More tears rolled uncontrollably down Jade's cheeks, "Please... I have so much to live for... don't let her take my life from me."
Series: The Crystal of Life
Author: Cerasi J.
Summary: More tears rolled uncontrollably down Jade's cheeks, "Please... I have so much to live for... don't let her take my life from me."
Disclaimer: Could this be classified as Suze-torture? Whatever, I don't own 'em.
At this point in time I sort of suspected this chick Dessa of attempting to steal my boyfriend. So, I did what any suspecting, loving girlfriend would do.
I broke into the little tramp's house.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am NOT condoning breaking into people's houses, it should only be done under extreme circumstances. And besides, I didn't exactly break in. I mean, c'mon, I was wearing a pair of khaki J. Crew chinos and a sleeveless red cowl-necked sweater for crying out loud. I just went to the door, proclaimed myself as one of Dessa's friends and her mother let me in. Simple as that.
I mean, she's a rich girl, right? Why wouldn't she have a ton of friends? It was ingenious on my part, if I do say so myself. But I don't want everyone thinking that I went off half-cocked with this wild, half-baked idea, well... maybe I did. But I was kind of provoked.
After I came back from the spa with Cee Cee, Jesse acted like he owned me or something, and that kinda ticked me off, I mean, he never paid attention to me before, why start now? Not that I didn't mind or anything, him paying attention to me, I mean, I just thought that this might call for some investigating. I also hadn't seen Jesse since that little incident after the spa, either. Which was two weeks ago.
So when I rang the doorbell of Dessa's house-mansion actually-I really didn't know what to expect. But I could try my best. A middle-aged woman opened the door; she was blonde and was wearing this lavender business suit that probably cost more than my entire /house/.
She blinked at me and then smiled, causing her Botox-injected forehead to crinkle slightly, "Hi. How can I help you?"
"Like, hi!" I said in my perkiest Kelly Prescott impression, "I'm like looking for Dessa, is she around?" Dessa's mom shook her head, still smiling, "Nope, I'm sorry, she's not here right now."
"Oh," I said, think fast, think fast! I have to get in there "Well, she like, borrowed a book from me a few weeks ago, and like, I need it for homework, ya know? And she like, hasn't given it back." Her mother blinked again, "Oh, what book is it? I can go find it for you." Damn, this isn't working! "Um," I said, "It was called /Catcher in the Rye/."
"Really?" She asked, sounding genuinely amazed, "I didn't know Dess read that book." I shrugged and she said, "Well, would you like to come in? You can help me look for it." Okay, this was getting weird, but whatever. I need to get in the house. I had to do this for Jesse. "Like, okay!" I said. She stood to the side of the door and let me in, "I'm Leigh," Dessa's mom said, "What was your name again?"
"Um. I'm Amber... uh, Amber Leed," I said. She looked puzzled for a moment, "I don't think we've ever met, Amber."
I was totally prepared for this, so I went, "Oh, well, I just met Dessa, like, a couple of weeks ago at the beach." Which wasn't exactly a lie, I met Dessa in a convenience store, which was not too far from the beach.
"Oh! Well, nice to meet you then, Amber." Mrs. O'Connor shook my hand. I looked around the house. It was so fancy; I don't think even Bill Gates has a house like this. You know, gold plated faucets, Olympic sized swimming pool, the works.
I didn't have much time to look around, however, because Dessa's Mom lead me right upstairs. At the landing, she hung a right and we went down this really long hallway, and at the end of this hallway was this old fashioned looking door, it looked like someone had swiped it from the Mission.
Mrs. O'Connor opened the door and walked right in, she didn't knock or anything. Well, I guess since Dessa wasn't home she didn't have to knock. Whatever.
"Okay," Mrs. O'Connor said, "We'll try the book shelves first." Dessa's mom went in search of the non-existent book and I could only stand there in awe. Dessa's room was about the size of Andy's workshop, which is surprisingly huge. She had posters of rock stars tacked up everywhere, from Everclear to Led Zeppelin to Savage Garden to Pearl Jam, she had them all.
And she had a lot of cats, too. Like ten of them, I swear. I finally kicked into gear and entered the room. Immediately I had this weird sort of feeling, like I could feel an evil presence; like Darth Vader was hiding in the closet or something. Her mom puttered around the book shelves, (which, I might add, were like library size), muttering, "/Catcher in the Rye/... Hmmm... /Catcher in the Rye/..."
While she was busying herself with this, I took a look at Dessa's desk, which had a top-of-the-line laptop computer on it. I noticed there was a pile of mail behind the laptop. I shot a glance at her mom, who was still playing librarian. I moved around to the front of the desk, running my hand along the back of the laptop. I knocked all the mail off and went, "Oops!" and bent down to pick it all up.
I started to gather it all up when I noticed an invitation card, it read:
"You are cordially invited to Robert Louis Stevenson School's annual Carmel Day dance, this Friday, eight p.m. at RLS. Feel free to bring a guest."
A dance, huh? This Friday? Today was Sunday! I gathered up the rest of the mail and placed it back on the desk, I slipped the invitation into my coat pocket and asked Mrs. O'Connor, "So, did you like, find it?"
"No," she replied sadly, still looking over the shelves, "She always keeps her books in one place," her blue eyes lit up with a sudden idea, "I know! Let me check the library downstairs, I'll be right back."
Mrs. O'Connor stood up to leave and I pretended to take great interest in a Bon Jovi poster on the wall. She left the room and I quickly removed the invitation from my pocket. Over by the computer I spotted some sort of fancy copier, I prayed it was color.
I looked it over and found that all the buttons were confusing and the whole machine was very intimidating. I lifted the lid carefully and placed the invitation card on the glass screen.
I then closed the lid and pushed the "Copy" button. It few seconds later it spat out two color copies of the invitation. I carefully folded both copies, and stuck them in my pocket. One copy for me, one for Cee Cee, because I knew I was gonna need some help with this one.
I placed the original invitation back in the pile of mail behind the computer, mail, I assumed was from all her boyfriends and such, because she just struck me as that type of girl. Just as I walked back over to the wall to stand under a Will Smith poster, Mrs. O'Connor came back in carrying a book, "I found it!" She proclaimed triumphantly as she handed me a brand new copy of /Catcher in the Rye/.
I thought this was rather amusing, considering I had never even read the book. I took the book from her hands, "Like, thanks!" I said, smiling. Mrs. O'Connor walked me down the stairs and to the front door, I thanked her again and told her I hoped I would see her soon.
I walked down the sidewalk back toward my house. As I walked, I pulled the two invitations out of my pocket and read them over again; I had a lot of work to do if I wanted Jesse back.
Two nights later, I was laying in bed thinking to myself, What is going on here? I just don't get it. I mean, one night Jesse is chatting with me, like usual, now he disappears for days at a time, and when he comes back he acts totally different. It's so weird, and really, if you think about it, it all started with that girl Dessa. Dae, whatever the hell her name is.
I rolled over on my side and sighed heavily, why was stuff like this always happening to me? And why was it always happening to Jesse? I mean... he could have gone to Dessa and had her help him move on. I mean, since she could see him, I guess she was a Mediator. But... if Jesse wanted to move on, why didn't he just stay up there in limbo or whatever, instead of climbing down and beating up Paul Slater and Felix Diego?
And what if he did move on? What if he changed his mind or whatever and wanted to go back? And if he did change his mind, why couldn't he have gotten me to help him? Or Father D? I mean, yeah, it would have been a conflict of interest and all that, but if he did go, I would have liked to have said goodbye, you know?
I couldn't help but getting all teary eyed at that thought, what about when Jesse kissed me, didn't that mean anything to him? Anything at all? 'Cause it sure meant a lot to me! Those stupid tears just would not leave me alone, I mean, I thought Jesse and I had something... maybe a little something, that could never work, him being dead and all, but it was still something!
Just as I was about to let all those tears spill over so I could cry and feel sorry for myself, I noticed a faint glow coming from the corner of my room. I sat up quickly and gasped. Great, who could it be this time? Noah Logan, Jesse or Dr. Clive? I think I'll take door number two.
It was really dark in my room, so I had a hard time making the person out, because he or she was standing the corner of my room, and was hidden in the shadows, but ghosts do glow after all. I almost dared to hope it was... "Jesse?" I asked quietly, crossing my fingers and holding my breath.
The figure stepped out from the corner of the room, it took me a minute to recognize her, but when I did, I was very surprised. It was Jade, the creepy Goth girl from the convenience store. But I noticed she didn't seem so creepy anymore.
I stood up and couldn't help but asking, "Oh my God, are you /dead/?" Jade seemed to find this amusing, since she gave a slight smile and her purple eyes sort of lit up, which was totally weird. She replied, "I was, once."
I blinked stupidly at her, too surprised to formulate a proper response. "Susannah, right?" She asked. I nodded and suddenly, she looked sad, and she motioned to my daybed and said, "Can we talk?" This also surprised me, I mean; c'mon it was the middle of the night after all. I nodded dumbly and sat on my daybed. After a moment, Jade sat beside me.
I looked her over closely; this time she was wearing a plain white sundress, no shoes or socks, and her jet black hair had a really wicked affect against the stark white of her dress. Jade sighed in a sad sort of way and said; "I've known Dessa since I was a very little girl, since before kindergarten probably, but I never really liked her. She used to follow me around everywhere, hug on me and tell everyone we were best friends, but I never liked her." Ew, I would be totally freaked if Dessa hugged me.
"When I was nine years old I developed a form of leukemia and I was given nine months to live." Jade paused and I could only stare at her in a mixture of awe and horror, she continued, "I had a bone marrow transplant, and that helped somewhat, but I only got sicker. Dessa kept telling me not to worry; she could bring people back from the dead. Of course, I didn't believe her, and I got worse and worse. But she kept right on telling me not to worry; she'd bring me back. I was still well enough to walk at the time, so I told her to prove it."
Jade paused again, "So she did... she took her new puppy... Root Beer we called him... because he was all brown and white..." She smiled wistfully and continued, "And... and... she threw him under the tires of an oncoming car on our street." I sucked in my breath, "Oh my God, you're kidding me!" Oh God, how horrible, throwing a puppy like that! Under the wheels of a car, too, talk about cruelty to animals.
"No, I'm not kidding..." Jade said, "But, I started crying and Dessa told me to shut up and she picked up... um, Root Beer's body... and put him on the sidewalk, and there was this bright, bright light and he barked and jumped into my arms and licked my face... it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen."
Oh man, this was getting too creepy for me... I had goose bumps and everything, in a way I wanted her to shut up, but maybe she had some info on Jesse. "Well... a year after that, I was in the hospital... and... and... I was so sick... and Dessa was visiting me, I was hooked up to all these machines, and she was yakking away like I wasn't sick at all... and suddenly... I... I just felt everything stop... my heart stopped and I just closed my eyes and I thought, 'Man, this is it... I'm dying.' And then it all went black... and I was standing in this long hallway with all these doors and all this mist, and then everything was blue, I was in a blue room, it was featureless, but I could see out, it was like I was in a cage, surrounded by blue glass... and I could see myself, my body, and then I opened my eyes again and I could breath and I could see and I felt perfectly fine. Like I always felt before I got sick and Dessa was standing there and she smiled at me, a sort of evil smile and she said, 'Now, you owe me.'"
I found myself staring at Jade, I could feel my jaw hanging open, "W-what happened to you then? D-did you die again...?" I almost hated to ask that, but I wanted to know why she was sitting in my bedroom, glowing.
"No," she answered quietly, staring at her bare feet, "I'm alive, but somehow... I can move freely between the realms of the living and the dead. I can see dead people, like you can. That's how you can see me. But-..." She turned to me and took my hands in hers, "You have to understand, Dessa is a very dangerous person... she wants everything she can get, you see?"
Her hands were warm and soft in mine and I felt so confused... "No, no... I don't understand... how-... what did she do with Jesse? A-and Noah? Noah Logan?" I felt like crying again, but this time because I was so confused...
Jade sighed and let my hands go, "Dessa has many powers... she studies black magic, and she wears a Crystal of Life around her neck, I have done some research, the Crystal of Life dates back to the times of wizards and dragons, it was said that Merlin himself at one time possessed the Crystal, and there is only one in the whole world, the others were destroyed. Dessa's crystal contains a power that can be used for good or evil. The necklace she wears, have you seen it?"
I almost laughed, wizards and dragons? I mean, seriously. C'mon. Instead of laughing, I answered her question, "Yeah, I think so, it's like a blue thing on a leather cord?"
"Yes," Jade confirmed, "It is very fragile, and she harbors souls inside the Crystal. That is where I was when I died." I just looked at her, what was with this chick anyway? But... something about her story made me want to believe her, I mean, after all she was sitting right in front of me, wasn't she?
"But, there's more," Jade said, looking at me intently, "When the Crystal was given to Dessa, it gave her incredible powers, the power to bring people back to life, the power of mind control and the power to create people."
"Create people?" I asked, "C'mon Jade, anyone has the power to do that, I mean, you just gotta find the right guy-..."
"No!" Jade exclaimed, "She has the power to MAKE people, out of the clear blue, she just thinks and they are there, right in front of her."
"Yeah," I said, rolling my eyes, okay, this was getting lame, "right, so if she thinks of Elvis, Elvis stands before her?" Jade nodded grimly. "So, how do my boyfriend and Noah Logan fit into all this?"
"Josh Alma was one of Dessa's many boyfriends, and she was getting very serious about him, but he very rightly wanted out the relationship with her... so... she... she stole his soul."
This time I did laugh, "Oh my God," I said, doubled over from laughing, "You are so full of it! Demons and wizards? Black magic? Soul-stealing? That's a great story!" I sat up, wiping my eyes, "But you know what? That's really funny, but it's all so stupid, you're dead, you see, and you have this little problem, it's called DENILE!"
Before Jade looked scared and sad, but now she looked hostile, "I am not dead and I am NOT making anything up, if I'm making anything up how come your boyfriend is missing? Huh? Explain that to me then, if you think you're so smart, /Mediator/."
That one shut me up right now, lemme tell you. She was right, in a way, and I really had no right to laugh at her like that, "Well," I said quietly, "then what happened?"
Jade stood up, still looking hostile, "When a body has no soul, it can't survive, that's where Dessa's mind controlling powers come in, she can tell them what to do and what to think, but she can't keep the bodies alive without their souls."
This one made me think, "Well... why does she 'steal their souls' then? If she wants to keep them alive, why doesn't she just leave them alone?"
"Because," Jade sounded impatient, "If she loses her friends, she wouldn't be popular, and if her friends turn against her, she steals their souls to add to her 'collection' and she can keep them alive with her powers. But only for a few weeks, days even."
Okay... maybe this was kinda making sense... "So... you're telling me that Dessa is a greedy person, who steals people's souls and controls their bodies like a remote control car and their bodies slowly rot away and die?"
Now Jade looked triumphant, "Yes! That's correct!" I rolled my eyes, "God, why couldn't you just say she was turning people into zombies?"
"You just don't get it, do you?" Jade fumed, "You can stop her, you're the only one who can!" Now I was kinda getting mad myself, "Well, if you would stop being so damn cryptic, maybe I could figure out a way to help you!"
"Don't help me," Jade said with a stony face, "help your friend, he's the one that'll need it."
Suddenly, it was like... everything clicked into place. "Oh my God," I said in awe, "You mean... if... she makes Jesse into a real person... and I... I smash the crystal... Jesse... will..." I almost couldn't bring myself to say it, it was too good to be true, "Jesse will be... /alive/?"
Jade nodded smugly, "You finally figured it out."
But this was the part that didn't make any sense, I had seen Jade and Dessa together at the store that day, and Jade knew my name, so that means that Jade would have to be close enough to Dessa all the time to know all this stuff about her, right? So why couldn't Jade smash the crystal herself?
Suddenly, that piece of the puzzle clicked into place, too. I said quietly, "She's controlling you, isn't she? That's why you came to me."
Jade looked at her feet and answered after a good minute and a heavy sigh, "Y-yes... she makes me do things... bad things, things that I don't like... like dress like a Goth to make my parents mad... she says if I don't do whatever she says, she'll take away the life she gave back to me..."
When she looked up at me, I saw she was crying, "I believe her... I know she'll do it, and you have to stop her... please..." More tears rolled uncontrollably down her cheeks, "Please... I have so much to live for... don't let her take my life from me."
Well, after a plea like that, how can you not help a person? Today was Wednesday, and Friday was the big Carmel Day dance at RLS. (I have never ever heard of Carmel Day, but I guess it was a day to celebrate the history of the town or whatever.) So I had a lot to do if I wanted to get to that dance, destroy the crystal and save all those innocent souls from an eternity of torment and suffering. (And bring Jesse back to life, HEHE!)
The whole bring-Jesse-back-to-life thing had me a little bit worried, I mean, what if it didn't work? Then I would have got my hopes up for nothing! But if it does work... I can't tell you how happy I would be. I really, really can't.
Anyway, if I wanted to pull this off, it would call for a big plan. The first thing I did was call Cee Cee and ask her if she wanted to go to the Coffee Clutch, so I had an alibi. Cee Cee said yes of course, and I told her I would meet her there.
Then I had to bum a ride from Sleepy who wanted to know what I was up to, because I was "so happy looking". I told him I was going to go meet Cee Cee.
When I got to the Coffee Clutch, Cee Cee and Adam where both there. So I ordered a glass of water and sat and chatted with them like nothing big was going down, and when Adam got up to use the restroom I leaned over and whispered to Cee Cee, "Hey, Cee, listen, I need your help with something."
And she was all, "What, Simon?"
So I said that I had been getting e-mail from this guy who said he was from RLS, and said he had heard about me saving Bryce Martinson from the falling breezeway at the Mission, (this was caused by a really pissed off ghost who was jealous of me), and he wanted to meet me. He even went so far as to ask me to the Carmel Day dance!
Cee Cee said he was probably a stalker and I should just ignore him, so I squealed, "CEE CEE! What if TAD BEAUMONT moved back to Carmel and is E-MAILING me???" Cee Cee said it was possible, but she hadn't heard anything about the Beaumont's moving back to Carmel.
So I said, "Cee Cee, who cares? Okay, this guy /asked me out/, and he even mailed me a copy of the invitation!" I pulled the color copy from my pocket and handed it to her. She looked it over and was very impressed and said I should go for it then, but asked what did I need her help for?
I told her I had no idea what to wear to a Carmel Day dance, and since she's lived here longer than I have, I figured she could help me shop for a dress, (am I clever or what?) She said yes, and after that Adam came back and we all went home.
When I got home I stood at my front door and waved as Cee Cee and Adam drove away, then, taking a moment to compose myself and fill my lungs with air, I practically kicked open the front door and screamed, "MOM!" and then bolted toward her office, (after I closed the door of course).
Mom was in her office and was a bit freaked at all my screaming, but I kept on screaming, (because I had to act for the role, you know.) And I went, "MOM! OH MY GOD!! GUESS WHAT??"
And mom says, "Suzie, calm down, what?"
But I went right on squealing like a little kid at Christmas, "Oh my God! You know Carmel Day? It's this weekend and there was this really hot guy at the Coffee Clutch"-I went on to describe Jesse-"and he like, goes to RLS and he totally asked me to the dance! At RLS! Can you believe it??"
I swear to God, my mom was just as excited as I was. (Supposedly.) And she was all, "How old is he? What's his name? What time is the dance? And oh, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO WEAR?"
I explained to her, that since Cee Cee was there, she had volunteered to take me shopping, since I hadn't lived in Carmel that long and I had no idea to what to wear to a Carmel Day dance. Mom was all excited and gave me her American Express card, (you know, the one with Russell Crowe on it?), and said I should call Cee Cee after dinner and set up a shopping time for tomorrow, since it was only two days till the big CD dance!
That night I went to bed dreaming of a beautiful cream-colored gown that would make Jesse forget Dessa ever even existed.
Cee Cee and I couldn't actually go shopping until Friday afternoon, on account of Cee Cee had an appointment with her dermatologist on Thursday. So we had Adam drop us at the mall and spent all afternoon looking and shopping and shopping and looking until I finally found the perfect dress.
It was a hot little black number that was sleeveless, and sort of form fitting and kinda low-cut, (Don't get me wrong, I don't like to dress like I'm Britney Spears' twin or whatever, but remember, I was aiming for making Jesse forget Dessa existed), plus it was 50% off at Nordstrom's!
Then Cee Cee and I hiked over to DSW Shoe Warehouse and I picked up this pair of strappy, sexy, black, three inched Sam and Libby spiked high-heels. These I didn't get 50% off on, but who cares, they were hot!
And besides, they totally matched my dress, which was another thing I was aiming for.
After that Cee Cee and I went over to Ulta and I picked up some new make-up, (some kick ass red lipstick and matching nail polish which was on sale!) Then I said I just had one more stop, Cee Cee said she didn't care, she was having a blast.
The last stop was Clare's, where I picked up an AWESOME pair of silver hoops, and a serpentine design matching silver armband. I was going to be the head-turner of the Carmel Day dance. (Or, at least I felt that way.)
It was around five o'clock when Cee Cee and I were finally ready to go home. Adam picked us up at the main entrance to the mall; I threw all my bags in the trunk and hopped in the back seat. Adam happened to see all the bags I piled in his trunk and asked, "Geez Suze, did you buy the whole mall? What's the occasion? Your own wedding?"
Heh, I wished. "No Adam," Cee Cee said as he pulled onto the road and headed toward my house, "Suze got invited to a dance, at RLS, no less."
"Oh," Adam said, reaching to turn on the radio, "I see, then she's too good to ride in this car then, here, let me let you out..." He started to pull over on the side of the road, but I reached forward, cuffed him upside the head and said, "Home, James!"
We all laughed and sang along with Third Eye Blind the whole way home.
When we pulled up in front of my house, Cee Cee got out to help me with my bags, she pulled the Ulta bag from the trunk and asked, "Would you like me to come over after dinner and help you with your hair? I wouldn't mind."
"Aw," I reached over and hugged her, "You are totally sweet, Cee Cee, that would be so great, would you? Is Adam gonna drive you or do you need a ride? I can have my mom pick you up."
"No," she said as we walked to the front door, "I'll get a ride from Adam, does your mystery date have a car?"
Oh boy, am I glad she asked that, I forgot how I was going to get to the dance! "Um, yeah," I said, "But he like, called me last night and said that his car was in the shop and his parent's car was totaled in a wreck a few nights ago."
"Ah," Cee Cee replied, "What's the guy's name anyway?" I turned the doorknob and let her go in ahead of me, "Uh, Michael." She set the bags in the entryway and pretended to gasp, "Not Michael Meducci!" I laughed and set my bags beside hers, "No, no, no, he's in prison, remember?"
We both chuckled, and then Cee Cee took a deep breath and said, "Mm, what's your step-dad cooking tonight?"
"Um," I took a whiff of the air, "Beef stew? I dunno." I shrugged and then a horn honked. "Oh, that Adam, always impatient, I'd better run, I'll see you at say, seven? Are we driving you to the dance then?"
"Yeah, if you don't mind, I mean, it would be kinda weird for my mom to drive me, right?" She laughed and I walked her to the door and waved goodbye to Adam as they drove away. Then of course, after that I had to show mom everything I had bought, I explained to my mom that "Michael's" car was in the shop, and Adam had volunteered for the job to drive me. Mom was really disappointed that "Michael" wasn't picking me up. But, whatever.
After that I had to eat dinner, by that time it was 5:45. Then I ran upstairs and took a fast shower. I got out of the shower, dried off and pulled on my black panty hose, (did I ever mention that I hate those things?), and black dress, I put on my earrings and slipped on my silver armband. I had just enough time to blow-dry my hair before Cee Cee got there.
She's such an angel, I swear, I'll love her forever. Cee Cee, I mean. It took her about twenty minutes to do my hair, it would have taken much longer, but I had had it cut a week or two before.
When she was done I couldn't believe how good I looked, I mean, she did a number on my hair, lemme tell ya. It was all swept up in this fancy bun-thingie, and had these ringlets on both sides of my face. She stepped back to admire her handy work, "You my dear," she said, grabbing my shoulders and peering at me in the mirror, "are gonna knock 'em dead."
I stared at myself in the mirror and I felt like a princess, and then I thought of what Jesse would say about me.
Then I realized if I didn't pull this off Jesse might never be coming back.
To Be Continued...