I walked across an empty land

I knew the pathway like the back of my hand

I felt the earth beneath my feet

Sat by the river and it made me complete

Oh simple thing where have you gone

I'm getting old and I need something to rely on

17 year old Jess Aarons stepped out of his new truck still sweaty from football practice, he looked over to the Old Burke house to see the abandoned house, Jess couldn't help but become filled up with memories, even though he tried his best through the years to surpress his feelings for what happened he could not help but get a strong feeling in the pit of his stomach every time he sees that house.

"Jess, are you ok?" Jess looked down and stared into the chocolate brown eyes of his sister Maybelle. She had changed alot through those years also, she was now 13, she has lost her baby fat, grew taller, and she now had much longer flowing light brown hair. Sadly for Jess she has come to receive more attention from the guys also, a few who he and some of his teammates had to sort out from time to time. "Are you thinking about Les-"

"I'm fine May," Jess interrupted

Maybelle opened her mouth about to continue with another question then she shut it and shook her head slightly. "If you say so.." She then headed up the stairs to the door, leaving Jess to stare at the house.

Come on Aarons, snap out of it he told himself, and with that he shook his head and walked into his home.

"Mom, we're home" he called out, knowing his dad was probably at the shop now that he came to own the business.

"Ok, dinner will be ready in a hour, Brenda's coming to dinner from college, I think she's bringing her boyfriend so, just a warning. Jess take a shower!"

"K" Jess called. Jess didn't care, this would be the 5th boyfriend she brought for dinner, so nothing new. Jess felt his phone vibrate. He looked at the phone it read NEW MESSAGE FROM VICTORIA. Hey baby want to come over tonight ;). Victoria was his girlfriend of 3 months. She was pretty cool, brunette, tall, pretty, tan and she had these light green peircing eyes that made most guys loose control of their package. Jess really wanted to go, she would be a nice escape from all of the shit going on in his head. But he knew asking his mom to escape from dinner would probably be a fail, and he had an art project and he had no idea what to do.

Cant babe, sorry Brenda's coming for dinner, you can come over her later if you want.

He knew not asking his mom would probably be an issue, but if Victoria comes over his mom won't force her to leave, especially not in front of company, she hated making scenes.

His phone vibrated again:

K!

Jess went up to his room laid back on his bed and just stared into the ceiling. His rooms has gotten bigger over time also. After his dad became the owner of the tools corporation they started changing their house, expanding rooms, changing colors, furniture, and what not. Jess got both him and Maybelle's old room, combined it and painted the wall red and black his furniture changed a bit, nothing special. Jess got up and started stripping his clothes and headed to the shower. Whenever he's in the shower in a day like this he loved the feeling of the water on his skin, it felt cleansing, as stupid as that sounds. He loved the touch, the chill, all of it. I helped him think.

Stop fucking around, focus on the Art project FOCUS. Jess remembered what told them "Paint something, real. Paint what you feel most strongly about, think of who you are and turn it into a painting" What the fuck can I do with that? Jess thought. There's nothing more, nothing shapes me, what the hell am i going to do.ˆ

Jess forgot he was in the shower for a bit, he stepped out cleaned off and got ready.

"Dinners ready!" his mom called.

"Coming!" He head downstairs taking all the time he had. When he got there everyone was already around the table except for his dad of course, but that was just the normal. No one really noticed he arrived yet, they were too busy talking amongst themselves. His mom was talking to Brenda's dude, and Brenda was talking to Maybelle while braiding Maybelle's hair. That was always one of Brenda's favorite thing to do treat Maybelle like a doll. And Joyce Ann was just sitting in her chair playing with her fork. Jess cleared his throat and everyone stopped and turned to him.

"Hey Jess," Brenda smiled "You've gotten taller, and stronger, little brother, im impressed" She smiled.

"Thanks, it's nice to see you" Jess replied blandly, only because she definitely saw him earlier that month.

"This is Scott. Scott, Jess"

Jess observed the new guy sitting in his chair at the table, though he wasn't going to bitch about that. Scott seemed like the typical guy Brenda would bring to the house. Tall, lean, tan-ish, brown shaggy hair. Scott extended his arm to Jess and Jess briefly shook his hand.

"Whats up little dude" Scott greeted with a perfect smile.

Jess hated when older people did that. First of all Scott was only like 3 years older than Jess, and Jess was pretty sure he could take him in a fight, Jess was probably stronger anyways.

But Jess decided not to be a dick about it. "Sup"

"Sit down, Jess" his mom said "Take your Dad's seat"

Jess really didn't know how he felt about that, sitting in his dad's seat seemed wrong, even though his dad was definitely not going to be home, he didn't even really know where his dad was now, he just assumed he was at some out of state conference. But still, sitting in the seat seemed wrong but again Jess didn't question it. Dinner went o.k, nothing was really awkward. Scott kept on boasting about his perfect grades, and how amazing he is on the school lacrosse team. Still, dinner was going pretty well.

Then the doorbell rang. Victoria. Jess forgot for a moment that he invited her.

"I'll get it!" Jess said as he got up

"No, I've got it," his mom said calmly

Jess really didn't know how his mom would respond to Victoria being there. Victoria had been there before its not anything new. But Jess didn't know how she would feel about Victoria showing up then, she got really anal about dinners epeciallly ones with guests.

"Jessss! Come here" his mom called. Jess headed to the door to see his girlfriend standing in front of the door.

"Victoria's here" his mom said with a smile trying hide her rage with a smile.

"Umm yeah, hey Victoria I didn't know you were coming!... Oh wait your here for that project.. the English one." Jess smirked at Allison. "Wanna know what we'll work on it in my room, thanks for dinner mom, it was amazing." Before his mom could object Jess took Victoria hand and lead her upstairs.

Once they got into Jess's room Victoria shut the door and looked at Jess with a smirk on her lips.

"So... English project, huh?"

"It was the first thing that came to mind"

"You know we don't have English together, right?" she smiled seductively

"Whatever" Jess said before he crashed his lips in to hers. She put her hand up his shirt the moved them up to his hair and grabbed it aggressively. Jess turned her over to his bed and laid her down while his hands explored. The more he went the further he blacked ready to escape all of his thoughts.

Then the was a big bang on his door.

"Jess," his mom called angrily from behind the door, Scott must be gone Jess thought. "I think it's time for Victoria to go home."

Jess looked at Victoria sympathetically.

"Fine Mom," Jess grunted. Then he looked at an angry Allison "sorry i'll walk you out, let me put on my shirt"

She still looked pissed. "Sorry" Jess repeated

Jess heard his mom walk down the stairs. "If your mom wasn't being such a bitch" Victoria said under her breath.

That actually got Jess mad, but he didn't feel like getting into a fight with her"

"Whatever," Jess said as he finished putting on his shirt "Lets go"

Jess lead Victoria to her car.

"Im sorry babe, really" Jess apologized again. Victoria still looked kind of pissed still, so she looked around then she caught sight of the Burke's home.

"Hey," she said as she stepped closer. "Didn't that freak used to leave there?"

"Um I don't know" Jess said trying to figure a way to avoid the subject.

"No she definitely lived there I remember her getting off the bus with you." She laughed slightly.

"God she was a freak, I remember I used to push her in the hallways and write funny notes in her locker," Jess remembered Leslie talking about the notes. Someone would always write her notes like Go away freak, and Drop dead lame ass. You could tell getting the messages killed Leslie, but she would never say anything "I'm glad she's gone."

"She's dead Vic, don't be a bitch" Jess said calmly.

Victoria's eyes turned into little slits she was fuming.

"Oh, now I remember, she was your little girlfriend,"

"No she wasn't" Jess interjected, but it was too late, Victoria was too far gone now.

"You guys would always run into that forest right after you got off the bus." She said angrily, she reminded me of a snake when she was mad. "What did you do Jess? Did you fuck her"

"We we're 12, don't be sick"

"Then what did you do back there? Tell me, I am your girlfriend after all"

"I don't even remember," Jess didn't want to tell her, Jess didn't want to tell anyone, he always tried to keep Terabithia between him and her

"Liar"

"You need to chill Vic, go home i'll talk to you later"

"Whatever," She said as she past Jess angrily got in her car, and Jess watched her as he spread away. Jess walked up the stair to his room, and laid his head down.

"Jess, come down stairs please" Jess's mom called after him

Jess suspected she was calling him to yell at him again, he trudge down the stair to the family room where everyone, including Brenda were gathered around the television watching the news intently.

Jess's mom gave looked at him like she was going to cry.

"Jess.." she tried to start to say something but nothing came out.

"Whats, wrong" Jess asked questionably. Noticing Maybelle was crying and everyone looked upset and confused.

Jess turned to look at the TV to see what they were watching but all he saw was some teenager in the hospital covered by the oxygen and surgeons, He could not see her because everyone surrounding her, all he could see her long blond hair.

The caption read "Back From the Dead: Suspected Dead Teenager found after Escaping Kidnapper"

"Jess, I don't know what to say..." her mom said

"What are you talking about?" Jess asked confused

Maybelle turned and looked at him with tear marks on her face "Leslie isn't dead."