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 3
An Evening Talk

May 28th, 2008

As Jesse had guessed, both of his parents got pretty mad about another call from the school. They had had too many situations like this already. Even when Jack Aarons, Jesse's father, arrived to take him home, he said barely anything. He stayed completely silent for the whole ride until they reached home. As they got out of Jack's car, he told his son to go straight into the living room and sit down, which Jesse did. A moment later, his parents were standing in front of him, with fury all over their faces.

"I thought we had an agreement, Jess", Mary Aarons, Jesse's mother, said.

"You promised that you would stop being a pain in the butt, and we would stop yelling", Jack continued.

"Yeah, yeah", Jesse said.

"'Yeah, yeah?' Is that all you've got to say?" Jack's voice got louder. "How are we supposed to stay true to our part of the agreement if you don't stay true to yours?"

"What's the big deal? I didn't do any major damage."

"Well, you still did enough to have all the other students run out of the building thinking that there's a real fire."

"Don't you ever stop to think before you do these ridiculous acts?" Mary asked.

"Of course", Jesse answered. "I wanna make sure if they are accomplishable."

His parents threw their hands in the air and groaned in unison. Jesse found the sight to be funny and gave a snicker.

"It's not funny, boy!" Jack yelled. Jesse's smile faded instantly. He knew there had to be limits to how much his father could be annoyed.

"Okay, I understand."

Mary walked over to Jesse and knelt before him. "So, do you promise you won't lie ever again? And this time, Jess, mean it."

"I'll try my best", he said with a smile. Sighing, he stood up from the couch and began to walk to the front door. Jack stopped him.

"Where do you think you're going?"

"I'm going over to Leslie's", Jesse said.

"Oh, no, you are not. Jess, you are grounded. You're not allowed to leave the house under any circumstances."

"What?!" Jesse asked. "I'm not lying now! Didn't I just promise that?"

"A simple promise isn't enough. You'll have to suffer a punishment from what you did today. Now, go to your room."

Jesse sighed, but obeyed and walked upstairs to the room he shared with May Belle and Joyce Ann. He collapsed on his bed. He picked up his art supplies and started drawing, like he usually did. He had always been able to calm his mind by drawing whenever he was upset. He produced a tiny smile as he admired his work.

"What're you up to, little bro?"

Jesse jumped in slight shock as he looked at the door. Brenda and Ellie, his big sisters, were standing there. He quickly hid his drawings. "Do you mind?"

"Grow up already, Jess", Brenda laughed and left. Jesse felt disgusted.

Ellie stood still for a moment until walking slowly into the room. "I heard you got grounded." To Jesse's surprise, she had a sympathetic smile on her face. "Jess, I just want to know… Well… Why did you start acting like a total jerk in the first place?"

Jesse laughed a little. "Ellie, please. What are you trying to do? I know you. You certainly aren't acting the way I would expect."

Ellie was dumbfounded. She knew her brother was right. "Jess, I guess it's just that…people change. We all have to mature sometime and…"

"Oh, OK. If you're referring to what Brenda said earlier, then no thanks. I don't need any advice from you. Not after all the years you've treated in a not so kind way. Now could you leave me alone?" Jesse said as he continued drawing.

Ellie nodded slowly and walked out of the room, feeling a bit disappointed.

A few hours later

The telephone rang and Ellie answered it. "Hello?"

"Hi, um… Ellie, is it? It's Leslie. Can you put Jess on the phone?"

"Sure." Ellie ran upstairs, knocked on the door first and then entered Jesse's room.

"What now, Ellie?" he asked.

"Leslie's on the phone", she answered and placed the phone on his bed.

After his sister left, Jesse took the phone. "Leslie?"

"Hey, Jess. What's the situation at your place? Wanna hang out?"

"I got grounded. Big surprise there. I'm not allowed to leave the house."

Leslie smiled knowingly. "All right then. I'll see you in a few minutes."

"Wait a minute. I can't leave the house. And I don't think they'll allow you to come to my room."

"Don't worry. I'm sure I can come up with a fair solution with your parents. Bye."

"Bye…" Jesse put the phone on his bed and kept wondering what his friend was up to.

Leslie arrived at his house a few minutes later like she had said. When she told his parents she wanted to talk to him, she found out that Jesse's suspicion had been correct. His parents couldn't allow her to go to his room. Leslie had a pretty good idea why they didn't: perhaps they were afraid that she would try to help Jesse to escape unnoticed or something. Luckily, she came up with a solution.

Soon after her discussion with Jack and Mary, Leslie and Jesse were sitting on the chair on the front porch of his house. Jack and Mary had still been suspicious about letting them go outside, but Leslie convinced that they wouldn't try to run away. But still, Jesse was asked to make the same promise. To Jack and Mary, Leslie's promise alone wasn't enough anymore.

"Do you ever feel alone?" Jesse asked her.

"I'd say up until nearly two years ago, yeah."

"What happened two years ago?"

Leslie snickered. "I met you, idiot."

"Ah yeah", Jesse laughed along with Leslie and hit his head with his hand in a "duh" manner.

"Jess, have you ever wondered if life is random or just pretty determined?"

"Leslie, not at all."

"I mean just that…we try to just be ourselves and be accepted by others, but still here we are, feeling like a couple losers."

"Yeah, I guess I never quite understood the whole popularity thing. What makes a kid popular in the first place?"

"Don't ask me."

"I'll tell you what I think. Just hanging with all the other popular kids. That's what makes a kid popular."

"Yeah, I guess so. Except, in the end, there has to be one kid that's popular all by himself. The one that everyone looks up to and wants to be their friend."

"I would do anything, and I mean anything, to be that kid." He turned to her.

Leslie smiled. "I know, Jess."

There was a moment of silence before Leslie spoke again: "You know Jess, I have to admit, half the time I don't know what I'm feeling. I mean… I'm sitting here with you under the clear night sky, with the stars and the moon… It just feels…nice. Maybe even romantic or something. I don't know", she said and smiled nervously.

Jesse sighed and said: "Yeah. If Christa was here with me, we'd be making out."

Leslie's smile was gone instantly. "Jess, you… You just don't get it, do you?!"

"What? What now?"

"You are here with me, and you're talking about another girl! Another girl, who, by the way, doesn't have any interest in you whatsoever!"

"Ouch."

"Jess, don't you even remember the times before this "thing" came to be? Have you forgotten all about those happy times? We would escape our problems to Terabithia, and just talk. That's it. We didn't need anything else. Well, that is, until the rope broke. I think that's when both of us realized what it was all about. Do you remember that, Jess? Do you remember that day? The day we… We… You know."

"Of course I do. But Leslie, that's all in the past now. We have to move on."

Before Leslie could stop herself, she slapped her friend on the cheek. Jesse put his hand on the spot and groaned. "Jeez, what was that for?"

"All I have to say is: Are you really that blind?!"

"Huh?"

"Never mind that. I think you aren't able to answer that at the moment. I bet that hurts, huh?"

"You think?"

"Close your eyes."

"What?"

"Close your eyes and tell it to my face."

Jesse did as told. "Yes! It hurts! You happy?"

"Hold on." Then, before Jesse could ask what she meant, Leslie placed her lips on his cheek, right on the spot where she had hit him.

As she pulled away, she asked: "Does it hurt now?"

Jesse just sat there, completely dumbfounded. After a few seconds of silence, he finally spoke: "I think I should go back inside now."

Leslie didn't like the look of the situation. "No!" She stopped him when he was about to stand up. "It's your porch. I'll go."

And so, she quickly stood up and ran away from the Aarons house. Jesse kept his eyes on her until she was out of sight. As he went back inside, their talk kept repeating in his head. He especially thought about Leslie's kiss on his cheek. He hadn't seen that one coming at all. That made him think about both her and Christa. Now he wasn't so sure about his feelings. He still had a strong crush on Christa, but now he also remembered the events of the year before. He hadn't thought about them in quite a long time. Now, he remembered how wonderful he had felt back then, not to mention Leslie.

Next door, Leslie had just entered the warmth of her home. She made her way to her room and collapsed on her bed. Tears ran down her cheeks as she stared at the ceiling. She couldn't believe the reaction Jesse had given after her kiss. She had hoped that it would open his eyes to reality, the fact that she still loved him. Instead, now she found herself to be more disappointed than ever in her friend of nearly two years. She didn't want to believe it, but now she didn't even want to think about him.