Categories > Books > Mediator, The > The Crystal of Life

Showdown

by CerasiJ 0 Reviews

That's when I was pretty sure that there was simply no more blood left in my body. And I also found that I was too tired to care anymore...

Category: Mediator, The - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama, Romance - Characters:  - Warnings: [!!] [?] - Published: 2006/02/13 - Updated: 2006/02/13 - 6924 words

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Title: The Crystal of Life: Showdown
Chapter: 4/5
Series: The Crystal of Life
Author: Cerasi J.
Rating: PG-13
Summary: That's when I was pretty sure that there was simply no more blood left in my body. And I also found that I was too tired to care anymore...
Disclaimer: Okay, if I owned the Mediator books do you honestly think I'd be reduced to writing fan fic? I don't think so.

---

I didn't get to Robert Louis Stevenson until a little after eight o'clock. Because first mom insisted on taking my picture, then she demanded "Michael's" phone number so she could call his parents, finally Andy came out and was all, "Aww, isn't she cute?"

Cute? I'm dead sexy, screw cute, okay? Whatever, I'm not even his kid! By this time it was ten to eight and Adam was all, "Okay, we gotta go, buh-bye." And he totally charmed his way out of the house.

In the car I asked them, "Would you guys... like, come inside with me? You know, just to help me look for him? I made a copy of the invitation, you know, a color copy and it looks exactly like the original, and it says I can bring a guest and Adam can have his own invitation. That way we can all get in."

"Huh! I don't get to escort the fair lady into the ball? The nerve!" Adam huffed. Cee Cee rolled her eyes and said, "Sure, I can help you look, but I don't know if they'll let me in, dressed like this." She looked down at her outfit; she was wearing a purple cashmere sweater, a white bucket hat, blue jeans and her famous purple-lenses.

"Aw, you're fine," I said as I looked out the window, "just tell them your dog died today and you didn't have the heart to change."

I felt butterflies rise in my stomach, I didn't know what to expect with Dessa tonight, but I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. What if she tried to steal my soul? Like Jade had said. Would Jade even be there? I was sure she would be. She was basically Dessa's shadow, and not by choice either.

Those simple butterflies turned into bile that rose into my throat as we pulled up to the school. There was a line of cars that stretched all the way to San Jose, I swear.

"Suze, you and Cee Cee get out and head to the doors, see if you guys can get in, I'll try to find a parking spot," Adam said as he stopped by the flag pole.

My hands shook as I got out of the car and walked with Cee Cee toward the school's entrance. Cee Cee kept yakking about whatever, my dress, my make-up, my hair. Finally we made it to the doors, I handed the man my invitation and said that Cee Cee was my guest. "We have a dress code, you know," the man at the door said, eyeing Cee Cee's blue jeans.

"Oh," Cee Cee said, grabbing my arm and hauling me inside, "My friend brought my dress, she's inside, she brought it because my dad totally wouldn't let me wear it out of the house, okay, bye now!"

As soon as we got past the idiot at the front doors, I said, "Thanks Cee Cee!" and I made a mad dash for the gym, where the dance was being held. I ran as fast as I could in spiked high-heels. As I ran, I looked everywhere for Jesse, but I couldn't see a soul. (No pun intended).

Cee Cee caught up with me as I stood at the front doors of the gym, "Suze, wait up, will ya?" Where was he? Where was he... where was Jade? And Dessa? "Suze, answer me, yoo-hoo!"

That's when I saw him. Jesse. Just standing there, next to Jade, who was dressed in the exact same way when I first met her. I stopped in the doorway, staring. My jaw was slack, Cee Cee continued to yak in my ear, "Did you find him yet, Suze? C'mon, I gotta get home, my dad'll kill me if he finds out I'm here..."

She followed my gaze, her eyes settling on Jesse. "Wow," she breathed, stepping into the doorway, "Is that your mystery man? He's hot."

I nodded; I just stood there, staring at him. It was the first time I'd ever seen Jesse wearing different clothes... this time he was wearing a black tux, and let me tell you, he looked fine. I mean, really, really, really /fine/.

That's when I realized something... Jesse wasn't a ghost anymore. He was real. Flesh and blood. Standing there, plain as day, like everyone else.

"Wait!" I said suddenly. I turned to Cee Cee, "You can see him!?" Cee Cee nodded, obviously distracted by the sight of Jesse's abs, "Hmm-mm... and I like what I see..."

I felt like fainting. I really did.

My heart gave a happy leap. "Wait here," I said to Cee Cee. I ran into the gym before she could protest. I had to lift the hem of my dress up so I wouldn't trip on it.

It seemed to take me forever to get to the west side of the gym; I dodged people, ducked in between dancing couples.

Finally, I reached him. Jade had walked off into the crowd, leaving Jesse by himself. I ran over to him. "JESSE!" I was so happy, without thinking, I threw my arms around him and hugged him tight.

It was such a weird feeling... Jesse had a heartbeat... and, and he was /warm/, you know, like a living person would be? And... he smelled really /good/.

"Who are you?" He questioned harshly; he took my arms and tried to pry me away from him. I was so shocked by his actions; I let him go and stumbled backwards. "Jesse?" I whispered, "Don't you remember me?"

He looked down at me and I saw something that would haunt me forever, his eyes-Jesse's eyes-seemed empty... almost... lifeless. "No," he replied, "Who are you?"

I gasped, "Jesse! What is wrong with you?! What happened?! It's me! Susannah!"

"Who?" He asked again, a puzzled look upon his face. My heart was racing so fast, my knees were weak. "Y-you don't remember me?" My eyes filled with tears, "Me?" I whispered, "Suze? The Mediator girl... you used to, um, live in my bedroom...?"

Jesse shook his head, "Sorry... I don't think I know you."

That's when it hit me. I mean; it just fell on me like a ton of bricks.

I spun around and I was face to face with Dessa O'Connor, who just smirked at me. "Isn't he cute?" she asked, the smirk growing on her face. "And he's all mine, he doesn't even remember you, Suzie."

That little all-knowing smirk is what drove me over the edge, my blood boiled. I didn't know what came over me. Usually I'm calm, and cool, and collected when it came to beating people up, but this time I wasn't.

Rage, anger, hate, and fear are what drove me to do it. Rage at what she did to Jesse, anger that she had the nerve to do it, hate because I was pretty sure I hated her, and fear-fear for myself, and for Jesse-fear that I might not get through this one alive.

"YOU!" I screamed, pointing a finger at her, "ARE SO DEAD!" I sprang forward suddenly, my hands clenched around Dessa's throat.

The force of my attack surprised us both, she stumbled backwards and I landed on top of her, my hands still wrapped around her throat. I started to squeeze, hard.

"Where is he?!" I yelled over the blaring music and surprised gasps of the innocent dance-goers, "Where's Jesse?! What did you do with him, you bitch!"

Her eyes grew wide, she gasped and started to turn blue, her nails gorged deep cuts in the skin on my wrists, "Can't-..." she started. Before she could get another word out, I squeezed harder.

That's when it all started, the highlight of my wonderful evening.

Suddenly, a chair went flying over my head, it was meant to take off my head, of course. I ducked, and accidentally lost my hold on her throat. I rolled over on my back as another chair flew over me; Dessa was hurling things at me with her mind.

Big mistake on my part. But I didn't care; she deserved everything I gave her, she'd taken away the one thing that made my life worth living: Jesse.

Dessa stood, her eyes blazing, the crystal shard hanging around her neck seemed to throb with an internal light of it's own. "You ruined EVERYTHING!" She yelled at me.

"I ruined nothing!" I informed her, getting to my feet. "You did!" She insisted, "Jesse and I have something! I love him!" Okay. I admit it. That pissed me off big time. I strode forward and slapped her across the face, I mean, I slapped her /hard/.

Hard enough to send her sprawling on her butt.

Dessa stared at me from her position on the gym floor, she raised a hand to her cheek, there was a small trickle of blood running from her lower lip, "You-... you hurt me." I hauled her to her feet and slapped her across the face again. "Good!" I screamed. Boy, I was really losing it. "I hope I kill you!"

Her eyes still blazing, Dessa said through clenched teeth, "You... hurt... me..." With each word, stuff started flying about the room. It started with small stuff, you know, a few members of the Junior Varsity Volleyball Team, a table, a chair; the usual stuff.

People were starting to gather around us, in a circle, staring and gaping at the unthinkable site unfolding before them. Jesse was one of those people in that circle; he was standing next to Jade, who was clinging tightly to his arm, watching me with desperate eyes.

I ducked to avoid being hit by a chair that flew towards me. Dessa's hands were clenched into fists and they rested at her sides. She stood directly across from me. We circled each other like those two Egyptian chicks from /The Mummy Returns/.

Cee Cee and Adam were now part of the circle of people who watched.

That's when she decided to get me with physical attacks, boy; she was more of an idiot than I had previously thought. She screamed really loud and ran at me.

Oh please, I thought, is that all you've got? Just as she got close to me, I sidestepped and held out my hand, so when she ran by, she ran right into my fist.

Heh, heh. Sucker.

Dessa doubled over, groaning. I then took the liberty of grabbing a fist-full of those pretty blonde curls and brought her face in contact with my knee.

I was very pleased with myself when I heard nasal cartilage breaking.

This kick sent her reeling back to the floor, "My dose!" She wailed, as blood dripped off her chin and into her lap, "You bwoke my dose!"

Echoing Jesse's words from a month or so ago, I hauled her to her feet again and said, "I'll break more than your nose if you don't bring him back!"

Really big stuff started to fly around the room now, like the DJ's equipment, speakers and CD players and stuff, a few more Junior Varsity Volleyball players. The thing is, this time, all that stuff made like a big tornado in the middle of the gym.

And that mini-storm cell was headed right towards me.

I just have one question. Why me? I mean, seriously. It was all her fault to begin with, I mean, she's the one that kidnapped Jesse's soul in the first place. And let's face it, he's mine, so that's basically stealing.

And you know what? I don't like thieves. I never have. And so, for this little mistake of hers, she'd pay. And I mean big time.

Dessa fought to get away from me; all the while that tornado-thing came closer and closer. It seemed no one in the room even saw the stuff soaring through the air in the gym, because they all just kept their eyes pinned on Dessa and me. I used this to my advantage.

A metal folding chair flew at me, and I, being the genius that I am, twisted Dessa around and used her as a human shield. Am I clever or what?

The chair hit Dessa in the chest; the force of the impact sent us both flying. Dessa landed near Cee Cee and Adam, and I landed at Jade's feet.

I looked up at her, she was still clinging to Jesse, who seemed to have no idea where he was, the look in her eyes was still sad and desperate, she said, "Smash the crystal! Hurry, your friend doesn't have much time! He's fading fast!" This propelled me to my feet and toward the other side of the gym, where Dessa laid moaning and groaning. I figured she must have a few broken ribs because of the way she had wrapped her arms around her chest.

I pried her arms away and tore the leather cord from her neck. "Hey!" She made a grab for it, "That's mine!" I reached out and slapped her again, "Not anymore."

I held it up to eye-level to examine it. It was glowing... the way a ghost glows, same color and everything. I looked closer at it, and something inside moved.

I gasped and gazed closer still, there were people inside. Hundreds and hundreds of people... and they fought to get out, they pounded on the walls of the tiny rock I held in my hand. That's when I realized... these weren't people, these were souls. Jade was right...

I stared at Dessa, stunned and confused, "You monster," I said, "You trapped all these people inside... why? Even better question... how?" She struggled to get to her feet, "Because," she panted, "They're MINE! I found them, I get to keep them."

"They aren't yours!" I said, "You're messing with things beyond your control!" I held the crystal away from her, "But not while I'm around."

That's when I dropped it. As it fell to the floor, Dessa dove after it, screaming "NOOOO!!!" like you would hear in the movies. When it reached the floor, it didn't shatter like I had hoped. Dessa hit the floor hard, but she missed her target. She stretched her arm out, trying to get to the crystal. I, however, had other ideas. I picked it up again and set it on the floor, out of her reach.

That's when I stepped on it.

As I stepped on it, I prayed to God that I didn't squish the people inside of it. The crystal cracked under the weight of my Sam and Libby three inched spiked high-heel. Light poured from it, as if I had just opened a window at sunrise. Then, there was a bright flash, like lightning.

It was a beautiful blue-white light, you know, the kind you might see if you got abducted by aliens or something.

That's when I saw all these people-ghosts, actually-suddenly filling the room. I mean, I'd never seen so many ghosts in one place before. It was really something.

As I was gaping at all the dead people around me, I hardly noticed when Dessa climbed to her feet and pointed at me, "You've ruined everything!" While she was pointing she was picking up things with her mind; "They were my friends! My only friends! My real friends!"

I blinked at her, about to come up with a really smart aleck come back and maybe slap her a few more times. But that's when I heard Adam yell, "Suze! Watch out!" I spun around, to see another table flying in my direction. I dropped to the floor without another thought.

The table hit the ground where I had just been standing, and splintered into a million pieces. I continued looking around at all the ghosts around me. My brain screamed at me: Jesse, Jesse, I had to find Jesse!

I turned my back on Dessa, looking for Jesse in that circle of people where he had just been standing. Something inside told me to turn back around, and I did.

Only to see large chunks of that table flying at me. I wasn't fast enough, not this time. A metal table leg caught my left shoulder with all the force of an oncoming freight train, and it drove me to the ground.

Swell. What a way to spend your evening.

I mean; it literally pinned me to the gym floor. I couldn't move, and for a moment, everything got quiet. Really quiet, it was so peaceful. But that's when Cee Cee started to scream, "OH MY GOD! YOU KILLED HER! YOU KILLED SUZE!"

And that's when all hell broke loose.

People started running and screaming, trying to get away from the chaos inside the gym. I screamed, afraid I would be trampled to death like those people at that Who concert in Cincinnati all those years ago.

I reached over and tried desperately to pull the table leg out of my shoulder, and let me tell you, that really hurt bad.

I couldn't see Dessa anymore, nor could I see all the spirits I had just released. I really thought I was in for it, I mean it, I was pretty sure I was dead. I closed my eyes and let my head touch the gym floor; so far people were doing a pretty good job of not stepping on me, which was very much appreciated.

"Oh my God! Suze! You're bleeding!" I opened my eyes to see Cee Cee kneeling beside me, "Suze! Stay here! I'll call 911!"

Cee Cee then ran off to call 911, I yelled after her, "I'll wait right here!"

I let my head slump back to the floor again, and I let my eyes drift shut. The pain in my shoulder shot all the way down to my legs. It was white-hot pain... you know, the kind that really, really, really hurts?

That's when I realized I was bleeding, I mean, big time, I was actually laying in a pool of my own blood. Ew. This dress is so ruined. Just as I was wishing I had an Advil, I felt strong hands under my left shoulder, "Suze! What happened to you?"

I opened my eyes and saw Adam peering down at me, "Adam?" I asked. My vision was starting to swim and I saw black spots before my eyes. "Oh my God," he said, then he swore quiet colorfully, "Suze... what-... how did this happen?"

"Adam," I croaked, my hearing was starting to fade, I could hardly hear myself.

I was losing a lot of blood, which, normally never happens, but hey, I normally don't get impaled with table legs, either.

"Adam," I said again, struggling with the table leg in my right shoulder, "You have to get your car, go find your car, and Cee Cee and get me out of here!"

People were still running around in the gym like headless chickens, screaming and yelling. God, it was so loud... but everything I was seeing, feeling and hearing started to dull. I hate to say this, because I know it sounds like I'm a drama queen, but I knew I was dying. I was bleeding to death.

Wow, what a way to die... in a pool of your own blood and a ruined Just Choon evening dress.

Adam nodded quickly, "C'mon, let's get you out of here-..." Before he could actually finish that sentence, he was knocked away by a strong gust of wind.

No one had opened any doors or anything; it could only be one person.

Dessa O'Connor.

She launched herself away from the crowd of people, and dove for my throat. I gasped and twisted my body towards the table leg-which, I might add, hurt very much.

Dessa-like Adam-swore colorfully at me. She wrapped her manicured hands around my throat like I'd done to her. "You'll die!" She screamed at me, "I'll kill you for what you've done!"

Kill me/? Because I freed a bunch of trapped souls-that of which included my boyfriend-from your evil clutches? Will someone please tell me exactly what I did /wrong here?

Dessa didn't care, she just kept tightening the grip she had on my windpipe. Somehow, even though I was losing blood as fast as an SUV sucks gas, I managed to get my left leg out from under me, and I used this leg to apply a three-inch spiked high-heel to Dessa's gut.

I kicked her as hard as I could, which must have been pretty hard because Dessa let go of my throat and was knocked backwards. I lay there for a moment, trying to clear the dizziness from my head. Then she came at me again.

But this time, I was ready for her. As she started to come at me, I gave my best Rockette's kick and hit her square in the chin. This also sent her flying backwards, but, sadly, the force of my kick was not strong enough to break her jaw as I had hoped it would be.

Dessa lay there moaning, by this time Adam was scrambling to his feet, still swearing. "God all freakin' mighty!" He exclaimed, (only he didn't say 'freakin'.) He wrapped his hands around the table leg protruding from my shoulder, and gave a hard yank.

It made a really gross sucking sound, which caused more blood to flow from the wound, and it hurt really badly too, because then I started swearing. With another hard yank, Adam had freed me from the vile table leg and was pulling me to my feet.

At that moment, Cee Cee ran up to me, "I called 911... OH MY GOD SUZE! What happened to you?!" I shoved her aside, and with another good kick to Dessa's ribs, I shoved her aside, too. I yelled into the crowd, "Jesse!" Of course, no one could hear me over everyone else's screaming.

Adam grabbed my good arm and started dragging me toward the doors, "C'mon! Let's get outta here!" I was so weak; I had no choice but to be pulled along. I tried not to let my weakness show, so when we got to the parking lot, I started to run. (Bad idea for someone who is bleeding to death.)

Cee Cee and Adam ran ahead of me, not looking back. I started to run across the soft grass that was in front of RLS High School, and I found that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't keep going. I stopped running, and jogged a little ways. Then I stopped jogging and walked, I kept thinking, I have to catch up with Cee Cee and Adam...

Then after that, I stopped completely and just stood there swaying back and forth. That's when I was pretty sure that there was just no more blood left in my body. And I also found that I was too tired to care anymore.

Then I simply fainted.

The last thing I remember was being hauled to my feet by a pair of strong hands, those hands were then placed behind my knees and I was lifted and carried to someplace. Then the person began yelling at me in Spanish.

---

"I don't think you should pick her up," Jade cried as she trailed along behind Jesse, who held an unconscious Susannah in his arms, "What if she has neck damage or something?" Jade stopped running, threw off the high-heels she was wearing to accompany the tacky outfit Dessa had placed her in, and started to run after Jesse.

"Oh my God," by this time Jade had started to sob, "She saved me, she saved my life! C'mon, hurry, we have to find her friends, oh my God, are you all right?"

Jesse stopped, shifted Susannah's weight in his arms and replied, "Don't worry about me, run ahead and find her friends! Go! Now!"

Jade did as he told her and she started to run toward the parking lot. Jesse wasn't far behind. Blood trickled down Susannah's arm, soaked into Jesse's shirt and dripped from her fingertips. "Hey! Hey you! Wait! Wait for us!" Jade called to Cee Cee and Adam, "Wait for us, please! We have to get her to the hospital!"

Cee Cee stopped, said to Adam, "Go get your car, HURRY!" Adam kept running toward the street, where he was forced to park to get into the dance. Cee Cee whipped around and ran back towards Jade and Jesse, "How bad is she hurt?" She asked Jesse as she fell into step with him.

"She's hurt bad," Jesse replied, taking only a second to spare a glance at Cee Cee, "I don't know if she'll make it."

"She's got to make it, she just has to!" Cee Cee said, running ahead, grabbing Jade by the arm and tugging her across the street. By this time, Adam had unlocked the doors, and threw back the seats so they could all fit.

Jesse gently laid Susannah on the sidewalk, and gazed down at her for a moment. Her face was pale and ashen, blood covered her shoulders and neck and she was missing a shoe. Shaking aside his fear, Jesse stripped off his jacket and wrapped it tightly around her shoulders. "Oh no," He glanced up at the owner of the voice, to see that Jade was still crying, "You're hurt, too," she observed as she looked at Jesse's blood soaked shirt.

"That's from her," he said, scooping Suze up in his arms again, "Let's go or she won't make it!" Everyone piled into the car, Jade, Jesse and Suze in the back seat, Adam and Cee Cee in the front.

Adam sped off down the street towards the hospital.

---

Oh man, why is it so cold in here? And why am I all wet? Where am I? Whose arms are around me? Oh no, what about Jesse?! And Jade?! I have to get them out... I have to go back!! Must open eyes...

Oh... why do my arms feel so heavy? And... oh, what happened to me? Why am I so thirsty? And... someone is touching my ankles...

I mustered enough strength to open my eyes just a little bit... I had to see who was holding me and why I was all wet... When I got my eyes opened far enough, I was very shocked to see Jesse peering down at me.

It had taken most of my remaining energy to open my eyes, but I managed to whisper, "J-J-Jesse?"

"Shhh!" He silenced me, "Don't try to speak, I'm right here." I felt his arm tighten around my waist. He looks funny/; I thought as I looked up at him, he looks really weird. /Why are his eyes so shiny?

I was trying to say, "Where am I?" but I was too busy trying to figure out what was wrong with Jesse. Maybe it was because he was alive now, you know? And he wasn't glowing anymore... no, that wasn't it.

I felt his thumb gaze past my cheek and that weird shimmering in his eyes grew brighter, then it faded. That's when I realized, Jesse was crying.

It was almost funny, in a really pathetic sort of way, I mean, he was alive, and away from Dessa, why was he crying? "Stop it," I said really quietly, and I really don't know how I did this, but I found enough power left in me to reach up and wipe those tears off his cheeks.

Then he sort of grabbed my hand and held it to his cheek, all the while, he was staring down at me and all I could think was, Why am I all WET??? What river did I fall in? And then I heard other people talking, too, but I couldn't figure out who the voices belonged to... maybe it was just my imagination.

Then Jesse leaned close to me and whispered something really funny, I mean, I thought it was funny because it didn't make any sense, "Don't you leave me, Susannah Simon, you hear me? Don't you leave me."

If I had the energy, I would have laughed at him, I mean, c'mon, I was wet and tired, and getting kind of cold, I wasn't going anywhere. Oh well, maybe being alive again kinda temporarily fried his judgment or something, you know?

I was starting to fall asleep and I realized something, like, since he was alive now, what if he tried to go and you know, get another girlfriend or something? Since Jesse and I weren't boyfriend and girlfriend officially. Maybe this would be a fine time to tell him how much I liked him.

So I started to come up with this big, long excuse about why I liked him, but I decided to shorten it. So I whispered as loud as I possibly could, (which wasn't very loud), "I love you."

And at first Jesse just stared at me, and I kinda thought that he hadn't heard me, you know? Because he went, "What? What did you say?" And then he leaned really close and whispered in my ear, "Say it again." And I guess that would have been really romantic and everything, but I was very, very sleepy.

My eyes started to drift shut, but I said it again, so he could hear me this time, "I love you, Jesse." And then I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

---

"No! No! Susannah, wake up!" Jesse shook her shoulders a little bit to rouse her, "Don't fall asleep! Wake up!" Jade leaned over and looked down at her new friend, "Was she awake? Did she say anything?"

Jesse could only stare down at the girl in his arms, "She said she loved me," he whispered almost to himself, like he couldn't really believe it.

Cee Cee unbuckled her seatbelt, reached around and laid two fingers on the side of her friend's bloody neck, "She's got a pulse, but it's barely there, punch it Adam!"

Adam did exactly as she asked; he did five times the normal speed limit, which was only 45. Suddenly a pair of blue and red lights appeared behind the little VW Bug.

"Aw, hell!" Adam yelled as he flipped on his turn signal to exit the highway. "Mr. Piggy is gonna have to wait," Cee Cee said as she put her seat belt back on, "He can give you the ticket at the hospital."

"Great, thanks," Adam mumbled. A right turn, a left turn and two squad cars later, they pulled up in front of the E.R. The policemen surrounded the VW Bug, guns drawn. "Get out of the car, nice and slow!" One cop yelled from his position behind his car door.

The four teenagers didn't listen however, Cee Cee opened her car door and screamed in the direction of some ambulance drives, "HELP! WE NEED SOME HELP OVER HERE!!"

The two drivers came running over as Adam got out of the car with his hands up, Jade was the next one out, followed by Jesse who was still carrying Susannah. "Holy God," one driver said as he took a look at the limp and bloody girl, "She's in bad shape, get her inside!"

The driver got on the radio as he followed the four teens inside, the police officers forgotten, "I need a trauma unit to the E.R., stat! We have a..." he looked over Susannah, "fifteen-..."

"Sixteen," Jesse corrected the ambulance driver.

"/Sixteen/ year old female who's lost a lot of blood from a shoulder wound... it looks like she possibly got impaled on a sharp object."

The EMT, who's name tag read 'D.T. Jones' took Susannah from Jesse's arms and placed her on a gurney in a trauma bay. "What's her name?" EMT Jones asked Jesse.

"Susannah Simon," he replied.
"Age?"
"Sixteen."
"Your name?"
"Uh, Jesse..."
"Relation to the victim?"
"A friend, I guess... I just met her. Tonight, at a dance."

EMT Jones nodded and said to Jesse and company, "You guys can talk to Nurse Stevens, and she'll need her phone number and parent's names so they can be notified."

The four of them headed out to the waiting room. Jesse and Jade plopped down in side-by-side chairs while Cee Cee and Adam went to find the nurse. Jade turned to Jesse and said, "She had you, too? Dessa did?"

He swallowed very hard and nodded. "I'm sorry," Jade said, reaching over to hold his hand. Jesse chuckled bitterly and held Jade's hand tight, "A new life... a chance to start over... and the one woman I love more than anything in the world isn't going to be in it."

Jesse looked at his feet and didn't try to hide his tears.

---
One week later
---

When I woke up I thought, "Whoa... where am I? It's pretty white place... AHHH!! Dessa's got me, AHHH!!!" Then I opened my eyes and realized I was in a hospital room.

And there was a nurse puttering around in the corner of the room. I noticed there was a lot of flowers and stuff, I sat up. There was an IV in my left arm, and a big bandage on my shoulder. The nurse, who was an older woman, maybe fifty or so, turned around and gasped, "You're awake, Miss Simon! You've had visitors in here everyday waiting for you to wake up!"

"Oh," I said, still looking around. "You have some friends waiting right outside the hall, shall I go get them for you?"

"Uh," I tried moving my left shoulder, but it kinda hurt and it was still a little stiff, "Well, who's out there?"

"Two young men and a young lady and a young... err, albino lady..." Oh, Jade and Cee Cee, it has to be Jade, I mean, it couldn't be Gina. "Jade and Cee Cee?" I asked, "Yeah, send them in, but don't let the guys in."

"All right, Miss Simon, I'll be right back." She stepped outside and I pulled the bandage off my shoulder. There wasn't a big, gaping hole like I had expected, instead it was kinda circular and pink, like I had plastic surgery.

I was just climbing out of bed when Cee Cee and Jade came in, both of them hugged me very carefully and Cee Cee handed me a backpack containing some of my clothes and some shampoo. Jade, I noticed, wasn't dressed like a Goth anymore, instead she was wearing a black skirt that came up to mid-calf, knee-high leather boots and a large lavender sweater, because, she explained, it had been rainy and cold while I was asleep.

My doctor came in then and took my IV out, because now I felt pretty darned good. He said my parents were on the way, and I could go home this afternoon.

I took a shower, and got dressed. (Inside the backpack was a pair of blue jeans and a black, one side strap shirt, you know, the shirts that only have one strap? My mom had packed this because she figured my shoulder would be sore. Which was really nice of her, actually.) While I was brushing my teeth, I asked if Cee Cee could go and grab me a Coke, because I kinda wanted to talk to Jade alone.

When Cee Cee left I asked, "So, um, how's Dessa? She gonna be okay?" Jade replied evenly, "She's dead, Suze. The spirits you released destroyed her."

Oh great, now I'll probably be charged for murder. "Well, um, h-how's Jesse? You know? He didn't like disappear at midnight, did he?"

Jade smiled, "No, he's out in the hallway, pacing probably. He's been driving us all crazy, waiting for you to wake up. He's uh, he's staying with Cee's Aunt Pru, you know? And he and Adam are like, attached at the hip now. It's funny. Oh, and your step-brother David got your cat out of your room and sent him along with Jesse."

My heart did a crazy leap, "Oh-... oh, can I see him? Will you send Jesse in?"

Jade's smile got wider, "Sure, I'll tell Cee Cee you guys want some time alone." Butterflies began to rise in my stomach, I did it! Jesse's alive, and I freed all those people and... and... I didn't have much time to think about anything because at that moment the door swung open and Jesse walked in.

He shut the door quietly and turned around to face me. And I could do was stare at him, and it seemed that was all Jesse could do, too.

I swear to God, if for some strange reason I ever thought Tad Beaumont, Bryce Martinson or Paul Slater were hot for any reason, I am stupid beyond belief. Because Jesse... whew, he took the cake.

I looked him up and down and I finally forced my vocal cords to move, "So, uh... looks like Adam took you shopping..." And damn, did Adam have good taste! Jesse was wearing a plain white t-shirt, blue jeans, a leather jacket and a pair of Nikes. /Nikes/, can you believe that??? Jesse seemed very shy, "Well, no... Jade and Cee Cee did."

Whatever, Jade and Cee Cee have good taste, and the leather jacket was a great touch! They knew a good bod when they saw one! "I didn't think you were going to make it," Jesse said to the floor. "The doctors, um, the doctors said that the chances of you surviving weren't very good."

I did my best to smile at him, it was hard considering I was still really tired and here was this beautiful piece of man-candy trying to go all mushy on me. I sat down on my bed and said, "Well, I'm all right now." Jesse looked up at me and finally crossed the room and sat beside me.

All of a sudden, Jesse just looked so sad, like he wanted to ask me something, but couldn't. And then I remembered something, a voice but I couldn't remember who said it, "Don't you leave me, Susannah Simon, you hear me? Don't you leave me."

I smiled and reached up to touch that little scar hidden in his eyebrow, "See Jesse? I didn't leave you, I won't. Not today, not tomorrow."

Jesse smiled at me, grabbed my hand, pulled me closer and said, "How about never, /querida/?" And that was the second time he kissed me. On the lips.

---
Two months later
---

October in California was basically like July, sunny and one hundred degrees. Today was a beautiful Saturday morning on the beaches of Carmel. All eight of us, (Me, Cee Cee, Adam, Jade, Jesse, Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc) had all piled into the Rambler to "hit the waves" and have "'za" on the beach later.

Meaning Sleepy and Adam had volunteered to teach Jesse how to surf and we were going for pizza later in the afternoon.

As Jade, Cee Cee and I set out our lawn chairs and slathered ourselves with sunscreen, we watched David and Brad get on their boards and fall head first into the waves.

I was settled nicely in my chair, Cee Cee and Jade on either side of me, and had just picked up my book when Jesse plopped down in the sand beside me, so that he was sandwiched between Cee Cee and I.

"Are you going to try this?" He asked, pointing to Dopey's old surfboard that he had laid behind my chair, "Because there is no way I'm doing it alone."

"Nuh-uh, no way, I don't do surfing," I protested. "Oh yes you do," Adam said, sitting on the other side of me, "C'mon, I'll teach you."

"No way. I am going to sit here, soak up some rays, read my book and watch all the hot lifeguards on the beach."

"Here, here!" Jade yelled, laughing. "Pllleeeasssseeee?" Adam whined, laying his head on my shoulder. I laughed and shoved him away, "Go harass Cee Cee!"

"Don't send him over here!" Cee Cee said, grabbing her towel and throwing it over her head so no one could see her. "Oh well," Jesse said to Adam, "It was worth a shot, c'mon, let's go!" He leaned down and planted a kiss on my forehead, "Love you Suzie, have fun!"

Jesse picked up Dopey's board and he and Adam trudged off toward the water. I just sat there and smiled at him as he walked away, then I returned to my book.

"God Suze," Cee Cee said to me, I looked over at her then at the ocean, watching Jesse and Adam on their boards. "What?" I asked.

"You are so lucky, girl," Cee Cee continued, I smiled as I watched Jesse fall off his surfboard, "I mean, you're from New York... you're popular, your stepdad is a great cook, you've got a hot boyfriend, you've got lots of friends, I mean, what more could you ask for?"

"Yeah," I said quietly, as I kept my eyes pinned on Jesse, "I really am... aren't I? I'm the luckiest girl in the world."

---

To Be Continued...
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