Disclaimer: Please see first chapter for disclaimer. Song lyrics are not mine.
A/N: Phew. This was my third try with this chapter. I just couldn't seem to get my rhythm at the beginning. I did eventually, but it was a toughie. Good news, is that I'm LOVIN' the end part ;) I was practically crying writing it. The tears were definitely there. You'll understand why when you read it :D I hope it was what you expected and wanted. What you deserved.
I just wanna say a gigantic thank you to you all. For reading, reviewing and being the best kind of confidence boost, anyone could ever have. THANK YOU! I hope you enjoy this last chapter. Huggles, Cookies and Chocolate to you all!
Recap: Jesse stands vigil over his grave, but it's not long before he is graced with his Love's presence. Thus enabling him to finally say what he has wanted, without any interruption's . . .
The pathway is broken, and the signs are unclear, and I don't know the reason, why you brought me here. But just because you love me, the way that you do, I'm gonna walk through the valley, if you want me too . . .
I wandered around aimlessly once I left Susannah's home. The look in her eyes and stance haunting me wherever I went. The defeat and will to fight swept away from her. Her eyes were unemotional and blank. As if she was feeling nothing. Just numbness. The same sentiments I wished to take a hold of my own mind. The guilt of what I had done, how I had treated Susannah was bearing down on me more, with each second that passed by. Making my shoulders slump in dejection and weariness.
The thought of going to the rectory where I would be spending the rest of my 'life' was daunting and unappealing to me. I couldn't go to somewhere that was to be reserved for quietness and peace. My thoughts and emotions were far from quiet, try as I might to dull them. And the peace was something, I had a feeling I wouldn't be accepting for a while to come. But the need to be alone was too strong to ignore. I could only let my guilt swarm my thoughts, leaving me feeling more and more disconnected.
I had thought I would never witness Susannah crumble and wither. And I knew in part, it was all my fault. I had broken her heart. Deigning to believe I could of given her my love, believing it to be enough. But these past few days and weeks were just a testament to the fact I couldn't and never would. Paul Slater had risen my fears and doubts and thrown them in my face. Taking pleasure from watching me suffer. But more importantly, watching the girl he claims to care about, suffer more.
He had gotten to me the only way he could. By going through Susannah.
I had to shut my eyes against the pain trying to resurface at the memory of his words to me. "Tell me something, Jesse. Does she sigh when you kiss her, too?" I knew,the only person I had to blame for that, is myself. Because I had all but sent Susannah running into Slater's clutches. I had kissed her, sending and speaking without words, of the love and devotion I have for Susannah. Giving her what I believe to be false hope and dreams. I never spoke with her about it again. The humiliation of what I had made her go through, and the affliction that would of been casted down onto us both, was too undeniable to bare.
I knew I had pushed Susannah away. Believing at the time, that all that was needed between us was the distance. But I had pushed her so far, she had seeked comfort from another. And not just anyone, but Paul Slater. The same person who has her gifts. Who can understand, relate and give Susannah everything I can't.
My anger and hatred from last night, that had been fuelling my actions had been directed at myself more than anyone. The words he muttered being the final thing to send me over the edge and lose control completely. Destroying parts of Susannah's home in the process. Lashing out at the one person, I knew had been my catalyst. The hate and loathing I have for Slater is justified and powerful. And I had used that to my advantage last night. His defiance and arrogance at each turn making me feel more and more worthless.
But the guilt for what we had done, was intensifying with the thought of the damage I may have done to Susannah's chance of a normal life. I hadn't seen anything last night, other than Slater. The murderous rage to overcome me was blinding my thoughts and my vision. Blocking out the noise of the party and the guest all around us. Of the dozens of people that go to school with Susannah - watching - horrified and shocked at an unseen force hitting and throwing Slater around. At watching Susannah shout to an unknown person, determined on making Slater suffer the same hurt and pain I was inflicting upon myself, with each day I spent with Susannah.
The knowledge of the normal life Susannah had been thriving to maintain, may have been blown to pieces with my actions. I was already causing problems to Susannah's life, without directly trying. The blame I feel, I knew was not felt by Slater. That he would feel he had nothing to be sorry for. I beg to differ though.
I had gone to visit Susannah, one last time. To say good-bye. To wish her all the happiness I was walking away to grant her. I had been so close to telling her how I feel. To voicing how much I care for her. And once again, we were interrupted and thrown apart. Fate seeming to intervene at each and every turn. But the most terrifying thing, was I knew I needed to return to Susannah once again. To apologize profusely. To try and clear the shroud draped over her frame and mind. I couldn't walk away and leave it the way I had.
Not like the mistake I did, when I kissed her. Of the embrace I can't forget or regret, no matter how hard I try. As much as I knew it was how I should feel. I would and could never feel remorse for my actions that day. Because I knew, if nothing else, then I would at least have the searing memory emblazoned on my mind. A comfort and a curse to bare.
My scattered thoughts and emotions ended up driving me to the one place, I had avoided since it was placed here. My grave. The one thing that is a blatant piece of evidence as to why, Susannah and I could never be together. The words of my name stare back at me in the strong daylight. Glistening and shining for all to see.
"HERE LIES HECTOR "JESSE" DE SILVA, 1830-1850, BELOVED BROTHER, SON AND FRIEND."
For the first time, in a hundred and fifty years, I had a final resting place. Somewhere that spoke of my time in history where I once walked the earth with the living and my family. Where I was as happy and content as I could possible be. Safe and secure in the knowledge of the love and security I had with the people in my life. The bond and closeness I shared with my parents and my beloved sisters. All special to me in there own ways.
All having lived the rest of their lives, never knowing of what happened to their only son and only brother. I know they never would have believe the claims that I would of shirked my duty and run away from my responsibilities to follow the gold rush. That I would never abandon my family, no matter how much money was to be found and made. The happiness I had when being with my mother, father and sisters, was too priceless to be denied.
I take comfort that they know this. But still feel the ache and twinge, knowing they would of questioned my sudden disappearance. Spending the rest of their lives, looking for a clue. Or a grave. Finding none, until now.
I stared down at the marker that bears my name and tells of a story no-one knows of. At the grave and tombstone, that tells of the reason I shouldn't be in love with Susannah. A vivid piece of evidence, that is doing nothing to dissuade the power and the strength of my emotions towards her.
As I feel the sun beating down on my back, a sudden tingling on the edges of my senses makes me aware of another presence with me. Of another person's gaze boring into me. Lifting my head from the bold, black words innocently gazing up at me, I swept my eyes over the silent and empty graveyard. My sight sweeping over the many headstones. Some old and withered, covered in green moss and weeds. Neglected and forgotten over time. Bent at odd angles from my view.
My gaze continued as I looked over the newer gravestones. The solid marble shining in the sun, the flaws and scars running through the cool stone reminding me of my stay in the shadowland. Of the strength of the towering columns. The closest thing to moving on, I had ever been too.
It was as my sight swept over these stones, covered in brightly coloured flowers and arrangements, that I saw him. The outline of his frame, silhouetted against the sun, with only a slight view of his spectral glow. Denying me the chance of seeing his face and eyes. As if hearing my curiosity, the clouds slowly but surely drew across the sun, blocking its path to shine directly onto the lone man, standing at the edge of the graveyard. His eyes - unseeing to me - still boring into my own. Painfully and slowly, the shade crept up his legs and torso, slithering across his chest and lower face. Before finally covering his entire frame, face included. Making it more apparent that he was a spirit.
Only then did I have the opportunity to look deeper at the person at such a far distance. He was an elderly man, his hair a stark white, standing out further against the tan of his face. It was cropped short with a wave passing through. His expression told of nothing, just emotionless and strong. His eyes like obsidian and seeming to darken further upon noticing my own scrutinising of him.
There was something about the way he held himself, proud and full of strength, that reminded me of someone of long ago. But my mind is too weary to try and clasp onto the image, floating before my mind. Evading my try at grasping it. Fluttering off to the distant part of my mind, sure to never rise again. But just as suddenly as the cloud passes before the sun, it retracts, letting the bright and powerful star, to shine down on the unknown man again.
I blinked rapidly, trying to clear my vision of the white spots dancing before my eyes at the intensity of the sun. But when I have regained my sight back, the lone man is gone from me. His spectral glow and hard stare no longer bearing down on me. I feel a faint shiver run through me, wondering who the man could have been. And just how long he had been observing me for. But I was too battle worn and tired to hold to the thought for long.
Turning back to my grave, I continued to keep a silent vigil of where my physical body resigns. Hoping my mind would give me a reprieve for a short time. To ease on the ache building in my chest, begging to be released some way. I could hear the faint sounds of music and laughter coming from the Mission courtyard. The feast of Junipero Serra well underway it seemed. But the happy voices and laughter washed right by me. Neglecting to fill some of the void, the sounds of happiness normally would have done.
Then like a summer breeze sweeping over my arms and face, ruffling my hair and tingling and enticing my senses, I could feel another person approaching me. This time I had no need to look up to see who it is. My mind and heart have already supplied me with the answer.
Her footsteps were heavy and laden as she made her way towards me. Slowly creeping up the gravel pitted path, leading to my gravestone. I silently wonder if she knew I would be here, or if this was just a place she came to be. Deciding I didn't care, I just wanted to enjoy the familiar sensations, I let the warmth rush over me at knowing she is here. Fully absorbing it into me. Desperate to not let it go. To pull the feelings and sensations around me like a safety blanket. Letting it ease and my torture for a short time.
I feel her come to a silent stop beside me, looking down at my grave, reading over the same words I have been doing since I arrived here. Moving as if to not disturb the ripple of air around us, I held out my hand, palm up for Susannah to slip her much smaller and soft hand into my own. Entwining our fingers together and clasping onto them like a lifeline.
For minutes or seconds, we stood side by side, neither speaking, neither moving. The sounds and noise of the distant courtyard don't penetrate the quiet bubble we seem to have around us. Repelling anyone and anything from us. Just two silent souls looking down upon a grave that had waited to be placed for a century and a half. My grip on her hand seems to tighten with each passing second. Wanting to hold on for as long as I can. To keep our connection. Unwilling and not wanting to let her go, should I suddenly find myself afloat and without saving.
Finally breaking the quiet mould around us, I speak, my voice coming out distant and lonely. "I'm sorry," I murmur, looking up into her emerald gaze staring just as intently into my own. Apologising for all that I couldn't say. For the fight, for the damage, for the pain and the suffering inflicted on us both. For not having the courage to do or say, what should be said. "About everything."
Looking away from my stare, Susannah looked back down at the earth surrounding my headstone and grave. Shrugging non-committed at my weak apology. "I understand I guess." She replied, just as quietly. Even though her words contradicted her sentiments. "I mean you can't help it if you . . . well, don't feel the same way about me as I do about you."
Taken aback by the words spoken so softly and innocently between us, I felt my grip on my emotions start to slip ever increasingly more. Knowing that if I lost them now, I would never be able to turn my back on them again. That there would be no way for me to back down. The sudden knowledge that Susannah believed I wanted to leave, made them rise brokenly to my throat. Evidently making themselves known when I spoke.
"Is that what you think?" I exclaimed, the pent-up emotions so close to the surface, I could feel them choking me. Rising, quicker and faster than I was able to control. "That I wanted to leave?"
Whipping her head back around to stare at me, equally as shocked and taken aback as I was at her own words. "Didn't you?" I could hear the hope rising in her voice, and the light dare to ignite in her eyes. Creeping reluctantly forward with each second.
"How could I stay?" I asked her, my voice trembling minutely, but I couldn't find it in me to care any longer. So tired of hurting and suffering. So tired of not being able to say what I so desired to scream and shout to the heavens and the fates. "After what happened between us, Susannah, how could I stay?"
She stared back at me, confused and bewildered by my words. "What happened between us? Jesse what do you mean?"
Against my better judgement, but knowing I was losing my control faster than I could withstand, I let go on Susannah's hand, sending her stumbling back a few steps before she regained her balance. "That kiss." I exclaimed again, my words cracking and breaking with each breath. I furiously ran my shaking and trembling hands through my hair, turning away from the realizations burning in Susannah's eyes.
"How could I stay?" I continued painfully. "Father Dominic was right. You need to be with someone your family and your friends can actually see. You need to be with someone who can grow old with you. You need to be with someone alive.
Looking very intently at me, Susannah issued to me an answer that was the perfect blend between happiness, laughter and complete faith. Gracing me with a smile so secure and right, letting it shine through her eyes, creating her emerald gaze to shine and sparkle. I saw in them something, I never imagined being witnessed or directed at me. It held confidence and reassurance. Finality and a blistering happiness, I dared to hope to come alive in my own soul.
Then Susannah finally said the words I have been craving to hear, since the day I abruptly left her room, our soul shattering kiss and our love behind.
"Jesse," She softly spoke, making my skin tingle and a shiver run down my spine. I could feel all the hairs on my arm raise and my heart start fluttering in my chest. Unable to deny looking at her when she caused such a reaction in me, I raised my eyes to her own, feeling my world come apart in her eyes with the look I saw there. "I don't care about any of that. That kiss . . . that kiss was the best thing that ever happened to me."
Before I even had time to assimilate her answer and let it seep in, or had time to think about what I was doing, I cupped Susannah's face in my hands once again, answering her own love filled gaze with my own. Giving her all the need, temptation and trust I could bestow upon her, before I laid my own smiling lips to Susannah's. Capturing her mouth and her sigh with my own. The kiss we shared was fervent and eager, shaking us both with it's intensity and passion. I gave her all that I could. Letting the swell and rising tide of happiness that was shooting sparks throughout my body, into Susannah. Giving her every ounce of love I have for her, showing and telling Susannah what she does and always will, mean to me.
My skin tingled and shivered wherever her hand traced and scraped. Teasing my senses with the soft caress her fingers were making, dancing up my neck to play with the curls at the back of my head. To her smooth palm creeping and sliding up my chest to climb slowly over my shoulder and join it's partner. My skin burnt and flushed wherever her hands touched. Making me pull her closer still, meshing our bodies together and pulling her flush against my chest. My own hands settling across her back, with my palms flat and my fingers needing.
Deeper and deeper we went. The world falling away around us, leaving nothing but the sounds of our breathing and Susannah's soft sighs between us, until eventually our kiss slowed and stopped. Leaving me pecking her lips with my own, before pulling away and looking down into the eyes that held the stars.
Resting my forehead to hers, I looked down into Susannah's heart and soul. Looking and finding all that I was searching for. The love that I had wanted to feel and see for so long, was right before me, held secure and safely in my arms. Her grip and pressure just as fierce and tight as my own. Our breathing heavy and our grins were wide and bright. Blinding us both, but uncaring.
Letting my own drop into a soft smile, I let all that I could feel and not describe into my eyes. Seeing Susannah's glisten in return. I leaned into her touch, feeling our connection strengthen and build. Using this as my perfect opportunity and knowing I would regret it if I didn't. I finally said the words I had wanted to murmur to Susannah at long last.
"I love you, querida."
It was hard to tell who's tears belonged to who after that. They flowed so free and happily down both our cheeks, mingling together telling of the affection and neverending love we couldn't contain or express. I didn't ever want to break away from it. All I knew, was that I held the love of a lifetime in my arms, and nothing and no-one could take her away from me now . . .
Cause I'm not who I was, when I took my first step, and I'm clinging to the promise, you're not through with me yet. So if all of these trials, bring me closer to you, then I will walk through the fire, if you want me to . . .
A/N 2: The song lyrics are by Ginny Owens - 'If You Want Me To'. Thanks for reading, please review :) See ya at the last book! :Waves: Toodles!
Meg - Lol, thank you! I'm glad you liked it :) It was definitely fun to write, hehe. I hope you enjoy this last chapter, and thank you so much for still sticking by the series. Keep rocking! Take care, x
Coming up in the 6th and final story: Jesse thinks over all that has happened in the past few weeks, including his time with Suze and his move into the rectory with Spike . . .