Welcome, dear readers, to the first chapter of To the Underground and Back: Part 2! For those of you who are new to this story, I recommend reading Part 1, followed by Interlude. Now, for the veterans, welcome back! Also, there is a diabolical OC...whose name shall remain a mystery to you! Mwahahaha... Now, to the story! Enjoy!
Many months passed before I saw Jareth again. That's not to say I didn't know what he had been up to. Every couple of weeks I'd notice some of my Christian books missing, only for them to return several days later. I praised God I had the books Jareth needed. The one book I never got back was the Bible he'd taken originally. That didn't bother me though; as far as I was concerned, that one was meant to be his. I knew the void he had been trying to fill with young women was now being satisfied with something everlasting and much more rewarding: Jesus Christ.
I admit there were times I hoped Jareth would appear in my mirror again, but I knew I was being silly. If he ever needed me, he would come in his own time.
Life for me went on as normal. I let Mom know about my adventures with the Goblin King, with the necklace as proof. Long story short, she was amazed, but thought I had acted accordingly.
Classes are going well. I'm now getting through junior year. My days are filled with reading and lots of typing. With four online courses and a class in Shakespeare, I'm left with quite a bit of home time. Not that I mind. God's been using the time to have me focus on Him without all of the external distractions...
Tonight is Thursday; Mom and Dad have been invited to a political function. To my delight, I can stay home. After they leave, I settle for getting ahead on homework. In Shakespeare, we're reading The Merchant of Venice. It's not long, however, before I find my stomach growling.
I put Venice down and heat up some soup, channel-surfing as I wait. After dinner, I return to my room. Now no longer caring to read, I lay on my bed feeling sleepy. With my desk light providing a soft glow, I easily slip into dreamland.
"You're cute when you're sleeping, did you know that?"
I snap awake, finding Jareth's face inches away from mine. He flashes a goblin smile.
"Hello, my dear. I'm back."
"Whoa!" I cry, backing away—and promptly falling off the bed; the Goblin King snickers. I quickly notice he's dressed in a white tunic, black vest, grey breeches, and dark boots before turning my attention back to his unexpected visit. "How long have you been here?" I gasp in surprise.
He walks around the bed to me, saying, "Long enough to know you giggle and try to hug people in your sleep."
I stare, mortified.
Giving a dark chuckle, he adds, "It was most enlightening."
"Uh, well…" I stammer, quickly accepting the hand offered to help me up, "how-how have you been?"
"Well," he replies, sitting on my bed. "A lot has happened since I last saw you."
Now that I really look at him, I can see there is a joy lighting in his face, an excitement shining in his eyes. You happened, I think to God in happy realization. "Yes," I remark, "I can see the difference."
He smiles almost shyly.
I sit next to him, looking him in the eyes, "And I couldn't be happier for you! Can you believe we are spiritual kin in Christ? Now, what brings you here?"
"For one, I wanted to return these," I notice the books he's holding: Jesus One and Only, and a study guide. He goes and slides them on their respective shelves. Taking his necklace from its resting place, he slips it over his head. Fingering the pendant, he looks up at me in surprise, "You polished it!"
"Of course," I answer, feeling self-conscious. "I never knew when you were coming back, but I wanted it to look nice for you when you did."
"That was thoughtful of you, Christine."
His words send my heart aflutter with excited pleasure, much to my astonishment. I admit, the change in Jareth is so overwhelming!
"Why else have you come?" I ask, feeling he had been about to say something more.
"Oh," he remembers, "I also wanted to know if you would permit me to give you a proper tour of the Underground."
Amazed at the proposition, all I can say is, "Wow!"
"It has completely changed since you were last there—you'd hardly even recognize it!"
Caution stills my excitement. "Just a tour?" I ask slowly.
Sensing my hesitation, he kneels down and looks up at me (he always had a flair for the dramatic), "I promise."
The sincerity in his voice convinces me. That, and I admit I haven't felt any warning from the Spirit since Jareth arrived. "I'm up for anything," I reply. "When do we leave?"
"Right now, if you would like," he says, standing.
Sure beats Venice. "Let me get changed first—"
"Oh, that will be no problem, my dear."
He snaps his fingers—and poof!—my attire changes: A black tank with a thin, blue v-necked hoodie, coordinated with the denim skirt and shorts from my Rinoa outfit, completed with converse. I even have my digital watch—with two different times?
"I outfitted your watch to show the Underground time against the time in your world. If you want to leave early, we can. This is what you were thinking of, yes?"
"Actually, it was!" I reply, impressed.
He suddenly looks deep in thought. "Something's missing…oh!" He goes to my dresser, picking up my cross choker. "You can't forget this," he decides as he hands it to me.
"Thank you," I answer, fitting it around my neck, "this is perfect. Say, have you always had that power?"
"Do you mean the Jumping?"
"Er, yeah. It's very Q-like."
"All goblins can do it. It allows us to travel through the Underground and between worlds, but not from short distances. Aside from that, it's sometimes used for trivial matters, such as clothing."
"So that's why you're always so fashionable, huh?" I venture, raising an eyebrow.
"What can I say? I always like to make an entrance. Now," he holds out his arm, "shall we?"
I'm going back, I think, but this time, things will be different.
"We shall," I answer, accepting it. In a flash we're gone.