A/N – Hi everyone! Wow . . . wow . . . wow! I didn't expect it to be so well liked! O.O But I'm very, very glad it was. I've really enjoyed myself writing these. :) And listening to most of you say; 'I wish I had one.' when referring to Jesse has just made me even giddier! I do too, just for the record. ^^;
So, here is the last part to it. I'm sorry if they're not up to par; I'm suffering from bloody repetitive stress on my right wrist. It's hurting just to type, but I was determined to write this. Seems like all that FWIL updating has caught up with me. :( Unfortunately, it's taken me into the wee hours of the morning again. ^^ But I just want to say a tremendous thank you for the wonderful reviews from the first chapter! And Jess, your reply is up on my profile. :)
So without further a do . . . please enjoy and let me know what you think. :) I'm afraid my romantic side ran rampant a little, hehe. Hugs and love! x
A True Love
When she's scared . . .
Suze doesn't see it coming.
One minute she was standing there, trying to talk sense into the ghost hell-bent on getting revenge on the man that killed him; the next, she's ducking from flying fists and objects, hurtling at her head. She tries to parry him, block his blows, and shout some sense into the man. But it's no use and she starts to weaken. She knows Jesse will be close by. He was on his way before the angry ghost starting using Suze as a punching bag and target practice. But that doesn't stop the fear cooling her blood to icy trickles in her veins, stilling her heartbeat more and more as the seconds pass.
She's not afraid for herself; she's afraid for Jesse and what could happen to him when he arrives. It's always fear for him before her own.
He hears the shouts, the exclamations of pain and echoes of thunder reverberating from the warehouse he agreed to meet Susannah in. It takes less than a second for the noise to penetrate Jesse's mind and he's crossing the tarmac and crashing through the metal door with a growl. His eyes sweep the floor looking for her. At first, he doesn't connect the huddling woman, trembling in front of the sprit swelling with his fury as that of Susannah. The fearless, hit-them-before-they-hit-you, Susannah. But just as quickly as he does, he's swarmed with the rightful emotion of distress and determination. Just at the same moment he sees a flash of pointed silver from somewhere behind the spirit, hovering and ready to strike.
"Susannah!" Jesse cried out, racing across the distance before he's even finished the last syllable.
Turning to him with a fresh wave of terror, more distinct than any before it, Suze's eyes widen. "NO!" Her scream is piercing and wrenched from the depths of her soul.
But it's too late. Jesse already stepped into her path, blocking her with his body of the flying instrument hurtling towards them. The pain doesn't connect with him at first. All he's aware of is Susannah's frightened wide green eyes and her hands catching on to him as the world suddenly tilts and the ground rushes towards him. Then the pain sends the correct message to his brain and the wave of white hot pain is felt. Rolling on to his side, his shoulder singing with pain from the knife imbedded, but not too deep, he looks up at Susannah with a depth of love and triumph. He wasn't too late. Her fear was still there, but at least the reason for it wasn't.
That's good enough for Jesse.
When she lays her head on your shoulder . . .
If happiness at just sitting with Jesse under the shaded branches of a tree, with the dappled sunlight tickling across her bare legs, could be bottled up in those little vials ready for consumption; Suze would be set for eternity. Not life, because it would stretch on further than that. But there was no denying just how . . . blissful, she was feeling right then. Central Park was busy like it usually is during the Summer, as many people enjoying the sun while they can. But that didn't bother Suze. For all she cared, it could have been tree-to-bench with screaming toddlers and yapping pooches, she'd still be happy sitting among the chaos.
The same could be said for Jesse.
With his jean-clad legs stretched out far in front of him, his back resting against the rough bark of an old tree, far older than his living and dead years put together, Jesse's hooded gaze soaks in the hustle and atmosphere suspended over the area and lulling him into a soft, light doze. Coupled with Susannah's body leaning against him, her hand entwined with his where it's wrapped around her back and resting lightly in her lap, he thinks he might have to visit New York again, if not just to relive the scene they're creating right then. Comfort, peace and contentment. Three words rarely used together in the same sentence. One or two at a time, but rarely all three.
Listening to Susannah's breathy sigh as she lays her head to his shoulder and fiddles with a blade of grass in her free hand, he turns his head to look down at her. Over-come with his love and tenderness for her; Jesse knows it will never fade. Grow stronger, expand and deepen . . . but never fade.
Through a haze with only Susannah as the clear, bright soul pulsing with vitality and happiness, Jesse lifts his free hand and gently tips her chin up to look at him. Without answering the question in her eyes, his lips press to hers with a fierce gentleness that parts her lips with a gasp and allows him to deepen the touch and the memory. She tastes like chocolate, mingled with strawberry lip balm and it takes a concerted effort to pull away when the time comes. But when it does, he finds staring into her eyes to be just as fulfilling as tasting her lips and possessing them as his only.
Shortly after, Suze's head falls back to resting against his shoulder and her eyes close to the park. Reliving that sweet moment again and again with a smile.
Tilt her head up and kiss her.
When she steals your favourite hat . . .
The night is cold and riddled with a chilled, October wind as Susannah and Jesse stroll through the grave-yard on their way home. The task a spirit acquainted them with was simple and easy enough to do. One that unfortunately, meant having to brave the cold and darkness and only do it at night. But they were successful and the spirit who had been watching over them while they did it, shimmered away, leaving the Earth plane forever. But by then, the cold had already seeped into their bones, one pair of gloved hands and one bare, cocooned deep in their pockets.
Suze had left her beanie hat behind on her frilly dresser in her bedroom, along with her favorite gloves. Once Jesse realized that her hands were shaking and turning red at the tips from the cold, he'd taken his off and handed them to her with a simple demand to put them on. He cut off her protests of his hands shrivelling up, and silenced her even more with a kiss. Not a completely bad way to lose an argument, Suze knew. But it wasn't his gloves she really wanted. It was his hat.
His favorite one to be precise.
Jesse had caught Susannah staring at him numerous times throughout their little excursion out to help the spirit and each time he asked her what she was staring at, she would just smile and shake her head without answering. He couldn't help but smile at the way she had to keep ramming his large gloves back onto her fingers though and because of it, he let his guard down. Before he knew it, Susannah had whipped the thick, dark woollen hat off his head and had slipped it on to hers, pulling it down over her ears.
Laughing and giggling, their little game of chase, followed by trying to surrender Susannah into submission by tickling her free of it, eventually reached the long driveway of Susannah's home; Jesse's hat still firmly ensconced on her head. Smiling, Jesse didn't try and take it from her again. He just simply pulled it down further over her ears, kissing the tip of her cold red nose. He knew she would give it back by the next day and would no doubt sleep with it on her pillow or underneath it like she does with one of his t-shirts when she's not wearing it herself.
Knowing she finds comfort and a restful night's sleep with that, he has no argument against her stealing it for a night. He does the same with her things anyway.
Let her keep it and sleep with it for a night.
When she teases you . . .
It's such a rare thing for Suze to come across Jesse doing something a normal human would be doing, that it sometimes takes her a few seconds to realize that Jesse is in fact, just a regular guy and not a man carved from perfection. Even though when he's doing something that could be classified as tease worthy material, she still see's him as that Spanish God sent to her because she finally deserved one. But all the same, the moments are so rare and far-between, it takes her a few minutes once the moment has passed for her to recall what the last thing was, that made her see him without the halo. And this time is no different.
Jesse knows Susannah is laughing at him where she stands beside him, even if she's not cracking a smile or looking at him with a pitiful look. He can just feel the amusement oozing off her at his predicament. When she suggested a day to the zoo, he didn't realize that would mean being forced forward through the crowd and offered to feed the elephants. He's a grown-man; it's not a hard thing to do. But he can't stop the shudder that runs through him when its trunk tickles over his open palm. Place a handful of sugar-cubes on his palm to feed a horse and he'll do it with love and admiration for the beautiful creature.
But an elephant is not a horse and Susannah was still laughing at him.
"How can you be so scared of feeding an elephant?!" She teased him, her grin now fully fledged on her sunlit face as they stroll away from the elephants, wandering into a different area, but still as open and free. Her laugh is just waiting to bubble free the more she sees his mock dark glower at her. Secretly, he's enjoying being teased by her. "What did you think he'd do? Wrap his trunk around you and carry you away?" She did laugh then, picturing the image. Of all the things to frighten him, she ponders.
Jesse is so enraptured by Susannah's laughter, he fails to notice the little tactile monkey that had leapt off of the keeper and crossed the distance to leap at her. It's not until she stops laughing with a gasp, her whole body rigid at the sudden furry creature sitting on her shoulder like a parrot on the shoulder of a pirate. She looks ready to scream the birds from the trees!
Biting back his own laughter at the horrified look on his love's face, Jesse holds an arm out for the monkey, inviting it to leap onto his arm. "What's the matter, querida? Scared of a harmless little monkey trying to make friends?" Jesse's chuckled, stroking a thumb over her cheek to relax her. The monkey had passed over on to Jesse making itself comfortable on his shoulder, staring back at Susannah like it knew she was freaked out by having it on her.
It takes a second, but eventually Suze laughs openly; shaking her head and reaching a hand out to stroke the monkey. Glad he's back to his Spanish God status in her mind.
Tease her back and make her laugh.
When she doesn't answer for a long time . . .
Jesse got Susannah's disturbingly calm call, considering the circumstances, mid morning.
It was by chance that he happened to be on a break from his small part-time job at the Carmel Historical Society museum and he was able to answer his cell-phone. He put his mild disgust with such a contraption to the back of his mind when he saw that it was Susannah and the fact she should have been at school, alerting him to a possible problem. The way she calmly asked him to meet her at the Memorial Hospital sent chills of apprehension down his spine and stood his hair on end. Without really waiting for a nod of approval from his boss, he left his job and made his way to Susannah as quickly as possible. The worst scenario's crawling through his mind.
When Jesse steam-rolled into the waiting room Suze was sitting in, the relief at seeing him was short-lived. It couldn't take away from her anxiety and worry for Father D. She'd just been sitting in his office, talking about school, how she was coping with juggling both that and her mediator duties, when his breath was suddenly torn free from his lungs. Everything happened in such a chaotic rush after that, the images were blurred, distorted and silent. Like watching a silent movie on fast forward. She could barely remember anything from running from his office shouting for an ambulance, calling Jesse to come to the hospital, to him walking in to find her.
Dropping to a crouch, his hands grip hers in a vice, looking up at her with keen interest and concern. "Susannah, what happened?" Jesse questioned her quietly.
Suze's response was automatic and bland. "They think he had a heart-attack. I don't . . . " Leaving her voice to trail off, she locked her watery eyes with Jesse, the heart- breaking seconds of silence passing between them with agonizing slowness. Waiting patiently, Jesse doesn't tear his eyes from Suze, not once. She knows he's waiting to hear more, to know what happened, for her to explain what the doctors did or didn't say. But the words died on her lips the second she said 'don't'. She see's Jesse realize that with a thin press of his lips and a sympathetic shutter over his eyes. It's almost too much for Suze to see.
Until he breaks the silence.
"Querida, Father Dominic will be fine. He's in the best place possible. We're here for him now." Raising his hand, Jesse allows it to slip into her hair at Suze's temple as he strokes her cheek. Leaning in to his touch, she nods her head jerkily. The tears still held at bay until the doctors prove what Jesse said true. The silence this time isn't so strained and taut. With Jesse sitting beside her in an equally uncomfortable chair and waiting.
Deep down, Suze knew Jesse was right. It was just one more thing to add to his list . . .
Reassure her that everything is okay.
When she looks at you with doubt . . .
Being thrown under the microscope and cross-examined isn't something that appeals to Jesse. Nor does it satisfy Susannah.
The interrogation had been going on for far too long and for all of it, Jesse hadn't once lost his patience with her. If she had been accusing him of having an affair or cheating on her - something he would never do, for as long as he breathes life into his soul - he could probably understand the reasons for her asking again and again, and still with doubt in her eyes when he proclaimed his innocence. If it came down to him lying to her for any reason at all, then again, he would still understand.
But with hands held high, open and non-defensive, Jesse just nodded and said yes, no, yes, no, maybe to each question she pitched to him with determination.
"You're sure? You promise you didn't? Swear it." Susannah said again, wavering slightly but still looking at him with suspicion.
Dropping his hands to his sides and sighing a release of breath that for the first time, might incline towards exasperation, Jesse crossed the short distance between them in the living room of his apartment and cupped her face in his hands. Invading her space to reinforce his point. Staring into her eyes without flickering, without blinking and without guilt, also re-enforcing his point he was soon to make. Licking his lips to let them curve into a sincere smile, Jesse leant forward to rest his head against Susannah's.
"I swear I didn't eat the last chocolate and strawberry cupcake. I promise." He said; his amusement plain to hear in his voice.
Finally, after a gruelling hour of debate, sworn promises and side-glances of doubt, Suze's eyes cleared and she smiled fully, believing him. Never realizing it was Father D she needed to be cross-examine and questioning of the lost last cupcake. And they'd never find out either, thanks to Father D's friends upstairs.
Back yourself up.
When she says that she likes you . . .
It was as she was curled up with Jesse on his couch, watching Jaws, again, that Suze realized something.
Since she first realized that she was falling irrevocably in love with Jesse, she had never really thought, or taken into consideration what he might have thought about her. That he may never have truly known that when she said to him - if he was alive, he wouldn't want to know her; with his reply that he would - just how much his answer was going to mean to her. She'd been so busy concentrating on trying to hide his mark and do anything but think about him, she almost missed the signs that were flashing neon.
She never stopped to think of how he must really, really see her from his point of view. How her disasters at mediating, her unhappiness in Carmel and her penchant for kicking butt and asking questions later, were really looked at. She always thought he saw her as the reckless teenager, throwing her life into the path of danger unnecessarily. God, he even got mad at her for bring his cute butt back from the shadowland for her! But the whole time, even after he kissed her the first time, never did she stop in her evasion and self-pity to really look at Jesse and see herself.
She knew he knew she liked him. Even after the second kiss by his grave-stone and they were as officially a couple as a living girl and ghost could be. But still, she didn't really know, he knew.
Twisting herself to look at him where he was grinning at the television, already knowing what was going to come next, did she fully understand that . . . Jesse has always known. Somehow, without her having to say anything, he has always known more than she's known herself. Paul didn't want her, Jesse did. She never wanted Paul, she needed Jesse! The man that has always seen deeper into Suze than one soul could possibly delve. Always knew what she would do or say before she did. Who trusts her implicitly. Who knew she liked, loved him even, and who never took advantage of that fact. But kept it close to him as a secret waiting for her to realize.
Jesse has always known. Waiting patiently for Suze to realize, she has too.
She really does, more than you could understand.
When she grabs at your hands . . .
Susannah's excitement was rising like the magma of a volcano and spilling over into Jesse without violation.
Seconds away from bouncing up and down on her toes in a very uncharacteristic display of happiness from her, Jesse watched her with a grin, enjoying the warmth of her suddenly frantic, flapping about gesturing was doing. Her room seemed too cramped for her high emotion. Like it was crowding in on them and squashing them closer together. Jesse didn't mind, he was quite enjoying seeing her so flushed and only catching about a third of what she was saying in her rushed speech he's come to associate with her. Where words spilled and mesh together to form a blur. He's always found it endearing that she has that habit if she's exuberant or nervous.
Watching the movement of her lips in an effort to garner a little more information that his hearing has skipped, he failed by becoming entranced with the way her full rosy lips pucker and move, glide and curve as she says about the good news she's heard. Good news that she has actually yet to tell him, because in her excitement, she skipped that step.
Dragging his gaze away from her mouth, Jesse locks his eyes with Susannah's instead. He knows he has no hope of finding any information there, but he's more than happy to watch the emerald shine seem to brighten and prickle with the intensity of her emotions. As she steps closer to him, her hands suddenly reach out and grab at his, shocking him for a second. It's almost long enough for her to pull away. But with lightening quick reflexes, his hands grasp hers and bring them back to him.
She's never once stopped in her speech the whole time.
Making the effort to re-focus his attention, Jesse starts to fiddle with the slender fingers of Susannah's hand. His thumb rubbing across the promise ring he saved up to buy her, twisting around her finger without much resistant. The warm metal tickling the nerves of his finger-tips.
She doesn't pull away, but after a while she slows down with her excitement until Jesse snaps out of the sudden quiet, realizing he heard nothing of what she said and hadn't even recognized that she had stopped speaking! She was smiling at him knowingly instead before her eyes fell to their hands and Jesse's gentle and absent ministrations of her fingers. With the slightest tug of her lower lip between her teeth, Susannah made a tingle of awareness skim across his nerves.
Bringing her hands up to his lips, he brushes a kiss over her ring. His actions and eyes speaking far louder and quicker, than Susannah's excited speech ever could.
Hold hers and play with her fingers.
When she bumps into you . . .
They could hear Suze's family talking from the dining room where they were sitting down to talk after dinner. Suze and Jesse had quite generously offered to clear the table and tidy and clean the kitchen. Using their quick time away to stand at the sink, talking quietly or just happily left to the silence of listening to her family's lulling voices; the dulcet tones of Bradley, the deeper than deep voice of David; a few lazy words from Jake and sounds of Helen and Andy making goo-goo eyes to each other over their dessert. The backyard was dark outside the window, save for the few blue neon lights hidden along the path. It looked perfectly still out there, not even the whisper of a breeze.
It was enough to send Suze's mind back to the night she travelled to the past, some two years ago.
It had been so dark that night, the sheer bright, vastness of the stars had almost knocked her off her feet. The one thing missing from tracing the milky-way with her eyes, had been having Jesse there to see it with her. Sure, they lay on the roof of the porch outside her bedroom window together, many times while he was a ghost and some since he's been alive again. But seeing something that words can't describe or even begin to articulate had shamefully been dampened from his lack of presence there too.
Twisting her lips wryly, Suze wondered if Jesse would mind a quick trip back in time again, just to get to see the darkness of the night stretch on for eternity. Glancing up at him side-ways, she doubted he would approve. But the thought was mischievous enough for her to bump her hip and shoulder in to his side, stalling the question sitting on the tip of her tongue, because she already knew the answer. Not to mention the temptation it could flood Jesse with, at the prospect of being so close to being able to catch a glimpse of his family again. One last time, before all the mystery, scandal and half-truths and half-lies invaded their lives.
Suze couldn't do that to Jesse. She knows the taste of temptation and she knows the addiction it can hold.
When she had bumped her hip and shoulder into Jesse's side, it had made him look down at Susannah with a smile. But it was only fleeting. Because just as suddenly as he saw her mischief, did he sense her hesitation and sudden stiffness to whatever was running through her mind. The moment had been perfect up until then and Jesse was feeling too selfish to break it by voicing what Susannah was embroiled in mentally. So he did the next best thing.
He distracted her.
Bumping his own hip into her, she snapped her startled eyes up to his, her stupor broken. And just to make sure it stayed that way, he lifted a hand covered in bubbles and suds from the washing up liquid, and he smeared it down her face, tapping the end of her nose. It took a second, but Susannah was soon laughing and batting his hand away from attacking her more. Bubbles were floating around the spacious kitchen, but they paid no mind to that. They just took turns fighting off the bubbles and the laughter drawing the attention of her family.
Maybe Suze would ask him that question, or offer that one last glimpse one-day. But not tonight.
Bump into her back and make her laugh.
When she tells you a secret . . .
It had been one of those half-sleep confessions that Susannah told Jesse a secret she had never told another person.
They had just been curled up on top of the covers, both tired and relaxed, that made for a lethal combination when trying to stay awake. Jesse's hand that had been stroking up and down Susannah's back underneath her shirt had made her doze into a half slumber quicker than Jesse. Neither feeling too inclined to move or leave the warmth of the other. It was in-between a lapse in conversation, where Jesse thought she had fallen asleep her breathing had evened out so deeply, that she told her secret, in half a whisper and half a yawn.
Jesse had sprung back to awareness with the swiftness of a cat on a hot tin roof when she did.
If anyone else had said that at one point in their life, they had given up so totally and completely, Jesse would have given that person sympathy and congratulated them on coming through a stronger person. But when he heard the soft words of his love, telling him that there was a point in her life that she had just given up, on herself, on Fate, on the reason for dragging herself out of bed in the morning, he knew without a doubt, that Susannah had hit one of the lowest points in her life. It takes a lot to swipe the Earth out from underneath the character of such a willed, stubborn and strong person like Susannah. But time, life, Fate, had evidently done just that.
It was before the prospect of moving to Carmel had even been broached. When it was just herself and her Mother, trying to get by as more friends, than Mother and Daughter. Somehow, Jesse already knew that her gift for helping spirits had done more than land her in trouble and cause a rift of bewilderment between Susannah and her Mother. But never, had he imagined to such proportions. It takes much courage and even more strength to pull yourself out of a darkness that deep, Jesse knew. He had been victim to it himself once a long time ago. And it saddened and shocked him that he wasn't there for Susannah when she needed him. Even though there was no way he could have been.
When you know a loved one has slept in the darkness and let it touch their soul, it's a secret kept so close to the heart, nothing and no-one can find it.
But the worst was far from over. Because along the same tracks of Susannah's secret, was the long-buried denial, that she was so close to descending back to that limbo again, over two years ago. When she thought he was gone forever, just to be faced with the prospect of not only losing him, but having to say goodbye before she did. Susannah knew there was that risk when she travelled to the shadowland to find him. The buried realization made Jesse pull Susannah out of her light doze with a kiss so raw and desperate; she went limp in his arms. When he pulled away, she blinked at him through confusion and love.
He didn't need to word his promise of keeping her secret safe. Susannah had received it in a wholly more precious way.
Keep it safe and untold.
When she looks at you in your eyes . . .
The phrase stripping her with his eyes couldn't be truer, than the way Jesse was looking at Suze over the table in a restaurant to celebrate his birthday.
The only difference between that phrase and the way Jesse was watching the love of his life and reason for being - literally - was more than stripping away her layers to show her beauty he's only glimpsed in snatches. It was more than letting his libido and imagination run away with him and fuel the burn of his eyes. Because Jesse wasn't stripping her physically, even though the affect was the same. He was stripping her emotionally. Tearing away everything Suze tried to throw up in her defence so she didn't feel quite so bear and open. More arousing and tender than any physical caress could do to her.
Jesse was stripping away to her soul.
Suze rolled her eyes and sighed exasperated when she read or heard things like that. She knew what a soul was; she dealt with them every day of her life in the guise of ghosts and spirits. Oh yes, Suze knew all about the very essence of a human and all that jazz. But not until she met Jesse, did she start to look at it in a whole new way. Sure, she wanted the true love that comes with finding Mr. Right. She thought it would be what she saw between her Mom and Dad. That might possibly, be even stronger with Andy. She craved it so bad; she was almost blind to the possibilities thrown in her path.
Maybe there was even a reason for that.
But to describe love to the bare essentials that, when she knew Jesse was mad at her for something she did or didn't do with a ghost, she felt sick to her stomach with shame and fear that he would never forgive her. Or would look at her a different way from that day forward. When he smiled at her, it was like an injection of adrenalin. Suddenly she could leap tall buildings and fly around the world in seconds. When he kissed her . . . She didn't know it was supposed to feel so magickal! She was positive her feet left the ground the first time they shared their proper, proper kiss. Anything she'd shared with Paul or Tad hadn't even come close to what she shared with Jesse.
She was as vulnerable and delicate as a butterfly, but as strong as Wonderwoman! Clichéd but true.
So sitting in a crowded restaurant and staring down his deep, deep eyes, her knees going weak, she knew everything that person who gushed about souls and true love, didn't have a clue what they were talking about. Because nothing compared to what she was feeling with Jesse. The words haven't been created to describe it, because it wasn't supposed to be described, explained, nit-picked and pulled apart. You're just supposed to enjoy it and appreciate it for what it is.
And Suze did. Even when she felt the flush of heat creep up her neck from her chest and light her face to a faint glow as she ducked her head with a smile, finally the one to break his eyes after she started it. Never again would she question or wonder about the depth of love she feels for Jesse.
She just anticipates the passion that rivals it.
Don't look away until she does.
When she's missing you . . .
Time away from Susannah, whether it's a few hours or a few days, never leaves Jesse with a comfortable feeling. Something that for a reason he suspects, but never really wants to acknowledge, stems from something more than a lover being away from his offer half. Most people miss their loved ones when they don't get to see them for a certain amount of time; the same is said for Susannah and Jesse. But there's always something more to it than that for them. From Jesse's perspective. And he hates to have to put off seeing her if certain things or life have stood in the path for them to meet.
He does what he can to ease the blow for both her and himself. Snatched phone-calls when he can. Dreams that only make the uncomfortable feeling worse. Notes given from one friend to pass along to her and vice versa. Always things that are close, but not close enough for him to reach out to her.
And the first opportunity he gets to extinguish that distance, Jesse does.
"When am I going to get to see you next?" Susannah asks down the phone to him as he stands in the shadows of a tree, watching her pace back and forth in tight steps that betray the calm levitation to her voice. "I know you're busy and I totally understand that. It just feels like it's been so long. I miss you, Jesse." She strikes his heart with a scalpel by saying; a small tremor to her voice that she quickly tries to mask with a shaky laugh like it's no big deal. But he knows it's a huge deal.
He can see it is.
"Soon," Jesse answered quietly, his eyes narrowing when he sees her shoulders that were stiff from tension seconds before, sag in defeat and distress. The silence that lapses between them for a few seconds is only broken by his watching Susannah seat herself on a bench and swipes the tears that have slipped free from under her eyes. "You'll see me very soon, querida." He says again, sighing silently when he notices her put on a fake, shaky smile as though he was standing right there before her. But it doesn't mask her pain in her eyes and Jesse ends the call to save her from having to keep her control while speaking to him.
His suspicions he didn't want to acknowledge before give him no choice but to make them known now. The pain he feels from being apart from her is the same pain he saw Susannah try and mask, even when she was on her own, with no idea he was watching her. He makes one vow to himself as he crosses the distance ready to surprise her and sets it in stone when he pulls her in to a hug so tight; Susannah almost thinks he might break her.
He'll never dismiss the pain that comes with being apart from his love, again.
She's hurting inside.
When you break her heart . . .
Sometimes finding out what lies in the deepest parts of a woman's heart, can never be reached on a conscious level as Jesse found out with Susannah.
Sometimes, you have to wait and witness it in a whole different way that feels like a dagger has speared your heart, before being wrenched free so you can slowly bleed to death in your own misery, pity and despair. Leaving you trapped in the knowing, that there is nothing you can do to take away their pain or salve the festering wound. You just have to watch it grow and pray that over time, that wound might just heal with the right words, touch and promises.
But one thing is clear, when you hear the whispered words of a loved one's heart-break in their sleep; that heart-break that has no conscious barriers to withhold the grief and let it trickle through piece by piece. It's raw, it hurts and it's all at once. No-one can escape the severity of the sub-conscious mind when it hits the hardest.
It started out as a whimper. Something that woke him instantly, like a parent listening out for their child during the night. Lazily opening his eyes he looked over to Susannah, barely consciously aware on her hair tickling his nose. Just that she was curling into a tighter foetal position, like she was in pain. Which the whimpers would have accounted for. Sitting up on an elbow, he looked down into her face highlighted by the crescent moon seeping through the thin curtains. He was just about to reach over and brush her hair from her face when she spoke; her voice thick with sleep and undiluted pain.
"Jesse . . . why? Why did you leave me?" She asked on a broken sob, her eyes screwing shut even more.
At first he was confused, shocked to be more precise. And then he realized she was dreaming, having a nightmare that was making her tremble and moan. "Querida, I haven't left you. I'm right here. I've always been right here. It's okay." He automatically corrected her, trying to rouse her or at least, ease her slumber to a more restful sleep. His hand finished its course, brushing her sticky with sweat hair away from her face, her expression relaxing the slightest bit with his touch.
"You're here now . . . But you left me once . . . You left me . . . " She trailed off on a sigh, slipping back into a deep sleep again.
Shocked to the bone with the implications of her words, Jesse knew it wasn't just a simple nightmare Susannah was suffering from. It was a memory. Of a scene what seemed like a long time ago, when Maria had Jack exorcise him and make Susannah believe he had left . . . Just like that. Like he ever could. She hadn't known then, just how much he loved her. She had no idea, that that was the only force that could wrench him away from her. But it was enough to break her heart. Her long-buried secret she had murmured only hours before reacting to her sub-conscious and bringing that old heart-break back.
The most terrifying thing of all was that Jesse had no way of removing that. He is as powerless to the heart-ache, as Susannah is to reliving it.
The pain never really goes away.
When she says it's over . . .
When Suze realized that she needed a break from Jesse, as a test for herself as well as him, she never imagined he would take it the way he did. In fact, it made her re-think everything that had ever happened between them, felt between them, said and seen. She was sorry when she sat on the other side of the table from him, breaking the news that, she just couldn't think straight; didn't feel free enough with him, that she needed to go her separate way for a while. She needed . . . space from everything that had happened. Deep down her heart was tearing to shreds at the seams for doing it. But her head was right. She needed to follow that and see where it took her.
But his response, cut deeper than any scream of her heart could.
"I agree, Susannah." He had simply said.
His eyes weren't even guarded so she couldn't read his emotions. All she saw was sympathy and pity. Towards her. It took an amazing will-power and the sheer imagination to pretend she was sitting in front of Tad and couldn't care less he had broken their almost fling, for her to part ways with Jesse with a tough smile and a calm walk out of the diner. Instead of running and screaming. The gasp didn't tear free from her throat until she was part way home and it hit her what he said. No sadness, no rejection, no anger. Just, pity and sympathy for the girl who had brought his soul back - however unintentionally.
She was being encased by a barrier of ice between her and the outside world for the following walk home. The pain was so unbearable, even though she was the one that made the first step, she was numb to it. She refused to admit that she wanted him to disagree, fight for her. Because he did neither. Susannah Simon was once again . . . brushed aside as nothing.
If Susannah had been paying attention though, she would have noticed that Jesse wasn't taking it the way she thought he was. His hands were clenched into such tight fists under the table; his knuckles had long since cracked from the pressure and were turning white from the lack of blood circulating there. His heart-beat that for a hundred and fifty years he never had, was hammering in his chest so loud he was surprised she couldn't hear it as she briskly walked past him without a backwards glance to him. He knows, because he watched. The second the door chimed stopped that she had slipped through the door, was the second he released his held breath.
Susannah was scared, that much was obvious to him. But was it obvious to her?
When things get tough for Susannah, or too good for too long, she starts to question it. She starts to get scared that the other shoe will drop and her house of cards will all come tumbling down. Cliché after cliché was running through her mind, and Jesse could pinpoint each other without much effort. She was shedding the goodness before the real drama would hit. But she was doing it for no reason. To Susannah, it may be a test of his love for her. His faith in their relationship. But in truth, it wasn't. It was a test of Fate.
The same Fate that has delivered her to the gates of hell and back again too many times. The prospect of Jesse being the Angel to save her, as a gift from the same hand that burned her, apparently just wasn't a possibility to his love.
But it was to Jesse. Susannah may have suffered, but so has he. For a hundred and fifty years he suffered. Losing his family, his life. Waiting for Susannah, just to go through the dangers of losing her to his own spectral kind, another man, his own fears even. Yes he's been through the wringer as painfully as Susannah, but it's not a competition. And if there is one thing Jesse has learnt in all his years as a spirit, it's that good things do come to good people. And Susannah and Jesse are the epitome of that.
So he let her go.
Checking his watch, he counted how many hours he should leave it before he goes to her. That time passed with a slowness that would have made the fabled tortoise seem like a marathon runner. And it didn't get any easier as he silently made his way to her house that night. Staring up at her dark window, no light spilling through it at all, he knew she wasn't sleeping. But he could see the window he always closed for her before the cold seeped in, even when he was living at the rectory, was still open and beckoning him. As agilely as a panther, he scoured the porch and thanked the pine-needles cushioning the roof to kill any noise he made.
And just like that, he slipped through her window.
As soundless as a ghost.
She was lying on her side in bed, her back to him with the comforter drawn up and over her shoulders. Wetting his lips, he sat on the window seat he has and always will call his own and softly said her nickname. "Querida." It was as soft as a feather and packed the punch of a siren. The affect instantaneous.
Rolling over in bed, Susannah pinned him with a shocked, dry-eyed stare. Quietly, as if she was being controlled by puppet strings, Susannah climbed out of bed and padded over to him, one of his t-shirts on and another in her hand, wrung to creases. Without taking her eyes away from him, she sat on the cushion beside him, her hand reaching out to touch him, but receding before she made contact. But Jesse reached out and grasped her fingers anyway, pulling them back to him while he turned to give her his full attention.
"Jesse . . . What are you doing here?" She said it like she didn't quite believe he really was.
With one hand holding both of hers, Jesse leaned in to cup her cheek tenderly, making her part her lips in surprise and hope. "Susannah, I know you're scared that somehow, this will go wrong, that something will happen to me, or you, or us. But you have to know," Jesse quietly murmured, slowly leaning in, his lips whispering across hers as he spoke. "I made a promise to you, a long, long time ago. And nothing and no-one will make me break that. Mi corazón para siempre, querida."
The kiss was bittersweet in its simplicity and passionate in its clutches. Instead of pulling away from her completely, Jesse pulled her into a tight, all-encompassing embrace that choked her heart with joy and love, and stole the breath from her lungs. Ducking his head into the crook of her neck, he told her he loved her; again and again until he felt the wetness of her tears soaking his shirt. Pulling away after placing a kiss to her neck, he got his answer in the look in her eyes.
Jesse will always be a true boyfriend to Susannah. But more than that, he will always be a true love.
Her, true love to be exact
She still wants you to be hers.