Jenny and Julian: the Forbidden Dream

Jenny slammed her bedroom door behind her, her eyes filled with tears. Tom could be so frustrating. She flung herself on her bed and buried her face in her pillow. They were always fighting now, and always about trivial matters. Today it was something Jenny had said about another boy, a new friend of Summer's. Tom had somehow decided that Jenny was interested in him, and started with the accusations.

How could he be so stupid? She thought to herself, still buried in her pillow. He knows my heart belongs to him.

Her heart belongs to him.

She rolled the thought around in her head for a minute, as if to challenge it. Did her heart belong to Tom? She closed her eyes and breathed deeply and slowly.

No, Jenny, don't go there…

But it was too late. She already had. Their constant fights, Tom's jealousy and insecurities, all started about two months ago. Right after…

Julian. She said his name in her head and it sent a shiver down through her body. There wasn't a day where she didn't think about him. Julian, the Shadow Man, the Prince of Darkness. Julian, who had watched her in the shadows since she was five. Julian, who had kidnapped her and all her friends and forced them to play a dangerous game with their lives.

Julian, who was completely and deathly in love with Jenny.

She tried not to go back to that day. Tried not to recall what he had done for her. Tried not to imagine him. His impossibly beautiful features. His power. His touch.

She tried not to recall their time together, but she did every day since his sacrifice for her. Since he gave himself up to the Shadow Men, since her ring changed to I am my only Master, he haunted her thoughts. He decorated her thoughts. He was in everything she saw or imagined.

Maybe, just maybe, that was why she and Tom were having issues.

Jenny exhaled and rolled onto her back and stared at her ceiling. She would be attending college soon, and didn't need to be wrapped up in thoughts about things most people wouldn't even begin to believe in. Only her friends knew what was going on with her. There was no use in telling her parents; she didn't want to be committed into a psych ward the summer of her senior year.

Audrey had even confronted her about it a while ago. "Jenny, you've changed," she had said.

There was nothing Jenny could do but laugh. "We've all changed, Aubrey."

Audrey's look was completely serious. "No, Jenny…I mean, we've all changed from it, yeah, but you…you're almost a completely different person since before all this. Its like…he woke something up inside you…or… when he died…" she stopped when Jenny flinched. "He put a part of himself in you."

Jenny smiled sadly, because she knew exactly what Audrey was trying to say. Sweet, simple Jenny, turned into a wild, free spirit. Almost like she carried a part of Julian with her.

She was beautiful and dangerous, and there was nothing Tom could do about it.

That night, before Jenny went to bed, lost in thoughts of Julian, she walked over to her dresser and opened her jewelry box. She lifted the little velvet compartment that held most of her jewelry and removed it. Then she pulled out a little white box, tinier than her palm, and lifted the lid.

There, simple and shiny as ever, sat her ring. I am my only Master. At one time it had read All I Refuse and Thee I Chuse, when Julian had tried to say that she belonged to him. Technically, if Jenny really wanted to think about it, she still did belong to him. She had made that promise at the haunted house their deadly game was in. She had said the words while Julian slipped the gold poesy ring on her finger, and they had sealed their promise with a kiss.

Jenny shivered again. His kisses, fire and ice, hot and cold, passionate and furious. Her breathing quickened. His kisses were unlike anything Tom had ever given her. They stirred her heart and soul, they mesmerized her. She lost herself in them, was put into a sick trance. They pulled her somewhere dark and deep and she loved every minute of them.

She held the ring delicately in her hand for one more moment, then slipped it on her ring finger and climbed into bed.

Jenny awoke in the middle of the night with a start. Something was burning, something sweet and spicy. It filled her nostrils and made her dizzy in her dreamlike state. A dim light was forcing itself through the barriers of her eyelids. She forced her eyes open. The scent grew stronger, and at once Jenny realized she wasn't in her bed. No, this bed was bigger, softer…and the covers had a dark Victorian pattern. The walls around her were also dark, and the sweet smell that Jenny had awoken to was of candles, black candles, burning in candleholders hanging from the wall. The room was small, as small as Jenny's room, and the only thing in it was the bed, and a dark wood paneled door at the wall farthest from her.

She was awake at once. She knew these walls, recognized the décor. In all of her two months away from him she hadn't dreamed of this place once. She hadn't dreamt of the paper house. She hadn't dared let herself go back here, even if only in her mind.

A few months ago, old Jenny would have been afraid. Mild, timid Jenny would have realized she was dreaming and kept herself hidden under the covers until she forced herself awake. Shy, sweet Jenny would have been terrified and confused wearing a ring she couldn't take off her finger and donning a silk nightgown she didn't even feel comfortable with Tom seeing.

But this Jenny, the Jenny who had been through Hell and back, understood. She knew why she was here, and who she had to find. And she accepted that completely.

She flung the covers off her and walked slowly to the door. She put her hand on the old brass knob and turned it carefully, till she heard it click. She pulled open the door about a foot and peered her head out through the opening. All she could see was hallway, with the same lush carpet and wallpaper design as the room she awoke in. Oh yes, she knew exactly who was waiting for her. The last bit of fear left her as she flung the door open completely and stepped into the hallway.

"Julian?" she called softly, barely loud enough even for herself to hear. She could feel her pulse inside her ears, but it was an energy rush. She took a left at the hallway, letting her feet and enthusiasm lead her. If this was a dream, it was her dream, and she could do whatever she wanted in it.

I am my Only Master. She remembered the words that were newly engraved on her promise ring. She was in total control of this dream, and if she wanted to find him, she would.. She didn't dare to think that maybe Julian was toying with her; that he wanted her to accidentally stumble into him. She wouldn't even consider the possibility of herself being lost. Jenny shivered.

Cat and mouse, goats and tigers.

No! It's not like that anymore…she continued wandering down the hallway. Was it like that anymore? Was this just proof that he would always continue hunting her, even in death? But wasn't this her dream, didn't she create this, not him? Her mind started spinning. The ring does say "I am My Only Master"… She knew if she turned around she wouldn't even see the door she went through anymore, just more endless hallway. She kept on walking, forcing herself to stay sane, and not wake up. If she woke up now she was afraid the next time she returned here she would lose all her strength and courage.

The hallway seemed to go on for hours, when really it was just a few minutes. She was growing impatient as she started quickly walking, almost running down the hallway. "Julian!" she called loudly. She was surprised to hear how much passion was in her voice. Where was he?!

"Julian!" she called more frantically. The hallway was endless, the same exact pattern, same darkness up ahead. How long could this go on? She broke into a run, desperate to find the end to this never-ending corridor. There were too many bad memories here, too many stolen kisses, too many screams…

Julian!! Julian!! She heard her own voice in her head, but nothing would come out of her mouth, which frightened her to no end and destroyed every bit of confidence she had. This was NOT her territory, and it never would be. JULIAN!

It wasn't until she tripped over nothing, felt herself falling, that she remembered it was only a dream.

She awoke drenched in sweat and gasping. She could see her clock on the other side of the room, reading 3:33 in bright red numbers. She sighed and rolled over, then jumped when something cool and hard touched her cheek. She reached out into the darkness, and grabbed at something small and metallic. She clutched it and ran for the bathroom, not caring that her actions were impulsive.

She turned on the light to her bathroom and sucked in her breath when she saw what was in her hand. The rose, wrought out of silver, created delicately until the very last detail. The rose that Julian had given her when he was dressed as the Erlking, and the rose she received again when he visited her in one of her dreams a while ago. She hadn't noticed where it had disappeared to the last time she had it, but now that it was here…

She gasped again when she saw herself in the mirror. Her hair was disheveled and stuck out in random places. Despite it being the middle of the night, her eyes were wide open, with a red rim around them. Her mouth was slightly parted in shock. Somewhere, in the back of her mind, she knew Julian would find this sexy. She was quite wild at the moment.

She glanced at the beautiful flower in the mirror. She watched herself hold it and caress it. She saw herself gently stroking the silver rose, her fingers lightly petting the beautiful petals. She saw herself bring the rose to her lips, stroked it slowly across her face, down her neck, across her collarbone…

She stopped abruptly. What was she doing? She knew exactly what happened last time, how Julian had tricked her into letting him touch her. Everywhere the rose touched he touched her. Her breathing grew hard and, despite everything her mind was screaming at her, she continued lightly running the flower on her neck and face. Everything was so confusing at the moment, and the blossom was so cool and light to the touch.

Get a hold of yourself! An inner voice snapped. Jenny took once last glance into the mirror and froze. It wasn't possible, but…she was still wearing the delicate nightgown from her dream. At this realization, she dropped the rose in horror and raced back to her bedroom, refusing to let it fully sink in that she was still dreaming. If she went back to bed (or woke up,) before she realized it was a dream, then nothing horrific could happen.

The rose clattered to the floor as Jenny sprinted out of the bathroom and ran into cold, hard hands that gripped her tight. In the darkness, she couldn't even make out the face of her captor as she let out her bloodcurdling scream. She wasn't even sure if she had made it to her bedroom before a cool hand clamped over her mouth and she felt herself falling, deeper and deeper into the darkness…

Julian's back…was her last thought.