat matching Craig's defiant glare for a menacing one of my own.
"Jesse's situation is kind of unique," Susannah quickly interjected seeing the dark frown upon my face. Her tone was soothing and comforting to my ears replacing the bitter one of Craig's. "I'm sure yours is nowhere near as complicated."
"Damn straight," Craig said again, turning his stare back to Susannah. "Because I'm not even supposed to be here."
"Right," Susannah said her patience still holding out for the time being. "And I'm going to do my best to get you moving on to that next life of yours..." Her voice trailed off at seeing the frown Craig was wearing that spelled trouble and relentlessness. Making me raise my guard more and to be prepared in case I needed to step in. And soon.
"No," He said, his voice becoming low and quiet. "That's not what I meant. I mean I'm not supposed to be here. As in, I'm not supposed to be dead."
Susannah nodded at the apparent denial Craig was issuing. A practiced patience clear in her eyes and voice. "It's hard," She said. "I know it is. But eventually you'll adjust to the idea, I promise. And things will be better once we figure out what exactly is holding you back - " But before she had the opportunity to finish her sentence, Craig interrupted her.
"You don't get it," He said, shaking his head emphatically. "That's what I'm trying to tell you. What's holding me back is the fact that I'm not the one who's supposed to be dead." The last word was uttered pointedly and harshly.
"Well..." Susannah hesitated starting to sense the building anger and frustration in Craig. But not as powerfully as I could. I had had enough of his rude behaviour and attitude towards Susannah this evening. Towards someone who was trying to help him without personal gain on their part. "that may be. But there's nothing I can do about that."
"What do you mean?" Craig rose from his position sitting on the edge of Susannah's bed. His own voice rising in anger and his words punctuated with each furious breath. "What do you mean, there's nothing you can do about that? What am I doing here, then? I thought you said you could help me. I thought you said you were the mediator."
"I am," Susannah replied quite taken aback, looking to me with a hasty glance. I was slightly shocked at his sudden alarming presence filling the room with his anger. Fury that seemed to be worryingly directed at Susannah. "But I don't dictate who lives or dies. That's not up to me. It's not part of my job."
Looking at Susannah with no small amount of disgust upon his face, Craig gave a scathing reply. "Well, thanks for nothing, then." And started making for the bedroom door to leave.
My patience already worn thin for his disgusting behaviour towards Susannah this evening and his apparent lack of manners now, I stopped him in his intent exit. "You," I said, my tone commanding and dangerous making him halt where he stood. "Apologize to her." My eyes were black and narrowed waiting for him to do as I requested.
Turning his head to slowly look back at me, Craig said the wrong answer. "No freaking way."
Before he had even seen me move and before he could take a breath in anticipation, I was across the room and behind him in seconds. I grabbed his right arm, twisting it at an unnatural angle behind his back. Pushing him against the bedroom door hearing his quick intake of breath when I tightened my grip. Leaning heavily against him I demanded his apology again.
"Apologize." I hissed. "to the young lady. She is trying to do you a kindness. You do not turn your back on someone who is trying to do you a kindness." I could feel him tensing with each word. The slightest pressure I put on his arm was painful i knew. But still I didn't let up until he had done as I suggested.
"I'm sorry," He quickly said, his voice muffled against the wood of the door I had him pinned against.
"That's better," I replied releasing him from my hold and stepping back. Craig sagged against the door, devoid of any energy. I casted a quick look to Susannah seeing the look of surprise in her eyes at my actions. But I soon looked away to hide my embarrassment of being so defensive of the behaviour and respect shown towards her. Taking a further step backwards keeping my gaze on Craig.
"It's just," Craig said, his anger and frustration taken out of him after my painful encounter with him. "that it isn't fair, you know? It wasn't supposed to have been me. I was the one who should have lived. Not Neil."
Upon hearing the new piece of information, Susannah looked to Craig in surprise. "Oh? Neil was with you on the boat?"
"Catamaran," He quickly corrected her. "And yeah, of course he was."
"He was your sailing partner?" She asked.
Looking at Susannah with disgust again at the mere mention she proposed to him, he quickly turned it into a polite aversion with a quick scowl from me. Obviously keeping him self in check around me now. I was pleased to notice he was more careful of how he acted and spoke.
"Of course not," He said. "Do you think we'd have tipped if Neil had had the slightest clue what he was doing? By rights, he's the one who should be dead. I don't know what Mom and Dad were thinking. Take Neil out on the cat with you. You never take Neil out on the cat with you. Well, I hope they're happy now. I took Neil out on the cat with me. And look where it got me. I'm dead. And my stupid brother is the one who lived."
I looked to Susannah as soon as Craig had finished, trying to decipher if she understood what he had just said. His words had only made a small bit of sense to me. But his anger of his injustice was clear to see. I could see a vague recollection on Susannah's face and an underlying look of pity. But I didn't think it was directed at Craig. To Neil perhaps. And the circumstances now unintentionally surrounding him.
Craig it was easy to decipher was mad because his brother had survived and he hadn't. He believed he was the one who should have lived because he was physically stronger. Because he had more experience. There was no gratefulness in his eyes that his brother was okay. That he had survived such a tragic accident. Instead there was only jealously and spite. Making my distaste for him grow slightly more.
"The guy couldn't swim to the other side of the pool," Craig persisted. "without having an asthma attack. How could he have clung to the side of a catamaran for seven hours, in ten-foot swells, before being rescued? How?" I had no answer to give to Craig that would sate his opinion.
"Maybe," Susannah tentatively suggested. "you got hit in the head."
"So what if i did?" Craig quickly exclaimed once again glaring at Susannah. Cementing her offhand comment to be the truth of his death. That Neil had done nothing wrong, but to of had the will to live and survive. "Freaking Neil - who couldn't do a chin-up to save his life - he managed to hold on. Me, the guy with all the swimming trophies? Yeah, I'm the one who drowned. There's no justice in the world. And that's why I'm here, and Neil's downstairs eating freaking fajitas."
Finally understanding Craig's point and opinion, the dawning realization that maybe he was denying moving on until he had exacted his revenge entered my mind. Having encountered someone similar in the past with Susannah and who had turned out to be a very violent and difficult Spirit to deal with. I hoped that Craig wasn't going to be the same.
Unfortunately I voiced my thoughts to Craig, unaware that the possibility hadn't entered his mind or that he was aware that he was able to do such a thing. "Is it your plan, then, to avenge your death by taking your brother's life, as you feel yours was taken?" I solemnly asked.
"No way, man." Craig exclaimed quickly. And then the weight of my words seeped into his mind, bringing a new light and calculation into his eyes. "Could I even do that? I mean, kill someone? If I wanted to?" He asked looking between Susannah and myself.
"No," Susannah emphatically said the same time I tried to take back what I had spoken. Hoping it would make him see the bigger consequences of such foolish actions. "Yes, but you would be risking your immortal soul - "
"Cool," Craig murmured ignoring Susannah. Only latching on to what I had said before. He stared down at his hands before him. Hands that he could use to kill his own brother because I had regrettable put the idea there. I felt the guilt settle on my already trouble mind.
"No killing," Susannah said loudly trying to get Craig's attention. "There will be no fratricide. Not on my watch." Her words seemed to penetrate through to Craig's haze bringing him back to his current surroundings again thankfully.
"I'm not gonna kill him," He said surprised, looking up at Susannah.
Shaking my head at the boy before Susannah and myself, I turned my back on him walking over to the window seat to sit beside Spike again. Lazily reaching out to pet him. Watching the proceedings going on before me.
"Then what?" Susannah asked, shaking her head. "What's holding you back? Was there...I don't know. Something left unsaid between the two of you? Do you want me to say it to him for you? Whatever it is?"
Craig looked back at Susannah slightly shocked. "Neil?" He muttered. "Are you kidding me? I've got nothing to say to Neil. The guy's a tool. I mean, look at him, hanging around a guy like your brother."
I watched with interest at Susannah's retort and quick defence of her step-brother. One she would not have jumped to quite so quickly a few months ago when I had first known her. Her own dislike for her step-brothers had worn away over time. With the exception of Brad maybe.
"What's wrong with my brother?" She demanded. "I mean, my step-brother?"
"Well, nothing against him, really," Craig tried to take back, much to my amusement. Seeing the blazing look of fire in Susannah's eyes because he had offended someone in her family. Further evidence to her compassion and fierce protectiveness for the people she cares about. "But, you know...well. I mean, I know Neil's just a freshman and impressionable and all that, but I warned him, you can't get anywhere at NoCal unless you hang with the surfers."
"Okay," Susannah said her patience with Craig all but gone. She walked over to the door opening it for him to leave. "Well, it was great to meet you, Craig. You'll be hearing from me."
I had stood when Susannah had made a move to bid Craig his farewell. Eager to see him gone and to be able to talk with Susannah without having Craig around as a restriction.
"You mean you're going to try to bring me back to life?" He eagerly asked.
"No," Susannah tersely replied. "I mean, like, I'll determine why you are still here, and not where you're supposed to be."
"Right," Craig said. "Alive."
"I think she means in Heaven," I spoke up finally. Hoping to move the conversation along quicker so Craig would leave at last. "Or Hell." Craig looked back at me slightly scared. My words having the affect I was hoping they would.
"Oh," He said, raising his eyebrows in wonder. "Oh."
"Or your next life," Susannah said meaningfully in my direction. Our views on what happened once a Spirit had moved on had been a subject of debate between Susannah and myself for quite some time. "We don't really know. Do we, Jesse?"
I looked back at Susannah, reluctantly replying. "No. We don't." I could feel the stirrings of a smile edging at the corners of my lips at the familiar banter passing between Susannah and myself. The familiar ease we had around each other before my heartbreaking mistake. I soaked up the comforting feeling, storing it away. Hoping it was a sign that it could continue as such.
Craig had walked to the door, stopping to turn back and look at Susannah and I before leaving. "Well," He said. "See you around, I guess." I saw his reluctance to leave and fully understood. As rude and obtuse as his behaviour was, I knew how it felt to finally be noticed by someone. To be acknowledged. He may have been dead only a short while, but the feeling of loneliness is an almost instant darkness cast upon you. His reluctance was easy for me to empathise to.
He quickly glanced over at me. "And, um, I'm sorry about that Pirate remark. Really."
"That's all right." I gruffly returned. Nodding at his apology. And then he disappeared leaving Susannah and I alone. "Susannah, that boy is trouble. You must turn him over to Father Dominic." I exclaimed as soon as Craig had gone.
Closing her bedroom door again, Susannah heaved a weary sigh walking over to the seat I had just vacated. Spike making his displeasure at her arrival known as usual. She seated her self on the soft cushions casting a quick glance out of her window and to the ocean. Taking in the view through the darkness and breathing in the fresh breeze coming through her open window. Now Craig was no longer here, Susannah looked more dejected and exhausted than ususal.
"He'll be fine, Jesse." Susannah said trying to reassure me. "We'll keep an eye on him. He needs a little time is all. He just died, for crying out loud."
I shook my head at her denial. "He's going to try and kill his brother," I warned her.
"Well, yeah," She said looking up at my dark flashing eyes. Meeting the heated stare with one of her own. "Now that you put the idea in his head."
"You must call Father Dominic." I said, striding over to the phone on her bedside table and picking it up. Ignoring Susannah's quip. Well aware of what I had done. "Tell him he must meet with this boy, the brother, and warn him."
"Whoa," Susannah said placing her hands out in a placating gesture. "Slow down, Jesse. I can handle this without having to drag Father Dom into it."
"I think you should call him," I looked back at her sceptically. Still believing it to be too soon for her to being helping wayward spirits just yet. Not when her nightmares were still in full force and just as powerful. I pushed the phone at her again. "I am telling you, querida. There is more to this Craig than meets the eye."
I saw a quick flicker of hope pass through her eyes before it was overshadowed when I call her, querida. I had taken to not calling her that since that magical moment a couple of weeks ago. Trying to cut all ties with my affection and love for her. Finding my nickname for Susannah to be one of the hardest things to let go. How natural it is for me to say it without realizing. How perfect it fits her. I was confident she doesn't know what it means. My mind taking me back to one of the first times I had used it; She had protested to being called anything in Spanish. But it only enforced me to continue to do so.
I had missed saying it to her. At the eloquent way it flowed from my mouth. How perfect it felt to murmur the word that can mean so much. And it seemed Susannah had missed it just as much.
"You're overreacting, Jesse," Susannah said, pulling me from my thoughts. "Craig's not going to do anything to his brother. He loves the guy. He just doesn't seem to have remembered that yet. And, besides, even if he didn't - even if he did have homicidal intentions towards Neil - what makes you think all of a sudden that i can't handle it? I mean, come on, Jesse. It's not like I'm unaccustomed to bloodthirsty ghosts."
I slammed the phone back down on the cradle with more force than was necessary. But the thought of what Paul Slater had made Susannah go through and still is, made my blood boil. Making the knot of tension I feel in my stomach each time I think of him, rise to the surface. I could feel the dark look on my face before i saw it in Susannah's eyes.
"That was before." I quietly said shortly after, avoiding Susannah's emerald eyes burning with curiosity. My voice was low and nearly inaudible.
I could feel her gaze boring into me. "Before what?" She demanded. Her voice was tight and strained. Already knowing the answer but needing to hear it anyway.
"Before he came," I said, lifting my eyes to meet her own defiantly. "And don't try to deny it, Susannah. You have not slept a full night since. I have seen you tossing and turning. You cry out in your sleep sometimes." I finally admitted. Hoping to make her see sense. That she wasn't ready. That she needed more time. To let me help.
"That's nothing," She rapidly answered. Her voice cracking slightly with the knowledge that I knew. Her eyes wavering from mine slightly with her hands curled tightly in her lap. Her whole body was tense and rigid. She cleared her throat before she tried speaking again. "I mean, I'm not saying I wasn't scared when you and I thought we were trapped in that...place. And, yeah, I have nightmares about it, sometimes. But I'll get over it, Jesse. I'm getting over it."
"You aren't invulnerable, Susannah," I said frowning at her obstinate. "However much you might think differently."
I saw the flicker of surprise cross her features before it was replaced by indifference and denial. "I'm fine." Susannah insisted. "I told you. I'm over it, Jesse. And even if I wasn't, it's not like it's going to keep me from helping Craig. Or Neil, really."
I ignored her futile attempts at trying to sway me. There was no conviction in her voice. "Let Father Dominic take this one," I said nodding towards the door Craig had just departed through. "You aren't ready yet. It's too soon."
Susannah hid her discomfort behind her sarcastic attitude. "Your solicitude," She said. "is appreciated but misplaced. I can handle Craig Jankow, Jesse."
Seeing that she wasn't taking me seriously and that I wasn't going to win that way. I tried a new tact. "I will go," I threatened, my dark eyes burning true. "and tell Father Dominic myself."
"Fine," Susannah said defiant. "Be my guest."
I set my jaw and scowled at her. "Fine, I will."
"Go ahead." She shot back.
With Susannah's last retort I took myself out of there. Away from the sad look in her eyes she was trying unsuccessfully to hide from me. Her surprise and alarm that I knew of her reluctance to admit she was still terrified. I was losing the argument I could see I was. Losing my resolve to not take her into my arms and tell her it was going to be okay. To let her release her fears and terror she has kept away from me since that frightening night not so long ago.
To make her see she doesn't have to be strong all the time. That I wouldn't think any different or love her any less for showing her fears to. To give her back the strength she has so graciously bestowed upon me for so long. I only wished to rid her of her dread and help her to see. I wanted to tell her everything then. To admit to us both that I was making a mistake trying to ignore my feelings.
I had to walk away before I caused the hurt and pain I have dealt to her, turns into hate. For all that I had done.
I found myself in the Mission Courtyard, pacing a wide berth between myself and the fountain. The soft trickling of water was a soothing comfort to my burning thoughts. But I could not shake off the feeling that there was something more underlying with Susannah. That what she was keeping hidden from me was important.
But the more worrying part, was that I didn't think I wanted to know. That it is something that is going to hurt me, more than what I have already done to myself.
Heaving a sigh I looked to the full moon above me, shining its beautiful ethereal glow down upon me. I only hoped now Susannah has the knowledge that I know of her nightmares, that it has helped to ease her burdens slightly. That she knows, I will always be here for her. Even if it hurts to never be by her side where I want to be...
'Courage is not the absence of fear, but the presence of fear with the will to go on' ...Unknown
A/N 2: Grr, I had written this yesterday, but some of it didn't seem right when I went back over it, so I left it for today. I'm not completely happy with the ending, but I don't feel as though I can do more. I have no idea where I got the quote from, or who it is by, but I thought it tied in alright :) Thanks for reading, please review :D
Meg - Lol, thank you so much for reviewing ;D I'm glad you enjoyed the last chapter, it was fun to write, hehe. I hope you continue to enjoy this story too :) Take care.
Satellite Falling - Thank you so much for reviewing 'May It Be'. It certainly came out a little more different than what I expected. But in a good way, lol. Thanks again, take care :D
Coming Up In Chapter 2: Jesse lends a hand to a injured Suze after she tries walking home to escape Paul Slater and his minions...