Author's Note: None of this was included in the original "Tears and Silence." It's a result of editing. Remember the way the Kairos Cross fell out of a plothole in the sequel? This makes that slightly more bearable. ^_^;
Disclaimer: See Prologue.
Rating: A, E, R, ALT
Tears and Silence
Quest Compound/October 25, 1996
The leaves were beginning to reach their full glory, framing the compound with their thrilling colors. The lighthouse stood alone near the cliff, stark grey in comparison with the bright blue sky stretching down to touch the sea on the horizon. Everything was bright and gorgeous; everyone seemed filled with boundless energy.
As Jonny and Hadji approached the solemn lighthouse, the door was suddenly flung open as Jessie burst out, laughing and pulling Jer by the wrist. "Hey!" she shouted when she saw them. "Hey! We're going to the beach. You wanna come?"
They looked at her, confused. "The beach?" asked Jonny. "Jess, it's not too cold outside, but still-- the water's freezing!"
"That's what I said!" Jer laughed, fighting her halfheartedly. "But would she listen? Nooo-"
"Quiet, you cynic!" she grinned, tugging at his wrist with both hands. "You've never been swimming in the Atlantic Ocean! That's no way to live!" She dragged him down the path towards the beach.
Raising an eyebrow, Jonny nodded after them. "Think we should keep an eye on them?"
"Oh, Jonny, no; that's Race's job," his best friend grinned.
The two of them could still hear muffled shouts as Jer argued with Jessie, trying to convince her that, well, he'd been in the Pacific Ocean after all, and, well, it *was* October... But she was not to be dissuaded.
They heard a splash.
Jonny ran to the edge of the cliff and looked over to see Jer, laughing, sprawled in the shallows, the water rapidly soaking through his clothes. He quickly grabbed Jessie's foot as she tried to hurry away; she tripped and fell into the water with a shreik. She began to squirm, trying to wrench her ankle out of his hands.
"All right!" Jonny yelled, laughing. "Get her!"
Jessie looked up in mid-splash. "You come down here and say that, Blondie!"
Jonny's jaw dropped. "You bet I will!" he yelled back, after a surprised pause.
Hadji laughed. "Be careful, Jonny," he warned. "You might not want to mess with her. After all, she has nothing to lose-- she's already soaked."
"Aw, come on, Hadj!" Jonny answered, already halfway down the path. "I can't just stand up here and take that!"
Hadji rolled his eyes, reluctantly following his determined friend towards the beach. "Don't say I didn't warn you," he muttered softly.
A few minutes later, even Hadji was soaked to the bone. He held Jonny underwater for a few seconds, and then quickly backed away as his friend surfaced for air.
"Hadj!" Jonny sputtered, flicking the water out of his eyes. "You--Hey!"
Just then Jessie shoved him underwater again. Hadji laughed uncontrollably.
Grinning, Jer stealthily moved behind Hadji and dunked him. A second later, Hadji twisted away and tackled his opponent into the surf. Spitting out a mouthful of seawater, he laughingly tried to keep Jer from winning the advantage.
As Jonny bobbed to the surface, Jessie switched her attention to the other two. "Hey, Hadji!" she yelled, "Cut that out!"
"Yeah, you're makin' her jealous!" Jonny yelled, shoving her playfully. She tripped and fell into the water once again with a tremendous splash.
Distracted, Hadji soon found himself victimless. Jer had managed to escape and stood chest-deep in the chilly water a few feet off. Jessie waded towards him, grinning mischeviously.
Suddenly, Jonny surfaced behind her and dunked her again. His hand caught in the necklace she was wearing, and it flew off in a glittering silver arc. She surfaced, hand at her throat. "My necklace!"
As it hit the water, Jer ducked down beneath the waves.
"Oh, man, Jess, I'm sorry--" Jonny sputtered, looking distraught. "That wasn't--"
"My Kairos cross?" Jessie asked in a taut voice. "It was."
A second later Jer emerged, holding the silver chain and pendant. "Got it." He held it out to her.
"Oh, my God! Thank you!" She threw her arms around him, hugging him tightly. Taking the necklace, she explained, "My mother gave it to me a couple of years ago." At this, she broke off and smiled wryly. "Guess I shouldn't wear it so often, since I'm always coming this close to losing it." She examined the chain; one of the links near the clasp had bent open when Jonny had accidentally tugged at it; that was why it had flown off.
Hadji took it from her and evaluated the damage. "Hey, Jonny, do you have your pocket knife?"
"Sure," Jonny replied, glad that there was no major damage. He waded up to the beach and tried to reach into his pocket. He found this difficult in his soaking-wet jeans. "Hold on," he muttered.
The others followed him out of the chilly water, clothes clinging to them, hair slicked to the sides of their heads, drops of water forming on their skin. Jonny finally reached the pocketknife and handed it to Hadji.
As Hadji used the pliers on Jonny's pocketknife to clamp the bent link back together, Jessie wrung out her wet green t-shirt. "Oh, man," she muttered, flicking a strand of dripping hair over her shoulder. "I'm freezing!"
"Gee, could it have been the water?" Jer asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
"Here, Jessie," Hadji said, handing her necklace back to her.
"Thanks, Hadj," she replied. She tugged at Jer's wet sleeve. "C'mon, let's go find some dry clothes or something." The four of them walked up the steep path to the main house.
"What'n the Sam Hill happened to you?" Race exclaimed, catching sight of the wet teens as they trooped through the kitchen on their way upstairs.
"Um..." Jessie trailed off.
"Jessie's necklace came off when we were down by the beach. We had to try to find it--it was underwater," Jonny said, glancing away.
"And you got this wet?" Race asked suspiciously.
Hadji stepped in. "We weren't sure how far out the tide had taken it, Race. It took us a while to find it."
Race was willing to accept that explaination. "Well, quick, get into some dry clothes! Mrs. Evan's'll skin you alive if you drip saltwater all over her nice clean floors!"
"Sure thing, Dad," Jessie smiled, walking out of the kitchen and pulling Jer behind her. Jonny and Hadji followed close on their heels.
Once they were upstairs, Hadji ushered Jer into his room. "You can borrow some of my clothes," he said.
Jessie and Jonny went to their own rooms. A few minutes later, Jessie emerged, dressed in a dry pair of jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt, a blue towel wrapped around her hair. Jonny was the next out, in khaki shorts and a striped polo shirt. The two of them walked down the hall, talking quietly. They stopped outside Hadji's door, which was still shut.
"Wonder what's taking them so long?" Jessie mused out loud.
"Dunno," Jonny replied, knocking on the door.
"In a minute," Hadji yelled. The two outside could hear muffled discussion. A moment later, the door opened to reveal not one, but two turbaned boys.
Jessie was speechless for a few seconds, and then burst into laughter.
"Oh, my..." Her words were drowned out by more giggles.
Jonny blinked. "Hey, Hadj, you never let *me* borrow your turbans!" he protested.
Jer and Hadji laughed. "It wasn't my idea," Jer told them.
"I just thought that if he was borrowing my clothes, the image ought to be complete."
Jessie buried her face in her hands. "Why, God, why?"
"Hey! I didn't think it looked that bad," Jer protested.
Jonny shook his head. "Just take it off before we're forced to hurt you."
Later that night, Jer and Jessie sat on the beach and watched the stars. Their conversation was calm and quiet, their topics meandering. Out of nowhere, Jessie said, "You know, you never told me where you grew up, or what your family's like, or even if you've got siblings!"
Jer looked at her. "Oh... well... I guess it just never came up."
She leaned back against him. "Care to tell me?"
"Well, what do you want to know?"
"Oh, I don't know. Anything. Everything."
"I see. Well... where to start..." He put his arm around her. "Well, I was born in Chicago, but we moved before I was old enough to notice. My parents were"--he faltered--"separated. My mother's Italian, and her parents still live there... She took me back to Italy for a while, with my sister. Caroline. She's older--three years. But my mom got in a big fight with her parents, when I was, like, twelve, and so we moved to California."
"Yikes! That's some move."
"It was some fight."
"Well, after a few years we went back to Italy after all. My family doesn't split up very easily."
She snuggled up against him. "And then what? Your dad dies, so you move to Maine? That's kinda random."
He shrugged. "Well, yeah. But I kinda like it here."
"Tell me about your sister."
"Caroline? Oh, God..." He shook his head. "She's one of a kind." He thought for a minute. "You've seen that picture of her I have, right?"
"Yeah. She looks like you."
"Yeah. She's pretty cool. I think you'd like her. She's a really good artist...I have some stuff she's drawn for me at home. Sometimes it gets on my nerves--every time I try to talk to her, she's doodling. Half the time she ends up drawing me while I'm talking. It's freaky, though, 'cos she keeps changing styles...She's just your typical crazy artist, I suppose."
"She sounds like a cool person."
"Yeah, she really is. I miss her."
They were silent for a moment. Jessie toyed with her necklace. On a whim, she took it off and sat up, saying, "Jer, I keep on almost losing this thing. Will you hold onto it for me?" She handed it to him.
"Well, I--" He took the necklace, unsure of what to say. The silver cross sat on his palm, shining in the starlight. "I mean, I--"
"Please? It'd mean a lot to me," she said quietly.
He swallowed hard. "Sure, Jess. If you're sure you want me to, that is. I mean--you were just saying how much it meant to you and all, when you lost it--"
"You mean a lot to me, too," she whispered, watching him with a lump in her throat.
They stared at each other for a moment, silently. Then Jer's eyes broke away, darting to the inch-high silver cross in his hand.
"Yeah. Sure, Jess. Thanks."
She smiled. "Besides, it's your birthday and I wanted to give you something special."
"How did you know it was my birthday?" he asked, perplexed.
"They announced it over the P.A. this morning, remember? But you should have told me beforehand! I would have liked to throw you a party, or something." She stood up, brushing herself off. "Come on, let's go back before Dad comes after us with a shotgun."
E-mail to Csurd@hotmail.com/October 28,1996
Subject: Kairos Cross?
Hey, Car-bear. What's up? (Yes, I know you hate that nickname, and no, I won't stop using it.) Just got back from The Compound. Man, am I spending too much time there. Got into a water fight...in the ocean...in October...in Maine. Freeeeezing! Got my clothes all wet, too.
Anyway, Jessie found out it was my birthday today and gave me this necklace. Her mom gave it to her, and I know it's important to her... Now she says she wants me to hold onto it. Am I getting in too deep here??
Recon is going well, on the other hand. The security systems are pretty easy--but then, they all know me anyway... I guess it should be soon. Still no gun, though... Oh well.
I miss you. Any new artwork? Tell Lorenzo I said hi. And Mom, if she's not too busy to care. Later. Jer.
"What a wicked thing to do/ To make me dream of you..." -"Wicked Game," Chris Isaac
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