My name is Annaleigh Pace. I am 17 years old and I live in the small town of Arden in Ontario, Canada.
I love it here, truly I do. It's gorgeous, with all the clear sky, white clouds, frosty weather, and calming atmosphere. It truly is the best place on earth. Its summers are perfect, not too hot and not too cold. And winter is fun, for those that like snow… And a lot of it. The air just has this feel to it, like you breathe it in and suddenly everything’s alright. You’d think I’d get used to it after living here, but everyday it’s like I just got here, like the start of a much-needed vacation.
Arden is near Kaladar, sometimes we travel out to Kaladar when we need something that the small Arden town centre doesn’t have. When you drive past the town, you end up going to Aragain Lodge. That is where I live. My parents own it. It’s what makes Arden the best place. Lake Kashwakamak is so pretty, so serene. It’s perfect for a boat ride, perfect for fishing (which I don’t do), perfect for moonlight reflections, perfect for calming and humidifying the air. Of course, it’s also perfect for attracting bugs, but bugs don’t bother me.
Aragain just inspires creativity. The minute I step outside and breathe in that air, I feel like I can do anything. Sometimes I feel like I can run a mile, sometimes I feel like I can write a novel. Whatever it is, it happens in Arden.
And it’s perfect for stargazing at night. The sky is so clear, it’s as if you can see everything. I once thought I saw another galaxy, or a starship. I’ve seen multiple constellations, and the moon is always gorgeous. I visited America once and it was so bloody polluted; I really missed my stars. And the air.
I really do love it here.
But all I want to do is get out. I want to move on, find my own way.
There's something you need to know about me.
I am a vampire. A bloodsucker, a leech, whatever you want to call me. Except I'm not. I seem to be half-human. I don't really know what I am.
All I know is that I've been living with my adopted parents for all my life. I have no clue what happened to my mom. She probably died.
See, there are only two ways to make a vampire and they both include one man. The original Dracula himself.
If you're very rich, or very sacrificing, you can get his genes planted into your fetus. Or, you can sleep with him.
Women who have such relations with him never survive, that's why I think my mom was one of them.
No one knows how he was created, or how other vampires are created from him - other than the basic biology, of course. Each time his genes are used to create a vampire, the spawn comes out even more human than the last one. So we've definitely evolved over the years. Or devolved. Depending on how you look at it.
For example, I don't even drink blood.
Ok, restart your heart. It's not that surprising.
Lately, the only vampires created who drink blood drink it because they did once.
They all started out as actual blood-drinkers, like you see or read about. But like I said, each creation is more human. Somewhere along the line, the vampires stopped having a thirst for blood, unless they drank it once before. (I really need to explain this better... the vampires weren't bloodthirsty unless they thought they should be and drank blood, then they would become actual blood drinkers...)
So, because I've never tasted blood, I live off of human food. Which helps me fit in at school. Not that I actually fit in, but the fact that I don’t drink blood certainly helps me not to be a total reject. Well, actually, no, nevermind. I am a complete and total reject. But at least I don’t drink blood.
I know, I know. Most people tell their life story bits at a time and then get to the kicker, the real plot, the surprise. I am a vampire. Whoops, ruined the suspense for ya, didn’t I? Well, shush. This is my story and I’m going to tell it however I please. Unfortunately, I am going to stay completely honest. My life really isn’t that exciting. It’s just a normal, boring, teenage life. I’m not going to spice it up, or make myself seem better than I really am. What kind of person does that?
I’m just going to live my life the way it is, cataloging it along the way. Why I want to do this, I have no clue. It’s not like I think I’m going to be some world-famous author by writing my autobiography. No, most people would think it’s fiction anyway.
I guess I just think that it would help me. Like journaling out my feelings. Except I think that’s a little whack. I’m not in therapy, ok? So I’ll just write about myself. Maybe I should make it sound like it’s happening to another person, like a real story. But it would lose my character, my personality, and my English teacher says that writing is all about making your readers feel the way your character feels, and since my character is myself, I guess you have to feel what I feel.
Which is very confused at the moment. I apparently do not write formally at all. Which could make it confusing at times, but I think that it helps clarify things sometimes, eh?
I don’t know. Maybe I should stop introducing my story and just tell it.
I suppose it all starts with Monday, the day every teenager hates. The beginning of the school week.
“Argh! Mom! Do you know where my top is?” I yelled down the stairs.
“The one that goes with my pants.” I was running around my room frantically, trying to find my grey long-sleeve top with the black rose design.
“Check your closet.”
“Thanks for the help, Mom.”I rolled my eyes. I moved around a few papers on my desk and saw my shirt. I grabbed it and pulled it over my head quickly. I was wearing black skinny jeans, pink Converse Chucks, and my grey shirt. Black, pink, and grey were my usual wardrobe colours. I always wore black, but I liked to add bright colours too. Mostly pink or turquoise.
Once I had my outfit together, I ran into my small bathroom and fixed my hair and makeup. Comb hair, straighten hair, add defrizzer and smoother, complete with hairspray. It really wasn’t a lot to do. The hairspray was to help the defrizzer work. I didn’t technically have frizzy hair, just the normal flyaways, but this beautiful Canadian weather seemed to add to it, so I liked to try to tame my hair when I had time to. I think the straightening helped too but I’m not really sure. I don’t always straighten my hair. I guess I don’t really need it. My hair is technically straight, but it gets wavy, especially when I go to bed with wet hair. I have side bangs over my left eye. They were really cool bangs, too. They went in a diagonal-ish line, getting longer but starting right under my eye. They looked best after coming back from the salon, but when they got too long, they still weren’t bad-looking, because I started out with them right underneath my eye. And traveling to longer, of course, but they were just cool. And useful. I liked hiding behind my hair sometimes. Besides, I liked the way it looked.
For makeup, I just dab a bit of foundation over my pimples, just to conceal the redness. I don’t get every many pimples, or when I do, they’re small. Although there’s always one week every month that I get a few whoppers. Red whoppers. Hideous.
After that, it’s just a swipe of black eyeliner and I’m ready for school. Ugh school.
I grabbed my backpack and headed down the stairs.
“Hey, honey. Did you drink your breakfast today?” I rolled my eyes. No, I’m not on some weird protein milkshake diet or something. My mom’s just taking a crack at me because I’m a vampire. It is so annoying.
“Yeah, Mom, I did actually.. By the way, sorry about your husband. I guess I just can’t help myself sometimes. You should tell him to be more careful around those books. One little papercut, one drop of blood…” I sighed remorsefully. Mom knew I was teasing, but she still gave me the don’t-even-go-there-that’s-not-funny look.
“Ergh! I’m just kidding, Mom. You know I’m not like that. Gosh, why do you have to keep teasing me about it? I can’t help who I am! You’re darn lucky I don’t drink blood! So why don’t you just stop picking on me for once and deal with it!? I am a vampire. I am a human. I don’t know what the hell I am but I certainly don’t drink blood. You know this! You’ve known this for years. If you’re going to keep acting like you don’t know this, why don’t you just send me back to the adoption agency?” I grabbed a bottle of chocolate milk out of the fridge and slammed the door behind me. I know what I said was wrong, maybe even hurtful. But I’m sick of it. I’m sick and tired of her joking around. I don’t drink blood, dammit. Why is that so hard to understand? And maybe I don’t want to be teased about it. Can I help who my father is? Who he made me? No, I can’t. So why is it brought up all the time?
Ugh. Now I sound like some spoiled brat who doesn’t appreciate her parents. Well, I do. It just gets on my nerves how she teases me. Of course, that’s just it: teasing. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so hard on her. Agh! Well, I’m a teenager; aren’t I supposed to yell about random things and slam the door?
I began walking away from the house, down the secluded road, away from the lake, closer to the town. We lived in one of the houses across from the lodge part of Aragain lodge. I always liked the cabins, but those were for the tourists, the customers, the whatever you want to call thems. Sometimes when it was a slow week and we had open cabins, Mom let me stay in one. All by myself. Those were the best times.
That way, I was closer to the lake and everything I loved about living here. And also, I was away from my parents. It’s just nice to have a break sometimes.
So I was walking along, heading towards the grocery store where I would meet up with Jesse. Jesse Savage was my guy best friend, and his uncle owned the grocery store so Jesse worked there part-time, and that’s where we always met up to walk to the bus. Jesse lived with his uncle because he had no parents. If he knew what happened to them, he didn’t tell anyone. Not even me, and he was a lot more open with me than anyone else. We had known each other ever since we were thirteen or fourteen, when he moved here to Arden. He was a misfit at school, just like me. Always wearing black, not participating, we just clicked. So we’ve been best friends ever since. We have another friend, Jacqueline Taylor, but I’ll talk about her some other time.
When I got to the grocery store, Jesse was already waiting for me, like always. He and his uncle lived in a house nearby, but Jesse and I always met at the grocery store. Then we walked to the school bus stop and rode to Kaladar High. Kaladar is a bit far away, but it was either that or home school, and early mornings aren’t really that bad. Sometimes Jesse and I get up earlier than normal and walk all the way to school. We’re probably not supposed to do this, but hey, safety in numbers, right?
“Hey, Jez,” I called to him as I kept walking. He was right at the end of the parking lot, heading towards the road, so I figured I wouldn’t stop, you know?
Soon, he was walking in stride with me.
“Hey, Naleigh.” He smiled at me slightly. Smiles were rare for Jesse, and it seemed to me like I was practically the only receiver of said rare smiles. Of course, I could be deluding myself into thinking that as an attempt of flattery. Some sort of, oh the threatening yet hot guy is pissed off at everyone else, but he likes you, Annaleigh. Right.
Oh, did I mention that Jesse was hot? Yes, very hot. Extremely. Even the little preppy girls at school thought he was hot. And he definitely didn’t fit into the preppy description at all. His hair was naturally straight (lucky duck) and black with some odd bluish-purple tints. It was like raven black, only better. (My hair is naturally black, too. But it’s not the normal kind of natural black that’s actually a dark brown. It’s literal black, the kind that people dye their hair. Jesse had me dye it once, and the dye had no effect on my hair whatsoever. Jackie was totally jealous. She dyed her hair black once and loved it, but her mom didn’t let her keep it. She wishes she had my hair.) But Jesse’s was different. It was like a really really dark purple, but you only saw the purple in sunlight. The fluorescent lights at school displayed the purple a little bit, but it was still mostly black. I often wondered how many dying steps it took to get his colour.
But it wasn’t like totally purple or totally blue. It was black. It just had purple-blue hints.
You know how black supposedly contains all the colours? Well, blue and purple seem to be the primary participants in black. Jesse’s hair was black, a black that allowed its’ purple and blue occupants have some fun, too.
It was really hard to describe without sounding cheesy, but if you saw it in real life, I bet you’d keel over from the beauty.
And his hair was sort of long, just long enough to cover his eyes, but short enough that he could shake his head and let his eyes be seen. And oh how I loved it when he did that. His eyes were the most beautiful blue I had ever seen. They were bright, but not light, unrealistic and totally dreamy blue. They were piercing. Icy, deep, penetrating. I could spend hours looking at his eyes. They were too beautiful to be real, and yet they were. My eyes are blue too, but nowhere near as blue as Jesse’s. My eyes actually looked green in some lighting. And my pupils always looked too big, so my eyes were all dark. In the sunlight, and when I was tired, my eyes were bluer… But still not as blue as Jesse’s. His were like a marker, or a crayon. I’ve seen blues close to his on cars and on clothes. But his eyes… Just so magnificent.
As for his clothes, he wore the normal emo/skater type, but he and I were no label victims. We wore what we liked, you know? Which was mostly black, of course. He almost always wore a hoodie. Long sleeves were very popular in Canada. I like long sleeves. Jeans, band shirts, and hoodies: Those were mostly what Jesse wore. Of course, I rarely noticed his clothes because I was always too busy looking at his eyes or his hair.
I think I’m the only person who has ever really seen his eyes all the way, with his hair out of the way. If he walked around school with his hair out of his eyes, people would fall over. That’s how beautiful and outstanding his eyes were. They would attract attention, and then bam! The beauty would knock you dead.
He kept his hair in his face mostly, as did I. It just seemed to scream ‘unapproachable’ and for the most part, we were left alone. Except when the preps decided that they had nothing better to do than pick on us. Ha. Poor, lifeless little creatures. I truly feel sorry for them. Oh well, it’s their lives, they can live how they want, and so can we. We preferred to keep to ourselves and focus on things that mattered.
Anyway, back to his hair. I can rant about the preps later. Jesse mostly kept his hair in his face, but glimpses of his eye colour were still available. And it was great. I loved looking into his eyes when they were free of hair, but there was just something about having gorgeous blue eyes peek out at me from underneath gorgeous black hair. And his hair colour totally didn’t mar his eye colour. You would think the purple tints would either clash with the blue or accentuate the blue, but no, it’s just his eye colour and his hair colour. Two totally separate (and equally hot) entities.
So, I had a crush on my best friend. What else is new? After all, it is high school.
“You were supposed to be here half an hour ago.” Jesse’s voice interrupted my thoughts. I suddenly blushed, remembering how I had been thinking about him. Thank goodness humans can’t read minds. That would have been so embarrassing. Even more embarrassing than the fact that I just blushed. Hopefully Jesse would think it was from the cold weather. I should have brought a jacket.
“Hmm? I was?”
He sighed. “We were going to walk to school today, remember?”
Oh buckets! I had completely forgotten.
“Oh, Jesse, I am so sorry. I don’t know where my head has been lately. Or why I can’t remember simple details for more than two hours. I’m sorry.” I felt a sudden urge to hug him. Instead, I looked over at him with my peripheral vision. He didn’t look upset. Sort of amused, maybe, but not mad. Sometimes it was hard to tell with Jesse. At school, he pretty much always had a poker face on. One that was unbelievably hot, yet totally threatening. Even so, I found that I could read him most of the time, and I definitely read him better than anyone else. I think it was because he and I spent the most time together, and he was more open around me. I don’t know. Maybe.
“Do we still have time?” I asked.
Jesse looked at me.
“You don’t have a jacket,” he said simply. I shrugged. It wasn’t that cold outside. Normal Canadian weather.
He raised his eyebrow slightly and kept walking. I sighed, assuming that meant we weren’t walking to school.
“I’m fine,” I started to say as soon as wind blew directly into my face, which caused me to shiver.
Stupid wind, I thought. Jesse looked over at me again, this time with a disbelieving look. Yeah, my actions contradicted my words. It’s not my fault the wind blew!
Before I knew it, Jesse’s plain black hoodie was off and being thrust at me. I caught it and glanced over at him. He now had short sleeves on, but he kept on walking as if no change had been made.
“Jez, I can’t wear your jacket.” I said as if stating the obvious. He glanced over at me, his eyes ran along my shirt.
“It’ll fit,” he smirked. I blushed. He knew that wasn’t what I meant.
“You’ll freeze.” I knew it was pointless to argue, but I just couldn’t wear his jacket! At least I had long sleeves on. Even if I wanted to wear his jacket. Wrap the soft, warm fabric around me. Fabric that had touched his skin, that had his scent… Ugh I was so smitten. Smitten? Who the crap even says that?!
He frowned slightly and hopped over the small log that was currently in our path. I started to hand his jacket back to him but he stopped abruptly and spun around to face me. He took a step towards me, anger glinting in his eyes subtly.
“Take it, Ann.” I made a face and hissed. I hated being called Ann, and he knew it. Everyone always called me Ann. My name is Annaleigh, for crying out loud! Jesse sometimes called me Naleigh, sort of like Nullie, or Natalie without the t, but he was the only one allowed to call me that.
“Fine, Jesse-ca.” I pulled my arm back and crossed them, with the jacket hanging over. He narrowed his eyes at me, but didn’t say anything about the name. He knew he deserved it, after calling me my hated nickname. I uncrossed my arms and smiled smugly, then proceeded to fiddle with his jacket, trying to find the correct arm hole. Jesse took another step towards me and placed his hand on mine and his jacket. The sudden touch (his cold, wonderful touch) surprised me and I looked up at him. His eyes bore into mine for what seemed like an eternity before he stepped back and looked at the hoodie meaningfully before continuing walking again.
I blinked rapidly, trying to determine what happened. His fingers touched my hand. His cold fingers. Cold because I had his jacket. What a selfish thing, for me to like the fact that he was cold because of me. But his icy fingers somehow warmed my hand.
I struggled with the jacket again, slipping it on hesitantly.
“I already agreed to wear it. I don’t know why you had to go and intimidate me,” I mumbled as I slipped my arms through and zipped it up halfway. I always looked odd with unzipped jackets. Jesse, of course, looked great either way.
His laughter was so soft that it could have been the wind. Or my imagination. Then I started to wonder if he was trying to intimidate me into wearing it, or maybe that was something else. No, of course not. Stop being stupid, Annaleigh.
We continued our walk to the bus stop in silence. I don’t know what Jesse was thinking about, but I was thinking about how warm and comfortable his jacket was. It was slightly big on me, of course, but it was nice. It felt right. And it smelled like him. It smelled really good. It’s a wonder I didn’t keel over. My knees were a bit weak. But I think that always happened around him. Especially when I looked into his eyes.
Sigh. How pathetic is it to have a crush on your best friend? Extremely pathetic, I know. But at least I’m smart enough to know that it would never go anywhere, so I keep it inside of me and focus on our friendship. Because his friendship is something I could never afford to lose.
Ooh, that was a dramatic sentence. Or melodramatic. Horatio Caine much? Oh, ew!
The thought of Horatio made me shudder. Jesse looked over at me.
I blinked. “Huh? What? No. No, I was just… No, I’m not cold.” He looked at me for a second and then looked away, shaking his head slightly. I sighed.
Then, I spotted Jacqueline waiting for us at the bus stop. I started to unzip Jesse’s jacket. He looked over at me with a hard look in his eye. I nodded over to where Jackie was. He frowned slightly, but let me give his jacket back to him.
See, Jesse had a sweet side. He had a really sweet side. But he didn’t like people seeing his sweet side. At school, people tended to avoid him. He sort of had a reputation. He had this attitude, like ‘cross my path and I’ll kill you’ so people left him alone, which is how he liked it. People were… scared of him sort of. (Though he wasn’t into fights or bullying or anything like that. He just wanted to be left alone, and he got what he wanted, because he made sure of it.) So I figured that Jesse wouldn’t want Jackie to know he was lending me his jacket when I had long sleeves on and he had short sleeves. And I was right.
I felt sort of special. Because I was really the only one who knew who Jesse was inside. The only one who knew how sweet he could be, how kind and caring. Jackie knew he wasn’t as threatening as people at school thought he was, but she didn’t really know how awesomely nice he could be. And I know he would want to keep it that way. He liked that people gave him space, liked that he could give them one look and send them running for the hills. He was really cool like that.
I know that most girls fall for the ‘bad boy’ or whatever, but it wasn’t like that with Jesse. He was a sweet person, he really was. Just not around anyone except me (as far as I knew). And Jesse wasn’t bad, he just had this total ‘unapproachable’ look to him. Like, back off or else. And Jesse didn’t even have to work to keep that look. It was part of who he was.
I smiled at Jesse, sort of teasing him about the whole jacket thing. He rolled his eyes back at me, but I saw the hint of a smile on his face. It always brightened my day when Jesse smiled. Especially at me, or because of me.
We were approaching the bench at the bus stop where Jackie was sitting, scribbling in her notebook furiously, as always.
“Hey, Jack-Jack.” I sat down next to her and tried to peek at her notebook. She shifted it away slightly, not even acknowledging the fact that I was there. She was like that sometimes, so absorbed in her work that you could drop a bomb and she wouldn’t notice. Of course she could carry a conversation while working and ignoring said dropped bombs.
“Jack-Jack isn’t working today, Ann-Ann.” Jesse sat next to me. I could tell that he was stifling laughter, knowing I was going to blow up at Jackie for calling me Ann-Ann. I sighed angrily.
“Well, I never know. It’s not my fault your name has so many nicknames.” I rolled my eyes and leaned back against the bench. I snuck a glance at Jesse. He still looked amused.
“Your name has a lot of possible nicknames, too, but you never let anyone call you anything other than Annaleigh.” Jackie looked up from her work . “Well, except…” She glanced at Jesse and then me before quickly returning her eyes to her work. I felt Jesse stiffen slightly beside me. I wondered if he saw the bus and was getting rid of his non-threatening demeanor. Suddenly, I realised what Jackie had been saying and blushed.
Only Jesse had a nickname for me. And only he was allowed to call me said nickname. Jacqueline jumped to conclusions. I suppose it was something that was easy to assume, considering that Jesse and I were close, and so many things were exclusive to each other (my nickname, his sweetness) but there was also no way that that could ever happen. No way that would ever happen. Panic struck as I wondered if Jackie knew about my secret crush on Jesse. Was it obvious? Oh, crap.
“What are you working on?” I tried to look at her notebook again. I was changing the subject and distracting my mind.
“Mmm… a story about a psycho killer and his victims,” Jackie replied, still writing in her notebook. She looked up suddenly, a bright look in her eyes. “But get this. His victims try to kill him too, but they never know it. It’s just a big mind game. It’s really freaky, and it’s honestly some of the best work I’ve ever done. Though I think a more experienced writer would make it better.” She frowned slightly but went back to writing.
That was Jackie for you. She was a big creative lump head. She mostly wrote, but she drew sometimes too. And everything always had a morbid touch to it. She was a morbid little girl, and I loved her for it. It was who she was, and she wasn’t afraid to be like that.
The wind blew softly, catching Jackie’s hair in rays of sunshine. Her hair was brown, a brown that lightened in the summer and looked red in the sun. A lot of people fawned over her hair, but like I said before, she hated it. She wished it was black. I wasn’t a fan of the colour brown, but it went well with her eyes. They were brown too, a chocolatey brown that had hints of honey. They were pretty. If I had to have brown eyes, I would want Jackie’s brown.
The bus pulled up then and Jesse started walking towards it. I stood up and tapped Jackie on the shoulder. She looked up absentmindedly, recognised the bus, grabbed her backpack and stood up. We walked towards the bus. Jesse was already seated near the back, our usual spot. We never sat all the way in the back, because that was too cliché. We always sat two rows in front of the back. Normally Jackie and I sat on one side and Jesse sat by himself on the other side, but today, there was a girl in me and Jackie’s spot across from Jesse. I looked at Jesse. He shrugged with his eyes. Jackie was walking very dangerously, looking at her notebook instead of where she was going. I steered her towards our usual spot. She sat down before I could ask her if she wanted to sit there or with Jesse. Suddenly, the bus started up and nearly threw me backwards. I grabbed onto the back of Jesse’s seat to keep from falling completely.
“Sit down, Ms. Pace,” the bus driver called. I rolled my eyes and quickly sat down next to Jesse. He smirked in a way that was almost a smile and scooted over to give me more room.
I settled into the seat and tried not to focus on the fact that I was sitting close to Jesse. He had been sitting in the middle, so when I plopped down to avoid tumbling, I had practically been sitting on him. Now he was all the way against the window, but still, we were close. And he sat next to me on the bench. And we walked together, he gave me his jacket, and when he stood right in front of me and touched my hand… I shook my head, clearing my thoughts and restarting my oxygen flow. Yes, Jesse was hot. But he was also my best friend. That’s all he ever was, all he ever will be, and all that I ever need.
After a few minutes on the bus, I got bored. Jacqueline was busy writing, and Jesse wasn’t in the mood to talk. So I pulled out my notebook and started to do some writing of my own.
I loved writing. It was therapeutic, but not in a weird way. When I wrote, words came out of me that I didn’t know I had. Sometimes they made no sense, and sometimes they truly captured how I felt. Sometimes, I didn’t know where they came from; it felt like I was writing for someone else. I loved it.
I mostly only wrote songs, but I’ve tried poems, too. They sucked. What I wrote now has the feel of a song or a poem, but nothing rhymed. It really was just a jumble of words that cut the soul. It was confusing, unintelligent, and beautiful.
It’s my fault.
My fault that you don’t find me beautiful, my fault that you love her.
It’s my fault.
Because I can’t be good enough.
No matter how hard I try, no matter what I do, I can’t be good enough.
I can’t be good enough to let myself die,
to force this pain to end.
I can’t do it. I can’t do anything except wallow in my self-hatred
I’m Not Good Enough.
I never was, I never will be. So why do I try? Why do I want to be?
Well, I suppose you’ll have to get used to it.
I can’t be good enough for you. I’m not good enough for you.
I labeled it ‘Untitled’ and wrote ‘idk wtf this is’ in small letters before adding my name, the date, and a copyright symbol. I always did that when I wrote something. It was just routine.
The bus was at Kaladar High now. I closed my notebook and shoved it into my backpack. I stood up and tapped Jackie again. She was still busy writing. I felt a body brush past me and looked up to see Jesse staring at me. His hair was in front of his eyes, but his eyes held this intense look. I couldn’t look away. (Not that I wanted to, but that’s beside the point).
I was standing right next to Jackie’s seat and Jesse stood in front of me. Other kids scrambled around the bus, naturally avoiding Jesse’s space so as not to bump into him, all the while trying to be the first person out. Someone knocked into me from behind, which pushed me closer to Jesse. Of course, no one ever accidentally ran into him. Jesse stared at me with the intense look and spoke quietly.
“You are good enough.” His words were so soft that I barely heard him, and I know he did this to avoid being heard by anyone else. By the time I processed what words he spoke, he was halfway out of the bus.
“Come on, Jackie,” I muttered, preoccupied with Jesse’s words, the look in his eyes, and the close proximity in which he had been standing just a few seconds ago.
Good enough for what? I wondered as Jackie and I left the bus and went to our classes.
And I wondered that for the rest of the day.
Classes were boring, as always. English, history, math, science, bleh. I wish they would teach us something important, or something cool. Sigh. The best part of the day was lunch, and even that was crap sometimes.
Today, though, the preps decided to leave us alone. I really don’t understand why we can’t just live and let them live. I mean, we don’t yell at them for not wearing black, so why do they have to yell at us for wearing black? Why should our appearance change what people think about us and how much worth they think we deserve? It was pure shit and I was sick of it. But I couldn’t do anything to change matters. I wasn’t going to change my style or my personality just so I wouldn’t get picked on. It wasn’t even the picking on that I minded, it was the fact that no one can be whoever they want to be without getting a bunch of crap for it. Honestly, what was the point? Ugh.
Even worse, we were having green bean casserole today. I hated green beans. They made me puke. Seriously.
So I just bought a drink and decided that I would buy something from the grocery store on my way home. Which reminded me…
“Hey, Jez, are you working today or are we hanging out at my place?” I sat down at our table, across from Jackie and next to Jesse, my normal spot. Our table was in the back of the cafeteria, farthest away from the exit door. We even pushed it closer to the corner. It was the perfect spot, out of the way, away from everyone, and the perfect view of everyone else.
“It’s Monday,” he answered with a blank look on his face.
“Working?” He nodded slightly. I nodded back. Ok, so I would eat something at the store. Whenever Jesse worked after school, I hung out with him at the store. Sometimes I helped, sometimes I did homework, mostly I just watched him stock shelves and bag items. Sometimes his uncle was there and he and I would hang out. Jesse’s uncle Pierre was awesome. He was so funny, so lively, very unlike Jesse. Pierre pretended to be French because of his name, and it was hilarious to watch him twirl and imaginary moustache and speak in a totally fake and crappy French accent. He was more fun than my dad, my dad was a dork. I still loved him, but Uncle Pierre was more like a friend.
“You coming today, Jac?” Jacqueline shook her head and kept writing. Man, she must have been on a roll.
“How long have you been writing?”
“Ten hours?!” I was incredulous. Obviously it wasn’t for ten hours straight, but she wrote as she walked, in the bus, during lunch… She must have had a lot to write.
She looked up from her notebook. “Well, I got the idea on Saturday and then I started it Sunday night and continued this morning. I just can’t stop right now.” She said all of that in one breath then went back to writing. That was another thing about Jackie. She could talk extremely fast, and she normally did. Either because she needed to return to her work quickly, or because she was excited and passionate about her work while describing it to someone.
Since Jackie was preoccupied with her work, I turned to talk to Jesse. This happened often. Sometimes I felt bad, because Jesse and I spent more time together than Jackie and I did, but most of the time it was because she was busy writing or something. And I spent a lot of time with her still. Jesse was my friend first, and we lived closer, so it made sense, I guess, but I still kind of felt bad sometimes. But I often made sure that Jackie knew we could hang out anytime she was free. Plus, we had most of our classes together. And we did do plenty of things without Jesse. Just not as often as Jesse and I hung out without Jackie. Although, if she had a problem with it, she never mentioned it, so I shouldn’t feel bad. Doesn’t mean I didn’t, though.
“Is Uncle Pierre working today?”
Jesse shook his head slightly. His hair moved across his forehead, brushing itself out of his eyes slightly. He shook his hair back into his eyes and looked at me with an extremely subtle smile. My mouth broke into a wide grin before I could stop it. His lips turned upwards a little bit more, not necessarily a happy smile, but more of a making-fun-of-me smile. I rolled my eyes and turned my attention to the bottle of soda I had bought. It was being stupid and wouldn’t open. Normally, I had no trouble opening bottles, but this lid was being very stubborn!
After a few tries, I tapped the edge of the lid against the table and tried unscrewing the lid again. It didn’t work. I flipped the bottle upside down and slammed the lid against the table. I did it a few time for good measure, then attempted to open it again. It still didn’t work.
I groaned in frustration, held the bottle up and dropped it against the table. The bubbles inside fizzed, but it still wouldn’t open.
By this time, my stomach was growling. I had only had chocolate milk for breakfast, and now my stupid soda was opening, grr! I tried dropping it against the table again, but when it didn’t work, I decided that I was being too nice to the bottle.
So I held it above the table and threw it down. The bottle hit against the table, instantly opening up and bouncing back up. Soda squirted from the bottle, shooting the lid across the room. I quickly grabbed the bottle and held it upright so no more would come out. I examined the bottle. I hadn’t even lost a quarter of the drink. That would be enough to keep me sane until after school, right?
I grinned smugly at the bottle and drank some. I could feel Jesse’s eyes watching me and I turned to look at him. He had this incredible look on his face, like he couldn’t believe what I had done and was considering sending me to a mental institution.
“What?” I shrugged and took another sip.
He blinked and shook his head.
“I thought it was going to spill everywhere and make you throw a fit.” His face returned to normal.
“Ha! I don’t throw… Ok, maybe I do. But the bottle was being an idiot! It wouldn’t open and I didn’t have a proper breakfast and green beans make me puke and if it had spilled, I would have had a good reason to throw a fit.” I suppose that was a mini fit, but oh well. Jesse thought I was crazy for abusing my bottle just to get it open. Oh, well. I gulped down more of my soda. The bell rang, startling me, which caused me to jump and soda filled my throat. I quickly set the bottle down and concentrated on swallowing before surrendering to the coughing fit that was waiting to happen. Students filed out of the cafeteria and soon, we were the only ones left. I downed the rest of my soda, tapped Jackie on the shoulder, and stood up. We walked out of the cafeteria and into the hallway. Before heading to his class, Jesse leaned close to me and spoke softly.
“You could have asked me to open it.” He didn’t even give me time to protest before walking off. I stood, dumbfounded, until Jackie looked up from her work.
“Are we supposed to go to class now?” I nodded and we started walking in the right direction. I wonder if Jackie had noticed the whole soda bottle fiasco in the cafeteria. She had noticed me staring after Jesse, battling his words in my head like some crazed lunatic.
I sighed and tried to focus on school, but it was hard. I didn’t care much about school, and I was just really out of it today. I didn’t know why, but I was.
One thing I knew was that I had to get over my pathetic crush on Jesse. I mean, it wasn’t anything new, but it also wasn’t anything possible, so I’d just have to forget about it. But I never really understood how you could get over someone when you see them every day. I mean, even if we were to move away, I would still think about him all the time. Unless, maybe, I had a boyfriend. I think the only true way to get over someone is to replace them with someone else. But there were several problems with that. First of all, that was kind of slutty. Second of all, it just made a vicious cycle. Third, and most importantly of all, I had no one else. No boyfriend, no one to like, no one to like me, no one. But I didn’t dwell on the fact. I had friends, and I would find someone some day, so I was ok. You know, for now. But that’s all we could hope for. To live life one day at a time. Ew, that sounds cliché. But seriously, if I sat around wishing for a boy friend (or, more likely, wishing Jesse could be my boyfriend) then I would miss out on what I did have. And what I have is awesome friends. Friends that were worth every moment I spent with them, friends that I loved spending time with.
Friends that would be pissed off if I didn’t get my act together and pay attention to what they were saying.
We were now outside of school, waiting for the last bus. We always took the last bus because less kids were on that bus, and the preps never ever took the last bus. We couldn’t help who occupied our space in the morning, but we could avoid certain people at the end of school.
“Ann? Anna? Annaleigh!” Jackie was speaking to me. I looked at her.
“Huh?” Jackie rolled her eyes.
“I was asking you what you thought of my drawing.” She tossed her notebook at me. I caught it and flipped it around the right way and looked at her drawing. It was awesome, even if it was a rough sketch done in pencil. It was a combination picture of a sad girl hidden behind a happy face. The details were very intricate, hard to explain, but held so much essence. You could see the pain the girl hid, you could see what she hid behind. Underneath the drawing were the words ‘This mask I hide behind is killing me.’ I handed the notebook back to Jackie.
“That’s insanely good.”
“Thanks. The quote is from a Seventh Day Slumber song. The next part in the quote goes, ‘There’s nothing left,’ so on the other side of this drawing, I’m going to draw something that shows how the mask of joy hid the girl’s true pain until she deteriorated into nothing.” See, that was why I loved Jackie. She could take anything and make it morbid, make you see the hidden pain. And she did it in such a beautiful and artistic way that you couldn’t find it creepy. It was stunning and beautiful, but never scary. Never disgusting, no matter how gory she got.
I smiled at her. “I love it.”
Jacqueline rolled her eyes at me and waved her hand. That was her way of saying ‘Yeah, I know you do. I love it too, but I’m being modest.’
I looked at Jesse. “What did you think of it?” I peered up at him, trying to look into his eyes through all the hair. He looked down at me and shrugged, shoving his hands into his jacket pocket.
“It was great.” He smiled at me slightly and shook his hair out of his eyes just enough for me to see that he was being serious. I figured he was, since Jackie’s drawings were always great, but he didn’t gush over it like I was doing in my head, so I wanted to make sure. And he had somehow known that. I really love how in sync we are, but sometimes it scares me and makes me think that he must know how pathetically in love with him I am. And sometimes it depresses me, cause really good couples are always in sync like that, so doesn’t that mean we would make a good couple? It was something I would never know. Something that I had to forget about because I would never find out.
“Oh, hey, my mom is picking me up because we’re supposed to go out and do some crap that I don’t want to do because I want to write but I have to do anyway so I might as well make the best of it, you know? So I won’t be taking the bus with you guys.” Jackie frowned slightly.
“Really? That bites.” She rolled her eyes and nodded. Then a car horn beeped and we looked over to see her mom’s car.
“There’s my cue. Bye, Jesse. Bye, Annaleigh.” She gave me a hug, grabbed her backpack, waved at us, and started walking towards her mom’s car. She turned around and looked at me, walking backwards slowly.
“By the way, Annaleigh, that soda thing at lunch today was really funny. Bye!” She spun back around and ran towards her mom’s car. I stared, wide-eyed until Jesse’s soft chuckle caught my attention. I turned to him.
“It was really funny.” He narrowed his eyes slightly, something he did when he was stopping a wide smile from spreading across his face. Odd. I thought my whole soda opening act ticked him off. It amused him? Hmm, well of course he wouldn’t have said it was funny in school. Duh.
I sighed. “Glad to be amusing.” I started walking towards the bus that had just arrived. Only three other people were on it, and none of them were sitting two rows ahead of the back seat, so I was able to pick which side I wanted. I sat on the opposite side of the one Jesse and I had sat in earlier, the side that Jackie and I normally sat in. (It was the left side if you were walking into the bus, the right side if you were sitting in the seat and facing the front of the bus).
I sat in the middle of the seat since no one else was around. I put my backpack on the floor on my right side. When I looked up, Jesse was sitting next to me. Surprised, I scooted closer to the window to give him more room. It reminded me of this morning, but in reverse. I wondered why Jesse decided to sit next to me when there were a dozen seats open, but I ignored my curiosity (and the thoughts it would lead to) and looked at him.
“Is Uncle Pierre working today?” I kept my voice low so that no one would hear unless they were specifically listening to us, since there were so few people and therefore not much noise, but my voice was nowhere near as low as a whisper, or as low as Jesse’s when he was truly trying to be quiet.
“Are we going to bother with homework or are we just hanging out?” I mentally scanned what homework I had. I didn’t have much, so I didn’t mind of we worked on it or waited until later.
Jesse seemed to be doing the same thing, but his mental process didn’t take as energy as mine did; his face never changed, he never made thinking faces. I knew my thinking faces were ridiculous and dorky.
He shrugged. “It’s up to you.” I sighed. I didn’t feel like making the decision then, so I figured we would see how it went once we got to the grocery store.
The bus stopped at our stop and we got out. We were the last people out, because our stop was last in the route. It was kind of cool how it worked out that way.
We began the trek to the grocery store, walking in silence. It was warmer now, because it was later in the day and the sun was shining high over head. A light wind blew by, reminding me of this morning. I glanced over at Jesse. He was walking like he did in school; his hands were in his jacket pockets, his head was down, glancing up in front of him occasionally in a way that kept his hair over his face. It was really hot. At school it intimidated people, but now it made me feel like he needed a hug. I kept my arms to myself, though, for I knew he wouldn’t appreciate a hug unless he asked for it, and he would never ask for a hug. Instead, I sneaked glances at him as we walked. I was trying to think of something to say. There was always so much that I wanted to say, but so little that he would say, so I had to prioritise. Sometimes he was talkative, though, and I loved those moments a lot. I wanted to ask him why he sat next to me so much, but I feared the answer, or how he would respond to my query. I wanted to bring up the lunch thing and ask if he meant his ‘you could have asked me to open it’ offer to be sexist, signifying that I was weak and he was strong, or if he was just being nice. But I knew he would never refer to himself as nice, even though he truly was the nicest person I knew.
“Thanks,” I found myself blurting out. Jesse looked up at me suddenly, as if he had forgotten I was there, though I know he hadn’t.
“For what?” Suddenly I felt stupid for expressing my gratitude.
“Um, you know, for giving me your jacket this morning.” I fidgeted slightly. He looked down at his jacket then back at me.
“Oh. Uh, no problem. Eh. You would have done the same.” He shrugged and went back to looking down at the road. I blushed. Yes, I would have. But I never would have expected him to do it, and it was a wonderful thing to do. His jacket was so nice. So soft, so warm, so comfortable… I imagine it was like what a hug from him would be. Perfect.
“What did you mean when you told me that I could have asked you to open my soda bottle? I know it couldn’t possibly have been a nice gesture, because you don’t do that in school. Were you voicing your doubt on my ability to open a simple soda bottle? Teasing me for opening it in a creative way when it wouldn’t open? What was it?” I hadn’t meant to ask him, and I certainly hadn’t meant for my voice to take on an annoyed edge, but that’s what happened. I stopped walking and turned to face him. He stopped too and took a step close to me, looking into my eyes. He looked surprised by my query, and a bit upset. I blinked and looked away.
Suddenly, his hand was grabbing my chin softly and pulling my face back up to look at his. We stared into each other’s eyes for a moment before he spoke.
“I wasn’t trying to downplay your ability to open soda bottles in any way. I thought you should know that I would have opened it, had you asked. I didn’t know if you would have asked me to open it if you needed someone to help you, and I wanted you to know that I would have, and I wouldn’t have made fun of you because I’m certain that you thought that’s what I would have done. I didn’t want you to feel like you couldn’t ask me to help you because you were afraid of what I might do or say.” He let go of my face and backed away, turning away from me to resume walking. I blinked rapidly and shook my head, trying to process his words. It truly was a nice gesture. In school. And now he was making sure that I didn’t think he would treat me like everyone else in school while we were in school. Not that I thought he would; the thought of him helping me never even crossed my mind. But now that I knew…
“Am I really that much of a bastard to you in school?” His softly spoken question caught me off guard. I stopped dead in my tracks.
“What?” I stared at him incredulously. He kept walking, but turned his head back to look at me.
“You heard me.” I jogged up to him and walked next to him.
“No. What makes you say that?” I was peering closely at his face to decipher anything that he wouldn’t say.
“Because you said I couldn’t possibly have made a nice gesture in school.” He stopped walking again and turned towards me. I stopped too. He took a step towards me.
“Is that true?” His voice was practically a whisper. His eyes were troubled, bothered.
“I don’t think so.” He frowned and continued walking. I walked past him slightly and began walking backwards so I could watch his face as I walked. I touched his arm lightly.
“If it is, Jez, I understand.” I tried to convey with my eyes that I didn’t care if he was mean to me in school because he gave me much more than I hoped for when we weren’t in school. I wasn’t going to ask him or expect him to be nice all the time. And I never thought of him as mean.
He looked at my hand, the one that had just touched his arm, and back up at me. He still looked unhappy, but he seemed to believe me. I was about to reassure him that I didn’t think he treated me like everyone else at school, but suddenly I was on my back.
“Annaleigh!” I heard Jesse yell, but I was still realising that I was on the ground. Now Jesse was standing in front of, looking at me with worry. I could feel the confusion on my face. He leaned down and grabbed me gently by the arms, pulling me up. When he let go, I almost toppled over again, but I kept my balance. I looked down at the ground. The small log that Jesse had hopped over this morning was there. I had tripped over it while I was walking backwards. Yes, I was the smartest person in the world. Sarcasm.
“Are you ok, Naleigh?” Jesse’s blue eyes peered into mine intensely with concern.
“Ugh,” was my reply as I tried to brush all the dirt off my backside. “Stupid road,” I muttered. When I looked back up at Jesse, all traces of concern were gone. He looked amused now and suddenly I felt self-conscious. Had I really just rubbed my hands all over my arse in front of him!? I was getting the dirt off, but still. I shook my bangs out in front of my eye, trying not to blush. Jesse picked a twig out of the longest side of my bangs and let it drop to the ground. I could do nothing but stare at him. His hand had just touched my hair. Near my face. Squeal and die much? I think so.
Jesse smiled slightly and we continued walking. This time, I walked forwards and watched where I was going. When I wasn’t stealing peeks at Jesse, of course. I truly was pathetic. Oh well, I was lucky. All the girls at school snuck looks at Jesse. But he didn’t care about any of them, he didn’t care about anyone at school except me and Jackie. And Jesse was closer to me than he was Jackie. I might be pathetic, but I wasn’t the only one, I was just the lucky one. I loved it.
When we reached the grocery store, it was busy. I looked at Jesse sympathetically. He shrugged.
Secretly, I was happy. On busy days, the staff let me help out, which made it easier to be around Jesse because they pretty much gave me whatever task he had. Otherwise, I would just sit and wait for him or follow him around and get on his nerves. So I liked it when it was busy, cause then I could work too.
We walked in the store and headed straight for the back, where Jesse would clock in and we would grab our aprons. Yes, aprons. The little aprons they give you as a uniform, telling the customers that you worked there. They were a bit dorky, sure, but they gave me a sense of belonging when I wore one. And, of course, Jesse looked hot in one. And I’m not the only one who thought so, so you can stop thinking those thoughts about me and how I’m a typical teenage girl who’s in love with her best friend and constantly describes him as hot, no matter what he does. Stop. Stop thinking that. I’m not like that.
“Hey, Pam,” I greeted the manager while I waited for Jesse to clock in. I stood near the aprons, knowing that I was going to be wearing one today, but waiting to be told to slip on one.
“Anna, doll, I’m glad you came today. Would you mind…?” She didn’t even have to finish her sentence, for I was already grabbing an apron. Pam smiled at me.
“Thanks, Anna, doll.” Pam always called me ‘Anna, doll.’ It was a bit annoying, but she was nice, so I let it slide. I picked up Jesse’s apron and tossed it to him when I heard his footsteps approaching behind me. Now, don’t start thinking that I knew his footsteps apart from everyone else’s, he was the only person in the back room besides me and Pam, who had left after ensuring that I would be helping.
We slipped on our aprons and went to work. Today, we were grocery baggers. Jesse automatically stationed himself at the line farthest away from the door, the line that was practically hidden in groceries. I went to the line next to him. The only other grocery bagger there was a lady we never talked to and who never talked to us, so Jesse and I ignored her and talked to each other. Not that we talked much since we were working, but we made plans to do homework at my house after we were done with our shifts.
The way I talk, it seems like I truly do work at the grocery store. I’ve considered getting a job there, but I don’t really need a job, and I know my shift wouldn’t be the same as Jesse’s. I’d rather just bother him while he’s working, or help out when I’m needed. I’d get sick of the grocery store if I worked there for real, and I didn’t want that to happen. So I stayed jobless. I probably wouldn’t keep a job for long anyway. I mean, I had school, friends, and writing. A job would be too much work. Ha.
Jesse wasn’t talkative at the moment, so I let my mind wander as I bagged groceries. A lot had happened today to boggle my mind. Jesse made me wear his jacket, touched my hand, offered to do something nice at school, sat next to me three times, got upset when he thought I thought he wouldn’t be nice during school, looked at my hand after it touched his arm, showed concern for me falling, picked a twig out of my hair, and smiled. Smiled a lot. I mean, he was always nice to me and I saw him smile and care a lot more than other people did. But for some reason, it seemed odd today. Nothing was different though. He ignores people at school, and is good friends with me and Jackie. But it felt different today for some reason. Though it shouldn’t. It was always like this. It wasn’t like he was suddenly being nice to me or anything. We’d been friends since the first years of teenhood. Maybe I was just making it to be something more than it was. Subconsciously, though? I don’t think so. If I was trying to make it seem like things were different between us, it would be on purpose, like if I was trying to delude myself into thinking he liked me. I certainly wasn’t doing that. I was trying to convince myself not to like him anymore.
Today was no different than any other day. Just because he offered me his jacket didn’t make his intentions different. Friends did that for friends. And we were friends. I should have expected it, honestly. I guess Jesse still surprises me sometimes, even though I know him better than anyone else. Is that possible? I mean, we’re such good friends that I can guess what he’s thinking with the subtlest of looks, but new actions caught me off guard? That just didn’t seem right. And because it was unexpected, I was stupidly reading too much into it. Sigh. When would I ever learn? Sure, I tell myself how stupid it is to like him and how lucky I am to even know him this well, but it didn’t stop me from feeling what I felt. If only.
But now I’m getting sick of my thoughts and they’re really hard to explain without making Jesse sound like someone he wasn’t, or making our friendship sound different than it was, so I’m just going to describe Pam now, since I didn’t before.
Pam is the manager of the grocery store. Jesse’s uncle is the owner. The owner who still works there sometimes. Odd, I know, but it wasn’t like he was the owner of some big corporation, he was the owner of a small store in a small town. Anyway, where was I?
Pam. Pam was a middle aged woman, heavyset, always wearing a smile and red shoes. She believed that every woman should own a pair of red shoes because they were empowering, or something like that. Whenever she found a pair of shoes that were red, she always bought them. No matter how crazy or dorky they looked. It was sort of her personality trait. She was a really nice woman, always ready to give you a free doughnut or a shoulder to cry on. She would have made the best mother, but she never had kids. She never even had a husband. She and her sister ran away from home when they were young because their father abused them. They came all the way from New York in America to here in Arden. Pam never told me what happened to her sister, and I expected it was nothing good, so I never asked. I found it incredible how much strength Pam had to run away so far at a young age. She wasn’t even a teenager when she left. But she had a happy life now, and she never complained about anything. She was always there if you needed her, and she somehow made you feel like you needed her even if you didn’t. I had always expected that she and Uncle Pierre liked each other and I had fantasised about different ways to bring them together, but I really didn’t want to stick my nose where it didn’t belong. At least not in such a big way. Besides, they seemed happy by themselves. Uncle Pierre had us and the store, and so did Pam. Which is another reason I thought they belonged together, but I wasn’t going to interfere. Yet.
Soon, Jesse and I’s shifts were over and we returned our aprons to their hooks, gave Pam a hug (at least, I did) and left.
It was always hard for me to walk back to Aragain without staring at Lake Kashwakamak for the entire walk, and today was no exception. I know it made more sense to hurry to the lodge so I could sit at the dock and stare at the lake in all its beauty, but I just had to watch it as I walked as if it would disappear or something. I didn’t actually believe that it would vanish if I stopped looking at it, but I peered at it so intensely that I’m sure anyone who was watching me would think that I thought it would go poof if I looked away.
Before leaving the store, Jesse and I had grabbed two coffees. Hot and black for him, iced with lots of sugar for me. I stared at the lake as I sipped, completely ignoring Jesse but not on purpose. He was used to it, anyway.
But what he wasn’t used to was me losing my footing and walking sideways into him while looking at the lake. Which is exactly what I did today. I crashed into him but managed not to fall over completely, which was only because he caught me on instinct, accidentally dumping his coffee all over my shirt.
“Sorry,” I apologised for hitting into him before realising that I was suddenly on fire.
“Oh, ouch!” I grabbed at the front of my shirt with the hand that wasn’t holding my own coffee and pulled it out enough for it to stop making contact with my skin. It soothed the burning a little bit, but the coffee was still hot against my skin. It wasn’t scorching or scalding, thank goodness, but it wasn’t comfortable.
“Gah.” I waved my shirt back and forth in my hand, trying to fan myself and cool down the coffee. I was suddenly grateful that I had decided against wearing one of my low cut tops today, but I was still pretty sure it looked like I was trying to flash my boobs to Jesse. I definitely was not trying to do that.
Suddenly, I stopped jerking my hand around like an idiot and just held my shirt away from my skin, content to wait until the coffee cooled. I looked at Jesse, who was trying so hard not to laugh. It should have annoyed me, but it didn’t.
“Go on.” I smiled and Jesse burst out into laughter. Not loud, obnoxious laughter though, and it was over in a few seconds. A few seconds too soon if you ask me, but you didn’t, so there.
“I’m sorry, Annaleigh. Are you ok?” Jesse was still smiling, amused by my shirt waving no doubt. (And he was apologising for laughing, not for spilling his coffee on me. We both knew that was my fault).
“Yeah, yeah, of course. I know I looked like a dork.” I rolled my eyes at him and smiled. The coffee had finally cooled and I let go of my shirt, letting it settle against my skin tighter than before because it was wet.
“Well, that’s one way to get a glimpse of a girl’s boobs. Guys around the world will want to know your secret, Jez.” I shook my head slightly, still smiling and continued walking.
Jesse frowned at my words, but he knew I was teasing him. Although, I have to wonder why it made him frown. Was it because he was using the opportunity to glance at my boobs? No, of course not, Jesse wasn’t like that. Then maybe it was because I had made the suggestion. Oh, he knew I was kidding. Of course I was, ew.
“You’d think that after one mishap, you’d learn to watch where you’re going, but no. Two catastrophes in one day. All because you weren’t watching where you were going.” Jesse shook his head at me disapprovingly. I stuck my tongue out at him.
“We’re not done walking yet, dude. There’s time for a third accident.”
Jesse made a mock panicked face. “Please, no. I hate to think of what would happen next.” Fake fear crossed his face before he erased it, sticking his tongue out at me. I rolled my eyes.
“Ha ha.” He smiled at my sarcasm.
Despite our teasing, the rest of our walk back to Aragain was uneventful.
“Mom! I’m home!” I screamed as I threw open the front door.
“Jeez, Annaleigh! Can you try lowering the volume? You about gave me a heart attack. Hi, Jesse.”
“We’ll be upstairs, Mom. We have homework.” I turned to go upstairs. When my parents adopted me, they had a second story addition built onto the house. I pretty much had the upstairs to myself, and they had the downstairs to themselves.
“Ok, honey. Not too loud.” I waved my hand at her. She knew full well that music was never too loud. If it’s too loud, you’re too old, eh?
Jesse and I always listened to music while we did homework. We usually listened to Skillet, Hawthorne Heights, Alesana, Dashboard Confessional, Paramore, Hawk Nelson, and The Devil Wears Prada. We each had a ton of favourite bands, but those were our usuals.
I dumped my backpack onto my bed and walked over to the iPod dock sitting on my desk. I grabbed my iPod, selected shuffle, and put it in the dock. I turned to my door and shut it before turning up the volume. I grabbed the dock remote and walked over to my bed where Jesse was already sitting, pulling books out of his backpack. I sat cross legged next to him and shuffled through my books.
“What are we doing first?” I sighed. I hated doing homework. I know it was important, but just ugh.
Jesse shrugged. “I don’t have much work.” He blinked and shook his hair out of his eyes.
“Me neither.” I returned my attention to my books so as not to stare at him. I picked up my math book and dropped it onto the floor, scowling at it slightly. I pushed my English book to the side, I would write my essay later when Jesse wasn’t here. We were covering reproduction in biology, for what reason I did not know since we already heard everything before, so there was no way I was going to study biology with Jesse. That left history. I sighed. History was boring. I tossed my history book at Jesse and leaned against my pillows.
Jesse leaned back against my pillows as well and opened my book. He flipped to the right section and turned to look at me.
“Leader of the French revolution.”
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t know.”
“First president of the United States.”
“I don’t know.”
Jesse closed the book with a thump and tossed it onto the edge of the bed with all the other books. He turned towards me, propping himself up on his elbow.
“What’s up?” I sighed and slid down my pillows to a laying down position and folded my hands on my stomach.
“I’m just not in the mood for schoolwork right now.” I looked up at Jesse. He blinked and turned over onto his back, sliding down my pillows to lie next to me. We stared at the ceiling and listened to the music blaring from my speakers.
“Tu es un, bonjour, oui oui,” I said with the song. It was ‘Hello’ by Hawk Nelson, and that little part was the extent of my knowledge of the French language. It basically meant ‘you are one, hello, yes yes’ so it didn’t make any sense, but it went with the song. It was a good song, too.
“Tu madre,” Jesse retorted. I looked over at him and rolled my eyes.
“That’s Spanish.” I said while giggling. He grinned.
“I know.” We smiled at each other for awhile until the song changed and he groaned.
“Change it!” He grabbed one of my pillows and squished it against his ears.
“No, I like it.” I teased him.
“You like the Barbie Girl song?” He stared at me like I was crazy. I laughed and pressed the skip button on the remote. He removed the pillow from his ears and shook his head at me.
“You are the weirdest person I have ever met.” I took my pillow back from him and sighed.
“I know.” I pouted, trying to distract him so I could catch him off guard. He stared at my pout and frowned. Then I whacked him in the head with the pillow. He looked surprised.
“You did not just do that.” I laughed and raised the pillow again. He grabbed my wrist and yanked the pillow away from me with an evil gleam in his eye.
“No!” I screamed and launched myself off the bed. I tried to scramble underneath my bed to hide, but there was so much crap under there. Suddenly, he pulled my ankles and dragged me out from under the bed. I had only made it halfway. Fail.
I was squealing in fear and laughter as I looked up at him. He lay across my bed on his stomach, leaning over partially. His arms reach out towards me and grabbed me.
“No!” I was squealing and laughing so hard that I couldn’t even form one word. Jesse grinned and began tickling me. I squeaked and squirmed, trying to get away from him, but he had a solid hold on me.
“Stop tickling me! Don’t tickle me!” Half of my words were lost in my laughter.
“What don’t you want me to do?” Jesse teased.
“Tickle me!” He tilted his head.
“Tickle you? Okay!” He tickled me harder. I tried to shove my foot against the bed to scoot away from him, but he somehow kept me where I was.
“No! Stop it.” I giggled. “Jez, stop!” Jesse, still laying on my bed, picked me up from the floor and set me on my bed. When my laughter died down, I turned to him and glared. He was sitting on my bed innocently, as if nothing had happened.
“You suck.” I scowled at him. He laughed dismissively. I rolled my eyes at him and swatted his shoulder.
“Don’t ever do that again,” I warned him.
“Okay,” he agreed. He always agreed not to tickle me again after tickling me. It was like a game, I guess. We lay in silence for awhile, staring at the ceiling again and listening to my iPod. Suddenly Jesse spoke.
“Your shirt still has coffee on it.” I blinked. I had totally forgotten. I looked down at my shirt. It was brown, sticking to my skin where it was wet. You could totally see my bra right through. I squeaked slightly and stood up, walking over to my closet. I couldn’t tell, but I thought I heard Jesse laugh lightly.
I rummaged through my closet, looking for a shirt. I decided on my black Underoath shirt that had a pink X on it. It would match what I was wearing. I stepped into my closet, facing away from Jesse, and stripped my shirt off. I pulled on the Underoath shirt quickly, though I didn’t really care if Jesse saw the back of my bra. I knew he wasn’t looking, anyway. I turned around, bent down to pick up my coffee stained shirt and ran it down to the laundry room. I sprayed stain remover on it and left it on the washer. My mom would put it in with the next load and inform me when it was done so I could look at it before it went into the dryer to be sure that the stain didn’t set. I raced back upstairs, but when I threw open my door, Jesse was nowhere to be found. I frowned, confused. His backpack and all his books were still on my bed and my floor. I shrugged and shut the door behind me. Suddenly two hands poked my waist and a voice whispered ‘Boo.’ I jumped a foot in the air and yelled.
“Holy…!” I spun around to face Jesse who was laughing uncontrollably. “Jesse! That was not funny.” I yelled at him. He kept giggling softly. I groaned and walked to my bed and sat down. Jesse followed and sat next to me.
“I’m sorry, Annaleigh, I had to.” I rolled my eyes at him, trying to stop myself from smiling. He grinned at me and all attempts were futile. I grinned back.
“Dinner!” My mom yelled up the steps. My stomach suddenly grumbled. I had forgotten to get something to eat at the grocery store. The only thing I’ve consumed all day was liquids, then.
“Coming!” I yelled down and turned to Jesse. “You staying?” He nodded. I walked over to my iPod dock and turned it off, smiling. We ran down the stairs where spaghetti was waiting.
“Woo hoo!” I yelled as I danced to my seat. I grabbed two pieces of garlic bread, shoving one into my mouth whole.
“Annaleigh,” My mom scolded. I shrugged and chewed. Jesse looked at me with an amused smile. I stuck my tongue out at him, forgetting that my mouth was full of food. Half of the garlic bread fell out of my mouth and onto the table. I quickly scooped it up and shoved it back into my mouth. Jesse made a disgusted face at me. I gave him a dirty look and picked up our glasses, walked over to the fridge, and filled them with soda.
“Are we ready to eat civilly now, Annaleigh?” My mom asked. I nodded relunctantly, earning an eye roll from her and Jesse.
“You guys suck.” I shoved a meatball into my mouth.
“What is it with you and using that adjective, honey? Everything always ‘sucks’ or ‘bites.’ It’s like you’re—“
“Okay, Mom,” I cut her off. “I won’t say ‘suck’ at the dinner table.” She was going to say something about how it was like I was making it into a pun, what with my having vampire genes and all. Oh, Jesse doesn’t know that I’m a vampire slash human. Why would I tell my best friend something that would scare him off? My mom thought I should tell him, but I just wasn’t willing to give up our friendship, you know? Besides, it was the only secret I kept from him other than the fact that I liked him. And both secrets I kept so that way we could continue being friends. So I thought it was a good idea on my part, eh?
I filled up on spaghetti and garlic bread, forgetting to save room for dessert. Ha, not like we had any. We had the Half Jos Louie snack cakes from the grocery store, but I usually ate them while I did my homework or something creative down by the lake. After dinner, Jesse and I decided to go down to the lodge and swing. I ran upstairs to grab a jacket first. It would get dark in a couple of hours, and it would get colder.
Jesse and I walked across the road and started heading towards the slight hill that would bring us to Aragain Lodge. He hopped over the fence with ease, but I decided not to try because I knew I would fall over. It had happened before. As we walked down the hill, the wind blew. It was a very chilly wind. I put my hood and on crossed my arms over my chest, trying to stop my teeth from chattering. I liked cold, I really did. But my stupid teeth had to chatter and make it seem like I was uncomfortable in the cold. Jesse looked over at me, trying to determine if I was unhappy about being cold. I smiled at him, but the wind blew again and made my teeth chatter. I could only begin to imagine how dorky that must have looked. Once we got into the sun, it seemed warmer. I took my hood off and uncrossed my arms. It was unfair how the cold made me act. I liked being cold mostly. But when a simple gust of wind made me shiver, it made it seem like I hated the cold or something. Grr.
When Jesse and I got down to the lodge, someone was on the swings. There were only two swings and a baby swing. We had an unspoken rule; if one swing was taken then we would wait instead of offering the other swing to one another. We swung together or not at all. Except for when he wasn’t here and I swung by myself. So we headed to the hammock instead. I walked around the tree to sit on the side closer to the lake. I sat down and leaned against the hammock, stretching my legs out across my side. I sat facing the ninth cabin, facing away from the main hangout section with the chairs. Jesse lay down opposite me, facing away from the ninth cabin and towards the main hangout section. I checked the netting behind my head for bugs, saw none, and rested my head on the hammock. I placed my left leg on the ground and kicked the ground back and forth, swinging us. The air moving back and forth made it colder, but I liked it. The Canadian air was beautiful and I loved breathing it in, feeling it circulate in my lungs. I closed my eyes and concentrated on feeling the air, how it moved from swinging and how it moved as I breathed. It was very calming, and it put me to sleep on multiple occasions.
At night, whenever I had trouble sleeping, it was very tempting to come down here swing myself to sleep, but night was extremely cold and there were raccoons. I sighed contentedly and opened my eyes to avoid falling asleep. Jesse was staring at me. I couldn’t read what was on his face, but it seemed like it was just observation. I gave him a small smile and stretched across the hammock more. When you swung, you slid down. And when you slid down, the bottom often scraped against the stub of wood from the tree that was underneath the bottom of the hammock. It wasn’t very comfortable for the arse, and I feared that it would rip the netting. So to avoid that happening, you had to routinely stretch yourself out on the hammock. It was actually a very funny process, because the hammock would rock up and down instead of back and forth, and if you adjusted at the same time as your hammock partner, you risked bumping heads. When you took turns adjusting, the movement of adjusting pushed you closer to the middle and thus closer to whoever you were in the hammock with. I liked adjusting.
After I adjusted, Jesse did too and soon, our sides were resting against each others’. It definitely warmed everything up. I felt very comfy like that. Jesse didn’t seem to mind it either. I pulled my iPod out of my jacket pocket and offered him an ear bud. He took it and I used the other one. After a few songs from shuffle, I got bored so I gave him my iPod. He scrolled through stuff for awhile before putting on Skillet’s Comatose album. It was their best album, in my opinion. I loved Comatose. I often wished that I had a person that could be what the album-titled song sang about when I listened to it. Lying next to Jesse on the hammock while listening to the song was fire underneath my already burning crush on him. I suppose it would have been smart to stop entertaining such thoughts and force myself to stop liking him so that I wouldn’t get my heart crushed, but it was easier said than done. And there really was no harm in a simple crush, eh?
“Half Jos Louie?” Jesse pulled two of the snack cakes out of his jacket pocket and offered me one. I took it, smiling.
“Did you sneak those out of my house?” He grinned and bit into his Half Jos Louie. I shook my head at him and unwrapped mine. We ate our snack cakes in silent, staring at the lake. When I was finished with my Half Jos Louie, I stood up and walked down to the dock. Halfway there, I turned my head slightly to see Jesse following me. I turned my head back to the lake and smiled. I walked down the dock to the edge, praying that Jesse wouldn’t suddenly decide to push me in. I sat down at the end of the dock, took off my socks and shoes, rolled up my skinny jeans as high as they would go (about mid calf) and put my feet in the water. Jesse sat next to me and did the same. I swished my feet around in water gently, loving the feeling of the water swirling around my skin. I kicked my feet a little, sending water droplets in Jesse’s general direction. Jesse reached into the water and grabbed some seaweed (actually, lake weed) and dumped it on my lap.
“Eew!” I squealed and thrust it back into the water. Jesse laughed. I rolled up my sleeve, stuck my arm into the lake, and grabbed a lot more lake weed than he had. I smiled smugly at him, waving my fistful of lake weed around in the air. Jesse gave me the don’t-you-dare look, but I figured that it was time for some payback. I dumped all of the lake weed on his head. He gasped and shook his head violently, splattering me with the lake weed.
“Ick. Jesse,” I protested. He turned to me with a deathly glare.
“You did not just get the hair.” Jesse made his voice sound high and girly, totally mimicking a prep.
“Yo, betch, you forgot the Z snap.” I proceeded to snap in a Z formation to show him, but was caught off guard when he beat me to it. His face looked so serious, as if he really was a prep or something like that. I burst out laughing. Full-on laughter, too. I waved my hand around, slapped my knee, kicked my feet, threw my head back, the whole bit. It was frickin’ hilarious! Except that I almost giggled myself right off the dock. I was just about to calm down from laughing when I felt more water on my legs.
“Ah!” I squealed, realising that I was about to fall in, but knowing that I was too late to do anything about it. Suddenly and arm wrapped around my waist and pulled my up onto the dock. The second I was plopped onto the wood, I heard a splash. I looked in the direction of the noise to see Jesse in the lake. My eyes widened.
“Oh my! Jesse, are you ok?” I stretched my hand out to help him, but he ignored it and hoisted himself up onto the dock easily. He was completely wet up to his shoulders. He sat on the dock with his teeth chattering violently. I looked at him.
“Are you ok?”
“Was your iPod in your jacket pocket?” He took off his wet jacket and proceeded to squeeze it out. I nodded.
“It was worth it.” He smiled at me, but I didn’t feel comforted. It must have been freezing. I quickly stripped off my jacket and handed it to him, preparing to force him to wear it if needed. He gave me a look, but he took my jacket without a word. It didn’t stop his teeth from chattering much, though. I took a breath and decided to act quickly, before I thought too much and stopped myself. I scooted closer to him, wrapped my arm his waist, and stretched my legs out across his lap. My left arm was lying across his back, with my left hand resting on his ribs. I put my right arm across his chest, holding onto his left shoulder, as if he was carrying me. I curled my legs up so they were against his as much as possible. I laid my head against his right shoulder. I was trying to warm him up as much as possible. (Ok, ok, I admit. It was very comfy). I knew it would be smarter and warmer for us to go back to the house so he could change into dry clothes, but I don’t think either of us was ready to go inside yet. So we just sat there for awhile. I wasn’t sure if I was keeping him warm enough, but it was the best I could do, and he wasn’t complaining. Plus, he only shivered occasionally now. I sighed contentedly and suppressed a giggle when Jesse shivered at the exact same time. There was a slight smile on my face as I pulled myself closer to him. I tried to do it as subtly as possible, but I think he noticed. He moved his head towards me a fraction of an inch but then continued looking straight ahead at the lake. My neck was beginning to hurt from being craned to look at the lake, so I just let my head rest against his shoulder completely, which gave me a close-up of the side of Jesse’s neck. I was oddly pleased to see no visible stubble. Facial hair was disgusting and disturbing, you know? Well, it’s not like it should have mattered to me, but I guess I was tired. Or coming down from a sugar crash. In those cases, my mind would register one little detail and go off on random subjects. I sometimes surprised myself at what thoughts connected. If I stuck my tongue out right now, I would be licking Jesse. Hah, prime vampire point – the jugular. Well, I guess it’s a good thing that I’m not an actual bloodsucking vampire, or Jesse would be in danger. Instead, I was just comfortably close to him. Probably inappropriately close, considering my gigantic crush on him, but my heart could take it. My heart would have to take it, because I wasn’t moving unless forced to. I moved my left arm up so it was across the back of his shoulders and both of my hands were on his left shoulder. Unexpectedly, Jesse wrapped his arms around me lightly. I pushed myself closer to him, causing him to tighten his grip slightly. I closed my eyes and tried hard not to smile. With my eyes closed, I could feel the beat of his heart in his neck veins and hear each breath he took. I slowed my own breathing so I could hear better and willed my heart to beat in rhythm with his. Ha, as if it worked that way. It was very comforting and pretty soon, I found myself in a deep slumber.
Light pricked at my eyelids, forcing them open. I groaned and rolled over, only to find that I didn’t have as much room on my bed as I thought I did. What the crap?! I snapped my eyes open to see Jesse’s sleeping figure. My heart suddenly melted and started beating faster at the same time. I blinked rapidly, trying to figure out why Jesse was here. I mean, he often spent the night over here, ever since we first knew each other, but he normally slept on the floor. (Not completely on the floor, I had a sleeping bag and millions of blankets and pillows). I didn’t mind his new sleeping arrangement, since it was freezing outside and his body heat made the bed warmer. I pulled the covers around me tighter, carefully so as not to wake Jesse. It wasn’t time to get up and get ready for school yet, so I figured I’d let him sleep and try to do the same. I noticed that he was wearing a different set of clothes. Jesse had a few sets of clothes stashed here for when he came over. I drifted towards him slightly, hoping to get close enough to soak in his warmth without waking him. I sighed softly, staring at his perfect hair. I was tired enough to drift in and out of an almost-sleep, but too awake to actually fall asleep. My mind wandered and roamed, being scarily random. I thought of all the reasons why I couldn’t tell Jesse that I liked him, thought about the many different things that would happen if I did, all the love songs I wish I could relate to us, and all the heartbroken songs that did relate to my feelings of us and how the ‘us’ would never exist. It was truly odd how I could be depressed and content at the same time. It was sort of scary, like a mild form of bipolarity, but it was normal for me. For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic. I swear Paramore wrote that song title just for me. Except I wasn’t sure if I was an optimistic pessimist, or a pessimistic optimist. I had always called myself an optimist, but I was pessimistic about some things and at some times. But then I couldn’t call myself a pessimist either, because I had my optimistic moments too. It was confusing, but I supposed it was normal so I didn’t worry too much.
When it was closer to being time to wake up, I very carefully slid out of my bed to go to the bathroom. Jesse was still asleep when I got back, so I tried to slip back into my bed without any movement or sound. It was a slow and difficult process, but I managed it pretty well. Until my body decided that I had been out of the covers long enough and started to shiver. I spread the blankets all around me, making sure I was completely covered, but my body still shook slightly. Eh, stupid piece of crap.
Jesse’s eyes opened slowly at first, then flew open when he recognised where he was.
“H-h-hi-i-i,” I tried to say. Jesse seemed to realise that I wasn’t upset or uncomfortable in any way and relaxed. He smiled at me. I pushed myself closer to the middle of the bed, attracted to his body heat like a moth was attracted to sun light. Ew, I just compared myself to a frickin’ bug. I stopped a few inches away from Jesse, unsure how close I should get. Jesse reached out towards me with his right arm and placed it on my back, like someone would place their hand on their dancing partner. I took it as an invitation to scoot closer and did so quickly. He tightened his hold on me slightly. I made sure my knees were completely straight, so there wouldn’t be anything between me and his warmth. I had my fists clenched together underneath my neck near my collarbone, with my arms crossing over my chest slightly. I shoved my face into his chest and tried to stop shivering. Jesse slid his left arm under my ribs and pulled me closer, wrapping me into a hug sort of. Pretty soon, I had warmed up and stopped shivering. Part of me was sad, because I knew that Jesse and I would separate. I looked up at Jesse, feeling sort of embarrassed for forcing myself onto him like that. He grinned at me, but there was an underlying worry in his face.
I shrugged. “For now.” I smiled. “Thanks.”
“Well, it was my turn.”
“You warmed me up last night. And then you fell asleep.” He smirked for a second, but his face filled with worry again.
“Well, it was my fault you fell into the lake. Thanks for that too, by the way.”
“I carried you here and you told me to stay. I didn’t know if…” Jesse’s first sentence was rushed, as if he was making a reasonable excuse for something bad. He trailed off at the end, closed his eyes and sighed.
“That’s what you were worried about?” He nodded slowly. I rolled my eyes.
“I don’t remember doing it, but I told you to stay, so I must have wanted you to stay.” I smiled.
“Yeah, but I didn’t know exactly where you meant, but you seemed to be cold then too so I wanted to stay near you, and I know you trust me not to do anything because I wouldn’t ever do anything, but I wasn’t sure how you felt about waking up to see me lying next to you and not remembering why.” He took a much-needed deep breath. I processed his words and giggled. He frowned.
“I’m sorry, it’s just… You had nothing to worry about. I don’t care whether you sleep on my bed or on my floor. Sometimes when you stay over, I want to ask you to sleep up here with me because it’s so damn cold but I never do because I don’t know how you would feel about that or what you would think about me asking that, and I just don’t know what I’m saying anymore… But I don’t care if you sleep here, that’s all I’m saying.” Stupid words. Stupid, stupid words. Why did I say that I sometimes wanted to ask him to sleep on my bed with me? Even for warmth purposes. Stupid thing to say. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Jesse smiled slightly. “Okay then.” All traces of worry were gone from his face, replaced by amusement and relief. And possibly something I couldn’t decipher.
I looked over at my clock and groaned. It was about time to start getting ready for school. And since I had fallen asleep before taking a shower last night, I had to take one now. I hated taking morning showers. Reluctantly, I rolled out of bed, ignoring the cold that hit me suddenly.
“I’ll be as quick as I can, but I don’t know if we’re going to be walking today, Jez.” I said wistfully. He half-smiled.
“Should I have woken you up last night for a shower?”
I pondered for a minute then shook my head. “I probably would have yelled at you for waking me up and then gone back to sleep, or something.” Jesse and I smiled, knowing that I was probably correct in that analysis. I walked over to my closet and picked out some random stuff that looked promising before walking out of my room and into my bathroom. I tried to hurry in the shower, but shampooing my hair, conditioning my hair, washing my face, shaving my armpits, and washing my body took awhile. I went a lot faster than normal, though. When I was done, I dried off and dressed as quickly as possible before rubbing on my face lotion. Then I combed and blow dried my hair. I skipped the hair straightener and skimped on my makeup. The entire process took about an hour. I rushed into my room where Jesse was sitting on my bed patiently, perfect-haired and perfect-faced. So totally unfair. I yanked a pair of sock out of my drawer and put my socks and shoes on as quickly as possible. I raced around my room, shoving my books into my backpack. I was in a frantic frenzy that was probably amusing to watch. Sure enough, when I looked up, Jesse was looking at me with an entertained look on his face.
“Oh, shush. I’m almost done.” I looked at the clock. “I think we have time.” Now where the hell was my iPod?
“Are you sure you want to wear that?” Jesse smirked. Confused, I looked down at my clothes.
“Oh, eff!” I had grabbed my grey tank top with black hearts instead of my similar grey long sleeved shirt with black hearts. I rolled my eyes and hopped over to closet, where I shoved clothes around looking for the correct shirt.
“Where the effing duck busting shiz nipping crap face are you!?” My shirt was not in my closet. It was frustrating. Jesse laughed hysterically. I turned to him with a dirty look.
“Be quiet.” I turned back to my closet and groaned, giving up. I pulled out my hot pink long sleeve shirt and repeated the same changing exercise as yesterday. Step into closet more with back turned, strip off old shirt, yank on new one. I turned around and located my iPod, putting it in my backpack.
“Annaleigh, I really don’t want to upset you, but you might not want to wear that one, either.”
“Why not?” I cried before looking down at my shirt. Of course my black bra showed through the hot pink.
“Oh, for the love of…” I cut myself off with a grunt and returned to my closet yet again. I pulled out my short sleeve black Hawk Nelson ‘Zero’ shirt and put it on over top my hot pink shirt.
“Now are my clothes ok?” I asked Jesse. He glanced at my outfit quickly before nodding with an amused smile. I sighed in annoyance and grabbed my backpack.
“Are you all ready to go?” I asked him unnecessarily. He nodded. I rolled my eyes.
“See you at the store?” Jesse nodded again. I headed down stairs, hoping that Mom had made some breakfast I could just take with me.
“Did you sleep well, honey?” I blinked, wondering if my mom knew that Jesse had stayed the night. When we were younger, he stayed the night a lot and my parents were ok with that, but I didn’t know if they would change their minds now that we were seventeen. I doubted it, since we were only friends, but you never knew with parents. Cue eye roll.
“Jesse told me that I shouldn’t check on you in case it woke you up, but it was hard not to. I have to admit, I was a little worried. You fell asleep while it was still daylight. You’re not getting sick, are you?” My mom walked across the kitchen and proceeded to feel my forehead with her hand.
“No, I’m not getting sick. I just had a major sugar and caffeine crash, I guess.” She gave me a disapproving look, but was relieved that I wasn’t sick.
“Well, I need to get to school so I’m just going to take some coffee and a pop-tart. Bye, Mom.” I grabbed a pop-tart package and fished my travel coffee cup out of the dishwasher.
“Ah, ah, ah. You can’t crash from sugar and caffeine at school, honey. One of the other.” I groaned and rolled my eyes but left the coffee cup. Jesse would have some waiting for us when I got to the store anyway, probably.
“Ok, bye Mom!” I left, slinging my backpack over my shoulder and shoving half of my pop-tart in my mouth. I chewed most of it before running down the road, trying to get to the store as quickly as possible. Since there were two pop-tarts in one package, I decided to leave one for Jesse in case he didn’t get anything to eat. I mentally cursed my backpack as I ran, knowing I would be faster without it. I got to the store quickly enough, though. Jesse was just coming out with two coffee cups. I ran over to him and took my coffee, drinking half of it in one gulp. Running was very tiring, and this cold Canadian air tended to burn the lungs a little bit. I held out my other pop-tart to him and he took it.
“Do you want to walk to school today or are you tired from running here?”
“If we have time, I think we should walk. Besides, if I get too tired, you can just give me a piggy back ride.” I stuck my tongue out at Jesse.
“Ha ha,” he replied sarcastically, but I knew he would give me a piggy back ride if I really wanted him to.
“You ready to go?” I nodded and we took off. For the first few minutes, we ate our pop-tarts and drank our coffee. This time, I was careful to avoid tripping over the log in the road. As we passed it, I remembered when I tripped over it and smiled. Jesse had brushed a twig out of my hair. Big sigh.
I don’t know why it seemed so special that he had done that. We were almost always close to each other, so it really wasn’t much of a big deal. It just seemed different on Mondays.
See, Jesse had a naturally intimidating aura. Despite his undeniable hotness, people just seemed to want to stay away from him. Getting people to avoid him was not something Jesse had to work at. He just gave off this dangerous air. Well, to everyone except me and Jackie, really. But on Mondays, he liked to stiffen up, in case anyone had forgotten that it was in their best interest to stay away from him. Otherwise, he would treat school no different than time alone with friends. Ok, maybe a little different. I’m sure he wouldn’t let me lie all over him to warm him up at school. But all the teasing, the joking, the smiling, he did that at school. Just not on Mondays.
I thought it was odd, but whatever. Like I said, people were naturally intimidated by Jesse. Even when he was joking around and picking twigs out of my hair. It was just his presence. So if I made it seem like Jesse was some weird friend-ignoring weirdo at school, he’s totally not. He’s nice and caring and sweet and funny, with the appearance of danger. He didn’t wear chains or daggers or anything, but he looked like someone you wanted to stay away from. But really, he was the person you’d never want to be away from. But since people are only judged by what’s on the outside, very few people knew Jesse and how awesome he could really be. I was insanely glad that I was one of those people. I had the best best friend in the world and I knew it. We truly were the type of friends that you would think had known each other since birth, but Jesse and I had only known each other for a few years. We became friends right away, though, and our friendship really only grew ever since. Wow, do I sound cliché or what? Ick. Well, it’s my life, so if you don’t like it then don’t bother.
After a few minutes, Jesse and I had finished our coffees. I dug around my backpack, looking for my pack of Excel. I located it and offered Jesse a piece. Without mint gum, we would be in school with coffee breath. Yuck.
The walk to school was very uneventful. Rather boring, actually. As was the school day. I know that I should be describing everything in detail, really punching up the word count, but I honestly don’t know what’s been happening all around me. I just can’t stop thinking about Jesse. I keep on thinking about all the songs that I would like to listen to while thinking about him as my boyfriend, you know? For example, pretty much all of the songs on Skillet’s Comatose album. Wait, didn’t I already mention this? I think I did… Oh well. When thinking of things to say, I tend to repeat myself. Well, I tend to repeat myself all the time. And I rambled a lot. Jesse used to say that I had ADD (attention deficit disorder) but if I did, it was a mild case. Usually, people with ADD had trouble concentrating in school, like to the point of needing medicine. I wasn’t at that point, so I was just a random person, really. Normal. Plain. Boring. Your mom’s face. Once I had a llama, a short llama, a tall llama, llama llama duck. Duck killing prostitutes wanting to be surgeons. The Operation board game with the weird buzzing. That always made my hand feel really weird. Weird, odd, strange –the coolest words in the dictionary, honestly. Except all the words that I made up. I made up a lot of words. Verexy (very sexy). Ha ha. My back hurts. Holy frakking crap, that was really random.
“Solve for x, please, Miz Pace.” Ha, that reminded me of Miz Biz, my slang name for Misery Business by Paramore. Wait, was the teach talking to me?
“X. The letter comes after w and before y in the alphabet. It is the twenty-fourth letter. Most words beginning with the letter x are extremely long and odd, words that most people would not know. When asked to give a word starting with x, most people say X-ray or xylophone.” The class laughed.
“I meant in the formula, Miz Pace, but thank you very much for the English lesson,” the teacher said drily. Eh, I never liked Mr. Barnell. He teaches math. Who likes math? Most definitely not me.
“Some people, however, tend to be smart arsed and answer with a word that starts with e but follows with x. Like exciting, extreme, example, exercise, and so on. But those words don’t actually start with x, so people who answer with those are either terrible spellers or have a complete lack in respect.”
“Much like you, Miz Pace? Principal’s office. Now.” Whoa, what the frak? I didn’t even do anything. Sorry if my mind is random and I don’t know math. Gosh. I huffed and grabbed my backpack, marching out of the room. This was totally ridiculous, I thought to myself as I walked down to the principal’s office. When I got there, there was someone sitting on one of the chairs outside the office. It was my favourite chair, the one farthest away from the office door. I sighed, totally not in the mood to make the kid move. Then, the kid turned his face and I saw who it was. It was Jesse. With an extremely bloody nose. My eyes widened and I gasped. I hurried down the rest of the hall and threw myself into the chair next to him, dropping my backpack on the floor with a thump. I placed my hand on his cheek gently and turned his face towards me so I could see his nose. He watched me with curiosity, assessing my reaction.
“Oh my gosh Jesse what happened are you ok oh my gosh who did this to you what the hell happened?!” I asked in one breath. Jesse snorted and the wonder vanished from his face.
“I was going to punch him back, but some stupid teacher came down the hall at the moment and stopped us. Annaleigh, I swear I could have given him worse than this.”
“Jesse, dammit, you should not be worrying about your reputation right now. You’re bleeding.” I inspected his nose some more. It was a lousy punch, really. Just perfectly placed for major blood exposure. Thankfully, Jesse’s nose wasn’t broken.
“Some idiot insulted me, a lame insult by the way, and I simply told him that he didn’t want to do that. Then he said, in a really snotty and stuck-up way, ‘Oh yeah? Do I want to do this?’ and punched me.” Jesse shrugged. Then he laughed. “He gave it all he got, Annaleigh.” Jesse rolled his eyes. I had to admit, this was pretty crappy for the kid’s best, but I was still worried about Jesse being hurt.
“Yeah, that is a pretty lousy job, but did it hurt?” Jesse looked at me like I was stupid and flicked my shoulder.
“Naleigh, did that hurt?” He asked rhetorically to demonstrate to me how stupid my question was. I sighed, satisfied that Jesse was alright and leaned back against the chair.
“What are you in for?” He asked suddenly as if it had just occurred to him that I didn’t come to see how he was doing.
“I don’t know. Mr. Barnell sent me.”
“Oh,” Jesse nodded as if that cleared everything up. And it did. Mr. Barnell once sent a kid to the principal’s office for answering the question correctly, but not quick enough. Totally and completely ridiculous, eh?
Just then, Clay, the preppiest, ugliest, stupidest, cockiest jock in school walked out of the principal’s office with a smug smile on his face. He turned to see Jesse and his smile widened when he saw the blood. My teeth clenched together in anger. Oh, how I’d like to punch his smile off. He grinned at me cockily and spoke to Jesse.
“Gee, man. Can’t get your nose busted up without your prissy little girlfriend coming to comfort you?” His voice was so smug, so mocking, so irritating… I wanted to rip his vocal chords out so I would never have to hear that voice again. Beside me, Jesse stiffened slightly but I paid no attention to him because I was too pissed off at Clay. I stood up and walked over to him before Jesse could stop me.
“I’m not his girlfriend, you idiot, I’m his best friend. And you didn’t bust his nose, smart one. It’s just a little cut, a little scratch. It’s something I could do without giving it my best effort.” I crossed my arms, hopefully appearing to be dangerous but honestly, it was so I wouldn’t smack this guy upside the head. He ignored me and looked at Jesse again.
“Dude, how pathetic are you? You can’t get in a little hit so you get your little slut to offer to beat me up for you? That’s just wrong, man.” He shook his head sadly. I growled, paying no attention to Jesse’s reaction of his words, and stepped closer to him.
“Nobody’s offering to beat you up, you loser. I am beating you up.” As I spoke the words, I threw my fist against his nose, hoping that I would break it. Caught off guard, he staggered back a few steps, but he quickly regained his composure and advanced towards me. I prepared to block his fist, so it surprised me when I was thrown into the lockers. I hit them hard, but not hard enough to do any damage. I was too stunned to move. I saw Jesse leap up and walk towards Clay.
“No,” I said softly. I didn’t want Jesse to fight this guy. I wasn’t hurt, and I didn’t want Jesse to get hurt. Jesse turned to look at me with fear and worry on his face, trying to discern if I was ok. Since Jesse’s head was turned, Clay tried to take advantage of that. He grabbed his backpack and removed a book silently and quickly. He let his hand drop to his side with the book pointed towards Jesse. I saw his plan in his eyes and knew I had to act quickly. I yanked off my shoe and threw it as hard as I could at his stomach, thankful that I decided to wear my thick Vans skate shoes today instead of my flimsy Converse Chucks. Unfortunately for Clay, my aim was a little bit off and the show landed a few inches below where I had wanted it to hit. Oh well, that’s where he was planning on throwing his book at Jesse, so he deserved it. He doubled over on contact and made an odd wheezing sound and the book he was planning to use as a weapon dropped. By this time, Jesse had turned his attention back to Clay.
“You little bi—“ He started to say, but Jesse leaned over and shoved his book in his mouth before he could finish.
“Don’t you ever talk like that about her again, do you understand me?” Jesse’s voice was dark and scary. He raised his knee towards Clay’s already-aching spot threateningly, causing him to wince and back up. Jesse laughed and shook his head. He walked over to me and stretched his arm out. I grabbed it and let him pull me off the floor.
“Um, could you get my shoe?” I stood on one foot as Jesse walked over to get my show and walked back.
“Thanks,” I said when he handed me my shoe. I leaned against the lockers and put it on. I straightened up and looked at Jesse, smiling slightly. Just then, the principal’s assistant decided that it was my turn to go into the office and poked her head out of the door. I walked over to the chairs to grab my backpack, rolling my eyes. Before walking into the office, I turned to Jesse.
“You should get some ice or a paper towel for that, or something.” I had kind of wanted to tell him thanks for defending me, but I decided against it. I was embarrassed about Clay calling me Jesse’s girlfriend. I only wished.
Jesse nodded, rolling his eyes at my concern. I stuck my tongue out at him and walked into the office. Well, guess what, Mr. Barnell? I didn’t get detention. Apparently, you send kids to the office too much and the school board is thinking about firing you. So ha.
By the time lunch rolled around, I was anxious to see Jesse again, to see if he was ok. I walked quickly down the hall to the cafeteria.
“Annaleigh,” Jesse called softly. I turned around to see him standing a lot closer than I thought he would be, judging by the volume and distance of his voice. I looked at his nose. It had a cut on it, but it was nothing major. I smiled.
“You’re all right?” Jesse rolled his eyes.
“Of course.” We walked into the cafeteria together and were suddenly ambushed by the leader of the preps, Delilah Williams, aka Clay’s girlfriend. She walked up to us as if she owned the place and we were her minions and she could therefore control us. Her wannabe, Chelsea Anderson, followed her like a puppy.
“Where do you think you get off trying to beat up my boyfriend?” She crossed her arms and flipped her hair. Her disgustingly fake blonde hair that had too much product in it to look good.
I rolled my eyes. “What the hell is with the whole ‘trying’ thing?! I did beat him up.” I smiled smugly.
“Ugh. Whatever. Just because your pathetic little sensitive emo boyfriend can’t hold his own next to my man doesn’t mean you need to—“ She said what about Jesse?!
“Excuse me?! I think I proved who’s the sensitive guy here, ok?” Delilah narrowed her eyes. Ha, she had so much mascara on that her eyes looked closed when she did that.
“Whatever.” She turned and stalked off.
“Haha, couldn’t even think of a comeback.” I rolled my eyes at Jesse. He seemed distracted though, and didn’t return my sentiments about the worst clique in school. Eh, I hated preps.
We walked to get food and then went to our table. Jackie wasn’t there today, on Tuesdays and Thursdays she ate lunch with her art friends. So Jesse and I had our table all to ourselves. We sat in silence for awhile, both distracted by our thoughts. I was trying not to blush. Apparently, people thought that Jesse and I were together. It was embarrassing because that’s what I wanted. Because if people thought we were together, didn’t that mean that it seemed like we were? Which could mean that my pathetic little crush on him was obvious. And that was something that I feared greatly. Well, maybe I could do something about it, point out how delusions the preps are or something. It was worth a shot, right? I finished chewing my food and turned to Jesse.
“Ugh, I just hate them.” His head snapped towards me.
“Who?” He asked, confused. Wow, I guess he must have forgotten that I was sitting here, or that we were in school.
“The preps. Clay and Delilah.” I rolled my eyes. Jesse scanned his memory and looked down at his food.
“Oh. Me too.” He didn’t look up at me or put any enthusiasm in his voice. I instantly turned my body towards his and put my hand on his cheek, turning his face towards mine to inspect his nose.
“Does it hurt?” Jesse looked at me blankly. I was confused. I thought that he didn’t put any emotion behind hating the preps because his nose hurt. Why else would he be so distracted? He was usually up for hating on the preps.
I realised that my hand was still on his cheek. I dropped it quickly, blushing.
“Sorry.” As soon as my hand was removed, Jesse looked back down at his food. His surprisingly untouched food. What was wrong with him?
“What’s on your mind?” I took a sip of my drink, watching Jesse’s face.
“You. Uh, defending me and beating up Clay.” A hint of red touched Jesse’s cheeks subtly.
“Oh. Was that bad to do?” He looked up at me sullenly and shrugged.
“It got you thrown into a locker.” He frowned. Then it was my turn to shrug.
“I’m fine.” And it was true, I wasn’t hurt at all. Jesse looked back up at me with an odd look in his eye.
“I, well. He pisses me off. And I didn’t like what he was saying.” I looked down. Oh, I liked the idea of it, I just didn’t like how it wasn’t true.
“Which part?” I looked back up at Jesse.
“What he said about us, or—“ He growled. “The names he was calling you?” Anger flashed across Jesse’s face.
“Oh, um, that.” I laughed nervously. “Pretty ridiculous, eh?” I rolled my eyes, trying to make a joke out of it. Jesse looked at me with an odd expression, sort of a mix between hurt, curiosity, and hesitance.
“What’s so ridiculous about it?” Crap! Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap!! He knew!
“Um…” I tried to think of something intelligent to say, something that would deny how I felt about it. But I had no time to respond, for a pair of soft and warm lips were suddenly covering my own with gentle force. Before I had a chance to react, they were gone. Jesse quickly got up from the table and left the cafeteria with a blush. I sat at the table, stunned and unmoving, until the final warning bell rang. I shuffled to my class, replaying what just happened in my mind. I wanted to try to decipher why Jesse did that by processing his words and his facial expressions, but I was too hung up on the fact that he just kissed me. He kissed me gently, softly, tenderly, beautifully… It was the best kiss ever. Not that I had any to compare it to, but there was no way that any kiss could top the way that one felt.
But why did he kiss me? That was the real question.
I shrugged to myself and sighed. Who cared why right now? All that mattered was that he did, and now I could spend the rest of the school day daydreaming about it, and about how I would like it to happen again. So that’s exactly what I did. It was a lot easier to imagine kissing Jesse now that I knew what it was like. And, oh, how I wanted to learn what it was like over and over again until I memorised it. Then try a new kiss over and over again until I memorised it. And another, and another…. It could be the never ending game of tonsil hockey. Ninth outing? Too bad! Teams are tied, go again!
Wait, what the heck was I saying?! Outings are in baseball. And Jesse and I definitely weren’t playing tonsil hockey time soon. Ew. Ish… I don’t know. Was tonsil hockey as pleasing as that soft (and way, way too short) kiss he had just given me? I didn’t know…. Would I ever know?
Did I really want to know? I don’t know. Know, know, know. I know nothing. I wanted to know more. And I really wanted to know why he kissed me. Or if he would ever do it again. But those weren’t things I could just ask him, could I? Besides, I might not even want to know the answers.
So I spent the rest of the school day thinking about Jesse, but that wasn’t very new. But now I had something different to think about; the way he kissed me, and the reason why. After school, I met Jesse out front like I normally did to wait for the bus. I had been half hoping that Jacqueline would be there so that I could talk to her and keep myself from blurting out my questions to Jesse, but she wasn’t there. Sometimes she worked after school on an art project with her art friends, stuff like that. But it was awkward. I kept on staring at Jesse out of the corner of my eye, my questions racing through my head and trying not to come out of my mouth. I wanted to talk to him, to ask him my questions, but I feared the answers. And I kind of wanted him to talk first, so explain why he kissed me. But he stayed just as silent as I was. When the bus came, Jesse practically ran to it without a word. I followed him slowly. Great, I had just messed up my friendship with him. Why was I so ducking stupid?! Jesse was sitting in his normal seat with his backpack next to him, so I sat in the spot that Jackie and I usually sat in all by myself. Ok, so we weren’t even going to talk about what happened? We weren’t going to pretend like it never happened and stay friends? We were just going to quit talking to each other? I blinked back tears, hoping that we would be at out stop soon. When the bus did stop, I practically flew out of my seat. I raced down the bus steps, almost tripping, and headed down the road towards the store. I wasn’t stopping at the store today though, I was going right home. And I would be lucky if the tears stayed in my eyes until then. I heard Jesse’s footsteps behind me and soon he was caught up to me and walking beside me. I looked at him several times, but he just kept on looking down, not saying a word. Splinters of my heart tore apart slowly, shredding into pieces before disappearing. But it was my own fault, right? Or should I have been mad at Jesse? For kissing me and then ignoring me. But how could I be mad at him? He kissed me! Sure, he was offering no explanation now, but I wasn’t asking either. Of course, it wasn’t my job to ask, was it? He should have been saying something about it, right?
When we got to the store, Jesse paused.
“Are you staying?” He asked quietly.
“No, I-I have homework.” I blinked and swallowed. Do not cry, do not cry!
“Okay.” He nodded slowly and walked away from the road, into the store’s parking lot and towards the door. I stared at him for a few moments before taking off towards the lodge, running. Tears began to slip out of my eyes before I allowed them to. I blinked them away, not wanting to stop and cry now.
Why was this happening? I was being so careful to keep my crush a secret. And now my cover was blown. But why did he have to tease me? To kiss me and then ignore me? I had always thought that he would just ignore it if he ever found out. Or just break it to me gently that we can’t be friends. Not show me what I would miss and then stop talking to me.
Once it kicked in that that was exactly what he was doing, fresh tears were brought to my eyes and new holes were formed in my heart. When I was home, I threw the door open, tore up the steps, and attacked my bed. I pulled my iPod out, putting the Comatose album on repeat, and cried until I fell asleep.
When I woke up, there was no music coming from my ear buds. It took me awhile to understand that there should have been music playing. I pulled out the ear buds and looked at my iPod quizzically.
“I turned it off so your battery wouldn’t wear down.” Jesse’s voice startled me. I looked over at my desk where he was sitting.
“Oh.” I swallowed, darting my eyes about.
“I- what time is it?”
“Five minutes ago, your mom yelled up that dinner would be ready in twenty minutes.” There was no emotion in Jesse’s voice or face whatsoever.
“When did you get here?”
“About an hour ago, after my shift ended.” I nodded numbly and rolled over away from Jesse, squeezing my eyes shut. I heard his intake of breath, sort of like a sigh but not really, and heard his slow, hesitant footsteps approaching my bed. He sat on the edge, but I didn’t turn back over. I honestly didn’t understand what he was doing. First he decided to show me what I would be missing and ignore me, but now he was acting as if we were friends? I didn’t understand any of it. I could only hope that I wouldn’t start crying again.
“Annaleigh, I… I’m sorry.” I turned towards him. He was looking down.
“For what?” My voice cracked. Jesse looked up at me with sadness in his eyes.
“I… You know… For… What I did.” He looked down again, blushing slightly.
I sat up, suddenly.
“For which part? Kissing me only because you figured out that I liked you? Or for ignoring me afterwards? I had thought you would just ignore me or something, but to go and kiss me first? What was the point of that, Jesse? To tease me, show me what I would be missing? Well, I’m sorry for liking you, ok? Didn’t mean you had to go and punish me.” Oh crap, did I really just say all that?
Jesse looked at me with surprise. “Is that what you thought I did?” I looked away. Jesse scooted closer to me and grabbed my face softly, making me look at him.
“Annaleigh, I kissed you because… Because I like you too.” He covered my lips with his own before I could speak, before I could protest his words. His kiss started out gentle at first, exactly how he had kissed me in the cafeteria, but gained passion slowly, bit by bit. Before I knew what I was doing, before I could stop myself, I turned my body towards his and wrapped my arms around his neck, fingering the back of his hair softly and kissing him back. Jesse’s arms wrapped around my waist and pulled me closer to him, deepening the kiss. I pulled away quickly, returning to my position facing away from him. I couldn’t allow this to happen. I couldn’t allow him to tease me in this way. I knew our friendship was over, and I would have a hard enough time handling that. But to have this happen and then never be able to speak to Jesse again? I most definitely could not handle that. Jesse sighed deeply and sunk down my pillows, lying down next to me. I shifted towards the end of my bed more and ignored him.
“Naleigh, what’s… Why… I…” He groaned softly and thumped his head against my pillows.
I spoke quietly. “Why are you doing this to me?” Silence followed.
“Doing what? I thought you would be happy that I liked you back. Unless you don’t like me, but I thought you said you did when you asked me why I kissed you, but I don’t know. I… So you don’t like me, then? I just ruined our friendship? ...Dammit.” I sat up and turned towards Jesse, keeping my eyes down.
“You don’t like me. I like you but I never told you because I knew you wouldn’t like me because you don’t.”
“Annaleigh,” Jesse sat up and scooted closer towards me. “I do like you. What can I do to make you believe that?” I closed my eyes and sighed.
“Why do you like me?” I looked up at him, hoping that I could believe him. I think I did believe him, but I just didn’t want to in case it turned out not to be true, because then I would be heartbroken.
“If I were to ask you why you liked me, what would you say?” What the hale kind of question was that?
“I would look at you like you were stupid and ask if you ever looked into a mirror. And then I would probably launch into some horribly embarrassing list of all the things I like about you.” I added that last sentence because it would seem like I only liked him for his looks if I hadn’t.
“There’s your answer.” I stared at Jesse, willing myself not to believe him but longing to just forget about what my head was telling me and just use my heart, whether it got broken or not.
Well, my heart won.
I threw my arms around Jesse and hugged him tightly, breathing in his scent as if I had never breathed before. New tears formed in my eyes, but I blinked them away. Jesse’s arms wrapped around me and pulled me close to him. We stayed there for a few seconds before I pulled away slightly, just enough to look into his eyes. I let go of him with one hand and brushed his hair completely out of his eyes.
“Fo sho?” I asked, wanting to confirm that what he was saying was true.
“Fo sho.” Jesse answered in a definite tone, giving me a stern look. I smiled weakly and hugged him again. He liked me… for real. Later I would ask why and when, but now I had other things on my mind.
I pulled away from him slightly again and kissed him. His arms wrapped around me tighter, pulling me close to him and deepening the kiss. I leaned into him, resting my hands on the back of his head, entangling my fingers in his hair gently. His hands rubbed a small area of my back softly. I pressed myself closer to him, breathing every so often. Suddenly, Jesse fell off my bed backwards and I landed on top of him.
“Oof,” we commented together before giggling softly. I adjusted so I wasn’t leaning all of my weight on him and stared into his eyes. He stared back, not breathing. I placed my hand on his chest.
“Breathe,” I grinned. He smiled at me and blushed lightly. I laughed quietly. His fingers pressed into my back, pushing all of my weight on top of him. I looked at him with concern, but he ignored me, bringing his lips to mine. I kissed him back, placing my hand on the side of his face softly. The kiss increased passion, but stayed gentle. Jesse’s fingers trailed up my spine lightly, giving me the chills and making me squirm. I squeaked quietly, moving my mouth away from his.
“Don’t do that.”
“What, this?” Jesse traced my spine again, causing me to wriggle.
“Yes, that.” I shivered. Jesse grinned and rolled us over softly, kissing me again.
“Dinner!” My mom yelled up the steps suddenly, startling the both of us. Jesse blinked at me and stood up, offering me a hand. I took it and he helped me stand up, pulling me close to him when I was standing upright. I smiled at him kept my hand in his, walking to my door. We walked downstairs together. Halfway there, I let go of Jesse’s hand so my parents wouldn’t see. I didn’t know if Jesse and I were together now but if we were, I doubt that my mom and dad would let him be in my room anymore, much less stay overnight.
“Oh, good. You were able to wake her up.” My mom smiled at Jesse before turning to me with a concerned look.
“You keep falling asleep in the middle of the day, honey. Are you alright? Are you PMSing?”
“Mom!” I widened my eyes at her and shook my head slightly, feeling a blush creep to my cheeks.
“Oh.” She glanced at Jesse and then back at me. I rolled my eyes and sat down at the table.
“I’m just saying, honey, sometimes you can feel exhausted when your hormones change—“ I banged my head against the table, narrowly missing my plate. I felt determined to keep my head there for the rest of the night, but my mom announced that we were having tacos for dinner. I ate as quickly as I could, avoiding all eye contact with Jesse for the rest of the meal. When I was done, I grabbed a package of Half Jos Louies and raced up to my room, mumbling that I had homework. I wolfed down one snack cake and left the other for Jesse in case he came up and wanted it. (Did I mention the Half Jos Louies came in packs of two? Just like pop-tarts). A few minutes later, my room door opened and Jesse slid in, shutting the door behind him.
“Want a study buddy?” I handed the other Half Jos Louie to him and sat on my bed. I grabbed my iPod and intently studied my list of songs. Jesse sat next to me and leaned against me, eating his Half Jos Louie.
“Hey, don’t worry about what your mom said. I don’t care if—“
“Neh!”I cut him off, raising my hand. I was not about to have that conversation. He laughed and turned towards me.
“I actually finished all of my homework in study hall,” he confessed.
“So did I.”
Jesse grinned at me slyly. “What do you want to do then?” I resisted a smile and played dumb.
“I dunno. There’s, like, never anything to do around here.” I rolled my eyes preppily, batting my eyelashes as I rolled. Then I giggled.
“That was totally weird to say.” I laughed.
Jesse stared at me with a horrified expression. “That was totally weird to hear.” He shuddered, playing along. I stuck my tongue out at him. Suddenly, Jesse grew thoughtful. I brought my knees up to my chest and hugged them, waiting to hear his thoughts.
“I suppose I can’t completely hate the preps now.” He said it randomly, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
I stared at him like he was crazy. “Why not?!” He turned towards me, facing me (while still sitting next to me, very contortionistic, indeed).
“Because, by teasing us, they gave me the courage to do this.” He leaned forward and pressed his mouth to mine gently, placing his right hand behind my head and his left hand around my waist. I let go of my knees and stretched them back out, turning towards him and mimicking his arm placements, but in opposite; my left hand was behind his head and my right hand was around his waist. I pulled him closer to me, leaning back against my pillows. He followed my movements and lied next to me with his stomach and chest pressing against my side. His fingers entangled themselves into my hair gently. My fingers did the same to his hair. His soft, beautiful hair. With the hand that I had wrapped around his waist, I pulled him closer to me. He shifted, allowing himself to be pulled closer, and laid on top of me softly. I wrapped both of my arms around him, securing him against me. He pulled away suddenly, panting slightly. I smiled, for my breathing was in the same rhythm as his.
“Are we together now, Annaleigh?” I blinked. Were we?
“I don’t know. I was going to ask you the same thing.” He pondered for a moment.
“I suppose we could be, if you didn’t mind.”
“If I didn’t mind.” I rolled my eyes and scoffed at him. He smiled at me.
“Well, do you?” I brought my lips to his as an answer. He laughed softly and kissed me back. I pulled my fingers through his hair gently. He deepened the kiss, sighing. His lips moved from mine and began to trail down to my neck.
“Well, are we public with it? I mean, are you ok if people at school know?” Jesse looked at me.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” I shrugged.
“I don’t know. I was just making sure.” Jesse rolled over and stood up, grabbing my hand along the way and pulling me up gently.
“Let’s go down to the lake,” he suggested, looking into my eyes. I nodded, too dazed to speak. He grinned and began walking towards my door with my hand in his. I followed him downstairs. We removed our hands on the steps and connected them again once we were outside and in the road, heading down to the lodge. It was a beautiful day out today. Of course, it was always a beautiful day here in Arden, but today seemed especially nice. For example, the fact that we had both forgotten jackets wasn’t much of a big deal. The weather was normal, not too cold. It probably would have been cold to someone who was used to hotter weather, but it was comfortable for me. I glanced at Jesse and he smiled. I smiled back and blushed, looking away. Once we got to the lodge, Jesse started heading for the hammock and then stopped.
“Do you want to go on the hammock, the dock, or the swings?” I shrugged and leaned against him slightly.
“I don’t care.” Jesse let go of my hand and wrapped his arm around my waist, enabling me to lean against him more easily. I wrapped my arms around him, in a sort of sideways hug. He kissed the top of my head and pulled me to the hammock. He let of me momentarily, getting into the hammock. He lay down, leaving me enough room to lie beside him if I wanted, but positioned more towards the middle. He grabbed my arm and pulled me into the hammock, sitting me beside him. I moved around so that I was laying half on him, with my back against the side of the netting. I put my head on his shoulder and my hand on his chest. His arm wrapped around my back, holding me to him softly. I huddled against him, perfectly comfortable. I sighed and smiled. Jesse’s fingers rubbed my back lightly, making little circles. It was extremely soothing, almost sleep inducing. I was way too awake to sleep though.
“Do you want to go sit on the dock?” Jesse’s words were a whisper.
“Mm. If you want to.”
“I’m perfectly content like this.”
“Me too,” I interrupted him. I looked up at him to see a smile on his face.
“But I think people are going to start being concerned or something.” He nodded subtly over to where adults were glancing at us curiously every so often. I giggled and rolled my eyes.
“Let’s give ‘em something to be concerned about.” I shifted so that was facing him more and pressed my lips against his. He began to kiss me back but then stopped. He pushed me off of him slightly and got out of the hammock before bending down to pick me up. He lifted me out of the hammock and set me next to him. I took his hand and we walked to the dock. We sat down at the edge, exactly how we did the day before.
“Now they’re watching us extremely intently, Annaleigh.”
“Well then if they see something that they don’t want to see, it’s not our fault.” I said stubbornly. Jesse grinned at me and turned his attention back to the lake. We sat in silence for awhile, our interlocked fingers stroking each other’s skin softly. Suddenly Jesse spoke.
“Is your iPod in your pocket?”
“No, I left it back at the house. Why?” Jesse let go of my hand and turned to me with a sly smile. He kneeled down on the dock, facing me, with the same grin still on his face.
“Jesse, what are you d—“ He jumped at me lightly, tackling me into the water. I hit the water gently and I felt Jesse’s body hit the water after mine. He pulled me up quickly with concern suddenly etched on his face. I blinked from the shock and then gave him a look.
“You are so dead!” I squealed and jumped on him, wrapping my arms around his neck. He placed his hands on my back, catching me. I giggled softly and stared into his eyes, biting my lip. We stared each other for a long time, moving our faces closer to each other’s slowly. Extremely slowly. When our lips finally touched, passion exploded inside of me. I pushed myself closer to Jesse, wrapping my legs around his waist and gripping his hair.
“Annaleigh, you’re going to push us under,” he breathed heavily. I removed my lips from his and disentangled myself from him, sinking back into the water in front of him.
“Sorry.” I bit my lip in embarrassment. I looked at him. He had a dazed look on his face. He shook his head and looked at me.
“It’s ok.” He grinned slightly.
“Come on,” Jesse grabbed me and swan closer to the dock. We hadn’t gone far from it, but we weren’t exactly close enough to get out. Jesse hoisted himself up onto the dock and reached out to me. I grabbed his hand and started to climb out of the lake, but ended up pulling him back in. He landed close to me, almost landing on me and looked at me in surprise.
“Well, that didn’t work.” I laughed. He got back onto the dock and this time, he laid on his stomach and reached out to me. I grabbed his hands and began to climb up the dock, but Jesse simply picked me up and lifted me out of the water, setting me down next to him. We looked at each other for a few seconds before we realised that it was cold. We shivered at the same time, which caused me to laugh. I scooted closer to Jesse and we huddled together for awhile, just shivering.
“This is going nowhere,” I laughed.
“Hmm. I don’t know. I think it’s pretty comfortable,” Jesse stuck his tongue out at me and smiled. I blushed and smiled back.
“Yeah, but I meant that it’s not getting us any warmer.”
“I disagree. You seem pretty hot to me.” Jesse smirked at me. I blushed deeper as I got the meaning of his words and hid my face in his shoulder. He laughed softly and wrapped his arm around my back, holding me closer to him. I wrapped my arms around him and folded my legs up on his lap as I had done yesterday in an attempt to get him warm. Now the warmth attempt was for both of us. Jesse held me tighter. After a few minutes, our shivering still hadn’t ceased. I looked up at Jesse.
“Should we go back to our houses to shower and get dry clothes?”
Jesse nodded hesitantly. We stood up and connected hands, walking back up to the road. When we got there, we stopped walking. I turned to face him.
“Will you come back? Spend the night?” He looked at me for a moment before responding.
“I’m not sure if that would be a good idea.” He frowned. I pouted.
“Agh, Naleigh, don’t pout.” He backed away from me slightly. I stepped forward, pressing into him and looked up at him, pouting harder.
He closed his eyes and sighed.
“Yes. Fine. Alright. I’ll stay. Gah, your pout could make me do anything.” My pout broke into a grin. Wait… Anything? Hmm. Pondering that meaning…
“Yay!” I squealed and wrapped my arms around him. He hugged me back.
“Oh, wait. Will Uncle Pierre think it’s odd or anything like that?” Jesse shook his head.
“When I do actually spend the night at my house, I always go to bed later than him and wake up earlier. And usually I’m out until it’s time for bed, so he’s used to not seeing me much. He won’t think anything of it.” Jesse grinned at me.
“Are your parents ok with me spending the night now that we’re together?” His face was a mixture of wonder, awkwardness, joy, and hesitance.
I shrugged. “Who says they were ok with it before? And besides, who’s going to tell them?” I stuck my tongue out at Jesse. He shook his head and rolled his eyes, smiling slightly. I shivered again.
“Right. You should go get warm now.” He seemed reluctant to let me go. I was reluctant to let him.
“Ohhhkayyy…” I frowned. Jesse laughed at me. I started walking towards my house, but Jesse spun be around to face him. He looked at my face for a few seconds before leaning over to kiss me. It was a brief kiss, tender and sweet. We smiled at each other before turning back to our opposite directions. I walked into my house with a goofy smile on my face and went upstairs to shower.
My shower was hotter than normal. It was longer than normal, too. I just couldn’t stop thinking about Jesse. Replaying every kiss, every touch, every look, every word… I sighed happily. When I was done with my shower, I dried and dressed quickly. I put my pajamas on, since I wasn’t going to be leaving the house any more tonight. My pajamas were long fleece pants and a long sleeved top; Canadian nights were really cold. I wondered what it would be like to be in a warmer-weathered place so I could wear those short shorts as pajamas.
I combed my hair, ran my blow drier on it for a minute, and then left the bathroom. I went downstairs to grab a snack. I drifted back and forth from the fridge and the pantry a few times before deciding on chocolate milk, macadamia nuts, and Half Jos Louies.
“Hey, Annaleigh. You took your shower early. Are you still feeling tired?”
“No, Mom. I fell into the lake.” She gasped slightly, worry etching in her face.
“Are you all right?” I rolled my eyes and smiled.
“Yeah, Mom. I’m fine. Jesse and I were just goofing around.” Her face returned to normal.
“Did he fall in too?”
“Yeah. We both decided to take hot showers and get dry clothes.” I laughed.
“Well, it sounds like that was a good decision to me.” She winked and smiled.
“Is he coming back for studying?” Good question. Was he? Or would he be sneaking in through my window?
“Um. I’m not sure. He might, he might not. You know how it goes.” I rolled my eyes. She smiled and nodded, rolling her eyes as well.
“Well, I’m going to go read or something. Good night, Mom.”
“Good night, honey.” I walked up the steps, eager to dig into my snacks. I flounced onto my bed, grabbing my iPod and my notebook. I took a sip of my chocolate milk and opened the macadamia nuts, eating two at a time. I stared at a blank page in my notebook for awhile, not able to think of anything to write. All my mind could think of was Jesse, Jesse, Jesse, Jesse. I sighed. If only I was a good artist. I could draw him. Maybe I could get Jackie to sketch him for me. But then, of course, she’d probably add some morbid detail. It would be really cool, but not exactly what I was looking for. Instead, I found myself drawing hearts all over my paper. See, I had always liked drawing hearts. But this time, I wrote Jesse’s name inside them, around them, on top of them, everywhere around the hearts. I sighed, smiling, and continued to draw the hearts. Suddenly, I was reminded of a quote that I had heard somewhere. It said, “He’s the only thing that’s got me drawing those stupid hearts on my paper.”
Near the top of my page, in a midst of hearts, I wrote: “He’s the only thing that’s got my drawing these love-filled hearts on my paper.” I smiled at it and continued drawing, but then an idea popped into my head suddenly and I added the words, “My heart is only for him. It is filled of love for him. The only difference between my heart and these hearts on my paper is that I can’t be torn so easily. He would never tear me.” I drew a smiley inside of a heart and looked at my paper contentedly.
While I was drawing, I had been listening to my iPod. When a voice suddenly spoke, I just about jumped out of my skin.
“What are you drawing?” Jesse’s voice was close to my ear. I ripped out my iPod ear buds and shoved my notebook to my chest.
“Nothing.” I glanced around, shifty eyed. He laughed.
“Aww, come one, Annaleigh, let me see.” He grinned and reached for my notebook. I held it closer to my chest and shook my head, blushing. He frowned slightly but didn’t try to grab my notebook.
“Wait. Drawing? What made you think I was drawing? I’m a writer, not a drawer. I mean, an artist. I’m not an artist.”
Jesse smiled. “I saw the hearts.” My eyes widened.
“Shi—“ I was cut off by Jesse placing his lips on mine gently but with passion. My eyelids fluttered close as I dropped my notebook and wrapped my arms around his neck, pulling him closer to me. I leaned back on my bed, dragging him along with me. He hummed and allowed himself to be pulled. He laid on top of me gently and placed his hands on the sides of my face softly. Jesse moved his lips away from mine just enough to whisper, “I’ll never tear you.”
I sighed and wrapped my arms around him, holding him closer to me. He kissed me back for a moment before pulling away to look into my eyes.
“I promise to you, Annaleigh, I will never tear you.” Honesty seeped out of his eyes, wrapping me into a warm blanket of love. Did I really just say that? That was incredibly and terribly cheesy! What the duck is it even supposed to mean? Wow, just wow.
I smiled at him and he smiled back.
“You could probably write that into a song, you know.” What? My cheesy ‘blanket of love’ line?
“The thing you wrote on the heart paper.” Oh, that!
“Oh. Yeah, I could. Maybe.” He smiled at me.
“Only if you wanted to, of course.” I nodded.
“I know. I kind of like it on the paper though.” I blushed. He grinned widely.
“Me too.” Jesse placed his lips to mine again. I breathed out and pulled him closer, tangling my fingers in his hair gently. He kissed me back softly, our lips moved in unison and love. Jesse broke away with the hint of a blush on his cheeks and a smile on his face. My breathing was a bit heavier than normal, and I could hear my heart thumping in my chest. Jesse grinned and I was suddenly sure that he could hear it too. We just laid there for awhile, looking at each other until he rolled over and sat beside me. I sat up and grabbed the Half Jos Louies, offering him one. He took it with a smile. I pulled out my iPod and put it on shuffle, handing an ear bud to Jesse. We ate our snacks and listened to my music for awhile, just generally enjoying each other’s company, even if we were technically ignoring each other. Well, we weren’t really. We were practically staring holes into each other, we just weren’t talking. Music was pretty much our conversation, though. We loved music. It was life, it was love, it was laughter. Whoa, what is with me and the cheesy lines today!?
Before I knew it, it was time for sleep. I hadn’t realised that it was that late when Jesse and I started eating and listening to music. But it was now definitely bedtime. I yawned, earning a smile from Jesse.
“I’m going to go brush my teeth. Oh, do my parents know you came over to study?”
“No, I came in your window. I wasn’t sure if you had told your mom I was coming over to study or not, and I figured it was easier that way. Rather than telling your mom we were working on homework when we weren’t, and then leaving the front door only to come in your window.” He grinned.
“Okay. I’ll be back.” I slid off the bed, placing my iPod in his hands and kissing him briefly. I walked out of my room and concentrated on not skipping to my bathroom. I brushed my teeth and returned to my room. When I got there, my lights were already out and Jesse was sitting on my bed, listening to my iPod. When he saw me, he took the ear buds out of his ears and stood up.
“Uh, do you want me to sleep on the floor? Or…”
“No, no. I’m fine with you on my bed. That is, if you are.” I bit my lip, unsure if he was asking for my sake or as a polite way of telling me where he was sleeping. He smiled and sat back on my bed.
“Of course.” He picked up my iPod and turned it off, wrapping the cord around it and placing it on my bedside table. I turned out my light and then walked over to my bed and sat next to him. I leaned into him, closed my eyes and sighed. Jesse reached his arms around me and pulled me closer, stroking my hair softly.
“What’s up?” We spoke in whispers, even though my mom and dad were downstairs.
“Nothing. I’m just… glad. And a little surprised. Did this really only start today?”
“Wow. It seems like it was forever ago. I mean, it doesn’t feel like I kicked the crap out of Clay earlier today. It feels like it was yesterday.”
“Maybe because you fell asleep after that.” I nodded.
“Probably. When I nap, I tend to get my days confused.” Jesse laughed softly. I sat with him for a few minutes before realising that I really needed to sleep. I was practically falling asleep as I leaned on him. I sighed and rearranged myself so that I was lying down. Jesse did the same, lying next to me but still a good few six inches away. I scooted closer, snuggling into him and his warmth. He wrapped his arms around me, holding me next to him. I laid my head on his chest and smiled. Within seconds, I was asleep.
Evil laughter filled the room, jolting me awake. The bed next to me was empty. I looked around my room, calling for Jesse. Suddenly, he was in front of me. I smiled and reached out to him for a kiss. The evil laughter sounded again and a bright blue flashed in Jesse’s eyes.
“Silly Annaleigh. Did you think I really loved you? I’m only here for a purpose. You need—“ Screams filled the room and Jesse was on his knees in front of a dark figure, pleading and begging.
“Please.” Blood spurted in every direction. I could not see the point of origin, but I could feel an odd thirst for the blood. I walked towards a pool of blood with my eyes wide and my mouth watering.
“That’s it, Anna. Drink it.” I heard a deep, raspy, melodic voice as if it was being broadcasted over a PA system. I stopped dead in my tracks. The voice was chilling, yet so familiar and so desirable.
“Drink it.” The voice whispered raspily, still being broadcasted, and suddenly my room faded into nothingness.
I woke up suddenly, sitting up straight. My eyes darted around the room. It was still there, there was no blood, and Jesse was sleeping next to me. Reassured, I laid back down. What the duck was that?! I closed my eyes, trying to forget about my dream and sleep. After fifteen minutes I gave up. Blood didn’t disturb me, not in the least, but that voice did. And the fact that the voice had told me to drink the blood, plus the fact that I had wanted to. But mostly I was just scared of what Jesse had said. Of course I knew it wasn’t true. He hadn’t even finished his sentence. But it was still mighty disturbing.
I sighed and flipped over on my other side, grabbing my iPod from my nightstand. I turned it to shuffle and laid back down again, staring up at my ceiling as I thought about my dream. Eventually, the lyrics of songs pulled me into my music and I was asleep again.
I awoke to the sound of plastic crinkling and the smell of strawberry jelly. I sat up quickly.
“Pop-tarts!” Jesse was sitting next to me, opening a package of pop-tarts. He grinned at me and held one out to me. I took it gratefully and nibbled at the ends, biting all the part with no icing off before digging into the good part. Suddenly, flashes of my dream came back to me one by one in high speed before settling and slowing down, replaying like a movie. I closed my eyes and pressed my fingers to my temple, not wanting to relive that dream; to see what I was seeing or hear what I was hearing.
“Did you think I really loved you? I’m only here for a purpose.”
Jesse’s voice from the dream and the mystery voice overlapped. I shook them off, not wanting to worry Jesse. The voices sped up and got louder until they were a fast and incoherent whir. Then they suddenly stopped, leaving a ringing in my ears. I winced and groaned, holding my head in my hands.
I felt Jesse’s fingers on my hands, touching my wrists softly.
“Annaleigh? Are you ok?” I looked up at him. Worry was all over his face. I nodded and blinked the memories away.
“I’m fine.” I smiled at him and took another bite of my pop-tart. He looked slightly unconvinced, but let it drop.
“So, what are we doing today?” I asked brightly, pathetically trying to distract him.
“Uh, going to school.” Oh yeah. I frowned. Jesse gave me an amused smile. I rolled my eyes at him and shoved more of my pop-tart into my mouth. I finished chewing and swallowing before speaking.
“So, are you coming over for breakfast today?” I smiled at Jesse. He snorted.
“I was thinking about it… Probably.” We smiled at each other and finished our pop-tarts.
“Well, I’ll be getting ready for school when you get here, so don’t eat all the food before I have a chance to get any.” I stuck my tongue out at him and he did the same, leaning close to me. I scowled and stuck my tongue out again. This time, before I had a chance to put my tongue back in my mouth, he placed his on top of mine with his lower lip on the bottom of my tongue. His teeth scraped the bottom of my tongue lightly and un-purposefully. I gasped slightly, surprised. He pulled away.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean—“ I shook my head.
“No, it’s ok. I just didn’t expect it.” I smiled slightly. He frowned.
“I shouldn’t have done it.”
“Too much too soon.” He frowned again. I rolled my eyes at him and wrapped my arms around him in a hug.
“Yeah, right,” I murmured softly into his shoulder. He lifted my face up to his and kissed me softly. I sighed and pressed myself closer to him, about to deepen the kiss or increase passion when he pulled away.
“Get ready for school or you’ll be late.” He smirked at me. I frowned at him but got off my bed and walked over to my closet. He walked by me, going to my window.
“Remember, don’t eat all my food.” I wagged my finger at him. He laughed softly and disappeared. I turned back to my closet. Suddenly, images from my dream came swirling back to me. I shook my head, trying to push them away, but they came closer. Jesse’s blood was all over my room.
“Drink it, Anna.” The raspy voice whispered. I shook my head more violently and the images faded slowly until they were gone. I sighed and returned to my closet. What the hale was going on with me?!
After I picked out my outfit, black skinny jeans with a black Alesana shirt and a grey hoodie, I went through my hair and makeup routine. I decided to wear my pink Converse Chucks today. I rubbed my toothbrush on my lips to gently exfoliate them and swiped on some Chapstick. Hey, it couldn’t hurt, right?
Once I was ready, I went downstairs. Jesse was seated at the kitchen table, eating eggs with cheese and toast with honey. My stomach growled. I loved eggs with cheese and toast with honey. I plopped down at the table, eager to dig in. I took a sip of my orange juice first and then crammed eggs and cheese in my mouth. While I chewed, I spread honey over my toast. When my mouth started getting empty, I shoved more eggs and cheese in my mouth. I heard Jesse laugh and looked over at him, scowling. He smiled at me. I rolled my eyes.
“What, you don’t say hi to me? Oh, I see how it is.” He pretended to pout. I snorted and gave my food a rest.
“Hi, Annaleigh.” He smiled brightly. “See, now was that so hard?” he patted my head gently. I waved my fork at him and scowled, threatening him. He took his hands away, holding them up in a surrender position. We both returned to our food, eating quickly and happily. When I was done, I drained my orange juice and poured myself some coffee. I put it in my travel mug, added cream and sugar, and took a sip.
“Ow! Da… Fi… I forgot the ice! Ow ow ow! Dang it.” I hopped around the kitchen, blowing air out of my mouth to get the hotness out. Once my mouth had cooled down a little bit, I grabbed the ice tray from the freezer and dumped half of it into my coffee. I refilled it and placed it back in the freezer. I grabbed my coffee mug and my backpack, yelled a goodbye to my mom, and left the house. Jesse followed behind me. After we walked a little way away, he stopped and turned to me.
“How’s your mouth?” He asked with a curious look on his face.
“I frickin’ burned it.” I frowned.
“Hmm. Do you want me to kiss it better?” He grinned. Oh, I got it now.
“I think I may need just that.” I smiled at him and lifted my face up. He smiled back and leaned down, placing his lips against mine. I parted my mouth, rubbing my lip against his. He sighed and wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me to him. I dropped my backpack and coffee to the ground and threw my arms around his neck. He held me close, kissing me.
“The coffee really burned my tongue,” I mumbled around his lips and poked my tongue out a little bit. The tip of my tongue touched the center of Jesse’s bottom lip softly. He shivered slightly and held me closer.
“I can’t, Annaleigh,” he said, but he let his tongue trail across my bottom lip. I sighed and pressed myself closer to him, pressing my tongue against his lip. He sighed heavily and pulled away.
“We’ll be late for school.” He let me go and stood me next to him, grabbing my hand. He looked at the road ahead with meaning. I nodded hesitantly and picked up my backpack and half full coffee cup. We began our walk to the bus stop. Stupid school. Interrupting me from kissing Jesse. Bleh you suck.
Once again, another school day blurred by me as Jesse filled my thoughts. My mind was so active that I couldn’t even remember what I was doing, or what I was thinking. How weird is that?
When Jackie met up with me in the hall on the way to lunch, I snapped out of my daze.
“Hey. I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever.” She said.
“I know.” It really did feel like that.
“Hey, Annaleigh.” Jesse came up behind me, scaring me. I jumped and turned around to face him. He giggled slightly. I rolled my eyes and placed my lips against his softly for a moment before pulling away. He grabbed my hand as we walked towards the cafeteria.
“Whoa, what did I miss?” Jackie stared at us with wide eyes. I opened my mouth to explain but was cut off with an ambush the second we walked into the cafeteria.
“Hey there, Delilah.” I grinned. She narrowed her eyes. She hated when I made a pun with her name, relating it to the Plain White T’s song.
“So I see that the two outcasts that thought they could beat up my boyfriend are together now. How sweet,” she mimicked. I just rolled my eyes and moved closer to Jesse subtly.
“Oh, but that means that poor little Jacqueline is all by herself now. What? Did the morbid one behead her last boyfriend?” Delilah pouted and Jackie and snorted, flipping her hair. Jackie rolled her eyes, used to the teasing and not caring.
“Yeah. It was so sexy and gory. You wouldn’t believe how good the blood of your dead boyfriend can taste.” She licked her lips and smiled manically. I have to admit, she did look pretty demented. She was cool like that.
Delilah took a step back, fear and disgust crossing her face. I stifled a laugh.
“Ugh, whatever.” She turned back to me.
“You know, honey, it’s really too bad…”
I rolled my eyes. “What?”
“You actually have a good body. Well, underneath all that black, of course… You could probably get almost any guy in school. Instead, you settle for… him.” She looked at Jesse when she said the last word, with a scornful look in her face and a disgusted tone in her voice. I growled at her and let go of Jesse’s hand, stepping close to Delilah threateningly.
“Keep it up and you’ll end up like your boyfriend.” I glared at her with dangerous intent for a moment before turning around and walking away. I grabbed Jesse’s hand and Jackie’s shoulder, pulling them towards our table. Jackie left her stuff with us at the table and then went off to get food. I sat next to Jesse.
“Annaleigh, it’s ok.” He whispered in my hair, rubbing my back soothingly.
“She insulted you, Jesse! She insulted you in front of your frickin’ face! And she knows pretty damn well that you are the hottest guy in school. What the hale is her problem?!” I cried angrily. Jesse leaned his face closer to mine and touched my cheek.
“The hottest guy in school?” He asked with an amused smile. I could see in his eyes that he was searching for honesty.
Having him so close to me and looking into my eyes melted away my anger.
“Duh.” I smiled at him, rolling my eyes. He smiled back and leaned his face to mine, pressing his lips to mine. I kissed him back eagerly, but trying to keep the kiss soft and sweet. Jackie chose that moment to reappear with her lunch tray.
“Ok, you guys can have my food. I’ve just lost my appetite.” She said it seriously, but sat down and took a bite of her apple. Jesse and I broke apart, smiling sheepishly. We got up and went to get food. I couldn’t think, I had no clue what I wanted to eat or even if I was hungry, so I just picked random stuff. Jesse and I returned to our table and sat down. The tables didn’t have chairs, they were like benches, so I scooted as close to Jesse and possible. He wrapped his right arm around my waist and ate with his left hand.
“So, did you have fun with your art friends yesterday?” I asked Jackie.
“Yeah, but it seems like you guys had more fun.” She raised her eyebrow at us. I giggled but ignored her, shoving some food into my mouth. We all ate in silence for a few minutes.
“It’s our 24 hour anniversary,” Jesse said suddenly, keeping his voice low. I looked at him in surprise then shook my head.
“Well, technically, it was our first kiss, but it wasn’t until later that we were together.” I blushed slightly, knowing that Jackie could probably hear us.
“Mm. Well, we’ll celebrate our first kiss now and celebrate getting together later.” He smiled and touched his lips to mine exactly how he had yesterday. And same as yesterday, he pulled away before I could kiss him back. He grinned at me and I frowned , pulling his face to mine again.
“I wasn’t done with you, mister.” I laughed slightly and placed my lips on his softly. He kissed me back, keeping his arm secure around my waist. I shifted towards him slightly.
“Gah! Please?” Jacqueline interrupted us. Jesse pulled away from me, grinning slightly. I smiled, embarrassed, and returned to my food. Though it wasn’t quite exactly what I wanted to be doing with my mouth… Oh, well.
The bell rang and kids filed out of the cafeteria slightly. Jesse, Jackie, and I waited until they were almost completely gone before standing up. We exited the cafeteria together just as the second bell rang.
“Aah, I wanted to get there early to talk to Mrs. Tarnabell. I’ll see you guys later,” Jackie said before racing off. I nodded at her vaguely and started to walk to my class.
“Wait a minute,” Jesse stopped me. I turned to look at him. He grinned and grabbed me gently, pulling me away from the middle of the hallway. He walked me into a locker and bent down slightly, leaning into my face. I pressed my back up against the locker and waited for our lips to connect. Jesse placed his hand on the side of my face softly and turned it up towards him and kissed me. I kissed him back, otherwise staying perfectly still. Jesse stepped closer, his body pressing into mine gently. I made a soft noise but refused to move anything other than my lips. Those, I moved fervently.
“Annaleigh,” Jesse murmured as his lips increased passion and his hand that wasn’t on my face rested on my hip. He pushed closer to me again, filling any empty space between us. Finally. I wrapped my arms around his neck, pulling his face closer to mine. I resisted the urge to wrap my legs around his waist, knowing that there was the chance that a hall monitor could walk past any minute and that I would probably hurt myself on the locker.
I sighed happily. This was the most passionate kiss Jesse and I had ever had. I loved it. It would be impossible to decide what I liked more; our more intense kisses or the short, gentle, and tender kisses. They were both amazing. Any kind of kissing with Jesse was bound to be perfect.
The final bell rang, the warning bell. Jesse pulled his face away from mine reluctantly and looked into my eyes for a few moments. We were both breathing heavily. (But not loudly, thanks goodness. That would have been embarrassing). Jesse backed up away from me, looking regretful about it.
“We should get to class,” he frowned. I sighed and frowned also.
“Yeah,” I said unenthusiastically. Then I brightened up.
“Can we pick this up after school?” I grinned. He smiled.
“I don’t know, we might have to start all over…” He pretended like that was bad news. I frowned, playing along.
“Aww. Oh well, I’ll get over it.” We smiled at each other.
“See you later,” I said, picking up my backpack.
“See you later,” Jesse agreed, kissing me swiftly before we walked in our separate directions.
Of course, like always, I spent the rest of the day dreaming about Jesse. Yeah, it probably wasn’t too good for my homework and such. Oh, well. It’s not like I could help it. I had this weird form of ADD where everything connected to Jesse, instead of something random. Well I suppose it was still random. Just not as random as normal ADD. Of course, is there such a thing as normal ADD? I mean, it’s call Attention Defacit Disorder. Not Attention Defacit Normality. Pssh that didn’t even make sense! Wow, I’m so going to fail school if my own thoughts can’t even make sense. Ha ha. You know, as annoying at the preps are, they’re technically what brought me and Jesse together. Jesse and I. Oops. But seriously, if stupid Clay and stupid Delilah hadn’t kept teasing and calling me his girlfriend and such, then maybe we wouldn’t be together. Wow, painful thought. But even with this realisation, there was no way I was going to stop hating the preps. I mean, they’re just too unlikable. Very hateable. Even though hateable isn’t a word. Though I think it should be. I mean, if likable and lovable are words, shouldn’t hatable be? Well, it would be spelled ‘hatable’ to follow suit with likable and lovable. Is dislikable a word? Yes it is. See, hatable should so be a word! For serious. Does it make sense that likable, lovable, and dislable are words but hatable isn’t? No it does not make sense. It’s so totally bogus. Who do you think you are, Merriam Webster? You cannot control our lives and our language! Wait, it’s Merriam-Webster. There was Noah Webster and Someone Merriam. Or Merriam Someone. Not Merriam Webster, like a name, like Jesse Savage or Annaleigh Pace or… Dare I say it? Annaleigh Savage. Annaleigh Savage? Oh, I just totally ruined Jesse’s name! I mean, it sounds all dark and dangerous and desirable… Jesse Savage. Hmm, I should keep my last name if we ever get married so that way I don’t ruin his name. Whoa, wait. Marriage? Where the hale did that thought come from!? Although, it wouldn’t be too bad of an idea, right? He could wear the blackest black tux. And I could wear all these black accessories. Would my dress be white? Or… No, stop thinking. That’s just not going to happen. Well, I don’t know if it’s not going to happen or not. I don’t put much thought into whether I want it to happen or not. Heh, well, I shouldn’t put too much thought into whether I want it to happen or not. Ok, I mean I’m not all hormonal and weird and like yeah, but if it were to get to that point, would I say no? I think not. Alright, I need to think of other stuff now, I mean, there’s people around me! I can’t just start randomly blushing.
“See you tomorrow, class.” Wait, what? Class is over? Um, ok then. I picked up my backpack and walked out of the classroom, glancing at the clock on the way. School is over. Now, how the duck did that happen? It was just lunch ten minutes ago, I swear. Hmm. I like what happened after lunch. I like it a lot.
“Hey, Naleigh.” Jesse came up behind me, slipping his hand into mine and kissing me softly.
“Hey, Jez.” I smiled at him as we walked outside to wait for the bus. Jackie wasn’t out there when we got there, but we knew she was coming on the bus today. She probably just got distracted with something.
I sighed and smiled. Jesse looked over at me.
“What?” He asked. I shook my head.
“Nothing.” I smiled at him. He grinned and stepped closer to me, turning so that he was in front of me and now beside me.
“Do you remember what happened after lunch?” He placed his hand on my neck behind my head, tilting my face up to look at his. He let go of my hand and placed his hand on my hip, bringing me closer to him. I stopped breathing for a second before speaking.
“Yes.” I could feel the fire behind my eyes, hear the pathetic desperation in my breathless tone.
Jesse smiled and slowly brought his face to mine. I kissed him back eagerly and passionately, placing my hand on his back and pulling myself closer to him so I wouldn’t fall over.
“Oh, ah! Ew! Children are present, please.” I heard Jackie’s voice from behind me. Jesse and I broke away from each other with sheepish and goofy smiles on our faces.
“Sorry, Jackie.” I bit my lip and blushed.
“Ok, look. Tuesdays and Thursdays I don’t eat with you. Could you please decide to only make out and lunch on those days? Or go elsewhere to do it? No one goes in the auditorium during lunch. Maybe you guys should eat there. Or, you know, not eat…” Jackie scowled slightly. I looked at her apologetically.
She shrugged. “It’s ok, you two are in love, I get that. I just don’t want to have a front seat for porn while I’m eating.” I blushed a crimson red.
“We’re not that bad,” I mumbled, avoiding Jesse’s eyes and blushing even more. Jacqueline gave me a look signifying that we were, in fact, that bad. But then her look softened and she smiled slightly, showing me that she was kidding.
“Well, at least you still have your clothes on, thank the heavens!” My mouth dropped open slightly and I blushed even more redder than I already was. I squeezed my eyes shut and groaned slightly. Jackie giggled.
“Sorry.” She shook her head, smiling, and looked away. I risked a glance at Jesse. He was blushing too. Only not quite as red as me. There was an indescribable look in his eyes. I’m sure if I stared at him, I would be able to figure out what it was, but I had to look away quickly before he noticed I was looking at him. Yeesh, Jackie. Say all that embarrassing stuff in front of Jesse, why don’t you? Oh wait, you already did. Thanks! Cue eye roll yet again.
The bus chose to arrive at that moment and the crisis was averted for the time being. I was still embarrassed about Jackie’s words, so I sat next to her on the bus. Ok, and maybe I was feeling a little guilty. Not only has we not seen each other very much this week (although it was only Wednesday), but I had gotten together with Jesse and she was practically the last person to know. So we talked to each other on the bus. When it came to our stop, I asked Jackie if she was hanging out with us at the store or if she had stuff to do. She raised her eyebrow, implicating, and then informed me that she was busy. So it was just me and Jesse for the walk home and at the store.
Once Jesse and I got off the bus, he turned towards me and connected his lips with mine before I could even tell what he was doing. My backpack slipped from my hand and I wrapped my arms around his neck. He grabbed me by the waist and pulled me closer, deepening the kiss and yet keeping it tender. I ran my hands along the back of his head, entwining my fingers in his soft, luscious hair. I sighed and pressed closer to him, not wanting the kiss to end. Jesse groaned slightly and pulled away.
“I have to work.” He pouted slightly. I laughed. His pout was so cute! I stood on my tiptoes and pressed my lips to his softly before pulling away to pick up my backpack and put my hand in his and begin to walk down the road.
“We can make up for it later.” I smiled. He grinned at me and we walked together. After awhile, I stopped. Jesse stopped too and turned around to look at me.
“Nothing. Keep going.” I smiled at him. He gave me a look but continued walking. I jumped on his back lightly. I was aiming for a piggy back ride, but I ended up falling down on top of my backpack. I frowned at the road and stood up. Jesse giggled slightly and turned around, bending over a little bit.
“You could have asked.” I jumped on his back, careful to be gentle, wrapping my legs around his lower back and my arms around his neck loosely. He placed his hands underneath the back of my knees and began walking. I rested my chin on his shoulder so that the side of my face was practically pressed up against his. After awhile of walking, I was a little amazed that he didn’t seem tired.
“Jesse, you’re really strong.” I commented. He grinned.
“Thanks.” I blushed slightly.
“No, I mean, well you’re carrying me and your backpack and I have my backpack on, so it’s a lot of weight.” Jesse shrugged slightly.
“Like you said, I’m strong.” He turned his head to look at me and smiled. I smiled back and rested my face next to his again when he turned around. I pursed my lips out, kissing his jaw gently. Jesse hummed in contentment. I giggled and adjusted so that I was on his back better, and could therefore get closer to his face. I pressed my lips to his jaw again. He smelled so good. Before I knew what I was doing, I pushed my tongue out from in between my lips and licked his jaw softly. He tasted good, too. I adjusted again, pushing myself closer to him, and breathed out as I trailed my lips down to his neck and back up to his jaw.
“Annaleigh, stop before I fall over.” Jesse sounded breathless. I pressed my tongue to his jaw again and then leaned away from him slightly so I wasn’t pushing into him.
“Sorry,” I said sheepishly.
“Don’t apologise, just save that for when I can kiss you back.”
I smiled. “Okay.”
“So you’ll do that again?” Jesse asked eagerly. I giggled slightly and nodded. He made a humming sigh.
I leaned my head down, resting it against his back. It was as if I was hugging him, only backwards. Well, it still had the same amount of enjoyment, eh? Hmm. Was Jackie right? No, of course not. Like she pointed out, we keep our clothes on. And it’s not as if we go crazy or anything. I mean, we’re passionate, but we’re also sweet and soft and gentle and tender and short and… Sigh. Perfect. We’re perfect. Well, Jesse’s perfect. And we make the perfect couple, I think. I wouldn’t want to be with anything else. I sort of still had a hard time believe that I was with him. I mean, me? Really? But I was. And it was the best thing that ever could have happened to me. For real. Life had always been better with Jesse around, but now that he knew how I felt and I knew he felt the same… It just made it so much better. Plus, the fact that we kissed didn’t hurt either. Giggle.
Too soon, we were at the grocery store and I had to hop off of Jesse’s back. He smiled at me and we went into the store. We were immediately greeted by Uncle Pierre.
“Ah, bonjour! My two favourite workers, oui?” I giggled at him.
“Hey, Uncle Pierre.”
“Bonjour, Annaleigh. How are you doing today?” His first sentence had his false French accent, but he spoke in his regular voice for the question.
“I’m good. How about you?”
“Very good, very good. It is how you say, magnifico?” I laughed.
“Isn’t magnifico Italian?”
“Eh, who really knows?” Uncle Pierre rolled his eyes, no longer speaking in his fake French accent. He was so funny!
“Do you need me to work today, Uncle Pierre?” He looked around the store.
“We don’t seem to be too busy, but you are always welcome to work if you want to.” I glanced at Jesse. He shrugged slightly, leaving it up to me to decide. But then he smiled a tiny bit, so I figured he was saying that it was up to me but he’d like to have me around. So, of course, I decided that I would be working.
Jesse and I made our way to the back room to get our aprons. Today we would be stocking shelves. Which meant plenty of time alone. Unless customers came down the aisle we were working on. But that really didn’t happen too often. So Jesse stocked the higher shelves and I stocked the lower shelves. Occasionally, I grabbed items out of their boxes and handed them to him, always earning a smile. We working silently, just enjoying each other’s company and thinking to ourselves. Working together made the work go by faster, and pretty soon we were done with all the shelves. We went to the back room to have our coffee break. There was no one else there. Odd, since there was always at least one person. But I guess they were all busy. Jesse grabbed our coffees and sat next to me at the little table.
“Thanks,” I took my coffee from him with a smile. He grinned at me, holding his coffee cup absentmindedly. I took a sip of mine, still smiling. He blinked and brought his coffee cup to his lips and took a sip too. Jesse sputtered his coffee back into the cup and shook his head.
“Hot.” I looked at him sympathetically. I didn’t have that problem because I had iced coffee, but I knew how hot coffee could be.
“I’m sorry. Here, take a sip of mine to cool down.” He looked at me and at my cup disgustedly. I sighed and fished a piece of ice out of my cup.
“At least take this,” I asked him. A sly look came across his face before he frowned at the ice.
“No,” he said stubbornly. I rolled my eyes.
“Fine.” I shoved the cube of ice into my mouth. Suddenly, Jesse’s mouth was on my own. I gaped in surprise and his tongue entered my mouth slightly. I felt him slide his tongue around the ice cube slowly. No longer caught off guard, I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him closer to me. I slid the ice cube off of my tongue and pushed it into his mouth, letting my tongue trail along his slightly before leaving the ice cube in his mouth. I giggled softly and kissed his lips then pulled away to look at him. He looked slightly shocked, but happy. I laughed again and reached my hand out to close his mouth so the ice wouldn’t fall out. He twirled the ice cube around in his mouth before swallowing it.
“Better?” I smiled at him. He looked at me with a goofy grin for a few seconds before leaning over and placing his mouth on mine again. I kissed him back willingly, enjoying the coldness of his breath and his lips.
“The best.” He pulled away for a second to grin at me, then pulled my face back to his.
The door to the back room opened suddenly, breaking us apart quickly. I looked down at the table with a smile on my lips and a blush on my cheeks. I glanced at Jesse swiftly. He had the same embarrassed smile.
“Well, I don’t mean to interrupt, but it’s gotten slow so we can let you guys go early. Of course, if you’d rather stay here and make out… Well, just mind the table, eh?” Uncle Pierre teased with a wink, making me flush a deep and bright red. Gah! He had caught us kissing and was now making innuendos. Oh, my life was over. How humiliating.
Jesse and I returned our aprons and I avoided eye contact with Uncle Pierre, still blushing wildly. When we got outside, the cold air helped soothe my cheeks but didn’t stop me from wondering how Jesse felt about being caught by Uncle Pierre like that. I turned to him, biting my lip. My eyes flickered around for awhile before I finally let myself look him in the eye. He smiled at me sheepishly and I mimicked the smile.
“Sorry about that,” I said.
“I don’t care about him knowing. I’m sorry for him embarrassing us.” We grinned at each other for awhile, looking stupid and just getting rid of our mortification as we looked into each other’s eyes. Okay, again with the cheesy lines?! Really, Annaleigh? Really?
Jesse and I started walking back to Aragain and I reminded myself not to stare at the lake too much, though running into Jesse wouldn’t be as much of a problem now because he had no coffee cup. Thank goodness, because it would be even more idiotic and embarrassing to wave my shirt around now that we were together. Oh, wow. I don’t even want to think about that, eh? No, I don’t. Whoa.
When Jesse and I got back to my house, we stopped in the kitchen to grab snacks before heading upstairs. I threw my backpack on the floor and flopped onto my bed, laying on my back and chewing on red gummy candy at the same time. I sighed and chomped on the chewy candy, wishing that I didn’t have homework to do. Jesse sat next to me, eating his candy a bit more gracefully. I sighed and sat up, grabbing my backpack off the floor and taking my iPod out.
“Homework?” Jesse asked. I sighed and nodded sadly.
“Me too. Unfortunately.” He frowned slightly.
“Yeah,” I agreed unenthusiastically and frowned also.
“What subject are you going to do?”
I groaned and shuffled through my books and papers. “Uh, I think I’ll read the literature assignment. I’m not in the mood for biology or history today. And you know I’m never in the mood for math.” I shuddered, causing Jesse to laugh.
“Yeah, I know.” I nodded absentmindedly and put my iPod in its dock, selecting a playlist I had made of random songs. It started with ‘A Little More’ by Skillet. I had been loving that one a lot more recently. It was such a sweet song, I thought. I pulled out my literature book and my notebook, numbering some lines in my notebook with a pencil for the questions at the end of the story. It was supposed to help me comprehend these stories and poems that made no sense. I loved reading and writing, so I liked this work sometimes. But the way they worded the questions was always so confusing. And honestly, it all depends on how you read the piece of literature. There are no right or wrong answers, eh? Still, it was important work. If I wanted to pass school anyway.
I swayed my head to the music slightly, answering the questions absentmindedly as I listened to the lyrics and listening to the lyrics absentmindedly as I answered the questions. When the chorus came on, I could not stop myself from humming along slightly. I sighed softly as I listened to the lyrics of the next verse, still conducting a gentle head banging session. After awhile, I suppose I had forgotten Jesse was there, or forgotten that I don’t sing in front of people, because I voiced the chorus softly.
“Oh, let the world crash, love can take it. Oh, let the world come crashing down. Oh, let the world crash, love can take it. Love can take a little, love can give a little more.” I hummed along with the guitar piece, trying to resume focus on my work.
“I love you, Annaleigh.” I looked up at Jesse, startled. His book and notebook were lying open on his lap and he was looking at me with a serious and intense expression in his eyes. I blinked, processing.
“I love you, Annaleigh,” He repeated, starting into my eyes with the most honest and intense expression I had ever seen. My heart instantly melted as I realised that I had been waiting my entire life to hear those words be spoken, to see the sincerity of the words in his eyes. The song had slowed down and was about to play part of the first verse again. I shoved my books aside and practically jumped on top of Jesse, wrapping my arms around his neck and securing my lips to his.
“I love you, Jesse.” I murmured as I moved my lips around his fervently. He kissed me back with the same passion, sliding his books to the floor and bringing me closer. By now, I was all but sitting in his lap. I moved my hands around his head, twisting my fingers in his hair anxiously. He loved me. He loved me! I let my tongue trail across his bottom lip as the next song came on. He breathed out heavily and pushed my tongue back into my mouth with his own, sliding his tongue against my teeth and my lips. I mumbled and pushed myself closer to him, now running my hands all along his back and his sides. I put his bottom lip in between my lip and pulled on it gently. He shivered softly and pushed his tongue into my mouth with soft force. My hands found the edge of his shirt and began to lift it up while I kissed him back passionately. Jesse allowed his shirt to be slipped off, but made no move to take off mine. His hands stayed holding onto my waist, occasionally moving to twirl around in my hair, but never going anywhere that could be considered out of bounds. I trailed my fingers up his back lightly, no doubt sending chills up his spine. He shivered again and leaned into me. I leaned back against my pillows, pulling him on top of me. My fingers trailed across a rough spot in his otherwise smooth back, but I paid no attention to it at first. Our kiss slowed down slightly as Jesse pulled his tongue out of my mouth and slid it across my lips before kissing me normally and moving his lips down to my neck slowly. By the time he made it to my jaw, my fingers had encountered at least eight more rough spots on his back. Only they weren’t really rough, just like slightly raised lines on his skin. Vaguely, I wondered what my fingers had found on Jesse’s back. I leaned my head back slightly, anticipating as Jesse’s lips grew closer to my neck. I trailed my fingers up his back gently again, making him shiver once more. My fingers encountered more of the raised spots, suddenly concerning me.
“Jesse?” I asked softly, continuing to run my fingers over his back.
“Mm?” His lips made their way back up to mine.
“What’s on your back?” Jesse sat up suddenly with an emotionless expression. He kept his back turned away from me and reached for his shirt. I placed my hand on his to stop him and looked at him softly.
“Let me see.” He made no movement so I adjusted on my bed so I could see his back. I gasped slightly. Scars covered his entire back, all different shapes and sizes and intensity. Jesse slipped his shirt on quickly and I turned back to look at him. He refused to look at me. I placed my hands on either side of his face and sat in front of him directly. I tilted his head up to look at me.
“Jesse? What happened to you?” Concern laced my voice, making it sound a lot softer than it already was. Jesse’s eyes flitted up to mine and back down again.
“Jesse?” I scooted closer to him, wrapping my arms around him in a hug sort of way. I leaned my head on his shoulder and blinked back tears.
“Nothing happened, Annaleigh.” I pulled back and looked at him in the eye. His eyes held the same apathetic expression. I couldn’t even read what was beneath them. Except maybe… remorse?
“Nothing happened! I was born that way, okay? I’m a stupid freak with hideous scars all over my body and I’m sorry I never told you, I’m sorry I didn’t want you to be appalled by me.” He looked down at my bed, turning his face away from me. Freak? Hideous? Appalled? Say whaaat?! His scars were gorgeous. I’m the freak, thinking they’re sexy. But whatever. I could never be appalled by Jesse.
I pushed closer to him and tried to get him to look at me.
“Jesse, you could never appall me. I love you too much for that to ever happen, okay?” He looked at me with doubt and sadness. I smiled at him as best I could.
“Besides, I think they’re beautiful. You’re not a freak.” I pulled him into a hug, laying his head on my shoulder and holding him tightly. He hugged me back. We stayed like that for awhile before I pulled away and looked at him before kissing him softly.
“Don’t ever think that anything about you would appall me, okay?” Jesse nodded slightly. I sighed and pressed my lips to his again.
“What do I have to say to assure you that you’re not a freak and your scars aren’t hideous?” He shrugged. He still seemed sad, or maybe distracted, but I think I had cheered him up slightly. At least I hope so. Well, maybe I could cheer him up even more. I pressed closer to him and kissed him gently, hoping that he would intensify the kiss himself. After awhile, he did and I leaned into him, pushing him back. He ran his hands along my back and in my hair softly and slowly. I shifted so that I wasn’t lying completely on top of him and ran my hands along his stomach and his chest. He pulled me closer and I abandoned his stomach to put my hands in his hair, pressing myself closer to him.
“I love you, Jesse.” I whispered against his lips as we contained our passion slowly.
“I love you, Annaleigh,” he whispered back, stroking my back softly. Our kissed slowed until we eventually pulled away, smiling at each other. I got off of Jesse and sat down, pulling my school books from the floor just as my mom banged the front door open and called out a greeting.
“Hi, Mom!” I yelled back.
“Hi, Mom!” Jesse mimicked me with a grin. I swatted his shoulder playfully and stuck my tongue out at him with a smile. He smiled back, staring into my eyes. When I looked at my school book, the words spun around a little bit before settling down. Yeah, it sounds cliché and cheesy to say it, but his eyes made me dizzy. Go ahead and laugh. I’m a girl in love, I can’t help it. When it happens to you, go write a book about it and then let me read it and make fun of you, hmm?
Jesse and I ditched our school books and walked downstairs.
“What are you making for dinner today, Mom?” I asked on the way down. When we got to the kitchen, my mom pulled out a pizza box and smiled knowingly.
“Sweet!” I yelled louder than I meant to. I snorted slightly.
“Oops.” Mom and Jesse looked at me like I was crazy.
“What? You like pizza too.” I gave Jesse a dirty look. He held up his hands in surrender and laughed. I rolled my eyes and smiled, wrapping my arm around his waist and leaning into him. Ooh, I forgot the parents didn’t know! I jumped back from Jesse slightly with a guilty expression, but my mom had turned her back to get drinks. My dad was usually working at dinnertime. Come to think of it, I didn’t see my dad that often unless I saw him checking on things at the lodge. When I was little, I always used to beg him to take me for a ride in his golf cart. Now I was old enough to drive a car. I didn’t, but I could.
After dinner, Jesse and I went back upstairs to work on homework. We didn’t want to, but we had to if we didn’t want to fail school. So we worked until it was time for Jesse to leave.
“Will you be coming back later?” I asked Jesse hopefully, though I knew he probably couldn’t. Jesse hesitated to answer, looking regretful.
“I don’t think I should. I’m sorry. Uncle Pierre will be wanting to talk to me, though.” He peered at me, probing my reaction with his eyes. I shrugged. I figured he wouldn’t be able to (Uncle Pierre, gulp!) and I didn’t want to seem too needy or anything.
“Alright,” I nodded and stepped forward to hug him.
“Are we walking to school tomorrow?” I looking up at him with my arms still wrapped around him in a hug. He smiled and bent forward to brush my lips slightly.
“Sure.” I kissed him back briefly, sighing when he pulled away. He half smiled, half frowned and left. I stood in my room for awhile before sighing and going into my bathroom to shower and brush my teeth. As I got ready for bed, I replayed all the events of the day. Mostly when Jesse and I first said we loved each other, and then the scars on his back. They made him hotter, and I had thought that was never possible. But I was sick like that; I liked scars and such. Though I think Jesse would like me to not mention them again. So I wouldn’t. I wondered if he would ever let me see them again. Maybe now that he knows I don’t hate them, he won’t be self conscious about them.
Once I was ready for bed, I grabbed my iPod off the dock and plugged in the ear buds, placing them in my ears and pressing play. I pulled back my covers and got into bed, turning out my lamp. I snuggled into the covers and laid my head on my pillow, sighing softly as my new favourite song ended. (The song was ‘A Little More’ for you folks out there who didn’t catch that). ‘Comatose’ came on next and I smiled. I loved that song too. I loved every single song on this playlist especially, because Jesse and I listened to them while we made out and said that we loved each other. Plus the whole scars thing. Sigh. Good memories would always come from these songs from now on.
After I listened to the playlist all the way through, I got tired so I turned off my iPod and set it on my night stand before sinking into sleep.
Evil laughter filled the room, jolting me awake. The bed next to me was empty. I looked around my room, calling for Jesse. Suddenly, he was in front of me. I smiled and reached out to him for a kiss. The evil laughter sounded again and a bright blue flashed in Jesse’s eyes. I backed away from him slightly, remembering this vaguely but not enough to know what was going on.
“Silly Annaleigh. Did you think I really loved you? Well, maybe you were right, but I’m only here for a purpose. Listen to me. You need t—“ Screams suddenly filled the room and Jesse’s image flickered back and forth before disappearing. Then he was on his knees in front of a dark figure, pleading and begging.
“Please,” he started to say but a scream drowned out his voice. Blood spurted in every direction. I could not see the point of origin, but I noticed that Jesse was gone. Even so, I could feel an odd thirst for the blood. I walked towards a pool of blood with my eyes wide and my mouth watering.
“That’s it, Anna. Drink it.” I heard a deep, raspy, melodic voice as if it was being broadcasted over a PA system. I jumped slightly and stopped dead in my tracks. The voice was chilling, yet so familiar and so desirable.
“Drink it.” The voice whispered raspily, still being broadcasted. I tilted my head and returned my gaze to the blood, feeling a flash in my eyes. I took a step closer and suddenly my room faded into nothingness.
“No!” I whispered frantically as I sat up with tears spilling out of my eyes. What was happening to me?! What was wrong with me?! What were these dreams about? Why was Jesse in them? What was the meaning behind his words? Who did that voice belong to?
My chin trembled as I sobbed softly, overwhelming questions running through my brain. I tried to get the images from my dream to stop replaying themselves in my mind, but it was as if they were stuck on repeat.
I clung onto my pillow and cried, suddenly grateful that Jesse wasn’t here. I wouldn’t want him to see my tears, not like this. And I wouldn’t want him to know my dream. I bit the inside of my cheek absentmindedly, chewing on it slowly until I chewed it deep enough to bleed. I placed my teeth around the bite and pressed down, letting the blood fill my mouth slowly. I swallowed it and repeated the actions. It was a little habit I had. It sounds disgusting when you read about it, but it was calming sometimes.
Eventually, I fell back asleep.
I woke up later than I had wanted to, but I still had time to get ready and go meet Jesse at the store to walk to school. I decided to wear my black skinny jeans with a grey long sleeve top and my pink Converse Chucks. It was plain and a lot like the outfit I wore on Monday, but oh well. At the last minute, I decided to put on my Vans skate shoes. I did my hair and my makeup quickly, feeling very hungry and eager to see Jesse. I knew I would probably forget all traces of my dream after I saw him.
Unfortunately, my hair was being very stupid and trying to give me a bad hair day. But there was no way I was going to let it. I could not have a bad hair today. I was already in a bad enough mood thanks to my dream. It seemed like it would be a recurring dream, and I could tell that it would get worse every time. Which left me to wonder: what could the ending be?
It was not something I wanted to find out, but I knew I would. This dream just will not leave me alone, and I know that. But how far would it go?
Whoa! Dramatic sentence much? Yeah, that happens when I’m low on blood sugar. Gah, I need honey toast and orange juice. I grabbed my backpack and iPod and hurried down the steps and into the kitchen. I threw myself into the kitchen chair and took a gulp of my orange juice then began to spread honey on my toast.
“Good morning, honey.”
“Morning, Mom,” I mumbled around a mouthful of toast.
“Why are you in a hurry?” She asked curiously.
“I’m just really hungry.” She nodded and sat down to eat her own breakfast. I finished quickly but made sure I got enough food. I grabbed a package of pop-tarts for me and Jesse and left. The sugar in the orange juice and honey had put a spring in my step as I walked to the grocery store where Jesse was waiting for me. I bounded up to him and gave him a hug. He smiled at me and pressed his lips to mine gently. When he pulled away, I smiled at him like a big doofus. I held out the pop-tart package to him questioningly. He nodded and I proceeded to unwrap it. We started walking down the road towards the school. Once I got the pop-tarts unwrapped, I gave him one and started nibbling on the other. When we finished our pop-tarts, Jesse looked at me with his eyebrow slightly raised and bent over a little bit with a question on his face. I smiled slightly and hopped onto his back carefully. He placed his hands under my knees and started walking again. I put my face next to his and kissed him on the cheek then let my head rest on his shoulder for awhile.
“So, what did Uncle Pierre say to you last night?” Jesse was silent for a moment before answering.
“He tried to give me advice.” He frowned in a disgusted sort of way.
“And I suppose I don’t want to know just what the advice was?” It was evident from his face that I didn’t want to know, or that he didn’t want me to know. I would even go so far as to say that he didn’t want to know.
He shook his head, still frowning. I nodded in compliance and laid my head against his shoulder. I stayed on his back for the entire way to school. A couple of times, I told him I would get off if the weight became too much for him, but he always said that he would be fine. Besides, I was comfortable like that. Not because I didn’t have to walk, but because I was close to Jesse. He was a good person to be next to. Especially if I was cold; body heat was the best medicine. He was soft, but not too soft. Not bony, not too muscular. Perfectly comfortable. And he smelled insanely good. Every second I was with him just made me sure that I never wanted to breathe air unless it was air contaminated by him and his scent. Not contaminated, obviously, but you know what I mean. Yeah, Canadian air was fun to breathe but Jesse’s air was so much better. Well, doesn’t that sound weird? Yeah, it does. Oh, well.
The walk to school takes about a half hour, more or less depending. I was a little concerned about Jesse carrying me the entire way, but he insisted that he was fine. And I believe him. He’s no weakling. Most definitely not.
When we made it to school, we were just in time for classes so we only got to give each other a hug and a brief, sweet kiss before heading to our classes. I walked away in a daze. Pathetic, I know. Well, hey! I’ve been crushing on him for the longest time and we’ve only been together for a few days. I’m allowed to continue to be dazzled every time we kiss, every time we talk, every time he enters the room. Woo, that put a song in my head! ‘Every time we touch, I get the feeling. Every time we kiss, I swear I could fly. Can’t you feel my heart beat fast? I want this to last. Need you by my side.’ Every Time We Touch by Cascada. Weird song for someone like me to like, but oh well. It was catchy, eh? It was so catchy that I had to work not to hum it in the middle of class. That just would be embarrassing and not good. No, not good at all. I was already sent to the principal’s office once this week, eh? Though it was a very good thing that I had been sent to the principal’s office. Not only because I got to beat up Clay, but because Jesse became my boyfriend that day sort of because I beat up Clay. Well, because Clay and Delilah kept on calling me Jesse’s girlfriend which brought the subject up between me and him. And then he kissed me. Ah, that kiss. The best kiss ever. Our first kiss, and a perfect one at that. So soft, so tender, so loving… SIGH!!!! Amazingly perfect. It had made the best day of my life. But every day with Jesse was technically the best day of my life, no matter how cheesy or typical that sounded, it was true. It was the poster child for all those sick, cheesy, fake love songs that everyone hates but loves to listen to. And once you knew what it was like for yourself, all the cheesiness and fakeness just melted away. Was anything wrong with happiness if life allowed you to have it? It truly was a rare thing and I was going to cherish it while I had it, and hope that I would never lose it.
I wonder what Uncle Pierre had said to Jesse. Honestly, what could he have said that I wouldn’t want to know? Uncle Pierre surely wouldn’t have said anything bad. Maybe not bad per say, but obviously something bad enough that Jesse didn’t want to share it with me. Advice… Hmm… What could it be? Maybe Uncle Pierre had just said that we shouldn’t kiss each other in the back room at work, and Jesse didn’t want to tell me because he knew it would embarrass me. That made sense with what little information I was given, but I just didn’t think that was I for some reason. I don’t know why. It just didn’t feel right to me. Jesse and I were very good at reading each other, and I just felt that this wasn’t it, based mostly on his reaction. It must have been something that he wished Uncle Pierre hadn’t said, or else he wouldn’t have kept it from me. Jesse and I just weren’t like that. So he obviously wanted to forget whatever was said, so he didn’t want to tell me. Or maybe it was because I wouldn’t appreciate or agree with what Uncle Pierre said. But Jesse wouldn’t be careful about sparing my feelings like that, he knew I could take it, and it wouldn’t possibly be anything bad. No, the only thing that made sense was that Uncle Pierre had either said something that would embarrass me or something that Jesse didn’t care to hear. Maybe both.
So I just had to breathe and let it go. But I was a curious type of person! Nosy, honestly. I wanted to know. I hated knowing that there was something I didn’t know because it just made me want to know it even more, you know?
“Miss Pace, do you know the answer?” Huh? What the frak?
“What?” I blinked and looked up at my teacher. I had been so absorbed in my thoughts that I hadn’t even realised I was in school, really. That seems to be happening a lot this week. Oops.
“Do you know the answer to the question?”
“Um. What question?” Surely not the questions in my mind. What an odd time for the teacher to ask that, eh?
Ms. Parkin groaned and stared at me blankly. I ducked my head as she looked at me as if I was a great disappointment. She moved on to another student and asked the question. And I still didn’t hear the question. My thoughts ricocheted back to Jesse immediately. Well, they actually went back to my dream. The images filled my brain, flashing quickly and then slowing to a movie-like play. When the blood spurted and Jesse disappeared, I hissed silently and clenched my hand into a fist. I shook my head to clear out the dream memories, searching my mind for something to concentrate on. Oh, today was Thursday. Jackie would be sitting with her art friends. Which meant that Jesse and I would be sitting together, alone… Hehe. I wonder if Jesse would want to eat lunch in the auditorium like Jackie suggested. Of course, she also suggested that there wouldn’t be much eating going on. I blushed slightly as I remembered everything Jackie had said that day. Oh how embarrassing that was. She even said it all in front of Jesse. I think that was the worst part. But at least it had embarrassed him too. If I had been the only one blushing, it probably would have been worse. For me, anyway.
The bell rang and I jumped out of my seat, grabbing my books and rushing out to the hallway. I walked quickly, scanning the heads and faces for Jesse. When I saw him, I walked quickly to him.
“Hi, Annaleigh.” He looked surprised to see me. A happy kind of surprise. I smiled at him and grabbed his hand, standing on my tip toes to give him a swift kiss.
“Hey, um, where do you want to eat lunch today?” He asked me before I could gather up the courage to ask him. I shrugged and laughed slightly.
“I was going to ask you.”
“Oh. Um, do you want to eat in the auditorium like Jackie suggested? Well, I mean… But it would be, you know…” I giggled as he looked down, embarrassed.
“Yeah, we can eat there.” I kissed him again and let go of his hand as the bell rang.
“Or, you know, not.” I winked at him and turned around to walk towards my next class with a smile on my face. But the smile went away eventually, because math was my next class. Of course, I didn’t hear most of it because I was too busy thinking about Jesse again. Hopefully I wasn’t missing anything important, eh? I probably was, but I didn’t really care. Even if I did, it was impossible to concentrate. Believe me, I tried. I just couldn’t do it. Yeah, when my parents asked me why I failed school, I would say it was because I could not stop thinking about Jesse. That would go over well. Oh yeah. Ha, cue eye roll. Fo sho betch. Obviously, I have no clue what I’m talking about. Wait. What was I talking about?! Was it something important? Eh, hopefully not. Stupid ADD-like mind. Ah-tention deficit disorder. Disorderly. Disorganised. Organisation. Apologise. Oo, I love that song. Like the songs Jesse and I listened to yesterday while making out. That was fun. His scars really were amazing to look at it. I mean, I would have felt guilty about thinking like that if something bad had happened to him, but since he was born with the scars, it was ok. Oh my gosh Annaleigh! How stupid can you be?! No one is born with scars! But Jesse would never lie to me. Oh my goodness. What if Uncle Pierre hadn’t said anything to Jesse?! What if…
No, that was impossible! Uncle Pierre was too nice. Shame on you for thinking that, Annaleigh! Jesse would trust me enough to tell me something like that anyway. Gah, I can be so stupid sometimes! I can never tell Jesse that that thought ever even crossed my mind. It would hurt Uncle Pierre if it ever got to him. And I know Uncle Pierre would never do anything like that. I never even considered it, my mind just went random. Still, the thought shouldn’t have even crossed my mind. What kind of blasphemous person was I? He was Jesse’s uncle, for crying out loud. And I loved him like family. Oh, I’m such a horrible person. Stupid, Annaleigh. Stupid.
Ok, I’ll erase all thought from my mind, because that could never be possible, and I’ll never tell anyone that I was capable of such a thought. For goodness sake.
Oh, sigh. Could lunch time be any farther away? I just want to see Jesse. And spending some alone time with him in the auditorium won’t be bad either. Hehe. It felt great to love and be loved back. Jesse was the perfect guy. Completely perfect. There was nothing about him that wasn’t perfect. I’ve heard that no one is perfect until you fall in love with them. Maybe that’s true, because I’m in love with Jesse and he is perfect. I hope he felt the same way about me. But what made it so perfect was that I think he does feel the same way. And it was perfect.
Now go count how many times I said the word perfect. No, I’m just kidding. But if you do, tell me how many times I said it because I’m not going to count. As if I could remember how many times I said it anyway. I can’t even concentrate on one thing for longer than… Ooh, waffles! No, I’m kidding. I was going to say that I can’t even concentrate on one thing for longer than ten seconds. And then I went on some weird random ADD tangent thing. I do that whenever makes fun of me for having ADD. I’m all like,
“Hey we ADD people have feelings too so I don’t appreciate you… Plastic bags! ‘Paperrrr or plastic betchessss!’ …making fun of us, so don’t do it ok?”
Yeah, I actually said that once.
Well, it was to Jackie and Jesse when we were goofing around and probably sugar high, but still… Wait… What was I saying?!
“See you tomorrow, class!” The bell rang. I looked up in confusion and then grabbed my books and backpack and headed out to the hallway. It was lunch time, yay!
I waited for the hallway to clear out before heading down to where the auditorium was. The auditorium was located in the same hallway as the cafeteria. If I kept on going straight, I would go into the cafeteria, but instead I would turn right after a few rows of lockers and go into the auditorium. If I passed the auditorium, there was one row of lockers and then a right turn into another hallway. When I got halfway past the second row of lockers before the auditorium, I saw Jesse coming from the other hallway walking towards me. He would reach the auditorium first. We smiled at each other as we walked. There was no one else in the hallway, so we were just staring at each other and grinning like idiots as we walked. When Jesse got to the auditorium door, I was halfway past the last row of lockers. With his eyes still locked on mine, Jesse began to make the turn to the auditorium door when it flew open and a figure came out a few inches away from Jesse. It was Clay. He had a book in his hand and was shoving it into Jesse, probably as payback for my shoe the other day. Neither Jesse nor I had seen him coming. Jesse was caught off guard, so Clay was actually able to make contact with the book. He shoved it roughly with lots of force as I watched in horror. There was nothing I could do. I didn’t even see it coming until it happened.
“Ow,” Jesse whimpered brokenly as he doubled over with his hands placed where the book was shoved. He backed up a few steps and plopped down on the ground. Clay laughed meanly and left to go into the cafeteria.
With my eyes wide, I ran over to where Jesse was, dropping to my knees and sliding to him. I threw my backpack off and let it skid across the hallway. I knelt next to Jesse. He was sitting down with his legs in front of him and his head down.
“Jesse, I’m so sorry.” I reached out to him and placed my arms around him in an awkward hug. His hands were still placed on his lap with his head hanging down. I laid my head on his shoulder and gently leaned his head onto my shoulder, still hugging him. I rubbed his back, sides, and stomach gently in a way that I hoped was soothing. Gradually, his arms relaxed.
“I’m so sorry, Jez.” I moved my face back, brushing my cheek on his hair and his cheek. I kissed his lips gently and briefly. I kept caressing his back and sides, placing my hands on his hips occasionally. Eventually, his arms wrapped around my back and he lifted his head up. I immediately pressed my lips to his and moved my right knee so it was next to his left hip, instead of both of my knees together beside his right hip. His arms tightened around me and I stroked his cheek, moving my hand down to his chest slowly. He smiled against my lips and let go of me, leaning back onto his arms. Our faces almost got close to disconnecting, so I pushed myself closer to him and placed my hands on his waist. Jesse’s tongue swiped across my bottom lip gently. I shivered involuntarily and pressed closer to him. With struggle, he pulled away.
“Do you think we should get out of the hallway? Just in case?” He smirked at me. I giggled and nodded, blushing slightly. Jesse wrapped his arms around my back and attempted to stand up. I wrapped my arms around his neck and hooked my legs around his waist, squealing softly.
“I don’t think that’s going to work without you dropping me on the floor.” I tightened my grips around him just to be sure. He stood up slowly and carefully and actually rather awkwardly in an attempt not to let me fall. Surprisingly, we made it. Jesse kept his hold on me and kicked our backpacks over to the door. He walked into the auditorium, scooting our backpacks with him. I giggled and kissed him softly. He stopped walking and tightened his grip on me, kissing me back. Then he sighed and pulled away.
“Wait until I’m not trying to walk, ok?” He smiled and I nodded. Jesse finished shuffling our backpacks to the stage and let them stay on the floor. He walked up to the stage and set me down on it, still holding on to me. I unwrapped my legs from around his waist but kept my arms around his neck and pulled his face to mine. He kissed me back, trailing his fingers up to my hair. I leaned back against the stage, pulling him along with me. He laid down on top of me gently and kept one hand in my hair, trailing the fingers of his other hand down my right side, giving me chills and causing me to squirm. Jesse laughed softly and pressed closer to me. I pulled him even closer and deepened the kiss, occasionally letting my tongue trail across his lips lightly. His breathing got heavy and our kiss increased passion. I rolled us over, pushing myself closer to him along the way. I stroked his cheek, pressing my lips to his with force. Jesse rubbed my back randomly, his hands in continuous motion. I mumbled, pressing closer to him, and let my tongue slide into his mouth. He licked my tongue softly and hesitantly. Sighing happily, I moved closer to him yet again and kept my tongue in his mouth. His tongue licked mine again and again, getting a little bit rougher each time. My breathing was erratic, sometimes very heavy, and sometimes stopping for a few seconds before starting up again. I tried yet again to push myself closer to him. It was hard, for we were already practically glued to each other, but I just needed to be closer.
“Jesse,” I mumbled squeakily as his fingertips pressed into my lower back gently. My lips moved down to his jaw, kissing urgently. He tangled his fingers in my hair and leaned his head back to expose his neck and collar bone to me. I moved my lips down to his neck, pressing gently.
“Annaleigh,” he whispered with desire hidden in his voice. I flicked my tongue out on his neck softly and then let my teeth scrape across his skin very lightly. He whimpered softly. I licked his neck again, placing my lips around where I had licked him. I pressed my teeth into his skin very gently. His breath caught in his throat. I breathed out and increased the pressure in my teeth, pulling his skin lightly. Then I let my lips trail back up to his lips. Jesse’s lips grabbed mine almost violently. I placed my hands on his face to keep our lips connected and pushed against him, flipping us over. He rolled on top of me, still kissing me passionately. His lips trailed down to my neck slowly, teasing me. I bit my lip and stopped breathing, anticipating. Jesse flicked his tongue around my neck, kissing it softly and scraping his teeth across my skin gently several times before pressing his teeth down. My breath came out in a groanish sort of sigh and I grabbed his face, jerking it back up to my lips. We kissed passionately, making my legs wrap around his waist of their own accord. He crushed his body against mine and I let my hands that were rubbing his back run down to his shirt edge. I pulled my hands up his back, dragging his short along with my fingers slowly. I slid my hands under his shirt, feeling his scars gently. Jesse lips slowed down and I moved my hands away from his scars, not wanting to make him uncomfortable. He pulled away, laying his face against mine. We stayed still for awhile, catching our breath.
“What are you doing, Annaleigh?” He whispered.
“Whatever you want, Jesse,” I breathed. He stayed still for a moment before disentangling himself from my arms and legs, pushing his shirt back down. He sat up, pulling me along with him and kissed me gently. I blushed and giggled.
“Not in school, obviously.” I bit my lip in embarrassment. What was I saying? Jesse blinked at me with a blank expression before frowning slightly.
“Not at all.” He spoke softly. I wasn’t sure if I heard what he said, or if I heard correctly, or if I was imagining it, or what.
“What?” I tilted my head in confusion. He had definitely said ‘not at all’ but what the crap was that supposed to mean? Surely he couldn’t mean that that wasn’t going to happen.
Jesse sighed and stood up, turning to walk off the stage. I stood up and pressed my hand against his chest, stopping him. He looked at my hand for a moment before placing his hand on top of mine and looking into my eyes.
“What do you mean?” There was something in his eyes, but I could not decipher what it was.
“I mean… That’s not going to happen, Annaleigh.” His face was full of sadness, but he looked determined.
I was confused. “Why not?” I mean, didn’t all guys think about that constantly? Or was I not… good enough for that?
“Do you like me in that way at all?” Doubts had filled my mind, making me start to cry. Jesse looked at me in shock and pulled me to him.
“Of course I do. So much. But… We just… Can’t.” Hurt was still displayed on my face and I looked down. Jesse put his hand on my cheek and tilted my face up to look at his as he spoke. Regret filled his eyes when he spoke his words.
“But… I don’t understand… Why?” Well, don’t I feel like a slut now. But I’m not actually trying to pressure him into anything. I just don’t understand.
He sighed frustratingly. “Naleigh, I… We just… I just won’t allow it, that’s all.” Now his lack of answers was making me mad and I honestly didn’t understand why he was saying that was never going to happen. Surely it was something he wanted, if he was even interested in me at all. I considered voicing all these things to him, but I wouldn’t say things right and then we would get mad at each other and I didn’t want that to happen. Besides, school would be starting back up again soon, unfortunately. So I figured we could talk about this later if it ever came up.
I sighed. “Fine.” I leaned into Jesse. I think he could tell that things were far from decided. He could hear the noncompliance in my voice, I’m sure, but he didn’t say anything.
“Hey,” Jesse said softly and I looked up at him. He smiled.
“I love you.” A wide smile broke out across my face and I leaned close to him to kiss him.
“I love you too,” I murmured around his lips. He kissed me gently, smiling slightly. Suddenly, the school bell rang and it was time to go back to classes. I frowned, causing Jesse to laugh lightly. He pressed his lips to mine again and we hopped off of the stage. Jesse walked over to where our backpacks were and picked both of them up, walking back to me and handing my backpack to me. I smiled at him and slung it over my shoulder. He did the same with his and grabbed my hand. We walked out of the auditorium, entering the hallway cautiously. I was not expecting him to, but Jesse walked me to my class door and kissed me swiftly before walking off. I watched him walk away for a few seconds before heading into the class room and sitting down in my seat. I put my backpack on the floor and grabbed my book out. Of course, I didn’t think I was actually going to be doing the schoolwork. I would be too busy thinking about Jesse. Wow, we had gone really far today. Well, not far, you know, but that was a major make out session. It was amazing. That whole neck biting thing was ironic, what with me being a vampire and all, but it was fun. That sounds weird to say, but it really was. Jesse’s bites didn’t hurt me and I knew that I hadn’t hurt him. Although that stupid Clay did. Who the hell did he think he was?! Did he really think that he could hurt my boyfriend just because I hurt him for hurting my boyfriend who wasn’t my boyfriend at the time?! Ugh, I hated that jerk! I would most definitely be getting him back. I would hurt him a lot more than he had hurt Jesse. And I would be sure that Delilah wouldn’t be around to kiss him afterwards. I wonder if the fact that I was there to rub Jesse’s back and kiss him had helped? I hope so. At the least, it didn’t hurt him worse, so it was all good, eh? I had certainly enjoyed it. Giggle and blush. Ah, so many questions raised today. What had Uncle Pierre said to Jesse? Why didn’t Jesse want me to know? Did Jesse really mean that we would never do that? If that’s really what he meant, then why did he say it? Why did he feel that way? What was for dinner today? Was Jesse staying for dinner? Would he be staying tonight? And then would we be continuing our auditorium conversation tonight? Would things even get that far if he did stay the night? If I’m so sick of love songs, so sad and slow, why can’t I turn off the radio? When did I get actual ADD? I had always thought I was just normally random, but that whole slew of questions just proved me wrong. The dinner question had been random enough, but it tied into more questions about Jesse. But that question that was pretty much just quoting a song was odd. There was no way I could actually be true ADD. Although, I am having trouble concentrating in school. But that’s because of Jesse. Because I keep on replaying every kiss, every touch, every conversation, every look. And all of those things just add more questions which then distract me from school as well. So my inability to concentrate wasn’t due to ADD, it was due to Jesse. My randomness probably wasn’t even due to ADD, because I don’t have ADD. I just seem like it. Why was it that Jesse and I were always eating? Before school, after school, before dinner, after dinner… And then of course at meal times, like breakfast, lunch and dinner. But we were always grabbing coffee and pop-tarts and Half Jos Louies or something. I suppose that was one of our things. Food and music, that’s how we connected. Now of course we had kissing too. And talking, always talking. No one could stay friends without conversation. Ooh, which makes me wonder if these new questions from lack of conversation with Jesse will tear us apart? No, that could never happen. First of all, the Uncle Pierre thing was probably for my own good, and second of all, the conversation from the auditorium was something that I would find out the answer to. Sooner or later, one way or another. Mark my words. Yay for dramatic sentences due to random stupidity and low brain cell count due to practical starvation.
Yeah, I had no lunch. Jesse and I had been busy kissing. But I had no complaints, I preferred Jesse’s kissing to food any day. My stomach didn’t agree with me, though. I couldn’t wait to get out of school and eat something. Gah, why did the school day always drag on so boringly? The weekend was coming soon though. Hmm, I wonder what I would be doing this weekend. I never really made weekend plans. Mostly I stayed home, or at the lodge. I loved looking at the lake and writing or something. Jackie and Jesse often joined me, if they weren’t busy, and since none of us really had any other friends (except for Jackie) we normally hung out with each other. But now that Jesse and I were together, I wondered how that would affect our weekend. I normally hung out with Jesse all weekend anyway, but would we just sit around all day making out with each other? It’s not like we did anything else.
Oh my goodness! We don’t do anything else. Holy frick… Is that true?! It couldn’t be true. How ducking slutty was that? Wow. Wow! I can’t believe it. I mean, I don’t mind it, but it just seems totally bad. Like, I don’t know, like skanky or something. I’m not like that. So it couldn’t be true. I mean, we walk to and from school, do our homework, and eat. Those things count, right? Then again, practically getting it on in school was kind of… Oh my gosh, ew! No, we didn’t practically get it on, ugh. It would not have gone that far in school. Of course, it seems like it won’t go that far at all. Hmm, odd. I’ll definitely have to talk to Jesse about that again. Oh, but I don’t want it to seem like I’m begging him for it or pressuring him or anything. That’s just gross and slutty. I just want to ask him why he doesn’t want us to do that. And hopefully he’ll be honest with me. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course he’ll be honest! This is Jesse we’re talking about. He doesn’t lie to me. And I don’t lie to him. It was part of being close friends like we were. And now we’re even closer, eh? So why did I feel like we would eventually grow apart?
Wow. I didn’t even know I felt that way. Surely I didn’t. Because we wouldn’t. Would we?
After school, I was waiting outside for Jesse and my thought from earlier still played in my mind and brought tears to my eyes. Of course we would not grow apart. How could I even think that? It was unthinkable.
“Hey, Naleigh.” Jesse snuck up behind me, wrapping his arms around my waist and kissing me on the cheek. I laughed slightly; this sort of embrace was totally unlike him. It was more of a jock greeting prep type of embrace.
“Hi Jez.” I turned around to face him, wrapping my arms around his waist. We stared at each other for awhile before he spoke.
“Are we walking or are we taking the bus?”
“You’re not working, right?” He shook his head.
“Let’s take the bus.”
“Okay,” Jesse agreed. I gave him a half nod and turned back around to wait for the bus, yelling at myself for my earlier thought and telling my eyes not to spill out tears. There was no way I could cry. I couldn’t let Jesse know that I had thought such an unimaginable and blasphemous thought. I was stupid for thinking it, even if I hadn’t meant it or believed that it could ever be true. It was the thought that counted, right?
The bus came at that moment and I began walking towards it, shaking thoughts out of my head and refusing to let my eyes betray me. Jesse followed me. I walked to our row in the back and sat down, leaning my head against the window. Jesse sat next to me silently. The bus started up and we began moving. I kept on looking out the window, knowing that my facial expression was sad but unable to do anything about it.
Jesse spoke lowly. “What’s wrong, Annaleigh?” Eh, crap. Can’t hide anything from him.
“Nothing.” I shook my head and tried to smile but he was unconvinced. He sat in silence for awhile and I turned back to the window. No! Annaleigh, stop it! You’re going to mess things up!
“Are you mad at me?” His voice was almost a whisper. I turned to look at him, slightly shocked. He looked down when our eyes met, but I could see the sadness in them. I scooted closer to him, placing one of my hands on his hand and using the other to tilt his face up to look at me.
“No. Why would you think that?” I searched his eyes. Jesse didn’t speak for awhile, but I waited.
“Because of earlier.”
“In the auditorium.” He grabbed my hand with his and entwined our fingers gently.
“What about it?” Was he asking if I was mad because of what he said? About us not doing anything?
“Me, saying no. Forever. Are you mad?” Jesse’s tone grew slightly desperate and the sadness in his eyes increased.
“Oh. No. No, Jesse. Hell no.” I hugged him tightly. He clung to me and I rubbed his back again, trying to soothe him. After awhile, I pulled away just enough to look at him.
“Why would you think that?” His eyes were slightly less sad, but he still looked regretful.
He shrugged. “You seemed like you didn’t want to talk to me or something.”
“Oh, Jesse.” I hugged him again. “I was just thinking and stuff.” More like telling myself not to think. Jesse said nothing, just hugged me back. Eventually we pulled away and turned back to sitting the correct way, smiling at each other slightly. Eh, it seemed like a good time to ask him…
I bit my lip. “Um, Jez?”
“Hmm?” He looked at me curiously.
“Why, um, why did you say we can’t? I-I just want to know, I’m not saying, eh, like, uh, just… Eh.” My eyes darted around.
Jesse smiled slightly at my lack of words and then sighed. “Just… Because.” I was about to ask him because why, but the bus stopped and it was time for us to get out. I picked up my backpack and we exited the bus. We walked down the road to Aragain, silent the entire way. When we got to my house, we went straight upstairs and dumped our backpacks on the floor before sitting on my bed. I scooted closer to Jesse, leaning against his chest. He wrapped his arms around me and I sighed.
“Because why?” Ugh, I hope I don’t come off all pervy or anything. I just want to know.
Jesse heaved a sigh. “Because we can’t.” He seemed slightly annoyed, so I figured it would be best to drop it, but it was annoying me too because I wanted to know dammit and he wasn’t giving me any answers. Not real answers.
“Why won’t you tell me?” I pulled away from his arms and turned to look at him. He closed his eyes and his jaw tightened.
“Because. It’s not. Going. To. Happen, Annaleigh.” He opened his eyes and looked at me with a fiery resolve behind them.
I groaned in frustration and threw my hands up. “Well I get that but I don’t understand why you’re saying it!” My annoyance was very evident in my tone.
“Well maybe you don’t need to know.” Jesse’s tone took on the same edge of annoyance.
I leaped off the bed and glared at him.
“Damn it, Jesse. You’re not giving me any effing answers and you’re making me ask more questions about it which makes me sound like some stupid, jerky perv who won’t take no for an answer and I just want to know why but you won’t tell me a damn thing, so what am I supposed to think about it?! What the hell did I do wrong, Jesse? Am I not pretty enough for you? Is that it? Because I just want to effing KNOW!” I yelled, my anger fading into tears in the last few sentences. Jesse stared at me in horror before jumping off my bed and wrapping his arms around me, leaning my head onto his chest. My tears flowed freely now and there was nothing I could do to stop them. Jesse just held me close and rubbed my back soothingly.
“Annaleigh, you are pretty. You’re beautiful, undeniably so. Please don’t even think that.” I could hear the honesty in his voice even through my tears. I knew it was time to give up, because I didn’t like how I was acting about it, and it really didn’t matter that much, but more words came before I could stop them.
“Then why? Why don’t you want to?” Gah! I just can’t ask simple little questions without sounding like some person trying to convince someone to give in. It disgusted me.
“Wanting was never the issue. It’s can’t.”
“Why not?” My sobbing had slowed now.
Jesse sighed before answering. I suppose he was thinking through his response.
“Just… I just want you to remain a virgin a little while longer.” I blinked. Was that what this was really about? Did he not want to be my first or something? Oh, hell… Would this not be his first?
My lack of response caused him to stiffen suddenly and he pulled away to look at me. I wiped my eyes, hoping that my face wasn’t red.
“Unless you’re not…?” He queried, looking at me with subtle horror. I flushed deeply.
“Of course I am.” I bit my lip and decided to risk it. I looked up at him, trying to keep any emotion off my face. “Are you?”
Jesse laughed briefly. “Of course.” He played with a strand of my hair, studying it intensely. “You are, obviously, my first girlfriend.” He kept staring at my hair. I looked at him and smiled.
“Really? I am?” He nodded and looked at me with a duh expression. I blushed slightly.
“That felt good to say. You, my girlfriend.” Jesse smiled giddily, causing me to laugh slightly and grin back.
“Mm… Jesse, my boyfriend.” I leaned on my tip toes and kissed him softly. I pulled away before he could kiss me back.
“First, of course,” I assured him with a smile. He smiled back and tipped his head down to mine, pressing his lips against mine gently. I wrapped my arms around his neck, placing my fingers in his hair and kissed him passionately. He tightened his arms around me, pulling me closer. I pressed closer to him eagerly, nearly knocking us to the floor. Jesse pulled away and laughed. I grinned sheepishly and began pushing him back towards my bed lightly. He allowed me to push him and walked backwards, sitting down on my bed when we reached it. I continued pushing him down so that he was laying on my bed and followed him, since his arms were around me. I laid on top of him and smiled, brushing his cheek gently. We looked into each other’s eyes, smiling. Jesse placed his hands on my hips and turned us over, laying atop me gently. I grinned and reached out to brush his hair out of his eyes. He kissed my wrist as I did so and I smiled. I flipped us over again, instantly attaching my lips to his neck. He sucked in a breath automatically and tipped his head back to expose his neck to me completely. I allowed my lips to roam over his neck slowly and gently to tease him. I would stop every so often and touch my teeth to his skin as if I was about to bite him and then continue moving my lips. Jesse groaned softly.
“Come on, Annaleigh,” he breathed. I giggled, but decided that I had teased him enough. My tongue flicked over his skin once, but then I pressed my teeth down softly. He made a soft noise and I increased the force of my teeth, allowing my tongue to caress his neck again. Jesse arms pressed me closer to him. Suddenly, I could feel the pulse of his blood flowing in his veins underneath my mouth and the creepy voice from my dream came back to me. I didn’t feel the thirst that I had felt in my dreams, but I was scared that I would. I removed my lips from Jesse’s neck and backed away slightly. He looked at me curiously.
“Something wrong?” I shook my head at him and turned over, bringing him with me. I smiled up at him.
“Bite me.” I tilted my head back. Jesse laughed at my pun and placed his lips on my neck softly. He did the same teasing thing to me, roaming his lips over my neck slowly, stopping every now and then to touch his teeth to my skin. As embarrassing as it is to admit it, I was practically shaking in anticipation. Gah, that sounded so wrong. But seriously, there’s nothing like being bitten on the neck by your hot boyfriend.
“Jesse,” I sighed with a bit of a whimper on the last syllable. His mouth roamed over my neck once more before he settled on a spot, licking me softly before pressing his teeth to my skin. I tightened my arms around him, pulling him closer. He bit me, gently at first but then increasing force. Not enough force to hurt me, of course. I hummed pathetically and began breathing harder. Jesse’s mouth pulled away from my neck and he looked at me. I pushed, flipping us over once more, and placed my lips on Jesse’s as soon as his head hit the pillows. His hands traveled my back smoothly, increasing urgency as our lips increased passion. I put my knees on either side of him and sat up slightly, staying close enough to keep kissing him, but far enough to let my hands roam over his chest and his stomach. I trailed my fingers down his chest lightly, stopping under his belly button and going back up. Jesse’s arms pulled me closer to him and I pressed my hands against his chest, lowering myself to kiss him better. While we kissed passionately, I let my fingers run down slowly to the bottom of his shirt. I placed my hands underneath his shirt and began moving my hands up to his chest, taking his shirt along with me. I was content to keep his shirt on and just touch his smooth skin, but Jesse helped my slide his shirt over his head and flipped us over again. His chest was now pressed against mine, so I moved my fingers to his back, tracing patterns lightly. I ran my fingers over his scars, hoping it wouldn’t make him uncomfortable. He traced his tongue over my lips slowly, with so little force that I barely felt it. The light touch sent chills up my spine and I shivered, pulling him closer. His tongue slipped into my mouth gently, touching the tip of my tongue softly. I hummed and pulled him closer again, licking his tongue with my own. His fingers moved down the side of my body lightly and softly, not touching any part of my body that would be considered untouchable. He pulled his tongue out of my mouth and placed his lips over my bottom lip, pulling on it gently. My stomach growled suddenly and Jesse pulled away, laughing. I frowned. I wasn’t ready to stop kissing Jesse just because my stupid stomach was hungry.
“We didn’t eat lunch,” Jesse grinned, reminding me of what we did instead. I blushed slightly and smiled.
“Do you want to go get some food?”
“No, I want to stay here and kiss you.” Jesse gave me a look and I sighed.
“Yeah, food.” I rolled my eyes at him. He smiled and got off my bed. I sat up and got off my bed as well. Jesse hadn’t yet put his shirt back on and I couldn’t help but stare at him. Once I realised what I was doing, I looked up at his face guiltily. He looked at me uncomfortably and embarrassed. I placed my hand on his shoulder and tugged slightly.
“Will you turn around?” I asked him with softness in my eyes. He looked hesitant, but turned around. As his back turned to me, I heard him draw in a breath and hold it. My eyes scanned his scars. There were a lot, painting his back like zebra stripes. Some were shallow and light in colour, some were deep and angry red like gashes. Some crisscrossed over others and some were so connected that they had no shape. If I had known that Jesse had gone through severe pain to get these, I would have broken down crying. Instead, I stared at his scars with awe and possibly sickening physical attraction. Yes, I liked his scars. They just increased his hotness factor in my opinion. I placed my hand on Jesse’s back and stepped closer to him. He sucked in another breath and winced slightly. I traced my fingers over a few of the worst scars lightly, reveling in the way they felt. Before I realised that I was going to do it, I leaned closer and pressed my lips to his scarred back gently. I placed kisses on several of his scars, trying to cover all of the deep ones first. My tongue flicked out against his back of its own accord. Jesse stiffened slightly and then relaxed. After a moment, he turned back around and looked at me with excited curiosity in his eyes.
“You don’t hate them?” He pulled me close to his chest in a hug, staring into my eyes.
I shook my head. “I told you I didn’t, right?”
“Yeah, but I didn’t know you were going to kiss them. I mean…” He trailed off, looking embarrassed.
It was my turn to look embarrassed now as I spoke.
“It’s true, I think they’re… well… sexy.” I whispered the last word and moved on quickly. “But, I don’t know, I just… I know you don’t like them, and it’s hard to imagine that they didn’t hurt, I just… I don’t know.” I broke eye contact with him, blushing. He grabbed my face and tilted it up to look at him. We stared into each other’s eyes for awhile, our looks meaning much more than words.
“I’ll be ok with them as long as you are.” My head bobbed up and down in a nod before he was finished speaking. Jesse laughed and hugged me to his chest. I wrapped my arms around him, letting them trace his scars shamelessly. He sighed contentedly. My stomach growled again and Jesse pushed me away from him, smiling.
“Let’s get you some food.” I stuck my tongue out at him as he walked over to my bed to grab his shirt. Before he slipped his shirt over his head completely, he paused and looked at me.
“Sexy? Really?” I blushed all the way down to my toes and walked towards my door.
“I’m getting food,” I mumbled, avoiding his question and headed down stairs. I heard Jesse laugh behind me and soon his footsteps were behind mine.
We walked into the kitchen and I went to the fridge. I opened the door and looked inside. No food. I opened the freezer and glanced inside for a few brief seconds before shutting the door and deeming it barren of sustenance as well. Sighing, I walked to the pantry and opened it, knowing that I would find nothing inside that as well. I was right. I shut the door and frowned, walking over to the table where I sat down.
“There’s no food.” I frowned again. Jesse looked at me in amusement before getting up from his seat at the table and walking to the fridge. He opened the door and looked inside before pulling out a Ziploc bag of pizza. He held it up and looked at me. I studied it for a minute before shrugging. He looked at me skeptically and I nodded noncommittally. Jesse rolled his eyes and brought the cold pizza to the table. I could tell he knew I wanted the pizza. Maybe I was just being stubborn. But it’s really hard to actually find food that you want in your house when you’re hungry until someone suggests something for you.
Jesse unzipped the bag and pulled out a piece of pizza, handing it to me. I took it, taking a bite as I got up to get a drink. I set the pizza down on the table and went to the fridge to pull out the diet coke.
“Wanna eat this outside?” Jesse asked as I was about to grab two glasses. I paused, considering, then ditched the glasses and grabbed the bottle of diet coke. I walked over to the table and picked up my pizza, heading out the door.
Jesse grabbed the bag of pizza and walked behind me. I took bites of my pizza as we walked down to the lodge. When we got there, I headed straight for the hammock and sat down on my normal side, facing the ninth cabin with my back turned to the main hangout section. Jesse sat next to me, opposite of me, facing towards the main hangout section and away from the ninth cabin. I placed my hand over the neck of the diet coke bottle and adjusted, lying out across the hammock. I left one leg down to push against the ground to swing us and dug into my pizza once Jesse and I were situated. Was I imagining it, or were we sitting closer to each other than when we sat on the hammock before? Of course, with the hammock, it was hard not to be sitting hip to hip, but still. Not that I minded or was complaining, of course. No, no, no. Of course not. Why would I ever complain about something like that? I wouldn’t. Duh.
I smiled at Jesse and ate more of my pizza, occasionally sipping straight from the diet coke bottle. Jesse did the same, smiling at me in between bites of pizza and taking swigs of the soda. What? Of course we drank after each other. Ok, if either one of us had a contagious disease, the other one had it by now, what with the amount of kissing we do. Er, insert embarrassed giggle here, eh?
Pretty soon, we had finished the Ziploc bag of pizza and the bottle of diet coke. I laid back against the hammock, stretching out my stomach.
“Blarrgh. I think I’ve eaten enough for a week.” I frowned. Jesse laughed and stretched out also.
“Me too.” He smiled at me. I rolled my eyes at him.
“Please. You’ll be finishing your third dinner plate in about two hours.” Jesse shrugged but didn’t argue. He knew I was right. I stuck my tongue out at him and leaned against the hammock, sighing happily. I kicked my foot gently, swinging us lightly. I turned my head to the side so that the back of my neck was resting against Jesse’s ankle and my face was turned towards him. He smiled and grabbed my foot, placing my ankle underneath his neck too. I giggled at his obvious mockery. And I bet we looked pretty stupid, too. Oh well. It was comfortable…Sort of.
“Do you have your iPod with you?” Jesse asked me randomly.
“Well that was out of the blue, eh?” I teased. He shrugged. I felt my jacket pocket.
“Crap. I don’t.”
“It’s ok.” He shrugged again.
“We can make our own music.” He smiled. I looked at him in confusion.
“Double You Tee Eff are you talking about?” Jesse just looked at me and began humming. I recognised the tune at once, before he started the words even.
“You’re a part time lover and a full time friend. The monkey on your back is the latest trend. I don’t see what anyone can see in anyone else but you.”
I laughed. “That would be too cliché if I sang that with you.”
“Because, that’s what the boyfriend and girlfriend sang in Juno.”
“But this isn’t a movie, this is real life.” He smiled at me and his words stuck a song in my head.
“If we were a movie, you’d be the right guy and I’d be the best friend that you’d fall in love with in the end, we’d be laughing, watching the sunset fade to black. Show the names. Play that happy song.”
Jesse scowled at me slightly. “Hannah Montana?” He looked at me with disgust.
“Hey! You better at least think I sing better than her.” I pouted.
“You most definitely do.” He jokingly widened his eyes in horror at the mental comparison and grinned at me. I smiled back at him. The sudden karaoke idea quickly ended. Well, it wasn’t karaoke with no background music, technically. But I didn’t know what to call it, so whatever, karaoke. It was really random, actually. Kind of odd. Oh, well.
“Uh, Jesse? We’re not going into the lake again today are we?” I looked at him anxiously.
“Did you want to?”
“Not particularly. We just seemed to be going into the lake a lot this week, so I wanted to be prepared.” He smiled at me.
“Okay, I’ll let you know before I throw you into the lake.” I rolled my eyes at him and smiled.
[Gah! This author really wants to just skip all the formalities and get to the part with Gabriel already! But, she needs to set it up so that Annaleigh and Jesse have a reason to go to Toronto and all that crap and then once they meet Gabriel, the author has no idea which plot ending is going to be chosen and it’s all just so confusing and she has a headache and just bleh. This story was so much easier when I didn’t need a plot. When I could just write about Jesse and Annaleigh kissing all the time. Lol. Now it’s just like a REAL story. It requires effort and thought and energy and I just don’t have those things right now, to be honest with you. And I really wish that I could just end the story right at the 50k word count because once I get to 50k I’m going to want to give up but that story won’t be ended yet so just urghh! At least my bangs are sexy pink. Lol. I wonder if bashing my head against the wall will make it feel better? Probably not. HOLY FRAKKING CRAP I WANT TO SEE TWILIGHT!!!!! OH. MY. GOSH. I. CAN. NOT. WAIT.! EE. OH EM GEE. Yes I realise that this is serious word padding and doesn’t even have ANYTHING to do with the story but I don’t care because my brain isn’t working right now and just Ugh. HOLY EFF I wish Jesse was real!!!! He is SO hot! And I want him! Lol. But seriously. Ee! That’s why I don’t think I’ll be able to bear doing an ending where Jesse and Annaleigh don’t end up together. Especially if I killed him or broke his heart. It would be good story quality though, and give me word count, and open up his POV or a sequel. But just gah. I can really only do heartbreak in my songs. I can’t do heartbreak in a story. Fanfiction, yes. My novel, no. Of course I never tried so I wouldn’t know but still. If I break Jesse’s heart, it will hurt me too. And if I break Annaleigh’s heart, that will hurt as well because it is in her Point Of View. Aka POV. Aka means Also Known As. Everyone knows that. Boo ya. Hhahaha no one says that. Ok this word padding is really weird and really stupid. I wonder what Emily and Ashleigh will think when they read it? Lol. Just lol. Hmm what can I say that would be really weird for Emily and Ashleigh to read…? Hmm… Well I’m listening to music. But that’s not weird. I always listen to music while writing. Almost always, anyway. I watched an episode of Hannah Montana today. I like that show. Emily, you should get a Facebook. I have a Facebook. So you should get a Facebook. Because then we can be friends. On Facebook. Lol! This is page 81 and I just looked at the page number and then my clock which says 8:20 and I guess looked back and forth cause all the sudden I was like ‘Wtf? My clock says 8:20 but it JUST said 8:21… Odd.’ But it was cause I got the Page 81 thing confused. Ha. Oo there’s something I don’t get… One of the pep talks said that Page 70 was the hardest and that would be our like halfway point, but page 70 was in the 40k’s I think. Way more than halfway at least. Does my word processor count pages differently than that guys’? I don’t know. Maybe. Or maybe he was just being stupid. Or maybe I read it wrong. Or maybe I’ll just keep going ‘or maybe’ until I actually come to a conclusion. But that would make sense, wouldn’t it? And I’m not known for making sense. Oh hale no. Definitely not.]
Jesse and I just sat on the hammock for the rest of that day until dinner. We didn’t talk, just swung. Back and forth, back and forth. It was quiet, peaceful, relaxing, beautiful. It was normal. It was like what we used to do, back when we were just friends. Ok don’t look so surprised. It’s possible for us to do something other than kissing. Jeez, I’m not a slut. Ugh. [Author note, my mom thinks slut is a bad word… I don’t think it is… So I use it… Hm..] [Urgh, I haven’t done college today or yesterday and I’m really behind on my fanfiction reading. Gah gah gah gah gah. Urgh! Bleh. Crap. Duck. Fooizzle. Fooizzle? Wtf is fooizzle? I never thought of that before. I like twastard. Good one, Ashleigh. Brilliant. Hahaha wasn’t that the girl from Lizzie McGuire, Ashleigh Brillault? Or was it Ashley? Or Ashlee? Gah! I like the Ashleigh spelling the best. What was that sign on the way back from Canada? Ooo fick what was it!? Ashley and something about water? No, I don’t know. It was something that me and my friend were like ‘wtf is a ____ and WHAT is Ashley doing with it?!’ or something like that, lol. We’re weirdos. Yeah I’m going to her house for Thanksgiving… I wonder how that will go… Sigh. OOOO OMG I should just quote songs until I get to 50k and then GIVE UP on this story!!!! As much as I want to, I can’t do that. I love my characters too much. But I love my characters too much to give them a less than happy ending, but a happy ending will do nothing to the story and the plot and I should just give up on trying to make it good because it’s not like I’m going to publish it or let anyone read it. Gah. I think I like the word gah. No, I like the word emomazing. It is my word. Eh! Eh? Canadian people say eh. Which is why I say it a lot in my novel. But Max said it very cutely. He also sneezed cutely. It was massive sneeze cuteness. Do not make fun of me. 45555, haha! I tried to stop at 44444 last night but I got to 44422. So I wrote to 44444 today, except I wrote a little bit more. But I just updated my word count to 44444. Gah I need to shut up and stop word padding and write the actual novel. Is this even actual word padding? Doesn’t word padding at least relate to the story? HOLY CRAP AM I CHEATING?! Gahh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]
After awhile, my mom called us in for dinner. She didn’t look surprised to see that Jesse had been here all day and was staying for dinner. I wonder if she was suspecting something….? I hope not.
I had been right about Jesse eating dinner. He ate two helpings and most of my plate. I really wasn’t hungry at all. It sort of amazed me that he could actually eat still, but I suppose guys were just like that. After dinner, Jesse and I headed upstairs. We didn’t do homework though, we just sat and listened to my iPod. We didn’t kiss either, stop making that face.
“What do you want to do this weekend, Annaleigh?” Jesse asked randomly while we were listening to I Caught Myself by paramore.
“Huh? Uh, I don’t know… Why?” He shrugged.
“I was just thinking we could do something.”
“Like what?” Was he about to ask me on a date? Like a date date? Like, a movie or dinner or both or something or what?
“Well. I was thinking we could go to Toronto.” Tor—what?
“Toronto?” Doubt and confusion laced my voice. What the crap was he talking about?
“Well, yeah. We’ve never really seen anything outside of Arden or Kaladar, and Toronto’s only three hours away.”
“Only three? Jesse, it’s like the capital of Ontario. Do you really think my parents will let us go? I mean, especially if we go alone. I just don’t see how—“ Jesse cut me off by placing his lips on mine.
“They have all sort of school-y stuff there that we could use as our excuse. Extra credit, or extensive research, you know.” I blinked at him in surprise. This was totally weird and random and out of the blue and odd and it sounded great.
“Just think about it. Please?” Jesse bore his blue eyes into mine, making it impossible for me to refuse. I nodded dumbly, distracted by the intensity of his beautiful eyes. He grinned and pressed his mouth against mine softly. I slipped my tongue into his mouth gently, snaking my arm around his neck and tangling my fingers in his hair.
“Hello, Anna,” a creepy voice whispered. Jesse and I jumped at the sound, instantly disconnecting. Flashes of my dream came to me. Jesse, blood, creepy voice, thirst for blood. My eyes darted around, looking for who had said that.
“Over here,” the voice rasped. I turned to the window to see a dark figure sitting in my window as though he had just climbed in from outside. Jesse moved over in front of me protectively.
“Who are you?” I called. The figure laughed evilly.
“Oh, you know my name already.” The figure climbed out of my window, taking a step closer to my bed. Jesse stiffened, turning his body in front of me. The face that belonged to the figure did not look familiar at all. In fact, it did not look like the owner of such a creepy voice. He looked like he could be some random kid from our school. Someone we had seen, but never noticed.
“Or perhaps not. I’m Gabriel, Anna. And I am here to claim what is rightfully mine.” He took a step forward. Jesse became even more tense and his body moved away from mine slightly.
“And what is that?” I was afraid to ask, but I did anyway. I was really confused. Why did this guy come to my room? How did he know my name, or at least part of it? No one called me Anna except for the voice from the dream and this guy definitely wasn’t that voice.
“Your virginity, of course.” I blinked, processing and then looked at the guy to see if he was joking. The smile on his face told me that he wasn’t.
“Unless this little minion of mine has taken it from you already?” He looked at Jesse. “In which case I would be forced to have a little more fun. A different type of fun, sure, but fun nonetheless.” I shivered involuntarily. This guy was threatening us.
“Ok, let’s get something straight here. I am not going to have sex, unless it is with my boyfriend, and I’m not even doing that so you can just go somewhere else.” Should I yell for my parents? How far was this guy going to take this and how could I stop him?
“Oh, Anna. But you want me, really. I can feel it.” He took in a deep breath and smiled eerily. I shuddered and leaned into Jesse. Automatically, he scooted away from me, shaking me off.
Gabriel took another step forward, and another, until he was standing in front of my bed right in front of me. I looked up at him, scared. Suddenly I realised that I was tougher than this guy. I stood up quickly, shoving my knee into him. He grunted and took a step back.
“You’ll regret that.” He raised his arm to strike me. I flinched back and closed my eyes. Instead of being hit, I was tackled onto the bed and my arms were pinned up by my head. I opened my eyes to see Gabriel’s grinning face. His eyes scanned my body with greed and suddenly I realised what was going to happen. I knew I should fight back, but I also knew that I had no way to fight back. I had completely forgotten that Jesse was in the room. I just felt helpless. My vocal chords wouldn’t even work. All I could do was lay there as tears streamed from my eyes.
Just as Gabriel was leaning down to kiss me, blood spurted from his neck, spattering the pillow next to my head. Suddenly, he was torn off of me and I heard noises of violence. My eyes were too full of tears to see what was going on, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.
“You dirty liar!” I heard Jesse growl and the noise of flesh crunching bone splintered the air. I winced, hoping that Jesse wasn’t hurt.
“Get the hell out of here before I kill you.” Jesse voice was venomous, dangerous and scary. I did not doubt that he would kill the guy, either. Whimpers filled the room as liquid dropped to the floor, steady at first and slowing into little drips. The window squeaked open and something rubbed against it forcefully. I heard the thump of feet hitting the ground outside by my window, but I couldn’t hear footsteps for my silent tears turned into sobs. Jesse’s arms encircled me and I clutched onto them, sobbing into his chest. I worked to make my sobs quiet enough for my parents not to hear, but it was difficult. Jesse stroked my hair.
“Shh, Annaleigh, it’s ok. It’s ok. He’s gone now. He’ll never come back. Shh, it’s ok baby. It’s ok.” Jesse’s voice murmured to me, eventually calming me down. His mere presence comforted me.
“Shh. I’m going to clean up your room, if you’re alright.” I nodded stiffly and allowed him to let go of me. I heard his footsteps walk quietly to my door and open it, stepping out into the hallway. I opened my eyes and looked at the pillow next to me, spattered in blood. Once again, flashes of my dream came to me and I couldn’t bring myself to look anywhere else. I wasn’t blood queasy, not in the least, but if there were pools of blood in my room would I really want to know? Worst of all, would I want to know whose blood it was?
When I heard Jesse walking back, I shut my eyes again. I heard him flit around the room, rubbing a towel on my floor and window. It must not have been a lot of blood, then, if one towel could soak it up. Jesse left again and I opened my eyes, wiping my tears away. I looked around my room, half expecting it to look like in my dream, but it looked normal. I sat up as Jesse walked back into the room. He came and sat next to me on the bed instantly, not making body contact. I looked at him, trying to keep tears out of my eyes.
“Who? How? Why? What? He…” Who was he? How did he get it? Why me? What was he saying? What was the all about? How did he know me? Was he actually going to rape me? Why didn’t Jesse stop him sooner? Those were all the questions I wanted to ask, but I could not get them out.
“It’s ok. He won’t come back.” Jesse hugged me gently. I laid my head on his shoulder, clinging to him tightly and trying not to think. I pulled away suddenly and scanned Jesse with my eyes.
“He didn’t hurt you, did he?” I looked at Jesse with worry. He shook his head. I sighed in relief and held on to him again. Then I pulled away again to look at him.
“Jesse, I… He… Oh, shit.” Realisation struck me while I was trying to talk and I burst out into sobs again. Jesse pulled me into his arms and held me tightly. I clawed at the back of his shirt, sobbing loudly. I buried my face into his shoulder, trying to muffle my sobs. He pulled me closer, rubbing my back soothingly. I cried for a few minutes before pulling away, releasing my hold on Jesse gently.
“Were you going to let him?” I knew Jesse would never do that, but he hadn’t seemed like he was doing anything until the blood spurted. I wish I had known what was going on so then I could make sense of it.
“No! Hell no, Annaleigh. Definitely not. Why would you think that?” I started crying again.
“I don’t know. I wasn’t. But, Jesse. He had me pinned down.” The tears flowed more freely now. Maybe I was being a wimp since nothing happened, but it was still hard to go through.
“I know.” Jesse closed his eyes, clenching his jaws in anger. I wiped my tears away and touched his jaw lightly.
“Hey. It’s okay.” I said softly. He opened his eyes and looked at me, instantly softening his expression.
“I’m so sorry.” His eyes were full of emotion. It sort of seemed like he might start crying himself. I reached out and hugged him. He hugged me back, seemingly reserved.
“Oh, uh, I should get that.” Jesse let go of me and snatched my pillow, trying to hide the bloodied side from me as he took of the case. I smiled at him. He got up from the bed and kissed me on the forehead before taking the pillow case out of my room. I waited for him to get back. (Uh, well, duh. Way to state the obvious, Annaleigh). When he got back, I sat up and crossed my legs, smiling at him. He smiled back and walked over to my bed slowly, hesitantly sitting on the edge, away from me. I scooted closer to him and leaned against him.
Jesse blinked at me. “Nothing. Why do you ask that?”
I shrugged. “It seems like you’re… I don’t know… Keeping your distance from me?” I bit my lip. Ugh, what a stupid observance, I scolded myself.
Jesse fidgeted. “I wasn’t sure if you wanted me anywhere near you… I mean, touching… You know.”
“Oh.” I looked down. Ha, I hadn’t even thought of that. No, Jesse’s touch was comforting, soothing. I needed it. I looked up at Jesse. He was frowning slightly, lost in his thoughts. I could tell that he was still angry about Gabriel. I touched his arm softly and he looked at me.
“Thank you.” I smiled. He looked at me with an obvious expression on his face, like ‘no duh.’
“Of course.” He blinked, conveying that it was obvious. I smiled and then sighed as I thought about how truly sweet he was.
I wrapped my arms around Jesse and turned my body to face him, placing my lips to his. His kiss was hesitant. So I decided he needed a little push. I kept my hands on his back and waist firmly and began to lean back, keeping our lips connected. He was pulled along with me, softly and slowly. Once the back of my body made complete contact with the bed, Jesse pulled away, quickly sitting down beside me. I gave a frustrated sigh.
“Now what’s wrong?” I asked him. He stared at me without answering.
“Jesse, what?” I shifted so that I was looking into his eyes. He still didn’t answer, but I read his eyes. They revealed fear and reluctance, worry and reservation. I sighed.
“Oh.” Jesse didn’t move, just kept looking at me. I moved closer to him, placing my hand on his chest and my face extremely close to his.
“You don’t think I’m ready for you to lay on top of me and kiss me.” Jesse’s eyes nodded for him with a sad expression in them. My face mimicked his sad expression and I moved closer to him, half laying on him.
“Even if I’m not, I’ll never be if you don’t do it anyway.” I paused, thinking over my words. “If that even made any sense.” Jesse nodded his head slightly. My lips attacked his gently. He kissed me back slowly, gaining passion as time went on. With my hands on him, I began rolling over, pulling him along with me. I could feel his hesitance, but he flipped with me, not breaking the kiss. Once we had stopped moving and I was on my back with him on top of me, his lips paused for a second, testing my reaction, but resumed their action. I wrapped my arms around his back and pulled him closer to me. Slowly, I moved my hands away from his back and placed my arms down beside me head.
“Jesse,” I whispered around his lips. “Put your hands on my arms.” Jesse paused for a second to look at my arms and looked back at me in shock.
“And then sit on me,” I said before he could protest the first request. Jesse stared at me in horror and then closed his eyes, sighing softly.
“Annaleigh, I can’t do that.” He opened his eyes, looking tortured.
“Please,” I whispered. He clenched his jaw, looking conflicted. He wanted to do what I asked him, but he was worried about what it would do to me.
“I’ll hurt you.”
“Jez, you won’t do anything.” I rolled my eyes at him.
“I meant emotionally.” Yeah, I knew what he meant.
I snorted. “I’m not quite that delicate, eh?” He looked at me sadly again.
“Look, Jesse.” My voice softened. “I at least just need to get it out of my system.” The puppy dog pout was being given with my eyes, not entirely on purpose, but I knew Jesse couldn’t refuse.
“But so soon?” His look was soft, scared and concerned. I nodded slightly, closing my eyes. Jesse sighed and took a deep breath. He placed his hands on my arms softly and moved so that he was sitting on me lightly. I smirked at him and moved my arms.
“Hold easily broken.” He sighed and I could tell how much this was troubling him, but it needed to be done. Jesse increased the pressure of his hands, pinning my wrists down against the soft bed. I closed my eyes, forcing the images of Gabriel out of my brain and focusing on the feel of Jesse’s body on mine.
“Kiss me.” I opened my eyes as Jesse leaned down (just as Gabriel had!) my mind screamed at me, but I made it shut up. He kissed me softly and I could feel the torment behind the kiss. I slid my tongue across his lip gently, hoping to show him that I was okay. Suddenly, Jesse’s body was laying beside mine. I opened my eyes and turned my head to see him with pain and remorse in his eyes.
“I’m sorry, Naleigh, I couldn’t do it anymore.” I turned towards him and scooted closer, wrapping my arms around him.
“It’s okay. I’m sorry I made you do that.” I frowned, suddenly feeling guilty. Jesse stroked my face softly.
“Anything for you.” His voice was as soft as a whisper and it sent chills down my spine. Good chills, the kind you get when you realise just how much someone loves you.
“Were you okay?” He asked anxiously.
I nodded. “I’m just mad.”
His eyes narrowed. “Me too.” His expression was almost murderous. It was totally creepy. And totally hot!
“No, that’s not what I meant. I… You, that… I liked it.” I bit my lip and looked down, blushing slightly. How stupid was that to say? Ugh.
Jesse tilted his head, waiting for me to clarify.
“I mean, you… But he stole the enjoyment away from us… I mean, I, uh, he, the, um, you, but, I, gah.” I stuttered, unable to say what I meant.
“I understand what you mean, Annaleigh.” I sighed.
“Thank goodness.” He smiled at me with an amused expression. Yeah, yeah, I know I’m daft.
“It’s just, urgh. You, that was kind of… I mean, hot. But he just, ugh. I could kill him.” Was it really weird that I had pretty much just had a traumatic experience and I was upset because it made a new make out position for me and Jesse less enjoyable? (Wow, I worded that horribly). Yeah, insanely weird.
A look I couldn’t describe flashed across Jesse’s face when I spoke my last sentence, but was gone before I could try to recognise it or determine what it was.
“Anyway, I don’t want to talk about it. Nothing happened, you stopped him, I cried, I got over it. It’s done.” Was it really that simple? I hope so. If it wasn’t, I don’t know how I would function properly. And if it was, was it bad that I could get over such a thing so quickly? But of course, nothing happened. I mean, Jesse stopped him, so there really was no reason to feel upset about it. Sure, it was traumatic to be close to going through something like that but the important thing was that I didn’t. If I dwelled on what would have or could have happened, then I’ll miss what is happening now, honestly. And what’s happening now is that Jesse is laying beside me and I have a serious need to kiss him.
I flipped over onto Jesse quickly, putting my hand on his chest and placing my lips to his. His arms wrapped around me automatically and he pulled me closer. He didn’t seem to be acting hesitant anymore, yay. I pushed myself closer to him and let my tongue trace over every part of his lips. His tongue moved opposite of mine, quickly creating a battle to see whose tongue was able to touch whose lips. Our tongues fought for awhile before he gave up, letting my tongue slip into his mouth. I giggled in victory as I scraped my tongue against his teeth. Jesse’s body moved to the side, rolling us over slowly. I panted slightly, anxious to feel his body pressing against mine. He laughed softly and finished the turn, slowly pushing himself closer to me, increasing the weight of his body on mine ounce by ounce. My arms wrapped around his back tightly, crushing him against me. His lips moved against mine with more passion then started slowly heading down to my neck. I tilted my head back to give him more skin, but he moved his mouth back up to my lips as soon as they touched my neck. I sighed, feeling jipped of a neck bite, but content to kiss him either way. He flicked his tongue across my bottom lip gently, slowly, and lightly. Ugh, he was teasing me. I squirmed and whimpered slightly, causing him to laugh. His lips pressed against my throat and then he rolled away from me.
“You should sleep now. It’s late.” I groaned, but I knew he was right.
“Are you staying?”
“Do you want me to?” He looked at me. Of course I did, how could he even ask that?
“Well, yeah.” I looked down. Did he not want to? Suddenly I looked back up at him sharply.
“You have to. Forever. I need you in here. What if it happens again?”
He wrapped his arms around me. “That will not happen. But I’ll stay.” I smiled and hugged him.
“I’m so sorry, Naleigh.” I pulled away to look at him and my heart broke at the sad expression on his face.
“Jez, it’s okay. I’m fine, thanks to you. Thank you.” I smiled at him and went on my tip toes to give him a kiss and then rested my head on his chest, hugging him. His arms stayed wrapped around me and I could feel the protection and love in his touch. Suddenly I eyed the clock.
“Urgh. It is late. I should probably go take my shower now.” I unwrapped my arms from around Jesse unwillingly.
“Okay. I’ll add the finishing touches to my project while you’re gone.” Halfway to the door, I paused and turned around.
“The one due tomorrow.” My eyes widened.
“What project due tomorrow?!” Oh my gosh, there was a project due tomorrow?! I didn’t know about it! When did this happen?
“Uh, the one for English. About Lucy Maud Montgomery.”
“What the—I never heard about this project! Oh, what am I going to do?!” I began pacing.
“Make a project quickly,” Jesse offered and I shot him a look.
“That’s just great. What’s it about?”
“We’re supposed to pick our favourite Lucy Maud Montgomery poem and write a paper on why we like it and bring in an item that we think of when we read the poem, or makes us think of the poem.”
“Ugh when did we go back to third grade?” Jesse shrugged. I sighed.
“Fine. I’ll just have to pick a Montgomery poem at random and find an item. The paper, though… Ugh.” I hopped around my room frantically, trying to find my English literature book and trying to think of ways to express my love for a poem that I’ll barely have read. Why did we have to be studying Canadian poetry at this time? It’s not like I really knew them that well. I mean, I was more into the stuff by Robert Frost and e.e. cummings and Edgar Allen Poe; you know, people that others have actually heard about, the famous people… Gah.
I flipped open the literature book and scanned the poems, stopping on one that had a cool title. Shore Twilight. I flipped to the page and read it quickly, deciding that it was worthy enough to be my favourite. I copied it down quickly, analyzing its meaning. She was basically talking about how the day had ended, and another beautiful day would be beginning. At least, that’s what I thought. Anyway, it didn’t matter if my analysis was right or not, since I only needed to write a paper about why it was my favourite. Analyzing it would help me with the paper, though, so that’s why I did it.
I grabbed my laptop and turned it on, opening a word document as quickly as I could. My fingers hovered over the keyboard. What did I like about the idea of a new day beginning?
“Gah! Jesse, I can’t do this. What’s good about a day ending and a new one starting? Holy frak, why did I pick that poem?! Why are we even talking about poems? And by someone practically unknown, nonetheless. Oh my goodness, I’m going to fail school! I can’t do this.” I pounded my fingers on the keyboard in frustration. Jesse just sat on my bed and laughed. I shoved my laptop away and jumped up to look for an item, glaring at Jesse.
“You could at least help me, you know. I didn’t even know about this project until now and I’m totally unprepared and I don’t know what I’m going to do and I need to take a shower and I have no ideas for a paper and I didn’t know about this until now. Why did I not know about this?”
“Weren’t you paying attention in class?” I blushed as I thought of what I had been thinking about when I wasn’t concentrating on schoolwork. Jesse laughed again and I groaned, continuing my search around the room for something to remind me of the poem.
Jesse got off my bed and walked over to me, grabbing me by the shoulders gently.
“I’ll help you. Look, why don’t you grab your notebook and write down what you think about when you think of the prospect of a new day starting?” I calmed down under his touch and looked at my notebook.
“I think of sleeping and then waking up the next morning to continue the same boring routine.”
“Ouch, that hurt.”
“No, Jesse, I didn’t mean—“ He laughed and I looked at him. Amusement was in his eyes; he had been joking. I sighed. He guided me over to my bed and sat me down, picking up my notebook and flipping to a new page. I picked up my pen and sighed, glancing over at the poem and my analysis.
Ok… Day ending, new one beginning.
The end of a day is sad, when you have enjoyed the day. But isn’t it good to know that you have something to look forward to? When you can sit back and say, ‘This is my life, I’m happy. Each day will bring me something new, each day will bring me to you. This night ends but I’m still alive and tomorrow I’ll see your face again. What more could I ask?’ Day brings surprise and joy, why not wish for one more? One more chance to smile, to laugh… One more chance to feel like you belong… One more chance to look at him and just know… Because as long as he’s there, every day will be something to cherish. Crying over one day ending is worthless if you know that everything going to happen again the next day. When your days run out, you can feel sad, but remembering the days that you once looked forward to will be enough to carry you on. So don’t look at the sunset and frown. Smile, because that will be when you think of me and know that I love you too. I look forward to spending all of my days with you.
I looked at my page and blinked. Wow. Now Shore Twilight was actually my favourite poem. It made me think of Jesse now, and I could tell that the words I wrote in my notebook would be inspiring a song. It might have been already.
Jesse peered over my shoulder, reading.
“I knew you could do it. Now, write that into the paper and pick an item.” I smiled, wondering if Jesse could tell that I began to mention him in the little part I had written.
Instead of writing what I wrote into my school paper, I wrote about how the poem inspired stuff like what I wrote (leaving out specifics) and could inspire people to enjoy their days, even if one day turns out different than they’d planned. Honestly, it was a very cheesy paper, but it was exactly the kind of paper my teacher would like. Hopefully, anyway.
The item I chose to represent the paper was a picture my mom had taken of the sun rising over the lake. You couldn’t really tell where the sun was though; the picture just had an overall orange and red tint to it, so it could pose as a sunset. It was a beautiful picture. The trees that bordered the other side of the lake were black, and the fiery colours of red, orange, yellow, and pink streaked their way across the lake and the sky, blending together and working against each other in a beautiful array. I smiled. It may be a last minute project, but it was inspired mostly by Jesse and that would make it great. Whether I got a good grade or not, it was a good project. Way better than it would have been without his help.
I grinned at Jesse as I thought this and proofread my paper before quickly printing it and placing it next to the lake picture. Then I went to take my shower, ready for sleep.
Evil laughter filled the room, jolting me awake. The bed next to me was empty, then suddenly Gabriel was laying there like Jesse would have been. I backed away from him, about to grab my covers and leave when I heard a growl from behind me. I looked to see Jesse briefly before he was on Gabriel, attacking him. Suddenly, Gabriel was in the middle of the room and cloaked. I couldn’t see his face at all.
“Jesse.” A creepy, raspy voice reprimanded and suddenly Jesse stopped moving. The fear in his eyes was so intense that I shuddered. The evil laughter sounded again and I realised that this was not right. This had happened before, but different.
“Tell her, Jesse. Tell her the truth.” The creepy voice whispered, sounding like it was right next to me yet sounding like it was all around the room at the same time.
My eye flickered to Jesse. He looked at the shadow in regretful agreement and then looked at me. Pain flashed across his face before it turned apathetic.
“Ah, Annaleigh. Such a silly girl. Did you think I really loved you? You thought we would have a happy life together? Thought I wanted such a thing? Hmm, you could be right. But that doesn’t matter. I’m here because of… Just listen. There’s something you need to d—“ Screams suddenly filled the room and Jesse’s image flickered back and forth before disappearing. Then he was on his knees in front of the dark figure, pleading and begging.
“Please,” he started to say but a scream drowned out his voice. Blood spurted in every direction. I could not see the point of origin, but I noticed that Jesse was gone. Pools of blood covered the floor, pools with Jesse’s reflecting gleaming subtly. The shadow laughed evilly and I felt tears stream out of my eyes as I wished that this dream would just end already. Even so, I could feel an odd thirst for the blood. I walked towards a pool of blood with my eyes wide and my mouth watering.
No! Stop it! I screamed at myself in my head, but it was no use. I wanted that blood.
“That’s it, Anna. Drink it.” I heard the deep, raspy, melodic voice as if it was being broadcasted over a PA system. I jumped slightly and stopped dead in my tracks. I knew the shadow was speaking, but I could see nothing about the shadow except that it was the general silhouette of a body. There was nothing significant about it, nothing that could help me determine its size or shape. Nothing that would help me recognise who was underneath the blackness.
“Drink it.” The voice whispered raspily, still being broadcasted. My desire for the blood intensified as I thought about the action of doing what the voice commanded, but at the same time I was horrified and repulsed by the blood. I didn’t even know whose it was. If it was the shadows’, how could I be sure that it wouldn’t kill me somehow? And if it was the blood of someone I knew, what kind of monster would I be for drinking it? I turned away from the blood unwillingly, feeling an odd flash in my eyes. I looked down at a pool of blood, hoping I could see my reflection and determine why my eyes flashed, but all I saw was Jesse. And then everything was black.
I woke up with a start, panting and gasping, looking around my room frantically. There were no shadows, no pools of blood, nothing out of the ordinary. Jesse lay beside me, still asleep. I stared at him, scared that he would suddenly fade and my dream would play out again. But he stayed there. His calm, light, rhythmic breathing eventually soothed my fear and made me tired. I laid back down, careful not to wake him, and pulled the covers up to my shoulders. I scooted closer to Jesse, laying my arm against his gently, keeping my eyes on him the entire time. I had to touch him, to watch him, to know that he was there. I needed him to be there. Not just to make me forget my dream, but to make sure that he wouldn’t suddenly disappear like in my dream.
My dream was getting creepier the more it happened. It got longer, too. And there was more interaction. More things were said each time, and I understood what was going on a little bit better each time. But more confusing things happened each time, also. What was the purpose of these dreams? Why was I having them? How would they end?
Most important question, would I tell Jesse? Could I?
What would happen if I did? What would happen if I didn’t? Was I willing to find out? What would I find out? Would I ever find out the meaning to these dreams? Could I use the plural when technically it was the same dream, just changing each time? Why did it change each time? Were these changes significant? If they were, would I find out? And what if I didn’t? What significance could the changes have, if they had any significance? Did the dream have significance, even? And would I ever find out?
The next morning when I woke up, I was tired and haunted from my dream. I had opened my eyes to see Jesse staring at me, our bodies pressed together and our arms around each other. I groaned and shut my eyes again, subconsciously pulling Jesse closer to me. He stroked my cheek gently and I opened my eyes again to look at him. He looked worried.
I blinked rapidly, trying to wake up. “What’s wrong?” He pulled me closer as I spoke.
“Nothing. I think. Are you alright?”
“Um, should I not be?”
“No. I was just checking. You look like you had a rough night.” He eyed me with concern. I groaned.
“Is that your polite way of telling me I look like crap?” Jesse laughed slightly.
“I would never say that. It would never be true, anyway. No, I was saying you looked like you hadn’t gotten much sleep at all.”
“Oh.” It had been hard to go back to sleep after my dream, sure, but Jesse’s breathing had calmed me. I thought I slept pretty deeply after that. Should I tell Jesse about my dream? Not everything, of course, but mention that I had a bad dream? Or would it worry him unnecessarily?
“Oh, um, no. I-I slept good, I think.” Only half a lie.
“Okay.” Jesse nodded once, satisfied, and I sighed quietly. I shimmied down in my bed a bit so I could lay my head against Jesse’s chest and sighed again, closing my eyes. His arms held me closer and I could feel him breathing, feel the thrum of his heart. I could hear the way it beat, the rhythm in which his blood pumped through his body. It was almost as if I could feel his blood running through his veins itself. A light shiver rippled through me as the observation reminded me of the blood thirst I had felt in my dream. Jesse’s arms tightened automatically, and his hands made sure the covers were over me completely. I smiled at his concern, but inwardly frowned because being cold wasn’t why I shivered. But I guess it was too much to expect to be at least a little bit normal, eh? I’m a vampire. I can’t be normal. Granted, I don’t drink blood. But that doesn’t mean I’m human. I am partially, yes, but not completely. I’m just some freaky hybrid or something. I don’t know. It doesn’t make much sense to me, really. All I know is what I’ve been told and what I’ve heard. I’ve never met the original vampire, and I probably never will. Same with my mother. I guess I’ll just have to accept what I am, even though I’m not completely sure what that is, and live my life. Hopefully I’ll live a happy life.
But what would be a happy life exactly? I don’t know what college I want to go to or what career I want to aspire for. I’d be happy just staying with Jesse forever. Well, it’s too soon to think about marriage of course, and I don’t even know what I think about that. I have no clue what I think about anything. I don’t know what I want. I’m not even sure what I’m going on about right now. I’m probably just stalling; I don’t want to go to school. I sighed. Jesse’s hands, which had been rubbing my back, stopped moving.
“What’s up?” He looked down at me. I shrugged and looked up at him, momentarily getting sidetracked by his beautiful blue eyes. They were gorgeous, bright, surreal, so deep… Every thought of his lay behind his eyes. Most of the time, I could see his thoughts through his eyes but I wondered what other thoughts lay back there… What secrets did Jesse hide? How much did I really know about the only person I ever wanted to love? Did I really know that he loved me back? His eyes told me so, but I couldn’t see everything that was hidden beneath his lovely irises. Not that I doubted him, of course not. But whatever was underneath his eyes intrigued me, almost as much as the colour alone.
“Nothing. I just don’t feel like going to school.” Hmm, I wonder how long I had paused, just staring into his eyes and thinking an endless wondering of thoughts. Jesse gave me an amused smile.
“You don’t want to skip do you, after doing all that frantic project work last night?” I groaned. I had forgotten about the frantic work. I probably would have skipped if it wasn’t for all that effort I had used last night.
“Noooo….” I drew out the word, emphasising my unwillingness to answer with that response. Unwilling to respond with that answer. Hmm… Interesting.
Jesse laughed and pressed his lips to my forehead. I closed my eyes and sighed; then I tipped my head up slowly. His lips moved down my face even slower, waiting for my lips to come near to his. I pressed my toes against the bed to scoot my body up higher so I could actually reach his face with mine. [Author’s note, could I have worded that worsely? That doesn’t even make sense. Oh shoot, I’m interrupting a possibly passionate moment here..hehe. Buscuse me. Leaving now.]
Laughing lightly, Jesse moved his lips along my cheek, placing them against my hair right in front of my ear.
“I love you,” he whispered so softly that I barely heard it. His breath tickled my ear, washing an overwhelming desire over me. I grabbed his face and pulled it away from my ear, attaching his mouth to mine. He kissed me back, using the same amount of passion that I was using. I pressed myself closer to him and his body moved with mine, leaning back until he was laying on his back and I was on his stomach. Our lips never moved away from each others’. The tip of my tongue pressed lightly against his bottom lip. His lips parted reflexively and I slid my tongue closer to the inside of his mouth slowly, pausing every few seconds just to tease him and try to force some reaction out of him. Unfortunately, he had the patience of a mule (do mules have a high patience? I don’t know) and he just waited for me to slip my tongue inside his mouth without any urgency. So I ended up frustrating myself instead, and I all but shoved my tongue through his lips. Jesse laughed slightly, but quickly busied himself with my lips and tongue, licking them one after another. [Gah! I couldn’t think of a word. At first I was thinking intravenously but that was wrong, and then so was intermissibly. That last one isn’t even a word. But you know what I mean, right?]
His tongue was soft against my lips, and it seemed like he was trying to put his tongue in my mouth but every time I was about to let him, he took his tongue away and pressed it against mine. After awhile, I withdrew my tongue and flicked it across his bottom lip once more before moving my lips away from his. I continued kissing him, moving my mouth down to his neck slowly. Halfway, I wondered if it was a good idea to do this, after the dream I’d had, and the fact that I was aware of the blood pulsing in his veins. Mentally, I scoffed at myself. It’s not like I’m going to drink Jesse’s blood. Ugh. I wouldn’t dare. Besides, I wasn’t supposed to be bloodthirsty at all. What was going on with me recently?
Once my lips reached Jesse’s neck, he flipped us over suddenly. The movement forced my lips away from his neck, but his lips quickly found mine so I had no complaints. He kissed me softly, suddenly hesitant. I sighed and he pulled away.
“What?” I asked him.
“We’ll be late for school if we keep this up.” The tone in his voice and the look in his eyes told me that he didn’t actually mind being late for school. Given the choices, I would skip school in less than a heartbeat. I’d rather stay here with Jesse any day. But… The project… Jesse wouldn’t allow us to skip today, after all the hard work last night.
Oh, well. At least today is Friday. No school tomorrow. Jesse and I could hang out together all weekend. The thought brightened my mood, so I wasn’t as reluctant to get ready for school. Time had passed us by sooner than I thought, so I rushed to get ready to make sure we had enough time.
“Annaleigh, slow down. We don’t have to walk to school.”
“Yeah, I know. But I like to. Don’t you?”
“Of course I do. But I was thinking…” I stopped, one arm in my jacket, and looked at Jesse. I raised my eyebrow.
“Well… if we’re going to go to Toronto this weekend, I’ll have to drive us there, and maybe your parents will be more accepting if I’ve driven recently, so we could drive to school…” Jesse and I both have our licenses, but we hardly ever used them. The only places we ever really needed to go were within walking distance (each other’s houses, the store, Aragain Lodge) or had prearranged transportation (school). My parents hardly ever drove, either, since their work was practically our front yard. Unlike me, Jesse had his own car; I shared my parents’.
“Okay. But I’m still not sure if they’ll let us go all the way to Toronto…” I resumed putting on my jacket.
“They will,” Jesse said confidently. “They’ll have to,” I heard him murmur as I began putting my shoes on. I was sure Jesse didn’t intend for me to hear that, probably didn’t even intend to say it out loud, so I pretended as if I didn’t hear it. I wonder why he was so adamant about going to Toronto. Not that I minded. But it was odd. Wasn’t it? Maybe it wasn’t. I don’t know.
[Ok, the author is going to skip this because she’s sick of writing about the school days and such. And she has no idea how to get the parents to agree to Jesse and Annaleigh going to Toronto…. So let’s just say that they went to school, Jesse driving of course, and the parents took awhile to convince but gave in. Jesse threw around some names of places in Toronto that had scholarly stuff and made some school excuses, whatever. So Annaleigh and Jesse are going to leave on Saturday morning. It’s about a three hour drive. I’m also skipping the drive. And I have no clue where they actually go, but what happens is important, not how they get there! So =P!!!! We’re just skipping to wherever Annaleigh and Jesse are…… Actually, I don’t know where we’re skipping to…. Uhmmm… They have find him. And Jesse. It should be underground but that’s cliché. A mansion? Something like that.
The character is old and rich and powerful and lives in like a mansion or something. And just blah blah blah it’s big and grand and there’s a “dungeon” and he has a lot of workers and different rooms for the different work and all sorts of crap, ok? Ok.]
“Wow,” I breathed. “What is this place?” As we walked up the huge green lawn to the front door of a castle-like mansion, Jesse walked slowly and hesitantly, begrudgingly. I could barely pay attention to him as I took in the scenery. The house was so huge, and the lawn was so lush and green. Trees surrounded the yard with a sprinkling of bushes and flowers. The stone walkway led up to a stone array in front of the door. Everything was so beautiful, so ostentatious, it’s hard to describe.
During the drive, Jesse had been a little absentminded and distracted, with a casual display of apathy, but I could see the sadness and remorse underneath his emotionless state. I just didn’t understand why. I didn’t pay too much attention to it, though. Jesse probably had a lot on his mind, and I didn’t want to be the prying girlfriend. It wasn’t as if Jesse had been acting depressed; if that was the case, I would have said something. He just looked preoccupied with his thoughts, and those thoughts just probably weren’t happy memories or whatever. I wasn’t worried about Jesse. Being worried about him was useless, anyway. And he drove fine, it’s not like he was so distracted that we almost had an accident. No, he was his normal self. But with occasional side glances and random slight frowns.
And now Jesse was acting like he didn’t want to be here.
“It’s, it’s… Well, you’ll see.” We walked up the steps to the front porch and Jesse knocked on the door. It opened immediately and he wrapped his arm around my waist, turning to look at me before we stepped inside.
“Annaleigh, no matter what, just remember that I love you. I never lied about that; I will always love you.” He pressed his lips to mine gently and whisked me inside before I could inquire about his words. We were immediately greeted by a blonde woman wearing a suit, carrying a clipboard, and talking into a earpiece.
“Do you have an appointment?” She eyed us warily, looking strictly business-centered. Typical workaholic.
“Tell him it’s Jesse Savage, please.” Jesse swallowed and glanced at me. “And Annaleigh Pace.” He closed his eyes for second and his body twitched backwards slightly. I wouldn’t have noticed it if I wasn’t standing next to him with his arm wrapped around me.
“Oh. Oh! Oh.” The lady’s eyes widened as she looked at me again.
“Oh, yes, right away.” She walked off. I looked at Jesse quizzically, but his eyes stayed straight ahead, refusing to look at me. I sighed and shrugged.
The secretary-like woman came back. “Please, come quickly.” She gestured us forward. Jesse started walking and I followed him. When we had caught up to the woman, she gave a quick glance to Jesse’s arm and he pulled it away suddenly as if he hadn’t realised his arm was still around me. I looked at him again, but he still refused to look at me. His eyes were now downcast, and I could have sworn I saw a tear behind his eyelid, but then Jesse blinked and it was gone. I grabbed Jesse’s hand, half expecting him to pull away, but he didn’t.
We continued walking down the hall, past several rooms with closed doors. I could hear that there were people all over the place, but I couldn’t tell where they were or what they were doing. Finally, we came to the end of the hall and turned into a new one, one that was small and dark. If you weren’t looking for it, you would have missed it. I actually thought the lady was heading into a wall until I saw that it was another hallway. Every few feet, the woman stopped and pressed her fingers to the wall. When we came to the end of the hall, the wall separated into a room and we walked inside. Oh, how original- a secret doorway.
Once we walked through, we came to a door. Jesse turned and looked at me with apology and sadness in his eyes. It was beginning to scare me. Was Jesse leading me to my death or something? The confusion and fear must have shown on my face, for Jesse suddenly smiled encouragingly and tucked a piece of my hair behind my ear. The taste of a goodbye suddenly appeared on my tongue and I swallowed tears. I wish Jesse would just talk to me, tell me what’s going on.
“Don’t worry, Annaleigh. Everything’s fine. You’ll see soon. This is how it’s supposed to be, this will be your happy life. Just remember, I’ll always love you.” Jesse whispered quickly and softly.
The door opened suddenly and the lady gestured us inside. Jesse let go of my hand and walked in first. I followed him, and the business woman was behind me.
“You can leave us, Bailey.” A voice called from the darkness.
“Yes, Master.” She dipped her head and left, shutting the door behind her. I turned to Jesse, who was staring at the place where they voice had come from with a defiant reverence. My eyes blinked rapidly to adjust as bright lights suddenly came on. I looked where Jesse was looking. A dark, shadowed figure was standing in the midst of a bunch of guards. They looked like guards anyway. Most were big and bulky, and they all held protective stances.
A sudden shiver of fear ran through me as my eyes scanned the shadowed figure. It was obvious that he had some sort of coat or cloak on, but he reminded me of the figure in my dream.
His hand waved his guards away and they parted, standing along the wall. The figure turned towards us and began walking slowly.
“Hello. My name is Gabriel.” Panic struck me as he spoke. Firstly, because his voice sounded exactly like the one from my dream. Secondly, because of his name. I scanned him quickly, processing. He looked like the Gabriel that had come into my room, only older. He had the same teenager-y resemblance about him, but I could tell that he was much older, though he didn’t have wrinkles. His eyes were a dark brown that almost looked black, but shone in honey colours when the light reflected off of them just right, or when he smiled. His curly dark brown hair was a bit longer than most curly haired people kept their hair, but it didn’t look unkempt. It looked soft, yet thick, and was straighter in some places.
“Anna, I’ve been waiting for you,” he spoke in the raspy voice I had grown to hate. I cringed into Jesse’s side. His arms automatically moved near me but then he leaned back, stepping away from me.
“H-How do you know my name?” What was going on? Why did he look like and have the same name as my almost-rapist? Why did he have the same voice from my dream? Why did Jesse bring me here and why was he acting like he was?
“Oh, Annaleigh… I’m your father, your fate, everything that you’ve been waiting for, everything that you need.” WHAT THE HELL?!
“What?” I looked at Jesse for an explanation, but his eyes never moved from Gabriel.
“I, y-you came into my room! You almost raped me! What makes you think I want to have anything to do with you?! What kind of sick, deluded psychopath are you?!” Jesse winced suddenly.
“Annaleigh,” he whispered to me in warning. I shot him an angry look. I was sick of this, not knowing what was going on. And I thought Jesse had said Gabriel wasn’t going to bother me anymore.
Gabriel laughed. “That wasn’t me, my dear. No, I wouldn’t have to stoop to such levels.” His lips twitched in amusement.
“Well then who the hel—“
“Ah, I believe that was an enemy of mine. Maury, a mimicker who had worked for me and forgot to appreciate the conditions. He swore to me that I would fall. Well, it seems as if he was wrong about that; he was the one to die, eh?” Gabriel looked at Jesse, smiling.
“What’s a mimicker?”
“A mimicker is one of the most blessed, a vampire given the power to change forms. Shapeshift, if you will. Maury was one of the most talented; he could mold himself into practically anything. After the events, I almost regret giving him the mimicking ability. But it looks like we avoided a tragedy, thanks to Jesse here.” He nodded to Jesse, then turned thoughtful.
“Although I’m sure he almost took it on several occasions, despite his knowledge of the trouble that would cause. Hmm, I never guessed that this would happen when I… Oh, well. She’s still clean, ready for me, ready for the world. Still, a punishment for almost allowing a simple mistake might be justified…” Gabriel eyed Jesse indecisively. My gaze flitted between Gabriel and Jesse. Just what was he talking about and why was he looking at Jesse like that?
“Oh, I’m sorry, dear. You don’t know what’s going on, do you?” He turned to me.
“Uh, no. I don’t.”
“Well, I asked him to keep it that way. I wanted to tell you myself. And to be honest, I wasn’t really sure that you’d be open to this if you knew in advance. Of course, it doesn’t really matter anyway, but I didn’t want to take the chance… Anyway, I’m sure you’re past due for explanations.” He smiled at me as if he was doing me some great big favour. I didn’t like it, it made me feel uncomfortable.
“You do know what you are, don’t you?” I nodded. “And you know how you were made that way?”
I glanced at Jesse, unsure if he knew what we were talking about. I figured he must have known some, so I would just say the words.
“Because my father is a vampire, yes.” I looked at Jesse again, wondering if he would be shocked, but his face showed no different display of emotions.
“Well, you’re wrong about that, dear. I am not your father. You were created by two humans; I just supplied the vampire DNA. It seems as though I got more out of the deal, though. You are truly beautiful.” Wait, this guy was the vampire? The original Dracula? The only full-on vampire? The one that all human vampires were made out of? What was he talking about, a deal?
“Huh?” Oh so brilliant.
He chuckled. “I see I may have to start from the beginning.” Yeah, that might be nice.
“I am a vampire, the only complete vampire. For now, anyway. Many centuries ago, I decided that I would be generous and give others some vampire gene, to help create hybrids of vampire and human. I kept many of them to work with me, which turned out to be a good idea, for I later found out that a lot of the spawn developed other senses. Abilities. Things that made them even more special than the others. My ‘children’, if you will, were always willing to work for me and help the general wellbeing of all, and those with abilities helped me especially. About 100 years ago, one of my most special and cherished children, gifted with a vague precognition, informed me that one that I would spawn would grow to become the most talented, as long as she was fully transformed. Of course, I immediately realised that such a girl could not be allowed to leave my side, so I made arrangements to be sure that this girl would be born and taken care of, then brought to me six months before her 18th birthday, on which day I would complete her transformation and therefore make her the second vampire, also my mate and queen. Realising that the children became more human like with each creation, I froze the next injected embryo, making sure that it would stay frozen until I learned that the precognited girl started to come into being. Eighteen years ago, my future-seeing one came to me and told me that the time was approaching, so I found an incubator and started the birthing process for the frozen embryo. When I met your mother, I felt immediately that the time had come, a fact that was only confirmed by my precognitive one. By this time, Jesse had been born a few months earlier. He was the only of my spawn that I raised as my own. I needed to teach him, to make sure he would know to find you, be sure that I could trust him to bring you to me. He was taught since birth the meaning that you would bring into life for the vampires and the human vampire spawn. Of course, I never foresaw that he would fall into foolish teenaged love with you, but no matter. He knows the future that is waiting for you, for us. Once your transformation is complete, you will make the most beautiful bride, and the second greatest leader to the vampire world. And should I ever be knocked from my throne, an unfortunate event as it may, I can trust that my throne will be left to the most capable hands. Oh, how well this has wrapped up!” Gabriel clasped his hands together, a wide smile on his face.
I blinked, processing. Jesse was a vampire also? But, he had never told me… Well, I’d never told him either. But he was raised by Gabriel, to bring me to him? And I was supposed to marry this guy? And then what, lead the vampire army?
“Hmm, maybe I should have made some things more clear. You, Annaleigh, will be the first human vampire to be transformed into a complete vampire. The reason for this being that your gifts and talents once transformed shall be something beyond anything that anyone could ever guess. And after so many meaningless trysts and affairs, I’m ready to have one mate and one mate alone. Well, I suppose they weren’t all meaningless, for they all had the purpose of bringing more human vampires into being. Nonetheless, I’ve been waiting for you for a century, Anna, not just to carry on my legacy after I retire, if that shall ever happen, but to love. I trust that my dear Jesse has kept your virginity intact?” He looked at me in wonder. I blushed and nodded.
“Good. Very good. I had never expected that you and he would form a more… intimate bond, but I trusted him to know the rules and keep them. I’m glad to see that I have not been let down.” So what the frak? This guy had slept with several women to create human vampires, but he wanted a bride who could wear white? Pfft, how hypocritical. And who said I even had to be his bride? Ugh. No, thank you. And rule the vampire world? Double no, thank you.
“I see he did not tell you. Of course, how can I be surprised, when he didn’t even tell you that he was like you himself? Mmm… I guess I have to fill in all the gaps Jesse left you with. Not that I mind.” His eyes traveled down my body, causing a chill to go up my spine. I crossed my arms over my chest and glared at him.
“Part of the transformation process would require you to be a virgin. My vampire DNA would not be able to inject into you fully if… other… injections had been made. From a human, or from a human vampire, no matter. The vampire gene would not travel completely, which is why each creation of mine was at least half human.” His words sunk in, embarrassing me and infuriating me at the same time. Having him discuss my sex life (or lack thereof) with Jesse was embarrassing enough without it being in front of Jesse. The infuriating part was that he actually expected me to have sex with him. Gross. There was no way I was being the mate of this guy, and no way I was going to be the potential leader if he was ever killed. Just… no. Gah.
With my arms still folded across my chest, I continued glaring at him. I figured it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to come outright and say no, but there was no way I was doing any of this. I didn’t want to be the potential leader, and I certainly didn’t want some old, disgusting vampire as my mate. Technically, he was my father, anyway, right?
“Ah, I’m sensing some resistance.” He stepped closer until he was standing right in front of me and placed one hand on my arms, stroking my cheek with the other hand.
“What’s the matter, Anna?” His voice was low, next to my face, and his breath fanned over me.
“You don’t like the plan? Your destiny?” He whispered raspily, getting closer to me with each word. I shuddered away from him.
“Now, now.” He grabbed my arm and spun me back to him, pressing his body close to mine.
“Let’s not delay the inevitable.” The gleam in his eye struck fear and determination into my heart. I growled at him and tried to back away again, this time forcefully. He laughed and held me to him, trailing his finger down my cheek to my shoulder and across my collarbone.
“You are my father,” I spit at him as I shoved him away. The look on his face made me think about the other Gabriel, the one that had been in my room, and I feared that memory would be repeating itself. But he backed away, returning to the spot he had been standing when we entered the room.
“No, I’m not, Annaleigh. You were created by a human mother and a human father. My vampire genes just transformed you into a little bit more than you were, a tiny slice of what you can become. The vampire chromosome does not change your DNA at all, not in the way of whose blood runs through your veins, not in a way that would relate you to me or Jesse or any of the other human vampire spawns.” Ok, but still. This guy was centuries old!
“I don’t want to lead anyone.”
“Oh, but you will, my darling. You will.” He began to motion to his guards but I stopped him by speaking.
“Oh really? And you would know this how? Did your precognitive child tell you this? Huh? Well I don’t! I don’t want to be a leader, I don’t want to be your mate, I don’t want to have anything to do with you. I don’t even want to be turned into a full vampire. I want to go back home and I want to go to school and hang out with Jesse and my friends. Did the one with precognition tell you this? Did she tell you that I would resist? Do you have some kind of plan to force me into this? Huh? Are you going to be like the mimicker, are you going to try to rape me? Well how will you force me to lead your stupid spawn? Are you even capable of doing all of that? I don’t think so. So why don’t you just leave me and Jesse the hell alone? That sounds like a plan to me.” A million emotions raced through me, the most dominant being fear and anger.
“Laira’s visions were never wrong, my dear Annaleigh. We even tested her on several occasions, changing the events of several things with every possible change, but they all produced the same outcome. You will become my mate, you will be transformed, and you will lead them if anything should ever happen to me, because you will love me!” He was calm and emotionless at first, as he had been throughout this entire thing, but he grew more animated as he talked. He had taken a step closer to me with each word, raising the volume of his voice with each step, and now he stood in front of me. When he spoke the last five words, he grabbed me and pulled me tight against him. Now he glared at me for a second before securing me against him by pressing one of his hands into my back. His other hand traveled down the side of my body as he leaned in to kiss me. I held back a sob as his lips met mine, and I felt bile rise in my stomach to my throat. His mouth moved down my lips and to my neck. Suddenly, I felt the need to distract him before he went any further. And I also had an idea.
“Can’t you just bite me? I mean, to transform me?” Gabriel let go of me with one hand and backed up slightly to peer at my face. A shiver ran down my spine as his hand left my body, and I wished he hadn’t done that in front of Jesse. I wished he hadn’t done that at all.
“I suppose a bite would work. But it’s outrageously cliché, isn’t it? And this will be so much more fun.” He leaned closer to me as he spoke the last sentence, reducing his voice to a whisper as his lips pressed against my skin under my collarbone. I trembled in fear and disgust.
“Mmm, it’s nice to know you’re anticipating this as much as I am, my darling, but you are simply not ready. Not to worry, your transformation will come soon enough.” He grinned at me as he pulled away. I worked hard to stay motionless and not let any emotion come over my face. He summoned to his guards and they came to me and Jesse.
“Do not worry, my darling. Your accommodations will be luxurious.” His guards escorted us out the door and down the small, dark hallway to another hallway much like the one Bailey had led us down earlier. We walked up a flight of grand steps and turned into another hallway, passing several more closed doors and going up another three flights of stairs. Jesse and the guards escorting him stopped at a door on the left. I turned to look at him wistfully as the guards with me kept going. They led me to a door on the right at the end of the hallway, right before the turn off into another hallway. I eyed the door that Jesse had gone in subtly, memorising where it was. The guards deposited me in the room and left quickly. The room was grand and luxurious, but I barely noticed it. All I could do was fall onto the bed and cry.
I woke up to a knock on my door. I quickly wiped the remaining tears from my eyes and walked over to the door. Then I hesitated. What if it was Gabriel?
I opened it anyway. Jesse was standing there, looking unsure. I grabbed his arm and yanked him in, shutting the door quickly. I turned to him, ready to throw my arms around him and never let go, but I hesitated suddenly, wondering if I should be mad at him. The look on his face stopped any anger I might have had, and I quickly pulled him close to me, hugging him tightly. He let out a sigh of relief and hugged me back. My sobs quickly started up again as I rested my head on his shoulder.
“Wh-wh…? You, I… He’s… I don’t want to, Jesse. I don’t want to.” I cried. Jesse rubbed soothing circles in my back, but said nothing. I continued sobbing, randomly sputtering out words and clinging to him with all my might. Eventually, he guided me over to the bed and sat next to me, still hugging me and trying to soothe me. After awhile, it worked and I calmed down. I pulled away from him and wiped my eyes, waiting for him to say something.
“I’m sorry, Annaleigh, I’m sorry.”
“For not telling you.”
“For not telling me what?” I narrowed my eyes. “For not telling me that you’re a vampire? Whatever, I’m one too and I didn’t tell you. For not telling me that our whole life, our entire friendship was a lie? For forgetting to mention that you had a reason to be friends with me, and that reason was so that you could drag me back to this old guy, where I would then become a full vampire and his mate?! For not realising that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t want that?! For not considering MY life and how I want to live it?! Is that what you’re sorry for, Jesse? Is it?!” I took a deep breath and tried to calm myself down. I didn’t want to start the hysterical crying again. And, honestly, this wasn’t Jesse’s fault. It was just hard to remember that when I was so angry.
“Yes,” he whispered. “I’m sorry.” Jesse looked so broken, so worried, so remorseful… There really was no other choice than to forgive him. Not that I was going to be unforgiving towards him in the first place, but you know what I mean.
I scooted closer to Jesse and wrapped my arms around him, laying my head on his shoulder. “I forgive you.”
His arms wrapped around me lightly, tentatively. “Really?”
“Duh.” I looked up at him and rolled my eyes. “I love you, remember?” Despite all the worry and distraction that had been on his face since we left for Toronto, Jesse smiled.
“I love you too.” I smiled back at him and lay my head on his shoulder again.
“Through all that I didn’t tell you, that is the one thing that I have said that will always be true, no matter what. I need you to believe me, believe that I could never stop loving you no matter what happens, even if you stop loving me. Just know I’ll always love you.” Jesse’s words were sweet, but they confused me. It was as if he thought I would be mad at him for not telling me about Gabriel, or that I would ever stop loving him. Impossible.
“Okay. I believe you, Jesse. But I will always love you, no matter what. I could never stop, even if I wanted to.” I looked into his eyes, begging him to believe me, hoping that he could see the truth.
“But he’s offering you everything. I can’t give you anything. I’m just the pawn he used to get to you. I was born and raised for him, so he could get what he want. Once he has that, I don’t think I’ll be of much use anymore, especially because he knows I’ve fallen in love with you.” Jesse stroked my cheek.
“Everything?” I scoffed. “Hardly. He’s merely offering me what he wants. I don’t want to be a full vampire, I don’t want to be the potential leader, and I certainly don’t want to be his mate.” I shuddered.
“Annaleigh, you’re only looking at the cons and you’re letting me blind your sight. He’s offering you eternity, money, power…”
“I don’t care about money or power. Eternity would be hell without you, Jesse. If I live forever, I want my life to be intertwined with yours.” Well, this was getting to be forward.
“It can’t work out that way. No matter how much I want it to,” he murmured. I touched his cheek and looked at him.
“What do you mean?”
“I served my purpose; I brought you here. There is no way he is going to let either of us live if it’s not the way he planned.” He shrugged, but I could see the pain blazing in his eyes.
“Are you saying that he’ll kill you if I don’t comply?!” I felt angry at Gabriel and protective of Jesse.
“No. I’m not saying that. He might kill me even if you comply.” He whispered the last sentence.
“No.” Panic and fear struck me. My eyes widened and my words only came out as a whisper. I swallowed and tried again.
“No. No! No!” I cried, leaping from the bed.
“Shh.” Jesse glanced at the door.
“H-he can’t do that! I won’t let him do that. No.” Angry tears streamed down my face, but I calmed down and sat back down on the bed.
Gabriel was set on his plan. I was going to be his mate, he was going to transform me into a complete vampire, and I would sit by his side to wait for the day he might die and then I would take over his throne. If I did not comply, Jesse would die. If I did, there was still a chance that Gabriel would kill Jesse, my only love, the only person I wanted to be with, the one person I had to protect. But could I stop him?
“Jesse, that will not happen. I will not allow him. You know I don’t want this, you believe me that I don’t want him, right? I will do it. I will save you, I won’t allow him to kill you. He’ll be informed that I’ll comply only if you live. I don’t want to bear living my life without you, but as long as you were alive, I’d be happy. I won’t let it happen, Jesse. I promise to you.” I gazed into his eyes, fighting back tears.
“No, Annaleigh, you can’t be unhappy just to keep me alive. I wouldn’t want to spend my life without you anyway. Don’t do this for me.” I blinked and looked down as a single tear slipped down my cheek. Jesse placed his hand on my face and stroked me cheek softly, making me look up at him.
“We’ll think of something. I-I’ll trick him, destroy him, we’ll escape… Something. I…” I began to sob again, quietly this time. Jesse pulled me to his chest and hugged me.
Was this it then? There was no way that Jesse and I could get out of this, go back to our happy lives. Together. Either way, I’d have to do what Gabriel wanted. But could I save Jesse, too?
“I love you,” I looked up at Jesse and stroked his cheek, studying his every feature. My voice choked on my tears.
“I love you.” He pressed his lips to mine softly. I kissed him back, wrapping my arms around his neck and tangling my fingers into his hair. I didn’t know when this thing with Gabriel would start, but if this was my last moment with Jesse, I was going to enjoy it.
I leaned back into the bed, pulling Jesse on top of me. His lips never moved from mine. I gasped suddenly and sat up slightly.
“That was why! When, in the auditorium, you, because Gabriel! That.” Coherent sentences were not available at this point.
“Yeah.” Jesse nodded solemnly. “It was hard to say no, believe me it was, but it was his plan, and if it was something you were going to want then I didn’t want to take that away from you.” Not to mention the repercussions and consequences for Jesse if he didn’t obey Gabriel.
“But that’s it. Now you know, I don’t want that. And we know how to keep it from happening now.” My eyes lit up with the prospect of getting away from this horrible fate with Gabriel. Jesse didn’t move.
“He said it himself, I need to be a virgin for the complete transformation to work. If we take that away, then he won’t be able to carry out his plan. Unless you have other reasons not to…” I trailed off, unsure if I could bring myself to say it. I didn’t even want to think it.
“But that’s just it! If his plan is foiled, he’ll have no more use for you, Annaleigh, he’ll kill you. I can’t do that to you.” Pain flashed in Jesse’s eyes. I looked down, feeling embarrassed.
“I-I just… I… don’t want to.” I felt foolish for ruining the good moment between Jesse and I, and even more foolish for trying to get him to say yes again. It really was pervotic of me to keep pushing the issue.
“I know, Annaleigh. I’m sorry. I would stop it if I could.” He stroked my hair, gazing at me tenderly. I nodded, trying to push my sadness away, and pulled him on top of me again. My arms wrapped around him and my fingers traced random patterns into his back.
“You can,” I whispered so softly that I was sure he couldn’t hear as I pressed my lips to his.
“I can’t,” he groaned as he kissed me back.
“Jesse,” I protested his words, pulling away from the kiss. What are you doing, stupid!? Kiss him! This may be your last chance! Shut up, self; isn’t this more important?
“Annaleigh,” he groaned again as he stared at me. “He’ll kill us both for sure. I can’t do that to you.”
“I want to, Annaleigh. Believe me, I do. But I don’t want him to hurt you. I can’t let that happen.” Conflict raged in his eyes. I could see that he really did want to, but I also knew that he didn’t want to do anything that would fare bad for me later. He cared about me a lot. I smiled.
“Okay. I’m sorry.” I pulled him closer to me and connected my lips to his again. Maybe I would have a chance to convince him later, but if I didn’t, then I wanted to enjoy the time that we had for now, since it seemed to running out.
He tangled his fingers into my hair and parted my lips with his tongue. I breathed out, moving my hands up his back and to his hair. His tongue slipped inside my mouth, slowly and softly, making me pull him closer to me. Jesse’s teeth nibbled on my bottom lip softly, with very slight force. It was very gentle; I barely felt it, but it caused me to make a noise in the back of my throat, to which Jesse giggled and increased the passion of our kiss, pressing himself closer to me. I slid my hands underneath his shirt to run my fingers along his bare skin, occasionally feeling his scars. Jesse broke away from the kiss just long enough to slip his shirt over his head. I hadn’t expected him to do that, but I was glad he did. My fingers roamed over his back freely, gradually pushing him closer to me with each circulation. A low whimper escaped his lips and I giggled softly, breathing heavily and pressing my tongue to his lips. He leaned back slowly, rolling us over inch by inch. After a few seconds, I got impatient and pushed my foot against the bed, flipping us over completely and landing myself on top of him almost in an attack. Jesse laughed, but quickly pulled me to him and covered my lips with his own. My knees placed themselves beside his hips and my hands pressed into his shoulders as I pushed myself closer to him and deepened the kiss. Jesse made a humming sound and pressed his fingers into my back. I moved my hands from his shoulders to his hair, laying against him completely. I realised that the cleavage from my tank top was probably spilling out, but I didn’t care; he was too busy to see anything, and I didn’t mind if he did, anyway. Jesse’s hands rubbed up and down my arms, touching the end of my long sleeves occasionally. I stifled a laugh by pressing my lips closer to his and yanked at the sleeves of my jacket, freeing one arm. His fingers caught the sleeve of my other arm and he helped my pull free of my jacket, depositing it on the ground somewhere next to his shirt. I sighed as I pressed myself closer to him, relishing the feeling of his tongue flicking around in my mouth gently. His hands moved around my back, sometimes making circles, sometimes going in a petting motion almost, just always moving around my back. Our tongues gave up, and we returned to normal kissing, staying passionate but gentle. Now his fingers traced my back very lightly. Suddenly, I was aware that the portion of my boobs that were not hidden by my tank top were pressed against his bare chest. I flushed, wondering if he had realised it as well, but not wanting to draw attention to it in case he hadn’t.
“Mm, Annaleigh, you realise you’re kind of sitting on me?”
“What? Oh, sorry.” I straightened my knees, which had been placed beside him, and laid on top of him normally, blushing. The change pressed my chest against his a little bit more.
“It’s okay,” he laughed. I adjusted, scooting up so my mouth could reach his better. I was vaguely aware that the move slid my tank top down my bra and exposed more of my skin, skin that pressed into Jesse. But I was too busy to really notice or care. I traced his bottom lip with the tip of my tongue as he pressed me closer to him. His arms tightened around my back and he suddenly flipped us over, not moving his lips from mine until we were completely turned over, when he started trailing kisses down to my neck. Occasionally, his tongue pressed against my skin very lightly, almost too lightly to feel, which made me shiver. Jesse pressed his lips against my neck and scraped his teeth across my skin gently, causing me to shiver again. I craned my neck up in anticipation. His teeth bit into my skin lightly and I whimpered. Jesse pulled away from me suddenly, almost completely disconnecting our bodies.
“Did I hurt you?” His worried eyes stared into mine.
“No,” I breathed, reaching up to my neck where he had bitten me. “You never do.” I closed my eyes and concentrated on controlling my breathing. When I opened them again, he was appraising my neck. I remembered my less than covered state quickly and blushed. His eyes flickered up to my face.
“Sorry.” He blinked, his breath catching in his throat.
“I, uh, never mind.” He blushed a deep red, very unusual for Jesse. I giggled and pressed my hand to his cheek to make him look at me; he was looking at my eyes but not making eye contact.
“Um, you’re, um, beautiful.” He blushed again, darting his eyes to the sides of the room before returning them back to me. Now I blushed and absentmindedly folded my arms across my chest.
“Sorry,” Jesse mumbled, looking at the wall behind me intently. I tilted my head in confusion and then realised.
“Oh! Um.” I unfolded my arms, blushing again. Jesse groaned and shoved himself away from me, laying beside me. He kept his eyes on the ceiling.
“I didn’t mean to screw up everything between us.” My eyes widened and I sat up quickly, turning to my side to face Jesse. I laid my hand on his chest and stared at his eyes.
“What? You didn’t, you never did. What are you talking about?”
He sighed. “I messed it up from the start. I knew Gabriel’s plan, I knew that I was only in Arden to bring you here, but still I let us get interested in each other and I let it go somewhere emptily. I gave you false hopes, and I constantly reject the one thing you ask me to do, even when it could save you from becoming completely transformed. Despite refusing that, I let myself… look at you like some… disgusting perv… Ugh.” He winced and closed his eyes, shaking his head. I blushed at his out-loud acknowledgement of where his eyes had been. I was going to avoid the subject; it’s not like I cared anyway. But here he was, beating himself up for it.
“Jesse,” I scooted closer to him, laying on him halfway and gently stroking his chest.
“You didn’t mess anything up. I love you, I always will. I understand why you, um, refuse. And you’re not a perv. I, um, I don’t really care.” I blushed again and refused to meet his eyes when he looked at me. I could see him staring at me out of the corner of my eye, but I still didn’t look at him.
“I don’t deserve you, Annaleigh.” He sighed as he rolled over onto me softly, cupping my chin in his hand and kissing me gently. I giggled when he pulled away and touched his face lightly.
“You deserve better.” I pressed my hands into his back and pulled him to me, connecting my lips to his instantly. He kissed me back, then pulled away and shook his head.
“There is no one better than you,” he argued. I rolled my eyes, then was suddenly hit with a dose of reality.
“Anyone else could spend forever with you, though.” I whispered.
“I’m sorry I can’t save you from this, Annaleigh.” The sadness on his face was heartbreaking. I rubbed his back soothingly.
“It’s not your fault. I just hope I can keep him from hurting you.” I choked back tears, not yet willing to ruin my moment with Jesse. He sighed and frowned, obviously coming to the same decision as me. We stared at each other for an undetermined amount of time; I continued stroking and rubbing his back, he traced his fingers along my arms, neck, and collarbone, occasionally twisting a few strands of my hair. Eventually, Jesse looked at the clock and his eyes widened.
How late is it? I wondered and looked at the clock myself. It was way past bedtime, not to mention dinnertime. It was a wonder no one came in and interrupted us. Considering the information Jesse had given me earlier about his possible consequences, I was glad that we were undisturbed.
I looked back at Jesse and read the expression on his face.
“Stay,” I pleaded. “Please.” He sighed and I tried to keep the pout off my face. Jesse nodded and smiled slightly. I beamed at him and pulled him closer against me, hugging him.
“But we need to go to sleep.”
“I’m not tired,” I protested, but was betrayed by a yawn. I really wasn’t tired, though; I had cried myself to sleep just a few hours earlier, eh? Jesse looked at me doubtfully, pointing out with his eyes that I had yawned. I stuck my tongue out at him. He rolled his eyes and smiled, slowly rolling off me to lay beside me. I turned to my side as well and faced him. My gaze suddenly flitted down his bare chest and stomach, returning to his face quickly. I blushed. Jesse gave me an amused half-smile, the barest hint of a red colour on his cheeks. I bit my lip. He raised his eyebrow and flitted his gaze down my upper half as well, returning his eyes to my face even quicker than mine had returned to his. When his eyes returned to my face, he smiled mockingly and I blushed even deeper.
“Do you want me to get my shirt and your jacket?”
“No! I mean, unless you want.” Jesse’s eyes narrowed in conflicting thought and then he shrugged.
“Of course not.” He smiled at me. Fighting to keep a blush off my face, I searched for something to say.
“Frozen as an embryo for 100 years? That’s a long time.” The light happiness that came on Jesse’s face when he was with me disappeared, but he didn’t look angry or sad, just normal, maybe emotionless.
“Yeah. It’s why my back is so scarred.” He looked down and then back up at me. I think I gasped slightly.
“From being… frozen… for all those years?” It sort of made sense.
Jesse nodded. “It messed me up. Could have been worse though,” he smiled. I shuddered at the thought; if it had been worse, the embryo probably wouldn’t have survived this long and Jesse wouldn’t be alive… The thought was unbearable.
“Wait. They’re, we’re, um, more human each time. If, I mean, you were created a century ago, then you’d be more vampire than me, right?” Jesse closed his eyes and pressed his hand to his forehead.
“I’m sorry, you don’t have to—“
“No, it’s okay. I just don’t want you to be upset……… Yes, I am more vampire than you. I doubt that you’ve ever had any kind of thirst for blood. I… I don’t really, but because I control it. I can sometimes smell blood, feel it pulsing in your veins… It feels like a natural instinct for me to want it, but I’m too protected by my love for you and my taste for human food.” He smiled and I laughed. But a few things he said made me uneasy.
“That’s not true,” I whispered. Looks like it was finally time to tell him about my dreams.
He looked at me in confusion. “What’s not true?” I closed my eyes and sighed.
“I’ve had a thirst for blood. But not often. And I don’t even know if it was real. It started in a dream, and the dream was reoccurring, and I don’t know whose blood it was in the dream, but you were there and then you were gone and a shadowed figured appeared sometimes and a creepy voice whispered for me to drink it and now I think that voice was Gabriel’s and the blood was yours because one time after I had the dream, we were making out and I could hear your blood pump through your heart and pulse through your veins and I wondered…… And then it felt like in my dream, when I wanted it, but I swear I didn’t really, Jesse, I wouldn’t—“ I stopped talking because I couldn’t talk anymore. I was getting close to hysterics. I glanced at Jesse fearfully. He didn’t look angry or weirder out though, just thoughtful and hopeful.
“Well, I have two things to tell you about that. One: I think Gabriel was using one of his powered children to influence your dreams, I’m not exactly sure how or if it’s possible, but it seems like an option. Two: I think we’re each other’s bloodsuckers.” He said this very calmly, as if he was discussing the weather, but I could see the excitement glint in his eyes and hear the desperation in his tone.
“Okay, you’re going to have to tell me about the bloodsuckers thing, but I think you’re right about Gabriel influencing my dreams. Each time, before you disappeared, you got closer to telling me something. Something I needed to do, something about him… And I’m sure that the shadowed figure was Gabriel. And that creepy, raspy voice.. I could recognise it anywhere, now that I think about it.” Huh. So Gabriel had influenced my dreams. It makes sense now, what Jesse had been trying to tell me. And that Gabriel encouraged me to drink the blood. Jesse’s blood, that Gabriel had caused from inflicting pain on Jesse… The thought made me sick and I only hoped that that little detail would not become reality.
Jesse nodded, still thoughtful.
“Now explain the bloodsuckers thing to me.” I was intrigued, not only by what it meant, but the weight that Jesse had put into it.
“Well, I can’t be sure because I don’t know and it happens so rarely that we tend to think of it as a legend. But sometimes, two human vampires feel only a thirst for each other’s blood. Or, for the early vampires, a stronger thirst for each other’s blood.”
I raised an eyebrow. “And what is this supposed to mean?” Jesse stared at me thoughtfully for a moment before speaking.
“Have you only felt the blood thirst in your dream?”
“I, well, I don’t know. In my dream, I actually felt like I wanted to drink blood, but I felt like it wasn’t a part of me… But then after one of the dreams, I, I felt your blood through your skin and I just… thought about how I was a vampire and such, and… I don’t know.” It sounded so bad to say that I had thirsted for Jesse’s blood, but now that it was brought up, I think that’s what happened. I couldn’t be sure though, since I was mostly human, and I also refused any idea that could hurt Jesse.
“Okay. Have you ever wanted to drink anyone else’s blood?”
“No!” That question wasn’t as hard to answer. I mean, ugh. Jesse nodded, becoming thoughtful again.
“Will you just tell me what bloodsuckers is now?”
“I still don’t know if that’s what’s going on. I’ll have to think about it some more.” I sighed.
“Fine.” I looked at him. “And what about you?”
“Me? What about me?”
“Um, thirst for blood.”
“Like I said, I know I should want it, but I don’t want to and for the most part I don’t.”
“For the most part?” He sighed, knowing that I was going to pick up on that and hoping that I wouldn’t.
“I think yours would taste delicious, obviously, but I’m just biased.” He smiled at me.
“Ok, what are you not telling me?” I knew he was hiding something. He sighed again and closed his eyes.
“I didn’t want to have to tell you. I did drink someone’s blood once. But not a human. Another vampire. He was definitely not my bloodsucker though. I did it to protect you, mostly. But I also had to see if he was real… or if he was just a mimicker.” I arranged his words around in my head a few times before I realised what they meant. I gasped.
“The… fake Gabriel? The one who came to my room? I… You killed him?” Jesse winced. I stared at him with wide eyes.
“At first, I didn’t mean to. I merely cut his neck to see if he was the real Gabriel or not. I doubted that Gabriel would actually come into your room and do that, since he knew it was almost time, but if I acted on that and was wrong, it would have been very bad. And then when I knew he was faking, just to try to… gain his own pleasure… I sort of snapped. I didn’t even think of how I was killing him, just that he needed to die. If I had been smart, I would have dragged it out and made him suffer. But draining him dry… It was instinctual.” He flinched at the last word. My eyes returned to their normal state, softening. I scooted closer to him and put my hand on his chest lightly.
“Jesse,” I spoke as soothingly as I could. “Just because it was instinct for you doesn’t make you a monster, or anything else bad you were thinking. He was a monster, Jesse. He was going to hurt me, probably doom us both, and you stopped him. He did deserve to die.”
“Yes. He did.” Jesse’s eyes narrowed in anger but calmed down when I touched his cheek.
“Hey,” I spoke softly. “Did you think I was going to be mad at you for killing him or something?”
Jesse nodded hesitantly. “Mad or scared or upset or something, I don’t know.”
I smiled at him. “Well I’m not.”
“Good.” He smiled, happy that his murder hadn’t affected me in a negative way. I was glad he did it, actually. I mean, it’s not like the guy was human anyway.
“So what’s the whole bloodsuckers thing?”
He sighed. “I’m not completely positive about it, ok? But, you know in books and movies and such, they sometimes have this thing called ‘blood mates’ where the vampires share each other’s blood, or was created from the blood of each other, stuff like that? And then they’re each other’s ‘soul mates’ or whatever?” I nodded.
“It’s like that. We used to call it blood mates, even, but then Hollywood got a hold of that and it turned cliché. So, bloodsuckers would be two vampires that felt a great thirst for each other’s blood, and that thirst would bring them together. In more dominant cases, they could track each other by smell. Ultimately, it just means that they’d want to drink each other’s blood, and they could, because they couldn’t be drained dry by their bloodsucker.” I processed this for a minute.
“So that means that we’re, like, bound by each other’s blood? Because we want it? Won’t that mean that we belong together, or something?” If Jesse and I were each other’s bloodsuckers, how could Gabriel keep us apart?
“I don’t know if that’s what we are. But, normally, it’s like that, yes. But even if we were bound by each other’s blood,” he mocked my expression with a smile. “Gabriel would never let us be together.”
I sighed. “Great.” So was there no hope? I refused to believe that, even if it was true. I just couldn’t accept a life without Jesse.
Suddenly tired, and yawned and scooted closer to Jesse. He wrapped his arms around me and held me close to him. The warmth and softness of his comfortable body put me to sleep instantly.
My eyelids blinked open, slowly taking in my surroundings. Where…? The events of day before came rushing to me suddenly. Oh. I looked beside me to see Jesse gazing at me tenderly with the hint of a smile on his face.
“You’re just beautiful.” He smiled. I bit my lip and blushed.
“When did you wake up?”
“About ten minutes ago.”
“Why didn’t you wake me up? They’ll probably be coming any minute; that’s ten minutes we could have been spending together.” Well, that sounded whiney and complainey. Ugh.
“We were spending it together. Do you know how gorgeous you are when you’re asleep?” He stared at me in awe and I blushed again.
“Shut up,” I murmured as I pressed my lips to his. He reacted instantly, twisting his fingers into my hair and leaning into me slowly. I pulled at his back, yanking him on top of me and once again reveling in the feeling of his scarred skin underneath my fingers. A muffled murmur came from his lips as they pressed into mine with more force, his tongue rubbing my bottom lip gently.
“Jesse,” I whispered desperately as I pressed myself closer to him and pushed him closer to me.
“Annaleigh,” his voice took on the same pleadingly whiny tone as mine as his right hand traveled down the side of my body lightly. On the way back up, he pulled at the edge of my shirt, shoving it up far enough for him to place his hand on my waist. As he grabbed my waist, he rolled us over swiftly, keeping our bodies connected the entire way, until I was laying on top of him. I whimpered and pressed closer, pushing my tongue past his lips gently. His left hand let go of my hair and grabbed the other side of my waist. I adjusted my legs, pushing my feet against the bed to get closer to him. Jesse’s hands occasionally moved across the exposed section of my back, stroking up my spine lightly to give me chills, and circling frantically. I pulled on his bottom lip gently with mine, then moved my mouth down his cheek and jaw to his neck. My mouth opened and my teeth placed around his neck as if I were going to bite him, but then I stopped and kissed his neck, kissing a soft trail across his collarbone to the other side of his neck to tease him. He groaned softly and I giggled against his skin. I moved my mouth back and forth across his neck for awhile, always very slowly, occasionally licking him but mostly kissing him. When he whimpered slightly and clutched my back, pressing me closer to him, I figured that he’d had enough. My lips picked a spot on his neck and stopped. I pressed my teeth against his skin very lightly, teasing him once more, and then I increased the force and pressure slowly, nibbling slightly. He yelped breathily, a quiet sound, and suddenly flipped us over quickly and forcefully, pressing me against the bed in almost the same moment. His hands stayed on my waist, holding tightly now, and his body pressed against mine; the weight felt wonderful. Jesse increased the passion of the kiss, leaving me breathless and unable to move anything except my lips. My arms lay limp at my sides, and my chest didn’t rise and fall with the movement of air in my lungs. I wasn’t sure any air was getting to my lungs. How to breathe? How to breathe? I yearned to wrap my arms around his back and my legs around his waist, but I couldn’t move. And it wasn’t because Jesse’s body was pressing against mine, it was because all thoughts escaped my mind except the feel of his body on mine and the way in which he kissed me. The wonderful, wonderful way in which he kissed me.
“Je—“ I tried to say his name, but my voice cut off with heavy breaths and a slight whimper. My arms and legs suddenly started working again, throwing themselves around him tightly. When my legs wrapped around his waist, his body pressed into mine even more, if that was even possible. My hands moved around his back frantically. I wanted to trace his scars, pull through his hair, and just hold him against me all at the same time. He tightened his hold on me and his hands slipped farther up my stomach slightly. I tried to wriggle myself down farther and make his hands slide up even farther, but his hold on my ribcage wouldn’t allow me to move. Not to mention that my legs were wrapped around him. His lips moved from mine and went to my neck. I expected him to tease me like I had done to him, so I was caught off guard when his teeth sunk into my skin the very second that his lips reached my neck. I pressed my lips together against a moan, making a humming sound. My eyes opened to see Jesse grinning it me.
“That was fun.” I began to nod, still feeling breathless, but his lips pressed against mine and that was all I could concentrate on. I pushed the tip of my tongue against his bottom lip, enjoying the softness. His lips parted and his tongue pressed against mine gently. I sighed and intertwined my fingers in his hair as his fingers spread apart, inching farther up. I felt two of his fingertips graze the underwire of my bra lightly, a fact he was completely oblivious to, and I smiled slightly. Once again, I tried to wiggle myself down a little bit. This time I succeeded, barely an inch, but enough. His fingertips pressed against me slightly and his hands quickly moved away, back to my waist. I could feel the heat of his cheek against my face as he blushed. A giggle slipped out of my lips.
“What?” Jesse murmured.
“You, being embarrassed; it’s ok.” As I spoke, I unwrapped my legs from around his waist and pushed us over, pressing my lips against his as soon as we were flipped over. His fingers ran up my back, twisting in my hair gently and moving down to my back again. I could feel that my cleavage was pressed against his chest again, but I was vaguely aware of it as his tongue traced the outline of my lips lightly. A gentle tremor rocked through my body and I pressed myself closer to him. His hands pressed into my bare back, pushing me closer until I could not get any closer. I ran my hands down his chest, still trying to press myself closer, and licked his tongue as it entered my mouth. He muttered a mild profanity, pulling me closer to him again and sweeping his tongue around my mouth.
“Mm. Jesse,” I mumbled, aware that a request hung in my words.
He sighed sadly. “No,” his voice sounded regretful. I sighed, but didn’t press the issue, I just kept kissing him. He pulled back suddenly, studying my face. I read conflict on his face, a desperate desire and an overwhelming protectiveness.
“You really don’t want Gabriel?” He fought to keep his voice neutral, but I could hear the pleading and longing behind it.
“I really don’t want him or anything he has to ‘offer’ me,” I confirmed. Jesse groaned breathily and I could tell which side of his conflict had won out.
He pressed his hands against the sides of my ribcage and flipped us over. I tried to keep myself from smiling in triumph. When we were flipped, I grabbed his hands softly, staring into his eyes with as much seduction as I could muster, and moved them to my stomach. Then I placed my hands at the bottom of my tank top, which was bunched up underneath my bra, and began tugging it over my head very slowly, making sure to keep the fabric over my boobs as long as possible. A light whimpering sound came from the back of Jesse’s throat, making me want to laugh, but I kept it back. When my shirt covered all of my chest, Jesse’s hands started to move off my stomach and then pressed into my stomach, his fingers reaching around my side and clutching tightly but gently.
Now I couldn’t control the giggle. “What, were you going to help me tear this off?” I smiled at him in amusement, keeping desire apparent in my eyes. Jesse’s closed halfway and his hands tightened on my stomach. I giggled again.
“All right, all right.” I pulled my shirt off my head completely, greatly enjoying watching Jesse’s eyes trail down my body. His breath caught in his throat as his gaze took in my black bra and his hands inched off my stomach again before he restrained them. I placed my hands on top of his and moved them from my stomach to the side of my ribcage, where they had been before I moved them to take my shirt off. Jesse stared at his hands and his eyes widened slightly. He wiggled his fingers tentatively and coughed. Once again, I kept back a laugh. It was so amusing how he acted, but I didn’t want to ruin the moment. Plus, it was nice that he didn’t just dive in for a grab; I’d let him take his time. His fingers moved closer to the front of my bra slowly, hovering right above the fabric. Not moving, he stared at his fingers and blinked. Suddenly, he brought his lips crashing down onto mine and moved his hands to my back. I pressed myself against him, sitting up slightly so he could reach my back. His fingers stopped at the back of my bra and sat motionless. I pressed my lips into his and slowly slipped my bra straps down my shoulders, one side at a time. Jesse leaned into me, pressing my back against the bed again. I slid my arms out of my straps as his fingers toyed with the snaps on the back of my bra. I doubted that he could get the hooks undone, since his fingers were squished between my back and the bed, but I let him continue. I placed both of my lips around his bottom lip on pulled on it, sucking gently. As I did, his fingers clenched together tightly, suddenly unsnapping every hook on my bra. Still playing with his lip, I blinked in surprise. Jesse pulled the backs of my bra around to the front slowly, keeping the cup part over my boobs while he pressed the back section of my bra on the front gently. When he unclenched his fingers from around the fabric, his long fingers stretched out, landing above the fabric of my bra. He inhaled sharply and picked his fingers up. I could feel their warmth hovering over my skin and I wondered if he was doing it to tease me or if he was uneasy about touching me. Either way, my body didn’t react well to it. I placed my hands on his and pressed them into my skin suddenly. As soon as his skin connected with mine, we both whimpered a hum. I absentmindedly snorted in amusement and removed my hands from his. Jesse whimpered again and took his hands away from me immediately. “Can’t,” he mumbled and started to pull away. No! I screamed in my mind as I grabbed his waist and pushed him backwards, quickly pulling myself with him. We hit the bed forcefully; er, he hit the bed forcefully and my body hit his forcefully. My bra slid down slightly, leaving a little bit more exposed cleavage pressed against his bare skin. I attacked his lips with my own, unwilling for him to stop this moment after it had gone so far. He was motionless for a second, but his lips started moving with mine almost immediately. I knew he changed his mind, wanted to stop, but I also knew that if I kept things moving, he wouldn’t have a chance to stop; his body wouldn’t let him.
Wicked, maybe. Seductive, I hoped so.
“He’ll understand, we’re bloodsuckers, we belong together, we love each other, he’ll realise. He’ll have no choice, I won’t be what he wants,” I whispered against Jesse’s lips convincingly and desperately. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to bring it up, maybe I should have shut up and let it happen without giving him the chance to think about it again, but I needed him to know that it wasn’t a mistake. Although, I didn’t mention the v-word, because that would be most likely to stop him. My hands traveled down the sides of his chest and his stomach. I stopped at his hipbones, unsure that I could (should) be the one to remove his pants. Jesse breathed heavily against my lips, sliding his hands down my sides as well. He stopped at my hipbones and wrapped his hands around the sides of my hips as much as he could, pulling me closer to him. I let go of him, keeping my body pressed against him tightly, and began to undo the button on my jeans. The back of my hand brushed against his belly button as I unzipped my jeans and he stopped breathing suddenly, resuming his breath when I put my hands on his hips again and licked his lip softly. He moved his hands to my back and traced a circle before gently sliding his hands down my sides. My jeans slipped down with his hands slowly, making it to my knees before I had to finish, kicking them off. Suddenly I felt body-conscious, but Jesse’s eyes weren’t on me; they were closed as we were currently still in liplock. I considered disconnecting from Jesse for a second to take my bra off completely, but I figured that would be distracting, and decided against it. I placed my hands around Jesse’s waist and pulled him closer to me again. His hands moved from my back to the button of his jeans. The back of his hand brushed against me lightly as he unzipped his jeans and I shivered. Jesse wrapped his arms around my back and pulled me closer to him, pressing his lips into mine with more passion. I slid my hands down his sides slowly and his jeans slipped down, following my hands. They went to the middle of his thighs before he had to finish the removal, kicking them off. Was I imagining it, or had I kicked mine off a lot quicker than he had?
We kept our hands on each other’s hips and Jesse’s tongue licked the inside of my top lip. I pushed my tongue inside his mouth with a sigh. Without two layers of denim in the way, our bodies pressed closer together. Neither of us moved, except our lips and tongues. Suddenly, thoughts raced in my head. This seemed kind of dirty, or something. Was there a reason why a lot of people waited until they were married to do this? Of course, an even greater percentage of people didn’t wait for marriage, and at least I was doing this with every member of the football team or something… Jesse and I truly loved each other, and I was sure he was only doing this to save me. I mean, I didn’t love Gabriel, but I was going to be forced to be his mate unless my virginity was taken away. It still might not do much but get us killed, but at least I wouldn’t have to live my life with that jerk. So it would be better to do this, even if we were reprimanded by my parents if we got out of this alive. Not that they really cared, as long as I didn’t turn into a slut or anything. And who said I would tell them? If Gabriel did let us live, it would be because he truly believed that we were each other’s bloodsuckers, and therefore belonged together, which would then mean that Jesse and I would stay together forever, right? So if we survived, we’d probably get married one day, which meant that none of this really mattered, right? Of course not. And I definitely wasn’t having second thoughts. The ultimate intimacy and bareness of this situation just embarrassed me suddenly. But our bodies created a need for each other, and Gabriel created an even stronger need unintentionally.
[*Author’s note, I’m surprised I even wrote it this far. Ickk. And I’m a FULL supporter of Abstinence Until Marriage!!!!!! Just thought I should mention that, even though my friends know I feel this way. Hahaha if I ever get delusional enough to try to publish this, I’ll have to add in a similar note. Ok, shutting up now.]
Keeping my body pressed against Jesse’s, I grabbed his waist and pulled him back with me as I leaned back. Our lips never moved from each other’s as we changed our position; he was now laying on top of me. His chest pressed against mine heavily, and I knew there was no way that he could not notice that the bare part of my boobs was pressing against him, but it didn’t stop him like I was afraid it would. I wrapped my arms around his back and began tracing his scars absentmindedly.
“Ok?” He whispered breathlessly against my lips.
“Yes,” I whispered back just as breathlessly. I wasn’t sure if he was asking if this was still ok, or if I was ready. It didn’t matter because the answer was yes either way.
Jesse slid his fingers down my stomach slowly, circling back up to place them right underneath my bra, then moving them to the sides where my ribcage was. Even slower than before, he slid his fingers down my sides, stopping as his fingers hit the top of the fabric of my underwear. He hesitated for a moment, moving his lips from mine to look into my eyes. I nodded, suddenly eager. Jesse kept his eyes locked on mine and slipped one finger underneath the fabric. I drew in a sudden breath and he stopped, looking at me with concern. I shook my head at myself and my gaze flickered to his arms, nodding and smiling at him encouragingly. He gave me a half-smile, never moving his eyes from mine, and placed his thumb on the outside of the fabric, pinching the top between his thumb and forefinger. I shoved myself closer to him and nodded again. If he kept on hesitating to see if I was ok, he was going to change his mind. Keeping his left hand on my hip on top of my boy shorts, the fingers of his right hand slipped underneath the bottom of the fabric on my other hip and came out at the top of the fabric, connecting with his thumb. I groaned and pushed myself closer to him, pressing my lips to his again as he began tugging the fabric down gently.
“You missed breakfast, the master will be…. Oh. Oh, dear.” A woman’s voice suddenly broke us apart. Our bodies stayed pressed against each other’s, but Jesse’s hands moved away and our heads turned to stare at the door. My eyes were wide, embarrassed.
“Oh, Jesse.” She frowned in disappointment. “He thought you would know better. You know the plan, the importance. How could you dare jeopardise that? If things were becoming too difficult for you, you know we have people here… Annaleigh is off limits…” Oh, what the frak?
“Um, excuse me? It’s kind of my body, I think I get to say who can and cannot be with it.” Hahahaha what an awkward way to phrase that. The lady turned to me and blinked.
“I assume you’ve been told the plan?”
“Then you should not be allowing Mr. Savage to try and take advantage of you in this way. I hardly think—“
“Excuse me! I would appreciate it if you would kindly stop insulting my boyfriend. If anyone’s taking advantage of anyone here, it’s me; I don’t want any part of Gabriel’s stupid plan and if this is the only way to stop it, then I’m going to do it, and I had a hard time convincing Jesse to agree because he thinks Gabriel will just kill me afterwards. Well, I don’t care; death would be better than spending my life with that monster. So if you can just tell him to suck it. Close the door on your way out, please.” I didn’t really think that would work, and I was correct. Her eyes narrowed.
“No one can defy the master’s plan. He’s been waiting for you since before you were born. You will follow him. Trying to resist will only make things harder for you… And your boyfriend.” She eyed Jesse evilly.
Jesse pulled himself off of me, placing my shirt and jeans on top of me quickly and reaching for his.
“She’s right, Annaleigh. Resisting will make things harder for you, and I don’t want to see you hurt,” he said softly as he stroked my cheek. All hope abandoned me right then and a tear slipped down my cheek unexpectedly.
“What about you, Jez?” His sad eyes pierced mine and I started crying harder.
“Don’t worry about me, Naleigh.” He kissed the top of my forehead and began slipping his jeans on.
“Oh, isn’t that sweet,” the woman said bitterly. We ignored her. Jesse sat beside me and wiped my tears away.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered.
“Thank you for trying,” I stared at his bare chest mournfully as his slipped his shirt on, returning my eyes to his when he was done. The look in his eyes told me that he would gladly do anything for me. They also told me more than I wanted to know. Would this be the last time I saw Jesse?
He kissed my lips softly and stroked my cheek once more before walking to the door where the lady was waiting.
“Come on,” she grabbed him by the back of the neck roughly and shoved him out the door.
“Don’t worry, sweetie. I’ll make sure all of the blame rests on his shoulders,” she called to me fake-sweetly before slamming the door.
I threw my clothes to the side and ran to the door, pulling on the knob. Locked from the outside. I turned, shoving my back against the door and looked around the room. No windows. Oh, sh… Jesse.
I sank down to the floor and cried.
A knock sounded at the door.
“Go away,” I yelled as forcefully as I could through my tears.
“The master wants to see you,” a deep voice boomed.
“Tell him to duck off.” Anger crept into my voice and rage filled my thoughts as the image of his face entered my mind.
“Right away, he said.”
“I don’t care about Gabriel! I want Jesse!” I screamed, wishing I had an object near me so I could fling it against the wall.
The voice coughed. “It’s about Jesse,” he whispered. My eyes widened and I stood up. I looked at the clothes on my bed for a second before dashing to them and pulling them on as quickly as I could, then I raced to the door as it was thrown open. I jumped out into the hallway, almost trampling the guards.
“Wait, miss. Let us escort you.” I sighed and hopped from foot to foot as they turned and grabbed my arms to escort me down the hall. What was Gabriel going to say about Jesse? Maybe he was going to let us be together. Or maybe I was about to be informed that they killed him. Oh, no. My knees threatened to buckle and tears caught in my throat. No, that couldn’t be it. Not it, not it, not it, I repeated in my head as we made the trip to the room from yesterday. When we got there, the guards threw me a wistful look before opening the door. What? What do you know that I don’t?! I wanted to scream at them.
As soon as the door opened, I stepped inside and glanced around for Jesse. He wasn’t there. My heart sank.
“Mm, Annaleigh. I have to say, you look much better without that ridiculous hoodie constructing the view.” Shivers crept down my spine as Gabriel spoke.
“What do you want.” I spoke as hostilely as I could.
“I’m afraid that’s a big list. But that’s ok, I get whatever I want.” The threat behind his voice was obvious and it was all I could do not to cry.
“Where is Jesse?”
“Ah, Jesse. My best son, the one I raised as my own, the one I raised to bring you to me. He should have known better than to try and take what is mine from me.” Like hell I would ever be his.
“Where is Jesse?” My voice came out more forcefully this time.
“Relax, Annaleigh. I haven’t killed him… yet. I’m trying to give him the chance to repent and learn his lesson.” A scream suddenly came from the distance, causing Gabriel to smile. I shivered and refused to let myself think it was Jesse.
“It wasn’t his fault. I was asking for it, begging him. I don’t want to be a part of your plan, especially not the part where I’m your lifetime mate!” I spit at him, also trying desperately to save Jesse.
The amused smile disappeared from Gabriel’s face, turning more sinister. “No one asked you what you wanted, Annaleigh,” he said coldly. I shivered and a tear slipped out of my eye.
“Please.” I wasn’t sure what I was begging for, Jesse’s life or for Gabriel to forget about me, but it didn’t look like he would cave on either one. He laughed evilly, the creepy laugh from my dream.
“Bring him in,” he ordered to his guards. Two guards left and Gabriel turned to me again, stepping closer. He kept his eyes on mine until he stood directly in front of me and he looked down.
“Much better without the jacket,” he complimented as he gazed down my tank top. I swallowed and took a step back, crossing my arms over my chest uncomfortably.
He growled and lunged at me, grabbing my arm and yanking me to him. “Bailey finds you with Jesse in nothing but flimsy, half-removed underwear, but I can’t appreciate the lines of your body fully clothed?” His voice was menacing, his grip was tight. I swallowed convulsively, forcing to keep air circulating my lungs.
“After all, you will be my bride, my mate. You will belong to me, you will live forever with me. You shall not love anyone else except me, do you understand that?”
I hissed at him. “I understand that you can’t make me love you, and forcing a plan unto me that will take away my happiness is no way to start.” He growled and shoved my arm away from him, knocking me to the ground. He walked back to his usual spot and I stood up.
“You’re lucky I love you too much to hurt you, Annaleigh. You’re lucky I’m in control of my sadistic side.” I was about to protest his love remark when he tilted his head towards the door and smiled.
“Ah. Lucky that I had another vessel to unleash my sadistic side onto.” The door opened suddenly and I turned to see two of his guards dragging in another person. They supported half of the person’s weight, for he was doubled over and walking slowly. As they stepped into view, I realised who it was.
“Jesse!” I cried and ran over to him where the guards dumped him on the ground. His chest was bare, covered in blood and gashes. When his back hit the ground, he winced slightly and sat up, pressing his hand to his stomach. Black and brown singe marks dotted his back and arms. A deep red gash spread across the entire width of his back in the middle. Blood ran along his arms, oozing out of various wounds on his chest and stomach. His face was considerably unwounded, compared to the rest of his body; he just had a slightly swollen lip and small cut on his cheek. His lips were stained with blood, blood that dripped from his mouth slowly.
“Jesse, are you ok?” Tears formed in my eyes as I looked at him.
“Don’t worry about me, Annaleigh.” He drew in a ragged breath and winced, pressing his hand to his stomach again.
“Yes, Annaleigh. Don’t worry about Jesse, he’s tough. It took a few hours just to get him to scream,” Gabriel smiled happily. I restrained a scream and clenched my fists to keep from attacking him. Jesse coughed, sending a drop of blood flying to the thigh of my jeans. I was kneeled in front of him, after all.
I looked down at the slight spatter of blood as it absorbed into the denim, turning from a bright red to a dark reddish brown. I tilted my head and narrowed one eye as I stared at it intently. The emptiness in my stomach suddenly seemed more prominent and my throat felt dry. It felt like a fire flashed behind my eyes and suddenly I was turning my head towards Jesse. Everything went into slow motion. Jesse’s bare chest was covered in bright red blood, blood that looked wet and warm… My eyes widened and my gaze turned to Jesse’s lips, where more blood dripped from his mouth slowly. I could feel the hunger in my gaze and Jesse’s eyes suddenly met mine. He read my expression and fear crossed his face suddenly before changing into the excitement of hope.
Out of the blue, I growled and my body writhed as a mental block restrained other movement. I shoved it away and my mouth connected with Jesse’s suddenly. I could feel the wetness of his blood underneath my lips, could feel the hunger tightening in the pit of my stomach and flashing behind my eyes. A growl escaped my lips again as I closed my teeth around Jesse’s mouth and sucked at the blood. I pushed myself closer to him, forgetting his injuries, focused on the wonderful taste that was filling my mouth. I was vaguely aware of hands clawing at my back. I couldn’t tell if they were trying to pull me away from Jesse or pull me closer to him, I just ignored them and sucked at his lip earnestly. When the liquid slowed, I automatically pressed my tooth into his soft flesh, feeling it cut in. A moan sounded from somewhere beneath me, but all I knew was that the amazingly delicious taste was filling my mouth again.
“NO! Stop them!” A voice cried. Hands yanked at me again, bringing me to reality. I realised what I was doing and jumped away, flinging myself a few yards away from Jesse. My eyes opened and I stared at him through tears. Blood oozed down the smile of his mouth, pain evident in his face.
“I’m sorry,” I sobbed. A loud crash sounded, causing me to jump slightly but I kept my eyes on Jesse. I couldn’t believe I had just hurt him. Just to taste his blood. I wasn’t even supposed to be a bloodthirsty vampire. Oh, what had I done?
“No! No! NO!” A voice roared. “It can’t be! Stop it! Stop her!” I wanted to tell the voice that I had stopped, I wasn’t hurting Jesse anymore, but then I realised that the voice was Gabriel and he wouldn’t care if Jesse was hurt or not. He was the one that had caused Jesse’s injuries.
More fire burned behind my eyes and the liquid that had soothed my throat now tore it apart, also burning a hole in my stomach. Well of course I’m going to throw up, I thought, I drank blood. But no puking came, just knives and razors. The knives stabbed at my skin, and the razors dragged across my skin, tearing my body in half. I squeezed my eyes shut against the pain, not realising that it was diminishing as quickly as it started. Sorry, sorry, I’m sorry, Jesse, so sorry.
“Make it stop!” A loud voice sobbed angrily. I shook my head, telling the voice to shut up. Suddenly, there was no more pain. No more knives, no more razors, no more burning stomach, no more flashing eyes. I felt stronger than before, like I had just gorged on caffeine. I sat up quickly, opening my eyes. Jesse stared at me in awe, amazement, and admiration. I blinked, confused, and turned to the screaming voice. Gabriel was being restrained by his own guards, his eyes staring at me in blatant hate. Fear struck my automatically, but was quickly canceled out by anger. I stood up slowly, menacingly and his eyes widened, more out of anger than fear. I took a step close to him.
“You will pay for what you did to my boyfriend,” I spit at him. He hissed and shoved against his guards.
“You will pay for what you did to yourself,” he spit even more threateningly. I looked at him in confusion, replaying recent events in my head. He couldn’t be mad that I had caused myself pain by drinking Jesse’s—wait! I hadn’t made a conscious decision to drink Jesse’s blood, I just felt a great desire for it. Was Jesse right? Were he and I… bloodsuckers?
I glanced at Jesse, questioning. He had wiped the blood off of his mouth by now and he looked at me with the same admiration, smiling and nodding. I blinked rapidly, processing. That’s what Gabriel wanted to stop, then. But why did I feel pain after I shoved away from Jesse? Unless I wanted his blood so badly that it hurt to stop drinking it.
“Are, I mean, we, bloodsuckers?” I turned to Gabriel and his eyes narrowed.
“It’s impossible.” He spit. “There has to be another explanation. You are mine!” He growled and lunged for me, being restrained by his guards again.
“Let go of me, you pig headed idiots!” He screeched.
“Master, you don’t want to do something you’ll regret,” one said to him lowly and respectfully.
“I’ll do whatever I please!” He shrieked. I covered my ears. He was like a three year old who didn’t get his way. A torturous idea crept into my mind suddenly and I looked at him pointedly, getting his attention. He stared at me as I walked over to Jesse slowly and seductively. I could feel Gabriel’s eyes on my back as I got closer to Jesse. I smiled at him as I knelt down and leaned forward ever so slowly, kissing him on the lips softly. I made sure to avoid the side of his lip that was swollen, and didn’t touch any other part of his body. There was still a slight taste of his blood on his mouth, but I was past that thirst for now. Still, I placed his lip between mine gently and pulled on it. Gabriel gasped and grunted against his guards. I turned to him and smiled tauntingly, sticking my tongue out immaturely. When I turned back to Jesse, a smile was playing on his lips.
“You ok?” I whispered. He rolled his eyes at me and I smiled.
So Jesse had been right, we were bloodsuckers. Me and him. Bound by our blood, there was nothing Gabriel could do to stop this. And he knew that.
I turned back and walked to him.
“So now you’re going to let us go?” It was more of a command than a question.
“It can’t be real! There’s only one transformation process, one transformer. How could this happen?”
“You’re a full vampire now, Annaleigh,” Jesse called softly. I turned to him in amazement and blinked.
“H-how?” My questions copied Gabriel’s now.
“Exactly. It’s impossible.” I raised my hand to Gabriel, shushing him.
“Jesse, you weren’t full vampire were you?” He shook his head.
“It… Maybe because you’re less vampire than I am. Or past bloodsuckers turned into full vampires too, but never noticed because they were closer to being full vampire than you.”
“No,” Gabriel denied Jesse’s guesses. “None of them ever turned full vampire. I don’t understand how it’s possible now… Unless you two have a stronger bloodsucker bond than I thought.” He added the last sentence quietly. I tilted my head at Jesse, pondering what Gabriel said. He did the same. An idea crossed my mind and I walked over to Jesse again. I sat down on the ground beside him and pressed my neck against his lips.
“Do I smell good?”
“You always do,” he smiled.
I sighed. “I mean, do you want my blood?” Jesse nodded slightly but made no move. I sighed again, figuring that he was either too afraid to hurt me, too hurt to move, or not desiring my blood enough. I turned my face towards his and stared into his eyes, biting down on the inside of my mouth, an occasional habit. My teeth gnawed at my lip anxiously and relentlessly. When my blood began dripping into my mouth, I refused to swallow it. Instead, I pressed my lips against Jesse’s quickly and pushed my lower lip out so my blood would rest against his bottom lip and hopefully leak inside his mouth. His tongue slid across my lip, clearing the blood away. I waited as he tasted and swallowed my blood, then his lips came onto mine with more force. I parted my lips to let his close around the inside of my bottom lip where I had bitten it, sucking the blood thirstily. A low, desire-ridden growl came from Jesse’s throat and his hand pressed against my back, drawing me closer to him. When the blood flow stopped, Jesse’s tooth cut into my lip quickly. The tearing of my skin didn’t even hurt. In fact, it felt sort of good. A noise escaped my throat and Jesse began sucking at the wound he had just created in my mouth. Suddenly Jesse pulled away and I looked up at him. His bright blue eyes flashed, glowing an even brighter blue. He winced in pain suddenly and I frowned, mentally kicking myself for forgetting to tell him that it hurt. But it was over as quickly as it started and Jesse was staring at me in the same awed admiration. I blushed.
“No!!!” We turned to the sound of Gabriel’s voice. I narrowed my eyes and stood up, walking over to him.
“Do not say another word,” I stopped him as he opened his mouth to scream again. “Jesse and I are both full vampire now, in case you haven’t noticed. I believe that means we could fight you, possibly kill you, and take your throne away from you.” His eyes widened in fear when I mentioned taking away his throne. “Or, you could let us leave and return to our lives together and agree to never bother us again. So, let us live in peace, or we might not let you live at all. Sound like a deal?” I put the right mixture of sweetness and threat in my voice. Gabriel narrowed his eyes but nodded reluctantly. I contained my shock and joy, nodding once diplomatically and turning back to Jesse. Two of Gabriel’s guards helped Jesse off the ground, not being careful to avoid his wounds. I put my hand up at them.
“I got him.” They let him go and he walked over to me slowly, smiling the entire way. My eyes grazed his torso, looking for a safe place to put my hand. His right wrist looked unscathed, so I grabbed that and pulled him out of the room. Bailey met us at the door and escorted us outside, not saying a word the entire way. Something unheard of had occurred here thanks to us, so I’m pretty sure we seemed threatening. Plus, there was no way they could even begin to apologise for inflicting all these injuries on my Jesse.
Once we were outside, Jesse pulled me into a tight hug, wincing. I pulled away as soon as he would let me and frowned at his gashes.
“What did they do to you?” My eyes filled with tears again.
“Nothing I can’t handle.” His finger wiped my tear away.
“I’m going to drive home, ok?” I looked at him, daring him to argue. He shrugged and smiled. It amazed me how Jesse could be so hurt and yet smile. But I suppose he didn’t want to worry me. That’s one of the reasons why I loved him.
We got into the car and I was about to drive away when Bailey came running out, waving my jacket around. I rolled my eyes at Jesse but let her toss it in the window. And then I drove away.
My name is Annaleigh Savage. Just kidding. Jesse and I are still only 17, but now we’re both full vampires. Didn’t know that would happen, did you? Neither did I.
The day after I found out that Jesse was a human vampire like me, we both turned into full vampires. Go figure. But it worked out, we were able to escape Gabriel, we were bound for life (not that it mattered if we were bound or not, we would always stay together) and apparently, we would be living forever. It was hard to explain the whole eternity thing. We did age, but not really. Gabriel had still had a teenager face, but you could tell he was older… it’s going to be like that. And we can be killed, but I don’t even plan on that happening.
Jesse and I still live in Arden, Ontario. We’re still in school. But we’re both planning to go to the same college, and after that, who knows? Maybe we will get married. It won’t matter if we have a wedding ceremony and marriage certificate, we’ll always be together. (Did I mention that already? I think I did. Well, I’m happy about it.)
Even though Jesse and I are full vampires, we don’t drink blood, except for each other’s. I know that might sound really gross to you, but it’s really romantic. And actually kind of sexy. Speaking of, I asked Jesse about that again, informing him that there was no reason to keep me a virgin anymore. He rolled his eyes at me, but I think it will just take time… Eventually, eventually.
So maybe I left out a lot of details and maybe some things were boring, and maybe you wanted a different ending. Well that’s just too darn bad because it’s my story. Hey, it’s my life. I can’t exactly change it just by writing down different words. This is how it happened, and I’m happy about the way it turned out. Together forever with Jesse, what else could be better?
Nothing. And that’s the end of my story.
But it all continues with the weekend, the best time of every teenager’s life….