Categories > Books > Mediator, The


by CerasiJ 0 reviews

"The glass slipped from my hands and shattered into a million pieces on the floor, shattered like my whole world, nothing would ever be the same again."

Category: Mediator, The - Rating: R - Genres: Angst, Drama, Romance - Warnings: [!] [?] - Published: 2006-02-12 - Updated: 2006-02-13 - 10044 words - Complete

Title: Shattered
Author: Cerasi J.
Rating: R-for extreme emotional angst!
Summary: "The glass slipped from my hands and shattered into a million pieces on the floor, shattered like my whole world, nothing would ever be the same again."
Feedback: Always love it! Please send any questions, comments and hate mail to:
Disclaimer: Don't own anyone/thing, never have, never will, all money goes to Jenny Carroll/Cabot.
Author's Note: I read a story on Fan Fiction.Net where the author mentions Suze's Mom's name is Carrie... I have no idea if the author made that up, or if it was mentioned in the books, and I just missed it someplace. Either way, I hope the author doesn't mind me borrowing it, because it sounds nice! ^.^''

Character death!!!! If you can't handle it, don't read it and don't say I didn't warn you!!

It was a warm August day, not too hot and not too chilly, either. The birds were singing, the sun was shining brightly against the crystal blue Pacific Ocean, I was having a great hair day, Jesse called me /querida/-twice!-and I didn't have to work today!

It was wonderful! The best day I've had all summer. Well, the best day I've had all summer was the day when Jesse kissed me, but that's another story.

Sleepy and Dopey were supposed to be at the beach, Doc was at the library, and Andy was somewhere in town, doing something. I try to stay out of my step-dad's business. You know, don't ask, don't tell kinda thing.

My mother was the only one left in the house, and soon she'd be off to wherever and I would have the whole house to myself! Well, save for Jesse, but I didn't mind sharing the house with him.

I was so happy this morning, I felt like jumping on my bed or something stupid like that.

I swung my feet over the edge of my bed, stretched and yawned. Hm, what to wear today? I went shopping with Cee Cee last weekend and picked up some totally awesome stuff. Like this pair of cute charcoal-gray slacks, which didn't fit me, but I bought for my mom instead? Oh yeah, I scored big time, they were 50% off!

I bought them for her, just to say thanks and stuff. You know, thanks for not sticking me in the nut ward after all these years, I mean. So anyway, she loved the slacks, but was all worried because I never buy her stuff except for Christmas and birthdays and stuff.

Just as I was trying to decide between the black J. Crew slip dress I wore to my own exorcism, or a pair of farm girl overalls and a t-shirt with the MAD Magazine logo that said, "What me worry?" on it, someone knocked on my door.

I was still in my PJs, so I opened the door a crack and peeked out. I saw my mother standing in the hallway, "Oh, hi!" I said, not expecting to see her that early.

"Good morning, Suze," she smiled at me and I opened the door all the way. "Where's Sl-... I mean, Brad and everyone? Are they all at the beach?" I looked down and saw that she was wearing the slacks I bought her. She had on a white t-shirt that was kinda clingy, and the slacks, and a pair of suspenders. She looked like Sue from the Crocodile Dundee movies!

I gasped, "Mom! I love your outfit!" She looked down, eyed herself modestly, and blushed; "Do you like it? I'm wearing the pants you bought me." I smiled, "I know, they look much better on you then they would on me!" That was the truth; they did look better on her than me, I know because I tried them on at the store.

She smiled back, "Well, listen honey, I have to go up to San Jose for a meeting with some people from WCAL." I shrugged, "Okay, whatever." Mom continued, "I thought... well, school starts in two weeks, maybe we could go shopping this afternoon when I get home? I mean, just the two of us, I should be home by 1:00 or 1:30."

Shopping? With Mom? We hadn't done that in a long time, I was in such a good mood I couldn't say no, so I said, "Sure, Mom! That'd be great!" Smiling again, she said, "Really? You're sure?"

I went, "Oh yeah, sounds like fun, I can't wait." And I really couldn't, it would be fun to shop just the two of us. She kissed me on the cheek, "Okay Suzie, I'll be home at 1:00 or so, see you then?"

I pointed at her and winked, just to be silly, "Be there or be square, girlfriend." No one said that anymore, but she laughed anyway.

I smiled at her as she walked down the stairs; I really love my Mom.


I decided on the farm-girl overalls and MAD Mag t-shirt for that day's wardrobe, then, after I had watched my Mom's car pull out of the driveway, I made my bed and went downstairs for some grub.

I was just spreading artificially flavored strawberry cream cheese on a toasted bagel when the phone rang. I licked the pink stuff of the end of the knife I was using and walked to the phone.


"Suze!!!!!" Cee Cee squealed in my ear, "Girl! What's up?" I pulled the phone away from my ear for a moment, "Cee? God, scream a little louder, why don't you? I'm not deaf in this ear yet."

Cee Cee laughed, "Sorry Suze, I'm so excited, I got my paycheck from the /Carmel Pine Cone/, for the summer, you know? It's almost a thousand dollars!"

Whoa. A thousand bucks for working at a newspaper for the summer? I know what my next summer job is going to be. "A thousand dollars?" I echoed in awe, "Wow, Cee. That's a lot."

"Yeah, I know!" She replied, "My check was only supposed to be like $300, but since I ran that big article on that, um... what's his name? That de Silva guy? I got like, major spendage, girlfriend."

Damn, Cee Cee gets a thousand bucks for writing an article on my boyfriend? What a corker. So I said, "That's really great, Cee Cee, what are you gonna do with the money?"

"Duh," Cee Cee said, I could almost see her rolling her eyes, "I'm gonna put a down payment on a car so I won't have to have McTavish drive me everywhere."

"Ooh," I said, "Is that because of the whole Martha's Vineyard thing?" Cee Cee snorted in disgust, "Yeah. You might say that."

We talked a little while longer about what sort of car she was going to get, then I told her my breakfast was getting cold, so we hung up.

I sat on the kitchen counter and finished off my bagel, thinking about the upcoming school year, and the "adventures" I've had this past summer.

Yeah, if you want to call almost getting killed by my boyfriend's ex, then getting exorcised to save his soul an "adventure".

But whatever. I washed my dishes and put them away in the cupboard. It was almost 11:00 a.m., Sleepy and Dopey would be home prowling the 'fridge for some innocent Chinese take-out container to ravage for lunch soon.

I started to climb the stairs back up to my bedroom, hoping a certain rich rancher's kid would be waiting for me.

Much to my disappointment, Jesse wasn't around-yet. I figured I had nothing else to do, so I pulled a book off of my shelf, sat down on the window seat and read the opening paragraph:

Sometimes it seems like all I ever do is lie. Boy, I thought to myself as I tried to get comfortable on the window seat, I can relate.

I sat there and read until Sleepy and Dopey came home and demanded I fix them sandwiches. I employed a very strong four-letter word that got the message that I was not fixing them lunch across.

I was just about to return to my book when I heard: "Such language, Susannah."

Without tearing my eyes from the page again I said, "Then you fix them lunch, Jesse." He shook his head and rolled his eyes at me. "You drive me crazy sometimes." Like he should talk!

Jesse seemed to notice then that I was paying more attention to the book in my hands than I was to him. He sat on the window seat across from me. "What are you reading?"

"A book," I replied, then chuckled, If we're so rich, how come the TV in my room is only black and white?

She has a TV in her room? Lucky. Jesse grabbed the book out of my hands and read the cover," The Princess Diaries?" He said, "Is it really written by a princess?" It was my turn to roll my eyes, don't get me wrong, I really love Jesse, but sometimes he... well, just doesn't get it.

I grabbed the book back and continued reading without answering him. "Suze?" I looked up at him, Jesse blinked and shrugged. I turned to the open doorway to find Andy standing there. "Suze? Who are you talking to?" Oh God.

I shot a GET OUT OF HERE look at Jesse, "No one, Jess-...err, Andy. What's up?" Jesse crossed his arms over his chest and grinned. Men sometimes, I swear to God... "Oh, nothing," Andy said, "I just stopped to see what you were up to this afternoon."

"Oh," I said quickly, "Just... uh, waiting for Mom, we're going shopping together later this afternoon."

"Ooh," Andy seemed interested at the mention of my mother, "Sounds like fun, are you taking any friends?" Oh God, why, why, why can't I just have five minutes so I can finish my book? "Uh," I said, "No, just me and Mom."

At that point in time I heard a "YOU'RE GOIN' DOWN!" then a very loud crash as Dopey tackled Sleepy. Andy gaped for a moment, then rushed downstairs yelling, "Boys! Bradley and Jacob Ackerman! Stop right now!" Jacob? Bradley? HA!

Well, after that nothing much happened, Dopey and Sleepy left again, after being ripped on by Andy, who left shortly after his sons, I finished my book and had a nice chat with Jesse on the happenings of the Civil War. It was almost two o'clock, when was Mom going to get home?

I figured she forgot to add in traffic time coming home, you know how bad traffic in California can be. So I just hung around the house until three or so, then I decided to call Mom's cell phone, and all I heard was: "Hi! This is Carrie Ackerman, I can't take your call right now, so leave a message and I'll get back to you."

Hm, Mom must still be in her meeting, she usually turns her cell phone off during meetings. I laid down on my bed and stared at the ceiling, wondering what sort of sales J. Crew and The Gap would be having. I think I must have fallen asleep, because when I woke up, Jesse was sitting on my window seat, reading the book I had just finished.

I chuckled and looked at the clock, it was almost four. Where the hell was Mom? I wandered downstairs; no one was home yet, so I turned on the TV to watch Oprah/. Only to find /Oprah was off, and the local news was on. I shrugged, opened the dishwasher and pulled out a glass.

I turned on the tap water and tuned out the news; instead I was wondering where my mom was. I filled my glass with water and raised it to my lips. "... Mr. Mendez-... we have some breaking news..." Oh wow, another Panda escaped from the zoo. I tuned out the TV again.

/"... It has just be reported that morning anchorwoman Carrie Ackerman has been injured in a car accident..." /I spun around and gaped at the television, my Mom? In a car accident? My MOTHER? Who was the world's most slowest, careful driver? No way. No frickin' way. But panic had sunk into my stomach anyway; my hands started shaking and my knees felt weak.

I didn't know what to do; I was so scared all of a sudden. Like when I couldn't find Jesse, I sat there going, What do I do? What should I do? The phone rang and I almost jumped out of my skin. I clutched the glass of water to my chest and slowly made my way to the phone.

It's okay, I told myself, That's Mom on the phone right now, telling me she's okay, just has to be checked out at the E.R. and then we'll head off to the Carmel Outlets... I picked up the phone and raised it slowly to my ear, "H-hello?"

"Hi," a man's voice said, "Who's this?" I told him I was Susannah Simon, who was this? He said, "I'm Officer Mackenzie with the California State Police-..." Suddenly I said, "Are you calling about my mother? I saw her on the news... how bad is she hurt? Will she be okay?"

I was getting hysterical but I didn't care, it was my mother here people, my only living parent. "Well... um, Miss Simon, that's..." He trailed off and I knew what was coming, it hit me like a loaded freight train. Officer Mackenzie didn't have to finish his sentence, because I already knew what he was going to say.

He cleared his throat, "Miss Simon, your mother sustained extreme internal bleeding as a result of a head-on collision with a pick-up truck just outside of San Jose, and she-well, Miss Simon, your mother didn't-... um..." Officer Mackenzie's voice dropped to a harsh whisper, "Miss Simon, your mother didn't survive the accident."

The glass I was holding slipped from my hands and shattered into a million pieces on the floor, shattered like my whole world, nothing would ever be the same again. Never. And I knew it.

"Oh my God," was all I could manage to say. That freight train was bearing down on me now, suffocating me. "Now, Miss Simon-..." Officer Mackenzie started, but he didn't get to finish his thought because I hung up on him.

I'm pretty sure you can get arrested for hanging up on an officer of the law, but this time they could make an acceptation. I looked down at the broken glass that now littered the floor, tears blurred my vision. How could this be happening? This had to be some sort of mistake...

My mother couldn't be dead. It just... wasn't possible. My strong-willed, hardworking mother who only wanted the best for me? Gone? I didn't believe that, not for an instant.

But why did I have this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach?

The phone rang again; probably Officer Mackenzie trying to get me to believe that Mom was dead. I moved blindly toward the stairs, I know I stepped on the broken glass, but I didn't even feel it. I was too scared.

I took the stairs two at a time, there was only one person that I knew of who could really tell me what happened to my mother.

And it wasn't Officer Mackenzie.

I stumbled into my bedroom, tears still lingering in my eyes and fear still lingering in my heart. Jesse was still sitting on the window seat, reading The Princess Diaries. "Jesse." Was all I said. I caught a glimpse of myself in my bedroom mirror, I looked pale and sickly.

He glanced up at me, then, seeing the fear in my face, set down the book and stood very quickly, this caused Spike to tumble off Jesse's lap. It would have been very funny under normal circumstances. "Susannah?" Jesse questioned as he strode across the room to me, "What is it? What's the matter?"

I opened my mouth to answer, but before I could even get a word out I heard a voice call out from downstairs. "Hello? Is anyone here?" My eyes grew wide and my heart skipped a beat, I knew that voice. I knew it only too well.

I turned away from Jesse and ran down the stairs, my heart thumping madly against my ribs. I stopped running when I got to the landing on the first floor. My sudden stop caused Jesse to run into me. I didn't even realize he was behind me.

The voice called out again; the voice sounded like it was in the kitchen. "Hello? I'm looking for the mediator, is he here?" The owner of that voice came around the corner and into the living room, where I now stood.

Let me re-phrase that.

My mother came around the corner and into the living room. My mother who now glowed.

Jesse drew in his breath sharply, "Nombre de Dios..." Someday I would have to ask him what that meant. The tears in my eyes came back and spilled over. Mom walked toward the backdoors that lead to the porch. She called out again, "I'm looking for the mediator!"

Mom didn't even seem to notice Jesse and I standing there, not ten feet away from her. I don't know how, but through my tears and my urges to sob hysterically, I answered her. "I'm the mediator."

Mom spun around and gaped at me, "Suze?" More and more tears spilled over in my eyes, I was powerless to stop them. Just this morning we had planned to go shopping together, and she told me how much she liked the pants I got her. Now she would be wearing them for all eternity.

I sank down onto the stairs, mostly because my knees decided to give out on me. It just wasn't fair, this wasn't supposed to happen. My father was already dead, but my mother too? No, it wasn't supposed to happen this way, it wasn't supposed to end like this...

I must have been crying pretty hard because Jesse started patting me on the back and was trying to be reassuring and everything. Mom just stood there and stared at the both of us like we were the dead ones.

Well, only one of us was dead.

I looked up at her, "W-why Mom? Why you, too?" Mom looked uncomfortable, "Now-... honey, it's okay! Look, Mommy's still here and we'll still go shopping together..." She knelt in front of me and brushed my hair away from my eyes, "Now Suzie, why are you crying? Go and get your things and we'll leave, I'm sorry I'm late, but these things happen..."

Oh my God, didn't she know that she was dead? I mean, c'mon, she asked for the mediator for crying out loud. "Mom," I sobbed, "We-you /can't/-..." Mom ignored this, she finally seemed to notice Jesse-who was crouched beside me-and looked annoyed.

"Suze, who's this? I thought we agreed that you were not to have friends over while Andy and I were gone." I covered my face with my hands, why did God have to curse me with this horrible predicament? I mean, really. The guy I love just happens to be dead; my father is dead, and now my mother, too? God, all I ever do is hang around dead people.

I closed my eyes, leaned against the railing and made no attempt to stop my tears. Now what would happen to me? I'd be shipped back to the Big Apple of course, because my Grandmother was my next-of-kin and my only living family member to boot. Maybe Gina's parents would be interested in adopting a sixteen-year-old girl who can speak to the dead.

This thought only made me cry harder.

Jesse stood up, said something to me-I think it was "Wait right there"-took my mother by the elbow and started leading her into the kitchen. Mom, of course, let Jesse pull her along, now that she could see him, maybe she thought he was pretty hot, too.

But whatever. Mom wasn't taking all this lightly, she was protesting all the way. Demanding stuff like, "What do you think you're doing?" and "Who are you and what are you doing in my house?" My hands-I realized-where very wet from where I had been holding them to my face. I wiped them off on my bib overalls. This caused my overalls to become soaked.

I just sat there and kept right on crying. I mean, your mother dies and comes to find the mediator and guess what, you happen to be that mediator. And all you wanted to do was go shopping. God, what a day.

I must have sat there for like twenty minutes, because after about that long Mom and Jesse returned from the kitchen, where I had assumed they were chatting ghost stuff. Either that, or my mother had somehow seduced my boyfriend and they were making wild, passionate love.

God. /God/, everything sucks.

I glanced up at them as they walked back into the living room, Jesse looked sad, and Mom, she looked, well, scared. "Suzie," Mom started to say, but she got all teary eyed and stuff. I just shook my head, I couldn't believe this. I just couldn't.

I stood up very carefully because my head was spinning and I felt really sick, I said, "Mom-it's oka-..." I was almost going to say, "It's okay," but that's when I realized that it wasn't going to be okay. Ever again.

Jesse must have seen this in my face, since he grabbed my arm and said, "Susannah. Susannah, look at me." I looked at him, "Go find Father Dominic," he said, "and I'll,"-he swallowed-"explain things to your mother." I chewed on my knuckles and attempted a bitter laugh, "Why go find him? It's not like he can fix it."

Mom, tears streaking down her face, said quietly, "Why Father Dominic? Suze, what's the matter? What's wrong with me? And who"-she pointed at Jesse-"is this boy?" Oh my God, she just doesn't get it.

Instead of answering her question or going to find Father D as Jesse had told me to, I wrenched my arm free from his grip, bounded down the remaining five stairs and shrieked, "DAD!!!" I followed that up with an afterthought: "If you don't come to me this time I swear to God the next time I see you, I'll punch you in the face!"

"Goodness Suzie-Q, no need to shout," a voice said to the left of me, "What's the problem?" I whirled to face him, that was the first time, the first time in my whole life, that my Dad actually came when I called him. My Dad had not noticed my mother and Jesse standing there, because he had his back to them.

So, unable to speak because I was still crying, I jabbed an accusing finger in the direction of my mother. Confused, Dad slowly turned around. When he saw my mother, he stopped. They both gaped at each other. My mother broke the sudden silence by whispering, "Peter... oh my God, is that really you?"

Mom took a step toward him and my Dad stayed put, still staring at her, "Suze..." he turned to me, "Suze, what's all this?" Jesse came over, took me by the arm and said to my Dad, "Mr. Simon, could you explain to Mrs. Ackerman about... well, what the problem is, Susannah and I are going to find Father Dominic."

Well, talk about taking charge of a situation.

My Dad, who was never very fond of Jesse, only nodded numbly and turned his eyes back to my mother who was standing right in front of him. "Carrie," my dad said, "I never thought-..." He didn't get to finish his sentence because my mother suddenly threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly.

I couldn't tear my eyes away from them; they looked just like they always did, back home, in New York, when Dad came home from work and mom would be waiting at the door with a kiss for him. It was so sweet, like something from a romance movie.

Jesse's voice brought me back to reality, "Susannah? C'mon, we've-..." Jesse didn't get to finish, either. But not because I had thrown my arms around him, but because the front door flew open and the Ackerman boys streamed in, shouting things like, "I get first dibs on the chip dip!" and "I get the last Sunkist!"

That's when they all stopped and noticed me, standing in the middle of the living room, sobbing hysterically. They, of course, could not see Jesse, Mom or Dad. "Suze," Sleepy said, looking bored and unimpressed, "What the hell is wrong with you? Did you find another dead guy in the back yard?"

Dopey hooted loudly and Doc's ears turned red and he launched into a long-winded speech about the reaction of a human being seeing another human being's remains wasn't always pretty. I really loved Doc; he was such a great kid.

I sniffled, "Mom-..." This captured the attention of all three Ackerman brothers. "What about Mom?" Doc said from the kitchen where he had gone to get a Popsicle. I looked over at Mom and Dad who were now watching Jesse and me with sad eyes; I turned back to Doc and said simply, "She's dead."

Dopey and Sleepy stared at me, Doc dropped his grape flavored Popsicle on the new white carpet. "What?" They all spoke at the same time. But I had started crying again, so I couldn't answer them. Sleepy, thank God, sprung into action and yelled at Dopey to call Andy, Doc to call the E.R., and for me to wait right there.

Like I'd go anywhere.

I turned to face my parents again, but they were gone, and so was Jesse. I was alone. Really alone.

I stumbled into the kitchen where Dopey was frantically telling Andy that they walked in, saw me "crying like a freakin' baby" and that I informed them "Mom was freakin' dead" then asked, "You don't believe her, do you, Dad? I mean, her gang-banger friends probably gave her some drugs that messed her up good."

I retaliated by launching myself at Dopey and sinking a fist into his face.

Sleepy dragged me off Dopey, picked up the phone, explained to Andy what happened, and then threatened to "kick our butts"; only he used more colorful language. After that I don't really know what happened, I think I might have blacked out or something, because I found myself at the hospital.

Andy was there now and was pacing back and forth, waiting for the doctor. But I already knew she was dead, my Mom, I mean. Because I had seen her, and so had Jesse and my dad. It was like reading the last chapters in a book first; you already know what's going to happen. But whatever, Andy wasn't going to take the word of his distraught sixteen-year-old stepdaughter.

The doctor, a balding man who was about fifty years old, and a police officer, came into the waiting room after about a half an hour of Andy screaming at the nurses, "Where the hell is my wife?!" The doctor sat across from me and said his name was Dr. Mike Stanton. The police officer was Officer Robert Mackenzie.

That's right. The Officer Mackenzie.

The doctor went into detail explaining how my Mom was in a car accident. She was coming around a sharp corner just south of San Jose and another driver crossed the centerline at her, but it was too late for her to do anything, the two cars had already hit.

My mother was wearing her seatbelt, but it didn't matter, because the force of the impact sent her crashing into the steering wheel, breaking her ribs and causing her to suffer massive internal bleeding.

The other driver, Officer Mackenzie said, must have been perfectly all right, since he backed up, and drove off. They are using the witness's info to track the guy even as we speak. And they believed the man-or woman-might have been intoxicated. But it didn't change anything; my mother was still dead.

She was killed by a drunk driver who thought hit-and-run was cool.

When the doctor was done speaking, the room was silent; you could have heard a pin drop. Tears still ran down my face, but my voice was calm. I turned my eyes to Dr. Stanton; "She bled to death." Andy patted me on the back, trying to hide his own tears, "Now Suze, I don't think-..."

I kept staring at the doctor; "She suffered, didn't she?" The doctor looked at the floor, "Well, we don't know if she really suffered or if she-..." I cut in, "How long?" Dr. Stanton blinked at me, "How long for what, Miss Simon?"

"How long did it take for her to, um, well, die?" I asked. Don't ask me why, I just wanted to know. I guess I wanted to know, because I didn't want to know that she suffered.

Dopey stared coldly at me, "God, she doesn't even sounds like she cares, does she?" He whispered to Sleepy, "She sounds like she was waiting for Mom to kick the bucket. Maybe Mom left Suze a lot of money in her will someplace."

For the second time in forty-five minutes, I launched myself at Dopey. This time, I caught his throat in my hands and squeezed, "You little bastard!" I yelled at him, rage filling every inch of my being. "How DARE you!" It was about that time when Andy, Sleepy and Officer Mackenzie pulled me off of Dopey. But not before I got a punch in.

With all the yelling and screaming from Andy, Dopey, and me all the nurses came running. They insisted on x-raying Dopey to make sure I hadn't broken his nose. I hadn't, I know because I didn't hear it go /crunch/. The nurses then insisted that they give me a "nice shot that will make everything all better".

Without thinking, I employed that same four-letter word I had used to tell Sleepy and Dopey where to get off earlier this afternoon. This seemed to shock Andy and Officer Mackenzie who both warned me to "watch my language".
I then used the same four-letter word and told Andy and Officer Mackenzie where to get off.

I grabbed my coat and stalked outside. Doc came running after me of course, but I hid in some bushes and he went right past me. I doubled back and headed toward downtown. On the way, I used a payphone to call Adam to ask if he could pick me up, I told him to bring Cee Cee, too.

When Adam and Cee Cee arrived, they piled out of the car and came running over to where I sat, which was on a stone wall outside of a 7-11. They had a great view of the ocean. "Suze!" Cee Cee said when she saw me, "You've been crying, what's the matter?"

Adam expressed his concerns in the same way. I shook my head; "I don't really want to talk about it right now." Cee Cee chewed on her lower lip, "Did you break up with someone? I mean, I didn't think you had a boyfriend or anything, but what about Tad? Oh wait, he moved, that Paul guy, then. Oh my God, Suze! Is Paul Slater/stalking/ you?!"

Adam grabbed my arm and started dragging me towards his little VW Bug, "She said she didn't want to talk about it, Cee Cee. I doubt she'd want to tell you anyway, since you would go and blab it all over your stupid websites." Cee Cee slinked after Adam and I, looking annoyed.

I sat in the back seat, and mumbled, "Can we, um, go to the beach?" Adam agreed right away, and Cee Cee said only if I told them what was the matter. Adam told Cee Cee to shut up and get in the backseat, Suze you get up here. I sat in the front seat and stared out of the window, why did this have to happen to me? I mean, it's bad enough that my parents and best friend/boyfriend are all dead, but it's worse that I can see them all.

Let me tell you, if you ever wish your parents dead, unwish it because it sucks. I sniffled the whole way to Big Sur, which was where we were going. When we finally got there, I stumbled out of the car and high-tailed it for the ocean. Cee Cee and Adam didn't follow me, thank God.

My mind was numb, and I had a really bad case of tunnel vision. I sat down in the sand and let the tide wash over my feet. Tide goes in. Tide goes out. Tide goes in. Tide goes out. I wish I could be that way, doing the same thing over and over and over again, so nothing would ever change.

Suddenly, I didn't like change anymore. I didn't want things to change, I didn't want to move on, and I didn't want to be someone else. Emotions battled and raged inside of me, it made it hard to concentrate on anything. So I just stared at the waves. Going in and going out.

I was so busy staring; I didn't even realize that I was crying. I had a few people come up to me and ask if I was okay, I nodded and they went away. No, I wasn't okay. I would never be okay again. The water kept rushing over my feet, as the day grew later, the tide grew higher, and soon the water was rushing over my ankles, then my knees.

And I just sat there; I didn't care that I was getting wet, or that the sun was setting. I just wanted my family back. Not my new one, my old one. Just Mom, Dad and I. And maybe Jesse, too. I sat on the beach for three hours, crying and watching the tide.


In the end, Cee Cee and Adam finally came over and got me, they told me I had to go home. Andy must have called them, because as Adam helped me over to his car he looked very sad and Cee Cee said she was sorry for being so pushy. I figured Andy must have told them what had happened.

When I got home, I walked in the front door. Just as I had been doing since the day I moved here. But today was different, because Mom wasn't there, pouncing on me to ask if I had been out, and if I had been, had I been with a boy? And was he cute?

But I wouldn't have to worry about evading her questions anymore. Andy was sitting on the couch, so were Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc. And much to my surprise, Father Dominic. "Susannah," Father D said, getting up off the couch when I entered the room. He looked me up and down, "Susannah, why are you all wet?"

I ignored him, I turned and started up the stairs to my bedroom, and I also ignored Andy when he called upstairs and said dinner was in five. How could he eat at a time like this? I peeked in my room and no one was there.

I shut the door behind me and headed for the shower, I just wanted to be left alone for a little while.


Two hours later, I emerged from the shower. I was very tired and, thankfully, was no longer crying, I looked horrible. But I thought I was going to be okay for a while, because it seemed I had cried everything out of my system. Everything was quiet. I didn't like quiet anymore; it meant bad things, like death. But I had too much of a headache to turn on the radio.

I combed out my hair very slowly. It seemed that my whole world had somehow been turned down to slow-mo. I put on my PJs and opened the door to my bathroom. It was dark outside now, there was no moon, or starlight, thanks to the fog that had rolled in.

But there was a light coming from the corner of my room, a very soft, welcoming light. I poked my head out the door, thinking that Father D was nice enough to turn my lamp on for me before he left. But I was wrong.

Sitting on my daybed-which was in the corner of my room-was Jesse. I don't know why, but for some reason, when I saw him I felt all these tears rush to my eyes again. Even though I thought I had cried it all out. Jesse wasn't reading or anything; he just sat there and watched me watching him.

Before I even had a chance to stop it, I was crying again. I really hated this, and in front of Jesse too. I turned out the light in the bathroom and started toward my bed, hoping I could be in it and under the covers before Jesse said anything to me.


Dammit, me and my big mouth. I stopped and looked at him with an eyebrow raised, knowing that if I said anything to him, I'd just start bawling even harder. He got up and crossed the room; he peered down at me intently, "Are you doing okay?"

I know it was meant to be a nice question, a polite one. But all I could think was, /Do I look okay to YOU?! /I shrugged and slid under the covers. I just wanted to sleep, to escape the horrible day I had.

Jesse said my name again and turned to look at him, he looked very sad. Did I mention he looks really cute when he's sad? "If you need to talk, I'll be right here to listen." I think this was perhaps the sweetest thing he's ever said to me. I sniffled again and nodded, "T-thank you."

He nodded once and disappeared. I rolled over and cried myself to sleep.


I woke up in the middle of the night gasping and panting. I had this awful nightmare, where my mother was in a car accident and died, and I would be forced to move back to New York. I realized with a sinking feeling that that was not a nightmare.

For the billionth time that day, I started crying again. I wish I could stop crying, I really hated it, like when I was crying in front of Jesse before, how embarrassing. As if I had called him, Jesse appeared on the other side of my room. This wasn't uncommon, a late night visit from Jesse, I mean.

Oh God, that sounded wrong!

Anyway, Jesse stood at the foot of my bed and watched me attempt to regain control of my tear ducts. "I thought I heard you crying," he said. Ugh, how very embarrassing. I sniffled, "I-... I'm really sorry, Jesse, I didn't mean to-..." I almost said, "wake you up," but that's when I remembered ghosts don't sleep. And then he did something really wild, and he did it before I had a chance to protest. Not that I would have protested anyway...

He sat down next to me on my bed and pulled me into a hug. It was so sweet, I mean, he's never hugged me before. Jesse didn't say a word, just kept right on hugging me as I cried. After about fifteen minutes of me crying on Jesse's shoulder-literally-and him hugging me, he shifted his weight so that he was lying down.

He pulled me down beside him and held me very close, so that my head was nestled between his shoulder and his neck and so that my left hand rested on his chest... Any other time and I would have been swooning. Well, not that I wasn't already...

I kinda felt bad, because I was going around, crying to everyone, and yelling at them and stuff and not telling them what the problem was. Cee Cee and Adam for example.

I was very comfortably resting on Jesse's shoulder-his very strong, very large shoulder, I might add-and said, "It's just not fair." Sniffle "I mean, just when I was getting used to things here, I'll have to go back to New York and stuff now," Sniffle "Because Andy isn't my parent, he's just a step, and my Grandma is my only..." Sniffle "My only living family member."

This seemed to surprise Jesse, "Really?" I sighed, but the sigh sounded more like a hiccup. "Yeah," I said sadly, "Really." He linked one arm around my waist and pulled me closer to his side, "I didn't know that."

I didn't pay any attention to his words; I was so thrilled about him finally seeming to show some interest in me. But it was probably just because he felt sorry for me. Who cared? The guy had his arm around my waist! But the guy was also dead. Then again, beggars can't be choosers. I sighed again. Almost happily this time.

"Oh well," I said, thinking of my Grandmother, "It's okay, most of them died before I was even born anyway." Yeah, my whole family died together, it was a family reunion, and they rented this big bus and they all went to Disney World or something together, on the way home to New York, the bus crashed and blew up. Only my Grandpa Lee escaped, he was my Dad's Dad.

Talk about something from a Stephen King novel.

Grandpa Lee later died of a heart attack. So my Grandma, the one who's the lawyer, is the only living Simon. Well, besides me anyway. I wonder if any of them were Mediators... Jesse frowned, "That's horrible." He ran his fingers through my hair, and this caused me to swallow very hard.

"Yeah..." I mumbled; I was getting sleepy. Oh man, that felt really good, him playing with my hair like that. I hoped he wouldn't stop. I had kinda stopped crying by now, but I didn't stop growing tired, I wanted to sleep, but I wanted to stay awake because Jesse playing with my hair felt really, really good.

I cuddled up closer to him, I hoped he didn't mind, but he was really warm-for a dead guy, I mean-and because my hair was still sorta wet, I was cold. I'm a typical girl, so sue me. My eyes drifted shut; all I could feel was Jesse's fingers running through my hair. Oh man, this had to be a dream. I was falling asleep fast; I opened my eyes only to have them close against my will again.

Jesse smiled at me-well, I didn't actually see him smile, I just kinda sensed it, ya know?-and planted a soft kiss on my forehead, "Goodnight, Susannah."

Goodnight indeed, very good night... I thought as I drifted back towards sleep.


I awoke around 6:00a.m. the next morning. I blinked the purple-ish sunlight out of my eyes and yawned. That's when I realized two things: 1) My mother was dead. 2) Jesse had his arms around me. I was mixture of sadness and joy-if that's even possible.

I raised my head from the very comfortable spot between Jesse's shoulder and neck and looked around. My room didn't seem any different; well accept for the fact that my mother was sitting on my daybed, looking all mad and stuff.
I rolled my eyes and returned my attention to the stud of a man lying next to me, he had his eyes closed, but I was pretty sure he wasn't asleep, because ghosts don't sleep.

Or do they? Huh.

Just as I was snuggling back down between the sheets, I heard, "Susannah Winter Simon, what do you think you're doing?"

Yeah, my middle name is Winter, wanna make something of it? Okay, you can stop laughing now.

The voice-of course-belonged to my mother. I ignored her and tried to go back to sleep. Mom wouldn't have it though, since she stalked over to my bed, poked Jesse-literally, poked him. Oh my God, how embarrassing-and said, "Excuse me, just what on earth are you doing in my daughter's bed?"

I was mortified, "Mom!" /I hissed, "/Shut UP!" She shook her head, "No, I will not shut up, Susannah, who is this boy anyway?" I looked fearfully at Jesse. Okay, so I lied, maybe ghosts do sleep, because he sure wasn't waking up. But then again, he could be awake and is just pretending to be asleep.

Men. You can't live with 'em, and you can't kill 'em.

"If I tell you, will you shut up and go away?" I said quickly. But I didn't have any explaining to do, since my Dad showed up. He eyed me and Jesse closely, "Don't worry, Carrie," he said, "They can't do anything anyway, since Suze is still... alive." OH MY GOD! I felt like digging a hole and crawling into it. No pun intended.

"Will you guys shut up and BEAT IT?!" I yelled. Dad tugged on Mom's arm, "C'mon, Carrie, it's okay..." he kept right on eyeing Jesse, "Jesse's a good kid, he wouldn't try anything, it's still early and she's had a long day, let her sleep."
Maybe Mom realized what I had been through in the past 24 hours, or maybe she realized Jesse was the closest thing to a boyfriend that I'd ever get, since she shrugged and disappeared along with dad.

It didn't matter; my pride and dignity had suffered major damage that could never be repaired. I sat up and held my head in my hands. Jesse opened one eye and grinned at me, "Winter? Your middle name is Winter?"


A little over three days later, we had my mother's funeral down at the Mission. She wasn't Catholic or anything, but we held her memorial service there anyway. All of my classmates and their parents had showed up, Kelly Prescott's family had sent this big basket of fruit and flowers to our house, and Kelly had invited me to spend the night at her place. I declined of course; I couldn't stand the thought of spending the night away from the comforts of my own home.
They finally caught the man-kid, actually, he was only 17-who hit my mother that day on the freeway. They caught him beating up his girlfriend outside of his apartment in Pasadena. I got to speak to him at the police station. I asked what the hell he had been thinking, drunk driving like that.

The guy didn't even seem to care, he just laughed at me, he thought it was funny, he thought it was cool that he killed somebody. Well, lemme tell you, he didn't think it was so funny when I jumped over that desk separated us and sunk a fist into his face.

Now, I've said it before, and I'll say it again, violence is not a way to solve things, because the guy pressed charges on me for assault. But that's okay, because Andy's lawyer is going to counter-sue him for vehicular homicide or something like that.

Although, I must say, the guy really deserved to be punched! I mean, he totally deserved it! And I only punched him twice, and I only gave him a bloody nose, I didn't even break anything. This made me sad; I must be losing my touch.

Two days after she died, my mother and father moved on to their next lives. I really begged them not to go, because if they didn't go, my parents weren't really gone at all; I still had them in a way. Dad assigned Jesse with the most difficult task in the world: keeping me out of trouble. Jesse had accepted willingly, but told my Dad I never listened to him anyway, so it wouldn't do him any good to try and keep me out of trouble.

Dad shook Jesse's hand, and Mom hugged him goodbye, the whole time this was going on, I was crying my eyes out. Both my parents hugged me and kissed me goodbye, and said they hoped to see me again someday. Mom wasn't taking all this with a stone face either, she was crying as hard as I was. Even Dad cried a little bit.

After that, they just disappeared... and I haven't seen them since.

Jesse hadn't left my side the whole week. Because it seemed I would walk through the house to the laundry room or whatever, I'd see one of Mom's old shirts and I'd start bawling again, then Jesse would have to hug me and say everything was okay, blah, blah, blah.

Well, it gets embarrassing after awhile. Kinda like right now, Father Dominic is saying all these nice, kind words about my mother and I can feel those stupid tears gathering in my eyes again.

Even through Jesse is standing beside me, holding my hand, and Andy is patting me on the back, the stupid tears just won't stop. I bit my lip really hard to stop the tears, but it like they didn't pay any attention at all; they just kept right on flowing.

Jesse leaned over and whispered in my ear, "It's okay to cry, you don't have to be afraid." This didn't help any; it only made me cry harder. Father Dominic watched me sympathetically and continued to read from the Bible. I watched through tear filled eyes as they lowed my mother's casket into the ground. Before the thing had even touched the bottom of the hole, I had spun away and stumbled through the small crowd of people that had attended.

This couldn't be happening. It wasn't fair, it wasn't right. Jesse had followed me through the crowd, "Susannah?" he asked quietly, "It's okay, Susannah, they're in a better place now." I had made it into the main office of the Mission; I slumped down into a chair and sniffled. Jesse sat beside me and rubbed my back.

He'd be doing that a lot lately, trying to make me feel better I mean. Sometimes he could even make me laugh. I felt weird to laugh with tears running down your cheeks. I leaned against Jesse, it seemed that I was unable to speak. He wrapped his arms around me and laid his head on my shoulder. I felt kind of bad for doing this to Jesse all the time, going around crying and stuff.

"Jesse," I said quietly, "I'm really sorry-... I don't mean to keep doing this to you, crying on your shoulder all the time, I mean, and-... well, I'm sorry-..." He raised his head from my shoulder, placed a finger against my lips and whispered, "Shhh." I was a bit startled by his command, but I complied.

I shut my mouth and scrubbed at the wetness on my face. "You don't have to be sorry, Susannah," Jesse said to me as he brushed a tear off my chin, "I understand." Before I could say another word, he leaned down and I felt his lips brush against mine. This, of course, was what I had been hoping for all along. I sat up a little straighter and kissed him back.

At least my parents weren't around to spy on me, I thought. Jesse leaned back and broke our kiss off. He grinned down at me, "I could get used to that," he said. I blinked, what was with him anyway? It was like he was a whole new person. But I couldn't help smiling myself, it was kind of funny.

I rested my forehead against his and said, "Yeah, me too." I think he was about to kiss me again, but I'll never know, because about that time the front door to the Mission was kicked in and an angry man strode through. I recognized him instantly, it was Ricky Lopez, the guy I punched in the face, the guy who killed my mother. And he had a gun.

I jumped out of my chair without thinking and made a break for the door. Jesse jumped up too, but Ricky was too fast. He grabbed my arm, growled a curse in Spanish and threw me back in the chair I was just sitting in. I struggled to get back up, but Ricky overpowered me. He slapped me hard across the face and knocked me for a loop.

He had cut open my forehead and blood streamed into my eyes. I looked up and was face to face with Ricky. He leaned close and whispered into my ear, "You steal my life, I steal yours." Before I had a chance to reply he leveled the handgun at my face; his finger tightened around the trigger. I screamed.


My own screams are what woke me up. I sat up in bed with a start, I was panting and gasping and crying, all in the same breath. Jesse, who was sitting on my window seat reading /The Princess Diaries/, looked at me in alarm. "Susannah?" He peered at me, "Are you okay?"

Okay? Was I okay? Was I dead? Hadn't Ricky Lopez shot me? Didn't I scream? Didn't my mother die? I staggered to my feet and rushed to my bathroom. I examined myself in the mirror. My brown hair flowed wildly down my shoulders; my skin was pale which caused the green hue of my eyes to deepen. I lifted up my shirt. No bullet holes. No stab wounds. No evidence that I had been harmed in any way, shape or form.

Then I remembered. I woke up, Mom and I made shopping plans, I got dressed, ate breakfast, talked to Cee Cee, read a book... and fell asleep. I had been asleep this whole time. It had all been a dream. Tears of relief flooded my eyes.

Jesse peeked around the corner at me, "Susannah? What's the matter? Why are you crying?" He looked very worried, maybe because I wasn't mouthing off as usual. "I-... I had a bad dream..." It had been a bad one, too, the worse I've ever had. I turned to Jesse, and like an idiot, pointed at him and said, "You were there."

He raised an eyebrow, "Really?" I walked toward him; it had all been a dream. Mom wasn't dead... I wouldn't have to go back to New York... I didn't get shot by Ricky Lopez. But... Jesse didn't really kiss me.

Oh well, gotta take the good with the bad. I walked past Jesse and sat on my bed. My knees felt weak again, was it really a dream? How could I have dreamed all that? It was too real... I saw it! I felt it! I felt the sand beneath my toes as I sat on the beach and let the waves rush over me. I felt Jesse's lips against mine. I know I did! How could I have dreamed it?

I was so confused, I felt so much pain-but at the same time, I didn't feel anything at all. It was just a bad dream, I told myself, You're all right now. I just wanted to sit down and cry again I was /that /upset. Jesse sat down beside me and watched me. Finally he asked, "What kind of dream?"

"A bad one," I replied, turning to look at him. He was so cute, he looked so worried, yet, sad at the same time. Like he wanted to tell me something, but couldn't. I blinked back my tears and asked, "What is it? What's wrong?" Jesse frowned, "Nothing's wrong with me, it's you I'm worried about."

I couldn't say anything; my life remained the same, nothing bad had happened. Which might explain my odd behavior, I reached up and hugged Jesse tightly, like he had just told me he was going to Antarctica and was never coming back. For a moment he just sat there, startled at my sudden, affectionate hug. After a second I felt his hands on my back, he hugged me like he never wanted to let me go.

"I dreamed my Mom died, and you were there, and Father Dominic, and Andy, and Sleepy-..." I was babbling, I do this even when a hot guy's arms are not circled around my waist, "And we buried Mom at the Mission and Kelly Prescott was nice to me, can you believe that?"

Jesse pulled away from me with a laugh, "Susannah, why is it you can't explain something to me without talking a mile a minute?" I ignored him and continued. "Well," I babbled on, "And then the guy who killed Mom came back and shot me, and you were there, too, and I thought you were going to kiss me, but you didn't because this guy kicked in the door and held a gun... in my face..."

I stopped when I saw Jesse's eyebrows go up. That's when I realized I had just told the Real Jesse about the Dream Jesse kissing me. D'oh! "Um." I said, trying to squirm out of his grasp, "I guess I shouldn't have said that." He smiled down at me, "No, I guess you shouldn't have."

And just like in my dream, he leaned down and kissed me. Kissing Jesse is like riding a roller coaster, it's scary, but thrilling at the same time, and when it's all done you want to go back for more. I pulled away from him and cuddled against him for a moment, reveling in the fact that Mom wasn't dead and neither was I.

Suddenly, I heard a door slam downstairs and I got a really creepy deja vu feeling. I wrenched my head up and looked at Jesse. He let me go and I stood up, that's when I heard, "Suzie? Suzie honey, I'm home! Sorry I'm late, and all the shops are closed now, but I brought some dinner for us!"

I turned to Jesse, stood on my tiptoes and kissed him lightly, "I'll be right back." Needless to say, he looked surprised, but I hurried out of the room before he thought I was a mental case. I ran downstairs and almost crashed into Mom, who was climbing the stairs to come find me. She started, "Suze! You scared me! Be careful on those steps, I think one of them is rotten, I told Andy that when we re-built the place, but he just didn't listen."

Mom turned and walked down the stairs, "I'm really sorry I didn't get home earlier, the meeting took longer than I planned, and plus, on my way home, I came around this curb... and this guy almost side-swiped me!"

My mouth went dry, "W-what?"

"Yeah!" Mom said indignantly, "and he had the nerve to honk the horn and flip me off! Can you believe that? Oh, honey, did you run the dishwasher? Oh, I guess you did, would you get some soy sauce out of the 'fridge? I couldn't remember what you liked better sesame chicken or beef lo mein, so I got both. Suze? Are you listening? Suzie? Yoo-hoo!" She waved a hand in front of my face.

I realized I was staring at her. I threw my arms around her and said something I hadn't said in a very long time, "I love you, Mommy." She seemed startled, but she patted me on the back, "Well, I love you, too, Suzie, where did that come from?"

I looked up and I saw Jesse leaning against the kitchen wall, smiling at me. I smiled back, and, remembering our kiss, I laughed. "Nowhere, Mom. Let's eat." I took a plate out of the cupboard and said, "You know Mom-... I had the weirdest dream today..."


I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

-Sarah McLachlan, I Will Remember You

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