JESSE AND LESLIE
LIES AND SPIES IN LARK CREEK

Disclaimer: Bridge to Terabithia is owned by Walt Disney Pictures, Walden Media, and Katherine Paterson. Doubting Thomas aka Lies and Spies is owned by Kosmic Film Entertainment. I own only my original characters.

Chapter 1
The New Situation

May 28th, 2008

One year had passed since the events in spring 2007. For most people, of course, the events had been nothing special. However, for two fifth-graders in Lark Creek, Virginia, the events had been quite special.

Jesse Aarons had "saved" his best friend, Leslie Burke, from an almost certain death at the creek that they crossed every time they went to their "secret kingdom" of Terabithia. What happened after that, though, had been even more special to them. Leslie had invited Jesse to her house, and she had given him something truly unforgettable. Before he left, she had kissed him. It had been the first one for both of them, and it had been so magical, so wonderful, so sweet. Things had certainly become different for Jesse and Leslie afterwards. But even though they had become more close to each other, at both home and school, they hadn't been sure if they were ready to have a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. They had decided to give that thought more time.

But now, one year later, things had changed, and a lot. And it all had happened ever since a new student had come to Lark Creek Elementary School. Her name was Christa Mercer, who had moved to Lark Creek all the way from Birmingham, England. Her writer parents had decided to try something different, quite like Leslie's parents, and so they had come to America on Christmas 2007.

Christa and her family moved to a new house that had just been built near the Aarons and Burke houses, so that made her the new neighbor of Jesse and Leslie. But they didn't see her until the first day of school in January. And when she stepped into the classroom, Jesse was pretty awe-struck at the least.

In his eyes, Christa was an amazing girl. She was about the same height as him and Leslie, and she had a slim body like Leslie. She had green eyes, and long dark red hair. She had always done well in school, as he would later find out. She also had a lovely smile, again very much like Leslie. As she smiled at the whole class on that first day in January, Jesse also smiled. Christa noticed this and gave him an even wider smile. Leslie seemed to have noticed it, and wondered in her thoughts: "How come he didn't smile at me when I first stepped into the classroom?"

After that day, Christa became a good friend of Jesse, and of course Leslie too since she was a neighbor of them both. Even though Jesse still spent time with Leslie since she was his first and best friend, he started to spend more and more time with Christa every day. Sometimes he was with both Leslie and Christa, but ultimately, he was more with Christa. This caused Leslie to have some mixed feelings. On the other hand, she was glad that Jesse had got another good friend, but she was also worried about her own relationship with him. She became afraid that he was going to forget her.

One day Leslie's fears came true, at least in some way. In the middle of February Jesse came to her house. He confessed to her that he had a crush on Christa. But that wasn't the worst for Leslie. Jesse also told her that he was going to try to get Christa to be his girlfriend.

Leslie's heart was broken in a million pieces.

After Jesse left, her feelings were more mixed than ever before. She was a bit happy that Jesse was still her friend, but his big announcement was just too much to bear. She cried the rest of the day, and on the following night. Her parents tried to tell her that it wasn't the end of the world, but Leslie wouldn't listen. Even she couldn't believe what she was feeling: for the first time in her life she was actually disappointed in Jesse, her best friend.

She became even more frustrated when Jesse told her some other news in March. He had found out that Christa had started going out with Scott Hoager. He didn't know if Scott had done that just to tease him again or not, but he couldn't let that stop him. Christa was still his friend, but he was going to get Christa to be his girlfriend, no matter what. And that caused some changes in him.

Jesse Aarons wasn't a quiet, shy boy anymore. He became pretty wild by nature. He started to joke around almost all the time. He even started to make up all kinds of unbelievable stories, basically to get out of any kind of trouble and, of course, to get Christa's attention. Just about everyone was surprised by his sudden change of behavior: his parents, his sisters, Leslie, Christa, even Scott Hoager and Gary Fulcher. However, his stories were becoming an everyday nuisance for everyone, especially at school.

And now, on Wednesday, the 28th of May, another one of those situations was taking place in Mrs. Myers' English class. Jesse hadn't done an essay that Myers had given as homework, and once again he had just "told" her why.

"…and that, Mrs. Myers, is why I don't have the essay on your desk. I'm very sorry", he told the teacher smilingly.

But, as usual, Myers didn't believe him. "Let's try this again, shall we? Your homework, Jesse Aarons. And please refrain me from patronizing me with "an opossum ate it" or "my grandma passed away".

"Actually, it's sort of a combination thing" Jesse said. Leslie, who was sitting next to him, sighed deeply and put her right hand on her face.

Jesse continued: "You see, my grandma came to visit us and she agreed to help me with my essay. Bless her soul. Then", he slammed his hand on his desk, "an opossum just jumped out of nowhere and ate her. So, that's why I don't have my homework done. That opossum ate my grandma."

All the kids in the classroom laughed at his ridiculousness, but Mrs. Myers just stood silently with a grim face. Jesse glanced at Leslie. She gave him a half-smile.

"You're a storyteller, Mr. Aarons" Myers said. "Do you know what storytellers do?"

"They…tell stories?" he answered in an obvious sort of way.

"No, they tell… Well, yes, they tell stories." For the first time in a long time Mrs. Myers felt quite embarrassed. Jesse smiled at this. But Myers was determined to give him a lecture. "Now why don't you and your overactive imagination pay a little visit to Principal Turner after school. I believe you know the way."

"I'd like to say something in my defense."

Leslie poked him on the shoulder. "Jess, don't speak."

"But she…"

"Shh! Say nothing!" she whispered.

Then, the announcement bell rang. "Attention students. This is Principal Turner with a big announcement. A very special celebrity guest will be joining us at our school dance on Friday. More information will be told later. Oh, and one more thing. Jesse Aarons, listen to me carefully. I'll be watching you, so no messing around!"

Jesse took a quick look around the room. Everybody was staring at him. Then he looked at Christa, who smiled at him, and he smiled back. Leslie noticed the exchange and felt a bit jealous again.

"That is all. Thank you", Principal Turner finished just as the school bell rang, announcing the end of the class. Jesse and Leslie put their books in their backpacks and made their way to the hallway.

"So teachers don't get me. So what? Big deal. I mean, they're teachers, not rock stars", Jesse said as they walked through the hallway.

"You know, this is exactly why I suggest the less-talking thing as a very good option for you."

Then they heard three locker doors being banged shut loudly. They turned to look forward. Scott Hoager, Gary Fulcher and Madison Powell were standing in front of them. Madison had joined the two boys simply because they all shared a common enemy: Leslie. Ever since Leslie stole her role as the "teacher's pet", at least according to Madison, she had started to bully her too.

"Well, hello guys", Jesse said calmly.

"What's up, Aarons?" Scott asked.

Jesse answered: "So what's it gonna be today? Stuff me in a locker? Shake me down for loose change? Hey! You know what's always fun? Hanging me from the flagpole by my underwear. People laugh, they cry, they go home. Always a real crowd pleaser."

Leslie was surprised how calm he was the whole time. "Why are you giving them ideas?" she asked dumbfounded.

"Because they're too dumb to come up with ideas on their own."

"Did you just say, 'dumb'? Madison said angrily.

Jesse glanced at Leslie. "See? No comprehension skills whatsoever."

"You're dead meat", Gary growled.

"I think it's time to go", Leslie said.

Jesse didn't need to be told twice. "Yeah."

They shoved their way past the bullies and ran to their next class. But just as they were getting near the classroom, a tall black-haired man stepped out of the room. Leslie almost ran into him, but she turned at the last moment. Jesse, however, wasn't so quick. He didn't have time to slow up, and he bumped right into the man. Scott, Gary and Madison, who had followed them the entire way, smiled evilly as they thought Jesse was going to be in big trouble. They turned and walked away.

"Oh, sorry! That's gonna leave a mark", Jesse said a little sarcastically as he pulled himself away from the man, who didn't look angry at all to him. "Who are you anyway?"

"Terrence Smith, new substitute teacher", the man answered smilingly. "I'm making too good a first impression, though, am I?"

"Uh…Jess Aarons. Kind of depends if you're one of my teachers or not, but I guess I have to do what's for the best, then." He straightened out his sweatshirt and spoke in a very "macho-kind" of voice: "Thank you very much."

"Oh, no. Thank you very much", Smith answered with the same kind of voice. He walked past Jesse but turned around one more time. He saw Leslie smiling at him. He pointed at both of them. "And have a good day."

As Smith walked away, Jesse was beginning to think that this new teacher could be a fine guy. Leslie felt kind of excited, or at least it seemed so. "Not only is he cute for a teacher, he'd be hot for a rock star", she said.

Jesse wondered what she was up to. "What are you doing, Leslie? Weren't you supposed to be into me?" he asked with sarcasm again, arching his eyebrows.

"And how's that working out for me?" Leslie answered. She looked at him seriously and then walked into the classroom. Jesse rolled his eyes and followed her.

Later that day Jesse and Leslie were sitting on a bench in the schoolyard during a recess. Once again they were talking about their "situation".

"That's the nature of our relationship, Leslie. We have talked about this before, you know."

Leslie turned at him. "So let me understand. I continue to be the only person in the whole world who actually listens to you, and your outrageous stories. And…although I may or may not have actual feelings for you right now, I'll wait by the side until you decide what's best for you."

"I need to explore all my options."

"I'm your only option. Look around. I don't see any lineup here."

"Christa Mercer", Jesse proclaimed proudly. Leslie turned around and saw Christa walking in the distance.

"Christa Mercer?" Leslie asked incredulously.

"It could happen", Jesse said with a cunning smile.

"No way. She's with Scott, remember?"

"So? Like I'm gonna let that stop me", he chuckled.

"Hold on, my phone's ringing." Leslie made a phone gesture with her left hand and put it near her ear. "Hello? Oh yes, hold on, he's right here." She handed the "phone" to Jesse. "It's for you. It's Planet Earth. They'd like to know when you're coming back."

Jesse looked down and sighed deeply. He thought for a moment until the bell rang and they walked back inside.


Author's notes: Many of the new characters in this story aren't so original at all.

SPOILERS! First of all, Terrence Smith is named after the true identity of Zeltrax, a regular villain in the TV series Power Rangers Dino Thunder. As some may know, Zeltrax's voice was provided by James Gaylyn, who played Principal Turner in BTT.

Secondly, Christa Mercer is named after three persons. Her first name comes from both a character called Krista from PRDT, and my girlfriend who's name is Christa. Her last name comes from Anton Mercer, who was the true identity of Mesogog, the lead villain of PRDT, played by Latham Gaines, who also played Bill Burke, Leslie's father in BTT.

Thirdly, no last name was mentioned for Madison in the movie, so I used Powell, which comes from composer John Powell, who did the music for Jumper, in which AnnaSophia Robb had a small role.